The History of Backpacking in Thailand
Thailand is widely known as the Gateway to the East, the first stop for the adventurous traveler on a continent full of wonder and excitement, whether taking a rugged path, a spiritual journey or an exotic vacation for those with more refined taste.
Since the 1960’s and 70’s, when soldiers ending their service in Vietnam and globe-tripping hippies alike took to roaming the countryside exploring the country’s striking beauty, Thailand has been especially popular with backpackers, to the point that it became known as the “backpacking hub of the world.”
Even as the wandering style exploration of the Vietnam era faded and the time of the guided tour and travel guide book began, backpack trekking continued to flourish. Particularly popular and well-loved locations on the “Silk Road” went into the first hand-written guides passed between experienced travelers and novices alike, making those beloved places even bigger spots on the world traveler’s map.
Folks who might not have found the traveler’s jewel that is Thailand were invited by those who had been there to come and see. With the publishing of the famous guide books, The Lonely Planet, that evolution exploded. Word broke out: not only was Southeast Asia beautiful, but you could travel from one end to another, see the sights, experience a fantastic culture, and meet fascinating people from all around the world for next to no money.