16th Oct – 11th Nov Bangkok
We are looking for some help planning a month in South East Asia, any suggestions?
You can have a look at the Southeast Asia section of this site to find out loads of information about your possible destinations. The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia has listings and much more information, as well as several possible itineraries throughout the region.
Southeast Asia has pretty cheap transport, so you should have no problem getting from place to place. That said, you don’t want to try to squeeze too much into a month! You may find it more fun to explore two or three places in greater depth, perhaps leaving time for a couple of side trips to wherever takes your fancy.
Also, bear in mind the climate – it’s a big area, so if you want to avoid the monsoons you can! A little time in Thailand leading up to Nov 11th should coincide with the start of the cool season, and the rains in Myanmar (Burma), Laos, northern Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia should be subsiding in October; in much of Indonesia, though, the rainy season will start in November. Something to bear in mind if you want to avoid the humidity!
Hope this is a helpful starting point, and have a great time in Southeast Asia.
A month is no time. If you want to see as much as possible you might want to research a Contiki or tour that covers several countries in quick succession. If you are looking at a more relaxing mode of travel I would stick to one country or explore the border region of two countries. Central/East Thailand and just into Cambodia might be a viable option. Have a look at some sample itineraries online, to get an idea of the kinds of time you will need.
Hello! A month is really no time as annkaddley replied! I spent around one month in Southeast Asia and I felt like I needed so much more time! However, I will share my itinerary with you below, and maybe it can give you some inspiration. I went there in January, so maybe the climate was very different from what you can expect in oct/nov… Also, I was lucky to get some good AirAsia deals and that made getting around much easier!
I arrived at Bangkok and immediately took another flight to Phuket, than a ferry to Ko Phi Phi. The island is very busy with tourists, specially during the day (some people go by boat and return to their hotels in other cities by night). However, if you choose to walk around you can find beaches with almost no one and they are gorgeous! There is a very active nightlife but if you want something calmer, you can book a hotel which is not so close to the “center” and you’ll have some peace, don’t worry. Diving is ridiculously beautiful, don’t miss it!! Unfortunately I had to chose only one place at the Andaman Coast, so I can’t compare with other locations… But you can search about places near Phi Phi, such as Krabi (and others), which are just as beautiful or maybe even better! I spent 4 nights there.
Then, I went to Singapore, where I spent two nights. I wish I had given it more time, there’s a lot to see and I only had 2 days Still, you can cover a lot in 2 days, because the public transportation is quite good!
From Singapore, I took an overnight bus to Kuala Lumpur. The idea was to go to the Cameron Highlands, but unfortunately when we got there we thought it was too expensive for our budget and we gave up. That meant we had extra time in the capital. We saw most of the things in one day and on the other day we just relaxed!
Then, we took a flight to Yogyakarta… We only had 12h there and so much to see!!! We left our bags at the airport, took a local bus downtown and then a tuktuk to the Sultan’s Palace (you can’t miss it!). Then, we took another local bus to a place close to the Borobudur temple (definetely one of the highlights of the trip!!) and spent the afternoon there.
After getting our bags back, we did probably our worst mistake: took a night train to Surabaya and ascended to Mont Bromo. I say this was a mistake because we didn’t check (when planing the itinerary) how the weather would be like. Turns out we “lost” another 2 days, because – although we could climb the mount – the fog didn’t let us see anything!!
January is rainy in this part of Indonesia, and that made us cancel our hotel in Nusa Lembongan (island just off the coast of Bali). Instead, we decided to stay at Ubud (center of Bali), which was amazing. Really, I have no words to describe this place! So full of life, full of culture, arts, crafts, shows, rituals, temples… We ended up spending 6 nights there and everyday we saw something new and inspiring.
From Denpasar (Bali), we took a plane to Bangkok and the next morning we took an early train to Aranyaprathet (border with Cambodja). Our guesthouse in Siem Reap arranged for a taxi to pick us up at Poiphet. We spent 3 days visiting the temples of Angkor Wat. In case you go, don’t miss the sunrise at Angkor!
After that, we took a flight Siem Reap-Luang Prabang (Laos). This was another highlight of the trip. I could spend a month there!!!! It’s so peaceful, sorrounded by mountains, rivers, jungle… There are temples everywhere and the indigenous communities around are so culturally rich… It’s really an insightful experience.
Back to Bangkok, we only had a couple of days before we had to return, which is obviously not even close to what you need in order to see the city. One thing I really regret is not having been able to see the Bangkok market; I forgot the name but it only happens once a week (on Sundays, I think). Check how the situation is before you go, since they’ve recently had something like a coup over there.
As you can see, there was a lot I had to leave out… I was dying to go to Burma and Vietnam, but unfortunately I had no time. For me, it helped to consult a guidebook when choosing which places were more interesting in terms of what I expected – culture, nature, history etc. I really don’t regret this travel plan, but I would check on climate forecasts in order not to make some mistakes (like Mt Bromo or the beach in Indonesia when it was raining).
I hope you have a great time!!