Here is a detailed itinerary for the first three months of our family’s travels – including where we stayed, how we’ve been getting about and the cost of regional transport. I hope this assists other families with the planning side of things and helps shine a light on accommodation and travel options for the places we’ve been so far. We are living off a budget of £95 per day for Southeast Asia and £58 per day for New Zealand (I have family in NZ so that reduces costs).
Itinerary planning can be tricky. There’s definitely a balance to be struck between having a sensible forward plan and not locking yourself into an entirely fixed itinerary. My worst travel nightmare is booking somewhere for a week, only to arrive and find it is not what we’d hoped. Conversely, I hate arriving at a place, falling in love with it, then having to leave too soon due to fixed onward travel plans.
This is why, by the time we left London, my husband and I had discussed and agreed a list of places that we definitely wanted to visit. But we’ve never booked more than a week or two in advance (with the exception of long-haul flights). This means that our regional flights are often more expensive, however this is offset by being able to bag last-minute hotel and Airbnb deals.
We left the UK in August 2017 and have three months travelling around Southeast Asia and three months in New Zealand, before returning home. We’ve almost completed the Asia leg of our trip, so read on to find out about our itinerary for the first three months. For detailed information about the places we’ve visited, find out more on my blog page.
Note all travel costs are shown as the total cost for two adults, one infant and one three year old. Costs are in pound sterling.
Day 1 – 5 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia was the first stop on our big trip. We flew direct from London to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Airlines. Once in Kuala Lumpur we spent 4 days sightseeing, getting over our jet-lag and adjusting to life on the road. We stayed in a two-bed apartment at Setia Sky Residences, which has two wonderful pools and a handy mini-mart on site.
Travel: Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi with Air Asia. Cost: £77
Day 5-12 Langkawi
After busy Kuala Lumpur, we were in need of some serious beach time. We stayed at the beachfront Labu Labi Residences on the quieter, and in my opinion, much nicer northern coast of Langkawi. The island is really compact so we were able to use it as a base for exploring other parts of the island.
If you want to find out more, I’ve blogged about why Langkawi is a top destination for families.
Travel: Boat from Langkawi to Penang. Cost: £41
Day 12-18 George Town, Penang
For the first few nights, we stayed in the centre of George Town at the beautifully restored Ren I Tang guesthouse.
We then moved slightly further out of the centre to stay at the charming Rangoon Residences, which was a very family-friendly and comfortable establishment.
You can read more in my blog about top things to do in Penang with kids.
Travel: Hired a car to drive from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. Cost: £67
Travel: Flight the next day to Denpansar, Bali with Air Asia. Cost: £201
Day 19 – 22 Legian Beach
We stayed at Mangga Bali Inn, a cheap and cheerful establishment, centrally located in Legian with a great pool. It was the perfect place to base ourselves for the first few days in Bali, while we made a plan for the next stage of our trip.
Travel: Uber between Legian and Ubud. Cost: £11
Day 22-27 Ubud
We stayed in a lovely two-bed pool villa on the outskirts of Ubud, surrounded by stunning rice paddies. It wasn’t very easy to get about, but the remote setting made for a few peaceful days and some spectacular sunrises.
This was an Airbnb villa and we were delighted to find that it had a daily maid service. It has been our experience that almost all Airbnb’s in Asia have had a cleaner which, with kids, is most welcome!
Travel: Hired a driver to take us from Ubud to Legian. Cost: £28
Day 27-37 Legian
We fell in love with Legian and spent much longer here than anticipated. We spent five nights at Villa Anna, a spotless, bigger than expected, two-bed pool villa in a quiet backwater within easy walking distance of the centre of town.
The next five nights were spent in a massive three-bed house with an incredible pool, Star View Villa. We loved having all that extra space. This was further out of town but the best value for money accommodation we’ve had to date.
Travel: Hired a driver to take us from Legian to Pemuteran. Cost: £20
Day 37-41 Pemuteran
We spent five nights in a pool villa at the luxurious Taman Sari Resort and Spa. This was one of our splurges as we stayed there pre-kids eight years ago and had often talked about returning. It didn’t disappoint!
Travel: Hired a driver to take us from Pemuteran to Legian. Cost: £39
Day 41-44 Legian
We returned to Legian for a few nights before leaving Bali to spend some more time on the beautiful beaches of the southern coast. We stayed in a slightly tired three-bed pool villa in downtown Legian.
Travel: Flight from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia. Cost: £165
Day 44-48 Kuala Lumpur
We had a few more days layover in Kuala Lumpur, back at Setia Sky Residences. As well as eating some more delicious food, we used these days to plan and book the next stage of our trip.
Travel: Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Da Nang with Air Asia. Cost: £113
Day 48-55 Hoi An
My parents joined us for the first two weeks in Vietnam, so we all stayed together in a three bed pool villa, Nha Maica Villa, located in a peaceful rural area close to Hoi An Old Town.
Travel: Train from Da Nang to Hue. Cost: £9
Day 55-59 Hue
We stayed in the incredibly friendly Cherish Hotel in historic Hue, and spent our days exploring the Royal Tombs, the citadel and the Perfume river.
Travel: Private transfer from Hue to Hoi An, organised through our hotel. Cost: £26
Day 59-63 Hoi An
We decided to return to Hoi An for a few days as we felt we still had more to see and do. This time we stayed right in the heart of the old town, on the river at Vinh Hung Riverside Resort and Spa.
Travel: Train from Da Nang to Dong Hoi. Cost: £24
Day 63-69 Phong Nha
Phong Nha is Vietnam’s yet-to-be discovered adventure capital. We spent five unforgettable days at the Phong Nha Farmstay and spent our time exploring the natural wonders of Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park. Find out why I think that it is a must-see place in Vietnam.
We loved the farmstay, especially the staff who went out of their way to make our family feel so very welcome. If we’d stayed longer (and we really wanted to but had already booked our onward travel), we would have stayed the brand new Victory Road Villas, operated by the owner of the farmstay.
Travel: Flight from Dong Hoi to Hanoi with VietJet. Cost:£54
Day 69-74 Hanoi
We stayed in a very spacious and comfortable one bed apartment just on the edge of the old quarter. It was a nice, peaceful space to relax after a hectic day of sightseeing…and had a bath which we’ve not had for a few weeks. Happy days!
Travel: Flight from Hanoi to Da Nang with VietJet. Cost – £87
Day 74-80 Hoi An
We found ourselves back in Hoi An….again! And back at Vinh Hung Riverside…again! This is where we wanted to spend our final few days in Vietnam. Can we move here permanently, please?!
Day 80-86 Krabi
We were supposed to spend our last few days in Asia in Kuala Lumpur. But at the last minute decided to fly Thailand instead for a last bit of beach action. And we are so glad we did! We found cheap flights to Krabi, the incredibly picturesque province in southern Thailand.
Seeking perfect white sand beaches and dreamy turquoise waters, we headed straight to Railay beach, a peninsular accessible only by boat. The first night, we stayed at Sand Sea Resort, unbeatably located right on Railay Beach. The bungalow and facilities, however, were quite tired so the next night we checked into the Railay Great View Resort. It’s located an easy 10 minute walk from the main settlement and does indeed have a great view. The individual jungle huts were very comfortable and we had plenty of monkeys and squirrels in the trees around us.
The last two nights we travelled back to Ao Nang. We stayed at the very competitively priced Paradise Resort. All rooms came with a day bed, which was great for Zoe to sleep on.
This brings us to the present day as we enter the final part of our Asia trip. You can read my thoughts about our trip so far and what we’ve learnt along the way. Next on our itinerary? Three months in New Zealand – the country where I was born but moved away from 14 years ago. Our exact plans are to be confirmed but rest assured this page will be updated on a regular basis.
Any thoughts on our itinerary so far? Got any questions about any aspect of our trip? Get in touch or leave a comment below.
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