I left Manila, Philippines to backpack (for the first time, alone) some parts of Southeast Asia in July of 2014. I started in Singapore then I flew to Cambodia. From Cambodia, I traveled by land to Vietnam, Laos and ended in Thailand in October.
I was 27 years old then. Most of the backpackers I met were between 19 and 24 years old. Man, that made me feel old!
The backpackers I met were mostly from European Countries and Australia. I met a few from USA, Canada, Israel, Korea and Japan. So far, I haven’t met any from my country, The Philippines.
Being an Asian, particularly from the Philippines, I was always mistaken as local with the exemption of Singapore. “You look like Cambodian. You look like Vietnamese. You look like Lao. You look like Thai.” Those are what I was told when I was in those countries. I always responded as “Well, you look like Filipino.” Then everyone will laugh.
Locals always initially talk to me in their local language until they realized that I am not local because I would look stupid not knowing what they are talking about or how to respond.
The good thing about this is that I can walk around alone and there will be no people to sell me something or drivers to offer expensive taxi or tuktuk which makes me feel safer and “local”. LOL!
If only I could speak the language of all those countries I visited then nobody can take advantage of me when it comes to fare or price of items in the market.
That’s how interesting it was for me as Asian being in other Southeast Asian countries. 🙂