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Vietnam & Cambodia Discovery - 15 Days

Date post: 24/04/2014

This program combines the hidden charm of Vietnam and the mystical treasures of Angkor in Cambodia with a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty and traditional lifestyle found throughout the Mekong Delta... The tour is flexible, you can start in Hanoi (Vietnam) and end in Siem Reap (Cambodia) or vice versa.

Start City : Hanoi
End City: Siem Reap

Duration: 15 days/ 14 nights
Departure: Daily, upon your request.
- Visit: Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Hoian, Hue, Saigon, Mekong Delta (Cai Be, Chau Doc), Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
- Extendable with optional tours from Hanoi and from Siem Reap.

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival.
Welcome to Hanoi: Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Your guide and driver will meet you outside the baggage claim of Noi Bai Airport and take you to your hotel in the city center. In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation walk, visiting some of Hanoi’s main attractions: the Opera House, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants.
Meals: Dinner.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Laocai.

Today you have a full day to explore Vietnam’s charming capital. With its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas, Hanoi is an eclectic mix that offers something for everyone. Your city tour will take you to Hanoi’s key sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and stilt house); the Presidential Palace; the nearby One Pillar Pagoda; the Temple of Literature; West Lake; the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda & Quan Thanh Temple; and one of the city's museums (a choice between the History Museum and the Ethnology Museum). In the evening enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Performance – a unique Vietnamese art form hailing from Southeast Asia’s wet-rice culture – before heading to the train station to catch your night train to Laocai.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: on train.

Day 3: Laocai – Coc Ly/ Sin Cheng/ Can Cau/ Bac Ha Fair Market – Sapa.

Your train arrives at the Laocai station in the early morning. Laocai is a charming hilltop town near the Chinese border. Explore downtown and have breakfast at a local noodle house. After breakfast your driver and guide will take you to one of the local markets (Coc Ly on Tue/ Sin Cheng on Wed/ Can Cau on Sat and Bac Ha on Sun). Wander through the stalls packed with hand-crafted goods peddled by the various hill tribe peoples who come here to buy and sell their wares. In the afternoon, continue on your way to Sapa: Northwest Vietnam’s premier travel destination, famous for its breathtaking views of cloud-woven mountaintops and gaping valleys.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.

Day 4: Sapa Trekking.

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, before setting out on a full day’s trek to explore Sapa’s cultural diversity and haunting natural beauty. Take a guided hike through yawning valleys decorated with terraced rice fields and pass through remote hill tribe villages. You have three trekking options to choose from: Soft trek (~ 3 km), medium trek (~ 6km) and long trek (~12km). Trekking is an excellent way to explore the daily life and familiarize yourself with the cultures of the H’mong, Dzao and Dzay people who populate the region. Drive back to Sapa in the late afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa.

Day 5: Sapa – Laocai – Night train back to Hanoi.

Spend the morning exploring the charming town of Sapa. Visit the market and get acquainted with the local hill tribe peoples – mostly Black H’mong. Enjoy a free afternoon at your leisure. We recommend a Jeep tour over Tram Ton Pass to Heaven‘s Gate – The highest Pass in Vietnam (over 2000m). Admire the spectacular views from the top and visit the nearby Silver Waterfall. In the late afternoon transfer back to Laocai, visiting the sacred Mau Lieu Temple of the town and the neraby Chinese border gate. Overnight on the train back to Hanoi.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: on train.

Day 6: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise.

Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning. Your guide and driver will meet you at the train station and take you to breakfast at a local restaurant, before setting out on a 3 to 4 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Halong Bay.
* The following Halong Bay itinerary is a sample for our standard service on a 3 star junk/ cruise. Different programs are available through our luxury cruise itineraries on the Violet, Jasmine, Ginger, or Paradise. Please contact us for more details. *
Spend 24 hours on a traditional Junk Cruise in the amazing bay: a natural wonderland composed of jutting limestone islands and sparkling turquoise waters. Arrive at the dock around noon and board your junk. Savor a gourmet lunch of fresh seafood onboard as we sail out into the mystical bay. In the afternoon, cruise around some of Halong’s many islands, including Dinh Huong and Ga Choi. Along the way visit one of the bay’s 3 largest caves (Thien Cung, Dau Go or Sung Sot). Stop at an island cove with a sheltered white-sand beach and take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Tonkin (weather permitting). Pass the night on your junk, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of calm waters.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Accommodation: on cruise.

Day 7: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Danang – Hoian.

Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore the nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for brunch then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay as we navigate back to Halong City, where driver will meet you at the dock and take you to Noi Bai airport to catch your short flight to Danang. Meet your tour guide and drive to your hotel in Hoian.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian.

Day 8: Hoian Walking Tour.

Enjoy time for relaxation as you immerse yourself in the tranquility and charm of this sleepy riverside town. From the 16th to 18th centuries Hoian was a thriving international port frequented by Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab traders, who came to trade in the high quality silk still produced in the region. Today, Hoian is a relaxing resort popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, skilled tailors and numerous cafes. Take a half-day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the ancient quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Hall, the 200-year-old Tam Ky ancestral house and the famous Japanese Bridge. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to shop, exploring the town or relaxing on the beach.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian.

Day 9: Hoian – Danang – Hue.

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel then check-out and drive northward to Hue over the 500m high Hai Van pass. Enjoy a stop at the scenic Lang Co Beach for a drink before continuing on to Hue – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the afternoon on a leisurely walking tour through Vietnam’s ancient capital city, visiting the Royal Citadel, Thien Mu Pagoda and the Mausoleum of King Tu Duc – a replica of the king’s palace built for the next reincarnation of the king.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hue.

Day 10: Hue – Fly to Saigon.

Have breakfast at the hotel then drive to the airport to catch your flight to Vietnam’s modern metropolis: Saigon. Arrive in the late morning and enjoy an orientation tour through Ho Chi Minh City’s bustling streets en route to the hotel. Have lunch at a downtown restaurant of your choosing then set out on a guided city tour. The rest of this afternoon you will visit such sites as the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the City Post Office and Ben Thanh Market.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon.

Day 11: Saigon – Mekong Delta – Chau Doc.

Today you leave Saigon and travel to the Mekong River Delta. Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before driving to the riverside town, Cai Be. Along the way, stop at a candy factory and orchard garden, where you have an opportunity to listen to traditional music. Enjoy a relaxing lunch at a riverside restaurant, then cross the Mekong’s calm waters on a rustic row boat to visit an island in the middle of the river delta. Spend time exploring the small islands and rural way of life. Your driver will be waiting for you on the other side of the river to take you to Chau Doc – a small town near border of Cambodia. Check in at your hotel then spend the late afternoon on an orientation walk around the small town.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
Accommodation: Hotel in Chau Doc.

Day 12: Chau Doc – Phnom Penh by speed boat.

After breakfast, check-out the hotel then travel by speedboat up the Mekong to Cambodia’s capital: Phnom Penh. The total trip takes about four and a half hours (including visa formalities). Visas are easily obtained at the border between Vietnam and Cambodia and cost $22 (including the processing fee). Your guide will meet you at the dock in Phnom Penh and take you to the hotel. Despite its recent turbulent history, Phnom Penh’s wide tree-lined boulevards and faded colonial mansions hold an undeniable charm. After lunch at a downtown restaurant, visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the notorious ‘Killing Fields’ of Choeung Ek. A visit to these sights provides a deep insight into the painful bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Day 13: Phnom Penh – Fly to Siem Reap.

After breakfast, take a leisurely tour to visit National Museum, the Royal Palace – home to the royal family, and Silver Pagoda. Then your driver will transfer you to the airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap, the gateway into the ancient Angkor temples.
In the late afternoon, stare in wonder at the intricate carvings of Angkor Wat and then ride a balloon for an aerial view of the temple and its surroundings. Soar over the skies and admire the picturesque Cambodian countryside with its rice fields and villages, the highlight of your sightseeing in Angkor!
Optional: In the afternoon head to the Happy Ranch Horse Farm (located 10min outside of the city center) and take a trail ride through Siem Reap’s serene countryside. Horse cart rides are also available as an alternative option.
* During the rainy season (May – October), you can also choose to take a speedboat up the Mekong from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.*
* We do not recommend a drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap as it is a long journey (6 to 7 hours) and road condition.*
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: Hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 14: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples.

Enjoy an entire day devoted to the mystical and ancient Angkor Temples. After an early breakfast at the hotel you set out to Angkor Thom’s imposing South Gate, topped with the four serenely smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara. Next, visit Bayon temple, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Leaving Angkor Thom by the North Gate, you travel to Preah Khan (Sacred Sword), one of Angkor’s largest temples, constructed in the 12th century by Jayavarman VII. After a delicious lunch of traditional Khmer food, head to the mystical, jungle-entwined Ta Prohm temple and then on to the most famous Khmer temple: Angkor Wat. Constructed as a Hindu monument, later dedicated to Buddha, Angkor Wat is the largest temple and finest example of Angkorian art and architect.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
Accommodation: Hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 15: Siem Reap Departure.

Today is free at your leisure for last minute shopping or sight-seeing before driving to the airport to catch your departure flight home.
Bon Voyage!
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodation: N/A.

Tour

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