Welcome to Vietnam & Cambodia, Asia!
ROUTE: Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Siem Reap
DURATION: 14 Days
- Visit to historical sites/monuments
- Sightseeing in Hanoi
- Excursion to Mai Chau with light trek
- Visit the Imperial Tombs of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh
- Sightseeing in the Old Imperial City
- Excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda and Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang with boat trip
- Sightseeing in Hoi An with a boat trip on the Thu Bon River
- Sightseeing in Saigon and Cholon (Chinatown)
- Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels
- Visit Angkor Wat and Preah Khan Temple
- Visit the Chantiers Ecoles
- Sightseeing in Angkor
|AIRFARE:||International Airfare Upon Request|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Hotels used (or similar)|
Accommodations Per Person Sharing, including hotel taxes
Arrival & departure transfers where applicable
Local guides where applicable
Meals per itinerary
Park entrance fees and sightseeing fees where applicable
Airfare and air taxes
Cancellation, baggage, travel and medical insurance
Items of a personal nature such as baggage porterage, gratuities/tips, laundry, telephone calls, bottled water, etc.
Visa and visa fees
Optional sightseeing and activities
Meals, beverages and services not mentioned in itinerary
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Day 1 Hanoi
Upon arrival at airport in Cambodia, you will be warmly met by a representative, who will provide assistance and transfer to your accommodation to check-in.
Overnight: Hanoi – (B)
Day 2 Hanoi
- Sightseeing in Hanoi (8 Hours): Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite an exciting exploration by walking, while its many beautiful public spaces – lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments – give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals. Begin your day visiting the HO CHI Minh Mausoleum, where visitors can pay respects to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. The Mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday and also closes annually in October and November for restoration. Continue through the park to HO CHI Minh’S Stilt House, the simple two-room dwelling where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days (1969). Preserved in the same condition as during his life, it may be viewed through the windows. Continue to the Temple OF Literature, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways; and one of the best serving examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university.
- Afterwards head to visit one of Hanoi’s famous museums, the Museum OF Ethnology (Closed on Mondays and Vietnamese New Year), which brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artefacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings.
- In the afternoon, visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc SON Temple, located in 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.
- Visit a Water Puppet Show: a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Have a taste of Pho and Banh mi – two of the best street food items on the world
Overnight: Hanoi – (B)
Day 3 Hanoi
- Excursion to Mai Chau with light trek; Travel to Hoa Binh, the start of the northwest highlands, an area populated by many different traditional ethnic groups, including Muong and White Thai.
- Taste the locally made rice wine and visit the Muong villages of Ban Dam and Giang Mo.
- Continue to Mai Chau, an authentic Montagnard village set in a quiet valley inhabited mainly by White Thai, an ethnic minority related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China.
Overnight: Hanoi – (B, L)
Day 4 Hanoi - Hue
- Transfer (35 km); Flight from Hanoi to Hue; Transfer (15 km) Sightseeing in Hue; served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. It houses ancient temples, imperial buildings and French-style edifices. It was established in the 17th century.
- Visit the Imperial Tombs of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh (2 Hours). Venture into the countryside around Hue to the Imperial Tomb OF TU DUC. Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese emperor, designed and built this elegant tomb during his lifetime, using it as a retreat for meditation, reading and theatre performances. Take some time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere, wandering among the gracefully proportioned pavilions, courtyards and lotus ponds. Afterwards visit the Imperial Tomb OF Khai Dinh, dramatically located on a hillside. The last of the monumental tombs of the Nguyen dynasty, completed in 1931, this tomb incorporates distinct European elements into traditional Vietnamese architecture.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Wander along Hue’s charming riverfront around sunset and try a “ca phe sua da” or Vietnamese ice coffee in one of the coffee stalls lining the riverside.
Overnight: Hue – (B)
Day 5 Hue
- Excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda and Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang with boat trip (3.5 Hours): Enjoy a leisurely boat ride down the Perfume River, stopping first at the iconic Thien MU Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower which has become Hue’s most widely recognizable monument. Continue cruising into the countryside to the Imperial Tomb OF Minh Mang, a majestic complex of courtyards, pavilions and temples in a beautiful natural setting.
- Sightseeing in the Old Imperial City (3 Hours); Located in the heart of Hue is the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modelled after the Forbidden City of Peking. 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. Approach the city past the striking Flag Tower, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing NGO MON Gate, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit Dien THO Residence (Dien THO Palace) where the Queen mother lived, visit Thai HOA Palace, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the Halls OF THE Mandarins, and the original Nine Dynastic Urns, among other sites.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Vietnam offers free WIFI almost everywhere you go! Make use of this service when in a local restaurant or café to catch up on some emails, check your social media or send some holiday snapshots to your friends and family back home!
Overnight: Hue – (B)
Day 6 Hue - Danang - Hoi An
- By vehicle from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang (170 km.) Drive south from Hue along scenic mountain roads with spectacular views over the coastline.
- Highlights along the way include the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the high dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam; Lang Co, a lovely stretch of beach curving outwards between a clear blue lagoon and the East Vietnam Sea; and the large coastal city of Danang.
- After arriving in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, an elegant colonial building which houses the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world; and pass by Non Nuoc 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, once islands, that rise sharply from the surrounding rice fields. Riddled with caves and shrines, they are said to each represent one of the five elements of the universe.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Even though Hoi An has a reputation as a town that turns its lights off early, it’s still an attractive nightlife location. You can take a bike or walk everywhereand as it’s small enough for a night out without the need of wheels; have break at a riverside bar and savour tasty local dishes.
Overnight: Hoi An – (B)
Day 7 Hoi An - Danang - Saigon
- Sightseeing in Hoi An with a boat trip on the Thu Bon River (6 Hours): The exquisitely preserved merchant town of Hoi An was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1999. Its colourful shop houses and temples reflect a diverse heritage, dating back to the 16th and 17th century, when it was a major port for Western, Chinese and Japanese traders. Today it is a thriving centre of traditional crafts and a shopper’s paradise, best explored on foot. Wander through the cobbled streets, past low tile-roofed buildings, the bustling central Market and the small Harbour where colourfully painted boats are moored. The walking tour will include visits to a Private House, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries in a traditional setting; to one of the Family Chapels built by prominent merchants and official families as centres for ancestor worship; and to a typical Chinese-Style Pagoda or Assembly Hall. Continue to Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, it contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An’s history.
- Visit a handicraft workshop in Hoi An where local products are being made by the industry itself.
- Finally, continue to the famous Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda, first constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream.
- In the afternoon, board a local boat and cruise down the THU BON River, enjoying the unspoiled countryside and stopping to visit a Pottery Village and a Woodcarving Village before returning to Hoi An harbour.
- Transfer to Danang airport (35 km); Flight from Danang to Saigon; Transfer (15 km).
- TIP OF THE DAY: Head down to An Bang beach after sightseeing for a sunset drink and some live music in the beach bars along the beach.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 8 Saigon
- Sightseeing in Saigon and Cholon (Chinatown) (Full day) (8 Hours); A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the convergence of traditional and modern life. The emerging modern skyline stands toe to toe with colonial buildings and traditional temples. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on motorbikes and chat on cell phones; inside the quiet temple courtyards, worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense.
- Begin the tour of this exciting city with a tour of the historic centre, strolling along Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall (Hotel DE Ville), the old Opera House (both may only be viewed from the outside), and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
- Afterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates. Continue to the harrowing WAR RemnanTS Museum, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam-American War. Inside are detailed photographic exhibitions; outside is a collection of tanks, planes and weapons. A powerful experience, this museum is guaranteed to provoke strong emotions.
- Afterwards drive to the historic centre to visit Emperor OF Jade Pagoda, one of Saigon’s most interesting pagodas.
- In the afternoon, head out to Cholon (Chinatown). Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with a walking tour from Tran Hung Dao Street through Nguyen Trai and Soai Kinh Lam market (cloth wholesale market), visit Cha Tam Church.
- Continue to Thien HAU Pagoda, built by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess.
- End the tour at the central BEN Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 9 Saigon
- Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels (5.5 Hours): Never discovered by American forces, the Cu Chi 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 weapons factories.
- Today, walk through the area and learn about the day to day life of the Vietcong, bear witness to the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists.
- Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 10 Saigon
- Meals at Local Restaurant.
Overnight: Saigon – (B, L)
Day 11 Saigon - Siem Reap
- Transfer (15 km); Flight from Saigon to Siem Reap; Arrival in Siem Reap; Transfer (6 km); Sightseeing in Angkor (70 km).
- Visit Angkor Wat (2 Hours): The crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor WAT is 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. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. Upon entering the main structure, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface of the temple, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted from the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.
- Visit Preah Khan (1 Hours) Preah Khan: a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 metres.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Chill out at the famous Pub Street where there are restaurants, bars, street food, and souvenir shops or simply just sit and chill with a relaxing street foot massage and watch the world go by.
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 12 Siem Reap
- Excursion to Banteay Srei and Kbal Spean (8 Hours); Banteay Srei: built in the late 10th century, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. The temple is square with entrances on the east and west. Of primary interest are the three central towers which are decorated with male and female divinities and exquisite filigree relief work. Kbal Spean: also known as the River of 1000 Lingas, there are carvings in the riverbed (in the same way as at Kulen). It should be more spectacular but many of the carvings have been looted. Near Kbal Spean is a waterfall that can be reached by hiking 2 km uphill.
- Visit the Chantiers Ecoles (Artisans d Angkor) (1 Hours); LES Chantiers Ecoles: vocational centre trains 650 apprentices a year including 160 in fine arts and crafts trades united in the Artisan d Angkor production network. Guided tours through the different workshops like stone sculpture, woodcarving, polychromie, and take the opportunity to watch the artisans at work.
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 13 Siem Reap
- Sightseeing in Angkor (70 km). Visit Angkor Thom (2.5 Hours) 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, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle.
- Visit Prasat Kravan (30 Minutes): the five brick towers were built for Hindu worship in 921 and are notable for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls.
- Visit Banteay Kdei Temple (45 Minutes): a massive Buddhist temple dating from the second half of the 12th century, Banteay Kdei is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 metres.
- Visit Sras Srang (30 Minutes): a basin opposite of Banteay Kdei measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple.
- Visit Ta Prohm (80 Minutes): 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.
- Visit Thommanon Thommanon: a temple which mirrors Chau Say Tevoda (just to the north), as it was built around the same time and has a similar plan. It is also dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.
- Visit Chau Say Tevoda Chau SAY Tevoda: built during the second quarter of the 12th century opposite Thommanon, it was dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 14 Siem Reap
Departure: Transfer for your flight home. – (B)
Meals as per itinerary: (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)