SOUTHEAST ASIA RECOMMENDATIONS

My sister and I are thinking about planning a trip to Southeast Asia early next year. We'd like to go for about a month and want to hit Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore for sure, as well as possibly explore Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, & parts of Malaysia (Penang and/or Kuala Lumpur) Have you been any of these places? What are your top recommendations?
  1. What are the must-visit destinations?
    @calliegorman and I wanna know!
  2. We love snorkeling, where are the best places to do it?
  3. Bagan vs. Angkor Wat
    Which ancient temples are better? Or are both unmissable? Or are both missable? Help us decide!
  4. What shows/books/blogs helped you the most for planning your trip??
    We are Rick Steves devotees when in Europe and would love a similar perspective on SE Asia travel
  5. Where and what to eat????
    Extremely vital. We already watched some Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and Destination Food episodes to prepare. We love food (but really)!!! We want to eat all the interesting street foods (although my sister was not as into trying the pig blood soup @Bourdain had in Thailand as I was lol) as well as any foods that can only be experienced there, signature dishes, etc
  6. What's worth it to splurge on? What are some great deals?
    We are two twenty somethings planning on saving up for the next few months and would love to do the trip as cheaply as possible, but also aren't planning on truly backpacking and staying in guest houses either. So we are willing to hear recommendations on both ends of the luxury spectrum if they are worth it!
  7. Pros and cons of anything!
  8. Be as broad or specific as possible!!!
    We're both pretty well-traveled but have never done a trip longer than a week or so, or traveled much outside of North America and Europe. What are the must know tips??
  9. I went to Thailand and Laos in 2014, it was amazing. I went to Bangkok, Chang Mai and Pai in Thailand. My favourite thing we did was Happy Elephant Sanctuary where we walked with and swam with grown and baby elephants. It's near Chang Mai. The only thing I really saw in Laos was the Buddha Park, and it was cool, but not epic enough to recommend
    Yay elephants!
    Suggested by   @daisy
  10. Hoi An, Vietnam
    You should go to Saigon or now Ho Chi Minh city, but definitely visit Hoi An along the central coast if you have time! It's an old port city and UNESCO site. The mix of different architecture styles is lovely. Try to go when they have their lantern festivals!
    Suggested by   @TT
  11. Angkor Wat is truly incredible! Please note I haven't been to Bagan to compare.
    But I absolutely loved visiting Angkor. I did two days and would have done a third if my other half hadn't been sick that day. Recommend grabbing a guidebook for context, also the museum in town was pretty helpful to visit beforehand. Cambodian food is tasty too!
    Suggested by   @macnchz
  12. Blog suggestions: nomadic Matt, south east Asia backpacker, where in the world is Nina,
    Suggested by   @casscsheridan
  13. Skip Laos, do a circle of Thailand spend a lot of time in Vietnam
    traveled around Southeast Asia for 6 months last fall. I have a ridiculous amount of suggestions but my best if you're only going to have around a month is do a south to north or north to south of Thailand. Snorkel on an island in southern Thailand (koh lanta or around for snorkel) Vietnam is AMAZING and the food is spectacular and utterly unique. The best street food I had the entire trip was in Hanoi and Bangkok. Angkor wat temples=better but way more crowds. Lonely planet was my BAE
    Suggested by   @casscsheridan
  14. I did "The Gibbon Experience" in Laos and while expensive it was for a good cause and so cool I'm going back! Be sure to go to the real one. There are a number of knock-offs. Nature. Adrenaline. Awesome tree houses. Highly recommended.
    Suggested by   @PhilipF