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Josh
Baton Rouge

Thailand, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Phi Phi

Southeast Asia Itinerary Ideas for 3 Weeks?

I am attempting to plan a trip to Southeast Asia in Jan. of 2016 with my wife.  I need some help on possible travel route without much backtracking and also some suggestion on number of days in each place.  I originally wanted to start in Chiang Mai and work south, Chiang Mai > Bangkok > Siem Reap > and end on an island like Koh Phi Phi.  But it looks like a may be forced to start in Bangkok and end in Chiang Mai.  

Also would love some information or input on budget once in Southeast Asia.  I have heard it can be a very good value for accommodations and AirAsia flights are cheap to go from place to place.  Please give me any other suggestions or ideas from experience.

Looking forward to hearing from everyone.  Thanks!


3 Answers

top answer by
Hoyt from New York City

Bangkok - amazing. we had 2 nights here but wish it was a couple more. We stayed at the Mandarin Hotel Managed by Centre Point in the AMEX plan (free 2nd night). Amazing hotel, views, spa AND breakfast buffet. Good location. Some activities:

River ferry
Temple of Dawn
Reclining Buddha
Grand Palace
Khao San Road(lots of x-pats, cool bars and restaurants)
state tower rooftop bar/rest. (in hangover 2 movie). don't eat at the rest. tho, jut get a drink
jim thompson house

Chiang Mai - very cool city inland up north. old walled city but it has expanded outside walls. stayed at Le Meridien Chiang Mai. great location, good hotel, free breakfast and dinner. sights:
Night Bazaar Place
siam rice cooking school - a must do. so fun and so good and great to meet people
Patara Elephant Farm - a must do
$5 thai massages with cute thai girls
lots of bars, late night bar called spice, also check out facebook: cyclebarchiang
dinners at the The Whole Earth, the good view (on river) and the house

Koh Phi Phi - short plane ride and then speed boat to the islands. stayed at zeavola through luxury small hotels and resorts. suite has indoor and outdoor sections and showers. right on the gorgeous beach.

dinner at beach shack Jasmine probably the best food all trip
all kinds of water sports/activities
speedboat snorkel tour - maya cove (from the movie the beach),, blue lagoon, turtle cove, monkey beach, viking cave, loh samah bay
take a long tail boat to phi phi for nightlife

Krabi - mainland waterfront. Stayed at phulay bay, a ritz reserve w/ amex. free 3rd night. best hotel i have even been to. had a house and full pool and full-time butler (cute thai girl). huge infinity poolw/ swim up bar. multiple restaurants on resort. this is where the wedding took place in hangover 2. sights:

kayaking in the mangrove forests and in caves and lagoons
tiger cave temple - base temple then hike 1237 steps to temple up top. amazing!
emerald pool - healing powers
water sports

Phuket - took car to phuket. Stayed at Amanpuri - 2nd best hotel ever. 20 minute cab right from the crazy phuket nightlife. its nuts. gorgeous beach, watersports and great (relaxing) pool/vibe. We only stayed one night before flying home so didn't see too much. most of phuket is a party/wild place and quite touristy, so good to stay a bit outside that and then go in as much as you want.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bangkok (city)
  2. Mandarin Hotel Managed by Centre Point (hotel)
  3. Temple of Dawn (attraction)
  4. Reclining Buddha (attraction)
  5. Grand Palace (attraction)
  6. Khao San Road (attraction)
  7. Chiang Mai (city)
  8. Le Meridien Chiang Mai (restaurant)
  9. Night Bazaar Place (hotel)
  10. Patara Elephant Farm (attraction)
  11. The Whole Earth (restaurant)
  12. Koh Phi Phi (city)
  13. Krabi (city)
  14. Phuket (city)
  15. Amanpuri (hotel)
  16. Jasmine (attraction)
5 thanks


answered first by
Jodi from Funchal

Hi Josh,

I'm a big fan of going to less places but seeing more in them, so it really depends on your travel style. Chiang Mai is Thailand's cultural capital and has an insane amount of things to do, not just in the city itself but in the valleys nearby, as well as places like Pai (though I'd personally skip Pai for Mae Hong Son!).

Yes, Air Asia does go very cheaply within the region, and it makes getting around quite simple. 

Are you a fan of big cities versus the more cultural side? How important is beach time? I think it's fun to leave beach toward the end so that you can have that as relaxation time before heading home, but that's not a necessity of course! 

If your time is unlimited I'd spend at least a week in Chiang Mai / Mae Hong Son, and then 3 days in Bangkok, dividing the rest as you see fit. 

It's hard for someone to give you exact rules for time as it's truly based on what you guys love to do. For some ideas, here's a piece I wrote (not on my own site) about other things to do in Siem Reap besides the temples. Here is a budget break down (scroll a bit for Asia budgets) from all sorts of travelers during their time in Asia, to give you a better idea re costs.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chiang Mai (city)
  2. Pai (city)
  3. Mae Hong Son (attraction)
  4. Bangkok (city)
  5. Siem Reap (city)
4 thanks


answered by
Nam from Bangkok

Your destinations are not the same direction.

You probably have to start from Bangkokthen head to Chiang Maion the North and  go to next destination Koh Phi Phion the South by direct flight by Air Asia (Chiang Mai - Krabi). Fly back to Bangkok before heading to Siem Reap.

Alternatively, for better route and time saving, please consider islands on the East coast of Thailand such as Koh Chang and Ko Kut instead of Koh Phi Phi, then head to Siem Reap in Cambodia.

Number of days in each place (minimum)

Bangkok at least 3 nights

Chiang Mai at least 3 nights

Koh Phi Phi at least 3 nights

Siem Reap at least 3 nights for 3 days ticket

In Thailand, low cost airlines suggestion are Air Asia, Nok Air and Lion Air. Each airline offers low price tickets and the same standard. Cheapest airfare depends on the time of booking.

For accommodations, please search for booking.com / agoda.com

For budget, island destinations are always more expensive.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bangkok (city)
  2. Chiang Mai (city)
  3. Koh Phi Phi (city)
  4. Siem Reap (city)
  5. Koh Chang (island)
  6. Ko Kut (city)
  7. Cambodia (country)
  8. Koh Kood Island Resort (hotel)
  9. Thailand (country)
2 thanks




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