SE Asia Itinerary

Because my boyfriend and I don’t know how not to plan…and because I knew everyone who reads my blog was dying to know…here’s our SE Asia itinerary. The real itinerary took months to plan…I’ll give you the highlights.


  • Doha – Al-Corniche, Souq Waqif, and the Museum of Islamic Art



  • Bangkok – Banglamphu neighborhood, Siam Ocean World (I’m dating a guy obsessed with aquariums – who knew?), and SHOPPING…hey, I’ve spent the last two years in Ethiopia
  • Koh Tao – Scuba certification and beaches!
  • Phetchaburi – Tham Khao Luang Cave and Tham Khao Bandai-It Monastery aka bats, bats, and more bats
  • Kanchanburi – Death Railway Bridge aka Bridge Over the River Kwai (which we all pronounce incorrectly, thanks to Hollywood)
  • Bangkok (again) – Ko Ratanakosin and Thonburi neighborhoods for the Grand Palace, National Museum, the Amulet Market, and countless stunning wats (temples)




  • Hanoi – Water puppets (can’t wait to find out what exactly this is), Women’s Museum, Hoan Kiem Lake & Temple, Temple of Literature (because how could two people as nerdy as me and Chandler not go?), Old Quarter, and the Perfume Pagoda
  • Halong Bay – Kayaking, rock climbing, and island exploration, especially Hang Trong (aka Drum Grotto) and Dao Titop
  • Phong Nha-ke Bang National Park – Paradise Cave, Phong Nha Cave, and the Nuoc Mooc Eco Trail (wanted to see Hang Son Doong, the world’s biggest cave, but it costs about $3,000 and only 200 people can enter each year)
  • Hue – Imperial Enclosure and the Royal Tombs
  • Hoi An – Historical Old Town
  • Nha Trang – Louisiane Brewhouse and the Oceanographic Museum. Can you tell which of us chose this town? : )
  • Mui Ne – This stop was all me though, motorbiking through sand dunes
  • HCMC – Jade Emperor Pagoda, Fine Arts Museum, and the Tao Dan Park
  • Can Tho – Phong Dien Floating Market




  • Sihanoukville – Beaches and snorkeling
  • Kampot – Phnom Chhnork (cave temple) and a nighttime firefly boat tour
  • Phnom Penh – Shadow puppets, Royal Palace, National Museum, National Library (again, could we really pass this up?), and the Russian Market
  • Battambang – Day-long boat ride to Siem Reap
  • Siem Reap – Angkor Wat (possible hot air balloon experience?), Angkor Thom, Ta Prohom (where Tomb Raider was shot), Beng Mealea (same floor plan as Angkor Wat, but retaken by nature and described as “the ultimate Indiana Jones experience” because climbing is permitted), and Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre
  • Sen Monorom – Our elephant encounter at the Elephant Valley Lodge




  • Pakse – Gibbon Experience (ziplining through waterfalls and sleeping in treehouses) and Wat Phu Champasak
  • Don Det & Don Khon Islands – Kayaking with Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong
  • Savannaket – Dinosaur Museum and Wat Sainyaphum
  • Tha Khack – Tham Kong Lo (a 7 km boat ride through what’s described as a cathedral-high limestone cave aka Middle Earth or the Greek Underwold of Hades)
  • Vientiane – Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park), Patuxai (Laotian Arc de Triomphe), and Pha That Luang (the most important national monument in Laos)
  • Vang Vieng – Bicycling around the Tham Sang Triangle of caves and river tubing
  • Luang Prabang – Royal Palace Museum, the Handicraft Night Market, and Tat Kuang Si (home to footbridges and footpaths winding around waterfalls)



Thailand (again):

  • Chiang Rai – Wat Rong Khun (the White Wat)
  • Chiang Mai – Talat Tonlamya (flower market), walking tour of Old City and its wats, Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens, and if we planned this correctly, we’ll be here for Loi Krathong, the paper lantern festival
  • Sukhothai – Sukhothai Historical Park (21 historical sites and four large ponds within the old walls, with an additional 70 sites within a 5 km radius). The highlight being Wat Trapang Thong (original site of the Loi Krathong festival) – might also be here during the festival
  • Ayuthaya – More wats and ruins! As well as the Million Toy Museum (awesome, right?), the floating market, and Bang Pa In Palace
  • Nang Rong – Day trip to Phanom Rung (the largest and best restored Khmer monument in Thailand, it crowns the summit of a volcano 200 m above paddy fields)
  • Bangkok (again, again) – Chinatown, Lumphini Park, and views from the Baiyoke II Tower
  • After that, one of the few things we’re undecided on…a week soaking up the sun on Ko Phi-Phi island OR scuba diving at Richelieu Rock (considered one of the best dive sites in the world). Will the best beaches or the best diving win out? I’ll let you know in about 4 months



Hope you enjoyed the abbreviated itinerary : ) I didn’t want to bore you with all the details (our full itinerary is 6 pages long!). But for the record, this is all absolutely optional. We’re pre-booking nothing so that we can stay as long as we want (or leave as soon as we want) in any place. And who knows what additional stops we’ll discover along the way.

I’ve never spent any amount of time (extended or otherwise) on the road – my family didn’t believe in road trips. So we’ll see how well I survive 4 months on the road in SE Asia. Fingers crossed!

  1. I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks, I’ll try and check back more frequently.

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