Explore Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand on a tour through South East Asia

Experience the very best of South East Asia on this awesome adventure through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Enjoy a steaming bowl of pho from a street stall in Ho Chi Minh City, relax on a beach in Phan Rang, admire the temples of Angkor and get some insight into everyday Khmer life at a rural homestay. With faded colonial elegance in Hanoi, the rustic charm of Kampong Cham and the urban buzz of Bangkok, there's a lot to dazzle your senses on this exploration through South East Asia.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Bangkok, Thailand
Destinations
Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
TVRKC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Go back in time at the ancient trading port of Hoi An. Experience the blend of influences from Europe and Asia on the nearby beaches and markets

  • In Phan Rang and Sihanoukville you'll have plenty of free time to relax on the beaches and go snorkelling

  • A homestay in the village of Chambok puts you right in the heart of everyday life in rural Cambodia

  • Enjoy the guidance of a local expert as you temple-hop at the dazzling Angkor complex, one of South East Asia's most stunning sights

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves three overnight train journeys. Accommodation and amenities are shared and basic, but the experience of rubbing shoulders with the locals makes it all worthwhile. Plus you make the most of your time by travelling while you sleep.

  • Other accommodation is basic – a combination of simple hotels, guesthouses and a homestay.

  • This trip involves a lot of public transport and some long days of driving, so some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here. Sit back, relax, watch the scenery go by, and embrace travelling like a local.

  • This trip gives you plenty of free time in each location, perfect for the traveller who appreciates a bit of independence

  • There is a limited amount of time included in Hanoi and Bangkok on this itinerary. Please consider booking some extra time before and after your trip if you would like more time to explore each of these cities

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early consider booking the Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure with an expert local guide to introduce you to the city and it's sites, including the Temple of Literature, the Hoa Lo Prison museum and Hoan Kiem Lake. Or take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter and admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, relax in a park, or enjoy some street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hanoi - Citadels, Karsts & Cycle Urban Adventure - USD88
  • Hanoi - Village Discovery by Bike Urban Adventure - USD33
  • Hanoi - Hanoi Highlights Urban Adventure - USD40
  • Hanoi - Fine Arts Museum - VND30000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
You may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the group meeting and have time to explore Hanoi. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
If you're expecting to be late for your group meeting, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance.
An early start is necessary to get the most out of your day. A 7.30 am bus ride and ferry transfer will deliver you to the steep cliffs and tiny beaches of Cat Ba Island before midday, with a quite stop to stretch your legs en route. The largest of all the islands in UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, charming Cat Ba will be your base for exploring the limestone cliffs and turquoise water that define this area. Get acquainted with this stunning spot with an afternoon cruise around Lan Ha Bay, enjoying lunch on the boat while floating pasts karsts covered in emerald-green foliage. Later, get closer to the water and explore on a kayak, perhaps stopping at one of Cat Ba’s many beaches for a dip.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up in paradise and enjoy some free time lazing on the beach. Maybe go for a swim, kick back with a book or take a romantic stroll along the sand. In the afternoon, head back to Hanoi. Maybe grab dinner with the group before boarding an overnight train for a twelve-hour journey to Hue around 6 pm. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are the best way to travel long distances and brush shoulders with the locals. Most trains have a dining carriage which serves simple food, but some travellers like to take some fresh bread, cheese and fruit for the journey.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sleeper trains typically have four or six berth compartments with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Depending on the configuration of the group, you may have to share with people of different genders or passengers who aren’t part of the group.
As the former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of Vietnam's royal past and is a curious mix of bustling streets and tranquil settings. Packed with historic monuments, Hue is also perfectly located to explore the surrounding countryside, which features stunning scenery, quaint villages and the peaceful Tam Giang Lagoon. Hue is Vietnam’s former royal capital and its cuisine is considered by many Vietnamese as the best in the country. Hue’s cuisine is influenced both by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) as well as its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants in the region. The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialities that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai, a royal rice cake. You have a free day to explore. You could also easily spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within. Perhaps jump on board a ‘Dragon Boat’, and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda. Or cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the best remaining examples of its kind. Alternatively, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda - VND220000
  • Hue - Royal tomb - VND136000
  • Hue - Imperial Citadel - VND150000
  • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch - VND540000
  • Hue - Hue Royal Street Eat by Cyclo Urban Adventure - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Your hotel rooms will be available from the standard check in time this afternoon. You can store your luggage at the hotel while you explore Hue.
Continue on your journey to the World Heritage site of Hoi An, where your leader will take you on a walk around town. The city was a major trading port with the west from the 17th century onwards, and has a 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 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 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
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day to further explore Hoi An. Perhaps take a cruise up the Thu Bon River or learn the secrets of cooking delicious Vietnamese dishes. Visit some of the man art galleries or simply wonder around the beautifully restored Chinese shop houses. There’s also the option of cycling around the surrounding countryside, a truly unique way to get off the beaten track and see rural Vietnam up close. Your leader will be able to suggest activities to help you get the most out of your time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Boat & Bike Urban Adventure - USD51
  • Hoi An - Hoi An Walking & Cooking Class Urban Adventure - USD49
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the most out of your last free day in Hoi An. Perhaps do some of the activities you couldn’t fit into your schedule over the past couple of days. There’s also Cua Dai Beach nearby, the perfect place to rest up before continuing on your way. This evening, board another overnight train bound for Phan Rang. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have snacks and a book on hand.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - My Son Cham day trip - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Phan Rang early this morning for two days of pure relaxation. With pristine beaches and arguably the best weather in Vietnam, Phan Rang is a low-key coastal city where swimming, snorkelling and seafood take priority. While you’re here, look out for banh can and banh xeo – egg, squid, shrimp and vegetables cooked into a pancake.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Shared day use hotel rooms available this morning prior to standard check in. There is one room provided between up to 6 members of the group. Single supplements do not apply to day rooms.
Make the most of your last day in Phan Rang. Squeeze the sand between your toes and grab some rays on the beach. Perhaps ask your leader where you can get a massage, as you’ve got a final overnight train journey this evening. Get ready for a 7-hour journey to Ho Chi Minh.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City very early this morning and transfer to your hotel. Today you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Vietnam’s largest city. Ho Chi Minh City has a busy atmosphere and a French influence. In your free time, we recommend visiting the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. There’s also the historic Dong Khoi Street, and the chaotic markets of Ben Thanh and Cholon (Chinatown). Ho Chi Minh City has a different style of cuisine to its northern counterpart Hanoi, so be sure get out for restaurant meals and street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There are shared hotel rooms available this morning if you would like to freshen up before check in time this afternoon.
Today you may be required to move to a different hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, for the next section of your trip. Your leader will let you know if this is the case, and will help with the transfer to the next hotel. Enjoy a free day today. Some of Intrepid's Urban Adventures available in in this city include Cu Chi Experience, Cyclos & Markets, and Saigon Street Food by Night. 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 on the evening 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
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND40000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
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). Cambodia's capital city is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture. You may want to take a cyclo tour of the city's sights, including the central market, US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong river front, independence monument and Royal Palace. If you're in the mood for shopping, stop in at the art-deco Psar Thmei (Central Market) or travel out to Psar Tuol Tom Pong (the Russian Market) for the best range of local souvenirs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
  • Phnom Penh - Traditional Khmer massage - USD8
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in the swirl and bustle of Phnom Penh. Visiting the Choeung Ek Memorial is highly recommended. This is the site of the Killing Fields, the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng. A confronting experience, it is nonetheless an essential for understanding modern Cambodia. Wat Phnom, shrouded in myth, is equally worth a visit, as is the National Museum and its excellent Khmer collection. Perhaps indulge in a traditional massage at Seeing Hands (a great social enterprise supporting visually impaired masseurs). A traditional Cambodian massage may be a little different than you are used to, its generally an oil-free, fully-clothed affair.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21) - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) - USD3
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the 4-hour journey to Sihanoukville Province by private vehicle. Named after the Cambodian royal family, life along the coastline is very relaxed – a nice change of pace from the capital. Head for one of the beach towns for a few days of R&R. It's also a jumping-off point to many beautiful islands. Settle in and perhaps take a refreshing swim, washing off the city grime.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a day of free time. There are a variety of exciting optional activities on offer. You can take a boat to one of the nearby islands, enjoy a barbecue lunch or simply relax among swaying palms, white sands and blue waters. Perhaps make the trip out to Ream National Park, which boasts 21 hectares of coastal mangrove forest and a great variety of animal and bird species. You may like to take a Khmer cooking class, or perhaps partake in some windsurfing or kitesurfing.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sihanoukville - Island Boat Trip & Snorkelling - USD20
  • Sihanoukville - Ream National Park entry fee - USD5
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel by private vehicle (approximately 4 hours) into rural Cambodia to the region of Kampong Speu and the village of Chambok. There's a lot of natural beauty to discover here, from waterfalls to swimming holes to bat caves nestled in the mountains. The Chambok community is renowned for its ecotourism. Tonight you'll join a local family in their home – a wonderful opportunity to participate in everyday Cambodian life. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Khmer dinner. You'll also be treated to a traditional dance performance while you're here.

Note: Facilities on this homestay are basic and multi-share. Mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets are provided.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chambok - Traditional Dancing
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Travel by private vehicle to the riverside town of Kampong Cham (approximately 5 hours). This peaceful town was once an important trading hub and is now a great opportunity to experience life in small-town Cambodia. You might like to explore the serene 11th-century Wat Nokor. Alternatively, hire a bike to explore the rural island of Koh Paen which is linked to Kampong Cham by an elaborate bamboo bridge (it's passable only in the dry season; you'll have to take a ferry across in the wet). The locals here make their living fishing, growing tobacco and sesame, so it's a good place to go for a closer look at some of Cambodia's cottage industries. A little further afield are the twin 'mountain temples' of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei.
Optional Activities
  • Kompong Cham - Wat Nokor - USD1
  • Kompong Cham - Bicycle hire - USD2
  • Kompong Cham - Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a public bus to Siem Reap (approximately 5 hours). Experience rural Cambodia along the way and take the opportunity to sample the local cuisine of Skun – deep fried spiders! The small but expanding town of Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor. This is the most popular destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South-East Asia. The markets are a great place to shop or to try some cheap, delicious street food.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you will visit the world-famous Angkor complex with your guide. These temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples 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 photographic opportunities at any time of day – seeing them at 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. You'll have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.

Notes: A single-day Angkor Pass is included on this tour. If you'd like to return to Angkor outside of your included visit, you can buy a longer pass. Just ask your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - 1 day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today there may be a chance (depending on the season) to visit Tonle Sap Lake for a look at local life. If you feel like some adventure, another option is to do the Angkor zip-line course, which gives you a birds-eye view of the beautiful rainforest – and an adrenaline rush, of course. Another option is to visit the sobering Landmine Museum. It's located a little further field, but is well worth the journey.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
  • Siem Reap - Tonle Sap Lake Boat Trip - USD15
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline - USD129
  • Siem Reap - Khmer Cooking Class - USD25
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass - USD62
  • Siem Reap - Remork transport to Angkor complex - USD20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
It's a long drive from Siem Reap to Bangkok (approximately 8–9 hours including border crossing and lunch). You'll be travelling by private minivan. Embrace Thailand's bustling capital, a world of tuk tuks, khlong (canal) boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Head out with your new found friends for a last optional group dinner and find out why this city never sleeps.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you are wanting to stay longer in Bangkok check out one of the many Urban Adventure tours on offer.
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
  • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
  • Bangkok - Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Transport

Overnight Sleeper Train, Local bus, Private Vehicle

Accommodation

Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (15 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Cat Ba Island - kayaking
  • Cat Ba Island - boat trip on Lan Ha Bay
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Orientation Walk
  • Chambok - Traditional Dancing
  • Siem Reap - 1 day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour

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 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 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 days 3, 7 and 9 (overnight trains) and day 16 (homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation. Day use rooms are also excluded.

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.

Reviews

Our Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 20 reviews in the last year.

Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer, March 2018

Mary Kenwood

Vietnam and Cambodia Explorer, March 2018

Paul kane