Camping in Less Developed Areas: A Simple Guide

Less developed areas 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Camping in less developed areas can have its fair share of challenges. Here are some things to consider before you travel to a non-traditional camping destination.

Explaining Camping In Spots People Don’t Camp

There are so many things to love about camping. However despite its ubiquitous nature in many Western countries, it’s not practiced widely all over the world.

That means that sometimes when you go to other countries, often less developed areas, it can be difficult to explain what camping is, and why you want to do it.

less developed areas 2Why Don’t People Camp?

In many developing countries, travel is a luxury that few can afford. When people do choose to travel, it’s often a pretty big deal and tends to involve pre-organized accommodation, hotels, resorts, homestays and more.

The idea that a person with the opportunity to travel would intentionally spend their evening sleeping outside in a temporary structure isn’t just unlikely, it’s difficult to comprehend. Travel is seen as a status symbol, particularly in less developed areas. So by extension the places people stay, where they eat out, the vehicles they travel in and so on are all signs of their wealth and standing in the community.

Explaining The Draw Of Camping

Trying to explain the draw of camping comes in a couple of levels. First, you have people who might have heard of camping before, or seen it in a Western movie, and are therefore open to the idea. Then you have people who haven’t heard of camping, or seen it, but can be swayed with some explanation and information. Then you have group three, who simply cannot (and often will not) take the time to understand camping. This group of people will continually offer other options to save you from spending the night outdoors.

camping-984038_960_720Unfortunately, encountering the third group can be a challenge, but for groups one and two it’s not impossible to explain just why you want to camp. Learning a few local words will often help you out, particularly in less developed areas where English is not a commonly spoken language.

The message you want to get across here is not necessarily that you’re trying to save money. Rather that you want to experience the natural environment in a purer way. Lots of compliments about a country’s natural beauty tend to go down well in all local groups. Explaining that you’re eager to see the stars, the sunrise or similar might also be a good idea. Talking too much about how you want to save money isn’t likely to get you very far. Particularly so in countries that survive on a tourist dollar, so don’t focus on this.

Finding Spots To Camp

When you’re travelling in less developed countries, it pays to do a little bit of research prior to arriving. This is to get an idea of where you might find camping areas. Camping on private land is fraught with complications, as it would be in any country. So it’s best to avoid this unless you have express permission from the landowner.

camp-439277_960_720In Asian countries, you’re likely to have more luck looking for camp spots on the grounds of churches, temples and mosques. This is provided that you present yourself respectfully and seek permission from the head of the temple. Many backpackers have found Buddhist establishments to be the most open to the idea of camping. However even then there are no guarantees that you’ll be allowed to stay.

Outside of these sorts of establishments there are also national parks. These parks often provide grassed areas for free (or very cheap) camping. Of course, national parks can be a bit out of the way, and they aren’t always available.

You can also chat to local businesses, particularly accommodation and restaurants, to see if you can swap camping for other things. Things such as a small cost (less than the price of a room). Or even a loyalty promise (to eat at the restaurant/café everyday).

If you’re heading to an area where you haven’t done any pre-research on camping options, don’t arrive too late in the evening or afternoon. Arriving later in the day doesn’t give you as much time to explore your options. The last thing you need is not finding yourself somewhere to stay. If this does happen, ensure you have some local currency on you in order to barter for another accommodation option.

When camping in less developed areas, always remember:

When you’re a travelling camper, it pays to remember to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Some people can become rude, angry or frustrated when they hear you want to camp instead of utilizing local accommodation. This is even if that accommodation is overpriced and not as comfortable as your camp set up.

In instances like this just keep your cool, and understand that you might not always be able to camp. That being said, there’s no point allowing yourself to be bullied by others. So be assertive, but friendly, shaking off any rudeness, and continue getting on with your adventure.

To obtain more information and read further about adventure-related destinations, there is not a lot available. However we have managed to find the inexpensive book Adventure Travel and Trekking available through Amazon.

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Blogger & Multiple Contributor at

Oceana Setaysha is a hiking-lover, geocacher and outdoors fanatic who loves nothing more than a long walk on a cool day, sleeping in a dome tent under the stars, and cooking on an open fire.

She lives in Darwin within Australia’s famous Northern Territory and is always on the lookout for new adventures, new walking trails, and new geocaches.

She moves around Australia a bit using her photography skills which you can check out on her website http://oceanasetaysha.com/

24 thoughts on “Camping in Less Developed Areas: A Simple Guide

  • December 31, 2018 at 11:44 am
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    This is a great guide for camping in underdeveloped countries. I think I can use this during my trip next year to Cambodia and Laos. I have never tried camping during a trip but I’ll be happy to do so next year. This gave me more ideas!

    Reply
  • December 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm
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    I haven’t tried camping that’s why it is very interesting to read your camping guide stories. It helps me to learn a lot and share it to my friends as well. Hope someday i got to experience camping and practice what I learn from you.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 5:07 pm
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    As usual with your blog, this post is full of so many practical tips. Keeping a positive attitude in times of distress always helps. I have never been to camping independently before, infact i did it only once and that was with an organised tour. Reading these posts help me prepare for my first independent camping experience

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm
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    This is a really interesting perspective. I’ve never thought of camping in another country although have done it in the US. It’s good to know about options for temple ground in Asia but your advice and warnings are critical with all of the people who travel and don’t respect destinations and want to focus on selfies and pictures rather than enjoying the destination. Thanks for the valuable info and tips. Hopefully, you will inspire people to enjoy nature and step outside of their comfort zones

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 10:33 am
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    This is such a relevant article. I was nodding my head as I was going through it. I couldn’t agree more that in developing countries like India, travel is a luxury that few can afford. We love everything to be pre-organized – accommodation and activities. But slowly the mindset is changing.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 8:14 am
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    I absolutely love camping in remote areas and I have done it many times. I like sleeping in the fresh air and appreciating the surrounding nature. However, I can see (according to the comments too) that many people think this’s unsafe and don’t go camping in remote areas because of this. That’s why the internet needs more articles like this one, thank you for sharing.

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  • December 27, 2018 at 1:36 am
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    I used to camp with my boys when they were in Scouts but I just don’t enjoy it as much these days. I can certainly understand the appeal of a less expensive accommodation. I also remember appreciating the environment around me and seeing less crowded places. Maybe it’s my age but I do worry about safety, especially for women, in places that don’t have a lot of other campers. But then again, a little research and preparation goes a long way. These are great tips to ensure having a place to call home for a bit.

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  • December 26, 2018 at 11:38 pm
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    OK, so I fall into group number three without a doubt but at the same time I do have a few friends who are very much like you and love to camp for the love of being outdoors. But I can imagine camping in Asia is a whole different ball game. Great tip about approaching temples. Didn’t even realise that was a viable option. How do you handle the heat and humidity in Asia? There would be no respite. At least in the cold you can layer but the heat is unforgiving!

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  • October 17, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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    My husband isn’t a big camper, but I would love to go more often. It sounds so fun to be out communing with nature. I have also loved sleeping outside on the few occasions when I have been! 🙂

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  • October 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm
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    Camping is an awesome activity and your post was truly motivating. I’ve always considered camping while travelling to be challenging, but your post is food for thought, Nicole!

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    • October 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm
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      Thanks so much for commenting Agness. We are lucky at Camping for Women that so many people share so much of their experiences that we can all find interesting, useful and of value. Thank you for being a part of our community.

      Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 9:07 am
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    Camping is definitely not something that would appeal to all people. I personally would prefer glamping. Nonetheless, it is a good way to unplug and just be in tune with nature! This is a great guide for those easing their way through a camping experience.

    Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 4:16 am
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    Sweden has a law that all visitors have the freedom to roam meaning nature is free space for all. It’s such a neat concept as I believe nature is there for us all to roam free respectively and really go back to our roots. I haven’t really taken the time to appreciate how easy it is for me as a Canadian to camp in North America. Great post!

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  • June 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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    Getting permission from the head monk to camp in the Temple grounds must be very successful as generally speaking Monks support others, although I would be a little scared of camping in Asia with all the deadly snakes they have. That is a good way of explaining to people complaining that you are not staying in a hotel etc.. telling them that you want to sleep in the fresh air, appreciate nature / sunrise and sunset, that makes sense.

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  • June 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm
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    In some countries like Scotland you are pretty much allowed to camp anywhere. Camping is a great way like you said to experience the beauty of nature in the place you are visiting. I had no idea that in Asia the temples sometimes allow you to camp on their grounds. That is great information.

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  • June 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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    I never would have thought to camp at a Buddhist temple! That sounds like an incredible experience! I guess it would be difficult to explain camping in a place where it isn’t common. This is super helpful, especially for travelers who want a unique experience!

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  • June 5, 2017 at 6:38 am
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    I never know you could ask to camp in temples in Asia. That is really cool. I guess it helps backpackers out a lot with saving some money. I probably won’t try it as I have a noisy little one. Thanks for all of the tips !

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  • June 5, 2017 at 5:39 am
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    I have never been camping in far away places before as somehow I used to feel it was unsafe. But after reading your posts I am pretty sure that I can go now. Best tips and advice on your site for camping.

    Reply
  • June 5, 2017 at 4:21 am
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    This is an interesting read for me as I haven’t got much experience of camping in less developed areas so far. I’m traveling thru Asia now and would be interesting to try out camping in areas of Temples. That seems like an amazing experience. I might give it a try 🙂

    Reply
  • June 5, 2017 at 1:51 am
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    I haven’t been camping since college years. I used to enjoy it, but with such a crazy, busy life, the comforts of a luxury hotel are more my style nowadays. However, with you kids, I do want to teach them to enjoy camping and exploring the world much differently than when your “base camp” is a hotel.

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    • June 5, 2017 at 2:04 am
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      Absolutely! There is so much enjoyment in being among nature. It also benefits you greatly and helps in your own physical and mental development. It’s something we should all be exposed to and hopefully always find time for.

      Reply
  • December 5, 2016 at 7:35 pm
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    I love that this post is different to the usual travel blog posts I read and you’ve written it well. I love camping, though I’ve never done it while traveling. Usually just stuck to places driving distance from home so I found this interesting!

    Reply
    • December 6, 2016 at 10:40 am
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      Thank you so much for your feedback. Maybe you might consider giving camping a go overseas at some stage. All the best.

      Reply

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