Asia

Vietnam + Cambodia

The rise of fellow travelers venturing to Vietnam and Cambodia in recent years has shot up, and we can certainly see why.

Vietnam

sits on the South China Sea, known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. In recent years, its economy on the rise…Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers. bordering China, Laos, and Cambodia, Vietnam is a country with a rich history and vibrant, fast-developing future.

Some highlights of Vietnam travel include:

• Visiting the palaces, museums, and old town markets of Hanoi
• Strolling around UNESCO-protected Hoi An, then relaxing on the nearby beaches
• Taking a cruise in Halong Bay, with visits to caves and floating villages

Weather in Vietnam can vary wildly from region to region, from snow in the north to over 100-degree temps in the south. Generally, there are two monsoon seasons, between October and March in the northeast and between April and October everywhere but the mountains. Most Vietnam travel guides recommend visiting in April, May or October, or November to February if you will just be in the south.

 

Cambodia

is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Phnom Penh, its capital, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum’s historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country’s northwest are the ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.

The pace of life, particularly in Laos and rural Cambodia, is slow (though Phnom Penh is frenetic these days), so a more leisurely trip will keep you in tune with those around you. It is a good idea to think of what interests you most before you set off. If you like history and ancient temples, then consider making Luang Prabang and Siem Reap the central part of your trip. If nature is your thing, then river trips and protected areas in the north of Laos should be the priority. For beaches and relaxation, start with the laid-back islands in the Mekong in southern Laos, followed by time spent on the beach at Sihanoukville in Cambodia. The mix-and-match opportunities are wide and varied.

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie Mitchell is the founder and content director of L’Aventure Travel. She has traveled to over 40 countries, is the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We: The Adventures of Owen and Lucy”. A writer, producer, entrepreneur, and communications strategist, Carrie is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world.