Discover Cambodia and Thailand on an adventure from Ho Chi Minh City to Ko Samui

Touchdown in Vietnam amid the chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City, travel through Cambodia and down the east coast of Thailand to experience its famous beach culture. The spectacular temples of Angkor Wat await in Cambodia, while Phnom Penh offers a chance to reflect on the country’s tragic history. Crossing into Thailand, drop by its vivacious capital, then make for clear blue waters, white sands and swaying palm trees. Thailand has the ideal ingredients for a holiday in paradise, and you’ll explore its beautiful southern islands off the east coast. Relax in the gleaming sun and try some of the special Thai food this region is famous for. This fascinating journey from Vietnam through Cambodia and on to Thailand provides the perfect opportunity to experience the best of Indochina.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Ko Samui, Thailand
Countries
Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
TKSTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Your trip begins in action-packed Ho Chi Minh City, the perfect place for a taste of Vietnam

  • Enjoy the guidance of a local expert as you temple-hop at the dazzling Angkor complex, one of Southeast Asia's premier sights

  • Confront the sobering but important Khmer history in Phnom Penh, with included visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Memorial

  • Embrace the change of pace in downbeat Battambang, the ideal place to mingle with everyday Cambodian folk

  • Acquaint yourself with frenetic Bangkok, a wonderland of excellent street food, enchanting canals and sprawling marketplaces

  • Discover the best beaches and islands of Thailand’s east coast – from popular Ko Samui to laid-back Ko Tao – for a true slice of paradise

  • Cruise to Ko Pitak for a taste of real island life. Enjoy an overnight homestay, feast on fresh seafood and interact with local fishermen

  • Two in-depth snorkelling trips, one in Chumphon and one in Ko Tao, give you plenty of time to explore underwater worlds brimming with coral and colourful tropical fish

  • Travel as the locals do on an overnight sleeper train – the best way to travel long distances, meet locals and maximise time at destinations

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip does involve some long travel days, so be prepared for some driving as you move through three countries. This is, of course, a great chance to take in all the varied scenery and snapshots of rural life.

  • In most locations you'll stay in simple tourist-class hotels (2–3 stars). They're always clean and comfortable.

  • Cambodia can get quite hot, so be prepared for some days of walking and sightseeing in the heat. Always carry plenty of water.

  • The overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Langsuan takes 9 hours and is a real Intrepid adventure. Be prepared for basic conditions though – bunk beds and shared facilities.

  • This trip includes lots of free time for flexibility and space for making your own discoveries. There are lots of recommended optional activities if you wish, or just time to soak up the sun and kick back on the countless beautiful beaches.

  • Get your sea legs ready because this trip involves lots of travel by boat. Apart from being the only way to see these islands, you can’t beat cruising between dramatic limestone outcrops as you island hop.

Itinerary

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you have free time, get out and discover the city's blend of old and new, East and West. Visiting Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum are recommended optional activities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND15000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by public bus through rural Vietnam and Cambodia to Phnom Penh (approximately 6–7 hours). You will cross the border, exiting Vietnam at Moc Bai and entering Cambodia at Ba Vet. Your leader will assist you with border crossing procedures.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Confront Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It's estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. You will also head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields, the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng. You can learn about a brighter period in Cambodian history from an optional visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.  Wat Phnom, shrouded in myth, is equally worth a visit, as is the National Museum with its excellent Khmer collection. Cyclo tours around the city are a great alternative to walking and generally include the central market, US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong river front, independence monument and Royal Palace. Keen shoppers can hit the art-deco Psar Thmei (Central Market).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private bus to Siem Reap (approximately 7 hours). Along the way you'll make several stops which are great opportunities to see the real Cambodia. You'll visit the cottage industry of Santuk Silk Farm, a fair-trade organisation that provides a valuable source of employment in a poor rural community. You'll even have the rare chance to sample a deep-fried spider. Arrive in Siem Reap in the evening and relax as you prepare for your much-anticipated visit to Angkor tomorrow. Perhaps hit the markets for some delicious street food.

Notes: Santuk Silk Farm is closed on some important Khmer holidays.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake boat trip
  • Santuk Silk Farm
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Temple-hop with your local guide and make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex. The temples, dating back as far as the 9th century, were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photo opportunities at any time of day. Watching a sunrise or sunset is a must. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 square kilometres, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap, so there will be plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue your explorations of the Angkor complex. You may like to spend just the morning making further discoveries here, and save your afternoon for an optional activity elsewhere. Perhaps enjoy a boat trip along the Tonle Sap (freshwater lake), visiting one of its floating villages. Keen adventurers can take the Angkor zip-line adventure which gives an amazing birds-eye view of the rainforest, not to mention an adrenaline rush.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline - USD129
  • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Street Food By Night Tour - USD48
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private minibus to Battambang (approximately 3 hours). Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang (pronounced Battambong), is a pretty riverside town of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and beautifully preserved colonial architecture. Consider a guided tour of the countryside to discover the local rural way of life – it stops off at small cottage industries that produce sticky rice, noodles & fish paste. Or perhaps take a ride on the famous bamboo train, a great chance to interact with locals. There's also an optional cooking class to learn the secrets of local dishes such as amok, Khmer curry & fried spicy chicken.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Battambang - Countryside tour - USD10
  • Battambang - Bamboo Train - USD10
  • Battambang - Cooking Class - USD12
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It's a long drive from Battambang to Bangkok (approximately 8–9 hours by private bus, including the border crossing and lunch). You will exit Cambodia at Poipet and enter Thailand at Aranyaprathet. Your leader will be on hand to assist with border crossing procedures. Arrive in Thailand's bustling capital and take in this exciting world of tuk tuks, khlong boats, and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day of shopping or sightseeing. Your leader can give you ideas of what to do – places like Jim Thompson's House and the Grand Palace are all great to explore. There are also a number of Urban Adventures on offer – you can see the city in a different way by jumping on a bike, focusing on temples and the waterways, or getting underneath the skin of the Chinatown area. There's a fantastic array of transport options available for getting around this traffic-choked city and although it's most efficient to stick to the canals, river, and Skytrain, a trip in a tuk-tuk is certainly an experience! As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
  • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage. Wat Pho is one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, located practically next door to the Grand Palace, and inside lies a 46-metre long gold-plated Buddha. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. The complex is considered the first public university in the country, and is home to the world famous Wat Pho massage school, the centre of the traditional practice. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities, and this city has so much to offer – perhaps head next door to the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Tonight you will board an overnight train southbound for Langsuan (approximately 9 hours).

Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are multi-share compartments with bunk bed padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing compartments with locals of the same or opposite gender. Your baggage will travel in the carriage with you. There's also a food and drink service available on board. Some may find the air conditioning on the train quite cold overnight so best to pack a jumper and some long pants.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) - THB50
  • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive on your overnight train early in the morning, at around 6 am. Try a local style breakfast in Luangsuan market before heading to the pier (approximately 20 minutes) for Koh Pitak. Take a 10-minute boat to nearby Koh Pitak, a gorgeous little island, the location of tonight's homestay. Take an orientation walk around the village. While you're here, you'll see how the fisherman live and how they make their interesting fish traps. Your homestay tonight will include lunch, dinner and breakfast. Most meals will be be typical southern fare with fresh local seafood.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Say goodbye to your hosts and travel back to the mainland on a short boat trip. Then make the journey to Chumphon by private minivan (approximately 1.5 hours) and check into your resort. Your accommodation is beautifully located, right on the beachfront at Thung Wua Lan Beach (located about 16 kilometres away from the main town). You'll join the rest of the group to travel to a local lookout point, Khao Matsee, to take in some nice views and perhaps grab a cup of coffee. Back at the beach, spend free time stolling along the white sands of this pristine, uncrowded strip of coast.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a full-day snorkelling adventure. You will start at around 9 am and finish up at around 3 pm. The trip covers three different snorkelling spots, which gives you a nice variety of underwater scenery. See how many different kinds of tropical fish you can spot. The snorkelling will take place in the open water, so there will be no beach stops. Lunch is included on the boat and you will arrive back at your resort in time for a sunset drink if you choose..
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chumphon - Snorkelling tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Hop from one beach paradise to another, travelling to Ko Tao. The ferrry takes around 2 hours, and you'll arrive on Ko Tao mid-afternoon. Famous for its spectacular coral reefs, the delightful little island of Ko Tao is popular not only among divers but also those looking for beautiful palm-fringed beaches such as Sairee. Here you can relax or perhaps take up some optional diving. Cooking classes, aromatherapy sessions or local spa visits are also great options. Ko Tao also has a small but lively nightlife for those interested in dancing and socialising on the beach or in bars.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ko Tao - Thai Massage - THB300
  • Ko Tao - Scuba diving - THB2000
  • Ko Tao - Aromatherapy Care by Jamahkiri Spa - TMT950
  • Ko Tao - Thai cooking class - THB1900
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll experience the beautiful underwater world that surrounds Ko Tao with an exploratory snorkelling trip. With coral and fish a plenty and the remote chance of seeing timid reef sharks amongst mesmerising coral formations, Ko Tao is undeniably one of the jewels in southern Thailand's crown. Sail south from Mae Haad Pier, navigating around the southern tip of the island until you reach Shark Island. You might see the occasional leopard shark. Drop by Luek Bay for one of the best swimming beaches on the island with fish-filled reefs on either side, then stop at Hin Wong Bay for lunch aboard the boat – an idyllic spot where palm trees line the sheltered inlet. The shallow waters of Muang Bay are filled with colourful fish to swim by, and then stop at Nang Yuan Island. You can pay the small entrance fee to this privately owned island and take a short hike up to a viewpoint, relax on the beach, snorkel through schools of parrotfish, or chill out on the boat.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ko Tao - Day tour & snorkelling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Jump on another boat today and cruise over to Ko Samui (approximately 2.5 hours). The island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert compared to its sister islands. If a little modern pizazz is what you’re after with your dose of sunshine exotica, look no further – this island offers a little something for everyone. Known simply as Samui by locals, Thailand's third largest island is rich with white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. There's also the Big Buddha, waterfalls, markets, temples, a mummified monk, great shopping opportunities, Michelin star restaurants, luxury spas, and a lively nightlife. Today you can take an optional sightseeing tour around the island or brush up on your cooking techniques with a Thai cooking class.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ko Samui - sightseeing around Island tour - THB1800
  • Ko Samui - Thai Cooking Class - THB1850
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It’s up to you what you want to do today, but if you feel like being more active, take an optional day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park, an idyllic archipelago of around 40 islands (many uninhabited). If you choose this option you’ll take a speedboat to the Marine Park, with the island of Ko Wao or Ko Tai Plow as your first stop – here you can snorkel in the turquoise waters filled with ever changing colours of coral and fish. Sail around the steep limestone cliff islands and stop near an inland saltwater lagoon called Emerald Lake (Talay Nai), which is fed by an underground cave. Take a short walk up pathways and a wooden staircase to reach a magnificent hilltop lake viewpoint. Enjoy lunch on the island that houses the park headquarters, then chill out on the beach, climb up for a panorama of the Marine Park, and get out on to the bay for some kayaking. You’ll head back to Ko Samui in mid-afternoon. Maybe join you the rest of your group for a drink to celebrate the end of this east coast Thailand beach adventure tonight.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ko Samui - Ang Thong Marine Park tour - THB1500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This wonderful Thailand beach adventure comes to an end today, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Perhaps continue your exploration of South East Asia with another Intrepid adventure.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Boat, Ferry, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Public bus, tuk tuk

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (9 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night), Resort (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields)
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21)
  • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake boat trip
  • Santuk Silk Farm
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
  • Chumphon - Snorkelling tour
  • Ko Tao - Day tour & snorkelling

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip, please contact your sales agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Please note on the following nights a single supplement is not available: Day 10 overnight sleeper train, Day 11 Homestay

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.