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Vietnam & Cambodia: The Perfect Match

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TRIP OVERVIEW

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Destinations: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Sapa - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Siem Reap
Starts in/Finishes in: Hanoi/Siem Reap
Highlights:

  • Get the first glimpse of Hanoi through essential sites such as the Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum; The Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.
  • Take a road trip through picturesque countryside and agricultural land to Hoa Lu-the ancient capital city of Vietnam
  • Enjoy spectacular sceneries of Sapa while learning more about the ethnic minority groups and their colorful markets
  • Pay a visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming in the wondrous Halong Bay
  • Travel back in time at the Imperial City of Hue
  • Drive to the charming Hoi An ancient town through the legendary Hai Van pass (Pass of the Clouds)
  • Get wet by diving or snorkeling at Whale Island to get closer to the marine life
  • Head south to visit Cai Be colorful floating market and cruise among local barges full of fruits and vegetables.
  • Explore Angkor Wat- the largest, and for most people “a must see before you die”
  • Take a half-an-hour trekking through the jungle from East Gate to the Victory Gate. East Gate, famously known as Death Gate, one of the gates to the city of Angkor Thom.
  • Marvel at the famous temple of Banteay Srey “Citadel of Women”- a small pink sandstone temple (late 10th century) is considered as the crown jewel of classical Khmer art with the delicate beauty of its carvings

Duration: 21 days

Travel Style: Classic & Culture , Multi-country Tours
Suitable: First timers, Culture seekers, Adventure Seekers, Nature Lovers

TRIP IN DETAILS

When you arrive at Noi Bai International airport in Hanoi, you’ll be welcome by one of our representative and transferred to your hotel in the downtown. The remainder of the day will be your own.

Overnight in Hanoi

 

Meals:
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

This city tour of Hanoi takes in essential sites which will commence from your hotel lobby at 08.30 am. In the morning, you’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum; The Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.

After lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll continue visiting the Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples; enjoy a cyclo ride for 1 hour touring through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter – a must for any visitor to Hanoi! The day finishes with a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets.

Note: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed all day on Monday and Fridays, as well as from 1st October to 30th November (approx.) for annual conservation.

Overnight in Hanoi

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

After breakfast, a two hour road trip through picturesque countryside and agricultural land will take you to Hoa Lu. On arrival, your guide will lead you through this ancient complex which formed the capital city of Vietnam under both the Dinh and Le Dynasties between 968 and 1009 AD. King Dinh Tien Hoang chose this mountain location as the water systems fed from the mountains were perfect for both agriculture and defense. Enjoy the sight of palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions built by different dynasties and visit the Dinh and Le Temples, the two remaining architectures of Hoa Lu.

In the afternoon, take a three hour sampan ride along the waterways of Tam Coc. Known locally as the ‘Halong Bay of the land,’ this winding river way is dotted with gorgeous limestone karsts with endless photo opportunities. You will also visit Bich Dong Pagoda comprising three pagodas located at different levels on a green mountain and the setting of the French film ‘Indochine’. Return to Hanoi in the late afternoon.

At 20.00, your guide and driver will escort you to Hanoi Train station for an overnight train leaving at 21.10 to Lao Cai. You will stay overnight on the train.

Overnight on the train

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Overnight Train
Transportation: Boat

You’ll arrive at Lao Cai train station in the early morning where your private tour guide will take you to your hotel in Sapa town for check-in and refreshing.

After breakfast, you first sneak through the market and leave the busy town behind. After a couple of minutes, you will follow a road going downhill to Cat Cat village. You will stop by a waterfall and a hydroelectric station for a while before you trek on a dirt trail through rice paddy terraces. You will also enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. You eventually arrive in Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where you can take a rest while you are served lunch nearby the river.

After lunch, you head Muong Hoa valley. You will pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority and then Ta Van village of Giay minority by following a very popular trekking route. From there, you’ll be transferred by private vehicle back to Sapa for overnight stay.

Tour summary: Road transfer approx. 20 minutes/Hiking and village visiting 5 hours/Grade 2 of 5.

Overnight in Sapa

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

After breakfast, transfer by road to visit a weekly ethnic market and arrive at the busiest time where you will meet a large variety of ethnic minorities inhabited in the region in their colorful dresses. The ethnic market is not just a place for buying and selling but also opportunity for ethnic people from different minorities meeting and socializing, exchanging news, for women to demonstrate their beautiful handmade traditional costume and even for youngsters to find their dates. Though many ethnic people and vendors have to walk a long distance to reach the market, distance has never discouraged them from joining the market day and the festive atmosphere.

At the market, you will stroll from one section to another to explore different local produces, spices, vegetable, farming tools, handicrafts, medicinal herbs…Especially you will encounter smiling peoples everywhere. At food section, you might be invited a cup of locally made whisky.

 

After lunch at a local restaurant, you will drive back to Lao Cai to catch the shared shuttle limo for the return journey to Hanoi (~4.5 hours). You will arrive at your hotel between 21.15-21.30

Note: There are various weekly ethnic markets around Sapa: Tuesday (Coc Ly Market), Wednesday (Cao Son), Thursday (Lung Khau Nhin, Binh Lu), Saturday (Can Cau, Pha Long market) or Sunday (Bac Ha, Muong Khuong, Muong Hum Market, Binh Lu & Tam Duong).

Tour summary: Road transfer ~7-8 hours/ market, village visit & walk about 4 hours

Overnight in Hanoi

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

After breakfast, you’ll leave for Halong Bay with a refreshment break en route. Meet the crew upon boarding the traditional wooden junk, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads towards the secluded islands. Visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming if the weather permits. Return to the junk refreshed and invigorated and relax on deck with a drink to watch the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars.

Overnight on a traditional junk in Halong Bay

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Overnight Cruises
Transportation: Private vehicle

Enjoy an early morning swim (if weather permits) followed by breakfast. The tour then visit one of the famous caves in the middle of the bay before cruising back to the main harbor where your private vehicle will be waiting for you and take you straight to Noi Bai airport for your late afternoon/evening flight to Hue. On arrival, you will be picked up to your chosen hotel.


Overnight on the train

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

Today you’ll spend the full day for a city tour of Imperial City of Hue, firstly with the ancient walled Citadel including the former Imperial Palace. You’ll then visit the Dong Ba market to learn about local produce and specialties of Hue. You might get some great deals done at the local Dong Ba Market.

In the afternoon, you will cruise the Perfume River by a dragon boat to serene Thien Mu Pagoda and drive to visit the majestic Royal Tomb of King Ming Mang or King Khai Dinh. Return to your hotel by road just before sunset.

Note: You might consider a candle-lit dinner set in a garden house which is a traditional feature of Hue’s culture. Both the garden house and the cuisine are great introduction into Hue’s culture.

Overnight in Hue

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

This morning you’ll drive south to Hoi An through Hai Van pass, enjoying the view of the coast line and Danang from the top of the Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Clouds) makes your journey interesting and have your camera ready for some great photo opportunities.

When you arrive in Danang, visit either the Cham Museum in the city centre of Danang OR the famous Marble Mountain, which stands for the five essential elements that establish nature. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue the scenic route to Hoi An

Afternoon your guide will show you around the old town. You’ll start a walking tour with numerous places of interest: the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Halls, a museum and the colorful local market. Following the narrow lanes, you walk along tiny streets with houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures. After your walking tour, your time will be at leisure to wander around or go shopping.

Located 30km from Danang, Hoi An Ancient Town is a uniquely special destination in Southeast Asia, with its perfect storm of history, architecture, cuisine and glorious beaches. You might consider strolling along the wharf, shopping in the market or having a silk dress or suit fitted with outstanding quality and an outrageously low price – exploring everything in the best way: on foot and in your own time. There is a bevy of amazing restaurants, old houses, craft shops and art galleries, where local artists exhibit their works. Nearby, Cua Dai beach is the perfect spot to forget all about the now-distant rat-race.

Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

Apart from exploring Hoi An’s World Heritage architecture & colorful market on foot, you might visit Vietnam’s grandest Cham ruins at My Son; attend a cooking class at a riverside restaurant; or join other travelers to get up close and personal to daily farming and fishing life. For early risers, why not capture the real Hoi An by joining a 4-hour photography tour led by a local expat expert? If you want to go below, hop on a boat to Cu Lao Cham Island for a fun and relaxing day to explore exotic coral reefs and marine life [best between March & September]. If you’d like any of these activities to be included during your free time in Hoi An, just let it be known during your enquiry, or ask one of the Travel Specialists.

Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

Morning transfer to Danang airport for a short domestic flight to Nha Trang. When you arrive, you will be met by another driver who will transfer you along the coastal road to the north of Nha Trang where you will board a speedboat for short transfer to the Whale Island. Stay 3 nights in a simple beach front bungalow at this secluded beach resort.

Overnight in Whale Island

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

Whale Island Resort (aka Palm Island) located along the sandy white beach of stunning Van Phong Bay, well known for its diving sites. It offers views of the tropical landscapes and free Wi-Fi. Traditional, bamboo thatched bungalows are simply furnished with a fan and mosquito net. Guests will enjoy the spaciousness of the rooms, the ample work space and sitting area provided.
Diving and snorkeling facilities are available at Whale Island Resort. Guests can also enjoy windsurfing and the use of kayaks and catamarans provided by the on-site PADI diving center.
A range of fresh seafood dishes and beverages is available at Whale Island’s restaurant and bar. All-day dining is available. Whale Island Resort is 2 hours north of Nha Trang by ferry. Whale Island Resort is located along the sandy white beach of stunning Van Phong Bay, well known for its diving sites. It offers views of the tropical landscapes and free Wi-Fi in the bar lounge.
Traditional, bamboo thatched bungalows are simply furnished with a fan and mosquito net. Guests will enjoy the spaciousness of the rooms, the ample work space and seating area provided. Diving and snorkelling facilities are available at Whale Island Resort. Guests can also enjoy windsurfing and the use of kayaks and catamarans.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Resort
Transportation: Private vehicle, Boat

Free day spend as your wish!!!

From March to October, guests can also take part in diving courses and boat trips at the PADI-certified dive centre. A range of fresh seafood dishes and beverages is available at Whale Island’s restaurant and bar. All-day dining is available. Whale Island Resort is 2 hours north of Nha Trang by road.

Overnight in Whale Island

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Resort
Transportation:

Morning drive to Cam Ranh airport in Nha Trang for a 50 min. flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival, you will be met by another local guide and driver who will take you to Cu Chi Tunnels where you will visit the amazing network of underground tunnels was used during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong. This huge construction was a habitation for villagers in the war time. With 3 levels of depth, it was never discovered by the US during the Vietnam War despite its proximity to Saigon. Visit the fighting tunnel system with your local guide. Return to Saigon, arriving at around 17.00.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

Embark on a guided city tour starting with the War Remnants Museum – a real eye-opener to a part of Vietnam’s proud history, followed by the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential Palace for the president of the South of Vietnam, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post office to get good shots for our memory of the big, modern city of Vietnam.

After lunch, you will continue by heading to Chinatown with walking tour through back streets of China town near Cho Lon to view the local daily life. Stop off for a visit of Thien Hau temple, which was built in the early 19th Century dedicated to Thien Hau, the goddess of seafarers. We delve deeper into Chinatown visiting the amazing Cholon and Binh Tay Market (or Ben Thanh market) for an insight into where locals shop. Then you’ll be back to hotel at around 17:00.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

This morning you’ll head south to visit of Cai Be colorful floating market cruising among local barges full of fruits and vegetables. Then, an optional stop can be made at local workshops where you can see how to make rice paper, coconut candy and pop-rice, pop-corn …Visit a handicraft village where you can see how they make rice-net for spring-rolls, fish sauce & soya sauce, cooking salt, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage roof. Later, a rowing boat will take you deeper into the countryside on smaller canals to enjoy peacefulness of the Delta. You will also see traditional houses made of wood and palm tree leaves and see some activities of the local farmers with an opportunity to interact with them and see how they catch fish or pick up fruits by ancestral ways in Mekong Delta. A tasty lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Afternoon walk around and then enjoy some fresh fruits while listening to the traditional music. The trip today also takes in some gentle cycling along village paths to see the local farms, houses, real life and the ancestral ways to pick up fruits in Mekong Delta. The cruise will end at Vinh Long city where you will drive to Can Tho in the heart of the Mekong Delta for overnight stay.

Overnight in Can Tho

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:
Transportation: Private vehicle

Today an half hour boat cruise will take you to visit the vibrant Cai Rang floating market to experience a special type of market in which all purchasing activities take place on boats and ships. Then continue to small canal to visit a fruit garden where your guide will show you around before having a plate of delicious fruits. Return to Can Tho and observing the rural life and the lush vegetation along the riverbanks. Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City with lunch en-route, arriving in the late afternoon.

Note: Cai Rang market is one of the three biggest markets (Cai Be, Phung Hiep, Cai Rang) in the Mekong Delta. You can visit the market at any time of the day but it is most crowded and busy from sunrise to 9:00 am.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle, Boat

After a morning flight to Siem Reap, your day will be devoted to awing your way through the Temple complex, of which Angkor Wat is the key element. You’ll begin with a visit to Angkor Thom, starting with the Bayon, a bizarre structure representing several architectural changes, reflecting a switch from Hinduism (the foundations) to Buddhism (the superstructure). Your next visit will be to the Elephant and Leper King Terraces, followed by the Baphoun Temple. In the afternoon, you’ll explore Angkor Wat itself, the largest, and for most people, the most impressive temple in the complex. As dusk nears, a walk to the summit of Phnom Bakheng Hill will afford a panorama of the whole complex lit by the rays of the setting sun, weather permitting, of course. Your overnight accommodation will be in Siem Reap.

Overnight in Siem Reap

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Private vehicle

You will start your day with half-an-hour trekking with our guide through the jungle from East Gate to the Victory Gate. East Gate, famously known as Death Gate, is not one of the Angkor temples, but rather one of the gates to the city of Angkor Thom. It is not one of the main thoroughfares on a typical tour of Angkor Thom, and for this reason is considered by many to be a more pleasant site to visit due to the lesser volume of people. This also means better photo opportunities especially in the early morning. Although it is in a slightly more ‘crumbly’ state than some of the other gates, they were constructed identically so share nearly all the same features such as statues of gods, nagas on the approach, and carved faces at the top. Legend has it that it was the gate through which the army would bring guilty convicts to be executed. The guide will narrate the story about the death gate while you are walking. When you reach the victory gate, our driver, who is waiting for you there, will take all of you to continue visiting Angkor Thom, where you will start with the Bayon, a bizarre structure of several architectural changes reflecting a switch from Hinduism (the foundations) to Buddhism (the superstructure). Your next visit will be to the Elephant and Leper King Terraces followed by the Baphoun Temple, which is now nearing the end of an eight-year multi-million dollar restoration programme. You will continue to see Ta Prohm, strangled by massive tree roots and typical of the condition of the whole complex when it was discovered in 1860 by French naturalist Henri Mouhot.

Overnight in Siem Reap

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation:
Transportation: Private vehicle

Today, you will be driven about 35km south of Angkor Wat temple to visit the famous temple of Banteay Srey “Citadel of Women,” This small pink sandstone temple (late 10th century) is considered as the crown jewel of classical Khmer art with the delicate beauty of its carvings. Continue to Bantey Samre, whose style of the towers and balustrades bear strong resemblance to the towers of Angkor Wat. You will spot villagers making sugar from palm juice on your way to Banteay Srey. If you wish, you could visit them.

Afternoon, you’ll be pick up and driven to Siem Reap River, for a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake to visit the village of Kompong Pluk, where you can ‘go native’ aboard a dugout canoe for a paddle through the flooded forest near the village. You will return to your hotel late afternoon.

Kampong Pluk is a cluster of three villages of stilted houses built within the flood-plain of Tonle Sap about 16km southeast of Siem Reap. The villages are primarily Khmer and have about 3000 inhabitants between them

(Note: due to the reason that Kompong Pluk floating Village is dried during the period from Mar – Aug, we reserve our rights to change the visit of Kompong Pluk floating village to the floating village of Chong Kneas instead)

Overnight in Siem Reap

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel
Transportation: Boat

After breakfast, your time will be your own until being picked up to Siem Reap airport for your departure flight.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation:
Transportation: Private vehicle

PRICE & INCLUSION

From: US$ per person for a private tour of minimum 6 guests traveling together
Valid till December 31, 2019

Meals: 20 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 1 Brunch
Transportation: Private vehicle, Boat
Accommodation: 18 Nights
  • All pick-ups and transfers by private vehicles with experienced drivers.
  • Accommodation in chosen hotels – Twin/Double share basis and 1 night on a cruise boat on Halong Bay.
  • One-way train ticket: Hanoi – Lao Cai (sharing soft 4-berth cabin with air-con in Chapa Express Carriage)
  • One-way shuttle limo ticket: Lao Cai – Hanoi by Eco Sapa Limo
  • Domestic flight tickets in Vietnam: Hanoi – Hue, Danang – Nha Trang and Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City (economy class by Vietnam Airlines)
  • Regional flight tickets: Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap (economy class by Vietnam Airlines)
  • Experienced English speaking local guides
  • Private boat trips in Vietnam, Cambodia
  • Meals as indicated in the programme
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • 1 hour cyclo tour & First class water puppet tickets in Hanoi
  • All VAT and other government taxes
  • Entry visa to Vietnam, Cambodia
  • International flights and airport taxes
  • Travel Insurances
  • Drinks, tips and other personal expenses or services not mentioned on the program
  • Bank transfer fees

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