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Vietnam or Cambodia

Vietnam or Cambodia? It’s a seemingly impossible choice with both countries offering a multitude of affordable delights to visitors.

From colourful culture and stunning natural beauty, to nightlife and thriving cities, picking where to spend your holiday can be a difficult decision!

So, to help you out, we’ve pitted the two destinations against each other to find out the best choice for you!


While neither countries are primarily known for their beach hotspots, did you know that both Cambodia and Vietnam have some incredible stretches of paradise-like white sands on their shores?

While the coastal town of Sihanoukville, is usually the first port of call for those wanting to visit Cambodia’s beaches, a ferry out to the islands is highly recommended. For those who like their travels with a splash of the hedonistic party lifestyle, Koh Rong is the place to be.

If you’d prefer to spend a night relaxing, find an undisturbed patch of beach at night and watch as the bioluminescent plankton light up the shores or head to Koh Rong Sanloem, a peaceful island with less development than its larger neighbour.


Nha Trang, Vietnam - source: Pixabay

Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most famous beach resort and it shows. With high rise buildings lining up against the crescent of white sands, the party cranks up as the sun goes down and it’s become a popular destination on the backpacker circuit.

If you’re after somewhere a little more off-the-beaten track, Phú Qu?c island has been attracting more and more attention over the last few years. Think turquoise waters and unbelievable sunsets – plus, you can visit visa-free for up to 30 days if you aren’t planning to visit mainland Vietnam.

Winner: Cambodia


Buzzing, vibrant and full of character; Vietnam’s cities all have their own unique personality and if one doesn’t capture your heart, another will.

For those who like fast-paced glitz and glamour, Ho Chi Minh City combines history with modern skyscrapers, while those who prefer a more relaxed ambiance will love Hoi An, with its bicycle-only streets, charming yellow buildings and lantern strung alleyways.

Hanoi delivers over and over on its unbelievable food hotspots and from here, it’s only a few hours’ drive to two of Vietnam’s most treasured natural wonders – Sapa’s terraced rice fields and the spectacular Halong Bay.


Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are easily the two most-visited cities on the Cambodian tourist trail.

While they are undeniably both very different, both have an enticing café culture and bustling markets that assault the senses from all angles. While Cambodia is arguably less developed than its neighbour, the capital of Phnom Penh boasts beautiful tree-lined boulevards and charming monuments to visit including the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.

By contrast, much of central Siem Reap caters for the backpacker market with ‘Pub Street’ and large night markets. However, as the gateway to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap offers something more meaningful beyond the city limits.

Winner: Vietnam



Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Cambodia has a rich heritage but the effects of war are still keenly felt in Phnom Penh and you can’t visit without spending a haunting, yet educational, day visiting the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

Learning about how the country has suffered under Pol Pot’s regime less than 50 years ago will make you look at Cambodia with new eyes. Over in Siem Reap, you’ll find the country’s most famous attraction and it’s no surprise to see why.

Dating back to the late 9th century AD, Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious structure and it’s well worth setting your alarm to watch the sun rise over the three distinctive spires. Other temples in the complex you don’t want to miss are Bayon and Ta Prohm – otherwise known as the ‘Tomb Raider temple’.

Vietnam also has a fascinating history, largely revolving around the French occupation and the Vietnam War era, and incredible museums can be found in most of the major cities.

One of the most visited attractions is the C? Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), although there are other tunnel networks in the country that are far less overcrowded with tourists, and a visit to Hue inevitably involves a whole host of interesting activities including a demilitarised Zone (DMZ) tour and sightseeing in the Imperial City.

If you’re more into natural wonders, Halong Bay, Nimh Binh and the Phong Nha Caves are not to be missed for their unbelievably scenery.

Winner: Too close to call!


Halong Bay, Vietnam

Food and drinks

Many South East Asian countries are renowned for their outstanding cuisine and perhaps none more so than Vietnam.

An incredible variety awaits including noodles, spring rolls wrapped in transparent rice paper, bun cha and pho, the country’s national dish.

Veggies out there, prepare to be very happy as the Vietnamese have a unique style of creating delicious crispy tofu and utterly believable faux meats. Plus, you’ll never be too far from a stall selling Banh Mi, a baguette filled with salad, meat, tofu or cheese that makes the perfect lunchtime snack.


Vietnam's national dish, Pho - source: Unsplash

Cambodian food is also delicious with influences from the surrounding countries clear in their staple dishes. One of the most well-known dishes is Amok, a type of curry steam cooked in banana leaves, often served with fish. You can find a wealth of street food throughout the major cities, noticeably at Siem Reap night market. Here, you can enjoy noodles, ice cream and fresh fruit smoothies sold for as little as $1.

Winner: Vietnam


Budget travellers, you’re in luck! Both Cambodia and Vietnam are extremely affordable when it comes to accommodation, transport and eating out. So whether you want to keep your costs low or can’t wait to splash out on a bargain swanky hotel, visiting either of these countries will make your bank account happy! With street food and local beers starting from just £1, you really can’t go wrong. Vietnam uses Vietnamese Dong while US Dollars are widely accepted in Cambodia as well as Riel.

Winner: Cambodia

All in all, Vietnam and Cambodia are two incredible countries worthy of visiting during your lifetime. If you fancy relaxing on the beach before visiting some of the world’s most important cultural and religious sites, we’d recommend a trip to Cambodia. But, if foodie delights and cosmopolitan cities are more your thing, Vietnam is the place for you.