Photo: Canals of Ca Mau, Mekong Delta.

Vietnam forum

HCMC to Siem Reap in 7 days

Posted by Camcam on 24/8/2010 at 18:49

Hi fellow backpackers!

I will be travelling from HCMC to Siem Reap in September for one week on my own.
I would like to do it the untourist way, trying to meet other backpackers along the way.

I was thinking of the following itinerary:
-1 night in HCM
-1 night in Cao Lanh or Can Tho or Chau Doc
-1 night on my way to Siem Reap
-then 2 or 3 night in Siem Reap/Angkor Wat.

What do you think?
Would you add more of HCMC? I was said it is easy to meet people in SR hence the choice, but please share your views!
Which of Cao Lanh or Can Tho or Chau Doc would you advise most?
Any suggestions for a stop over on the way to Siem Reap apart from Phnom Penh where I have already been?

That will be my first backpacking trip on my own as a 24yo French girl, so any tips is welcome!

Many thanks in advance!


#1 Camcam has been a member since 10/8/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 25/8/2010 at 08:22 admin

Hmmm, it's going to be tight. Bear in mind you'll meet lots of peeps in Saigon as well.

Both Can Tho and Chau Doc are worth a visit, but if you go to Can Tho then you're best to do a boat trip the following morning to the floating markets. From there you could leave around midday with a bus to Chau Doc (for the boat to Phnom Penh ) but you'd need to overnight in Chau Doc as the boat goes in the morning. As long as you didn't arrive too late in Phnom Penh you could push onwards with a bus to Siem Reap the same day, but it's all becoming a bit of a rush.

If time was no issue, I'd recommend Can Tho because the floating markets are great, but given your timing, I'd say Chau Doc and do a very early morning boat trip out from Chau Doc before getting the speedboat to Phnom Penh. That way it works out something like:

day 1: Arrive Saigon
2: morning bus to Chau Doc, hang out.
3: Early morning boat trip out of Chau Doc, followed by speedboat to Phnom Penh and bus to Siem Reap (bah this is a long day - I'd prefer to overnight in Phnom Penh)
4,5,6: Siem Reap
7: Bus back to Saigon (takes most of the day)

The other option would be to do an organised Saigon to Phnom Penh tour out of Saigon, I don't normally recommend this kinda thing, but would probably work well with your timing.

Hope that helps.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,575
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Posted by eastwest on 25/8/2010 at 18:08

"I would like to do it the untourist way, trying to meet other backpackers along the way."

That sounds like a contradiction to me.

For the rest I agree with Somtam. And you will meet plenty of backpackers all along the way so you'll have a great trip. Perhaps 7 days is a bit short.

#3 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by Camcam on 25/8/2010 at 19:41

Thanks for your replies to both of you guys.
By "the untourist way" I meant not and if possible away from the group of tourists like in Halong Bay where it is just ridiculous. You have to follow one another, eat when they decide and all the rest as if you were a 10 year old.
Point taken for my trip to involve too much travelling. This is exactly why I asked for advice :)
I will fly from Siem Reap so I don't have to go back to Saigon, which saves me one day.
A shame time and budget are not extensible though ;)

#4 Camcam has been a member since 10/8/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by eastwest on 25/8/2010 at 20:03

If you fly out from Siem Reap definitely follow Somtam's advise and spend a night in Can Tho and get a better feel for the Mekong delta.
As he points out the floating market(s) is great to see in the early morning. Find a few other backpackers and hire a small boat on the riverfront (arrange that the evening before) through one of the ladies there.
In the afternoon you could take a boat to Chau Doc and continue from there.
You could also try to do Cantho to Phnom Penh in one day (instead of overnight in Chau Doc). If you don't make it, then stay in Chau Doc and continue with Somtam's suggestion. Myself I would prefer to spend the night in Phnom Penh rather than in Chau Doc.

happy travels

#5 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

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