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10 plus years of perpetual travelling

Konni and Matt retired some 10 plus years ago and are since then travelling around the world non-stop (their blog: konniandmatt.blogspot.com). They sailed off with a boat in Europe, and after a few years cruising around the Middle East and the Indian Ocean, they eventually made it to South-East Asia. From there they continued their trip via land and air transport. Matt and Konni talk about their experiences in travelling in Asia.
Konni backpacking in Laos

Matt and Konni

  Matt and Konni in action

Every country has slightly different visa regulations. From the countries you visited in Asia which countries needed the most planning?

Only Incredible India. Dealing with any government agency is always unpleasant and time consuming but the Indian High Commissions, worldwide, take the biscuit. When we recently applied for Indian tourist visas in KL, these nutcases seriously asked us to fly to Germany and to apply from there…

You travelled extensively through Europe and the Middle Eastern Region before you arrived in Asia. How does travelling in Asia differ from your previous trips?

There are actually more commonalities and only a few differences. This world is a great place for travellers and, generally speaking, local people everywhere on this planet are friendly, welcoming and curious about travellers. – The main difference between Europe and Asia is the cost factor. Travelling in Asia is simply cheaper than in Europe.

night market Chiang Mai

  Night market, Chiang Mai, Thailand

What are your advices to travellers who wish to get off the beaten track and experience the local culture?

Slow down, stay if you can and leave if you must. Less is more. Stay away from the tourism industry.

Speaking beaten tracks, which popular mass tourism places are still absolutely worth the visit?

Enjoy the lekker night markets at Chiang Mai:

Get lost in Angkor’s maze of temples and relax at Siem Reap:

Join the temple elephant and take a dip in the river at Hampi:

Buy a silk lantern for your love at Hoi An:

Have a chat with young monks at Louang Phabang:

in Luang Prabang, Laos

  Luang Prabang, Laos

What are your Top 5 destinations in Asia and explain briefly why?

This depends on your goals; it’s difficult for me to generalise. Let me try:

If you love beer, go to Vientiane or to any other place in Laos:

If you love sex and happy endings, go to Bangcock:

If you love mountains, go to Leh:

If you love seafood, go to Kota Kinabalu:

If you love scuba-diving, go to Tanjung Karang:

Any more loves? Just send us an email and ask:
matthahnewald@hotmail.com or konnihahnewald@hotmail.com

Leh, India

  Leh, India

After years and years of backpacking through Asia, you certainly become a master of stretching your budget. How do you plan your trips to save money?

Biologically, we are Germans which means that we embrace proper planning! Book your flights far ahead. Stay away from organised tourism and from the highly commercialised backpacking industry. Avoid guide books, tour guides, packet tours etc. Do as the locals do and pay the local prices. Eat street food; it is mostly better, cheaper and more fun than restaurant fare. Use the regular public transport and use web resources like forums or Wikitravel or Backpacking Asia/Malaysia.

Asia is known for excellent food. You being vegetarian, which country / area served you best?

Tamil Nadu in South India, e.g. http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com/2011/04/01-apr-05-apr-2011-kanyakumari.html

Tamil Nadu, India

   Tamil Nadu, India

What is your favourite dish and what was the weirdest meal you have come across in Asia?

Favourite dish for Konni: durian with sticky rice in coconut milk.
Favourite dish for Matt: steamed rice with any veggies.

Weirdest dish for Konni: fat live sago worms.
Weirdest dish for Matt: animals.

Do you have any special safety tips or tricks for travellers in the region?

This planet is a very safe place. Beware of your own fantasies and anxieties and stay away from the military and the police.

Tell us a little bit about your blog, and why should people follow it?

At the beginning, we just wanted to keep our grandsons in Toronto up to date with our travels. Only later, we learned that many other travellers and dreamers are also interested in our travel notes. Especially people, who plan to travel around the world after their retirement. These people like the concreteness and the many details in our blog http://konniandmatt.blogspot.com. There are so many different ways to live and to travel; we are just one of many… 

Last but not least, what was your most memorable moment on your travels in Asia?

When we skyped with our grandsons in Toronto.

Hoi An, Vietnam

   Hoi An, Vietnam


visit Konni & Matt's blog: konniandmatt.blogspot.com

we'd love to hear your feedback about Backpacking Asia and what you think we can do better. suggestions to add something new? something not working for you? drop us a line!