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How to Plan a Trip to Cambodia and Vietnam?

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Two bordering countries both with the mighty Mekong River flowing through, Cambodia and Vietnam are two of the most visited and fascinating countries in Southeast Asia. That’s why many travelers choose to tick off these two countries in one trip.

The best thing about taking an adventure through two stunning yet contrasting cultures is that the possibilities are endless. You could explore charming floating villages along the Mekong river, immerse in the scenic Halong Bay and marvelous Angkor Wat, enjoy time at stunning beaches, be impressed by colonial buildings, hike through the picturesque rice fields, savor many different flavors, and learn about colorful culture and lesser-known history… Both two countries have a bulk of things to offer to worldwide explorers.

Not sure where to start? We’ve collected this handy guide to help you plan your dream Cambodia-Vietnam vacation, including travel restrictions, how to get to, things to see and do, visa guide, the best time to go, and how long to stay.

Mekong River Boat
Mekong River Boat Trip

Apply for Visas of Cambodia and Vietnam

Citizens from most parts of the world need a visa to enter either Cambodia or Vietnam. While the fortunate thing is that it is easy to apply for visas for both countries as long as your passport has at least six months of validity and two blank pages. The detailed requirements and information are as below.

How to Obtain Cambodia Visas

Currently, only passport holders of 9 Southeast Asian countries can enter Cambodia without a visa for a 14-30 day stay:

  • Brunei (14 days)
  • Indonesia (30 days)
  • Laos, Malaysia (30 days)
  • Myanmar (14 days)
  • Philippines (21 days)
  • Singapore (30 days)
  • Thailand (14 days)
  • Vietnam (30 days)

Passport holders of other countries can apply for a 30-day valid Cambodian visa online at the expense of 37 USD, or do it on arrival at the expense of 30 USD.

* Read more about Cambodian Visa on How to Get a Cambodia Visa.

How to Obtain Vietnam Visas?

The current Vietnam visa-free countries are as below:

  • 90 days stay: Panama, Chile
  • 30 days stay: Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
  • 21 days stay: Philippines
  • 15 days stay: Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (Not applicable to BNO)
  • 14 days stay: Brunei, Myanmar

Passport holders of other countries can apply for a 30-day stay either online or on arrival. Usually, it will need no more than 3 working days to process the eVisa.

* Read more about Vietnam Tourist Visa on Vietnam Tourist Visa: Requirements and Application.

How to Get to Cambodia and Vietnam?

How to Get to Cambodia?

The most popular and most convenient way to enter Cambodia is by flying to Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh, or Siem Reap International Airport in Siem Reap. As the capital city of the country, Phnom Penh sees more frequent direct international flights to/from Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore, and many Chinese cities. Travelers from outside Asia can transit in Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, or Singapore.

How to Get to Vietnam?

It is more convenient to get to Vietnam’s big cities from international destinations. The three main gateways in Vietnam offering international flights are Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Danang International Airport in Da Nang, and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. People from countries with no direct flights to/from these three airports can transit through Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Guangzhou before flying into Vietnam.

Transportation between Vietnam and Cambodia

It’s convenient to travel from Vietnam to Cambodia by plane, boat, or road. It’s more recommended to depart Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh City for time- and cost-saving. Flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap will take about 1-2 hours. The daily ferry from Chau Doc (3 hours from HCMC) to Phnom Penh will provide you with a 5-hour scenic journey. Taking a tourist bus to Phnom Penh from the Moc Bai Bavet border crossing is the best option for money-saving.

What to See and Do in Cambodia and Vietnam?

Top Things to Do in Cambodia

  1. Visit the world-renowned Angkor Wat, and come face to face with the world’s largest religious structure on earth. With hundreds of temples, it is where you can glimpse into the past glory of the Khmer empire during the medieval age.
  2. Take a boat to floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake. You can not only look into the floating life and culture but also get a rare opportunity to encounter endemic wildlife and bird life.
  3. Visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh to admire authentic Khmer architecture and trace the life of Cambodia’s royal family.
  4. Go to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)to learn about the fearsome prison system of the Khmer Rouge and the country’s tragic history during the 1970s.
  5. Adventure the Bamboo train ride in Battambang.With a bamboo platform being powered by a little motor engine, the Bamboo train ride is a unique experience unavailable anywhere else.
  6. Enjoy island-hopping between Koh Rong & Koh Rong Samleom Islands. Both two islands will offer you beautiful beaches, stunning views, and thrilling activities.
  7. Head to Kampot to feel the laid-back riverside atmosphereand admire charming French colonial buildings. From here, you can enjoy a side trip to the little seaside town of Kep.

Recommended Itinerary

Top Things to Do in Vietnam

  1. Hop on a sightseeing cruise in Halong Bay to marvel at the fantastic karst formations, and see life in local ancient fishing villages.
  2. Explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter. See the over 1000-year-old themed streets being teemed with ancient architecture, shops, cafes, bars, various vendors and temples. You may like Top 9 Vietnam Temples
  3. Wander around the UNESCO-listed Hoi An Ancient Town. Once an outstanding trading port, it is now home to plenty of cultural heritages, traditional shophouses, ancient architecture, pagodas, etc., presenting a timeless and romantic atmosphere.
  4. Explore Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll get a chance to crawl some sections of the tunnel to explore the immense underground tunnel network.
  5. Go to some floating markets in Mekong Delta, and learn about local charming floating lives, distinctive riverine culture, and idyllic countryside scenery.
  6. Relax yourself on Phu Quoc Island, enjoy sun-sand-sea delights and stunning coastlines, see rare species of flora and fauna, and try the awesome Phu Quoc Cable Car – one of the longest cable cars in the world.
  7. Hike through beautiful rice paddies in Sapa. Besides amazing trekking experiences, Sapa also allures visitors with its astounding natural wonders and mysterious hill tribes.
  8. Get to Da Nang to enjoy a relaxing stay on some of the best sandy beaches in Vietnam and witness the iconic landmark – Da Nang Golden Bridge.
  9. Tour Hue to see the UNESCO-listed imperial citadel, ancient palaces, temples, tombs, and pagodas, and trace its grand imperial past.

Recommended Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Cambodia and Vietnam

Both Cambodia and Vietnam enjoy a tropical monsoon climate, and both countries can be divided into the dry season and the rainy season. Bordering on Vietnam in the southeast, Cambodia shares a similar climate with Central and South Vietnam, being hot and wet throughout the year.

It’s good to travel to both two countries all year round. But for travelers who crave less rainfall and mild temperature, the cool & dry months from November to March are the best time to visit both Vietnam and Cambodia. 

  • Rainy Season in Vietnam(monsoon season): May to October
  • Dry Season in Vietnam: November to April
  • Rainy Season in Cambodia: May to November
  • Dry Season in Cambodia: December to April

How Many Days Do You Need on a Vietnam-Cambodia Tour?

The two countries boast much to see. From spectacular coastlines and beaches to its rich culture and diverse food options, Vietnam is a mix of natural beauty, charming culture, and exciting adventure. While the pristine beaches, breathtaking jungle temples, and vaguely religious atmosphere in Cambodia leave the country a unique escape to peace.

You’ll need a solid itinerary to cover the best highlights of each country. Typically, we suggest 12-18 days for an in-depth experience. Below is an itinerary sample for your inspiration:

14 Days Highlights of Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (Hanoi landmarks, Old Quarter, water puppet show)

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (overnight on the cruise)

Day 4: Halong Bay – Da Nang – Hoi An

Day 5: Hoi An Heritage Discovery (Hoi An Ancient Town)

Day 6: Hoi An – Da Nang – Hue

Day 7: Hue Sightseeing

Day 8: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City exploration (Cu Chi Tunnels, city landmarks)

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (floating markets in Mekong Delta)

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap

Day 12: Siem Reap Sightseeing

Day 13: Siem Reap Sightseeing

Day 14: Siem Reap Departure

Recommended Itinerary

Plan another 2 days if you want to enjoy the exciting hiking experience among beautiful rice paddies in Sapa in North Vietnam. And another 2 days in Phnom Penh if you want to visit the Killing Fields and S-21 prison to learn about the country’s heart-breaking past in the 1970s.

Our expert travel consultant will be more than glad to help you customize your Cambodia-Vietnam tour based on your schedule, interests, and budget. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want any detailed information or help.

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