14-Day Vietnam & The Temples of Angkor

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Tour Period: 14 Days

tour highlights

  • Start the adventure in the bustling city of Hanoi with an immersive food tour hosted by a celebrity chef and food writer
  • Attend one of Hanoi’s famous water puppet performances
  • Cruise through the striking Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most intriguing natural wonders
  • Explore historic Hue’s ancient palaces
  • Stroll through charming Hoi An with its unique colonial architecture
  • Cruise the Mekong Delta’s waterways by speedboat
  • Pass through Phnom Penh on a city tour that covers the capital’s most iconic sites, such as Wat Phnom and the Tuol Sleng Museum
  • Witness the sunrise at Angkor Wat marvelling at Angkor Archaeological Park’s ancient temple ruins

tour details

Though ravaged by wars in the still not-too-distant past, both Vietnam and Cambodia are continuing to become enticing destinations thanks to each country’s unique natural beauty, ancient customs and handicrafts, mouth watering cuisine and welcoming peoples. Explore some of the most significant cities and sites in both Vietnam and Cambodia, including a number of destinations famous the world over, such as the magnificent Halong Bay and historic Angkor Wat complex. Dive deeper into the culture taking part in a tasty street food tour and water puppet performance in Hanoi, discovering Hue’s ancient royal complexes, wandering Hoi An’s charming colonial streets, enjoying a Phnom Penh city tour, and seeing a different side of Angkor with exclusive stops at different sights throughout the day. We’re sure by the end of the journey these two compelling countries will not have only secured a lasting place in your memory, but your heart as well.

Meet your tour guide on arrival at Hanoi International Airport and then transfer to the city for hotel check-in.
Located in the centre of the Northern Delta with a population of 6.2 million people and an area of 3,398 square kilometres, Hanoi is an ancient city originally established in 1010 that boasts a selection of interesting cultural and historic monuments. Historians liken the life-giving Red River, its banks crowded with green rice paddies and farms, to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers – a cradle of civilisation.
Hotel rooms may not be ready until 14:00 hrs but an early check-in can be guaranteed with a surcharge. After check-in, the rest of the day is at leisure. Subject to your arrival time, venture out to explore the city solo or join one of our wonderful optional excursions in and around Hanoi, such as a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, for you first impression of Vietnam’s capital city.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: None
The Old Quarter of Hanoi formed the core of the legendary “Hanoi of 36 guild streets” where goods and crafts were traded in specialised streets formed by traders and craftsmen from all over the country. In the course of their migration to the city they brought along their culture, habits and local delicacies that were gradually adopted in the Hanoians’ way of life – including a varied street food scene.
Designed by Tracey Lister, a celebrity chef and food writer, today’s street food venture will journey to at least four eateries allowing guests to taste traditional Vietnamese delicacies including pho, the beef or chicken noodle soup which is the number one choice of breakfast for Hanoi residents, banh cuon (steamed rice pancakes), bun cha (grilled pork patties and pork belly with sticky rice noodles), banh tom (prawn cake), and a choice of local sweets or fruit.
The tour will also include visits to Chau Long Market and Dong Xuan Market as the guide shares some of their favourite Hanoi eating and shopping secrets for guests to further explore on their own.
In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam built more than 1,000 years ago, the historic Ba Dinh Square to view the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum from outside and the One-Pillar Pagoda. The tour finishes at Hoa Lo prison.
In the evening, attend one of the city’s famous water puppet performances. The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots dating back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam where farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. The puppets are made of wood and usually stand 16 inches high but can be as tall as three feet. Puppets are attached to a long bamboo pole and dipped in and out of the water by a person behind a rattan curtain. Learning to manipulate the puppets is usually a tradition that is passed on as a family secret and takes a great deal of skill with puppeteers standing in waist-deep water.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch during the tour
From Hanoi’s Old Quarter, transfer to Dinh Vu Port, Haiphong for the next adventure – an overnight journey on Halong Bay with Orchid Cruise . Enjoy a special tea in the Orchid Cruise’s lounge before being welcomed aboard the boat and checking in.
After a welcome drink and safety briefing by the crew, get ready to sail through one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’. Unchanged for centuries, Halong Bay is steeped in striking vistas, beautiful seas and impressive islands.
Head first toward the Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse that was built by the French over 100 years ago and enjoy an on-board lunch before continuing the journey via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner and remain in an untouched area as not many cruise ships use this route.
Continue on to the Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay, a separate part of Halong Bay that is known for its pristine beaches and spectacular beauty with roughly 400 fascinating forested islands.
Next, witness how the local fishermen go about their trade, casting nets whilst navigating the waters in their tiny boats. Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim. In the winter months (December to March) guests may visit Viet Hai village with a guide where one can cycle along the village path through rainforests and tunnels and enjoy stunning its rice fields on the way before stopping at the village to relax. (An optional electric cart service is available at an extra cost.)
In the evening, watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Back on board, join a traditional cooking class where a chef will demonstrate how to prepare popular Vietnamese dishes or take part in Happy Hour on the deck. Enjoy a delicious dinner of local food in an intimate, romantic setting before relaxing on the top deck with a drink in hand. Additional activities, such as night squid fishing, watching a film or booking a massage treatment through the Cruise Manager, are also available.

Accommodation on Orchid Cruise (Suite Balcony cabin)

Note: our tour guide will not be on board.

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch on board
Dinner on board
Rise early to witness the bay at its very best – at sunrise – whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck and breakfast. Upon finishing breakfast, head out in canoes to explore the bay around Toi Sang Cave.
Indulge in a delightful brunch while cruising to the mainland and transferring back to Hanoi. Enjoy an evening on your own with dinner at your leisure.Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast on board
Brunch on board
Transfer to Hanoi International Airport for a flight to Hue, the former royal city of the 13 ruling Nguyen dynasties.
Once in Hue, a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River will take guests to Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as the Heavenly Lady Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue. Situated four kilometres upstream on the banks of the Perfume River, it is an active Buddhist monastery with origins dating back to 1601. Continue by car to visit the Imperial Citadel. Built by Emperor Gia Long, the impressive Hue Citadel is situated on the northern bank of the Perfume River and was designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his household. The Citadel is made up of a two-square-kilometre wall encompassing three additional walled enclosures including the Forbidden Purple City, Tu Cam Thanh, where the Emperor lived. The Hue royal complex has been officially recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast, make a scenic 4-hour drive to Hoi An via Hai Van pass offering spectacular views of sea, mountains, idyllic beaches and villages. While resting in Danang, visit the Cham Museum before continuing the drive along Non Nuoc Beach to Hoi An. Transfer to the hotel in Hoi An for check-in.
In the afternoon, explore the Ancient Town of Hoi An and its surroundings. Known to early Western merchants, Hoi An was one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia in the 16th century and still retains its distinctive Vietnamese and Chinese atmosphere with low, tiled-roof houses and narrow streets with the original structure of some streets still virtually intact. Many of the town’s houses are constructed from rare timbers and decorated with lacquer panels engraved with Chinese characters and carved pillars.
One of the best ways to discover Hoi An and its surroundings is by walking, so enjoy a relaxed 4-hour walk to discover the daily life of the local people – green paddy fields, vegetable gardens, markets, temples, historic houses, fishermen and stunning countryside scenes will simply mesmerise you. This tour offers great photo opportunities!

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Compulsory dinner for group of 15 pax up
Today is at your leisure – explore all the little delights of Hoi An!

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Enjoy a leisurely morning until being picked up and transferring to Danang Airport for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Formerly known as Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling economic centre of the South. Over the past few centuries, Saigon was called the “Pearl of the Far East” and was an important trading centre for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants who travelled along the Saigon River.
Check in to the hotel and feel free to explore on your own.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
In the morning, drive out of the city to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an amazing complex of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War. There are more than 200 kilometres of tunnels, comprising a main axis system with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters and other tunnels. You have the chance to crawl through this amazing system of tunnels before returning to Ho Chi Minh City for lunch.
In the afternoon, discover the city through a walking tour with stops at Ho Chi Minh City’s most significant landmarks from the French colonial period including the Opera House, Town Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and old Post Office. Afterward experience a fantastic 360-degree view of Saigon and its surroundings from the observation deck atop the 2,620-metre-high Bitexco Financial Tower, which is shaped like a lotus, Vietnam’s national flower. Your next stop will be the famous Ben Thanh Market where you can purchase souvenirs for your beloved ones back home.
Wrap up a long day of touring with an indulgent foot massage to soothe your feet. While the evening is free at your leisure, you’re welcome to join our optional dinner cruise on the Saigon River.

Accommodation at hotel
Meals included:
Breakfast
Lunch at restaurant
MEKONG DELTA TOUR BY SPEED BOAT
From the hotel, transfer to the pier in District 1 for a full-day speedboat through the Mekong Delta. Explore local villages, riverside markets, historical sites, craft shops, temples and pagodas and more in this iconic region of Vietnam.
*The boat operates different routes in the Mekong Delta depending on water conditions therefore the arrival time back to Ho Chi Minh City may vary.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Light lunch
In the morning, transfer from the hotel to Ho Chi Minh International Airport for your departure flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arriving in Cambodia’s capital, be picked up and taken to the hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
Begin discovering the city with visits to the Independence Monument and Wat Langka, one of Phnom Penh’s five original wats (pagodas) founded in 1422. First established as a sanctuary for the Holy Writings and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks, the temple was named in honour of these meetings. Wat Langka was used as a storehouse by the Khmer Rouge, so it escaped total destruction. Now fully renovated, this temple still plays an important place in Cambodian Buddhism.
From there, head to the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the grounds of the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5,000 silver tiles. Additional treasures include a solid gold-encrusted Buddha weighing 90 kilogrammes, and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha.
Enjoy a joint Sunset Cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers to end the first day in Cambodia.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, hop in a remorque (tuk tuk) to explore further afield and learn more about the country’s history. First, visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21) that soon became the largest centre of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; the museum displays include room after room of photographs of these men, women and children covering the walls.
Continue to the nearby National Museum. Built in 1917, it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed here including both pre- and post-Angkorian pieces.
Next, visit the Central Market, another Phnom Penh landmark, before venturing to the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market filled with antiquities, silver and gold jewellery, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.
End the visit of the charming capital with a stop at the city’s namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.

Accommodation at hotel
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport and fly to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, transfer to the hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
The rest of your day is free to do as you wish. Soak up Siem Reap’s charming café scene, vibrant nightlife or colourful night markets. Though it may seem small at first, Siem Reap has a lot to offer!

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Rise early and head to the Angkor Archaelogical Park to witness the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Take advantage of your early morning and continue to the temple of Ta Prohm to discover its beauty at dawn before the crowds come in. This temple has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered, still covered in tree roots and retaining much of its mystery to this day. Swallowed by the jungle, it still appears in much the same way other Angkor temples looked when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
Return to the hotel for breakfast before journeying out again on a drive to the Cambodian countryside to visit Banteay Srei temple. Crafted in the 10th century, the red sandstone temple features some of the most well preserved carvings in all of Angkor and is truly mesmerising, covered in meticulous designs.
In the afternoon, visit the archaeological park’s South Gate, with its huge statues depicting the churning of the Ocean of Milk, the ancient capital of Angkor Thom and the iconic Bayon recognised for its 54 towers decorated with more than 200 large stone faces.
Finally, it’s time to visit the most famous of all the temples – Angkor Wat – only this time in the daylight. Spanning 81 hectares, the temple complex is thought to be the largest religious building in the world and is comparable in size to Beijing’s Imperial Palace. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolise the mythical Mount Meru’s five peaks with the enclosed wall representing the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat signifying the ocean beyond.
A visit to Angkor is a once in a lifetime experience not soon forgotten which makes ending the journey at this special site even more significant. After leaving the temple ruins, savour a farewell dinner at a local Siem Reap restaurant

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Dinner at local restaurant
DAY 15 Enjoy a last breakfast at the hotel then transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for a departure flight to your next destination.

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel

includes

  • Accommodation in shared twin room with air conditioning (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
  • Transfers and tours with local guides/assistants in private air conditioned standard vehicles
  • All entrance fees and boat fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles

excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately)
  • International airfare to / from Vietnam
  • Optional tours
  • Kayaking
  • Beauty and Spa services
  • Tour guide onboard Paradise Luxury Cruise (can be arranged at surcharge and subject to availability)
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for night-time services, especially applied for transfers with arrivals after 23:00 hrs and arrivals or departures before 05:00 hrs.
  • Surcharges for Lunar New Year (TET) holiday
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Visa application and visa stamp fees at Vietnamese embassies overseas and/ or upon arrival (Please note that a visa is compulsory for most nationalities.)
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

notes

  • Most museums are closed on Mondays and partly on Fridays and some public holidays.
  • The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is closed every Monday and Friday and during the entire months of September and October. The Ho Chi Minh Residence in Hanoi is closed every Monday and Friday.
  • Please note that cyclo rides are subject to government approval.

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