Bayon, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Thai Indochina Explorer

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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Trip code: 
AOX
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Travel from Vietnam's Saigon to Thailand's Bangkok

Beginning in frenetic Saigon we cross three countries in two weeks, making for a varied and fascinating trip. We encounter the majestic ruins of Angkor, the lush fertility of the Mekong Delta and the sobering faces of the tragic recent history of Vietnam and Cambodia. Getting off the beaten track, we journey into rural Cambodia and have time to relax by the beach as well as visiting the UNESCO site of Khao Yai National Park exploring jungle trails. A short stay in Bangkok rounds off our trip perfectly as we explore the colourful markets that provide a mouth-watering array at meal times. The delicious cuisine is a treasure of this fascinating region.

Highlights

  • Experience three distinctly different countries in two weeks
  • Overnight in the Mekong Delta at a homestay
  • Visit the moving Killing Fields of Cambodia
  • Explore the world famous Angkor complex
  • Jungle trails of Thailand
  • Visit the Royal Palace complex and Wat Po of Bangkok
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels

Key information

  • 13 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night guesthouse to experience some Mekong Delta hospitality, all en suite
  • Travel by car/minibus/bus subject to group sizes, boats and flight
  • Rural locations and city days

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

 

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Saigon.

    The day is free to recover from the flight. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly known as Saigon is an exciting and absorbing city where bicycles battle with lorries and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, Saigon is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. The Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral are within easy walking distance from our hotel and are highly recommended.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Visit Cu Chi Tunnels; tour of Saigon.

    This morning we leave the city behind us and head west to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240 kms of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon for a tour to include visits to the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum where there is an interesting record of the Vietnam/American War. Some of the images are of a graphic nature.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Mekong Delta visit floating market; overnight homestay.

    We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside and stop at some small cottage industries. We take a relaxing sampan cruise in the afternoon and arrive at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.
    Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Walking tour in the delta; visit Sam Mountain for sunset.

    This morning we take a short walk around the surrounding village to uncover the daily lives of the people. We board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta to the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel we will enjoy a sunset visit to the top of the holy Sam Mountain with views stretching across into Cambodia. The evening is free to wander around this town, situated on the banks of the Mekong River.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Cambodia: via Kampot to the beach town of Sihanoukville..

    After driving approximately 1 hour to the Tinh Bien/Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. Our drive takes us via the former French colonial town of Kampot to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's premier beach resort. Upon arrival you will have free time to relax, refresh with a swim, try a Khmer beach massage and sip cocktails as the sun sets. For those who like to cook, there's also an opportunity to join a half day traditional Khmer cooking class (optional).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day at the beach.

    Our hotel is located across the road from the white sands of Ochheuteal Beach and today you will have free time to relax on the beach or wander into town and get a feel for the place. A boat trip out to one of the deserted islands off the coast for fishing, snorkelling and swimming is recommended (optional). The more energetic can also rent bicycles to explore more of the Sihanoukville beaches and countryside.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Phnom Penh; free afternoon.

    This morning we drive around the peninsula past Sokha, Independence and Victory beaches before driving on to Phnom Penh. The afternoon is free to explore this city that still retains a frontier atmosphere. There is time to wander among the traditional buildings, or shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full day sightseeing including the Royal Palace and the 'Killing Fields'.

    We will visit the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda inside the Palace complex, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander amongst the traditional buildings. We will also visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1975 and 1979. It is a sobering, but enlightening place to visit. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the 'killing fields' of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed.

    Phnom Penh is a city in transition and, despite its horrific recent history, it is now starting to find its feet. Some of its former French colonial buildings have been restored and there is a small but lively restaurant and bar scene developing along the riverfront.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Drive to Siem Reap via Skuon.

    Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approximately 7 hours). En route we stop off at Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia's most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments and some of the oldest structures in the country. We’ll also pause for a traditional Khmer lunch at a local house before continuing journey to Siem Reap.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Full day exploring temple complex at Angkor.

    A full day spent exploring the complex. We will visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which comprises of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, which is still covered in jungle as it was first found. Re-discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. A truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise. One evening we will make our way to watch the sunset over this magnificent scene.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Further time at Angkor; free afternoon.

    This morning we will continue our exploration of the Angkor complex with a visit to the small but charming Temple of Banteay Srei, which is noted for the intricacy of its carvings, 35km from Siem Reap town. Our route takes us past paddy fields, and through pretty villages. Banteay Srei was built in the 10th century and contains some of the finest examples of Khmer sculpture. Although much smaller than the later temples, here all of the buildings are covered in exquisite carvings. The afternoon is free for you to continue with further independent exploration of the temples or to wander around Siem Reap town or visit a floating fishing village and enjoy a boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake (optional).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive to Khao Yai N.P, a UNESCO site.

    This morning we journey from Siem Reap to the UNESCO site Khao Yai National Park. Khao Yai is Thailand’s oldest nature reserve and home to elephants, tigers, leopards, bears as well as the great hornbill. Blessed with lush, mountainous landscape this location provides the perfect contrast to the heat of Cambodia. Journey approx. 5 hours through a variety of landscapes.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Full day exploring the waterfalls and jungle trails of Khao Yai.

    Today we have a full day exploring the trails of Khao Yai. We’ll visit the park’s magnificent waterfalls and learn about the biodiversity of the area while taking a gentle trek through the jungle. Khao Yai is the best place in Thailand to try and see elephants in the wild which makes this protected park a big draw for Thai nationals who hope to glimpse this revered animal.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Transfer to Bangkok; afternoon city tour.

    Transfer to Bangkok (approx. 3 hours). This afternoon we take a short walk to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Cambodia

Arriving By Flight: An electronic visa (e-Visa) facility is available via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation website at the cost of $37. A tourist visa can be obtained on arrival for British nationals at most border crossings. Two passport photos are required. The cost is US$30, although an additional express fee of US$5-6 may be incurred at the border. For further information see the FCO site and check under Cambodia / 'Entry Requirements'.

Arriving Overland: A tourist visa can be obtained on arrival for British nationals at most border crossings. Two passport photos are required. The cost is US$30, although an additional express fee of US$5-6 may be incurred at the border. For further information see the FCO site and check under Cambodia / 'Entry Requirements'.

Thailand

A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.

Vietnam

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2018. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure. For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Vietnam.pdf or the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'.

Vaccinations

 

As you visit three countries on this trip, each with different health issues to contend with, we would suggest that you speak to your travel nurse or doctor before travelling. 

Thailand There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. 

Cambodia There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Vietnam There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

General advice

Zika fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 dinner is included.

The food on this trip is a real highlight for many. Southeast Asian cuisine is known for its abundance of freshly prepared dishes with strong aromatic flavours. There is a focus on herbs and citrus to ensure each dish packs a punch; chilli does feature highly too but is easily avoided if desired. Typically most dishes will come with rice and many are often served in a banana leaf with a variety of dips and herbs served separately. The three countries visited ensure a different culinary experience every time you cross the border; ensure you try the freshly made Pad Thai noodles from the street stalls of Bangkok, the fish amok curry in Cambodia for a creamy coconut-based fragrant curry and the Banh Xeo (huge sizzling pancakes) found in Vietnam cannot be missed!  Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta.

Weather

The weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day between about 28ºC and 34ºC but at times is may reach 40ºC. It is only a little cooler at nights. The region is mostly dry between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. In Cambodia the weather will be hot and humid all year round. The dry season is late October to May and the monsoon is normally between June and September; though there is an obvious transitional time between those settled periods. The dry season is as it sounds, with hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower. The monsoon is characterised by short, sharp bursts of rain and is generally overcast all day, though this does not detract from the enjoyment of the place; you just need to take an umbrella! In Thailand the weather patterns are very similar to Cambodia and you should expect year round temperatures from 23-35ºC. The rainy season will normally run from June to September when you should expect short sharp showers but the sun will normally break through.

Bangkok

Phnom Penh

Hanoi

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of South East Asia using a mixture of private buses, trains and flights. There is a lot to see in the time you are there, but it is paced so that it doesn't feel too rushed. Travel time is kept to a minimum although there are a few longer drives but there is plenty of time for sightseeing and the trip has numerous stops where we spend 2 or more nights.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Guesthouses

You will stay 13 nights in comfortable hotels with 1 night spent in a local traditional guesthouse all with en-suite facilities. Most of the hotels used on this trip are of a 3 star standard by local classification. At the guesthouse you will be sharing 1-3 people to a room depending on group size.

Single rooms are available except during the night in the village homestay for a supplement. Prices are from GBP330. Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you require a single.

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Rosslyn Gray

    Fascinating trip

    A fast paced trip with a wide range of experiences and locations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cambodia was the highlight of the tour. Our guide there was excellent and even invited us to the blessing of her new home and to meet her family.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had one for each country we visited. They were all very friendly, knowledgeable and interesting. Channa in Cambodia was particularly good, she was so proud of her country and so pleased we'd come to visit. Nothing was too much bother for her. Noung in Vietnam was great fun and Rapd in Thailand was good though she kept us moving quickly and those unable to keep up missed out on the information being given

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of mosquito repellent and your own toilet paper, outside loos Don't always have it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a fascinating trip, but with early starts and the heat it was quite exhausting. There was also a lot of time spent travelling on the bus. All in all though I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Simon Winter

    Thai Indochina Explorer

    This trip is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the history, cuisine and the way of life in the capital cities of Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh and Bangkok. The itinerary also allows you to see how people live, work and socialise in rural areas which is what makes this trip so fascinating. During my 14 day visit I was able to learn more about the Vietnam war, the way of life in the Mekong Delta, the actions of the Khmer Rouge (the toughest part of the trip in my opinion) and the history of Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom. The itinerary also allowed our group some relaxing downtime which involved sunbathing, snorkelling and fishing off Bamboo Island (near to the resort of Sihanoukville, Cambodia). This trip does involve 2 fairly long trips by bus to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap although we were given a number of comfort breaks which included a stop at Skuon and a chance to hold a live tarantula and sample a fried spider!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moments of my trip were: 1) The Homestay in the Mekong Delta and getting the opportunity to assist in preparing a meal (I live on microwave meals so this was a challenge) and being entertained by the local community....listening to a number of folk songs which told stories about their way of life. 2) The Killing Fields / S21 Prison was a very moving experience and I was extremely emotional when I saw the many graves and heard about the events that unfolded at the site. It is hard to take in but I believe it is important to learn about the atrocities that happened in the Killing Fields and the conditions that the prisoners were subjected to at the S21 prison facility. Before leaving the prison, you can speak to one of the survivors in the grounds and here their story. 3) Angkor Wat was amazing (despite the humid conditions) and provided some great photo opportunities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All 3 group leaders on our tour were very good and provided a real insight into the heritage and culture of their respective countries. A big thank you to Tham (Vietnam), Borey (Cambodia) & Gigi (Thailand) for all their hard work and efforts in making this such a memorable trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you apply mosquito repellent on a daily basis, particularly at Angkor Wat as they had a good go at my legs and ankles!! Also make sure that you barter / negotiate when buying goods in the shops and markets as one individual in our group learnt the hard way when buying a pair of sunglasses! I would also recommend that you drink plenty of water during the daytime and bring glucose tablets with you to prevent dehydration. When packing before your trip don't take too much clothing as you will be living out of a suitcase and constantly switching between hotels. Most of the hotels provide a laundry service but I would speak to your group leader as they may be able to get a cheaper deal and allow your clothing to be washed & ironed using an express service. Lastly....enjoy it and try the local delicacies such as the Elephant fish, crocodile curry and fried spiders.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My only negative comment is in relation to the Royal Princess Hotel that we stayed in (Bangkok). Upon our arrival which was at around 1030hrs, we were informed that our rooms would not be ready until 1400hrs and that our suitcases and hand luggage would be transported to a secure storage room. When returning to the hotel at 1800hrs (having departed earlier to complete a tour of the city) we discovered that all our cases and hand luggage were still in the hotel lobby!! On a positive note, it was great to tour around the 3 countries with a great group of people from all walks of life who made the experience even more enjoyable (will miss the banter, meals out).

Dates & Prices

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