Saigon to Angkor
A 12-day tour taking you from vibrant, bustling Saigon though the picturesque Mekong Delta and up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh and Angkor
Up-river and overland from Saigon to Angkor Wat
Our 12-day, Vietnam and Cambodia tour – Saigon to Angkor – takes you through the fascinating heart of exotic Indochina from Vietnam’s bustling and colourful Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon to the locals) through the myriad waterways and serene landscapes of the Mekong Delta before travelling by boat up the mighty Mekong River itself to Cambodia’s chaotic but great fun capital, Phnom Penh. From here we’ll continue upcountry past traditional villages and picturesque landscapes to the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor.
Our 3-day temple tour programme allows for a comprehensive tour of the fabulous site of Angkor while a relaxed pace ensures avoiding any ‘temple fatigue’ as well as time to explore the lively town’s handicrafts, markets and cafes. You’re probably only going to see this remarkable site once in your life, so…you may as well do it properly!
For those with a few more days to spare, an extended, 2-week version of this tour – Vietnam and Cambodia Overland – continues by boat from Siem Reap, across the remarkable Tonle Sap Lake and past the unique floating villages of the Sangkar River to Battambang, where we’ll discover the traditional cottage industries and livelihoods of the surrounding villages on a morning tuk-tuk tour, before finishing our Cambodia loop with a return to the capital Phnom Penh.
Alternatively, the final section of this Saigon to Angkor itinerary – that’s to say days 6 and 7 – can be tagged onto our 16-day Vietnam, Hanoi to Saigon tour meaning you would continue by boat up the Mekong to end the tour in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh instead of returning to Saigon as per day 15 of the latter itinerary. (If you see what we mean!?)
Since airfares are fluctuating wildly at present, as well as varying considerably from period to period, our ‘with flight’ prices, below, are approximate only.
Includes: Meals: B x 11, L x 6, D x 6
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Saigon - arrival and introductory walking tour
Morning check in to a downtown Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) hotel. Introductory walking tour to 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 before our local-style welcome dinner.
Overnight: Saigon Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) - tour of some of the City's sites
Day tour of some of the City’s sites including the bustling Ben Thanh Market, the sobering, albeit fascinating, War Remnants Museum, picturesque Jade Emperor Pagoda and Saigon’s very own Notre Dame Cathedral.
Overnight: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Cai Be - the Cu Chi tunnels and on to the Delta
Departure from Saigon for a visit to the infamous Vietcong tunnels 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 in a converted colonial-period villa set on one of the islands of this inland archipelago.
Overnight: Cai Be Town Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 4 - Can Tho - the Mekong Delta
Morning visit to Cai Be’s traditional floating market from where we’ll continue by boat through the Delta’s myriad waterways with stops at some of the region’s cottage industries and fruit orchards. Arrival in Vinh Long and a canoe tour of the former Vietcong jungle base at Xe Quit. After lunch, we’ll head for Can Tho with the time at leisure to explore this friendly riverside town.
Overnight: Can Tho Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Chau Doc - floating market and sacred mount
Early morning boat ride to the nearby Cai Rang 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.
Overnight: Chau Doc Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 6 - Phnom Penh - up the Mekong to Cambodia
Back on the Mekong for a boat trip to Phnom Penh. Lunchtime arrival and check-in to a small, boutique-style, downtown hotel. Time to stretch your legs with an introductory walking tour, taking in the historic French Quarter and waterfront area as well as giving you a feel for the bustling street life, finishing perhaps, with sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 7 - Phnom Penh - city tour
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 provide photo opp’s whilst the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a local-style lunch.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 8 - Siem Reap - up country to Angkor
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 temples. Stops on the way include the famous spider village of Skuon, (tasting not compulsory), a rarely visited but well-preserved 11th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A sunset visit to the ruins of Prei Rup Temple completes our day.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 9 - Siem Reap - dawn at Angkor Wat
Our Angkor programme begins with dawn at Angkor Wat, followed by a comprehensive tour of the temple itself. Late morning return to Siem Reap for brunch, siesta or relaxation before an afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom takes you to: Leper King Terrace, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, Baphuon and last but not least, (we’ll wait until the crowds have gone), dramatic Bayon Temple with its famous faces.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 10 - Angkor - jungle temples
Forest walk to the spectacular Phnom Bakheng Temple before moving on to the huge creeper-clad ruin of Preah Khan. Dense jungle, enormous roots and screeching parakeets make this atmospheric temple one of everyone’s favourites. After a break in Siem Reap, the afternoon continues with a short hike to Ta Keo via the remote and rarely-visited Ta Nei Temple. A visit to Ta Prom – the famous ‘Tomb Raider’ Temple – continues our jungle theme.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 11 - Siem Reap - Beng Melea and afternoon at leisure
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, 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 perhaps check out Apopo’s famous mine-detecting rats.
Overnight: Siem Reap Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 12 - Siem Reap - morning at leisure and departure
Morning at leisure in Siem Reap, end of tour and departure at your leisure.
Extra nights in Siem Reap after your tour are available on request.
Airport transfers are included if you purchase the 'with flights' package. If you purchased your own flights, airport transfers can be arranged.
Overnight: Departure Transport: Walk, Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Explore bustling Saigon and the serene landscapes of the Mekong Delta. Travel by boat up the Mekong to vibrant and fun Phnom Penh and journey through the serene Khmer countryside to the fabulous jungle temples at Angkor
- Discover the markets, street-life, pagodas and sites of vibrant, fascinating Ho Chi Minh City, (or Saigon to the locals)
- Explore the picturesque Mekong Delta: a labyrinth of waterways and islands with traditional villages, orchards and cottage industries
- Beng Melea - the 'Indiana Jones style' temple: mysterious carvings and jungle-clad walls and towers at this remote site
- Travel by boat up the Mekong River from Vietnam's border town of Chau Doc to Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh
- An introductory tour of Phnom Penh; fast recovering from its recent history to regain its place as one of Indochina's most fun cities
- Sample the region's awesome and varied cuisine, with the emphasis as usual on authentic and local food
Air Departures (UK) *From
- 18 December 23 2,450 GBP
- 14 January 24 2,450 GBP
- 11 February 24 2,450 GBP
- 11 March 24 2,450 GBP
- 8 April 24 2,625 GBP
- 6 May 24 2,475 GBP
- 3 June 24 2,475 GBP
- 2 July 24 2,475 GBP
- 29 July 24 2,475 GBP
- 19 December 23 1,725 GBP
- 15 January 24 1,725 GBP
- 12 February 24 1,725 GBP
- 12 March 24 1,725 GBP
- 9 April 24 1,675 GBP
- 7 May 24 1,675 GBP
- 4 June 24 1,675 GBP
- 3 July 24 1,675 GBP
- 30 July 24 1,675 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Sonnet Hotel Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Smart, new and comfortable the friendly Sonnet Hotel
- Great location in the heart of Saigon City
- Convenient for our city tour as well as leisure time
Ba Duc Ancient House Cai Be view
- Our night's accommodation on a Mekong Delta island
- A delightful old, converted French period villa
- Comfortable rooms and superb local cuisine
TTC Hotel Can Tho view
- Riverside location in the heart of Can Tho City
- Views, pool and an excellent in-house bar and restaurant
- Well-appointed, tastefully decorated rooms
Hotel 252 Phnom Penh view
- Small, boutique-style and low-key
- Quiet but central location near cafes and restaurants
- Garden setting with pool and cafe
City River Hotel Siem Reap view
- City River is out first choice in Cambodia's Siem Reap.
- Rooftop pool; spa, riverside location, super friendly staff
- Only a 5 minute walk from the bustling Old Market district
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas – Vietnam: Visas are no longer required for citizens of certain, (mainly Western European), countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scandinavian nations and the UK for single-entry visits of up to 45 days. (As of 15th August 2023.)
Note that there are some notable omissions from the list – Belgium and the Netherlands for example – as well as Canada, Australia, NZ and the US. For passport holders of countries not covered under the waiver scheme, a visa, or visa on arrival certificate, must be obtained before arrival in Vietnam and we strongly advise checking the latest requirements at your nearest Vietnamese consulate.
Visas are available from your nearest Vietnamese consulate or embassy at a cost of about £40 (c. $60). (Costs do vary from country to country.) Further information, as well as e-visas on arrival, are also available online at the following link; Vietnam e-visa. (You may find numerous, additional agents’ sites advertising Vietnam e-visas although bear in mind a commission will be charged.)
Visas – Cambodia: For the majority of nationalities, a visa on arrival is issued at airports and all land borders used on our tours. Visa fees and conditions are subject to change but are usually $30 payable in cash in US dollars. A passport photo is required. Tourist visas are issued for 30 days from entry into Cambodia. When entering Cambodia make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport and keep your departure card.
Both: Standard entry point for the Vietnam section of this tour is Tan Son Nhat Int Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) and exit point is Song Tien Landport. (A Vietnam e-visa is valid for exit.) For the Cambodia section, entry point is Kaoam Samnor and exit point Siem Reap International Airport. At the time of writing Cambodian e-visas were not accepted at the entry point although visas on arrival are issued at the border for c. $30 p/p. (Boat staff and/or guide will facilitate the procedure and a ‘service charge’ of $4-5 is well worth paying.)
Passport: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Cambodia. You may be refused entry if your passport is damaged, in poor condition or does not have at least 2 blank pages remaining.
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of $35-40 total per person for the 12-day tour. With regards guides accompanying you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $5 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance-related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)
Meals: breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Lunches on the road are typically simpler dishes such as variations on noodles or fried rice while your tour-leader will generally order more elaborate-style dinners consisting of a selection of local fare.
Both Khmer and Vietnamese dishes are only mildly spicy and both vegetarians and vegans are very easily catered for. For any other likes and dislikes please remind your tour-leader at the start of the tour. A number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.
Accommodation: generally, choices fall into the boutique-style 3* range and are en-suite, air-conditioned and where possible, with pools. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any offered can be tailored for various fitness levels or alternatives suggested.
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding page of our travel blog.
You deserve a holiday ?
Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...
" Where to start??? The whole trip was awesome! We were extremely happy with everything and a great combination of things to see and do. Accommodation was all very good; transportation was great and we enjoyed using the different means of travel. The food was also very good - we had lots of fun trying the local cuisine - "when in Rome...." Our guides were great and were very accommodating to any requests we had. "