Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Meeting fellow travellers during off-season?

Posted by mrock on 16/4/2013 at 01:15

Ok, so I'm planning a two month June-July trip to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I know that this is firmly in the rainy season for most of the region, and that there will be less travellers.

However, I'll be travelling alone. Assuming I spend my nights primarily in dormitory styled lodging, how likely is it that I'll be able to meet fellow travellers? I'd like to have companions to spend my time with and I enjoy the backpacker scene.

I have recurring worries that I'll be the only backpacker around. Are things really empty? Or will it be just right (not too crowded, but still people to keep you company, ie) europe during "shoulder" months like september/october?

Thanks for ya time

#1 mrock has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by Captain_Bob on 19/4/2013 at 06:42

Despite it being "rainy season" June/July is not the quietest time of year. The two low points for SEA tourism are usually late-April until early June and mid-September to late October. June/July many northern hemisphere students (and their families) have their big summer break and many of them go travelling in this region. You will not be the only backpacker around (grin) to the contrary there will be tons of people like you doing the rounds. Some of the smaller west coast islands do kind of shut down but there are plenty of alterntives, and inside the lower Gulf of Thailand is actually most sunny in June/July and islands like Ko Tao/Phangan/Samui get packed. The other thing about "rainy season" is it usually doesn't rain all day, more commonly it just tumbles down at the end of the day for an hour or so, but still fairly unpredictable. Note that dorm-style accommodation is uncommon in this part of the world, but single guesthouse rooms and beach bungalows are abundant and often cheap. Good way to meet people is join group activities like trekking in the north and snorkeling/scuba trips in the south.

#2 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,893


Posted by mrock on 19/4/2013 at 12:39

Usually I meet people by dorming together while travelling. I'll have to tweak my approach if I want some company I suppose. Thanks!

#3 mrock has been a member since 16/4/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by antoniamitchell on 19/4/2013 at 13:09

Hi Mrock,

Don't worry - you'll still be able to meet other travellers. Some guesthouses have communal lounge areas (same as dorms), others have porches where people sit out and chill, so you can easily wander by and say hello to the neighbours. Apart from at your guesthouse, you will run across other backpackers regularly - sitting across from them on trains or buses/minibuses, finding yourself at the adjacent table at a hawker stall or restaurant, bumping into them in temples, etc. Because there are plenty of backpackers and we'll all in the same boat, it's remarkably easy to find company. Just smile and strike up a conversation.

I'm not the most outgoing of people (when I first moved to London, I initially found it hard to meet people) and even I was able to regularly find company in SE Asia. Honestly, you'll be great!

#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Location: Singapore. Posts: 492
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Posted by HPTravels on 25/4/2013 at 18:35

Hi, I'll be in Bangkok from June 3 ... Be backpacking too.

#5 HPTravels has been a member since 25/4/2013. Posts: 6

Posted by michelled on 9/6/2013 at 03:57

Hi I am flying to Bangkok on 1st July and travelling for a month, looking for travel companions.
I am a 21 year old female, just graduated uni.

Michelle

#6 michelled has been a member since 9/6/2013. Posts: 10

Posted by MADMAC on 10/6/2013 at 08:39

If you come out Mukdahan way drop me a note. Happy to link up and show you around.

#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by daawgon on 10/6/2013 at 11:40

Don't limit your social contacts to other backpackers. The locals want to meet you too - usually to practice their English. In Vietnam especially, you will be approached on the street. Also in Vietnam, you can make a reservation with the student clubs that give free tours in exchange for English practice. About a month prior to travel send them an email. Hanoikids in Hanoi, Saigonhotpot in HCMC and Danangkids in Danang/Hoi An. (just search for their websites)

#8 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111

Posted by MADMAC on 10/6/2013 at 12:05

daawgon makes a good point there. It's very easy to meet people out here. In fact, I am often perplexed why people come here to hang out with other backpackers and not indigenous people.

#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 10/6/2013 at 20:04

I try to avoid other westerners in Asia. The whole point of going to a different country is experiencing the local culture. If you're only hanging out with your "own kind" then you are little more than a sheep on a bus with a bunch of other tourists looking at a country from the outer.

#10 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 11/6/2013 at 09:03

Leonard phrases it perhaps more sharply than I would have, but I can not say I disagree with him.

#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by exacto on 11/6/2013 at 09:50

you guys have had this discussion before. in the end i think it comes down to personal preference. but i think it is also a function of shared experience, and wanting to travel with people who might enjoy it from similar perspectives. it is the same reason most folks go to the cinema with a friend or join a book club - to share the experience with someone else and to talk about it, which can also enrich it.

i agree with daawgon too that meeting locals is fun as well as enriching, and it is much easier to rub elbows with locals now at a club or restaurant or beach or museum than it was 20 years ago. but unless there is a common language, that conversation is only going to go so far. excellent point not to limit your contacts to just one group of folks but to mix it up as much as possible. that could definitely include locals, other travelers, and even friendly long-term expats offering to show you around. ta.

#12 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,651
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Posted by MADMAC on 11/6/2013 at 10:53

"excellent point not to limit your contacts to just one group of folks but to mix it up as much as possible. that could definitely include locals, other travelers, and even friendly long-term expats offering to show you around. ta."

Exactamundo. Couldn't have said it better myself.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Snookieboi on 11/6/2013 at 12:16

I like to mix it up too.

When i started out travelling i met some very interesting travellers that not only knew the country very well indeed, they also knew a lot about other places too. I can say that they inspired me to spend about 12 years of my life travelling all over Asia and Latin America as well as many places in between.

Mind you i think it's important to be reasonably selective as all kinds of people travel.

#14 Snookieboi has been a member since 14/4/2013. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 61


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