It’s inevitable, the end of school year signals our annual summer backpacking trip. This time, it will all be familiar; no new countries to explore, no new currencies to figure out and no new backpacks to tug along. But as they say, in those backpacking districts in Southeast Asia, it is Same Same But Different. So after ten school months, lemme say hello to summer with our Same Same Summer Trip 2017.
So it’s the season again wherein my life will be contained inside my 40-liter backpack for two months. My forced summer leave has already brought me to places I’ve never thought I would (yes, a public school teacher might be at the bottom of the economic ladder but I have the luxury of spending two months for leisure). Work hard, travel harder.
The annual summer thing started when me and my buddy embarked on a backpacking trip to Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2014 - Nepal/Southeast Asia Backpacking Trip 2014. We didn’t think of a theme at that time but we were totally blown away by the experience that it made us yearn for another summer getaway the year after. Asean Summer Loop 2015 was a trip around six Southeast Asian countries that started in the Philippines, then to Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. It was a different experience as we got to immerse ourselves on the similarities and differences of these neighboring countries in terms of food, culture and whatnots. Last year was all about beaches (my happy element) that brought us to hop around the islands of Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Singapore and called it Beach Hop Asia 2016.
I don’t play favorites on our trips and I really don’t mind about going back to the same country again and again, same case with my buddy. But I hate making itineraries so I leave everything to him. I just give him my yearly school calendar then he takes care of the nitty gritty part of plotting the routes and securing the flights needed. As always, this year’s trip is purely dictated by seat sales and promos. As much as we want to go to Morocco and Egypt, we couldn’t do so (rather our bank accounts wouldn’t allow us).
Moving on, my buddy scored a great deal on six flights for only, hold on to your seats now, P8,294.53 (US$165.08) each. Oh yeah, I know, he’s good at it. So, after he got the flights, he plotted the rough itinerary;
Manila > (Malaysia) Melaka > Kuala Lumpur > Penang > (Cambodia) Siem Reap > Phnom Penh > Sihanoukville > Koh Rong > (Thailand) Trat > Koh Chang > Bangkok > (Vietnam) Ho Chi Minh > Da Lat > Mui Ne > Hue > Ninh Binh > Sapa > Halong > Hanoi > Manila
That one looks exhausting because of the land transfers and I don’t even know what to expect in those destinations but hey, we gotta do it now when our bodies still can. Plus, we’re tagging our moms along on the Malaysia leg of the trip So that would be cool eh? Backpacking with our moms?
I don’t really understand why some consider traveling as a sort of competition and in the process, overdo it and get tired early on. I know it’s better to travel while you’re on your prime years but it gets stressful too.
Well, to each his own, I’m just happy that I have a travel buddy who has the same crazy ideas as me and don’t mind if we do the same thing, over and over again. As long as we have some loose change to spare on our travel, then we’ll go, if we have none, then we’ll just stay at home and watch Game of Thrones starting from the first season. I digress.
Mee goreng in Malaysia, lok lek in Cambodia, pad thai in Thailand and banh mi in Vietnam. I’m so gonna miss adobo and sinigang na baboy for two months. Will binge eat later.
Fifty-four days. Four countries. Nineteen key destinations. One heart. #SameSameSummerTrip2017
No strange advice or warning from my mom this year as I will be with her for the first eleven days. I’m sure she’ll expect longer days next year. Haha.