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Inside Vietnam and Cambodia extension VNC

Visiting: Vietnam
Trip Duration 20 Days
 

Reviews for Inside Vietnam and Cambodia extension

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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We have the following different versions of the Inside Vietnam and Cambodia extension trip available at present.

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Inside Vietnam and Cambodia extension reviews verified by reevooReevoo

42 reviews

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Inside Vietnam and Cambodia extensionScores 8.9 out of 10 based on 42 reviews
(8 out of 10)

Susan

Stourbridge
Had an amazing time on my first trip with Explore. Overall very good accommodation. Itinerary of the trip was good however on the odd day I felt it was too compact with the heat as well.
One of the highlights for me was the home stay in Vietnam living with a family.
Both of the tour guides in Vietnam and Cambodia were very good. Particularly Vuthar in Cambodia whose english was excellent, interacted well with all the group and his knowledge was amazing.
Confirmed traveller: 07 March 2017
Published on: 09 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Joyce

Truro
The places visited and itinerary were all very good. Hanoi and Hoi An were particularly interesting cities to visit and spend time in. Although traffic is busy in Hanoi the overall feel of the city is friendly and as two ladies travelling we felt extremely comfortable walking around and exploring not only Hanoi and Hoi An but every venue we visited in Vietnam. The HomeStay was a great addition, the shared dormitory accommodation was adequate and the atmosphere was very relaxing and really enjoyable. I found parts of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) unpleasant, in that the traffic was so bad we preferred not to walk there. There is a pedestrianised area close to the hotel we stayed in that was pleasant, but when we ventured further into the city on foot it was very noisy with heavy pollution from vehicles. However, I know others in our group enjoyed Saigon!

One major issue and which could be easily remedied, was the visit to Halong Bay. The coach trip from Hanoi took 4 hours, arriving in time to spend the night in a hotel in the City. (A further 4 hours coach trip return the following afternoon). Unfortunately there is now a great deal of development being undertaken in the City providing more accommodation, a Casino and Theme Park with roller coaster - the roller coaster blocking the view of the Bay from our hotel. The trip around the bay was beautiful, and a real improvement would be to have a one or two night stay on one of the many boats on the Bay - spending time on the Bay is the whole point of this visit.

Son, our tour leader in Vietnam was thoughtful and attentive and very knowledgeable.

Cambodia, again we felt extremely comfortable in all areas, we were able to walk around with confidence and enjoy the area.

The Temples are amazing, but they can be extremely busy, and there are numerous stalls at every Temple venue with vendors approaching every bus to try and obtain a sale. Having said that, all the local people extremely polite and there was no undue bother.

Vuthar our tour leader was exceptional. His speaking of the English language was very good indeed, as was his knowledge of all matters relating to the tour, and his insight into Cambodian life - past and present. He was a massive enhancement to our tour.

It would have been good to spend a little more time in the countryside in both Vietnam and Cambodia, but the tour was as described in the itinerary. Perhaps an additional day or two somewhere within the itinerary to spend time relaxing away from a City - either countryside or beach.
Confirmed traveller: 25 February 2017
Published on: 27 February 2017
(9 out of 10)

Jack

Grande Cache, Alberta
Our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia was excellent. We saw many of the key sights in both countries. Our tour leaders, Son in Vietnam and Vuthah in Cambodia were superb. Their English was first class and their knowledge and stories helped to make the trip a success. The vacation gave us a great feel for the countries, although a little more "rural"visitation would be appreciated. The home stay in the Mekong Delta was a highlight, friendly people, great food and excellent activities.
Confirmed traveller: 24 February 2017
Published on: 08 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Steve

Glasgow
This is a 13-night tour of Vietnam followed by an essentially separate 7-night tour of Cambodia with a new tour guide. Of the 15 of us on the Vietnam tour, 6 of us continued to Cambodia with 3 new people joining the group.

The Vietnam tour started in Hanoi, made a detour to Ha Long Bay, headed south to Hue and then Hoi An, before finishing up in the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. For me, the best part of this trip was the three nights we had in lovely, largely pedestrianised Hoi An, especially the (additional) cycle ride we had around the island in the river. I did not particularly like Hanoi but found HCM City/Saigon surprisingly cosmopolitan and pleasant. Culturally and historically, most interest was centred on Hue and Hoi An but, unfortunately, we had some very poor weather on this part of the trip.

The Cambodia tour started badly with a rather tortuous border crossing and slow journey to Phnom Penh. But then it improved. Phnom Penh itself was surprisingly interesting, while the Angkor temples... well, they are simply not to be missed. The weather in Cambodia was reliably hot and sunny, making a welcome change from the very variable weather in Vietnam. The tours of the Angkor temples were rather gruelling in the heat and several of us felt they could have been planned better, with perhaps three days starting at 7.30 am and finishing at 2 pm rather than the two VERY long days we had before an (largely unexplained) short third day.

The hotels were OK, although I found the one in Phnom Penh disappointing and a bit seedy. Throughout the trip we always sensed that we were given the budget rooms, with several of our group often getting windowless rooms. One thing I missed, compared with my trip last year to Bali and Flores, was the occasional garden-style hotel. The trip as a whole felt like it was very focused on cities and city hotels. I think this is why the Mekong homestay and (to a lesser extent) Hoi An were such a welcome change.

There were the usual frustrations of group tours and tour guides. I can understand why this happens but the guides always seem to try and play everything very safe, with wide margins for error. Predictably, lunch took too long on pretty much every day and often involved an unnecessarily large meal. Luckily for me, unlike my previous Explore trips to Morocco and Indonesia, on the Vietnam part of the tour there were a few like-minded individuals who were prepared to rebel occasionally against some of the duller, more restrictive plans of the tour guide.

As a left-field choice, I would say that my overall highlight of the whole trip was listening to our local guide ("Paul") in Phnom Penh describing his childhood during the Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot era. I could have listened to him all day. His quiet dignity while describing such vile abominations against the human spirit was most impressive.
Confirmed traveller: 24 February 2017
Published on: 08 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

Cathy

Fleet
I absolutely loved this trip. It was 3 weeks of full on entertainment and interest and you get exposed to both Vietnams' and Cambodias' history and living. Culture, food and people were amazing. Would recommend this trip. Hotels were generally good to excellent. Highlights for me were Halong Bay, Floating village, Mekong home stay and Angkor. Tips, take clothes suitable for temples, eg. cover knees and shoulders, you'll be visiting lots of them.
Confirmed traveller: 18 February 2017
Published on: 10 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Janette

Durham
This was my first Explore tour and my first ever long haul trip as I have only done short walking trips in Europe. It was well paced, the hotels were of surprisingly good quality, the tours were well organised and the quality of bus transport was good. Highlights were the Home Stay - whilst more basic and shared accommodation, the setting was superb, the food utterly amazing. The overnight train was good fun and the trip on Halong Bay, although, too short, was great. The river tours on the Mekong River in Vietnam and the floating village of Chong Kneas in Cambodia were superb. Along with the Killing Fields and S21 tour, which were very moving and the many temples in Cambodia and the Marble Mountain in Vietnam. It was also very much appreciated, that fresh bottled water was provided on every tour or coach journey. Excellent. 18 in our group. Too many.
Confirmed traveller: 18 February 2017
Published on: 24 February 2017
(8 out of 10)

Simon

Salcombe
Vietnam and Cambodia. A trip almost of 2 quite different halves.

Our tour Leader 'Vinnie' was nothing short of remarkable. Nothing was too much effort and he constantly thought ahead.His mastery of english was amazing! i cannot imagine ever getting a better or nicer guide. A full on itinerary. If you want a relaxing holiday then don't do this tour. The hotels in some cases could have been better but overall there was nothing major to complain about. The restaurants recommended were first rate and as a group we all thoroughly enjoyed each others company.

On all the trips the buses were to a good standard and it seemed that even our days off and our optional tours , especially the cookery in Hoang was tried and tested. Definitely also do the bike tours and the boat tours. The overnight train tour was an experience in itself just for saying you did it. It all adds to the overall immersion and completeness . The knowledge and experience in relating to the war made a fascinating background to the culture of this unsettled country.

As we moved into Cambodia, then things changed a bit. As lovely and accommodating as our leader 'Sitar" was, he clearly did not have either the full experience of Vinnie, and his English was sometimes difficult to understand. Certainly you found yourself checking out from some of his seemingly complicated explanations of culture and history

The Killing fields and Genocide museum were sobering . They seemed to almost lack a deserved feel of respect for so many souls but the scale of the atrocity beggars belief and the Jail ultimately was far more moving and quite shocking. Be prepared for some truly grizzly and appaling pictures.!

As we moved through Cambodia the quality of the transport was way poorer than that in Vietnam and it made long hot trips much more arduous. It was a full on schedule and the heat and humidity took its toll on us. Floating fishing villages were fascinating and you realise the poverty. Also be prepared to accept that the country and the rivers resemble dustbins and sewers. There is rubbish everywhere. Its a hot sticky country.

The temples ultimately did not disappoint and this is really where Sitar shined. Clearly he was on home territory and ultimately Ankor Wat, as mobbed as it is by tourists, delivered a stunning experience, including photos devoid of people. Only possible because he knew his way round so well and where to get the best photo call. We attended a couple of optional first rate evening shows and again the restaurant recommendations proved good.

The whole holiday proved a mixture of emotion with the War and the Atrocities and you really saw all aspects of this poor country and learnt about its political and historical and ethnic mix. Well worth the money
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 11 February 2017
Published on: 14 February 2017
(9 out of 10)

Vivien

Bristol
Loved this trip. We had 3 tour guides plus additional people who had specialist knowledge. They were all very articulate, very well organised, very knowledgeable and good with the group. It was great to see the diverse variety of cultures and lifestyles and understand first hand the impact of the political tensions I had heard about when a child. Very moving. The trip is very comprehensive and I couldn't have wished for more.
Confirmed traveller: 04 January 2017
Published on: 09 January 2017
(9 out of 10)

Kevin

Bristol
Overall a great way to see what Vietnam and Cambodia has to offer steeped in history, culture and world heritage with the added bonus of relaxing at a home stay on the Mekong well recommended.
Confirmed traveller: 31 December 2016
Published on: 01 January 2017
(8 out of 10)

David

Taunton
Leaders were good but in Cambodia much better and far more informative and proactive. He went out of his way to provide additional opportunities. Slightly concerned that no first aid knowledge was evident from the Vietnam guide when a member fell and sustained relatively minor injuries, when walking with group.

Tour was particularly good when local guides were provided with more detailed understanding and knowledge.

Pluses included transport, which was very good, the introductory walks on arrival at a new destination (Vietnam) and, also, the amount of free time available. The home-stay was amazing and was an absolute highlight for location, accommodation, food and welcome. All group members wished it could have been longer (2 night options in one or more locations - one in Vietnam and another in Cambodia - could be considered by Explore).

However, after guide effectively sorted the original passport (with some money inside!)at checkpoint when leaving Vietnam, there was absolutely no advice given when crossing section from Vietnam to Cambodia. A man arrived on a bike requesting us to follow him, while another wanted to complete your visa application and take our passports to office stating that the the cost was $35 each (seemed to be at least $5 each more than official price). Think this is an Explore problem. Guides need to be better briefed.
Confirmed traveller: 17 December 2016
Published on: 29 December 2016