South East Asia Express

China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam

01 - R 4/5 - Travel Day

12:00pm- Friday 4:30pm (13h 30m)
China Eastern Airlines MU590

02 - F 4/6 - Hong Kong

Until 4:30pm
Layover: (2h 15m)
Dinner: Shanghai Airport

6:45PM – 9:30PM (2h 45m)
China Eastern Airlines MU723

Hong Kong
Buy Bus ticket to HK (Train costs more)
Check In Hostel at Urban Pack Hostel ($27)
D: Australian Dairy
Night Markets: Ladies, Temple St
Buy ticket for Lantau online

03 - S 4/7 - Hong Kong + Phuket

Hong Kong

  • Leave items at hostel + check out
  • Breakfast: Hong Kong Style Cafe
  • Lantau Island
  • Lunch: Lantau Island
  • Central: Longest covered escalator in the world
  • Victoria Peak
  • Ding Ding + Ferry Back to Hostel
  • Pick up items at hostel
  • Head to airport
  • Dinner: Airport

8:10pm-10:30pm (3h 20m)
HK Express 763


04 - U 4/7 - Phuket - Snorkeling

Patong Beach
Island Hop around Koh Phi Phi
Day trip to Krabi?
Nightlife (ladyboy show)?

05 - M 4/9 - Phuket - Elephants

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
2500 baht / 6:30-1:30 or 11:30-6:30

Green Elephant Sanctuary Park
2500 baht / 6:30-12:30, 12:30-5:30

Other Activities
Easy Day @ Beach
Muay Thai?
Phuket Fantasea Show and Dinner

Confirm taxi to airport for tomorrow
Pack up for early check out
Buy food for breakfast on the go

06 - T 4/10 - Siem Reap - Temple + Market


3am – Depart for Airport

Flight: Phuket > Siem Reap
6:15-7:45a – Phuket > Siem Reap ($48)

Visa: $30 USD Cash + Passport Photo

Store bag at lodging, don’t unpack much
Hire Tuk Tuk $25
Buy 1 Day Angkor Wat Ticket for 4/11 ($37)

Ask Tuk Tuks what fees are to Beng Mealea ($5 separate from Angkor Pass, $5 guide) → Psar Leu Market → and (optional if you have energy) Tonle Sap Lake to view the stilt houses on water (if there is water)

Should cost more, $35-$45 because Beng Mealea is 80 km northeast and further out. Leave as early as possible to beat the crowds which arrive after 10am. You will be driven through places where locals live. You can ask tuk tuk to stop anywhere you like for photos, to buy a snack, or use the toilet. You may see corn stalls along the road, other roadside food vendors, palm sugar being made, dog bbq, Cambodian weddings, etc. Bring something to cover your face from all the dust exposed from the tuk tuk while driving.

Beng Mealea (there is a boardwalk at the beginning, but then you veer off of it at the end and you can BE Lara Croft and meander above, under, through the ruins). Just hire a guide at the door for $5 and if you want to tip him, he will be grateful.

Psar Leu Market (a local market where you can see bee larvae, fresh fish, butchers, monks blessing butchers, fruits, vegetables, gold, money, ready made food, clothing, and many other ‘things’ for sale. Head eastbound (while facing the market, left side and deep inside) for fresh food, inside for clothing and goods, and frontside where the restaurant is.

Tonle Sap Lake (far south, you may need to buy a boat ticket to check out the stilt houses, they also offer crocodile farm tours, etc.) I didn’t go because water level was low.

Dinner @ Khmer Touch Cuisine if you want to eat lotus flowers 🙂 A little spendier than your local street food.

Night Market
Eat: Happy pizza, bugs
$0.50 beer
Cambodian Massage

Find Tuk Tuk for Tomorrow
Hire Guide for tomorrow (optional $30)

07 - W 4/11 - Siem Reap + Bangkok

Siem Reap
Check out + store bag
5am-5pm Angkor Wat Tour

Angkor Pass $37 one day, $62 three day. You need to take a photo and keep it with you at all times because they check before entering and even while you are inside. If you want to go to Banteay Srei you may want to consider the three day pass and complete that and the landmine museum on Day 2 instead of jam packing it on Day 1.

At your hostel, list on the board you would like to share a tuk tuk for an Angkor Wat sunrise and temple circuit tour so you can split the cost of a tuk tuk driver ($20-$40/day). I recommend to see the highlights so you do not exhaust yourself and get templed-out.

Tell Tuk Tuk you want to go to these places in this order: Angkor Wat (main temple) → Angkor Thom (south gate) → Prasat Bayon (huge faces and monkeys, my favorite) → Elephant Terraces and Terrace of the Leper King (next to each other) → Preah Khan (quieter than Ta Phrom, buy painting here) → Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider)  → Banteay Srei (25 km NE of Angkor)

Consider hiring official guide if you want to learn more about the history (you need advanced notice), otherwise watch videos or read some books about the complex.

Angkor Wat at Sunrise (keep left)      

Angkor Thom (south gate)            


Elephant Terraces and walk to Terrace of the Leper King

Preah Khan (similar to Ta Phrom but less people; you may come across an old lady who will want to show you something for a small fee, up to you if you want to see it. Fallen rocks left inside, building structure is near back on left, tree is in the far back down the middle,

Buy a few rubbings for me please at Preah Khan! Thank you!!!

Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider, big tree roots, hidden buddha behind tree)

Evening: Apsara Dance Show (link)

Night: Angkor Night Market or Pub Street and eat street food, happy pizza, pub street for $0.50 beer, get a massage, go shopping

7:45pm – Arrive at Airport

9:45pm-10:50p – Flight: Siem Reap > Bangkok (1h 5m)

Taxi counter for taxi (use meter)
Check into lodging
Khao San Road

08 - R 4/12 - Thailand - Temple Tour

Temple Tour (careful w/ tuk tuk)
– Grand Palace
– Wat Po
– Emerald Buddha (where?)
– Ferry Taxi to Wat Arun

– Other sights
Flower Market
Go into the big city
Baiyoke tallest building

Thai Massage
Soi Cowboy
Night Market

09 - F 4/13 - Bangkok + Amphawa Floating Market

Songkran Festival
Find out where Songkran is popular
Flower Market
Klong Toey Market?

Victory Monument
Take van to Amphawa

Amphawa Market
1pm – To Amphawa Market
Van @ Victory Monument (90 baht 90m)
L: Bangkok/Amphawa River

Cross to opposite side of river
Turn right
Keep going straight
Cross a small concrete bridge
Ban Mae Arom is nearby, ask locals

3pm Check In Hostel
D: at Amphawa River
Firefly tour, river tour, bike, walk
Wang Bang Kung – Temple in the tree

10 - S 4/14 - Amphawa + Ayutthaya

Songkran Festival
Morning alms to monk
B: Amphawa Floating Market
Ask homestay for ride
L: Market
Tha Kha Floating Market
Damoen Floating Market (touristy)
Maeklong Train Market (schedule)

Van to Ayutthaya 70 baht / 1h
via Victory Monument

11 - U 4/15 - Ayutthaya + Flight to Hanoi

Songkran Festival
Ayutthaya > Bangkok > Hanoi
Explore Ayutthaya
Have some ayutthaya cotton candy

Get to Bangkok
Train 106: 13:11-13:53 (46, 24, 11 baht)
Train 72: 13:16-14:02 (46, 24, 11 baht)
Train 76: 15:35-16:17 (46, 24, 11 baht)
If you miss train 76, go find minibus

4:20pm Latest at Airport
D: Airport

FLIGHT: Bangkok > Hanoi
6:25pm-8:20pm (1h 55m)

Visa: $42 = $17 letter + $25 stamping

12 - M 4/16 - Hanoi / Cat Ba Island

Thang Long Royal Citadel
Hangout in Hanoi

Transport to Cat Ba Island
Train: Hanoi > Haiphong (2h 40m)
6a, 9:17a, 3:20p, 6:15p AND

Ferry: Haiphong > Cat Ba Is. (1h)
9a, 10a, 1p, 2p

Bus: Haiphong > Halong (1h 20)
Lac Long Hai Phong Bus Station
to Bai Chay Ha Long Bus Station

13 - T 4/17 - Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba
monkey island

Ferry: Cat Ba to Halong (4h)

14 - W 4/18 - Halong Bay

Book Tour for Halong Bay
Halong Bay cruise $150-$200

8AM Depart Halong Cruise
2 Day / 1 Night Cruise

15 - W 4/19 - Halong Bay - Cruise


16 - F 4/20 - Halong Bay - Cruise Return

Hanoi / Halong Bay
12PM Return Halong Cruise
4PM Return Hotel

17 - S 4/21 - To Da Nang

Hanoi > Da Nang
Hanoi > Da Nang
4:00p-5:20p (1h 20m)
Dragon Bridge

18 - U 4/22 - Da Nang

Da Nang
Store bag at lodging, check out
Hue OR
Hoi An OR
Marble Mountains

19 - M 4/23 - Travel to Beijing + Shanghai

Travel Day Beijing + Shanghai

FLY Da Nang to Beijing
1:20AM – Da Nang
6:35am – Bejing
Duration: 4h 15m
MU 5014
China Eastern Airlines

Layover: 10h 40m

6:35am – 8:35am – 72 Hour Transit Pass, Exit Beijing Airport
8:35am – 2:15pm – Layover Beijing tour at the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu + Dumpling Lunch
Optional depending on speed: Market, Hutongs, Peking Duck

2:15pm – Arrive at Airport (need 3 hours before)
FLY Beijing to Shanghai
5:15pm – 7:25pm
Duration: 2h 10m
China Eastern Airlines MU 563

Layover: 17h 35m

No free hotel, ask friend
Fastest Train
Stay w/ Friend in Shanghai
The Bund
Shanghai Soup Dumplings

20 - T 4/24 - Shanghai + Home

Shanghai Travel Day
Breakfast: Soy Milk + Donut
Old Town
The Bund (optional)
Fastest Train in the World
11am – Airport
L: Airport

FLY Shanghai to SF
1:00pm – 9:30am
Duration: 11h 30m
China Eastern Airlines MU 589

9:30am – Arrive in SFO
Good night! You’ll be Jet Lagged