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Vietnam & Cambodia Culture journey - 14 days

A remarkable tour, taking in the best of both Vietnam and Cambodia. Start from Hanoi, sampling great street food and cultural sights before heading to the remarkable, World Heritage listed Halong Bay. Continue your journey to Hue, the ancient capital date back in18th century where you will not only explore the history of the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor’s home but also learn traditional fishing techniques and embracing cultural significance.

Soak up the sun and the sand of Hoi An, the next stop where you find yourself at great beach and lost in the color of Hoi An ancient city, a trader town with mix heritage of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese culture. Heading further south to the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and cover the whole country length by driving down to the nation’s food bowl, The Mekong Delta.

A great 2 days in Mekong Delta gives you the opportunity to see and understand the region a little better prior to heading across the Cambodian border to Siem Reap. Angkor Wat and its associated temples and ancient buildings are one of the world’s great sights and will leave indelible memories. Tonle Sap Lake, with its floating villages and the old Cambodian capital of Udong.

A thought through journey rounds out one of the best tours one can imagine of Vietnam’s great sights and the magnificence of ancient Cambodia. 

Highlights

  • Delve into the 36 streets of 36 trades in Hanoi’s old quarters
  • Meet the local chef for a home cooking demonstration
  • Cruise through the unique Karst bay in Halong
  • Survey the historical Imperial Citadel in Hue
  • Experience the Rural life in Hue
  • Feel the charm of ancient Hoi An
  • Capture the local life in Mekong Delta
  • Marvel at the temples of Angkor in Siem Reap
  • Discover the former capital of Cambodia

Tour Price Includes:

  • Complimentary visa approval letter to Vietnam (for eligible visa on arrival applicants) 
  • 12 nights’ shared Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the below indicated room types (see hotel category list below) (check in and check out around noontime)
  • 2 Days/ 1 Night cruise on boat in Halong Bay (shared cabin on shared boat)
  • All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
  • Local English speaking guides on spot.
  • All entrance fees as program
  • Join-in boat trip in Udong (Cambodia)
  • Daily breakfast, 8 lunches, 3 dinners
  • 02 bottles of mineral water per person (applicable for days with organized sightseeing / excursions)

Tour Price Excludes:

  • Airfares (international and domestic)
  • Food & beverages (other than mentioned in the program)
  • Visa stamping fee to Vietnam, Visa fee for Cambodia
  • Tips for tour guides & drivers
  • Travel Insurance
  • Early check in or late check out
  • Optional excursions and activities
  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation
  • All services not clearly noted as “Included”

Itinerary

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day 1
HANOI ARRIVAL

Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Your guide will greet you at the airport and get to your Hotel in Hanoi where you drop the luggage and go for a short introduction to the vibrant heart of Hanoi.

You walk the busy and narrow streets of the old quarter; passing by ancient temples and communal houses. Sit on the pavement and have a cup of coffee or green tea with the locals. You reach the Hoan Kiem Lake and its famous little red bridge to the Ngoc Son Temple. Sample several local snacks during your walk and end up with a light refreshing dinner with Vietnamese cuisine.

Coming back to your Hotel and enjoy rest of the day at leisure.  

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: MK Boutique Premier Hotel – Luxury Room

day 2
HANOI

The guide meets you at 9 am. Start your day with a visit to Temple of Literature, a little architectural gem, the first university of Vietnam and a temple devoted to Confucius. You then walk north to reach the Ho Chi Minh complex and visit the gardens of the Presidential Palace, the one-pillar pagoda and the house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived out the last days of his life.

Done with the classics, let’s see Hanoi like locals do.

For lunch, you go to Truc Bach Peninsula to eat the specialty of the neighborhood: the “pho cuon” and “pho xao”. There is a choice of several dishes based on pho noodles, sautéed beef, and fresh herbs.

You then hop on a small electric cart to ride around the largest lake of the city. The journey takes about 1 hour over 18 kilometers to see a different Hanoi with a stop en-route at one of the oldest wooden pagodas in town.

Leg stretching walks throughout Ngoc Ha Village lead you through a maze of narrow alleys with a market, schools and shops everywhere. Stop at the B52 Lake where you can still see the aircraft shoot down during American war.

You exit the labyrinth and spend the afternoon with a slice of real Hanoian daily life: a cool beer and some fresh peanuts at a popular “bia hoi” – aka draft beer. Here people gather after work to enjoy a draught beer in a relaxed atmosphere. You drive back to the hotel, end of the day at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast,  Lunch

Accommodation: MK Boutique Premier Hotel – Luxury Room

Note:

Fun fact: Chuc Suc Khoe (pronounced choop sook kway) is the wish of good health people make to one another when drinking alcohol. In Vietnam we must have a toast together everytime we take a sip of the beverage.

day 3
HANOI – HALONG BAY

After breakfast, depart for Halong Bay, one of the most stunning natural wonders of Vietnam, a picturesque blend of harmonious transition between the mountains and the sea. On arrival, board a traditional junk and head out into the Gulf of Tonkin amongst the huge limestone outcrops and emerald waters. You will spend the rest of the day cruising around the myriad of tiny islands and many grottoes created by the wind and the waves.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Bhaya Classic Cruise – Deluxe Cabin

day 4
HALONG BAY – HUE

Enjoy your second day cruising the emerald water of Halong Bay. While cruising back to the pier, brunch is served as you get closer to disembarkation. 

Disembark and drive straight to Hanoi’s airport to catch a flight to Hue. Arriving in Hue, your guide and driver will meet you and drive to your Hotel.

Check-in to a centrally-located hotel. Evening free at leisure.

Meals: Brunch

Accommodation: Eldora Hotel – Deluxe City Room

day 5
HUE

In the morning, you will take a cyclo to visit the Imperial City, a remnant of a vast citadel. Here you can see the ravages of time and war on what was the carefully designed capital of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Take a boat to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, a historic temple in the city which is a symbol of Hue, located next to the Perfume River. Here you can relax and refresh before returning to the boat for a scenic cruise to Thuy Bieu Eco-village.

Arrive Thuy Bieu and spend 2 hours to stroll or bike around a quiet village and have lunch at a local house with Hue traditional specialties. Take the opportunity to steep your feet in medicinal herb water – a traditional therapeutic practice, and enjoy excellent blind massage.

You end the day by meeting the Buddhist nuns and monks of the Duc Son Pagoda-run orphanage. Along the way, you will have a short visit at King Tu Duc’s Tomb, a sprawling compound centered around a lake, including numerous separate memorials connected by pleasant walkways. The major portions of the tomb complex were completed from 1864-67, along with future temple buildings that served as a retreat for Tu Duc and his many wives during his lifetime.

Free evening to explore Hue at your own pace and style.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Eldora Hotel – Deluxe City Room

day 6
HUE – TAM GIANG – HOI AN

After breakfast, you take a 30-km drive along the impressive road of tombs at the northern edge of the Tam Giang Lagoon. You meet another Hue community, the fishermen of the lagoon. You join them on board a boat as they show us their particular fishing techniques. The lagoon is large and provides a daily supply of seafood to the whole village. You come back to a local home and enjoy a fresh seafood-based lunch.

In the afternoon, you make your way to Hoi An along a scenic, winding road, passing the Lang Co Bay and the superb Hai Van Pass around 4.30-5 pm when the light is beautiful. Arrival in Hoi An in the early evening.

The evening is free so you can walk the ancient town and enjoy dinner at many fine restaurant in town. The suggestion for your first night is Faifo Restaurant and Morning Glory.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Hotel – Superior Garden Room

day 7
HOI AN

A full day free without any planned activities. Make the most of it with a bicycle ride to Hoi An’s An Bang beach and to explore this small fishing town with its little alleys, beautiful houses and numerous restaurants.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Hotel – Superior Garden Room

day 8
HOI AN FREE MORNING, FLIGHT TO HO CHI MINH CITY

Have a relaxing morning, after having breakfast at Hotel you may wish to go back to town for a market visit. After that have a stop at HoiAn Roastery Coffee House for a hot cup, if you are more a tea person then the Silent Tea House “Reaching Out” is prefect place to just relax and watch life goes by.

We pick you up in the afternoon to take you to the airport in Danang for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

On arrival, your local guide will take you to the Hotel for refreshment before lead you to Saigon Opera house for a beautiful show mixing folklore and contemporary arts. This is what Saigon is all about, a young, creative and dynamic city with strong anchorage in traditional roots and culture. After the show, you sample some popular Saigon street food before heading back to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Edenstar Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 9
HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA

After breakfast, head south to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta. On arrival, take a boat cruise to see local life along the river.

A rowing boat will take you deeper into the countryside on smaller canals where you will see traditional houses made of wood and palm tree leaves. Observe the activities of the local farmers and take the opportunity to make contact with them and see how they catch fish and pick fruit in the old, ancestral ways of the Mekong Delta. Have some fruit and tea while enjoying the traditional music at Ut Trinh home. A delicious lunch will be served on board as you travel to Sa Dec.

A stop will be made at Dinh Tan Hoa, an ancient provincial house built some hundred fifty years ago. You will cruise up-stream on the Tien River, another large arm of the Mekong. On the banks, some dark smoke in the sky will lead you to one of the biggest brick and tile factory in the region where you will have an interesting visit. You will reach Sa Dec around noon. The town has the appearance of a “little Venice” with numerous narrow canals, with various kind of activities on the banks. You will disembark at Sa Dec local market, one of the biggest in the delta.

You continue the drive to Can Tho in the late afternoon. Evening at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Ninh Kieu Riverside Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 10
CAN THO – HO CHI MINH CITY – SIEM REAP

This morning, step on board a boat to visit Cai Rang floating market. The market is not busy as its glory day in the past but still buzzing with lovely scene of traders from all the Mekong Delta come and trade on their local products. Local and tourists can enjoy boat noodle or coffee from many floating kitchen. Prepare some small changes and sample some fresh food from one of many pineapple boats, mango boats… 
After the morning market, take your time to pack and relax before driving back to Ho Chi Minh City. You have lunch en-route and transfer straight to the airport where you catch a flight to Siem Reap.

You are welcomed in Cambodia and transferred to your hotel. Evening is free to relax

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Samsara Villa Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 11
ANGKOR HIGHLIGHTS

Wake up early and explore the amazing temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You first visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, surrounded by an 8m high wall. This was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII.

You continue to Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur, its exterior gallery walls featuring extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. You also see the Ta Prohm Temple, unlike most other Angkor temples, has been left just it was when rediscovered: a photogenic and atmospheric maze of trees growing out of temple ruins amidst jungle surroundings making it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.

In the afternoon you explore the masterpiece Angkor Wat, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. It is a massive three-tiered structure crowned by five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters from ground level. In the evening, you attend a show of traditional Apsara dance.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Samsara Villa Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 12
TONLE SAP AND THE “INDIANA JONES EXPERIENCE” – PHNOM PENH

After breakfast, you drive to Kompong Kleang floating village. It is, in fact, a community of over 20,000 people where stilt-houses tower up to ten meters above the water. Depending on the season, you explore the village on foot or by boat. Greeted by friendly locals, you can glimpse into Cambodia’s countryside culture and traditional family lifestyle. Enjoy a picnic lunch in Kompong Kleang.

From Khleang, you head out to the hidden jungle temple of Beng Mealea. Just a short walk through dense jungle brings you to this overgrown temple, whose wonders lay undiscovered for centuries. Reaching this temple will remind you of the best scenes of Indiana Jones’ movies.

You then transfer to the airport to catch a late afternoon flight to Phnom Penh. Arrival in Phnom Penh, transfer to the hotel and an evening at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Templation Angkor Hotel – Junior Suite Room

day 13
PHNOM PENH, CRUISE TO UDONG

You spend the day away from the classic tourism spots and discover Udong, the former capital of Cambodia. You embark on a cruise on the Tonle Sap River witnessing life on both the water and banks. You get off the boat and take a tuk-tuk ride for about 10 minutes to reach the heights of Udong. The site features stupas and pagodas, and offers a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. You take the time to look about then get back on board heading to a remote quaint spot for lunch. About 2 pm, you make your way back to the hotel in Phnom Penh by the late afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Templation Angkor Hotel – Junior Suite Room

day 14
DEPARTURE

Say goodbye to Cambodia today and board your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast