June 27, 2014 | Inside Vietnam Tours
Talcum-powder beaches beyond the temples
The island idylls of Cambodia and Vietnam with InsideVietnam Tours
After dosing up on city culture and ancient sights, where better to spend time than on little-visited, postcard-perfect, lush island escapes? In Cambodia, delve deep into the history of Angkor’s temples around Siem Reap and come up for some sea air on a quintessential tropical beach; in Vietnam, have a hectic time in Ho Chi Minh with its 4.5 million scooters and then take things down a gear on an eco-friendly gem, Cham Island.
Koh Rong – find classic paradise on this 78 km² island, 2.5 hours by boat from Sihanoukville. Bask on 43 km of white sandy beach stretching across seven bays, and snorkel or dive in the clear, warm waters. Other activities include trekking in the dense jungle interior, kayaking or motorbike tours. Apart from two villages and limited basic beach bungalow accommodation, the rest of the island is largely undeveloped, with tracks for roads. A trek across the interior or a boat ride is required to travel from bay to bay.
Koh Thmei – located near the mainland, a short boat ride from the fishing village of Koh Kchhang, lies the tiny desert island of Koh Thmei, with one eponymous cluster of simple huts providing accommodation for tourists. Part of the Ream National Park, Koh Thmei is home to 150 species of birds – many rare – plus the endangered sambar deer and southeast Asia’s fishing cats. Watch dolphins leap along the coastline and spot sea eagles hunting.
Phu Quoc (image above) – a 50-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh brings you to this island destination, suitable for both couples and families. With 37,000 hectares of rainforest, a plethora of wildlife species, remote palm-tree-lined beaches and coral gardens, most of the island has National Park status and there is a selection of good-quality eco-friendly resorts. Activities include cooking classes, visits to night markets, diving and night-time squid fishing trips.
Cham Islands – a small archipelago that is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, located 18 km from Hoi An (1¼ hours by junk, or 30 minutes by speedboat). The main island, Cham, consists of two villages, jungle and pretty beaches. It’s possible to stay at the home of a local family, camp out under the stars or choose from a range of guesthouses and villas. The diving is spectacular off Cham Island, seafood lunches are not be missed, and watching the sunsets and sunrises is magical.
A 15-night tailored journey through Cambodia and Vietnam, taking in island life and ancient culture, costs from £2,475 pp including 15 nights’ accommodation, daily breakfast, some lunches and dinners, all domestic transfers and some guiding. Excludes international flights.
To discuss a visit to Cambodia or Vietnam with the experts, or for further information, call InsideVietnam Tours on 0117 244 3370 or visit www.insidevietnamtours.com.
ENDS/27 JUNE 2014
NOTE TO EDITORS: InsideVietnam Tours is a small, dedicated team of specialists, all of whom have extensive travelling experience in Vietnam and the Indochina region. Similar to its sister brand, InsideJapan Tours, the company offers a range of original, affordable, value-for-money packages and cultural experiences for small groups and independent travellers wishing to discover Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. InsideJapan Tours and InsideVietnam Tours are part of the InsideAsia Tours specialist travel group with offices in the UK, Japan and Vietnam. The company is a member of AITO, and is fully bonded via ABTOT and ATOL.
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