The Mekong Connection: Cambodia to Vietnam

Make the Mekong Connection and join this legendary river on its monumental journey, travelling from Angkor Wat, through the floating villages of Tonle Sap, and on into Vietnam, where the delta fans out and feeds thousands with its fish and fertile farming.

At a glance
  • Discover the fabled Angkor ruins hidden in the jungle
  • Kayak through the flooded forests & floating villages of Tonlé Sap
  • Tuck in to a food tour of buzzing Phnom Penh
  • Learn how Cambodians are recovering from their horrific recent history
  • Take a boat down the Mekong River into Vietnam
  • Soak up the laid back pace of Mekong Delta life
  • Admire the ingenuity of Ho Chi Minh City’s once-secret resistance tunnels
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Siem Reap - 3 nights

Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkor, the ruined capital of a historic Cambodian empire, and one of the ancient wonders of the world. The town is booming thanks to these fabled ruins, but remains low-rise by royal decree, and retains much of its original charm. 100s of them lie scattered around Siem Reap, largely hidden by jungle. You’ll have plenty of time to explore them with an expert guide.

Day 1 - Arrive Siem Reap

On arrival in Cambodia, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg boat cruises) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Angkor Temples exploration

Includes:

Begin your exploration of Angkor Wat, and the complex of ruined temples and palaces around it. You’ll be driven between them, so you can fit quite a few in (if you want to), and our guides know when to see the ruins at uncrowded times. If you wish, start the day with the magical (but popular!) sunrise over Angkor Wat, and let your guide know what kind of pace you prefer, whether you want to fill your day with archaeology, or spend some of it on Tonle Sap lake, or even back at your hotel pool.

Day 3 - Tonlé Sap Lake kayaking

Includes:

Explore the Tonlé Sap Lake aboard a private boat, visiting a floating fishing village, and a flooded forest, where - if water levels are high enough - you can kayak amongst the branches, and paddle out over the lake to enjoy the scenery, keeping an eye open for its diverse birdlife. Much of Cambodian rural life takes place on rivers and lakes, and you can only truly comprehend what this lifestyle is like by taking to the water yourself. Once you're back in Siem Reap, your afternoon will be at leisure.

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Phnom Penh - 2 nights

Cambodia’s capital is one of Asia’s fastest growing cities, booming and blooming as the country recovers from its time under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Your stay will include a tour of the ornate royal palace, and a visit to key Khmer Rouge sites for a deeper understanding of the people you’ll meet during your stay in Cambodia.

Day 4 - Explore Angkor, fly to Phnom Penh, tuk-tuk food tour

Includes:

Enjoy one last wander around Angkor Wat before jumping on a plane to Phnom Penh. At 5pm, climb aboard a tuk-tuk for a food-focused tour of the city. Stop for a cocktail at a lively bar on Sisowath Quay and watch the sun set over the river, before heading down to the river, where roadside stalls sell a variety of edible bugs. Your guide will be on hand to decipher the surprisingly tasty offerings! Continue by tuk-tuk to the Russian Market, which draws local diners with typical Khmer food such as banh cheo, chicken rice porridge and beef skewers. Choose what you fancy, pull up a plastic stool alongside the locals, and soak up the atmosphere. Your final food stop for the evening will be freshly BBQ’d seafood, before you return to your hotel, again by tuk-tuk, and probably ready to loosen your waistband...

Day 5 - City tour, Pol Pot era sites

Includes:

This morning your guide will escort you around the Royal Palace complex, with its lavish ceremonial buildings. You’ll also have the option to visit the National Museum, which is full of intriguing artefacts from several millennia of Cambodian culture. Lunch will be at ‘Friends’, a restaurant which trains ex-street children and other vulnerable groups in the hospitality trade. The food also happens to be excellent! The afternoon will be a far more sombre experience: Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the Cheung Ek ‘killing fields’ will open your eyes to the true brutality of the Pol Pot regime. There’s no sugar-coating this deeply disturbing insight into human capacity for cruelty - but it’s essential to understanding Cambodia and its people today. Your guide will have almost certainly lost loved ones to the regime, and will answer your questions as you try to comprehend what you’ve learnt.

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Mekong Delta - 3 nights

Despite its remote appearance, the Delta is one of the most densely populated areas of Vietnam, home to communities who make their living from the rich, fertile landscape. Your crew will navigate through the winding channels, past temples, small waterside towns and cottage industries where you can witness daily life in the region.

Day 6 - Mekong River boat to Chau Doc in Vietnam

Includes:

You’ll make the border crossing by boat today as you travel down the Mekong River into Vietnam, winding through the stunning Mekong Delta scenery before arriving at Chau Doc. Much of this low-rise settlement is on stilts over the water, and it’s a great place to ease into the pace of Delta life and watch river life go by. On arrival, you’ll be taken straight to your riverside hotel, where you can enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 7 - Private Mekong Delta Cruise

Includes:

After breakfast, make your way to the Victoria Chau Doc jetty where you will board your private traditional sampan; the type of boat that has been used on the Mekong Delta waters for centuries. Your crew will consist of boat-driver, deckhand, and a local guide. Set off on a leisurely cruise passing along narrow canals, through peaceful countryside and under wooden ‘monkey bridges’ that the Mekong Delta region is well known for.

Lunch is served on board, before arriving in Long Xuyen, a typical provincial town situated on the riverbanks and home to an attractive floating market. During the afternoon there will be time to explore Tiger Island (Cu Lao Ong Ho), where there is a museum dedicated to Ton Duc Thang, the second president of Vietnam. Your evening meal will be served at a local house where you will be able to share experiences with family members and learn more about the traditional southern lifestyle. Return to your sampan for your first night on the river.

Day 8 - Continue your private sampan cruise

Includes:

Enjoy breakfast on board as your sampan cruises downstream towards Sa Dec, a charming town with numerous French and Chinese houses dating back more than a century. Disembark for a stroll: walking amongst its narrow streets, you’ll pass charming old French houses sitting side-by-side with centuries-old Chinese temples. Visit an ancient house dating from 1890 and the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, 'the Lover' in Marguerite Duras' famous novel. Return to your sampan in time for lunch and relax until dinner is served. Enjoy your second night on the river.

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Ho Chi Minh City - 3 nights

Plunge into the rich landscape of Vietnam’s largest metropolis. Formerly Saigon, 'HCMC' is where the faded grandeur of French colonial architecture mingles with high rising fast finance; where the energy of modern Viet culture is enriched by the country’s traditions and history. Wander through presidential palaces and secret resistance storerooms, frozen in their separate moments from Vietnam’s past, and balance skyscraper skyline views with the immediacy of narrow old streets and the residential bustled of the everyday city.

Day 9 - Cruise to Cai Be, Drive to Ho Chi Minh CIty

Includes:

Enjoy the final leg of your journey downstream to Cai Be. Observe from your boat life along the river banks and the stunning landscapes. Stop here and there at local home-factories, where you will be able to observe how rice paste, coconut candies and other regional specialities are made. Your cruise concludes with lunch at the Longanier Restaurant, an exquisite colonial-style villa set in lush tropical gardens. After bidding farewell to your crew, meet your Selective Asia guide and drive to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 10 - Delve into the Cu Chi Tunnels

Includes:

Depart early from HCMC (to avoid the traffic and the crowds) to visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels - an incredible underground network over 150 miles in length, constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters. The remaining tunnels have been opened to visitors, offering a unique insight into the ingenuity behind them, and a glimpse of underground life during the Vietnam war. Your afternoon is at leisure, giving you time to enjoy a Vietnamese coffee or a stroll through the city.

Day 11 - ‘Old & New’ city tour

Includes:

Spend the day visiting some of Ho Chi Minh City’s key highlights, with your guide by your side to offer local insight, starting by exploring the back alleys and aromatic markets of District 1. We’ll tailor your tour to suit you, but we particularly recommend visiting the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Basilica, and the pink neoclassic confection that is Saigon Central Post Office (designed by Gustave Eiffel). Stop to observe a Viet Cong secret weapons store, now recognised as a National Historical Site, and continue to Cho Lon (HCMC’s Chinatown) to taste the locals’ favourite noodle dish, and visit the ornate Quan Am Pagoda, before finishing in fine style with a sundowner at the top of the Bitexco Tower.

Day 12 - Depart HCMC

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
Standard £1,674US$2,192 £1,513US$1,982 £1,335US$1,748

The Moon Residence

Situated in the heart of Siem Reap, with the Old Market, shops and the river on its doorstep, The Moon Residence is a good value, locally owned and run hotel, in a brilliantly convenient location...

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Anise Phnom Penh

Conveniently located in the very heart of Phnom Penh, and just minutes by foot from all the key sites and attractions, the Anise hotel allows you to... See more

Victoria Chau Doc Hotel

Located on the banks of the Bassac River, close to Vietnam's border with Cambodia, the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel blends low-rise, Colonial style architecture with the natural beauty of the river... See more

Northern Hotel Saigon

A convenient location is top priority when choosing a city hotel, and the Northern Hotel Saigon ticks this box... See more
First Class £1,923US$2,519 £1,763US$2,310 £1,585US$2,076

Viroth's Hotel

Not to be confused with the original, smaller Viroth’s hotel, this fresher 1950’s inspired Viroth’s Hotel opened at the beginning of 2015... See more

VMansion Boutique Hotel

VMansion is a welcome breath of fresh air in one of the South-East Asia’s most exciting cities. Located within walking distance of many of Phnom Penh's key highlights... See more

Victoria Chau Doc Hotel

Located on the banks of the Bassac River, close to Vietnam's border with Cambodia, the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel blends low-rise, Colonial style architecture with the natural beauty of the river... See more

Liberty Central Saigon Riverside

Sister to the Liberty Central at Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh's latest riverside hotel, the Liberty Central Riverside doesn't disappoint... See more
Superior £2,011US$2,635 £1,851US$2,424 £1,673US$2,191

Shinta Mani Shack

Funky and stylish, the Shinta Mani Shack enjoys a location in the heart of Siem Reap’s French Quarter... See more

Palace Gate Hotel & Resort

Surrounding a beautifully restored French-Colonial villa, the Palace Gate Hotel & Resort serves up a well-balanced blend of classic luxury and modern chic...

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Victoria Chau Doc Hotel

Located on the banks of the Bassac River, close to Vietnam's border with Cambodia, the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel blends low-rise, Colonial style architecture with the natural beauty of the river... See more

Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint

When researching a city hotel it’s all about a central location and the new Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint certainly ticks that box... See more
Deluxe £2,355US$3,085 £2,194US$2,875 £2,016US$2,641

Shinta Mani Angkor

So much more than 'just another' deluxe hotel in Siem Reap, the Shinta Mani Angkor is very much part of the city's early heritage. Rebuilt from scratch in 2011, opening again in 2012... See more

Raffles le Royal

Sister hotel to the renowned Raffles in Singapore, the Le Royal is located in the heart of Phnom Penh, just yards from Wat Phnom - the founding place of the city - and within easy reach of many other key attractions, such as the Royal Palace and Central Market… See more

Victoria Chau Doc Hotel

Located on the banks of the Bassac River, close to Vietnam's border with Cambodia, the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel blends low-rise, Colonial style architecture with the natural beauty of the river... See more

Hotel des Arts

New hotels are opening up in Ho Chi Minh City on a frequent basis and existing properties are investing in makeovers to compete, so it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Step in Hotel des Arts... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • You may have heard about the large crowds in the Angkor temples at peak times. Whilst our experienced guides know a trick or two about avoiding these where possible, there are also a number of further-lying (and therefore quieter) temples that you may wish to consider. For example, Beng Mealea, which is the size and scale of Angkor Wat but utterly swallowed by the jungle; and the temple complex of Koh Ker, a 10th century capital abandoned for more than a thousand years. Both can easily be covered in a single day, in place of the existing programme or as an additional day.

  • As an alternative to entering Vietnam at Chau Doc, travel south from Phnom Penh to Kampot and Kep, where you can take the time to explore the Bokor National Park. From Kep it’s just a short drive to Ha Tien, where you can cross into Vietnam and continue on to Rach Gia (from where you can take the ferry to idyllic island of Phu Quoc).
  • Looking for an alternative beach destination? Just 2 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City, the seaside fishing village of Long Hai has been a well-kept secret amongst Saigon-ites for years as a weekend beach retreat, but it’s gradually opening up to the international tourist market.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

Please note: During high season periods (such as Christmas and New Year) hotels often levy a surcharge and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You will require a visa to enter Cambodia and Vietnam. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Martin – Indochina tailor-made specialist

'Combining Cambodia's cultural highlights with Vietnam's Mekong Delta region. The travel's relaxed and un-rushed and you'll get an excellent glimpse into local life.'

MartinIndochina tailor-made specialist

Speak to Martin on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.