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Welcome to Saigon! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Saigon is a bustling, dynamic and industrious urban centre. It is the largest city in Vietnam, the economic capital and the cultural trendsetter whilst within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture. This evening join your tour guide for a welcome dinner.
After breakfast, travel beyond Saigon and spend the day boating the waterways of the lush Mekong Delta region. Arriving in Cai Be district visit a local orchard and the Cai Be floating market. Leaving Cai Be visit to some cottage industry workshops making coconut candy, crispy rice cakes, rice paper and more. Continue on along village pathways to visit a local house for lunch where you will be served local delicacies such as Elephant’s-Ear fish. After lunch, take the time to explore the village as local's go about their daily lives. Returning to Saigon vist the Vinh Long markets en-route.
This morning discover the Saigon, taking in the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and Chinatown. We then depart for Cu Chi Tunnels, where we learn the first hand how the Viet Cong survived in the extraordinary underground existence during the Vietnam war. Later this afternoon transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Danang. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Hoi An for check in.
Today visit the mausoleums of the Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. On the way to Danang, stopping for a refreshment at Lang Co beach en-route, one of the World’s most beautiful bays. In Danang visit the Cham Museum before continuing to the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An before checking in to your hotel. This evening enjoy some free time exploring the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and illuminated at night by hundreds of colourful lanterns.
In the morning take a half-day excursion to My Son Sanctuary, a religious site dating back to the Kingdom of Champa, and also a burial place of Cham royals and Vietnamese national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost remaining examples of Hindu influence in South East Asia and is the most prominent heritage site of this nature in Vietnam. After lunch at a local restaurant the afternoon is free to explore Hoi An Ancient town. Why not join our optional cooking class and learn the secrets to Vietnamese cooking, alternatively head to nearby Cua Dai beach or observe local life on a sunset cruise on the peaceful Thu Bon River.
Today we take the scenic Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds), which offers magnificent views of beaches to one side and lush hills to the other. Arriving into Hue in the afternoon enjoy some free time to explore or relax as you like.
Today take a boat ride along the romantic Perfume River and stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda. Continuing, visit the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang (1791-1841), built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions) designed on a symmetrical axis. Lunch is a special vegetarian meal with the nuns of Dong Thuyen Pagoda. Later visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Enjoy some free time at Dong Ba Market before transferring back to your hotel. Tonight you travel by sleeper train (2 berth cabin) from Hue to Hanoi.
On arrival you will be met at the station and we head to the Quang Ba flower market, then a walk to West Lake followed by breakfast. Renowned as the ’Paris of the East’, Hanoi is one of Asia’s most fascinating cities. Rich in culture and history, this diverse city draws on its influences from both French and Chinese culture. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest in Hanoi and located beside the dazzling West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. Afterwards, take a short drive to Van Giang Village to attend a cooking demonstration given by a local family. Afterwards join the Vietnamese family in their home for a delicious lunch before driving back to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free.
Depart Hanoi in the morning for the scenic drive through the countryside to Ha Long Bay, a natural wonder with thousands of islands rising out of the water creating a unique and beautiful landscape.
Rise early to take part in some morning exercise and witness the spectacular sunrise before weighing anchor. Today's cruising takes you through the Bay passing the beauty spots of Trong (Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin) and Me Cung Caves and Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet. Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot) before a buffet brunch is served on board. Later we cruise leisurely back to Halong harbor where upon disembarkation transfer back to Hanoi where a visit to the Temple Of Literature, dating back to 1070 and the first university in Vietnam. This evening is free to explore Hanoi further.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Luang Prabang, perhaps the best preserved traditional city in all of Southeast Asia. After arrival transfer we visit the National Museum, picturesque Wat Mai, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground, and the classic Luang Prabang temples. The impressive Stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham. To top it all off climb to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded Stupa as well as a superb view over the town and Mekong river. In the evening walk through Luang Prabang to visit the lively night market in the streets.
Today take a boat ride upstream on the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered statues of the Buddha in various postures and sizes. En-route stop off at the village of Ban Xanghai, renowned for producing local rice wine. On return, stop to visit Ban Chan before travelling overland to the local villages at Ban Xiengmene to visit the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun, once belonging to the royal, and nearby Sackarine Caves. If time permits this afternoon a visit will be made to visit the weaving villages of Ban Xiengkhong.
After breakfast transfer to the airport for the short flight to Siem Reap. After being met on arrival you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple to be met by the marvellous wonders of the eerie Bayon, Phimean Akas, the terrace of Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King. Enjoy the sunset view over Phnom Bakheng.
In the morning visit famous Angkor Wat, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The largest and best preserved of the Angkor temples, it is also the most well known world wide and a source of pride for the Khmer people, Angkor Wat has appeared on the Cambodian flag for almost 150 years. After lunch, visit Preah Khan Temple, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. Then take a half hour journey to Banteay Srey, one of the most unusual of the Angkor temples. The temple lies approximately 20km north of the main group of temples and is constructed from elaborately carved red sandstone.
After breakfast, continue the journey of discovery through the wonders of Angkor. This afternoon set out for a cruise on the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and witnessing the daily life of the locals. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with an Apsara performance.
Sadly your journey through South East Asia comes to an end after breakfast and onwards departure transfer to the airport.