Hey, have you decided to spend a few weeks discovering the amazing Indochina peninsula? Here we are, an amazing 14-day itinerary and tips to travel Vietnam and Cambodia. These are some selected suggestions that you might find interesting and useful for your two-week journey. Keep reading!
Amazing 14-day itinerary in Vietnam and Cambodia
Day 1& 2: Hanoi
Hanoi can be considered as the best and most suitable place for your first two days of the itinerary.
The very first day of your travel can be a little exhausting due to the flight and transport. It would be amazing for you just to settle in a nice hotel nearby Hoan Kiem Lake and take a walk down the ancient town. The Old Quarter and the complex of Hoan Kiem Lake as well as the French Quarter can be an amazing start for your journey.
On your second day in Hanoi, it is suggested that you visit some famous spots a little further from the city centre. Hoa Lo prison, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Vietnam museum of ethnology are highly recommended. Besides, don’t miss out on the very popular street food culture whilst travelling to Hanoi.
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Day 3 & 4: Ha Long Bay
Leave Hanoi in the morning and travel to Ha Long Bay by bus in only 3-4 hours, you will have a chance to take the most fantastic overnight cruise on boat. There’re plenty of water activities for you to join and numerous mysterious caves and scenic sights to admire as well as delicious seafood during the tour.
It will take you the a day and a half to enjoy the amazing cruise. The itinerary of your cruise is differently arranged depend on which boat you choose. However, all activities arranged by the cruise are on a shared basis. There are usually some beautifully mysterious caves, fishing villages and limestone islands for you to discover such as Thien Canh Son cave, Vung Vieng village. You will be offered also kayaking and swimming excursions to enjoy the beauty of unspoiled nature here. There are many other activities on boat such as cooking class, yoga, karaoke or simply enjoy the view on the top of the boat tranquilly at night. Halong Swan cruise is a good one to be considered as well.
To save the time, it’s highly recommended that you go straight ahead to the airport, take the late flight and set foot on Hue. You’d better take a rest so as to be full of energy the next morning and ready for a new discovery.
Day 5: Hue
As a centre of historical and cultural value, Hue embraces many pagodas, tombs and other types of buildings that link the past to present around its beautiful countryside. Such amazing places to visit include the Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda, Dong Ba Market, Long An Palace Museum, Tombs of the Emperors. This last imperial city of Vietnam not only offers the most poetic and romantic city with its tenderly dreamy Perfume River but also gives travellers incredible experience visiting Bach Ma.
Jumpy just like a teenage girl, the weather in Hue changes suddenly within a day. Thus, it’s suggested that you keep updating the weather forecast whilst visiting Hue as well as bring along a coat and an umbrella, especially in the summer.
There are plenty of tasty local food that would absolutely make you mouthwatering in Hue. The must-not-miss list includes mussel rice, Hue beef noodle, spring roll with grilled pork, Hue lemongrass skewers, lotus seeds sweet soup.
Day 6: Hoi An
It will takes you only 2 hours travelling to Hoi An from Hue by bus. Here, ít’s suggested that you visit the tailors, the beaches and temples, go shopping and of course take a foodtour around the old town. A cruise on boat along Thu Bon river at night to enjoy the brightly colorful floating lanterns is a nice experience one should gain in Hoi An.
Day 7: Da Nang
After a night in the ancient town of Hoi An, Da Nang should be the next stop in your amazing 14-day itinerary in Vietnam and Cambodia. There are many buses running between Hoi An and Da Nang from the early morning till late in the afternoon with a very reasonable price as it’s a short distance. You shouldn’t miss these must-visit places such as Dragon bridge, Champa museum, Linh Ung pagoda, some pristine beaches and Han river bridge. For those who are seeking for some amusement, Bana Hill and Asia Park offer the greatest entertainment as well.
Day 8: Nha Trang
With a distance of over 500km from Da Nang to Nha Trang, it’s highly recommended that you take a flight to save the time. Buses and trains are suggested as well but it might take you up to 10 hours. However, the day shifts can be amazing experience since it offers you the best chance to admire the whole scenery all along the way.
Heading to the south, Nha Trang, considered as the pearl of the ocean queen’s crown, offers a marvelous scene and excellent services. Beautiful white sandy beaches and amazing water sports as well as the diversity of seafood are waiting for you to discover here. Often called the Riviera of the South China Sea, Nha Trang promise a trip full of beautiful must-visit islands and beaches such as Van Phong Bay, Hon Chong Promontory, Hon Tre Island, Mun Island, Bai Duong Beach, Dai Lanh Beach, Doc Let Beach.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh city
From Nha Trang, you can take a flight to Sai Gon as it’s over 400km and you might want to save the time. However, buses and trains to save your budget are suggested as well.
Ho Chi Minh City may be full of traffic, crowded and hot. But hold on, you’ll find that there’re more to you than meets the eye here. Take a city tour around this busy land to visit the top famous and amazing places. This list includes Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Gia Long Palace, Artinus 3D Museum, Saigon Opera House and A O Show Saigon, etc.
Day 10: Cu Chi Tunnels
Located about 60km from Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi tunnels, considered a heroic district for its role during the American war in Vietnam, is a suitable next stop. It is legendary for its network of tunnels extending over 220km. You can be offered delicious manioc which was the main food for guerilla-warriors in Cu Chi during the war. Also you can be given a great chance to fire off an amazing AK47 or MK16 or machine guns at the nearby shooting range. This could be an awesome experience in your 14-day itinerary in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Day 11: Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta offer tourists a wide range of different tropical fruits ready to be harvested in the orchards as well as beautiful gardens full of flowering bonsai trees. If you are a true nature lover, you will absolutely enjoy the exciting attractions, activities and excursions. Paddling through the amazing floating markets of Cai Rang, riding the bike through small local villages, enjoying an excellent river cruise and visiting fishing farms are highly recommended. Here you’ll have a chance to gain an intensive insight into life in the Mekong Delta region.
Day 12: Phnom Penh
It is suggested that you take a flight from Sai Gon to Phnom Penh in order to save the time. This can also make sure you have enough energy to explore Phnom Penh on the 12th day of your amazing 14-day itinerary in Vietnam and Cambodia. Or in case you want to save your budget, taking a 6-hour bus from Sai Gon to Phnom Penh is an idea too. Don’t forget that there are plenty of marvelous attractions for you to see. Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, Sunset cruise and Cambodian Living Arts – Apsara and Traditional Khmer Dance are some of the numerous suggestions to highlight your travel here. A cooking class to experience Cambodian cuisine is an amazing idea you shouldn’t miss as well.
You can either take a flight to Siem Reap in the morning or afternoon of the 13th day of the journey as it takes only 40 minutes. You can as well take a 5-hour bus to enjoy the view around. Just make sure you have enough of the time left to discover this beautiful land before your departure.
Day 13 & 14: Siem Reap
We always say save the best for the last. I don’t say Siem Reap is the best out these highlights I have mentioned above, but it is amazing enough to end up your journey with the best experience.
Getting to Angkor Wat early for sunrise will give you a very amazing experience. You may get as well some fresh air to start the last day in the religious atmosphere before your departure. Siem Reap, a spiritual hub, offers you thousands of temples to visit such as the ancient Ba Yon temple, the tranquil Ta Prohm temple, the notable Banteay Srei. These last days can also give you a precious lesson in national history at the Cambodian Cultural Village or in bargaining at the Angkor Night Market, a bonanza of shopping stalls, food vendors, and bars.
You can also pend the morning to explore The jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm . There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which have entwined themselves in the stone foundations of the structure, giving the impression of man’s creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. Then explore this masterpiece, as well as some of the surrounding temples, including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. If you have time, visit Phnom Kulen National Park. A playground for locals, Phnom Kulen (literally Mountain of the Lychees) The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain and it’s also a great picnic spot; well set up in Cambodian style with hammocks and shelters to keep you shaded from the sun. It’s around 1.5-2 hours drive from Siem Reap and if you go all the way to the top by van or car, you need to get there early, as the road is one-way traffic only.
Useful travel tips for your 14-day trip in Vietnam and Cambodia
1. Best time to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia
Almost any time throughout the year is good to visit these beautiful countries. But the best of all can be from October to April. In the North of Vietnam, there are 4 seasons. This time offers the cold winter and flourishing spring without too much rain and hot weather of the summer. How suitable to travel in such climate! Meanwhile, the South of Vietnam and Cambodia is in the dry season. Everything is just perfectly amazing and convenient for a travel without any worry about the sudden change of weather. In this warm season, it will be an amazing experience for tourists in exploring oriental culture.
2. Currencies in Vietnam & Cambodia
You can easily change your money as there are millions of banks and retail stores running this service, especially in the big cities such as Hanoi, Sai Gon and Phnom Penh. You can also withdraw your money in VND or KHR in some international ATM. Don’t forget to prepare yourself some changes as you might need ’em in many places, especially in the small stores and markets. This might help you use money easier:
1 USD = 22 800 VND (Vietnam dong – VND)
1 USD = 4050 KHR (Cambodian Riel – KHR)
The price in Vietnam and Cambodia is very reasonable so you can easily save your budget. Whilst buying something, don’t be afraid of trying to bargain as well.
3. Transportation in Vietnam & Cambodia
It’s highly recommended that you carefully choose your flights so that you can either save money and time. Especially this wise choice might help you avoid traffic jam in big cities.
In Vietnam, taxi, bus, motorbike and walking are popular means of transport. It’s easy to find a city map including bus stops as well as stores to rent a motorbike if you fancy driving around on your own. Besides, taxi are everywhere. However, you are suggested to download Uber and Grab applications on your phone so as to quickly find a taxi or motorbike (“xe ôm”) without being overcharged.
In Cambodia, the most popular vehicle is tuk tuk. You can easily asked the hotel receptionists to arrange you a tuk tuk or maybe two depending on how many people on your trip. It’s very convenient with a reasonable price way for you to immerse yourself fully in the surrounded atmosphere whilst enjoying the views.
4. Wifi in Vietnam & Cambodia
Most of the hotels, particularly in big cities, offer tourists free wifi. Every restaurant and coffee shops has wifi as well so don’t mind asking them the password. If you are about to have a long journey and need to contact gradually to your travel agent, mobile sim cards are sold everywhere, firstly in the airport.
5. Be careful with your personal stuffs
Travelling to big and busy cities can increase the chances of losing one’s own stuffs if you are not paying attention. Especially with some things of importance such as passport and visa, you should always carry a small bag along with you. This is for you to keep your hands on most of the time. You can buy small bag with the strap that you can tie around your belly and cover by your shirt.
6. Medicine stores in Vietnam & Cambodia
In Vietnam and Cambodia, we don’t always sell medicines according to compulsory mandate of doctors. So if you are feeling not well or you forget to prepare your personal medicines, the pharmacies are everywhere.
7. Festival time in Vietnam & Cambodia
There are numerous festivals in Vietnam and Cambodia all around the year. You can choose to the right time to travel so as to experience these oriental events. For instance, it is famous in Vietnam the Mid-autumn festival with millions of colorful lanterns, masks and unicorn dance. In Cambodia, the popular new year Chol Chnam Thmay festival takes place in the middle of April. The traditional new year of Vietnamese culture which falls in late January or February according to lunar calendar every year is an important event as well. However, notice that on this occasion, people will be celebrating their national holiday so all the shops and other services will be closed for just a few days.
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