Outlined Of Vietnam and Cambodia Tour itinerary: 3 Hanoi, 1 Halong, 2 Hoi An, 2 Hue, 2 Saigon, 3 Siem Reap
Day 1: Arrive HAN (Flight TBA)
Upon arrival in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, meet with your guide waiting for you at the exit gate with welcome signboard and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Afternoon, take a cyclo tour the Old Quarter of “36 streets and 36 wares” to witness the vibrant small market along the street sides. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B)
Enjoy a leisure breakfast until setting out for a city tour of this charming capital Hanoi city including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his house, the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda in the form of a lotus, it emerges from the water and rests on a single stone pillar. It contains a statue of the Goddess of Mercy with its legendary “thousand arms and a thousand eyes”, the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam. Afternoon, continue your visit to the Fine Art museum housing a variety of ancient art works dated back to the 11th century. Then drive to visit to a very beautiful Museum of Ethnology to enhance your understanding of Vietnam’s diverse culture through its unique presentation of objects & dress from daily life. This evening attend a traditional water puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form especially designed for depicting scenes from rural life and many episodes of national history. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi (B)
Morning after breakfast, shuttle 30km from Hanoi to Bac Ninh for a short biking trip into Tho Ha noodle village. Continue to bike along rice paddies with stops en route to visit Van village known for making rice wine. Picnic lunch is served under the shade at a beautiful rice paddy. Afternoon, shuttle back to Hanoi. Continue the Hanoi city tour to include the “Hanoi Hilton” where US pilots POWs were captured. Return to hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi – Halong overland with Kayaking (B,L,D)
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to Halong bay with stop en route at Sao Do for coffee break. On arrival in Halong city, board our junk and start cruising out to the mystic bay while a seafood lunch is served on board. Afternoon, have a briefing on safety kayaking regulations before a walk to visit caves. After the visit, return to our mother boat to get on our kayak and paddle to visit Luon cave. Dinner on board.
Day 5: Halong – Hanoi overland/ HAN-DAD flight TBA (B,L)
Enjoy breakfast before kayaking around Cua Van floating village, a unique fishing village recognized by UNESCO. Come back to the boat by 9.00AM to have a fresh shower, return the room to the crew. Cruise further to Bai Tu Long bay before having an early lunch on board. Back to shore by mid day. Say goodbye to our crew and drive to visit Phu Lang ceramic making village. If time permits, we can walk through one of the many villages in Bac Ninh to learn more about the agricultural life, en route to the airport for flight to Danang. Upon arrival, meet with a local guide and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An (B)
Hoi An, a former international trading port during the 17-18th century, is a charming small town with an eclectic mix of Western and Eastern-influenced architecture. Morning, enjoy a walking tour of Hoi An on its narrow streets, visiting former merchants’ houses, Phuc Kien Pagoda, the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the animated market. We will learn about the well-preserved tradition, which has stayed unchanged for centuries. Then drive to Cam Chau village to join a lantern making class with a family known for making lantern. Then, keep a lantern you have just made for souvenir. Afternoon, free on your own in this boutique ancient town or get on our bicycle for an easy ride through the countryside of Hoi An for around 10 km.
Day 7: Hoi An – Hue overland (B,L)
After breakfast, check out hotel and drive to Hue, with stop en route in Danang to visit the Cham museum to see the best collection of the Cham art vestiges dating from 2nd to 15th century. The objects on display represent the art of architecture and sculpture of the Hindu influenced ancient civilization of Champa. Next, visit the China beach where an R&R was set up for the American GIs during the Vietnam war, Continue our scenic drive over the Hai Van cloudy pass for panoramic view of South China Sea (if weather permits), with stops en route for photo opportunities at Lang Co fishing village.
Lunch is served in Hue on arrival. Afternoon, drive to visit Khai Dinh Royal Tomb located on a hilllock with different architecture and atmosphere that has elements of eastern art mixed with western designs. Return to hotel for check in.
Day 8: Hue (B,L)
After breakfast, enjoy a morning boat cruise along the Perfume river to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s most preserved religious monument standing on the riverbank with its seven-floor tower. Continue the drive to visit the Imperial Citadel built in the early 19th century. Enjoy a very special home-hosted lunch at a lovely garden house with a chance to meet up with our host. Afternoon, drive to visit the higgledy piggledy Royal Tomb of Tu Duc emperor which was designed to blend with the natural setting of the landscape. End the day with a visit to Dong Thuyen pagoda where you can voluntarily spend 2 hours teaching English to the nuns, with chance to interact with them about nun’s life in a pagoda. Overnight in Hue.
Day 9: Danang – Saigon via DAD-SGN morning flight (B)
Have an early check out and transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, meet with your guide and transfer to downtown. Embark on a full day trip of Saigon’s historic landmarks including the 1880’s Old Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, the former Presidential Palace once headquarters for the Saigon Government during the “American War” (quick visit of the highlights only) and the Historical Museum (or optional War Remnant Museum). Afternoon, visit the Fito traditional medicinal museum, the Chinese district of Cholon to enjoy the bustling wholesale quarter of Saigon, and Thien Hau temple built by Cantonese Buddhists the end of 18th century. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 10: My Tho day trip (B,L)
After breakfast, set out on an excursion to My Tho in the Mekong Delta. Enjoy a 2-hour scenic drive past paddy fields and tributaries. On arrival, take an orientation of the city with visits to a CaoDai temple and Vinh Trang pagoda to get a chanc to see the most beautiful religious sites of My Tho. Then, drive to the downtown pier and board our private motorized boat for a river cruise on the upper part of the might Mekong River before entering Rach Xep canal for a faboulous ride for photo ops of miles of water coconut palm trees along the river bank. This is definitely the best ecological part of the Mekong Delta. We can try all varieties of coconut candies, ride on horse cart along village road, taste tropical fruits, drink green tea mixed with bee honey, and enjoy a hand rowing sampan along tiny canal. Lunch is at a local restaurant with Mekong specialties. Return to shore for the drive back to Saigon for the night.
Day 11: Cu Chi tunnels before flying SGN/REP via late afternoon flight (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a morning scenic drive through the typical southern Vietnamese countryside to Cu Chi tunnels at Ben Dinh, driving past numerous rubber plantations and rice paddies. Upon arrival in Cu Chi, set out for a 1-hour walk to explore the “underground village” built by Cu Chi guerrilla fighters built during the long years of wars. This walk will give us an authentic look at the former Vietnam War to understand how the guarrillas lived and fought by visiting different bunkers for weapon, guard, Commander, meeting, kitchen, dinning, etc. Transfer back to Saigon and onto the airport for flight to Siem Reap. Transfer to hotel upon arrival.
Day 12: Siem Reap (B)
After breakfast, start exploring of the Angkor Temples which you will be taking an elephant ride from the south gate of Angkor Thom and all the way to the Bayon and circle around the Bayon temple. Then, continue exploring the mysterious Royal city Angkor Thom. Its 50-tower temple is an awesome sight. At first glance it seems a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals a face, and then another and another until suddenly you are engulfed by the silent, heavy, enigmatic and silent gaze through half-closed eyes, staring out from a primitive and remote time. Further, visit to the surroundings of the complex including the Baphou, Elephant Terraces, Lepper King Terrace and Royal Place area. In the afternoon, visit the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat – one of the world’s most impressive ruins. The temple still owns fine Apsara carvings in Angkorian era art. Lunch and Dinner is on own.
Day 13: Siem Reap (B)
After breakfast, enjoy a drive to the rural outskirt 35km from the town and visit to Ban Teay Srei, the birthplace of Khmer classical style architecture. This is a small temple but with carvings which are so impressive. In the afternoon, visit the picturesque Ta Prohm that had nearly disappeared into the jungle and remains overgrown, an oddly haunting and exotic scene, the magnificent roots of a tree, pushing between the huge stone blocks of the temple in a sort of embrace, emphasizing the legend of a ‘hidden city’. Continue your visit to more of the Angkor ruins, possibly including Preah Khan, Neak Pean, East Mebon, located on an islet in the center of the Eastern Baray, and Ta Son, a Buddhist temple built in the late 12th century and in a ruined state. Lunch and Dinner is on own.
Day 14: Siem Reap (B)
Free at leisure until transfer to the airport for homeward flight. End of services.
Regular hotel check-in time at 0200pm and check-out time at 1200pm