Planning a Trip to Vietnam and Cambodia: 18 Days Itinerary

Apr 24, 2024

Vietnam and Cambodia, the unique charm of Southeast Asia, entices visitors with stunning scenery, rich cultural experiences, and a wealth of historical sites. Organizing a visit to these countries isn’t merely about reaching a destination; it’s about embarking on a life-changing experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential elements of planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, providing you with a well-crafted 18-day itinerary to make the most of your time in these captivating destinations.

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

Things to know before planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

Visa requirements for Vietnam and Cambodia

When planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, it’s essential to understand the visa requirements for both countries, as they have different processes in place. While the overall documentation needed, such as a valid passport with at least six months’ validity and blank pages, a completed visa application form, and passport-sized photos, is similar, the methods of obtaining the visas vary.

Cambodia visa requirements

Cambodia offers three options for obtaining a visa: through the embassy in your home or resident country, by applying for a Visa On Arrival (VOA) at major international airports and select overland border crossing checkpoints, or by using the convenient online E-visa service.

The Visa On Arrival method is particularly popular for travelers already within the Asian region, as it allows for a straightforward process upon arrival in Cambodia. Various online services are available for researching and applying for the E-visa option.

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia Visa requirements for Vietnam and Cambodia

Vietnam visa requirements

Vietnam’s visa requirements are more complex and subject to frequent changes, making it crucial to check the current regulations before applying. Generally, a single-entry tourist visa for 30 days costs around $25 USD, while a multiple-entry visa valid for three months costs approximately $70 USD.

The specific requirements and application process may vary depending on your nationality and the purpose of your visit, so it’s advisable to consult the relevant authorities or reputable travel resources for the most up-to-date information.

Learn more about Vietnam visa requirements when planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia:

The Latest Update Entry Requirement for Vietnam in 2024

Vietnam Visa Requirements for Australian Citizens

Vietnam visa requirements for Canadian citizens

Vietnam visa requirements for Filipino citizens

Vietnam Visa Requirements For Indian Citizens

Top destinations in Vietnam


Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is a fascinating blend of ancient and modern. The Old Quarter’s maze of streets buzzes with life, street food stalls, and shops selling everything from silk to Buddha statues. Don’t miss the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake, the iconic Temple of Literature, and the remarkable ethnology museum.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay needs no introduction – this UNESCO World Heritage site is Vietnam’s most iconic natural wonder. Cruise through the bay’s emerald waters dotted with thousands of limestone islands rising dramatically from the sea. Explore hidden grottoes, go kayaking, or simply soak in the stunning scenery from the sundeck of your traditional junk boat. An overnight cruise is highly recommended to fully experience Halong’s magic.

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia halong bay hoi an

Hoi An

This charming ancient town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a living museum with its well-preserved architecture, colorful lanterns, and tailors offering custom-made clothing. Strolling through the narrow streets and soaking in the rich cultural atmosphere are the best experiences in Hoi An.

Da Nang

Located on the central coast, Da Nang is a modern city with a beautiful beach, renowned for its iconic Dragon Bridge and proximity to the ancient ruins of My Son and the picturesque Marble Mountains.

Ho Chi Minh City

When planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, don’t miss Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest and most dynamic city. The youthful energy is palpable as you explore the city’s French colonial landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Just outside Ho Chi Minh City, explore the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta.

Top destinations in Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh offers a window into Cambodia’s complex past. The glittering Royal Palace contrasts with the somber Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which chronicles the nation’s tragic history under the Khmer Rouge. Take a riverside stroll, bargain at the Russian Market, and indulge in the city’s delicious street food like the national dish – fish amok curry.

Siem Reap

Planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia will not be complete without exploring the temples of Angkor near Siem Reap. This vast archaeological complex, dating back to the Khmer Empire, includes the incredible Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious monument. Spend days discovering these ancient masterpieces, from Bayon’s serene stone faces to the jungle-entwined Ta Prohm. Sunrise at Angkor is a must!

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia Siem Reap kampot


The riverside town of Kampot has a laidback, sleepy charm. Wander its weathered colonial streets lined with shopper cafes, tour the region’s famous pepper plantations, or take a side trip to the abandoned Bokor Hill Station resort in the cool mountain air.


Sihanoukville has transformed from a sleepy fishing village into Cambodia’s premier beach destination. This coastal city offers white sandy beaches, laid-back beach towns like Otres, and the perfect base for exploring the beautiful islands off the coast. Go snorkeling or scuba diving to see the region’s vibrant marine life.


Battambang is an often overlooked yet utterly charming provincial town in northwest Cambodia. Wander its picturesque French colonial streets and take in the laidback rhythm of daily life. Don’t miss the unique bamboo train – a rail platform powered by a small motor that trundles through the countryside.

18-day itinerary for your ideal Vietnam and Cambodia trip

Day 1-2: Discover Hanoi, Vietnam

Start your journey in the vibrant capital city of Hanoi. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, and the Museum of Ethnology, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture by taking a cyclo tour through 36 streets of Hanoi Old Quarter. Indulge in delectable street food such as Pho, grilled chopped fish, etc.

Day 3-5: Conquer Fansipan Peak and enjoy the beauty of Sapa

Venture into the stunning northern highlands of Vietnam and experience the breathtaking beauty of Sapa. Embark on a trek to conquer Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, and explore Bac Ha Market and admire the picturesque terraced rice fields and traditional hill tribe villages.

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia Fansipan Peak sapa

Day 6-7: Take a cruise over Lan Ha Bay and explore Cat Ba island

Depart for the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay and embark on an unforgettable overnight cruise through the stunning seascape of limestone islands and emerald waters. Explore the lesser-known but equally beautiful Lan Ha Bay and spend some time on Cat Ba Island, renowned for its pristine beaches and hiking trails.

Day 8-11: The central Vietnam tour: Hue – Hoi An – Da Nang

Head to the imperial city of Hue, where you can explore the Citadel, the Perfume River, and the Tombs of the Emperors. Continue your journey to the charming town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, tailors, and lantern-lit streets. Spend a day visiting the nearby Marble Mountains and the iconic Dragon Bridge in Da Nang.

planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia Hue citadel

Day 12-14: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels – Mekong Delta

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant energy. Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, and indulge in the city’s renowned street food scene. Take a day trip to the Mekong Delta and experience the unique way of life along the river, including floating markets and traditional villages.

Day 15-18: Visit Angkor Museum, Angkor Temples and Elephant Sanctuary in Siem Reap

Visit the Angkor Museum, Angkor Temples, and Elephant Sanctuary in Siem Reap. Fly to Cambodia and head to the charming town of Siem Reap, your base for exploring the magnificent Angkor Archaeological Park. Spend several days marveling at the ancient temples, including the iconic Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. Conclude your trip with a visit to the Phnom Kulen National Park and an Elephant Sanctuary, where you can interact with these majestic creatures.

Book your 18-day itinerary here:

Extra tips for planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia

  • Consider the weather: Vietnam and Cambodia have distinct tropical climates, with a dry and wet season. Plan your trip accordingly, as certain regions may experience heavy rainfall or extreme heat during specific months.
  • Respect local customs and dress appropriately: When visiting temples and religious sites, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. Remove your shoes when entering sacred places.
  • Bargaining is common: In local markets and with street vendors, bargaining is expected and can be an enjoyable cultural experience. However, be respectful and avoid aggressive negotiations.
  • Stay hydrated and pack essentials: The tropical climate can be demanding, so make sure to stay hydrated and pack essential items like sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat or umbrella.
  • Learn a few local phrases: While English is spoken in major tourist areas, learning a few basic phrases in Vietnamese and Khmer can go a long way in showing respect and enhancing your cultural experience

By following this comprehensive 18-day itinerary and keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia to embark on an unforgettable journey.

To ensure a seamless journey, consider Asia Encounter’s expertise in planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia through our Signature Indochina tour. With deep local knowledge and customizable itineraries, they craft the perfect experience tailored to your interests, providing insightful cultural immersion, premium accommodations, and transportation. Visit our website to start planning your dream Indochina adventure.


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