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6-week Southeast Asia itinerary: A quick guide for first-time travelers

24/01/2024 8.722

A 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary featuring a diverse range of experiences and destinations offers a comprehensive exploration of the region's rich cultural tapestry, stunning landscapes, and culinary treasures.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

A 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary promises an immersive journey through a tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and experiences. This extended adventure spans captivating destinations, each offering its own unique blend of ancient traditions, awe-inspiring natural wonders, and culinary delights. Scroll down to explore two intriguing options for your upcoming Southeast Asia discovery journey.

1. Essential things to know about 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

1.1. How to allocate your 6 weeks in Southeast Asia?

In Southeast Asia, every country unfolds a distinct tapestry of attractions, ensuring a fulfilling and memorable travel experience. For an optimal tour pace, it is suggested to explore a maximum of five countries during this extensive 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary. Let’s discover what each Southeast Asian country has to offer.

  • Vietnam: Vietnam is a beautiful place for those who love street food, shopping, getting traditional clothes tailored in Hoi An, or enjoying the natural wonders of Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang cave, and more.
  • Cambodia: Cambodia is renowned for the vast archaeological site of Angkor Wat amidst the jungle, the pristine beaches with crystal-clear water, and numerous street vendors throughout the country.
  • Thailand: Beyond the enticing moonlit feasts with fire, Thailand is a resort destination and an excellent place for adventurous exploration. You'll surely regret it if you only explore the sun-soaked beaches on the islands here.
  • Indonesia: For those fascinated by orangutans, manta rays, trekking trails, temples, or ideal surfing beaches, this vast archipelago has it all.
  • Laos: Although no longer charming in the eyes of backpackers as the river in Vang Vieng has been dammed, Laos remains an equally attractive place. 
  • Philippines: The enchanting waterfalls, dreamlike natural caves in Palawan, or aromatic adobo dishes with garlic and ginger will make you even more fond of the Philippines.
  • East Timor: East Timor has only recently attracted tourists; hence, travelers can enjoy peaceful moments, discover the charming wilderness, ideal for surfing enthusiasts on the beaches, and savor seafood dishes.
  • Singapore: Singapore is a beautiful destination for travelers, especially with affordable costs. Here, you can shop to your heart's content, stroll around, or enjoy delicious, budget-friendly street dishes.
  • Malaysia: Malaysia, the land of beautiful scenery and friendly people, offers enticing cuisine. It's also a destination for travelers who enjoy underwater sports.
  • Brunei: With vast primary rainforests covering 70% of its area, Brunei offers not only lush green landscapes but also a distinctive cultural heritage and enchanting architectural wonders for tourists to explore.
6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

1.2. Best time to visit Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia, situated within the tropical region, maintains warm temperatures throughout the year. However, visitors should look closer at the weather forecast as Southeast Asia's climate varies among countries and regions.

For a 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary, the best time to explore most of the region is generally from November to February, when the weather is dry and warm. It's important to note that this period, especially around Christmas and New Year, is the high season, potentially leading to booked-out accommodations and flights.

Wet-season monsoon rains typically occur in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar from June to October. These brief, intense rain showers are unlikely to disrupt your plans significantly. The hottest months, with daytime temperatures reaching 37–40°C (99–104°F), fall from April to May.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

1.3. Travel costs for 6 weeks in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is an optimal destination for milestone journeys, providing cost-effective, top-notch, and hassle-free private tours. Estimating travel costs for a 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary can vary based on travel style, preferences, and the countries you visit.

For a 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary for 1–2 people, the estimated cost falls between USD 16,000 and USD 21,000, excluding international airfares. For budget-conscious travelers seeking optimal weather conditions, exploring shared experiences with friends or family can lower overall costs.

Seasonal fluctuations impact costs in Southeast Asia, peaking from November to April during the dry season and decreasing from May to October in the rainy season. Visitors should also think of currency exchange rate inflation and plan for flexibility in the budget to accommodate unforeseen expenses. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

1.4. Visa and travel restrictions

Here's a revised version of the tourist visa guide for Southeast Asia travel destinations

Destination

Visa exemption

Ways to apply for tourist visas

Vietnam

  • Europe: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden
  • South and Middle America: Chile, Panama
  • Asia: Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Brunei

E-Visa online

Thailand

  • USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and most EU nations 
  • ASEAN countries
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA)
  • E-Visa online
  • Apply via a Thai embassy/consulate

Cambodia

Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam

  • Visa on Arrival (VOA)
  • E-Visa online

Philippines

EU countries, USA, Australia, Russia, and South American countries

Apply via Philippines embassy/consulate

Indonesia

  • All EU countries
  • USA
  • ASEAN countries
  • Visa on arrival (VOA)
  • E-visa online 

Laos

Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Brunei, Myanmar

  • Visa on arrival (VOA)
  • E-visa online 

Malaysia

  • EU countries 
  • North America: Canada, USA, Mexico
  • South Africa, Australia
  • United Arab Emirates 
  • E-Visa online
  • Apply via embassy/consulate

Singapore

EU countries, USA, Australia, Norway, South Korea, and Switzerland

Apply via embassy/consulate

 

If you are planning to visit Phu Quoc, Vietnam, it’s important to note that Phu Quoc has its own Vietnam visa policy. Since July 1, 2020, foreigners and Vietnamese citizens holding foreign passports entering, exiting, or residing on Phu Quoc Island are exempt from visas, with a temporary stay not exceeding 30 days. In the case of foreigners arriving at an international entry point in Vietnam (including both air and sea routes) and staying in the transit area of that entry point before transferring to Phu Quoc, they are also eligible for visa exemption under this regulation.

*The information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is advisable to contact and verify the details before embarking on your journey, as the information may be subject to updates.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2. Perfect 6-week Southeast Asia itineraries for first-time travelers

Scroll down to check out the two perfect 6-week Southeast Asia travel itineraries for first-time travelers.

2.1. Option 1: Vietnam - Laos - Cambodia - Thailand - Malaysia

Travel enthusiasts can embark on an exhilarating 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary, exploring the captivating countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. This comprehensive Asia tour promises an unforgettable journey filled with diverse cultures.

2.1.1. 14 days in Vietnam

In Vietnam, a 14-day Vietnam travel journey awaits, allowing you to explore the rich tapestry of its culture, history, and natural beauty. Visitors should start their journey in Hanoi, where the bustling streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter beckon for exploration, the unique taste of egg coffee awaits your palate, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex invites contemplation and homage.

In addition to Hanoi, Ha Long is a destination worth visiting. UNESCO's heritage offers breathtaking landscapes and caves, such as Sung Sot Cave, Dau Go Cave, and Thien Cung Cave. You can elevate your experience with a mesmerizing seaplane flight, adding a unique perspective to the exploration.

The ancient Hue Imperial City unveils its historical grandeur as you continue your odyssey in Hue. Don't forget to immerse yourself in the cultural ambiance by listening to traditional Hue Royal Court music and tantalizing your taste buds with local delights like bun bo Hue noodles and Nam Pho thick noodle soup.

From Hue, it is very convenient to get to Hoi An, where visitors can pedal through the charming Hoi An Ancient Town. It would be best to get to the ancient town on the 14th day of the lunar month, when the atmospheric glow of the Hoi An lantern festival will impress you with its unique allure. Besides, enjoy Hoi An cuisine, such as Hoi An chicken rice, mi Quang, and more. 

Concluding your adventure in Nha Trang and Phu Quoc, pristine beaches invite relaxation. Here, visitors can exhilarate water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing, and the thrill of flyboarding promises to create lasting memories along Vietnam's stunning coastline.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

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6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

Additionally, you can discover the entertainment haven of VinWonders, where various thrilling activities and captivating performances await. VinWonders is sure to enhance the excitement of your journey.

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2.1.2. 5 days in Laos

While Laos may be one of the most widely known destinations, this unique charm adds allure to your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary. In this serene country, each stop unfolds captivating sights and a rich tapestry of flavors, enhancing your travel experience.

Visit Wat Phia Wat in Xieng Khouang to discover the resilience of its Buddha statue amid historical turmoil. Pakse unfolds its charm, inviting you to explore the panoramic views of Phou Salao Temple. Visitors can soak in the breathtaking landscapes that stretch before them from this elevated vantage point. 

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang will surely captivate you with its architectural wonders. Stroll through the unique charm of Luang Prabang Old Town, absorb the vibrant atmosphere of the night market, and ascend Mount Phousi for breathtaking views. 

Vientiane is where cultural landmarks like the Luang Golden Tower and the whimsical Buddha Park showcase the nation's rich heritage. And Vang Vieng is where the crystal-clear waters of Blue Lagoon 3 provide a serene retreat. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.1.3. 6 days in Cambodia

Visitors can continue their 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary with a 6-day journey exploring Cambodia. It would be convenient if visitors could book a flight to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat.

Your itinerary may include the Small Circuit of Angkor Wat and visiting temples like Bayon, Baphuon, and Ta Prohm. If you are more into local culture, continue your journey with the floating villages around Tonle Sap Lake.

From Siem Reap, it is convenient to travel to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Spend time visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the Royal Palace, the central market, and Choeung Ek Killing Fields.

On the last day of your Cambodia exploration, visitors can head to the coastal paradise of Sihanoukville for two days of relaxation on stunning beaches. Various water activities, including scuba diving, snorkeling, and enjoying the sun and sea, await you to explore. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.1.4. 10 days in Thailand

To align seamlessly with your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary, dedicating 10 days to immerse yourself in the cultural richness of Thailand emerges as an impeccable choice.

Commence your cultural odyssey in Bangkok, the bustling Thai capital, where the initial three days unfold amidst iconic destinations such as Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, Wat Traimit, and Wat Saket. Delve into the city's cultural tapestry through vibrant markets and museums.

For more experience, tourists can choose to extend their explorations to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. Additionally, Sukhothai, the inaugural capital of Siam and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a must-visit stop. 

Chiang Mai, the final destination in this cultural itinerary, unfolds many cultural experiences over the next few days. Your itinerary may include renowned sites like the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and attractions such as the Mae Khachan Hot Spring, the Black House Museum, the Blue Temple, the Golden Triangle, and more. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

>>> Read more about the 10-day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand itinerary to get more ideas for your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary! 

2.1.5. 7 days in Malaysia

Embarking on a captivating journey through Malaysia within the constraints of a single week is intricately planned to offer a taste of the country's diverse wonders. This condensed exploration seamlessly aligns with your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary, ensuring a harmonious flow through the region's cultural tapestry.

Visitors should spend at least two days exploring Kuala Lumpur's iconic landmarks, such as the Petronas Towers and KL Tower. Other recommended activities are wandering through bustling markets, traversing Chinatown, and embracing the nightlife of Bukit Bintang.

Additionally, historic Malacca is worth visiting for its architectural gems and cultural richness. Don't forget to explore landmarks like Christ Church, Jonker Street, A'Famosa Fort, St. Paul's Church, and the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum. Another must-do activity here is cruising along the picturesque Malacca River.

Visitors can stop by Langkawi for a tropical paradise experience to complete their 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary. Here, the pristine beaches await you to rest after a long journey, and the duty-free shopping is an excellent addition to your amazing Southeast Asia trip.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.2. Option 2: Malaysia - Indonesia - Brunei - Singapore

With the second option of a 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary, travelers will explore the dynamic cultural landscapes of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Singapore.

2.2.1. 2 weeks in Malaysia

The journey of a 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary commences in Kuala Lumpur, where travelers can explore the city's vibrant atmosphere. Explore Sri Mahamariamman and Guan Di temples, wander through atmospheric markets, and experience the lush KL Forest Eco Park with its unique canopy walk.

Visitors can explore independently or opt for a guided tour to visit Taman Negara, Malaysia's largest national park. The journey then takes travelers to the misty landscapes of the Cameron Highlands. 

The next destination is Penang, an island that blends nature, hiking, and cultural richness. Staying in George Town is convenient for you to explore Little India, temples, Clan Jetties, and venture on day trips to Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang Hill, and Penang National Park.

Last but not least, unwind in Langkawi, a tropical paradise where travelers can soak up the sun on pristine beaches. You can take a boat tour to hidden gems and consider exploring Langkawi on the Cable Car or Sky Bridge. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.2.2. 2 weeks in Indonesia

Continue your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary with two weeks in Indonesia. Visitors can choose to begin their Indonesia adventure in Yogyakarta. According to seasoned travelers, the must-visit destinations here are the ancient temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

The volcanic wonders of Malang are where visitors can witness the spectacular sunrise at Mount Bromo and venture to Mount Ijen. Don't forget to gain insights into the miners' lives as they extract sulfur in this breathtaking setting.

It is also a good idea to immerse yourself in the charm of Ubud, a town surrounded by lush rice paddies, for three days. Ubud offers a blend of relaxation and cultural enrichment, from cooking classes to dance performances.

Besides, Gili Air—the island bliss—is a perfect blend of vibrant activity and the tranquility of the beaches. And Komodo National Park, the only place to see Komodo dragons, will welcome tourists with stunning views and snorkeling adventures. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.2.3. 1 week in Brunei

Your 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary continues with Bandar Seri Begawan, where visitors can immerse themselves in Brunei's capital city's rich culture. Visitors can visit iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the Grand Royal Regalia Museum.

On the following day of your Brunei journey, explore the opulent Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and one of the largest residential palaces in the world. As you continue your 6-week Southeast Asia Itinerary venture to Seria, the capital, to explore the country's petroleum industry. 

Last but not least, diving in Brunei is a captivating experience that every visitor should try at least once. The country has gained acclaim for its exceptional wreck diving sites, such as the Bolkiah Wreck, a sunken passenger craft turned artificial reef, and the Oil Rig Wreck, an ideal spot for beginners and experienced divers. 

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

2.2.4. 1 week in Singapore

The last suggested country in the 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary is Singapore. Upon landing at the world-renowned Jewel Changi Airport, visitors are immediately immersed in an unparalleled shopping and dining experience. 

Merlion Park is a must-visit for iconic photo opportunities with Singapore's legendary mascot. Besides, visitors can explore the vibrant nightlife of the Central Business District (CBD) and its renowned bars in the evening. Chinatown, Clive Street, Upper Dickson Road, Kerbau Road, Hindoo Road, and Dunlop Street are must-visit streets. 

And if you are a nature lover, you cannot miss the center stage at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Singapore Botanic Gardens, or the wildlife extravaganza at Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Night Safari.

6-week Southeast Asia itinerary

Southeast Asia is an incredible destination where each country boasts a unique charm. Whether seeking to delve into cultural exploration, unwind amidst serene retreats, or embark on a culinary adventure, this region offers diverse experiences. Crafting a personalized 6-week Southeast Asia itinerary allows travelers to tailor their journey to suit their preferences and make the most of their time in this region!

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