Southeast Asia tour: tips, ideas, routes

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The countries of Southeast Asia can be combined extremely well. Below I have put together tips, ideas and routes for a round trip of several weeks. You can organize your tour yourself or book it with a tour operator.

Southeast Asia is the destination of countless travel fans. Lying on Krabi's beaches , exploring the underwater world of Indonesia or walking through the fabulous Angkor temples - many dream of that.

Southeast Asia tour: planning, tips and ideas

Most holidaymakers are drawn to Thailand first, before repeating the focus on neighboring countries after a few repetitions. Because these are just as attractive, as a look at the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia proves.

It is no longer just backpackers who want to experience several countries on one trip. So here are a few tips for planning your Southeast Asia tour .

Before you start with the specific organization, you should clarify right at the beginning how long you can travel, which travel period is suitable for you, and how much budget you have available.

You can then create a list of places that interest you. You can find suggestions, for example, on Asian blogs or in travel guides. There are a few books on the subject that do not focus on just one country, such as » Southeast Asia. The island world « or » Southeast Asia. The Mekong region « .

In my article "Everything you need to travel" I name other useful tools that help you to work out possible routes.

When planning, consider which travel time in which country is most suitable for you. While you can travel to most countries all year round, there are a few things you should know about the weather, climate, and the pros and cons of high and low seasons.

The rainy season varies depending on the region. Some areas can still be traveled well, as long as a short shower in the afternoon doesn't bother you. For other areas, for example the Philippines during the typhoon season, it is best to plan double-track with an alternative option.

Therefore, find out before you book, for example about the best time to visit Thailand , the weather in Malaysia or the climate in Indonesia .

There are some pages that have completely specialized in the optimal travel time of the individual countries. However, keep in mind: Even in Southeast Asia, the weather no longer adheres to old traditions.

I have been to Thailand Co. several times during the rainy season. I always liked it, because it is still warm in many places, and the showers are often short-lived. In return, the hotels lure in the off-season with low prices and popular tourist destinations are not so crowded.

The entry requirements are very different. Depending on which country you want to go to, you have to get a visa in advance. The good thing: in many countries you have the opportunity to enter spontaneously. You will then receive a temporary right of residence together with the stamp in the passport.

Here you will find an overview with all visa and entry requirements for Southeast Asia . But be careful: The requirements for, for example, the Thailand visa , the Vietnam visa or the Indonesia visa have been updated frequently in recent years. So it can't hurt to check the embassy's homepage again when the trip gets closer.

There are direct flights to almost all Southeast Asian capitals, but they are usually somewhat more expensive than, for example, the connections with a stopover, which are offered by Arab or Chinese airlines.

Southeast Asia travelers often fly to Bangkok first, even if their actual travel destination is not Thailand. There are countless scheduled flights from Europe there, so the chance of a cheap flight is greatest here.

From the two capital airports Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) you have a huge range of connections to neighboring countries. It usually goes on with the regional low-cost airlines.

Other hubs include Changi Airport in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Of course, the choice of destination airport depends primarily on the country in which you want to start your tour.

You don't have to go back to the starting point at the end of the trip. With an open-jaw flight, for example, you can fly to Bangkok on the way there and later return from Singapore.

Southeast Asia: getting around

Southeast Asia has an excellently developed flight network. A number of low-cost airlines compete for the favor of travelers. With luck, domestic flights start at 30 euros, but connections to neighboring countries are usually not expensive either. Flight search engines will help you plan your trip if you know which airport is near your destination.

You can get around very cheaply if you do not fly. Whether a minibus or a modern double-decker: there are countless lines available. There are special offers along the tourist destinations.

The train network in the individual countries is usually very manageable, but a good option in countries such as Vietnam or Thailand.

Ferries run regularly to all touristic islands.

Tickets are available on the following platforms:

If you don't want to organize all stages yourself, you can take part in organized tours. You don't have to plan the entire trip with an organizer.

But you can, for example, book certain stages as travel modules. You can find suggestions for this here:

Guided tours are a little more expensive than if you organize the trip on your own, but you leave the planning to experts who know their way around and you don't have to worry about anything yourself.

In addition, you can see a lot in a short time because the processes on site have been perfected over the years.

If you are interested in a guided tour, but the prices are too high, you may be able to book a Southeast Asia group tour .

Southeast Asia Tour: Route

Many travelers make the mistake of planning too much when planning. It is not advisable to rush through four to five countries in three weeks or to see all of Southeast Asia in two months. Of course, an overnight stay is enough in some places before continuing. On average, you should plan at least two to three nights per travel destination. And for a complete country - except for the small states like Brunei or Singapore - I would calculate three to four weeks. And then we're still only talking about the absolute highlights.

So plan time buffers for your route. It would be a shame if you discover a wonderful place, but have to travel quickly because the next destination is already waiting.

Backpackers have linked travel destinations in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam for decades. Thanks to many bus connections, this can also be done easily by land.

Since the introduction of political reforms in Myanmar, Thailand's neighboring country has been put on the travel route more and more frequently. However, since only a few border crossings have been opened for Europeans so far, entry is usually by plane.

Another popular route is from Thailand via Malaysia to Singapore. If you fly to East Malaysia, you can get to know a completely different world there in the Sultanate of Brunei and its capital Bandar Seri Begawan .

Indonesia and the Philippines are island countries that almost always require a longer journey by plane.

If you only have 14 days, you should plan your route particularly well in order to spend as much time in beautiful places and as little time as possible in any means of transport.

The combination of Thailand + Angkor (Cambodia) or Vietnam + Angkor is popular with those who only have two weeks available. Both can be combined well.

Laos + Thailand, Laos + Vietnam and Laos + Cambodia are also a good combination for a round trip.

Another possible tour is from Bangkok via Malaysia to Singapore. That can also be done well in two weeks.

If you want to see a lot in a short time and do not have to pay attention to every cent in the travel budget, you can book a guided tour of Southeast Asia . This is organized by experts and includes all transfers and, if desired, (German-speaking) guides.

The time is actually too short for a real tour. However, it is possible to combine at least individual countries with one another. Here are two examples from countless options:
Route A: Thailand Cambodia

Route B: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore

You have a little more options if you are away for four weeks. Here are two suggestions.

Route A: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

Route B: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia

In two to three months you have the opportunity to collect a lot of impressions. A good option is the route via northern Thailand (Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Rai) to Laos (Luang Prabang, Muang Ngoi Neua , plain of the clay jugs) and then to the north of Vietnam (for example Sapa , Hanoi and Halong Bay ).

Then you can travel from Hanoi comfortably along the coast to the south of the country to Saigon (stops: Hue , Hoi An , Mui Né ). From there it continues to the Mekong Delta to the floating markets and to Phu Quoc . Then you leave Vietnam and still have time for a detour to Cambodia (for example Phnom Penh, Angkor, Battambang , Sihanoukville or Koh Rong ) before you come back to Thailand.

Of course, as part of your tour, you can also focus on the beaches in southern Thailand (e.g. Phuket , Krabi , Koh Lanta ), then travel through Malaysia ( Penang , Cameron Highlands) and later fly from Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam or Cambodia.

A trip from Bangkok to Myanmar is also recommended. In two weeks you have the chance to visit Yangon , Bagan , Mandalay and Inle Lake , for example.

Southeast Asia tour: tips

Finally, a few more useful tips to help you plan your trip.

  1. Find out early what vaccinations are recommended for your travel destinations. It is best to consult a doctor with a focus on tropical medicine three months before the start of your trip.
  2. It is also recommended to take some medication with you in case of an emergency. Here you will find tips for the first aid kit for Southeast Asia .
  3. Don't take too many things with you! Especially if you travel a lot, it will be annoying if your suitcase or backpack is too heavy. I have created a packing list for Southeast Asia that takes all eventualities into account. Simply delete the things you don't need there.
  4. Buy a SIM card on site. In most Southeast Asian countries, you can easily buy a prepaid SIM card. This gives you the opportunity to make very cheap calls and - which is probably more important - use the Internet for little money.
  5. Apply for an international driver's license if you want to drive a car on site (this is not possible in all countries). You can get this for 15 euros from the road traffic office. It is valid for three years.
  6. Save money with the right credit card. In some countries, banks charge high fees for cash withdrawals that only a few credit institutions in your home country can reimburse you. In my text I reveal what these are for the best credit card for Thailand and Southeast Asia .
  7. I have put together many dream destinations in the region in my Backpacking Guide in Southeast Asia .

Better informed, experience more!

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Fantastic trips to Southeast Asia

Would you like to go to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia? Are you dreaming of a vacation in the Philippines or in Myanmar? Then take a look at our offers. Together with local tour operators in the individual countries, we have developed attractive round trips (private and group trips). In addition, your vacation can also be designed individually according to your wishes.

Click here for route suggestions and further information.