Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2016

For Christmas this year my parents gave me money for "Travel Books." As great as that is I had no idea where to start.

Also this Christmas Gethin (the boyfriend) bought me a kindle ereader. It was so sweet and thoughtful. Almost like he and the parents were in cahoots.
Anyway getting to the point! On December 28th I went on a book binge.

I spent £2.99 on the Backpackers Guide to Southeast Asia 2016 by Funky Reads. Now for someone who always looking to get a bargain or spend as little as possible it was quite the leap...even though it was only three quid. 

So the "guide" is broken up into about 10 sections.

Things to do before your trip.
Suggested backpacking routes.
Visa and Border crossings.
Best Festivals 2015-2016 (The chapter title is 14/15 but that's wrong).
Where to party.
10 places to experience local culture.
Destinations for Adventure and nature.
First time FAQ.

According to my kindle the book should only take 1 1/2 hours to read. It's quite an easy read and my favourite parts were visa and first time FAQ. Both sections are obviously great for people who've not backpacked before.

2. Things to do before your trip.
Things to do before your trip is a good section to remind you that it's probably a bad idea to just grab a backpack and cut loose, but I'm not your mother, you can do whatever. It includes ideas on travel insurance, backpacks, vaccinations and more.

3. Suggested backpacking routes.
Now the biggest part of this guide is the routes to take. The author starts in Thailand, which is fair as most people travel from there. It is a good overview of each area. Here they talk about budgeting, routes, best hostels in the area and some great travel advice concerning buses and strips. 

4. Visa and Border crossings.
Visa's are still something I'm trying to get my head around and this helped a tiny amount. Border crossing is not something I immediately thought of when I thought backpacking so this is good to get you thinking. This section is good if you're from the countries it mentions, if not you have to work out visas for yourself. 

5. Budgeting.
The budgeting section is useful but I found it a bit unnecessary. Only because at the beginning of each subsection in routes they said the average spend or whatever. Also as everyone has different comfort levels and price budgets it seems a bit difficult to say "this is how much you should be spending."

6 + 7. Best Festivals 2015-2016 and Where to party.
(The chapter title is 2014/15 but that's wrong).
These sections were more of a calendar and a reminder to book your hostels in advance. As they're giving you a calander of where to party, I feel like it's nothing you couldn't get from a quick google search. Yet if you're planning your trip around the party season it's good to have everything in one place to see.

8 + 9. 10 places to experience local culture.
Destinations for Adventure and nature.
These sections are a nice added extra for people who want something most backpackers don't get. Yet, I think most backpackers who want to experience different things probably won't be reading guides or following. If you want to stick to the Bangkok parties that's all well and good but these sections discuss hiking, village life and lagoons. Nothing is in great detail but if anything here takes your fancy I'd do some more research before setting off into the unknown.

10. First time FAQ.
This chapter was great for me because I am a first time traveler. They bring up questions I've actually been asking myself, about accommodation, other travelers and safety issues. This section is probably the only one which goes into further detail. If the entire book was just answering questions by experienced backpackers I'd be over the moon.

This is the first travel guide I've completed but also the first book I've finished in 2016 (2 very special titles).

Worth the price?
As it's only £2.99 I'm not going to be having loads of sleepless nights. I'm happy I bought the book because it's given me a greater scope in the field, but I don't think I'll be purchasing another copy. 

This is a good book as a simple overview on backpacking, however, in my honest opinion I think it's nothing special, the content is things I've read on plenty of blogs and seen in enough videos. 

Essentially it didn't grip me as a major page turner but I'll go back to it for tips again.