General


ITINERARY:

Day 1:

Hanoi:

Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2:

Hanoi cooking class 

Begin your holiday, the traditional Vietnamese way, with a bowl of steaming Pho at one of Hanoi’s most popular eateries. After enjoying the national dish it is time move on to Hoan Kiem Lake for a morning stroll. This central lake is focal point for many of the local residents who live close to the lake and gather there each day to practice Tai Chi, play badminton and do aerobics. Then it is time for a fun cooking class at one of the best schools in Hanoi, with a renowned local chef to teach and assist you. The cooking class begins with a trip to a local market to shop for the produce that you will need for the class. Then, it is back to the cooking centre for a fun hands-on experience. At the end of the lesson, you can enjoy your delicious creations! On your return home you can impress your friends with some authentic Vietnamese recipes.

Spend the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps take stroll along the ancient streets of the exotic old quarter and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Vietnam’s enchanting capital.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 3:

Hanoi – Halong Bay 

This morning transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to Halong City, the drive takes about 4 hours and you will stop off for a refreshment break en route. Upon arrival meet the crew of the traditional Junk boat at the dock and cruise to the famous islands of UNESCO Listed Halong Bay and on to Bai Tu Long Bay. Aside from the cave visit and swimming, there is a chance to explore this stunning area by sea kayak. Return back to the Junk for a scrumptious dinner and watch an incredible sunset over the bay.

Overnight in Halong Bay.

Day 4:

Halong Bay – Hue 

Wake up to the fresh air, gentle breeze and amazing views of the bay this morning. Cruise through Bai Tu Long and visit the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng – where you can learn about the daily life. Enjoy lunch onboard before returning to the main harbour and travelling back to Hanoi, arriving late afternoon.

There is a chance to freshen up at a hotel before you transfer to the train station for the overnight journey on the Reunification Express railway line south to Hue. Accommodation aboard the train in four berth shared cabins, which are simple but comfortable.

Overnight in Sleeper Train.

Day 5:

Hue 

Upon arrival in Hue, transfer directly to the hotel. Hue was the Vietnamese capital during the Nguyen Dynasty 1802-1945 and ruins of the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the Citadel and the Imperial City. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Many of the buildings were damaged by French aerial bombing and the Tet Offensive in 1968. Now it is slowly being restored thanks to generous funding by UNESCO.

Your tour begins after breakfast with the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. Spend the morning wandering through the enclosure before lunch and a trip into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors at two of the most impressive Royal Tombs. This evening enjoy a scenic cruise along the Perfume River.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 6:

Hue – Hoi An 

This morning, continue south to the picturesque riverside town of Hoi An. The five hour drive takes you along the South China Sea coastline with breathtaking views particularly as the road winds its way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”).

From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, renowned for its silk and popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailors shops and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century and much of the town is now heritage-listed. This afternoon enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Days 7-8:

Hoi An 

Today enjoy a full day tour which gives you an insight into the lives of the farming and fishing communities in this beautiful region of Vietnam. Begin your adventure by cycling out into the countryside through emerald green rice paddies. After a short ride you will arrive at the village of Tra Que. This charming little settlement, on the edge of Hoi An, is famous for its sweet scented green vegetables that spice up Hoi An’s famous delicacies such as Cao Lau and Mi Quang. On arrival learn about the history of the village and the cultivation of the vegetables. Continue with a walk around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and planting some crops. Finish off your village experience with a fun cooking demonstration. Later, return to Hoi An and board the Eco Tour boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fisherman. You’ll also have the opportunity to experience river net fishing with the locals and paddle a unique bamboo basket boat, known as a coracle, as you explore the area’s coconut palmed waterways. Spend day 8 at leisure, relaxing in Hoi An.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 9:

Hoi An –Siagon 

Transfer to the airport in Danang this morning and catch the flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the city is still referred to by all except officals, is Vietnam’s largest city. It is a fast-paced metropolis full of contrasts, with street vendors selling fruit and vegetables next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. Amazingly, the city’s history dates back only 300 years. In 1859 the city was captured by the French and became the capital of Cochin China. From 1956 until April 1975 it was the capital of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is very much the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurial activity. The French left their mark with some fine colonial-era buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.

Enjoy a guided tour of the city this afternoon. Highlights include the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office. Dong Khoi Street, which is home to many boutiques and fine restaurants, the Opera House and the beautiful Peoples’ Committee Building. The War Remnants Museum, Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war and the Reunification Palace which is one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on 30 April 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through the gates of what was, at the time the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.

Overnight in Saigon.

Day 10:

Saigon – CanTho 

.Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong Delta today! Sightseeing begins with a visit to Cai Be’s colourful floating market and a visit to some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying processing. Known as the ‘Rice Bowl’ of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a beautiful fertile region with lush rice paddy fields and fruit plantations. Soak up the riverside views as you cruise along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Discover beautiful landscapes, observe typical Mekong delta rural life on the remote islands and enjoy a tasty lunch at a superb Indochine style resort. Spend the night in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

Overnight in Can Tho.

Day 11:

Can Tho –Chau Doc 

Rise early for a morning boat trip to the extraordinary floating market at Cai Rang. Observe boats jostling for position as the locals engage in frenetic trading and be sure to have your camera ready for some great photo opportunities. Return to Can Tho before driving to Chau Doc.

Overnight in Chau Doc.

Day 12:

Chau Doc – Phnom Penh 

Phnom Penh city tour

Chau Doc – Phnom Penh. After breakfast, take a speed boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, arriving at midday. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Cambodia’s energetic capital is noted for its beautiful colonial architecture and historic sites. See the highlights of this bustling, vibrant city on a guided tour this afternoon, including the fascinating Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. You can climb the hill to Wat Phnom, the city’s main temple, where you’ll find throngs of worshippers and troops of monkeys.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 13:

Phnom Penh – Siem Reap 

Spend time at leisure this morning before your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. With its picturesque riverside location, colonial and Chinese-style architecture and leafy tree lined boulevards, Siem Reap is an ideal base to explore Cambodia’s legendary Angkor Temple complex over the next two days.

This afternoon, ride a Tuk Tuk to visit 12th century Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Starting at the South Gate, take a walk along the ancient city wall to see the lost temple of Prasat Chroung. Continue on to the spectacular Bayon temple, where you are surrounded by the smiling faces of numerous Buddhas. Also visit the Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace and the Terrace of the Leper King.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 14:

Angkor Wat 

Time to explore more of the Angkor Temple Complex, undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites! Rise early this morning to avoid the crowds and travel by Tuk Tuk to visit the incredible jungle enveloped temple of Ta Prohm, which featured in the film ‘Tomb Raider’. Next, visit the spectacular Angkor Wat temple – the world’s largest religious building and Cambodia’s number one attraction! Enjoy a guided tour around this huge structure and learn about the glories of the Kingdom of Angkor before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast and a rest.

Continue sightseeing this afternoon with a visit to the temple of Banteay Srei or ‘Citadel of the Women’. On your way back to Siem Reap, enjoy the sunset from the top of the pyramid-shaped temple of Pre Rup.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 15:

Tonle Sap Lake

This morning take a Tuk Tuk to the edge of Siem Reap and enjoy a fun buffalo cart ride through the countryside until you reach the Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake; the Tonle Sap. Board a boat and spend the rest of the morning at one of the largest floating villages on the lake which is called Kompong Phluk. In the village you will witness the fascinating daily lives of the local people who live on the water. The boat service is provided by local people, and the profit goes directly back to the community. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 16:

Siem Reap

Today your exciting Asian adventure comes to an end after breakfast, hotel check out and a transfer to the airport for your flight home.

T RIP HIGHLIGHTS:

Hanoi – the ‘Paris of the Orient’ and capital of Vietnam; The Old Quarter, Tai Chi at Hoan Kiem Lake, Chau Long Market

Hue – the Perfume River, Imperial City and ancient walled Citadel, Royal Tombs

Saigon – Cosmopolitan and commercial hub of Vietnam; The Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Dong Khoi Street, the Opera House and People’s Committee Building

Tra Que – rural farming village outside Hoi An

Siem Reap – attractive riverside town and gateway to the Angkor Temple Complex

Angkor Wat – the world’s largest religious temple

Tonle Sap Lake – Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake and Kompong Phluk floating village

Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay – UNESCO Listed region with thousands of beautiful limestone peaks and islets

Hoi An – UNESCO Listed former merchant trading post, famed for its beautifully preserved architecture

Cruising on the Mekong Delta – one of the world’s greatest river regions. Cai Be and Cai Rang Floating Markets, Dong Hoa Hiep Island and Mekong Delta rural life

Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s capital City. Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum

Angkor Thom – The last capital of the Khmer Empire. The South Gate, the lost temple of Prasat Chroung and the Bayon Temple

Ta Prohm – the jungle enveloped ‘Tomb Raider’ temple

INCLUDED:

13 nights standard hotels. Superior (4 star) and deluxe (5 star) properties are also available

1 night overnight train – Hanoi to Hue. 4 berth soft sleeper cabin

2 domestic economy flights: Da Nang to Saigon and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Speed boat: Chau Doc to Phnom Penh

All transfers and transportation in private air conditioned vehicles

Guided tour of Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Phnom Penh and Angkor Temple Complex

Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay overnight Junk boat cruise

Tra Que village experience including bike ride

Siem Reap – Boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake

1 night aboard a luxury Halong Bay Junk boat

15 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 dinner

Airport arrival and departure transfer

Services of an English speaking guide for all scheduled sightseeing

Hanoi – Vietnamese Cooking Lesson

Hue – boat trip on the Perfume River

Sampan cruise on the Mekong Delta, including stops at Cai Be Floating Market and Dong Hoa Hiep Island

NOT INCLUDED:

International flights and visas. Vietnam visa letter included – stamping fee required upon arrival

Tipping – an entirely personal gesture

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