Backpacking Southeast Asia for 9 Months

I resigned from my corporate job last January 2012 because I wanted to go on a long-term travel adventure. I was able to accomplish it by backpacking for nine months in seven countries in Southeast Asia.

Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand-Indonesia-Singapore-Malaysia-Philippinesbackpacking soloflighted

I haven’t exhausted all the places in Southeast Asia which I could’ve done simply by hopping on a bus or riding a train. Laos and Myanmar were nearby countries that came to mind, but I was in no hurry.

The plan was simply to travel and bring my work while doing so and I have achieved that goal.

Filipino Backpacker in Southeast Asia

I’m glad to represent Pinoy backackers who have gone out and explore other countries. It helps in building an idea that it is possible to travel more than the usual 3-day or 7-day trip. That you can also do long-term travelling so long as you have the will, patience, and hardwork to fulfill your goals.

Backpacking Highlights

Here are some major highlights during that trip

Backpacking for nine months. It went to a point that I was already travelling from country to country as though I was travelling from town to town. I felt comfortable and I didn’t bother creating itineraries to visit a certain tourist spot. I’m too lazy a traveller to come up with day-to-day activities. I realized that slow travel works better for me.

Southeast Asia backpacking adventures

Knowing that this experience is possible and not just another delusion makes me proud. Not that I didn’t have any problems along the way as there were few.

Issues on the Road

Loneliness wasn’t much of a big issue for me. There’s always the internet to keep me company. I also interacted with different people everyday and even if I didn’t, I was normally too busy online to even think that I needed somebody to talk to.

One of biggest concerns I had was money. After almost 6 months on the road, I was starting to worry where I was going to get funds especially when they were depleting. My earnings laptop roadonline were sometimes not enough. Luckily, opportunities came by and these have proven to be miracles of which I am thankful for the instruments that have made me continue my journey.

Consequently, the reason why I was running out of money was because I satisfied my cravings for sleep. While other location-independent workers put more time and effort in launching businesses, I reverted to just finishing jobs on a basic level. Once I’ve met the minimum amount to send money home and enough for my basic needs, I stopped working. I just wanted to sleep all day and enjoy the stillness of things. I didn’t maximize my full potential.

Towards the end of the trip, I realized that I only needed other channels to earn. It didn’t have to be just my online jobs, I could also earn by doing physical work. The summer job as a waiter in Malaysia was a perfect opportunity that also satisfied my desire to interact with people. I found out about other part-time jobs from then on. It also helped that I was able to purchase a cheap ticket or two from airline companies and get better deals when travelling.

Sacrifice something precious to gain something else.

With different issues I’ve encountered, it’s never been my mantra to look at how much comfort I’ve lost. As much as possible, I look at the positive outcome of every action. Complaining does not do me any good.

I am young, healthy and able. These are already enough to make me realize how lucky I am.

More than the Travel

It’s a great feeling to have done this adventure because it made me realize a number of things I wouldn’t have fully understood had I still been in an office desk. Ultimately, I can say that it’s more than just travelling.

  • It’s about the quality of life and using a passion to ignite that burning desire to make the most out of living. Whether you want to live within a picket-fenced house, raising a family of your own; or be an accomplished corporate employee bent on climbing your way to the top. Whether you prefer living the simple life on a farm, or being a party animal where everybody is your friend. It’s your life. Build the desire and drive change.
  • It’s about showing that you have control over the situation.  Not to be led by others because you are capable of deciding that for yourself.  That even if there are obstacles and pit stops that prevent you from doing them today, when you have enough courage and plan to test it out, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
  • It’s how you become independent in making decisions by yourself and trusting your instincts rather than relying on others to make those calls.
  • It’s about DOING something and NOT letting anybody dictate how you SHOULD live your life just because they feel that they know better. Although you can consider thoughts and opinions from the concerned; in the end, it’s your decision because it is YOUR life and you deserve to be happy.

mui ne vietnam
White Sand Dunes – Mui Ne, Vietnam

Thank You

I would like to thank the people who have helped a lot in making this dream a reality.

Flipnomad – Thanks for opening the door of opportunities for a third-world traveller that it’s possible to explore SEA even with a limited budget. I was only reading your stories about your 6-month backpacking trip before, now I’ve also done it.
Doi & Den – Thank you for being great companions during a few legs of my backpacking journey!
Jana – Thank you for being understanding. That even if it’s difficult, you understood that this trip is a part of a journey that I planned for a long time.
Peter – Thank you for extending my backpacking adventure by giving me a job in Malaysia.
Travel Bloggers – Thank you for sharing your stories and adventures which continue to be an inspiration.

What’s Next?

I’m preparing myself for other plans that need more attention. Time is gold and I don’t have much as of the moment. I may go back to the corporate world, or find other professions that will help me save more. This is for a better cause and for a bigger responsibility.

Still, I am thankful for having had the opportunity to travel to different places, experience adventures from a wanderer’s perspective, and live simply with what life has presented me. It’s given me a better outlook and I feel that I have a greater sense of direction.

Kuta Beach – Bali, Indonesia

This backpacking adventure is one of those experiences I’ll definitely tell my children in the future. I’m not closing doors on long-term travelling, I am simply postponing it for another time. Maybe by then, it will be more than just Southeast Asia. Maybe by then, I will tag a companion or two.





This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival themed 2012: This Year In Travel which is hosted by Gay of and Regine of Click on the Blog Carnival Logo on the left to see more interesting posts and topics. Cheers to 2012!



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Please don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking your Inbox. is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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78 thoughts on “Backpacking Southeast Asia for 9 Months”

  1. Always inspirational, Ed. You will never forget this journey, ever. Congratulations. Looking forward to the next chapter of your life (Chismoso lang, LOL), that is if you also get to share it here.

  2. it was all worth it Ed. as i would always say, i would be wishing to the same thing but the timing is my concern. so from here, i am in envy of the places you went this year. cheers to 2013.

  3. Traveling became your way of life Ed.. So don't stop or change it, just continue the journey coz there's still more 🙂  see you on the road soon? If2012 was this great to you, make 2013 even greater!

    • Rafael: indeed it has. I’m sure I won’t stop it. I’ll definitely find a career in travelling. Thank you for the company when you were in Bangkok. Glad that you got back to blogging scene! happy new year!

  4. What a loong journey you had, Ed! Your decision to quit your job and pursue your passion is a courageous act not all can easily do. As a solo travel budget backpacker, you are my idol. As for me, I pretty much have visited some places in SEA as well but definitely for shorter times. I tried to start a blog but I am still learning how to use it, haha. By the way, more power and Godbless to your adventures! You, together with other solo backpack bloggers there, are my inspirations. I hope to meet or bumped with anyone of you, sometime, somewhere in the near future. I'll be going to Thailand and Cambodia this first week of March. Sayang April pala ang Songkran? hehe. I'll definitely have your experiance as my travel tip and advise. Merry Christmas and happy new year!

    • @Marc: didn’t realize it’s pretty long indeed! haha. uy, thanks a lot for the kind words! hope you’ll be able to go on a long-term adventure in the future, it’s actually much cheaper! happy new year marc!

    Ed, Congrats on having live life fully during your backpacking trip. I'm pretty sure lots more adventures will follow down the road. 
    p.s. I like the post ending.."Maybe by then, I will tag a companion or two." \o/ 
         balita-i nya mi kung naa nay balita hehehe 

  6. What an adventure-filled year! Nine months – that's like the time before giving birth. Now that the nine months are up, may this be the birth of more great adventures!

  7. This brought tears to my eyes, no kidding. Inspired much. Although I love my career, I would want (hmm need?) to just take some time off, like you did. Sometimes we have to disconnect from the world in order to reconnect with it. The irony of life. 
    Slow traveling is also way up my alley. I dislike waking up earlier during my vacation than on regular work days! It's good that you found a stint because I think working in a country you're visiting is the most authentic way to experience local life and interact with people who have nothing to do with tourism. I experienced that when I worked in China. I got to know the country, the people, and myself during the 2 years I stayed there.
    Oh, and you got me curious about Mui Ne.
    Good luck, Soloflighter, May your 2013 be an even more enriching year. 🙂

    • @AJ: Huwaw! Tears talaga? hahaha. but thank you for reading. Yes, a break is sometimes what we need so we can see things clearly. I much prefer working in a country for a short period cause I prefer using my online time as my leisure time. Plus I prefer interacting with people. Hope to visit China one of these days. Mui Ne? haha, it’s a beautiful place. I may have to blog about it para mapressure naman akong mag-update. Happy new yaer AJ! Thanks for always raeding my blog! 🙂

  8. You made the right decision, Ed! My favorite part sa journey mo is yung naging waiter ka sa Malaysia. To me, it's a humbling experience kasi you get to meet a LOT of people from different parts of the world. More so, nalingaw ko tung naay German (German ba to?) family na nagpapicture sa imuha. It was a sweet gesture! Hahaha
    Happy new year and wishing for more adventures! Avid fan here! Woooot! 😀

    • @Renz: yes, that’s one of the major highlights that I’m really thankful for! German family. mao na basta tabian man gud. haha. Thank you and good luck on you career Renz! Big things are in store for you! 🙂

  9. Kuya Ed, you really never fail to amaze me with your blog and as always you've been an inspiration. When I was in Cebu, I've had your blog bookmarked and I religiously visit it everyday for new posts. Your entry Delusions of Grandeur is really my favorite. Happy New Year!

  10. great to have found this blog! really enjoyed reading… it's like i am brought to the places you have visited. 🙂 by the way, i salute you for doing a job in malaysia 🙂 

  11. Your journey is exemplary among Pinoy bloggers – backpacking it our there alone for nine months while eking out a living at the same time is a challenge in itself.  It's even more impressive how you combat "loneliness" which is usually what I fear when I'm on the road alone. Working online does work its magic away from home – keeps your wallet padded while giving you virtual companionship at the same time 🙂

    • @Dennis: HI Dennis. I guess the passion to explore is stronger than the average loneliness. I wish to have more earnings this 2013 as I want a better life for my family. By then, I’ll be able to spend more time for myself once I settle basic needs. Happy 2013!

  12. What an amazing year, Ed. Am really jealous of your long-term backpacking adventure, but your insights on quality of life and making the most out of your life whatever your situation is, is really inspiring. Cheers to more adventures in the year ahead! 🙂

  13. I am now a fan. love reading your blog posts. mukhang ang saya saya mo kasama. hehe. anyway, happy new year! cheers to more of your travels this 2013! 

  14. OMG, 9 months?! Super jealous. All I had was 10 days to backpack around Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) and I've so many great experiences. What more yung 9 months? Idol! 

    • @Kei: thanks for dropping by this blog and leaving a comment Kei! You should try it one of these days in case you want to venture into freelancing and travelling long-term. 🙂

  15. Been reading your siem reap articles for my upcoming trip thanks for that!   You've done a great job dahil ang tagal tagal mong nawalay sa lupang sinilangan wahaha! Cheers for more!! Conquered almost southeast asian countries, where's next destination? 😀 

  16. Mannn, your blog is so inspiring! I am really considering freelancing and travelling long-term, especially since I have a 30 countries in 30 years goal. Please share more tips on freelancing and earning while travelling, too 🙂 See you around!

    • @Kei: Thanks Kei! I applied at VirtualStaffFinder and they gave me a job there as a researcher. You should check it out. You may also want to read for tips. Thanks Kei! 🙂

  17. Ang galing!!! I can totally relate, lahat tayo may kanya-kanyang pangarap, and kahit di maintindihan ng iba ung landas na gusto nating tahakin, ang mahalaga sundin natin kung ano un desire ng puso natin! ^_^

  18. Hi Ed,

    am planning to go to HKG this last week of November, can you help me creat DIY itin, including 1 night in Macau

    aprrecaite it


    • Hi El, sorry, kindly refer to my HK posts on this blog (you can check the sidebar – PLACES) – the HK posts have all the things that we did during that time. I don’t do itineraries as I usually let companions do it for me. Good luck on your trip!


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