"Backpacking route planner" was last updated on April 27, 2013
All information below is subject to change
Need help with your itinerary?
Need ideas on backpacking destinations to visit?
- Then you've come to the right place!
Here you'll find route planners for Asia/Southeast Asia.
Note: Since this website is mainly about Southeast Asia and India, I've focused on these countries. And this theme is comprehensive, so I divided it into seven parts. This page is part 1.
Have in mind that when you're backpacking overland to Thailand from one of the neighboring countries, you ONLY have 15 days of stay (not 30 days anymore).
Example: You arrive in Thailand and stay there for 4 weeks. You travel overland to Laos, then back to Thailand (by overland). When you arrive in Thailand this time, you only have 15 days of stay!
But if you had traveled back to Thailand by airplane, you would have gotten 30 days. You can re-enter Thailand for a total duration of 90 days within 6 months.
This rule has apparently been made to avoid the "in-and-out" border travel and applies for all border crossings in-and-out of Thailand.
This policy took place from December 2008.
So, have this in mind when you're reading the different itineraries. If you're planning on staying more than 30 days in Thailand, I would arrange a tourist visa or a multiple entry tourist visa in advance.
Note: The "stopover" in the itineraries below means that you likely have to switch to another transportation option.
Example: Huay Xai is a stopover for the slow boats to Luang Prabang.
If the itineraries doesn't say anything about stopovers, you can travel directly from place to place, from island to island.
Below you'll find a backpacking route planner that covers India, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia (including all necessary stopovers).
Total time: 4 months/16-17 weeks
Northern Thailand: 3-4 weeks
When you have landed in Bangkok, head for the north destinations like Chiang Mai. North Thailand is a common exit point to north Laos.
- Vang Tao/Chong Mek border crossing (Laos/Cambodia border)
It's common for backpackers to take the slow boat from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, which takes 2 days. You can shorten the travel time from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang by flying from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, or by taking a speed boat.
There has been some collisions with the speed boat, but overall, travelers have reported a hassle-free journey. Speed boat tickets can be bought at the speed boat landing north of town. From Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, the price is 280,000 kip (6 hours). From Huay Xai to Pakbeng, the price is 170,000 kip.
You can't book tickets in advance.
Other travelers have taken the slow boat to Pakbeng, then a speed boat to Luang Prabang. That's one way to half the risk.
Cambodia: 2-3 weeks
A) Stung Treng (stopover) B) Phnom Penh C) Siem Reap
D) Battambang E) Poipet/Aranya Prather border (Cambodia/Laos border)
Then head towards Southern Thailand:
Time: 3-4 weeks
A) Poipet B) Aranyaprathet border town
C) Bangkok (overnight) D) Surat Thani (stopover) D1) Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui E) Krabi (possible overnight) E1) Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi
Back to Krabi (possible with direct boat to Ao Nang in the high season)
Back to Bangkok
After Bangkok, travel to Trat for Ko Chang island, and spend a week or two before you head back home.
If Koh Tao is also on your list, you can travel from Bangkok to Chumphon instead of Bangkok to Surat Thani. The travel way is shorter to Koh Tao from Chumphon.
If you're traveling this route in Southern Thailand, you might have to renew your visa along the way. You may do this at Ranong/Kawthoung border (Thailand/Myanmar). Ranong is a popular visa-run destination. I did this visa-run back in January 2008 and it went alright.
But check if the border is still open. The border is known for closing down at times when political issues arise. You can never know with Myanmar.
Do you want to learn more about itinerary planning? How to connect the dots?
This article is a taste of what you can expect in our ebook "Map Your Adventure." This guide takes you by the hand on how to create an itinerary to suit your needs.
The book covers Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and India. Check out the ebook here.
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