Feel Your Trip:
One of my best experiences that I lived during my trips was the free camping with my own tent everywhere I wanted. While travelling in Southeast Asia I camped for free in several countries in temples, mosques, churches, urban and wild free-land spots, local houses, national parks and even in some lodges.Also make sure to carry the best travel backpacks for women with you!
I started camping as a way to reduce my daily spending but at the end it was being that amazing that I was camping because I really enjoyed it.
Advantages of travelling with your own tent.Get absolute freedom:
As you have your own place to sleep always with you, you are not in a rush; you can simply stop where you find a nice place and sleep. Next morning, you can just wake up and keep travelling. To get the feeling of freedom is the most important point in my trips and the tent really helps me a lot on it. Reduce your accommodation expenses to zero: With your own tent you are able to avoid paying hostels, dorms or homestays. You just need a piece of floor and that’s all.Bargain easily a very cheap bed / room: in case one night you need a bed; when you bring a tent with you, it’s easier to convince the owners of a lodge about reducing the price. Just you must say in a relaxed way:“Come on, I can’t pay this price for a bed. If it’s not possible to get a lower price I’m just camping out there”
They know you are not fucked up trying to find a place to sleep then they will usually agree with lowering the price fast, even if you arrive in night time.Meet nice travelmates: If you travel with a tent for two people as me, you will have room available for you and for someone else + backpacks. The best travelmates you can find are the ones who dare to sleep in a tent; also as it’s a nice experience, usually people want to join you.Be ready for long trekking / mountain expeditions: When you want to hike for some days in a mountain, national park, volcano or similar you can avoid the boring process of looking for a place to rent a tent and to pay for it.Keep protected by mosquitoes during the night: This is quite important while travelling in the countries where you can catch any mosquito-borne diseases. The tent it’s perfect, as you make sure that you are sleeping behind a mosquito net all the time. Take into account that in some dorms and hostels they don’t have mosquito net available, then you are exposing yourself to the risk.
General tips for free camping
Generally speaking, when camping by your own the most important things you must take into account are weather conditions and safety issues. As I bought a low quality cheap tent in a Cambodian flea market, the weather conditions were affecting to my tent strongly. Then I had to improve the way of camping to avoid sleeping horribly at nights.
In case you have a high quality tent with you, you can be more relaxed with the weather condition issues, but anyway these tips will help you to be sure you can sleep well in your tent in every condition:Find a roofed floor to pitch your tent always you think it can rain: Sometimes it’s not possible but usually in temples, national parks or even in the streets of a city you should be able to find a nice spot with roof. I started doing it when I realized that the water was soaking through the tent and my stuff was getting wet. Not a recommendable experience. On the other hand, if your tent gets wet and you must keep travelling next day in the morning, you have to pack it; what it’s a disaster, because the fabric turns rotten and smells like hell.Place your tent in a side-protected spot: Wind might be really strong, especially when you are camped in the shore of a wild beach or at high altitudes. Some bushes, trees or big rocks can help a lot. In urban spots, you will find always a concrete wall to protect the tent from the wind. In Malaysia, I camped in the shore of a wild beach and one of the main sticks of the tent even got broken by the wind. The environment was too perfect to move away and I slept in these conditions for some days; but it was not really comfortable as you can imagine.
Quit the flysheet or cover roof of your tent to get some air ventilation: One of the worst points in my camping experience was that in the tent it was too hot for sleeping nicely. Even keeping the door opened all the time (just mosquito net closed) was too hot. By quitting the roof cover you can get some ventilation and fresh air inside the tent. Not advisable in raining time : ).Keep the mosquito net closed: Don’t allow mosquitoes to get inside the tent. In case they do it, as they can’t go out from there they will keep biting you for the whole night. It’s even worse than if you are sleeping outside. Be fast in mosquito net opening and closing processes to avoid it and at the same time be careful with the zip and don’t brake it, as without a proper closed mosquito net sleeping in the tent won’t be a nice experience.If you are not in the mood to camp, just take a bed / room this night: Don’t force yourself to camp in case you are very tired or you need a comfortable place to sleep this night. Sometimes, as when you have been camping for a long time each consecutive night, you will feel that you need a bed, then just do it. Next day you will be recovered and the thought of camping will be motivating again.
From my experience, free camping in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia it’s possible, safe, easy and very recommendable.Free camping in Laos and Brunei it’s possible and safe but I found it more difficult as locals were not reacting as nicely in these countries when I asked to camp. Free-land spots were always ok.Singapore it’s a country where camping in specific green areas is promoted and it’s a very nice option as the prices for accommodation are very high.
Take into account that free camping it’s illegal and strictly prohibited in Myanmar. Be aware of a possible additional risk with police in case you decide to do it.I have no data about free camping in East Timor yet.