Our 2 Month Itinerary for Southeast Asia
For most travelers heading to SE Asia for an extended trip, following the classic ‘banana pancake trail’ is ideal. Starting in northern Vietnam and ending down in Bali, it hits all the major sights with the option of touring smaller ones too. For us though, we had monsoon season to contest with. Traveling from August through October in the region can mean that smaller towns are inaccessible due to flooding and days can pass as you hide under your umbrella. Hoping to avoid the mess, we booked our movements about one week in advance based on the forecast and the availability of cheap flights.
Note: Since returning I’ve been asked by a number of folks which hotels, restaurants and tours I’d recommend from our trip. To eliminate confusion I am not listing anything that I didn’t absolutely love.
BALI, INDONESIA | 18 DAYS
- Balagnan Beach | beaches, sightseeing (Uluwatu Temple)
- Changuu Beach | beach culture, surfing
- lodging: Papaya Guesthouse
- food: Betelnut Cafe
- Ubud | culture, yoga, food, sightseeing (central Bali waterfalls and volcanos)
- lodging: Om Ham Resort Retreat
- tour: New Bali Tours
SINGAPORE: 2 DAYS
- Our time in Singapore coincided with ‘burning season’ in Sumatra. During this time the city is blanketed in dense white haze that has a terrible health effects. For this reason, we cut our time there quite short otherwise we would have happily stayed 3-5 days.
PENANG, MALAYSIA: 3 DAYS
- Georgetown | FOOD (the best we had on our trip!), street art
- lodging: Chulia Mansion Hotel
- food: street food carts are a true winner
KO SAMUI, THAILAND: 3 DAYS
- Chewing Beach & Lamai Beach | beach, relaxation
- tours: The Thai Experience, Boutique Yachting to Angthong National Park (pictured)
- activities: Sunday night market in Lamai and Tamarind Springs Spa
KOH TAO, THAILAND: 7 DAYS
- Sairee Beach | diving, snorkeling, beach
- lodging: Aminjirah (book the mystery room- so worth it!)
- activities: diving with Big Blue
BANGKOK, THAILAND: 5 DAYS
- Surawong Road | city-break, shopping, food
- lodging: Amara Hotel
- tours: Silom Thai Cooking School
- activities: Divana Spa
HOI AN, VIETNAM: 4 DAYS
- Old Quarter | beach, culture, food, photography, shopping (tailored clothing)
- lodging: Hijal House (a bike ride into town but beautiful amenities)
- tours: Photography tour with Pics of Asia
Hoi An was one of our absolute favorite stops on the trip! Definitely go if you can!
HUE, VIETNAM: 3 DAYS
- Old Quarter | culture, sightseeing
- lodging: Hong Thien Ruby Hotel
HANOI, VIETNAM: 3 DAYS
- Old Quarter | food, shopping, culture
- food: Bun Bo Nam Bo (the best meal we had on the trip)
- tours: Hanoi Street Food Tour
SA PA, VIETNAM: 3 DAYS
- town center | jungle trekking, photography, rice terraces
- lodging: Sa Pa Paradise View Hotel
HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM: 3 DAYS
- cruise | photography, kayaking, relaxation
- lodging/ship: Indochina Junk Cruise (Dragon Pearl)
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA: 4 DAYS
- culture, sightseeing (Angkor Wat was the most spectacular sight on the trip!)
- Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Siem Reap since I was tied up at this conference in BKK, only Dan!
If we could re-do it all during the dry season:
- We would have visit Chang Mai (Thailand), Perhentian Islands (Malaysia), Palawan Islands (Philippines), Luang Prabang (Laos), Soon Dong Cave (Vietnam), among others.
Have you visited Southeast Asia? If so, what places did you love most!?