Backpacking South East Asia is on the bucketlist of many, but when you only have a short time to explore, you need to plan ahead. But you’re in luck, I’ve gathered a list of various one week Asia travel routes from fellow pro travel bloggers. That will save you a lot of time on planning so you can use it to scour the best flight deals and get all excited about your Southeast Asia travel itinerary.
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Krabi, Thailand Itinerary
“I’m not a fan when people ask me what my favorite place in the world is. It’s literally one of the hardest questions out there for me to answer! There are so many factors that go into “the best” place for me, I don’t think I’ll ever have an answer to the question. However, if I ever made a list, I know Krabi, Thailand would be at the top.
Krabi has long been *one* of my favorite places in the world. I’ve been going back for years and actually lived there for a year and a half! So if I may say so myself, my Krabi itinerary is probably one of the best out there. :)
It doesn’t matter if you’re whizzing past it for a day or staying a week, you can get a taste of it! And there’s something for everyone in this slice of paradise. Surely my party people are familiar with Koh Phi Phi and the rangers that take place on that dot in the sea and if you’re an avid rock climber, I know you have to know of Tonsai and Railay! Which are also two of my favorite places to just beach bum too!
If you are need of some mountains in your life, you are literally surrounded by cliffs! Krabi has a few hikes to take on, Tup Keak being one of the best with the most dramatic views! Of course, when you’re tired and sweaty, you can run to the beach and take a dip to cool down. Krabi has plenty to do beyond beach bumming and you can surely spend a week or more and not get to do everything!”
Read more about Nina’s Asia travel routes and trips on Where in The World is Nina
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Spiti Valley, India
“Say India and images of camels in the Rajahstan desert, the Taj Mahal and cows roaming free in the streets of New Delhi all come to mind. Whether you decide to visit the tourist side of India, or go down the off the beaten path, it’s a unique country, a rifle assault to the senses, and one that, most often than not, will totally mess up your belly. But India is also home to some of the top festivals in Asia and at least to me, is best visited off the tourist trail.
The Spiti Valley in the Northern State of Himachal Pradesh is one of my favorites: once connecting the Kingdom of Tibet to Ladakh, Spiti is possibly one of the best places in India — and the world — to see beautiful remains of Tibetan culture. Tabo Monastery is more than 1000-years old, and contains some amazingly preserved ancient Tantric Buddhist statues.
In Dhankar, whose monastery is perched on top of a sheer cliff, and risks collapsing, you will see the Spiti River cross the arid desert valley below. And don’t forget the Key Monastery nearby, filled with many novice monks of the Gelugpa sect.
To see Spiti (which is unaccessible because of cold and snow from October to late May every year) take a bus to Kaza from popular Manali. It will cross the Rothang Pass, and then swerve through a barren road that criss-crosses stunning high-altitude deserts until the 4,590mt-high Kunzum Pass, from where the road tumbles down into Kaza.”
Read more about Marco’s travels on Monkey Rock World
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Phnom Penh, Cambodia Itinerary
“Cambodia is one of the smaller countries easily explored when backpacking Southeast Asia. Here you can hit up all of the major highlights in one week. From ancient history to white sand beaches, modern history, souvenir shopping and an unexpected city to party in, Cambodia has a range of attractions and places to visit that are all musts.
A trip to Cambodia should lead you from north to south or vice versa where the two most important city’s sit: Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Start by spending 2-3 days in Siem Reap where you can explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, shop at the local markets in town and party at night on Pub Street.
Make your way down to Sihanoukville for 1 day exploring this lazy beach town before jumping onto a speed boat that will take you to the almost untouched island of Koh Rong. White sand beaches, excellent snorkelling and glowing plankton will keep you entertained here for 2 days.
The final stop in travelling Cambodia will take you to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital where the country’s dark history is present. Here it is a must-do to learn about the genocide that took place in this small country.
A stop at the Killing Fields and the S-21 museum will teach you all that you need to know. But outside of the history you’ll find a gorgeous palace, nightlife and markets to roam through.
Visiting these 4 places are just the highlights of Cambodia and there is much more to be explored and seen.
A week long trip can also be altered to have less beaches and more food or history as the country is each for travellers to make their way around to destinations that appeal to them the most. You can find more destinations and ways to plan your own Cambodia itinerary here.”
Read more about Taylor’s Asia travel routes on Taylor’s Tracks
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Siem Reap, Cambodia Itinerary
“When people think of traveling to Siem Reap, Cambodia, they typically only think about hitting the Angkor temples during the day and then heading to Pub Street at night.
However, there’s actually so many things to do in Siem Reap beyond just Angkor! There’s more than enough to see and do in the city for a week.
Start with two (or three days) in Angkor. You can do this by getting a multi-day pass. To visit the temples, travel with a tuk-tuk arranged by your hotel or hire a guide who’s more knowledgeable about the history of the site.
After visiting the temples, take a day to relax and enjoy the fun side of the town: visit one of the massage spas, enjoy the local cuisine, and then visit the night market. If your hotel has a pool or spa, take time to enjoy it! So many people get to Siem Reap, rush around the temples, and forget to spend time in the town.
Once you’re had a day to relax, it’s back to site seeing. Take a day trip out to the Temple of Preah Vihear, a UNESCO World Heritage temple on Cambodia’s border with Thailand and Laos. A gorgeous hillside Khmer complex, this temple was actually part of a border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia that made it too dangerous to visit until just a few years ago.
For day five, you can take another day trip to Sambor Prei Kuk, the most important historic site in Cambodia that predates Angkor. Along with its historic significance, the town is excited to show off its own Cambodian history, and it’s good to spread your tourism dollars beyond the tourist-rich Siem Reap region when backpacking Southeast Asia.
For your final day, explore the devastating legacy of the Khmer Rouge at the Siem Reap War Museum followed by a stop at the Landmine museum. If you have additional time in the area, there are many additional options for day trips along the Tonle Sap.”
Read more about Steph’s Asia travel routes on History Fangirl
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“Taiwan isn’t one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, but it really should be! If you have one week in Taiwan you’ll have a good opportunity to get a taste of all the country has to offer.
Any Taiwan trip should start in Taipei. The bustling and vibrant capital city is full of quirky themed cafes (toilet-themed restaurant, anyone?), parks, delicious night markets, and stunning Chinese architecture.
The Taipei metro is among the best in the world, and you can use it to zip around the city, from the stunning Elephant Mountain hike which gives you views over the famous Taipei 101 all the way to the old Tamsui boardwalk, where you can walk around the river and shop at night markets and food vendor stalls as the sun sets.
Be sure to allot time for a day trip to Shifen Waterfall and Jiufen, a beautiful village that was the inspiration for the beloved anime film Spirited Away.
After Taipei, you can head to Taichung, where you’ll find the home of bubble tea, beautiful bakeries set in old buildings, a brewery turned creative park, and the largest night market in all of Taiwan, where vendors trial run their newest, craziest street food concepts.
Check out Rainbow Village, which was painted all by one man in his 90s, a former soldier who wanted to beautify his neighborhood after all his neighbors left. Rainbow Village is now a dedicated cultural village as well as a well-loved Instagram destination!
If you want to get out of Taichung, you can visit the stunning Sun Moon Lake, in a beautiful mountain setting. And if you have more time in Taiwan, you can head to Kaohsiung and Tainan, Kenting National Park in the South, or Taroko Gorge National Park in the East.”
Read more about Allison’s backpacking Southeast Asia adventures on Eternal Arrival
Honshu, Japan Itinerary
“If you only have one week in Japan, it’s best to stay in the vicinity of Tokyo and explore nearby cities. There is so much to do days trips from Tokyo! Why not start your journey at Narita city, after you have landed at Narita airport. Stroll down the old street towards Narita temple, which is one of the finest in the country.
In Tokyo, you can easily spend four days. Check out the Imperial Palace and its grounds, then visit Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya. If you want a more off-the-beaten path experience with a vintage feel, take the metro out to Shibamata.
Don’t forget to visit Sensoji and Asakusa Tower, where you can also enjoy shopping and great dining. In Ueno, you can stroll through the parks, visit museums, shop souvenirs and take a closer look at Yanaka Ginza, also known as cat street.
If you love admiring UNESCO listed temples and shrines, then admire giant waterfalls and hike through picturesque landscapes, take the train out to Nikko.
It’s one of the prettiest places in Japan, if you ask me. During spring time, a visit at Ashikaga Flower Park is a great idea. You can see daffodils, tulips and, of course, the famous wisteria tunnels.”
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