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Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia travel: Everything to know

01/03/2024 5.700

This guide on Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia travel will provide you with essential information, including prime attractions, optimal travel times, visa requirements, and transportation options for your journey.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

Embarking on Southeast Asia travel promises an extraordinary exploration of vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes, and culinary treasures. Specifically, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are packed with exciting cities, beautiful landscapes, and rich history. Whether you are exploring the lively streets of Bangkok, cruising through Vietnam's stunning bays, or stepping back in time at Cambodia's ancient temples, this guide will help you discover the best of what each place has to offer.

1. Overview of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia

1.1. Location

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, making them perfect for an epic travel loop. Thanks to their close proximity, hopping from one country to the next is a breeze. You can start your adventure in Thailand, wander through its shared border into Cambodia, then make your way to Vietnam. Or, flip the trip and go in reverse. Either way, you are set for a smooth journey across these stunning countries, each with its own unique charm.

1.2. Why are Thailand, Vietnam & Cambodia worth a visit?

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are not just neighboring gems in Southeast Asia; they are also some of the safest countries in Asia and cheapest countries to travel in Asia, making them ideal for budget travel.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia
  • Culture: These countries are alive with traditions and festivals. Tourists can get soaked during Thailand’s Songkran water festival, admire the beautiful blend of old and new in Vietnam, or stand in awe at Cambodia's ancient Angkor Wat temples.
  • History: Each country has its own tales to tell, from the mighty Khmer Empire in Cambodia to the ancient cities of Thailand and Vietnam's imperial monuments. Walking through these historical sites will make you feel like traveling back in time.
  • Nature: The natural landscapes of these countries are breathtaking. Travelers will be amazed by Thailand's postcard-perfect beaches, the surreal landscapes of Vietnam's bays, and Cambodia's unique floating villages.
  • People: The locals are super friendly and welcoming, adding a warm touch to your travel experience. They are happy to share their way of life, stories, and even their favorite dishes with you.
  • Food: Speaking of dishes, the cuisine of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia is amazing and will not empty your wallet. Whether it is Thailand's spicy curries, Vietnam's famous pho, or Cambodia's tasty amok, your taste buds are in for a treat.
  • Cost: Traveling to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia will not cost you an arm or a leg. From staying in nice places to eating out and getting around, you can have a fantastic time without spending a fortune here.
Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

2. Useful info to plan your Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia trip

2.1. Best time to visit Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia

Traveling to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia offers diverse experiences that vary greatly depending on the season. The best time to visit Thailand is from December to March when the weather is sunny and cool, ideal for outdoor activities. For Vietnam, you should aim for April - June for warm weather. Cambodia is best visited from November to May during the dry season. Each country's unique weather patterns mean that with a bit of planning, any time can be a great time to explore. Still, you should check the weather forecast carefully before planning your Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia tours.

2.2. Tourist visas

2.2.1. Visa to Vietnam

Vietnam makes it easy for tourists from around the globe to visit with its visa-free policies and e-visa options. If you are from one of the countries that Vietnam has a visa waiver agreement with, you could stay for up to 15, 30, or even 90 days without a visa. If you need a Vietnamese visa, Vietnam offers e-visas for travelers from certain countries. Application is pretty straightforward: you need a valid passport, a digital photo of your passport's data pages, a passport photo of yourself, and a fee of $25.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

2.2.2. Visa to Thailand

Traveling to Thailand is straightforward for many with their 45-day visa-free policies. For those needing a visa, there are two options: a visa-on-arrival (VOA) or a traditional tourist visa. This latter option requires a passport valid for six months, a completed application form, a recent photo, a round-trip ticket, proof of sufficient funds, and a fee of $30. Overstaying a visa is serious, risking deportation or a ban from re-entering Thailand, so it is crucial to manage your visa status carefully.

2.2.3. Visa to Cambodia

Traveling to Cambodia is accessible thanks to its straightforward visa policies. ASEAN passport holders benefit from visa-free entry, with stays allowed up to 30 days. Visitors from countries not covered by the visa exemption can opt for a visa-on-arrival or an e-visa, both permitting a 30-day visit for tourism, with fees of $30 and $36, respectively. However, it is important to keep an eye on the duration of your stay, as overstaying your visa in Cambodia will cost you around $10 for each day of overstaying.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

2.3. Cross-country transportation

2.3.1. By airway

Traveling by air is a convenient way to explore Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, with numerous flights connecting major cities across these countries. From Thailand, direct flights to Vietnam are available from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, landing in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. Flight ticket prices range from $100 to $200, offering an easy and quick way to move between these locations.

Similarly, flights from Vietnam to Cambodia take about 1.5 - 2 hours, with prices starting at $100, connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Bangkok is the main hub for flights from Thailand to Cambodia, with direct connections to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. This network ensures a smooth and efficient travel experience for those looking to dive into Southeast Asia.

2.3.2. By road

Traveling by road in Southeast Asia, particularly from Thailand to Vietnam, involves scenic routes that pass through either Laos or Cambodia due to the lack of a direct border between Thailand and Vietnam. The journey between Vietnam and Cambodia is commonly undertaken by bus, with Moc Bai Border Station being a popular crossing point. For those traveling between Thailand and Cambodia, buses provide a flexible option, with visas available on arrival at the border. Trains connecting Thailand and Cambodia offer a more comfortable but slower alternative, appealing to those who prefer a relaxed pace over speed.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

2.3.3. By waterway

Traveling on a Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia cruise offers a unique journey option. The development of road systems has led to the decline of certain waterway services in the region. Despite this, luxury international sea cruises, such as those offered by Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Solstice, connect major destinations across Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia among others, with rates around $150 per person per night. The Mekong River, a natural link between Vietnam and Cambodia, is popular for these river cruises. 

2.4. SIM cards

  • Thailand: Tourists can access high-speed data services through eSIMs provided by the country's three major network operators: AIS, DTAC, and True Move. These eSIMs offer extensive coverage, ensuring connectivity in various locations. The cost of a SIM card in Thailand is relatively affordable, ranging between $5 and $10. This initial purchase may require additional funds for top-ups and data plans.
  • Vietnam: Travelers can choose among four primary network operators for prepaid SIM cards: Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, and Vietnamobile. The most convenient place to purchase Vietnam SIM cards for tourists is at the airport. The cost for a SIM card, including a prepaid data package, typically ranges from $6.5 to $15. This price varies based on the duration of your stay and your data needs.
  • Cambodia: Travelers can choose from five main mobile network operators: Smart, Cellcard, Metfone, Yes (Seatel), and Cootel, which offer a range of plans to suit different needs. SIM cards are conveniently available at airports, with prices ranging from $1 to $2, not including data or call packages. Additionally, some operators like Smart and Cellcard provide SIM cards for free, although usage rates apply.
Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

2.5. Best travel destinations

2.5.1. Thailand

Thailand is a treasure trove of destinations. If you love beaches, you cannot go wrong with Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, or Koh Samui. For those into history and culture, cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai are full of fascinating temples and bustling markets. If you are fond of nature, the green mountains in Chiang Rai and the thick jungles near Myanmar are must-sees. For something different, the countryside in the Isaan region and the historical spots in Kanchanaburi offer unique experiences. 

2.5.2. Vietnam

Vietnam boasts a myriad of destinations, from the tranquil beaches of Phu Quoc to the historic streets of Hanoi, from the surreal landscapes of Ha Long Bay to the vibrant pulse of Ho Chi Minh City. Nature lovers can explore the stunning caves of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, while those drawn to cultural richness can wander through the ancient town of Hoi An, delve into the imperial history of Hue, or experience the dynamic modernity of Da Nang. For the adventurous, Ha Giang presents breathtaking landscapes and challenging routes. Each destination in Vietnam offers its own unique charm, blending natural beauty with cultural depth.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

During your Vietnam travel, it is recommended that you check out Vinpearl's hotels and resorts for a top-notch stay. Vinpearl is all about giving you a taste of luxury with beautiful rooms, amazing spas, and delicious food that mixes flavors from around the world and Vietnam. And if you are up for some fun, don't miss out on the entertainment complexes of VinWonders. These complexes are cool spots where you can spend the day hopping on rides, splashing around in water parks, and even catching some cultural shows. With Vinpearl's comfy places to stay and fun things to do at VinWonders, you are all set for a fantastic Vietnamese adventure.

>>> Book rooms in Vinpearl Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Nha Trang, Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long to enjoy top-notch amenities!

2.5.3. Cambodia

Cambodia is a captivating country in Southeast Asia, offering a mix of modern life, ancient temples, vibrant nightlife, and untouched nature. Key highlights include the bustling capital Phnom Penh, the temple city of Siem Reap, emerging beach resorts along the South Coast, the traditional French-colonial city of Battambang, and the wildlife-rich eastern region. From the majestic Angkor Wat to serene beaches and wild jungles, Cambodia provides a diverse array of experiences for every traveler.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

>>> Read more: Vietnam Cambodia Thailand itinerary 7 days: A detailed plan

3. 2-week Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary

3.1. Day 1-2: Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, nestled in the Andaman Sea of Southern Thailand, stands as a magnet for tourists worldwide. You can look forward to exciting boat tours that show off stunning islands and sea life, watch incredible sunsets that light up the sky, and enjoy lively shows that showcase the island's culture. The nightlife in Phuket is buzzing, with lots of places to explore after dark, from markets to bars and clubs. For those who love a bit of adventure, there are plenty of water sports to try out.

3.2. Day 3-4: Bangkok, Thailand 

Bangkok is an essential stop on any Southeast Asia travel itinerary, offering an experience that engages all your senses. The city's street food will tantalize your taste buds with its rich flavors. The sights of gleaming temples and vibrant mosaics captivate your eyes, while the sounds of bustling traffic, lively music, and serene Buddhist chanting fill the air. The diverse aromas of incense, jasmine blossoms, and urban life blend uniquely, ensuring Bangkok leaves a lasting impression on every visitor.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

3.3. Day 5-7: Siem Reap, Cambodia 

Besides the famous Angkor Wat, tourists should not miss out on exploring Banteay Srei, known for its detailed carvings. If you are in town at the end of October, the Water Festival is a big deal with boat races and fireworks drawing over a million people. For a taste of Cambodian culture, it is suggested to check out an Apsara dance show. Lastly, you can take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake to see its floating villages and learn about its vital role in supporting both ancient and modern Cambodian life.

3.4. Day 8-9: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia's bustling capital, is full of history and culture. It is a place where you can see the blend of its French-colonial past and its own heritage. Tourists should make sure to visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a powerful and moving place that tells the story of a tough time in Cambodia's history. The Killing Fields are also a must-visit for a sobering look at history. For a change of pace, you should check out Ta Prohm Temple, where nature and ancient architecture combine beautifully.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

3.5. Day 10-11: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant destination known for its sleepless vibe and diverse attractions. Tourists can enjoy unique river cruises, viewing the city's landmarks from the waters. For nightlife enthusiasts, the lively area of Bui Vien - De Tham - Pham Ngu Lao, comes alive at night with a plethora of cafes, bars, and restaurants, catering especially to young travelers. Some iconic landmarks of this city are Saigon Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market, and the Opera House.

3.6. Day 12-14: Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is truly a mix of old and new, packed with history and culture at every corner. Right in the heart of the city, you will find Thang Long Imperial Citadel, a place that is over 1,300 years old. Just a short walk away, the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake offers a quiet spot to relax, surrounded by the historic Old Quarter. For a touch of spirituality, Tran Quoc Pagoda is a must-see, standing as a symbol of Buddhism. Together, they showcase the blend of tradition and modernity that makes Hanoi so special.

Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia

>>> Read more: 10-day Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary

Exploring Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia offers an unforgettable journey through Southeast Asia's heart, where each country's unique culture, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history create a mosaic of experiences that appeal to every type of traveler. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with all the essential information to help you better prepare for your upcoming journey.

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