- 6 Months
If you really want to immerse yourself in Southeast Asia, you'll need time to explore. Six months will give room to roam, from mighty megacities to tropical islands and remote rainforests, with time in between to relax in some of Asia’s favourite traveller hang-outs.
Start in Bangkok and follow the coast to forested Ko Chang, then zip across the Cambodian border bound for the up-and-coming beach islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Stop in French-influenced Kampot, then zip inland to battle-scarred but rebounding Phnom Penh. Now bus it to Siem Reap and admire the splendour of Angkor.
Board a flight to Pakse, gateway to the river islands of Si Phan Don, then a bus to gentle Vientiane and on via Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. Trundle to Nong Khiaw for tribal trekking and follow the rugged revolutionaries’ trail via the remote, adventurous Na Meo border crossing to Hanoi.
Roll south through Vietnam, sampling history, culture and beaches, then fly from Ho Chi Minh City back to temple-studded Bangkok. Now start your journey south along the Malay peninsula, snorkelling or diving around Ko Pha-Ngan and climbing at Krabi.
Slip over to Malaysia for the street eats of Penang and teeming coral reefs at Pulau Perhentian. Seek terrestrial wildlife inland at Taman Negara, and detour to the mist-shrouded hills of the Cameron Highlands before taking in the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur. A swift train ride will drop you in bright and bustling Singapore.
Fly on to Jakarta and admire the cultural treasures of Yogyakarta and Unesco-listed Borobudur. Bask on the beach in Bali or the Gili Islands, spot real-life dragons on Komodo and escape the crowds in Flores, or in Dili in little-visited Timor-Leste.
Alternatively, fly from Yogyakarta to Banjarmasin for a jungle river ride in Borneo. Hop by air to Pangkalan Bun to spot orangutans at Tanjung Puting National Park, then fly from Banjarmasin to Pontianak and bus to the border to reach Malaysia’s Kuching, a gateway to more nature and former headhunting cultures.
Take a connecting flight onwards to Yangon and the beautiful Buddhist temples of Bagan. Take a trek to Kalaw or relax by the placid waters of Inle Lake. Finish up back in Bangkok for some last-minute souvenir shopping before flying home.