Backpacking in South East Asia

Gap Year Regions  »  South East Asia

Why Go?

Interactive Map of South East Asia

Click on the coloured regions in the interactive map below to find out more about travelling in the countries in South East Asia.
 

Why Visit South East Asia?

South East Asia is a backpacker’s adventure playground. It is just so much fun. People visiting for the first time can sometimes experience a slight culture shock, but the very things that create that will quickly become the bits you most relish: the chaotic cities, the weird and wonderful food, the rickety local transport and the other-worldly scenery. It’s also (from a Westerner’s perspective) a very cheap place to travel: music to any backpacker’s ears.

The starting point for the vast majority of people is the Thai capital, Bangkok, famous for its extraordinary temples and palaces, and rampant nightlife. This often marks the beginning of what’s known as the South East Asia loop, which covers Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Burma can also be included in this trip, having recently opened up again to tourism. You can also head south from Bangkok, which will take you to the Thai islands (stunning), Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, which straddles the equator.

South East Asia is a perfect introduction to the wider continent of Asia, which can be slightly trickier to navigate. The region is a logical stepping stone for those who began in Oceania, both because it’s slightly more challenging to travel in and because it’s very kind on those inevitably dwindling budgets.


Top Countries

Thailand

Thailand

Vietnam

Vietnam

Cambodia

Cambodia

Malaysia

Malaysia

Laos

Laos

Indonesia

Indonesia

Best Experiences

You could spend a lifetime trying to experience all the incredible things South East Asia has to offer and still not come close to completing the list! However, there's nothing stopping you trying. Below are what we believe to be the very best experiences in South East Asia - scroll and be inspired!

See the orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia


Learn to surf in Bali, Indonesia


Take part in a cooking class in Thailand


Watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia


Sail Halong Bay in Vietnam on a junk boat


Watch a Muay Thai boxing match in Thailand


Trek to Mount Bromo, Indonesia, for sunrise


Stroll down Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand


See the temples of Bagan in Burma from a hot air balloon


Get a suit or dress made in Hoi An, Vietnam


Sample some delicious pho in Vietnam


Go island hopping in Thailand


Explore the temples of Bangkok, Thailand


Go trekking in northern Thailand


Go kayaking in Vang Vieng, Laos


Walk the sky bridge at the Petronas Towers, Malaysia


Ride a moped to the mountain town of Pai in Thailand

Itineraries

Check out these itineraries which we have created for South East Asia, and remember, we are experts in creating tailor made gap year experiences, so if you have a particular route in mind just call the number on the big blue button below.

Ultimate Thailand Adventure

Explore Southeast Asia

Explore South East Asia

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Advice

Need advice on backpacking in South East Asia? You're in the right place! We have articles covering all the major destinations, from Thailand to Vietnam to Indonesia.

101 Things to Do in Thailand

101 Things to Do in Thailand

Finding Food in Laos

Finding Food in Laos

Visiting Cambodia's Killing Fields

Visiting Cambodia's Killing Fields

17 Things You Have to Do in Vietnam

17 Things You Have to Do in Vietnam

Animal Volunteering in Malaysia

Animal Volunteering in Malaysia

Finding History in Indonesia

Finding History in Indonesia