Southeast Asia went from being largely undeveloped for tourism to being one of the most heavily touristed regions on the planet within mere decades. The fabled ruins of Angkor Wat and the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay have never been easier to visit, and that might well be obvious to travellers there given the number of other tourists you are likely to meet. While that does not undermine the places themselves, having some inside knowledge about when and where to go to have an authentic experience is particularly valuable.
There are a number of excellent, fully escorted tours around Cambodia and Vietnam, some of which even offer a combined itinerary that takes in sites in both countries. The best tours of the region also take in places that are not on the main backpacker trails, getting you away from the crowds and into the country proper. Here are some of the best tours in Cambodia and Vietnam based on price, itinerary and value for money, while also considering past traveller reviews.
From: $1,343/per person
Starting out over in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok, this excellent 20-day tour of Cambodia and Vietnam’s highlights is great value for money and is aimed at younger travellers who want to meet other people while not having to worry about the logistics of bookings and reservations along the way. The tour heads to Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat temple complex, then Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, before heading to the coast for some beach time. Roughly 12 days are dedicated to working your way north through Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh City, taking in highlights like Da Nang, Ha Long Bay and Hanoi, among many other sites of interest.
From $119/ per person
For travellers whose time in Cambodia is limited, or who’d like to get a good introduction to the country’s highlights before moving on, this four-day tour starting in Phnom Penh and ending in Siem Reap is a good bet. In the Cambodian capital, visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, then end the day on a sunset cruise on the Mekong River. At Angkor Wat there is time to explore the renowned temple complex, before heading to Tonle Sap lake beyond Siem Reap to get a glimpse of rural life. The price includes hotel accommodation, transport, guide and meals.
From $147/ per person
Another popular tour option is for travellers who have perhaps already been in Vietnam a short while and wish to explore the centre of the country in more depth. Taking the relatively small space between starting city Da Nang, and end point Hue, the tour first heads south to Hoi An. Here, the UNESCO-listed Old Town is a highlight. Next up are the ruins of an imperial city at My Son, which are shrouded in forest. The final stop takes in the Imperial Citadel of Hue, ending in Dong Ba Market. The tour is unusual in that accommodation is not provided, allowing travellers to choose their own hotels, although guides, transportation and three lunches are included.
From $1,296/ per person
For a much more comprehensive tour of Vietnam that has a more personal touch to it, this excellent private 16-day trip delves into remote reaches of the country from the northern to southern tips. Starting out in Hanoi, visit Bach Ma temple and then explore the country’s culinary side on a food tour. The tour quickly gets into remoter territory, with visits to northern areas dominated by indigenous groups, such as Lao Cai Province. The itinerary doesn’t shy away from classics like Ha Long Bay and Danang either. Learn about the Vietnam War history at Cu Chi Tunnels around Saigon before ending with a few days on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.
From $4,516/ per person
Although slightly pricier than other tours on the list, this combination trip of southern Vietnam and Cambodia is immersive and oriented towards providing unique experiences. Take the fact that the tour’s itinerary is planned around the Mekong River. Accommodation from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City is aboard suite ships that cruise between destinations each evening, while the days are devoted to exploring a new region. Highlights include Angkor Wat, Wat Hanchey hilltop temple, and a sampan trip in Ben Tre. Large discounts are occasionally available when booked at certain times of the year. Meals are also included in the price.