We just arrived in Bangkok and are so excited to finally visit this corner of the World.
Visiting South East Asia is one of the backpacking rites of passage and something that has been high up on both our travel bucket lists for a long time! Booking that flight and finally committing to going was one of those “pinch me” moments for both of us.
The trickiest thing about planning your SE Asia trip is deciding which route to take and where to stop. There is literally SO much to see and do.
After a ton of back and forth negotiation, prioritizing, scouring the pages of Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and Google Mapping, it looks like we have narrowed down our route pretty nicely now! This post will be ongoing and we will be adding pics as we hop from place to place 😀.
Sadly, on this trip we will be skipping Chiang Mai (a city we both really wanted to visit) as it will be the height of burn season. We are sad to miss Chiang Mai, we’ve definitely heard some AMAZING things about it! But we figured why see it at its worst? There are plenty of other places to explore that will be nicer this time of the year. Besides, now we have the perfect reason to come back to South East Asia in the future!
Now this will probably change a lot as we get around, but we thought it would be fun to share the current plan and then look back later to see how much of it we moved around.
The Current Itinerary
7 nights – Bangkok – next stop, Thailand! We plan to spend a week here to adjust to life in SE Asia and get a ton of work done and eat ALL the food.
5 nights – Mandalay & Old Bagan, Myanmar – We will fly to Mandalay and spend a day exploring the city before jumping on a river cruise down to Old Bagan. In Bagan, we will catch a sunrise over the temples (and depending on how our budget looks, maybe even a hot air balloon ride!)
1 night – Bangkok – back here for a night to catch a plane (this wasn’t part of our ideal itinerary, but it just so happens that the round trip tickets between Mandalay & Bangkok were much cheaper than an ongoing multi city route – plus ALL of the flights have a layover in Bangkok…)
5 nights – Luang Prabang, Laos – next up a few days in lazy, chilled out Laos to enjoy this beautiful, heavily French influenced city. We will spend our time here catching up on work and soaking in the culture. We will also do a one day/night trip out to Vang Vieng to try their infamous river tubing.
5 nights – Hanoi & Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – we will hang out in Hanoi for a night or 2 before hopping onboard a Junk Boat cruise to spend a couple of days exploring Ha Long Bay. This is something we are both SO excited about and will probably be one of the highlights of our whirlwind SE Asian adventure.
5 nights – Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam – the Capital of Vietnam and world renowned for its motorbikes (up to 8.5 MILLION of them hitting those city streets every day) and awesome street food scene.
3 nights – Pnohm Penh, Cambodia – we will be taking a bus ride here from Saigon, and in addition to our typical new city exploration we will have a somber day visiting the killing fields and prison to pay our respects.
5 nights – Siam Reap, Cambodia – next stop Angkor Watt! Another place that’s been on both our bucket lists since we first met and started dreaming of our future travel adventures. We will spend a few nights enjoying the blossoming digital nomad community here and photography those iconic temples to our hearts’ content.
1 night – Bangkok – here again! When we talked to our friends about planning a SE Asia trip, all of them said “love it or loathe it, you will return to Bangkok multiple times”. It looks like they were right – it is definitely the best hub for flights anywhere in the region. Hopefully we love it.
4 weeks – Thai Islands – after the city sightseeing and temple exploring in our previous stops, we are super excited to spend plenty of R&R time chilling on the Islands. Diving, sun soaking, full moon partying, and cocktails on the beach are on the agenda here. We are planning to visit Koh Phangnan, Koh Lipe, and then crossing over to Phuket & the Phi Phi Islands.
5 nights – Penang, Malaysia – another Digital Nomad city hub. Also, ALL the food!
5 nights -Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & Singapore – Next up two, bustling modern cities! In KL, we are looking forward to checking out the Petronas Towers (obviously…) and the Batu Caves. In Singapore, some of the highlights will be swimming in the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool (the ultimate luxury) and visiting the Gardens by the Bay.
3 weeks – Indonesia – the final stop on our SE Asia itinerary will be Indonesia! Bali is a no brainer – surfing, beaching, working, diving and hiking. We will also head to the Gili Islands to get away from the crowds once the season starts picking up. Lastly, we both agreed that we can’t leave Indonesia without experiencing an overnight jungle trek – the plan is to visit one of Sumatra’s orangutan parks and hopefully see some of these amazing animals in the wild!
That’s it so far! We are still trying to decide if, at this point, we will head home to Florida (by way of an extended layover in Tokyo and a quick elopement stop in Hawaii 😉 or continue our journey for a few more weeks… The obvious next destinations would be Sydney, Australia (Great Barrier Reef diving anyone?) and New Zealand (Auckland to visit some friends, then down to Queenstown to BUNGEEE!).
So now, questions for you…
Do you have any tips or must see places for any of the above destinations? What is your favorite Thai Island? Any scuba diving companies you recommend? We’re all ears!