A tour of Vietnam and Cambodia that takes in the UNESCO sites includes heritage highlights like the historic Hanoi, the magnificent Halong Bay, Hoi An and Hue in Vietnam to the cosmopolitan city of Phnom Penh before arriving at the fascinating temples of Angkor in Cambodia.
Within Vietnam and Cambodia, there are several UNESCO World Heritage sites that have been given the special preservation status. A tailor-made tour of this region of SE Asia can easily include the must-see UNESCO sites while still being an easy itinerary for the first time travellers.
Let's take a look at some of the recognised places in Vietnam and Cambodia that offer such unique interest:
Temples of Angkor - Cambodia
Visiting Angkor on the Indochina tour gives tourists access to a world-famous attraction that continues to grow in popularity and is often busy.
Beyond the main Angkor Wat temple, there are plenty of other temples to include on a tour itinerary of the region. A tour can simply include the most popular temples or create a path the tracks by the Khmer Empire's history or age. Also, if looking to take a lot of photographs, it is worth being in the right places to match the sunlight.
A great way to see the top attractions and miss a lot of the foot traffic that comes with coach parties is to use the services of a local English-speaking guide. They are very good at not only giving in-depth knowledge on the many different temples, but make it possible to visit the temples at the right times for most relaxing and quiet tour experience.
Also, for the travellers that aren't restricted by budget, a helicopter flight over the Angkor complex can give a very unique view of the temples and other structures below.
Halong Bay – Vietnam
Whether the bay is bathed in sunshine or shrouded in mist, the entire landscape with its thousands of island mountains gives one of the finest views in SE Asia. Halong Bay is easily explored by booking a tour on board a colonial-style or a traditional junk boat.
The traditional Vietnamese junk dates back to the 14th century and has over time become a common feature in local culture for transporting both people and goods. Due to the increase in tourism, there are many of the original junk-style boats that have been converted to make them more effective as a passenger boat for an overnight cruise on the bay or elsewhere.
Beyond the time cruising Halong Bay on the junk, there is also time for short excursions on the water by kayak to see several of the concealed caves and bays. Most of the islands are uninhabited and may be fringed by a narrow beach or include a jungle-covered top.
The size of the boats varies with a typical range in the region of 10 to 24 cabins, which is spacious enough for several groups. However, there is also the option to hire a private boat for the more intimate experience.
Hue – Vietnam
Hue is a wonderful city in central Vietnam that gives a glimpse of the regions imperial past. Other tourist highlights to explore on the Vietnam Cambodia tour include the battle site of Khe Sanh and atmospheric tunnels at Vinh Moc.
A visit to Hue is certain to be appreciated by the travellers in search of a historical and cultural tour with the mausoleums in the valley well worth visiting. They date back to the Nguyen Dynasty, which was Vietnam's last imperial family that ruled from 1802 – 1945.
Booking a boat tour along the beautiful Perfume River is a great ways to appreciate the sights of this city, including the Thien Mu Pagoda which was originally built back in 1602. Alternatively, there are the cities more recent past, such as the former Demilitarized Zone.
Hoi An -Vietnam
Hoi An is a wonderful place to visit for a few days on the Vietnam family holiday. Whether it is visiting the art galleries, craft shops, old houses or restaurants, there is plenty to see and do. Also, this is a great place to go shopping for a tailor-made suit or dress, as well as the local market. Many of the streets throughout town are car-free zones which makes getting around and touring the sights very easy.
The local architecture is a varied mix that takes into account the country's past history with its Japanese temples, Chinese tea warehouses, and French and Dutch colonial homes. Many of the Chinese buildings are easy to find because they still have the Chinese characters on the wooden signboards. Also, there are nearly a 1,000 buildings with a timber-frame still standing.
Open-fronted shops, museums and cafes are easily found on the many streets that run alongside the old canal network. Hoi An has many delightful options when it comes to street food with Lao Cau (local greens, pork and noodles) a local speciality.
Also, there is plenty to see out of town, including the My Son ruins.
My Son Ruins
The My Son Ruins are situated approx 50 km from the town of Hoi An, and is relatively easy to reach by road with a journey time in the region of two hours. This UNESCO listed site is regarded as the countries most important Cham site. The south of Vietnam was originally dominated by the Cham civilization for hundreds of years before being removed by the Vietnamese.
My Son was the religious and intellectual centre of the Cham civilization and is likely to have been used as a place of burial for the Cham monarchs. There is plenty to see when exploring the many monuments that are located in a valley that is overlooked by hills and Cat’s Tooth Mountain.
While the ruins at My Son aren't quite as extraordinary to see on the Indochina travel as the iconic temples of Angkor, they are still very much worth visiting on a historical or cultural trip of the region.