Vietnam & Cambodia: ancient beauty & emerald isles
Sail through Halong Bay to Lan Ha Bay, cook up a Vietnamese feast & witness Angkor Wat at sunrise
Vietnam & Cambodia: ancient beauty & emerald isles
About your trip
It’s here. Our first (but not last) twin-destination adventure. From Hanoi to Siem Reap, we’ve crafted something special; showing you the best of Vietnam and Cambodia in just under a fortnight.
Angkor Wat? Check. Admire it as the sun creeps over the ancient complex. Dreams of sailing Ha Long Bay? We’ve gone one better. Bypass the crowds aboard a traditional junk boat and drop anchor at the lesser-explored Lan Ha Bay for cave kayaking and late-night karaoke. Delicious local food? Absolutely. From a cooking lesson in Hoi An to Khmer specialities in Siem Reap and a visit to Cambodia’s only gin distillery, we’ve got you covered.
Travelling by bus, boat, bicycle and train, your adventure will show you the most iconic sights of Vietnam and Cambodia at all angles. Always with a touch of the unexpected along the way. This is Flash Pack, after all.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Max 14 travellers per group
- Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
- All activities mentioned on the itinerary
- Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
- Tips for the Pack Leader & driver
- Private minibus
- Stay in handpicked 3-5 star hotels
- 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners
- One domestic flight
Remember, your international flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.
Day 01 Hanoi’s foodie delights
Xin chào and welcome to Hanoi. A mixing pot of French and Chinese influences, with ornate temples and colourful markets lining the streets, this eclectic city offers some excellent opportunities for cultured adventures. Arrive at your hotel and meet your fellow travellers and guide, before heading out together for a safari around the city’s buzzing markets. Feast your way through Hanoi’s streets with your group, down a maze of hidden alleys and bustling stalls getting a taste for what’s to come on this trip. Then pay a visit to Bia Hoi corner, ‘beer corner’, to see the night in.
Day 02 HANOI RURAL LIFE BY BICYCLE
Today, you’ll discover a different side to Vietnam’s capital as you and your group take to two wheels to explore the spectacular surrounding countryside. Heading away from the busy streets, you’ll pedal through small back alleys to the banks of the Duong River, which you’ll cross on a local ferry. From here, you’ll follow the river, riding through serene villages dotted with traditional houses, lively markets, ancient pagodas and temples. You’ll stop off at a rural family home for a cup of tea and to learn about Vietnamese daily life. Later, you’ll return to the city for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 03 Hike through Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Leave behind Hanoi’s electric chaos, as you make your way to Pu Luong Nature Reserve with its misty hillsides and shimmering rice paddies. Whilst similar to the landscape of Sa Pa with its rolling green hills, Pu Luong is a region of lesser-known beauty, allowing you to glimpse another side to Vietnam that many tourists don’t get to see. Upon arrival, acclimatise to your new surroundings with a long hike through fields of rice, bamboo forests and waterfalls – your perfect introduction. Then, as evening falls, you’ll have a few hours to relax back at your village lodge, before heading out for dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 04 Morning hike in the Pu Luong hills
Wake up to serene views of the rice paddies and forested hills, before setting out for a morning hike. Take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures, weaving through the jungle and following the river through the rice fields. Lunch will be served back at the lodge, then you’ll catch your transfer back to Hanoi where you’ll have time to visit the sights. Dive into the Old Quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake, take in one of the excellent city museums or pay homage at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Perhaps you’d rather relax back at the hotel – ready for tomorrow’s adventure to Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay.
Day 05 Kayaking and karaoke
This morning, settle into a four-hour drive to Ha Long Bay, an archipelago of 2,000 islands and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arriving at noon, hop straight onto an Indochina junk boat as you sail away from the crowds to the lesser-explored but equally spectacular Lan Ha Bay. After lunch onboard with your fellow travellers, you’ll set off by kayak, paddling between ancient limestone karsts, hidden grottoes and secluded lagoons. Learn to make spring rolls with your group, before a sunset dinner to celebrate this unique voyage. As darkness falls, you’ll have the chance to try squid fishing (season dependent) followed by a night of karaoke (talent optional) and dancing (same applies).
Day 06 Overnight train to Hoi An
After a peaceful night’s sleep (depending on how wild the karaoke was), immerse yourself in a tai chi class as the sun rises over the majestic limestone cliffs around you. As you enjoy breakfast on board with breathtaking views of the bay, you’ll set sail to the Frog Pond area – the famous film location for Kong Skull Island in the King Kong movie – where you can kayak and swim in the emerald green waters. Then, it’s back to Hanoi for your next adventure: an overnight train south to Danang. Sharing a four-berth cabin, you’ll be able to sit back and take in the scenery as you pass towns and villages, rice fields and palm trees, farmers and water buffalo. Before you know it, you’ll be lulled to sleep by the rhythmic motion of the rails.
Day 07 Cook up a Vietnamese feast
The most magical part of this journey is between Hue and Danang, as the train runs along the South China Sea, snaking between jungle-covered cliffs, past beaches and islands and through the lush green mountains of the Hai Van Pass. It’s one of the most scenic train rides in the world. From Danang, it’s a short minibus transfer to the delightful riverside town of Hoi An. This former trading port is renowned for its fine selection of handmade silk, vibrant café culture and colourful architecture. This afternoon, you’ll prepare three delicious dishes under the guidance of local professional chefs. Your creations which will form part of an epic-five-course dinner, which you can relish in style after all your hard work.
Day 08 Ho Chi Minh by vintage Vespa
Spend the morning wandering through the history-rich streets of the Old Town. From the Chua Ong Pagoda to the Jinshang Temple – dedicated to the goddess of the sea and protector of sailors – there’s a breathtaking mix of ornate Japanese bridges, wooden shophouses and French colonial buildings, not to mention hundreds of colourful lanterns. It’s a lovely place to amble around. In the afternoon, head to the airport and catch your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Once you’ve freshened up, it’s time for a tour… on the back of a vintage Vespa (this is Flash Pack after all). Passing the city’s most iconic sights, from Bình Tây Market to the Reunification Palace, you’ll make a series of stops to sample the street food, before returning to your hotel for a dip in the pool.
Day 09 Cu Chi Tunnels and sunset cocktails
This morning, you’ll come face to face with Vietnam’s war legacy with a visit to Cu Chi Tunnels. You’ll learn how guerilla soldiers lived during the infamous war, weaving through a subterranean labyrinth of tunnels. From here, you’ll leave Vietnam behind as you travel on to Cambodia by road. Crossing the border, your Cambodian Pack Leader and driver will be waiting to escort you to Phnom Penh, the country’s vibrant capital at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Tonight you’ll be visiting Cambodia’s only gin distillery to discover how craft Mekong Dry Gin is made from 13 botanicals, including pandan leaves, galangal, kaffir lime and lemongrass. You’ll see the stills and learn about the history – while sampling the product, naturally.
Day 10 TRAGIC HISTORY & A CYCLO TOUR
Today, you’ll confront Cambodia’s tragic past with a guided walk around the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. You’ll then visit the infamous Killing Fields – the legacy of 20th-century despotism and a tragic but essential step to understanding Cambodia as it is today. Spend the afternoon exploring the city – perhaps ambling through the bustling stalls of Toul Tom Poung Market, selling everything from local handicrafts to street food. Phnom Penh boasts a characteristic blend of traditional Southeast Asian architecture and colonial influence – best experienced by three-wheeler cyclo. Hopping on board, you’ll tour the city’s French Quarter, with its belle epoque and art deco buildings. Later, you’ll make your way to the river to enjoy rooftop sundowners with your group.
Day 11 STREETFOOD BARBECUE
After an early breakfast, you’ll travel overland to Siem Reap, the gateway to the majestic temples of Angkor and a charming little city. Along the way, you’ll stop off at the town of Skuon where the local speciality is deep-fried tarantula. Whether you choose to try the eight-legged snack is up to you but be sure to bring an appetite and sense of adventure with you tonight. After sunset, you’ll travel by remork (Cambodian tuk-tuk) to the legendary Street 60 night market. Here, amongst the corrugated iron roofed shacks filled with aromatic smoke, you can try everything from grilled frog and grasshoppers to silkworms and crispy crickets. There are plenty of less exotic options too so join the locals on their bamboo mats for an evening of barbecue heaven.
Day 12 ANCIENT TEMPLES & MODERN ART
The early wake-up will be worth it to arrive at Banteay Srei before the crowds. In a remote location, 30 kilometres from Siem Reap, this delicately carved rose pink temple is a masterpiece of Angkorian art. From ancient bas reliefs to contemporary creativity, your next stop is an artists’ hub where you can see colourful Khmer artworks and watch apprentices in action. Surrounded by gorgeous tropical gardens, you’ll enjoy canapes and a glass of fizz before heading back to Siem Reap. Find your bearings with an orientation tour around the city, before spending the rest of your evening at leisure. Optional activities include the Phare Circus show, dinner with traditional dancing or a rejuvenating massage.
Day 13 SUNRISE ANGKOR WAT
Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for: your visit to Angkor Wat. This vast 12th-century temple was the epicentre of Khmer civilisation and remains one of the most incredible monuments on earth. You’ll be up before dawn to witness it in the most spectacular (aerial) way…but that’s all we’ll say for now. After exploring the remnants of this thriving empire city back at ground level – once home to rice fields, gilded palaces, ponds and houses – it’s on to Angkor Thom, with its multi-faced Bayon, and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. Come evening, head back into town to enjoy a Khmer feast at a hospitality-training organisation providing opportunities for former street children, before heading to Pub Street to celebrate the end of your trip with a night of music and dancing.
Day 14 Goodbye Asia, for now...
It’s the end of your trip and after breakfast it’s time to say goodbye. If Southeast Asia has got you hooked, why not use your returner discount to book onto our Thailand adventure? The white beaches are calling you…
Our Favourite Hotels
Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.
Belle Maison Hadana, Hoi An
Spacious rooms with balconies, plus a regular shuttle to the beach and Old Town. Make use of the free bike hire and end your days with a gin cocktail at the Terrace Cafe.
Pu Luong Retreat, Pu Luong
Pu Luong Retreat is all about the panoramic mountain and rice terrace views. You’ll be staying in a charming thatched-roof bungalow, although we can bet the pool-side cocktail bar might be where you spend most of your evening.
Shinta Mani Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap
This collection of eclectically-designed apartments look out across a pretty, palm-fringed pool. Dine inside its chic Kroya restaurant or enjoy an indulgent massage in the onsite spa – just a few reasons why we love this hotel.
- Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code
Fly into Hanoi Airport (HAN) and fly out of Siem Reap International Airport (REP).
- Will the itinerary change?
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.
- What time do I need to arrive?
Please try to arrive before 3pm on day 1, although we will arrange an airport transfer for you regardless of when you arrive.
- What time should my flight depart on the last day?
Depart at your own leisure.
- Do I need a visa?
For this adventure, we recommend purchasing an electronic visa in advance of your travels. The E-visa is available online at the following link for 30 USD + 6 USD processing fee: https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
Alternatively, most nationalities are issued with a 30-day visa upon arrival at the Vietnam and Cambodia border crossing of Bavet & Moc Bai. The cost of this is USD30 and you will require a 14cmx6cm passport photo.
Please ensure you have at least four blank pages in your passport as well as six months validity remaining from the date of your adventure.
- How much should I budget per day for extras?
Excluding alcohol, we’d suggest budgeting the equivalent of £30 (40 USD). That said, if you’re willing to eat like a local it can be a lot less. It is still possible in Southeast Asia to buy a plate of food for 1-2 GBP.
What Flashpackers say
"The hotels are fantastic and the guides are great. I’m not sure if you could get the same experiences if you organised the trip on your own. And I happened to meet the most amazing fellow solo travellers too."
"The destinations and the guides were brilliant, and the group was also great! I like the target audience of Flash Pack - they gather people with the same attitude to vacation together and they make it an awesome trip!"
"I had a fantastic time! It was my first time as a solo traveller and it’s something I’d do again. The people in the group were like-minded, which made it easy to get on with. "
"Such superb service from start to end - extremely well organised, and the tour was so much fun. Accommodation was great, the tour guides were fun and full of knowledge - such a warm welcoming experience."
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Our mission to create 1 million friendships so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends. Want to know more about your group? GET IN TOUCH
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Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti SEE TRIPS
We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone.
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