Cambodia and Vietnam, with all their fascinating history, natural wonders, friendly people and historic sites, are the twin must-visit countries in South East Asia. And on this memorable tour, which begins in Phnom Penh and ends in Hanoi, you will experience both. Highlights include the amazing Angkor Temple complex, the colourful city of Saigon, the Mekong Delta and spectacular Halong Bay, and along the way you meet the locals and watch everyday life unfold.
Arrive Phnom Penh
On arrival in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, you will be met by your guide and taken to your hotel. After a relaxing break, set out to discover the most remarkable sights of the city in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transport and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, head to the Royal Palace which houses the Silver Pagoda, which has more than 5,000 heavy silver tiles covering its floors. Continue to the National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style, and end by visiting Wat Phnom temple.
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
After breakfast you are taken to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap where you are met and taken to your hotel. This afternoon, start your visits to Angkor by visiting the ancient city of Angkor Thom, entering through the ancient and impressive carved stone South Gate. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake. From here, continue to the stunning Bayon Temple, then see the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. Overnight in Siem Reap.
One of the highlights of the tour today when you visit Angkor Wat. After breakfast explore the temples of the Small Circuit by ‘tuk tuk’ stopping at jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm temple, one of the most picturesque and memorable. Return to the hotel for a relaxing break during the midday heat then leave for a very special sightseeing tour of the famous Angkor Wat, which took 30 years to build and symbolises the soul of the Khmer people. Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap to Saigon
After breakfast relax around the pool at your hotel or explore Siem Reap, possibly visiting the artisans village where you can pick up great souvenirs, before being driven to the airport for your short flight to Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of neighbouring Vietnam. You will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in the city and the rest of the evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own seeing some of the sights at night.
A full day city tour beginning in Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda. Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. In the afternoon visit the War Remnants or History Museum and the former Presidential Palace and other major sights of the colonial city including the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), the Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.
This morning, leave bustling Saigon for the two hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be. On arrival board your boat for a cruise of Cai Be floating market. Traders work the river and some have been living on these waters for generations. Produce at the market are hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers. Then continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island and enjoy a lunch of Mekong style specialties. Overnight Saigon.
Saigon to Hoi An
After breakfast you are driven to the airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang. Here you are met and driven to nearby to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An or Danang.
Hoi An to Hue
Leave Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerising tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil. Visit the Imperial Citadel and the Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Overnight in Hue.
Hue to Hanoi
Start today with a visit to the city’s vibrant Dong Ba Market to see it’s abundance of fresh produce. After exploring the market take a cyclo through the Old City to Tinh Tam Lake where the emperors used to come to relax among the lotus flowers in summer. Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds. Then drive for 30-minutes to Hue Airport for the short flight to Hanoi. On arrival transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi to Halong Bay
Leave Hanoi for the drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at the jetty in Halong City towards noon and board your boat where lunch is served as you cruise out into the spectacular bay. In the afternoon, enjoy visits to some of the limestone karst islands or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat drops anchor for the night among the picturesque islands and you are treated to a memorable dinner as the sun sets.
Halong Bay to Hanoi
Enjoy your morning in the middle of the bay as the sun rises and breakfast is served while the vessel cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Then travel back to Hanoi and visit the Old Quarter. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to thousands of small shops. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around. Then end the day with a famous Water Puppet show.
End of tour
This morning visit the Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda and the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former president's house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. From here stroll along the lakeside to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh then do some more sightseeing or shopping before being taken to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home.