Southeast Asia is one of the most popular destinations for travellers to visit. The region has 10 countries within it, and it makes organising a trip there tricky if you have limited time. The reason for this is because you could spend most of your trip in just one of these countries!
1 Month Itinerary
If you only have a month to travel, then it’s essential you really optimise your time in the region. This will mean you won’t get to visit everywhere, but you’ll be able to still see a lot on your Backpacking Route Southeast Asia.
Start your trip in Bangkok, Thailand. This will give you a great base in which you can explore the region easy and quickly. As you only have a month, you’ll have to really choose what you want to do with your time. I would spend around 10 days in Thailand, and concentrate in the south visiting the islands. However, if you’re more of a mountain person than a beach person, consider going up north to the Chiang Mai region.
If you do choose to go south, go and visit some of the main places; Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Your time in each location will be somewhat limited, but you can still do a lot there!
From Bangkok, fly down over to Hanoi, Vietnam. Here you will want to maximise what you see in a very little time. Again, I would spend 10 days in Vietnam, so it is worth your while. The key areas that you will want to make sure you see are; Halong Bay, Sapa, Da Nang and Hoi An. This will give you a really refreshing insight into a lot of different things Vietnam has to offer.
As you only have 8 days left of your trip, I would fly out to Bali, Indonesia. Here you’ll be able to enjoy the last leg of your tour on amazing beaches, surf until your body is battered and bruised and also see some incredible waterfalls! Bali should definitely be on your list of places you want to visit. The go-to places are Ubud and Uluwatu so spend most of your time here.
3 Month Itinerary
If you’re lucky enough to have three months to visit Southeast Asia then congratulations, you’ve just won the jackpot. This will give you more than enough time to really see everything the region has on offer, and not have to skip countries out.
Again start your trip in Thailand, but this time give yourself an entire twenty-eight days. This will provide you with more than enough time to visit Bangkok, the southern islands and the mountains in the north. In essence, you’ll be able to get an authentic Thai experience. This will also provide you with a lot more time to be able to spend in each place, which will make your experience a lot better!
From Thailand, you’ll want to head on over to Malaysia and spend the next 10 days travelling the country. Start your trip in Kuala Lumpur, (KL) and have a great time trying the local cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. From here you will travel further north and hit the Cameron Highlands. Here, you will learn about the history of the region as well as get to some fantastic sites!
After exploring the Cameron Highlands and having enough tea to drown in, your trip in Malaysia will end in the north of the country. You can either complete the journey in Penang or Langkawi. Personally, I prefer Penang as it has a greater variety of activities you can do. I also love the beach!
Leaving Malaysia, Bali will be your next stop on your SEA journey. Spending the next 10 days of your life; you’ll explore some of the best beaches, waterfalls and scenery the entire region has to to offer. As mentioned before, spend most of your time in Ubud and Uluwatu as these places will really make your stay. Ubud gives you magnificent waterfalls and scenery. Whereas, Uluwatu gives you the stunning beaches and chill surfer vibes.
The next three weeks will be spent galavanting around Vietnam. Starting your trip in Hanoi, you’ll get to experience an authentic Vietnamese experience. Vietnam Backpackers Hostel will be your best friend as you will go through them for most of your trips. Halong Bay, Sapa and the Buffalo Run will all be booked with VPH. These excursions will take you up to Hoi An where you’ll travel to Ho Chi Minh city and end your stay in Vietnam.
With just three weeks of your trip left, you will want to divide this up between Cambodia and Laos. Personally, I think Cambodia is a much more exciting place and has a lot more to offer. Without any questions, Angkor Wat must be the number one place you have to visit. It’s stunning temples, the history and significance of the site are to die for. Siem Reap is also a great travellers city which offers excellent nightlife as well as a lot of daytime activities.
While in Laos, make sure you enjoy everything the country has to offer. My favourite place to go is Vang Vieng! Here you can zipline through the jungle, kayak down the Nam Song and explore its many caves. I would dedicate most of any remaining time you have left to the area, as it pretty much has everything you’d want to explore!
Southeast Asia will give you the experience of a lifetime. I spent over 100 days here in one trip and look back with fond memories. My favourite places are Thailand and Vietnam, which is why you’re dedicating half of your trip to these two countries. Obviously, if you can, having three months to visit the region will give you a lot more time to experience so much more. However, it’s probably more realistic to have a month trip, which is why I have put together the best month itinerary you could ask for!
Further Reading on your Backpacking Route Southeast Asia
If you enjoyed this Backpacking Route Southeast Asia there are several other Southeast Asian itineraries that you might enjoy…