Embarking upon a gap year is a rite of passage for many young people today. Talking to others about their travel experiences and researching every single travel blog on the internet can help to quell the nerves if you’re a first-timer… but when it’s all said and done, it’s still you that has to board the flight to a far off land and take that scary leap into the great unknown! For some beginner backpackers, particularly if you’re traveling solo – stepping out of your comfort zone can be an all too daunting task!
Deep in your heart you know that taking a gap year is the thing you want to do most in the world – yet you can’t quite bring yourself to make the jump.What if you never do? Can you imagine if you’d never had that first driving lesson or very first date? Sometimes, all you need is a gentle push, a helping hand; support; a good safety net, something to set you on the path to an experience of a lifetime…
The incredible Khao Sok National Park, South Thailand
As hardened travellers here at S.E.A Backpacker Mag, we often forget how intimidating the initial departure was. Editor of S.E.A Backpacker Magazine Nikki remembers; “After waving goodbye to my teary Mum at Heathrow airport and stepping off the plane into a chaotic Kathmandu, Nepal, I remember thinking ‘what the hell have I done!’. Anticipating this first terror, I’d actually made a wise move beforehand and had organised a group tour to help me to settle in to my new role as a ‘backpacker’. I made some great travel buddies in this first week and together we overcame our jitters and went on to travel many other parts of Asia together. Looking back, giving myself this safety net was the best thing I could have done!”
Travel buddies backpacking in South East Asia
Recently, we discovered a company called TruTravels, a UK based company that offers short group introductory trips to Thailand – perfect for those backpackers in need of a helping hand! And don’t worry, this isn’t your average stuffy tour package with tea breaks and souvenir shops, TruTravels is non-stop adventure from the word GO! Designed and run by backpackers, the tour is aimed at young, fun-loving people wanting to meet other like-minded travellers for the best experience of their lives!
TruTravels on tour in South East Asia
From picking you up at the airport, to giving you some handy on-the-spot advice, to being available throughout the entire duration of your trip in Thailand, (not just the first week!) TruTravels offer first-time travellers a bit of support while they are earning their backpacker stripes! After the first seven days, you and a few others may find yourself ready to spread your wings and head off into the unknown, or you may still like the friendly support of the trip guides to ask questions here and there… either way, TruTravels are there to fall back on. Not only will you make some fantastic mates during the first week of your trip, you’ll also discover some off the beaten track places that you would never have ventured if you would have been alone!
Bottle beach Koh Phangan
The seven-day ‘TruThai Experience’ costs 375 GBP (610 USD) which makes it the best value-for-money short package on the market! As well as picking you up from the airport, they will take you from Bangkok’s glittering temples to the breathtaking splendor of Khao Sok National Park where you’ll kayak through an out of this world landscape of limestone karsts and emerald waters. From there, you’ll arrive on the paradise island of Koh Phangan you’ll experience snorkeling and swimming in deserted coves and set foot on pristine beaches that Thailand is copiously blessed with.
The beautiful Koh Nang Yuan Island
The beautiful island of Koh Nang Yuan and the tropical Bottle Beach (only accessible by boat) will perhaps give you the best memories of your entire trip! Then it’s volleyball and elephant trekking before the farewell dinner where you’ll end one adventure and begin the next! Some of you may like to hang around on Koh Phangan to prepare for a world famous Full Moon Party!
Famous nightlife of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party!
Not usually ones to recommend tour companies, as we often advocate a ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude at S.E.A Backpacker, however, these guys have a love for Thailand and backpacking that rivals ours – and we think the short 7-day trip is a great concept to get more backpackers on the road! Especially, if it means getting those backpackers out there who might have otherwise stayed at home!