27 September 2016
This wonderful 19 day tour is a double delight from start to finish. Some of the time you are travelling on land, and the rest of time on water. Some of the trip is spent visiting all the highlights in Vietnam, while the rest of the time you are seeing the memorable sights in Cambodia. This tour is a great way to get the best out of both of these fascinating South East Asian countries and each day is action packed and full of surprises.
Your tour begins in Hanoi in North Vietnam where you will be met at the airport by one of our experienced representatives and taken to your hotel in the city. Time to relax after the journey before meeting your local guide for a tour briefing and dinner at one of Hanoi's leading restaurants. Overnight Hanoi.
This morning journey east (approximately 170km/105 miles or four hours) to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay. En route you will pass fields of busy workers farming their rice using traditional methods of cultivation. Halong Bay achieved international fame as a key location in the French film ‘Indochine’ starring Catherine Deneuve. The bay has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries and continues to capture the imagination of visitors. On arrival transfer to the port and board your boat for the cruise out to the Bay, enjoying a fresh seafood lunch on board along the way. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. You will have a chance to visit a beautiful cave and islets around the bay, before enjoying a dinner amidst the beautiful lime karst scenery aboard the boat. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
This morning wake early and see the beautiful sunrise over Halong Bay. After breakfast enjoy more cruising around the bay seeing different caves and islands and having lots of picture opportunities. Then return to the port at Hon Gai where you are picked up and driven back to Hanoi, where the rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore this fascinating city on your own. Overnight in Hanoi.
This morning check out of your hotel and go for a city tour starting at the Ho Chi Minh Quarter. Visit Ba Dinh Square, site of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and see the humble house on stilts from which ‘Uncle Ho’, as he is affectionately known, ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. You can also view the nearby Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and the intriguing Ho Chi Minh Museum. Then drive across the city to Hanoi’s first university - the Temple of Literature - dating back to 1070. In the afternoon you are taken to the airport for your flight to Hue where you have dinner at one of the city's best restaurants.
Hue is a must for people with an interest in Vietnam with its lovely location on the banks of the Perfume River. As Vietnam's capital throughout the Nguyen Dynasty, and the setting for some of the Vietnam War's most bloody fighting, Hue provides a unique window into Vietnam and its complex past. Today you explore the city visiting the Citadel, the much revered Thien Mu Pagoda, and the Royal Mausoleums. This evening have a relaxing dinner by the ocean at the resort.
From Hue you travel to Danang via the spectacular Hai Van Pass. This drive is considered one of the most beautiful in Vietnam. In Danang, visit the Cham Museum then continue south to Marble Mountains, a series of large marble outcrops that have acquired mythical significance over the centuries. From there you travel further south to Hoi An for a tour of this enchanting city. Tonight dine out or take part in an optional fun, hands-on cooking demonstration and learn how to prepare some of the local delicacies. (Tour will stay in the Anantara Hoi An up until October 2015, after this the hotel used will be the Almanity Resort Hoi An)
After all this travelling, today is free for you to explore this beautiful town with its many clothing shops, colourful fish market and river life. If you would prefer to chill out in the sun you can relax by your hotel pool or venture to the nearby beach. Tonight enjoy another included dinner at one of Hoi An's best dining establishments.
A morning of leisure before travelling to Da Nang for your flight to Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Saigon, as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming place with many reminders of its turbulent past. Check into your hotel for some free time before heading out to dine at one of Saigon's finest restaurants.
This morning take a walking tour of Saigon's famous and historic landmarks. The walk takes you through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, Municipal Theatre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Then take a tour of the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Later travel out to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which were established as a means of waging guerrilla war against the Americans. The tunnel network stretches over 155 miles and extends to three levels. Return to Saigon for some free time before dinner.
Meet your tour guide today who will take you 50 miles south to My Tho to board your cruise boat. After a refreshing welcome drink the ship departs port and glides along the Mekong. Enjoy the sunset on the sun deck followed by a briefing in the lounge about your upcoming river journey. Later, a welcome dinner awaits during which you meet your fellow travellers. At Cai Be the ship drops anchor and moors midstream.
Take part in the daily Tai Chi session as the sun rises then after breakfast visit Cai Be's boisterous and colourful floating market on board a traditional sampan. From here continue cruising the Mekong viewing breathtaking landscapes and the simple, yet busy life on the Mekong Delta. A brief stop is made to allow you to see how rice paste, rice cookies and coconut candies are made. Then cruise to Sa Dec where you have a traditional sampan tour to Binh Thanh Island. Later sail towards Chau Doc, near the Cambodian border, where you moor midstream overnight.
After breakfast take a short excursion to the town of Chau Doc visiting a colourful local market near an ancient temple, followed by a trip to the quay to see some of the catfish farms. From here it is back to the ship for lunch then continue cruising through beautiful scenery in Vietnam and into Cambodia. Take part in hands on cooking classes, or relax on deck before reaching Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
Phnom Penh was once known as the Paris of the East and has retained a lot of its old world charm and elegance. Enjoy a fascinating talk on Cambodia's modern history before taking a tour of one of Indochina's most fascinating cities. Sights in the morning include the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. After lunch visit the Genocide museum and the Killing Fields a sobering reminder of the suffering this nation endured at the hands of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. Tonight cocktails will be served followed by a traditional Apsara dance performance onboard before a sunset barbecue on deck.
Leave Phnom Penh before dawn with a stop at the little known Chong Koh silk weaving village. Then cruise past the Mekong's tranquil villages, soaking up the images of river life and sun-hardened fishermen on their make shift boats. Your next stop will be a tour of the rural Angkor Ban village where you will experience the unbridled warmth of the villagers. Later cruise towards the town of Kampong Cham. Please note, the itineraries on Days 14 to 17 will vary according to water levels.
This morning depart before the break of dawn towards Kampong Cham. Stop at the little known Chong Koh silk weaving village before returning to the ship and continuing to cruise past the Mekong’s tranquil villages, exhilirating river life and sun-hardened fishermen on their wooden boats. Tour the rural Angkor Ban village where time has seemingly stood still. You will feel as though you have been transported back in time to an era untouched by modern civilisation. Be amazed at the truly rustic architecture all made by hand and enjoy the unbridled warmth of the villagers. Experience village life by taking part in activities of the locals before heading back to the ship to cruise towards Kampong Cham. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Before the sun peeks over the horizon, wake early to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Travelers either take a motor-taxi or climb 303 steps to the top. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river, it offers one of the most breath-taking views in Cambodia. Built in the 8th century, this ancient structure, together with a bigger and newer addition underscores the superb architecture of the Chenla Empire which predates the mighty Angkor temple complex. There is a chance to engage in light banter with some of the monks in the area, before returning to the boat to witness a blessing ceremony performed by local monks. After lunch, and if the tide allows, enjoy a boat visit to the nearby beach to swim in the tea colored Mekong River before cruising towards Kampong Cham. Along the way visit Wat Nokor, a wat built within the ruins of an an ancient temple, visit an orphanage, and maneuver along a rickety bamboo bridge. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Please note the programme on this day can vary according to water levels in the lake. This great lake dominates Cambodia and is the largest freshwater lake in Asia. Enjoy its tranquillity on the way to to Siem Reap. You cross the Tonle Sap Lake at dawn and say farewell to the crew as the boat docks at Siem Reap Port for you onward coach transfer to the Victoria Angkor Hotel. Here you will be met by one of our tour representatives who will take you to Angkor Wat to watch the sunset over the temple complex which is one of the world's greatest wonders.
The temples of Angkor represent 600 years of Khmer civilisation - one of Asia's greatest Kingdoms. Leave your hotel early and spend the whole day exploring the awesome temples. Angkor Wat is the world's largest sacred building and an architectural masterpiece. You also visit the southern Gate of Angkor Thom, The Bayon, to see its beautiful central towers, covered in more than 200 enormous faces, and at the end of the day move on to the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm - one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor. Tonight enjoy a final dinner at one of Siem Reap's finest restaurants.
Today your wonderful tour of the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia comes to an end in Siem Reap. You can extend your stay at a luxurious hotel in this resort town or do some last minute sightseeing and shopping before being taken to the airport for your onward flight or to begin your journey home.
Deluxe fr £3999pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated