Six photos of backpacking in southeast Asia

For every thousand photos I take, there is one special image that stands out.

Amid the hundreds of landscapes, wildlife and portraits – plus the odd selfie – there are a few photos I keep going back to.

Five years ago, one of my closest friends Emily 💛and I set off on what was my first big trip of southeast Asia when I  started to experiment with photography.

I must have taken 6,000 photos on the backpacking trip, not wanting to forget a single moment. I’ve learned how to be a bit more systematic since then but my camera still feels like a novelty.

So here you have it, my six favourite snaps – my six of six thousand – from our first adventures in southeast Asia.

Mountain Boy

Travel Laos

I took this photo using the sport mode of my Canon DSLR while hanging out the back of a tuk tuk.

It had been raining heavily the day before and the mountain villages were flooded.

This little guy just happened to be standing on the side of the road when our truck drove past and smiled.

He looked so small against the mountains that stood taller than the clouds in the distance.

Cable City

Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam

Little Hanoi is full of hustle and bustle – I will never forget how my head spun when we first arrived.

Besides Bangkok, Hanoi was one of the first big cities I experienced in southeast Asia.

As we struggled to cross its hectic roads and move around in the heat, the locals hung back and took things slowly.

For me, this photo shows the juxtaposition of the Vietnamese laid back approach in an otherwise manic city.

Bicycle tracks


This little fellow followed behind our sleeper bus as fast as his legs could carry him.

The roads intertwined through the clouds on the mountain’s edge in Laos.

From outside the window, there was nothing but atmosphere. We could barely see beyond our noses.

A little boy on his bicycle behind the bus kept emerging and disappearing back into the mist as we continued on to Vientiane.

Weavers’ Fields


As we walked around the weavers’ villages, it was clear not everybody wanted visitors.

This was the first and last community tour I have done. The idea of “touring” somebody’s home makes me feel uncomfortable and I prefer to just wander around by myself.

While the benefits of welcoming tourists were clear – visitors bought scarves and left donations – not everybody within the Thai community was convinced, myself included.

This mother sat on the edge of her bench until we were about to leave, when she held her baby and smiled.


River Mekong Thailand to Laos
River Mekong, Thailand to Laos

I fully recommend taking the slow boat along the River Mekong into Laos.

Sure, there are faster ways to make the journey from Thailand than a two day slow boat, but cutting through the rainforest comes up trumps IMO.

For me it provided the perfect inspiration for some creative writing and gave me time to scribble in my diary and catch up the last few days backpacking in southeast Asia.

Blue is azul

Cambodian beaches
Cambodian beaches

I don’t know what it is about this photo that makes me keep coming back.

There are so many more interesting pictures in my backpacking album but this one grabs me every time.

It takes me back to the moment we discovered this deserted beach in Cambodia.

We had to wade through wild jungly hills to get to the beach on the other side of Koh Rong island where there was not another person in site.

I captured this one using a tripod and the timer setting on my DSLR and managed to get a candid shot.

What are your favourite backpacking memories from southeast Asia or where would you most like to go?

Laura x

8 thoughts on “Six photos of backpacking in southeast Asia

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