• Colin B.

Five Things You'll See on Backpackers in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is littered with all types of travellers: hippies, party-seekers, young families and retired pensioners alike. After spending four months in a certain area, you start to notice things that reappear on all types of backpackers.

Here are five things we kept on seeing on travellers throughout Southeast Asia.

1. National beer of [insert country here] tank tops:


Typically found on young male backpackers (though some females too!), whether it's Bintang in Indonesia, Singha in Thailand, San Miguel in the Philippines, Beerlao in Laos, and so on, you're bound to see these tank tops in all the tourist-oriented shops, and consequently, on too many travellers.

2. Sak Yant tattoos:

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The Sak Yant tattoos seem to be "the" quintessential thing to get for those who are finding themselves. It is interesting these are traditionally tattooed by monks themselves, though we unfortunately saw too many sketchy-looking tattoo shops offering the service.

3. Hair-wraps:

These are usually found on female travellers in beach destinations - we had sightings in Sihanoukville, South Thailand, and Bali. They definitely seem to be making some kind of a comeback, as they are now more than just your high-school Caribbean vacation souvenir.

4. Scrapes:

A bit of an unusual (and unfortunately unsurprising) find, scrapes, bandages, and bruises are found on backpackers who took a tumble on the scooter. The roads and drivers in Southeast Asia are extremely dangerous for Western standards, so it is an unfortunate reality accidents and serious injuries happen often. That being said, we have seen plenty of backpackers drinking while scootering, and driving too fast...they're usually the ones in the bee tank tops. For some reason, we saw the most limping tourists in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

5. Elephant pants:


Ah yes. How could we forget the infamous, dreadful, and an apparent obligatory purchase of all backpackers in Southeast Asia: the elephant pants. These are literally seen everywhere. Everywhere. The worst offenders tend to congregate in Thailand - we even witnessed a group of five farangs all wearing the same pants.


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