Today I will be revealing our plan for our 3 months journey across South East Asia. It will be my longest trip so far and my third mini retirement.
The planned itinerary
There is only one a couple of days left before our departure from London to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. From where we will head south to the beautiful islands of the Gulf of Thailand. We are planning to chill out on Koh Samui, party on Koh Phangan and dive in the beautiful spots of Koh Tao.
After the first month relaxing we will head back to Bangkok and move East to Cambodia. First, to discover the world’s biggest temple at Angkor Vat, then visit Cambodian’s capital Phom Penh and finally chillout in the Southern town of Shihanoukville.
From Cambodia we will move further east to Vietnam, where we are planning to travel by train from South to North. Our first stop will be the beautiful southern island of Phu Quoc , then fly over the Mekong Delta to the once capital of the South, Ho Chi Minh City. From HCMC to the lovely beaches of Mui Ne, then visit the coastal cities of Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, before heading north to Halong Bay, one of the most inspiring places in Vietnam. Then a last train to the capital , Hanoi, the city between the rivers.
From Hanoi fly west to Luang Prabang to explore this intriguing city of the kingdom of Laos, before heading back south to the country’s capital Vientiane , located in the Mekong Valley.
From Vientiane, we will head back to Bangkok by train or take another flight to Chiang Mai, perhaps one of the most culturally significant city in the north of Thailand.
After a couple days in the Jungle of the capital we will head back South again but this time to the South West of Thailand to discover the mind blowing Andaman Sea coast and islands. Our first stop will be the historic city of Trang, then the famous Krabi before hitting the most beautiful islands of Thailand including Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and the most known of them all Phucket. From those paradise islands, move back to the coast and explore the city of Khao Lak and the Khao Sok National Park, before taking the journey back to Bangkok.
This is basically the plan. 3 months, 4 countries and as many World’s Best Places as we can find including the best cities, top beaches, most beautiful diving spots and mind blowing natural wonders.
As always, I am planning to fully document our journey, offering the majority of the content for free on World’s Best Places.com but also a premium version which will include a high quality full version of the content and many other bonuses. Please stay tuned to check out latest content, videos, photographs and interactive maps.
South East Asia Flash Interactive Map
Discover South East Asia content including best attractions, cities, beaches and natural wonders with picture and video on a flash interactive map.
Click here to start the experience.
South East Asia Maps
At World’s Best Places we currently have the following South East Asia Maps:
- South East Asia Map
- South East Asia Itinerary Map
- Thailand Map
- South Thailand Map
- North Thailand Map
- Cambodia Map
- Vietnam Map
- South Vietnam Map
- North Vietnam Map
- Laos Map
About South East Asia
Southeast Asia is the most exotic, tropical and touristic sub regions in Asia, due to its climate, sunny days, lovely beaches and paradise islands. It has an area of 5,000,000 km2 with currently a population of a bit less than 600 millions. The South East Asia region officially includes 12 countries but we will only focus on the following 4: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. We will cover the best things of each country in more details in the following sections.
Key Facts about Southeast Asia
The key things you should know about Southeast Asia includes the following:
- South East Asia has an area of 5,000,000 km2
- South East Asia consists of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India and north of Australia.
- South East Asia has a total population of 593,000,000 with a density of 116.5 people per km2
- South East Asia lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic and volcanic activity.
- South East Asia includes 12 countries
- South East Asia consists of two geographic regions: the Asian mainland and island arcs and archipelagos to the east and southeast.
- South East Asia’s mainland section consists of Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia.
- South East Asia’s maritime section consists of Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
- South East Asia Largest cities includes Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Luang Prabang, Manila, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Yangon
- South East Asia’s major religions are Islam and Buddhism, followed by Christianity. However a wide variety of religions are found throughout the region, including many Hindu and animist-influenced practices
Thailand is by far one of the world’s most visited exotic destinations. It is blessed not only with magnificence scenery but has also one of the friendly’s citizens. Indeed, Thailand is said to be the land of the smile with their Zen like approach and legendary hedonistic attitude towards life.
Key Facts about Thailand
- Thailand’s total area is 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi).
- Thailand has a population of 64 million people (21st most-populous country)
- Thailand is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma.
- Thailand is a kingdom, a constitutional monarchy with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who has reigned since 1946, making him the world’s longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. The king is officially titled Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, an Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths.
- The largest city in Thailand is Bangkok, the capital, which is also the country’s centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
- About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay; the rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes. There are approximately 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants in Thailand
- The country’s official language is Thai.
- Its primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of all Thais.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995 and is a newly industrialized country with tourism, due to well-known tourist destinations such as Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Ko Samui, and exports contributing significantly to the economy.
Cambodia is the land of the most magnificent temples in Southeast Asia. The most known of them is the world’s largest, Angkor Vat near the city of Siem Reap. Other interesting cities include the capital Phnom Penh City and the relaxed coastal city of SihanoukVille.
Key Facts about Cambodia
- The Kingdom of Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation bordered by Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Thailand to the northwest, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
- The Capital and largest city is Phnom Penh
- The Official language is Khmer
- The Government is a Constitutional monarchy,
- The Kingdom formation started with the Funan Empire in 68
- It then continued with the Chenla in 550,
- Then in 802 with the famous Khmer Empire
- The Kingdom became a French Colony in 1863
- Got Independence from France in November 9, 1953
- Became a Khmer Republic in March 18, 1970
- It has a Total area of 181,035 km2 (88th)
- It has a population of 14,805,000 (66th)
- It has a Total GDP (PPP) of £17.98 billion and £1,333.7 Per capita
- Its Currency is the Riel (KHR)
- The Time zone is (UTC+7)
- They drive on the right
- Their Internet TLD is .kh and their Calling code is 855
Vietnam is another of Southeast Asia tropical treasure with its long coast of the South China Sea.
Vietnam is known to be the hidden charm of South East Asia as it is perhaps one of the most exotic countries you may visit. It is the latest of the Asian dragon to fully emerge. From the the long and beautiful coastline packed with vibrant cities to the impressing mountains and rice field in the heart of the country, Vietnam is a jewel for every traveller. Indeed it is a country of vivid colours, amazing smells, breathtaking vues and warm people.
Vietnam is a country with a great history. From its independence with China more than a thousand year ago, to the French influence and more recently the economic boom after the war, it offers a great deal of historic sites to have a better understanding of the country ‘s past. Perhaps the most impressing is the seven Royal Tombs in Hue where the remains of the last Vietnamese dynasty, the Nguyen Dynasty are held. Another interesting site includes the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, dedicated to the goddess of mercy.
Vietnam is a also a country blessed by mother nature, will it be with beautiful sandy beaches, amazing islands or impressing mountains and passes. Vietnam is a place of contrasts. Indeed the buzz of the cities with its ocean of motorbikes where people live in the fast lane is opposed to the calm and Zen attitude of the sleepy villages.
The people of Vietnam are worth being mentioned as they are an inspiration for us all. Even after surviving the worse with colonialism and communist, they still manage to have a contagious optimism towards the future. Not to mention that they are quickly catching up with capitalism.
From the North to South, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City and the island of Phu Quoc, Vietnam is definitely a place worth visiting.
Key Facts about Vietnam
- The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
- Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea, to the east.
- Vietnam has a population of over 86 million making it the 13th most populous country in the world.
- Vietnam has an area of 331,688 km2 (128,065 sq mi)
- Vietnam’s topography consists of hills and densely forested mountains, with level land covering no more than 20%.
- The people of Vietnam regained independence and broke away from China in AD 938 after their victory at the battle of Bạch Đằng River.
- Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century.
- Efforts to resist the French eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries.
- Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
- Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated.
- In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration.
- By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations.
- Its economic growth had been among the highest in the world in the past decade. These efforts resulted in Vietnam joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.
Squeezed between Thailand’s and Vietnams beach miracles, Laos is one of the most laid back country on the planet with a very ecological approach with mother nature. Some of the most interesting places worth visiting include the royal city of Luang Prabang and the capital Vientiane.
Key Facts about Laos
- The Capital and largest city is Vientiane
- The Official language is Lao
- The Government is a Socialist republic, Communist single-party state
- It obtains Independence from France in 19 July 1949
- The Area total is 236,800 km2 (83rd)
- The Population is about 6,320,000 (101st)
- The GDP (PPP) is estimate at a total of billion and Per capita
- The Currency is the Kip (LAK)
- The Time zone is (UTC+7) and they drive on the right
- The Internet TLD is .la and the Calling code 856