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6-Week Southeast Asia Itinerary Guidance for First-Timers

By RitaUpdated Oct. 24, 2023

A 6-week Southeast Asia tour could be a wonderful gift for a big birthday, a romantic milestone, or perhaps retirement...

In this article, we offer suggestions on allocating your time, a classic itinerary, and cost ranges to help you plan your dream trip.

How to Spend Your 6 Weeks in Southeast Asia

Our clients are celebrating their family reunion in Thailand. Our clients are celebrating their family reunion in Thailand.

Instead of the popular 2–3 weeks in Southeast Asia that many choose, you could take advantage of a slower travel pace, visit more eye-opening destinations, enjoy leisurely days in a tropical paradise, and have a more flexible travel schedule with 6 weeks.

When selecting your destinations, you're suggested to balance adventure with relaxation. Among the 10+ Southeast Asian countries, Thailand, Indonesia (mainly Bali), Malaysia, and the Philippines are great choices for beach vacations. Thailand is the most popular destination among them for its more comprehensive and diverse experience.

Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar have their hidden gems where you can deeply experience their cultures and rustic life. Meanwhile, if you seek a leisurely feel with some adventure opportunities, Vietnam is an excellent place to go.

For a comfortable tour pace, visiting around 5 countries in 6 weeks is suggested. If you aim to see the multiple facets of Southeast Asia, SE Asia's top five destinations (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar) are the best choice for first-timers. You could get some itinerary ideas from our hand-picked 28-day Grand Indochina tour>>>

By planning changes of pace into your itinerary, you could leisurely refresh/recharge at a spa resort or on a sunny beach after every activity-filled week. Travelling on a private tour with some free days offers the perfect mix of guided exploration and independent discovery as well.

For any other interests, simply contact us to customize your itinerary based on your preferences.

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A Classic 6-Week Southeast Asia Itinerary: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar

Interacting with lovely elephantsInteracting with lovely elephants

If this is your first time visiting Southeast Asia and you are seeking a diverse range of experiences, this itinerary is ideal for you. You would discover the core nations of the Southeast Asia peninsula: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

With this 6-week Southeast Asia trip plan, you can fully indulge in an awesome range of activities: our well-organized food-hunting tours, exclusive Angkor Wat walking tour, carefully-selected 3-day Ha Long Bay cruise...

In addition, staying at character-filled boutique hotels would make your trip especially memorable (perfect for unique and romantic occasions): elegant 1920s-style hotels, floating houses, jungle hotels, tree houses, and cliff hotels with infinity pools...

For an energetic-to-relaxing pace sequence, you're suggested to travel Myanmar–Thailand–Cambodia–Laos–Vietnam. Here's a classic 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary that we can customize based on your preferences:

8 Days in Myanmar: Mandalay – Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon

  • Days 1–2 in Mandalay (city tour with temples, witness thousands of monks dining, watch the sunset over U Bein Bridge)
  • Days 3–4 in Bagan (underground monastery, local markets, and sunset balloon ride over 2,000 pagodas)
  • Days 5–6 at Inle Lake (floating villages, floating markets, stunning lake view, and traditional fishing)
  • Days 7–8 in Yangon (an interesting local train ride, museums, and Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset)
Bagan, Myanmar Sunset in Bagan

In Myanmar, Bagan promises to be a memory-making treasure, particularly for romantic celebrations. You and your partner could find great photo opportunities from the grand pagodas complex to a sunrise/sunset balloon ride.

A trip to Inle Lake would unveil traditional floating-village life to you. In Yangon, visiting Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset would showcase the locals' devout Buddhist faith. Every Saturday evening, you would have a chance to take part in its candlelight-themed grand ceremony.

13 Days in Thailand: Chiang Mai – Phuket – Bangkok

  • Days 9–12 in Chiang Mai (foodie tour, flower market visit, elephant sanctuary, hill tribe trek)
  • Days 13–17 on Phuket (5 days of beach time, your choice of activities)
  • Days 18–21 in Bangkok (Grand Palace, temples, railway market, and a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River, excursion to Kanchanaburi)
Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai

Compared with Myanmar, Thailand offers more active and various experiences. You would explore its top three destinations: Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.

In Chiang Mai, walking and bathing elephants together would be a special and memorable experience. A romantic Yi Peng Festival experience could be an added bonus when travelling around November.

To take you away from the hustle and bustle, a hill tribe trek in Chiang Mai and an overnight floating house stay in Kanchanaburi would definitely be highlights during your trip.

For a tropical getaway, Phuket is a great choice, known for its stunning beaches and abundant water activities. Alternatively, Koh Samui would be better if you're keen on a more romantic vibe.

Check out more ideas about planning your dream trip to Thailand>>>

3 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Days 22–24 in Siem Reap (Angkor Wat, Apsara Dance Show, 1-hour sunset quad bike ride, sunset cocktail on Tonle Sap Lake)

In Cambodia, Angkor Wat is not to be missed. You could walk through the main complex illuminated by a Khmer scholar, or bike to discover somewhere less crowded with our local guides. Our exclusive sunset cocktail boat trip would help to create beautiful moments for you and your beloved.

4 Days in Luang Prabang, Laos

  • Days 25–28 in Luang Prabang (offering alms to monks in the early morning, temples, Royal Palace, waterfall, sunset long-tail boat ride, free days)

Luang Prabang is filled with a romantic and cultural atmosphere. Almsgiving would allow you and your partner to engage with local life, and a sunset long-tail boat ride would be a beautiful journey. During your free days, explore the local streets, sample authentic Laotian food, soak in a traditional spa… make memories your way!

14 Days in Vietnam: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh – Phu Quoc Island

  • Days 29–30 in Hanoi (Old Quarter cyclo tour, museums, water puppet show)
  • Days 31–33 in Ha Long Bay (Trung Trang Cave, squid fishing, cooking class, biking around a rustic village near Ha Long Bay)
  • Days 34–35 in Hoi An (lantern-making, sunset boat ride, an evening foodie tour)
  • Days 36–37 in Ho Chi Minh City (city tour with Vietnamese coffee experience, the Cu Chi Tunnels)
  • Days 38–42 on Phu Quoc Island (your choice of beach-time activities)
vietnam halong bayHa Long Bay at Sunset

Two weeks is recommended to discover a variety of Vietnam destinations: from northern Hanoi to southern Phu Quoc Island.

While in Vietnam, we highly recommend a 3-day Ha Long Bay cruise for undisturbed scenery and quality private hours. Escaping from the large one-day groups and regular 2-day travelers, you'll enjoy more fantastic activities onboard or ashore, such as biking in a rustic area.

Hoi An offers an immersive laid-back atmosphere. You could stroll hand in hand around the ancient town, take a foodie tour and take photos in traditional Vietnamese clothing with your partner.

Tranquil Phu Quoc Island is a perfect destination to conclude your Southeast Asia trip. You could indulge in picturesque island scenery, enjoy couple massages, and relax in your boutique hotel with swim-up pool rooms.

If Phu Quoc Island would not be your top choice, Sapa is a more active and interesting alternative. Hiking through the mountain paths presents you with the best countryside views and ethnic life in northern Vietnam. Contact us to customize your own itinerary!

Want More Itinerary Options?

The above-mentioned itinerary has been welcomed by our clients as the basis for many a customized tour, but we are always ready to tailor-make a fulfilling tour for you from your dream-trip ideas.

For example, if you prefer a slower tour pace and in-depth explorations, you could focus on the classic Southeast Asia trifecta — Thailand (2 weeks), Vietnam (2½ weeks), and a Mekong River Cruise (1 week) to Cambodia (3 days).

If you have your own bucket list or want to travel to Southeast Asia along with Japan or China, just let us know. If you don't have enough inspiration yet, check out our Best Southeast Asia Tour Packages.

Costs for a 6-Week Private Southeast Asia Tour

Southeast Asia offers affordable, premium-quality, and hassle-free private touring, making it an excellent choice for milestone trips.

At around US$200–250 per day per person, you can enjoy 4/5-star hotels, excellent meals, convenient transport, and private, customized touring. Thus, a six-week couple's private tour in Southeast Asia costs about US$16,000–21,000, excluding international airfares.

Seasonal changes impact Southeast Asia's prices, with the highest rates from November to April during the dry season and the lowest from May to October during the rainy season, which is still quite travel-worthy, featuring mostly brief 1–2-hour afternoon rainfall.

For budget-conscious travelers seeking optimal weather, consider inviting friends or family for a shared and memorable experience that makes the same trip season cost less.

Personalizing Your Southeast Asia Trips With Us

You are warmly welcomed to have us customize your own trip based on your group size, interests, budgets, and other needs. Sit back and use our Create My Trip service.

In addition to the above itineraries, we also have other itineraries you may be interested in:

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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