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#1 Epic Travel Hack to Explore the World: Go on a Soundwalk

Soundwalk Travel Journey in Thailand

Want to travel differently, connect with cultures, and make unforgettable memories? Try a soundwalk! This post will guide you on how to do a soundwalk, capture sounds, and generate ideas for content creation. Discover the magic of sound-walking and enhance your travel experience today!

Sound is energy and frequency; all frequency carries information about our surrounding, and information is empowering. When you close your eyes, it’s easier to listen. Try it!

millie Wissar

When Did You Last Listen to Your Surroundings On a New Travel Experience?

Field recording in Samui, Thailand
Dawn Chorus in Grandmother and Grandfather Rock, Samui, Thailand.

Travelling is not just about visiting popular tourist spots but also about being a part of the whole experience. One way to make your travel memories more vivid is to rediscover the beauty of listening to your surroundings through sound-walks. By actively listening to the sounds of a new place, you can create lasting memories that go beyond taking photos and videos.

Recording sounds can also be a great way to immerse yourself in the journey and preserve its essence. Our brain responds differently to images than to sounds, so field recording can make your travel experiences more immersive and memorable.

Listen to the Dawn Chorus recorded during a trip to the Island of Samui in Thailand:

Samui Thailand. Listening to the dawn chorus. Sound-walk stop 3.

Sound is powerful and even magical. Wherever I go, even if I don’t have a field recorder, I take out my phone and record sounds of places I want to remember for its sonic signature. Listening back to the recordings takes me back quicker than looking at a picture.

This is a binaural recording inside the New York metro; please wear headphones to listen in binaural and close your eyes.

Travel and Soundwalk: Metro station in New York.

Next time you visit New York, London, Maui, Paris, Cuzco, Bangkok or any new place, remember to open up your ears and heart and bring your favorite portable recorder. This could be your phone or a small field recorder. Adding a microphone to your mobile device will to improve the quality of your recordings.

Recommended Audio Travel Gear for a Sound Walk:

  • Small and easy-to-use portable field recorder: Sony PCM D10
  • Medium-sized field recorder with more mic options and inputs: Zoom H6
  • Record Hands-Free and Steathly With In-Ear Binaural Microphone: Roland CS-10EM

How to Do a Sound-Walk and Listen to Your Surroundings

Ready to go on a sound-walk adventure? Follow my simple guide on how to do a sound walk. It’s an incredible experience that needs planning and a willingness to dive into the auditory landscape of your chosen location. If you’re in a bustling city like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris or London, it’s worth dedicating some time to planning the sound walk path.

Use Google Maps to guide your journey and record unique audio snippets so you can discover hidden sonic treasures and reflect on the enriching encounters along the way.

You can enhance your auditory exploration by trying out guided sound-walks. Whether you go for the lively vibes of Miami or New York, the historic streets of Dublin, this unique experience is something you won’t regret!

Use apps like Echoes that have geolocation and find a sound-walk near you.

The Evolution of Sound-Walks: Technology and Enhanced Listening

Travel and Sound Walk Hacks

The evolution of Sound-Walks

In the 1970s, Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer introduced the term sound-walks. This practice entailed listening while walking through an environment and has been adopted by artists, environmentalists, and travellers seeking a spiritual, cultural or community connection with the spaces they explore.

Sound-walks are happening globally, with artists and listeners using technology like apps, microphones, headphones, and recorders to guide them. With the use of smartphones, inaudible aspects of an environment are augmented.

A soundwalk is a slow-paced walk, usually in silence, where you pay attention to the environmental sounds surrounding you. You can start scanning the sounds you make with your body, like your footsteps or cloth rubbing when you move your arms and legs. Then, you can spread your listening in 360 degrees as far as possible. Just let yourself flow and concentrate on the ambience.

If you lose concentration, stop walking, tune in to something that calls your attention and continue walking. I plan stops before starting my walk, especially on specific landmarks I want to explore and field record. You can practice soundwalking for a few minutes or an entire day. The longer you practice, the more information you’ll get out of it. 

Check out my first impression of Bangkok through my podcast The Happy Listening Project! This is the first stop during my soundwalk adventure in Thailand.

The Happy Listening Project – Bangkok, Thailand Sound-walk stop 1.

Sound-Walks for Content Creators

If you plan to travel to Hawaii or Thailand, go on a nature sound walk. Content creators can add a unique audio dimension to their projects using binaural microphones and field recorders, offering an immersive listening experience with heightened awareness.

On the other hand, if you happen to be in London, Paris, Los Angeles, or Miami, try to capture the essence of these urban soundscapes. Let the city’s sonic textures guide you as if your entire body was made of two gigantic ears.

How to Successfully Field Record During Your Walk

Immerse yourself in a mindful adventure by taking a sound-walk with a Go Pro Camera and binaural microphones to add depth to your travels.

  • Explore the area first and map out your path for the sound-walk.
  • Use polarized sunglasses and avoid eye contact with others, especially anyone wanting to sell you something.
  • Walk slow, breathe calmly, and don’t call attention to yourself.
  • Don’t focus on your video recording; a Go Pro Camera will capture everything you point to. You could also wear it.
  • Listen with attention and enjoy the sonic journey.
  • Be creative and experiment; you can hide the mic in your hair or hat without placing it in your ears.

Here’s an idea of what you would need to do. Remember that you’ll have two microphones to hide since you’ll be recording in stereo binaural.

Hiding a Lavalier Microphone.

Understanding the Best Time for Sound Walks in Nature

When planning your sound walk, note that early morning and late afternoon capture diverse natural sounds. Consider the weather’s impact on the soundscape and explore nature’s acoustic qualities at different times.

One of my favourite activities is listening to nature during the dawn and dusk chorus. This travel hack has given me free magical experiences from the waking hours of the day until the night. Everywhere I've gone, I have gifted myself with the most incredible concert nature features every day and every night.

During the dawn chorus, you can listen to birdsong and vocalizations before the first ray of light appears. Usually, 1 hour to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Samui Thailand. Listening to the dawn chorus. Sound-walk stop 3.

Listen to the dusk chorus from the exact location. This starts to happen 1 hour to 30 minutes before the sunset. If you book your stay at The Rock in Koh Samui, Thailand, you can listen to these sounds while you float in the ocean during the sunset.

The Happy Listening Project – Dusk Chorus in Koh Samui, Thailand. Sound-walk stop 2.

Pro tip: Use a sunrise and sunset calculator to find when the dawn and dusk chorus begins in your location

Converting Sound-Walk Experiences Into Engaging Content

Put on some headphones and listen to the recorded soundscapes of Cuzco. The walk takes you from the art neighbourhood of San Blas to the central Plaza of Cuzco. These types of activities will create immersive travel memories and help you connect with the local culture in a unique way.

Sound Walk in San Blas, Cuzco – Peru by Millie Wissar

Sound walks offer an alternative way to explore new destinations. Here are some key elements that can make engaging content that captures the essence of your journey and inspires others to explore the world through sound.

  • Integrate sound walk recordings into multimedia projects.
  • Create audio guides for immersive travel experiences.
  • Craft a personalized sound diary.
  • Share sound walks on social media.

Check out the Happy Listening Project podcast for a unique sound-walking adventure. Season 2 starts with a travel journey through Thailand, offering a aural trip experience.

Sharing Sound Walks

  1. Capture your sound walk with photos and short videos and share them with the community.
  2. Connect with enthusiasts worldwide and share your discoveries.
  3. Collaborate to amplify the impact of shared experiences.
  4. Foster a sound walk community through social media groups.
  5. Raise awareness about the importance of sound.


Sound-walks provide a distinct and engaging way to explore and experience the world around you while travelling. By utilizing your sense of hearing, you can discover hidden details and appreciate the atmosphere and textures of different places.

Sound-walking is often associated with field recording, which has become a way of using technology to enhance our listening practice and to explore the aural richness of the different environments around us. In my experience, combining active listening, field recording, and sound-walking has helped me connect with new places and their communities, cultures, and nature.

Since our brain stores images differently than sound, taste, and smell, recording and listening while travelling are unique ways of creating lasting memories and enhancing listening skills. It’s also a great way to stay in the present moment, allowing the mind and body to open to new experiences. Whether you’re a traveller looking to enhance your adventures, a content creator seeking new inspiration, or simply someone looking to make their travels more memorable, sound walks can be a valuable tool. So, turn on your mic, step outside, and allow the world’s sounds to guide you on a journey of discovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a soundwalk and how does it work?

A soundwalk is a mindful walk focused on listening to the sounds of nature. During a soundwalk, you should slow down and pay attention to all the sounds around you, like birds singing and leaves rustling. Avoid distractions like music or talking to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

How can a soundwalk help you connect with nature and your surroundings?

By focusing on the sounds of nature, you can tune out distractions and become more aware of your environment. This form of walking meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety while deepening your appreciation for the natural world.

What is the purpose of a sound walk?

Engaging in a soundwalk to actively listen to the surrounding sounds and connect with the environment. By doing so, you can increase mindfulness, reduce stress, and explore the intricate details of the soundscape. Additionally, it allows you to examine how sound and space interact.

Why do I need a field recorder?

To capture higher-quality sounds than the ones captured with a mobile device or camera.

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