Days
12
Price from
$1,016AUD

You’ll start in Ho Chi Minh then hightail it to Phnom Penh, then there's beach time in Sihanoukville, island visits near Kampong Cham, ancient wonders in Siem Reap and… fish pedicures in Bangkok?

Forget everything you know about traffic lights, pedestrians and stop signs. They don't matter here. Wait until you're safely on the other side before you start high-fiving your success.

Asia from $88 a day

On a Geckos trip,starting from $88 a day will – on average – get you accommodation, transport and an awesome local leader (India’s even cheaper, from $68 a day!). And it’ll ALWAYS get you into the best local food and drinks haunts, thanks to the insider knowledge our awesome local leaders have – that’s something money can’t buy.


Start
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Finish
Bangkok, Thailand
Countries
Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Code
GTRA
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
147 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Your trip starts in action-packed Ho Chi Minh City, the perfect place for a glimpse of Vietnam.

  • Is Angkor the most incredible thing in Southeast Asia? Decide for yourself as you temple-hop with an expert local guide.

  • A homestay in Chambok puts you right in the heart of everyday village life in Cambodia.

  • Enjoy a meal at the excellent Friends International restaurant dedicated to training vulnerable young people in hospitality.

  • Learn more about Cambodia's confronting but important history, with optional visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Memorial.

  • There's loads of free time to make your own fun (Flight of the Gibbon zip-line anyone?) and have your own experiences.

  • Need some time to chill? This trip has got you covered, with two days in Sihanoukville, your launching pad to secluded island beaches and mangrove forests

  • End your trip in Bangkok, a frenetic wonderland of delicious street food and tuk tuks, and the ideal launching pad for further travel.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Lots of time allocated for optional activities means freedom and flexibility, but it does require a level of independence. Only are few meals are included, so mostly you'll find your own (with plenty of suggestions from your leader of course) – a great way to mingle with locals and discover unexpected delights!

  • The homestay is a wonderful opportunity to witness every day rural life and includes a home cooked dinner. Facilities are simple and multishare but comfortable with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided. Some travellers are nervous about the home stay experience before they arrive, but we find most end up naming this as a highlight of their time in Cambodia and a rewarding, authentic experience. 

  • Other accommodation is in no frills, simple guesthouses and hotels, perfect for travellers on a budget like you.

  • Temperatures and humidity can be high in Cambodia, especially walking around sights like the Angkor complex where there may be little shade. Be prepared by taking plenty of drink breaks and wearing appropriate skin protection. Some travellers find an umbrella handy to keep the sun off (this will also come in handy should it rain!).

  • On occasion our accommodation may not have hot water, but you will probably be keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

  • The stories shared at the Killing Fields and S21 are confronting and many travellers will find them upsetting. This is an important part of Cambodia's recent history that we feel is important to share, however if you would prefer not to join in these options your leader will be able to suggest alternatives.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Arrive in hectic Ho Chi Minh! There will be a pre-departure meeting at around 6 pm. Look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. There's nothing planned for the first day, so go get amongst it. A good place to start is the Ben Thanh Market, where you can snack on chao tom (barbecued shrimp paste on sticks of sugar cane). If you have time, a visit to Reunification Palace or War Remnants Museum are both recommended.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum - VND15000
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace - VND40000
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel to Phnom Penh by public bus today (approximately 6–7 hours). If you're looking for a tasty beverage on arrival, hit the Foreign Correspondents Club for a mojito on the rooftop. Or you can explore the city on a cyclo tour – generally these go to the central market, US Embassy, Wat Phnom, Mekong river front, independence monument and Royal Palace. Phew! Maybe it's time for a traditional Khmer massage. Look no further than Seeing Hands, a great cause supporting visually impaired masseurs. Tonight, tuck in at Friends Restaurant – not only will you get a serious taste of delicious local food, you'll also support an organisation that helps vulnerable local children.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour - USD4
  • Phnom Penh - Traditional Khmer massage - USD8
  • Phnom Penh - Mekong Sunset Urban Adventure - USD65
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Travel by private bus into rural Cambodia (approximately 3 hours) to the region of Kampong Speu and the village of Chambok. It's right next to the beautiful Kirirom National Park, so you can imagine how serene it is here. A homestay tonight is your chance to really immerse yourself in everyday life. Not to mention feast on a traditional Khmer dinner, prepared by your lovely hosts. Weather permitting, you might be able to trek to the awesome 40-metre waterfall nearby today too (this is optional).
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chambok - Traditional Dancing
Optional Activities
  • Chambok Homestay - Bike Ride - USD2
  • Chambok- Entrance Fee to Waterfall - USD3
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Take a private bus to Sihanoukville (approximately 4 hours). Whether you like your beaches lively or chillaxed, Sihanoukville has something for you. You might get a clue as to why this place was named after royalty when you see the natural splendour that surrounds it. And the people are super nice and welcoming.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sihanoukville - Foot massage - USD8
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You might take the option of scooting out to the nearby islands on a boat tour (barbeque lunch anyone?). Another excellent choice is to go on a tropical safari in Ream National Park, a wonderland of birds and wildlife. Coooowee!
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sihanoukville - Island Boat Trip & Snorkelling - USD20
  • Sihanoukville - Ream National Park entry fee - USD5
  • Sihanoukville - Express Boat to Koh Rong Island - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Shake the sand off your feet and jump on a bus back to the capital (approximately 4 hours). Here there's the option of visiting Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum or Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) – both pretty sobering but important and informative. The very different Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are also well worth visiting, offering brighter aspects of the past. You might also head for the National Museum or Wat Phnom (more like 'Wat Phenomenal'). If your Riels are burning a hole in your pocket, look no further than the Central or Russian markets, both choice places interact with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Phnom Penh - Wat Phnom - USD2
  • Phnom Penh - Transport to Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) - USD15
  • Phnom Penh - National Museum - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda - USD10
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng Prison Museum (S21) - USD5
  • Phnom Penh - Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) - USD3
  • Phnom Penh - Killing Fields - guide - USD17
  • Phnom Penh - Tuol Sleng (S21) - Guide - USD17
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kampong Cham in nutshell: frontier charm, French-colonial character. Take a private bus there (approximately 3 hours) and soak it all up. Koh Paen Island is a good option while you're here, and you can hire a bike and get there with no fuss (you'll just have to take a ferry over the water if you visit during wet season). The 11th-century Wat Nokor is also worth a look. A little further away are the twin 'mountain temples' of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei which, as well as being fascinating sites of religious, historic and spiritual significance, are more than Instagram-worthy.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kompong Cham - Wat Nokor - USD1
  • Kompong Cham - Bicycle hire - USD2
  • Kompong Cham - Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei - USD10
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a public bus to Siem Reap (approximately 5 hours). Your leader will take you on an orientation walk to get you acquainted with the town. Afterwards you might want to hit the markets for some cheap and tasty street food, then get some rest and relaxation before tomorrow's visit to... (drumroll please!)... Angkor Wat!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Get your camera ready, strap on your walkin' boots and get excited: Angkor is one of Southeast Asia's number one highlights, possibly THE highlight. The obvious banger is Angkor Wat, which is every bit as amazing as everyone says it is, especially at sunset). But you'll also spend plenty of time visiting the other gems of this sprawling complex, like the giant carved faces of Bayon and the crazy jungle-juxtaposition of Ta Prohm (a temple that looks like it's being swallowed by the vice-like grip of Mother Nature's tentacles). And yeah, Tomb Raider.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Siem Reap - 1 day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kick back in Siem Reap and wander around town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants. You may be a little templed out, so take this opportunity to explore your options and do something different. Depending on the season, you might be able to visit Tonle Sap, the big freshwater lake, for a glimpse of local life. Adventure-seekers and adrenaline-junkies can do the Angkor zip-line course that will have you soaring like an eagle over the lush rainforest. For even more bragging material, you can learn the tricks of the trade in a Khmer cooking class. And if you just can't not go back to Angkor, longer passes than the standard 1-day ones are available, just ask your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Siem Reap - Remork transport to Angkor complex - USD20
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass - USD62
  • Siem Reap - Landmine Museum - USD5
  • Siem Reap - Phare Cambodia Circus Ticket - USD18
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventure Cambodian Cook-Out - USD52
  • Siem Reap - Urban Adventures Tonle Sap Secrets - USD45
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Zipline - USD129
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Drive from Siem Reap to Bangkok in a private mini van (approximately 8–9 hours, including border crossing and lunch). Again, your leader will assist with the border-crossing formalities. If you expect a soothing and charming backwater, think again – it's go, go, go in Thailand's frenetic capital. If you don't go home exhausted from here, you didn't do it properly! Still, the khlongs (canals) are a great escape from it all – maybe take a boat to the highly recommended Chinatown for a delicious street food dinner. A Thai massage may also be a good option at this point. Those staying on can perhaps visit the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or the very cool Jim Thompson museum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour - THB900
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple - THB200
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your adventure comes to an end today, with no more activities planned. You're free to depart the accommodation at any time. If you are staying longer in Bangkok check out some of our Urban Adventure tours, a great way to see the sights with a local guide.
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
  • Bangkok - Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
  • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1913
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

2 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Remork (tuk tuk)

Accommodation

Hotels/Guesthouses (10 nights), Homestay (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Chambok - Traditional Dancing
  • Siem Reap - 1 day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour

Reviews

Our Essential Cambodia trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 147 reviews in the last year.

Essential Cambodia, November 2017

Tom Jenkins

Essential Cambodia, November 2017

Angus Ferguson

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, excluding the homestay on Day 3.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.