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Vietnam and Cambodia Overland Tour

An exciting 2-week tour by land and river from the myriad waterways of Vietnam's Mekong Delta through the heart of Indochina to the fabulous ruined cities and temples of Angkor

Saigon to Phnom Penh: the Mekong Delta, Angkor and the Great Lake

Our highly varied, 15-day, Vietnam and Cambodia Overland tour – Saigon to Phnom Penh – takes in the region’s famous, iconic sites as well as some of its more off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited, ones. Beginning in Vietnam’s bustling Ho Chi Minh City, (still Saigon to most of its residents), this exciting river and land adventure will lead you through the heart of Indochina. From the lush and evocative Mekong Delta region, we’ll travel up the Mekong River itself to the chaotic, but great fun, Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, before heading overland through picturesque Cambodian scenery for a comprehensive yet leisurely-paced exploration of the dramatic, UNESCO World Heritage-listed, jungle-clad temples of Angkor.

Experience a boat cruise through the stunning scenery and unique eco-system of the Tonle Sap Lake and Sangkar River’s unique floating villages; spend a fascinating day discovering the colonial architecture and traditional cottage industries and village life around Battambang – not forgetting, of course, its famous ‘bamboo train’.

For those with less time to spare we offer a shorter, 12-day, version of this Vietnam and Cambodia overland tour, Saigon to Angkor, takes you from Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, across Cambodia from Phnom Penh to finish at Siem Reap International Airport.

Alternatively, if you do have a few more days to spend then a variety of extensions are available after your tour including a visit to Kep and Kampot on Cambodia’s scenic coast. For those after some quality, post-tour ‘R and R’ then regional flights from Phnom Penh International Airport provide easy access to our selection of beach and island stays in either neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam such as Phu Quoc or Mui Ne in the latter or Koh Chang or Koh Mak in the former.

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 14, L x 8, D x 8

Note further info, related articles and plenty more photos are available on the Vietnam and Cambodia Overland Tour page of our travel blog.

Cambodia

Itinerary

Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.

Vietnam photography tour, Saigon temple worshippers ( by Gary Latham)

Day 1 - Saigon - arrival and explore the area

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 (HCM) Transport: Walk,  Meals: D, 

So, whats in a name? Vietnam, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), From Saigon to Angkor

Day 2 - Saigon - (Ho Chi Minh) city tour

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 Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, Gary Latham

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, 

Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, Xe Quit

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 some time at leisure to explore this friendly riverside town.

Overnight: Can Tho Transport: Minibus, Boat,  Meals: B, L, 

Vietnam, The Mekong Delta, Can Tho Floating Market, Gary Latham

Day 5 - Chau Doc - floating market and sacred mountain

Early morning boat ride to the nearby Cai Rang floating 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 and its shrines and temples for sunset and spectacular views.

Overnight: Chau Doc Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Cambodia, Phnom Penh sunset

Day 6 - Phnom Penh - by river up the Mekong

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, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, D, 

Cambodia, Royal Palace

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 will provide plenty of photo opportunities whilst the Russian Market offers some retail therapy and a chance for a local-style lunch.

Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Cambodia, typical Khmer landscape

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, 

Cambodia, dawn at Angkor Wat

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, 

Cambodia, Ta Prom Temple

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, 

Cambodia, Beng Melea

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. 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, 

Houseboats on the Sangkar River

Day 12 - Battambang - journey up the Sangkar River

Spectacular boat journey across the Tonle Sap Lake, past the flooded forest and Prek Toal bird sanctuary and on down the Sangkar River and its floating stilt-house fishing villages to the town of Battambang. Stop off on the way to visit the Prek Toal community water hyacinth weaving project.

Overnight: Battambang Transport: Boat,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Cambodia, Battambang fish market

Day 13 - Battambang - village and cottage industry tour

Morning tour by tuk-tuk through the surrounding villages to discover some of their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts, An afternoon at leisure allows time to further explore the friendly provincial town, chill out by the pool or head back into the countryside to visit the area’s famous bat caves of Phnom Sampeu.

Overnight: Battambang Transport: Walk, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, 

Cambodia, Kompong Chhnang

Day 14 - The Bamboo Railway and return to Phnom Penh

After an early morning trip along the famous Battambang bamboo railway, it’s time to complete our loop to Phnom Penh where a local-style farewell dinner awaits us.

Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Cambodia, The 252, Phnom Penh

Day 15 - Phnom Penh - morning at leisure and end of tour

Morning at leisure; relax by the pool or grab some last-minute shopping and end of tour and departure at your convenience.

Extra nights in Ho Chi Minh before, or in Phnom Penh after, your tour is 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 on request.

Overnight: Departure Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.

Cambodia and Vietnam Overland, local food

Just a few of the many highlights

Vibrant street-life, markets of Saigon and Phnom Penh; landscapes of the Mekong Delta, fabulous jungle-clad ruins of Angkor plus of course masses of friendly locals and lashings of wonderful Southeast Asian food!

  • Explore the picturesque Mekong Delta region: a labyrinth of waterways, islands and traditional villages
  • Phnom Penh; fast recovering from its recent tragic history to regain its place as one of Indochina's most attractive and fun cities
  • Journey down the unspoilt Sangkar River; past floating villages, Prek Toal bird sanctuary and across the Tonle Sap Lake
  • Travel by boat up the mighty Mekong River from the Vietnam to Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh
  • Explore Angkor; ruined temples clad in steamy jungle, where flocks of parrots & squabbling monkeys dart between mysterious carvings
  • Sample the region's awesome and varied cuisine with the emphasis, as usual, on the authentic local food

Air Departures (UK) *From

  • 3 June 24 2,700 GBP
  • 2 July 24 2,700 GBP
  • 29 July 24 2,700 GBP
  • 27 August 24 2,700 GBP
  • 24 September 24 2,700 GBP
  • 22 October 24 2,750 GBP
  • 19 November 24 2,750 GBP
  • 17 December 24 2,850 GBP
  • 14 January 25 2,895 GBP
  • 11 February 25 2,895 GBP

Land Departures

  • 4 June 24 1,900 GBP
  • 3 July 24 1,900 GBP
  • 30 July 24 1,900 GBP
  • 28 August 24 1,900 GBP
  • 25 September 24 1,900 GBP
  • 23 October 24 1,950 GBP
  • 20 November 24 1,950 GBP
  • 18 December 24 1,950 GBP
  • 15 January 25 1,995 GBP
  • 12 February 25 1,995 GBP

Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh)

*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...

Vietnam, Ba Duc Ancient House, Cai Be

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

TTC Hotel Can Tho view

  • Excellent facilities including pool, gym, spa, restaurant
  • Ideal location close to the waterfront area and old market
  • Rooftop coffee shop with panoramic river views
Hotel 252 Phnom Penh

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
Sanouva Hotel Saigon

Sanouva Hotel Saigon view

  • Excellent central location in downtown Saigon's District 1
  • Plenty of cafes, restaurants and sites within a short walk
  • Small, low-key hotel with friendly and efficient staff
Pierre Hotel Siem Reap

Pierre Hotel Siem Reap view

  • Great riverside location close to the town centre
  • In-house pool, bar, coffee shop and restaurant
  • Low-key, friendly staff and atmosphere
Cambodia, City River Hotel, Siem Reap

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
Moloppor Villa

Moloppor Villa Battambang view

  • Lush garden setting with good-sized pool
  • Particularly friendly service at the in-house bar/restaurant
  • Well-appointed, comfortable rooms

*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:
The standard entry point for the Vietnam section of this tour is Tan Son Nhat Int Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) and the exit point is Song Tien Landport. (A Vietnam e-visa is valid for exit.) For the Cambodia section, the entry point is Kaoam Samnor and exit point Pochentong (Phnom Penh) 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 Vietnam and 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 $45-50 total per person for the 15-day tour. With regards to 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.

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