1. A Mekong cruising holiday through Vietnam and Cambodia:
One of the most innovative yet rarely used means of crossing from Vietnam through to Cambodia, a Mekong cruise is the best way to experience the scenery only offered by this stunning stretch of river and one of the most efficient uses of your holiday time! Most cruises will depart from Saigon and sail upstream though Vietnam and into Cambodia with all cruises terminating in Siem Reap, which is a perfect jumping of point of any tour of the world famous temples of Angkor. Whilst sailing this stretch of the Mekong you will have the opportunity to see the largest body of water in Asia at Tonle Sap lake which is home to many floating villages and numerous communities that work and live on the lake itself. Whilst sailing down the river you can also choose to visit the famous markets of Chau Doc and Cai Be as well as the mysterious temples of Kampong Cham! Sightseeing aside, the journey down this peaceful and beautiful stretch of coastline is worth any investment – the sunsets can be particularly special. Prices will depend on the quality of boat the start and end date of your holiday.
2. Overnight boat stay at Halong Bay:
Many travellers choose to shun the overnight experience in place of a quick day trip or choose to spend the night in Halong town. If you are looking for the consummate Vietnam and Cambodia holiday then an overnight stay at Halong Bay is a real must. Just a 2-3 hour drive from Hanoi, Halong Bay is by no means too out of the way and certainly worth the effort. It is essential that you book with a respectable tour operator that can offer reassurance as to the quality of the boat. This aside, the overnight experience is incredible; watching the sun set over the glistening bay and fall behind the limestone rocks that dot the bay. All whilst you are savoring, what is normally local seafood and fresh produce. Many people often take this opportunity to get wet by taking a dip in the bay itself! Some selected operators can also offer special touches such as an overnight dinner in a limestone cave or a chance to explore some of the limestone outcrops by foot. Whatever your holiday plans this is a great addition that can be squeezed into most itineraries.
3. Trekking in Sapa:
Why not venture north to the mountainous northern regions of Vietnam. Although it can get quite cool through the months of November to March (15-20 degrees Celsius by day but can fall to 6 degrees Celsius at night) the scenery and way of life a unmatched anywhere else in Vietnam, or South East Asia. One of the ideal ways of making the journey is from Hanoi via train to Sapa; preferably overnight which takes around 8 hours. Although Sapa is not the most attractive town you are likely to encounter, the mountains and valley’s that can be accessed from Sapa are truly stunning. Trekking can be organised in advance from within Sapa town itself, but we would recommend booking with a respected tour operator prior to your departure. Accommodation is varied but where possible we would recommend staying in sustainable accommodation such as Topas Eco Lodge which supports the local community and offers breathtaking views, or other responsible guest houses and hotels. As well as mountain trekking you can also visit the traditional Red Dzong people and other ethnic minorities that are located in the region. Although not first ion the list for all holidays to Vietnam and Cambodia, if you’re at all interested in French Colonial history then a visit to the famous battle site of Dien Bien Phu (around three hour drive) is also worthwhile.
4. Hit the beach in Vietnam and Cambodia!
There is a view that holidaying to less conventional destinations such as Vietnam and Cambodia involves bus rides, laborious amounts of walking and listing to tour guides. However, just because you’re holidaying in Vietnam and Cambodia does not mean that you should miss the “typical” holiday experiences. Vietnam has an incredible coastline. As well as Halong Bay the country also offers beaches that are easily comparable to those found in Thailand. Indeed within Vietnam one of the most popular beaches is China beach, just outside Danang. This beach comes with all the fixtures and fittings of Western beaches and resorts with rolling white sands, cafe’s, bars and a vibrant nightlife. Or why not venture out to the island of Phu Quoc which offers incredible diving and high end hotels and resorts frequented by Saigon’s rich and famous. Through Cambodia the ancient towns of Kep and Kampot (around 3-4 hour drive from Phnom Penh) offer some fascinating relics from the French colonial era in the form of crumbling French chateau’s and villa’s complimented by a fantastic coastline and lush forest. Although hotels are thin on the ground a visit to Kep and Kampot will give a grater insight into the history of the country and provide a break from the norm. Whatever your holiday plans be sure to research widely, get a good travel agent or operator and, most of all, have fun.