Explore Cambodia & Vietnam

Explore Cambodia & Vietnam

From $ 4,175 AUD

Description

Be charmed by Cambodia and Vietnam on this 17-day adventure from picturesque Phnom Penh to the alluring Hanoi. From the temples of Angkor to the colonial-era architecture of Battambang and the devastating history of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia is a country that emanates history at every turn. Jump over the border to Vietnam’s fast-paced Ho Chi Minh City, wander the ancient Vietnamese streets of Hoi An and bask in the natural charm of Halong Bay. This South East Asian adventure abounds in insightful history, enchanting culture, charismatic cities and delectable cuisine, so why not try it out yourself.

Trip Name
Explore Cambodia & Vietnam
Last Updated
2020-01-21
Days
17
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Enjoy a day out in the countryside near the French colonial town of Kampot, walking through rice fields, discovering a hidden cave temple, and relaxing on a sunset river cruise.
  • Marvel at the spectacle of the ancient Angkor complex with two full days dedicated to this wonder. See the site in depth, and take your own time to discover the beauty and mystery of each temple.
  • Learn about local cottage industries in and around historic Battambang, visiting local businesses from pottery and silversmithing to sticky rice and fish paste production.
  • Discover why Halong Bay is just so popular as you spend the night on a boat among the evocative karst landscape, indulging in a feast of fresh seafood at twilight.
  • Dine at the Friends restaurant in Phomn Penh and KOTO restaurant in Hanoi, to not only taste delicious local food but also support organisations that train and protect disadvantaged youth.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Phnom Penh
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh. An airport arrival transfer to the hotel is included today. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. After this, enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers in the excellent Friends restaurant, a Phnom Penh institution (and noble social enterprise). If you arrive early today and have some free time, why not stop in at the art deco-designed Psar Thmei (Central Market) – a great place for browsing. Or stroll along the atmospheric Sisowath Quay and grab a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while watching the busy river traffic.
Day 2 - Kampot
Head south this morning along National Road 2. You'll pass through the town of Takeo and continue towards Kampot, one of Cambodia's most attractive old towns. Arrive in Kampot and enjoy an afternoon of free time. You might choose to stroll by the river and observe the French colonial architecture or relax on the veranda of one of the riverside restaurants and admire the view of the Bokor mountains. A massage at Seeing Hands is also highly recommended – surely one of the most enjoyable ways to support a great local cause.
Day 3 - Kampot
Enjoy a day out in the countryside. Visit the Kampot Pepper Project and learn why Kampot pepper has been acknowledged by international chefs as the world’s best. Also visit the Kampot salt field, the only salt field in Cambodia. Take a short walk through the rice fields and climb to where some lovely views of the surrounding countryside are found. A few steps later you will enter the mouth of Phnom Chhnork limestone cave, which has a small 7th-century brick temple inside. Enjoy a walk along the beach at Kep, passing the old buildings near the ocean front. The town was Cambodia's most popular and prestigious beach town from the early 1900s until the 1960s. Sadly many of the mansions and villas didn't survive the reign of the Khmer Rouge, and their ghostly remains mark a dark history.
Day 4 - Phnom Penh
Say goodbye to the beach and take a different route back to Phnom Penh (approximately 4 hours). In the afternoon you will visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. These serve as sobering reminders of the violent rule of the Khmer Rouge. Here you can learn more about this confronting but important chapter in history. If you'd rather not visit these sites, simply let your leader know. This evening, with free time, you might opt for a relaxing sunset drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club – a great way to spend the night, overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.
Day 5 - Battambang
Travel by private minibus through the countryside to Battambang (approximately 5 hours, not including stops). Along the way you will stop to see some local pottery and silversmithing at work. This gives a fascinating insight into small cottage industries in a lesser-visited spot in Cambodia. Arrive in Battambang (pronounced Battambong) and put your feet up after the journey. Perhaps take a stroll along the riverfront to soak up the elegant French vibes of the town. Some of the colonial architecture has been beautifully preserved, and there are friendly Khmer people abound.
Day 6 - Battambang
Jump in a remork (Cambodian tuk-tuk) and travel through the beautiful surrounding countryside of Battambang. You will visit some small cottage industries that produce rice paper, dried banana, sticky rice cooked in bamboo, and aromatic fish paste (Cambodia’s equivalent of Vegemite or Marmite). In the afternoon, head to a heritage Khmer house, where you will be met by the owner and taken on a journey through Cambodian history. The village of Wat Kor is known for its historic stilted wooden houses, some of which pre-date French colonial times. The house’s large wooden floorboards are shiny from generations of feet walking across them. The owner’s small collection of antiques and agricultural tools paint a picture of Cambodia in the early 1900s. Later in the evening, head to Phnom Sampov and witness the strange phenomenon of the Battambang Bat Caves. For around half an hour each night, the caves come alive with a dense swarm of bats flying out for their night of hunting. Watch the bats fly off into the sunset with a drink in hand.
Day 7 - Siem Reap
Enjoy some breakfast, check out of the hotel, then take a private boat to Siem Reap (approximately 6-7 hours). This classic journey follows the Sangker River downstream to the Tonle Sap – the largest lake in South East Asia. Along the way you'll see fishing villages, a scattering of fishermen and no doubt some local people living atop floating and stilted houses. The roof of the boat provides shade while open sides make for nice viewing as you float along (there's also a toilet on board). Arrive in Siem Reap, the gateway to the famous Angkor complex, which is roughly 7 kilometres out of town. Relax before your temple-hopping begins tomorrow. You might like to hit the night markets for some cheap and delicious street food, or maybe indulge in a traditional massage.
Day 8 - Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided tour. Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. The impressive Bayon temple is the centrepiece. The famous Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure. It is the only one of Angkor's temples with its entrance facing to the west (the others face east), the reason being that it was constructed as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and a westerly countenance was seen to represent a sunset. Ta Prohm temple is an incredible sight, with large trees embedding themselves in the stone foundations of the structure. Today for lunch you will visit the Sala Bai Hotel School, where disadvantaged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry.
Day 9 - Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
An early morning start for those looking to catch the sunrise over the temples. On a clear morning this is a truly spectacular sight. After breakfast, travel out to Banteay Srei, famous for its detailed and intricate stone carvings. It is not a big temple but has been sometimes referred to as the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art. Back at the main temple complex, Preah Khan contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Tonight, after dinner, you will visit Phare the Cambodian Circus. Coming from vulnerable households, the performers have gained international recognition through their art practice. Think a Cambodian Cirque Du Soleil, with modern Khmer tales mixing theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, and contortion.
Day 10 - Ho Chi Minh City
Leave Cambodia behind today with a transfer to the airport and a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Please note that you will be unescorted on this flight, but you will be met in the arrivals hall of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening you will gather together for another briefing with your Vietnamese tour leader, usually around 6 pm. This meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Ho Chi Minh City's many fantastic eating spots. Tonight’s again all about introductions, so why not get to know your new travel crew over some delicious food and a beer.
Day 11 - Ho Chi Minh City
Start your tour of Ho Chi Minh City with a visit to the Reunification Palace. Formerly known as the Presidential Palace, it was the site of South Vietnam's surrender at the end of the war. Next, head over to the War Remnants Museum where you’ll see old military equipment including an F5A fighter and a UH1-Huey helicopter. Finally, you’ll tour the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, as well as underground life during the Vietnam War.
Day 12 - Hoi An
Say goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City and fly to Danang (1 hour 30 minutes). From here you’ll make your way to My Khe Beach, a beautiful spot which lies against a backdrop of the Marble Mountains. This location was significant for both the Americans and the Vietnamese during the war. Enjoy a visit to the Marble Mountains to explore its caves and pagodas. Access is via rock hewn staircases or for a fee of VND40,000 you can use the elevator. After your visit continue to Hoi An where you’ll stay for the night (approximately 30 minutes by private minibus).
Day 13 - Hoi An
Your leader will take you on a walk around Hoi An’s Old Town today. The city was a major trading port from the 17th century onwards, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Vietnam. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. The tour will take you to a historic house, the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. The rest of the day is free for you to do some optional activities or soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
Day 14 - Hanoi
This morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi (1 hour 30 minutes). You’ll be taken on a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting major sites such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO cafe, an amazing project which provides vocational training for disadvantaged young people. You’ll have some free time this afternoon. Hanoi is a strangely quiet city compared to its southern counterpart. Escape from the noise by visiting the various parks and lakes, or hire a bike and cycle around town for the best view of the city.
Day 15 - Halong Bay
Travel by private minibus to the famous Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours), one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders. Once you arrive at the bay, you’ll take a long, slow cruise through the area, exploring the beautiful green waters and amazing Surprise Cave. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases. Once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery. You may also have the opportunity to go swimming from Ti Top Island beach. You’ll spend the night on the boat. The traditional junk-style boat has twin-share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar where you’ll enjoy all of your meals, including fresh seafood for lunch and dinner.
Day 16 - Hanoi
Head back to Hanoi by private minibus (approximately 4 hours). This afternoon take in a unique water puppet performance. This evening is free for you to explore this delightful city. Why not relax at a cafe or stop for a bia hoi (freshly brewed draught beer) at one of the microbars in the Old Quarter?
Day 17 - Hanoi
After breakfast, you are free to leave at any time, as there are no activities planned today. If you would like to spend some more time in Hanoi, we’ll be happy to organise some additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
20-02-202007-03-2020AUD $ 4,645-
26-03-202011-04-2020AUD $ 4,215-
09-04-202025-04-2020AUD $ 4,425-
02-07-202018-07-2020AUD $ 4,175-
06-08-202022-08-2020AUD $ 4,175-
17-09-202003-10-2020AUD $ 4,175-
08-10-202024-10-2020AUD $ 4,175-
05-11-202021-11-2020AUD $ 4,175-
19-11-202005-12-2020AUD $ 4,340-
10-12-202026-12-2020AUD $ 4,340-
17-12-202002-01-2021AUD $ 4,340-
31-12-202016-01-2021AUD $ 4,260-
07-01-202123-01-2021AUD $ 4,385-
14-01-202130-01-2021AUD $ 4,385-
04-02-202120-02-2021AUD $ 4,175-
25-03-202110-04-2021AUD $ 4,175-
01-04-202117-04-2021AUD $ 4,175-
01-07-202117-07-2021AUD $ 4,175-
05-08-202121-08-2021AUD $ 4,175-
02-09-202118-09-2021AUD $ 4,175-
07-10-202123-10-2021AUD $ 4,175-
11-11-202127-11-2021AUD $ 4,175-
18-11-202104-12-2021AUD $ 4,175-
02-12-202118-12-2021AUD $ 4,175-
09-12-202125-12-2021AUD $ 4,175-
16-12-202101-01-2022AUD $ 4,175-

Accommodation

Hotel (15 nights),Overnight boat (1 night)

Transport

Boat,Plane,Private Minibus,Remork (tuk tuk)

Map