With our engaging native-born guides and never more than 16 guests, our extensive sightseeing and unique cultural activities bring you deeper inside the stories, culture and beauty of these friendly and exotic lands. By night, you’ll enjoy the finest luxury accommodations – on land and water!
Day 1 – VIP Welcome to Hanoi
On arrival, our VIP Fast Track Service expedites your arrival through immigration, baggage claim and customs. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to the stylish Sofitel Legend Metropole, the finest luxury hotel in the city.
Day 2 – Hanoi… Past + Present
After breakfast, your full-day sightseeing begins at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an impressive monument constructed of marble, granite and precious woods. A tour of the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, ironically nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by American POW’s during the war, offers a sobering and thought-provoking look into history. End your morning at the Temple of Literature, founded nearly 1,000 years ago and dedicated to the famous Chinese scholar and philosopher Confucius.
After lunch, explore Hanoi’s colorful Old Quarter, where ancient byways like Tin Street and Bamboo Street are named for the goods that have long been sold there. Continuing along labrynthine streets explored by few tourists, you’ll have a chance to peer into old temples and homes, meeting residents as your in-the-know guide shares insight. Take a break with a refreshing cup of Vietnamese coffee at a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake and then visit Ngoc Son Temple, built in the 18th century on a tiny island in the lake. End your sightseeing with a Water Puppet performance, a traditional and uniquely Vietnamese art form which started centuries ago – possibly in the nation’s flooded rice fields. Meals B+L
Day 3 – Hanoi to Ha Long Bay #WHS#
The scenic drive from the bustling city to Ha Long Bay is just a few hours, but the magnificent landscapes that greet you upon arrival will feel worlds away from Hanoi… Ha Long Bay is filled with thousands of limestone islands, forested peaks, hidden coves, mysterious caves and emerald green waters that stretch forth as far as you can see. Traditional sailing junks and local fishing boats ply these waters and here awaits our intimate luxury ship, the Paradise Elegance.
Settle in to your spacious balcony stateroom and enjoy a welcome cocktail as we begin our voyage into the sublime vistas of Ha Long Bay. After lunch onboard, you’ll explore Sung Sot Cave. Later, you can visit a pearl farm where traditional ways of cultivating pearl oysters have been enhanced with the most recent developments by Japanese marine biologists. The adventurous can choose to go kayaking instead! Return to ship for a cooking demonstration, sunset cocktails and dinner in the restaurant. Meals B+L+D
Day 4 – Disembark + Travel to Hoi An
Early risers can join a Tai Chi session on deck as the sun is rising over the magnificent landscapes of Ha Long Bay. After a light breakfast, go ashore on Soi Sim Island where you can enjoy a refreshing swim or hike to the island’s summit for panoramic views. Return to ship where you’ll find a lavish breakfast buffet awaiting you in the restaurant. As we cruise back toward the marina, take these last moments to enjoy the passing vistas from your private balcony or the Sun Deck. Upon disembarking, transfer to the airport for your included flight to Danang. On arrival, a scenic overland journey brings you to Hoi An, a historic coastal town missed by many other travelers. Check in to the Royal Hoi An MGallery where Grand Deluxe Rooms with private balconies have been reserved for our guests. Meals B
Day 5 – Exploring Hoi An
Join your engaging guide this morning for a walking tour in town. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, Hoi An #WHS# was one of the wealthiest ports in all of Asia – home to Dutch, French, Portuguese, Arab, Japanese and Chinese merchants. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its splendidly preserved architecture and ancient seafaring heritage. Your tour includes Chua Ong Pagoda, built in 1653, and Jinshang Temple – dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea and the protector of seafaring merchants. You’ll also visit the 200-year-old Tan Ky Ancestral House and the oft-photographed covered bridge, built by Japanese craftsmen in the 17th century. A pleasant cruise on the Thu Bon River is a wonderful way to conclude your exploration of this ancient and lively port. Meals B+L
Day 6 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Return to Danang for your included flight to Saigon. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the Park Hyatt Hotel. Situated on Lam Son Square in the heart of town, our luxury hotel is Saigon’s best – heralded for its style and attentive service. Meals B
Day 7 – Out + About in Saigon
Begin your sightseeing with the graceful, Colonial-era landmarks of the city including the Central Post Office, built in the late 1800’s with its creamy yellow façade, and the Opera House - designed by French architect Eugene Ferret in the flamboyant style of the French Third Republic. Next up is a guided tour of Reunification Hall, from its landscaped gardens to its stately interior; formerly known as the Presidential Palace, it was towards this modern building that Communist tanks rolled on the morning of April 30, 1975 as Saigon fell. Nearby, the War Remnants Museum offers a penetrating look into the ravages of the war as seen through the eyes of the Vietnamese people.
After lunch, explore a local market filled with exotic tropical fruits and embark on our Cyclo adventure through the colorful streets of Chinatown. A guided walk down one particular street reveals small shops specializing in traditional herbal remedies; meet some of the merchants as our guide offers insight into Vietnam’s ancient healing practices. Your day of exploration ends with a cocktail as you watch the sun set over Saigon from atop one of the tallest buildings in Asia. Meals B+L+D
Day 8 – Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Cambodia. Touching down in Siem Reap, our VIP Fast Track Service expedites your arrival through immigration and customs. Ahead of other airline passengers, you’ll soon be on your way to the luxurious Belmond La Residence d’Angkor where a Junior Suite with terrace has been reserved for you. Meals B
Day 9 – Temples of Angkor
This morning, you’ll discover the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmers, with its remarkable Elephant Terrace and elaborately carved Terrace of the Leper King. At the very heart of Angkor Thom, the stunning Bayon temple* is a 12th-century architectural masterpiece of symmetry and grandeur. Continue on with your guide to visit Preah Khan, an extensive monastic complex built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII.
Take a break from sightseeing for a delightful lunch at Viroth’s, where fine traditional Khmer cuisine is attentively served in a chic and contemporary setting. In the afternoon, your guided sightseeing focuses on the less-visited but equally impressive sites of Angkor, including Chau Say Tevoda, Prasat Kravan, and Ta Keo. You’ll also tour the oft-photographed Ta Prohm; dedicated in 1186, this vast temple complex has been largely left in its natural state, surrounded by the massive roots and limbs of the encroaching jungle. End your sightseeing on a high note as you tour Angkor Wat - the largest temple in the world with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt. Inspired by 12th-century Hinduism, it took an estimated 30 years to build Angkor Wat, including the intricate bas-relief carvings which adorn all four sides of the temple. Meals B+L+D
*Bayon Temple will undergo extensive restoration work beginning in early 2020. Access to the upper levels will be limited and scaffolding may cover portions of the structure for several years.
Day 10 – Banteay Srei + Banteay Samre
Begin another day of guided exploration at Banteay Srei; also known as the Citadel of Women, this delicately carved, pink sandstone temple is hailed by many as one of the finest of all the temples in the sprawling Angkor complex. Not far away, Banteay Samre was built in the mid 12th century and distinctively features beautiful carvings that reflect both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. With its impressive towers and balustrades, its overall architectural style has been compared to the grandeur of Angkor Wat. In the afternoon, we’ve arranged a special visit with the amazing organization that has been training the HeroRATs that have saved countless lives worldwide by detecting long-buried landmines. Across Africa, Asia and South America, their work to clear these dangers remnants of war has allowed local communities to move forward and safely develop their land in productive ways. Meals B+D
Day 11 – Tonle Sap Lake + Departure
Check out after breakfast and travel to the shores of Tonle Sap Lake, an impressive body of water that dominates the landscape in this timeless part of the country. A morning excursion aboard a shaded boat transports you across the tranquil lake waters to Kompong Phluk, a remote Khmer community comprised of three villages. Home to about 3,000 residents, their homes are built in the traditional fashion – “floating” above the lake on wooden stilts that can be up to 25 feet above the water level. With insight from our expert guide, you’ll learn about their timeless way of life, raising fish and vegetables on unique floating platforms. Then return to the airport in Siem Reap for your onward flight. Meals B