We are often asked for recommendations on what to see and do in South East Asia. With so many cultural, culinary and adventure activities to be found it’s part of the world that you really need 2 -3 months to get a good overview of. Unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of getting that much time away.
So, we have taken our experience travelling around the region for a year to create our ultimate 3 week itinerary, for those on a tight timeline.
With this little time you will need to really focus on the best of the best, and we would highly recommend flying between destinations. Internal flights in the region are very well priced, particularly with discount carriers such as Bangkok Airways and Air Asia.
Below you will find a series of highlights we have curated on Afar.com, that show you some of the best of what to see and do in the regions we are recommending.
Our ultimate 3 week itinerary would include the following:
– 3 Nights in Hong Kong – great shopping, food and an easy modern city that provides and easy entry point to travel throughout Asia.
– 3 Night Ho Chin Minh City with a side trip to the Meekong Delta or Hoi Ann if you have extra time that will allow for it (both would require at least another 3 nights on their own)
– 2 Nights Bangkok – Temples, Floating Markets and the best Weekend Market in Asia mean you will want at least two days here. Don’t miss a Thai Massage at Wat Po – a buddhist temple and massage school.
– 2 Nights in Chiang Mai – Cooking Schools, Elephant Treks and a much more low key atmosphere than Bangkok are some of the draws of Northern Thailand
– 3 Nights in Luang Prubang, Laos = Luang Prubang is a peaceful Oasis where the french influence is still strongly felt. You will find no shortage of hip, sytlish hotels in this remote, sleepy outpost just don’t expect a 5 star experience. This is still a remote and rustic destination, but something about it is truly wonderful. The night market here is much more low key than others throughout Asia.
– 3 Nights in either Phuket & Phi Phi Island or Koh Sumai – the white sand beaches and snorkelling here make for a relaxing few days. 5 nights would be better than 3 if you have the time.
– 3 Nights in Siem Reap Cambodia – one of the great cultural and archaeological destinations of the world. Your going to want to fly here rather than the rough journey overland, but the destination is worth the journey. Some great boutique style hotels here that are unlike anything else to be found in Cambodia.
– Final 2 Nights in Bangkok – chances are you’ll need to catch your international flight back out of Bangkok and a final to nights here let’s you get in any last minute shopping. Check out MBK mall and the area around it.
Below are a few of the highlights from each of these destinations.