My 10-week trip to mainland South East Asia, also known as Indo-china, was one of the biggest trips I had done. I traveled to six countries starting with Malaysia, then Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.

This itinerary, for me, was sort of a backpacker rite of passage since it coursed through the famed “banana pancake” trail. I went to many of the major stopovers and with a couple of “off the beaten path” destinations.

I booked all my plane tickets months in advance during one of AirAsia’s free seats promo and did not bother making a detailed itinerary plan. For a trip this long, it would’ve taken too much effort to plan everything anyways. I knew it would not be too hard to make plans as the trip progressed since I was starting my trip in Thailand, which was one of the easiest places to travel.

Philippine passport holders get free Visa on Arrival for all South East Asian countries except Myanmar, at the time. I applied for mine in Vientiane. The process was very easy and straightforward.

Budget-wise, I spent around US$20 to 30 per day. Thailand was the cheapest country I visited. Chiang Mai was particularly backpacker-friendly. It was possible to spend US$10 to US$15 per day when staying in hostel dorms, eating local food, and just walking around the city center to visit beautiful temples. Myanmar was the most expensive, though the price difference was not that steep.

My favorite destinations during this trip included: Chiang Mai and Umphang in Thailand; Muang Ngoi Neua, Vang Vieng (surprisingly), and Champasak in Laos; Siem Reap in Cambodia; Bagan, Mandalay, Hsipaw, and Kyaiktiyo in Myanmar.

Itinerary Rundown

Week 1 to 4
  • Malaysia
  • Northern Thailand
  • Manila to Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai
  • In and Around Chiang Mai
  • In and Around Umphang and Thee Lor Su Waterfall
  • In and Around Sukhothai and Kamphaeng Phet
  • In and Around Chiang Rai and Phrae
Week 5 to 7
  • Northern to Southern Laos
  • In and Around Luang Prabang
  • In and Around Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi Neua
  • In and Around Vang Vieng
  • In and Around Vientiane
  • In and Around Champasak
Week 8 to 9
  • Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand
  • Pakse to Phnom Penh via Kratie
  • In and Around Phnom Penh
  • In and Around Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
  • In and Around Siem Reap
  • In and Around Bangkok
Week 9 to 10
  • Central and Northern Myanmar
  • In and Around Yangon
  • In and Around Bagan
  • In and Around Mandalay
  • Mandalay to Hsipaw Train
  • Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock

Trip Date — August 2012