Traveler Meccas

Khao San Road, Bangkok

Where it all begins. Sit back, have a dubious-tasting Singha beer, and watch the latter-day lotus-eaters kit themselves out in tie-dye for their world tour. Most likely the only Thais you will actually meet here amongst the 7-Elevens, blaring rock music, and stalls selling rip-off designer clothes, watches, and CDs will be prostitutes, stall owners, and the person serving you your beer.

Goa, India

An Indian state travelers have virtually made their own. Beaches are strewn with blissed-out, dreadlocked hippies smoking chillums and loved-up techno kids partying to Goa trance, the trippy Eastern-influenced dance music that developed from the whole scene. Western women cavort in bikinis and thongs in defiance of local sensibilities which advocate full sari coverage even while swimming.

Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

Legendary on the backpacker circuit due to its infamous full-moon beach parties. DJs from all over the world spin techno and trance for an up-for-it international crowd high on diet pills sold over the counter at the local pharmacy. Next day's come down is spent quaffing coconut shakes and banana pancakes, the backpackers' staple at cafes with names like the "Laughing Buddha" and "Apocalypse Now."

Kathmandu, Nepal

While the notorious Freak Street scene has died somewhat, Kathmandu is still a halfway house for travelers intent on trekking the Himalayan ranges. Stalls offering the usual traveler tat and Nepali crafts jostle for space with backpacker cafes selling chocolate cake and cappuccino to a clientele whose main topic of conversation is where to buy the best charas.

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  • Adventures in Backpacking

    While traversing the globe in search of enlightenment, writer Mary Fitzgerald finds something altogether different: the steadily growing tribe of the full-time traveler. Outfitted to the teeth with Stussy, batik, Birkenstock, and the latest John Grisham novel, these nomadic wanderers have an entire culture all their own.

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