If you follow this backpack route in Southeast Asia you will see most of this amazing region without many diversions. While zigzagging you can see a large part of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This route is intended as a red line. There are still plenty of sights, excursions and other locations not included in this route that we would highly recommend to do. In this example we have taken Bangkok as the starting place, although you could also do the route the other way around. In that case you start in Hanoi. The south of Thailand is not included in this route. If you want to see the south, you can implement this well before you go to Ayutthaya or if you do the route the other way around, after you’ve been to Bangkok.
Backpack Route Southeast Asia
The most popular starting point for traveling through Southeast Asia. Flying to Bangkok is easy and cheap. There is so much to see and do in the Thai capital Bangkok. Moreover, you will probably meet many other backpackers here.
2) Bangkok> Ayutthaya
Make a stopover in the former capital, Ayutthaya. Here you will find beautiful temples and ruins.
3) Ayutthaya> Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is a very nice city, with a wonderful atmosphere, many sights and varied activities. Also try to make time to visit the amazing town of Pai.
4) Chiang Mai> Chiang Rai
In the relaxed Chiang Rai you can view the impressive White Temple and enjoy the best food from the north of Thailand.
5) Chiang Rai> Huay Xai
At Huay Xai, cross the border to Laos. This town itself is not very interesting.
6) Huay Xai> Luang Prabang
Travel by slowboat across the Mekong to the fun Luang Prabang. In this beautiful city you can view many beautiful temples.
7) Luang Prabang> Vang Vieng
The infamous Vang Vieng is especially recommended if you want to party for a few days, but you can also explore the beautiful nature of Laos here.
8) Vang Vieng> Vientiane
Vientiane is the capital of Laos. You can see a number of sights here, but it is not the nicest city in Asia.
9) Vientiane> Savannakhet
Stopover in Savannakhet, the second city of Laos. The surroundings of the city are especially beautiful.
10) Savannakhet> Pakse> Champassak
Travel via the not too interesting Pakse, to Champassak. Here you have a few fun activities in beautiful nature.
11) Pakse> Si Phan Don
Si Phan Don is a collection of 4,000 islands. You will also find waterfalls, beaches and many backpackers.
12) Si Phan Don> Siem Reap
Travel to Siem Reap for the Angor temples, one of the highlights of your journey through Southeast Asia.
13) Siem Reap> Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia. Visit the Killing Fields to learn more about the sad history of the country.
14) Phnom Penh> Koh Rong (Samloen)
Travel to the southern resort of Sihanoukville. From here you can go to the nice Koh Rong and / or the quieter Koh Rong Samloen.
15) Koh Rong> Ho Chi Minh City
Begin your journey through Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City. The city has a good nightlife and several interesting sights linked to the Vietnam war.
16) Ho Chi Minh City> Mui Ne
Mui Ne is a nice seaside resort, with a good atmosphere and a number of fun activities.
17) Mui Ne> Hoi An
Continue your journey to Hoi An. This is our favorite destination in Vietnam. The atmosphere is great, the center is incredibly beautiful and there is a lot to do.
18) Hoi An> Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is a charming and incredibly beautiful province and is certainly worth a visit.
19) Ninh Binh> Halong Bay
Halong Bay is 1 of the 7 natural wonders of the world, so a must see.
20) Halong Bay> Hanoi
End the trip in the capital Hanoi or travel further north to the mountain village of Sapa.
Duration of your trip
This route is an ideal common thread for a longer journey through Southeast Asia. A minimum period of three months is ideal. You could do it in two months, but then you might have to skip some things here and there. Vietnam in particular is incredibly large; you want to schedule a minimum 4 weeks for this. Read more about the highlights in Vietnam here.