A 15 day Vietnam and Cambodia tour taking in all the famous sites as well as some of the more off the beaten track ones. This exciting river and overland adventure will lead you through the heart of Indochina: from Vietnam’s bustling Saigon and picturesque and evocative Mekong Delta region, we’ll travel up the Mekong River itself to the fascinating Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, before heading overland through picturesque Cambodian scenery to the mysterious and dramatic, jungle-clad temples of Angkor. A boat cruise through the stunning scenery of the Tonle Sap Lake and Sangkar River; a day discovering the colonial architecture and traditional village life around Battambang and a return to Phnom Penh by way of the highly unusual ‘floating town’ of Kompong Chnang complete this superb introduction to a wonderful region.
Tour Length: 15D/14N Saigon to Phnom Penh
Group sizes: 4-12 persons
Availability: all year round
Accommodation: hotel, home-stay in a colonial period villa
Single Supplement: Not applicable if you are happy to share with a fellow traveller of the same sex. To ensure a room to yourself, the supplement.
Transport: minibus, boat, tuk-tuk
Meals: full board except for lunch on days 2, 11, 12 & 14 and dinner on days 5, 12, 14 & 15
Fitness: easy – maximum hiking 3-4 hours per day during the Angkor visits on days 10 & 11
Day 1 Morning arrival in Saigon, meet your tour leader and transfer to a downtown hotel. Leisurely afternoon to recover from your flight: get a feel for this sometimes hectic but always fascinating city – explore the area, browse the markets or just relax in a cafe and watch the non-stop spectacle of the city’s traffic!
Day 2 Day tour of some of the City’s sites including the bustling Ben Thanh Market, the War Museum, Jade Emperor Pagoda and Saigon’s own Notre Dame Cathedral.
Day 3 Departure from Saigon for a visit to the fascinating Vietcong tunnel system at Cu Chi before continuing south to the scenic Delta town of Cai Be with some free time to explore the area. Overnight in Cai Be Town.
Day 4 Morning visit to Cai Be’s traditional floating market from where we’ll continue by boat through the Delta’s myriad waterways with the opportunity to visit some of the region’s cottage industries and fruit farms. Arrival in Vinh Long and head off for a canoe tour of the former Vietcong jungle base at Xe Quit. After lunch we’ll head for Can Tho – the Delta’s most important commercial and administrative centre. Afternoon at leisure to explore this friendly riverside town or check-out the interesting Mekong Delta Museum.
Day 5 Early morning boat ride to the nearby morning floating market, one of the busiest and most photogenic in the Delta, before heading west to the small riverside town of Chau Doc near the Cambodian border. Visit the sacred Sam Mountain for sunset and spectacular views before returning to Chau Doc Town in the evening.
Day 6 Back on the Mekong for a morning departure by boat for Phnom Penh. Lunchtime arrival and check-in to a small, comfortable downtown hotel close to the historic riverbank quarter. Time to stretch your legs with an introductory walking tour, taking in taking in the historic French Quarter and the lively waterfront area as well as giving you a feel for the bustling street-life before finishing perhaps, with sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club?
Day 7 Day tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s fascinating capital city: the infamous Killing Fields site and the highly moving Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng help to explain the country’s recent tragic history. The picturesque Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda will provide plenty of photo opportunities whilst the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a chance for a local style lunch.
Day 8 Travel through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the small provincial town of Siem Reap in Western Cambodia – our base for the next few days while we visit the nearby Angkor Temple complex. Stops on the way include the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon, (tasting not compulsory), the rarely visited but well preserved 10th century temple of Kuhananokor and lunch by a scenic lake. A dusk visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei Temple completes our day.
Day 9 Angkor – an unforgettable two-day tour of this fabulous site – its vast jungle clad temples and mysterious stone carvings. Our programme begins with dawn at Angkor Wat, followed by a comprehensive morning tour of the temple itself. Late morning return to Siem Reap to escape the midday heat and for some lunch, siesta or relaxation. Afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom: Leper King Terrace, Preah Palilay, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, Baphuon and last but not least, (we’ll wait until the crowds have gone), the dramatic Bayon Temple with its famous faces.
Day 10 We’ll begin with a forest hike up Bahkeng Hill to visit the spectacular Phnom Bahkeng Temple and check out the views, before moving on to the huge jungle-clad ruin of Preah Khan. Dense jungle, enormous roots and trees and screeching parakeets make this atmospheric temple one of everyone’s favourites. After a midday break in Siem Reap Town, the afternoon programme continues with a short jungle walk to Ta Keo via the remote and rarely visited Ta Nei Temple. A visit to the famous Ta Prom ruins – the famous ‘Tomb Raider’ Temple continues our jungle theme and concludes our day’s visit.
Day 11 Morning trip to one of the more remote and less visited temple sites, the truly spectacular Beng Melea. A huge partially ruined temple complex, overgrown by jungle, lying to the west of Siem Reap, this is one of the most impressive Angkor monuments. Return to Siem Reap with an afternoon at leisure to relax by the pool, visit the National Museum, explore the markets or even take a Khmer cookery lesson?
Day 12 Spectacular boat journey across the Tonle Sap Lake, past the flooded forest and Prek Toal bird sanctuary and on down the Sangkar River and its floating stilt-house fishing villages to the town of Battambang. Stop off on the way to visit the Prek Toal community water hyacinth weaving project. Time of arrival will depend upon water levels.
Day 13 Morning ride through the paddy-fields on Battambang’s famous ‘bamboo train’, followed by some leisure time to explore the friendly provincial town, or just chill-out in one of the many coffee shops. After lunch we’ll visit the surrounding villages and their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts, either by bicycle, or tuk-tuk for the less energetic.
Day 14 Travelling east, our first stop will be the lively and colourful local market in Pursat Town for a chance to stretch our legs, check out the weird and wonderful produce on display, meet the friendly locals plus of course plenty of photo opportunities. Moving on, we’ll stop at the fascinating river port town of Kompong Chnang where half the town is actually floating on the Tonle Sap River, and explore the bustling river front area before continuing to our days final destination – Phnom Penh.
Day 15 Morning transfer to Phnom Penh airport