Saigon to Angkor
A 12-day tour 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
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 small provincial town of Siem Reap and the nearby, spectacular jungle temples and ruined cities of 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 wonderful site once in your life, so…make sure you do it properly!
For those with a few more days to spare a 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 its traditional cottage industries and surrounding villages before finishing our tour with a return to Phnom Penh.
Alternatively, the final section of this Saigon to Angkor itinerary – that’s to say days 6 and 7 – can be tagged on to 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!?)
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. Leisurely, afternoon introductory walk 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!
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 varied sites including the bustling Ben Thanh Market, the fascinating, albeit sobering, War Museum, charming 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 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 a converted period villa near Cai Be.
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 morning floating market, one of the busiest and most photogenic in the Delta. From here we head west to the small riverside town of Chau Doc near the Cambodian border for a visit to the sacred Sam Mountain for sunset and spectacular views.
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 morning departure by boat for Phnom Penh. Lunchtime arrival and check-in before an introductory walking tour, taking in the historic French Quarter and the lively waterfront area as well as giving you a feel for the bustling street-life. We’ll finish 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, D,
Day 8 - Siem Reap - up country to Angkor
Travel through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the 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 10th-century temple and lunch by a scenic lake. A dusk visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei 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 morning tour of the temple itself. Late morning return to Siem Reap for lunch, siesta or relaxation and an afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom: 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; relax by the pool, visit the National Museum, explore the markets or 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)
- 15 February 20 2,350 GBP
- 14 March 20 2,350 GBP
- 11 April 20 2,350 GBP
- 9 May 20 2,350 GBP
- 25 June 20 2,350 GBP
- 25 July 20 2,350 GBP
- 22 August 20 2,450 GBP
- 22 September 20 2,350 GBP
- 22 October 20 2,350 GBP
- 23 November 20 2,350 GBP
- 24 December 20 2,550 GBP
- 16 February 20 1,500 GBP
- 15 March 20 1,500 GBP
- 12 April 20 1,500 GBP
- 10 May 20 1,500 GBP
- 26 June 20 1,500 GBP
- 26 July 20 1,500 GBP
- 23 August 20 1,500 GBP
- 23 September 20 1,500 GBP
- 23 October 20 1,500 GBP
- 24 November 20 1,500 GBP
- 25 December 20 1,500 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) view
- 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
Kim Tho Hotel, Can Tho view
- Greta riverside location for the Kim Tho Hotel
- Our first choice in the Mekong Delta's Can Tho Town.
- Don't miss sundowners at their wonderful roof-top bar!
The 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: Until 30 June 2017 several nationalities including citizens of the UK, Nordic countries, Germany, France and Italy can enter Vietnam for up to a maximum of 15 days without a visa. It’s not yet clear whether this arrangement will remain in place from 1 July 2017 onwards.
For visits of up to 30 days and most other nationalities, you can get an e-visa online (Vietnam e-visa) before you travel for $25 US.
There are legitimate companies that can arrange visas on arrival, but you must organise this before you arrive in Vietnam. There are also a number of bogus companies claiming to offer this service. Several of our clients have used vietnam-visa.com/ with positive comments but they are entirely independent of us and we have no responsibility for them.
Visas – Cambodia: For most 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.
E-visas (so cutting down on queuing time at the airport) are now available for many nationalities https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
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 $20-30 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: all choices fall into the comfortable 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.
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. "