Best of Cambodia and North Vietnam
Imagine a country full of ancient and modern history, saturated with beautiful religious monuments, teeming with wildlife, and lush with rice fields, grasslands, and rivers. This is probably not how most people think of Cambodia, but after travelling through the country on this 17-day tour, your opinion is likely to change. Get off the tourist trail and let our travel experts show you the real heart of Cambodia.
- Hotel accommodation in shared twin/double room with daily breakfast
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles
- English speaking local guide (for other languages supplements apply)
- All entrance fees as indicated in itinerary
- Daily drinking water and cold towels
What’s Not Included
- Visa for Cambodia (Visa issued on arrival for most nationalities, USD30/pax, please bring 1 passport photo)
- International and domestic flights (quoted separately)
- Meals other than mentioned above
- Camera/video entrance fees
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance, tips, visa
- Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
Support: +84 903 464 383
ITINERARY BY DAY
DAY 1: PHNOM PENH ARRIVAL (-/-/D)
Upon arriving in Phnom Penh, your guide will meet and transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will explore the rich history and waterways of the capital. Visit the opulent Royal Place, home to Cambodia’s Royal family, and the National Museum, with its superb collection of Khmer art.
End the day with a delicious Khmer welcome dinner at Romdeng. Enjoy dinner at a charity restaurant housed in a restored colonial building where former street children are taught the principles of hospitality.
Overnight at hotel in Phnom Penh.
DAY 2: PHNOM PENH (B/L/-)
Morning, visit the notorious Choeung Ek Killing Fields 15km southwest of Phnom Penh. This one is the site of brutal executions of more than 17,000 individuals, most of whom first suffered through interrogations, torture and deprivation in Toul Sleng Prison during Pol Pot regime (From 1975–1979). Continue your visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21 prison). This prison was a high school, and used as a prison by Pol Pot’s security forces and became the largest center for detention and torture during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Afternoon, visit Wat Phnom – the most famous buddhist temple in Phnom Penh. It was built in 1373, and stands 27 metres above the ground. It is the tallest religious structure in the city. The pagoda was given the name of Wat Preah Chedey Borapaut.
Continue your visit to Russian Market (Psah Toul Tom Poung), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs. Then, we end our tour at the Victory Monument. This Vann Molyvann-designed reddish-brown coloured edifice was built in 1958 to celebrate independence from the French and as a memorial to Cambodia’s war dead. Back to your hotel.
Overnight at hotel in Phnom Penh.
DAY 3: PHNOM PENH – KAMPONG CHAM – KRATIE (B/-/-)
Head to Kampong Cham, a former French trading post town and soak in the scenery of rural Cambodia as you drive past cashew nut plantations, rice fields, and traditional villages. Tour the town center before continuing to Wat Nokor, an evocative 11th century sandstone Buddhist shrine. Spend the afternoon at your lesiure in the sleepy riverside town of Kratie. Enjoy a spectacular Mekong sunset with perhaps a cold drink this evening. The Kratie stretch of the river is particularly famed for its striking sunsets.
Overnight at hotel in Kratie.
DAY 4: KRATIE (B/L/-)
Morning, stroll through this laid-back northern town, visiting the local market where vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and meats to motorbike tires and helmets. Set out for a countryside tour and then board a boat in the afternoon to try and catch a glimpse of the endangered, freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Continue towards the village Sambo for a visit of Wat Sorsor Mouy Roy Pagoda with a scenic lunch served amongst the grounds.
Afternoon, cross the river to the island of Koh Trong and experience typical Cambodian village life. Upon arrival, you can decide whether you would like to take a local horse cart or pedal yourself around the island on a bicycle. Visit the island’s Wat where you will take part in a tree planting project initiated by a local farmer, in order to recultivate the once densely forested island. Continue with a visit to the Vietnamese floating village on the southern tip of the island. Return to Kratie by boat this afternoon.
Overnight at hotel in Udom Sambath, Kratie
DAY 5: KRATIE – KAMPONG THOM (B/-/-)
Depart for Kampong Thom passing through lush grasslands- home to a plethora of waterbirds- and watch out for ox-carts along the road, the main form of local transportation in this region. Although there are almost 1000 steps, climbing up Phnom Santuk Mountain offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding countryside and houses a small pagoda at the top. After soaking in the view, descend the steps and continue by road to Kampong Thom. This afternoon, will be spent at your leisure.
Overnight at hotel in Kampong Thom.
DAY 6: KAMPONG THOM – SIEM REAP (B/L/-)
Sambor Prei Kuk, 30 kms north of town, is a jungle-enclosed temple complex that receives very few tourists due to its remote location. However, a visit to these Pre-Angkorian ruins should not be missed. As you travel through the ruins on bike and foot, you will be awe-struck at the melding of architecture and nature, as the brick structures here blend seemlessly with the nature surrounding them. You will have the chance to visit and contribute to the sustainability of the people’s livelihood as the local community will prepare a simple but tasty lunch for you near the temples. Continue towards Siem Reap (3h). On arrival, check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Siem Reap
DAY 7: SIEM REAP – ANGKOR COMPLEX (B/L/D)
In the morning, visit to the antique capital of Angkor Thom (literally: “Great City”), located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. Continue your visit at the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Phimeanakas, the Royal Enclosure, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
In the afternoon, visit Angkor Wat the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Continue to view a wonderful sunset from the Top of Phnom Bakhen Hill.
Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
DAY 8: SIEM REAP – TONLE SAP LAKE (B/L/-)
Morning, visit Ta Prohm, one of the most beautiful temples in Angkor. Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool (representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake), Ta Som, built in late 12th century C.E. the most distant temple on the grand circuit, small but classic.
Continue your visit to Preah Khan temple, built by the King Jayavarman VII. Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors. However, the temple of Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation.
Afternoon, take a boat trip for sight-seeing on Tonle Sap Lake, the Great Lake of Cambodia. It is one of the largest lakes in Asia. Here, enjoy a brief cruise past floating villages complete with schools, restaurants, and hospitals.
Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
DAY 9: SIEM REAP – BENG MEALEA (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the quiet Beng Mealea (1 hour drive). Enjoy a short walk through the dense jungle and discover the wonders of an overgrown temple, Beng Mealea, which lay undiscovered for centuries. From here, travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srey. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art.
This afternoon, you will have the opportunity to stop at local communities and interact with locals, followed by an introduction into the production of rice paper before sampling some Palm Wine and Palm Sugar, both local produce.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 10: SIEM REAP – HANOI (B/-/-)
Morning, spend your leisure time in Siem Reap, relaxation or go shopping. Afternoon, our drive picks you up at hotel and transfer you to airport for flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel in Hanoi.
Stay overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
DAY 11: HANOI – OVERNIGHT TRAIN TO SAPA (B/L/-)
Morning, pick you up at hotel to start the Hanoi city tour at 8.30am. Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Enjoy the architectural and historical aspects of Uncle Ho’s final resting-palace. Just next door is Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts where he used to live in the past. Lying to one side of the Mausoleum is the One Pillar Pagoda, built by King Ly Thai To in 1049 the structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.
Continue your visit to the Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam) – Vietnam’s first University constructed in 1070. Its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Have lunch at a local restaurants.
Afternoon, proceed to visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. After that, we will take you to Hoan Kiem Lake, see the peaceful water and visit Ngoc Son Temple.
Enjoy an hours of cyclo tour around the bustling old quarter to see the ordinary life of Vietnamese people in Hanoi. At 06.00pm, drop you off at hotel. It’s your free time now to have dinner and a short while to explore the streets of Hanoi on your own.
Evening, around 20.00, our tour assistant pick up from your hotel to go to Tran Quy Cap train station. He will lead you to your cabin on the train.
Stay overnight on train.
DAY 12: SAPA TREKKING (B/L/D)
Early morning at 5.00, We will pick you up at Lao Cai railway station by a van, to take you up to the township of Sapa which takes approx one hour arriving at.
After breakfast and a morning shower, we will walk from Sapa towards Muong Hoa valley where we can admire magnificient landscape. Here you will discover the wonderful scenery of Hoang Lien moutain ranges and meet Black H’mong tribes. Trek through terraced rice paddies and minority villages along the Muong Hoa River, where we can here a nice swim. We then cross the suspension bridge towards the Zay village, arriving at Ta Van village. Enjoy the great landscape surrounding the village.
Enjoying the company and hospitality of our Zay family and homestay overnight in Ta Van village.
DAY 13: SAPA – HANOI (B/L/-)
Enjoy mountainous landscape with your sunrise coffee, then enjoy a delicious breakfast ready to trek through bamboo forests towards Giang Ta Chai waterfall, cross over a rattan suspension bridge and enter into Giang Ta Chai village which is inhabited by the Red Zao minorities.
Here we will experience their daily life then cross over the Muong Hoa River up the mountain to visit Supan village of the H’mong people.
Transfer back to Hanoi by night train.
DAY 14: HANOI – HALONG BAY (B/L/D)
At 05.00am, arrive at Tran Quy Cap station (Hanoi). Our tour assistant welcomes you back, accompany you to hotel for a morning shower and breakfast.
Around 8.00am, our guide pick you up at your hotel and go to Halong Bay on a shuttle bus. Take a rest at Humanity center and enjoy local specialties after 2h. Arrival in Halong at 11.45. The captain and crew welcome you aboard. Savor the delicious lunch as boat pass through thousands of Islands and Islets with different shapes.
After the lunch, explore the biggest and the most amazing cave in Halong Bay – Surprise Cave. Then Kayaking for an hour around the fishing village and discover the life of community there. Then back to boat for Sunset Party, get to calm, clean water place for swimming. Enjoy delicious and romantic dinner with some barbecue courses.
In the evening, free time for entertainment with the funny plays such as squid fishing, karaoke program, stars watching on sundeck… Spend romantic night on board.
Stay overnight on boat in Halong Bay.
DAY 15: HALONG BAY (B/L/D)
Morning, breakfast, fruits, coffee and tea are served on board. Cruise further and stop-over at a pearl farm to sea real peace cultivated by local fisherman. Check-out on boat and get on a local boat to cruise around Lan Ha bay to admire outstanding limestone island and islets. Arrive at bungalow on Nam Cat island which locates in the middle of Lan Ha bay. Enjoy the lunch on the island.
Afternoon, boat trip to Viet Hai village and biking. Relax or join activities at bungalow: playing football, volleyball, play pool, badminton, fishing or kayaking to explore untouched area near by bungalow.
Evening, buffet dinner at Bungalow. Go fishing or relax on the sandy beach, listening to sea wave at very peaceful and quite place.
Overnight in bungalow on Nam Cat island.
DAY 16: HALONG BAY – HANOI (B/L/-)
Morning, breakfast served at bungalow. Pick-up at Bungalow by boat and transfer back to mother boat. Get on the cruise to attend the cooking class while cruising back to Halong pier.
Enjoy lunch served on board. Say goodbye to the crew and disembark. Get on bus to go back to Hanoi. Arrival at hotel around 04.30pm.
Stay overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
DAY 17: HANOI – DEPARTURE (B/-/-)
Morning, breakfast at hotel in Hanoi. Spend your leisure for relaxation until we transfer you to airport for your departure flight.
Note: we only run private and customizable tours.
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Best of Cambodia and North Vietnam 17 Days