A Travellerspoint blog

Backpacking Laos

Tips and advice

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This overview of budget backpacking Laos covers:
general costs, things to know, tips, transport, accommodation options and my overall experience of the country.
If you are looking to travel Laos Forever Roaming the World provides you with backpacking Laos travel advice and an overview of what to expect covering practical things to know, tips, transport and accommodation options and...

Sleepy as the Mekong river itself, stepping into Laos was like stepping into the land that time forgot.

While Thailand is geared towards and catered to tourism, Laos is still getting used to tourists wanting to come to this majestic country.

I once watched a documentary by the late Anthony Bourdain about Laos travel (Watch it here) and it intrigued me so much, right there and then I wanted to travel Laos. This was completely off the grid and I wanted – No; I needed to experience it myself!

Laos is not your typical tourist destination, it’s not commercially developed nor overrun by western franchises like Thailand. Laos is raw, it’s dusty, it’s misty, it’s massively underdeveloped and life move at a snail’s pace. However it’s landscape, the wilderness, it’s all breathtaking and the cities and towns like Luang Prabang and Vientiane will captivate you.

So, if you’re looking for a smooth ride well, then you’re in the wrong country for you. Things will go wrong and it will be a bumpy ride but there is a charm about the place, and if you’re like me you will fall in love with the country as you travel Laos.

A few tips when backpacking Laos:

  • Eat freshly made baguette’s in Vientiane, You’ll think you’re eating them in France.
  • Have an open mind, keep patient, and learn to be calm when you travel Laos.
  • Like is the rest of South East Asia – haggle, haggle, haggle
  • Play the game of haggling, don’t be rude – learn how to haggle well (post coming in the future)
  • Prepare for things to go wrong and transport to be late – Time is not important to the people of Laos.
  • Laos has so many hidden gems (Temples, ruins, waterfalls etc) – Don’t be afraid to explore.
  • Renting a moped is cheap and a great way to get around but you will have to brave the potholes.
  • Don’t expect good quality western food.
  • Don’t expect any luxury, Laos is a world away from Thailand.
  • Watch a sunset along the Mekong River.
  • Be prepared for long bumpy journeys.
  • Sitting in the middle of the bus will be as comfortable as you’ll be able to get.
  • Keep your belongings close and be mindful of them when on public transport.
  • Your clothes will always be dusty, even after you have them washed.
  • Beer Lao is the local beer and dirt cheap.

Continue reading post on Forever Roaming the World...

Posted by Forever_Roaming 17:06 Archived in Laos Tagged landscapes people parties boats beach travel laos backpacking traveling solo_travel long-term travelblog planning_travel nomad_life travel_laos Comments (0)

solo travel FAQ's

The most comprehensive FAQ's You will find

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It happens to all of us with that first foray into solo traveling…
Once the initial adrenaline wears off, your brain explodes like a popcorn frenzy with all kinds of solo travel questions you just don’t have the answers to!
It’s not just your brain either, once you tell friends and family, they start firing more questions at you. All of a sudden your excitement turns to anxiety, you start questioning your own decision; “Why did I choose this?” – “Will solo traveling be for me?” – “What will solo traveling be like?” – “Will I be lonely traveling solo?”

Don’t worry, It’s perfectly natural to have these questions, We all had them and there will be other solo travel questions that get put to you no matter how long you solo travel for.

Solo traveling since 2010

Here’s the thing, people have been solo traveling for years, yet over the years myths have been dreamt up. Ok, granted some of those myths have been burst with the up-turn in solo traveling; it seems more and more people are ‘braving’ it nowadays. However, the same questions still get thrown about.

I’ve solo traveled across 6 continents since I first packed my bags in 2010 and I still get asked the same questions by friends, family and even by other travelers I’ve met on the road.

It doesn’t matter if you’re only just thinking about it, if you’re already planning your first trip or if you’re already a solo traveler, this solo travel F.A.Q will answer any niggling questions you may have.

Once the initial adrenaline wears off, your brain explodes like a popcorn frenzy with all kinds of traveling solo questions you just don't have the answers to! Forever Roaming the World provides you with the most comprehensive solo travel FAQ - All the questions you have are answered

Read Your traveling solo questions answered with this comprehensive F.A.Q on Forever Roaming the World...

Posted by Forever_Roaming 17:21 Tagged landscapes desert travel sahara backpacking traveling solo solo_travel sahara_desert travel_planning budget_travel travelblog planning_travel igomorocco sahara_tours Comments (0)

Backpacking New Zealand

Tips and Guide

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This overview of budget backpacking New Zealand covers:
General costs, things to know, tips, transport, accommodation options and my overall experience of the country.

Welcome to middle earth…
When Peter Jackson thought about turning the Lord of the rings books into movies, you can see why he didn’t need to stretch his imagination too much in terms of where to set the movie and what landscape to use. There was no need for a make belief world to be dreamt up, he just needed to see what was around him.

The two volcanic Islands that make up New Zealand make this country one of the world’s hotbeds for tectonic activity and geothermal phenomena.

While the Lord of the Rings movies may have exposed and made New Zealand even more famous, there is so much more to this country.

Home of Kiwis, Mauri’s, the Haka, the extreme sports capital of the Southern Hemisphere and the adventure travelers heaven. With hiking, mountaineering, caving, skydives, bungee jumps, mountain biking, white water rafting to name just a few activities. It’s one of the worlds geothermal wonders, with volcanoes, black sand beaches, hot springs, sulfur pools, geysers, wide mountain ranges, and Glaciers. Then there’s it’s natural charm and beauty….And it’s the only place on earth you can eat a Fergburger!

The thing is these are just words until you experience and travel New Zealand for yourself you can’t get a true sense of how amazing this country is. What I can say is, when you’re backpacking through New Zealand you’ll forget the rest of the world exists.

Backpacking New Zealand tips:

  • Renting a car or campervan is a great way to explore and backpack through New Zealand rather than organized bus tours.
  • Traveling through New Zealand will make you feel like you’re in a fantasy world.
  • There are designated campsites throughout the country – some are very cheap
  • New Zealanders are known as ‘kiwis’ – they’re a friendly bunch but might take some getting used their accent. for example; eggs are pronounced as ‘iggs’ and chips are pronounced as ‘chups’.
  • As you’re backpacking New Zealand you will come across so many hidden gems.
  • New Zealand can be quite expensive – Be sure to budget well (covered more below).
  • Be prepared to see a lot of sheep.
  • Not surprisingly New Zealand is known to have the best Lamb in the world, and also very big on its dairy.
  • Be prepared to have your breath taken away every day.
  • Take clothes for all-weather conditions – Wellington is always windy no matter what time of year it is.
  • New Zealand is the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Winter in New Zealand is when the South Island comes alive.
  • If you’re planning on learning Skiing or snowboarding remember ski passes can be quite expensive.
  • Backpackers go to Queenstown – And don’t leave! There’s a reason it’s known as Neverland.
  • Try a Fergburger in Queenstown.
  • Do a skydive in Franz Joseph (incredible views of snow-capped mountains and the glaciers)
  • Drinking ‘just one more’ leads to being out until the sun comes out.
  • Be sure to check out the Southern Fiords like the Milford sounds.

Continue reading on Forever Roaming the World...[[https://www.foreverroamingtheworld.com/backpacking-new-zealand-overview/|Continue reading on Forever Roaming the World

Posted by Forever_Roaming 16:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes lakes parties queenstown new_zealand backpacking solo_travel long-term travel_planning budget_travel travelblog world_travel planning_travel nomad_life Comments (0)

Different types of travel options for budget travelers

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Budget travel transport options.
As ridiculous as it sounds, one of the biggest pains about budget traveling can be the actual traveling from point A to B. It can be such a headache figuring out a balance between comfort, convenience and cheapness.

When choosing budge travel transport options you might be tempted just to seek out the cheapest (and sometimes you have no other choice) but trust me when you’re traveling long-distances you need some comfort to make it through the journey.

picture for forever roaming the worlds post about different budget travel transport options

Sometimes you hear about the glamour of traveling but the nuts and bolts, the in-between’s don’t really get a mention because it’s not glamorous.

I’m just being real with you, as a budget traveler you will endure different levels of comfort and some journeys will be a nightmare. However, with the right research you can find some bargains and get a good balance in comfort and cost.

So the question is – What are your transport options as a budget traveler?

Intercity/ local traveling.

Most countries will have a local option, these generally tend to be the cheapest. In under developed countries you’re likely to find Tuk-Tuks, Caminoes, chicken buses, local buses, even horse and carriage.

You should keep in mind, although local transport is the cheapest, the drivers will know you’re not a local and will try to charge you a little extra. There are a few simple ways to combat this, try speaking a few words in the local language, don’t act like a tourist, have a local companion with you, see how much others are paying and just give the right amount of change.

Most developed countries have networked public transport systems whether that’s buses, trains or interlinking metro systems. If you are planning to stay in the region for a prolonged amount of time it’s a good idea to invest in passes or discount cards. For budget travelers they can really help with your budget. There will be different types of passes, daily/weekly/monthly, some will be unlimited travel, zone passes and some with come with activities included or discounts on activities so these are great budget travel transport options.

In smaller villages and towns , you can typically rent bicycles or just walk around. If it’s within your means you can rent cars or mopeds too.

Carry on the post over on Forever Roaming The World

Posted by Forever_Roaming 12:50 Tagged mountains boats trains travel backpacking traveling solo_travel long-term budget_travel travelblog planning_travel Comments (0)

IGoMorocco.com Sahara Desert tour part 2

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The adventure continues!

Don’t forget to catch up on Sahara Desert tour part 1 before you dive into this one.

Day 2 – Off to the desert we go!

Waking up at the crack of dawn is something I like to call waking up at ‘Stupid O’clock!‘ – I don’t like it but on this day I had no other choice.

I’ll be honest, it was a lot colder through the night than I expected, so I didn’t want to leave the snug warmth of the heated room. I didn’t want to spend another day in a mini-van but I was so excited to get to the desert.

Obviously with this being Morocco the free breakfast consisted of Moroccan tea, coffee, bread, bread, and some more bread. Remember though, it’s a long old day so stocking up on the carbs is worth it.

Less confusion.

Unlike the previous day, this one started confusion-less , the same driver picked us up from the hotel, the same group was reunited and off we went.

Instantly accommodation stories were exchanged. Those who opted not to upgrade were clearly disgruntled with the shared accommodation and complained about just how cold it got, while those of us who upgraded kept quiet, not wanting to rub it in their faces. If it wasn’t for the upgrade I received for writing this post, I would have been one of those complaining too.

Mini tours.

Once the complaining was over with, excitement started to filter through the group, with every mile covered the Sahara desert was getting closer. Just like the previous day the long drive was broken up with a couple of mini-tours. The first being a Berber village; was quite the education in Moroccan traditions, how they’re still upheld and how life in Morocco is so different outside of the Cities. The tour guide educated us on the importance of everybody from the nomads, the Berbers, to the people in the cities are to the fabric of Moroccan life.

Whilst being shown around the village, we were welcomed into a local house, where we were also shown how hand-woven carpets are made, and transported to the cities like Marrakesh to be sold to tourists but the true purpose of this was a subtle sales pitch. Oh yes the old man in this little clay house came prepped with a Credit Card machine and tried to sell us some carpets. He even advised the carpets would be delivered by courier, more specifically by DHL. Let’s just say none of us took a bite and the friendly old man couldn’t wait to get us out of his house to bring in the next load of tourists.

With the failed sales pitch out of the way, the group were ushered out of the house and out of the village to our final mini tour; the Todra Gorge.

I have to be honest here, if there were less tourists, fewer vehicles lining the narrow fault, walking through the footholds of this limestone gorge would have felt far more impressive. I don’t know it might be just me but whenever a space like this is crawling with tourists it just takes away some of the magic. However in saying that, as I stood in the footholds and looked up at the sheer size it did make me feel quite insignificant in the grand scale of things.

IGoMorocco Sahara Desert tour

I got a lucky shot with no tourists in the way, they’re all behind me.

Are we there yet?

Finally after hours of driving through the barren lands. the Sahara desert dunes were on the horizon. The excitement built, the adrenaline started to pump as we pulled into one of the hotels, the realisation hit and a few even got giddy; we were about to go into the Sahara Desert.

THE MAIN EVENT.

Head over to Forever Roaming The World to see what happened when I ventured into the Desert.

Posted by Forever_Roaming 13:22 Archived in Morocco Tagged landscapes desert travel sahara backpacking traveling solo_travel sahara_desert travel_planning budget_travel travelblog planning_travel igomorocco sahara_tours Comments (0)

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