So you have 3 months to travel SE Asia? With that amount of time you can see loads, and SE Asia has something for everyone! From adventure activities, to stunning scenery and the best street food. Read below for our itinerary to get you inspired for creating your perfect trip.
This is the route we chose to take, I've just mapped out the major places we wanted to see in each country, so you can see how much can be covered in the amount of time we had. If you want to read more about what we did in each place, you can do so by hitting up my destination guides, here. For more detailed budgets, check out my other post here!
India - 10 days
Myanmar - 2 weeks
Thailand - 5 days
+ travelling overland to Chiang Khong to the Laos border
Laos - 2 weeks
Travelling from the Thai border via Pak Beng
Vietnam - 2 weeks
Ho Chi Minh
Cambodia - 5 days
Malaysia - 2 days
This was just a stop over really via Kuala Lumpur, to get to Indonesia
Indonesia - 2 weeks
Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan
Australia - 2 weeks
We spent our last 2 weeks in Melbourne with family
Obviously the above just gives one idea of how we spent 3 months in SE Asia, but could and should totally be tailored to your own style of travelling, depending on how long you like to spend in each place.
One thing to consider is how much you want to plan ahead. For us, we had a fixed amount of time, so we booked return flights and the major internal flights before we went, to avoid wasting time planning whilst we are out there. However, this doesn't allow you too much flexibility if you are going to want to change plans and go with the flow whilst you are there. It's worth considering before you lock yourself down too much.
The first few nights when we arrived in India we had a pre-booked hotel so we knew where we were aiming for. After that, we booked every accommodation a day (sometimes two) in advance so when we arrived in a new place we always had somewhere to head straight for and put our bags down. When staying more than a few nights, I still only booked the first 1-2 nights so if the place was awful, we could move! This came in pretty handy in a few instances... For booking on-the-go I mainly used agoda.com for this, its got a really good mobile app which shows all fees (no hidden taxes or room charges) and has a lot of cheap hostel options too.
Also important to consider is the time of year you are thinking about making your trip, to avoid extreme weathers. I really wanted to go to the Philippines on this trip, but it just wasn't going to be possible at the time of year we went, as it was right in the middle of Monsoon. You can't do everything, so prioritise your trip around the top few things you really want to see. There's always the excuse to go back to see bits you couldn't the first time around. I'll be back for you Philippines!
For more detail on the budget including how much I spent, check out my post here.
I booked all of our flights, using the good ol' skyscanner.com. The main flights I brought as a multi-city trip direct from the airline itself, and this ended up being a lot cheaper than doing 2 single tickets to get us from London - Delhi, and then Melbourne - London. Total for this flight was around £550, which I thought was a total bargin!
Once in SE Asia we flew between most countries, which saved time but perhaps cost a bit more. That being said, flights in SE Asia are pretty cheap on the budget airlines, so this seemed like the best option for us.
The rest of the flights were booked direct with airlines where possible, and total cost for all flights on the trip ended up being in the realm of £1,500. This involved a lot of price watching to try and get the best cost we could.
Before we went, I had a budget in mind of £10 per night for accommodation - be that hotel or hostel (but always private room rather than a dorm). This more than covered us, especially in Cambodia and Laos where we stayed in places for as little as £4 per night. The most expensive place for accommodation was Myanmar, as we were there during a festival period. So we upped our budget here. For a little more money, we found the quality was LOADS better.
This is really hard to put a budget to! Compared to other parts of the world even the bigger activities we knew we wanted to do (such as the Taj Mahal and Ankor Wat) are still pretty cheap, so I never counted up the cost of these beforehand. Instead I saved up a budget of £5k to cover it all - accommodation and all spending money whilst we were away. I ended up spending about half of this, with the cheapest countries being India, Myanmar and Laos.
Theres certainly lots of ways to make your money go further when your away - eating where the locals do (we always did this), and exploring for yourself rather than taking guided tours and trips. We did a lot of motorbike renting which is a great way to see places for yourself, as you end up covering a lot of ground at your own pace.
Hopefully the above has given you a little taster of how much you can cram in, whilst having an amazing time. And all on a pretty small budget...
Comment below for any questions, and let me know where your heading!