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This action-packed grand tour across Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand journeys through fast moving cities, dense jungles and tranquil tropical beaches. Explore the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, discover impressive temples of ancient Angkor and relax on golden sand beaches on the Gulf of Thailand.
Explore Tour Leader
10 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights premium hotel
14 - 20
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City. Sometimes referred to as Saigon, we start our adventure in Vietnam's largest and arguably most exciting city in Vietnam. Saigon is an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Ho Chi Minh at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Tan Son Nhat International Airport (airport code SGN), which is between 45 minutes and 1 hour from the airport. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to head out to explore the reunification palace, a short 15 minute walk from our hotel. There is a wide choice of restaurants within a short walking distance from our centrally located hotel.
Huong Sen Annex Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast head out to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. First constructed by the Vietnamese during their colonial war with the French, the tunnels were later greatly expanded and went on to achieve notoriety during the Vietnam War, when they served as an underground com-mand base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops. Exploring Cu Chi gives some idea as to the conditions that the Vietnamese and their American adversaries had to endure but, be warned, the tunnels are narrow and can be quite claustrophobic. Please note that we will share the transport to and from Cu Chi with other tourists.
This afternoon we will experience a different side of Ho Chi Minh City, away from the major sights where we take a walk through Old Saigon's back alleys. We make our way to District 3 by cyclo (cycle carriages with a seat at the front) and turn off the main thoroughfare and into the maze of narrow streets of this bustling district. Our walk takes us past ramshackle shopfronts, through local markets selling anything from colourful fruit to bootleg DVDs, and past houses, churches and schools, all squeezed into the small buildings that line the narrow alleys. It's a fascinating inter-connected community here that is a stones-throw from the city centre, yet feels a far cry from the modern buildings and throngs of tourists. We stop at a local stall for a traditional Vietnamese coffee (brewed coffee served sweet with condensed milk) where we can also sample 'Banh Mi' - a Vietnamese take on the humble French baguette - freshly baked and packed with a combo of traditional and more exotic, aromatic ingredients.
The walk ends the so-called 'secret weapons' bunker'. A small unassuming 'tube house' nestled in a quiet neighbourhood hides a trap door in the floor, concealing a basement stocked full of rifles, grenades and ammunition. The bunker played a key role in the TET Offensive of 1968, it was the base from which the Viet Cong's "Team 5" launched their assault, and its location was only revealed after the end of the war. We have some time to explore the house and bunker, filled with decommissioned weapons and photographs, news clippings and memorabilia from the wartime.
Leaving the city, drive south to the Mekong Delta and catch a boat to the start point of our cycle ride. We cycle for around 10-12 km along the flat Cai Thai village path with constant views of the delta as we wind our way around its many tributaries. The route is often shaded which is a helpful to combat the humidity (the boat can pick up cyclists at various stopping points if required). Along the way, we visit Mrs Nani's home who will show us how to make rice paper in the traditional way and Mr and Mrs Chin's home who will provide refreshments that include her famous 'Banh Tieu' (traditional doughnut).
Returning to the boat where we have a delicious lunch on-board and sail close along the delta, spending time exploring the small floating markets and soaking up the atmosphere of this unique trading point, a vast network of rivers and islands that crisscross agricultural villages, paddy fields and mangrove swamps before we continue our journey to Can Tho.
Fortuneland Hotel (or similar)
One of the most colourful attractions of the Mekong is its floating markets and this morning we visit the biggest in the Delta, at Cai Rang. We spend some time paddling through the market, be prepared to get plenty of friendly attentions from the local traders. Along the way there is normally the opportunity to board a local boat and meet the traders and perhaps buy a pineapple on board.
Moving on, our next stop is the Binh Thuy ancient house, a beautiful old property combining classical architecture with influences from the French, Chinese and local Vietnamese artisans . The construction dates back to the end of the 19th century and the house is filled with a wonderful collection of antiques and memorabilia, it feels like stepping back in time. After our visit we drive to Chau Doc, the border town between Vietnam and Cambodia. We take boat cruise out to the Chau Giang fish farm, where fish are raised in cages beneath floating houses. There is time to further explore the Cham village before heading back to our hotel for the night.
Chau Pho Hotel (or similar)
Driving to the jetty in Chau Doc this morning, board an early morning speed boat to Phnom Penh, a four and a half hour river journey that takes us up the Hau Giang River into neighbouring Cambodia.
Located on the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the capital since 1440s. It is now a lively city with many French colonial buildings, busy markets, art galleries, temples and museums.Tonight we head out to dinner at a local resturant in Phnom Penh (included).
Katari Hotel (or similar)
Our first morning in Cambodia includes a visit to the local market to barter and buy fresh ingredients which will be used for the group to prepare a traditional Khmer meal at the La Rose restaurant, one of the finest Khmer cuisine restaurant's in the region. We then meet local children at a school giving the opportunity to learn some Khmer language as well as teach English to these children. We may also be able to arrange some activity between both sets of kids such as a game of football or taking on the locals at a traditional Cambodian board game.
Our base tonight is Cambodia's historic capital, Phnom Penh, which sits at the confluence of the Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers. A rich testament to the country's ancient and colonial past, the city is filled with reminders of its diverse cultural heritage such as the grandeur of the Royal Palace and the National Museum to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, gruesome reminders of life under the brutal Khmer Rouge.
Travelling by private bus, we head north to the jungle temples of Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is the modern gateway to the ancient temples of Angkor, and while undoubtedly people flock here for the temples, the town itself is well worth exploring. Just a small village when the French're-discovered' Angkor in the 19th century, Siem Reap has now ballooned in size to cater for every type of tourist and their budget. An evening stroll along its grid-like streets uncovers a lively foodie scene with restaurants and street stalls to cater for every palate, as well as a host of spas offering a traditional Khmer massage. The night market is a great place to haggle for a bargain, and then of course there is 'Pub Street' - a pedestrianised melee of neon lights, street performers, bars, restaurants and people. Not for everybody, but for most it's worth a visit for a chance to soak up Siem Reap's vibrant atmosphere.
Tara Angkor Hotel (or similar)
Following in the footsteps of Lara Croft, we visit the Angkor Wat temples at Siem Reap today which span a period of some 600 years, from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Travelling by local tuk tuk, we visit two of the most famous temple sites today, those of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat. The fortified city of Angkor Thom was originally built at the end of the 12th Century and was a formidable sight in its day; surrounded by eight metres walls, towering gates and a crocodile filled moat. Our second visit is to the beautiful setting of Angkor Wat, without doubt the most renowned and impressive of Siem Reap's jungle temples.
Please note that from the 1st January 2020 the third tier of the Bayon Temple - the striking centrepiece of the ancient city of Angkor Thom - will be closed until 2022 for extensive restoration. As a result, it will only be possible to view the large stone faces from a distance and it will not be possible to get up close. However, the two lower tiers will remain open and accessible, so it will be possible to view the impressive bas-reliefs and intricate stone carvings around the temple.
Today has been left free for you to enjoy Siem Reap at your own pace. A great way to explore is by bicycle or rickshaw, travelling around the sites with the freedom to come and go as you please. You can visit the atmospheric ruins at Ta Phrom, made famous in the Tomb Raider film, or take a boat trip along the Roulous River to the floating villages and forests on Tonle Sap (the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia). Another possibility is a visit to the fascinating Landmine Museum, just to the south of Banteay Srei Temple.
Bidding farewell to Siem Reap and Cambodia, we head to the airport after an early breakfast for a short flight to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.
There are a number of optional excursions available for the afternoon, enabling you to choose how you discover this fascinating city. One stand-out highlight of Bangkok is the Grand Palace, the city's gleaming and glittering centrepiece. Constructed in 1782, it was the home of Thai royalty for over 150 years, as well as housing the Royal Court and administrative seat of government. Its intricate carved statues, art work and gold-gilded architecture is some of the best in the country, and the complex also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most sacred temples in the country. Next door to the palace is Wat Pho, otherwise known as the 'Temple of Reclining Buddha'. The iconic temple houses a huge 46 metre long golden Buddha and is symbolic of Buddhism in Thailand. Another popular option is to explore Bangkok's 'Klongs' - a narrow network of waterways navigated by long-tail boats and water taxis, offering a different way of seeing the capital.
In the evening why not head to Bangkok's bustling Chinatown to experience the city's traders, street-side restaurants, temples and market stalls. Alternatively there is the option to take a longer culinary tour by tuk tuk. See the budgeting and packing section for more details.
Royal Princess Larn Luang (or similar)
We have a morning to enjoy the Thai capital. There are a number of options available which your local leader will be able to explain to you. One popular activity is to head to the Sor Vorapin Gym - the famous Muay Thai training camp, to watch Thai Boxing experts in action.
After lunch, travel south west along the coast to our beach resort in the Hua Hin area. The journey takes around three hours and is well worth it to enjoy the beaches, national parks, ocean and relaxation that this area provides.
Baan Talay Dao (or similar)
The beach resort is situated midway between Hua Hin and Cha am, with clear waters off the Gulf of Thailand. The resort offers individual bungalows and direct beach access. Rooms are air conditioned and have private balconies with views of either the swimming pool or gardens.
The hotel offers a wide range of facililties including a large outdoor freeform swimming pool, in door and beachfront restaurant with international and local menus, wireless internet access and bike hire. Its 12 miles to Hua Hin which has a lively night market and 4 miles to Cha am.
Another day to enjoy the land and water based fun with a charming local village close by, several natural attractions such as the Khao Sam Roi Yot's dramatic backdrop of endless limestone peaks which covers an area of nearly 100 sqkm along the coast or just simply relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Hua Hin.
There are no activities planned today. 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 Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport (airport code BKK), which is 175km, 3 hours from the hotel. The earliest your flight can depart is 11.30am
We will run two fixed time transfers on the departure day. The first will leave the hotel at 6am, arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport around 9am, suitable for flights departing after 11.30am. The second transfer will leave the hotel at 3pm arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International airport around 6pm, suitable for flights departing after 8pm.
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
Generally hot with high humidity. There is some rainfall from April to September with most days being hot (around 33 Degrees) and a light breeze on the islands. If it does rain, it will be more of a heavy tropical downpour that lasts a few hours. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather.
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
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City War Remnants Museum US$2 per person Reunification Palace US$2 per person Cambodia: Siem Reap One day Angkor Wat temples pass US$37 per person, under 12's are free Tonle Sap boat trip US$14 per person Bicycle/rickshaw hire approximately US$15-20 per day Land Mines Museum US$5 per person Thailand: Bangkok Evening street eats by Tuk Tuk. Visit the iconic Wat Pho under cover of night to witness its sparkling golden spires. Stroll through Thailand's largest flower market, which only operates at night and Sample delicious street food under the guidance of your local expert. THB 1445 per person, based on 4 people. Half day Grand Palace and Wat Pho by tuk tuk. THB 1035 per person, based on 4 people. Thonburi Canals Tour by Tuk Tuk (Including Wat Pho, Arun Temple & Royal Barge Museum). THB 730 per person, based on 4 people 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.
Pack essentially for hot weather. Bear in mind that the region is tropical (humid) and that days can be very hot. Lightweight rainwear or an umbrella is advisable at any time of the year, but especially between May and October. Casual clothes are the most practical (something with long sleeves, and long trousers for evenings) bear in mind that very short shorts are generally unacceptable and a sunhat is essential. Shorts, vests, revealing or casual clothes and open backed sandals are not permitted in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Comfortable shoes and sandals/trainers for relaxing.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
A torch, water bottle, insect repellent and high factor suncream are all essential, as are good quality sunglasses and a lip salve with sun protection. Don't forget your swim wear.
Bicycle, Boat, Minibus, Public Bus, Taxi
We start our adventure in Ho Chi Minh City where we stay in a centrally located hotel with the Ben Thanh market close by. Rooms have air conditioning, hairdryer, Wi Fi, safe and TV along with a facilities that include four restaurants, fitness and health centre with massage and spa treatment. The hotel in Can Tho is a four star hotel located next to the Hau River. There are four restaurants offering Asian, European and local specialities plus a swimming pool and fitness centre with massage treatments. All rooms are equipped with TVs, minibar, safe and Wi-Fi. The accommodation in Phnom Penh is located in the downtown area of the city, close to the tourist attractions such as the National Museum, the Royal Palace, Wat Phnom and the Independence Monument. Rooms are well deigned and have air-conditioning, TV, mini bar, private bathhower and Wi-Fi access. Moving onto Siem Reap, the small and friendly hotel embodies Cambodia's tranquil pace of life with a casual lounge and restaurant terrace. The location is close to the main tourist spots and is a 10 minute drive to the Angkor Wat complexes. Free Wi Fi, air-conditioning, mini-bar, TV, hair dryer, safe and bathroom are all provided in the rooms along with a poolside bar, restaurant and pool.
The hotels in Siem Reap, Can Tho, Bangkok and Koh Chang all have pools plus you can swim when staying on the island, when we are next to the beaches.
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 and can be obtained on arrival. A passport sized photograph for immigration will also be required. Please note you will not be able to travel on an e-visa for this trip, as they are not accepted at land-border crossings. All visa information should be confirmed with the relevant consulate.
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.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
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 infectious hepatitis. Although not compulsory, travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Dengue, Malaria and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. 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.