Ever since I successfully completed my first backpacking trip across Southeast Asia, I could not stop thinking of doing it again.

Every day while I was working in my high-rise building office in the urban jungle of Singapore, I kept thinking and wondering about what other adventures are in store for me in this part of the world. So, I slowly worked out and planned a new backpacking trip that eventually occurred just a few months after the first one. This time, the trip is centred in Thailand having known just how well-connected and suited the country is for backpacking.

The Backpacker 2

I called this trip The Backpacker 2!

Before I show the story, here’s of course the trailer.

The Backpacker 2 – Video Trailers

And since it occurred during Christmastime, here’s a clip that shows one of the moments of this second trip.

The Backpacker 2: 3 Countries, 10 Destinations, 17 Days

Day 1: From Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and then to Krabi, Thailand

Just like my first successful backpacking trip, I started The Backpacker 2 leaving Singapore through its northern land border with the city of Johor Bahru in southern Peninsular Malaysia.

This time, I had more confidence knowing this route has worked before. And just like before, I took a domestic flight at Johor Bahru’s airport and flew to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, and then another to Krabi in southern Thailand.

On this backpacking trip, I went to fewer countries to allow more time to explore new places and do more adventures. This lasted for 17 days with time spent in Thailand.

In Krabi for a Short Stopover

At the top of Tiger Temple located on one of Krabi’s karst mountains in Southern Thailand. Taken from another trip.

I was so excited to arrive in Krabi, which I have already visited in the past because I wanted to see again its breathtaking karst mountains and beaches — and I was not disappointed.

I arrived in excellent sunny weather and blue skies the following morning. Given that I have only planned to stay in Krabi for a couple of hours (literally) before I headed to my next destination, I immediately went to the city’s coast and hired a boat ride to visit Rai Leh beach, which I missed on my last visit.

Rai Leh beach in Krabi, Thailand.

Rai Leh is a secluded beach located on a small peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. It is accessible only by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access — which is super interesting to me. It is popular with both tourists and backpackers.

The secluded Rai Leh beach in Krabi, Thailand.
Scenic limestone cliffs of Krabi, Thailand.

Below are some of the pictures I took while spending an incredible day at one of Thailand’s most beautiful beaches and tropical paradises where I had a fabulous, toastie breakfast. I found Rai Leh’s scenery a postcard material. This place gave me an”island feel” despite it being connected to the mainland.

In the afternoon later that day, I went back to the airport to catch a flight to my next destination: Bangkok.

Here’s a summary video of this part of my backpacking trip:

Days 2 and 3: Bangkok, Thailand

I marvelled at the glittering city lights of the Thailand’s City of Smiles before landing in the evening.

Having had an intense journey in the past 36 hours, I went straight to my hostel shortly after and got my much-needed good night’s sleep.

The next day, I met my two Finnish friends again and had a wild daytime with them like never before. We went to a fitness exhibition where they hopped on trampolines and flexed their muscles to the thrill of my eyes. ðŸĪŠðŸ˜‚

Met my cheeky Finnish friends in Bangkok again during my second backpacking trip in Southeast Asia.

Here are some pics to justify that:

Afterwards, I had the chance to see more of Bangkok. I explored its busy and vibrant streets and went to beautiful temple of Wat Pho to see the large indoor Golden Buddha.

Bangkok really offers great sights, cheap food, and thrills – no wonder why millions of tourists from all over the world arrive in waves. God knows what’s more in the night when this city is even wilder and crazier.

Giant indoor Golden Buddha statue in Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok, Thailand.
River boat cruise in Bangkok, Thailand. It was so affordable and worth it!

On this day, my backpacking trip also saw a cruise along Bangkok’s scenic river, a first visit to the famous Chatuchak, arguably the world’s biggest street market, where I saw so many random stuff sold, from puppies and other live animals in cages to exotic street food (edible worms). 😎

Bangkok is truly a city of fun.

The experience was overwhelming, fascinating, and sometimes a bit shocking and sad, especially the live animal section, where animals were sold like vegetables out in the open.

But this is Bangkok, and those are its charms. ðŸĪ—

Doing some work while backpacking. I loved it!

Could you imagine if this city wasn’t crazy?

During this backpacking trip, I also managed to catch up with Julian, a German friend.

I considered this as an extension to my second backpacking trip!

Here’s the summary of my time spent in Bangkok during this part of the trip:

After another incredible day, it was time to say goodbye again and proceed to my next destination: back to the cities in Northern Thailand!

Days 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8: From Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and then to Sura Thani and Koh Samui Island in Southern Thailand

From Bangkok, I flew to Chiang Mai to see more of this city and enjoy its cooler temperature vs Bangkok.

I really loved my first experience there during my first backpacking trip so I was pumped up to see some more. Albeit, this time, Chiang Mai only served as a stopover for me as I have planned to explore further north to Thailand’s more mountainous regions.

Stopover in Chiang Mai

This time in Chiang Mai, I explored the city on foot. Below are some photos I took showing its vibrant street food scenes, and other exciting sights.

Make sure you swipe left to see more photos!

After spending a night in the hostel, I woke up to a chillier 15C morning and a cup of hot coffee that cost only a dollar. I loved it. I felt well-rested, despite having spent nearly the entire night exchanging fascinating stories and hysterical laughter with other backpackers from Australia and the United Kingdom.

That night, I also had a last-minute switch to my next plans. Instead of going further north from Chiang Mai, I decided to pursue the road toward the city of Chiang Rai to see what it has to offer and most importantly, because it was more budget-friendly. As a backpacker, it is extremely important to manage the travel budget to last for the entire journey.

From Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai

I booked a $5 bus to reach Chiang Rai. The journey was quick and offered plenty of scenery. Chiang Rai is the capital city of Thailand’s northernmost province, located right at the door of the Golden Triangle, an area where Thailand meets the Burmese and Laotian borders, also infamously known for its opium production.

This unexpected trip to this city turned out to be marvelous as these photos testify:

The famous White Temple in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand.
A cheeky backpacker pose in front of the famous White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Chiang Rai was sooo beautiful!

Admittedly, I did not feel that I have seen everything, so this city warrants another visit in the future. Perhaps in another backpacking trip? Maybeeeee.

From Chiang Rai, I returned with the same mode of transport to Chiang Mai, where I caught an AirAsia flight to my next destination in this backpacking trip: Sura Thani in Southern Thailand.

Sura Thani, Southern Thailand

Shortly after landing at Sura Thani airport, I took a bus to reach the port where I will embark on a boat trip to the island of Koh Samui.

I really liked this part of the trip because I was exposed again to the sea. What’s more: the coasts of Southern Thailand were beautiful despite the gloomy and windy weather.

Leaving the port of Sura Thani for a boat trip to Koh Samui Island, Thailand.
Held on tightly as the trip was super windy… but fun.

See? I enjoyed the boat trip to Koh Samui Island a little bit too much. ðŸ˜đ

The Island of Koh Samui in Southern Thailand

After a scenic boat ride, I arrived at the hostel on Koh Samui Island with a lovely sunset view. I have always wanted to visit this island as it is popular with Western tourists so it made me happy to finally have the chance to see it with my own eyes and explore what it has to offer.

The view when I arrived at my hostel in Koh Samui Island in Southern Thailand.

I spent my first evening peacefully and relaxed by the beach, on a hammock, and with an Ernest Hemingway book. I deviated from my original plans to go where the action was because I realized that it costs a lot to get there.

So instead, I decided to take a step back and relish the sound of the waves, and the wind, under an array of stars. This moment felt like a blip of what has been of me moving around anywhere and everywhere crisscrossing Thailand in the past few days. 😂

The next day, I decided go ahead with my plan to explore the urban centre of Koh Samui. It proved cheap as I shared transportation fare with other backpackers who were headed to the same direction as me.

As soon as I reached the town area, I got off from tuk-tuk and explored the city on foot. Here are some wonderful sights I saw:

I really loved the views from the coasts especially when I see the open horizon in the sea under blue skies. That said, this was an exhilarating view I found in Koh Samui. I surely stayed here for a bit to enjoy this view.

Hours later, it was time for lunch. So I decided to head over to the beach for some healthy eats with a view!

A hearty salad lunch with scrambled eggs by the beach on Koh Samui.

In the afternoon, I had more views of the sea from various vantage points and a stop over at a beach bar. I also had the chance to see some waterfalls and elephants on Koh Samui Island.

On a beach facing the South China Sea in Koh Samui Island, Thailand.

It was such an incredible day and it was perfectly sealed with a mind-blowing views of the sunset. Everyone on the bay couldn’t help but walk on the beach to relish the stunning sight!

I witnessed a glorious sunset on the coast of Koh Samui island.

Below is a summary video of this fabulous part of my solo backpacking trip in Southern Thailand.

When I returned to Sura Thani, I took another flight south to the capital city of Malaysia — Kuala Lumpur. This time, I had more time discover its wonderful places thanks to a local friend.

Days 9 and 10: From Koh Samui to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I was joined by my Slovakian friend named Jakub when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Like me, he was also based in Singapore. Since this backpacking trip, we became travel adventure buddies and made multiple trips across Southeast Asia.

Our agenda in Kuala Lumpur this time was to meet our local friend named David Chan, with whom our itinerary depended.

David drove us right away westernwards beyond Kuala Lumpur until we reached a place called Kuala Krau.

He told us that it was officially closed but he insisted on going anyway, So with this fact, Jakub and I were even more thrilled and excited to see what’s inside the cavern. lol

Mixed feelings of excitement and fear as we walked towards this cave’s entrance.
Of course, I went Tomb Raider-sy as soon as I entered the cave. lol

Breaking into closed, humongous caverns and excavation site, I was so mind-blown with what I saw inside. We climbed huge rocks and crawled through holes to see a breathtaking, jaw-dropping hidden paradise inside a cave. The flora in the partly covered cave was mystical and magnificent!

This really upped the ante of this backpacking trip’s adventure.

A satisfying smile inside a huge cavern near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Shout out to my Malaysian friend David Chan for taking me and my friend Jakub on an adventure in Kuala Lumpur.

After leaving the caverns, David took us to a quartz hill with awesome views of Kuala Lumpur and a random, fascinating resort that looks like the town of Colmar, France, but located in the mountains near Malaysia’s capital city!

On a top of a quartz hill near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Meet my Slovakian friend, Jakub.
A mountain resort near Kuala Lumpur themed after Colmar, France.
Very niiiice.

Here’s the summary video showing the highlights of this leg of my second backpacking trip!

After a wonderful time with my friends David and Jakub in Kuala Lumpur, we parted ways and I headed back to the airport to catch my flight to my city of origin, Davao, in Southern Philippines and spend my Christmas holiday with my family.

I considered this as an extension to my second backpacking trip!

Days 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15: From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Davao and General Santos City, Philippines

A trip to Davao City, Philippines.

I have been working for years in Singapore so it felt nice to see Davao City where I originally came from, once again and spend time with my family.

Christmas reunion with my maternal cousins in Gap Farm Resort in Davao City, Philippines.
Davao City, the Philippines’ land of promise.

As it was Christmastime, I organized a reunion with my cousins at a popular theme park we have all known since our childhood days.

Missing the atmosphere of the village where I grew up and it’s neighbouring town, I made sure to take some snaps of its quaint surroundings to relish once I have returned to the urban jungle of Singapore, where I worked.

Trip to General Santos City in Southern Philippines

After Christmas, I visited a city called General Santos located in another province in Southern Philippines with my female cousins. This was my first visit to Philippines ‘ tuna capital, so it was nice to finally see how it looks like.

General Santos City, the tuna capital of the Philippines.

After exploring the city, we headed to the southernmost part of the island of Mindanao with a thrilling motorcycle ride over rolling hills and spent the night at a beach resort.

A view of Celebes Sea from the southernmost coast of Mindanao near General Santos City.

Before we returned to Davao, we also had a tour to sunflower and vegetable farm. It offered lovely sights accentuated with a backdrop of a nearby volcano called Mount Matutum.

A dreamy day in a sunflower field near Tupi, South Cotabato, Philippines.

This part of my backpacking trip ran at a slower pace as I spent more days with my family and rightly so. When the time was up, I left Davao by taking a flight back to Kuala Lumpur, and ultimately rode on a bus to Johor Bahru and then crossed the border.

Days 16 and 17: From Davao, Philippines to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and then to Singapore

After 17 awesome and unforgettable days, my second backpacking trip officially ended as soon as I stepped back into Singapore !

The Backpacker 2 journey is completed!

I loved every bit of the journey; even more so the people I encountered on it. This had to be one of the longest backpacking trips I ever had that was absolutely enriching, affordable, and so worth doing again.

So I vowed to myself to come back for more! Moderation is for cowards. 😂

If you have not done any solo backpacking trip, I highly recommend that you do one. I reiterate: you live only once and this experience is too meaningful and unique for you to miss!

I hope you had fun with this post. I can’t wait to share some more adventures. That’s what happens when John is Offline! 😂

Please share your comments below. I would be happy to read them!

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