20 days in Southeast Asia, what to see and do?

Question: Hello, I'm really struggling with our itinerary as we want to see as much as possible, but don't want to run ourselves ragged going from one place to another just to say "we were there".

We arrive in Shanghai late on December 22 and plan on spending a few days there. Then fly to Beijing on the 25th or 26th, and leave either December 30th or 31st.

From this point on I'm not sure where to go, ideally we want to see Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Our return flight home is scheduled for January 19th from Manila (will be in Manila for 2 weeks prior to arriving in Shanghai).

We love food, landscape, history and have very little interest in the party scene. We have talked about spending the last 3 days of the trip on a beach somewhere just to chill out before heading back to reality and our gruelling jobs.

We are fine with flying from place to place to save time.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!

Answer: Hey, a suggestion to an itinerary from Dec 31st to Jan 18th would be: (I'm not including the 19th in the itinerary since you're leaving this day)

START: from Beijing --> fly to Bangkok (visit temples for example the Big Buddha, the Snake Farm, sample street food) -- 2 days in Bangkok --> take the overnight bus or flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in north Thailand (mountains and trekking, fresh air, elephant riding) -- 3-4 days in Chiang Mai

--> Back to Bangkok. From Bangkok you can take a day trip to Kanchanaburi in the east to see the Tiger Temple, where you can stroke tigers. It's also a historic place because of the Bridge on River Kwai, also called Death Railway.

From Bangkok --> flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor temples). 1 day is enough to see the most important temples in Angkor park, so 3 days in total in Siem Reap --> Minibus to Phnom Penh (other than flights, minibuses are the quickest transportation in Cambodia). In Phnom Penh you can see the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum. There are also lots of art shops and galleries near the waterfront. You can spend 2-3 days in Phnom Penh.

From Phnom Penh you can take the bus to the Vietnamese border near Saigon or fly if you want. Around Saigon you can take a boat trip around the Mekong Delta, see the Cu Chi tunnels --> then onto Dalat where you can visit tribe villages and go trekking (3 days) --> Mui Ne or Nha Trang for 3 days on the beach. Nha Trang is supposed to be more crowded than Mui Ne, so in this case I would probably go for Mui Ne, but it's up to you of course :-)

--> Manila.

Hope this helps!


Posted: April 8, 2011

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