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Asia, Japan, Bangkok, New Zealand, Hong Kong

So, I'm trying to plan a trip to Asia with my fiance. Ideally, I'd be away for months, but in reality I probably have 4 weeks. What should I do?

I'm thinking something like, spend a week in bangkok, spend a week on thai beaches and islands, travel for a week through vietnam, then spend a week in Borneo. 

I'd love to see Japan, New Zeland, go back to Hong Kong, visit Bali, and go everywhere.... but I can't.

If you were in my position, how would you spend your 4 weeks?

8 Answers

top answer by
Lisa from Wellington

In New Zealand. 
Gosh you could spend the entire time here and STILL not see everything! 

What exactly do you want to do for the trip? 
I mean if it's about Culture, or Learning the language... or having time as a couple? Because there's  lots and lots of different things to do. 


So if I was you spending 4 weeks in a location. . . I'd choose New Zealand.
Hear me out: here's my reasons why (We will ignore the fact I'm born and bred here). ;) 

Okay, so first up: Culture. 
New Zealand has plenty of Culture. Starting with a flight into one of the main centres: (You're most likely to fly into Auckland) -it's big. And I don't like it. So jump on a plane to Rotorua and spend a week, if you can handle the smell! checking out the local culture. There's Maori cultural shows, mud pools and geysers. There's a gondola and a luge ride down a huuuuuugggggge hill. (Do it, it's fun!)

You can find more info about Rotorua here:

After a while, maybe a week, maybe a few days... I don't know. I've spent 2-3 weeks up there at a time. :) 

You can then travel to Wellington. (Where I live). :) 
It's the capital city of NZ and it's the Southern Most Capital City in the World! Pretty cool. 
Here there's plenty more Cultural stuff to do: Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum Of New Zealand the museum. It's awesome. Lots of NZ history, art, culture, drama, Maori and historic information. It's awesome. Take a good day to explore it all. (There's a cafe on site and souvenir shop). And it's easy access with lots of lifts and wheelchair access. It's "family friendly" as we call it. :)

There's also the Botanical Gardens which is a lovely place to have a romantic picnic, or just a walk hand in hand looking at the plants, flowers etc and people watching. 
At the top of the Botanics is the Wellington Cable Car well worth the fare.
There's a museum for the Cable Car at the top - nice little history lesson there. And more souvenirs! 

From Wellington you can take the Ferry to the South Island and you will land in Picton. On the way you'll see the Marlborough Sounds. I haven't done this trip yet - but I hear it is well worth the fee of the ferry. You can also bring your car onboard.

As for the South Island... I have only been to Dunedin and it was in August - very cold. Being the middle of our winter! 

Christchurch is good now, it has the occasional earthquake (then again, so does all of NZ)... and is well onto the road of repairs after the 2010/2011 quakes. Every day a new part of the CBD area is re-opening and rebuilds are happening all over the CBD.

**CBD = Central Business District.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. New Zealand (attraction)
  2. Auckland (city)
  3. Rotorua (city)
  4. Wellington (city)
  5. Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum Of New Zealand (attraction)
  6. Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  7. Wellington Cable Car (attraction)
  8. Wellington (city)
  9. South Island (attraction)
  10. Picton (city)
  11. Marlborough Sounds (region)
  12. Dunedin (city)
  13. Christchurch (city)
4 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Drew from Boulder

I agree with Vicky I: You absolutely should check out Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia (  Set aside at least three days or so, and I can guarantee this will be one of - not the - highlight(s) of your trip. Southeast Asia has so much to offer and you're absolutely right in that four weeks just can't cover everything. (I've been there a few times, including a three-month long trip, and I still plan to continue to return.) 

If you're looking to really soak up culture viz a vis art, architecture, food, sightseeing, etc., I would say a few days in Chiang Mai would give you the best that Thailand has to offer. (While the South of Thailand has great diving, snorkeling, and many beautiful beaches, it's just not quite the same experience, culturally speaking.) Chiang Mai is the perfect place to take a cooking class, see a Muay Thai match, or check out the markets. (Chiang Mai is widely considered to have the "best" market in all of Southeast Asia.) There are also many venerated temples throughout town and within the medieval Thai walls there's a lot to explore.

In Laos, with a limited schedule I'd recommend heading straight for Luang Prabang, which is essentially to Laos what Chiang Mai is to Thailand. It's a great place to relax while still getting a good feel for the pulse of your surroundings. 

I'd plan to spend as little time as possible in the capital cities, as you'll find that there's incredibly terrible traffic, and all the typical inconveniences of major metropolitan areas worldwide. As for Vietnam, I have traveled throughout twice, and I personally feel that the experience there is so greatly overshadowed by the ones I have had throughout Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Angkor Wat (attraction)
  2. Chiang Mai (city)
  3. Luang Prabang (attraction)
  4. Vietnam (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Vicky from Los Angeles

I usually prefer to linger in one area rather than rushing about. I spent 9 days in and around Hanoi in Vietnam and 5 days in Siem Reap alone, and I could spend a month in Bali alone - the island is so big that you could spend a few days in a secluded beach, a few days in trendy Seminyak and a week getting pampered in Ubud! That said, if you have 4 weeks, figure out which areas you must absolutely go to and activities you can't miss. Thailand makes a good base for Laos and Cambodia while Singapore or KL is a good base for Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Looking at budget airlines' routes also helps - check out AirAsia, JetStar, and Bangkok Air. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Siem Reap (city)
  3. Seminyak (attraction)
  4. Ubud (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Annemarie from New York City

Since Lisa gave you some New Zealand recommendations, I wanted to throw one in. If you visit Auckland, take a day trip to Rangitoto Island where you can hike up the site of a dormant volcano. The island is accessible from Downtown Auckland via the ferry.

There's one bathroom on the island and zero shops or amenities to speak of, so bring a water bottle and whatever else you need with you, and prepare for rain and fog if you go during that season. The ferry runs (seasonally) for a few hour increments a day, so be sure to ask before you disembark and then can't get back to Auckland. Great day trip, gorgeous scenery. Felt like we lived in Lord of the Rings.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rangitoto Island (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Bente from Haarlem

I spent a good two weeks in Vietnam alone and already felt like we were rushing. I also spent a good two weeks in Indonesia and again it felt like crazy travelling. I'd recommend spending more time in fewer places.

I thorougly enjoyed the food, people and wonderful sights in Vietnam. Places I enjoyed most were HanoiSa PaMai ChâuHo Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta.

In Indonesia we spent time on Java island and Bali

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (attraction)
  2. Indonesia (attraction)
  3. Hanoi (city)
  4. Sa Pa (city)
  5. Mai Châu (attraction)
  6. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  7. Mekong Delta (region)
  8. Bali (island)
2 thanks

answered by
Tracy from Singapore

HanoiCruise HalongSa Pa are recommended if you go to Vietnam. It will take about 1 week for those 3 places. You won't regret to have visited those 3 places. :)

For another 3 weeks, probably, if I were you, I will spend mostly in Thailand (Bangkok), Indonesia the least must go to Bali or Lombok. Then go to MalaysiaCameron HighlandsMelakaRedang Island and probably ends at Singapore as more international flight available, too. :) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanoi (city)
  2. Cruise Halong (attraction)
  3. Sa Pa (city)
  4. Vietnam (attraction)
  5. Thailand (attraction)
  6. Bangkok (city)
  7. Indonesia (attraction)
  8. Bali (island)
  9. Lombok (city)
  10. Malaysia (attraction)
  11. Cameron Highlands (attraction)
  12. Melaka (attraction)
  13. Redang Island (city)
  14. Singapore (country)
2 thanks

answered by
Stephane from Guangzhou

Hi Edward,

Asia is big and I think you can't just do it in one time. I guess you will have to go back again to travel all the places you have in mind.

I would suggest the following to have quite a good overview of South-East Asia:

1. Start from Singapore: 2 or 3 days should be enough to have a feeling of this city

2. Move North to Melaka

3. Then to Kuala Lumpur: I personnaly love this city

4. Go for fresh air in the Cameron Highlands: go for strawberries and tea...

5. Have a rest in the nice Langkawi

6. Time to reach Thailand and to compare Langkawi beache with Krabibeaches. I think the beach close to Ao Nang is amazing.

7. Boat trip to Koh Phi Phi, continue to Phuket

8. Finish the beach time and head to Bangkok and of course visit the amazing Ayutthaya

9. I guess it's time to move North again to Sukhothai. You can't miss this place, really.

10. Finish your trip in Chiang Mai where you can have some trekks if you still have som time left...


Here is my proposal,






Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Singapore (country)
  2. Melaka (attraction)
  3. Kuala Lumpur (city)
  4. Cameron Highlands (attraction)
  5. Langkawi (region)
  6. Krabi (city)
  7. Koh Phi Phi (city)
  8. Phuket (city)
  9. Bangkok (city)
  10. Ayutthaya (attraction)
  11. Sukhothai (city)
  12. Chiang Mai (city)
2 thanks

answered first by

My husband and I spent 2 weeks in Asia.  We had 5 days in Bangkok, 4 days up north in Chiang Rai and 5 days down south in Ko Samui.  While in Bangkok we took a boat the Laos and spent a day in Burma.  The time in each area seemed like enough time.  I would probally spend another day or 2 in Bangkok and take a trip down river to the floating markets.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bangkok (city)
  2. Chiang Rai (city)
  3. Ko Samui (attraction)
1 thanks

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