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Join us on this classic cycle journey through the cities and rural landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia. Ride past paddy fields and orchards to remote villages where we experience the warm hospitality of local families. Cycle into the jungle to explore the ancient temple city of Angkor and swap bikes for traditional boats to cruise the mighty Mekong River.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights comfortable hotel
6 nights premium hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Still unofficially referred to as Saigon, the city is the largest in Vietnam. You will find an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit.
Our Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 4pm for the welcome meeting followed by a walking tour. The tour will take in some of the highlights including the Opera House (formerly South Vietnam National Assembly), Hotel de Ville, Notre Dame Cathedral and the impressive French style edifice that is the GPO building.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), which is 30 minutes from the hotel.
Please note that if you wish to join the afternoon orientation walk today, you must arrive at the hotel by 4pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself 30 minutes to an hour to clear the airport. Therefore the latest your flight can arrive is about 2pm. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information by note left at the front desk.
If arriving earlier we suggest exploring at your leisure, perhaps to visit the Presidential Palace, or the War Crimes Museum, or even just take a walk around this bustling city. In the evening you have the option to see a water puppet show.
Huong Sen Annex Hotel (or similar)
This morning after a chance to get properly acquainted with our two wheeled transport for the coming journey, we drive out of the city to Cu Chi (2 hrs) where we start our days cycling to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels at Ben Duoc. En-route we will travel through Vietnamese countryside passing local farms and paddy fields. We may see people working in the fields or perhaps driving cattle along the road.
We finish cycling at Cu Chi. Originally started during the French occupation of the country, the tunnels went on to achieve notoriety during the Vietnam War, when they formed an amazing underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops and played a major part of the Tet Offensive. This area was the centre of intense fighting during the war, much of it falling prey to the incessant carpet bombing, napalm and defoliants utilised by the Americans in an attempt to dislodge the Viet Cong from their underground shelters. There is little evidence of any of that now and the landscape has returned to something of its pre war beauty. Be warned, while only short distances, the tunnels are low and narrow and can be claustrophobic, so anyone wishing to opt out may do so.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres.
In order to avoid the Saigon city traffic we drive to Tan An this morning (2 hrs), from where we cycle towards My Tho, following a network of less busy roads and narrow riverside dirt tracks. Originally founded in the 17th Century by Chinese immigrants, My Tho is the launching site for our private boat trip out onto the mighty Mekong river. Taking our bikes with us on the boat we cruise to Qui Island where we stop for a lunch of local produce, before returning to our boat and cruising to the other side of the river. We transfer to small sampans to explore up a tributary creek through the mangroves, before visiting a local community centre. Here we should be able to try honey tea and local fruits whilst listening to traditional rural singing and music. We should also have the chance to see local coconut candy production and try out the finished sweets. We then continue by bike through the flat, lush landscape of the Mekong Delta to your accommodation in Ben Tre. The rich soil of the Mekong provides an abundant harvest, including coconut, fruits, rice and of course fish.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 43 kilometres (approx. 27 km in the morning and 16 km in the afternoon).
Ben Tre Riverside Hotel (or similar)
Leaving our hotel after breakfast we cycle, crossing the river and riding along less busy roads via the old church at Cai Mon to Binh Hoa Phuoc Island for lunch. After lunch we cross by local ferry to Vinh Long from where we ride through a beautiful and incredibly fertile region to its largest city, Can Tho. Can Tho province is famous for its abundant rice fields and floating markets, which tend to take place at the intersections of most rivers and canals. Rice is an important cash crop for Vietnam and something like 70% of the population is involved in its production. We will likely see locals working in the rice paddies, or perhaps have the opportunity to visit a small business such as a fish factory or a market en route. Please note, there is the option to complete this last 22km section of the journey by means of the support vehicle.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 60 kilometres of which the last 22 kilometres are optional.
Fortuneland Hotel (or similar)
This morning we take to our bikes again, to meander our way down narrow lanes following the river, to experience a little more of rural Vietnam. One of the most colourful attractions of the Mekong are the floating markets and this morning we will visit Cai Rang, the biggest in the Mekong Delta. We travel by small private ferry up river to the market and spend some time exploring the floating stalls, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the friendly attentions of the locals, before continuing along the river. Travelling by boat is by far the best way to see the delta, passing villages of stilted houses, abundant rice fields and a variety of cottage industries as we go gives us the opportunity to examine this timeless landscape at a relaxed pace, viewing river life in all its traditional and colourful glory. After the boat trip we will enjoy a cyle ride along narrow footpaths meandering alongside the river bank behind local homes, catching a glimpse of everyday life, perhaps seeing people catching fish from the river, or mending baskets and repairing tools by the river bank. The Vietnamese are renowned for their ingenuity and can create all sorts of new items from recycled products.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 16 kilometres.
Today we drive (1.5 hrs) northeast towards Chau Doc on the Cambodian border. Once past Long Xuyen we begin cycling on quieter back roads along a trail that loops around to Chau Doc. With a rich ethnic mix of Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities, Chau Doc is an interesting city, dotted with temples, churches and mosques. On arrival anyone may like to pay for an optional excursion to Sam Mountain, just a few kilometres south-west of the city. This involves travelling by rickshaw and then boat up the Mekong to visit a floating fishery and local Cham village, before continuing on foot to Sam Mountain (actually no more than a hill) riddled with stunning colourful temples and pagodas with a strong Chinese influence and great views from the top on a clear day across into neighbouring Cambodia.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres.
Chau Pho Hotel (or similar)
This morning we drive the short way to the Mekong river dock and journey to Phnom Penh by speedboat ferry, crossing the border at Vinh Xuong (Vietnam) and Kaam Samnor (Cambodia) before continuing along the Mekong, as we head for the Cambodian capital. The boat journey will take the whole morning (4 hrs) and allows us a relaxed and fascinating view of riverside life, businesses and countryside as we pass by. On arrival at Phnom Penh we transfer to our hotel and have some time to relax before an afternoon city tour. The capital is a pleasant and fascinating city with many French colonial buildings and plenty to see. Our tour includes the National Museum of Arts with its impressive collection of Angkor sculptures, the Royal Palace where we visit the Silver Pagoda, named because of the 5000 silver tiles that cover its floor and Wat Phnom where we can pray for good luck. According to legend the original pagoda was built on this site in the 14th Century, to house four statues of Buddha that had been washed up on the shores of the Mekong. The legend goes on to say that the statues were then found by a woman named Penh, after whom the city is supposedly named. Phnom means hill in Cambodian. No cycling today.
HM Grand Central Hotel (or similar)
After a short drive up river we cycle to catch a Mekong ferry across to the peaceful Koh Dach Island which we will explore by bike. Our route takes us through weaving villages and past stilted houses. This charming, secluded and sleepy island is small at just 30 square kilometres in size and offers a peaceful contrast to the bustle of Phnom Penh. Known locally as 'Silk Island' the ladies here weave silk scarves on wooden looms in their homes, for sale in the markets on the mainland. We will likely hear the clatter of looms and see children and animals by the side of these quiet roads as we cycle. We later return to the capital in time for lunch. Our afternoon excursion is a stark reminder of the horrors endured by the Cambodian people under the tyranny of Pol Pot. The Tuol Sleng genocide museum and the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek are a gruesome testament to life under the Khmer Rouge and you should be aware that many people find their visit quite distressing. Tuol Sleng genocide museum was once a high school which became the Khmer Rouge's main torture and interrogation centre, detaining and processing the unfortunate souls who were to end their days in the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek. During the years 1975 to 1978 something in the region of 17,000 men, women and children were murdered here and the memorial stupa is a huge glass tower filled with human skulls - a sombre reminder of the scale of Pol Pot's atrocities.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 20 kilometres.
Today is a long travelling day, by both bicycle and bus. We leave Phnom Penh this morning, following the highway for 1 hr 30 mins to an interesting insect market. After visiting this, we contunue by bus (45 mins) to Prae Toteung, where we take to the saddle again to follow the river to Kampong Cham (depending upon seasonal conditions we may have to take the highway). Cambodia's third largest city, Kampong Cham was an important French trading outpost and the colonial influence is still very much in evidence. We finish our cycle ride at Kampong Cham. After lunch we stop first to visit Wat Nokor, an 11th century Mahayana Buddhist shrine, interesting for the fact that it houses a modern working wat inside the Khmer temple ruins, we then continue by bus again (3 hrs with rest break) to Kampong Thom, close to the impressive collection of pre-Ankorian temples at Sambor Prei Kuk.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres.
Glorious Hotel (or similar)
This morning we head off early by bike directly from our hotel to explore the quiet country roads and tracks north of Kampong Thom to Sambor Preikuk. This was the capital during the Chenla period of the early 7th Century. Today the forests of the area are dotted with more than 100 temples, some of the oldest in the country. We finish cycling at a classic ancient temple, which we spend time exploring on foot, before continuing along the road in our trip bus (3 hrs) to Siem Reap. This evening is free to explore the great shops and restaurants of this small, bustling town - the entry point to visit the spectacular temples of Angkor.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 28 kilometres.
Tanei Angkor Resort & Spa (or similar)
The Angkor period covers some 600 years, from the 9th through to the 15th Centuries, although many of its more famous temples date from the Classical Age, from the 11th to 13th Centuries. We start early this morning (c. 5 am) to collect our Temple passes and have a sunrise visit to the awesome spectacle that is Angkor Wat, the best known and most breathtaking of all the sights and a highlight of any visit to Angkor. Originally built as a funerary temple for Suryavarman ll, in honour of Vishnu, the temple is unique as it faces west - symbolically the direction of death. It is an immensely grand and imposing structure with its most stunning features, the extensive and intricately carved bas reliefs that stretch throughout the galleries and inner temples. After exploring the temple we take to our bikes and cycle to Banteay Srei, with its stunningly preserved bas reliefs. We spend time visiting the temple, before having lunch. In the afternoon we drive south to see Ta Phrom, a wonderfully atmospheric collection of towers and courtyards set amidst tangled tree roots and lush jungle. Then drive back to Siem Reap. This evening is free to relax and explore Siem Reap.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 25 kilometres.
We continue our exploration today with a visit to the temples of King Jayavarman Vll, reputedly Angkor's greatest king. The fortified city of Angkor Thom, built at the end of the 12th Century, is enclosed by a square wall 8 metres high with five 20 metre high monumental gates decorated with stone elephant trunks. Originally the moat surrounding the city was said to be filled with crocodiles and the huge statues of 54 different gods protected each gate. The city itself contains another of Angkor's true gems - the Bayon. Not nearly as impressive as Angkor Wat from a distance, the Bayon is nevertheless incredible for its maze of corridors, gothic style towers and magical central temples, with 1200 metres of the finest bas reliefs depicting scenes of every day life in 12th Century Cambodia. We take our bus (may be possible to cycle) from our accommodation to a market en-route to Angkor Thom and from here cycle the rest of the way to the temple. After visiting the ruins this morning we drive back to Siem Reap in time for lunch. This afternoon is free time. You may wish to make your own arrangements to take a tuc tuc back to Angkor to spend more time exploring the temples, or have the optional excursion (unguided) to visit Tonle Sap, about 30 mins drive south of Siem Reap.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 15 kilometres
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Siem Reap.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Siem Reap at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Siem Reap International Airport (SIA), which is approximately 60-80 minutes from the hotel.
If you have time you may choose to browse the old market for some last minute bargains, visit a fish spa or enjoy afternoon tea at The Foreign Correspondent's Club.
Total distance : 349 kilometres
Cambodia is a hot and tropical country, being hottest in April and coolest in January (still high 20s). Although rainfall is at its maximum in October, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap receive very little rain compared to the coastal areas, and when it does rain it tends to be in the form of sporadic mid afternoon downpours. There is normally very little rain between December and March.
2 Pin Round
As Vietnam is a long, narrow country from north to south climate conditions vary considerably. The climate can be divided into three distinct patterns between the north, central and south regions. The climate in the north is generally humid and subtropical, although the winter months from November to March can be colder with temperatures from 10 - 15 degrees. Summer months, May to September can be quite hot with temperatures from 30 - 35 degrees. Meanwhile south Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with little variation throughout the year (around 27 - 32 degrees), however May to November is the rainy season when short, heavy downpours are quite frequent. Central Vietnam lies somewhere in between. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter from April to October while November to March is wetter and cooler. A light rain jacket and small umbrella are recommended year round.
Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism
Saigon - Water Puppet Show from USD 8.45 Chau Doc - Rickshaw ride and visit to Sam Mountain USD 18 Siem Reap - Scenic helicopter flight over Angkor temples, prices range from USD100 to USD542. Flights are subject to availability; Tonle Sap optional from USD43 dependent on group size. Both cash and card accepted but cash is preferred The prices stated are based on a minimum number of participants (usually 5-6). Please be aware that the optional excursions can run with fewer people but the price may be higher. Likewise, a slightly reduced price may be applicable where the participation greater. The prices listed are generally only entrance fees and do not include the price of transport to and from the excursion, Your Explore Leader will quote this when you are on tour, as the price for transport will depend on the number of participants. These excursions are generally run via our agent in the country. Local companies may offer similar excursions at a cheaper price. Should you want to use these companies please be aware that a lower price may mean that not all costs are included (entrance fees etc.) or services will not operate at the same safety and quality standards.
Bear in mind that the area is tropical with high humidity. Lightweight clothing are needed all year round. Other additions that you may find useful are a swimming costume, cycle gloves, cycling shorts/trousers and quick drying cycle tops. Please note for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat temple shorts are not permitted. Shoulders and knees must be covered and sarongs are not allowed.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to trips that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. Since facilities are basic in rural Vietnam and Cambodia we recommend bringing antiseptic hand gel and tissue or toilet roll. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Bus, Bicycle, Boat
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
; Vietnam: 'British Citizen' passport holders can visit Vietnam for up to 45 days without a visa. A visa will be required if you wish to re-enter within 30 days of your departure. Visas are required for citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and can be obtained in the form of an eVisas via: \ul \ulnone Please note that it is a pre-requisite for entry into Vietnam that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months from your date of entry All visa related issues including information for other nationalities should be confirmed with the relevant Embassy prior to departure. If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See \ul www.travcour.com \ulnone to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on \ul 0208 5431846 \ulnone . It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination. Cambodia: A single visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, USA & Canadian citizens. We enter Cambodia at the Kaam Samnor Border Crossing where eVisa's currently aren't valid for entry. Visa's can be obtained on arrival and a passport sized photograph for immigration will be required. All visa related issues including information for other nationalities should be confirmed with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, tetanus, typhoid, diphtheria and polio. Consult your GP regarding tablets advised for malaria. Though not compulsory, travellers may wish to immunise themselves against japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Malaria and Zika Virus. Although not compulsory travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.