Exotic and raw. Cheap and outrageously expensive. Insanely crowded and undeniably empty. Asia has it all. Both ends of every extreme are here. Backpackers with the cheapest round the world tickets always make a stop in Bangkok before exploring the rest of the continent, while the jet set flies in for stays in many of the world’s top rated -and priciest - hotels.
- Bangkok, Thailand
Kao San road in Bangkok is one of the most legendary backpacker haunts in the world. If you buy a round the world plane ticket, chances are you will stop here at one point or another. If you need a RTW ticket, it’s a good place to look.
- Katmandu, Nepal
Whether you’re here to climb Mount Everest, hike the Anapurna Circuit, or drink beer from the world’s highest brewery you will be in the company of many others. Katmandu, deep in the Himalayas, has one of the world’s most international tourist atmospheres.
- Ko Phagnan, Thailand
Home of the legendary Full Moon party that occurs every month to the favor of tens of thousands of revelers who come to indulge in not only the idyllic beaches and natural environment, but an endless supply of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
- Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
These idyllic islands near Phuket were the scene of the enchanting scenes from the backpacker favorite The Beach. Vertical rock faces rise right out of the water hiding tiny coves, caves, and tiny beaches of legends.
- Goa, India
This one time Portuguese hamlet has long been a hippie haven and attracts everyone from elite jet setters to Mumbai vacationers. Trance parties, Catholic churches, spicy meat and seafood dishes; it’s hard to imagine a place less Indian, but don’t let that stop you.
- Bali, Indonesia
Surfing and 24 hour a day parties, seven days a week, lure a fun loving crowd of Aussies and international jet setters to Kuta Beach. Head to Ubud or elsewhere in the interior for Hindu temples, rice terraces, monkey jungles, and yoga retreats.
- Manali, India
India’s answer to Katmandu with a lively expat community, motorcycle rentals for trips into the unknown, hiking outfitters, rafting tours, and Buddhists temples.
- Vang Vieng, Laos
The narco trade, a bustling expat community, and the lure of floating down a beautiful clean river on a rubber tube past limestone cliffs and unspoiled farmland has made tiny Vang Vieng a favorite backpacker stop.
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Occupied by the French, by the Americans, and now trend setting entrepreneurs who are setting up boutique hotels and hip new restaurants and clubs.
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
Everyone from the lowliest backpacker to the adventurous millionaire is flocking to Siem Reap to not only visit the temples at Angkor, but to stay in the former palaces and posh new resorts. Regardless your budget, everyone drinks together at night.