- Recommend Penang. I've only been to Pattaya and love it. Primarily eating seafood and relaxing on the beach. They have some action sports too, I'd tried bungy jumping. There's nothing much in Bangkok AFAIK, but it's just 2 hours drive, so you can cover that too if you have time. Since you're a couple, I recommend flying to Phuket.
Pattaya (3 days)
- Coral island - go by speed boat for snorkeling, scuba diving. Go to other islands.
- AlCazar show - takes you through the rich history, culture, and traditions of Thailand
- Extreme outdoor activities - flyboarding, bungee jumping, dirt ride tour, kiteboarding
- KAAN Show - combination of live-action, cinema, stage performance, and world-class technology. Inspired by Thai classical literature, it has been crafted into a 70 minutes performance.
- Fantastic Ladyboy Shows - Tiffany’s Show is the oldest and most popular ladyboy show in Pattaya
Nong Nooch Garden - 500-acre botanical garden in the Nong Nooch Village
- lake, orchid nurseries, and waterfalls
- Elephant shows, Thai boxing, sword fighting, and folk dances are some of the many shows that can be attended in the village
- Pattaya Floating Market - split into four different sections, each representing and selling items from four different regions of Thailand (North, Northeast, Central, and South). Here you can find many eateries, fruit stalls, souvenir shops, as well as several art galleries (already doing it in Chiang Mai)
Phuket (7 days)
Food (can join a food tour)
- Phuket-style dim sum breakfast at Ratcharot Dim Sum
- Old Town, where you can try butterfly pea sticky rice with custard, fresh pork spring rolls, and the famous hokkien mee (hokkien noodles)
- For dessert, don’t miss trying o-aew, a local specialty that consists of shaved ice served over jelly and drizzled with syrup. Another local dessert to try is khanom ahpong
, a thin crispy coconut pancake.
Bang Rong Village (Community-Based Tourism)
- Pineapple plantation, rubber plantation, coconut plantation
- Be taken on a boat tour out to sea from the mangroves, to release female crabs carrying eggs onto the seagrass
- Koh Phae, a true desert island and real hidden gem in Phuket. It is a small rocky island with a long sandbar that is visible and accessible only at low tide.
Thai cooking class at Old Phuket Farm - traditional farming methods of used in the old times in Phuke
- how to cook five different Thai dishes: Tom Yum Kung (hot and sour prawn soup), prawn pad thai, panang chicken curry, vegetable spring rolls and, for dessert, banana fritters.
Phuket Old Town
- Walk around to see architecture Malay, Chinese and Indian, and this can be reflected in the local architecture and shophouses of Sino-Portuguese style.
- Thalang Road is a busy hub with great shops and where the weekly Sunday Walking Street Market takes place.
- Wat Chalong - oldest and most revered temples on the island
- Big Buddha, a 45 m high statue located on top of one of the highest viewpoints in the area where you will be able to get a panoramic view of the entire southern coastal area of Phuket.
- hike up to Black Rock Viewpoint and Krating Cape for a stunning sunset over the ocean. The best part about these viewpoints is that not a whole lot of people know about them so you will likely be the only one there.
Rosie & Veronica’s recs
- Spend weekdays in a major city and travel through smaller more rural places during the weekends. Probably make your way south to north through the country
- Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh are biggest cities so def start at one of them
- November is the final month of rainy season in the south. So it will be like cool weather with some random showers. In the north it will be winter so weather will be milder and not scorching hot
Touristy places - Halong bay, hue, hoi an (ancient town), sapa, danang (beach)
- Danang and hoi an are least 2 days thing
If going to Hoi an
- no need to go to Hue since they’re similar
- go to the old quarter, and have egg coffee
- If you go to da nang, go to ba NA hills where there’s the giant bridge held up by hands
- Underground tunnel tours https://www.thetravel.com/underground-tunnels-vietnam-tours/
- Caves https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/vietnam-best-caves/index.html
Ho Chi Minh City (3 nights)
- Wide variety of food, not just Viet food.
- Mekong Delta boat ride
- Tetris-like Landmark 81 skyscraper
- War Remnants museum
Hoi An (3 nights)
- Super photogenic. Visit the Japanese bridge and walk/bike around the streets of the ancient town.
Walk around stalls in Hoi An Old Town
- See nighttime as well for lots of lanterns in Hoi An Old Quarter.
- Best (and cheap) Banh Mi: Banh Mi Phuong
- Reaching Out teahouse, only employs deaf & mute staff
- My Son Sanctuary day tour
- Get a cheap suit made!
Danang (no nights)
- Rent a motorbike to go to Danang from Hoi an
- Rare monkeys at Son Tra
- ba NA hills where there’s the giant bridge held up by hands
- riding up Tho Quang, which is a large mountain just north of Marble Mountain
Hue (1 day)
- Can skip if we want, a year hours away
- Vietnam’s history
- Take a tour inside Imperial Citadel, tomb of Khai Dinh
Phong Nha (1 night)
- 5 hour bus from Hue
- Paradise Cave tour
Hanoi (2 nights)
- Take the train or fly to Hanoi
- Street food
- Ngoc Son Temple, on island with bridge and bonsai trees
- Watch An Iconic Water Puppet Theatre Show
Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long (1 night)
- Cruise in Halong Bay (Unesco World Heritage Site). Limestone monoliths rise out of the water
- Take an overnight cruise and kayak around
- Bai Tu Long is just as beautiful but not as crowded
- Cat Ba National Park in Cat Ba Island in Halong Bay has lots of unique animals, go with a tour guide
- Limestone mountains, lakes, lots of animals to see (monkeys, bears, birds, pangolins). Waterfalls too
- Very far north
Flights: Manila → Coron; Palawan → Siargao; Siargao → Cebu
- Swimming with the whales at Oslob, Cebu Island. The resorts are too cheap to be true.
Least favorite: Thunderstorms (they get >20 every year) which affects flights. Their traffic is world's worst - skip Manila if you can.
- Apo Reef
Bohol (3 nights)
- Chocolate hills
Coron (3 nights)
- 4 nights
- Author really likes coron
- Stay in Paolyn houseboats
Siargao (4 nights)
- Author’s favorite island
- Swim in Massin bridge, daku island, sugba lagoon, Guyam island
- surf locations, waterfalls, day trips to mangroves, incredible beaches, day trips to nearby islands and stunning reefs to snorkel over
Cebu Island (4 nights)
- Kawasan Falls
- sardine run
- I'd only been to Kaula Lumpur and Genting Highlands. Nothing memorable from my trip
- Best thing I liked: food and the futuristic city designs. Thing I didn't like: heat and cost.
Spend time in Singapore just as a tourist (say 3-4 days). For WFH, Thailand/Phillipines are way too cheap.
My recommendations for your three weeks (23 days) in Nov:
- 10 days: Thailand (4 days Chiang Mai, 3 days Pattaya, 3 days Phuket)
- 3 days: Singapore
- 10 days: Phillipines (5 days Cebu, 5 days Palawan)