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Journey overland from Siem Reap to Bangkok, stopping en route to explore Battambang - Cambodia’s second largest city.
Early this morning we drive to the strikingly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, we board our traditional wooden junk boat and cruise the emerald waters studded with a thousand or so karst limestone islands. Later opt for a refreshing swim in one of the many sheltered coves before taking row boats to the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng. Tonight, there's a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served. Overnight - Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Start the day with Tai Chi on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs we return to Hanoi. Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the labyrinth of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’. Each of the narrow lanes are named after various guilds of the city’s artisan who established themselves here centuries ago. On a hair raising cyclo (rickshaw ride) we'll see the old quarter and the delightful Hoan Kiem Lake. Tonight we board our overnight sleeper train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic stanard) operating on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. Overnight - Sleeper Train
Upon arrival to Hue we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city and the citadel. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin. After we drive into the countryside to see the elaborate mausoleums of the Nguyen kings. As the sun sets opt for a cruise in a long boat along the gentle Perfume River or enjoy some retail therapy at the ever lively Dong Ba Market, a minute's walk from our hotel. Overnight - Hue
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, to Hoi An. A stop is made en route at China Beach. Compact Hoi An with its cobbled streets, tiny shop houses and laid back restaurants and bars is a perfect place to relax a while. On a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. Overnight - Hoi An
On a bicycle ride to the local village of Tra Que we discover age old farming practises and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a hands on experience today where we’ll assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch. Day 7 is free for you to independently explore Hoi An. Relax by the beach or pool, or take a day trip to the Cham Kingdom site at My Son or My Lai - where the massacre of civilians took place at the hands of Charlie Company during the Vietnam War. Overnight - Hoi An
Hoi An - Saigon. This morning you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Saigon. After arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to the lush Mekong delta. Enjoy local vehicle ride to the villages and sampan boat ride along coconut trees. Visit local orchards, rice noodle factory and local home making crispy rice paper. A softly cycling trip may interest you also. After that we head to Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong delta. Overnight in Can Tho
Early this morning we visit the lively Cai Rang floating market and drive to Saigon. On a walking tour of the city we’ll visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure. Overnight - Saigon
This morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling underground network of tunnels and living quarters used by the Viet Cong during the war. Then we drive to the Cambodian border (crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet) and continue on to the capital of Phnom Penh. Today the nation’s capital offers a bustling mix of Asia’s past and present, a city quickly taking its place amongst the trendy capitals of the region with superb restaurants and a number of attractions. Overnight - Phnom Penh
Today we’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh starting at the National Museum of Fine Arts, a graceful terracotta building of traditional design housing the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. We continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decorations – the floors are paved with silver tiles and statues of Buddha are encrusted with thousands of diamonds. We later come face to face with the horrors of the Pol Pot regime as we visit Toul Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was gruesomely transformed into a torture chamber under the Khmer Rouge, and visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed. Overnight - Phnom Penh
Hotel check out and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Siem Reap. After time to freshen up we visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and is famed for the huge statue heads that glare down from every angle. We continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to the mother of all temples – Angkor Wat. This breathtaking monument of man’s devotion to his gods is believed to be the largest religious building in the world and contains thousands of wall carvings and extensive bas-reliefs. In the evening we enjoy a walking tour of the old market. Overnight - Siem Reap
Early this morning see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later, we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the finest stone carvings in the world. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains lavishly decorated libraries and stunning reliefs of divinities. The temple expedition continues with visits to Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei and the atmospheric Ta Prohm. Swallowed by the jungle, vast muscular roots envelop the crumbling towers and walls whilst the trees’ foliage dapples the temple in shadow. Overnight - Siem Reap
This morning we visit the Roluos group of temples (Bakong, Lolei and Preak Ko), the earliest large and permanent temples built by the Khmers. The monuments mark the dawn of Khmer classical art, dating from the late 9th century, with elaborate inscriptions in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit. Later visit the floating village of Kompong Pluk. Houses built on soaring stilts hover over the Tonle Sap Lake whilst nearby, the petrified trees of a flooded forest are revealed whenever the water level drops. Afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight - Siem Reap
Travel from Siem Reap to Battambang - a charming provincial, riverside city with beautifully preserved French architecture surrounded by picturesque countryside, temples and rural villages. An afternoon guided tour of the area includes lofty Phnom Banan - an 11th century Angkorian ruin consisting of five temples, perched on a mountain top, Wat Sampeou and the Khmer Rouge “killing caves” on the summit of fabled Phnom Sampeou Mountain. You’ll also visit Wat Ek Phnom near Piem Ek commune. Overnight Battambang.
Travel by road to the Thailand border this morning. After immigration procedures you’ll be met on the other side of the border by a Thai guide and transferred to your hotel in Bangkok, Thailand’s vibrant capital, arriving late afternoon. End of Arrangements.