How Long Should You Spend Touring Southeast Asia: From 2 Weeks to 3 Months

How Long Should You Spend Touring Southeast Asia: From 2 Weeks to 3 Months

By CindyUpdated Jul. 13, 2021

When planning your Southeast Asia trip, how long you should visit will depend on which cities you want to see and which countries you want to visit.

Southeast Asia is a large region made up of 11 countries. This means you can spend as long as you want traveling. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you determine how long you’d like to stay in Southeast Asia.

From this article you’ll be able to determine how long to stay in each country. You’ll also have sample itineraries, ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months in Southeast Asia.

how long to spend in southeast asia,Samet Island In Thailand.

How Long Should You Spend in Each Country?

It is not easy to answer how long to stay in each country as it depends on what type of traveler you are, what your interests are, what kind of travel pace you prefer, and your budget.

We understand that you might want to see the major tourist landmarks, not feel rushed, and also don't want to spend too much time in a country that doesn't have much to offer. Here is an overview of how long to stay in each country in Southeast Asia.

There are several general rules for reference:

  • Larger Southeast Asian cities require 2–4 full days (3–5 nights), and smaller cities generally only require 1–2 full days (2–3 nights).
  • If you only have around 10 days, we recommend staying in one country.
  • If you want to explore more than one country, plan for more than 2 weeks.
  • If you are short on time, consider joining an organized tour. This will help you save a lot of time on transportation.

Keep in mind that these timeframes are just a suggestion, and are meant to represent the absolute minimum recommended amount of time to spend in each location.

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Thailand (8 days to 3 weeks)

Assuming you only plan to visit the capital city of Bangkok, famous northern cultural Chiang Mai, and a fabulous island in the south, you should plan to spend at least 8 days, preferably more.

Here is an 8-day Thailand tour for your reference.

If you want to explore Thailand from north to south, you should spend at least 3 weeks in Thailand: one week in central Thailand exploring Bangkok and its neighbors, one week exploring the spiritual north, and another week to 10 days island hopping in the south.

See more sample Thailand itineraries.

Grand Palace And Wat Pra Keaw In Bangkok

Vietnam (2 to 3 weeks)

Depending on how many cities you want to visit in Vietnam, you should plan to spend a significant amount of time in this beautiful country.

Vietnam can be divided into three parts: the north, central Vietnam, and the south. It is easy to spend one week in each region. If you plan to enjoy the highlights in each part, 2 weeks are required:

  • North Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
  • Central Vietnam: Hoi An, Hue
  • Southern Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta

Click to see a sample 2-week Vietnam itinerary

If you wish to explore off the beaten path, three weeks would be ideal.

vietnam

Cambodia (1 to 2 weeks)

Assuming you only plan to visit the capital city of Phnom Penh and the temple's city of Siem Reap (Angkor area), you should plan to spend at least one week in Cambodia. This will allow you to spend 3–4 days in each city.

If you want to have an in-depth discovery of the country, you can visit Battambang, a charming town three hours from Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom.

Laos (1 week)

Spending one week in Laos is a wonderful way to get a feel for the beauty of this incredible country. You can start out in Vientiane, and make your way through to Luang Prabang, passing through Vang Vieng on your way.

Recommended Tours

Myanmar / Burma (1 to 2 weeks)

In Myanmar, 7 days is enough to give you a taste of the country's history and culture. Enjoy visits to three of its best destinations — Mandalay, Bagan, and Yangon.

Here is our 7-Day Myanmar Essence Tour for inspiration. 

Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to explore Myanmar. You can visit beautiful places, such as Kyaiktiyo, and Inle Lake. See our 14-day Myanmar tour for reference.

Singapore (3 days)

Three days is enough to visit the highlights in Singapore. Extend your stay if you want to go shopping or take in the night life.

Malaysia (1 week)

If you want to have a short trip, Malaysia is good for a one week trip. You can spend 2–3 days in Kuala Lumpur and 3–4 days in Penang.

Malaysia

Southeast Asia Itineraries: 2 Weeks

If you plan to stay two weeks in Southeast Asia, you can have a brief visit to cover the highlights in three countries, explore two countries, or have an in-depth visit to one country that appeals to you the most.

Here are two Southeast Asia 2-week itineraries for your reference:

Option 1. 2 Weeks in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

  • Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Day 2 Explore the Highlights in Bangkok
  • Day 3 Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Airport Transfer
  • Day 4 Chiang Mai City Lifestyle Experience with Rickshaw Ride and Mountain Doi Suthep
  • Day 5 Have a Close Encounter with Elephants in a Jungle
  • Day 6 Chiang Mai to Hanoi, Airport Transfer
  • Day 7 Hanoi City Highlights and Light Walking in the Old Quarter
  • Day 8 Overnight Cruising in Halong Bay
  • Day 9 Halong Bay to Hanoi Airport Transfer, Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
  • Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City Tour with Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Day 11 Mekong Delta Impression
  • Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Airport Transfer
  • Day 13 A Full Day Discovering Cambodian Spirituality — Angkor Wat
  • Day 14 Siem Reap Departure

See our detailed itinerary of the Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour with quotations and beautiful pictures.

Option 2. 14 Days to Explore Thailand and Vietnam

  • Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Day 2 Explore the Highlights in Bangkok
  • Day 3 Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Airport Transfer
  • Day 4 Chiang Mai City Lifestyle Experience with Rickshaw Ride and Mountain Doi Suthep
  • Day 5 Have a Close Encounter with Elephants in a Jungle
  • Day 6 Chiang Mai to Hanoi, Airport Transfer
  • Day 7 Hanoi City Highlights and Light Walking in the Old Quarter
  • Day 8 Overnight Cruising in Halong Bay
  • Day 9 Halong Bay to Hanoi Airport Transfer, Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
  • Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City Tour with Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Day 11 Mekong Delta Impression
  • Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Airport Transfer
  • Day 13 A Full Day Discovering Cambodian Spirituality — Angkor Wat
  • Day 14 Siem Reap Departure

See our detailed itinerary of 14-Day Classic Vietnam and Thailand Tour with quotations and beautiful pictures.

Thailand and Vietnam are both rich in natural attractions and cultural experiences. You can enjoy an in-depth discovery to one of them during your 2-week trip. Here are some itineraries for your reference — Thailand tours and Vietnam tours.

If you have any questions or would like to tailor-make a Southeast Asia tour, please feel free to contact us.

Maeklong Railway Market,

Southeast Asia Itinerary: 3 Weeks

If you have an additional week, you can explore the must-see attractions in Laos and Myanmar or take a tour to Northern Thailand where Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai will impress you with local food, elephant interactions, and an authentic experience. See our 8-day Northern Thailand Tour for reference.

  • Day 1 Hanoi Arrival, Vietnam
  • Day 2 Hanoi City Tour with a Bicycle Ride in the Old Quarter
  • Day 3 An Overnight Cruise in Halong Bay
  • Day 4 Halong Bay to Hanoi to Da Nang to Hoi An
  • Day 5 A Day’s Eco Tour in Hoi An with a Basket Boat Ride
  • Day 6 Hoi An Departure and Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
  • Day 7 Ho Chi Minh City Tour with the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
  • Day 9 Explore Bangkok’s Highlights and Have a Long-Tail Boat Ride
  • Day 10 Discover Bangkok’s Railway Market and Floating Market
  • Day 11 Bangkok to Phuket, Enjoy Your Free Time by the Beautiful Beach
  • Days 12 and 13 Free Time by the Beach
  • Day 14 Phuket to Bangkok for Your Departure
Cruise

Southeast Asia Itinerary: 1 Month

If you have 4 weeks, you can visit all of Indochina, including Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Here is a sample itinerary for inspiration. It will take you to visit the mesmerizing wonders of the real core of Southeast Asia.

30-Days in Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand

  • Days 1–2 Mandalay, Myanmar
  • Days 3–4 Bagan
  • Days 5–6 Inle Lake
  • Days 7–8 Yangon
  • Days 9–10 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietna
  • Days 11–12 Danang – Hoi An
  • Days 13–14 Hanoi
  • Days 15–16 Halong Bay
  • Days 17–19 Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Days 20–21 Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Days 22–23 Bangkok, Thailand
  • Days 24–25 Chiang Mai
  • Days 26–29 Phuket
  • Day 30 Phuket – Bangkok, Bangkok Departure

Click to see the detailed itinerary with quotations.

spend one month in southeast asia

Southeast Asia Itinerary: 2 Months

Two months is the perfect amount of time to enjoy all five countries in mainland Southeast Asia at a comfortable pace. You can stay in each country for one or two weeks before moving on to the next.

It is enough time for you to complete the so-called ‘Banana Pancake’ trail, a well-trodden Southeast Asia backpacker route that runs through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. You can also add Myanmar into your itinerary if you plan well.

Itinerary Suggestion:

  • One week in Myanmar to visit Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, and Yangon.
  • Two weeks in Vietnam to travel from north to south and cover famous cities, such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, and Mekong Delta.
  • One week in Laos to see Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
  • One Week in Cambodia to visit Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
  • Three weeks in Thailand. Spend one week exploring Central Thailand to visit Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, and Khao Yai. One week to discover Northern Thailand to visit Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Sukhothai. Spend one week relaxing on an island in Southern Thailand, such as Krabi, Phuket, or Ko Samui.
Recommended Itinerary

Southeast Asia Itinerary: 3 Months

If you have more time to spare, you can consider extending your trip to some countries in Maritime Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, or the Philippines.

Indonesia and the Philippines are great for beach fans, Singapore is perfect for shopping, and Malaysia's beaches and food will not disappoint you.

southeast asia 3 months itinerary

Where to Start Traveling in Southeast Asia

The main international hubs in Southeast Asia are Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. If you are looking to do the classic tours around Southeast Asia, then starting off in Bangkok is the best choice.

There are many direct flights connecting Bangkok with main cities in other countries in Southeast Asia. Once you are in Bangkok, you can easily catch a budget flight to your desired destination.

Recommended Itinerary

Joining an Organized Tour in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a paradise for backpackers, but if you are short on time, energy, or just want to enjoy a hassle-free vacation, you can opt to join an organized tour. Joining a tour is a great way to see a majority of the country quickly and without the effort that goes into planning a backpacking trip.

Why Travel with Asia Highlights

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
  • Worry-free planning: Every step of your trip, you will be looked after by your 1:1 travel consultant based in Asia.
  • No-risk booking: We refund as much as we can and adapt flexibly to unexpected changes.

Grand Indochina Tour: Myanmar - Vietnam - Laos - Cambodia - Thailand

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