Combine two of Southeast Asia’s most diverse countries with this small group Journey covering the must-see sights of Cambodia and Vietnam.
Experience cities both ancient and modern, explore the pagodas and palaces, float down the Mekong and cruise Halong Bay, not forgetting the fascinating temples of Angkor.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Be seduced by the riverside charms of Phnom Penh
- Wander among the richly decorated temples of Angkor
- Barter like a local at the Cai Be floating markets
- Experience local life on a Mekong homestay
- Cruise among the islands off Nha Trang
- Pay your respects at the tomb of Tu Duc
- Spend an evening on the peaceful waters of Halong Bay
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- Small Group Journey with maximum group size 16
- All authentic local experiences mentioned except where specified optional
- All international & internal flights
- 16 nights in 4* hotels & hand-picked accommodation
- 1 night at a local family’s homestay
- 1 night aboard a boat cruise
- 1 night in an overnight train
- 18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners
- Arrival transfers & all internal transport
Need to know+
- Arrives: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH)
- Time difference: GMT+7
- Visa requirements: British passport holders require a tourist visa for both countries; please ask your travel consultant for more information
- Language: Cambodia – Khmer, Vietnam - Vietnamese
- Currency: Cambodian Riel (KHR), Vietnamese dong (VND)
- Flying time from UK: around 20 hours
- Plug type: 2 round pins or 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 220V
Fly from UK to Phnom Penh
Arrive in Phnom Penh and meet the rest of your group for dinner at Friends the Restaurant, a project offering support and training to disadvantaged children in the city, as well as some tasty food. The next day, join your guide and discover Phnom Penh’s gleaming Royal Palace and the bejewelled treasures in the Silver Pagoda, then learn about Cambodia’s troubled history at the Choeung Ek Memorial and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. If you wish to explore further you could head to the hilltop Wat Phnom or take a wander along Sisowath Quay, lined with cafes and restaurants.
Fly on to Siem Reap, gateway to the magnificent temples of Angkor. Your guide will show you around the temples, built between the 9th and 13th centuries, and each individually designed so that no two are the same. Visit a variety and discover your favourite – perhaps the faces of Bayon or the jungle-covered Ta Prohm, not forgetting the impressive Angkor Wat itself, particularly photogenic at sunrise or sunset when the colours change. Pay a visit to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a rehabilitation centre for trafficked animals and breeding centre for endangered species.
Ho Chi Minh City
Fly to Vietnam and vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. Your group may change at this point, so welcome any new members and meet your new guide before wandering the markets and observing the contrasts between the traditional shop houses and the modern high rise hotels in this eclectic city. Take a look around, perhaps visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral or sip on a cool cocktail in one of the popular rooftop bars, while the lights of the city shine brightly below you.
After transferring to Cai Be, board your boat and cruise the Mekong Delta’s intricate waterways, passing fields of fruit, rice and flowers, and calling in at an orchard to sample the fruits. Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong is a fascinating network of canals and lagoons, fringed with palm trees, bordered by rice paddies and dotted with quaint villages. Spend the night with the friendly locals at a homestay and sample some delicious home-cooked food.
Ho Chi Minh City
Return to Ho Chi Minh City and crawl through the narrow chambers of the Cu Chi tunnels, 250 kilometres of underground passageways used by the Vietcong during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Tour the city sights with your guide, including the historic Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. In the evening you’ll board your overnight train to Nha Trang. Although basic, these sleeper trains are an authentic and adventurous experience, with 4-berth compartments and a simple dining carriage.
Head onwards to the seaside at Vietnam’s favourite resort town of Nha Trang, also a scuba diving hub. Hang out on the beach, check out the Oceanographic Museum and admire the enormous Buddha at the Long Son Pagoda (optional, extra cost). Included in your stay is a popular boat trip - take a basket boat to quaint fishing villages, snorkel the azure waters and feast on fresh seafood on some of Nha Trang’s idyllic surrounding islands.
Step back into the 19th century as you explore the cobbled streets of Hoi An, a well-preserved World Heritage site that retains many elements of its fascinating past. Take a look around the craft markets and admire the handiwork – woodwork, ceramics and embroidery are all for sale, plus there’s a great selection of tailors. Just bring along a picture of the outfit you want and they will create it for you for a very reasonable price. Explore the pagodas and palaces of the ancient town with your guide. Browse the morning markets for ingredients then head into the kitchen and learn to cook the fabulously aromatic cuisine of Vietnam (optional, extra cost).
Traverse the spectacular Hai Van Pass on your way to Hue, where you’ll discover the imperial citadel and the Forbidden Purple City with its crumbling walls. Later on take a dragon boat cruise on the idyllic Perfume River, calling in at the Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. Also call in at the gorgeously ornate tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set among lakes and frangipani trees. You’ll also visit a monastery or nunnery for lunch, a unique cultural experience, and also a way to contribute something back, because your visit benefits these institutions financially.
Fly to elegant Hanoi, Vietnam’s charming capital. Leafy streets thronging with bicycles and motorbikes lead to tranquil lakes and pretty pagodas, making Hanoi a great city for exploring. Check out the silk shops and old-fashioned houses in the Old Quarter, then visit the pavilions and halls of the Temple of Literature with your guide. That night, enjoy watching a water puppet performance, a traditional form of entertainment that originated in the rice fields in the north of the country.
Hop on board your junkboat in picturesque Halong Bay, where 2000 karst peaks rise dramatically from the deep green waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Cruise between the rocks and coves, take a swim, explore the caves, and relax and enjoy the scenery. You can also use a kayak to paddle around the various sea caves and rock formations. You’ll feast on a delicious dinner on board your boat, then spend the night under the stars, with the waves gently lapping against the side of the boat.
Return to Hanoi, stopping off at the Dong Trieu ceramic factory on the way. Spend the rest of the day exploring any parts of the city you missed, or stock up on those last minute souvenirs.
Depart Hanoi and return to the UK
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