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The top 10 destinations for first-time backpackers!

Backpacker sitting on a stone during sunset

Backpacking beginners - we got you!

Unsure what your first backpacking journey should be? Fear not! Our travel experts compiled a list with their favourite entry-level backpacking destinations around the world. 

Backpacking is not a vacation, it's a lifestyle...
And one that we'll gladly pass on to you, as we think it's the ultimate form of travelling. It's the more flexible, social and raw experience of your destination. Even better, it's cheap and simple, so you'll budget will take you further than ever. Travel on wooden train benches with the locals, sleep in unconventional places, and try the very best food at the local markets. It's not about ticking off the top sights, it's about truly experiencing your destination. Go beyond your comfort zone and stimulate your curiousity, with our adventures less ordinary.
Check out our suggested adventures

Multi-stop or deep dive into one country?

If you want to go on your first ever backpacking adventure, there are about a million choices to make, but the two biggest are probably ''how long do I want to go'' and ''where am I heading to''. The first one is completely up to you and your schedule, but the second question is something we'll gladly help out with. We've made a list with our favourite beginner backpacking destinations. Depending on how long you want to travel, you can either combine these in an awesome multi-stop adventure or stay for longer in the same country or region to really get a feel for the local culture. Take a look below at our suggestions, and start dreaming! Oh and remember, the list is in completely random order, we really didn't want to fight over what should be number one. 

Two backpackers in a TukTuk in Asia


Maybe not the first destination you'll think off, but Malaysia combines modernity with natural beauty and great food in a neat little package. Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, is known for its impressive skyline and diverse street food which basically is a greatest hits of all the South-East Asian flavours. The Malaysian island of Borneo is beautiful too, and one of two places in the world (the other being Sumatra in Indonesia) where you can find wild orangutans. If you're up for it, there's even a volunteering program where you help out at an orangutan rehabilitation centre. If you feel for relaxation, try exploring the stunning Perhentian Islands which truly feel like a tropical paradise. 

Golden statue at Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur


A little more mainstream than Malaysia, is this popular destination for backpackers: Peru! Due to its stunning landscapes, interesting history, and colourful towns it's a favourite for many and is often seen as the gateway to South America. It's perfect for outdoor activities like kayaking, ziplining and rafting, but if you'd like to keep your feet on solid ground there's plenty to do as well. The iconic Machu Picchu is a must-visit, but there's more. You can trek along the Inca Trail, explore the Amazon rainforest, and visit the lovely cities Lima and Cusco to get a taste of Peruvian food and culture.

Church in the city of Arequipa with mountain in the background in Peru


Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant cities like Bangkok, and plenty of adventure, Thailand is a backpacker's paradise. It's easy to find your way around, has a well-established ''backpacker infrastructure'' (by which we mean lots of fantastic hostels, cheap food places and transportation options, and offers a variety of activities, from exploring ancient temples to enjoying water sports. Oh and did we mention the streetfood? Take us to Jodd Fairs market now!

Boats at a beach on the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand

New Zealand

Known for its breathtaking landscapes, New Zealand is a backpacker's dream. Whether you're into hiking, adventure sports, or surfing, you'll find your thrill here. You can spent weeks exploring its stunning national parks, including the famous Milford Sound and Tongariro National Park. New Zealand is also popular for road trips or if you've got a little less budget to work with, a Working Holiday. This means you can stay for longer, gain work experience and earn money to support your travels. Win-win-win! 

Emerald Lakes in Tongariro National park on North Island in New Zealand


Home to the iconic Angkor Wat temple complex, Cambodia has that typical south-east Asian charm. Aside from the ancient ruins of Angkor, backpackers can enjoy the lively city of Phnom Penh, go climbing or rent a moped in the laid-back town of Kampot, and visit the lovely islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. What makes Cambodia a truly great place for backpackers though, is the ability to combine this with countries surrounding it like Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and though it's not technically a neighbour, even Malaysia. 

Boats and huts on a river bank in the Kampot province in Southern Cambodia


With over 17,000 islands, it's impossible to not find one to like here. Because of it's islands, rainforests and mountains, Indonesia offers endless possibilities for adventure. Bali is a popular starting point with its amazing beaches, vibrant nightlife, and compactness making it easy to travel around. Other highlights include the stunning landscapes of the Komodo National Park, the cultural city of Yogyakarta and Mount Bromo on Java, and the tranquil Gili Islands. If you want to see more of Indonesia we also recommend flying to either Sulawesi or the jungle-covered Sumatra, which both offer a completely different experience and plenty of new foods to try. 

Lush green rice fields on Bali, Indonesia

Costa Rica

After a lot of Asia, this is for the latin lovers among us! Known for its incredible biodiversity and eco-tourism, Costa Rica is popular among first-time backpackers for its safety. But don't think for a second that makes it boring. You can explore the misty rainforests, climb volcanoes, or simply plop down on one of the many beautiful beaches. Wildlife lovers should probably visit the Osa Peninsula, where Corcovado National Park is located. Tapirs, jaguars, crocs and sloths all have a home in this region and it's fairly easy to spot a lot of animals hiking here. 

Traveller at Nauyaca waterfalls in the south of Costa Rica


Another South-East Asian classic here! With its landscapes straight from a postcard, street food to die for, and super friendly locals all around, Vietnam is a fantastic place for backpackers. From the busy but fun streets of Hanoi to the the historical town of Hoi An and of course Ha Long Bay, Vietnam has it all. Our top pick: rent a moped or motorbike and cruise the countryside for a chill experience while enjoying the scenery. 

Travellers on a motorbike on an empty road in Vietnam


In our second destination down under, it's extremely easy to find your way. From the benefit of being able to speak English to the famous Aussie hospitality, this one is perfect for your first time backpacking. Exploring famous cities like Sydney and Melbourne to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and the stunning beaches along the East Coast (perfect for surfing!), Australia has something for every traveller

Surfers in the ocean at Gold Coast in Australia

Sri Lanka

Last but not least is Sri Lanka. Maybe the oddball destination of this list, but a gem for sure! This tropical island offers a blend of culture, wildlife, and stunning landscapes. It's one of the best countries in Asia for safari, with leopards, elephants, bears and countless of colourful birds all present throughout the stunning national parks. You can also visit ancient temples, head out on the ocean to surf, dive or find whales, hike through the tea plantations around Nuwara Eliya, and relax on pristine beaches. Best of all? Sri Lanka is ultra cheap, the people are so welcoming and the food is great. Thank us later! 

Views from the open train doors on the journey from Kandy to Ella in Sri Lanka

Food for thought...

Feeling inspired now, and ready to travel? Reach out to our travel experts who can guide you on your first big backpacking adventure. Think of us as your safety net, with all our travel experience. Even if you don't know yet where to go yet, we gladly help you figure things out. 

Reach out here!

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