10 Destinations that should be on every backpacker’s bucket list
Ready to see and explore the world as a backpacker, but don’t know where to go? Then, get inspired with Skyscanner’s top picks for the best places to travel for adventurous backpackers! Whether you’re a newbie or a backpacking superstar, these suggested destinations are roads to beautiful memories that will last a lifetime, and truly worthy entries to your bucket list.
Iceland is one of the very few places on earth that rightfully deserves the adjectives “otherworldly” and “surreal”. A wondrous patchwork of geological wonders, Iceland brims with jagged fjords, glacier-covered volcanoes and multi-colored landscapes of stone and moss. Furthermore, it is now surprisingly far more affordable than it ever was before.
Start your backpacking adventure in its capital – Reykjavík , home to around one-third of the country’s 330,000 dwellers, all of whom seemingly know each other. New nightclubs, bars and restaurants are constantly popping up to meet the surge of tourists here. Then, head to Thingvellir National Park via the 155-mile Golden Circle, and be awestruck by its remarkable natural spectacles. Cap off your backpacking trip with visits to the Blue Lagoon, Reykjanes Peninsula and Gullfoss.
Over the past few decades, Vietnam has steadily emerged as one of Asia’s top backpacking destinations, and for a good reason! It’s safe and full of friendly and hardworking people. What’s more, it’s considered to be very affordable, even for Pinoy backpackers who are on a tight budget. As a matter of fact, you can stay in a hostel dorm room with a free breakfast meal included from around 135 PHP a night in some parts of the country.
Wondering where to go in Vietnam? The southern side of Vietnam is commonly known to be the more dynamic and colorful end of this country. It is anchored by Ho Chi Minh City or also known as Saigon, where an entrepreneurial and young verve is palpable and French colonial architecture rubs shoulders with glittering modern skyscrapers.
You can also catch Ha Long Bay’s labyrinth of limestone islets and explore one of the largest cave systems in the world at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, home to over 200 caverns. On the northern border near China, you may feast your eyes on the hundreds of square miles of dramatic canyons, stone forests and karst upcroppings at Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark.
The famous Incan Trail has been, for decades, coveted as a top destination for intrepid backpackers who are seeking Machu Picchu’s mysteries. A worthy entry in any Juan’s bucket list, Machu Picchu is a one-of-kind sight that inspires awe and leaves its spectators speechless with its irresistible grandeur and sheer size.
But, make no mistake about it – there’s so much more to this South American hub than the beloved forgotten city. As you trek along the beautiful Peruvian coastline, you are going to find uber friendly locals, spicy food, secluded beaches, and lively small towns with fun-filled destinations.
Angkor Wat – one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll see on Earth – is on its own worth a visit to Cambodia. Praised for its intricate carvings and immense size, this complex of more than a hundred stone temples was labeled as “Heaven on Earth” by the great Khmer Kings, who built this spectacle over the course of 600 years.
Ancient temples and historic sites, however, are not all that Cambodia has to offer. As you backpack your way across Cambodia, don’t forget to drop by Phnom Penh – one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cites today with its lively nightlife, exotic street food and bustling outdoor markets.
Traveling on a shoestring budget, but still want to explore, drink, dine and sunbathe like royalty? Then, make sure to add Bali to your bucket list! Not only does it boast stunning golden beaches, but it also has cheap food and awesome accommodation choices. Plus, the jubilant monkeys, fellow backpackers and laid-back surfers you will have for company during your backpacking adventure will make your experience there priceless.
But, Indonesia’s appeal to backpackers goes beyond the borders of the famed “Island of the Gods”. After all, it’s a multifarious and extremely diverse and exciting regional destination made up of 17,000 islands, all with different natural wonders, cultural attractions, historic sites and topographies. Not to mention, prices for everything in Indonesia are fairly affordable!
Georgia is arguably the most gorgeous and underrated destination in Eastern Europe, which can be a great boon for Pinoy backpackers who are looking for a new country to explore. While it’s not as famous as the other European destinations, Georgia is very eager to boost their tourism industry. And as a result, the prices for accommodations and food are ridiculously cheap, and will become a favorite backpacking haven in the next couple of years. So time to plan your trip there before everyone else does!
As an added plus, the country has a host of sights and attractions that you can enjoy for free or at a very affordable price, such as Mtskheta’s historic monuments and the UNESCO World Heritage site Upper Svaneti.
Thailand and backpacking go together like eggs and bacon or bibingka and puto bumbong. Billed as one the world’s ultimate backpacking destinations, Thailand is unique, extremely beautiful, cheap and easy to get around (even though the tuk-tuks can be quite an adrenaline rush).
The bewildering city markets and ancient temples are like the intersection between two distinct worlds of old and new. On one hand, the religious and historical landmarks are timeless and proud. And on the other, the Chatuchak weekend market and other buzzing bazaars are filled with so much energy you’ll feel like you’re in another world!
There’s a great mash-up between new and old, making it a one-of-kind backpacking destination in Southeast Asia.
Backpackers very often count Berlin as one of their favorite cities, thanks to its energetic party scene with endless bars and clubs. But, the German capital isn’t just for party-goers and nocturnal animals. As you backpack and explore Berlin, you’ll get to feast your eyes on colorful street art as well as fascinating historic sites, such as the Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Wall Memorial.
In addition to Berlin, there are tons of other backpacker-friendly places all over Germany, from the Bavarian Alps to the northern coastal towns. The Deutsche Bahn – Germany’s proficient train system – can also take you to all major cities in country, making your backpacking adventure a whole more convenient.
9. New Zealand
New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country that’s sure to wow adrenaline junkies and nature lovers. Here, you’ll get a chance to cross off a bucket list challenge in Queenstown – the birthplace of bungee jumping and the mecca for nearly all thrill-seeking adventure diversions. If you want to catch outstanding natural scenery with both of your feet on the ground, hike through Fiordland National Park on the beloved 33-mile Milford Track.
Chile, although it’s a bit more expensive than the other countries in South America, is a spectacular destination that a lot of Pinoy travelers and backpackers have been dreaming of. Full of vastly different and dramatic landscapes to explore, Chile flaunts a dazzling medley of attractions that will surely delight all kinds of travelers, including Patagonia’s glacier peaks, Atacama and surreal salt flats in northern Chile.
And for the ultimate travel experience in Chile, take a 6-hour flight from the vibrant capital Santiago to the secluded and mystical Easter Island.