Follow Me @thebookwormtraveler


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Backpacking SEA Travel Guide

We actually call it "flashpacking" (backpacking in a flash). We traveled in 3 countries in just 9 days. A lot of people we met on the road, said we were crazy for doing this. But I love doing crazy things, so what haha.

our route

Our trip started from BKK in Thailand and ended in HCMC in Vietnam. We traveled overland so 3 days just merely went to transiting from country to country. Yeah, I know it was absurd but it was fun! I travel not only to see beautiful sights but also for unique experiences. And we don't get to experience border crossings in our archipelagic country, so why not give it a try? Shallow me. ;)

Below is a sample itinerary based on our trip.

Backpacking South East Asia Sample Itinerary:

Day 0: Off to BKK

0600pm - Check-in at NAIA Terminal 3
0935pm - ETD MNL
1150pm - ETA at BKK

*Sleeping at the airport on the 1st night is an option if you are traveling solo. My flight was delayed so I arrived in BKK at around 2:00 AM already. Why pay for a room when you'll only spend a few hours on it?

My account of Day 0 to Day 1 can be found here:

Day 1: Bangkok Siam Tour

0500am - Transport to your accommodation location
0700am - Check-in at the hotel
0800am - Rest
0930am - Go to a Money Changer
1000am - Start City Tour
  • Siam Paragon 
  • Siam Ocean World 
  • Siam Discovery
  • Mah Boon Krong (MBK)
  • Bangkok Art and Culture Center 
  • Jim Thompson’s House
  • Central World Plaza
  • Amarin Plaza
0700pm - Dinner
0900pm - Rest and Sleep

Read about the hotel where I first stayed in BKK from this link:

Day 2: Grand Palace and Rattanakosin Walking Tour

0600am - Go to KSR
0700am - Check-in at the guesthouse
0730am - Breakfast
0800am - Start of Tour
  • Grand Palace (Open 830am to 330pm)
  • Wat Pho or House of Reclining Buddha
  • Wat Arun or The Temple of Dawn
1200nn - Lunch somewhere

Ratchadamnoen or Royal Ave Walking Tour:
  • Democracy Monument 
  • Queens Gallery 
  • Wat Ratchanatdaram 
  • Loha Prasat
  • Wat Theprithidaram
  • Phrakan Fortress
  • Phukhao Thong or Golden Mount
  • Giant Swing 
  • War Suthat

0500pm - Go home and freshen up.
0700pm - Dinner
0800pm - onwards -Khao San Road Night Life

My Day 2 journals can be found here:

Day 3: Thailand to Cambodia Overland Border Crossing

0430am - Go to Hua Lamphong Train Station
0555am - ETD Bangkok
1135am - ETA Aranyaprathet
1200nn - Cross the border to Poipet, Cambodia
* Ride the free shuttle service to the bus terminal
0100pm - ETD Poipet
0400pm - ETA Siem Reap
0430pm - Check-in at the guesthouse/hotel
0600pm - onwards -Dinner, Explore the city

If you want to find out how we crossed this notorious border, click here:

Day 4: Angkor Wat Tour Part 1

0400am - Catch sunrise in Angkor Wat
0700am - Breakfast
0800am - Start of tour
  • South Gate of the Angkor Thom
  • Bayon
  • Baphoun 
  • Elephant Terrace 
  • Terrace of Leper king 
  • Ta Keo 
  • Ta Prohm
1200nn - Break for Lunch
  • Banteay Kdei 
  • Sras Srang
  • Angkor Wat
0500pm - Back to guesthouse
0600pm - Buffet Dinner with Apsara Show
0900pm - Siem Reap Night Market

Angkor What? Click and find out:

Day 5: Angkor Wat Tour Part 2

0700am - Breakfast
0800am - Start tour
  • Pre Rup 
  • Bantay Srei 
  • Bantay Samre 
1200nn Break for Lunch
  • Tasom 
  • Preah Khan 
  • Sunset at Phnom Bakheng

0600pm - Back to guesthouse
0700pm - Dinner
0800pm - onwards -Nightlife in Pub St

Read more about Siem Reap's enigmatic beauty from this link:

Day 6: Phnom Pehn

0600am - Go to the Bus Terminal
0700am - ETD Siem Reap
0100pm - ETA Phnom Pehn
0130pm - Check-in at the guesthouse
0200pm - Start your own City Tour
  • The Royal Palace
  • The National Museum 
  • The Silver Pagoda 
  • Wat Phnom 
  • Wat Ounalom 
  • Independence Monument 
  • Central Market
  • Tou Sleng
  • Choueng Ek 
0700pm - Dinner
0800pm - Hang out in Sisowath Quay

*You will not have enough time to see all those listed attractions in half day. If you want to visit all of them, spend a day or two in Phnom Penh. :)

If you're interested to see Phnom Penh, have a glimpse of it here:

Day 7: Cambodia to Vietnam Overland Border Crossing

0630am - Shuttle service pick up to the terminal 
0645am - ETD Phnom Pehn
0100pm - ETA Ho Chi Minh City
0130pm - Check-in at the hotel
0200pm - Start your own City Tour
  • City Hall 
  • Opera house 
  • Notre Dame Cathedral 
  • Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City Museum
0600pm - Dinner
0700pm - onwards -Water Puppet Show or Go Night Market Shopping in Ben Thanh

French colonial structures? Visit Saigon:

Day 8: Cu Chi Tunnel Tour and Shopping

0700am - Breakfast
0800am - Cu Chi Tour pick up
0900am - Start of Tour
0130pm - End of Tour
0200pm - Late Lunch
0300pm - onwards -Souvenir shopping
0600pm - check-out from the hotel
0700pm - Dinner and Socials
0900pm - Airport Transfer
1000pm - Check-in at Tan son Nhat Airport

Day 9: Fly back to Manila

0100am - ETD HCMC
0430am - ETA MNL

Accommodation Information:

Bangkok (Siam Area):
Holiday Inn Bangkok
I have all info in this entry:

Bangkok (Khao San Road):
New Joe Guesthouse
Address: 81 Trokmayom Chakrapongse Rd. Taladyod, Bangkok 10200
Contact No: +66 2 281 2948
Room Rates: THB 400-550 for Double Occupancy; THB 500-750 for Triple Occupancy

Siem Reap
Victory Guest House
Address: Road 6 Taphoul Village Svaydungkom Commune Siem Reap, Cambodia
Contact No: (855) 012 516 566; (855) 012 451 286
Room Rates: USD 7-12 for Single Rooms; USD 11-15 for Double and Twin Rooms; USD 15-20 for Triple

Siem Reap
Bou Savy Guest House
My complete review is written here:

Phnom Penh
Royal Guesthouse and Cafe Bar
***I am not putting up their info. Definitely not recommended.***

Ho Chi Minh City
Red Sun Hotel
Address: 283/17 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam District 1
Contact No:
Website: They don't have one but you can find them in Agoda, Hostelbookers and Hostelworld
Room Rates: USD 9 for Standard Double

Summary of Expenses:


PHP  150.00 - Taxi to NAIA T3
         750.00 - Terminal fee
        1620.00- Travel Tax
PHP 2520.00 - Total Pre-Departure Expenses


THB  199.00 - Happy Simcard
            60.00 - Prepaid Load
            15.00 - Internet Cafe
          550.00 - Souvenirs

THB   40.00 - Van to Victory Monument
           76.00 - BTS and MRT (3 rides)
           19.50 - Bus (3 rides)
           30.00 - Taxi to Hua Lamphong
           48.00 - Train to Aranyaprathet
           25.00 - Tuktuk to the Border
         300.00 - Poipet to Siem Reap Bus

THB 175.00 - 1N New Joe Guesthouse (per pax)

THB 575.00 - 3 Days

Admission Fees:
THB 400.00 - Grand Palace
           50.00 - Wat Pho

Thailand Expenses:
THB  824.00 - Misc
          538.50 - Transpo
          175.00 - Accommodation
          575.00 - Food
          450.00 - Attraction Fees
THB 2562.50 - Total Expenses in Baht or
USD     84.00


USD  42.00 - Souvenirs, Laundry, Foot Massage

USD    2.00 - Tuktuk rides
            5.00 - Motorbike Rental (USD7/2pax) and Gas
            6.00 - Bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

Accommodation and Tour Package:
USD 33.00 - BouSavy All-In Package in Siem Reap (USD 66 for 2pax)
           6.50 - Royal Guesthouse in Phnom Penh (USD 13 for 2)

USD  18.50 - 4 Days
          10.00 - Buffet Dinner + Apsara Show

USD  33.00 - Angkor 3-Day Pass
            1.00 - Sunrise Tour (not included in the package)
            1.00 - Tour Guide
            2.00 - Toul Sleng Museum Entrance Fee

Cambodia Expenses:

USD   42.00 - Misc
           13.00 - Transpo
           39.50 - Accommodation
           28.50 - Food
           37.00 - Attraction Fees
USD 160.00 - Total Expenses in Cambo


USD   21.00 - Souvenirs

USD   10.00 - Bus from Phnom Penh to HCMC
             3.50 - Motorbike Rental
             4.00 - Taxi Tan Son Nhat Airport

USD     7.00 - Red Sun Hotel (1.5 days per pax)

USD   10.00 - 2 Days

USD     1.00 - HCMC Museum Entrance Fee
             6.00 - Cu Chi Tunnel Tour

Vietnam Expenses:

USD   21.00 - Misc
           17.50 - Transpo
             7.00 - Accommodation
           10.00 - Food
           10.75 - Attraction Fees
USD   66.25 - Total Expenses in Vietnam

Total Trip Expenses:
USD   84.00 - Thailand
         160.00 - Cambodia
           66.25 - Vietnam
USD 310.25 or
PHP 15,000+++ (based on the international exchange rate that time)
          2,520 - Pre-Departure Fees
PHP 17,520+++

*That amount does not include my airfare and my 1 night stay at the hotel in BKK where I used my employee rate. It only refers to the cash I spent during the actual trip. My airline tickets are prepaid since I booked it months before the trip and my hotel stay was post paid because I used my credit card. Traveling in South East Asia is relatively cheap! What are you waiting for? :)


  1. I was browsing the PTB directory list and found this. Awesome post! I'm planning to visit these 3 countries mid May. Thanks for sharing your itinerary.

    1. Hi Riz! Thanks for appreciating this post! You're very much welcome. =)

  2. I also did Indochina in 9 days. Tiring but fun! :)

    1. Haha! I know right. Other people don't understand why we Pinoys love to flashpack. Thanks for visiting my site, Kat! =)

  3. Hi!
    Your blog is very informative!!! :)

    Pero I was wondering about sa immigration. I'll be doing Thailand - cambodia - vietnam. Sa Philippine immigration, ok lang ba present ko sa kanila ung vietnam to manila as return tickets? Then sa thai immigration pagdating don, same din? Thanks a lot! :)

    1. Hello Mikel! Appreciate it. :D

      Yup, definitely. The only thing that matters is you have a return ticket to Pinas (proof that you will be coming back). Don't worry about Thai Immigration. I've never been asked to show any document every time I come to Thailand (nor in any ASEAN country for that matter). Safe travels! :D