Trip planning is honestly one of my favorite things! I could research destinations and flights all day long with a smile on my face. I enjoy the challenge of finding the cheapest tickets and the best route. I can be indecisive because there are so many places I want to visit, it’s hard to narrow it down! But alas, with our trip departure date less than 6 weeks away, I finally have an itinerary!
It all started the week of Christmas when I found crazy cheap tickets for $450 round trip from Seattle to Hong Kong. The catch: we would have to spend a 22 hour layover in Vancouver, B.C. on the way to and from Seattle. I tried to work around it and whenever I would search for flights from Portland or even directly from Vancouver, B.C. the price would shoot up to over $1,000. Jake and I both love Vancouver though after spending my birthday there in 2013 (see what we did there) so it’s not too much of an imposition. I would love to visit Gastown again, as well as maybe checking out Granville Island.
After our layover in Vancouver, B.C. and a excruciating 12 hour flight we will arrive to Hong Kong! We have 3 nights booked in the Tsim Sha Tsui district. We look forward to viewing the beautiful skyline from The Peak, checking out the Po Lin Buddhist monastery, eating delicious street food and exploring the night markets! Hong Kong hasn’t ever been a destination that was really on our radar, but the more I research it the more excited I get to visit.
After our 3 nights in Hong Kong we are going to take the ferry to the Portuguese-influenced Chinese region of Macau. Macau gets hyped up as being the “Las Vegas of Asia” but there is more to it than that. We both like Las Vegas, but this trip will probably be short on casino visits aside from exploring their cool decor. We would like to check out the Ruins of St Paul’s, Senado Square, the Macau Tower and Fortaleza do Monte. We only have 1.5 days in Macau before we fly out to our next stop.
We plan on spending 4 nights exploring Bangkok and either Ayutthaya or Kanchanaburi. We look forward to the epic street food, cheap massages and temple hopping to places such as the Grand Palace (above). We had considered going north after Bangkok and checking out Chiang Mai and Pai but after further research learned that March isn’t a great time of year for this part of the country. Ever March farmers burn their fields which causes a lot of air quality issues and hazy conditions. We decided to postpone our visit here until it was a better time of year, and perhaps even combine it with Laos on a future trip.
Krabi Region, Thailand
We will either spend the last night in Bangkok taking the overnight train or, more likely, we will catch and early flight to Phuket or Krabi Town. Either way we plan on immediately catching a ferry to Phi Phi Don.
–Phi Phi Don: I debated a lot about this destination because of reading numerous opinions on how it’s “too touristy”, “crowded” and more of a party island. Jake and I don’t mind a little bit of a party but it’s definitely not why we travel or what we enjoy to experience. But after seeing pictures from the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint and our desire to see Maya Bay, we are including 2 nights here. One of the things we are most excited about for this trip is doing the May Bay Sleep Abroad! We will be able to explore this stunning beach without the hoards of tourists, as well as swim in the bay at nighttime when it lights up with bioluminescent plankton! We looked forward to experiencing this phenomenom when we were on Vieques, but unfortunately the weather worked against us.
–Koh Lanta: This is the tropical paradise we have been dreaming about! It seems to be a more quiet island and we will be able to rent a scooter to explore, which is probably our favorite mode of transportation when travelling! We will have 3 nights here.
–Krabi Town: We will spend one night here so we can catch our morning flight as we start our long journey back home. Flights from the Phuket and Krabi airports back to Hong Kong were either at the worst possible times (like 2 AM departure) or required a layover through Bangkok and still delivered us at a bad time to HK. We didn’t want to waste a whole day sitting in an airport. I found an alternative route using Google Matrix ITA software (see our best tips for finding cheap flights) that left us with a 1 day layover in Kuala Lumpur before continuing on to Hong Kong International (HKG) with about 5 hours to spare before our flight home. This was also the cheapest option at $150 per person, and would allow us to see a city I’ve been dying to see!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I’m so excited about this stop! Batu Caves and the Petronas Towers have been on my top “must see” in Southeast Asia! We won’t have a lot of time here, but at least we will have enough time to visit these two places and it beats the alternative of sitting in airports. After a 5 hour wait in HKG we will have another long flight, followed by 24 hours in Vancouver, B.C. before we arrive back to Seattle. There will be a lot of flying the last 2 days but at least it will be broken up into different legs.
So there you have it! For our first overseas trip together we wanted to visit places that would be easy for us to navigate, while still seeing different cultures. Also, we didn’t want to haul our backpacks around and move every other day, but we still wanted t see a lot. All together we will be spending 2 nights in Canada, 4 in East Asia, 11 in SE Asia and 1 night in transit.
So what do you think about our itinerary? Any tips if you have been to these places?