DISCOVER THE CONTRASTS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA ON THIS GRAND TOUR, WHICH PRESENTS BOTH THE TROPICAL AND CULTURAL SIDES OF VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA.
From stunning tropical beaches to temples, bustling cities and agricultural areas, Southeast Asia is a story of contrasts. This all-inclusive adventure allows us to experience them all as we embark on a 16-day journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. On this great discovery, we engage in experiences both grand and small to get a true feel for these destinations. In Vietnam, enjoy a traditional cyclo ride to Hanoi's Old Quarter, an overnight cruise through iconic Halong Bay, a customary Vietnamese Water Puppet Theater, visits to Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Citadel in Hue, lantern making and pristine beaches in Hoi An and a stay in a phenomenal tropical resort in Nha Trang. Moving back inland to Ho Chi Minh City, see what remains of the Cu Chi tunnels and tour through old Saigon. As we arrive at the Mekong Delta, the tour switches back to water once more, as we set out to explore the traditional communities and floating markets that line the Mekong River. We continue our cruise through the delta and arrive in the Cambodian city of Phnom Penh, where golden temples sit aside palaces, museums, markets and historical sites. We get a taste of it all during a full-day sightseeing tour, then we move out of the city and toward two more beloved destinations in Cambodia, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat Temple. Brimming with culture and chock-full of amazing sights to behold, this extravagant journey is an experience to remember.
* Rail travel on board a sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue (1 night on train)
* Rail travel on local and regional rail lines as described
* Hotel accommodations for 13 nights
* 1 night aboard a luxury junk in Halong Bay
* 37 meals
* City tour of Hanoi including Cyclo ride
* Guided tour of Hue
* Excursion to the Marble Mountains
* Sightseeing tour of Hoi An and Phnom Penh
* Performance at a traditional water puppet theater
* Lantern making workshop in Hoi An
* Guided tour of Ho Chi Minh
* Excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels and a talk on Vietnam's railroads
* Visit to Cai Rang floating market
* Visits to Angkor Wat temple and Angkor Thom
* Transportation by motorcoach
* Services of a professional tour escort and knowledgeable local guides for touring
Day 1 – Hanoi
Meet your group and Tour Manager at the Melia Hanoi Hotel in Hanoi. In the afternoon we begin our sightseeing tour of the city, with a traditional cyclo ride to Hanoi's Old Quarter, past Hoàn Kiém Lake. We return to the hotel for dinner this evening.
Day 2 - Cruise on Halong Bay
We continue exploring Hanoi before we transfer to iconic Halong Bay. An extraordinary collection of limestone karst rock formations and islands dotted amongst emerald waters, this area of outstanding natural beauty is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we begin one of the highlights of the tour as we board our luxury junk for an overnight cruise. We travel through the incredibly scenic Halong Bay, enjoying lunch and dinner on board as we sail through the beautiful bay.
Days 3-4 - Hue
As the sun rises over the glorious panorama this morning, you could try Tai Chi on deck. After breakfast we visit one of the bay's typical limestone grottos, before we sail back to shore. From here we transfer back to Hanoi, stopping en-route at Dong Trieu Pottery Village. This evening, we visit a Water Puppet Theater, where we are treated to a performance of this traditional Vietnamese art form. Tonight, we join the overnight sleeper service to Hue, in two berth compartments.
On Day 4 our early arrival in Hue gives us a full day to explore. We embark on a cruise on the famous 'Perfume River' to the magnificent seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda. We continue to the immense Imperial Citadel, whose impressive six miles of walls contain the Imperial and the Purple Forbidden City.
Day 5 - To Hoi An
Today we travel south by train from Hue to Danang, on one of the most beautiful stretches of line in Vietnam. We wind our way through the thick, verdant landscape, emerging onto a dramatic coastline, where the steep mountains tumble down to the pristine beaches fringing the South China Sea. We leave the train in Danang and transfer by coach to Hoi An.
Day 6 – Hoi An
The charming riverside town of Hoi An is famed for its beautiful old buildings and its history as a merchant trading post. This morning we discover the old town on a walking tour, during which we see the 400-year old Japanese covered bridge, Tan Ky merchant house, and the vibrant local market. After lunch in a local restaurant, we make our way to the Xu Dang Trong Art Center where you will try your hand at lantern making. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure to explore the lively streets and the myriad of tradesmen offering made to measure clothing and custom-made shoes, or perhaps just absorb the relaxed atmosphere and unwind in the beautiful surroundings of our hotel.
Days 7-8 – To Nha Trang
Leaving Hoi An, we transfer by coach to Danang for the train to the vibrant coastal resort of Nha Trang, passing rice paddies and mighty oxen working the countryside. We check into our hotel, located on the beachfront, for a one-night stay.
On Day 8 we transfer by train to Saigon, on arrival we make our way to the Grand Hotel where we will stay for the next 2 nights.
Day 9 - The Cu Chi tunnels
We travel to the Cu Chi tunnels and visit the vast underground complex utilized by the Viet Cong during the war against the US. At its height, this system stretched for almost 250 km towards the Cambodian border, and contained field hospitals, weapons factories, kitchens, and living quarters. Our visit gives a real insight to life during this period. After lunch, we make our way back to Saigon enjoying a tour of the city en-route to the hotel before spending the evening at leisure.
Days 10-11 - The Mekong Delta
We travel west by coach to the Mekong Delta, a wonder of nature where the enormous Mekong River splits into branches on its way to the South China Sea. We travel by boat to get a glimpse of the communities which make their living here and stop at the floating market of Cai Be, before crossing a lower branch of the Mekong River. Later we reach Can Tho and stay here overnight on the Mekong's banks.
Day 11 you have the full day at leisure to explore Can Tho.
Days 12-13 - Into Cambodia and Phnom Penh
This morning we visit Cai Rang, one of the world's largest floating markets. After time to explore, we transfer to Cao Lanh for our onwards boat journey through the Mekong Delta, and into Cambodia. We arrive in Phnom Penh, the country's exciting capital, known as the 'Pearl of Asia', situated at the meeting point for three great rivers - the Mekong, the Tonle Sap, and the Bassac.
On Day 13, we explore Phnom Penh. Despite its chequered recent history, Phnom Penh is a wonderful place, home to a number of ornate golden temples. Today's full-day sightseeing tour introduces us to some of the city's main sights. We see the Silver Pagoda, the grand Royal Palace, the National Museum and Central Market. We later visit the moving Tuol Sleng - a museum dedicated to the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Days 14-15 - Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
We journey by road to Siem Reap today, pausing en-route at Sa Dec, a peaceful city made up of rustic colonial houses and tree-lined avenues, where Marguerite Duras set his semi-autobiographical novel, 'The Lovers.'
On Day 15 we visit the world-famous Angkor Wat temple, a source of true national pride and the world's largest religious structure. During our time here we visit Ta Prohm, a temple within the complex. We continue by Cyclo ride to the abandoned city of Angkor Thom.
Day 16 – Homeward bound
Our tour comes to a conclusion after breakfast this morning. You are free to make your way to the airport for your flight back home at leisure.