16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia: Explore All Wonders with Top Travel Plans

Join us to unveil meticulously crafted itineraries that promise to take you on a journey of 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia, which is filled with rich cultural experiences, breathtaking natural landscapes, and historical insights. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first venture into the heart of Indochina, our guide is designed to help you make the most of your time in Vietnam and Cambodia. From hidden gems to iconic landmarks, prepare to be mesmerized by the diverse beauty and intriguing history of these two nations. Join us as we explore the best routes, tips, and must-see destinations for your 16-day exploration. Let’s embark on this unforgettable adventure together!

Why Combine Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 Days?

Geographical Proximity

Vietnam’s varied landscape, stretching over 2000 kilometers, offers a natural journey from the mountainous north to the southern coastline, leading seamlessly into Cambodia. This route presents diverse experiences, from the majestic Halong Bay and serene central beaches to the vibrant Mekong Delta. There’s truly something for every traveler’s taste.

The shared border of these two countries makes it an effortless and logical next step in your journey of 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. The Mekong River, a crucial link between the two countries, has shaped similar lifestyles along its banks. You can smoothly transition from Vietnam to Cambodia by taking a scenic cruise along the Mekong, crossing from Chau Doc in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. This journey beautifully combines the experiences of both countries into one continuous adventure.

Affordable and Practical Means of Transportation

As previously mentioned, Vietnam and Cambodia share the same border, which allows for simple and economical travel between the two. There are three main methods of travel commonly used to move between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Plane – The Most Convenient Method

Flying is the most convenient method when traveling from Vietnam to Cambodia, or vice versa. This requires only 1 to 2 hours to travel from one country to the other. Several airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air, and Qatar Airways, operate routes from Hanoi to Phnom Penh/Siem Reap and from Saigon to Phnom Penh/Siem Reap. Tickets can be booked directly on the airlines’ websites or with our assistance. Airfare starts at around 90 USD for an economy ticket in the low season (July to September) and can double during the high season (October to March).

Boat – An Impressive Experience

For a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 days, fast boat transport is also a popular option for traveling from Phnom Penh to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, or vice versa. Usually, after visiting the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, travelers head to the border town of Chau Doc, located 200 km south of Ho Chi Minh City, and then take the Chau Doc – Phnom Penh speedboat. The visa for Cambodia is obtained at the border. This option allows for a tourist cruise offering an in-depth exploration of the delta, in the context of a more relaxed journey. 3-night/4-day cruises from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh are available, or 7-night/8-day cruises to continue to Siem Reap and the Angkor temples.

Bus – An Economical Option

During 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia, you can choose the bus to move between two countries. The bus journey from former Saigon to Phnom Penh takes approximately 7 hours, including crossing the Moc Bai border post (2 hours from Ho Chi Minh City) and Bavet (3.5 hours from Phnom Penh). Once in the capital, you have the option of taking a one-hour flight to Siem Reap or continuing the journey by road, which takes six times longer. Although this is the most economical option, it is generally not recommended due to the difficulty of the journey.

Ease of Obtaining a Visa

Vietnam visa

Vietnam visa

Citizens from certain other countries who benefit from a visa exemption for stays of less than 45 days in Vietnam do not need to apply for a Vietnamese visa. More information is available in our article about Vietnam’s visa policy.

As for Cambodia, French, Belgian, Swiss, and EU nationals must obtain a visa or an e-visa to enter, regardless of the reason or duration of the stay. Therefore, for a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 days, a Cambodian visa is necessary. However, obtaining this visa is quite simple thanks to streamlined administrative procedures. The visa can be obtained on arrival, whether at airports, land, or maritime border crossings. It should be noted that these visas must be paid in cash, with the possibility of using US dollars, and cost about 35 USD. For those who prefer to organize in advance, the Cambodian eVisa (electronic visa) is also available online.

Harmonious Culture and History

Despite millennia of interconnected history, Vietnam and Cambodia offer captivating contrasts in their architecture, religion, and culture, forming an intoxicating blend of Asian, European, and Indian influences. Vietnam displays an eclectic mix of Chinese, Japanese, and French influences, while Cambodia, with its splendid Angkorian heritage, reflects an aesthetic strongly influenced by India and Buddhism.

Must-Visit Cities during 16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia

Destinations in Vietnam


Tube Houses in Hanoi Old Quarter

Tube Houses in Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi is a cultural center of Vietnam where cultural traditions and practices are still vividly celebrated and integrated into daily life. The city is also a hub for Vietnamese cuisine, offering incredible street food and unique gastronomic experiences. With its timeless charm, Hanoi offers visitors an unforgettable experience, ranging from deep cultural exploration to moments of serenity in its beautiful landscapes. It’s a place where visitors can lose themselves in time while witnessing the dynamics of a thriving modern city. Planning a visit to Hanoi during 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia opens up an adventure where the old and new coexist in fascinating harmony, offering an immersion in the true spirit of Vietnam. Check out the Hanoi Travel Guide to see all the important information.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay in June

Halong Bay in June

Halong Bay, a natural wonder in northern Vietnam, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s new seven natural wonders. This breathtaking area is famous for its emerald waters and towering limestone karsts. With over 1600 unique islands and islets, Halong Bay is a place of surreal beauty and mystery. Visitors can explore enchanting caves like Sung Sot and Dau Go, each with its own set of fascinating tales and geological wonders. The bay’s floating fishing villages provide a glimpse into the traditional lifestyles of the local people. Rich in mythology, Halong Bay’s landscape is said to have been sculpted by a dragon, according to local legends. This majestic bay is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a journey into the heart of Vietnam’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

>>> You may want to have a look at the Halong Bay Travel Guide

Destinations in Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh's Royal Palace

Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is a city brimming with energy, shaped by a rich and sometimes tumultuous history. Located at the confluence of the Tonle Sap, Mekong, and Bassac rivers, it is often referred to as “The Pearl of the Mekong.” With its bustling streets, sparkling pagodas, and colonial charm, Phnom Penh offers a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity.

Siem Reap

Siem Reap

Siem Reap, one of Cambodia’s most iconic tourist destinations, is more than just a provincial town. It serves as the gateway to the majestic ruins of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire. With its fusion of ancient traditions, historical structures, and modern innovations, Siem Reap invites visitors on a fascinating journey through time.

Siem Reap is an enchanting mix of history, culture, and modernity. While the Angkor temples are undoubtedly the main attraction, the hidden charms of the city and the warmth of its people make every stay memorable. Siem Reap is an essential stop for any traveler spending 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia, so do not miss out on the Siem Reap Travel Guide for the best journey.

Best Itineraries for Adventure to Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 Days

Itinerary 1: Amazing of Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 Days

Amazing of Vietnam and Cambodia in 16 Days

Day 1 – Arrival in Siem Reap: Arrive in Siem Reap and check into your hotel, beginning your journey.

Day 2 – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat: Explore the ancient temples of Angkor Thom, Bayon, and the iconic Angkor Wat.

Day 3 – Siem Reap – Angkor Wat and Surroundings: Witness the sunrise at Angkor Wat and visit surrounding temples and the Great Lake Tonle Sap.

Day 4 – Siem Reap – Small Circuit and Phnom Penh: Discover the Small Circuit temples in Siem Reap before flying to Phnom Penh.

Day 5 – Phnom Penh Tour: Tour Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, and National Museum, and enjoy a Mekong River cruise.

Day 6 – Phnom Penh to Saigon: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy free time exploring the city.

Day 7 – Saigon City Tour: Discover Saigon’s historical landmarks including the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Day 8 – Saigon – Mekong Delta – Saigon: Experience the Mekong Delta’s unique culture and landscapes with a river cruise.

Day 9 – Saigon to Danang – Hoi An: Travel to Danang and explore the ancient charm of Hoi An.

Day 10 – Hoi An at Leisure: Enjoy a free day to relax and explore the picturesque town of Hoi An.

Day 11 – Hoi An to Hue: Journey to Hue, visiting Marble Mountain and Hai Van Pass en route.

Day 12 – Hue to Hanoi: Explore Hue’s Royal Citadel and Khai Dinh Tomb, then fly to Hanoi.

Day 13 – Hanoi City Tour: Tour Hanoi’s cultural and historical sites, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex and Water Puppet Show.

Day 14 – Hanoi to Halong Bay: Embark on a scenic Halong Bay cruise, exploring its islands and caves.

Day 15 – Halong Bay to Hanoi: Enjoy morning activities in Halong Bay before returning to Hanoi.

Day 16 – Departure from Hanoi: Spend your last day in Hanoi at leisure before heading to the airport for departure.

>>> You can consult the Amazing Tour to Cambodia and Vietnam in 16 Days

Itinerary 2: Complete 16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia

Complete 16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia

Day 1 – Arrival in Hanoi: Arrive in Hanoi, and explore the city including Hoan Kiem Lake and the historic 36 streets area.

Day 2 – Hanoi City Tour – Overnight Train to Lao Cai: Tour Hanoi’s key sites like Ho Chi Minh Complex and One Pillar Pagoda, visit a museum of choice, enjoy a water puppet show, then take a night train to Lao Cai.

Day 3 – Sapa – Tribal Markets Exploration: Early arrival in Lao Cai, transfer to Sapa, visit local ethnic markets, explore Sapa town, and interact with mountain tribes.

Day 4 – Sapa’s Tribal Villages – Overnight Train to Hanoi: Trek through Muong Hoa Valley, visit Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai, and Ta Van, then return to Sapa and board a night train to Hanoi.

Day 5 – Ninh Binh Exploration from Hanoi: Travel to Trang An in Ninh Binh for a boat tour and visit Bai Dinh Pagoda, then return to Hanoi.

Day 6 – Hanoi to Halong Bay – Overnight Cruise: Early return to Hanoi, head to Halong Bay for an overnight cruise with activities like swimming and cave exploration.

Day 7 – Halong to Hanoi – Flight to Danang – Transfer to Hoi An: Morning activities in Halong Bay, return to Hanoi, fly to Danang, and transfer to Hoi An.

Day 8 – My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An City Tour: Visit My Son Sanctuary, then tour Hoi An’s historical sites in the afternoon.

Day 9 – Hoi An Cooking Class: Market visit and cooking class at Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An.

Day 10 – Hoi An to Hue – Imperial City Exploration: Travel from Hoi An to Hue, visit Marble Mountain and Lang Co Beach en route, explore Hue’s Imperial City, Tu Duc Tomb, and Thien Mu Pagoda, and enjoy a Perfume River cruise.

Day 11 – Hue to Ho Chi Minh City – City Tour: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, tour landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market, and experience the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Day 12 – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta: Travel to My Tho in the Mekong Delta, visit Vinh Trang Pagoda, enjoy a boat ride, lunch on Turtle Island, and explore An Khanh in Ben Tre, then return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 13 – Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels – Flight to Siem Reap: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels near Saigon, then fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and check into your hotel.

Day 14: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Temple Tour: Explore Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, Ta Prohm, Thommanon, Chaosay, Ta Keo, and Angkor Wat, then watch the sunset from Bakheng Mountain or Pre Rup Temple.

Day 15: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap Lake and Floating Village: Cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, visit a floating village, explore Chantier École-Artisan d’Angkor and local markets, and return to your Siem Reap hotel.

Day 16: Siem Reap – Departure: Spend the morning relaxing or shopping in Siem Reap before heading to the airport for your departure flight.

Itinerary 3: Treasures of Indochina with 16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia

Treasures of Indochina with 16 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia

Day 1 – Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, dinner at a local restaurant, and overnight stay at a hotel.

Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi Tunnels: Explore Ho Chi Minh City‘s landmarks and Cu Chi Tunnels, with an overnight stay at a hotel.

Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho: Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho, including a boat trip and overnight hotel stay.

Day 4 – Can Tho to Chau Doc: Visit Phong Dien and Cai Rang floating markets, then drive to Chau Doc for an overnight hotel stay.

Day 5 – Chau Doc to Phnom Penh: Travel by boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh and check in at a hotel for the night.

Day 6 – Phnom Penh Tour: Tour Phnom Penh, including the Royal Palace and National Museum, and stay overnight at a hotel.

Day 7 – Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: Fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, check-in at a hotel, and enjoy free time.

Day 8 – Siem Reap – Angkor Temples: Visit Angkor Wat and surrounding temples, with an overnight stay in Siem Reap.

Day 9 – Siem Reap to Hanoi: Travel from Siem Reap to Hanoi, including a visit to Chong Khneas floating village and overnight hotel stay.

Day 10 – Hanoi City Tour: Full-day city tour of Hanoi, including historical sites and a water puppet show, with an overnight hotel stay.

Day 11 – Hanoi to Halong Bay: Drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay for a cruise with an overnight stay on the boat.

Day 12 – Halong Bay to Hanoi – Flight to Hue: Morning in Halong Bay, then travel to Hanoi and fly to Hue for an overnight hotel stay.

Day 13 – Hue Tour: Explore Hue’s Imperial City, tombs, and Perfume River, with a dinner show and overnight hotel stay.

Day 14 – Hue to Da Nang to Hoi An: Travel from Hue to Hoi An via Da Nang, exploring local sites and staying overnight in Hoi An.

Day 15 – Hoi An to My Son to Saigon: Visit My Son Sanctuary, return to Hoi An, then fly to Ho Chi Minh City for an overnight hotel stay.

Day 16 – Departure from Saigon: Departure day in Ho Chi Minh City, with free time before heading to the airport.

Culinary Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia

The culinary landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia are as rich and diverse as their cultural tapestries. Each country offers a unique palette of flavors, ingredients, and dishes that reflect its history, geography, and cultural influences. During your 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia, do not miss out on a gastronomic journey through these two fascinating countries.

Savory Food of Vietnam

Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its balance of five fundamental taste elements. Fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, and a reliance on herbs and vegetables characterize the food here. Each dish has a distinctive flavor reflecting one or more of these elements.

Savory Food of Vietnam

Savory Food of Vietnam

  • Pho: This iconic Vietnamese noodle soup is a must-try. It typically consists of a flavorful broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, usually beef or chicken. Pho is not just a dish; it’s a cornerstone of Vietnamese culinary culture.
  • Banh Mi: A fusion of French and Vietnamese cuisine, Banh Mi is a delightful sandwich that packs a punch. It’s a baguette filled with a variety of ingredients, including meats, vegetables, and condiments like pate and mayonnaise.
  • Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls): These fresh spring rolls are a burst of freshness. Wrapped in rice paper, they contain greens, minced pork, shrimp or crab, and a sliver of rice vermicelli, served with a bowl of lettuce and mint.
  • Cao Lau: A regional specialty from Hoi An, Cao Lau is a flavorful bowl of thick rice noodles, pork-rind croutons, bean sprouts, greens, and slices of pork. It’s known for its unique texture and taste.
  • Bun Cha: Hailing from Hanoi, Bun Cha is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodles, served with a bowl of dipping sauce, slices of green papaya, and fresh herbs.

>>> Don’t pass up on the Top 30 Popular Vietnamese Dishes: Must-Try Vietnam Foods.

Famous Dishes in Cambodia

Cambodian cuisine, or Khmer cuisine, is one of the world’s oldest living cuisines and offers an array of unique and flavorful dishes.

Famous Dishes in Cambodia

Famous Dishes in Cambodia

  • Fish Amok: This is perhaps the most famous Cambodian dish. A creamy curry that’s less spicy than its Thai counterpart, Fish Amok is traditionally cooked with fish, coconut milk, and a mix of turmeric, lemongrass, and galangal.
  • Bai Sach Chrouk (Pork and Rice): A simple yet popular breakfast dish in Cambodia. It consists of grilled pork slices over a bed of steamed rice, often accompanied by pickled vegetables and a bowl of chicken broth.
  • Khmer Red Curry: Less spicy than Thai curries, this dish is similar to a Thai red curry but without the overpowering heat. It’s typically made with beef, chicken, or fish, plus eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass, and kaffir lime.
  • Nom Banh Chok (Khmer Noodles): A typical breakfast food, it’s a dish of rice noodles topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root, and kaffir lime.
  • Lap Khmer (Lime-marinated Khmer Beef Salad): A refreshing salad made with thinly sliced beef that’s either quickly seared or “cooked” ceviche-style in lime juice, mixed with fish sauce, garlic, shallots, basil, mint, and bell peppers.

As our journey of 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia comes to a close, we reflect on the rich tapestry of experiences these two remarkable countries have offered. From the bustling streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the serene beauty of Halong Bay and the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat, each day has been a new adventure, a blend of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and natural wonder. This travel plan has not only connected travelers to the heart and soul of Indochina but also left them with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a culinary enthusiast, Vietnam and Cambodia promise an unforgettable journey that captivates every sense. So pack your bags, set your sights on these Southeast Asian gems, and feel free to reach out to us if you any planning assistance.

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Phuong Khanh

Hello, my name is Khanh, I'm a travel blogger at IDC Travel. After my adventures and what I've learned on my trips and from my research, I will help you with planning your trip to Vietnam & Southeast Asia and make your journey remarkable.


    1. Hi Susanne,
      It is relatively easy to travel between Vietnam and Cambodia. You can enjoy direct flights between major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, which take about an hour. There are also bus services offering comfortable and affordable travel between various cities in both countries. For a more scenic route, you can go on a cruise along the Mekong River.
      So, depend on the time you have, you can choose a suitable means of transportation for your trip.
      Thank you so much!
      Best regards,
      IDC Travel Team.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Thank you so much for your interest! Our travel expert will contact you as soon as possible.
      Best regards,
      IDC Travel Team.

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