CONTRIBUTED BY MARIE LEWIS
With only a few months left in Okinawa, my husband and I did not want to leave without visiting Vietnam and Cambodia. I spent hours upon hours scouring Trip Advisor and also found Kassie’s articles about traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia to be a tremendous help! I even met with Kassie over lunch to talk to her about our planned itinerary and work out all the kinks. Our final itinerary was similar to Kassie’s, but in reverse order and with a few changes. What follows is a complete breakdown of where we went and how we got there. I hope this helps you plan your Southeast Asia adventure (or at least part of it)! Over the next few weeks I will write about each of the hotels where we stayed, so you’ll have even more detailed information when planning your own trip.
SUMMARY OF ITINERARY
DAY 1 – Departed Okinawa 5:40 p.m. on China Eastern Airlines. Arrived Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 1:35 a.m. Private driver booked through hotel picked us up. Checked into Rex Hotel Saigon.
DAY 2 – Full day in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Walked to Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 3 – “Glimpse of the Mekong Delta and Cooking Class” tour through Vietnam Vespa Adventures, booked through the Rex Hotel’s tourism desk. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 4 – Full day in Ho Chi Minh City. Hubby went golfing at a local course, all arranged by the hotel, and I treated myself to some spa treatments at the hotel. Spent the evening exploring the Saigon night scene on foot. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
DAY 5 – Phuong Trang Bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Chau Doc, Vietnam (booked through Rex Hotel). Vespa ride from bus stop to hotel. Checked into Victoria Sam Nui Lodge. This was a one-night stopover on the way to Cambodia. Overnight in Chau Doc.
DAY 6 – Boat from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Victoria Speedboat, booked through hotel). Tuk-tuk from port to hotel. Checked into Villa Paradiso. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
DAY 7 – Full day in Phnom Penh – Took a tuk-tuk to visit killing fields and genocide museum (not for the faint of heart). A very sobering day, followed by a low-key evening. Overnight Phnom Penh.
DAY 8 – Kim Seng Express Bus from Phnom Penh to Mondulkiri, (Sen Monorom), Cambodia. Booked online ahead of time through firstname.lastname@example.org (but I would recommend letting your hotel book for you instead). Picked up at bus stop by wife of Tree Lodge owner. Checked into Tree Lodge. Overnight Mondulkiri.
DAY 9 – Full day trekking with elephants in Mondulkiri. Booked with Mondulkiri Project (project director is also owner of Tree Lodge). Kassie did this same elephant trek and wrote all about it here. Overnight Mondulkiri.
DAY 10 – Kim Seng Express Bus from Mondulkiri to Phnom Penh. Checked back into Villa Paradiso. Overnight Phnom Penh.
DAY 11 – Full day in Phnom Penh. Tuk-tuk to Russian Market, Royal Palace and Pagoda, and dinner near the river. Overnight Phnom Penh.
DAY 12 – Giant Ibis Transport Bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Booked online ahead of time. Hotel tuk-tuk driver picked us up at bus stop. Checked into Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa. Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 13 – Full day visiting temples with private tuk-tuk driver (free through our hotel) and English-speaking guide, booked through hotel. Temples visited included Ta Prohm, Bayon, and the astounding Angkor Wat complex. Overnight in Siem Reap. (If you are really into temples you could easily spend several days doing just this. However, my husband gets “templed out” faster than most!)
DAY 14 – “Beyond the Temples: Countryside Life” tour with Cambodia Vespa Adventures, booked through hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 15 – Visited markets and good-cause shops in Siem Reap’s Pub Street area via tuk-tuk. Afternoon relaxing at hotel pool. Dinner at Red Piano on Pub Street, night markets. Overnight in Siem Reap.
DAY 16 – Depart Siem Reap for Okinawa 10:45 p.m. Hotel let us check out for FREE at 8:00 p.m. Spent the whole day at the resort: yoga, spa treatments, relaxing by the pool. Private car drove us to airport (arranged by hotel.)
DAY 17 – Arrive Okinawa 4:40 p.m. Honest Airport Parking Service dropped off our car to us (this was our third time using Honest, and they are wonderful!)
Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue Blvd., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Victoria Nui Sam Lodge, Vinh Dong 1, Phuong Nui sam, Thanh Pho Chau Doc, An Giang, Chau Doc 70000, Vietnam
Villa Paradiso, Street 222, 25+27, Phnom Penh 0000, Cambodia
Tree Lodge, Street across the lake, Sen Monorom, Cambodia
Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa, Navutu Rd, Siem Reap 0082, Cambodia
I will share more about the places we stayed in the coming weeks. This was the trip of a lifetime, and I hope you find this sample itinerary helpful. Please comment below if you have other itinerary ideas to share. Happy traveling!