How Are Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Similar?
Maybe you’ve heard of the ultimate Southeast Asian trip — three countries: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia all in one long travel destination.
Veteran travelers will tell you that if you’re going to one of these countries, you can’t miss going to the other two.
It definitely seems like it’s a package deal that most travelers shouldn’t pass on.
In fact, tri-country trips to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are so popular that most travel companies would offer package trips.
But a lot of people didn’t come to that conclusion just because these three countries are close to each other.
So what else do Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia have in common that travelers love?
Read on to find out and why it’s a hit destination for travelers who are looking for something new.
Location and Ease of Entry
Of course, the location will be on top of the similarities list. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are all in Southeast Asia. Not only that, they actually share the same borders.
This is why it’s really easy for travelers to do a tri-country trip with these countries because their governments allow easier border entry.
Plus, it’s not that of a hassle to go to one country to another when it’s generally beside each other. Think of it as traveling to multiple states across the US.
Plus, if your country’s passport is not that strong and you need a visa to go to one of them, having a tri-country trip on your itinerary will grant you an almost immediate entry.
For example, you can get a tourist visa upon your arrival in Cambodia when coming from Vietnam or Laos.
Weather and Climate
Nothing is more annoying than having to haul too many luggage during a long trip because there are just so many clothes needed.
We all like to dress appropriately for the climate wherever we go. It’s definitely a hassle to bring clothes for a colder climate and another set of clothes for hotter ones.
The good news is: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos generally have the same type of weather. Since they’re tropical countries, they only have a wet and dry season that coincides with each other.
So you only have to bring light clothing (luggage-friendly!) and maybe a jacket or two when there’s a light drizzle.
Cheap Travel Budget
The main reason why a lot of travelers prefer to do a tri-country trip because it’s unbelievable the deals are compared to going to each of the countries separately.
When crossing the borders from one country to another, it’s not that outrageously expensive that it will wreak havoc to your entire budget.
In fact, you can even squeeze it in depending on how lavish you want your vacation to be.
For traveling between countries, the flights will only cost you around $15-$25 for a one-way ticket.
That’s not that bad considering that you’re going to another country. If you want to save up, buses are available too.
Local transportations are widely used in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as well. It’s a really cheap way to get around whichever country you’re in.
But don’t expect the transportation system to be sophisticated and advanced. After all, these are developing countries that are in the middle of improving their own capacities.
When it comes to accommodations, finding budget hotels, hostels, and inns in all three countries is fairly easy.
You can even score a shared dorm room for as low as $3-$4 a night If you have the patience to look.
But if you’re going all out with luxury hotels, then Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will have a lot to offer.
Local food is greatly affordable too. A good full meal, wherever you are in these three countries, will only set you back $1-$2 dollars— and that’s complete with a main dish, beverage, and even dessert.
The affordability of these three countries really what makes it so attractive for travelers with different ranges of budget.
It almost feels like you absolutely have to do it because you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Home to World-Class Tourist Destinations
Okay, given that they’re cheap to go to, what can you do when you get there?
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are home to many world-class tourist destinations, so you definitely won’t run out of things to do in these countries.
These countries may not be as mainstream as Japan or Hongkong for an Asian country destination, but they certainly rival theirs.
These countries pride themselves for nature and cultural related destinations. So expect amazing seas, historical temples, and magnificent landscapes.
For Vietnam, why don’t you enjoy the beauty of its water by doing a cruise of Halong Bay?
Hundreds of boats offer cruise trips daily so you can observe its roughly 1,600 limestone towers rising from its turquoise waters.
While you’re there, explore the world’s largest cave located in Phong Nha National Park.
This park is riddled with hundreds of deep caves including the Hang Son Doong which is the largest in the world.
In fact, it’s absolutely huge that you can even fit a skyscraper in it!
Vietnam is not the only one that can bring world-class destinations to the table. In fact, Laos boasts it’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang.
This charming little town features many royal palaces and more than 30 temples.
The architecture is really something too, a lot of researchers go to this town to just study the beauty of it.
Contrary to the humble abode of Luang Prabang, the That Luang in Vientiane will need you at least a minute to take it all it.
It’s the most sacred monument in the country and absolutely glittering in real and painted gold.
Of course, Cambodia brings a little (or huge) something to the ultimate travel list too.
This country hosts the Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious monument in the world.
The temple spans across 162.6 hectares — this will definitely take you at least a full day to explore.
You can also visit the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia which is the Tonle Sap in Siem Reap.
This place has one of the world’s most vibrant ecosystems so definitely check this place out to learn all about Cambodia’s wildlife.
Iconic Asian Eats
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are home to many iconic Asian dishes. Like what we always say, a trip is unlikely not finished if you haven’t explored at least most of their local cuisines.
So here are some of these countries’ specialties when it comes to Asian food.
This country is all about simplicity and it’s commonly true that the best food you’ll find on Vietnam is sold at the sides of the road rather than a top-end restaurant. Definitely don’t miss some of their iconic dishes:
We can thank Vietnam for this legendary hangover and comfort food. It’s almost impossible to get past a street in Vietnam without seeing a pho cart.
This simple dish is made from a delicious broth, fresh rice noodles, herbs, and chicken or beef.
Think of it as a savory crepe. A good Banh xeo is a crispy one filled and bulging with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs.
Eat it like a local and roll it up in a rice paper or lettuce and dip it in its special sauce.
Laotian dishes are quite similar to Vietnamese cuisine but with a French twist due to past colonization.
Here are some of their food that you should definitely try out:
This iconic Asian dish made a cameo in one of the Marvel movies and honestly, we really can’t blame Spiderman for having larb as one of his favorite food. Larb is considered as Laos’ national dish which is basically a meat-based salad. Who said salad is boring?
Similar to a Vietnamese banh mi, this Laotian sandwich is a whole baguette stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, carrot, onion, pork, ham, and chili sauce. Laotians definitely don’t skimp on their Khao jee so make sure to get one on many of the food carts around Laos.
A Cambodian meal is a complete one that should reflect your experience when visiting the country.
Their cuisine really mirrors their culture and how they carefully preserved their cooking traditions over time.
Here are some of the Cambodian dishes that you shouldn’t leave without trying:
Asians love their rice and they even love it more when it’s packed, handy, and ready to eat whenever.
Fish amok is basically steamed coconut fish wrapped in banana leaves with steamed rice.
You don’t even need a plate for this one because each component is on a banana leaf cup wrapped in another leaf.
Talk about environmental-friendly!
Who says the Germans can only make good sausages?
This Cambodian sausage is made from beef or pork mixed with a special blend of spices.
You can have this barbecued, grilled, or a simple pan-fried over a bowl of hot, steaming rice.
Of course, bread goes great with Twa Ko but is it really an Asian dish without rice?