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March 7, 2013

Teaching Asians the Vagabonding way

Picture credit:Flickr/WarzauWynn

A couple weeks ago I have witnessed something quite interesting: I won’t name the company, as this is not the place to make some free advertising, BUT I was quite entertained and shocked to learn that in Malaysia, someone has decided to teach people how to travel on a budget. Obviously, for a price.

I have attended the press conference of a Malaysian company that is offering “backpacking tours” to interesting Asian destinations such as Mongolia, India and Tibet, offering a full vagabonding adventure under the tutorial of a guide. They won’t pay for your meals, they will make you sleep in gers and tents, and they will teach you how to take great travel photography. Still, you will pay to get out of your comfort zone, and have fun learning the backpacking style under expert supervision. Cool, isn’t it?

I liked the idea: as many Asians I met complain about safety issues and high costs of travel, and seem to be alien to the concept of backpacking and traveling independently without buying a full package tour, this seems to be a welcome educational improvement coming from Malaysia.
I reflected that, in Asia, what we take for granted may not be the same: a stronger money and family ethic, and the fear of the unknown are common among the young. Plus, they struggle to create their own critical thinking identities. For sure, there are quite a number of Asian backpackers on the road already, including Japanese, Taiwanese, Malaysians, Chinese, South Koreans and some Indians. But I think that, as the majority prefers organized tours, by offering a modest package to understand adventure travel and backpacking ethics, this company has made a right choice in its market.

How do you consider such an idea in the West? Do you know of any Western companies offering this sort of educational backpacking travel? Please comment below.

MARCO FERRARESE  explored 50 countries and lives in Penang, Malaysia since 2009. He is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University’s Sunway Campus, Kuala Lumpur, researching the anthropology of punk rock and heavy metal in Southeast Asia. Besides his academic endeavors, he blogs about overland Asian travel and extreme music in Asia at www.monkeyrockworld.com

Posted by | Comments (3) 
Category: Adventure Travel, Asia, Backpacking, Vagabonding Styles


3 Responses to “Teaching Asians the Vagabonding way”

  1. rubin pham Says:

    as an asian, i prefer backpacking all the way!

  2. Anthony The Travel Tart Says:

    Maybe there is a market (and a demand) for it? If so, why not?

  3. Jonathan Look, Jr. Says:

    Seems like Asians have many of the same issues Americans do when it comes to budget travel. I get all kinds of questions about “how” but mostly I say just do you homework and go for it.

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