Only have 7 days in Indochina? Wondering how to make the most of a 7 day Indochina tour? Let’s help you out with that challenge.
Regardless of where you travel in the world, gaining a sense of a country in a short amount of time can be difficult. Covering an entire region like Indochina, which incorporates multiple diverse countries, can be even more of a challenge.
So how do you make the most of your time in Indochina, when you’re limited to only seven or eight days? If you’ve never visited this beautiful part of Asia, and time isn’t on your side, insider tips from those who know is a good place to start. And while you may not visit everything on your bucket list, a 7 day Indochina tour will give you a sense and insights into a special part of the world. It may even be the impetus for subsequent longer Indochina tours in the future!
Curious? Let’s explore!
Experience Angkor Wat and more in Siem Reap
Few travelers could complete an Indochina tour without taking time out in Siem Reap. As the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap need a little introduction. Although you could literally spend days at the massive historical site that is Angkor Wat, a full day reveals enough for travelers wanting to check off this big bucket list item. Angkor Wat’s essentials include the Bayon Temple, famed for its contemplative and vivid carvings, Elephant Terrace, a giant platform for Angkor’s King to view his army returning from battle, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm Temple, a famous location in the film Tomb Raider. There’s also the opportunity to capture a gorgeous sunset view at the Pre Rup Temple, so don’t miss including this on your 7 day Indochina tour to do’s.
Among its highlights, Cambodia includes its famous floating villages. While these are popular with Western travelers, the Kompong Khleang Floating Village is perhaps the most authentic of Cambodia’s floating villages of stilt houses built within the floodplain of the Tonle Sap Lake. Be sure to take time out to see and experience a totally different way of life to that of urban dwellers in the West.
Sadly, tragedy is a part of Cambodian history and few places are more poignant than Wat Thmei, also known as the Killing Fields. The burial location of many who suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, the featured glass-walled stupa is a solemn reminder to all who visit Wat Thmei.
Traditional craft is fundamental to Cambodian culture. Craftsmen and women, skilled in wood and stone carving, can be observed at Les Chantiers Ecoles Artisans D’Angkor and in Cambodia’s many pagodas, such as Wat Preah Prum Rath. If you’re after a travel memento or two, this is the place to do your shopping.
Hanoi: a highlight of any 7 day Indochina tour
While Indochina proper covers six countries, you’ll never make it to all these in seven or eight days. It’s why our first tip here is quality over quantity – visit fewer places and see more. You’ll also enjoy your travels more too.
With Vietnam and Cambodia gaining in popularity as travel destinations, these two countries are a great place to start if you only have 7 days in Indochina. The great thing is that although they share over a thousand kilometers of border, they are very different in many respects.
Developing economically at a rapid pace, aspects of Vietnam’s capital Ho Chi Minh City can almost feel westernized. The alternative big city is Hanoi. If you’re more interested in a deeper cultural experience of Vietnam, Hanoi is preferable. Here you can easily spend a day or two capturing the essence of this city.
Visit the Old Quarter street markets and savor an enriching food experience. Or wander through Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan and sample the city’s best street food. As with just about every destination in Indochina, modern and ancient history and culture abound. Must-see inclusions on your visit to Hanoi? Da Binh Square, where you’ll find the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Follow this up with a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s House on Stilts, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature, a Confucius center and Vietnam’s first university. Take in more history by walking through the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ – Hoa Lo Prison – where Americans and other prisoners of war were detained during the Vietnam War. Traditional history and culture can be found at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. And if a more bespoke and personalized experience is your thing, why not learn about and watch a water puppet show