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Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia

Tours
Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia
DATES

08 June 2019 - 28 June 2019


RATES
from NZD$7500 per person
Single rate from NZD$9051

All Rates are in NZD$. 
Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*This tour departs with a minimum of 6 guests. 
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire. 
*International Airfares are not included. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE.


Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia
Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia

VIETNAM, LAOS & CAMBODIA;

FABULOUS INDO-CHINA....

 

Experience Indochina in style with this incredible tour of Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. On this boutique tour, we will see divine UNESCO landscapes, walk through historic towns, ride on cycles & tuk-tuks and wander night markets filled with local wares. We stay in incredible Boutique accommodation, eat divine Vietnamese, Laos & Cambodian food and immerse ourselves in traditional lifestyles.

We explore Vietnam from South to North, beginning with bustling Saigon and moving North to the Colonial elegance of Hanoi. En-route we discover the languid region of the Mekong delta, intoxicating Hoi An, Imperial Hue and World Heritage Halong Bay.

We then fly into Luang Prabang in Laos. One of the world's most charming cities, Luang Prabang is a UNESCO protected site, and is awash with colourful markets, majestically gilded temples and beautiful, colonial architecture. 

Then to Siem Reap in Cambodia to experience sunrise at Angkor Wat, visit jungle-clad Ta Prohm and eat some incredible Khmer food. We soak up the bustling culture of Phnom Penh, once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia,’ exploring narrow lanes in the French Quarter by cyclo.

And of course, we will be humbled by the warmth and hospitality of the people. 

Join me on this bespoke, luxurious and authentic journey through 3 divine Asian countries..

Tour Overview
Duration
21 Days - JUNE 2019
Start Point
Saigon, Vietnam
Finish Point
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tour Style
Escorted Tour
Accommodation
Boutique Accommodation, Luxury Junk
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private Transfers, Boat, Domestic Flights, Bike
Max Group Size
Min 6, Max 10 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • x3 nights in a Deluxe Room at Liberty Central Saigon, Saigon
  • x3 nights in a Deluxe Room at La Siesta Hoi An Resort, Hoi An
  • x2 nights in a Superior Room at Pilgrimage Village, Hue
  • x2 nights in a Deluxe Room at the Silk Path Boutique Hotel, Hanoi
  • x1 night in a Superior Cabin on the Luxury Junk - Ginger Cruise - Halong Bay
  • x3 nights in a Deluxe Room in Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Luang Prabang
  • x4 nights in a Tailorbird Room at The Aviary Hotel, Siem Reap
  • x2 nights in a Junior Suite Room at the White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh
  • *Domestic flight Saigon - Danang
  • *Domestic flight Hue - Hanoi
  • *Flight Hanoi - Luang Prabang
  • *Flight Luang Prabang - Siem Reap
  • *Flight Siem Reap - Phnom Penh
  • All Breakfasts
  • Welcome Dinner in Saigon
  • Street Food Safari in Hoi An
  • Cooking Class & lunch in Hoi An
  • Vegetarian lunch with Nuns & Orphans in Hoi An
  • Royal Dinner at a 'Garden House' in Hue
  • Street Food Tour in Hanoi
  • Full Board on Ginger Junk, Halong Bay
  • Dinner at Home Restaurant in Hanoi
  • Lao Food Corner Evening, Lunag Prabang
  • Dinner at Marum in Siem Reap
  • Tuk Tuk Khmer Food Night in Siem Reap
  • Khmer Cooking Class & dinner in Siem Reap
  • Farewell dinner in Phnom Penh
  • 2 day / 1 Night Halong Bay cruise with Full Board
  • Morning City tour of Saigon
  • Full day Mekong Delta tour
  • Hoi An Walking Tour
  • City tour & cyclo tour of Hue
  • Pagoda Orphange day - Hue
  • Hanoi City Tour
  • Cyclo tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi
  • Alms Giving in Luang Prabang
  • Kuang Si Waterfall & Pak Ou Caves, Laos
  • Hill Trive visit, Laos
  • Arts Trail shopping in Siem Reap
  • Urban Exploration by Cyclo in Phnom Penh
  • Khmer Architecture Tour & City Tour of Phnom Penh
  • The Killing Fields & Tuol Sleng Museum
  • And more!!!
  • Hosted by Jemma Wilson, owner of Mai Journeys 
  • Expert Local English Speaking Guide(s)
  • Private air-conditioned vehicles for transfers & touring
  • Luggage handling
  • Private van, Vespa & Tuk Tuk tours
  • Angkor Archeological Park Entry Pass
  • Drinking water & refresher towels for touring
Tour Highlights
  • A morning like a local in Saigon
  • Exploring the backwaters & back roads of the Delta region
  • Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Market tour & Cooking Class in Hoi An
  • Walking Food tour in Hoi An
  • Free time in Hoi An to soak up the atmosphere - or get some clothes made!
  • Cyclo ride through the villages and along the river in Hue
  • The ancient pagodas & Imperial  Citadel of Hue
  • Uu Dam Orphanage lunch
  • Eating a 'Royal Dinner' at Ancient Hue
  • Cyclo tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi
  • Sampling Hanoi's famous street food 
  • Exploring Halong Bay aboard a luxurious Vietnamese junk
  • The Wats of Luang Prabang
  • An evening of Laos food tasting
  • The Buddhist tradition of Alms giving in Luang Prabang
  • Amazing Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Long tail boat cruise to the Park Ou Caves
  • Full day at Tai Lu Village and lunch with the villagers
  • Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm
  • Angkor Wat Sunrise & the Ancient Temples of Angkor 
  • Tuk Tuk Khmer Food Tour in Siem Reap 
  • Banteay Sri
  • Khmer Cooking Class
  • Arts Trail shopping in Siem Reap
  • The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh
  • Hidden Gems of Phnom Penh Cyclo Tour
  • Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields
  • Amazing food throughout
  • Stay in gorgeous boutique resorts, hotels & junk
  • Meeting local Artisans
  • Distinctive monasteries & colonial architecture
  • Amazing people

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Saigon
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Arrive Saigon. We are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. We then get to relax after our long flight.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi blends old world charm with the dynamic bustle of new Asia. Its French colonial past is evident from the colonial architecture and enchanting lakes which contrast with the throng of thousands of motorbikes and cosmopolitan new restaurants and boutiques. To the north of central Hoan Kiem Lake lies the frenetic maze of narrow streets of the Old Quarter while to the south are the broad tree-lined boulevards and majestic buildings of the French Quarter.

Early evening, we meet in hotel bar for pre-dinner drinks.

This evening we enjoy dinner with the finest traditional Vietnamese food with inspired contemporary cuisine at Hoa Tuc Restaurant. (Drinks not included). Hoa Tuc restaurant is located in an old opium refinery of the colonial era, in the middle of a courtyard that houses a small group of restaurants. The pergola at the entrance, made of cast iron and frosted glass, is inspired by the underground entrances in vogue in Paris in the early 1900s. As for the food, it will delight the most discerning palates. The wine list, prepared by a renowned sommelier, is one of the richest in Vietnam. For all these reasons, reservations are highly recommended.

Overnight Liberty Central Saigon (D - Entree & Main)

Day 2 - Saigon
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Wake up early this morning and start our day like a real Saigonese does. Our guide will show you things that make Saigon so different compared to other parts of Vietnam; from the crowded street coffee places to the lively local outdoor markets where people shop for their daily needs. Our first stop is a Vietnamese bread stall which is believed to be the first bread stall in Saigon. We will sit down together with local people inside a small alley to enjoy this simple, yet delicious breakfast. 

After breakfast, we zig zag through the alleys and stop at a market for a cup of tea or coffee in Saigon’s oldest café. This coffee shop, now in its 78th year of operation, is something of a Saigon landmark. Meet the owner for a talk to learn how she makes coffee with a special traditional method, a kind of “stocking coffee” which was originally the method of Chinese coffee vendors and involved a long, stocking-like fabric filter, a charcoal stove and traditional clay pots. Continue to wind our way through nearby street markets to see how people bargain for fresh vegetables, seafood and other local food. Carry on to the “flower alleys” - the biggest flower market in Saigon. Take the opportunity to see the colourful blossoms, and interact with the sellers. Stop at some vendors to try some favourite Saigonese snacks and desserts such as sponge cakes and sweet soups before heading back to your hotel.  
Start time: approx 07.00am.
Duration: approx 3 hours. 

We will have lunch at local restaurant. 

This afternoon, we depart for a City Highlights tour. We visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires constructed from materials imported from France (entrance is only permitted when no services are being performed). We then head across the square to the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. A short drive away is the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American War. We continue to the War Remnants Museum for a vivid perspective of the American War through the eyes of the Vietnamese. (Please note that some of the displays are very graphic.) Then, experience Saigon’s famed street coffee culture while our guide provides a brief language lesson as well as insights into daily life of a Saigonese before returning to our hotel.
Start time: approx 13.00pm.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

After this, anyone that still has the energy (!) and the want (!), can be dropped off at The Social Club Rooftop bar for a nightcap. This place has fabulous views! (Drinks and return to hotel by your own arrangement) 

Overnight Liberty Central Saigon  (B / L)

Day 3 - Mekong Delta
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This morning we depart from Ho Chi Minh City for a scenic two-hour drive to Cho Gao situated in the Mekong River Delta. 

Upon arrival, we board a wooden boat for a fascinating river excursion to 'off the beaten tracks' parts of the Mekong Delta. 
Crossing two branches of the Mekong River, 30 km away from the Eastern Sea, we arrive at Long Thanh Village for a stop at a local factory to understand the traditional methods used to make coal from the coconut hard-shell.

After, we change vehicles - for a bicycle! - for a relaxing ride through the peaceful village to observe the rustic lifestyle. We ride among fruit plantations and friendly locals. We stop to visit an ancient house and a communal temple of the village. We then cross the ferry to Tam Hiep Island where we will enjoy a leisurely walk to a local farmer’s house for a lunch of Mekong Delta specialties.

After lunch, we wander on the rural village path to a honey bee farm to observe how to make honey straight from the source. We continue our cycling trip around the village and stop at a local farmer’s garden with a specialty of the region called “lá sâm.” The host will take us around his lush garden to pick some leaves and show us how to make a special herbal jelly.

We board a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta before getting back on the ferry to cross the river and return to Ho Chi Minh City. 
Start time: approx 08.00am.
Duration: approx 7-8 hours. 
NOTE: 
The cycling distance can be 5 km, depending on your physical ability and length you desire. The exploration can be done on foot, horse cart or tri-motorcycle instead of the cycling.

This evening is free at leisure. 
Overnight Liberty Central Saigon (B / L)

Day 4 - Saigon - Danang - Hoi An
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Our morning is free for last minute market shopping, or simply to to reat and relax at the hotel.

We transfer from our hotel to the airport (with guide). Current flight details: 14.30pm| 15.50pm. This is an Economy Class flight. 

Upon arrival at Danang Airport, our guide will meet us and transfer us to our hotel in Hoi An.

Rest, relax and have a spa maybe at our gorgeous hotel. 

This evening we have a table reservation at Morning Glory Restaurant. (Time TBC). Situated in an elegant traditional-style building in the heart of Hoi An’s old town, Morning Glory specializes in local Hoi An ‘street food’. (Payable direct)

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa (B)

Day 5 - Hoi An
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A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town, so this morning after breakfast we enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting the likes of: Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 year old Tam Ky ancestral house, the Japanese Bridge and Hoi An market.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An then known as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. 
Start time: approx 09.00am.
Duration: approx 2 hours. 
NOTE: 
The Hoi An entrance ticket is valid for entry to 5 sightseeing spots in Hoi An including merchant houses, the Japanese Covered Bridge, museums, pagodas and assembly halls for 24 hours. It also provides entry into Hoi An Ancient Town for as long as you are in Hoi An. Please keep the entrance ticket with you at all times should you independently visit Hoi An later in the evening or on another day.

Lunch will be on the run..
Free time to shop|relax|spa|get clothes made..

This evening we depart on a Hoi An Walking Night Food Safari....Hoi An by night is always busy with hundreds of food stalls and local restaurants. We take a walk around the town to discover the many vendors offering Hoi An specialties. This tour takes us off the beaten path to get a unique glimpse into the nightly life of this lovely ancient town and discover unforgettable street food. We meet our Guide and start zigzagging through the alleys to explore a popular snack – “white rose”. We find our way to a “banh mi” stand owned by an elderly woman and try a small piece of crispy baguette and crispy Fried Wonton “Hoanh Thanh Chien”. Next, we stroll to a hidden family restaurant serving barbecued pork which we combine with fresh greens and herbs to create our own fresh spring roll. The best to enjoy the roll is with cold beer! We walk further into the centre of the village for a look at the ancient  sweet soup “Che” before capping off the journey at the riverside to release floating lanterns for good luck.
Start time: approx 5.00pm.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa (B / Street Food)

Day 6 - Hoi An
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This morning, after a lesiurely breakfast, we depart on our Hoi An Culinary Experience. We learn the secrets of preparing traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a market tour and cooking class. We set off to a local market with a chef from the Market Restaurant and Cooking School. Your chef will share shopping tips including how to select fresh eggs and ripe fruit and which herbs are used in Vietnamese cuisine. Continue to the school, an elegant old building with a French colonial-style exterior and traditional Hoi An interior. Then participate in an entertaining, hands-on cookery course held in one of three teaching areas with modern equipment for a truly immersive cooking experience. Chat with your chef to learn more about typical ingredients of Central Vietnamese cuisine then enjoy tasting what you have prepared. 
Start time: approx 9.00am.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

Your afternoon and evening is free.

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa  (B / Lunch - Cooking Class)

Day 7 - Hoi An - Hai Van Pass - Hue
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This morning after a lazy breakfast, we leave Hoi An for the three-hour drive to Hue over the Hai Van Pass. This scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co after climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. 

Arrive in Hue. Check into hotel & relax a while.

This afternoon we have a City Cyclo-Tour from the Citadel to Thien Mu. Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. We start our cyclo trip by crossing the Perfume River on the Trang Tien Bridge. We then ride along the famous Dong Ba Market and follow a branch of the Perfume River to an area surrounding the Citadel where local people have lived for generations in their old style houses. While sitting on the cyclo, all of the activities on the street, in the shops and in the houses, just happen around you, and you can feel like you are a part of it. After the cyclo ride, walking to the Imperial Citadel from the Noon Gate will provide great balance and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while our guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored.

From here, our driver will pick us up and drive us to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-story tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold.
Start time: approx 2.00pm.
Duration: approx 3.5 hours.   

This evening is free at leisure. You can eat in the hotel restaurant. 

Overnight Pilgrimage Village (B)

Day 8 - Hue
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This morning after breakfast we are taken to Uu Dam Orphanage Home. The orphanage was established in 2005 for more than 47 children from 1 to 17 years old who are without parents. Today we visit Uu Dam Orphanage Centre – 8km away from Hue downtown where we meet and talk with the center representative (Nun Phuoc Thien) for an insight of the daily activities as well as their effort to take care of more than 47 orphans. We can chat with some of the children to understand their life at school as well as their dreams, before joining them to re-paint their bedroom walls, windows or create some art on their wall. We roll up our sleeves and help the nuns prepare the ingredients and cook lunch for the children. Later, we bid farewell to the children and drive back to hotel.
Start time: approx 08.30am.
Duration: approx 3.5 hours.   

We return to the hotel for rest, relaxatin and maybe even a spa....

This evening we have a dinner reservation at Ancient Hue Restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village (B / Vegetarian Lunch / D)

Day 9 - Hue to Hanoi
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This morning we are transferred from our accommodation to the Hue airport (with guide) for our flight to Hanoi.
*Flight VN1542 HUI HAN 10:30 – 11:45/ Economy Class. 

Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, our guide will meet us and transfer us to our hotel.

Early afternoon, we visit the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays) which houses an extensive collection of traditional costumes and artefacts from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Next, we visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.

We then drive back to central Hanoi for a cyclo tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ - named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. We explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.

We make a stop at a local coffee shop to try the local brew. We then walk a little further to taste some typical Hanoi snacks such as Pillow cake, fried sweet cakes. We stroll through the streets lined with many food vendors and make our way to a steaming bowl of Pho Ga (Vietnamese noodle soup with chicken). This is practically Vietnam’s national dish and is a dish enjoyed morning noon and night. Next, we move on to try Vietnam’s 2nd most popular food - the Banh Mi Pate or baguette sandwich with pate at Banh My Lan Ong, one of the most famous shops in Hanoi. Later, we head to Dong Xuan night market which is well known for all types of goods including souvenirs. Try your hand at bargaining for a good deal before heading off to Beer Corner in the old corner to try a cold glass of Bia Hoi (fresh draft beer) like a local.
Start time: approx 3.00pm.
Duration: approx 7 hours. 

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / Street Food)

Day 10 - To Lan Ha Bay
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This morning we depart on a 2-hour drive to Hai Phong via the new highway and over the longest bridge in South East Asia. 

Our luxurious floating home, Ginger, sets sail around noontime. We enjoy a welcome drink upon boarding and become acquainted with the facilities on board during the welcome briefing. We then begin our unique journey exploring one of the new wonders of nature – Lan Ha Bay.

Enjoy lunch in Ginger’s light-flooded dining room, offering panoramic views of the passing scenery.

Along the way, we pass an ancient lighthouse, built by the French over 100 years ago. We head deeper and further south into the karst maze of Lan Ha Bay. Lan Ha Bay is actually a part of Halong Bay that recently opened to the public. Relax on the sun deck and soak in the aura of the fascinating scenery— a surreal seascape.

During the cruise, there is leisure time to enjoy our onboard activities. Take a plunge in the pool or let us pamper you with a selection of treatments and massages in the Lady Ginger spa. We disembark at Viet Hai Village on Cat Ba Island where we hop on bikes (electric car available) for a tour along small paved roads towards a quiet village nestled in a valley. Meet and greet local villagers and see their daily routines at homes, school, and work.

Back on board, our chef will lead an interactive cooking class in the open kitchen at the restaurant. Learn about delicious local ingredients and how to prepare traditional Vietnamese recipes you can imitate at home.

We then arrive at a tranquil anchor location for the night; a hidden place to reminisce about the day’s adventures and enjoy cocktails under the stars.

A delightful dinner is served in the dining room. After, guests are invited to enjoy time at the bar or pay a visit to the evening cinema for a movie. Nighttime is also the best time of the day for squid fishing. Join the Ginger crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for the evening.

Overnight Ginger Luxury Junk: (B / L / D)

Day 11 - To Hanoi
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Wake up early and join a Tai Chi session on the sundeck to ease mind and body into the day as the first rays of the sun touch the water. Coffee, tea and breakfast pastries wait in the dining room to start the new day.

Ginger begins cruising towards Tra Bau, a secluded spot that is perfect for our morning excursion. In kayaks or bamboo boats, we drift along the waters of the bay for a closer look at the serene surroundings. Paddling through the dreamlike landscape with tree-topped islands, you will feel a sense of freedom and harmony with nature that you have never experienced before.

Back on board, a hearty breakfast is served in the dining room (or on request served to your room) before we start our journey back to the pier. Savour the last moments of this unique journey by relaxing on comfy sun beds on the terrace deck. 

We are then transferred back to Hanoi, to our hotel for our final evening. 

We have a dinner reserved this evening at Home Restaurant

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / Dinner)

Day 12 - Hanoi to Luang Prabang, Laos
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This morning we have free time until check-out. We are then transferred to Hanoi International airport for our onward flight to Luang Prabang, departing 12.45pm. (Arrival in Luang Prabang at 14.00pm)

On arrival in Luang Prabang, we are transferred to our gorgeous hotel – Le Sen Boutique Hotel – where we will stay for three nights.

This afternoon we will drive to visit some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life; and Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 17th century. Notice the stunning “tree of life” mosaic set on its western exterior wall. 

We can end by climbing up to the top of Mount Phousi to admire the panoramic views across the Mekong and Khan rivers as well as the mountain range. NOTE: Please dress appropriately for visits to religious sites. Shoulders, chest and legs should be covered.

We then spend a fun evening exploring Luang Prabang’s local food scene. We head to Luang Prabang’s famous night market. We explore the small side streets where vendors offer incredible food buffets and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells while our guide explains the various ingredients and cooking methods used in Lao cuisine. After looking and sampling (optional), we continue to a well-known local restaurant for traditional sindad BBQ where diners grill right at the table. Allow our guide to recommend some of the restaurant’s specialities and help with the ordering. After dinner, we return to our hotel. *This evening is about 4 hours in duration and is a very authentic experience. It is especially recommended for people with an interest in local cuisine and Asian food.

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / D)

Day 13 - Luang Prabang
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The morning alms round (called “Tak Bat” in Lao) is a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang and dates back generations. Wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to a procession of hundreds of saffron-robed monks in the early morning light, truly a spiritual occasion! *If you wish to make an offering, please inform our guide a day in advance so that a gift of alms can be prepared. After the almsgiving, watch the town come to life during a visit to the bustling morning market before returning to our hotel in time for breakfast.
Suggested departure time: 05:30.
Tour duration: 1.5 hours.
*If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and observe the ritual in silence. Please dress appropriately. Shoulders, chest and legs should be covered.

We then spend a half day exploring one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, the cascading Kuang Si Waterfall with electric turquoise waters. We depart on a 1hr drive south of Luang Prabang, with stops at the vibrant Phousi Market and the nearby Ock Pop Tock Weaving Centre, a social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. We continue on to the waterfalls, and take a leisurely hike through the natural park past the Asian Bear Rescue Center. Swimming in the refreshing waters is possible, although between November and January the water temperature is very cool.

We enjoy lunch out. 

We then emabrk on a river cruise to the famed Pak Ou Caves. We board a long-tail boat and begin cruising past scenes of typical Laotian villages barely visible behind thick foliage, wooden canoes bobbing by the shore attached to bamboo poles and floats marking the location of nets and fish traps. Located next to the mighty Mekong and opposite the mouth of the Mekong and the Ou rivers, we explore the two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images which range from mere centimetres up to 2m (7ft) in height.

We return to Luang Prabang with a stop en route at the village of Ban Muang Keo and observe local weavers and whisky distillers honouring their timeworn traditional crafts.

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / L / D)

Day 14 - Hill Tribe Visit
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Today we spend a full day in a Tai Lu village, an ethnic group who migrated from Yunan, China in the late 18th century. The Tai Lu have preserved much of their traditional way of life as it was before their expansion into Indochina.

Early morning we depart on a 3hr drive to the small village of Ban Nayang, home to about 500 Tai Lu people. You will notice the distinctive stilt houses, many with two or three weaving looms underneath. We stroll around the village and observe the women weaving and doing embroidery while the men grow wet rice using wooden equipment drawn by buffalo. Although shy by nature, the villagers are open to talking about their daily activities and life in the village. We also learn more about their efforts to preserve their traditional working methods and crafts.

Enjoy lunch cooked by the villagers and served in a local home.

We then spend the afternoon mingling with the locals and exploring more of the area before returning to Luang Prabang in mid-afternoon. 
Start time: approx 08.00am.
Duration: approx 9 hours.

On return to the hotel, our evening is free at leisure. 

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 15 - Luang Prabang to Siem Reap, Cambodia
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Quaint Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques. This morning we enjoy a guided half-day shopping trip to some of the town’s most unique shops including antiques in an impressive old French mansion filled with silver betel nut pots; Akha-style bracelets and Hmong necklaces or a riverfront shop with treasures gathered from abroad like Hong Kong tea tins, Chinese retro alarm clocks, Mao revolutionary crockery and Burmese Buddhist statuary; home décor including hand-woven silks by local weavers and indigenous Lao wood handcrafted by master carvers and turners; handcrafted jewellery using a variety of semi-precious stones and silver; handicrafts made from silk and other natural products including packaged spices. 

After this, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap.
14:45 – 16:10 Economy Class
Or 15:25 – 17:10 Economy Class

Upon arrival Siem Reap International Airport, we are transferred from to our hotel.

Our evening is free.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B)

Day 16 - Siem Reap
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We wake up early and transfer by private vehicle to the West Gate of Angkor Wat from where the sunrise can be best observed. We enter the temple complex. Angkor Wat (early 12th century) is surrounded by a 190 metre wide moat 1.5 kilometres by 1.3 kilometres and is claimed to be the largest religious building in the world. It is certainly one of the wonders of the ancient world. You will be amazed by the sheer size of the temple, which took 30 years to construct & used the labours of upto 300,000 workers. Angkor Wat was built as the earthly representation of the universe with its' central tower symbolising Mt Meru which, Hindus believe, is at the centre of the Universe.

Return to the West Gate and breakfast can be enjoyed just outside of the Angkor complex at a local restaurant. 

We then continue to Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple, built in 1186 as a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, is one of Angkor’s jewels and is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, creating a ‘forgotten city’ feeling. Pause at Ta Keo, which would have been the finest temples in Angkor had it been completed. A short distance further are the twin temples of Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon.

We return to our hotel for rest and relaxation.
Departure time: 04.45am

We spend the evening with our private guide gaining a genuine insight into Cambodian food the way the locals like it. We will be picked up from our hotel in the early evening and whisked away by tuk tuk as darkness begins to fall. We will make several stops around town to sample the delicious snacks available on almost every corner & we will take a walk through the alleys and side streets around the old market area tasting as you go. We can even have a local beer or two to wash all the tasty morsels down. We rejoin our tuk tuk where we will continue on to Angkor Kyung Yu road, otherwise known as Road 60 where busy street food stalls well away from the cozy tourist bars line up along the streets. This area is hugely popular with local families who come out to dine in the early evening, it’s a real feast for the senses. You will sample a range of exotic fruits, grilled meats and if you’re brave enough fried insects. Cambodians love to eat and virtually anything is on the menu. A stop at a local restaurant will ensure that even those with the heartiest appetites will not go hungry. Finish the evening with a quick stop to sample a traditional Cambodian Tipple with a twist. After we return back to your hotel. 
Departure: 5.00pm
Duration: 4 hours
*Please note: Vegetarianism and Veganism are not commonplace amongst Cambodians and not well understood, we therefore cannot provide an exclusively vegetarian or vegan tour however there will be items to sample which will appeal to all guests. 

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / Sreet Foods)

Day 17 - Siem Reap
View

We depart this morning for Banteay Srei temple, the only major temple that was not built by a monarch. It was constructed in the 10th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god - Shiva. Banteay Srei translates to “Citadel of the Women” and is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings which have been preserved remarkably well. After a refreshing drink (own arrangements) at Prasat Banteay Srei Restaurant, we head to the Banteay Srey Butterfly Center, an interactive butterfly farm nestled in a luxurious tropical garden. Morning is the best time of the day to spot as many butterflies as possible. Thousands of free flying Southeast Asian species will surround you. You will also be able to learn more about their life cycle, feed them and support knowledgeable local farmers. 

We finish this morning with a visit to the Cambodia Landmine Museum, a dive into the turbulent past of the country. Opened in 1999, it is home to a large number of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and shows maps and videos of demining activities. Learn more about the stories that can be confronting but important in understanding Cambodia’s recent history. Then we transfer back to town to our hotel.
Departure: 07.30am
Duration: 5 hours

Time for rest and relaxation...

This afternoon we will be part of a culinary experience, creating some of Cambodia’s most fashionable & iconic dishes, while engaging with the day to day lives of its people. Starting out from a private farm with our Chef, we will view the range of different vegetables available in the season growing fresh & organically. Our Chef will explain to you the key ways in which they filtrate water, tend to their crops and create the perfect harvest. We then journey to  a local village where we walk with the chef to explore local traditions, weave past market traders & view the range of produce, selecting key ingredients to use in our class. Together with your chef, we will select a basket of harvest & dried goods for you to present to the Head Villager, as a kind offering in their day to day lives; giving back in the purest & simplest way. Taking tea, or sugar cane juice in the Village in a simple cafe, we will get a real feel of the true lives of the Khmer. Returning back to the farm, our Chef will then lead us through the remarkable ingredients used to make our 3 course meal. Preparing at our own station, while he talks us through the methods used to create each dish. Afterwards, we will eat our meal at the Farm House and enjoy the fruits of our labor in a truly philanthropic, engaging experience in Cambodia.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / D - Cooking Class)

Day 18 - Siem Reap
View

This morning we depart on a mini Arts trail. The slightly hidden away Hup Guan street has emerged as a shopping destination and home to some of the most interesting, innovative new stores in Siem Reap. For house-wares and textiles visit Louise Loubatieres; contemporary custom made clothing and accessories for men and women can be found at Siri Van and Shop 676; and for a range of clothing, quirky Cambodian vintage items and house-wares, stop by Trunkh. Start (or end) our shopping journey with a snack at Common Grounds, an espresso at the Little Red Fox or some oils from Frangipani Spa.

Also included are AHA Fair Trade Village & Khmer Ceramics Fine Arts centre.

We continue to the Artisans d’Angkor Centre, one of the finest workshops in town, with excellent quality sandstone, silver, wood, and silk products. Gain insight into the remarkable skill and techniques required in producing traditional handicrafts as you are guided round the flagship workshop and showroom where artisans fastidiously form delicate crafts.

We return to the hotel for free time: rest, relax, swim, spa....

Dinner: This evening we have a dinner reservation Marum restaurant. Featuring a winning mix of creative local tapas dishes, Marum is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life' - very appropriate, as you will be enjoying a fantastic dining experience that helps build a new life for the students in training there. *Set menu, drinks payable direct.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / D)

Day 19 - Phnom Penh
View

This morning we transfer from our hotel to the airport for our flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, we are transferred to our hotel. 
*Flight 08:30 – 09:15 / Economy Class

We will have time to settle in and relax in our gourgeous hote, The White Mansion. Swim or take a spa..

This afternoon, we enjoy a tour by cyclo, a bicycle-powered carriage, exploring this charming city which boasts a rich blend of Khmer and French colonial architecture. Hear the history underlying the abandoned facades as well as discovering churches and Chinese temples hidden down narrow alleys. This tour will lead us through the main areas of the city taking in the Post Office, Central Market or the Public Library as well as venturing into more humble neighborhoods to spot hidden buildings.
Departure: 2.00pm
Duration: 3 hours

This evening is a chance to drink cocktails at the divine Elephant Bar in Raffles Hotel. This is an opetional evening, so all drinks and snacks are payble direct. We will be dropped off in our van, but we will Tuk Tuk home. 

Overnight White Mansion Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 20 - Phnom Penh
View

Located on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh was once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina. After the Khmer Rouge regime, the city was sadly left a shadow of its former self. Now, due to a strong, young dynamism, the city is once again a vibrant, growing capital.

This morning we embark on a City tour of Phnom Penh. We continue to the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom and the Silver Pagoda with a floor of over 5,000 silver tiles. 

We then spend time learning more about the turbulent Khmer Rouge years with visits to the infamous Tuol Sleng, a high school turned interrogation prison known as S-21 during the Khmer Rouge era and now a genocide museum; and Cheung Ek, a large memorial commemorating the 17,000 victims who died there under the reign of Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, made famous by the movie “The Killing Fields”. Pol Pot’s brutal attempt to create a society without class resulted in nearly 2 million people dying from execution, starvation, or disease. The Killing Fields are mass grave sites from the genocide (1975 -1979) and are found all over Cambodia. After the genocide ended, Cambodia had a civil war that lasted almost 20 years. While sombre reminders of the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime, these visits will provide an appreciation of the struggle that Cambodian people have faced and their tremendous courage to move on and rebuild their nation. 
*A respectful and humble demeanour is requested when visiting the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

This evening we have a Farewell dinner at Chinese House. Chinese House is among Phnom Penh’s most unique Pan-Asian Pacific restaurants and cocktail bars. It is set among the last remaining authentic Chinese Houses in Phnom Penh. Our van will drop us off, and we will tuk tuk back to the hotel. 

Overnight White Mansion (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 21 - Departure
View

Depending on time of departure, we may have time for exploration of the Old Market for souvenir shopping, selling all kinds of wonderful and exotic food stuffs too. Whether you’re in the market for uniquely wrapped spices, hand-woven silk Ikats or a kroma—the Khmer fashion staple— you will find it here! 

Time to say goodbye. We are transferred to the airport and depart home.

Farewell....

About this tour

Liberty Central Saigon, Saigon - Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel is a 4-star hotel within a 15-minute walk from Saigon Square and near to Ben Thanh Market The hotel has been hosting guests since 2010 in an 11-story art deco building. The hotel is in District 1, known for Temples, the palace and the Opera House. Rooms feature a mini bar, wi-fi, safety box, daily mineral water and deluxe bathroom amenities. There is a roof top swimming pool and several dining options. The on-site spa facilities include a spa lounge, a steam room, a gym and a Jacuzzi. 

La Siesta, Hoi An - La Siesta Boutique Resort is located in Thanh Ha village, a peaceful area famous for its ceramics – and is just a short 5-10 minute walk from the shophouses, temples, colonial buildings and iconic Vietnamese tube houses that characterise central Hoi An. It is a peaceful sanctuary with exceptional five-star facilities. Among the highlights you’ll find a freshwater pool lined by cabanas and loungers, plus a soothing saltwater alternative, a must-visit spa and two relaxed restaurants. Guests can borrow red Japanese postman-style bicycles to cycle about in the local village lanes and in Hoi An. The resort also runs a scheduled shuttle service to the golden An Bang beach, where there’s a section reserved for guests. There is also an on-site Confucian temple dating back to the 15th Century, which will be used in future for special event dinners and traditional lantern festivals. 

Pilgrimage Village, Hue - Pilgrimage Village is ideally located in the quiet countryside in rustic village setting surrounding by lush tranquil gardens, yet near to famous historical landmarks. The resort embodies the subtle connection of traditional stylish and modern art concept. The Resort offers the harmony of soothing natural environment and local culture. Delicious meals, sound sleep, and the peaceful life of our quiet countryside combine to refresh your spirits and help to forget the troubles of life. It is also a place where skillful artists carve, polish and weave to create authentic works that are beautiful remembrances reflecting the traditional culture of Hue. Delight in specialties of Hue in Junrei restaurant and enjoy drinks in the Candle Bar, Peanut Bar or Slope Lounge. The Vedana spa blends ancient traditional healing wisdom from the east with therapies from the west. Meditation, Jacuzzi, sauna & steam bath, tai chi or yoga classes help you find balance and peace in your mind and soul.

Silk Path Boutique Hotel, Hanoi - Located by Hoan Kiem lake, diamond position of Hanoi city center and Old Quarter, the Silk Path Boutique Hotel is just few minutes walk to famous destinations and local shops of handcrafted products, silks or local street food of all kinds surrounded. Silk Path Boutique Hanoi’s rooms boast a quintessentially quirky fusion of traditional French design and contemporary facilities. Yet it’s the handicraft touch of carpenters that gives this Hanoi Old Quarter accommodation its special charm, creating a signature style that strikes the perfect balance between clasicism and modernity.

Ginger Junk, Halong Bay - Ginger is one of the newest vessels cruising the Lan Ha Bay, which is a tranquil part of the famous Halong Bay in Vietnam. Ginger hosts only 12 suites, all naturally light-flooded and with well-sized balcony. Ginger has warm timber floors, marble bathrooms and distinguished design themes that interlace the long-lasting traditions of Northern Vietnam paired with contemporary accents. The terrace deck is a marvellous public area. An almost 360-degree light-flooded restaurant offering live cooking is framed by an outdoor alfresco area. An indoor bar corner invites you to relax before or after dinner. The most exclusive facility is Ginger’s pool on the terrace deck surrounded by comfortable shaded sun-beds. The views from the spa rooms in the stern of the ship are fabulous – one VIP spa room comes with steam bath. Combine relaxing spa treatments with dramatic outlooks through floor to ceiling glass windows on the bay.

Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Luang Prabang - Le Sen Boutique Hotel is a traditional 4-star hotel featuring only 19 rooms. Located in a quiet residential area of Luang Prabang, Le Sen is a charming small hotel fine cuisine & an intimate courtyard setting. Within easy reach of many of this fabulous city's most outstanding landmarks and attractions, including the Wat Manorom Buddhist temple, the Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. This Lao owned and managed hotel boasts a charming courtyard garden with an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room and an outdoor lounge area. There is complimentary bicycle hire and a regular shuttle service to the Night Market. The restaurant offers all day dining, with a delicious selection of traditional Laotian dishes along with international fusion cuisine. Guests can choose to dine indoors, or on the courtyard terrace, and cocktails, fine wines and beers are also available throughout the day in the lounge.

The Aviary, Siem Reap: Set in the heart of Siem Reap, The Aviary Hotel is a sophisticated urban oasis that has been inspired by nature and Cambodia’s rich heritage of traditional crafts. The 25-room eco-friendly hotel is a relaxing sanctuary filled with locally commissioned artworks, which celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Kingdom’s birdlife. Luxurious, welcoming and personal, The Aviary offers thoughtfully designed, quality accommodation in a modern environment with a uniquely Cambodian twist. The Aviary’s turquoise pool lies at the heart of the hotel, with wonderful views of the vines and flowers that drape over the balconies above. Take a refreshing dip to cool off from the heat of the day, relax on the comfortable loungers or unwind with a soothing treatment at the Amret Spa.

White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh - White Mansion Hotel is located right in the center of Phnom Penh, few steps away from all major highlights and business area in a very quiet environment. The Hotel is a 25 minute drive from Pochentong International Airport.  The 30 rooms and suites are among the nicest and the largest in Phnom Penh and offer a secluded atmosphere with comfort and elegance. Several have a balcony, terrace, city view or pool view. Rooms and Suites feature the space and charm found in a modern Cambodian mansion with some elegant details, which remind of an occidental touch. The aim was to bring an environment of different sensations such as calm, surprise, sensuality, and conviviality.

Practicalities

Seasons Vietnam: There is not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as during most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities. This is a country with 2000 odd miles of coastline and three different weather systems. The weather can vary significantly from one region to another due to the countries length. 

Seasons Laos: Despite having two distinct weather seasons you can travel in Laos all-year-round. Laos' weather system is relatively straight-forward consisting of a dry season (October to late April) and a wet season (May to late September). The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain quite hot and rainfall is often short lived. In Luang Prabang during the wet season (May to October), you can expect heavy downpours for short periods, most commonly during the night or early morning. Initially this rarely lasts more than an hour or two, and helps to clear the air, leaving bright blue skies in its wake. 

Seasons Cambodia: Cambodia generally has a two-season weather pattern. The weather patterns are influenced by the wet and dry seasonal winds of Southeast Asia, which create two distinct seasons - dry and wet (also known as Green Season because of the vibrant colour the rains bring). For tranquil, crowd-free travel we travel outside of the peak season.

Green Season (May - October) - May and June bring moisture laden air from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand, bringing greenery back to the region´s countryside. Don't be concerned by the season's showers; the rains form a predictable pattern - clear, sunny mornings and a 60% chance of showers in the mid to late afternoon-and bring green into the countryside. The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain hot and rainfall is often short lived, whilst in the latter months (late July until September) the rains become more constant and can be heavy at times.

Time: Vietnam is GMT + 7 and does not operate daylight-saving system.

Electricity: Vietnam mainly uses 220V but in some areas, 110V is used. A mixture of flat and round 2-pin outlets are used in the country. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor.

Health: No vaccinations are mandatory except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions, especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are limited and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed. Consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial tablets and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. Some vaccination courses may need time to be completed. If you plan to take anti-malarial tablets, you usually need to start one week before arrival. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements.

The facts

Currency Vietnam:  The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). US Dollars and Euros are accepted in some hotels, restaurants and shops. 

Currency Laos: The official national currency in Laos is the Lao kip (K). Although only kip is legally negotiable in everyday transactions, in reality three currencies are used for commerce: kip, Thai baht(B) and US dollars (US$).

Currency Cambodia: Riel is the currency of Cambodia but US dollars are widely used and most prices will be in US$. 

**Note that even slightly torn US dollar bills will not be accepted. Visa & MasterCard are accepted in most hotels, and some restaurants.

ATMs are very common in every city and every big town for withrawing local currency. ATM's are available in major airports, hotels, towns and capitals of provinces throughout Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. Most ATMs have an English language version. 

Credit Cards: Most credit cards are accepted in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. VISA and MASTERCARD are the most widely accepted. JCB and AMERICAN EXPRESS are also accepted in some outlets. Not all hotels, commercial centers, shops and restaurants accept credit cards. Check with the cashier before making any purchases. Bear in mind that in some places a surcharge usually applies for credit card purchases: VISA and MasterCard approx 2.5%, JCB: 3% surcharge, American Express: 4% surcharge. NOTE: Surcharges can change without prior notice. Check the percentage charged before you pay.

Tipping:  Staff and guides appreciate that tipping varies greatly between cultures and countries.

Visas Vietnam: Citizens of New Zealand & Australia require a visa to visit Vietnam. You must organise your visa before departing your country of residence, unless you have gone through the official channels to obtain a visa on arrival service. You can arrange your visa up to six months before your scheduled arrival date into Vietnam. In addition, your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from Vietnam. All Vietnam visas are SINGLE ENTRY unless you have specifically requested MULTIPLE ENTRY and this is stamped into your passport. If you are entering Vietnam twice or more you will need to ensure you have a MULTIPLE ENTRY visa before you leave home. The status of your tourist visa cannot be changed after you arrive in Vietnam.

Visas Laos: A visa is required to enter Laos, however for Australian & New Zealand passport holders this is obtainable on arrival in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse. You will require US$30 cash and have a passport photo with you (2 for good measure). Your passport must be valid and current for at least 6 months after the date of your return to New Zealand.

Visas Cambodia:  Citizens of most countries can apply for a visa online or get one on arrival in Cambodia. 
*e-Visa - The Cambodian government has a simple online application for an e-visa. It is a straightforward procedure and your visa is delivered electronically to you after approx 3-5 working days and costs up to $50. You will not have to wait at the immigration desk and can proceed directly to passport control on arrival. This is the fastest and most efficient method, and what we recommend. The e-visa is currently valid at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Airports.
*Visa On Arrival Cambodia - You can obtain a Visa on arrival at your port of entry. Fill in the arrival documents which you will receive in on the plane or at the border and provide one passport-size photograph. The fee is *currently US$30 paid in cash and is valid for 30 days. You can extend the visa once you are here if necessary. Please note that you will need a blank page in your passport for the visa as well as at least 6 months validity on your passport. At peak arrival times there may be waiting time for the visa on arrival to be processed. 

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Travel insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Excess baggage
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

08 June 2019 - 28 June 2019


RATES
from NZD$7500 per person
Single rate from NZD$9051

All Rates are in NZD$. 
Hover over rates for other currencies.

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*This tour departs with a minimum of 6 guests. 
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire. 
*International Airfares are not included. PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE.


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Saigon

Arrive Saigon. We are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. We then get to relax after our long flight.

Vietnam’s capital Hanoi blends old world charm with the dynamic bustle of new Asia. Its French colonial past is evident from the colonial architecture and enchanting lakes which contrast with the throng of thousands of motorbikes and cosmopolitan new restaurants and boutiques. To the north of central Hoan Kiem Lake lies the frenetic maze of narrow streets of the Old Quarter while to the south are the broad tree-lined boulevards and majestic buildings of the French Quarter.

Early evening, we meet in hotel bar for pre-dinner drinks.

This evening we enjoy dinner with the finest traditional Vietnamese food with inspired contemporary cuisine at Hoa Tuc Restaurant. (Drinks not included). Hoa Tuc restaurant is located in an old opium refinery of the colonial era, in the middle of a courtyard that houses a small group of restaurants. The pergola at the entrance, made of cast iron and frosted glass, is inspired by the underground entrances in vogue in Paris in the early 1900s. As for the food, it will delight the most discerning palates. The wine list, prepared by a renowned sommelier, is one of the richest in Vietnam. For all these reasons, reservations are highly recommended.

Overnight Liberty Central Saigon (D - Entree & Main)

Day 2 - Saigon

Wake up early this morning and start our day like a real Saigonese does. Our guide will show you things that make Saigon so different compared to other parts of Vietnam; from the crowded street coffee places to the lively local outdoor markets where people shop for their daily needs. Our first stop is a Vietnamese bread stall which is believed to be the first bread stall in Saigon. We will sit down together with local people inside a small alley to enjoy this simple, yet delicious breakfast. 

After breakfast, we zig zag through the alleys and stop at a market for a cup of tea or coffee in Saigon’s oldest café. This coffee shop, now in its 78th year of operation, is something of a Saigon landmark. Meet the owner for a talk to learn how she makes coffee with a special traditional method, a kind of “stocking coffee” which was originally the method of Chinese coffee vendors and involved a long, stocking-like fabric filter, a charcoal stove and traditional clay pots. Continue to wind our way through nearby street markets to see how people bargain for fresh vegetables, seafood and other local food. Carry on to the “flower alleys” - the biggest flower market in Saigon. Take the opportunity to see the colourful blossoms, and interact with the sellers. Stop at some vendors to try some favourite Saigonese snacks and desserts such as sponge cakes and sweet soups before heading back to your hotel.  
Start time: approx 07.00am.
Duration: approx 3 hours. 

We will have lunch at local restaurant. 

This afternoon, we depart for a City Highlights tour. We visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires constructed from materials imported from France (entrance is only permitted when no services are being performed). We then head across the square to the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. A short drive away is the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American War. We continue to the War Remnants Museum for a vivid perspective of the American War through the eyes of the Vietnamese. (Please note that some of the displays are very graphic.) Then, experience Saigon’s famed street coffee culture while our guide provides a brief language lesson as well as insights into daily life of a Saigonese before returning to our hotel.
Start time: approx 13.00pm.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

After this, anyone that still has the energy (!) and the want (!), can be dropped off at The Social Club Rooftop bar for a nightcap. This place has fabulous views! (Drinks and return to hotel by your own arrangement) 

Overnight Liberty Central Saigon  (B / L)

Day 3 - Mekong Delta

This morning we depart from Ho Chi Minh City for a scenic two-hour drive to Cho Gao situated in the Mekong River Delta. 

Upon arrival, we board a wooden boat for a fascinating river excursion to 'off the beaten tracks' parts of the Mekong Delta. 
Crossing two branches of the Mekong River, 30 km away from the Eastern Sea, we arrive at Long Thanh Village for a stop at a local factory to understand the traditional methods used to make coal from the coconut hard-shell.

After, we change vehicles - for a bicycle! - for a relaxing ride through the peaceful village to observe the rustic lifestyle. We ride among fruit plantations and friendly locals. We stop to visit an ancient house and a communal temple of the village. We then cross the ferry to Tam Hiep Island where we will enjoy a leisurely walk to a local farmer’s house for a lunch of Mekong Delta specialties.

After lunch, we wander on the rural village path to a honey bee farm to observe how to make honey straight from the source. We continue our cycling trip around the village and stop at a local farmer’s garden with a specialty of the region called “lá sâm.” The host will take us around his lush garden to pick some leaves and show us how to make a special herbal jelly.

We board a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong Delta before getting back on the ferry to cross the river and return to Ho Chi Minh City. 
Start time: approx 08.00am.
Duration: approx 7-8 hours. 
NOTE: 
The cycling distance can be 5 km, depending on your physical ability and length you desire. The exploration can be done on foot, horse cart or tri-motorcycle instead of the cycling.

This evening is free at leisure. 
Overnight Liberty Central Saigon (B / L)

Day 4 - Saigon - Danang - Hoi An

Our morning is free for last minute market shopping, or simply to to reat and relax at the hotel.

We transfer from our hotel to the airport (with guide). Current flight details: 14.30pm| 15.50pm. This is an Economy Class flight. 

Upon arrival at Danang Airport, our guide will meet us and transfer us to our hotel in Hoi An.

Rest, relax and have a spa maybe at our gorgeous hotel. 

This evening we have a table reservation at Morning Glory Restaurant. (Time TBC). Situated in an elegant traditional-style building in the heart of Hoi An’s old town, Morning Glory specializes in local Hoi An ‘street food’. (Payable direct)

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa (B)

Day 5 - Hoi An

A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town, so this morning after breakfast we enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting the likes of: Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 year old Tam Ky ancestral house, the Japanese Bridge and Hoi An market.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An then known as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. 
Start time: approx 09.00am.
Duration: approx 2 hours. 
NOTE: 
The Hoi An entrance ticket is valid for entry to 5 sightseeing spots in Hoi An including merchant houses, the Japanese Covered Bridge, museums, pagodas and assembly halls for 24 hours. It also provides entry into Hoi An Ancient Town for as long as you are in Hoi An. Please keep the entrance ticket with you at all times should you independently visit Hoi An later in the evening or on another day.

Lunch will be on the run..
Free time to shop|relax|spa|get clothes made..

This evening we depart on a Hoi An Walking Night Food Safari....Hoi An by night is always busy with hundreds of food stalls and local restaurants. We take a walk around the town to discover the many vendors offering Hoi An specialties. This tour takes us off the beaten path to get a unique glimpse into the nightly life of this lovely ancient town and discover unforgettable street food. We meet our Guide and start zigzagging through the alleys to explore a popular snack – “white rose”. We find our way to a “banh mi” stand owned by an elderly woman and try a small piece of crispy baguette and crispy Fried Wonton “Hoanh Thanh Chien”. Next, we stroll to a hidden family restaurant serving barbecued pork which we combine with fresh greens and herbs to create our own fresh spring roll. The best to enjoy the roll is with cold beer! We walk further into the centre of the village for a look at the ancient  sweet soup “Che” before capping off the journey at the riverside to release floating lanterns for good luck.
Start time: approx 5.00pm.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa (B / Street Food)

Day 6 - Hoi An

This morning, after a lesiurely breakfast, we depart on our Hoi An Culinary Experience. We learn the secrets of preparing traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a market tour and cooking class. We set off to a local market with a chef from the Market Restaurant and Cooking School. Your chef will share shopping tips including how to select fresh eggs and ripe fruit and which herbs are used in Vietnamese cuisine. Continue to the school, an elegant old building with a French colonial-style exterior and traditional Hoi An interior. Then participate in an entertaining, hands-on cookery course held in one of three teaching areas with modern equipment for a truly immersive cooking experience. Chat with your chef to learn more about typical ingredients of Central Vietnamese cuisine then enjoy tasting what you have prepared. 
Start time: approx 9.00am.
Duration: approx 4 hours. 

Your afternoon and evening is free.

Overnight La Siesta Resort and Spa  (B / Lunch - Cooking Class)

Day 7 - Hoi An - Hai Van Pass - Hue

This morning after a lazy breakfast, we leave Hoi An for the three-hour drive to Hue over the Hai Van Pass. This scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co after climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. 

Arrive in Hue. Check into hotel & relax a while.

This afternoon we have a City Cyclo-Tour from the Citadel to Thien Mu. Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. We start our cyclo trip by crossing the Perfume River on the Trang Tien Bridge. We then ride along the famous Dong Ba Market and follow a branch of the Perfume River to an area surrounding the Citadel where local people have lived for generations in their old style houses. While sitting on the cyclo, all of the activities on the street, in the shops and in the houses, just happen around you, and you can feel like you are a part of it. After the cyclo ride, walking to the Imperial Citadel from the Noon Gate will provide great balance and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while our guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored.

From here, our driver will pick us up and drive us to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-story tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold.
Start time: approx 2.00pm.
Duration: approx 3.5 hours.   

This evening is free at leisure. You can eat in the hotel restaurant. 

Overnight Pilgrimage Village (B)

Day 8 - Hue

This morning after breakfast we are taken to Uu Dam Orphanage Home. The orphanage was established in 2005 for more than 47 children from 1 to 17 years old who are without parents. Today we visit Uu Dam Orphanage Centre – 8km away from Hue downtown where we meet and talk with the center representative (Nun Phuoc Thien) for an insight of the daily activities as well as their effort to take care of more than 47 orphans. We can chat with some of the children to understand their life at school as well as their dreams, before joining them to re-paint their bedroom walls, windows or create some art on their wall. We roll up our sleeves and help the nuns prepare the ingredients and cook lunch for the children. Later, we bid farewell to the children and drive back to hotel.
Start time: approx 08.30am.
Duration: approx 3.5 hours.   

We return to the hotel for rest, relaxatin and maybe even a spa....

This evening we have a dinner reservation at Ancient Hue Restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village (B / Vegetarian Lunch / D)

Day 9 - Hue to Hanoi

This morning we are transferred from our accommodation to the Hue airport (with guide) for our flight to Hanoi.
*Flight VN1542 HUI HAN 10:30 – 11:45/ Economy Class. 

Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, our guide will meet us and transfer us to our hotel.

Early afternoon, we visit the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays) which houses an extensive collection of traditional costumes and artefacts from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Next, we visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.

We then drive back to central Hanoi for a cyclo tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ - named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. We explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.

We make a stop at a local coffee shop to try the local brew. We then walk a little further to taste some typical Hanoi snacks such as Pillow cake, fried sweet cakes. We stroll through the streets lined with many food vendors and make our way to a steaming bowl of Pho Ga (Vietnamese noodle soup with chicken). This is practically Vietnam’s national dish and is a dish enjoyed morning noon and night. Next, we move on to try Vietnam’s 2nd most popular food - the Banh Mi Pate or baguette sandwich with pate at Banh My Lan Ong, one of the most famous shops in Hanoi. Later, we head to Dong Xuan night market which is well known for all types of goods including souvenirs. Try your hand at bargaining for a good deal before heading off to Beer Corner in the old corner to try a cold glass of Bia Hoi (fresh draft beer) like a local.
Start time: approx 3.00pm.
Duration: approx 7 hours. 

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / Street Food)

Day 10 - To Lan Ha Bay

This morning we depart on a 2-hour drive to Hai Phong via the new highway and over the longest bridge in South East Asia. 

Our luxurious floating home, Ginger, sets sail around noontime. We enjoy a welcome drink upon boarding and become acquainted with the facilities on board during the welcome briefing. We then begin our unique journey exploring one of the new wonders of nature – Lan Ha Bay.

Enjoy lunch in Ginger’s light-flooded dining room, offering panoramic views of the passing scenery.

Along the way, we pass an ancient lighthouse, built by the French over 100 years ago. We head deeper and further south into the karst maze of Lan Ha Bay. Lan Ha Bay is actually a part of Halong Bay that recently opened to the public. Relax on the sun deck and soak in the aura of the fascinating scenery— a surreal seascape.

During the cruise, there is leisure time to enjoy our onboard activities. Take a plunge in the pool or let us pamper you with a selection of treatments and massages in the Lady Ginger spa. We disembark at Viet Hai Village on Cat Ba Island where we hop on bikes (electric car available) for a tour along small paved roads towards a quiet village nestled in a valley. Meet and greet local villagers and see their daily routines at homes, school, and work.

Back on board, our chef will lead an interactive cooking class in the open kitchen at the restaurant. Learn about delicious local ingredients and how to prepare traditional Vietnamese recipes you can imitate at home.

We then arrive at a tranquil anchor location for the night; a hidden place to reminisce about the day’s adventures and enjoy cocktails under the stars.

A delightful dinner is served in the dining room. After, guests are invited to enjoy time at the bar or pay a visit to the evening cinema for a movie. Nighttime is also the best time of the day for squid fishing. Join the Ginger crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for the evening.

Overnight Ginger Luxury Junk: (B / L / D)

Day 11 - To Hanoi

Wake up early and join a Tai Chi session on the sundeck to ease mind and body into the day as the first rays of the sun touch the water. Coffee, tea and breakfast pastries wait in the dining room to start the new day.

Ginger begins cruising towards Tra Bau, a secluded spot that is perfect for our morning excursion. In kayaks or bamboo boats, we drift along the waters of the bay for a closer look at the serene surroundings. Paddling through the dreamlike landscape with tree-topped islands, you will feel a sense of freedom and harmony with nature that you have never experienced before.

Back on board, a hearty breakfast is served in the dining room (or on request served to your room) before we start our journey back to the pier. Savour the last moments of this unique journey by relaxing on comfy sun beds on the terrace deck. 

We are then transferred back to Hanoi, to our hotel for our final evening. 

We have a dinner reserved this evening at Home Restaurant

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / Dinner)

Day 12 - Hanoi to Luang Prabang, Laos

This morning we have free time until check-out. We are then transferred to Hanoi International airport for our onward flight to Luang Prabang, departing 12.45pm. (Arrival in Luang Prabang at 14.00pm)

On arrival in Luang Prabang, we are transferred to our gorgeous hotel – Le Sen Boutique Hotel – where we will stay for three nights.

This afternoon we will drive to visit some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life; and Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 17th century. Notice the stunning “tree of life” mosaic set on its western exterior wall. 

We can end by climbing up to the top of Mount Phousi to admire the panoramic views across the Mekong and Khan rivers as well as the mountain range. NOTE: Please dress appropriately for visits to religious sites. Shoulders, chest and legs should be covered.

We then spend a fun evening exploring Luang Prabang’s local food scene. We head to Luang Prabang’s famous night market. We explore the small side streets where vendors offer incredible food buffets and different local snacks. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells while our guide explains the various ingredients and cooking methods used in Lao cuisine. After looking and sampling (optional), we continue to a well-known local restaurant for traditional sindad BBQ where diners grill right at the table. Allow our guide to recommend some of the restaurant’s specialities and help with the ordering. After dinner, we return to our hotel. *This evening is about 4 hours in duration and is a very authentic experience. It is especially recommended for people with an interest in local cuisine and Asian food.

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / D)

Day 13 - Luang Prabang

The morning alms round (called “Tak Bat” in Lao) is a living Buddhist tradition for the people of Luang Prabang and dates back generations. Wake up before dawn to witness and participate in offering alms to a procession of hundreds of saffron-robed monks in the early morning light, truly a spiritual occasion! *If you wish to make an offering, please inform our guide a day in advance so that a gift of alms can be prepared. After the almsgiving, watch the town come to life during a visit to the bustling morning market before returning to our hotel in time for breakfast.
Suggested departure time: 05:30.
Tour duration: 1.5 hours.
*If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and observe the ritual in silence. Please dress appropriately. Shoulders, chest and legs should be covered.

We then spend a half day exploring one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, the cascading Kuang Si Waterfall with electric turquoise waters. We depart on a 1hr drive south of Luang Prabang, with stops at the vibrant Phousi Market and the nearby Ock Pop Tock Weaving Centre, a social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. We continue on to the waterfalls, and take a leisurely hike through the natural park past the Asian Bear Rescue Center. Swimming in the refreshing waters is possible, although between November and January the water temperature is very cool.

We enjoy lunch out. 

We then emabrk on a river cruise to the famed Pak Ou Caves. We board a long-tail boat and begin cruising past scenes of typical Laotian villages barely visible behind thick foliage, wooden canoes bobbing by the shore attached to bamboo poles and floats marking the location of nets and fish traps. Located next to the mighty Mekong and opposite the mouth of the Mekong and the Ou rivers, we explore the two limestone grottoes which house approximately 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues and images which range from mere centimetres up to 2m (7ft) in height.

We return to Luang Prabang with a stop en route at the village of Ban Muang Keo and observe local weavers and whisky distillers honouring their timeworn traditional crafts.

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / L / D)

Day 14 - Hill Tribe Visit

Today we spend a full day in a Tai Lu village, an ethnic group who migrated from Yunan, China in the late 18th century. The Tai Lu have preserved much of their traditional way of life as it was before their expansion into Indochina.

Early morning we depart on a 3hr drive to the small village of Ban Nayang, home to about 500 Tai Lu people. You will notice the distinctive stilt houses, many with two or three weaving looms underneath. We stroll around the village and observe the women weaving and doing embroidery while the men grow wet rice using wooden equipment drawn by buffalo. Although shy by nature, the villagers are open to talking about their daily activities and life in the village. We also learn more about their efforts to preserve their traditional working methods and crafts.

Enjoy lunch cooked by the villagers and served in a local home.

We then spend the afternoon mingling with the locals and exploring more of the area before returning to Luang Prabang in mid-afternoon. 
Start time: approx 08.00am.
Duration: approx 9 hours.

On return to the hotel, our evening is free at leisure. 

Overnight Le Sen Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 15 - Luang Prabang to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Quaint Luang Prabang is filled with charming boutiques. This morning we enjoy a guided half-day shopping trip to some of the town’s most unique shops including antiques in an impressive old French mansion filled with silver betel nut pots; Akha-style bracelets and Hmong necklaces or a riverfront shop with treasures gathered from abroad like Hong Kong tea tins, Chinese retro alarm clocks, Mao revolutionary crockery and Burmese Buddhist statuary; home décor including hand-woven silks by local weavers and indigenous Lao wood handcrafted by master carvers and turners; handcrafted jewellery using a variety of semi-precious stones and silver; handicrafts made from silk and other natural products including packaged spices. 

After this, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap.
14:45 – 16:10 Economy Class
Or 15:25 – 17:10 Economy Class

Upon arrival Siem Reap International Airport, we are transferred from to our hotel.

Our evening is free.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B)

Day 16 - Siem Reap

We wake up early and transfer by private vehicle to the West Gate of Angkor Wat from where the sunrise can be best observed. We enter the temple complex. Angkor Wat (early 12th century) is surrounded by a 190 metre wide moat 1.5 kilometres by 1.3 kilometres and is claimed to be the largest religious building in the world. It is certainly one of the wonders of the ancient world. You will be amazed by the sheer size of the temple, which took 30 years to construct & used the labours of upto 300,000 workers. Angkor Wat was built as the earthly representation of the universe with its' central tower symbolising Mt Meru which, Hindus believe, is at the centre of the Universe.

Return to the West Gate and breakfast can be enjoyed just outside of the Angkor complex at a local restaurant. 

We then continue to Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple, built in 1186 as a Buddhist temple dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, is one of Angkor’s jewels and is overgrown with fig trees, giving a haunting yet exotic atmosphere. The magnificent roots of the trees have merged over the centuries with the temple’s huge stone blocks, creating a ‘forgotten city’ feeling. Pause at Ta Keo, which would have been the finest temples in Angkor had it been completed. A short distance further are the twin temples of Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon.

We return to our hotel for rest and relaxation.
Departure time: 04.45am

We spend the evening with our private guide gaining a genuine insight into Cambodian food the way the locals like it. We will be picked up from our hotel in the early evening and whisked away by tuk tuk as darkness begins to fall. We will make several stops around town to sample the delicious snacks available on almost every corner & we will take a walk through the alleys and side streets around the old market area tasting as you go. We can even have a local beer or two to wash all the tasty morsels down. We rejoin our tuk tuk where we will continue on to Angkor Kyung Yu road, otherwise known as Road 60 where busy street food stalls well away from the cozy tourist bars line up along the streets. This area is hugely popular with local families who come out to dine in the early evening, it’s a real feast for the senses. You will sample a range of exotic fruits, grilled meats and if you’re brave enough fried insects. Cambodians love to eat and virtually anything is on the menu. A stop at a local restaurant will ensure that even those with the heartiest appetites will not go hungry. Finish the evening with a quick stop to sample a traditional Cambodian Tipple with a twist. After we return back to your hotel. 
Departure: 5.00pm
Duration: 4 hours
*Please note: Vegetarianism and Veganism are not commonplace amongst Cambodians and not well understood, we therefore cannot provide an exclusively vegetarian or vegan tour however there will be items to sample which will appeal to all guests. 

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / Sreet Foods)

Day 17 - Siem Reap

We depart this morning for Banteay Srei temple, the only major temple that was not built by a monarch. It was constructed in the 10th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god - Shiva. Banteay Srei translates to “Citadel of the Women” and is one of Angkor’s most significant structures as its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings which have been preserved remarkably well. After a refreshing drink (own arrangements) at Prasat Banteay Srei Restaurant, we head to the Banteay Srey Butterfly Center, an interactive butterfly farm nestled in a luxurious tropical garden. Morning is the best time of the day to spot as many butterflies as possible. Thousands of free flying Southeast Asian species will surround you. You will also be able to learn more about their life cycle, feed them and support knowledgeable local farmers. 

We finish this morning with a visit to the Cambodia Landmine Museum, a dive into the turbulent past of the country. Opened in 1999, it is home to a large number of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and shows maps and videos of demining activities. Learn more about the stories that can be confronting but important in understanding Cambodia’s recent history. Then we transfer back to town to our hotel.
Departure: 07.30am
Duration: 5 hours

Time for rest and relaxation...

This afternoon we will be part of a culinary experience, creating some of Cambodia’s most fashionable & iconic dishes, while engaging with the day to day lives of its people. Starting out from a private farm with our Chef, we will view the range of different vegetables available in the season growing fresh & organically. Our Chef will explain to you the key ways in which they filtrate water, tend to their crops and create the perfect harvest. We then journey to  a local village where we walk with the chef to explore local traditions, weave past market traders & view the range of produce, selecting key ingredients to use in our class. Together with your chef, we will select a basket of harvest & dried goods for you to present to the Head Villager, as a kind offering in their day to day lives; giving back in the purest & simplest way. Taking tea, or sugar cane juice in the Village in a simple cafe, we will get a real feel of the true lives of the Khmer. Returning back to the farm, our Chef will then lead us through the remarkable ingredients used to make our 3 course meal. Preparing at our own station, while he talks us through the methods used to create each dish. Afterwards, we will eat our meal at the Farm House and enjoy the fruits of our labor in a truly philanthropic, engaging experience in Cambodia.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / D - Cooking Class)

Day 18 - Siem Reap

This morning we depart on a mini Arts trail. The slightly hidden away Hup Guan street has emerged as a shopping destination and home to some of the most interesting, innovative new stores in Siem Reap. For house-wares and textiles visit Louise Loubatieres; contemporary custom made clothing and accessories for men and women can be found at Siri Van and Shop 676; and for a range of clothing, quirky Cambodian vintage items and house-wares, stop by Trunkh. Start (or end) our shopping journey with a snack at Common Grounds, an espresso at the Little Red Fox or some oils from Frangipani Spa.

Also included are AHA Fair Trade Village & Khmer Ceramics Fine Arts centre.

We continue to the Artisans d’Angkor Centre, one of the finest workshops in town, with excellent quality sandstone, silver, wood, and silk products. Gain insight into the remarkable skill and techniques required in producing traditional handicrafts as you are guided round the flagship workshop and showroom where artisans fastidiously form delicate crafts.

We return to the hotel for free time: rest, relax, swim, spa....

Dinner: This evening we have a dinner reservation Marum restaurant. Featuring a winning mix of creative local tapas dishes, Marum is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life' - very appropriate, as you will be enjoying a fantastic dining experience that helps build a new life for the students in training there. *Set menu, drinks payable direct.

Overnight The Aviary Hotel (B / D)

Day 19 - Phnom Penh

This morning we transfer from our hotel to the airport for our flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, we are transferred to our hotel. 
*Flight 08:30 – 09:15 / Economy Class

We will have time to settle in and relax in our gourgeous hote, The White Mansion. Swim or take a spa..

This afternoon, we enjoy a tour by cyclo, a bicycle-powered carriage, exploring this charming city which boasts a rich blend of Khmer and French colonial architecture. Hear the history underlying the abandoned facades as well as discovering churches and Chinese temples hidden down narrow alleys. This tour will lead us through the main areas of the city taking in the Post Office, Central Market or the Public Library as well as venturing into more humble neighborhoods to spot hidden buildings.
Departure: 2.00pm
Duration: 3 hours

This evening is a chance to drink cocktails at the divine Elephant Bar in Raffles Hotel. This is an opetional evening, so all drinks and snacks are payble direct. We will be dropped off in our van, but we will Tuk Tuk home. 

Overnight White Mansion Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 20 - Phnom Penh

Located on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, Phnom Penh was once known as the “Pearl of Asia”, one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina. After the Khmer Rouge regime, the city was sadly left a shadow of its former self. Now, due to a strong, young dynamism, the city is once again a vibrant, growing capital.

This morning we embark on a City tour of Phnom Penh. We continue to the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom and the Silver Pagoda with a floor of over 5,000 silver tiles. 

We then spend time learning more about the turbulent Khmer Rouge years with visits to the infamous Tuol Sleng, a high school turned interrogation prison known as S-21 during the Khmer Rouge era and now a genocide museum; and Cheung Ek, a large memorial commemorating the 17,000 victims who died there under the reign of Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, made famous by the movie “The Killing Fields”. Pol Pot’s brutal attempt to create a society without class resulted in nearly 2 million people dying from execution, starvation, or disease. The Killing Fields are mass grave sites from the genocide (1975 -1979) and are found all over Cambodia. After the genocide ended, Cambodia had a civil war that lasted almost 20 years. While sombre reminders of the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime, these visits will provide an appreciation of the struggle that Cambodian people have faced and their tremendous courage to move on and rebuild their nation. 
*A respectful and humble demeanour is requested when visiting the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

This evening we have a Farewell dinner at Chinese House. Chinese House is among Phnom Penh’s most unique Pan-Asian Pacific restaurants and cocktail bars. It is set among the last remaining authentic Chinese Houses in Phnom Penh. Our van will drop us off, and we will tuk tuk back to the hotel. 

Overnight White Mansion (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 21 - Departure

Depending on time of departure, we may have time for exploration of the Old Market for souvenir shopping, selling all kinds of wonderful and exotic food stuffs too. Whether you’re in the market for uniquely wrapped spices, hand-woven silk Ikats or a kroma—the Khmer fashion staple— you will find it here! 

Time to say goodbye. We are transferred to the airport and depart home.

Farewell....

About this tour

Liberty Central Saigon, Saigon - Liberty Central Saigon Centre Hotel is a 4-star hotel within a 15-minute walk from Saigon Square and near to Ben Thanh Market The hotel has been hosting guests since 2010 in an 11-story art deco building. The hotel is in District 1, known for Temples, the palace and the Opera House. Rooms feature a mini bar, wi-fi, safety box, daily mineral water and deluxe bathroom amenities. There is a roof top swimming pool and several dining options. The on-site spa facilities include a spa lounge, a steam room, a gym and a Jacuzzi. 

La Siesta, Hoi An - La Siesta Boutique Resort is located in Thanh Ha village, a peaceful area famous for its ceramics – and is just a short 5-10 minute walk from the shophouses, temples, colonial buildings and iconic Vietnamese tube houses that characterise central Hoi An. It is a peaceful sanctuary with exceptional five-star facilities. Among the highlights you’ll find a freshwater pool lined by cabanas and loungers, plus a soothing saltwater alternative, a must-visit spa and two relaxed restaurants. Guests can borrow red Japanese postman-style bicycles to cycle about in the local village lanes and in Hoi An. The resort also runs a scheduled shuttle service to the golden An Bang beach, where there’s a section reserved for guests. There is also an on-site Confucian temple dating back to the 15th Century, which will be used in future for special event dinners and traditional lantern festivals. 

Pilgrimage Village, Hue - Pilgrimage Village is ideally located in the quiet countryside in rustic village setting surrounding by lush tranquil gardens, yet near to famous historical landmarks. The resort embodies the subtle connection of traditional stylish and modern art concept. The Resort offers the harmony of soothing natural environment and local culture. Delicious meals, sound sleep, and the peaceful life of our quiet countryside combine to refresh your spirits and help to forget the troubles of life. It is also a place where skillful artists carve, polish and weave to create authentic works that are beautiful remembrances reflecting the traditional culture of Hue. Delight in specialties of Hue in Junrei restaurant and enjoy drinks in the Candle Bar, Peanut Bar or Slope Lounge. The Vedana spa blends ancient traditional healing wisdom from the east with therapies from the west. Meditation, Jacuzzi, sauna & steam bath, tai chi or yoga classes help you find balance and peace in your mind and soul.

Silk Path Boutique Hotel, Hanoi - Located by Hoan Kiem lake, diamond position of Hanoi city center and Old Quarter, the Silk Path Boutique Hotel is just few minutes walk to famous destinations and local shops of handcrafted products, silks or local street food of all kinds surrounded. Silk Path Boutique Hanoi’s rooms boast a quintessentially quirky fusion of traditional French design and contemporary facilities. Yet it’s the handicraft touch of carpenters that gives this Hanoi Old Quarter accommodation its special charm, creating a signature style that strikes the perfect balance between clasicism and modernity.

Ginger Junk, Halong Bay - Ginger is one of the newest vessels cruising the Lan Ha Bay, which is a tranquil part of the famous Halong Bay in Vietnam. Ginger hosts only 12 suites, all naturally light-flooded and with well-sized balcony. Ginger has warm timber floors, marble bathrooms and distinguished design themes that interlace the long-lasting traditions of Northern Vietnam paired with contemporary accents. The terrace deck is a marvellous public area. An almost 360-degree light-flooded restaurant offering live cooking is framed by an outdoor alfresco area. An indoor bar corner invites you to relax before or after dinner. The most exclusive facility is Ginger’s pool on the terrace deck surrounded by comfortable shaded sun-beds. The views from the spa rooms in the stern of the ship are fabulous – one VIP spa room comes with steam bath. Combine relaxing spa treatments with dramatic outlooks through floor to ceiling glass windows on the bay.

Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Luang Prabang - Le Sen Boutique Hotel is a traditional 4-star hotel featuring only 19 rooms. Located in a quiet residential area of Luang Prabang, Le Sen is a charming small hotel fine cuisine & an intimate courtyard setting. Within easy reach of many of this fabulous city's most outstanding landmarks and attractions, including the Wat Manorom Buddhist temple, the Royal Palace and Mount Phousi. This Lao owned and managed hotel boasts a charming courtyard garden with an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness room and an outdoor lounge area. There is complimentary bicycle hire and a regular shuttle service to the Night Market. The restaurant offers all day dining, with a delicious selection of traditional Laotian dishes along with international fusion cuisine. Guests can choose to dine indoors, or on the courtyard terrace, and cocktails, fine wines and beers are also available throughout the day in the lounge.

The Aviary, Siem Reap: Set in the heart of Siem Reap, The Aviary Hotel is a sophisticated urban oasis that has been inspired by nature and Cambodia’s rich heritage of traditional crafts. The 25-room eco-friendly hotel is a relaxing sanctuary filled with locally commissioned artworks, which celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Kingdom’s birdlife. Luxurious, welcoming and personal, The Aviary offers thoughtfully designed, quality accommodation in a modern environment with a uniquely Cambodian twist. The Aviary’s turquoise pool lies at the heart of the hotel, with wonderful views of the vines and flowers that drape over the balconies above. Take a refreshing dip to cool off from the heat of the day, relax on the comfortable loungers or unwind with a soothing treatment at the Amret Spa.

White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh - White Mansion Hotel is located right in the center of Phnom Penh, few steps away from all major highlights and business area in a very quiet environment. The Hotel is a 25 minute drive from Pochentong International Airport.  The 30 rooms and suites are among the nicest and the largest in Phnom Penh and offer a secluded atmosphere with comfort and elegance. Several have a balcony, terrace, city view or pool view. Rooms and Suites feature the space and charm found in a modern Cambodian mansion with some elegant details, which remind of an occidental touch. The aim was to bring an environment of different sensations such as calm, surprise, sensuality, and conviviality.

Practicalities

Seasons Vietnam: There is not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as during most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities. This is a country with 2000 odd miles of coastline and three different weather systems. The weather can vary significantly from one region to another due to the countries length. 

Seasons Laos: Despite having two distinct weather seasons you can travel in Laos all-year-round. Laos' weather system is relatively straight-forward consisting of a dry season (October to late April) and a wet season (May to late September). The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain quite hot and rainfall is often short lived. In Luang Prabang during the wet season (May to October), you can expect heavy downpours for short periods, most commonly during the night or early morning. Initially this rarely lasts more than an hour or two, and helps to clear the air, leaving bright blue skies in its wake. 

Seasons Cambodia: Cambodia generally has a two-season weather pattern. The weather patterns are influenced by the wet and dry seasonal winds of Southeast Asia, which create two distinct seasons - dry and wet (also known as Green Season because of the vibrant colour the rains bring). For tranquil, crowd-free travel we travel outside of the peak season.

Green Season (May - October) - May and June bring moisture laden air from the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand, bringing greenery back to the region´s countryside. Don't be concerned by the season's showers; the rains form a predictable pattern - clear, sunny mornings and a 60% chance of showers in the mid to late afternoon-and bring green into the countryside. The early months of the wet season (May to July) remain hot and rainfall is often short lived, whilst in the latter months (late July until September) the rains become more constant and can be heavy at times.

Time: Vietnam is GMT + 7 and does not operate daylight-saving system.

Electricity: Vietnam mainly uses 220V but in some areas, 110V is used. A mixture of flat and round 2-pin outlets are used in the country. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor.

Health: No vaccinations are mandatory except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions, especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are limited and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed. Consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial tablets and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. Some vaccination courses may need time to be completed. If you plan to take anti-malarial tablets, you usually need to start one week before arrival. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements.

The facts

Currency Vietnam:  The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). US Dollars and Euros are accepted in some hotels, restaurants and shops. 

Currency Laos: The official national currency in Laos is the Lao kip (K). Although only kip is legally negotiable in everyday transactions, in reality three currencies are used for commerce: kip, Thai baht(B) and US dollars (US$).

Currency Cambodia: Riel is the currency of Cambodia but US dollars are widely used and most prices will be in US$. 

**Note that even slightly torn US dollar bills will not be accepted. Visa & MasterCard are accepted in most hotels, and some restaurants.

ATMs are very common in every city and every big town for withrawing local currency. ATM's are available in major airports, hotels, towns and capitals of provinces throughout Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. Most ATMs have an English language version. 

Credit Cards: Most credit cards are accepted in Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia. VISA and MASTERCARD are the most widely accepted. JCB and AMERICAN EXPRESS are also accepted in some outlets. Not all hotels, commercial centers, shops and restaurants accept credit cards. Check with the cashier before making any purchases. Bear in mind that in some places a surcharge usually applies for credit card purchases: VISA and MasterCard approx 2.5%, JCB: 3% surcharge, American Express: 4% surcharge. NOTE: Surcharges can change without prior notice. Check the percentage charged before you pay.

Tipping:  Staff and guides appreciate that tipping varies greatly between cultures and countries.

Visas Vietnam: Citizens of New Zealand & Australia require a visa to visit Vietnam. You must organise your visa before departing your country of residence, unless you have gone through the official channels to obtain a visa on arrival service. You can arrange your visa up to six months before your scheduled arrival date into Vietnam. In addition, your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from Vietnam. All Vietnam visas are SINGLE ENTRY unless you have specifically requested MULTIPLE ENTRY and this is stamped into your passport. If you are entering Vietnam twice or more you will need to ensure you have a MULTIPLE ENTRY visa before you leave home. The status of your tourist visa cannot be changed after you arrive in Vietnam.

Visas Laos: A visa is required to enter Laos, however for Australian & New Zealand passport holders this is obtainable on arrival in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Pakse. You will require US$30 cash and have a passport photo with you (2 for good measure). Your passport must be valid and current for at least 6 months after the date of your return to New Zealand.

Visas Cambodia:  Citizens of most countries can apply for a visa online or get one on arrival in Cambodia. 
*e-Visa - The Cambodian government has a simple online application for an e-visa. It is a straightforward procedure and your visa is delivered electronically to you after approx 3-5 working days and costs up to $50. You will not have to wait at the immigration desk and can proceed directly to passport control on arrival. This is the fastest and most efficient method, and what we recommend. The e-visa is currently valid at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Airports.
*Visa On Arrival Cambodia - You can obtain a Visa on arrival at your port of entry. Fill in the arrival documents which you will receive in on the plane or at the border and provide one passport-size photograph. The fee is *currently US$30 paid in cash and is valid for 30 days. You can extend the visa once you are here if necessary. Please note that you will need a blank page in your passport for the visa as well as at least 6 months validity on your passport. At peak arrival times there may be waiting time for the visa on arrival to be processed. 

Not Included:

  • International Airfares - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Travel insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Excess baggage
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. You should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.