Southeast Asia Backpacking Route

The ONLY Guide You’ll Ever Need

best things to do in southeast asia | el nido the philippines

Southeast Asia Backpacking Route

{The ONLY Guide You’ll Ever Need}

Backpacking Southeast Asia should be on everyone’s bucket list.

There’s nothing that compares to waking up after a dose of Asia’s hedonistic nightlife, grabbing a bowl of Pad Thai for less than $1, and spending the rest of your day sitting on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches

There is a lot to cover on the Southeast Asia Backpacking route, and we’ve got it all right here.

This is the ONLY guide you’ll need for your Southeast Asia itinerary!

It’s cheap, it’s beautiful, it’s fun, and everyone deserves to experience Southeast Asia for themselves!

Best Places To Visit In Southeast Asia


When you think of Indonesia, obviously Bali will be the first thing to pop in your head.

But there are endless things to do in Indonesia that go beyond Bali.

You must include the Nusa Islands, Gili Islands, Lombok, Java, and Komodo Island to get the true Indonesia Southeast Asia backpacking experience.

Bali Content Guide

23 Most Instagrammable Places in Bali {The Updated Guide}

Where To Stay In Bali {The Best Bali Accommodation}

How Many Days In Bali Is Enough? {The Must Read Guide!}

tibumana waterfall bali

best places to stay in nusa penida

omnia beach club uluwatu | How many days in bali is enough


best things to do in thailand

If there’s any place you shouldn’t miss during your Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary, it’s Thailand.

There are just too many incredible places to see here, and the party scene is genuinely like no other place we’ve been before.

It’s absolutely nuts, and you all need to experience it.

I can safely say Thailand is one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia.

Thailand Content Guide:

50 Best Things To Do In Thailand {The Ultimate Thailand Bucket List}

7 Days In Thailand Itinerary {The Best Place To Spend A Week In Thailand}

9 Best Thailand Party Places {The Ultimate Thailand Nightlife Guide}


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3 weeks in thailand itinerary koh tao drone

hong island thailand

The Philippines

southeast asia backpacking route

The Philippines holds a special place in our hearts.

The beauty that is contained in this little pocket of Southeast Asia is truly a phenomenal and wondrous experience.

Your Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary MUST include the Philippines. Just trust us on this!

Philippines Content Guide:

Philippines Backpacking Guide {Best Places To Visit In The Philippines}

El Nido vs Coron Palawan [ The Ultimate Philippines Battle ]

Philippines Backpacking Guide {Best Places To Visit In The Philippines}



Southeast asia backpacking route | Sapa Vietnam

Lots of travelers tend to overlook Vietnam during their Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary and let me tell you what a big mistake that is.

Vietnam is stunning, and the Vietnamese people and their culture are just radiantly beautiful.




Southeast asia backpacking route | Siem Reap CambodiaCambodia is a country rich in culture and beauty.

The breathtaking Angkor Wat is one of the most massive religious sites in the world and is by far Cambodia’s most renowned attraction.

Although Cambodia has plenty to offer backpackers, unlike other destinations in Southeast Asia it only requires about two weeks to visit it’s most popular attractions.


laos southeast asia backpacking route

Laos is a country on the Southeast Asia backpacking route that I feel is perfect for when your body needs a break from exploring every day and partying every night.

Much like Cambodia, you don’t need too much time to experiance what Laos has to offer, and it would be an incomplete Southeast Asia trip without it.

How Much Time To Spend Traveling In Southeast Asia?

Southeast asia backpacking route | Tukad Cepung Bali

The question of “how long do you need backpacking Southeast Asia”  all depends on what destinations you are planning to visit.

It’s not uncommon for some hardcore backpackers to spend 6 months or longer backpacking Southeast Asia and still not run out of places to explore.

However, obviously not everyone can just pack up their bags and leave for 6 months, so we’ve broken down the six best places to travel in Southeast Asia and how much time you really need to visit their most popular destinations. 

As hardened backpackers, we like to explore every inch of all the places we step foot in.

Therefore, these recommendations are based on how thoroughly you wish to explore each of these destinations.

Indonesia | 4-6 weeks

We spent 1 month in Indonesia and saw quite a bit of it in that amount of time without feeling too rushed.

However, six weeks in Indonesia would have been better for us to explore other parts of the country outside of the most popular regions of Bali and the Gili Islands.

It just depends how far into Indonesia you want to explore.

Therefore, if you just want to do mainland Bali, Gili Islands, and the Nusa Islands, one month should suffice.

However, if you wish to explore further and go to other parts like Java, Lombok or Komodo Island, you might need another week or two to explore these destinations.

Keep in mind Indonesia only allows citizens of most countries to stay for 30 days without a visa and up to 3 months with a paid visa.

Click here to check the visa requirements for your country.

Click here to see which countries are on the visa exemption list.

where to stay in bali nusa dua

Thailand | 4-6 weeks

Thailand is one of the biggest countries on the Southeast Asia backpacking route, and for this reason, a big portion of your journey should be spent exploring all of its wonders.

Backpackers tend to fall in love with Thailand so much, they tend to revisit Thailand for a second time during their Southeast Asia backpacking trip.

Thailand is another country that only allows a stay of 30 days for citizens of most countries (Visa Exemption).

Click here to see Thailand’s visa requirements and how you can stay here for longer.

chang mai buddha

The Philippines | 4 weeks

There are 7000 islands waiting to be explored in this glorious country and there’s no way you’ll explore even a third of them in one trip.

However, to explore the main parts and see the best of everything, 4 weeks in the Philippines will be just fine!

Click here for Visa requirements for the Philippines!


Vietnam | 3-4 weeks

We traveled to Vietnam for 3 weeks, however, we could’ve easily explored this beautiful country for another week!

There are endless things to do all over Vietnam, and it’s all very different from the activities you will do in Thailand, Indonesia, or the Philippines.

You need to organize a pre-authorized visa online PRIOR to getting to the airport.

Therefore, make sure you do this before arriving to avoid getting rejected at the airport.

Click here for Visa information and requirements for Vietnam!

You need a pre-authorized visa to enter Vietnam. Click here to apply for an e-visa.

Cambodia | 1-2 weeks

Cambodia is still fairly undeveloped, and you can see a huge difference in the economy here as compared to other Southeast Asia countries.

Cambodia doesn’t have as many tourist-friendly destinations as Thailand or Indonesia, so you shouldn’t need more than 2 weeks here!

Click here for Visa information for Cambodia.

You need a visa to enter Cambodia. Click here to apply for an e-visa.

siem reap cambodia

Laos | 1-2 weeks

Cambodia is still fairly undeveloped, and you can see a huge difference in the economy here as compared to other Southeast Asia countries.

Cambodia doesn’t have as many tourist-friendly destinations as Thailand or Indonesia, so you shouldn’t need more than 2 weeks here!

Click here for Visa information for Cambodia.

You need a visa to enter Cambodia. Click here to apply for an e-visa.

laos monkeys in the jungle

Popular Southeast Asia Backpacking Route Options

bali vs thailand thumbnail

We’ve comprised infographics of the best Southeast Asia backpacking route options by country.

Feel free to save them and use these as a reference for your Southeast Asia itinerary!

When it comes to which country to travel to first, I just recommend choosing the cheapest place to fly into.

Once you’re in Asia, you can affordably travel between countries.

Furthermore, you can also take a bus when traveling between Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Keep in mind that while taking a bus is the cheapest option, it’s also the most time consuming so we recommend flying if you are pressed for time.

We use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights!

Backpacking Southeast Asia Budget

hiking instagram accounts halong bay

The easiest way to determine your Southeast Asia backpacking budget is to calculate roughly how much you’ll be spending per day.

Include costs such as:

  • Accommodation
  • Flights you’ll take during the trip
  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Alcohol/Party expenses
  • Event tickets (e.g., music festivals)
  • Shopping

Whenever we travel Southeast Asia, we’re averaging just under $50 USD per day. And we definitely don’t skimp out on the avoidable costs associated with backpacking like drinking, party events, and shopping.

Backpacking Southeast Asia is some of the cheapest travel in the world.

If you’re staying in hostels, accommodation will cost you on average around  $10-15 USD per night.

You can eat for under $10 USD anywhere in Southeast Asia, especially if you’re opting for traditional dishes such as Pad Thai and other street food rather than eating at more expensive restaurants.

Just to put things into perspective, grabbing yourself a bowl of Pad Thai on the street in Thailand will cost you less than $1, and a bowl of Pho in Vietnam is priced at around $1.50.

Flights between Asian countries are quite cheap as well typically costing below $100 USD.

The cheapest and safest way to drink alcohol in Southeast Asia is to buy your own bottle from the convenience store and pregame before you go out.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Don’t buy alcohol off the street! It may be crazy cheap, but you do run a higher risk of getting methanol poisoning!

Prices vary depending on which country you go to, e.g. Thailand alcohol is much cheaper than alcohol in Bali.

Shopping is dirt cheap anywhere in Southeast Asia especially if you’re shopping in the markets.

Backpacking Southeast Asia is one of the most affordable trips you can take, therefore it is quite feasible to budget your holiday for around $50 USD or less.

Especially if you skip out on the unnecessary spending.

Best Places To Party In Southeast Asia

Top Places To Party In Indonesia

gili trawangan party jiggy boat party

Indonesia can throw a pretty crazy party night too, although typically on a bit less wild level than Thailand.

Bali is filled with Beach Clubs for some day drinking and light partying, but for the most part, it’s pretty chilled out.

Gili Trawangan and Seminyak are the best destinations in Indonesia for the most rambunctious nightlife.

Best Places In Indonesia For Partying

Best Party Hostels In Indonesia

MY MATE’S PLACE – GILI TRAWANGAN – One of the better party hostels in Gili Trawangan. It’s clean, convenient and constantly busy.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

Top Places To Party In Thailand

full moon party dates

There’s no surprise here when we tell you Thailand takes the cake for the best parties in Southeast Asia.

Home to the craziest beach party in the world, there’s not much else that compares to the insanely wild event of The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.

Additionally, Khao San Road, which is the original hedonistic party street in Southeast Asia is guaranteed to present you some of the most unforgettable nights of your holiday.

Best Places In Thailand For Partying


Best Party Hostels In Thailand

BODEGA BANGKOK | BANGKOK – The perfectly located hostel for when you’re stumbling back after your night out.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

ARK BAR | KOH SAMUI – Featuring pool parties and Koh Samui’s best beach party, this is where everyone comes to start the night.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

BLANCO’S BEACH BAR | KOH PHI PHI – Nightly beach parties, strip Jenga, fire limbo competition, boat party… If any of this sounds appealing to you then Blanco’s is for you.

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

SLUMBER PARTY | KOH PHANGAN – Slumber Party said “if you are antisocial and are just looking for a bed to sleep in we are not the place for you”. I don’t think I need to elaborate!

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

Top Places To Party In The Philippines

boracay party

Although not as wild as the previous destinations on this list, The Philippines does have quite decent nightlife if you know where to look.

Boracay Island is by far The Philippines standout party destination and hands down the place to be for anyone ready to walk on the wild side.

Boasting a diverse range of events ranging from boat parties, beach clubs, party hostels, and even the annual La Boracay Festival, this tropical island of hedonism definitely ranks with the other Southeast Asia heavy-hitters.

Additionally like most major cities, Manilla and Cebu City offer some excellent and diverse nightlife, however, don’t come here expecting any iconic party spots like you will find in Bangkok or Bali.

Best Places In The Philippines For Partying


Best Party Hostels In The Philippines

OUTPOST BEACH HOSTEL | EL NIDO – Basically the #1 hostel in El Nido Palawan, Outpost Beach Hostel is no stranger to a good party. 

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

FRENDZ HOSTEL | BORACAY – Parties every night, cheap beer, boat parties… need I say more?

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

Top Places To Party In Cambodia

party in asia | phnom penh

We honestly weren’t too impressed by the overall party scene in Cambodia, however, Funky Flashpacker Hostel in Siem Reap is one of the best party hostels we’ve ever been to!

There are backpackers always ready to start partying with you here, so if you’re looking for a place to get wild in Cambodia, this hostel can do you no wrong.

Outside of Funky Flashpacker Hostel, Siem Reap’s Pub Street is another excellent place to look for nightlife with a plethora of pubs and nightclubs going hard until the morning.

Finally be sure not to miss out on Phnom Penh, which boasts some of the best nightlife in Cambodia as the largest and busiest city in the country.

Best Places In Cambodia For Partying

  • Siem Reap
  • Funky Flashpacker Hostel
  • Kampot
  • Phnom Penh


Best Party Hostels In Cambodia

FUNKY FLASHPACKER HOSTEL | SIEM REAP – With round the clock food and pool parties every day you practically don’t even need to leave the hostel to have a good time.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

ARKADIA BACKPACKERS HOSTEL | KAMPOT – This waterfront hostel comes with a waterslide, rope swing and a unification of backpackers ready to party.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

MAD MONKEY HOSTEL | PHNOM PENH – I mean… the name of this hostel says it all.

Click here to check prices on Agoda

Click here to check prices on HostelWorld

Top Places To Party In Laos

party in asia thumbnail

It’s no secret that Laos used to be up there as one of the wildest party places in Southeast Asia, however after many unfortunate tourist deaths, restrictions have been placed and partying in Laos is no longer a major party attraction.

Although, nightlife in Vang Vieng is certainly not what it used to be, at night the city center is still crowded with tourists ready to get a little rowdy.

Best Places In Laos For Partying

  • Vang Vieng

Frequently Asked Questions


Absolutely not! To see each country entirely you’re going to need 6 months for your Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary in my opinion. But that’s without rushing at all and seeing everything the country has to offer.


If you’re a little nervous to start traveling alone, it’s probably best to start somewhere you know will have a lot of tourists such as Thailand or Bali!

These countries in the Southeast Asia backpacking route are always busy, and if you stay in a hostel so you are guaranteed to meet people.


I’m not going to say Singapore is a must-visit destination, as every other Southeast Asian country offers much more culture and activities and mind-blowing experiences that the regular city in Singapore won’t give you.


Yes, it is possible to travel Southeast Asia on $25 a day as some other blogs tell you, but keep in mind this is just spending money strictly on the bare necessities like food and accommodation.


You may or may not need a visa depending on which country you visit.

Click here for Thailand visa requirements.
Click here for Indonesia visa requirements.
Click here for Vietnam visa requirements.
Click here for Philippines visa requirements.
Click here for Cambodia visa requirements.
Click here for Laos visa requirements.

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