Starting to Plan Our Trip to Southeast Asia

It has been over six months since I returned from Africa, and I am thrilled to be planning another trip. As I mentioned in a previous post, we will be taking a trip to Southeast Asia this autumn. Like always, I will be sharing my trip planning process with you.

As has been the case with previous trips, my first task was deciding where we are going to visit. There are so many incredible places to visit in Southeast Asia, so this decision was really tough. If I had months on end to travel, I would love to see it all. However, some places will have to wait for a future trip as we only have two weeks.

Trip to Southeast Asia - Phuket, Thailand
Phuket, Thailand

After much deliberation, we have decided to visit several locations in the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The primary focus of the trip will be on three areas – Chaing Mai and Phuket in Thailand and Siem Reap in Cambodia. However, we also plan on spending a bit of time exploring both Bangkok in Thailand and Da Nang in Vietnam as well. In this article on planning our trip to Southeast Asia, I explain why we chose these sites and what our rough itinerary looks like so far.

Where We Plan to Go

Trip to Southeast Asia - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

While this Southeast Asia trip is certain to be incredible, our 15-day timeline limits what we are able to see and do in the area somewhat. There are so many incredible things to see in the area, so some of that will need to wait for a future trip. This whole trip started with a desire to see the amazing landscapes and culture of Thailand, so that is primarily what this trip is focused on.

However, I am a firm believer in not traveling all the way around the world to miss something that is right next to where we are going. For that reason, we have added a few stops in both Cambodia and Vietnam to the itinerary so that we can see specific things in those countries.

Rough Itinerary

Trip to Southeast Asia - Da Nang, Vietnam
Da Nang, Vietnam

In many ways it is a whirlwind trip, but we plan on spending enough days in each location to see exactly what we want to see. We have also intentionally left Phuket at the end of the trip as this stop will also include some downtime to unwind before we start to head home. For more details on our Southeast Asia Trip, please see our rough itinerary map and description below.

Rough Itinerary Map for our Southeast Asia Trip
Rough Itinerary Map for our Southeast Asia Trip

Our First Stop is the Incredible City of Chiang Mai, Thailand

We will be flying into and out of Bangkok, so that will be our point of arrival and departure from this trip. From there, we plan to first head north to the incredible city of Chiang Mai. After touring its temples, tasting the amazing food, seeing the spectacular wildlife, and marveling and the beautiful landscapes, we will head to the city of Da Nang in Vietnam.

We Make Stops in Da Nang, Vietnam and Siem Reap, Cambodia

In Da Nang, we specifically want to see the Golden Bridge and the Dragon Bridge, as both look absolutely epic. We will only be staying in Da Nang for a few short days before flying to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Here, we plan on touring the infamous Angkor Wat temple and the surrounding temples. This wonder of the world is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see it.

We Finish Our Trip in Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands

After seeing the amazing temples in Cambodia, we will head to Phuket in Thailand for the last leg of our trip. There, we will tour the Phi Phi Islands, the area’s temples, and do some general relaxation before our trip home. From Phuket, we catch a plane to Bangkok and tour the city before heading home the next day.

General Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Fly to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Day 2 – Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Day 3 – Fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Day 4 – Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Day 5 – Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Day 6 – Fly to Da Nang, Vietnam
  • Day 7 – Da Nang, Vietnam
  • Day 8 – Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Day 9 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Day 10 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Day 11 – Fly to Phuket, Thailand
  • Day 12 – Phuket\Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
  • Day 13 – Phuket\Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
  • Day 14 – Fly to Bangkok, Thailand
  • Day 15 – Fly Home

Bangkok, Thailand

Trip to Southeast Asia - Bangkok Floating Market
Bangkok Floating Market

If you follow my blog closely, you know that I am not a really big fan of large cities. I like to see them, but I don’t especially like to spend a lot of time in them. I am more at home in the mountains, on the beach, or in a small town in the countryside. You can’t visit Bangkok without seeing the highlights of the city, but that is likely all we will be doing in Bangkok. We will have the better part of two days (one at the start of our trip and one at the end) to explore this incredible city. One of the things I am looking most forward to seeing are the floating markets.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand

One of the places I am most looking forward to see on this trip to Southeast Asia is the incredible city of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. There is a staggering number of incredible temples, but a wealth of amazing wildlife to see in the area. We made sure to schedule three days in Chiang Mai so that we can see everything that we want to see in the area. This includes a possible trip into Laos when touring the Golden Triangle.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Da Nang, Vietnam

After leaving Chiang Mai, the next step on our trip to Southeast Asia will be in the incredible city of Da Nang in Vietnam. Unfortunately, this will be the shortest stop on our trip. There are so many incredible things to see and do in Vietnam, we will definitely have to return. We thought of visiting Hanoi and see the unbelievable Ha Long Bay, but we want to have more time to explore that area. So, we will leave that to a future trip to Southeast Asia.

So instead, we will be making a stop at Da Nang to see something that we have long wanted to see. Da Nang has many amazing things to see and do, but it is most famous for its spectacular bridges. Most notably, the Golden Bridge. This jaw-droppingly beautiful bridge looks like two giant stone hands are holding it up. That is something I really want to see in person. We also want to see the giant dragon bridge, which actually breathes fire. It should be an incredible place to visit!

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

There aren’t a lot of places in Southeast Asia that are as renowned or as incredible as Siem Reap. Home to the spectacular Angkor Wat temple, Siem Reap is one of the top tourism destinations in the area. Ever since the country opened up again after the reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia has been drawing an increasing number of tourists to see its breathtaking wonders. Many who visit come to see Angkor Wat and are astonished by how many other incredible temples and landscapes there are to see. I am humbled to be able to visit this amazing place this autumn and am counting the days until I get to see it in person.

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand
Phuket, Thailand

The last stop on our trip to Southeast Asia may just be the most spectacular of them all. If you have dreamed about visiting a landscape straight out of a Jurassic Park or James Bond film, then Phuket in Southern Thailand is right up your alley. Home to the spectacular Phi Phi Islands and an island named after James Bond himself, the area is unbelievable.

Renowned for its gigantic sea stacks that rise out of the ocean to form one of the most breathtaking landscapes on Earth, the Phuket area is much like the renowned Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. We plan on spending three days in the area exploring and relaxing in this otherworldly place. To say I am excited would be an understatement!

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Categories: Asia, Asia Travel Advice, Cambodia, Laos, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Travel, VietnamTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What a great trip – you will love SE Asia!

  2. That sounds like a good balance of places. I can’t wait to hear about your trip!

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