So you're planning a trip and you're wondering how far you'll get South East Asia within four to six months? This is my list of places I visited in four months without rushing from one place to another using local transportation when possible and flights when needed, including Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines and a little bit of Vietnam. It can easily be stretched to six months by staying longer at a few great places or by adding a few.
Planning my trip to Myanmar, I told a couple of people about my itinerary:
Starting from Yangon, I wanted to work my way up north over Inle Lake and Bagan to Mandalay. The common response to that was: “Cool, but don't spend any time in Mandalay. I heard it's a horrible place”.
So I was obviously on a mission to find the beauty of Mandalay, and spoilers: I did.
Myanmar won my heart right after I stepped out of the airplane in Yangon.
I walked down the street past a mother with her child eating rice. She looked up to me: "do you want to share?" – I was overwhelmed by her generosity and declined.
She looked at her child: "say hello to the foreign girl". The little boy looked at me and waved, a big smile on his face painted with Thanaka: "Minglabar".