Southeast Asia, it’s massive! How do you possibly begin to choose which country to see and the order to see them in? Take it from us, we planned our own Southeast Asian route and we’re here to tell you how to plan your backpacking route through Southeast Asia!
We’ll walk you through the steps we used that helped us plan and finalize our 8-month backpacking route through Southeast Asia.
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First: How Long Are You Traveling For?
The first step in figuring out your backpacking route through Southeast Asia is you need to figure out how long you are traveling for.
The length of time plays a significant role in how many countries you want to see and are able to see.
For us, we planned for 6 months and ended up staying for 8 months. Over 8 months, we saw and experienced 9 amazing countries.
Second: Which Countries Do You Want to See?
After your length of time has been determined, you will now be able to figure out how many countries you are able to see in that time frame.
Base this on YOUR interests, what you want to see and experience and of course taste!
For us, we planned to see and visit the beautiful countries of Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Third: Understanding Southeast Asia’s Rainy Seasons
For those of you who don’t know, Southeast Asia is hit with two monsoon seasons.
- The Summer Monsoon (April – September)
- The Winter Monsoon (October – April)
These monsoons hit different countries at different times of the year. So, it’s a bit challenging trying yo plan a multi-month and multi-country route when you have to take those two monsoons into consideration.
Thankfully, there is an amazing tool out there that helped us plan our route around these two monsoon seasons.
Selective Asia allows you to select the countries you want to visit and look at that country on a map with a month-by-month overview showing you the best time to go.
As an example, you can see Thailand’s map below. The month we have selected is January and from all the smiling faces, you can see that January is an amazing month to visit all of Thailand aka no monsoons ☺
Fourth: Planning Your Route
Based on all the above, you’re now ready to plan that route of yours!
The only other thing to take into consideration is overland travel. If you want to save money, the cheapest way to travel is overland vs flying.
If you can, try and stagger your route not only to avoid the monsoon seasons, but plan your route in a way that will let you travel overland when possible.
For us, our 8 month route through Southeast Asia was this:
- Mid- January: Central & Northern Thailand
- February: Myanmar & Nepal
- March: Nepal
- April: Northern Laos & Vietnam
- May: Vietnam & Western Cambodia
- June: Western Cambodia & Southern Thailand
- July: Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore & Indonesia (Sumatra)
- August: Indonesia (Java, Bali, Gili Islands, Lombok & Flores)
- Beginning of September: Indonesia (Flores & Bali).
The above route allowed us to travel overland 95% of the time and allowed us to avoid the major monsoon seasons.
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For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstus, Pinterest and on Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!
– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)