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How to Plan a Trip to Cambodia and Vietnam: Entry Requirements, Itinerary...

How to Plan a Trip to Cambodia and Vietnam: Entry Requirements, Itinerary...

By Ruby ZhaoUpdated Mar. 17, 2023

In the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia and Vietnam have long been in the limelight for many travelers. They border each other, offering convenient travel connections.

Marvelous sea beaches in Phu Quoc Island, flourishing floating markets along the Mekong River, spectacular karst scenery in Halong Bay, a mysterious temple complex in Angkor Wat... mean the two countries are well endowed with inmate charms for travelers to discover.

Planning a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam is easier now, after both of them were opened for visiting without quarantine in March 2022.

What are Cambodia and Vietnam's Pandemic Travel Restrictions?

Dinner on the beach to enjoy sunset Enjoy a beach dinner on Phu Quoc Island in south Vietnam

Both Cambodia and Vietnam lifted many of their travel restrictions from March, 2022. You can enter Cambodia and Vietnam without quarantine or a nucleic acid test, as long as you're fully vaccinated.

Requirements for Traveling to Cambodia:

  • Certificate showing proof of full vaccination
  • The usual visa or e-visa
  • Insurance is optional, but highly recommended

Requirements for Traveling to Vietnam:

  • Full vaccination (no need to show a certificate of vaccination)
  • The usual visa or e-visa
  • Travel insurance covering COVID-19 costs (10,000 USD minimum)
  • Download the health monitoring and immigration apps (“PC-Covid” and “IGOVN”) from Apple Store or Google Play
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What to See in Cambodia and Vietnam?

Diversity is absolutely one of the most enchanting features of Vietnam and Cambodia. Plunging into Halong Bay, climbing up Pre Rup for a breathtaking sunset in Siem Reap, or delving into Hanoi's alleys for delicacies... no matter whether you're traveling for a honeymoon, anniversary, or family vacation… Vietnam and Cambodia will not disappoint you.

Top Things to Do in Cambodia  

  • North Cambodia: Siem Reap and Tonle Sap Lake
  • South Cambodia: Phnom Penh
Sunset at Angkor Wat in Cambodia Ride a bike through the jungle to enjoy a sunset view at Angkor Wat

1. Ride a bike through the jungle from the center of Siem Reap to Angkor Wat, walking on the stone roads covered with moss and wandering in the mysterious corridors, you will feel like you are in a time tunnel.

2. Take in the charming countryside scenery on a quad bike in Siem Reap: pass the seldom visited local villages, rice fields, and temples, and reward yourself with an amazing countryside sunset.

3. Sit on a mini Tara river boat to cruise the flowing heart of Cambodia  Tonle Sap. See Siem Reap from another perspective as you pass the floating villages, which still retain the lifestyle of the ancient Cambodians.

4. Sense the misery of the Khmer Rouge period in Phnom Penh: Although it's sad and even disturbing to visit the Killing Fields and S-21 Prison, this will get you acquainted with one of the worst human tragedies of the last century.

Read more on Top 10 Things to Do in Siem Reap and Top 8 Things to Do in Phnom Penh.

Luxury Mekong Cruise between Vietnam and Cambodia

Top Things to Do in Vietnam

  • North Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa
  • Central Vietnam: Hoi An, Hue
  • South Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc
Halong Bay Cruise in Vietnam Take a Cruise Through the Karst Scenery in Halong Bay

1. Explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi: explore the city's charm by visiting sites like the elegant Bach Ma Temple and Dong Xuan Market, the oldest local market in the city.

2. Stay overnight on a junk to see Halong Bay: exercise with water activities like swimming, kayaking, or canoeing, and enjoy the sunset on the cruise deck with a cup of beer in hand.

3. Trek in Sapa among the rice fields: bring yourself closer to the raw nature of Vietnam.

4. Track back to the last emperor's life in Hue: a good destination for history buffs.

5. Soak in the beauty of Hoi An Old Town: strolling around the lantern-lit streets, you will have a sense of peace and tranquility. 

6. Visit the floating markets along the Mekong Delta via a boat ride: they have retained their traditional way of doing business.

7. Relax on a wonderful beach on Phu Quoc Island in south Vietnam: enjoy sun bathing, fresh seafood, as well as fantastic scuba diving and snorkeling.

Read more on Top 9 Things to Do in Vietnam

The Best Southeast Asia Tour for First-timers

How Much Does It Cost to travel Vietnam and Cambodia?

With different travel times come different costs. Whenever you travel, the biggest chunk of your budget goes firstly to transportation and secondly to accommodation: this is rigid and unlikely to be pruned away. This leaves the sightseeing part to your control when budgeting. How much you want to see, and therefore the number of days you stay, will determine the eventual cost of the trip.

Hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia cost slightly less than in Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, and India.

Take a Cooking Class in the Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa in Hue Take a Cooking Class in the Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa in Hue
  • During the peak season (October to March), set aside US$80 to 150 per night per room for a 4-star hotel, US$150 and up for 5-star.
  • During the shoulder season (April to September), great deals are offered by some hotels: it is possible to budget US$50 to 100 for a 4-star hotel and from US$100 and up for a 5-star hotel.

Keep in mind that star rating sometimes loses its meaning when it comes to boutique hotels and resorts.

Whether you are traveling independently or on a guided tour, there are budget differences. During the peak season, a day of guided sightseeing costs about US$60 to 120 per day per person, but only half during the shoulder season.

Dining is pretty inexpensive: around 10 bucks for lunch per person and US$20 to 50 for a nice dinner.

Suggested readVietnam vs Thailand: 8 major differences - which to visit >>>

What Is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam and Cambodia?

Floating market in Mekong Delta in Vietnam See trading traditionally in the flourishing floating markets in Mekong Delta in Vietnam

Both countries are subject to a monsoon climate. Average daytime temperatures in summertime (late April to September) are around 27–36°C (81–97°F). Winter has milder weather, getting up to 20–28°C (68–82°F) in the day, but cooler at night and up north.

There are three main seasons in Vietnam and Cambodia:

  • Dry season: November to February
  • Hot season: March to May (temperatures consistently get up to around 38°C (100°F))
  • Rainy season: June to October (it usually rains in the afternoon and at night, and so it's easy to plan around the weather)

The period from November to February (cool/mild and dry) is the most comfortable time to travel Vietnam and Cambodia. If you plan to travel during the cool season, make sure to book at least 3 months in advance, as this will be the busiest time of the year.

We promise you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (detail⇒).

The hot season and the rainy season are not so comfortable for travel, but you will find fewer crowds and lower prices for flights and accommodation.

An In-Depth Experience of Southeast Asia at an Easy Pace

Typhoons from July to September

Typhoons hit the coast of northern to central Vietnam during the July-to-September typhon season, which usually mean cruises in Halong Bay are canceled. Always get insurance if you wish to cruise at this time.

Southern Vietnam sees some storms from October to early December, yet the major cities are pretty safe from rain and wind. Cambodia seldom gets struck by storms, except for Sihanoukville during the typhoon season.

How Long Do You Need in Vietnam and Cambodia?

Cambodia and Vietnam Highlights tour map

For a nice school kids' holidays or annual vacation, it is critical to get the essence of each destination without wearing yourself out. This typically requires at least 12 days for both Cambodia and Vietnam.

A classic route is suggested below for your inspiration. What we are suggesting is a hardest-to-easiest approach. Cambodia's cultural attributes demand more of your engagement: emotions are drawn at the Killing Fields and S21 Museum and a lot of walking is required at the Angkor Wat Complex. Vietnam is relatively relaxing and can be a good wind-down after Cambodia.

  • Day 1: Phnom Penh Arrival, Cambodia
  • Day 2: Phnom Penh (Heart-Breaking Past and Hopeful Present)
  • Day 3: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap (1-hour flight or 6-hour drive along Tonle Sap), Tomb Raider Experience
  • Day 4: Siem Reap (Angkor Wat in Depth)
  • Day 5: Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh City by flight | Saigon at Dusk
  • Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City | Mekong Impression
  • Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City – Hoi An (Danang Airport)
  • Day 8: Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Day 9: Hoi An (Danang Airport) – Hanoi
  • Day 10: Hanoi from a Different Angle
  • Day 11: Hanoi – Halong Bay | Relaxing Cruising in Halong Bay
  • Day 12: Halong Bay – Hanoi, Hanoi Departure
A Journey to Mysterious Cambodia and Idyllic Vietnam

Read more on our tour plan: 12-Day Cambodia and Vietnam Highlights

To extend a tour to Sapa in north Vietnam, another 3 days are needed.

During the pandemic, flights haven't been departing daily. Send us a free inquiry to check flight details and to tailor-make the most suitable route based on your schedule and transportation availability.

How to Get to Vietnam and Cambodia? 

Hui An Ancient Town in Vietnam Walking in the Narrow Lane in Hoi An Ancient Town

As the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is more conveniently connected with other countries than Siem Reap. There are 1-stop flights available transiting in Singapore or Seoul from Los Angles, New York, Toronto, Paris, Frankfurt, London, Sydney, Auckland, etc.

For getting in and out of Vietnam, the first option is to go to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. From the US or Canada, there are 1-stop flights via Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, or other major international hubs. From London or Frankfurt, there is a non-stop flight to Hanoi once a week.

As a way to ensure you get the utmost out of all destinations, always fly out to the next destination on an afternoon flight if possible.

A Southeast Asia Overview for a Shorter Vacation

How to Obtain Visas for Vietnam and Cambodia?

Vietnam Visas

Passport-holders from Belarus, Demark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom do not need a visa for visiting Vietnam for up to 15 days.

Passport-holders from most Southeast Asian countries do not need a visa for visiting Vietnam for up to 30 days. This includes people from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei, and Laos.

Travelers from most other countries and regions are required to obtain a visa for Vietnam before their travel. Do it either via a local embassy or apply online for an e-Visa.

Read more on How to Apply for a Vietnam Visa or contact us for the details.

Night view of Hui An Ancient Town Walking in the night view of Hui An Ancient Town

Cambodia Visas

Regular passport holders from the following countries do not require a visa to visit Cambodia (for the following periods):

  • Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam (30 days)
  • Philippines (21 days)
  • Thailand (14 days)

If you are from other countries, you can apply for an e-Visa online for US$37 before arrival, or you may do it on the spot when you enter Cambodia as a Visa-on-Arrival (30 USD for single entry). Visa-on-Arrival is not available at the border-crossing from Chau Doc in Vietnam, but it is at most other ports.

Read more on How to Get a Cambodia Visa or contact us for the details.

Sync with Indochina's Heartbeat

Is It Safe to Travel in Vietnam and Cambodia?

With wars and uprisings all left in these countries' yesterdays, both countries are pretty safe to travel nowadays. There have never been victims of terrorist attacks, and political stability and unity look just as good as their stable neighbor China's. However, especially for independent travelers, it is important to watch out for traffic hazards, petty theft, and scams.

For dietary safety, it is always wise to drink bottled water, and go easy on ice, raw food, and any other food and drinks if you cannot tell where they are from or what they are made of.

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Visit Vietnam and Cambodia with Asia Highlights

Traveling is all about experiences. That is the very thing that you cannot cut corners on. It is also nice to get inspired by experiences. Here, we have designed classic tour itineraries catering to almost all palates for inspiration. If that doesn't strike your fancy, talk to us and get started here: Help Me Plan Now

Why Travel with Asia Highlights During the Pandemic

  • Tailor-made experience: All of your ideas/needs will be carefully considered to create your ideal trip.
  • Worry-free planning: Your 1:1 travel consultant in Asia will take all the uncertainty out of your planning, helping you navigate any travel restrictions. 
  • No-risk booking: 100% refund policy! (prior to 3 weeks before departure, more details)

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