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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia forum

First time Itinery Help! 10/11 weeks!

Posted by MatthewElliott1 on 7/9/2015 at 10:45

Hey guys,

Have done the usual research about most things for the past 4 months. Looking to stay roughly on the backpacker route. Have 10/11 weeks with a friend of mine to travel SE Asia!

First up flying to Bangkok, then heading up to Chang Mai and over to Laos (to check out Luang Prabang, vang vieng and four thousand islands). Then to Vietnam ( to visit Hanoi, Hoi An and Hi Chi Minh City) before heading to Cambodia( to visit Phonm Phen, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville) before back to Bangkok.

Once that's done, looking to head to 2/3 Thai islands (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Phangnam) for the full moon etc, before heading to Malaysia for potentially 5 days with (Penang and Kualua Lumpar) and finishing up 2/3 days in Singapore before flying home.

We have 10/11 weeks for this, and with regards to Laod/Vietnam/Cambodia we are not looking to rush and potentially visit 2/3 places per country allowing some time for travel.

My question is how long should I spend in each of the countries roughly? As said not looking to rush and don't expect to stop every 5 minutes, perhaps 2/3 places per country accros say 2 weeks? We love the nightlife scene but also exploring temples, seeing the wildlife etc.

Also, am I missing any big awesome places?

We are heading out Feb 17th 2016!

Any help would of be great!


#1 MatthewElliott1 has been a member since 7/9/2015. Posts: 3

Posted by Gogomobile on 8/9/2015 at 02:55

Id say check the visa conditions first to see how long you can stay and how much each visa costs as well as flight costs and bus routes. Some of the long bus routes are shockers. Also buy a 2nd hand guidebook on SEA.

#2 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by Captain_Bob on 8/9/2015 at 04:24

What you describe is a very standard route which can be done comfortably in 10/11 weeks, although arguably more would be better. One trick will be getting from 4thousandislands to Hanoi. Either backtrack to Vientiane and fly or cross into central Vietnam and maybe skip the north. And take into account some of those connect-the-dots bus or train journeys can be loooong.

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,958

Posted by chinarocks on 8/9/2015 at 05:08

Nice work, Bob.

#4 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738

Posted by MatthewElliott1 on 8/9/2015 at 05:37

That's brilliant, thanks a lot for your reply guys really helps!

One thing though (understand each will have their own opinion), but how long would you roughly say to spend per country based on the places I'd like to stop of at? Based on the fact I have 10-11 weeks, I understand I will be commuting potentially a whole day sometimes to travelling.

Thanks, Matt.

#5 MatthewElliott1 has been a member since 7/9/2015. Posts: 3

Posted by Gogomobile on 8/9/2015 at 05:40

If you like a city stay 5 to 7 nights. If you don't leave after 2. You won't know until you arrive.

#6 Gogomobile has been a member since 14/4/2015. Posts: 412

Posted by exacto on 9/9/2015 at 08:23

If you are looking to pencil in a rough itinerary, start by looking at three to four nights in each of the main places you mention, with a half to a full day of transport time between each one. I use the three to four night stay as a standard on longer, rambling trips like you have planned because it gives you time to arrive, settle in, catch the highlights and a few other things, and take care of logistics like laundry and arranging onward transportation.
You'll have the most flexibility on a longer trip like this travelling by bus. It will be cheaper than other options too. But bus is the least comfortable and most time consuming as well.
Anyway, pencil in that rough itinerary and see how it looks to you and if you want to slim down your list of places to visit based on that. You can adjust the draft itinerary by adding or subtracting a day here or there based on how much you think you will like a place, and then do the same once you arrive (to the extend flights and other reservations are flexible) by staying a bit longer or leaving a bit earlier based on how much you like the place. Try and build in a few days for extra rest somewhere in that plan, maybe somewhere like 4000 islands or another relaxing spot, just to catch up or in case you get tired or sick. You don't want your trip to be an endurance test.
Otherwise, I'd agree with Bob that you've got enough time to do what you've planned, although also agree that more time would be better and would look at ways to visit perhaps fewer places for more time each. Either way, sounds like a great trip. Have fun. Cheers.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,841

Posted by MatthewElliott1 on 9/9/2015 at 08:28

Guys Thankyou so much, that's very re assuring! I might try an extend to 3 months but depends on plans afterwards! Watch this space!

#8 MatthewElliott1 has been a member since 7/9/2015. Posts: 3

Posted by Captain_Bob on 9/9/2015 at 09:06

First time I did this circuit ('99) was the other way round. Started in Singapore on Chinese New Year (mid-Feb) and poked my way up through the peninsula with a side-trip to Malaysian Borneo. Tioman, Perhentians, KL, Krabi islands, Koh Samet, Koh Chang, Songkran in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, slow boat to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng Vientiane, flight to Hanoi, flight to Danang, bus to Nha Trang, flight to HCMC, flight to Phnom Penh, bus to Siem Reap, flight to Bangkok, train to Surat Thani, a week on Koh Phangan, bus to Bangkok. Then I flew to UK in time for Glastonbury in late June. So I guess all-up it took about four months, but I did a lot of poking around. If you can give it three months that should be ample.

#9 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,958

Posted by antoniamitchell on 11/9/2015 at 01:57

Hi, I think you've got a pretty good basic itinerary - you've obviously done your research and are avoiding rushing, which is great.

For biggie destinations like you're concentrating on, I tend to roughly allocate 5-6 days each, knowing for every one I only spend 3-4 days in, there will be one where I stay a week. So 2-3 places in 2-3 weeks should be perfect, and give you enough time for some day trips and chill out time. And if you're ready to move on sooner, there's always somewhere else interesting to add on.

#10 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

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