How to spot an English backpacker in South East Asia


There is no denying that each country has it’s stereotypes of how people from that nation look and act. I am getting pretty good at guessing where people are from by their accents and mannerisms. I am English, no one can ever mistake that! My pale skin, the way I dress, my stupidly strong Essex twang and my ability to fit ‘I’m not being funny but’ into almost every conversation!

With that being said, when in South East Asia, I look like a backpacker. I may even be able to trick people into mistaking me as some other European nationality other than English. Why is this? It is because all backpackers, or most, dress the same. The clothes you can buy out here are light weight and cool material and easy to wear every day. Despite of this, an amazing talent of mine is being able to spot an English person a mile off!


Here is my guide of how to spot an Brit backpacker in South East Asia:


While sarcasm is not exclusively an English thing, we do use it quite extensively. Many Brits will apply  irony and mockery in everyday conversation subconsciously, and it is something many other nationalities just don’t understand.

When your Russian friend states ‘It is not very busy here’ and you reply ‘I know, tell me about it’ and they then stare at you and begin to explain why they feel it is not busy. I think England is the only nation that uses this phrase. I have stopped using it all together. It is far to complicated!

Excessive Drinking


People can judge all they want, we are the world’s booziest nation. Our Europeans counterparts will enjoy a few glasses of wine with dinner and Americans love a house party, us Brits drink with the solely goal to get wasted. Judge all you want, but what is the point of taking in all those extra calories just to get ‘tipsey’. It is never just a few for us English folk.

With that in mind I do stay away from obnoxious ‘Lads on Tour’ type groups, as I do with groups of ‘Frat boys’ on tour.

Slang words 

Brits love a slang word, without even knowing it! Trying to explain to my German friend what ‘Fancy’ and ‘Posh’ meant was pretty complicated. ‘But why do you ‘fancy’ someone?’ She would question, ‘and why does it have another meaning?’ Ahh It was a long conversation. Throw a strong British accent in with these words and no foreigner will have a clue what you are talking about.

A Filipino lady once told me my English was ‘Too English’ and French boy had to translate what I was saying for her! Us Brits do love adding a few extra works to a sentence just to confuse everyone.

Strict aversion to PDA

It is a well publicised fact, that British struggle with public displays of affection. Fondling lovers are cringy and unwelcome at all times. A common reaction would be to shout at them “get a room” even if they are just hugging.

Minimalistic Dress

English girls rarely go topless on the beach but on a night out we are practically naked. Well I was when I was 24, now I often mutter the phrase ‘Am I too old to wear this?’ before having a few drinks (see point 2) and wearing it anyway!

Oh and of course I never take a coat on a night out. More to carry and it costs to put in the cloak room.

Standard traveller clothing

Although this may not mean the wearer is a Brit, it will mean they are a backpacker.

I have a monkey on my head and I am wearing a beer vest. Such a traveller cliché!

I have a monkey on my head and I am wearing a beer vest. Such a backpacker cliché!.

Elephant pants – Such comfy and light material. They can defend you from

bugs and sunburn and of course, they are great when you need something to cover your legs when visiting temples! At £3  they are a bargain. I have worn them in England, much to my friends disgust!

Beer shirts – They sell them everywhere. Chang or Singha vest in Thailand or a Bintang Bali vest. Great material, cheap and comfy to wear.

Fake Havanas – £3. Enough said!

And of course not forgetting, 10 million braided bracelets tied around your arm! After a month or so of getting wet they start to smell, but who cares, you will probably smell worse yourself anyway. Do not take them off. Ever. Until you have to go home and have a job interview, then I advise taking them off.

So there you have it. How to spot a Brit Backpacker. I hope this comes in handy if A. You wish to find a Brit (the accent is very sexy apparently) or B. You wish to stay far away from the drunkness.

**Disclaimer** This is meant as a light hearted joke. I am by no means making fun of any of this or agreeing that all Brits conform to these stereotypes. I am the biggest culprit of a lot of the above myself. I love my Elephant pants and I am the first one shouting ‘Shots, Shots, Shots’ after a few pre drinks!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Huxley March 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Haha, I loved this! So true. You did however forget the dreaded dreadlocks! Every single gap yah backpacker lines up on Khao San road, all getting dreads in an effort to be cool and original, completely oblivious to the fact that EVERYONE ELSE HAS THEM!!

(And by the way, what’s wrong with wearing fisherman pants when you get back home?!) ;D
Michael Huxley recently posted…Independent Travel Or Guided Tours On Your Gap Year? Which Is Best?My Profile


sallymunt sallymunt March 30, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Haha yes, I thought about getting dreads for all of 30 seconds! I gave in to pier pressure last time and got changed. I return to England in 3 weeks for some wedding. This time I will not be so easily persuaded. I probably won’t wear them to the actual wedding though!


Marjorie April 26, 2015 at 1:41 am

Haha! That was a good one. I came to the post expecting totally something different. Thanks for making me laugh today.
Marjorie recently posted…Gear Guide: Exped Air Pillow ReviewMy Profile


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