Start: Hanoi Finish: Bangkok
Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Please contact On The Go Tours with specific dietary requests
Tour code: 2114/JTAWB
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Group size: 2 - 24
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Take in the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia, travelling from Hanoi to Angkor Wat, before ending with a tour of Thailand's captivating capital. Cruise Halong Bay and the Mekong, explore the Imperial City of Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, discover the incredible Angkor Complex and more on this 17 day tour.
Saturday. Arrival in Hanoi and transfer to hotel. Spend today independently exploring Vietnam’s charming capital before our welcome meeting at 5pm.
For those able to arrive very early today or the day prior, why not get off the beaten track and explore Hanoi with us on our optional Back Streets of Hanoi add-on which takes in the quaint districts of Cho Buoi, Hoang Hoa Tham and Vinh Phuc, and also includes an exhilarating local experience - riding pillion on taxi-motorbikes through a maze of tiny streets and along the shore of beautiful Ho Tay Lake.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hanoi – Halong Bay. Today we take a scenic drive to breathtaking, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay. Upon arrival we board a deluxe Junk boat for an overnight cruise, then soak up panoramic views of this spectacular landscape, with its jungle-clad limestone peaks and emerald green waters.
Based on traditional designs, our junk boat combines oriental style with modern luxuries. This afternoon we visit Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000m² with a stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. There's also the opportunity to go kayaking and enjoy a refreshing swim.
Back on board, we spend our evening watching a Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck before tucking into a delicious seafood dinner.
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. Before heading back to port this morning we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two major chambers. These spectacular chambers are spacious enough to hold thousands of people.
On arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter by cyclo (rickshaw), taking in highlights such as the Opera house and Ly Thai To park. We then swap our wheels for a leisurely walk through ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops.
Later this evening there's a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
This morning we arrive into Hue, the capital of the 19th-century Nguyen empire. On a tour of the city we visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city and the ancient citadel. Within the citadel we discover the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact replica of the Beijing’s famous Forbidden city, with its imperial palaces, formal moats and impressive ramparts.
From the city we drive into the countryside to visit the ornate mausoleum of the Emperor Tu Duc, one of the Nguyen kings. As the sun sets there's the opportunity to cruise along the Perfume River in a long boat (pay locally) or you can take a short stroll from our hotel to the bustling Dong Ba Market for some souvenir shopping.
This morning we take the scenic Hai Van Pass, also known as the Road of the Ocean Clouds, to Hoi An. Along the way we enjoy magnificent views and stop for a walk along My Khe Beach. Nicknamed ‘China Beach’ by the Americans during the war, this beautiful stretch of coastline famously featured in wartime movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. Perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim before we continue our journey south down the coast.
Arriving into Hoi An, we enjoy a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town. Highlights include the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall and the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. With its cobbled streets, tiny shop houses and laid-back bars and restaurants, Hoi An is the perfect place to relax a while.
During your stay in Hoi An, we offer a unique optional Hoi An Street Eats add-on, which explores the city’s most popular local haunts. Cruise the city the way the locals do, by vintage Vespa and enjoy lots of tasty Vietnamese Cuisine. Book early with your reservation consultant, as numbers are limited.
Today we enjoy a bicycle ride into the local village of Tra Que, where we learn about traditional medicine and discover age-old farming practices. A fun and hands-on experience, we assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch.
Day 7 is free for you to explore charming Hoi An independently. Unwind by the pool or beach, or take a day trip. Alternatively you can opt to take an excursion to the UNESCO-listed My Son sanctuary or enjoy a day trip to the Ba Na Hills, where you can ride the second longest cable car in the world, explore the resort and walk along the striking Golden Bridge (book and pay locally).
Hoi An - Saigon. Flight to Saigon and drive to the watery world of the Mekong Delta, famed for its abundant harvests of rice, flowers and tropical fruits. From Vinh Long, we cruise downstream on our sampan boat through the maze of waterways and canals, watching the hubbub of daily life on the water. We pass colourful trading boats and houseboats and stop off at some of the local cottage industries producing paper, popcorn and candies. We then enjoy lunch on Dong Hoa Hiep Island in a traditional wooden home.
Can Tho - Saigon. It’s an early start this morning to visit the lively Cai Rang Floating Market, the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta. We then drive to Saigon and enjoy a walking tour of the city, visiting the Old Post Office, the Notre Dam Cathedral and sobering War Remnants Museum. This evening offers free time.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Saigon - Phnom Penh. First stop today is the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network of tunnels with a length of some 250 kilometres used by the Viet Cong during the war. Next we drive to the Cambodian border (crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet) and journey on to Phnom Penh. Offering a bustling mix of past and present, this city is fast becoming one of Asia’s trendiest capitals.
Today we enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh, with our first stop being the National Museum of Fine Arts - a magnificent red sandstone building housing the finest collection of Khmer artefacts in the world. Next we visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its floor covered in 5,000 gleaming silver tiles and Buddha statues adorned with diamonds.
Later we gain a full understanding of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime, visiting the Killing Fields, where over 10,000 people were executed, and Tuol Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was transformed under the Khmer Rouge into Cambodia’s most notorious prison.
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap. Transfer to airport for included flight to Siem Reap. After freshening up, we explore the Angkor National Museum, a fascinating museum offering us a useful insight into the story of Angkor and the Khmer Empire before we visit the famous temple complex.
This afternoon we explore the iconic Angkor Wat, believed to be the world’s largest religious building and the best preserved of all the temples within the Angkor complex. This massive structure rises 65-metres tall and is famous for its thousands of unique wall carvings. This evening offers free time, with plenty of great bars and restaurants within walking distance.
Early risers have the opportunity to return Angkor Wat this morning and see this spectacular complex at sunrise (optional - pay locally). We then drive to the temples of Banteay Srei, stopping enroute to visit an exotic butterfly sanctuary and the village of Preak Dak. At the village, we take part in our community tree planting initiative and help plant mango and jackfruit saplings.
Also known as the Pink City, Banteay Srei is home to some of the world’s finest stone carvings which have been cut from pink sandstone. After exploring the site’s temples and lavish libraries, we return to the Angkor Temple Complex to visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Here we spend some time exploring the Baphuon Royal Enclosure, the terraces of the Elephants and Leper King, and the fascinating Bayon Temple. Our last stop is Ta Prohm, the temple famed for its appearance in the Tomb Raider movie, which appears as though it has been swallowed by the jungle.
This evening we’re entertained by the acts of the incredible Phare Cambodian Circus, an NGO project transforming the lives of street kids by training them to become circus artists.
Today we journey to Kampong Phluk, where three villages of stilt houses hover over the waters of Tonle Sap lake. When the water level drops, petrified trees of a flooded forest are also revealed close by. We enjoy a boat trip on the lake and lunch, before returning to Siem Reap for some free time. Perhaps shop for souvenirs at the bustling central market or check out the bars and restaurants on lively Pub Street.
Siem Reap - Bangkok (Thailand). Today we say goodbye to Cambodia and transfer to Siem Reap Airport for a flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival we'll be met and transferred to our hotel in Bangkok city centre. Spend the rest of the day at leisure in Thailand's bustling capital.
On day 16 we explore Bangkok on a guided tour. Our day starts at the Bangkok Flower Market, the city’s largest flower market with hundreds of fresh roses, marigolds, orchids and more for sale. From here, we make our way to the stunning Grand Palace, the city’s most famous landmark and royal heart of the country. Then we take a tuk tu ride to Wat Pho, famed for its giant reclining Buddha, covered in gold leaf and measuring 46 metres in length.
After lunch, we explore some of the city’s many canals aboard a traditional longtail boat before ending out tour at the famous Khao San Road. A great spot to eat, drink and party, this road is brimming with street stalls, bars and restaurants. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Monday. Our tour ends today with a transfer to the airport. Alternatively, if you would like to extend your stay in Thailand we can arrange this for you.
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