Mythical palaces, colorful markets, and fantastical caves dripping in stalactites—Southeast Asia is a dream for adults and kids alike. On this trip, explore the jungle-shrouded ruins of Angkor, delight in a fascinating water puppet show, somersault with Cambodian circus performers, and more. Brimming with history and adventure, Southeast Asia will dazzle your mind and enthrall the imagination.
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Explore Hanoi’s vibrant old quarter on a traditional cyclo—a three-wheel bicycle taxi! Cruise past shops selling everything from wooden handicrafts to fresh fruit juice and traditional candy, and capture the neighborhood’s lively vibe on camera. Then hop off to watch a delightful water puppet show—a centuries-old storytelling technique that recounts popular Vietnamese legends and folktales.
Hanoi/Hoa Lu/Tam Coc/Ninh Binh
Head south to the ancient Vietnamese capital of Hoa Lu, and get immersed in a fertile landscape of emerald rice fields and towering karst mountains. Step foot in the surviving temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties while learning about the feudal history of the country. After lunch in Tam Coc, set sail on a traditional sampan, or bamboo boat, down the Ngo Dong River. Float through verdant jungle and drift past impressive stalactites in a trio of spectacular caves. Continue to Ninh Binh for an evening at leisure.
Return to Tam Coc and explore the surrounding countryside by bicycle. Witness local life as you pedal past farms, venture through serene Thung Nang (aka Sunshine Valley), and marvel at the intricate Buddhist pagodas of Bich Dong cave. Head to a local restaurant for a hands-on experience learning to make Vietnamese sweet potato chips. Later, enjoy a free evening at the hotel to relax in the pool or spa, or explore the streets of Ninh Binh on your own.
This morning, take in the scenery en route to Bat Trang, a centuries-old ceramics village where you can try your hand at making pottery under the guidance of a local craftsman. Then transfer to the airport and catch a flight to Hue, situated on the banks of the picturesque Perfume River. Despite being badly damaged during the Vietnam War, this former capital city retains much of its imperial splendor. Spend the evening at your hotel, or rent bikes and pedal along the river for a glimpse of some of the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites we’ll dive into the following day.
Today, we venture into Hue’s grand citadel, guarded by a deep moat and imposing stone walls. Wander opulent palaces and ornate gardens, and hear dramatic stories of former royal inhabitants from your guide. Then venture to the Forbidden Purple City—modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City—a fortified complex where the ruling emperor once lived. This city-within-a-city even has its own moat! Later, head to the countryside, dotted with rice paddies and pagodas. Have lunch at a Buddhist nunnery, then drive to Hoi An via the spectacular Hai Van Pass, winding across the hilly coast of the South China Sea.
Discover the enchanting port town of Hoi An, which thrived between the 15th and 19th centuries. Delve into the city’s World Heritage–listed old town, strolling streets strung with paper lanterns and navigating a maze of temples and tailor shops. Visit one of the town tailors to get measured for a custom-made shirt; then travel to a nearby factory to see how your piece of clothing is produced!
Return to the old town for a fun-filled noodle tour! The tour is led by guides from the G Adventures–supported Oodles of Noodles program, which trains local youth in the culinary arts. Taste your way through different kinds of noodles at a food market; pick out your favorite fresh ingredients; and take your haul to the Oodles of Noodles training kitchen, where we’ll cook up a delectable storm. Later, set out on a leisurely bike ride through the Hoi An countryside, then float down to a nearby farming village in a traditional basket boat.
Hoi An/Ho Chi Minh City
Transfer to the airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s most populous city and economic hub. Get to know this buzzing metropolis—still commonly referred to as Saigon—on a cyclo tour. Cruise past French colonial buildings and stately monuments; then launch into a frenetic market, where the calls of vendors, the smells of street food, and the fascinating assortment of wares dazzles the senses.
Ho Chi Minh City
Today, we descend into the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast network of underground passageways built and used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The tunnels connected the residents with subterranean schools and hospitals, and included booby traps smeared with poisonous concoctions to injure enemy soldiers. Try the local cassava root, which sustained Viet Cong soldiers for years, and emerge from the bunkers to enjoy a traditional lunch by the river.
Ho Chi Minh City/Siem Reap
Catch a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia, gateway to the magnificent ruins of Angkor. This evening, we enjoy a delicious Khmer meal at the New Hope Cambodia vocational training restaurant, an initiative spearheaded by G Adventures. The restaurant provides hospitality training to unemployed young adults, and also funds a free community school and a health program.
Who’s ready for a jungle adventure? This morning, we’ll explore the ancient Angkor temple complex, nestled deep within the Cambodian jungle. Discover hidden passageways and crumbling courtyards where the forest is rapidly reclaiming its territory. Later, brush up your acrobatic skills at a workshop with Phare, a Cambodian circus and social enterprise that employs underprivileged youth. Tumble and somersault to your heart’s content; then watch and photograph one of Phare’s amazing performances. Celebrate your unforgettable journey at a farewell dinner tonight.
Depart at any time.