From Vietnam to Cambodia, discover incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty.

From Vietnam to Cambodia, discover incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty. Travel to Cambodia and delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh and explore the intricate temples of Angkor Wat. Travel to Vietnam and view the country's colourful history on the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, and explore the colonial-era architecture of Hanoi. This trip offers places of breathtaking beauty, from the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the temples of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay. Add a mix of friendly locals and age-old traditions to ensure the ultimate South East Asian experience.


Start
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Destinations
Cambodia, Vietnam
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
TKKHC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Wander among the extravagantly decorated temples of Angkor and learn about the site’s rich interweaving of history and legend. You'll have a 3 day pass so as well as our guided tours you can return on your own to further immerse yourself in the beauty and mystery

  • Discover a land of contrasts and turbulent history, nowhere more visible than in Phnom Penh. Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) as well as the opulent Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

  • Dine at the Friends restaurant in Phomn Penh, and KOTO in Hanoi, to not only taste delicious local food but also supporting organisations promoting and protecting disadvantaged local children

  • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride down the Mekong River before stopping to experience a slice of local life with an overnight stay at a family guesthouse. The cultural exchange is often the highlight of many travellers trips

  • Spend time on the coast in the seaside resort town of Phan Rang where you have time to stroll the sandy beaches and head out on the water to snorkel

  • Discover just why Halong Bay is so popular as you spend the night on a boat among the evocative karst landscape and indulge in a feast of fresh seafood

Is this trip right for you?

  • The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful, but unavoidable, part of Cambodia's recent history. We visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, which can be confronting. Please let your leader know if you do not want to visit these sights

  • You will visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a level of modesty. You will need to bring clothes that cover the shoulders and pants or skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot

  • At your guesthouse in the Mekong Delta region, you’ll have simple twin share or double rooms. Amenities may be shared with cold water only. It’s not exactly the Hilton, but most travellers find it the highlight of their trip

  • We cover a lot of distance on this trip, including on overnight trains. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight.

  • There is an included day trip from Phan Rang with the opportunity for snorkelling. Let you leader know if you have any concerns about water based activities

  • While there is no 'best' time of year to visit these destinations, it's best to check the seasonal patterns on our country information page so you can plan your trip accordingly

  • You will visit a number of temples on this trip, and this requires a level of modesty. Be sure to bring clothes that cover the arms and pants or skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. If you arrive early, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. The National Museum, with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship, is well worth a visit. Dinner tonight will be at the Friends International restaurant, an organisation that provides training and employment in the hospitality industry to disadvantaged youth. It's a great restaurant to support and the food is delicious – the Western and Asian fusion tapas dishes have put this restaurant on the must visit list.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Today a full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng is a former school that served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre, and it’s estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are home to a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls, marking the site of the infamous location. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng, and standing in this peaceful setting, it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9000 corpses have been exhumed from the area. The visits are major parts of the experience here, but if you don't wish to visit them, please let your leader know. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. After today's activities, you may wish to spend this evening relaxing in a cafe by the riverfront.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a short flight to Siem Reap (approximately 1 hour). The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor and is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. You'll probably notice a change of pace here, so take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. A visit to the old market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs, wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes – and there will be one for your stomach too if you try some of the cheap, delicious street food! There's also a long tradition of shadow puppetry in the region, and if you're lucky you might catch a show at one of the local restaurants in the evening, perhaps while you're eating the specialty cuisine of Cambodia – amok, the name given to curry steam-cooked in banana leaves.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided exploration. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Of all the temples visited today, Bayon is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. For lunch you'll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where disadvantaged local youth learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. Afterward, you will head to Ta Prohm, a temple where nature has taken over, as large trees have become embedded in the stone foundations of the structure. End the day with a sunset view of the temples – an extraordinary way to see the sun go down.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
  • Siem Reap - Three day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
The Sala Bai Hotel School is closed on public and school holidays, so on these days an alternative restaurant will be used.
Embrace a very early start today if you wish to experience a sunrise visit to the Angkor complex (this is optional). Today you'll visit the temple of Banteay Srei – you'll see it's not a huge temple, but thanks to its intricate stone carvings it is sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. Later this afternoon, get an insight into the daily life of Cambodians on a village tour. See the rice fields and family allotment that surround the traditional stilt houses. Be welcomed into a local home as you join together for sunset drinks. This evening, enjoy a final farewell dinner with your fellow travellers and one last night of delicious Cambodian cuisine at a specially chosen restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - Banteay Srei Temple visit
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Khmer traditional massage - USD17
  • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventures Tonle Sap Secrets - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
You will be transferred back to the airport, where you will say goodbye to Cambodia and fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Please note that you will be unescorted on this flight. Upon arrival you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will 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 and your Vietnamese tour leader. This meeting is followed by a group meal out at fantastic local restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Start the day with a buffet breakfast at KOTO Restaurant, an Intrepid Foundation-supported program that teaches disadvantaged youth hospitality skills. Next, drive for approximately three hours to Cai Be. Here you’ll board a boat to explore the canals of the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. During the boat trip, you’ll stop to sample some of the fresh tropical fruit and visit some cottage industries in the area. Around sunset, make your way to your local guesthouse to spend a night with the locals and enjoy a wonderful meal of local specialties.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your guesthouse is operated by local hosts, with simple twin and double rooms. Bedding and mosquito nets are supplied. Bathroom facilities may be shared, and may only have cold water available.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City and take a walking tour in town. Experience the hustle and bustle of former Saigon and explore some of the city's more interesting sights such as the cathedral, post office and War Remnants Museum. In your free time, perhaps visit Reunification Palace or see the A O Show at the Saigon Opera House.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - A O show - VND1050000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Make a day trip to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people, and offers a glimpse of what life was like during the war. Your leader can recommend somewhere local if you'd like a final taste of southern Vietnamese cuisine, before you head for Phan Rang. First, take an afternoon flight to Cam Ranh. From there, travel 1.5 hours by minibus to the historic city of Phan Rang, your base for the next two days.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a day trip to Vinh Hy Bay, a picturesque, crescent-shaped harbour between Phan Rang and Nha Trang. Along the way, you’ll stop at the Bau Nai fish market for a glimpse of the bustle of activity as fish are unloaded and locals hurriedly shop for the best deal. Continue to a salt field. Rivalling the beauty of the Vietnamese countryside, central Vietnam’s sprawling salt fields are a sight to behold. Witness workers raking and collecting salt that has evaporated from the salty waters of Vietnam’s coast, which has been funnelled inland into shallow fields. Next, visit another place of great natural beauty – the moss-covered rock formations and fossilised coral reefs of Hang Rai. Finally, arrive at Vinh Hy Bay, where you’ll have plenty of time to swim and snorkel in its warm, coral-filled waters.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Phan Rang - Vinh Hy Bay snorkelling
  • Phan Rang - Hang Rai fossilised coral reefs
  • Phan Rang - Bau Nai fish market & salt fields
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Phan Rang. Perhaps use this time to see some of the grand remnants of the Cham dynasty - an ancient kingdom that had control of the central and southern coastal region of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 17th-century – scattered throughout the region. Take an optional visit to the nearby Po Nagar Cham Towers, an archaeological site from the middle ages dedicated to the indigenous goddess, Yan Po Nagar. Alternatively, gain an insight into an ancient tradition with a visit to the oldest pottery village in South East Asia, Bau Truc. This evening, board an overnight train to Da Nang. Conditions are basic on these trains and hygiene standards may be lower than what you’re used to at home, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations and group configuration), which have bench seats that double as sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Arrive early into Da Nang, then travel by minibus for one hour to Hoi An. Upon arrival, your leader will take you on a walk around the World-Heritage-listed Old Town. The city was a major trading port with the west during the 16th and 17th-century, and has various architectural influences from Europe, China and Japan. Today the city is being restored and looks exactly like it did over a century ago. You'll see Chinese temples, Japanese pagodas, French-colonial houses, wooden shop-houses and old canals during your walk. After lunch, enjoy free time to participate in optional activities or simply soak up the ambience of the place. You may like to wander Hoi An Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. It’s also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An and its beautiful surrounds. Perhaps rent a bicycle and take a trip out to the nearby beach. If you're after a little more structure, our sister company, Urban Adventures, offers a guided tour that includes a countryside bike ride and finishes up with a sunset cruise along the Thu Bon River. Vietnam is known for its delicious food, and Hoi An is no exception. Unlock the flavours of Hoi An's vibrant Old Town on an Urban Adventures food tour. Your leader can help arrange optional activities and tours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Food Adventure Urban Adventure - USD28
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike with Sunset BBQ Urban Adventure - USD51
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day in Hoi An. If you can muster an early rise this morning, head to the local produce market to watch animated shoppers haggling over fresh fish, spices and vegetables. Your leader can help you arrange an optional Vietnamese cooking class. Perhaps visit the ruins of My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham site. Set in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and overlooked by the massive Cat's Tooth Mountain, the elaborate World Heritage-listed temples here reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation that flourished in this region between the 4th and 12th-century.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham tour (entrance fee, guide and transport included) - USD35
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue on your journey today and drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass, an incredibly scenic and mountainous stretch of highway with views of Lang Co Beach. Make a stop at beautiful Lang Co for an optional lunch. Travel time is approximately 5-6 hours, including stops. Arrive in Hue, Vietnam’s former Imperial capital. Here you’ll visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City which was almost entirely destroyed by bomb blasts during the war.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a local breakfast of bun bo hue, take in the historical highlights of Hue. You’ll stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda, and see an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of the most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk who set himself alight to protest against the treatment of Buddhists. Lunch will be a delicious vegetarian feast at a nunnery. You’ll also visit one of the royal tombs, that of Emperor Tu Duc, with its lake, frangipani and pine trees.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Fly from Hue to Vietnam’s charming capital of Hanoi. This afternoon, take a half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laid-back, tree-lined capital. You’ll visit major sights including the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. You’ll also pass by Hoan Kiem Lake and enter the ’36 Streets’ of the historic Old Quarter. Today the group will also enjoy a unique water-puppet performance hosted by a family, who are experts in this art form.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private minibus for about four hours to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful places, a bay of emerald waters flecked with sandstone islands and caves. Go on a cruise to explore the rock formations and caves and in the warmer months, go for a swim or perhaps go kayaking out on the bay. You’ll spend the night on the boat. The sailing junk 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 a lavish seafood buffet for lunch.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise with seafood lunch and dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.

Kayaking and swimming is restricted to designated zones within the bay.

There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case an Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same. The boat is not likely to be a traditional sailing junk, as many older or imported vessels do not comply with waterway traffic safety laws.
Drive for about four hours back to Hanoi. Along the way, you’ll stop at Dong Trieu Factory to watch locals creating ceramic art pieces. If you have some free time this afternoon, you may like to visit the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. This Museum plays a crucial role in maintaining and promoting the cultural heritage of Vietnam’s ethnic communities. Enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hoa Lo 'Hanoi Hilton' Prison - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND180000
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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).
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food By Night Urban Adventure - USD31
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

19 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Boat, Private minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Taxi

Accommodation

Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (16 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21)
  • Phnom Penh - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda
  • Siem Reap - Lunch at Sala Bai
  • Siem Reap - Three day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
  • Siem Reap - Banteay Srei Temple visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - KOTO breakfast
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Phan Rang - Vinh Hy Bay snorkelling
  • Phan Rang - Hang Rai fossilised coral reefs
  • Phan Rang - Bau Nai fish market & salt fields
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Hanoi - Local water puppet performance
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise with seafood lunch and dinner

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train and flight tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
3. A single supplement is available on this trip, subject to availability. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this. Please note the single supplement excludes day 7 (guesthouse), day 11 (overnight train) and day 18 (overnight boat) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.

Essential trip information

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