25 Problems Only Backpackers In Southeast Asia Will Understand

A rite of passage that pretty much everybody in their twenties is expected to do at some point.

Chances are that if you haven't yet spent a few months traversing Southeast Asia, you know somebody - or a hundred people - who have. Yes, booking a flight to Thailand has become a new social norm - a rite of passage that pretty much everybody in their twenties is expected to do at some point. You know, before the pressures of life put a stop to all the fun and you're stuck with things like "bills" and "children" and "a significant other." Ew. In a backpacking sense, the term "Southeast Asia," actually comprised of 11 countries, tends to refer to the big four: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, which are all connected to one another in a way that makes it very, very easy to move between them. These countries are usually the ones that your average trip to this part of the world will entail. And it's a vastly beautiful and majestic place; a land of tuk-tuks, street food, history, beautiful temples, cheap alcohol, and - did we mention? - cheap alcohol. But with such high adventure there also comes a few inherent problems that only people who have frequented Southeast Asia will understand - many of them of the first world variety, though some are genuinely concerning. Certain things begin to happen to a person who decides to suddenly live their life out of a large backpack, after all; there are new rules, new ways to communicate, and new ways to get things done. Here are 25 problems that backpackers in Southeast Asia will understand...

25. Finding Yourself Oddly Attracted To The Ladyboys In Thailand

What? You can barely tell!

24. Not Knowing Whether To Trust The Guy In Vang Vieng Who Says "Diving OK"

Jumping into dangerous, fast-flowing rivers is something that just happens in Laos, all part and parcel of Van Vieng's "tubing" phenomenon. And that Asian guy looks trustworthy enough and also happens to be a local, and you're sure he doesn't want you to break your skull open when he says "Diving OK." And yet... you can't shake the feeling that you might end up with a jagged rock through your spine. Or dead.

23. Really Wanting To Read "The Beach" For The Umpteenth Time But Fearing For Your Image

What could be better than reading a book about a likeminded backpacker travelling the places you are too? Only problem is that you've read it twice before, and there's nothing lamer than being "that" traveller - the one reading the most cliched book amongst backpackers in Southeast Asia.

22. Checking Into The First Guest House You Come Across Because It's Too Damn Hot

"Oh, this place looks fine, even though it's double the price and there are dead cockroaches everywhere."

21. Worrying You've Got Something Illegal In Your Backpack Even Though You Definitely Don't

You definitely know that you haven't got any illegal substances stuffed in your backpack (because you checked), but what if something ended up in there anyway? Why are those border guards looking at you so funny? Oh, God, now you look suspicious. Act cool, act cool. "There's nothing in here, by the way. Just so you know. This backpack is clean as a whistle. A whistle, I tell you."
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Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.