Discover the heritage of Vietnam and Cambodia in this newly designed tour by Jasmin Tonkin.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Hanoi/Saigon
DURATION 15 days / 14 nights
PHYSICALITY 2/10
1

Day 1: Hanoi arrival & sightseeing

Welcome to Vietnam. Arrive in Hanoi by flight ???, pick up by your guide and driver, then transfer to Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Then, depart for a full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital by private vehicle, including Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and traditional stilt house, and the revered One-Pillar Pagoda. Pay visits to typical Vietnamese places of worship, Quan Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda, along the shore of West Lake. Just before noon, tour Vietnam’s first university, the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature.

You will then stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and go through the famous red bridge to reach Ngoc Son temple. To finish you will attend the renowned water puppet play. UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, this traditional show illustrates life in the rice paddies and brings back to life the country’s thousands of years old culture.

Overnight at Hotel

2

Day 2: Hanoi arrival & sightseeing

You’ll be driven about 3hrs to famous and magnificent Ha Long Bay for 24hrs cruise. Spend the afternoon cruising through the 3,000 limestone pinnacles piercing the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most incredible natural wonders and was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

  • 12h00: Embark at Hon Gai International harbor.
  • 13h00: Check-in, enjoy a welcoming drink and cruise briefing.
  • 13h30: Have lunch while cruising in the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay, admiring the fascinating rock formations in the bay.
  • 15h00: Enjoy swimming in the crystal clear water.
  • 15h40: Explore the secluded Thien Canh Son Cave.
  • 16h45: Short cruise to Hon Co Island where you can relax on a white sandy beach, swim or kayak.
  • 18h00: Back to the junk for relaxation.
  • 19h00: Have dinner and stay overnight on board.

Overnight on deluxe junk

3

Day 3: Vung Vieng Village – Hong Gai – Ninh Binh (B, Brunch)

You’ll be driven about 3hrs to famous and magnificent Ha Long Bay for 24hrs cruise. Spend the afternoon cruising through the 3,000 limestone pinnacles piercing the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s most incredible natural wonders and was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

  • 07h30: Enjoy the bay’s morning landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the open air.
  • 08h30: Visit Vung Vieng fishing village in a rustic rowing-boat, meet the local people and pass through the floating school and fish farms.
  • 09h30: More leisure time for swimming in the middle of the bay.
  • 10h00: Cruise back to the harbor while an a la carte lunch is served.
  • 11h45 – 12h00: You will disembark the Junk and the car will transfer you to Ninh Binh province. Stop en route for visiting Pho Minh pagoda, arrive in Ninh Binh late afternoon and drop off at hotel.

Overnight at Hotel

4

Day 4: Ninh Binh – Nam Dinh – Hue (B, L)

After breakfast, depart by bicycle or vehicle to Trang An (as your request). Arrive in Trang An, enjoy the relaxing cruise on sampan boats on a small river. You will then cycle on narrow path to Mua Cave cave where you will climb 450 stairs and enjoy a spectacular view of Land Halong Bay from the top.

After lunch at local house. Visit Bai Dinh pagoda, this is a largest cultural site of south-east Asia : magnificent, gigantic with its over 100 tone golden Buddha, its 500 smaller ones, its 500 meters long alleys and its 500 tone bell. End of afternoon, transfer to Nam Dinh train station for the night train (20:36-07:57 + 1) to Hue
Overnight on SE1 train.

5

Day 5: Visit of Hue (B)

Arrive at Hue station at 07h50, pick up by your guide and driver and transfer to hotel for refreshment and breakfast. Then, you will board on a small boat to make a cruise upstream the Perfume River to visit the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. Visit the elaborate tombs of Emperor Tu Duc, founded between 1864-1867 by three thousands soldiers and workers. Afternoon, visit the majestic Imperial Citadel of Hue, and finish the day with a visit of the famous Thanh Toan Bridge and Ruong house by motorcycle (as your request).

Overnight at Hotel

6

Day 6: Hue – My Son – Hoi An (B)

Drive to Hoi An via scenic Hai Van Pass, where we enjoy the spectacular panorama of the central coastline from the summit. Stop at Lang Co to stretch your legs and enjoy the white sands of this peaceful beach. On arrival and check-in hotel. Then, visit the Cham Ruins at My Son Holy Land. My Son is the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the second to the thirteenth century. Their religion was primarily derived from Indian Hinduism. My Son is considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham structures in Vietnam. The complex is comprised of seventy Hindu-like towers and temples dating from the second century. This site is a Must-See for those people who are interested in architecture and ancient civilizations and is now one of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Vietnam

Overnight at Hotel

7

Day 7: Hoi An Sightseeing

Enjoy a half-day walking tour or cycling tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200-year old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the Japanese Bridge. Afternoon, visit the Thanh Ha and Tra Que village by bicycle or vehicle

Overnight at Hotel

8

Day 8: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon Sightseeing (B)

Transfer to Da Nang airport and you will board the (09:30-10:40) flight to Saigon, Vietnamese economic capital. Your guide will welcome you in Saigon’s airport and transfer you to your hotel. After lunch you will begin your exploration of Sai Gon including the War Remnant Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral and general Post Office, which was reportedly, designed Gustaf Eiffel. Walk amongst the frenzied merchants and buyers of Cho Lon market and visit Thien Hau Pagoda – one of the most celebrated Temples in Sai Gon

Overnight at Hotel

9

Day 9: Saigon – Cai Be Market – Vinh Long – Can Tho (B, L)

Morning, drive to Cai Be area and take a boat to the floating market to practice the age-old art of bartering. Visitors will be supplied with sweets, sugar, milk, etc. which they can then barter for different kinds of local fruits. Continue by river to see family-run businesses producing a local version of popcorn and rice paper. In Cai Be you will visit craft villages, In Xeo May bonsais garden you will have lunch. Your boat will then take you all the way to Hoa Khanh village. Upon landing, you will go for a bicycle ride through the village. Your driver will then take you to Can Tho where you will spend the night.

Overnight at Hotel

10

Day 10: Can Tho – Cai Rang Market – Chau Doc (B)

Wake up early in the morning to visit Cai Rang floating market – the most interesting part of trip, and then continue to visit some small channel and village around the area. Then, transfer back to hotel (the breakfast will be prepared on board while boat cruising to Cai Rang market). Then, drive to Chau Doc, the area situated near the Cambodia. Upon arrival, check-in to hotel. Enjoy a boat cruise on Mekong River to visit some fish farms, floating house, and the village of Cham Ethnic Minority group and broidery village of Con Tien

Overnight at Hotel

11

Day 11: Chau Doc – Phnom Penh(B)

Early morning, transfer to Chau Doc port where you will take the Hang Chau speedboat to Phnom Penh. The speedboat depart at 07h00. Upon arrival, pick up by your guide & driver and transfer to hotel for check in. Afternoon, visit Tuol Sleng, or S21, was initially a school in the centre of Phnom Penh which was later used by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge to enslave, torture and kill all those suspected of treason or non-conformity to their ideology. Now it’s a museum which depicts this distressing period of history, where the cells, beds, torture equipment and photos that were used are still present today. We will finish the day at the Russian Market, named after the Russian influence over this market in the 1980s, with its endless selection of traditional and modern goods on sale

Overnight at Hotel

12

Day 12: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap (B, D)

Then transfer from Phnom Penh to Phnom Penh by private vehicle. Arrive in Siem Reap, a modern day city which is a perfect complement to the ancient World Heritage city of Angkor Wat on its doorstep.

Then, visit to the Great Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. After traveling through beautiful countryside to reach the water’s edge, we will transfer to our boat and proceed to sail through mangroves, visit floating and stilted villages, and experience a fascinating, traditional and unique way of life. This lake with an area of 16000 square kilometers during the height of the wet season is an astonishing place, so significant to Cambodia and Southeast Asia as a whole, and it’s home to great number of rare species of wildlife and some of the most resourceful communities on this earth. On the way back stop at local temple Wat Artvea where you will know how Cambodia monks are living. Enjoy diner with Apsara show.

Overnight at Hotel

13

Day 13: Angkor Historival Park (B)

We will start the day with the infamous and treasured legacy of Angkor Wat. The masterpiece and holy grail of the temples of Angkor, Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious building and an insurmountable legacy left by Suryavarman II. Believed to be the world’s largest religious building, there is almost one kilometer of exquisitely detailed carvings which depict the intricacies of the Khmer empire through dramatic and humorous stories of love, life, war, religion and mythology, before accessing the inner complex to experience the powerful energy that this sublime temple inspires. Marvel at the quincunx of towers; admire the carvings and architectural detail of the complex as a whole, as it seemingly defies with its beauty and symmetry the fact that it’s a man-made creation almost 1000 years old.

We shall continue our visit Ta Prohm. Of Tombraider fame, Ta Prohm is an Angkorian treasure, and it’s going to stay that way. One of the most fascinating things about Ta Prohm (except for its size, beauty and pleasantly eerie atmosphere) is that today it can be appreciated perfectly as it would have been in its day, a mere 900 years ago, as it has been ‘left as it was found’ by the French explorers who discovered it in the 19th century. Ta Prohm is a sight to behold, a veritable maze with gigantic golden trees strangling the stone foundations at every juncture, fine carvings, prominent galleries and a layout that will bring out the explorer in you.

Afternoon, we commence our exploration of Angkor Thom. Known as the ‘Great City’, Angkor Thom was Jayavarman VII’s ultimate creation, his true expression of design excellence. Angkor Thom was an entire city built in the 12th century which at one point was believed to house up to 150,000 people across an area of nine square kilometers and which thrived upon a complex system of agriculture and waterways. 5 magnificent gates which stand 23 metres high and are spiritually guarded by faces reminiscent of the Bayon, and we will enter through the Victory Gate, complete with a causeway with two emanating rows of Devas and Asuras, both of which are wrestling a powerful Naga. From here we will converge upon the centre of this extraordinary city, and begin to explore its elements, starting with the Elephant Terrace, a royal platform used as a viewing gallery for grandiose royal spectacles, decorated wonderfully with statues of elephants and perfect carvings. Adjacently sits the Terrace of the Leper King, decorated in much the same way but unique for possessing the statue of Yama (the Leper King), god of Death. From here we will proceed through the forest to Preah Palilay. Guarded by a large Buddha this is a small but beautiful temple from the 13th century. Afterwards we will proceed to Phimeanakas, a 10th century largely uncarved but beautifully constructed pyramid temple affording terrific views, before Baphuon, an imposing 50 metre tall temple dedicated to Shiva which houses one of the world’s largest reclining Buddhas. And finally to Bayon, arguably the most stunning of all the Temples of Angkor, adorned with 37 towers decorated with wonderful giant stone faces and beautifully decorated carvings throughout.

Finally we will proceed to Bakheng Hill (if weather permitted) , an iconic temple setting where we will admire the sun set over this ancient land, with views across the great Tonle Sap Lake, the West Baray, and of course, Angkor Wat.

Overnight at Hotel

14

Day 14: Beng Melea – Angkor Sightseeing (B, L)

After breakfast at the hotel, we will venture to Beng Melea Temple. 65km from Siem Reap through traditional rural villages, Beng Mealea, yet another of King Jayavarman VII’s extraordinary creations, will be discovered. On a huge one whole square kilometer scale, this temple is built in the same style of Angkor Wat, and although partly collapsed its immense grandeur is still a sight to behold. Lost to the jungle, and with fewer visitors, Beng Mealea will certainly bring out the explorer in you.

Afternoon, we’ll visit Chantier Ecole-Artisan d’Angkor, a museum and vocational centre dedicated to the revival of Khmer art. Founded on the idea that Cambodia must endeavour to keep its heritage of skilled craftsmanship alive despite the loss of a large body of expertise during Cambodia’s recent history, Artisans d’Angkor was set up by CEFP (Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle) to provide instruction and employment to some of the poorest members of the community in such art. Visitors can observe modern day professionals employing ancient techniques in the production of metalwork, stonework, lacquer and silk.

Overnight at Hotel

15

Day 15: Kbal Spean – Bantey Srei – Saigon (B, L)

Breakfast at the hotel, then travel 45km to Kbal Spean, or valley of the 1000 lingas; a remarkable place where natural meets man-made phenomenon – 1000 hand carved lingas lie on the bed of the Kbal Spean River downstream from the stunning waterfall, placed there to fertilize the river during ancient times. Lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, we will continue to Banteay Srei; 30km from Siem Reap, Banteay Srei is a unique and exquisite temple, glowing red and in perfect symmetrical detail, which possesses a truly unrivalled beauty all of its own. The carvings here are undoubtedly the most detailed of any of those in Angkor, and the perfection and attention to detail are remarkable. Then on to Banteay Samre, or Citadel of the Samre, a smaller temple located in the jungle in the style of Angkor Wat. On our return we will also stop at Srah Srang – a vast and beautiful man-made lake where the Royals of Angkor would bathe, relax and unwind, before returning to Siem Reap. End of afternoon, transfer to Siem Reap airport for flight (17:45-18:45) to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will take the international flight back.

Overnight at Hotel

Please note:
– The regular check-in time for all hotels is 14:.00. Early check-in is subject to availability
– The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12:00. Late check-out is subject to availability.

Services included:

  • Accommodation in hotels with daily breakfast
  • Transfer and transportation with private vehicle
  • English speaking Guide as the mentioned program
  • Sightseeing and entrance fee
  • Meals as indicated (B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner)
  • Private boat cruise as the mentioned program in Ninh Binh, in Hue, in Hoi An, in Mekong delta and in Cambodia
  • Early checkin at hotel in Hue on day 05
  • Bicycle in Ninh Binh, in Hue and in Mekong delta (as your request)
  • Water puppet show: 1st class
  • Cruise in Ha Long Bay with luxury junk : shared junk, private and comfortable cabin with bathroom, A.C, sea view
  • Speed boat ticket (Chau Doc – Phnom Penh)
  • Train ticket Nam Dinh – Hue: shared cabin with 4 soft sleepers, and with A.C

Services excluded:

  • Individual Traveling Insurance
  • Personal Expenses during the cruise
  • Visa stamping fee of $US25 per person at Hanoi or Saigon airport
  • Cambodia visa
  • Drinks during meals & cruise (soft drinks, beer, wine)
  • All the other not mentioned in the program
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