Backpacking Through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand
Backpacking Through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand
Why not hit three birds with one stone by Backpacking through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand? Allotting one week to visit these three countries will allow backpackers to see about four different cities around this famous Indo-China region. Rich with interesting histories, vibrant cultures, and wonderful peoples, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand are fast becoming tourist magnets in Asia. Visiting these countries now, while still in its untouched phase, will surely take tourists back in time and bring memories of the old ways of life.
Before venturing to South East Asia, it is important to note that not all foreign passports are required to apply for Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai visas. However, there are some passports that must obtain a tourist visa to be allowed entry in these countries. Since you will be visiting three different countries with different requirements, it is best to inquire from a trusted travel agency near your area.
Backpacking Through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand – The Travel Plan
It is practical and wise to start this backpacking trip in Vietnam, more specifically in Ho Chi Minh City. Also famously known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the great jump off point to any destination within the Indo-China Region. The affordability and availability of the surprisingly efficient public transportation system in the city is what makes the backpacking trip more doable and achievable for any kind of traveler.
First City to Explore: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
What most backpackers love about Ho Chi Minh City is its rugged yet warm ambience. As soon as one sets foot on Ho Chi Minh, one will definitely feel an adrenaline surge sensing and predicting an adventure. True enough, the city has so much to offer – from food, shopping to museums and historic landmarks. Ho Chi Minh makes for a perfect opening to anyone backpacking through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Where to stay? Definitely stay in the backpacker’s area near or around Pham Ngu Lao or De Tham Streets. The chaotic atmosphere here creates a sense of order for some travel-seeking adventurers that might just suit your taste. One comfortable hostel to check out is Town House 23 or Town House 50. This chain of hostels is not only near the bus station, it is also near the cheap local travel agencies that can bring you to Cambodia.
What to see? It depends on how many days you really want to spend in Ho Chi Minh. If you plan to be in the city for 2 nights, then you must definitely explore the Cu Chi Tunnels. Located just outside the bustling city, Cu Chi is one site that was terribly affected by the Vietnam War. Here you can witness the kind of life the locals had to survive the war. Although it is quite depressing to see, it is a good eye-opener to all tourists who have not witnessed the wrath of a war.
You must also take a walking tour around the city and visit the famous Reunification Palace. This structure was built to symbolize the end of Vietnam War and the start of unity between the North and the South of Vietnam. You must also visit the Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. These two structures show proof that Vietnam was once a colony of France. The amazing architecture of the Post Office takes every tourist’s breath away.
Second City to Explore: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
For just less than $20, a backpacker can comfortably travel from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Here’s how: As soon as you get to Saigon and have decided of the length of stay in the city, go to any of the nearest travel agencies along Pham Ngu Lao or De Tham and purchase a bus or van ticket via Mekong Bus. There are other transport services but Mekong Bus is by far the most efficient and safest mode of public transport.
Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia and is just six hours away from Saigon. It is better to leave Saigon in the morning to get to Phnom Penh before sunset. The ambiance in this city is much more provincial and laid back compared to Saigon, so expect to get more attention from the locals as they love the sight of tourists.
Where to stay? Don’t settle for the cheapest hostel because there are many affordable yet extravagant hostels in the city which will blow your mind. If you want a more lively and party-filled atmosphere, you should stay at Mad Monkey Hostel. However, if you want a more relaxed, zen-type of hostel, you can opt to stay at Aura Thematic Hotel.
What to do? Similar to Saigon, there are many sites to see and local dishes to try in Phnom Penh. If you plan to stay for just a couple of days, you should book a day tour around the city to catch a glimpse of the entire place in the least amount of time. You must see the famous Killing Fields – a historic site that tells a story of the reign of the Khmer Rouge. This can be regarded as the concentration camp of Asia. Seeing this place can make every tourist understand why Cambodia is trailing behind its other Indo-Chinese counterparts. Aside from the Killing Fields, do visit the Royal Palace and the huge public market.
Third City to Explore: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phnom Penh may be the capital of Cambodia but the highlight of the Cambodian leg is Siem Reap. This is the city that is home to the famous Angkor Wat. The trip to Siem Reap can be taken by air, sea, or land. Among the three choices, the most used by tourists is land travel. Not only is this option cheap, it also offers wonderful views of the simple life of the locals. The trip takes around 6 hours. Should you opt to take the bus, do get tickets from the Giant Ibis bus service.
Where to stay? Mad Monkey Hostel is a top choice when visiting Siem Reap. Not only is this affiliated with the Mad Monkey Hostel in Phnom Penh, it also offers more lavish facilities like swimming pool and night clubs.
What to do? Definitely take a day trip to see all the ancient temples within the city. Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world, is once again open for tourist visits. This once Hindu temple transformed to Buddhist Temple has undergone reconstruction and restoration. Take photos of the wonderful Khmer-style towers and libraries.
Fourth City to Visit: Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. This bustling city is the best last-stop option when backpacking through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The reason for this is out of the three countries, Thailand is the most progressive which also means that it is the best place to shop, bar hop, and finally relax. To get to Bangkok, it is best to purchase a ticket from a transport service that is safe like Giant Ibis. From the Cambodia-Thailand border, you will have to transfer to mini-buses to get to Bangkok. The travel time usually take 6 to 7 hours.
Where to stay? There is also backpacker’s area in Bangkok but it is quite far from the busy night markets. It is better for some backpackers to stay near the Pratunam area. Should you opt to stay there, try staying at My Hotel Pratunam. This uber white boutique hotel is both cheap and classy at the same time. During the day, the area around My Hotel is filled with stalls selling leather bags, clothes, and shoes. At night, all the vendors bring out there removable stalls and sell all sorts of items. If the backpacker’s area is still your choice, pick out any of the decent hostels along Khaosan Road.
What to do? There are many activities to do and sites to see in Bangkok. Do visit the famous Wat Pho and see the large reclining Buddha image. Travel to the old part of the city and pay respects to the Grand Palace and the nearby Wat Prakeaw. Finally, go to the weekend market known as Chatuchak. This large market has all kinds of merchandise from food to medicinal herbs. Before ending your backpacking trip, make sure to get an authentic Thai massage in one of the many spas near Pratunam area.
Backpacking Through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand – Start your Adventure!
Travel to Southeast Asia and enjoy the sites and scenes of the Indo-China Region. Before you get your plane tickets, make sure that have the proper documents for your visa application. Should you have any questions or need any assistance is getting a visa or getting an itinerary for the visa application, you may contact us through our website or Facebook page.
Start your Asian adventure by venturing east and backpacking through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
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