Take in the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia, travelling from Hanoi to Angkor Wat, before ending with a tour of Thailand's captivating capital. Cruise Halong Bay and the Mekong, explore the Imperial City of Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, discover the incredible Angkor Complex and more on this 17 day tour.
Saturday. Arrival in Hanoi and transfer to hotel. Spend today independently exploring Vietnam’s charming capital before our welcome meeting at 5pm.
For those able to arrive very early today or the day prior, why not get off the beaten track and explore Hanoi with us on our optional Back Streets of Hanoi add-on which explores the quaint districts of Cho Buoi, Hoang Hoa Tham and Vinh Phuc, and also includes an exhilarating local experience - riding pillion, on taxi-motorbikes through a maze of tiny streets and along the shore of beautiful Ho Tay Lake.
Hanoi – Halong Bay. Today we take a scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Upon arrival we board a junk boat for our overnight cruise, then soak up panoramic views of this spectacular landscape, with its jungle-clad limestone peaks and emerald green waters.
Based on traditional designs, our junk boat combines oriental style with modern luxuries. This afternoon we visit Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000m² with a stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. There's also the opportunity to go kayaking and enjoy a refreshing swim.
Back on board, we spend our evening watching a Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck before tucking into a delicious seafood dinner.
Overnight: Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Floating villages and cyclo rides
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage - the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port this morning we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two major chambers. These spectacular chambers are spacious enough to hold thousands of people.
On arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter by cyclo (rickshaw), taking in highlights such as the Opera house and Ly Thai To park. We then swap our wheels for a leisurely walk through ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops.
Later this evening there's a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Arriving into Hue we take a guided sightseeing tour visiting the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city and the citadel. Within the citadel we discover the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact replica of the Bejing’s famous Forbidden city, with its imperial palaces, formal moats and impressive ramparts.
Next we drive into the countryside to visit the ornate mausoleums of the Nguyen Kings. Either opt for a sunset cruise in a long boat along the Perfume River or browse the bustling Dong Ba Market, which is just a minute’s walk from our hotel.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Road of the Ocean Clouds
This morning we take the scenic Hai Van Pass, also known as the Road of the Ocean Clouds, to Hoi An. Along the way we enjoy magnificent views and stop for a walk along My Khe Beach. Nicknamed ‘China Beach’ by the Americans during the war, this beautiful stretch of coastline famously featured in wartime movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. Perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim before we continue our journey south down the coast.
Arriving into Hoi An, we enjoy a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town. Highlights include the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall and the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. With its cobbled streets, tiny shop houses and laid-back bars and restaurants, Hoi An is the perfect place to relax a while.
During your stay in Hoi An, we offer a unique optional Hoi An Street Eats add-on, which explores the city’s most popular local haunts. Cruise the city the way the locals do, by vintage Vespa and enjoy lots of tasty Vietnamese Cuisine. Book early with your reservation consultant, as numbers are limited.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Tra Que village & free time
Today we enjoy a bicycle ride into the local village of Tra Que, where we learn about traditional medicine and discover age-old farming practices. A fun and hands-on experience, we assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch.
Day 7 is free for you to explore charming Hoi An independently. Unwind by the pool or beach, or take a day trip. Options include My Son, a site of extensive Cham remains, or My Lai, where the massacre of civilians took place at the hands of the Charlie Company during the Vietnam War.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Hoi An - Saigon. Flight to Saigon and drive to the watery world of the Mekong Delta, famed for its abundant harvests of rice, flowers and tropical fruits. From Vinh Long, we cruise downstream on our sampan boat through the maze of waterways and canals, watching the hubbub of daily life on the water. We pass colourful trading boats and houseboats and stop off at some of the local cottage industries producing paper, popcorn and candies. We then enjoy lunch on Dong Hoa Hiep Island in a traditional wooden home.
Overnight: Can Tho | Breakfast, Lunch
Can Tho - Saigon. It’s an early start this morning to visit the lively Cai Rang Floating Market, the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta. We then drive to Saigon and enjoy a walking tour of the city, visiting the Old Post Office, the Notre Dam Cathedral and sobering War Remnants Museum. This evening offers free time.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City | Breakfast
Chu Chi Tunnels, Phnom Penh
Saigon - Phnom Penh. First stop today is the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network of tunnels with a length of some 250 kilometres used by the Viet Cong during the war. Next we drive to the Cambodian border (crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet) and journey on to Phnom Penh. Offering a bustling mix of past and present, this city is fast becoming one of Asia’s trendiest capitals.
Overnight: Phnom Penh | Breakfast, Dinner
Today we enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh, with our first stop being the National Museum of Fine Arts - a magnificent red sandstone building housing the finest collection of Khmer artefacts in the world. Next we visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its floor covered in 5,000 gleaming silver tiles and Buddha statues adorned with diamonds.
Later we gain a full understanding of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime, visiting the Killing Fields, where over 10,000 people were executed, and Tuol Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was transformed under the Khmer Rouge into Cambodia’s most notorious prison.
Overnight: Phnom Penh | Breakfast
Siem Reap & Angkor Wat
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap. Transfer to airport for included flight to Siem Reap. After freshening up, we explore the Angkor National Museum, a fascinating museum offering us a useful insight into the story of Angkor and the Khmer Empire before we visit the famous temple complex.
This afternoon we explore the iconic Angkor Wat, believed to be the world’s largest religious building and the best preserved of all the temples within the Angkor complex. This massive structure rises 65-metres tall and is famous for its thousands of unique wall carvings. This evening offers free time, with plenty of great bars and restaurants within walking distance.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Angkor Thom & NGO circus project
Those keen for an early start can revisit Angkor Wat this morning and see this spectacular complex at sunrise. We then drive to the temples of Banteay Srei, stopping enroute to visit an exotic butterfly sanctuary and the village of Preak Dak. At the village, we take part in our community tree planting initiative and help plant mango and jackfruit saplings.
Also known as the Pink City, Banteay Srei is home to some of the world’s finest stone carvings which have been cut from pink sandstone. After exploring the site’s temples and lavish libraries, we return to the Angkor Temple Complex to visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Here we spend some time exploring the Baphuon Royal Enclosure, the terraces of the Elephants and Leper King, and the fascinating Bayon Temple. Our last stop is Ta Prohm, the temple famed for its appearance in the Tomb Raider movie, which appears as though it has been swallowed by the jungle.
This evening we’re entertained by the acts of the incredible Phare Cambodian Circus, an NGO project transforming the lives of street kids by training them to become circus artists.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Ton Le Sap Lake
Today we journey to Kampong Phluk, where three villages of stilt houses hover over the waters of Tonle Sap lake. When the water level drops, petrified trees of a flooded forest are also revealed close by. We enjoy a boat trip on the lake and lunch, before returning to Siem Reap for some free time. Perhaps shop for souvenirs at the bustling central market or check out the bars and restaurants on lively Pub Street.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast, Lunch
On day 16 we head to Bangkok Flower Market, the city’s largest flower market with hundreds of fresh roses, marigolds, orchids and more for sale. From here, we take a thrilling tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho, famed for its giant reclining Buddha, covered in gold leaf and measuring 46 metres in length. Our final stop this morning is the stunning Grand Palace, the city’s most famous landmark and royal heart of the country.
After lunch, we explore some of the city’s many canals aboard a traditional longtail boat before ending out tour at the famous Khao San Road. A great spot to eat, drink and party, this road is brimming with street stalls, bars and restaurants. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Monday. Today we say goodbye to our guide and transfer to the airport. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Thailand we can arrange this for you.
Breakfast x 2
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Sunway Hotel, Hanoi
This ambient, boutique hotel combines traditional appeal with modern pleasures. Rooms are furnished in a contemporary fashion with an array of amenities for added comfort. Its restaurant provides a great variety of Vietnamese cuisine and you are welcome to enjoy cocktails and live music in the Jazz Bar or relax in the hotel's health spa.
Bhaya Classic I Junk Boat, Halong Bay
This premier cruise boat offers 18 well appointed cabins with en suite amenities. Cabins are contemporary in design, whilst the finer touches have a distinct oriental influence. All cabins feature large windows creating a bright and airy atmosphere as well as scenic views. Facilities and services onboard include a dining room and bar, a sunbathing area on-deck, masseur and small library.
Syrena Junk Boat, Halong Bay
A tradition hand crafted boat, the Syrena Junk Boat offers superb en suite air conditioned cabins with comfortable interiors and balconies. The on board Lotus Restaurant serves up a delicious array of Vietnamese and International cuisine. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the public areas. Swimming, kayaking and tai chi are all offered on board and movie nights are also very popular.
Mondial Hotel, Hue
Just a 5 minute walk from the Ho Chi Minh museum, the Mondial Hotel is a contemporary hotel with excellent amenities. Guest rooms benefit from spacious interiors, comfortable beds and lots of mod-cons. There is complimentary Wi-Fi for guests, an outdoor pool and onsite spa - perfect for a re laxing massage. As well as the delicious Huong Xuan Restaurant there is also the Lobby Lounge - great for cocktails before dinner!
ÊMM Hotel, Hue
Situated in the heart of the former imperial capital, ÊMM Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore Hue’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed sights. Completely renovated in 2016, the guestrooms are generously-sized and complete with modern amenities. The imperial jade and royal purple colour scheme was inspired by ancient Hue itself and guests can take advantage of the mini-gym, pool-side bar and a spacious reading area. Enjoy delicious Vietnamese and international cuisine in the contemporary restaurant after a day of exploring.
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, Hoi An
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort offers luxury and gracious hospitality in a traditional Vietnamese environment right on the banks of the Thu Bon river with top notch facilities.
Thanh Binh Riverside hotel , Hoi An
Boasting a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, the Thanh Binh Riverside offers excellent accommodation in a great loacation. Guest rooms benefit from garden or river views and all come full air-conditioned, with stunning hardwood floors and all mod-cons. The onsite restaurant offers a great selection of Vietnamese and International dishes and the town centre is just a mere 200m walk away. Why not grab a cocktail and relax by the pool in the afternoon - a great way to refresh yourself from the Vietnam heat.
Victoria Hotel Can Tho, Can Tho
This attractive, colonial-style resort is tastefully decorated with well-appointed rooms and a wide range of facilities including a spa, tennis courts, open-air bar, restaurant and a gym. The hotel also offers sunrise and sunset cruises to the floating markets aboard the Lady Hau junk.
Iris Hotel, Can Tho
This elegant hotel is housed within a modern building in the city of Can Tho. Each guest room comes equipped with plush furnishings to ensure a good night's sleep and is decorated with a neutral palate and calming tones. Rooms look over the city and boast a range of modern amenities such as air conditioning and stylish ensuite facilities. Magnificent views of the city can be had from the hotel's skybar while a range of gourmet local and international dishes can be sampled at the onsite restaurant.
Muong Thanh Centre, Ho Chi Minh City
Centrally located, yet on a peaceful, tree-lined street, you will find the Muong Thanh Centre. Only a ten-minute walk from top attractions such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House and Ben Thanh Market, this hotel is a great base for exploring the famous sights of the city. Its world-class rooms boast sophisticated designs and panoramic views. Warm and friendly, the Muong Thanh Centre also features a spa and swimming pool for you to relax and unwind after a long day of sight-seeing.
Northern Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Located in Saigon's central business district, the Northern Hotel offers comfortable and stylish accommodation. Guest rooms are contemporary in style and are decorated with warming tones and excellent en suite facilities. The onsite restaurant offers a variety of European and Asian dishes set on the mezzanine floor. The hotel also offers complimentary use of computers in the lobby and a fully equipped gym for those who wish keep fit whilst staying in the city.
Kravan Hotel, Phnom Penh
The Kravan Hotel offers comfortable and spacious guest rooms in a quiet location close to the heart of Phnom Penh. This stylish hotel has an outdoor rooftop pool, in addition to a rooftop bar and a restaurant which offer fantastic panoramic views across the capital. Free wifi is offered throughout the property and there is fitness centre located on the top floor where guests can indulge in various spa treatments and massages.
Angkor Paradise Hotel , Siem Reap
Not far from Angkor Wat, the Angkor Paradise Hotel offers elegant accommodation in a world famous setting. Guest rooms are beautifully furnished with traditional wooden floors and all mod cons. All rooms have either fabulous views of the city or the hotel's outdoor pool. The hotel also boasts a great onsite restaurant, fitness centre and pool terrace. The Angkor Paradise Hotel is situated a short distance from Siem Reap international airport and the majestic Angkor Archaeological Park.
Royal Princess Larn Luang, Bangkok
Located in the heart of Bangkok Old City, The Royal Princess Larn Luang hotel offers stylish accommodation along with a range of facilities and, most importantly, comfort. The spacious guest rooms are decorated with neutral colours and equipped with modern amenities such as cable TV and internet access, with wonderful views of either the city or the pool area with its shady palms. The property has four restaurants, offering a range of delicious international cuisine, while tasty cocktails and light snacks are served in the lobby lounge and Princess Club. After a day of sightseeing guests can enjoy a refreshing swim in the hotel's large outdoor pool, or head to the spa and fitness centre, before listening to live music at the Princess Club.
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