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 explore the pepper plantations of Kampot as well as a day trip by boat to a tropical island to relax and swim. 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 exotic region.
All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner are 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.Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be fairly similar in most places within each country. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.
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 highly recommended.There will be a welcome briefing with your leader this evening followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.Huong Sen Hotel or similar
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 which include visits to the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum where there is an interesting record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be advised some of the images are of a graphic nature.Huong Sen Hotel or similar
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. En route we pass magnificent countryside and stop at some small cottage industries. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. 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 homestay guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.Mekong Homestay Guesthouse
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.Chau Pho Hotel or similar
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 then takes us via the La Plantation Pepper farm, to enjoy an included lunch and an introduction to the famous Kampot Pepper farm. Afterwards, we transfer to Kampot town, which sits on a picturesque river. Upon arrival we check into our centrally located hotel, our base for the next two nights, before boarding a local boat for a sunset cruise on the Kampot River. The river runs through the centre of the town and can flow in both directions as it is closely connected to the sea.Boutique Kampot Hotel or similar
Today we jump on a local boat for the short trip to Koh Tonsai (Rabbit Island). Palm tree fringed with a small beach this is the perfect place to enjoy swimming in the warm water or relax and just soak up the exotic tropical surroundings. Boutique Kampot Hotel or similar
There may be the chance to rise early and do an optional walking tour with your leader to visit the Kampot fish market before returning to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, we depart Kampot and transfer to Phnom Penh, where we will spend the next 2 nights.During our time in the Cambodian capital, take the chance to wander among the traditional buildings, or shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise.Ohana Hotel or similar
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.Ohana Hotel or similar
Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approximately 8 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy - fried spiders.We will also 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 community restaurant before continuing our journey to Siem Reap.Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar
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.Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar
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).Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar
Today we have an early morning start and bid farewell to Cambodia, and embark on a longer journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok. The journey from Siem Reap to the border can take up to 3 hours. After the border crossing (usually takes up to an hour), we meet our Thai tour leader and have our first taste of Thai food at a local restaurant before continuing onto the capital of Bangkok. Famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and incredible street food, Bangkok is an assault on the senses and provides a real contrast to sleepy Cambodia.Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel or similar
Today we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Please be advised there may be a possibility of larger groups being accommodated in a bigger boat. 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 also 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.Please note, when visiting the Royal Palace, clothes covering your shoulders and knees are a requirement for entry.Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel or similar
For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Bangkok after breakfast.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.
Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.
Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.
Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!
When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.
Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.
At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.