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Thailand forum

Backpacker-scene in June-August in Thailand, Laos, Cambodja and Vietnam

Posted by JVermeer on 26/4/2012 at 07:07

Hi everyone!

I am thinking to travel to Thailand, Laos, Cambodja and Vietnam for approximately 2 months in June, July and first part of August. I know that a lot of these countries have their rain season during this period.
It is not so much the weather that concerns me, but more the backpacker-scene during this time of year. As I've travelled to Australia, New Zealand and Bali before I am used to meeting a lot of like minded backpackers and having an extremely social trip. I am worried that a trip to Thailand, Laos, Cambodja in June-August will in this respect be a dissapointment as the majority of backpackers will travel in a different time of year and not during the months June-August. Could someone tell me how the backpacker-scene is overthere during these months, are there a lot of backpackers? Is it considerably less that from January to March? When would u guys recommend me to travel? How is the party-scene in this period (I am used to and like the backpacker-parties)?
And, is the weather really that bad during the rain season?

Thanks so much in advance!


#1 JVermeer has been a member since 26/4/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by 9preciousGems on 26/4/2012 at 08:52

There is always a steady supply of backpackers beating the tracks throughout the year. Sometimes less than others but still plenty of people to meet.

#2 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by MADMAC on 26/4/2012 at 14:14

Jake, I am curious here. This subject has come up before on travelfish. But why would you want to party with other westerners after taking all the trouble to travel to Thailand? Why would you not rather socialize with indigenous persons? I am not being critical here, just trying to understand this phenemenon, because I do not go out of my way to socialize with westerners since I've lived here.

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

Posted by sayadian on 27/4/2012 at 00:13

I should think the answer is obvious .Most Thais don't speak English and the only ones that do are usually touts or girls of the night.
If he was going for longer I'd recomend learning a bit of the language.

BTW the answer to the question is yes the backpacker scene is constant, though quieter during those months.The advantage is you can have the pick of the accommodation and even negotiate the price down.

#4 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by MADMAC on 27/4/2012 at 02:11

Well language is a challenge, I'll admit. But you can work through it. It just seems strange to me, travel all this way and then have really nothing to do with the people who live here. For the hedonists I get it, but for the "travellers" I don't, since they are ostensibly interested in the culture, and culture is about people. Yet their interface with them is minimized by maintaining companionship with other backpackers.

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

Posted by sayadian on 27/4/2012 at 02:46

I absolutely agree with you,if you've got the time but I think the OP is doing a quick trip.4 countries in 2 months.Personally I think that's too much but a lot do it.They come to Phnom Penh and do the 'Killing Fields', Royal Palace etc and maybe after 2 days their on the road again.There is so much more to this city. It's a shame.I've recommended trips on here before but how many go to Oudong (fantastic stupas on a mountain with an incredible view) Kampong Speu (beautiful country and a 'Killing Fields') I do NOT get this thing of visiting S21.Why do people want to see a prison and torture chamber?
OP asks is the rain bad.Well the answer to that is where you are.Certainly I know Cambodia and I can tell you Phnom Penh,Angkor is not so bad but Sihanoukville gets it pretty bad.Sometimes rains for days and floods so it can put a bit of a damper on the party scene.

#6 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by shaydan_01 on 27/4/2012 at 03:35

In response to the OP, I have only ever traveled through this region between July - October, there are always backpackers about in the main areas no matter what time of year. I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages when it comes to rainy season. Lush scenery, cheaper accommodation, less people at the sights etc.

Madmac, for many people traveling is not only about the destination. Many people do chose to come to places like Thailand because it is extremely cheap to travel and there are parties that you just can't find at home. Or some come for the beautiful scenery. For lots of people, especially the first time they travel to somewhere so different from home, visiting temples and villages etc is interesting, but having other westerners by their side and eating hamburgers for dinner is comforting. Not everybody is ready to go 100% out of their comfort zone immediately. It can be hard to make genuine friendships with locals if you're staying in touristy places and moving around very frequently and not everybody is capable of learning the language and heading off the beaten path when they begin traveling. A lot of people (whether logical or not) are probably quite skeptical of forming ties with locals, especially on the tourist trail where they are used to being seen as walking cash machines. The second time I traveled to south-east Asia I was much more adventurous then the first time, but thats not to say that I didnt enjoy every minute of my banana pancake, full-moon party, typical Thailand getaway. Peoples travel style evolves the more they do it, as do the people themselves, generally.

Also for many meeting other westerners doesn't mean excluding the idea of socialising with locals and can also be just as a cultural experience as doing so. I've met amazing people from all over the world with all sorts of incredible stories and backgrounds whom I wouldn't have met had I had an "avoid all other westerners" mentality. I also met many locals with whom I shared the same experiences, but often this didnt happen unless I was visiting the same place every day. The totality of travel has so many dimensions.

#7 shaydan_01 has been a member since 16/11/2009. Location: Australia. Posts: 80

Posted by MADMAC on 27/4/2012 at 11:30

Shaydan, thanks for the response. I guess that makes sense on some level. Obviously it must, since so many people go this route.

I met my Thai wife in Germany, and had never been to Thailand. So after two years of living together, when it was pretty obvious the relationship wasn't ending soon, I thought it was time to meet the folks. So I flew to Thailand the first time and we headed straight to her village. It was total immersion for me for about 30 days and I guess that's how I saw the "normal" experience. That's how my son did it too. He came out here where I live and has now stayed for two years hanging out almost exclusively with Thais.

I travelled alone to Kenya too to meet my old Somali adversaries in the Eastleigh district. That was high adventure and I think I was the only white guy there for two weeks.

Ditto when I lived in Germany. At work it was fellow Americans (except the five years I spent in the German Army) but at home and leisure time it was strictly German.

I guess my inclination is to socialize with indigenous persons as much as possible. But maybe it's just me.

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

Posted by captainbkk on 29/4/2012 at 06:45

complete onzin- voor de jonge bekpekker is dit JUIST de tijd om de teugels los te laten en te veel te zuipen etc.Translate; complete nonsense-in fact july+aug is THE prime young bekpek-holidaytime in those areas. I am too bored to expalin the rains and what its worth to someone who (seeing its name0 lives in one of the rainiest countries along the northsea.

#9 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

Posted by MADMAC on 29/4/2012 at 07:00

You are working hard to make friends and influence people aren't you?

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

Posted by sayadian on 29/4/2012 at 08:34

He's just saying in Dutch it's the best time to go and party

#11 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by longbeach on 2/5/2012 at 18:43

The best places are away from the backpacker crowds. I agree with Madmac, it's odd to travel to other countries and avoid meeting the locals. Not sure what like minded means. Other backpackers may be nothing like you.

#12 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307

Posted by longbeach on 2/5/2012 at 18:46

"I am used to and like the backpacker-parties"

Thailand gets lots of loser backpackers who spend their time getting wasted and missing the finer points of the country.

#13 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307

Posted by MADMAC on 2/5/2012 at 21:48

"Thailand gets lots of loser backpackers who spend their time getting wasted and missing the finer points of the country."

I'm actually OK with that as long as they don't pretend they are somehow superior to other hednonistic types of tourists. Everyone isn't interested in finer points - and that's OK. As long as you're honest about it.

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

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