Monday, August 6, 2012

Things I learnt as a Muslim backpacker

My trip to Thailand was my first backpacking experience and I learnt a lot from it! I newly found out that backpackers don't have a lot of money and they tend to stay at budget hostels (not hotels) that costs not more than 20 USD per night. Cheaper is better as you tend to spend more on transportation and food.

While backpacking, it's so easy to forget about your obligations as a Muslim, especially when you're out of your country into regions unknown to you. If you don't perform your daily prayers, who's there to advise you otherwise? If you don't fast, who's there to remind you? If you don't wear hijab, who cares? Most of the times, you might actually think it's safer NOT to wear hijab due to Muslim phobics out there. You might even be tempted to share a room with a non-related male. But GOD cares and HE is watching over you. #notetoself

Exploring the historic ruins of Ayuthayya. Once the center of Siam's ruling.
Here are the things I learnt as a Muslim backpacker during my trip to Thailand last week.

  1. Study beforehand the place you're gonna visit. The train/bus routes and the fares. Also nice to know where the backpackers area are at each province. Saves you a lot of trouble (and money).
  2. Some people might offend you for wearing a hijab and starts asking you awkward (and sometimes annoying) questions such as, "Why wear it?" "Why are you a muslim?" "I don't have a religion, why choose Islam?" This is when you start polishing your Islamic preachings if you know how, that is. LOL.
  3. Try to get used to other people dangling or offering beer and alcohol at your face. Don't get offended and please don't drink. 
  4. There are a lot of stray dogs in Thailand. Adorable! Don't be too obvious on your fear of them. The dogs are harmless!
  5. Avert your eyes when you see half-naked people around. It's a norm when you choose to stay in dormitories. 
  6. Always bring your valuables with you in small backpacks or sling-bags. ALWAYS! Even when you go to the ladies' room.
  7. Be friendly, yes, but don't overdo yourself. You might be misunderstood.
  8. Accept who the other travelers are as you want yourself to be accepted. =)
  9. True enough, it's important to bring a kiblat kompas and know beforehand the praying times in the countries you visit. But again, prayers are performed only three times a day. Jamak all the way!  =p
  10. You may not bath for 24 hours straight when you choose to travel via trains and buses due to cheap tickets. Hygiene can be an issue to some. Try to refresh yourself with wet tissues during these travels. 
  11. Halal food can be bought from Muslim traders. (Hint: especially those who wear hijabs whilst selling food!)
  12. Occasionally, a stranger or a local would come up to you and say "Assalamu'alaikum" which is a totally AWESOME experience! 
And last but not least, don't forget your roots. Be yourself and other travelers tend to be more curious about you when you are and unexpected friendships will bloom!


Mak Lin said... [Reply]

I wish I can be there next year.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ciksuzlin... come join me then!!! =)

Gengkembara said... [Reply]

Boleh kongsi pengalaman di lah ni

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@Gengkembara ohh.. apakah itu? hehe. nnt saya check website itu. thanks for sharing =)

Biqque said... [Reply]

some krabi-ans will greet u with salam...though they have tattoos and holding dogs :) so pepaham je la kan...haha!

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@Biqque hehe. dogs are everywhere even at our dining spot in Krabi.

babybugmum said... [Reply]

lagik satu jangan malu nak solat di mana2 saje..peace :)

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@saza.. hehe. betul tu ^^

The Travel Camel said... [Reply]

Great post, there is something to be learned here by all travellers, regardless of gender or religion. I'd suggest a slightly different approach to number 10 - waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer weighs less and lasts longer than the wet tissues. Use it before every meal and at other times - certainly helps me stay healthy whilst travelling!

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@shane.. u're too kind. Yes, I believe my travel partner bought that sanitizer along with him during this trip. But I didn't. Will bring it along next time.

thank you so much for commenting! can't wait to hear stories of your birthday adventure. ^^

August 9, 2012 3:53 PM

irdasue said... [Reply]

how i wish i can backpacking again!.now with two kids and a hubby who doesnt like travelling.hurm

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@irdasue.. never give up!! nnt bila anak besar skit boleh bawa anak je gi backpacking. have seen it done! hehehe

Ahmad Tajuddin said... [Reply]


U just make me impatiently want to go backpack to Thai - Myanmar next August!

Anonymous said... [Reply]

Omg!! This is so awesome!! A muslima backpacking! I love you!!! I always was hesitant about backpacking because of my religion and not being able to deal with the temptations and stuff but this gives me hope :). You are amazing, maybe we should start something specially for muslim(a) backpackers. You are awesome:). Did you backpack to more places?

Nusantaranian said... [Reply]

Salam, boleh saya add blog ni dlm link blog saya?

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ ahmad tajuddin.. sure.. hope u enjoy the trip.. or maybe u did already. haha

@ anon.. wow. u r too kind. I've traveled to other places as well. You can read it on my blog. It's all here. hehe

@ nusantaranian... wassalam.. sure can. just came back from visiting ur blog. it's cool too! =)