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4 weeks trip to South East Asia

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Hi Guys,

So we just booked a good deal with a flight to Singapore at the end of January, 2018. We will will be landing in Singapore on 24th. Now I know Singapore is not an ideal place to start a southeast asia trip as compared to Bangkok but I dont think we will be getting a better deal than this anytime soon this year and also Singapore is like 70 CAD flight to Bangkok.

At the moment we were thinking about starting like Singapore - Kuala Lumpur - Bangkok - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City(Maybe) - Then check the Thai islands either the Gulf or the southern islands - off to Indonesia (Wife wants to visit it - still looking which place we can accommodate in our trip, maybe areas in South of Indonesia, Jakarta, Bali, Gili islands not sure). But I think Indonesia will be hard to include as its bit little off the route. I know we will be skipping the north Thailand Laos and North Vietnam but we can save that for our next trip

We can also do the typical route: Singapore-Thailand-Laos-Vietnam-Cambodia-Thai Islands but I think that will require more time than 4 weeks as some of the on land routes I heard take around full day and we dont want to waste any day.

But again we just started planning it like last week. We would like to know your opinion/feedback about how we can come upto a best itinerary for our 4 weeks around south east asia. It will be me and my wife in this trip and for now we are planning a budget of around 3-5k CAD including accommodation, transportation and food which we will adjust as we start finalizing our possible itinerary so we do have flexibility.

Feel free to share your feedback/advice/itinerary/experiences/recommendations/hotels/hostels/activities/food

Thanks and looking forward to hear from you


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    Where are you flying home from? Do you have to return to Singapore? This will make a difference in routing.

    Most of SE Asia is relatively inexpensive. Singapore is a very expensive city, so you would be wise to minimize your time there.

    From the places you have listed, I'd cut Kuala Lumpur - not much to see there, IMO.

    Indonesia has lots of fascinating places to visit, but Jakarta is not one of them.

    You will need to limit the number of places you visit, as each time you change locations, you will lose a minimum of half a day o travel, and some days you will lose most of a day. So think about what you would like to see/do/experience on this trip.

    Take a look at guidebooks and at trip reports here to help you decide what to see/do. Once you know more about what you want from this trip, we can be more helpful.

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    Bear in mind that Lunar New Year will take place February 16 next year. Each country celebrates a little differently, but you would definitely be impacted in Singapore and Vietnam at this time. Less so in Thailand and Indonesia. I'm not sure about Cambodia or Malaysia.

    Does your budget of 3-5K CAD include your longhaul flights from home to Singapore and back home? Either way, you'll need to research budget travel, which is readily available in most of SE Asia aside from Singapore.

    Wherever possible, I would suggest you use AirAsia which is cheap and efficient. You do have to be aware, however, that their cancellation/change policy is quite rigid.

    You can easily get to Bali/Denpasar from Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. I agree you can skip Jakarta, but you may want to add Central Java (Yogyakarta and Borobudur).

    January is the wet season in Bali, Lombok and Java. The good news is that rates will be low, but your beach time may get rained out. Central Java and Ubud in Bali will still be enjoyable, even in the rain.

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    Kathie and Marmot thanks alot for replying

    So we are flying from Calgary, Canada to Singapore and yes our return flight is from Singapore too. We are planning to spend like 02 days in Singapore just to get some rest, get use to the time difference and wear off the jet lag(hopefully--mehhh) and then off to our next destination.

    @ Marmot, 3-5K is excluding our long haul flights but they will include the flights within SEA.

    @Kathie, We just wanted to check out the Petrona towers in KL that is the only reason we want to stop by there (well for now unless you guys can suggest something else? I heard Penang is also a better place to check it out. And you are right about skipping out the places as that can waste a lot of time during travelling. At the moment we have

    Singapore(02 days)

    KL(50/50 as Kathie suggested - 01/02 days)

    Thai Islands 05-07 days
    (Any suggestions where we can stay and check out the other islands. In the south we have Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lanta, Ko Lipe, Ko kood, Langkawi, is it possible to stay at one of these island and check the others in 05-07 days? Also then there are islands on Gulf of Thailand like Ko samui Ko Pha Ngan. We dont want to have any fancy resort stuff but a decent reasonable priced separate hut/room will work.

    Bangkok(100% - 04-05 days) -

    Krong Siem Reap(100% - 02 days)

    Should we do Vietnam like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City or just skip the whole Vietnam and fly to KL and then to Indonesia??

    For Indonesia, yes so I checked Jakarta and there is nothing much there. With Bali, I heard its really tourist and super expensive. Can we have stay under budget in Bali? or we will have to splurge little bit?

    Indonesia to Singapore for our return flight

    I am going to check Central Java (Yogyakarta and Borobudur)as Mormot recommended.

    Also what airline should I keep an eye on flights within SEA. I noticed that flights between Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam are pretty expensive.

    So what do you think about the itinerary, should we head towards Bangkok first?

    Again thanks for your feedback. We really appreciate it

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    Here are some comments on your itinerary: For Thai Islands, you want yo be on the Andaman Sea at that time of the year. If you want beach time, you will want to choose one beach area so you don't waste all of your beach time "checking out" other islands. I would avoid Koh Phi Phi - now the definition of over-touristed. I also wouldn't go to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand at that time of the year - not the best weather and the waters will be rough. Stick to the areas on the Andaman Sea: Phuket, Koh Lanta, etc. Langkawi is in Malaysia, though nearby.

    Siem Reap - you only have 2 days, not even enough time to see the major temples. Are you not interested in the temples of Angkor? If you aren't interested, don't go, as it is an expensive side trip. If you are interested, get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples.

    One can certainly go to Bali on a budget. You don't have to stay at fancy resorts. Just do a little research. The Lonely Planet Guides and the Rough Guides can give you lots of suggestions. For Java, do read my trip report " Kathie's Return to Jogja" (click on my name and look under trip reports). Photos are at

    For air within SE Asia look at Air Asia (the cheapest) but also look at Bangkok Air which offers a Discovery Pass that can be a good deal depending on where you are going.

    VN is a big country - a few days just won't do it. So do your research and decide whether you want to go this trip or save it for another time. Given the amount of time you have, I'd say choose either Indonesia or VN - you really don't have time for both.

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    Bali is extremely budget travel friendly, especially during the rainy season. Finding nice accommodation in the USD50-60 range is definitely doable. The inland area around Ubud will offer a lot of choices. Rates are somewhat higher along the southern beaches, lower you venture further north. Food is cheap, notably so if you like Indonesian food. Wine and alcohol are very expensive.

    The southern beaches are heavily touristed (as are beaches in Thailand) with a focus on ocean activities -- swimming, surfing, sunning, sunset or sunrise on the beach, walks on the beach, drinks and meals on the beach. Snorkeling and diving in the northeast and northwest.

    The rest of Bali offers a glimpse into the unique Balinese Hindu culture with an emphasis on performing arts, arts and crafts, religious pageantry and ceremonies. It also offers adventure activities like mountain trekking, rain forest and rice paddy walks, rafting, biking.

    Wellness activities like yoga, spa treatments and massage, and organic foods are popular all over Bali (which makes Bali an excellent place to recover from jetlag). You can also find a range of classes -- cooking, textiles, painting, offering making, photography etc.

    There's a lot to do.

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