This journey immerses you in two very distinct cultures traveling from Hanoi in north Vietnam to a cruise on Halong Bay before a stop in Central Vietnam to explore an ancient merchant town and an old Imperial capital. Travel to Ho Chi Minh City and discover the bustling commercial capital, including a trip to see the wartime Cu Chi Tunnels and the unique Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh. Head into the lush Mekong Delta region and take boat rides along narrow canals and explore rural communities, and then take the speedboat across the border into Cambodia. Stroll Phnom Penh's waterfront quay, admire the colonial buildings and Royal Palace, and then fly to Siem Reap to explore the mighty temples of Angkor.
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“Every aspect of the tour was professional, fun and executed seamlessly. The guides were fabulous - knowledgeable, flexible, and most importantly fun to be with.”
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The above is simply a list of highlights and does not represent all of what you will (and can) see on this trip.
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Prices, if shown, are per person based on a party of at least 2 adults traveling together. A single room supplement cost is applicable for those who would like their own single room. If traveling alone, please contact us for a solo traveler cost. This is a tailor-made private trip, contact us for free personalized trip quote. Prices subject to change.
Hotel with daily breakfast, 1 night on board well-appointed ship in Halong Bay, shared speedboat between Chau Doc & Phnom Penh, lunches & dinners as indicated, services of expert English speaking local guides, entrance fees to sites listed on the itinerary, private A/C transportation unless otherwise mentioned, 3 on-tour flights, and airport transfers. International flights are not included, contact us for preferred rates and schedules.
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Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will be met in the arrivals area by your local guide holding a name-board. After a warm welcome and brief introduction, take a private airport transfer to your hotel for assistance with check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Enjoy a full day tour of Hanoi’s illustrious history. Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Begin your day visiting the Temple of Literature, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways. Continue to the One Pillar Pagoda, which also dates from the 11th century, this monument was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Today it stands near the vast Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, a lovely park setting which is home to Ho Chi Minh's final resting place, as well as a museum and other memorials. Begin at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where visitors can pay respects to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. Note: the Mausoleum is closed on every Monday and Friday and closes annually in October and November for restoration. Today’s tour also includes a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house, where he lived until his final days in 1969. Visit the Museum of Ethnology (Closed on Mondays), which brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam. In the afternoon, visit Hoan Kiem Lake, and Ngoc Son Temple, located in the heart of Hanoi, which contains an islet with the tiny Tortoise Pagoda. En route, pass other colonial landmarks such as the magnificent Opera House (may be seen from the outside only) and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
This morning you will meet your guide and then drive to Halong Bay where you will board a traditional wooden junk for your overnight cruise. Set sail through the bay while a seafood lunch is served. Rest your eyes on the azure waters of this magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waters. Cruise to a fishing village and Tien Ong Cave before returning back on board to view the sunset. Dinner is served onboard.
Start the day early and enjoy a Tai Chi class on the top deck with an opportunity to see the magnificent scenery as the sunrises over the sea. Cruise further in to Bai Tu Long bay, passing a Pearl Farm, Phao Dai islet, Tam Cung cave, Hon Xep islet, Dau Moi temple while joining our chef for a cooking demonstration to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine art. Enjoy a buffet set brunch on board before arriving at the dock in Halong where you will meet your guide and be driven to the airport in Hanoi for your departure flight to Hue in Central Vietnam. On arrival, meet your local guide and then transfer to your hotel for check-in and have the evening at your leisure.
Today’s tour showcases Hue’s ancient to modern history. Visit the Imperial Citadel in the heart of Hue, a vast complex built in the early 19th century. The original walls stretched for 10 km and were surrounded by a wide moat. Today, most of the buildings have been destroyed due to bombing during the Vietnam-American War, but the monuments that remain provide a fascinating glimpse into the court life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Later, venture into the countryside around Hue to the Imperial Tomb of Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese emperor. Afterwards visit the Imperial Tomb of Khai Dinh, dramatically located on a hillside. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, just outside of Hue, on the bank of the Perfume River. This evening, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Perfume River.
Journey from Hue over the scenic Hai Van Pass to Danang where you will visit the Cham Museum, an elegant colonial building which now houses the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world. Briefly pass China Beach, a famous spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam-American War. Continue south to Hoi An, stopping en route to visit the Marble Mountains, five stone hillocks that now rise sharply from the surrounding rice fields. On arrival in Hoi An, enjoy a walking tour of the old town. Hoi An is a picturesque riverside town known as Faifo to early western traders. The walking tour includes a visit to the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Sa Huynh Museum, Tran Family Chapel, and a local assembly hall. Also, visit one of the lantern workshops in Hoi An.
Today take part in a shared half-day cooking class. After breakfast at the hotel, start the with a drink at a local Cafe and then proceed to Hoi An Market to purchase ingredients for cooking and to chat with the local vendors and experience the sights, smells, and action in this colorful market. Participants then enjoy a leisurely twenty-minute boat cruise up the Thu Bon River (if the weather permits) to reach the Red Bridge Restaurant and Cooking School, where together you prepare five traditional dishes to enjoy for lunch. After your cooking class, you will return to the old town where you can explore at your leisure.
Be met at the hotel in the morning and driven to the airport in Danang for your flight south to Hoi Chi Minh City (Saigon). On your arrival, enjoy a city tour. Begin your tour into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace, formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president. Afterwards drive to the historic center to visit the Emperor of Jade Pagoda, and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office. Pass by the classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall and the old Opera House (both viewed from the outside). End your tour at the central Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste
Today, enjoy a tour to Tay Ninh & the Cu Chi Tunnels. From Saigon, drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Never discovered by American forces, these tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Afterward, go to Tay Ninh, the birthplace of the unique Cao Dai religion, a fusion of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam and native Vietnamese spiritual beliefs. Every day at noon, worshipers garbed in colorful robes flock to the Cao Dai Great Temple to participate in the daily prayer sessions, which visitors may respectfully observe from the upper balconies. Return to Saigon in the late afternoon and have the evening at your leisure.
Enjoy breakfast and then travel to My Tho, a bustling town in the rich agricultural region of the Mekong Delta. Board a local boat to explore the islands of the Mekong, stopping at a fruit orchard to enjoy fruit and tea while listening to local music. The trip also includes a sampan ride through the tiny waterways that thread the island. From My Tho, cruise on the Tien River & visit the My Tho fish market and the fish raising village along Dragon island. Enjoy the view of the four islands named Dragon, Unicorn, Turtle and Phoenix. Afterwards, visit a village producing candies, and then take a horse cart or motorbike pulled cart for an interesting visit to a bee-raising farm where you can taste the local tea or honey wine and jam. Continue the scenic trip along the river through small canals back to My Tho for disembarkation. Continue onward to the largest city in the Mekong Delta region, Can Tho.
In the early morning, set out by boat to explore the Cai Rang Floating Market, the biggest and most bustling of the Mekong Delta markets, which attracts fruit and vegetable vendors from all over the region. Sail through the market, watching people haggle and trade, and possibly sample some of the fruit yourself. By 9 am, the activity has died down and it is time to return to the pier after exploring some of the backwaters, canals and a fruit plantation. Afterwards, travel to Chau Doc. Visit Binh Thuy and a traditional house, where L'amant was filmed, and enjoy an excursion to floating villages. Explore bustling river life around Chau Doc, visiting the floating villages, whose inhabitants live and work all their lives on the river. Continue to the distinctive Cham village, on the other side of the river, with its thriving Muslim community
In the early morning, board a speedboat for your exciting journey from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On arrival in Phnom Penh, enjoy a tour of the city. Phnom Penh is a chaotic, energetic and always fascinating city. Graceful tree-lined boulevards and riverfront promenades are reminders of bygone eras; today they teem with life and activity, as motorcycles weave in and out of traffic, vendors hawk their wares, and pedestrians go about their business. Start your tour with an insight into Cambodia's cultural heritage with a visit to the Royal Palace, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoni, and the adjacent Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. Continue to the elegant National Museum, which contains a comprehensive collection of Khmer Art. Finally, explore the modern-day city, visiting one of Phnom Penh's two great markets.
After breakfast, head just outside Phnom Penh to a peaceful rural setting for a tour of the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, a stark reminder of the atrocities under the Pol Pot regime. Later, visit the Tuol Sleng (S-21) Museum and learn more about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent, tragic, past. Later, head to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for assistance with check-in. This evening, enjoy dinner & a Khmer dance performance at a local restaurant.
Begin your tour of the Angkor archaeological park. The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km, enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure, and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. Visit Ta Prohm, one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Also visit Banteay Srei, seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, it is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. This evening, watch the sunset over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.
Today, visit the crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat, the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. Today’s tour also includes an excursion by boat to a floating village for a look at the scenery & communities around the lake.of an ancient Angkorian temple.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and at the appointed time you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
Days 3 & 4: Cruise among the 1000's of limestone islets of Halong Bay on an overnight cruise.
Days 14 & 15: Explore the Temples of Angkor in Siem Reap.
This itinerary has been tried & tested and can be booked as-is. However, should you wish to customize your tour, you may contact us here.
TREASURES OF VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & LAOS
TEMPLES OF ANGKOR