Vietnam and Cambodia Discovery
Discover two fascinating countries. Hike through the verdant rice terraces of Hoang Su phi and taste the street food in Hanoi. Your journey ends with an unforgettable exploration of the Angkor Wat complex by tuk tuk.
- International flights and current taxes
- Domestic transportation
- 3* plus – 4* accommodation
- Mixed meal plan
- Touring with guides and entrance fees
- Visa fees for UK & EU passport holders
Days 1-2: Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi where you will be met at the airport in the arrival hall by your Local Guide or National Escort. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer 45 minutes to your hotel and check into your room or store any luggage if your room is not ready yet. There is no sightseeing today.
Day 3: Hanoi
Start your morning with a wander through Ba Dinh Square and visit the Ho Chi Minh complex, final resting place of Uncle Ho and the House on Stilts. Next, learn about Vietnam’s ethnic minorities at the Ethnology Museum before visiting the Confucian Temple of Literature. Take a walking tour of Hanoi’s exciting Old Quarter before taking a light stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake, a great place to people watch. Sightseeing in central Hanoi involves approximately 4 hours on foot. This evening, take a walking tour of the city’s unique street-side night life and food vendors. Taste the varied flavours of Vietnamese street food such as Pho Cuon and barbeque beef. In case of rain, the street food tour itinerary may include a visit to a covered noodle stall. The Ethnology Museum is closed on Mondays and on Vietnamese New Year, if your visit falls on these days you will go to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum as an alternative. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is closed for entry on Mondays and Fridays every week and from September to December each year. During these times, we are unable to enter the Mausoleum; however, we can view it from the outside.
Day 4: Hanoi - Hoang Su Phi
After breakfast travel approximately 9 hours to Hoang Su Phi, one of northern Vietnam’s emerald green rice terrace areas, stoppping en route for lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin exploring. In Hoang Su Phi you will be staying in a local eco lodge. Please be aware that accommodation here is basic and the hot water for showers is solar powered so may not always be reliable. You will need to pack a smaller bag for your 3 night trip to Hoang Su Phi. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Hanoi and picked up your return.
Day 5: Panhou
After breakfast, hike for approximately 4 hours today to visit Tay village, through the spectacular countryside, you will walk over some uneven surfaces and at times at an incline. You will walk along the Chay river, pass through the dam, enjoy rice paddies and mountain scenery while walking to Tay Village where you can discovery more local culture. Enjoy lunch at the one of the houses of the Tay people, before walking back to the lodge. Please ensure you have sturdy and comfortable walking shoes as mountain trails can become slippery in wet weather.
Day 6: Panhou
Today leave Pan Hou with your guide to explore the nearby mountains through rice terraces. Walk through a local market before hiking along the trail and see a panorama view of terrace paddies fields. By necessity, the local people have sculpted the mountainside and use its water courses to grow rice. These laborious adjustments, which enable them to live in the heights, offer you some unique landscapes to contemplate. In crop season, their fields look like pieces of curved mirror. Later in rice season, they have various green and yellow colours with different tones which made them a vivid picture. After a few hours of trekking, take a break in a village of the Red Dao for lunch. Then we continue our discovery of the local vegetation while trekking back to Panhou. Today’s walking time will total to a duration of approximately 4-5 hours.
Day 7: Hoang Su Phi – Hanoi
Travel 9 hours back to Hanoi and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Day 8: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Drive 4 hours today from Hanoi to Halong, where you will take an overnight cruise to the far-most corners of the bay. Boarding your boat could involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff. Enjoy lunch onboard as you cruise out into the bay, stopping to anchor for an afternoon of activities (which are subject to change due to cruise selection and weather conditions). Sightseeing includes visiting underground caves on the islands, which require climbing up and down steps inside and outside of the caves. End the day on deck with a drink in hand to watch the sunset over the bay followed by a freshly prepared dinner, before retiring to your cabin for the night. You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to Halong Bay. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Hanoi and picked up on your return. Please note: Weather conditions such as mist, fog, wind, rain and storms may delay the departure time of your cruise, or in some cases your cruise may be cancelled. Notifications of any delays or cancellations may not be known until your group’s arrival in Halong Bay. If your cruise is cancelled after your arrival in Halong Bay, you will have lunch in Halong City and return to Hanoi. If notification of the cruise cancellation is given prior to your departure for Halong Bay an alternative day trip will be arranged to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc or ‘Halong Bay on Land’, an area located approximately 2 hours from Hanoi. Our guides will make every effort to inform the group at the earliest possible moment should there be any itinerary changes.
Day 9: Halong Bay – Hue
Start your day on deck with a relaxing Tai Chi session whilst you admire an amazing sunrise over the karst scenery. Spend the morning sailing through Halong Bay. After brunch return to Hanoi for your 1 hour flight to Hue.
Day 10: Hue
Cycle through Hue for a tour of the imperial sights. The tour lasts from around 8:30am and 4pm stopping for lunch and at the sites, the roads are mostly flat. Start at the imperial City, then continue to Phu Mong Garden House, part of Hue’s legacy from the Nguyen Dynasty. Return to your bike and stop at Thien Mu Pagoda which overlooks the Perfume River. Drive to Tu Duc Tomb, a sprawling compound with lakes, waterways and walkways connecting different memorials.
Day 11: Hue – Hoi An
Drive for 3 to 4 hours to Hoi An, stopping en route at the Museum of Cham Sculpture, this journey will take you over the scenic Hai Van Pass. On arrival into Hoi An, enjoy a leisurely afternoon walk past Chinese traders’ houses, local artists and the 16th century Japanese Bridge.
Day 12: Hoi An
Hop on your bike today and wheel through the scenic rice paddies outside Hoi An. Pay a visit to local farmers where you can try your hand at traditional farming techniques – look out for water buffalo! Enjoy a calming boat ride to a peaceful fishing village, where you can try making a fishing net and go paddling in unique bamboo basket boats.
Day 13: Hoi An - Saigon
This morning will be at leisure before transferring to Danang for your 1 hour flight to Saigon. This evening, you will be driven around Saigon on the back of a vintage Vespa with an experienced driver. Stop for a cocktail before tasting mouthwatering dishes in Chinatown, District 4 and the backstreets of Saigon.
Day 14: Saigon
This morning drive 2 hours to discover the amazing network of the Cu Chi Tunnels. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven mud paths through the bush and, if you choose, crawling through some of the tunnels. Continue to Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office, pass the Notre Dame Cathedral before visiting the War Remnants Museum. Sightseeing in central Saigon will be approximately 3 hours. Please note: The Notre Dame Cathedral will be under renovation for 2 years, starting in July 2017. During this time we are unable to enter the Cathedral; however we can view it from the outside.
Day 15: Saigon - Mekong Delta
Head south for 2 hours to Ben Tre, gateway to the Mekong Delta. Here, you will take a boat ride on the river, observing daily life and the beautiful scenery, passing by the mangrove and palm trees along the river bank. Visit a handy brickkiln, a coconut processing workshop and a candy workshop. Continue boating through the winding natural canal whilst discovering the rural countryside. Visit a farmer’s house making sleep mats. Take a bicycle on paths to a local house for lunch and continue on a rowing boat along the canal. Ride on coconut tree-shaded paths through the village, and stop at Mr. Sau Khanh’s house – a local man who has collected a lot of ancient ceramics, potteries like bowls, vases and sculptures originally from Asia. You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to the Mekong Delta. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Saigon and picked up on your return.
Day 16: Mekong Delta - Saigon
Travel to the Cho Lach district, stopping to visit Vinh Bac bonsai and a flower village. Pay a visit to Cai Nhum Cathedral before returning to Saigon.
Day 17: Saigon – Siem Reap
This morning transfer to the airport for your 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor complex. This evening, watch a performance by the PHARE Cambodian Circus, an NGO which teaches street children to become internationally renowned circus artists.
Day 18: Siem Reap
What better way to see the world famous Angkor Wat Complex than from the back of a traditional tuk tuk. You will explore Angkor Wat, the centrepiece of the Complex, before visiting Angkor Thom and the Bayon. Lastily, visit Ta Prohm, atmospherically buried deep in the jungle. Two people plus one guide can travel in each tuk tuk. The complex can get very hot so always bring water with you and wear comfortable, light clothing. You will tour the Angkor Complex for approximately 5 hours. Please note: The Central Tower of the Angkor Wat complex is closed on Buddhist holidays and on all other days has a limited number of visitors allowed at any given time, under regulations from UNESCO. If you wish to visit this tower, you will be required to wait in the queue alongside all other visitors. The ability to do this will be determined upon the groups’ schedule.
Day 19: Siem Reap
After breakfast this morning, head to the floating villages of Siem Reap. The Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water lake in southeast Asia and is home to a very different lifestyle, which can be observed from your boat. In the high water season, you will travel to Kompong Khleang a unique village on stilts. In the lower water season you will visit a local library project which promotes education and take a traditional ox cart ride through the fields. Continue to the less visited Beng Mealea, a temple over run by the jungle.
Days 20-21: Depart Siem Reap
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK arriving home the following day; any time before your flight is at leisure.
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