Indochina Encounter

Grand Palace, Bangkok
Shopping in Bangkok
Ta Phrom, Siem Reap
Buddhas in Bangkok
Cambodian cuisine
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • FAQ
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • Explore!

Travelling by local transport and staying in a selection of simple hotels, we cross through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, experiencing the variety that South East Asia has to offer. Siem Reap - Explore the once-hidden jungle temples of Angkor Phnom Penh - Discover the glittering Royal Palace and walk through the infamous Killing Fields Ho Chi Minh City - Stroll the narrow lanes of Old Saigon and crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels

Highlights
  • Siem Reap - Explore the once-hidden jungle temples of Angkor
  • Phnom Penh - Discover the glittering Royal Palace and walk through the infamous Killing Fields
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Stroll the narrow lanes of Old Saigon and crawl through the Cu Chi Tunnels
Why Book this Tour
This classic journey through three countries from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City has been created for more adventurous travellers who enjoy discovering a destination by travelling overland predominantly using local transport. Some early starts and long journeys can be expected, as well as plenty of free time to explore this rewarding and fascinating region along the way. You will see a lot in a short space of time! If you have more time this tour combines with our Good Morning Vietnam (QVN) tour which covers the length and breadth of Vietnam.
Destinations
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Siem Reap
  • Phnom Penh
  • Bangkok
  • Battambang
  • Banteay Srei
  • Tonle Sap
  • Cu Chi tunnels
  • Angkor Thom
  • Angkor
  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
  • South East Asia
  • South East Asia
  • South East Asia
Tour Types
  • Active
  • Adventure
  • Scenic
  • Small Group
  • 18-30 somethings
  • 50 plus
  • Couples
  • Singles
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Cultural
  • Foodie
  • History
  • Ruins-Archaeology

Location: Bangkok

Arrive in Thailand's capital, the lively metropolis of Bangkok. The bustling street life of this energetic city is set to a backdrop of colourful, ornate shrines and modern glass-fronted high-rises, which jostle for position to dominate the city's skyline. It's a place where old meets new at every corner. Sample the fresh and tasty street food, haggle in the non-stop markets and take a cruise out on Chao Phraya River to witness stunning sunsets. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 1pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is an optional longtail canal trip which cruises along the city's Khlongs to explore the city from Bangkok's network of backwaters that branch off the Chao Phraya River. The excursion will also include visits to Wat Arun, the Royal Barge Museum and the Temple of the Dawn, built to represent the towering slopes of Mount Meru - the Khmer's mythical home of the gods. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is one hour from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up in the lobby at 8am on day 2. Please note that if you wish to join the Optional Longtail Canal Trip today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around one hours\ drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 10am.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Meals: ,No Meals,

This morning we make an early start with a train ride before boarding a scheduled bus service to the Cambodian city of Siem Reap. Operated as a through service, travellers will nevertheless change vehicles once in Cambodia. Your Thai leader will accompany you to the border and you will then meet your Cambodian Tour leader to continue your journey by local bus to Siem Reap.

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is left free to explore the incredible jungle temple complex of the Angkor period, whose history covers some 600 years, from the 9th through to the 15th centuries. No activities or excursions have been included in Siem Reap and your time here is very much your own, although your tour leader will be more than happy to help organise any visits that you wish. Two of the best ways to explore are by bicycle or striking a deal with one of the many tuk tuks that ply their trade here. Obvious choices are the magnificent complex of Angkor Wat, without doubt one of the most incredible of the jungle sites, the fortified city of Angkor Thom (home to the Bayon, with its mysterious giant faces) and the wonderfully overgrown and atmospheric Ta Prohm, set amidst tangled tree roots and lush jungle and famous as the setting for some of the Lara Croft film Tomb Raider. Other possibilities include taking to the waters of the Roluos River, to visit the floating villages and local wat at Kompong Phluk and explore the flooded forest and great lake of Tonle Sap (the largest freshwater lake in SE Asia, covering nearly a seventh of Cambodia's entire landmass). Those wishing to gain a little understanding of Cambodia's more recent past might like to seek out the fascinating Landmine Museum just to the south of Banteay Srei Temple. Set up in 1997 by a former Khmer Rouge soldier, the museum offers support for countless victims of landmines, as well as providing visitors with a poignant reminder of one of the country's most violent and tragic periods. 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.

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is left free to explore the incredible jungle temple complex of Angkor.

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we travel by public bus from Siem Reap onto Battambong, a journey of approximately 3 hours. Battambong lies along a route that has seen countless Thai and the Khmer Rouge soldiers wind their way north and south, either in the pursuit of conquest, or in the case of the Khmer Rouge to escape the invading Vietnamese in 1979. The town is, surprisingly, Cambodia's second largest, a factor that has done little to detract from its laid-back feel, enhanced by a wealth of colonial villas and leafy streets. Depending upon our arrival time there may be an opportunity to explore this afternoon, taking in its traditional temples and French-colonial architecture.

Accommodation: Hotel

A public bus takes us on to the Cambodian capital this morning, the 6-hour journey getting us to the city in time for an afternoon's orientation tour. Phnom Penh sits at the confluence of the Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers, a charming testament to the country's ancient and colonial past, with tree lined boulevards and colonial villas dotted amongst the reminders of its turbulent history. The Cambodian capital since the mid 15th century, Phnom Penh's origins lie in the legend of 4 statues of Buddha, washed on the shores of the Mekong and discovered by a woman named Penh, which were later housed in the 14th century Wat Phnom, located on a small hill at the northern end of the city. On arrival there should be time to freshen up, after which you may join your tour leader on a short walking tour of the city.

Accommodation: Hotel

Today has been left free for you to continue exploring this fascinating city at your own pace. Options include the National Museum, with its impressive collection of Angkor statues and the impressive French built Royal Palace, whose spectacular pagoda style structure is without doubt one of Phnom Penh's most impressive sights. A replica of King Norodom's old wooden palace, the building presents an ostentatious display of elaborate Khmer architecture, with golden nagas, orange, sapphire and green tiles and scenes from the Ramayana painted on the ceiling. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek provide gruesome testaments to life under the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, the skull filled glass tower a vivid memorial to the 17,000 men, women and children who were murdered there between 1975-1978. You should be aware that by their very nature Tuol Sleng and the 'Killing Fields' can be a distressing experience for some people. You might like to take a trip along the Mekong, or perhaps visit some of the capital's numerous markets, such as the old Russian Market of Psar Toul Tom Poung, renowned for its textiles, jewellery and antiques. Of course you may just prefer to wander Phnom Penh's vibrant streets, soaking up the atmosphere and perhaps enjoying a drink in one of the city's old colonial riverfront bars.

Accommodation: Hotel

Transferring to the bus station this morning, we catch the non-stop public bus to Ho Chi Minh City, an unescorted journey of some 6.5 hours that gets into the city in time to meet up with our Vietnamese tour leader. We cross the border at Bavet (Cambodia) and Moc Bai (Vietnam). Lying to the north of the Mekong Delta, on the banks of the Saigon River and still unofficially referred to as 'Saigon', the city today is the largest in Vietnam, an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit. Depending upon our arrival time we plan to make a short orientation tour on foot around the city, taking in some of its more obvious highlights, including the prominent Hotel de Ville, whose ornate grandeur is today the home of the city's People's Committee, as well as the Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the impressive French style edifice that is the GPO building (should our arrival time render this option impossible, then we will do the tour tomorrow morning instead).

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is free for you to choose from a number of options. You may wish to visit the remarkable Reunification Palace and the emotive War Remnants Museum, which contains a fascinating, and at times chilling reminder of the cost of what the Vietnamese refer to as the American War. Or perhaps browse the bustling stalls of the Binh Tay Market, the largest wholesale market in southern Vietnam and a fabulous place to stroll and meet the locals.

Accommodation: Hotel

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Ho Chi Minh. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Ho Chi Minh 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 Tan Son Nat International Airport (SGN), which is 30 minutes from the airport. If you have time you may wish to take an excursion further afield to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. Originally started during the French occupation of the country, the tunnels went on to achieve notoriety during the Vietnam War, when they formed an incredible underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops and were a major part of the Tet Offensive.

Included
  • Train Tickets
  • Meals – Breakfast Only
    -8 breaksfasts
  • Fully Guided
  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)
  • Airport Transfers at Destination
  • Accommodation
    -1 nights comfortable hotel 8 nights simple hotel

Not Included
  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day
    -
  • Country Entry Visas
    -
  • Tipping and Gratuities
    -
All customers that travel on a Explore group trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. This is a great way to start your travels, offering you that little extra peace of mind and comfort in the knowledge that there will be someone at the airport or station waiting to take you t
Yes, we would be delighted to book extra nights before the start or at the end of your trip, please let us know your requirements at the time of booking.
1 nights comfortable hotel 8 nights simple hotel
5* Indochina Encounter
A truly great interesting and well planned trip
Added By:
Date: 11-Aug-2019

5* Indochina Encounter
Really enjoyed it all. Thanks!
Added By:
Date: 17-Nov-2019

5* Indochina Encounter
I felt the whole trip was so well organised. I felt like I pointed in the right direction all the time. It took all the effort out of thinking what I had to do next - I just had to be in the right place. I loved this trip so much and can't wait for my next one!
Added By:
Date: 24-Nov-2017

4* Indochina Encounter
Good trip, would recommend
Added By:
Date: 04-Aug-2018

5* Indochina Encounter
This was my 1st trip with Explore and it exceeded my expectations. I was fortunate to be travelling with a great group of people who allt on with each other. We all have some great pictures and experiences to share with Explore if your interested. I'd be happy to share my +ve experience with other Explore customers if your interested.
Added By:
Date: 11-Aug-2017

5* Indochina Encounter
This was about my 15th Explore and one of the best!I learnt so much more about the history of Cambodia and Vietnam from the very knowledgeable leaders - the pace was comfortable even for an 'oldie' like me. Able to relax by the hotels' pools some days and recharge. Loved it all!
Added By:
Date: 18-Nov-2017

5* Indochina Encounter
I have been aware of Explore for many years and have been dreaming of joining one of the many excursions on offer. I have previously either not been in a position or opportunity to take up the chance of doing a trip until now and I am 54! This was my first time and this has inspired me so much that I am now planning my second trip for next year. It has been one of the best experiences I have undertaken and I cannot believe how easy Explore made it! My friends think I am an adventurer but let’s be honest about this, everything was organised, the tour guide took the pain out of negotiating local travel ensuring we were kept safe and not ripped off. I could decide whether I participated in the activities, and I did every one of them. Even though I travelled alone,the group gelled and we went out mainly together as a group, I never felt alone and at the same time, I had my space to wander around on my own when I wanted to. This is just the start for me, I am looking at the 9 day Peru experience for next year. Even when booking the trip the lady on the phone made it so easy! The flights were perfectly timed so that I could make the most out of the last day in Vietnam and all I had to do was sort myself out. I cannot thank you enough. For me it was money well spent! Thank you!
Added By:
Date: 11-Oct-2017

5* Indochina Encounter
It was all perfect, I had the best time. Magical, thank you.
Added By:
Date: 24-Oct-2017

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

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Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

9 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:Bangkok
Finish:Ho Chi Minh City
Group size:4 - 14
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Simple
Physical rating:Medium, Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 5
Diets:Vegans, Vegetarians
Tour operated in: English
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