Your Ultimate Backpacking Itinerary Route in South East Asia

BZFLAG Medina Asia, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 6 Comments

Research can be somewhat time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Before reading the information below, please ensure that your passport is at least six months valid for the time of your travel, regardless of what the visa requirements are for the country or countries you choose to travel to, and enough space to receive entry/exit stamps and visas (if required).

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Walked five km from the bus stop to the Thailand-Laos Immigration Border

The countries are listed in alphabetical order for convenience. Some countries list the important information only; others also list some personal commentary from BZFLAG on how she found the experience:
Monkey Dividers

Visa Information for Filipinos – Countries that are Visa Free

10 Filipinos Who Defied the Challenges of Traveling with a Philippine Passport

Brunei Darussalam – up to 14 days

Visitors to Brunei receive a visitor’s pass upon arrival for up to 14 days.

What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Brunei Darussalam?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Brunei Darussalam. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

Cambodia – up to 21 days

What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Cambodia?

Angkor Wat Cambodia

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Cambodia. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

A word from BZFLAG: “This one is great. Just show up, get your stamp and walk in!”

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Indonesia – up to 30 days

You will be granted a non-extendable 30-day Visa-Free Short Visit Permit upon arrival at an Indonesian international gateway without charge.

Travel Guide in IndonesiaWhat else do you need to know while planning a trip to Indonesia?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Indonesia. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

There are restricted regions in Indonesia. The four regions are Maluku, Poso, and Irian Jaya/West Papua. Applicants seeking to visit the restricted regions must obtain special authorization from Indonesian authorities.

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Malaysia – up to 30 days

No visa is required for the purpose of entry to Malaysia in respect of citizens of Republic of the Philippines if the visit is only for thirty (30) days or less, provided you have a confirmed round trip ticket.

7 Awesome Things to Do in Penang, MalaysiaWhat else do you need to know while planning a trip to Malaysia?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Malaysia. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

Myanmar – up to 14 days

An agreement signed between the governments of Myanmar and the Philippines in early 2014 means that Pinoys can visit Myanmar for up to 14 days without a visa.

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Photo Credit: Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon, Myanmar – ကန်တော်ကြီး, ရန်ကုန်;, မြန်မာ by Romain Pontida / (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Myanmar?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Myanmar. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

A word from BZFLAG: “You can also cross the border overland now!”

Singapore – up to 30 days

In case you have a connecting flight to some other destination and are in Singapore only for transit, you can make a quick trip to the city. You should have return tickets booked for your journey home to show immigration.

DIY-Travel Guide to Singapore
What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Singapore?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Singapore. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

A word from BZFLAG: “You know there are many OFWs there, so a return ticket is a must or maybe prepare an itinerary.”

Thailand – up to 30 days

Citizens of the Philippines are permitted to stay in Thailand up to 30 days if entering via the international airport and up to 15 days if entering through a land border checkpoint from a neighboring country (Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia) under the Visa Exemption Rule.

Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Bangkok Thailand

The Grand Palace may be very touristy, but your visit to Bangkok is not complete without visiting these grounds!

Please note that you must be in possession of the following if you wish to visit Thailand:

1. A valid passport.

You will need a passport valid for at least six months following your departure date. It is also recommended that your valid passport has at least two remaining unused pages for any necessary entry and exit stamps that may be issued.

2. A confirmed travel itinerary.

3. Proof of accommodation and funds of at least THB 10,000 per person and THB 20,000 per family.

A word from BZFLAG: “Been to Thailand thrice – if you’re flying in they will give you 30 days visa on arrival while 15 days if you’ll travel overland. I was also able to get a three-month Tourist visa in Thailand for FREE thru applying in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (but I haggled for this). The official cost for a three-month visa is $50! It was just my luck as I requested only to get 45 days. The requirement? Just evidence of a flight ticket.”

Vietnam – up to 21 days

No visa is required for citizens of Philippines to visit Vietnam within 21 days. If you wish to stay longer in Vietnam, a visa is a must. You can apply for a visa either through one of the embassy of Vietnam in the Philippines or apply for a visa on arrival online.

Buffalo Run 8

Vietnam: Trang An

For those who wish to apply for the visa from Vietnam Embassy, please check out the address of Vietnam Embassy in Philippines.

Address: 670 Ocampo St, Malate, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila, Philippines

Required paperwork: 2 passport-sized photos, stamping fees (varied from embassy to embassy)

Processing time: 5-7 working days.

A word from BZFLAG: “This is the funniest visa experience I’ve ever had. You can also apply for a six-month tourist visa online where you will get a letter you can present at immigration for your visa on arrival. Getting a 3 to 6-month business visa in Vietnam is not hard either. If you decide to live and work there, then just take your passport to most travel agencies, who will make a phone call or two and let you know what the required ‘fee’ will be to make everything happen!”

Monkey Dividers

Visa Information for Filipinos – Visa on Arrival Countries

Laos – up to 30 days

Free Visa can be obtained on arrival for a stay of up to 30 days.

What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Laos?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Laos. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

East Timor (Timor-Leste) – up to 30 days

Free Visa can be obtained on arrival at the Dili airport and seaport for a visit of up to 30 days.

Nationals of Philippines may extend their stay to a total cumulative stay of 90 days by submitting their application to the Immigration Department. Fee: USD 35 for up to 30 days; USD 75 for between 30 and 60 days.

Visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay (USD 150.- per day), proof of hotel accommodations arrangements and documents required for their next destination.

What else do you need to know while planning a trip to Timor Leste?

  • Confirm if transit visa is required for any connections.

Check with your airline in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to Timor-Leste. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa.

Monkey Dividers

Short and Long-Term Itineraries – South East Asia

If you have the time, there are some different ways to explore countries, and each traveler likes to take various approaches – some like to arrive in one place and gather their bearings before they decide on which parts to explore, while other like to have their places to visit outlined before they arrive.

If you have little or no idea on where to travel in Southeast Asia, the following section will give you suggestions on routes and activities to get the most out of your travel. This section is separated into short-term trips of less than two weeks and longer term journeys.

Suggested travel time is provided at the beginning of each itinerary.

Monkey Dividers

Short Term Backpacking Journeys

Indonesia Backpacking Itinerary

(7 days) Your journey begins in the capital, Jakarta, where you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of Indonesia, with visits to the National Museum and Kota Tua or Old Town of Jakarta. You may also be interested in visiting the Monas Observatory Tower to get a great view of the whole city. Its then onto Surabaya where you can witness locals involved in the hand-making of cigarettes at the House of Sampoerna or climb to the peak of the majestic Mt Bromo.

Travel Guide in IndonesiaFrom here, it’s a hop East to the lively island of Bali. There are two main areas to visit. The south of the island is where you can enjoy the bustling nightlife or sample some fine cuisine at many of the restaurants in the area. Once you feel that you’re all partied out, head to the center of the island for a more relaxed atmosphere. Here, you can visit the Sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud or the rice terraces.

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Monkey Dividers

Borneo and Brunei Backpacking Itinerary

(8 days) This itinerary starts on the Eastern side of Borneo in Kota Kinabalu, where you can explore the beautiful peak of Mount Kinabalu, or to explore the waters that surround the bay. From here it’s onto Brunei Darussalam and the capital of Bandar Seri Begawan or Bandar for short. Here, you can visit the local mosques with their breath-taking architecture or the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Centre for some gifts. Finally, head west towards Kuching and enjoy the local culture in the Sarawak Cultural Centre and Museum.

Solo Female Filipino Traveler

Monkey Dividers

Malaysia and Singapore Backpacking Itinerary

(9 days) Begin your journey by venturing into the Cameron Highlands and visiting the tea plantations or viewing the mossy forest from Mount Brinchang. Its then time to explore the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and the iconic Petronas towers or try the delicious Nasi Lemak, the national dish.

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The next destination to visit is the city-state of Singapore. There are many places to be explored here, such as the culturally significant Chinatown and Sentosa Island for a lot of fun filled activities. You can also explore the Hawker’s Markets for some tasty dishes at an affordable price.

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Finally, it’s back into Malaysian territory to enjoy Kota Kinabalu and the mystical Mount Kinabalu or waterfront activities along Jesselton Point.

Monkey Dividers

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Backpacking Itinerary

(12 days) Start your journey in Hanoi, where you can get your cultural fix at the Museum of Ethnology or view the Golden Bell Show with its various dances and performances from all over Vietnam. From here, head down the coast to Hue and view the impressive Imperial Citadel and its pavilions, temples, and galleries. The last destination in Vietnam is the iconic Ho Chi Minh City, with attractions such as the War Remnants Museum and Mekong Delta Cruise for you to enjoy.

Backpackers Guide to Hanoi

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From here, the next destination in Cambodia is Phnom Penh and the chilling Choeung Ek Killing Fields, to get your history fix and to help you appreciate the life that little bit extra. The final place to visit in the country is the iconic Siam Reap for the Angkor Wat temples.

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Vientiane is the capital of Laos, and the best place to conclude your journey through these three wonderful countries. Here, you should visit Xieng Khuan Buddha Park with its countless number of Buddha statues and get involved in some sunset aerobics along the boulevard next to the Mekong.

Monkey Dividers

Thailand and Malaysia Peninsula Backpacking Itinerary

(12 days) Start your journey through Thailand and Malaysia in Chiang Mai, where you can explore the Elephant Nature Park for rescued elephants or take a cooking class and become familiar with famous Thai cuisine as you put it together yourself. Next, move onto the hustle of the capital of Bangkok and Khlong Lat Mayom floating markets for an unforgettable experience, or hop on a boat along Chao Phraya River for many interesting views of local life. From here, Phuket is a great beach destination to break up the hustle of Bangkok, as well as for the chance to play with baby tigers in the Kathu Tiger Kingdom.

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From here, head towards Malaysia and the Cameron Highlands to visit the tea plantations or to view the wonderful landscapes in the area. Finally, onto the capital Kuala Lumpur to visit the iconic Petronas towers or to visit the nearby Batu Caves.

Monkey Dividers

Thailand and Myanmar Backpacking Itinerary

(12 days) Begin your journey in a relaxed way by visiting the tropical paradise of Phuket and do a day trip out to the beautiful Phi Phi Island. Your next destination will take up a more upbeat change with a visit to Bangkok – here; you should take a boat along the Chao Phraya River for views of temples, luxurious buildings and also wooden shacks and colonial buildings in various states. Finally, head towards Chiang Mai and take a cooking class to sample some beautiful Thai cuisine that you put together yourself, or visit the perspective bending 3D art museum.

Yangon, Myanmar 3The first stop to visit in Myanmar is the capital Yangon, and the National Museum with its many artifacts from across the country. Finally, onto Mandalay and the regal Mandalay Palace that consists of several grand pavilions and chambers.

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Monkey Dividers

Long Term Backpacking Journeys

Indonesia and Timor-Leste Backpacking Itinerary

(19 days) Start your journey of the archipelago in the capital, Jakarta, and immerse yourself in the history and culture of Indonesia, with visits to the National Museum and Kota Tua or Old Town of Jakarta. You may also be interested in visiting the Monas Observatory Tower to get a great view of the whole city. From here, head to towards Yogyakarta and experience a more traditional cultural experience by visiting the Batik Museum or the Borobudur Temple. TIts then onto Surabaya where you can witness locals involved in the hand-making of cigarettes at the House of Sampoerna or climb to the peak of the truly awesome Mt Bromo.

Komodo Island

Gigantic Komodo welcomes you to the island!

From here, it’s a hop East to the lively island of Bali, where you can easily spend a few days in each section of the island. Begin your stay in the South of the island, where you can enjoy the bustling nightlife or sample some fine cuisine at many of the restaurants in the area. Head to the center of the island to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud or the rice terraces, and finally head east for the summit of Mt Agung and a more laidback coastal life.

Then another island hop east towards Flores to visit an iconic animal, the Komodo Dragon, in Komodo National Park. When you’re close to the animal, make sure you exercise a degree of caution!

Finally, end your time in Dili, the capital of one of the newest nations in the world East Timor, and relax on the beach or get involved in some diving.

Monkey Dividers

Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Backpacking Itinerary

(17 days) A good exploration of this region begins in Georgetown and here you can gather a view of the whole city from the funicular or a particularly great attraction to view up close is the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, with its rich architecture. From here, venture into the Cameron Highlands and visit the tea plantations or view the mossy forest from Mount Brinchang. Then time to explore the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and the iconic Petronas towers or try the delicious Nasi Lemak, the national dish. The last place to visit on the Peninsula is Melaka. The best way to take in the attractions that surround the town is taking a river cruise.

7 Awesome Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1The next destination to visit is the city-state of Singapore. There are many places to be explored here, such as the culturally significant Chinatown and Sentosa Island for a lot of fun filled activities. You can also explore the Hawker’s Markets for some tasty dishes at an affordable price.

After exploring Singapore, its time to island hope once more and visit Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei Darussalam. Here you will be amazed by the rich architecture on display at the mosques and view the Arts and Handicraft Market for some gifts. Finally , t’s back into Malaysian territory to enjoy Kota Kinabalu and the mystical Mount Kinabalu or the beautiful waterfront along Jesselton Point.

Monkey Dividers

Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Backpacking Itinerary

(21 days) Your journey through this part of the world begins in the north of Vietnam, in a wonderful town called Sapa. Here, you can visit the beautiful Muong Hoa Valley or spend some time trekking through the valley. Its then onto Hanoi, where you can get your cultural fix at the Museum of Ethnology or viewing the Golden Bell Show with its various dances and performances from all over Vietnam. From here, you can head south to Hue and view the impressive Imperial Citadel and its pavilions, temples and galleries. Nha Trang is the next place you should visit, with the beach and Vinpearl Amusement Park some great places to visit. The last destination in Vietnam is the iconic Ho Chi Minh City, with attractions such as the War Remnants Museum and Mekong Delta Cruise for you to enjoy.

DIY Travel Guide Series-Land Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Siem ReapThe first place worth visiting when you arrive in Cambodia is Kampot, and the Phnom Bokor National Park. From here, the next destination to visit is Phnom Penh and the chilling Choeung Ek Killing Fields to help you appreciate life that little bit extra. At this point, it’s then onto Kratie to view the peaceful Mekong River dolphins. The final place to visit in the country is the iconic Siam Reap for the Angkor Wat temples.

Vientiane is the capital of Laos and the most convenient place to visit when arriving from Cambodia. Here, you should visit Xieng Khuan Buddha Park with its countless number of Buddha statues and get involved in some sunset aerobics along the boulevard next to the Mekong. The last place to visit on your epic journey is Luang Prabang to view the alms giving ceremony between monks and locals – a truly humbling experience.

Monkey Dividers

Thailand and Malaysian Peninsula Backpacking Itinerary

(17 days) Start your journey through Thailand and Malaysia in Chiang Mai, where you can explore the Elephant Nature Park for rescued elephants or take a cooking class and become familiar with Thai cuisine as you put it together yourself. From here, move to Ayuthaya for the many temples and buildings in the Historical Park. Next, move onto the hustle of the capital of Bangkok and Khlong Lat Mayom floating markets for an unforgettable experience, or hop on a boat along Chao Phraya River for many unforgettable views of local life. Its then onto the tropical paradise of Koh Samui, where you can also visit the Big Buddha Temple. Phuket is also a great beach destination, as well as for the chance to play with baby tigers in Kathu Tiger Kingdom.

7 Awesome Things to Do in Penang, MalaysiaMalaysia awaits and the first destination is Georgetown, where you can visit Pinang Peranakan Mansion, with its rich architecture or gather a greater view of the whole area by catching the funicular. From here, head towards the Cameron Highlands to visit the tea plantations or to view the wonderful landscapes in the area. Finally, its onto the capital Kuala Lumpur to visit the iconic Petronas towers or to visit the nearby Batu Caves.

Monkey Dividers

Thailand and Myanmar

(17 days) Begin your journey in a relaxed way by visiting the tropical paradise of Phuket and do a day trip out to the amazing Phi Phi Island. From here, move onto another wonderful beach destination in Koh Samui, or visit the wonderful Big Buddha Temple. Your next destination will take up a more upbeat change with a visit to Bangkok. Here, you should take a boat along the Chao Phraya River for views of temples, luxurious buildings and also wooden shacks and colonial buildings in various states. Move onto Ayuthaya, and the chance to have a homestay with a difference – help out at an elephant orphanage. Finally, head towards Chiang Mai and take a cooking class to sample some beautiful Thai cuisine that you put together yourself, or visit the perspective bending 3D art museum.

DIY Travel Guide Series: 4 Days in Koh Lipe, ThailandThe first stop to visit in Myanmar is the capital Yangon, and the National Museum with its many artifacts from across the country. From here, move to the beautiful Inle Lake and a tour of the lake is a must-do, for the floating garden alone. Then onto Mandalay and the regal Mandalay Palace that consists of several grand pavilions and chambers. Finish your journey of mysterious Myanmar in Bagan. Here, some must-see attractions include the many temples and Mount Popa.

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Comments 6

  1. do you have Bangkok – Siem Reap – Phnom Pehn – Ho Chi Minh backpacking itinerary guide…? Planned tour is on January 23 to January 30 2018…thanks in advance

  2. Wow – that’s a lot of information in one post! Really useful stuff in there though, thanks!
    I’ve just done 5 countries in 5 weeks in South-East Asia – so tiring, but so amazing. Can’t wait to do more.

  3. I love the way the itinerary is been defined. But i don’t see the name Nepal been mentioned above. The post is wonderful full of information.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

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