Southeast Asia Itinerary-To-Be

With only a week left before my southeast Asia trip (!!), I thought I’d psych myself up (what with Christmas being so distracting), with what may or may not be my 4ish-month southeast Asia itinerary-to-be.

So, even though I’m a glutton and want to see everything, EVERYTHING (almost), I am trying to stick to quality over quantity – more time often leads to richer experience and cuts down on transportation costs (at least).

For this reason I’ve implemented, albeit semi-unsuccessfully, the one city, one beach, one extra plan for each country: cities for history and culture learning, beaches for beaches and time to write, and ‘extra’ for all those novel or quintessential experiences you sometimes just have to do.

With that in mind and no further ado:

Thailand

City: Bangkok (pictured above) – Because I arrive in time to celebrate New Year’s (go big or go home, right?), and because I can’t not.

Beach: Maybe Ko Tao (above) for a diving certification, definitely Railay for the rock-climbable limestone crags, and then somewhere, anywhere (Ko Lanta? Ko Chang? Trang Islands? Bang Saphan?) to chill, work, enjoy and repeat (and there goes the one beach rule down the drain)…

Other (Culture): Back up north, Chiang Mai for culture and maybe a cooking class as a stopover before heading into Laos.

Cambodia

City: Phnom Penh – if only for the history learning of Pol Pot and the Killing Fields, as I currently know next to nothing. And because Siem Reap doesn’t count.

Beach: Sihanoukville – Maybe it’s a grungy beach, maybe it’s a party scene, but I’ve heard enough about Sihanoukville to know I need to at least visit it. And anything that supports me living on about $15/day on a beach, while getting work done, and enjoying good nightlife, well, consider me sold.

Other (Must-See): Siem Reap – Angkor Wat. Because it’s a checklist thing – sunrise, sunset, acting all Lara-Croft and the whole hoohaa, and because it’s apparently amazing.

The Other ‘Other’: Battambang – a “real slice of rural Cambodia” AND you get to take a boat ride there from Phnom Penh and I’m all about water if I don’t have to wade in. Plus, there maaaaaay be another reason for me to visit Battambang. For like, 11 days. If I go in March. (More on this later).

Oh, and maybe the Mekong Discovery Trail.We’ll see!!

Laos

Gah!! I already want to spend forever in Cambodia! How am I going to fit forever into Laos AND Vietnam, too??!

Novice Monks, Luang Prabang, LaosCity: Luang Prabang – see the whole monks wearing orange and collecting their alms in the morning thing.

Beach: Si Phan Don – Four thousand islands for beaches, hammocks and dolphins. I’ll try to choose just one.

Other: Vang Vieng – straight up tourist party scene destination. And must-do tubing on the Nam Song.

Vietnam

City: Hands down Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) – because of the history and because of the chaos.

Beach: Cat Bo – the less touristy and more beachy, adventure sport alternative to the infamous Halong Bay.

Ham Ninh Village, Phu Quoc Island, VietnamBeach 2: The Mekong Delta – because I {heart} cities on water. Enter any little village with beaches, jungles and back roads like Phu Quoc Island and I’m in bliss.

Other (Culture): Bac Ha/Sapa – For the hill tribe villages, if it’s warm, if I can ensure an “authentic” experience. Maaaaybe.

That’s about it for now. EXCITED!!!

What places would you add as must-sees? Which ones would you leave off?