Backpacking alone through Asia
Question: I will be backpacking through Asia during March, April and May, alone. I wanted to ask you about the relationships built during the trip. I mean, is it easy to relate to other backpackers? Are there a lot of single backpackers?
I would like to know tips on traveling solo! More specifically, I wanted to know about the risks of traveling alone, being robbed, etc. Also, I wanted to know about health issues. Did you get sick during your trip?
I have traveled a lot in my life, but most of the times I did it with friends or family. When I did travel alone, I went to USA so there is not much comparison.
How easy it is to relate to other backpackers depends on you, and how open you are towards others. But yes, generally it is quite easy to relate to other backpackers and get in contact with them. During my trips I found most solo backpackers to be very social, relaxed and kind. There's some sort of "help-each-other"-mentality when you're on the road. Hard to explain, but you'll know what I mean when you get there.
Over the years, I've witnessed that the stream of solo backpackers have become stronger, especially in SE Asia and India. You'll encounter many solo backpackers on your trip -- I'm sure of it.
I've already covered many tips here:Travelling Alone: Safety Tips
The essence here is that you have to use the same common sense as you were in your own home country, or any other big city worldwide. Avoid dark alleys in the middle of the night, don't wear expensive gadgets -- if you do, disguise it. Don't bring all your cash on your day trips -- keep something locked up in a safety deposit box or alike.
My most important tip for solo travelers is:
Even if you're insecure, don't show insecurity. If you're new to a place, act like you've already been there before.
Research the new place you're going to -- it will help on the confidence. You're then less prone to scams.
When it comes to health, I got sick once. The usual stuff among backpackers: travel diarrhoea. I got it when I arrived in Thailand from India. Don't know if I got the infection in India or in Thailand. Either way, it went fine. I went to the pharmacy and bought pills for my stomach, and it worked instantly (after 2 days I was up and running).
Other than that, I haven't been sick in Asia. Other people I have traveled with has gotten food poisoning which is a lot worse.
Watch where you eat -- choose places where there are many people, and don't just follow your budget. For example: The food stalls around Khao san road and Soi Rambuttri in Bangkok are usually safe -- travelers and locals keep buying from these food stalls so the food is fresh, and remains fresh.