Essential Vietnam & Cambodia (10n/11d)

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi (-/-/D)
Warm welcome upon your arrival in Hanoi. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel located in the Hanoi downtown. Your guide’s welcome speech will give you  overall information about the city of Hanoi. After check in you will have free time to relax, then your guide will see you again for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Your first day will be completed by a water puppet show – a unique art performance in Vietnam – before you return to your hotel for overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B/L/-)
This full day tour takes you around Hanoi’s most interesting sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex and Mausoleum, House-on-Stilts, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.  After that you will visit the Quan Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest pagoda originally constructed in the sixth century. For lunch you have two options:  enjoy a Hanoi special dish “Cha Ca” at Cha Ca La Vong restaurant, one of the most unique (over a hundred years old) restaurants located in the Hanoi Old Quarter.  Or you can taste a “Pho”, another worldwide famous dish from Hanoi.  Afternoon you can choose to visit one of the city’s Museums:  Vietnam History Museum, Vietnam Ethnology Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum, and the Temple of Literature, before having a walk around the Lake of the Restored Sword, visit the Ngoc Son Temple and enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a street-pub. Overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Traditional Junk (B/L/D)
In the morning you leave Hanoi for Halong Bay via the Red River Delta. Upon arrival you will have a short break at the Café Lounge. Welcome on board. You will set out on a junk cruise on the bay while seafood lunch is served. After lunch, you will take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. In the late afternoon, you will take a take a bamboo row boat to visit an interesting fishing village with an opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. You also take a kayak to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on board to enjoy watching the peaceful sunset, joining a Vietnamese cooking demonstration and later unwind at a restaurant. Tonight you stay overnight onboard.

Day 4: Halong  Bay – Danang – Hoi An (Brunch/-)
Early birds will have a chance to join in the Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck and view the sunrise over the bay with a cup of coffee or tea.  After brunch you will take a tender to visit one of the most beautiful limestone grottos – Sung Sot cave. Your junk sets sail to cruise back to the dock while you enjoy a final glimpse of Halong Bay. On the journey back to Hanoi you will have a stop at the Phu Lang ceramic village – one of the most famous ceramic brands dated from 17th – 19th century in the North of Vietnam. Then you will drive back to Haiphong airport for flight Danang. Pick up and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An. Free. At leisure.  You stay overnight in Hoi An

Day 5: Hoi An  Ancient town and Tra Que village (B/-/D)
This morning you will have a walking tour to explore the old houses, narrow streets, moss-grown walls, lantern makers. You will stop to visit some of the most interesting sights of the town including Japanese Covered Bridge, House of Tụy Tiên Đường, Quan Công Temple, Old houses, Chinese Assembly Halls and handicraft workshop and traditional arts performance. Afternoon you will ride by bicycle to Tra Que Vegetable Village. You chance to try at actual farming.  You will take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. You can also take in the beautiful atmosphere,  relax and feel the peace of the Vietnam village. Biking back to Hoi An and enjoy some famous dishes of the town. You stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An  – Hue (B/L/D)
In the morning you drive to Hue and visit the Thien Mu pagoda-built in 1601 and, one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country followed by the Nguyen Dynasty king Tu Duc’s tomb. Lunch is at a local restaurant. In the afternoon you will explore the Hue Citadel. It is a huge complex covering an area of 520ha and comprising three circles of ramparts, Hue Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel. You may have  time to visit the local Dong Ba market built in 1899 on a bank of the Perfume river – a paradise for snapshots of daily activities. Enjoy Hue Royal-style dinner. . You stay overnight in Hue.

Day 7: Fly Saigon on VN 1373. 09:25-10:45 (B/-/D)
Again you take a one-hour flight to Saigon or HCM City. Unlike most cities you have visited, Saigon is the most dynamic. Everyone seems busy riding, buying, selling, studying, and building.  However, the city’s core is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. In the afternoon you will have a private tour visiting some of its famous attractions such as the Reunification Palace, the Municipal Theatre, the City Post Office, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum. You can also have a walk through the city’s main shopping boulevard with fashionable boutiques and hill tribe crafts, high quality linens and house-wares and end up at the Ben Thanh market, one of the city biggest markets. Enjoy dinner on the Bonsai cruises on the Saigon river.  You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 8: Cu chi tunnels (B/-/-)
In the morning you drive to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Very famous in the wartime with its smart and complicated system including underground meeting room, kitchen, food, weapon caches, hospital. This underground complex played a major role in the Vietnamese winning the war and is a must-see when you are in Saigon. You are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system or try a shooting range where you can fire a number of assault rifles, such as the M16 rifle or AK-47, as well as a light machine gun like the M60. Back to Saigon and enoy your free time in the afternoon. You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 9: Fly Siem Reap – Angkor tour. VN 3825-11:45-12:45 (B/-/D)
In the morning you will fly to Siem Reap/Cambodia. Warm welcome upon your  arrival in Siem Reap. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel. Start your visit the  South Gate of Angkor Thom, the famous Bayon, Baphoun, the Terrace of Temple, Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. It is time to visit one of the great wonders of the world, symbol of the heart and soul of the Cambodia, Angkor Wat  then enjoy the wonderful sunset from the top of Phnom Bakheng Hills followed by a dinner with Khmer Apsara dance show before you return to your hotel for overnight stay in Siem Reap.

Day 10: Angkor  tour (B/L/-)
Today you continue to visit the fabulous Ta Prohm embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers, Pre Rup, East Mebon, and NeakPoan.. You also visit the Krovan, Royal Bath of SrahSrang and BanteayKdei temples. Return to your hotel for overnight stay  in Siem Reap.

Day 11: Departure (B/-/)
In the morning you will drive to visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10km South of Siem Reap and take a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake and visit the Les Artisan D’ Angkor. If time permit, you also can visit the local markets or shopping until transfer to Siem Reap airport for departure .

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