The Ultimate 6 Month Southeast Asia Itinerary
So you’re looking to create a 6 month Southeast Asia itinerary but don’t know where to start? Well luckily for you, I’ve put a lot of research into my two previous trips to Southeast Asia and even more into my upcoming 5-month trip there. So by combining all my past experiences and future plans together, here is my run down of the ultimate 6 month Southeast Asia itinerary. You’re welcome…
Southeast Asia itinerary – Thailand 1 month
1. Fly into Bangkok and start your trip with 2 – 3 days exploring the sights of one of Asia’s most vibrant cities.
Related article – Top things to do in Bangkok
2. Next travel south and spend 2 weeks discovering Thailand’s beautiful coastline. Places to go include Krabi for the beaches, Koh Phangan to party, Koh Samui for chill time and Koh Tao for activities like diving.
3. After beach and island hopping in the south, head up to the northern city of Chiang Mai for 4 – 5 days. It’s a great place for visiting elephant sanctuaries, jungle trekking in the nearby national parks, or just simply chilling out.
Related article – Coolest things to do in Chiang Mai
4. After Chiang Mai, hop across to Chiang Rai for at least 2 – 3 days, where you can visit the famous White Temple and Black House.
Related article – A short guide to the White Temple
Related article – A short guide to the Black House
Southeast Asia itinerary – Laos 3 weeks
5. From Northern Thailand, the first place to head to in Laos is its old capital city, Luang Prabang. Spend at least 3 – 4 days here including a trip to the stunning Kuang Si Falls.
Related article – Top things to do in Luang Prabang
6. After Luang Prabang, travel down to Vang Vieng for 3 – 4 days, where you can explore its many lagoons, caves and rice paddies.
Related article – A short guide to tubing in Vang Vieng 2018
7. Next up is Laos’ new capital Vientiane. Quite a lot of travellers say Vientiane is a bit dull, but if you’ve got the time I would still spend around 2 days discovering the city.
Related article – Top things to do in Vientiane
8. After Vientiane, make your way down to the southern city of Paske. Although there isn’t that much to do in Pakse, it is the starting point for exploring the amazing waterfalls and landscapes of the Bolaven Plateau.
9. So the Bolaven Plateau! The best way to see everything it has to offer is by doing the big loop (or small loop if you’re short on time) by motorbike with overnight stops along the way – you’ll want to allow at least 3 days for this.
10. Last on the list for Laos is the Four Thousand Islands in the Mekong Delta. Spend 4 – 6 days here for some proper relaxation time. The islands of Don Det and Don Khon are the main places to stay.
Related article – A short guide to Don Det & Don Khon
Southeast Asia itinerary – Cambodia 3 weeks
11. If you’re travelling from Laos, your first destination in Cambodia should be Siem Reap, where you can spend 3 – 4 days exploring the famous temples of Angkor Wat.
Related article – The ultimate one day Angkor Wat guide
Related article – Top things to do in Siem Reap (other than Angkor Wat)
12. After Siem Reap, head up to the city of Battambang for 2 – 3 days to ride the Bamboo train and chill out.
13. Next up, it’s time to hit Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Like Laos’ capital, this city has been dubbed uninteresting by some travellers. But if you’ve got time, it’s still worth stopping there for a couple of days to explore its attractions.
Related article – Best cheap & free things to do in Phnom Penh
14. Escape the busyness of Phnom Penh by travelling down to Cambodia’s coast. Spend 5 – 6 days relaxing in the riverside town of Kampot and the nearby seaside town of Kep.
Related article – How to spend 48 hours in Kampot, Cambodia
15. Finish your Cambodia itinerary by travelling across to Sihanoukville and get then get the ferry to Koh Rong island for up to a week of relaxing on the beach.
Southeast Asia itinerary – Vietnam 2 weeks
16. First up on your Vietnam itinerary is the capital, Ho Chi Minh City. Here, you’ll need at least 2 – 3 days exploring including a day trip to the Chu Chi Tunnels.
17. Travel north, stopping off at the old port town of Hoi An for 3 – 4 days of beaches, shopping and world-class cuisine.
18. Continue up the country to the city of Hanoi, where you can spend 3 – 4 days soaking up its sights and culture.
19. From Hanoi, you can go on an overnight tour of the magical world heritage site Halong Bay.
20. End your Vietnam trip with a visit to Sapa in the far-flung northern mountains for 2 – 3 days of trekking and learning about region’s tribal villages.
Related article – 2 week Vietnam itinerary
Southeast Asia itinerary – Singapore & Malaysia 1 month
Singapore & Peninsular Malaysia – 2 weeks
21. Fly from Hanoi to your first stop in Malaysia – George Town. Here, you can easily fill at least 2 – 3 days exploring the city’s world-renowned foodie scene, colonial heritage and street art.
22. Next up, it’s time to head to Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. 3 – 4 days should be enough to see all the main sights including the famous Petronas Towers.
23. After a few busy days in the city, it’s time for some relaxation. Travel across to Tioman Island on the east coast for 3 – 4 days of snorkelling, diving and beach hopping.
24. Travel down to the vibrant city (and country) of Singapore. There’s so much to do here I would advise you spend no less than 3 – 4 days discovering everything it has to offer, but if you don’t have that much time my guide below might help.
Related article – How to spend 48 hours in Singapore
Borneo Malaysia – 2 weeks
25. Fly from Singapore to the city of Kuching in the western Sarawak region. Kuching is not just a great city to explore but is also a good base for visiting the surrounding national parks too, so you’ll need at least 3 – 4 days here.
26. If you have time after Kuching, make sure to spend 2 – 3 days in the Batang Ai National Park, where you can spot wildlife, visit the Iban tribal people and learn about their way of life.
27. Travel across to Sandakan in the eastern Sabah region where you can spend the next 6 – 7 days. Although there’s no much to do in the city itself, the area offers plenty of opportunities to see wildlife including overnight visits to Turtle Island and Kinabatangan River tours.
28. Finish your Malaysia itinerary in Kota Kinabalu. 2 – 3 days should be enough to explore the city and a few of the little islands that sit just off the coast.
Southeast Asia itinerary – The Philippines 1 month
29. From Kota Kinabalu, you’ll need to fly to Cebu City first, before heading onto Moalboal. There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy including the Kawasan Falls and Malabuyoc Hot Springs, so you’ll need at least 4 – 5 days to see it all.
30. After Moalboal, move on to the most spiritual island of The Philippines, Siquijor Island where you can spend up to 5 – 6 days discovering the jungles and lounging on the beaches.
31. After Siquijor, head across to Bohol. With lots of activities and day trips on offer, 4 – 5 days should be enough to discover the island’s unique landscapes and wildlife.
32. Travel across to the Palawan archipelago to the beautiful El Nido, where you easily fill at least 6 – 7 days island hopping, diving and relaxing.
33. Close to El Nido, next up on your list should be Coron, where you can also spend 6 – 7 days exploring the lagoons, mountains and beaches of the area.
34. Finish your time in The Philippines in Manila. 3 – 4 days should be plenty to soak up the city’s sights and culture and maybe take a day trip to the Banaue Rice Terraces.
Southeast Asia itinerary – Indonesia 1 month
Although there are hundreds of islands that make up Indonesia, this itinerary focuses on just three of them: Bali, Lombok and Java.
35. Once you’ve flown into Bali, head across to the luxury beach resort area of Seminyak. With plenty of high-end bars, restaurants, spas and shops, you can easily spend 3 – 4 days splashing out and relaxing.
36. Next, get the ferry over to the smaller islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Dua. Each island has its own unique collection of natural wonders, so you’ll need at least 3 – 4 days to explore them all.
37. After you’ve finished island hopping, travel back to the main island of Bali and up to the town of Ubud for 3 – 4 days of culture, art, yoga and beautiful landscapes.
38. A world away from Bali’s main hub, the humble fishing villages of Amed are a great place to chill out after Ubud. However, you probably won’t need more than 2 – 3 days here.
39. From Amed, you can get a fast boat across to the Gili Islands where you should spend at least 6 – 7 days. Gili Trawangan is the party island, Gili Meno is the honeymoon island and Gili Air is somewhere in between the two.
40. Head over to Lombok island and to the main tourist strip of Senggigi. 2 – 3 days is enough to enjoy its beautiful beaches, bays and mountains.
41. Next up, make your way to Kuta on the southern part of the island. There are plenty of beaches and natural wonders to discover along this coastline so you’ll need 3 – 4 days (and preferably a moped) to explore the area.
42. Fly from Lombok across to the city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java, where you can spend 2 – 3 days visiting the Borobudur and Prambanan temples complexes.
43. The final destination on your Indonesia itinerary is a trip to Mount Bromo and Mount Penanjakan. First head to the city of Probolinggo and from there you can travel onto both mountains for sunrise or sunset!
It goes without saying, there are plenty of other places that I would love to fit into my Southeast Asia itinerary and should should also consider for yours! Myanmar, Brunei and Sri Lanka to name a few. But hopefully the list above gives you at least a good starting point for planning your own Southeast Asia itinerary. Have you been anywhere I’ve missed off my list? Let me know in the comments below!
Itinerary looks great, what time of the year would be best to start with regards to weather and peak tourist times?
To be honest the weather is so varied across of of Southeast Asia you can’t really pick a best time to visit them all the countries above! That being said, we started our trip at the start of September and only really had bad weather in Singapore and Malaysia. In terms of peak tourist times, this generally goes hand and hand with the weather, the less rainfall the more tourists. We travelled towards the end of peak season in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and in low season for Malaysia. This was great for things such as not having to book accommodation far in advance and getting it cheaper. Whilst when we travelled in peak season in The Philippines accommodation was really booked out. Hope this helps 🙂
Very good itinerary. Do you have any idea how much it would cost?
Thanks for your question! I spent around £5000 on my 6 month trip. Though I would definitely say you could do it a bit cheaper than this, as I stayed in mostly budget hotels (double room split between 2 of us), eating at mix of cheap street food places and more expensive restaurants and doing lots of activities and attractions. Hope this helps!
Love this! But is it possible to do this itinerary in reverse?
Hi Sarah, thanks for your comment! You can absolutely do this itinerary in reverse 🙂
I’ve just stumbled across your blog whilst planning my year away backpacking Asia (in a few years time, hopefully Corona will be long gone). I’d love to know if you have any recommendations for a longer itinerary? Or any other tips in general.
Your blog has been super informative so far! Thanks ☺️
Thanks for your comment!
I’d definitely recommend staying longer in Indonesia and visit Flores & Komodo Island, adding Pai to your list for northern Thailand and exploring more of the islands in southern Thailand, as well as Siargao Island in The Philippines! I’d also definitely recommend travelling Vietnam for a month! 2 weeks just wasn’t long enough in the end!
This itinerary as it is could easily be done at a slower pace anyway though, as you’re planning to travel for a year you’ve got plenty of time to travel at a relaxed pace 🙂
I think my top tip for travelling Asia would be, although plan a rough route and places you want to visit don’t set those plans in stone. We had the first 2 weeks of this trip booked (e.g. hostels, transport etc), but after that we just booked things as we went along. Generally you don’t need to book hostels and transport in advance and this gave us the freedom to be more spontaneous and change our plans if we wanted, (which happened a lot more than I imagined!).
Also finally check the weather in the countries you want to visit as rainy season comes at different times of the year in different areas as well as peak tourist seasons as it can be cheaper to travel at the start or the end of these seasons.
Happy reading & planning! 🙂