Vietnam and Cambodia Overland Tour
A 2-week tour by land and river from 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 15-day Vietnam and Cambodia Overland tour, ‘Saigon to Phnom Penh’, takes in all the region’s famous sites as well as some of the more off the beaten track ones. This exciting river and land adventure will lead you through the heart of Indochina; from Vietnam’s bustling Ho Chi Minh City, (still Saigon to most of its residents) and the lush and evocative Mekong Delta region, we’ll travel up the Mekong River itself to the hectic, bustling yet great fun Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, before heading overland through picturesque Cambodian scenery to the mysterious, dramatic and UNESCO World Heritage-listed jungle-clad temples of Angkor.
A boat cruise through the stunning scenery and unique eco-system of the Tonle Sap Lake and Sangkar River’s unique floating villages; a day discovering the colonial architecture and traditional cottage industries and village life around Battambang and a return to Phnom Penh by way of the fascinating river port of Kompong Chhnang complete this superb introduction to a wonderful region.
For those with less time to spare we offer either 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 or a 1-week Delta tour from Ho Chi Minh finishing in Phnom Penh.
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 latter.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
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!
Overnight: Saigon (HCM) Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
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 own Notre Dame Cathedral.
Overnight: Saigon 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 Cai Be in a converted colonial-period villa set on an island.
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, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Chau Doc - floating market and sacred mountain
Early morning boat ride to the nearby morning 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,
Day 6 - Phnom Penh - by river up the Mekong
Back on the Mekong for a morning departure by boat for 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 the lively waterfront area as well as giving you a feel for the bustling street-life before finishing perhaps, with sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club?
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Boat, Walk, Tuk Tuk, 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 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, D,
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 Temple complex. 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. An atmospheric dusk visit to the ruins of Banteay Kdei 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 - 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,
Day 13 - Battambang - village and cottage industry tour
Morning tour by bicycle, or tuk-tuk for the less energetic, through the surrounding villages to discover some of their traditional cottage industries and handicrafts, An afternoon at leisure allows time to explore the friendly provincial town, just chill-out in one of the many coffee shops or head back into the countryside to try out the famous ‘bamboo railway’?
Overnight: Battambang Transport: Bike, Walk, Tuk Tuk, Meals: B,
Day 14 - Phnom Penh - return ride via Kompong Chhnang
Travelling east we’ll visit the fascinating river port town of Kompong Chhnang on the Tonle Sap and explore the bustling riverfront area before continuing to our day’s final destination – Phnom Penh.
Overnight: Phnom Penh Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
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 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 on request.
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
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
- Tour of 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, the Prek Toal bird sanctuary and across the Tonle Sap Lake
- Travel by boat up the mighty Mekong River from Vietnam's border town of Chau Doc 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 and local food
Air Departures (UK)
- 14 March 20 2,550 GBP
- 11 April 20 2,550 GBP
- 9 May 20 2,550 GBP
- 25 June 20 2,550 GBP
- 25 July 20 2,650 GBP
- 22 August 20 2,550 GBP
- 22 September 20 2,550 GBP
- 22 October 20 2,550 GBP
- 23 November 20 2,550 GBP
- 24 December 20 2,750 GBP
- 15 March 20 1,750 GBP
- 12 April 20 1,750 GBP
- 10 May 20 1,750 GBP
- 26 June 20 1,750 GBP
- 26 July 20 1,750 GBP
- 23 August 20 1,750 GBP
- 23 September 20 1,750 GBP
- 23 October 20 1,750 GBP
- 24 November 20 1,750 GBP
- 25 December 20 1,750 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...
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
Delux Villa Battambang view
- Small and friendly, low-key resort in Battambang
- Swimming pool and lush, garden setting
- Quiet but convenient central location
*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 $30-40 total per person for the 15-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...
" This turned out to be the absolute ideal style of holiday for me. I felt like I had the security of knowing where I was going and that I would be picked up at airports and pointed in the right direction for visa transfers from one country to another. The local guides were extremely helpful, courteous and knowledgeable and were certainly a highlight of my trip, especially the marvellous Mr Dalat in Vietnam. The hotel accommodation was surprisingly luxurious in some cases, with pools and wonderful greenery which was a relief after the heat of the days exploring. The use of local restaurants, markets and bus station cafes ensured I had a great introduction to the food of the region. I felt I got a high quality holiday where I felt enriched with experience and knowledge with only a light impact on the communities that I visited.
It was a thoughtful and well organised holiday. Thank you
David and Liz
" The whole experience from booking to completing the tour was hassle free. During the tour, all the guides were thoughtful of our needs, were all very punctual and polite. All guides showed a good degree of knowledge, with Mark's knowledge of the whole region being exceptional.
All travel was well prepared and executed well; all drivers were polite and drove safely. All the accommodation was good, I especially liked the homestay in Vietnam (good for birdwatching and a lovely area next to the river). All the food was good, can’t think of a meal that we didn’t enjoy.
Linda and Hubert
" 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. Thank you and your team for doing such a good job. We will definitely recommend you to our friends and won't hesitate for a second to call if we need help to plan another trip.