Vietnam & Cambodia - 15 Days
Day by Day Program...
DAY 1: HANOI ARRIVAL (D)
Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport, welcome by our guide and transfer to your hotel. (Driving time is approximately 45 minutes). Hanoi or “River-bound City” as its name literally means is Vietnam’s capital with a thousand-year-old history dating back to 1010. The city’s fascinating beauty which is characterized by unique cultural relics, ancient streets of antique houses, elegant French colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and romantic lakes has made it one of the most charming cities of Asia.
DAY 2: HANOI CITY TOUR – WATER PUPPET SHOW (B/L)
Morning, start a full day city tour beginning with Ho Chi Minh Complex which features the life of Ho Chi Minh, the nation’s founder. At the complex, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the nation’s founder’s body is preserved (closed on Monday, Friday and through October – November) and the rural style house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Stop by one of Hanoi’s icons, the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam built in 1070 by the Ly Dynasty to honor Confucius, sages and outstanding Vietnamese scholars. Lunch in a restaurant (included) Afternoon, will visit Hoa Lo prision – ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners of war (POWs) during the American War and then walking to Hoan Kiem lake- The heart and also Hanoi’s symbol.
Next, take a cyclo tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi with its ancient streets representing traditional trades from the past. The tramcar tour through Hanoi’s downtown to sightsee the Old Quarter of 36 ancient streets, the Trang Tien Plaza shopping center, the colonial French-built Opera House, an elegant architectural landmark of Hanoi modeled after the Palais Garnier opera house. Finish the tour with a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show. Dinner at local restaurant. Leisure time to discover Old Quarter by night. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 3: HALONG BAY CRUISING– UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE (B/L/D)
Morning pickup at 8:00 AM from your hotel for transfer to Ha Long Bay, which is about 160 km or 3.5-hour drive away. On the way, you will see some rural areas of the Red River Delta with plenty of chances to take photos of Vietnamese farmers working in paddy fields. Stop half way to visit a handicraft workshop of fine clothes and embroidered paintings. Arrive in Ha Long City at 11:30 AM and check in aboard the booked junk right after the welcome drink is served. Start cruising while having lunch on board and enjoy the mighty bay view. Ha Long Bay meaning Descending Dragon Bay in Vietnamese as legend has it that it was where a holly dragon landed down from sky. The bay, famous as one of the world’s wonders and heritage sites whose formation dates back 500 million years, consists of around 2,000 karst islands and islets scattered over an area of 1,553 km2. The bay cruise will continue with up close sighting of Dinh Huong Island, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island, Sail Island, a visit to Sung Sot Cave and swimming stop at Titov Beach.
Relax to enjoy the bay view at sunset, have dinner after, go fishing at 09:00 PM and spend a night on board.
DAY 4: FRESH DAY ON HALONG BAY (B/BRUNCH)
Wake up at 06:30 AM and refresh your body and mind with a Tai Chi exercise on the sundeck. Tai Chi is an ancient internal martial art often practiced in soft and gracefully slow moves to enhance internal harmony and vitality. Have tea and coffee onboard before proceeding to Titov Islet or Soi Sim Island to trek and swim. Check out at 09:30, have a buffet brunch while cruising back to shore. Disembark at 11:00am. Back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 5: NINH BINH – “HALONG BAY ON LAND” – BIKING TOUR (B/L)
After breakfast, depart from your hotel to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Along the way, you can take photographs of local villages and the surrounding landscape. On arrival in Hoa Lu – the ancient capital of Vietnam in 10th and 11th century, visit two temples, one of them dedicated to Emperor Dinh (968-980) and the other in memory of Emperor Le (980-1009). We then take an easy cycle tour from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc through picturesque landscapes of rice fields, limestone mountains and countryside’s villages. Continue to Tam Coc Town for a Vietnamese lunch; then board your private sampan boat on Ngo Dong river through “the Ha Long on land” the quiet and peaceful landscape of rice fields surrounded by limestone formations to visit three grottoes of Tam Coc (Hang Ca, Hang Giua & Hang Cuoi). Return to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 6: SAIGON CITY TOUR- DINNER ON SAIGON RIVER CRUISE (B/D)
Transfer to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi for flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh, welcome by our guide and transfer to hotel for check in and time at leisure. Afternoon, take a city tour to visit the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica a neo-Romancathedral built by the colonial French with materials entirely imported from Marseilles, the Saigon Central Post Office, which was designed and constructed in the early 20th Century by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel, Cho Lon area or the city’s China Town and the Jade Emperor Temple (Phuoc Hai), a rare Taoist structure in Vietnam built by the Cantonese community in the area in 1909. Dinner on Saigon Cruise while cruising Saigon River and see Saigon splendid city at night.
DAY 7: HO CHI MINH CITY – WAR VESTIGES DISCOVERY
Morning, welcome by our guide and transfer to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels in Cu Chi district, 75 km northwest of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, which were once a major underground hideout and resistance base of Viet Cong forces during the two wars against the French and later on Americans. The tunnels, entirely hand-dug, formed a highly intricate labyrinth-like network of interlinked multilevel passageways at times stretched as far as the Cambodian border and totaling over 120 km in length. Its complexity is beyond imagination containing meeting rooms, kitchens, wells, clinics, schools, depots, trenches and emergency exits all aimed for guerrilla warfare.
The tunnels were deep and strong enough to withstand destructive bombings and self-contained enough to outlast prolonged sieges. Lunch in a restaurant (included) Afternoon, take a sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City that includes the War Remnants Museum, which features a comprehensive collection of the machinery, weapons, photos, and documentation of Vietnam War with the both the French and Americans, former Presidential Palace and Ben Thanh market.
DAY 8: PANORAMA CRUISE ON MEKONG RIVER (B/L/D)
In the morning we pick you up at your hotel in Saigon and take you to Can Tho or Cai Be. You board your wooden river cruise vessel around noon. After a refreshing welcome drink we show you our on-board facilities and your cozy cabin. As lunch is served, the boat starts cruising. Sit back and watch the fantastic scenery and the daily life of the Mekong people. In the afternoon you can disembark for a guided leisurely stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields. Meet the friendly locals and taste the local produce and fruits.
Get back on board and enjoy a drink at the bar or relax on deck as the sun sets over the magnificent water landscape of the Mekong River. The boat will anchor for the night. The day ends with a delicious on-board dinner. You stay overnight on board your floating hotel in the Mekong Delta.
DAY 9: LIFE ON THE WATER (B/L)
Wake up well rested to the sound of the Mekong river and get ready for another exciting day of sightseeing in the Mekong Delta. At 6.30h the cruise vessel sets off for a sunrise cruise. Watch the locals go about their daily work drying exotic fruits and building ships on the wooden yards while enjoying an early breakfast. After breakfast, we will board a sampan boat to the Cai Rang floating market, the region’s busiest and most lively market. On even dates, you will explore the small channels of the Mekong delta around Cai Be with a small sampan or by foot.
Marvel at the sheer abundance of exotic fruits, vegetables and skillfully handcrafted regional products. We will pull up to the boats for talking and bargaining with the merchants. We will also visit some of the local candy and cake making factories or boat through the green water landscape to see local houses, verdant orchards and ship-building yards. The floating markets in the Mekong Delta are no tourist markets but wholesale markets where produce of the Mekong Delta like fruits and vegetables are traded. For this reason the number of boats on the market fluctuates depending on harvesting seasons and market demand.
Furthermore, modern wholesale markets are becoming more popular in Vietnam. This can result in decreasing numbers of boats being present on the markets. Disembark the boat at around 11.00 — 11.30h on the pier and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Sit back in the shuttle (bus or car) and watch the water landscape from a land perspective until you reach Chau Doc where we bring you to your hotel.
DAY 10: ACROSS THE BORDER TOWARDS CAMBODIA (B/L)
Departure of speed boat to Phnom Penh. Arrival at Sisowath quay International Port Phnom Penh (arrival time may vary due to current and immigration formalities). Arrival Phnom Penh, meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide. Check in your hotel and free at leisure. Lunch in a restaurant. After lunch, you will transfer to visit Toul Sleng (S-21) which was once a Tuol Svay Prey High School is now a frightening reminder of the horrors of Pol Pot regime. The school was used as a torture chamber and it was believed that 16,000 people died there. Continue to visit Independent Monument: the Naga (total 100) or snake motif is one, which can be seen in historic, cultural and modern-day. New built bronze statue of Late king father Norodom Sihanouk, it is built to memorizing the first anniversary of his death. Overnight in Phnom Penh, at your selected hotel.
DAY 11: HISTORICAL PHNOM PENH CITY TOUR (B/L)
Breakfast at hotel. AM: Visit Royal Palace, the incredible solid silver-floored Silver Pagoda is the pagoda which in the Royal Palace campus, where have thousands of silver tiles on the floor of pagoda and have the biggest golden Buddha statue. Silver Pagoda is in the Royal Palace Compound made of 5000 silver tiles. Raung Damrei Museum. Continue to visit Wat Phnom pagoda a 15th century stupa. Wat Phnom, a small hill crowned by an active wat (pagoda) marks the legend of Phnom Penh City. Shopping at Central Market is one of the largest and busiest markets in Phnom Penh. Located in the heart of the city, the market was built in 1937 by the French. Lunch at local restaurant.
PM: Visit Choeung Ek – Killing Field: now become the peaceful stretch of countryside where over 10,000 people were executed. The remains of some of them are stored in a memorial to remind people of the atrocities the Khmer Rouge inflicted on other Khmers. Then stop at the Market, where you can buy souvenir etc. Overnight in Phnom Penh, at your selected hotel.
DAY 12: ARRIVAL SIEM REAP (B/L)
Breakfast at hotel. Afternoon, meet our guide and transfer to Airport in Phnom Penh for flight to Siem Reap.(Flight is 45 minutes) Arrival Siem Reap, meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide. Check in your hotel. In Siem Reap, we will set out to Wat Bo which is a large, highly respected pagoda, vihear of Wat Bo contains very unique wall paintings of the Reamker that are said to be late 19th century. Visit Senteur D’ Angkor Center for tasting Khmer coffee or tea for free. It is the center that supported and employed 100 ladies from countryside to produce Khmer ingredient soup, candles, boxes, soaps, baskets, and especially it’s famous of Kampot’s pepper. It will show the way of producing candle and Khmer ingredient, and you can do it easily when you return home after watching this center. Overnight in Siem Reap, at your selected hotel.
DAY 13: ANGKORWAT TOURS (B/L)
Breakfast at hotel. AM: Enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple and marvel the wonders of the eerie Bayon, Baphoun, Phimeanakas, the Elephants terrace and terrace of Leper King. Before lunch, visit Ta Prohm Temple unlike most of the other Angkor temples, the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors. PM: Visit the famous Angkor Wat, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center—first Hindu, then Buddhist—since its foundation. Enjoy at Angkor Wat Temple till sunset. Overnight in Siem Reap, at your selected hotel.
DAY 14: SIEM REAP DEPARTURE (B)
Leisure time until transfer to Airport in Siem Reap for departure.
Accommodation in a double or twin room with daily breakfast
One night cruise on a junk in Ha Long Bay
Services of a driver and private air-conditioned vehicle during all tours and transfers
Experienced English-speaking guide during all tours and transfers
Domestic flight ticket
1 night sleep on boat in the Mekong Delta.
Entrance fees for all visits as mentioned in the itinerary
Lunch or dinner as specified in the itinerary
Vietnam visa approval letter on arrival as complementary
Mineral water is available as complementary
• International flight tickets
• Vietnam – Cambodia Visa fee
• Meals, if not specified in the itinerary
• Travel insurance (we highly recommend that you purchase adequate insurance)
• Gratuities for guides and drivers
• Personal expenses, such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.
• All other services not specified in the itinerary