Ultimate Vietnam Cambodia and Thailand ends Chiang Mai Trip Notes
Can’t decide which Southeast Asia tour to go on? Luckily for you this tour covers most of your bases for the ultimate SE Asia adventure! From the vibrant cityscape of Bangkok to Halong Bay’s impressive limestone karsts, prepare to be amazed by all that Indochina has to offer. Sip egg coffee on train street in Hanoi, wander the lantern lit quaint shop fronts of Hoi An, float down the Mekong Delta, take in the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and marvel at the ancient wonders of Angkor Wat. Finish off your adventure feeding and bathing elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. You’ll experience it all with the perfect balance of history, culture, adventure, partying and scenery. You’re in for the ultimate experience!
Duration : 22 Days
Destination : Cambodia / Thailand / Vietnam
Start/Ends in : Hanoi / Chiang Mai
Group Size : 13-35 People
Age Req. : 18+
Trip Theme : In-Depth Explorer, Overland
Hotels : 5 & 4 Star
Departs : All Year Round
Why you will love this tour
- * Experience all that Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have to offer as you journey through lively cities, floating villages, lush countryside towns and ancient wonders of the world.
- * Stay in carefully-selected 4 & 3-star hotels with all breakfasts and 1 lunch included.
- * Get ready to pinch yourself as you stand amongst the world’s largest temple complex – Angkor Wat. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is the prized heart and soul of Cambodia!
- * Spend a day cruising along the lush green wetlands and floating villages of the Mekong Delta! Keep an eye out for some tasty local dishes sold by the smiley locals.
- * Follow your local guide on an included city tour to the highlights of Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh and more.
- * Learn of war history, historic dynasties, and captivating cultures as you explore small villages and ancient cities throughout northern Vietnam and central Cambodia.
- Shape your South East Asian adventure with unforgettable optional extras including kayaking in Halong Bay, guided Hoi An tours on vintage Vespas, Vietnamese cooking classes, Cu Chi Tunnel tour, or visit the Gold Hand Bridge for epic panoramic views and photo opportunities!
- Complete your tour feeding and bathing the gentle giants at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai before returning to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.
The meeting point for the tour is :
Thien Thai Hotel – Hanoi
Address : 45 P. Nguyễn Trường Tộ, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Phone : +84-2437476420/22
Emergency Number: +84 24 3716 4127
Centara Riverside Hotel – Chiang Mai
Address : 318, ตําบล, 1 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd, Wat Ket, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand
Phone : +66 53 275 300
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Cham Museum: Dedicated to this period and the Champa existence which began predominantly in the coastal area. Housing the largest exhibition of Cham sculpture in the world.
Can Cau Saturday Market: One of the most fascinating open-air markets in Sapa, the market is located 20 km North of Bac Ha and just 7 km south of the Chinese border.
Cu Chi Tunnel: The Chu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum in Ho Chi Minh. They offer a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948.
Dog Island: Dog Island is close to the west of Dau Go Grotto and is one of 1969 islands in island complex, it is the symbol of peaceful sea and safety for sailing junks in the bay.
Dong Ba Bustling Market: The Dong Ba Market traces it provenance way back in Hue history. Historically, the market stood outside the Hue Citadel and was the largest commercial center.
Flag Tower: Flag tower is one of Hue monument complex. After being constructed under Emperor Gia Long’s reign. The flag tower consists of two parts including tower and the flag pole.
Ga Choi Island: Ga Choi Island (Fighting Cock Island), which is no doubt one of the most unique and popular features that has appeared as symbol of Halong Bay.
Golden Hand: Known as the Golden Bridge, it stands 1,400 m above sea level above the Ba Na hills, offering majestic panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Hanoi: Known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade.
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum: Discover the life and legacy of Ho Chi Minh in a vast complex that constitutes the famous One Pillar Pagoda, the Vietnam leader’s gardens and residence.
Hoi An: Ho An Ancient Town is and exceptionally well-preserved example of a South- East Asian trading port dating from te 15th to 19th century.
Imperial City of Hue: The ancient Hue was recognized by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. This city is the cradle of Vietnamese culture and used to be the national capital.
Marble mountain: The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It’s also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels, and temples.
Ngoc Son Temple: The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century), La To (patron saint of physicians), and the scholar Van Xuong.
One Pillar Pagoda: Built of wood on a single stone pillar, the pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow.
Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh: The monument is a synthesis of Vietnamese and European elements. Most of the tomb’s grandiose exterior is covered in darkened weathered concrete.
Temple of Literature (Van Mieu): Having gone through several destruction and restorations, the Temple of Literature still retains its original features. Signifying a hallmark of education in ancient Vietnam and its great value to the Vietnamese people.
Thien Mu Pagoda: Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda), also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagoda in Hue city.
War Remnants Museum: This interesting and well-curated museum is a must-do for ant visitor to Saigon given the impact of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam.
Angkor Wat: Angkor Wat is an enormous Buddhist temple complex located in northern Cambodia. Itwas originally built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple.
Mekong Delta: Network of distributaries in south Vietnam, between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia.The river itself starts in the Himalayas and reach to Cambodia.
Phnom Banan: The 11th century Angkorian ruin is the best preserved of the Khmer temples around Battambang. As you will see the distinctive five towers pointing skyward.
Phnom Udong: Located in Psar Dek and Phnom Bat communes, Ponhea Leu district, about 41km north of Phnom Penh. The city drops behind while fishing villages and rice paddies.
Siem Reap: Siem Reap province is located in northwest Cambodia. It is the major tourist hub in Cambodia, as it is the closest city to the world famous temples of Angkor.
Silver Pagoda: Located on the South side of the architectural Royal Palace complex, the Silver Pagoda as well as Wat Preah Keo Morakat is the most beautiful and popular pagoda.
South Gate of Angkor Thom: The most famous city gate and a kind of emblem. Every visitor of Angkor will see it, as the only road from the Angkor Wat to the second- most popular destination.
Terrace of the Elephants: The Terrace of the Elephants is one of the most visited sites in the Angkor Park. It is a 2.5m tall, 300m long platform and used by King Jayavarman VII.
Bangkok: Bangkok, Thailand’s famous capital, also knows as a large city with ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds it’s network of canals.
Kanchanaburi: Lying at the source of the Mae Klong River, the majestic bodies of water in Kanchanaburi are amongst the most spectacular defining characteristics of the town.
Ayutthaya: The history of Ayutthaya dates back to the supposed foundation in 1350, although some temples in the marvelous ancient city have been known to exist before then.
Lopburi: Lopburi is a province in the central region of Thailand. The province is divided into 11 administrative districts, and Mueang Lopburi District is the capital.
Phitsanulok: The ancient city of Phitsanulok has a long history dating back to the Khmer era, generally called “Muaeng Song Kwae” with reference to the two rivers passing through it.
Sukhothai: A town founded in the 13th century on the fringe of the Khmer Empire. The exact year is unknown, but according to the Fine Arts Office it was between 1238 and 1257.
Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including the 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang.
Chiang Rai: Chiang Rai is an idyllic town famous for its magnificently ornate White and Blue Temples. It also has a taste of indigenous culture with the cozy Akha Village.
Elephant EcoValley: That might happen to you, too! Experience elephants up-close while feeding and bathing them. Learn about herbal treatments and make their vitamin balls.
Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.
Inclusions & Exclusions
The tour price covers the following services:
Accomodation : 5 and 4 Star Hotels, Lodge, Traditional Junk Boat
Airport Transfer : Airport transfers for the included domestic flights on the tour
Meals : 21 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 1 Dinner
Transportation : A/C Vehicles, Speedy boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh
Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licenced by the Ministry of Tourism
Sightseeing : Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son Temple, Halong Bay, Hoi An ancient town, Marble Mountain, Cham Museum, Imperial Citadel, Flag Tower, Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh, Reunification palace, War Remnants Museum, Mekong River, Cai Rang Floating Market, Tra Su Sanctuary, Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Phno, Tuol Sleng Museum, Phnom Udong, Phnom Sampeu Mountain, Phnom Penh Banon Temple, Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat
What is NOT included in the tour price?
- Any flights not mentioned above
- Travel insurance
- Meals not stated above
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips & gestures
- Entrance fees to the sights and museums
- Optional activities
- Other services not stated in the itinerary
Hotels & Accommodation
Solo travelers will be roomed with another solo traveler of the same gender in a twin or triple room or can upgrade to a solo room by paying the single supplement. You may choose the solo room option when booking online or contact us to arrange a private room. Your tour leader will allocate rooms upon arrival at the starting hotel in accordance with the rooming lists, last minute changes may not be guaranteed.
Thien Thai Hotel – HANOI – 4 STAR
Thien Thai Hotel offers luxurious and modern accommodation in Hanoi’s Old Town and a short 15-minute walk from Hanoi Old City Gate and Hoan Kiem Lake.
TRADITIONAL JUNK – HALONG BAY – SUPERIOR JUNK
Sleep on board a traditional-style boat and set sail through hundreds of limestone islands that rise dramatically from the emerald waters of the bay.
Royal Riverside Hotel – HOI AN – 4 STAR
Located on the bank of the romantic Thu Bon River, Royal Riverside Hoi An Hotel is a short walk from Hoi An’s ancient town and offers elegant rooms with river view.
Moonlight Hotel- HUE- 4 STAR
Moonlight Hotel features a panoramic picture of Hue City, Perfume River, Trang Tien bridge and Hue citadel.The hotel offers a SPA center & indoor pool.
Paragon Saigon Hotel – Ho Chi Minh – 4 STAR
Enjoying a prime location in the heart of the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City, Paragon Saigon Hotel features modern rooms & a rooftop pool and leads the way in imaginative and creative interior design.
Victoria Hotel – CHAU DOC – 4 STAR
Located next to the Bassac River, Victoria Hotel is a perfect starting point from which to explore Chau Doc. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool & SPA Center.
TTC Hotel Premium-CAN THO-4 STAR
Located in Can Tho, TTC Hotel Premium Can Tho offers elegant and stylish accommodations with spectacular river views. The hotel is just 5 minutes walk from Ninh Kieu Pier and Can Tho Museum.
Duong Chan Hotel – PHNOM PENH-4 STAR
Duong Chan Hotel is located in the center of lively Phnom Penh and features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness & SPA center and guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the skybar.
Centara Riverside Hotel – CHIANG MAI – 4 STAR
Discover Thailand’s breath-taking north at Centara Riverside Hotel, where the warmth of local traditions combines with quality. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, only a few steps from Ping River.
LALUNA HOTEL RESORT – CHIANG RAI – 4 STAR
Laluna stands apart from the crowd with a unique feel. A collection of 79 spacious bungalows hidden away from the main road and nestled within a tropical paradise.
CLASSY HOTEL – BATTAMBURG – 4 STAR
Set across the river from Downtown, this relaxed hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, and sensational views over the Sangker River.
PATTARA RESORT & SPA – PHITSANULOK – 4 STAR
Pattara Resort and Spa is the first and only resort in the center of Phitsanulok. It’s rooms are surrounded by nature in a private atmosphere. Every room can access to the infinite swimming pool.
FELIX RIVER KWAI RESORT – KANCHANABURI – 4 STAR
Felix River Kwai is the legendary riverside garden retreat of Kanchanaburi, built with local hard redwoods, mountainous rocks and terracotta tiles sealed to create a comfortable homey ambience.
Grand Mercure Bangkok Atrium – BANGKOK – 4 STAR
Grand Mercure Atrium is located in the heart of dazzling Bangkok. The hotel is conveniently situated and at the same time, offers serenity with its outdoor pool & weel-being center.
SOMEDEVI ANGKOR HOTEL – SIEM REAP – 5 STAR
With the abundance of tropical plants lining its center and its location in the heart of Siem Reap, Somadevi Angkor Hotel reflects an oasis-like feel. The hotel also offers an excellent on-site cafe.
Please note that entrance fees to sights and optional activities are not included in the tour price.
Hanoi street food by night (walking tour) — USD 25
Kayaking — USD 10
City tour and street food by Vintage Vespa — USD 60
Countryside tour by bike — USD 20
Cooking class — USD 30
Golden Hand Bridge tour — USD 60
Roundtrip cable car & private transfer — USD 35
Cu Chi Tunnel tour — USD 25
Saigon Vespa and street food tour at night — USD 60
President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum — USD 4
Temple of Literature — USD 1,5
Ngoc Son Temple — USD 1,5
Hoi An ancient town — USD 8
Marble Mountain — USD 2
Cham Museum — USD 2
Imperial Citadel — USD 9
Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh — USD 7
Reunification Palace — USD 2
War Remnants Museum — USD 2
Tra Su Sanctuary — USD 10
Royal Palace Entry — USD 10
National Museum — USD 10
Wat Phnom — USD 1
Tuol Sleng Museum — USD 5
Phnom Udong — USD 3
Phnom Sampeu Mountain — USD 5
Bamboo Train — USD 5
Phnom Penh Banon Temple — USD 3
Angkor Wat — USD 37
Phare Circus (Section B) — USD 25
Essential Information: Vietnam & Thailand & Cambodia
Passport & Visas
Visas to enter Vietnam are compulsory for most tourists. An eVisa is available to many nationalities. Processing times and fees vary per application location, nationality and travelling dates. eVisas are typically issued for a maximum of 30 days, single entry, and cost 25 USD.
Further to this, 24 nationalities are not required a visa for touristic visits up to 15 days, which include United Kingdom and EU passport holders.
Passport validity entry requirements: Travellers entering Vietnam must carry a passport or travel document with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining.
The travellers are also required to keep their passport copies with them while entering Vietnam.
Visa to enter Cambodia is mandatory for most tourists, please note that most citizens traveling from Vietnam to Cambodia with the group will require a visa at the border.
If the first point of entry to start the tour is Cambodia, for more information on how to obtain a Cambodia tourist visa please visit. https://www.evisa.gov.kh/.
If you are a citizen of the following countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, you are exempt from a tourist visa and can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without the need to acquire a tourist visa. All travelers to Thailand must hold Passport or travel document with a validity not less than 6 months. We recommend checking the legal requirements from https://www.thaiembassy.com/thailand-visa/thailand-tourist-visa
This information is provided as a guidance, we strongly advise that you check with the consulate or embassy as this information can change at any time and with little notice. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the required travel documents are ready when travelling.
We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand and following the advice of the UK Foreign Office (FCDO). For the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cambodia, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand
We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:
Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/
New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels
*All passengers entering Cambodia from Vietnam must present their vaccination certificate to the officials.
Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers canexperience ‘Safe Travels’.
Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.
Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.
Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.
The weather across Vietnam varies significantly from North to South, making it a year-round destination for avid travellers. In Northern Vietnam, the typically hot and humid summer months fall between May and August. Meanwhile, central Vietnam experiences extended summers from January until August and South
Vietnam is known for its year-round pleasant temperatures. March to May (Spring) and September to November (Autumn) are considered the best months to visit Vietnam in its entirety due to minimal rainfall and moderate temperatures. If visiting Halong Bay and Sapa in Vietnam’s north – consider travelling between Spring and Autumn to ensure the most picturesque weather conditions with minimal rainfall. For more, check out our Vietnam weather guide.
The best time to visit Thailand is during the dry season between November and April. The weather is warm, and the days are filled with sunlight around this time, offering quality time in the country’s heartland. Thailand experiences its busiest and liveliest time from January to March, hosting numerous cultural events and exciting activities. In the rainy season from May to October, nature is at its finest. The inland forests flourish, and the rivers are majestic, creating the most spectacular landscapes for photography enthusiasts. It is also less busy in popular attractions such as Sukhotai and Lopburi. May to October offers the best time to visit Thailand to experience its cultural jewels. For more, check out our Thailand weather guide.
Cambodia is known for its tropical monsoon climate with two distinct seasons: the rainy season from May to early November and the dry season from late November to April. During the rainy season, Cambodia experiences 75% of its annual rainfall with warm temperatures and lush, green countryside waiting to be explored! The dry season from November to April appears more popular amongst visiting travellers, with clearer skies and sunshine. Temperatures in Cambodia remain warm and consistent across the year making it a perfect place to travel any month. However, if travelling throughout the North during the winter months (December to March), be sure to pack extra layers as temperatures can become cold during the evenings.
The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). The numerous denominations of VND can be confusing for foreigners, so it is worth noting that 25,000 VND converts to approximately 1 USD. Credit and debit cards are accepted at major hotels and tourist attractions across Vietnam but are not accepted for small payments such as snacks. Travel Talk recommends carrying VND cash to cover daily expenses. ATMs are quite common across Vietnam and US dollars can also be used to pay for hotels, restaurants, and some other services in major cities.
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB) and 1 USD converts to approximately 36THB. Credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs across Thailand. There is no need to dispense large quantities of THB prior to arrival in Thailand. Most travellers never require more than 20THB worth of Thai Baht on them at any one time. USD cash is also widely accepted across Thailand; however change is often given in THB. Many businesses will not accept notes larger than 20USD, so we recommend carrying small denominations of both THB and USD. Credit and Debit cards can also be used to pay for accommodation or more expensive services in Thailand’s major cities, however cash remains king. We recommend you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.
The official currency of Cambodia is the Khmer Riel (KHR) and 1 USD converts to approximately 4,000KHR. Credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs across Cambodia. There is no need to dispense large quantities of KRH prior to arrival in Cambodia. Most travellers never require more than 20USD worth of Cambodian riel on them at any one time. USD cash is also widely accepted across Cambodia; however change is often given in KHR. Many businesses will not accept notes larger than 20USD, so we recommend carrying small denominations of both KHR and USD. Credit and Debit cards can also be used to pay for accommodation or more expensive services in Cambodia’s major cities, however cash remains king. We recommend you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.
Please remember that everyone has different spending habits, some prefer to spend more on souvenirs, some on experiences and others on a night out! Make sure to budget your trip to your spending habits for shopping, drinking, and tipping.
Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia but is very much appreciated, a small tip can equate to a large portion of daily wage for service staff. Rounding your bill to the nearest 1 USD equivalent is a small gesture that is greatly appreciated across the nation for good service. You may also consider tipping your leader and driver for outstanding service at the end of your trip.
Eating & Drinking
Vietnamese cuisine is distinct and unforgettable, made famous for its use of tangy herbs and zesty flavours. Traditionally, Vietnamese cuisine is boiled and steamed, rather than stir-fried like Thai and Chinese. Inexpensive food markets, street vendors and casual restaurants line almost every corner of Vietnam’s major cities and small towns – making it extremely easy to find these popular meals and more. Check out our Vietnam food guide for more.
Goi Cuon: Translucent spring rolls packed with greens, coriander and minced pork or shrimp. These traditional spring rolls are served as a starter in most Vietnamese restaurants.
Banh Mi: Known as Vietnam’s most popular street food, Banh Mi is a unique French-Vietnamese sandwich that consists of a toasted baguette with pickled vegetables, pate, butter, soy sauce, cilantro and chillies.
Pho: Considered Vietnam’s signature dish, Pho is comprised of rice noodles in a flavourful soup with meat and various greens, plus a side of nuoc cham, or chilli sauce. A basic bowl is often topped with bean sprouts, lime wedges, fresh herbs, mint, cilantro and onions. The dish is commonly eaten at breakfast by the locals.
Banh Xeo: Like a crepe or pancake, Banh Xeo is made of rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. The pancake batter is then filled with vermicelli noodles, chicken, pork or beef slices, shrimps, sliced onions, beansprouts, and mushrooms. The sizzling pancake is sold at local food markets and is dipped in peanut sauce.
Bun Cha: Traditional to Hanoi, Bun Cha consists of grilled pork belly, vermicelli noodles, salad and herbs with a side of chilli fish sauce.
Egg Coffee: Unique to Hanoi, Egg coffee is a sweet and delicious beverage made from a coffee base with frothy egg yolk and condensed milk.
Com Tam: Commonly referred to as Broken Rice, Com Tam is a simple but tasty dish of grilled meat, fried egg, salad and pickles. The broken rice element is actually broken grains of rice left over from traditional drying and milling processes. It’s eaten by locals at any time of the day and is a very inexpensive meal costing approximately 1USD.
Vietnam’s national drink of choice is green tea, which is the accompaniment to every social gathering. Vietnamese coffee is also extremely popular amongst travellers, made from condensed milk and drip coffee. At the harder end of the spectrum, you will find rice wine! In Northern Vietnam amongst the farming regions, most rice wines are made in small home distilleries using sticky rice.
Thai food is one of the lightest among Southeast Asian cuisines. It makes use of various local ingredients and aims for a harmonious finish. Spices and herbs consist a pivotal part of Thai culinary arts, giving each dish a distinctive aromatic edge. It carries traces from Chinese cuisine, especially in the street food scene, with deep-fries and stir-fries among the most popular snacks. You will love the experience of browsing the food stalls for different flavors and dining multi-course at Thai restaurants. With a large number of regional variations and historical influences, Thai food may be difficult to explore. Check out our Thailand food guide for more.
Guay Teow: It is the classic broth filled with rice or egg noodles and either pork, beef, or chicken. Sadly, vegetarian versions are rare, but you can always ask.
Tom Yum Goong: Tom Yum is famous for its intense spice content, generally featuring lemongrass, galangal, and chili peppers. Lime juice and kaffir lime leaves give the dish a refreshing aroma.
Pad Thai: Pad Thai is fried noodles usually made with chicken or shrimp and seasoned with peanuts, bean sprouts, sesame, and sweet and sour sauces. You will mostly see it in street food stalls.
Thai Roti: Thai people replace waffles and pancakes with Thai Roti. It is a greasy and mouthwatering sweet dough cooked in street grills at almost every corner in Thailand. It is the signature dessert dish and a favorite quick bite for locals and travelers.
Cambodian cuisine is modest and comforting with a unique twist. Rice and freshwater fish are staples and a traditional Cambodian meal almost always includes a samlor (traditional soup). Inexpensive food markets, street vendors and casual restaurants line almost every corner of Cambodia’s major cities and small towns – making it extremely easy to find these popular meals and more. Check out our Cambodian food guide for more.
Fish Amok: Known as Cambodia’s esteemed signature dish, Fish Amok is a curry featuring diced fillets of freshwater fish baked in a creamy coconut, ginger, lemon grass and turmeric sauce. The dish is traditionally cooked by steaming it in a banana leaf shaped bowl, within which it is then served.
Kuy Teav: This popular street food dish is a noodle soup made from pork or beef bones and rice vermicelli. The flavoursome broth is topped with fried shallots, garlic, bean sprouts, and aromatic herbs.
Beef Loc Lac: Another signature dish in Cambodia, beef loc lac is stir-fried strips of beef served atop a bed of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and rings of raw onions. The dish is often topped with a fried egg with a dipping sauce of lime juice and pepper.
Green Mango Salad: Cambodian salads are renowned for being crunchy and zesty. The Green Mango salad features fresh chilli, fish sauce, sliced green mango, sliced tomatoes and shallots, pickled cucumber, onion, peppers and fresh basil or mint.
Tarantula: Believe it or not, snacking on a spide is another Cambodian delicacy that locals relish! Deep-fried and then salted, the tarantula is served at local markets after being caught by hand in the jungle. If you are feeling game, you can purchase a tarantula at the local markets from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
Lap Khmer: Thin slices of beef marinated in lime juice with lots of shallots, garlic, fish sauce, basil, mint and bell peppers. Travellers be warned, this dish has plenty of kick!
Kampot Pepper Crabs: Along the coastline of Cambodia, delicious pepper crabs caught fresh from the sea and cooked in roadside restaurants are extremely popular. The dish is hot, delicious and very savoury.
Khmer Red Curry: Often made from chicken, beef, or fish this curry dish is made with potatoes, coconut milk, lemongrass and a special Cambodian ingredient known as Kroeung.
Sweetened with condensed milk, the beloved ice coffee is a must-try drink in Cambodia costing only 1USD a cup. With tap water not being safe to consume in Cambodia, beer is the choice of beverage among locals!
While we only recommend drinking alcohol in moderation, there is no denying that the local drop is extremely cheap! Angkor Beer is the most well-known beer in Cambodia with prices varying from 1-2 USD per glass. Palm wine is also quite popular in more rural regions and travellers should be warned that it can be extraordinarily strong.
Essentials to Bring & Internet
-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/
-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)
-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)
-Personal medical kit and medicine
-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)
-Reusable water bottle
-Ear plugs and eye mask
-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
-Comfortable, closed walking shoes
-Wind/water proof jacket
-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather
-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather
Most cafes, hotels and restaurants in cities of Vietnam provide free Wi-Fi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a Vietnamese SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase SIMs in Vietnam.
Many cafes, hotels and restaurants in cities of Thailand provide free Wi-Fi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase data SIMs in Thailand.
Many cafes, hotels and restaurants in cities of Cambodia provide free Wi-Fi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a Cambodian SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase data SIMs in Cambodia.
Culture, Religion, and Traditions
Vietnamese culture has been profoundly influenced by the Chinese, who occupied the country for 1,000 years and left a heavy influence in modern day. Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic minority groups (around 14 million people) with most living in the North and carving their existence from the lush mountainside landscapes along the Chinese and Lao borders. The nation hosts a large variety of beliefs and religions as reflected in its abundance of temples, pagodas, Buddhas and other religiously sacred sites. However, over the centuries, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism have fused with popular Chinese beliefs and ancient Vietnamese animism to form the Tam Giao (Triple Religion) that many Vietnamese identify with today. In many Vietnamese homes it is common to find a shrine dedicated to past ancestors, complete with offerings of flowers and incense. It’s also common to worship rulers of yesteryear, such as the likes of Ho Chi Minh.
More than 90% of the people who live in Cambodia are ethnic Khmers, making the country the most ethnically homogeneous in South-East Asia. The Khmer culture is based on tradition, honouring ancestors, respecting elders and living a life of humility, honesty and kindness. The local people are recognised globally for being gentle, humble, and hospitable. Cambodians have developed a unique Khmer belief from the syncretism of indigenous beliefs and the Indian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism is the most popular religion for the nation, with 95% of the population following Theravada Buddhism. Monks are highly regarded and respected in society and religious festivals and ceremonies are considered of utmost importance. Superstition almost runs parallel to religion, with the belief of spirits and superpowers.
Etiquette and How to Dress
Going to hot and humid places often calls for light, natural fabrics like cotton and silk. However, it is important to remember that South Asian people dress conservatively. Both women and men wear long shirts that cover their shoulders. For the most part, visitors are expected to do the same, while it is common to roam in swimwear on the islands and around the beaches. When visiting a religious complex, it is essential to wear clothing that covers your chest, shoulders, and knees or you will not be permitted entry. If invited to visit a local’s home, it is important to remember to take your shoes off at the entrance. It is also worth noting that small villages can find it intrusive to film or take photographs of them and their homes.
We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us. You may see out solo travels page for more details.
Rules to Follow
We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.
We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.
You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.
If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.
Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/
Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.
We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/