Planning A Trip To Southeast Asia: A Guide for Travellers

So, you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia. Like we did, you probably have lots of questions. Where do I sleep? How much will it cost? How many countries can I see and how long should I stay in each one? Where should I go? How do I get there? What sights should I definitely not miss?

Well, after travelling Southeast Asia for nearly a year and a half, we consider ourselves to be experts on this region of the world. We love Southeast Asia!  Everyone does and you will too, but definitely a little planning can go a long way.

You don’t want to over-plan your trip, you want to leave plenty of room for spontaneity, but at the same time you don’t want to go in blind and possibly miss some amazing experiences.

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Have You Picked Up Your Southeast Asia Guide Book Yet?
We highly recommend Lonely Planet as the best Southeast Asia Guidebook. We love the easy to read format and useful tips found throughout this book. There’s a reason Lonely Planet is the best-selling guidebook worldwide!

Amazon Buy Now

backpacking se asia
Beautiful Leela Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand.

That’s why we’ve created this guide. It will help you iron out all of the details and get an idea of what you’re in for without ruining your free lifestyle with itineraries and routes. Southeast Asia is everything you hope for and more.

It has the beautiful beaches, the culture and the cuisine, the temples and tribes, the diving and dormitories, the train rides and trekking, the cocktails and campgrounds, the jungles and bungee jumps, the beach huts and beach bars, the raves and the resorts. It offers a traveller everything in one compact package.

But don’t make the mistake of heading to Southeast Asia on a multiple month drinking binge and find yourself going home hung-over and disappointed. There’s so much to see here that’s well off the tourist trail. We’ll help you get off the beaten trail, get into the thick of it and really see Southeast Asia for what it’s meant to be: a traveller’s paradise.

Click on a button below and begin your planning!




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Planning A Trip To Southeast Asia: A Guide for Travellers

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Goats On The Road

The team at Goats On The Road have a combined 100+ years of travel experience between them and have been to nearly country in the world. This site is 100% human written. We write useful articles for travelers, by travelers, WHO HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN THERE.

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13 thoughts on “Planning A Trip To Southeast Asia: A Guide for Travellers”

  1. hey guys!
    i’m planning a trip to SEA…thinking about doing it alone…what you think about it?

  2. Sure, why not?! SE Asia is a great place to travel solo. It’s easy to get around, there are many other travellers around that you can meet up with, it’s safe and you’ll never be bored!

    Have fun!

  3. Hi there! I am a 21 year old female from Canada, and I am interested in traveling SE Asia alone. However, my parents and friends are convinced that it isn’t safe. What are your thoughts on it? I went to Australia, NZ and Fiji last year by myself, and loved the freedom that solo travel offered.

  4. Hi Zoe,

    We feel that SE Asia is one of the safest places on earth. Of course, you would have to keep your wits about you, as you would in Canada, OZ, NZ, etc. There are sooo many like-minded backpackers your age in that region, so you’re never really alone anyways. Maybe that will help ease your parents’ minds?!

    Go for it 🙂 We love it there.

  5. Hey guys!!

    So I’m planning a trip to SE Asia and maybe Indo next April-May (about 7-8 weeks)

    I need ideas on how long to stay in each country/city/island etc…

    I will be travelling alone( isn’t my first time) and I’m worried I wont get to see many things on my list:
    Chaing Mai (maybe? )
    Koh Phangan, Ko Samui , Ko Lanta ,Koh Tao ,Ko Chang ( I dont know if I can cross anyone of these off or if one island is better than the other)
    Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
    Phnom Penh
    Halong Bay
    Hoi An

    Bali (Ubud, Denpasar)

    Is 8 weeks enough time? Should/Could I cross somethings off my list? Any info helps!!
    Thanks !

  6. Hi guys,

    I’m thinking of traveling solo to SE Asia for 4 to 6 weeks starting at the end of this year, or Jan-Feb 2016. I’m not a spry 20 something but a very healthy early 50’s year old male. Aside from getting the the flavor of the local culture, my main intent is to enjoy the beaches, swimming, hiking, relax, and enjoy nature…along with good food.

    To not get overwhelmed and be rushed, my initial thought is to visit 3 countries. Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. I’ve read about the nice beach areas (Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Phuket, in all 3 places along with the local towns having things to see and do. Maybe with 6 weeks I should try and stretch a 4th country? Cambodia possibly?! Sihanoukville?

    Regarding lodging, I think i’d prefer 3 or 4 star type hotel/ resort. Safe, nice, and I have to say WiFi and the modern conveniences a 3 or 4 star place may have. Though i’m always looking for a deal, and is spending $50~100 a day for lodging too much?? Or could I do better for lodging and and not pay so much depending on the country?

    Also, as you can tell I have no specific itinerary at this point, but flying from the US, is there any advantage flying in to a specific country and going from there to the other destinations? Or flying out of a country to come back to the west coast US?



  7. Hi Nikki!

    That sounds like a great trip 🙂 You just have to think about how long you want to stay in each spot, and then also think about the time it will take to travel to and from them. Is there a reason that Denpasar is on your list for Bali? There are much nicer areas on the island for sure. Sumatra is amazing, but a little harder to get around, definitely doable though, just need to think of the time frame.

    My suggestion is to have a very rough plan with your “must-sees” and then when you get there, you’ll be able to take some things off of the list, or add some. Being flexible is the way to go in SE Asia.

    I hope this helps,
    Happy travels!

  8. Hey Norman!

    Se Asia is a good destination for all ages 🙂

    Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are all good choices. For us, 4-6 weeks, we would only want to see the three countries, maximum. But, it depends on how much you want to see and do in each place. Phu Quoc is beautiful, Mui Ne is very nice as well, lots to do – but it’s more of a wind surfing place, so the seas can be rough. Phuket is the resort area of Thailand, we haven’t been there. From what I understand, Koh Samui is a good mix between the comforts/amenities of Phuket and the more laid back, small feel of say Koh Tao, Railay, Koh Phangan, etc.

    You don’t need to spend a lot to have modern conveniences or nice lodging, that’s for sure. If you spent $50/night, you would have a nice place. You can look online at (not just hostels) or to book in advance. You can also check for reviews.

    There tends to be good flights from Vietnam to the west coast of North America. Check for airfares. If you’re flying internally, check out Air Asia.

    I hope this helps!

    Happy travels 🙂

  9. Hello to you Goats from Red Deer, Alberta!

    Would like to start off by saying that we absolutely love your blog! Brittany and I have been reading Goats’ blog for some time now as we are getting ready for our first backpacking trip to SE Asia for about a year. We are leaving Canada at the end of October and no matter how much we try to prep ourselves for this, still feels like we aren’t ready (which I’m sure we are). There are a couple of things that we still aren’t sure about yet, and given your experience traveling I hope it would be okay to pick your brain. The first question we have is regarding bringing medication, did you travel with 13 months worth of pills and other medication? Did you have any problem getting across the border with that much medicine?
    Another question we were hoping you could answer is regarding visas. We do know that some countries (ex. Thailand) require you to have a flight out in order to get a visa upon arrival, however, we will be traveling without a detailed plan. How did you travel through SE Asia? Did you have everything planned ahead and tickets purchased or are there loop holes that you could shine the light on for us?

    Hope you two are having an awesome Monday wherever you are!

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

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