Is backpacking a thing of the past?

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12 thoughts on “Is backpacking a thing of the past?

  1. I Think that most of the backpackers today aren't really hippies like yesteryear. I think the average backpacker is just an adventurous young person on a budget.

    I think that for the long term future of Thailand's tourism industry, it's a good idea to continue to welcome these young people. Though their economic impact won't be huge, it is still an impact now.

    Their true impact comes 5-15 years later when they come back to Thailand, but have more coin in their pocket and more of an appetite for all of the luxury resorts.

  2. As long as there is the "Great Outdoors" there will be backpacking.

    Thailand is in the process of shifting gears in the Tourism market.

    Tourism ministers even before the 2006 coup decided to lure the wealthier tourists.
    More money, less people, less hassles.

    The change in Thailand's tourism attitude to cater to the elite seems to have been timed quite well,
    World economies are stalled, costs are escalating, less people can afford to travel the world.

    Charge more and provide a few additional amenities pretty much sums up the new plan.

    It stands to reason, back packers are most often traveling on a stringent budget, not what tourism thrives on.

    Back packing remains a travel option,
    you just wont' see it promoted in travel brochures as it had been in the past.
    Planning trips may become more difficult.

    But then isn't backpacking an adventure

  3. Sure, TAT is going after wealthier tourists some of the time, but a lot of the time, there is still a major push for mass tourism. They herd in new markets like cattle. At the moment, it's Russians, Turks and Koreans by the busload.

  4. We don't go to Thailand anymore – now backpackers aim for Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam… countries where upscale travel exists, but where budget travelers are still welcome.

    And while some countries evolve and move up the luxury ladder, others slowly open up to the cheaper end of the spectrum.

    I don't believe backpacking or independent budget travel has seen its demise at all – as long as there is a way of getting off the beaten track, away from mass tourism and closer to a place's own culture, there will always be backpackers straying off into the relative unknown, looking for something just a little different.

  5. Sorry if this is slightly off-topic, but speaking of backpackers i noticed some big changes last month in Thailand and Laos.

    I thought it would be nice to show a friend Khao San Road, was i mistaken. All the Thai people treated us with great respect and we returned that, but the backpackers we encountered were beyond my imagination.
    Last year I was on Khao San as a backpacker, dressed as a backpacker, this year me and friend dressed smart for disco afterwards. The backpackers pretty much stared at us with a "what the $%#* are you doing here" look.
    Getting close to upset with us because we get good service, and they dont. I must have missed an update, but I believe every Lonely Planet has an etiquette section, they much have forgotten that screaming and waving isnt the way in South East Asia.

    Even worse is Laos, I feel really sorry for the Laotian people having to suffer backpackers without t-shirts on, with their feet on tables and walking with beer on the street.

    Sorry…rant… It just gets me when these falang think that their 2 dollars a day budget buys them a "I do what I want to do" pass.

    (Ofcourse this doesnt apply to everyone, met some great backpackers aswell. I just wish that some of them actually read their whole Lonely Planet and not just the cheap hotel and bar section)

  6. Yes, Maus, Khaosan definitely has that edge to it sometimes. Funny thing is that those same backpackers glaring at you are the ones who couldn't think of anywhere else to stay than Khaosan Road.

  7. I used to backpack a lot to places like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia (I'm from Malaysia). Sure, it was fun and interesting. But the main reason I traveled that way was more towards the shoestring budget. These days, with Air Asia expanding their flight destination as well as low air fares, it definitely beats spending time in a bus or train and staying in guest houses. I have got nothing against guest houses, just that a return air fare + hotel room can be just slightly more expensive than return bus/ train fare and saves me a lot of time. My last trip was to Jakarta, spend two nights there and then on to other parts of Indonesia, mostly on Air Asia. Managed to fit everything in under two weeks, which my work allows. Buses and trains and what not would have taken more than two weeks.

  8. I am not sure, but I think real backpacking had been a invention of the Hippie era and it`s peak end of the 70s and early 80s. How do you wanna backpack in Thailand they way they did it 30 years ago. You just can`t as everything in this country has been explored. There are no secret places anymore like taht island in "The Beach". And even those Hippies would have traveled with one of those VIP-Buses that will take you for a couple of Baht to every place in Thailand.

  9. Last year I was in Thailand seeing the land again when it was 6 years since last time. Backpacking in Thailand is over for me and this year I am trying China.

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