Vietnam

Cambodia & Southern Vietnam

This sample itinerary starts in Siem Reap in Cambodia, the base for visiting the world-class Angkor Temples. From here you continue via Phnom Penh into the picturesque Mekong Delta in Vietnam. There’s time on the idyllic beaches of Phu Quoc before ending in the buzzing metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). There are temples, markets, palaces, paddy fields, meandering rivers, tropical beaches and a million motorbikes! This itinerary works particularly well in the Christmas holidays, when the weather should be beautiful.

Highlights

  See sunset at Angkor Wat
  Zip-lines and cycling
  Markets of Phnom Penh
  Tropical beaches of Phu Quoc
  Explore Cu Chi tunnels
  Visit Ho Chi Minh City

15 days from £1,500 pp

Plus international flights from £750

A private 2-week holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia for a family of four usually costs from £6,000 based on mid range hotels plus flights

View pricing guide

Cambodia & Southern Vietnam day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Siem Reap
When you arrive, a Stubborn Mule Travel representative will meet you at the airport and take you directly to your hotel. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool.

This evening perhaps head to the lively night market to browse the stalls and sample delicious local dishes.


Day 2 Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the base from which you will visit the extraordinary Temples of Angkor and you will spend the day exploring with your guide.

Angkor Wat is the largest and most famous of these temples but there are hundreds more, some still shrouded in jungle with gnarled tree roots growing through them. The children will enjoy exploring by tuk tuk, visiting both the more well known temples but also some more peaceful gems. Perhaps stop along the way to climb the (sometimes precipitous) steps to the tops of the temples for a stunning panorama.


Day 3 Siem Reap
This morning head into the picturesque countryside around Siem Reap by bike. The route is easy, following quiet roads and paths through endless paddy fields and through friendly local villages, stopping off along the way to admire the views. (If you have younger children we can suggest an alternative activity).

The afternoon is free. Perhaps return to the temples to further explore or if you have  had your fill of temple-hopping, Siem Reap is a very pleasant town with fantastic restaurants, markets and shops. We can also arrange an afternoon zip-line experience or cookery class if this appeals.


Day 4 Beng Melea & Tonle Sap
First stop today is Beng Melea Temple, an enormous ruin the size of Angkor Wat but still completely overrun by the jungle. Make like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider as you follow the walkways over giant lianas and tree roots that grow through the temple walls.

From here continue to a stilt village built on the edge of Tonle Sap. This huge freshwater lake is home to traditional fishing communities and (apart from at the end of the dry season, at Easter) is best explored by a small wooden boat. Sail amongst the stilt houses and through the flooded mangrove forest.


Day 5 Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
This morning drive to Phnom Penh. This takes around 5 hours but you can fly if you prefer.

When you arrive in Phnom Penh you will check in to your hotel before heading to the banks of the Mekong for a sunset cruise along the river. Watch the lights come on as dusk settles over the city landscape.

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Day 6 Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a small city that is best explored from the back of a tuk tuk. First stop this morning will be the Royal Palace, home to Cambodia’s Royal Family and also to a small ice-cream shop if this proves necessary! From here continue to the huge art-deco Central Market where the kids can browse the stalls searching for souvenirs. After lunch at Friend’s restaurant (run by street children) you may want to visit Tuol Sleng, a museum on the site of a former Khmer Rouge prison. The exhibits are fairly grim so this is not suitable for all children, but the museum does provide a fascinating insight into the traumatic Khmer Rouge period.


Day 7 Phnom Penh – Mekong Delta (Vietnam)
This morning take the speed boat down the Mekong River to the Vietnam border. The journey takes around 5 hours and when you arrive you will check in to your hotel. This evening perhaps have a wander around the town and visit the local market.


Day 8 Mekong Delta
A full day to explore the delta with your guide. First take a local boat along the Chau Doc river to a small Cham village. The Cham people are a small muslim community that live along the banks of the river, making their living from fishing and weaving. You will walk through the village and past the fishing farms. From here continue to Nui Sam Mountain (really only a small hillock, but the only rise in an otherwise flat landscape!) for beautiful views. In the afternoon head to Tra Su Forest, a wonderful area of flooded mangrove forest and cajuput trees with a huge number of birds. Take a rowing boat along the channels and see how many you can spot.


Day 9 Mekong Delta – Phu Quoc
This morning it’s about a 3-hour drive to Rach Gia dock, from where you will take the fast ferry to Phu Quoc (2.5 hours). On arrival on this tropical island, you will be transferred to your hotel for some rest and relaxation on the beach.


Days 10-12 Phu Quoc
Three days in which to kick back and enjoy the sea views, toes curled in the sand under a palm tree. There are a wide variety of hotels in Phu Quoc from gorgeous boutique hotels to five star luxury resorts to wallet-friendly guesthouses. We can suggest one to suit your family and budget.


Day 13 Phu Quoc – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for a short domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

This afternoon head to the Cu Chi tunnels, just west of Saigon. These tunnels were used as a means of underground communication during the war against the French and then later against the Americans. They are always a highlight for children. You can follow a small section of the tunnels although parents may get stuck and have to leave the children and guide to continue when it gets too narrow!


Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
A full day guided tour of this lively and exciting city. The tour can be tailored to your interests and the ages of your children. Perhaps visit a beautiful old Chinese temple heady with the smell of incense from its hundreds of incense coils and enjoy browsing the buzzing local market. Some children will find a visit to the War Remnants Museum fascinating and perhaps enjoy visiting some local restaurants to sample Saigon’s famous cuisine. Other children may prefer to spend an afternoon at the Dam Sen Waterpark, with its many pools, lazy river and waterslides.


Day 15 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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