How to Spend One Month in Southeast Asia ...


How to Spend One Month in Southeast Asia ...
How to Spend One Month in Southeast Asia ...

Going traveling and want to know how to spend one month in Southeast Asia to maximise your time? Southeast Asia is an enchanting place with a vibrant mix of cultures, traditions and scenery. Attractive pricing and plenty of opportunities to interact with locals make the region a dream destination for backpackers and budget travelers from around the world. If you’re lucky enough to spend a month here, your best bet will be to start in northern Vietnam and snake your way south to Laos and Cambodia before ending your adventure in Ho Chi Minh City. Here’s how that translates into a month’s itinerary for Southeast Asia.

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Week 1: Hanoi and Halong Bay

Now over 1,000 years old, Hanoi perhaps best represents Vietnam as a country. To start off from the beginning, head to the city’s Old Quarter. The neighbourhood is its own spectacle and is full locals going about their everyday business. It’s also one of the best places in town to sample Vietnamese streetfood. There are plenty of dishes to try that will cost under $1 USD, such as bo kho (beef stew) and banh can (rice pancakes). Other cultural highlights of Hanoi include the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ (Hoa Lo Prison) and the ancient Van Mieu Temple, which is located on grounds over 1,000 years old.

Hanoi is a bustling city to say the least, so to take a break from the noise and the crowds, take a train or tour to tranquil Halong Bay. Companies operating from the bay offer day and multi-day backpacker boat tours of the surrounding islands for excellent rates. These often include meals as well.


Week 2: Vientiane and Van Vieng

From Hanoi, hop a plane or navigate the railways south to Vientiane, Laos. Vientiane is the capital of the nation and home to numerous historic monuments and bustling street markets. No trip to the city is complete without visiting Pha That Luang, a centuries-old Buddhist stupa. Other attractions in the city include Wat Si Muang (Buddhist Temple) and Talat Sao (morning market), where you can find local silks, jewellery and other souvenirs at great bargains.

While in Laos, take the time to explore its beautiful natural surroundings. Vang Vieng is an easy day trip from the capital and allow you to view the Laotian countryside as it has existed for centuries. At Vang Vieng, you can explore local villages, trek through the jungle or go caving.


Week 3: Phnom Penh and Chau Doc

Phnom Penh, Cambodia is a day’s bus ride from Vientiane, but is also accessible via several low-cost airlines. The city is home to a spectacular royal palace that is not to be missed. After a long day of exploring, head to Sisowath Quay Riverwalk. Here you’ll find evidence of Cambodia’s French influence as you stroll by riverside cafes along the promenade. Take the time to sample some local cuisine, which is highlighted by Kampot crab, stir-fries, curries and more.

The river lies at the heart of many Southeast Asian cities and Phnom Penh is no different. The best and most peaceful way to view the city is on a boat. Local water taxis are an incredible bargain and offer the same views and pricier tourist cruises. At the end of your stay in Phnom Penh, hop on a commuter boat to Chau Doc, Vietnam and enjoy the views of waterside villages along the way. At the border of Cambodia and Vietnam, Chau Doc is a lively mix of cultures and languages that is worth a few days of exploring.


Week 4: Ho Chi Minh City

From Chau Doc, take a bus, train or even motorcycle to Ho Chi Minh City. As Vietnam’s largest city, there’s a laundry list of things to do, see and explore here. The Reunification Palace, various museums and Notre Dame Cathedral are all tourist favorites, but to experience the real Ho Chi Minh City, simply take to the streets. Bargains can be found on every street corner here, so you won’t have to worry about your budget. Amazing Pho can be found at local street vendors for under $2 and the coffee in town is also great. This city is a great place to indulge yourself a bit, especially after nearly a month of travel. Relaxing foot massages and other spa treatments start at just $3 here.

Seeing Southeast Asia in one month is going to be busy but action packed and tons of fun. The itinerary above will help you get the most you can out of the region.

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