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EXPLORE VIETNAM & CAMBODIA 12 DAYS

Quick Reference Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi
  • Day 2 - Hanoi
  • Day 3 - Halong Bay Excursion
  • Day 4 - Hanoi - Fly to Hue
  • Day 5 - Hue Imperial
  • Day 6 - Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An
  • Day 7 - Hoian
  • Day 8 - Hoi An – Fly to Saigon
  • Day 9 - Saigon - Mekong delta - Cai Be floating market
  • Day 10 - Saigon – Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Day 11 - Siem Reap
  • Day 12 - Siem Reap - Departure
View full itinerary

Trip Highlight

  • Explore the fascinating maze of 36 streets in the Hanoi Old Quarter.
  • Sail amongst the limestone karsts of Halong Bay.
  • Discovering the history and beauty of Hue.
  • Journey over the dramatic Hai Van Pass, also called “the Pass of Ocean Clouds”.
  • Soak up the coastal ambiance of Hoi An.
  • Experiencing the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Experiencing the wonder of the Mekong River.
  • Explore the magnificent temple complexes of Angkor.
  • Wooden sampan across the Tonle Sap to the floating villages.
     
  • Arrive in Hanoi

    Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

    Your flight will land in Noi Bai International Airport. After immigration and customs, our guide will greet and escort you to your hotel for check in with welcome drink.

    Free your time at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


  • Hanoi

    Day 2: Hanoi

    After breakfast, we first visit the One Pillar Pagoda  built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong in the 11th century. Constructed of wood and standing on a single stone pillar, it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom.  We then head to the massive marble and granite Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh delivered Vietnam’s declaration of independence in 1945

    Next we tour the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university. Constructed in 1070. The temple is dedicated to one of the world’s most famous scholars, Confucius. Inside the temple grounds huge stone stele rest on the backs of even larger stone turtles (in Vietnamese culture the turtle represents longevity).

    After your lunch at Cha ca street with “Cha Ca La Vong”, a favorite dish of Hanoian - Listed in 1000 places to visit before you die, we continue to visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology - The museum has successfully recreated the daily life together with the religious rituals and the symbolic festivals of each ethnic group in Vietnam. Visitors have the opportunity to admire costumes, embroidery as well as outside stilt houses and habitats from the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam.

    Enjoying a cyclo ride through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as “36 streets.” This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It’s a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. We will travel around the famous Hoan Kiem lake (Lake of the Restored Sword.) - The heart of Hanoi capital.

    Start your evening with a traditional water puppet performance (Roi Nuoc). The stage is actually a large container of water where the characters (carved wooden puppets} “act” out the story. Most of the stories are whimsical and fun, and the puppeteers stand in waist deep water behind a screen controlling the puppets with rods that mostly are under the water.

    Free your time at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.


    Meals:  B,L
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Halong Bay Excursion

    Day 3: Halong Bay Excursion

    Today we set out for a scenic drive through the paddy fields and small towns of the Red River Delta to Halong Bay, dotted with well over 3,000 limestone islands and islets.  It is an enchanted, timeless world created by bizarre rock sculptures jutting dramatically from the sea, and the numerous grottoes. The sails of the junks and sampans gliding on the bay add further to the beauty of the scene. Here was declared by the United Nation as a “World Heritage Site of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

    Upon arrival at the harbor, we will board a traditional wooden junk to enjoy 4 hours’ relaxing cruise.  Countless limestone islets, many containing beautiful grottos, rise from the ocean. A sumptuous seafood lunch will be served onboard as we glide through the emerald clear water, passing craggy limestone cliffs.  We will stop at an island to explore its massive underground cave, before continue our sailing towards the picture-perfect floating villages, fisherman casting their nets and interesting pearl fisheries, observing rhythms of the peaceful life on the bay.

    Transfer back to Hanoi. Free your time at leisure, walking or shopping around the old quarter. Overnight in Hanoi.


    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Hanoi - Fly to Hue

    Day 4: Hanoi - Fly to Hue

    Enjoy a leisurely morning to rest or explore the bustling street of the capital at our own pace. Stroll in one of the busy street markets for souvenirs and observe the daily life of the city.

    Our guide and driver will take us to the airport and assist our check-in for Vietnam Airlines fly to Hue. Upon arrival, you are welcome by our guide and transfer to your hotel.

    Afternoon, we will explore the Imperial Citadel. Modeled on Beijing’s Forbidden City, Hoang Thanh (Yellow Enclosure) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Purple City) are enclosed within the all-encompassing Kinh Thanh (the external enclosure).  

    We first approach to the striking Flag Tower at the entrance where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly. Then we enter the imposing Ngo Mon Gate, the main entrance of the Imperial Enclosure, by walking through the central passageway and its yellow doors, and the bridge that across the lotus pond, once reserved for the Emperor’s exclusive use.  We then visit Thai Hoa Palace, the magnificently decorated reception hall with an ornate roof of huge timbers supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. We will also visit the myriad Hall of the Mandarins, the Nine Dynastic Urns and the ruins of the Purple Forbidden City. 

    End the day again with a stroll through the bustling Dong Ba Market, which is famous for having the prettiest conical hats in the country. Observe the bustling local daily life in close range.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Hue Imperial

    Day 5: Hue Imperial

    After breakfast, we embark on a boat trip on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, the “Celestial Lady Pagoda” as it is called by the locals.  Situated on the hill overlooking the river, the pagoda was built in 1601. Cruise on the river we soon reach the Imperial Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, a majestic complex of courtyards, pavilions and temples in a beautiful natural setting, famous its architecture, military statues and elaborate decorations. 

    After lunch, we drive to explore the tombs of Emperors Tu Duc & Khai Dinh

    Tonight you will have a chance to enjoy “Royal dinner” at Royal Park restaurant. Enjoy a delicious food while listening to melodious music and having a feeling of being the King and Queen. All wear traditional royal clothes. All the served food is royal including dishes reminding dragon, phoenix, or peacock...Overnight in Hue.


    Meals:  B,L
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

    Day 6: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

    Breakfast at hotel. We transfer to Hoian town, climbing the dramatic Hai Van Pass, also called “the Pass of Ocean Clouds”.  Enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the route. On the way to Hoian. We will visit famous Cham Museum, home to some 300 magnificent Cham sculptures dating to the 4th century. Next we visit the Marble Mountain, a cluster of five marble and limestone hills rising sharply from the surrounding rice fields.

    Upon arrival Hoian. Check in hotel and free your time at leisure.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Hoian

    Day 7: Hoian

    Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy a walking tour, we will see the distinctive low tiled roof houses and the busy central market selling everything from vegetables, live stocks to daily household items. We will stroll along the Tran Phu Street to the Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in 1593 by Japanese community to provide a link to the Chinese quarters across the stream. We also tour the family chapels, built by prominent merchants as centers for ancestor worship. We visit the private houses, many of which are occupied by the same family for up to eight generations. Enjoy the opportunity to interact with family members while inspecting the century old engraved panels of exquisite figures. We then visit assembly hall, and the Sa Huynh Museum, displaying artifacts from the early period of Hoi An’s history

    Cruise down the Thu Bon River to visit a pottery and a woodcarving village. Enjoy interaction with locals – peasants, boat builders and craftsman before returning to the small Hoi An Harbor where colorfully painted boats are moored.

    The remaining of the day is at leisure to rest.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Hoi An – Fly to Saigon

    Day 8: Hoi An – Fly to Saigon

    Breakfast at hotel. We transfer to the airport to take a short domestic flight to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Upon arrival, you are welcome and transfer to your hotel for check in.

    We start our visit with an overview drive round the city; passing the Opera House, and Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat during the French Years, now the main shopping avenue in the heart of the old colonial Saigon. Enjoy picture stops along the way -  the red-brick Catholic Cathedral of Notre- Dame, the nearby 19th century Empire-style Post Office. We will tour the landmark: the Reunification Palace, formerly the Presidential Palace for the South Vietnamese government. Next we visit the harrowing War Remnants Museum, revealing the bloody fights by the Vietnamese against the French and Americans.

    The interesting highlight of the day will be our exploration of the west of the city of District 5, the sprawling, densely packed Chinese neighborhood (Chinatown) called “Cholon”, meaning “big market”. Here we will explore Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the oldest and the most interesting pagodas in the city. We end the day at the bustling Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


  • Saigon - Mekong delta - Cai Be floating market

    Day 9: Saigon - Mekong delta - Cai Be floating market

    Breakfast at hotel. We’ll take a scenic early morning drive to Vinh Long (140 km), stop for photos at Tan An town over the flat rice fields. The program will start with the visit of Cai Be colorful floating marketcruising among local barges full of fruits and vegetables. Then, an optional stop can be made at local workshops where you can see how rice paste, coconut candy and pop-rice, pop-corn are made.

    It’s so interesting to visit the handicraft village where you can see how they make some special products: making rice-net for spring-rolls, fish sauce & soya sauce, cooking salt, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage proof...

    A mekong delta lunch will be served under the shade of local orchards on An Binh island with the famous dish “Fried Mekong Elephant Ear Fish”

    After lunch, the rowing boat will take you deeper into the countryside on smaller canals. It’s very interesting to see traditional houses made of wood and palm tree leaves and see some activities of the local farmers with some opportunities to interact with them and see how they catch fish or pick up fruits by ancestral ways in Mekong delta..

    One more stop can be made at the nursery garden where you can learn how to have some high quality fruit trees. It’s the best choice for you to contact the real famous farmers - Mr Tiger & his son who are very successful in Vietnam agriculture. We will enjoy some kinds of fruits from his garden & homemade rice wine when listening to the traditional music. One more thing to do in this trip is biking. It will be so amazing to bike on village paths to see the local farms, houses, real life and the ancestral ways to pick up fruits in Mekong delta.

    Drive back to Saigon. Free your time at leisure and overnight in Saigon.


    Meals:  B,L
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Saigon – Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Day 10: Saigon – Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Breakfast at hotel. We transfer to the airport to take a flight to Siem Reap (Cambodia). Upon arrival, you are welcome and transfer to your hotel for check in.

    We begin our exploration at the fortified royal city of Angkor Thom, built in 1,100, covering an area little less than 4 square miles. We enter the imposing South Gate after a causeway lined on both side by multiple statues of demons and gods, all carrying a giant naga (snake). We then continue to the Elephant Terrace, a base for the Kings’ grand audience hall and a site for public ceremonies. On both end of the retaining wall we can see the famous lines of elephants. Next to it is the Terrace of the Leper King, a platform with a nude statue, one of Angkor’s many unanswered mysteries. We also explore the ruined Baphuon, the Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas - the “Celestial Palace”. 

    The most striking experience today will be a visit to the stunning Bayon Temple, one of the most popular and compelling sites in Angkor. Its exterior gallery walls contain some of the most extensive and best bas-reliefs, depicting everyday scenes with historical details of battles won and lost by the Khmers. Today at dusk, we will watch the sunset over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian Temple.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Siem Reap

    Day 11: Siem Reap

    After breakfast, we devote the entire morning to Angkor Wat, the crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, the national symbol of Cambodia, and the optimum highlight of any visit to Southeast Asia.  The largest, best preserved and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor Wat impresses visitors with her sheer scale, beautifully proportioned layout, and the delicate artistry of its carvings. It is now one of UNESCO’s most famous World Culture Heritage Site, and is considered by art historians the definitive example of classical Khmer art and architecture. 

    In the afternoon we explore Ta Prohm, “Ancestor of Brahma”, also nicknamed “Kingdom of Trees”. Following an unusual archaeological decision, the jungle has been only partly cut back, so that the buildings are covered with the roots of huge banyan and kapok trees which rise high above the temple. 

    We will continue on to Banteay Srei - the “Citadel of Women” - a tiny enchanting temple built of red sandstone in the 10th century dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.  We have time to study closely the exquisitely carved male and female figures in the niches, all with beautiful style and proportion, representing the extraordinary skills and superior artistic appealing of the Khmer sculpture.

    Transfer back to the city. Free your time at leisure.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Siem Reap - Departure

    Day 12: Siem Reap - Departure

    This morning we continue our in-depth exploration of the magnificent Angkorian archeological ruins.  Our first stop is Prasat Kravan, the Hindu temple built in 921 with five brick towers and spectacular bas- reliefs on the interior walls.  Next we visit Banteay Kdei – a massive Buddhist temple dating back to 12th century, surrounded by four concentric walls, featuring towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors in a jungle setting.

    We then visit the Tonle Sap Lake. Located in the heart of Cambodia, this huge lake swells up to seven times of its original size during the monsoon season every year. Its ecosystem is one of the richest and the most diversified in the region. We will explore Kampong Kleang, one of the most unspoiled floating communities on the lake by boat. We will cruise on the wooden sampan across the vast lake to the floating villages, passing submerged forests and fish farms. If the timing is right it might even be possible to visit a floating school to interact with teachers and students. Observe the authentic village life while we stroll by the simple huts.

    Transfer back to the city. Free your time at leisure unstill our guide and driver pick you up and transfer to the airport to catch your departure flight.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above

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