20 Signs You’ve Been in Southeast Asia Too Long

Use Grammarly for proofreading because typos are for dirty backpackers. Ha.

You’ve been in Southeast Asia too long when…

Chang starts to taste good. And Singha tastes even better.


You no longer flinch when you jump into an ice-cold shower.

You consider $2 to be an outrageous price to pay for a beer.


You haven’t had a massage in two weeks and that feels like a really long time.

You’ve had your clothes and wallet stolen when skinny-dipping.


You carry a huge bottle of water wherever you go.

It seems completely normal to take off your flip flops before entering a building.


You refer to tank tops as singlets and mopeds as motorbikes.

You’re starting to get an English accent because 70% of the people you meet are from England. You also use expressions like “taking the piss” and “I can’t be asked.”

You have survived at least one border crossing.


You have scars all over your legs from scrapes and mosquito bites.

You have to throw out all your make-up because you’re too tan.

You’ve stayed at a hostel with bedbugs.

5 pints of beer no longer makes you tipsy.


You’re definitely templed out.

Angkor Wat

You’re a pro at using squat toilets…


…And you throw toilet paper away in the trash without even thinking.

You own more than one pair of hippy pants.

You can get a good night’s rest on an overnight bus.


You’re emotionally attached to your backpack.

Koh Rong

And even though you have to sleep here…


You get to eat here.


And party here.


And lay out here.


So life is pretty damn great.

Have you ever backpacked Southeast Asia?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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  1. Correction: “I can’t be arsed”

    Your English is atrocious!

    Agreed, Singha tops Chang any day!

    • Haha true! I find myself saying little things like “on a night out” and little expression you don’t even notice :)

  2. True words girl. That huge water bottle one made me laugh. It is so accurate, for some reason those ginormous water bottles were so normal to lug around all the time!
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  3. Bintang with a squeeze of lime for me! And I’ve been in the tropics so long that I’ve built up a tolerance and don’t even drink water anymore! So bad… I will turn into a shriveled prune.
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  4. This is funny! Indeed, the British expression you’re referring to is “I can’t be arsed” (meaning I can’t be bothered), but it’s interesting and completely understandable that you’d hear it as “asked” since the release of the /k/ is masked by the final /t/ in many British accents. (Sorry, I’m a phonetics nerd and this fascinates me!)
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    • That’s so funny, and all this time I was thinking the wrong thing! Thanks for letting me know :)

    • Haha oh dear… I avoided those at all costs!

  5. I’m planning my trip to SEAsia now for this Fall and this is making me seriously excited! I can’t wait for…literally everything on this list. Thanks for sharing a true piece of backpacker inspiration :)
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  6. This is so funny Ashley but so true and as one of those people from England, I can so relate! It’s even funnier that you picked up on “I can’t be arsed” meaning I don’t give a flying #$%# and “I’m totally pissed” meaning I’m drunk. Don’t forget, “I’m gonna pull” meaning It’s my lucky night.

    Oh yeah, scratches and scars, the horrible toilets, bringing your own toilet roll and taking it everywhere, automatic squatting and having beers at breakfast. Happy Days!!
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  7. Haha oh my goodness I loved this!! I’ve been traveling in Southeast for 5.5 months now and I can totally relate to nearly everything on this list. I too have started using phrases like “it’s meant to be quite cool.” Yet somehow… I still haven’t mastered the squat toilet. Please, PLEASE, educate me!
    This American Girl recently posted..Thank You Koh TaoMy Profile

  8. Oh boy, this is so true! I had a good laugh at “you’ve had your clothes and wallet stolen when skinny dipping”. I know this scenario too well…

  9. I had a good laugh. Yeah, if the beer is beyond $2, its a rip-off! Cheers!


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