3-Week Itinerary Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

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Thailand, the land of smiles, is famous for its vibrant Bangkok, pristine beaches, and exquisite temples. Vietnam uniquely blends history with Hanoi’s ancient charm, Ho Chi Minh City’s modern vibe, and Ha Long Bay’s natural wonders.

Cambodia, home to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, enthrals with its rich history, vibrant culture, and tranquil rural landscapes. These Southeast Asian jewels, known for their warm hospitality, enticing cuisines, and diverse attractions, promise unforgettable adventures.

I’ve been to these three countries more than any other place in the world. They are simply beautiful, offer unique experiences, and are incredibly affordable.

Planning a trip covering Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam is possible. The shared land borders make it so much easier, faster, and affordable for everyone. I will show you how I did it with this 3-week itinerary for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.


4 images - turtle temple lake in hanoi, bangkok grand palace, angkor wat, phuket island cape - 3 images - tuk tuk in bangkok, basket boats in vietnam, and tuk tuk in cambodia - 3-Week Itinerary for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

Before making a day-to-day itinerary, knowing some basic information about your three destinations is important. The major one is the time to go since you’re trying to cover three places; finding the sweet spot could be challenging but not impossible. Here are some tips:

When is the best time to go

Planning a trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in one go requires considering the region’s complex climate, which is predominantly tropical and affected by monsoons.

The best time to visit Thailand, particularly its central and northern parts, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, is during the cool and dry season from November to early April. However, southern Thailand has a different monsoon pattern, so the timing may vary if you’re planning to visit islands like Phuket or Koh Samui.

As for Cambodia, the most favourable time to visit is also during the dry season, from November to April. The climate during these months is warm and dry, making it perfect for temple exploration and city tours.

Vietnam, due to its length, has a complex climate. The north (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay) is best visited from October to April, avoiding heavy summer rains. Central Vietnam (Hoi An, Hue) has a hot, dry season from January to August, and the south (Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta) is warm year-round, with a drier season from November to April.

Typhoon season in Southeast Asia affects Vietnam most directly, usually from July to November, with the central coast most impacted. Thailand and Cambodia don’t generally experience typhoons but have monsoon seasons, typically from May to October.

Therefore, considering all factors, the best time to visit Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in one trip would generally be from November to early April, avoiding most of the region’s heavy rainfall and potential typhoons while enjoying pleasant temperatures.

Are 3 weeks enough for Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam

Yes, it could be done. One week for each country is definitely possible. But deciding which places to see and your mode of transportation will play a significant factor.

For example, if you want to see the pristine beaches of Thailand and do water activities, focus on either Phuket or Koh Phanga/Koh Samui. Then, you don’t need to do that for Vietnam or Cambodia. Instead, for Vietnam, focus on visiting historical sites such as Hanoi, Hoi An, or Ho Chi Minh City. These are all rich in cultural and war history to tell.

For Cambodia, you can focus on ancient heritage such as Angkor Wat and its dark war history of genocide. Both Thailand and Vietnam offer tasty cuisine, so don’t miss out on that.

On the other hand, if it’s water activities you’re after, all three countries feature their own unique attractions. Diving and beach parties in southern Thailand, Halong Bay for cruises, and leisure time on Cambodia’s beaches.

Where to start

I personally recommend beginning your trip in either Thailand or Vietnam. The capital cities of Hanoi and Bangkok are gateways to Southeast Asia, with plenty of international airlines having direct flights to these cities.

For Thailand as your starting point, it could be Bangkok or Phuket. For Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are equally great choices. This means these cities are also awesome places to finish your trip.

A sample itinerary would look like this: arrive in Bangkok from your home country, then catch a flight back home from Hanoi or vice versa. This also means that Cambodia will be a great “sandwich country”.

You can end your trip in Cambodia, but most international flights will connect you to Bangkok, Hanoi, Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong anyway.

What to pack

All these three countries practice Buddhism and feature many temples and pagodas. When visiting these sacred locations, you are expected to dress modestly. So, make sure to pack some long skirts and long-sleeve tops that cover down to your knees and shoulders.

A sarong, elephant pants, and a scarf are great items to bring. A sarong can be used as a beach towel and turned into a skirt. A scarf is easy to cover your shoulders, while elephant pants are lightweight and do the same job as all-around trousers.

Since Southeast Asia is generally hot and humid, pack loose and airy clothing. There’s no need to bring jeans or even a sweater.

We have a packing list for a summer trip, which will be a great starting point as a checklist for a 3-week trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

How to get around

3 images - tuk tuk in bangkok, basket boats in vietnam, and tuk tuk in cambodia - 3-Week Itinerary Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

Buses are the most affordable way to get around Southeast Asia. These are also great options for crossing the land borders. However, that only works depending on where you will be.

For example, there’s no reason to try to take the bus from Thailand to Cambodia if you are coming from southern Thailand. Getting to Bangkok will waste a lot of your time. Flying from south Thailand to Siem Reap or Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City is best.

The same goes for travelling between Vietnam and Cambodia. If your trip ends in the south of Vietnam, you can definitely take the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. But requires taking the plane from Hanoi (or from HCMC/Hanoi to Bangkok).

The bottom line is that utilising the buses to travel between Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam is possible. But expect to take a short flight when necessary to save time rather than save money.

Regarding moving between cities, you can use the Grab app, a ride-hailing app available in Vietnam and Thailand. Renting a motorbike is also popular in all these three countries. You can even buy a motorbike and bring it across the border, then sell it at the end of your trip – this is known as motorbiking across Indochina.

Tuk-tuks are famous in Thailand and Cambodia but don’t exist in Vietnam. But in all these countries, you can ride a motorbike as a passenger, which works like a taxi (minus the meter).

Language and currency

English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist hotspots in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, despite Vietnamese, Thai, and Khmer being their respective national languages.

While language proficiency can vary, most hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions have English-speaking staff. However, learning a few local phrases can enrich your experience and is generally appreciated.

The official currencies are the Vietnamese Dong, Thai Baht, and Cambodian Riel. Hotels and restaurants may accept US dollars in urban and tourist areas, especially in Cambodia, where it’s commonly used.

However, for local markets and transportation, local currency is often required. International credit cards are accepted in touristy areas. But carrying cash is highly recommended. You can exchange currency at banks, money exchange kiosks, hotels/travel agencies, and even through gold stores in Vietnam.

Average travel cost for Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam

In general, a budget of $50 per day in Southeast Asia is a good one, around $70 a day if travelling during high season. Don’t expect to be doing a tour every day, as that will make your trip super cramped. Plan some days where you will relax on the beach or socialise.

An average of $20 to $30 per day is a good budget for a private room in a hotel or $15 to $20 for a dorm bed. A tour will cost somewhere between $25 to $50 or more, depending on the type. And for food, $5 to $15 is a good budget.

Overall, if you plan on $50 to $70 daily, $1,000 to $1,400 for 3 weeks in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam is a reasonable budget.

For those on a backpacker budget, $800 to $900 can be done, but you will miss out on many cool tours while staying in shared dorm rooms. For luxury, $2,500 is an incredible amount for sure.

This number excludes the cost of roundtrip flights to Southeast Asia and back home, so keep that in mind.


Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia have easy visas for their visitors. Thailand offers a free visa for 30 days. At the same time, Vietnam and Cambodia have e-visas, which you can apply for online. There are visas on arrival, but it depends on your nationality.

It’s always best to secure the visa online and in advance. This will save you time at the airport, and you will know beforehand that you are allowed to enter the country.

Evisa or visa on arrival is required for Vietnam and Cambodia and must be applied for in advance. For Thailand, you should be able to get a visa upon arrival.

Other travel tips

When you have picked the dates and cities, arrange your accommodation first, especially if visiting during the Lunar holiday or Christmas and New Year. Domestic flights and tours can usually be booked at the last minute. Here are some tools to help you make travel arrangements.


Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google


Now that you have an idea of how many days to spend in each country, how to divide your time, the best mode of transportation, getting visas, and also the cost of the trip, I think you’re ready to see and visualise what an itinerary for a 20-day trip to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand looks like.

Please remember, whenever you see the word “or”, this is a note of an alternative itinerary option, not a continuation of the travel plan.

For example, when it comes to Thailand and Vietnam, you can either do the north or south. For Cambodia, you can generally cover the top cities.

Let’s say you want to see north of Vietnam, north of Thailand, then Cambodia. You can also make it south of Thailand, north of Vietnam, then Cambodia. An option for north of Thailand, central Vietnam, and then Cambodia is also possible. It’s basically a “mix and match” kind of thing.

We have an in-depth compilation of travel itineraries for 3 weeks in Southeast Asia if you want more ideas on where to go.

Package Tours

If you want to avoid all the planning and prefer a trip where you simply show up at the airport, these package tours might be more suitable for you. The tour coordinators will arrange your hotels, transportation between places, food, and, of course, the tour itself.

Thailand for 7 days

Thailand, famous for its rich cultural heritage, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine, is a traveller’s paradise. Top attractions include Bangkok’s Grand Palace, Chiang Mai’s mountain temples, and Phuket’s pristine beaches.

If time-bound to a week, choose Northern Thailand for a cultural and nature-centric journey—experience hill tribes, ancient temples, and mountainous landscapes. Opt for Southern Thailand for idyllic beaches, vibrant nightlife, and island-hopping adventures.

We also have an itinerary for 3 weeks in Thailand only.

3 images - inthahon mountain temple in chiang mai, bangkok grand palace, and rock karst in james bond island in phuket

Bangkok for 3 days

Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital, mesmerizes with its vibrant street life, rich cultural landmarks, and tantalizing cuisine. Must-visit attractions include the majestic Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, housing the Emerald Buddha.

Discover Wat Arun’s stunning riverside views, explore the colourful Chatuchak Weekend Market, and savour street food in Chinatown. Use your time here to get a local sim card with data and local currency and book buses, domestic flights, trains, and other tours as well.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai for 4 days

Chiang Mai, nestled in the mountains of northern Thailand, is a hub of culture and nature. Don’t miss the iconic Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, the bustling Night Bazaar, or the annual Yi Peng Lantern Festival.

Chiang Rai, home to the contemporary White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and the Blue Temple (Wat Rong Suea Ten), blends traditional and modern Buddhist architecture. Both cities provide unique insights into Thailand’s rich heritage.

Or Phuket and Krabi or Koh Phangan and Koh Samui for 4 days

If you rather see beaches and do water activities, go to the south of Thailand instead. Choose between Phuket and Krabi vs Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, dazzles with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and iconic landmarks like the Big Buddha and historic Old Phuket Town. Nearby, Krabi offers the stunning Railay Beach, renowned for rock climbing, the emerald waters of Ao Phang Nga National Park, and Phi Phi Islands’ idyllic beaches.

On the other hand, Koh Phangan, famed for its Full Moon Party, offers serene beaches like Haad Rin and Thong Nai Pan, along with vibrant underwater life for snorkelling. Its neighbour, Koh Samui, blends luxury with nature, featuring palm-fringed beaches such as Chaweng and Lamai, the iconic Big Buddha shrine, and captivating natural formations at Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park.

To help you decide, Phuket and Krabi are more family-friendly, with options to go hiking through national parks and diving/snorkelling. In comparison, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are known for young travellers coming to Thailand to party and enjoy underwater life at the same time.

MOVING AROUND: From Bangkok, you can get to Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai via bus, train, or domestic flight. Flying will save you the most time. From Bangkok to the south, you must take a flight, buses or trains are either not an option or will take too long. From either north of south of Thailand, best to fly to Sieam Reap. You can take a bus from, Bangkok if you can get there and do land border crossing.

Cambodia for 7 days

Cambodia captivates with its rich history, serene landscapes, and warm hospitality. The top attractions are the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat complex, Phnom Penh’s bustling markets, and Sihanoukville’s tranquil beaches.

One week allows ample time to cover the main sites, including a few days exploring Angkor’s archaeological marvels, absorbing Phnom Penh’s cultural vibrancy, and a quick beach escape or take this week on a slow pace.

If you decide or consider that focusing on two countries is best for you, we have a 3-week itinerary for Vietnam and Cambodia or our 3 weeks in Cambodia itinerary.

3 images - angkor wat and independence palace in phnom penh

Siem Reap and Battambang for 4 days

Siem Reap, the gateway to the ancient world of Angkor Wat, invites exploration of its breathtaking temple complexes, including Bayon and Ta Prohm. Its lively Pub Street and bustling night markets add urban vibrancy.

Battambang, less explored, offers a glimpse into Cambodia’s rural life with its classic architecture, tranquil Sangker River, and unique Bamboo Train ride. Visit Phnom Sampeau for stunning views and poignant history. You can simply book a day trip to Battambang from Siem Reap to save time.

Phnom Penh for 3 days

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, offers a poignant blend of history and revitalization. The Royal Palace, with its stunning Silver Pagoda and the bustling riverfront, offer insights into the city’s heritage.

For a sobering look at Cambodia’s past, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are essential. The vibrant Central Market and Russian Market are perfect for souvenir hunting. Phnom Penh provides a compelling mix of Cambodian history and culture.

You can try to go to Sihanoukville, but I personally would just visit night markets, relax, and enjoy the city to prepare for a busy itinerary for Vietnam.

MOVING AROUND: From Siem Reap, you can take a bus or private van to Phnom Penh, there’s also a flight option, but the travel time is about the same since you must arrive at the airport 1.5 to 2 hours before your flight. From Phnom Penh, you can take a bus to Ho Chi Minh. But if you’re going to Hanoi or central Vietnam, you must go with a plane.

Vietnam for 7 days

Vietnam offers a mesmerizing mix of natural beauty, historical depth, and cultural diversity. Top attractions include Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Ha Long Bay’s stunning karst landscapes, Hoi An’s well-preserved Ancient Town, and Ho Chi Minh City’s bustling markets.

With only a week, choose based on interest: Northern Vietnam for historical and natural wonders; Central for cultural heritage and beaches; Southern for urban experiences, historical sites, and the Mekong Delta.

Our travel guide and three itineraries for 20 days in Vietnam could be something helpful.

3 images - halong bay, sapa rice fields, and boat cruise on mekong delta

Hanoi and Halong Bay or Sapa for 4 days

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, captivates with its rich history and vibrant street life. Stroll around the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake, explore the bustling streets of the Old Quarter with its French colonial architecture, and discover the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t miss a traditional water puppet show or the chance to see Ho Chi Minh’s body at the Mausoleum.

However, choose between Halong Bay and Sapa. You can’t do both as you will run out of time. I guess if you decide not to see Hanoi City at all, it could be done. Getting to Sa Pa from Hanoi is an overnight trip, around 8-10 hours.

If you want to trek there, that’s easily a 2-night trip. Halong Bay can be done as a day trip, but it is recommended at least for 1 night.

Choosing between Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa depends on your interests. Opt for Ha Long Bay if you’re drawn to coastal scenery, island-hopping, and cruising on emerald waters amid stunning limestone karsts.

If trekking through verdant rice terraces, experiencing local ethnic cultures, and relishing cooler mountainous climates appeal, choose Sa Pa. Both offer exceptional landscapes but cater to different activity preferences, from water-based adventures to highland explorations.

Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang for 3 days

Hue, Hoi An, and Da Nang form a compelling trio in Central Vietnam. Hue’s Imperial City offers insights into Vietnam’s dynastic past, while its Thien Mu Pagoda provides serene river views. Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is enchanted with its well-preserved Ancient Town and famous lanterns.

Visit Da Nang for the stunningly modern Golden Bridge, held aloft by giant stone hands, and its beautiful beaches.

It is best to book your accommodation in Da Nang and plan a day trip to Hue and Hoi An. This will save you time from moving hotels every day.

If this is your final destination, it’s easy to catch an international flight in Da Nang or leave there to get to Bangkok, Hanoi, or HCMC.

Or Ho Chi Minh City for 3 days

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s bustling metropolis, offers a vibrant mix of old and new. Explore the historic War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace to understand Vietnam’s recent past. Marvel at the French colonial architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and the Central Post Office.

Visit Ben Thanh Market for souvenirs and street food. For modern contrast, check out the city’s skyline, dominated by the Bitexco Financial Tower. When it comes to more war-related sites, you can book a day trip to Cu Chi Tunnel. In contrast, a day trip to the Mekong Delta is more cultural and scenic.

This is an awesome place to finish your trip, especially if you like to party or go shopping before catching your flight home.

MOVING AROUND: From Hanoi to Central Vietnam, you can take a train which will bring you to Da Nang. You can also fly to Da Nang. If you’re going to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi, a 2-hour flight is best (and vice versa). From Ho Chi Minh City to Central Vietnam, domestic flight or train is also an option.


As I mentioned, Thailand and Vietnam both have fantastic cuisine, so try 4-5 dishes during your trip and see which ones you like the best. Cambodia also has exciting food; it’s sort of a cross between Thailand and Vietnam, but lots of restaurants have a massive menu featuring international dishes.

3 images - pho, pad thai, dish amok - 3-Week Itinerary Thailand Cambodia Vietnam


  • Pad Thai – classic stir-fried noodles with eggs, tofu, and shrimp or chicken
  • Som Tam – spicy green papaya salad with chilli, lime, and peanuts
  • Tom Yum Goong – spicy shrimp soup with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves
  • Massaman Curry – rich, mild curry with coconut milk, potatoes, and meat, typically chicken or beef
  • Khao Pad – Thai fried rice, often served with shrimp, chicken, or pork
  • Mango Sticky Rice – sweet dessert of sticky rice, ripe mango, and coconut milk
  • Green Curry – spicy curry made from fresh green chilli and coconut milk, usually with chicken
  • Thai Iced Tea – sweet, creamy beverage made from strongly-brewed tea, sugar, and condensed milk.
  • Cha Yen – a variant of Thai Iced Tea, coloured orange with added tamarind and star anise
  • Singha Beer – Thailand’s most famous lager, best enjoyed with spicy Thai dishes


  • Fish Amok – steamed, curried fish in banana leaves, a classic Cambodian dish
  • Beef Lok Lak – stir-fried beef in a tangy, peppery sauce, often served with an egg
  • Khmer Red Curry – mild curry dish typically made with beef, chicken, or fish and a lot of fresh vegetables
  • Nom Banh Chok – Khmer noodles topped with green fish curry and fresh vegetables, often served for breakfast
  • Bai Sach Chrouk – grilled pork served with rice, a popular breakfast dish
  • Kuy Teav – a noodle soup made from pork or beef bones and rice vermicelli, served with various toppings
  • Lap Khmer – lime-marinated Khmer beef salad with lots of shallots, garlic, and chilli
  • Angkor Beer – national beer of Cambodia, light and easy to drink
  • Sombai – infused Cambodian liqueur, often given a fruity or spicy flavour
  • Num Sang Khya L’peou – pumpkin custard, a sweet dessert made by steaming custard inside a pumpkin


  • Pho – fragrant noodle soup typically served with beef (Pho Bo) or chicken (Pho Ga)
  • Banh Mi – French-inspired baguette sandwich filled with various types of meat, pickled vegetables, and herbs
  • Bun Cha – grilled pork and noodle dish, served with a side of dipping sauce
  • Goi Cuon – fresh spring rolls filled with prawns, pork, and vegetables, wrapped in rice paper
  • Cao Lau – thick rice noodles with roasted pork and local greens, a speciality of Hoi An
  • Banh Xeo – sizzling pancake stuffed with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts
  • Egg Coffee (Ca Phe Trung) – Hanoi speciality coffee topped with sweet, frothy egg cream.
  • Bia Hoi – freshly brewed draft beer, popular in Hanoi
  • Mi Quang – a turmeric-infused noodle dish with a variety of proteins and herbs, another Hoi An speciality
  • Che – a sweet dessert soup or pudding with various ingredients such as beans, tapioca, and fruit.


Now that you know where to go and the cities you want to see, it’s time to show you a list of recommended activities. Below is a compilation of must-do and must-sees in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam’s 3-week itinerary.


Chiang Mai



Koh Phangan

  • Namtok Than Sadet National Park
  • Salad Beach
  • Chaloklum Beach
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Namtok Wang Sai
  • Malibu Beach
  • Haad Khom
  • Bottle Beach and Viewpoint
  • Thong Nai Pan Beach
  • Haad Sadet Beach
  • Haad Wai Nam
  • Haad Rin

Koh Samui

  • Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park – book a sunset cruise
  • Tan Rua Waterfall
  • Lat Wanon Waterfall
  • Khun Si Waterfall
  • Na Mueang Waterfall
  • Namtok Tar Nim & Magic Garden
  • Lamai Beach & Viewpoint
  • Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks (Hin Ta Hin Yai) – go on a wild 4WD Jungle Safari trip
  • Lipa Noi Beach
  • Laem Yai
  • Maenam Beach
  • Fisherman’s Village
  • Big Buddha
  • Snorkel and Kayak Tour to Koh Tao and Nangyuan – check tour price
  • Lad Koh View Point
  • Koh Phangan Cruise Tour – click to read more

Siem Reap

Phnom Penh


Da Nang

Ho Chi Minh City


Finally, knowing where to stay is highly advisable, especially on the night you arrive in the new city. This will help you settle and relax immediately while planning the upcoming days. There are options for backpacker budget, mid-range, and those seeking luxury and comfort.


Chiang Mai



Koh Phangan

Koh Samui

Siem Reap

Phnom Penh


Da Nang

Ho Chi Minh City


Planning a 20-day trip covering Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam is a big task. But starting at the beginning and narrowing down the places you want to see and the month you want to go makes a good start.

Don’t try to see everything during this trip because that’s impossible. If you want to relax on the beach, go for it and make it slow travel. If it’s history, make a quick list of the top historical sites you want to see. When it comes to food, you can never go wrong by finding out the food capitals of each country.

Making a balanced 3-week itinerary for Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam that meets your need is possible. I hope that this guide helped you visualise what a trip to this region looks like.


Embark on an affordable 3-week adventure in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam! Explore Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, experience the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, relax in Hoi An, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. Opt for budget accommodations like guesthouses or hostels. via @threeweektraveller