When planning your trip to Asia, you may find yourself asking these questions: Which is better to travel, Vietnam or Cambodia? Are the travel experiences in Vietnam and Cambodia the same? When is the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia? Is it safe to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia?
Both Vietnam and Cambodia are popular destinations in Southeast Asia. We usually recommend visiting both if you have enough holiday time (12-14 days). These two countries are geographically close and can be easily visited together.
However, if you don’t have enough time and need to choose between the two, here are the main 13 differences for your reference.
1. History and Culture
As neighboring countries, Vietnam and Cambodia have much in common when it comes to history. Vietnam has a bigger culture contrast than Cambodia.
Vietnam was formerly occupied by China, France, and Japan, thus it’s deeply influenced by these countries in terms of religion, food, culture, and architecture. You will find Chinese temples and European and Japanese architecture alongside local food in Vietnam.
Compared to Vietnam, Cambodia is less influenced by other countries. It has received a lot of influence from Indian religion and culture in ancient times. Most Cambodians believe strongly in religion, mainly Buddhism and Hinduism. When in Cambodia, you will see temples nearly everywhere.
If you’re looking to relax on the beach at the end of your trip, Vietnam is more recommended than Cambodia for a better experience and more value for money. Vietnam has a long coastline with beautiful beaches, including Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, and Danang.
Phu Quoc, in particular, is known for its romantic sunsets, superior hotel options, clean beaches, and serene atmosphere. On the other hand, while Sihanoukville in Cambodia was once considered pristine, it is currently harder to get to and may not offer the same pristine experience.
Spending around USD180-250 per day per person (including hotels) is enough for a wonderful experience in both Vietnam and Cambodia. However, the price of traveling in Cambodia is higher than Vietnam by USD5-20 per day.
4. Food and Drink
Vietnamese food is slightly more famous than Cambodian food. Vietnamese Pho has gained popularity worldwide for its fresh ingredients and satisfying flavors. Vietnamese coffee is particularly famous and is made with a special slow drip filter, mixed with sweet condensed milk. Cambodian cuisine is rich in flavor and has been influenced by many different cultures.
Holders of normal passports from many countries do not require a visa to visit Vietnam. If you’re from the USA, Canada, or other countries not exempt, applying for an e-visa is the most convenient way to enter Vietnam. On the other hand, to enter Cambodia, you can apply for an e-visa in advance or apply for a Visa on Arrival.
The best time to travel to both countries is generally from November to February for comfortable weather. The rainy season is from June to October, but traveling during this time usually means more affordable travel and fewer crowds.
Both countries are safe for travel, but it’s always wise to protect your personal belongings and be cautious in popular tourist areas. Petty crimes like theft and scams can happen, so it’s important to be vigilant and use reliable tour operators.
8. Average Stay
Vietnam has more popular places to visit than Cambodia, so most itineraries spend more time in Vietnam. Usually, we recommend 8-10 nights in Vietnam, while 3-4 nights in Cambodia (only Siem Reap) are enough to visit the main highlights.
Both countries offer different levels of hotels, from luxury brands to local guesthouses, allowing you to choose based on your interests and budget. The cost of hotels in Vietnam is comparatively lower than in Cambodia.
Vietnam has more choices for international flight connections than Cambodia because of its bigger airports in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. The flight between Vietnam and Cambodia takes less than 2 hours, making it convenient to visit both countries.
English is more widely used in Cambodia due to its tourism industry. In both countries, you should be prepared for the local people to have a thick accent.
The Vietnamese Dong is the official currency of Vietnam, while Cambodia accepts both Cambodian Riels and USD. It’s more common to use USD in Cambodia.
If you’re a fan of animals and adventure, Cambodia offers more wildlife experiences such as interacting with gibbons, spotting dolphins, visiting elephant sanctuaries, or bird watching.
To conclude, both Vietnam and Cambodia have their own unique attractions and experiences. Consider your interests and preferences when choosing between the two. For a classic itinerary, travelers often spend 8-10 nights in Vietnam and 3-4 nights in Cambodia (only Siem Reap).
Plan your trip with Ekilove for a personalized and stress-free experience in these diverse destinations.
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