20 days in Vietnam & Cambodia :
Highlights: We leave and explore deeply the Mekong delta, the greatest rice store of the country. This “Nine dragon» river flows into a labyrinth of canals and arroyos. A border handset that we drive in a forest located 15 km northeast of the Mekong River and 10 km north-west of the border with Cambodia. Enjoy one of the most peaceful spot in a cajuput forest located nearly Cambodia border. A trip in the heart of the nature and paddy fields, a journey to discover the Eternal Asia immersed in lake villages, remote hill tribe, and to approach evergreen orchards and daily life of Vietnam & Khmer people.
Your detailed itinerary in Vietnam
Day 1 / Arrival in Ho Chi Minh city
Upon arrival in Sai Gon, welcome by our guide and driver, then you’ll be driven into town to hotel. A leisurely walking will help you having an overview about the city, exSaigon, called “Orient Pearl”.
Welcome dinner and stay overnight at hotel.
Day 2 / Ho Chi Minh – Bambouseraie of "Phu An"
This morning, we will drive to the “Phu An” bamboo village, well known as a botanical Reserve and a biggest ecological Bamboo museum in Vietnam and in SEA. This vast reserve with 2000 bamboo clusters and 300 species including 90% species in Vietnam collected from every corner of the country. You will discover its botanical garden, exposition room and some handicraft activities on this multifunction tree. Lunch at the village and come back later on to Ho Chi Minh in the end of afternoon.
Dinner and stay overnigh at your hotel
Day 3 / Saigon – My Tho – Ben Tre
After breakfast, we drive western 80 km away from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho where you will stop for your first excursion of the day. Crossing River by motorboat to “Thoi Son Island”, we will visit a bee-keeping farm and their honey production. On the island, we have the chance to enjoy “Don Ca Tai Tu”, traditional music while tasting local seasonal fruits in the heart of an orchard. After all, we will use a rowing boat along the canal and go through the natural canal with many water coconut trees both sides. The excursion will continue toward “Ben Tre” province where we will visit some handicraft factories at “Tan Thanh” such as coconut candy, rice papers…
Dinner and stay overnight at home stay.
Day 4 / Ben Tre – Cai Be
A morning horse-cart trip will make you immerse yourself in the local life and discover their daily activities. We will leave the house and drive toward “Cai Be” town. Exploring the floating market “Cai Be” and its church before enjoy a leisurely excursion by bicycle on “Hoa Khanh” village paths through lush orchards and discover their daily activities. We will visit also an ancient house and welcome by their host.
Dinner and stay overnight at this house.
Day 5 / Cai Be – Tram chim – Can tho
After say goodbye to your host, we continue our trip by a rowing boat passing through a little arroyo to reach « Tan Phong » island. After a short walk on the island, we take again the rowing boat to go to “Hia Ninh” island where you will visit a catfish farm. After that, we drive toward “Dong Thap” where we will explore the national park « Tram Chim » with 200 species of birds including Red crowned cranes. A boat trip will make you a deep discovery into this park passing through its cajuput forest. After lunch, we meet again our driver to go in direction of “Can Tho”.
Dinner and stay overnight in this biggest city of the delta.
Day 6 / Can Tho – Ca Mau
After the breakfast at your hotel, we go to explore one of the biggest floating markets of the region: “Cai Rang” market. During the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even smuggled goods like cigarettes. After that, we find out our driver and continue our trip to “Ca Mau”.
We will take the boat to go to the “Cape of Ca Mau”, the southern-most location of Vietnam. Then we go to the national coordinate milestones – GPS 001 that encroaches each year upon the sea 80-100m. Finally, we climb up to the lighthouse (27m) and enjoy a magnificent view on the cap and “Hon Khoai” archipelago.
Return to “Ca Mau” for overnight.
Day 7 / Ca Mau – U Minh – Rach Gia
This morning, we embark on a motorized boat and transfer to the huge mangrove forest “U Minh”. This natural treasure is a “must see” of ecotourism amateurs and scientists. With around 2,000 km2, this forest is divided into 2 parts: “U Minh Thuong” (upper) in the Nord and “U Minh Ha” (lower) in the South. Lunch in a local house located in the forest.
Afternoon, we take again the boat and go upstream passing through a cajuput forest while you will discover deeply this precious fauna and flora species.Arrival in “Rach Gia” in the end of the day.
Check in at your hotel and stay overnight in “Rach Gia”.
Day 8 / Rach Gia – Chau Doc
Breakfast at your hotel, we continue our trip toward “Chau Doc” nearby Cambodian border. Upon arrival, we will climb up to Sam Mountain to have a great view on the Mekong. Then we will visit some religious sites of Chau Doc such as: “Ba Chua Xu” temple, “Tay An” pagoda and “Thoai Ngoc Hau” tomb.End of the day, we shall take “xe loi” trip (local transportation) to make a city tour and visit its market.
Dinner and stay overnight in Chau Doc.
Day 9 / Chau Doc
We will start the day by visiting the Chau Doc floating market by private boat, and then the excursion continue toward “Vinh Te” canal, build under “Ming Mang” king reign by more than 80 000 Vietnamese and Khmer people. The next stop of the trip will be at a floating fish farm and a Muslim village. Lunch in a local restaurant in Chau Doc. Afternoon, we will drive to “Tra Su” national park where we embark on a motor boat which introduces us into a dense cajuput forest.
After that, we will take a rowing boat to discover deeply the serenity and the peacefulness of this flooded forest. Finally, we go up to “Vong Hai Dai”, observation post, and enjoy the best view of this pure nature.
Return to your hotel located on “Nui Sam” mountain for your dinner and overnight.
Day 10 / Chau Doc – Phnompenh
Early morning, we take a speedboat to transfer in destination of Phnompenh, capital of Cambodia (7h30-13h00). Welcome by local guide upon arrival and check in at the hotel.
You start to have the sightseeing of the city after your lunch: Wat Phnom hill, the symbol of Phnom Penh; Independence monument and finally, Royal Palace, the sacred Silver Pagoda, which is well known for its 5000 silver-tiled floor.
Dinner and stay overnight in Phnompenh.
Day 11 / Phnompenh – Koh Dach
After breakfast, you start your journey by sightseeing at National Museum, in which there is an attractive collection of ancient Khmer art: The sandstone sculptures dating from both the Angkorean and pre-Angkorean eras. Leisurely walking in Russian market and central market before enjoy your lunch in a local restaurant.
Afternoon, we will take a ferry on destination of “Koh Dach”, a little island 15kms from Phnompenh, well known by its weaving technique.
Dinner and stay overnight on the island.
Day 12 / Koh Dach – Kampong Cham
We leave the island this morning to drive again to “Kampong Cham” (150km ~ 3hrs). We make a stop at “Skun village”, famous for their fried insects (spiders, crickets etc...). On the way, we will enjoy a beautiful rural landscape of Cambodia with its rivers and little houses on stilt. Upon arrival in Kampong Cham, we stroll around the town and visit its local market.
Dinner and stay overnight in Kampong Cham.
Day 13 / Kampong Cham – Mondulkiri
After breakfast, departure for “Mondulkiri” (215km~5hrs), we will cross by rubber plantation, high plateau, hillside and dense forest with a wild landscape. We can stop to visit an abandoned ancient lighthouse, built in French colonial time. We visit also “Nokor Bachey” temple, a pre-Angkorian sanctuary, built on 11th century and made of laterite stones. Most part of this building has been destroyed over time. Inside this building you will find structures like Six Lions, Eight Dragons and Two Devils. We arrive in “Sen Monorom”, capital town of Mondolkiri province late afternoon.
Stay overnight in your hotel.
Day 14 / Mondulkiri – Cascade de Bou Sra
Breakfast at your hotel before take a drive to “Bou Sra” waterfall, the most beautiful waterfall in Mondulkiri (38kms from the town) crossing by some little villages on the way (the road should get more difficult access during the rainy season). Enjoy swimming or relaxing on the scenic and pristine waterfall upon arrival. On the way of come back, we will visit a coffee plantation and an orchid garden. In the afternoon, we will discover the ethnic “Phnong” village and « Pu Lung » where you can take a leisure elephant-riding trip passing by the forest.
Stay overnight in your hotel.
Day 15 / Mondulkiri – Kratie – Koh Trong
This morning, we will leave Mondulkiri through the forests and then we will back to the main road at “Snuol” before continue towards “Kratie” (210km~4hrs). On the way, we will visit the former pagoda “Wat Roka Kandal”, constructed at the end of 18th – beginning of 19th centuries. The interior decorations remind of pagodas in Luang Prabang (2km from the south of Kratie, on the right bank of the river). On the way, enjoy the rural picturesque countryside while a leisurely walking on the edge of the river surrounded by many traditional Khmer houses.
We take a boat to have a beautiful excursion on the Mekong River where we have the chance to see Irrawady dolphins, rare freshwater specie: the latest population is estimated between 64 and 76 members. After that, we will take a ferry to go to “Koh Trong” island. Upon arrival, we bicycle to discover this wild island.
Stay overnight on the island.
Day 16 / Koh Trong – Ratanakiri
After breakfast, we travel north, in the direction of Laos, crossing through various types of landscapes: primary and clear bamboo forest via two provinces “Kratie” and “Strung Treng” (270km). Upon arrival, we will visit “Yeak Laom” lake, a basin in the middle of an extinct inland volcano surrounded by lush forest growth; it is beautiful and perfectly round stretch of water. Relaxing and enjoying a beautiful view.
Dinner and stay overnight in Banlung – capital town of Ratanakiri province.
Day 17 / Territoire Kroeung
We are going full north today, heading again towards Laos and the village of “Taveng”. We first cross the volcanic rocks of “Vealrum Plang”, a lava field in a forest with a small waterfall and “tiger cave” nearby; we stop also at some nice “Kroeung” villages located in the forest on both sides of the road along the way.
We stop again in one the villages to start a little hike (2-3h) that will take us to our resting place for the night. We walk through slash and burn fields, bamboo forest; we wade upstream a little river and finally reach the “Kroeung” village where we shall overnight in the common house.
We hang our hammocks and prepare for the night.
Day 18 / Minorité Kachok et les cascades
Direction northwest today, we cross bamboo forests before reaching the village of “Voeune Saï” located on the left bank of the “Sé San” river; the view on the Chinese village on the other side of the river is quite pretty. Besides, this place is nearly a Chinese enclave in Cambodian territory, most villagers, who are there the thirties, do not even speak Khmer. Upstream of the “Se San” is “Kaoh Peak”, a village of the “Kachok” minority that practices funeral statuary. Then, go back towards “Banlung” for a trip through rubber plantations towards the nearby waterfall of “Teuk Cha Ong”, we end up with a detour to “Yaklaom” lake, a beautiful and perfectly-round stretch of water, surrounded by forest, for a swimming. Dinner & night at the Lodge.
Dinner & night at the Lodge.
Day 19 / Ratanakiri – Siem Reap
After your breakfast, we travel in destination of Siem Reap via two provinces: “Strung Treng” and “Tbaeng Meanchay” (450km~6-7hrs). Upon arrival in the 1st province, we take a ferry to cross the Mekong River before reaching “Tbaeng Meanchay” town.
Along the way, we will stop to visit “Prasat Preah Vihear” temple, located at a hilltop. Lunch in a local restaurant and arrival in Siem Reap at the end of the day.
Spend your last night in Cambodia at your hotel.
Day 20 / Siem Reap départ
Free at own leisure until meet again our guide and driver to be transferred to the airport for your international departure.