For its sheer scope and variety this great 15 day tour of the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia takes some beating. Your adventure begins in the north of Vietnam and continues south through the country to Saigon and ends amid the magnificent temple complex of Angkor in Cambodia. In between you will visit beautiful Halong Bay, the enchanting towns of Hue and Hoi An, experience life on the mighty Mekong Delta and stay in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. You will return from this comprehensive tour of south east Asia with so many wonderful memories.
Your tour begins in Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam, and you will be met at the airport by one of our representatives and taken to your city hotel. Time to relax or go exploring before an evening meeting with your tour leader and the rest of the group for welcome drinks and a briefing.
Hanoi to Halong Bay
This morning travel east to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders. On arrival transfer to the port and board your boat for a cruise out to the Bay, enjoying a fresh seafood lunch on board. Visit some of the beautiful caves and islets around the bay, then enjoy a sumptuous dinner on board before retiring to your cabin for the night.
Halong Bay to Hanoi
Today you rise early to make the most of Halong Bay’s stunning scenery. After breakfast, visit more of the spectacular islets and
caves that make this area so unique and then head back to Halong City, enjoying a tasty seafood lunch en route. In the afternoon
return to the Hanoi. This afternoon you may like to take a walking tour of the Hanoi backstreets to visit some local markets and
specialty food stores. You will have the opportunity to try some local dishes and in the process learn more about daily life and
culinary customs and habits of the Vietnamese people. Sample “ Che” a local dessert type drink made with sugar cane, green bean,
black bean, glutinous rice, and lotus seed. Maybe try Banh Tom or “shrimp cake”, a local Hanoi specialty, in a small food alley. Sit
at a local street side bar for some refreshing local beer “ Bia hoi” and before sampling the very delicious “Banh Cuon”, a pan cake
made with chicken and pork.
Begin your discovery of the city with a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter - 36 ancient streets where you can see the daily bustle of life around the markets. Continue to the Ho Chi Minh Quarter and visit the humble house on stilts from which ‘Uncle Ho’, ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Also view the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and the infamous Hanoi Hilton - the former central prison.
Hanoi to Hue
Today, transfer to the airport for the flight to Hue. Located on the banks of the perfume River, Hue was Vietnam’s capital
throughout the Nguyen Dynasty, as a centre of Vietnamese Buddhism and scholarship and finally as the setting for some of the
Vietnam War’s most bloody fighting, Hue provides a unique window into Vietnam and its complex past. Begin your exploration of this
city by visiting the tomb of the former emperor Tu Duc. From here you shall visit the impressive home of the Nguyen Dynasty
emperors (1802-1945), the Citadel. Much of the Citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968 but is gradually being
restored. From here visit the much revered and tranquil Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s oldest and most beautiful religious monument.
Finish the day with a unique visit to the Spiral Foundation to meet the deaf and mute workers as they guide you to make your own
souvenir from 100% recycled materials.
Hue to Hoi An
This morning take the chance to live like a local and enjoy the train ride from Hue to Danang beofre transferring via beautiful costal scenery to the World Heritage Listed town of Hoi An. The port was once Vietnam’s most active trading centre over many centuries and has been largely preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the
influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders. Hoi An is also the town where French Missionary Alexandre
De Rhodes introduced Catholicism to Vietnam as well as the Romanised script that has become the standard Vietnamese script.
Arrive for lunch before taking a local market and backstreets tour of Hoi An to learn about local produce when you join some of the
students from Streets cafe. This is will help them learn language and interaction skills as part of their accredited training with the
New York Culinary Institute. Enjoy a small tasting menu of some of the products when you return to Streets Cafe. This afternoon you
will also see an old merchant house, a Chinese assembly hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge in the Hoi An old town.
Today is free for you to explore this beautiful town with its many clothing shops, colourful fish market and river life. Alternatively
you may wish to head to the nearby beach or just relax by the pool at your resort.
Hoi An to Saigon
This morning enjoy some more time in Hoi An before transfering to the airport for your flight to Saigon - Vietnam’s commercial
capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Despite its rush to modernity, Saigon, as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming
place with many reminders of its turbulent past and a palpable momentum towards the future.
Saigon is Vietnam’s commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Nowhere is Vietnam’s rush to modernise more visible.
Despite this, Saigon, as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming place with many reminders of its turbulent past and a palpable
momentum towards the future. This morning travel to the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels are located in an area known during the
Vietnam War as the ‘Iron Triangle’ on account of the strength of its communist insurgency. Established as a means of waging
guerrilla war against superior French and later American fire power; the tunnel network stretches over 250km (155 miles) and
extends to three levels underground, providing a remarkable insight into the method and determination of Communist forces during
the Vietnam Wars. Transfer back to Saigon for
lunch where you may like to try ‘Pho’ (pronounced ‘fur’) the delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. In the afternoon take a tour of the
Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) and War Remnants Museum. Finish the tour with a walk through the heart of
the city see the Notre Dame Cathedral and Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), walk past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square,
and Municipal Theatre.
This morning take a short walk to Bach Dang pier and board your speedboat for a unique introduction to the Mekong Delta. Known as
the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam, the Delta is the most fertile region in the country and the main producer of rice and tropical fruits.
Explore narrow canals and stop along the way at a local market, visit a Buddhist temple and see an unusual Cao Dai pagoda, a
bizarre sect combining a mix of all the world’s great religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity and
Islam. Gain a real insight into the lives of the local people by visiting a local workshop and villages and have lunch at a family home.
After a delicious lunch featuring some local specialties, including Elephant Ear Fish, return to Saigon in the afternoon. This evening
enjoy a final night dinner with your group to celebrate the end of a memorable journey.
Arrive Phnom Penh
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred
to your hotel. Tonight meet your tour leader (or local guide) and the rest of the group in the reception area of the hotel, for
welcome drinks and a Cambodia tour briefing.
Explore Phnom Penh
After years of war and Pol Pot's terror in the 1970s, Phnom Penh is now a city reinventing itself. Many parts are still a testament to its French colonial past while the recently developed riverfront area is proof of its future. Visit the Royal Palace and the famous Silver Pagoda. In the afternoon visit the chilling Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes, The Killing Fields of Choeng Ek and the Central Market. The rest of the day is free to shop or wander around the old colonial buildings.
Siem Reap and Tonle Sap Lake
Today you fly to Siem Reap and enjoy some free time relaxing in this resort town or you may like to visit to beautiful Tonle Sap, the second largest freshwater lake in the world. This ecological marvel is the lifeblood of the country and the primary source of fish and protein for most of the Cambodian population.
The Temples of Angkor
The adventure begins with a pre dawn departure from the hotel for sunrise over Angkor Wat. Creep through the temple in darkness soaking up the atmosphere of dawn at Angkor, spending two hours at this truly great temple. Then explore the walled city of Angkor Thom. After lunch drive to the intricately carved and well-preserved Banteay Srei Temple, regarded by many as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Angkor temples. On your return to Siem Reap stop at the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor.
End of tour
Today your wonderful 15 day tour of the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia comes to an end. Some time for some last minute sightseeing or shopping in Siem Reap before you are taken to the airport for your onward flight or journey back home taking with you a lifetime of memories from south east Asia.