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Vietnam & Cambodia

Tours
Vietnam & Cambodia
DATES

TBC 2019 - TBC 2019


RATES

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 & Cambodia Vietnam & Cambodia Vietnam & Cambodia Vietnam & Cambodia Vietnam & Cambodia
Vietnam & Cambodia

VIETNAM & CAMBODIA

 

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

We explore Vietnam from North to South, beginning with the Colonial elegance of Hanoi and moving South to bustling Saigon. En-route we stop to visit World Heritage Halong Bay, Imperial Hue, intoxicating Hoi An & and we discover the languid region of the Mekong delta. We then fly to Cambodia to experience sunrise at Angkor Wat & visit jungle-clad Ta Prohm. Visit the rice belt of Battambang, enjoy a fabulous dinner at a private villa overlooking the rice paddies & 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, be humbled by the warmth and hospitality of the people. 

Join me on this bespoke, luxurious and authentic journey through 2 divine Asian countries..

NOTE: Perfect to add on a pre-tour extension to Sapa on our Sapa Cultural Excursion.  

Tour Overview
Duration
19 Nights - TBC 2019
Start Point
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish Point
Siem Reap, 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 8, Max 10 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • x2 nights in a Deluxe Room at the Silk Path Boutique Hotel, Hanoi
  • x2 nights in a Superior Cabin on the Luxury Junk - Jasmine Cruise - Halong Bay
  • x2 nights in a Deluxe Room at Pilgrimage Village, Hue
  • x3 nights in a Deluxe Balcony Room at La Siesta Hoi An Resort, Hoi An
  • x2 nights in a Deluxe Room at Des Arts Saigon, Saigon
  • x2 nights in a Junior Suite Room at the White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh
  • x2 nights in a Superior Room at Bambu Hotel, Battambang
  • x4 nights in a Deluxe Room at Viroth's Hotel, Siem Reap
  • rooms
  • All Breakfasts
  • Welcome Dinner in Hanoi
  • Private Hanoi Street Food Tour with a senior member of the Hanoi Gastronomy Club
  • Royal lunch at a private 'Garden House' in Hue
  • Cooking Class & lunch in Hoi An
  • Lunch with a host family in Tra Que Village
  • Vespa Foodie Tour in Saigon
  • Dine-Around tuk-tuk Dinner tour in Phnom Penh
  • Vespa Foodie Night Tour in Siem Reap
  • Khmer Cooking Class & lunch in Siem Reap
  • Farewell dinner in a Private Villa in the countryside overlooking rice paddies, Siem Reap
  • Sunset Drinks while boating on an ancient Angkorian Moat
  • *Domestic flight Hanoi - Hue
  • *Domestic flight Danang - Saigon
  • *Flight Saigon, Vietnam - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • 3 day / 2 Night Halong Bay cruise with Full Board
  • Hanoi City Tour
  • Perfume River cruise in Hue
  • Cycle tour around the villages of Hue
  • Hoi An Walking Tour
  • Cycle tour to historic Tra Que village
  • Saigon City Tour
  • Full day Mekong Delta tour
  • City Tour of Phnom Penh
  • Khmer Architecture Tour of Phnom Penh
  • The Killing Fields & Tuol Sleng Museum
  • Bicycle Village Tour of Battambang
  • Artisan's morning tour in Siem Reap
  • Phare Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap
  • Golden Silk Farm
  • Banteay Srei
  • Angkor Wat Sunrise
  • Ta Prohm & Angkor Thom
  • Ox cart ride through the villages outside of Siem Reap
  • Monk Blessing
  • Markets visits 
  • 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
  • Hanoi's Old Quarter
  • Sampling Hanoi's famous street food 
  • Exploring Halong Bay aboard a luxurious Vietnamese junk
  • Exploring ancient Hue on bicycle - villages & citadels
  • Eating a 'Royal Dinner' at Ancient Hue
  • Lunch at a sublime 'Garden House' in Hue
  • Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Market tour & Cooking Class in Hoi An
  • Local family farm tour in Tra Que Village
  • Free time in Hoi An to soak up the atmosphere - or get some clothes made!
  • Vespa Street Food by Tour by Night in Saigon
  • Exploring the backwaters & back roads of the Delta region
  • Countryside Villa Dinner in Siem Reap 
  • A Monk Blessing in a countryside pagoda
  • Ox Cart ride through villages 
  • Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm
  • Angkor Wat Sunrise & the Ancient Temples of Angkor 
  • Foodie Tour in Siem Reap 
  • Khmer Cooking Class
  • The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh
  • Tuk-Tuk 'Dine Around' Experience in Phnom Penh
  • 'Hidden Gems' of Phnom Penh Tour
  • Amazing Food
  • Stay in gorgeous boutique resorts & hotels
  • Meeting local Artisans
  • Distinctive monasteries & colonial architecture

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Hanoi
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Arrive Hanoi. 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 Home Restaurant. Set within a former French residence in the charming Truc Bach neighbourhood, Home is the unique Vietnamese restaurant situated between the historic labyrinth of the old trading quarter and the expansive serenity of West Lake. (Drinks not included)

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / D - Entree & Main)

Day 2 - Hanoi - Old Quarter
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After breakfast, approx 08.30am, we depart the hotel for a tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 Streets’. This walking tour passes through the charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. Stop at Ngoc Son Temple. 

We continue to the Temple of Literature with well-preserved architecture offering a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. We then carry onto the mausoleum of the father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from the outside) and visit the former president’s stilted house where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar Pagoda.

We finish our tour at the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

We return to the hotel for a well earned rest. 

Late PM: Street food tour of Hanoi - This afternoon explore Hanoi's culture through a street food tour with a senior member of the Hanoi Gastronomy Club. Start off with a stroll around a local market to experience the sights and sounds of an authentic daily scene. Then wander about the Old Quarter streets to enjoy aromas from local street food stalls. The first stop will be made at Ly Quoc Su Street to taste the pan fried "Banh Goi" which is made of mashed rice, pork, and vermicelli served with vegetables and bean sprouts. Continue to Hang Manh Street where you will have a chance to taste fantastic "Bun Cha", a Hanoi noodle soup, which is served with fried "Nem", or spring-rolls filled with pork or crab. After this snack, a short stroll to Hang Da market will allow you to try some assorted sweet fried fruits "O Mai". End the trip at a well-known rustic restaurant - Cha Ca La Vong. There is only one dish - grilled fish fillets, smothered in dill and saffron-infused oil, served straight from the frying pan onto your plate. *Note: This tour may be subject to change due to weather conditions etc. The tour will be mostly conducted on foot so be sure that you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. 

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel. (B / D - Street Food)

Day 3 - Halong Bay
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After breakfast we leave Hanoi for our 2 night boat trip in Halong Bay. The journey there (approx 4 hours) passes through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. On the way, we will stop for refreshments, and upon arriving in Halong City, we will take a tender transfer to our junk and set sail through the bay while lunch is served.

As the boat sets sail to cruise into the Bay, a delectable buffet lunch with a feast of choices is served in the restaurant. Savour your first hours in Halong Bay on the sun deck by simply let your eyes wander around the scenery. 

We arrive at the area of Cua Van floating fishing village. From here we start to explore a cave, named Tien Ong, and the floating fishing village. Tien Ong is the most recently explored cave. It shows evidences of human civilization dating back to 10,000 – 8,000 BC. The cave is just 5 meters above sea level, 50 meters deep and covers 1000 square meters. Our guide takes you on a loop though the cave and explains about the historical findings and the cave’s particularities. 

The voyage continues to the fishing village. We can either hop on a small bamboo boat rowed by the local people or paddle by ourselves in a kayak. The second option is a perfect way to freely move around in the calm area and gain an insight into the village life. 

After returning to the boat we sail to the overnight mooring area Luom Bo. During this time Halong Bay reveals its most magnificent beauty - we call it the “blue hour”. Rewind on the sun deck with a drink of your choice and let the moment sink in. 

Dinner is served in the restaurant either à la carte or buffet style. Afterwards the night is ours to enjoy these moments amidst a surreal landscape. A presentation in the dining area with more interesting facts and insights on Halong Bay is also offered after dinner. 

Overnight Halong Bay Cruise (B / L / D)

Day 4 - Halong Bay
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Wake up at dawn to the lapping of the waves and the smell of freshly brewed coffee and pastries. Join the Tai Chi morning class on the sun deck - a truly one-time experience.

By tender boat we transfer to our day boat named “Sunset”. It is a smaller, cozy vessel via which we discover the further hidden charms of Halong Bay. Breakfast is served as Sunset sails for the Surprise Cave, in Vietnamese “Sung Sot”. Sung Sot is the biggest cave in Halong Bay at over 10,000 square meters. It is a magnificent site with the most beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. The further you go inside the bigger it gets. We explore this natural sensation for about 60 minutes. 

Once back on the Sunset, take some time to relax. Lean back on your sun bed while Sunset smoothly sails further into the Bay. Here you have the chance to have another close encounter with the fairylike Halong Bay. Via kayak you can float through this bizarre water landscape. The cliffs stretch vertically out of the water and you feel a sense of freedom meandering through this green medley of water and tree-topped islets.

Back on board, lunch is served in the restaurant. Sunset continues the journey to a floating pearl farm. Halong Bay is also a place where pearls are cultivated. In a small factory we learn how pearls are harvested and processed.

After the visit we leisurely sail back to the mother ship. Back “home” you have time for spa or sunbathing while we sail to the overnight night spot. Dinner is served in the restaurant around seven o’clock. Before we retire to our cabin, we might like to have some fun with squid fishing together with our crew or simply lean back on one of the loungers and listen to serenity of Halong Bay. 

Overnight Halong Bay Cruise. (B / L / D)

Day 5 - Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue
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For early risers (around 06.30 AM) tea, coffee and pastries are available at the restaurant area. A Tai Chi class is offered on the sundeck again to ease mind and muscles.

The boat continues to sail to Titop Island. We set over by tender to this little landmass in the bay. Prepare yourself for a refreshing morning swim on a sandy beach beneath high rock formations. If you prefer to be more active climb up to the hill top of Titop Island from where you have stunning views over Halong Bay (it is 400 stone steps up which takes about 20 minutes to the top, minimal fitness and proper footwear is required). There is also a viewing platform about half-way up with great panoramic views. 

Back on board (around 08.45 AM) you may like to shower and freshen up. Now it is time to enjoy the last sailing time back to the harbour. A full breakfast is served in the dining room. Relax on the sun deck or dine in the restaurant while savouring the last cruise moments of this iconic site before arriving back on shore where the crew bids us farewell.

Upon disembarkation our driver will meet us for the transfer back to Hanoi airport for our flight to Hue. *Domestic flight to Hue at 18.30 PM, arrival into Hue at 19.40 PM 

Upon arrival in Hue, we will be greeted by our local guide and transferred to the hotel for check-in. We will relax and can take a bite in the hotel's restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village. (B)

Day 6 - Hue
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Today we will discover the hidden back roads and waterways of Hue by boat and bicycle.

Meander country roads passing craft villages, countless shrines and pagodas as well as ancient tombs of past kings as well as taking a traditional boat across the Perfume River. **A moderate level of fitness is required for this trip, however most of the terrain is flat. The van will be available to those that do not want to bike.  

After breakfast we will transfer from our hotel to Perfume River port and then take a private traditional boat for a cruise on the romantic Perfume River heading out of town. 

Get on your bicycle and meander country roads passing craft villages, countless shrines and pagodas as well as ancient tombs of past kings. Notable sites include a visit to An Hien Garden house and Hue Citadel, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City, and the Imperial Museum to learn about the lifestyle of the royal family and the aristocrats of the Nguyen Dynasty in the old days.

A late lunch will be arranged for us at a garden house with specialties of Hue. Dine at the private Nha Vuon, or “garden house”, of one Hue’s most famous architects. This traditional-style house, which is set in a large and attractive formal garden, has connections with the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. The traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of ‘feng-shui’. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

This evening, an optional Royal dinner will be arranged for us at Ancient Hue restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village. (B / L )

Day 7 - Han Vai Pass - Hoi An
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This morning, we leave Hue for the three-hour drive to Hoi An Ancient Town over the Hai Van Pass. The scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world.

Arrive Hoi An. Check into hotel – relax.

Afternoon: A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town, so in the afternoon, we enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 year old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the Japanese Bridge and Hoi An market.

Return to hotel. Rest and relax.

This evening we will have a table reserved at Morning Glory Restaurant. 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’.

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa (B)

Day 8 - Hoi An - Culinary Day
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We start the day around 08.15 AM with a drink at Hai Scout Café. We then visit Hoi An’s colorful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. 

We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise - 25 minutes - along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef’s before we prepare the same dish ourselves. We also have a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked! 

We will make fresh Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp; Crispy Hoi An Pancakes with Shrimp, Herbs & a Peanut Sauce; Seafood Salad with mixed Vietnamese Herbs served in Half a Pineapple and Mi Quang Chicken Noodles. *Note: We will also eat Steamed Ocean Fish on a bed of Freshly Chopped Vegetables (not included in the demonstration). *A vegetarian lunch can be provided on request. 

We finish at approximately 13.00 PM – transfer back to Hoi An. Rest and relax.

Evening is free.
Evening option: Relax and enjoy a tranquil evening in the Hoi An countryside with a sunset cruise. Travel along the Thu Bon River by boat through the water coconut palm plantations as the sun is setting. Take a short journey in a traditional basket boat en route to experience a truly local mode of transport. A special moment of the day is watching the sun setting and there is no better place to see this than in Hoi An beside a water coconut palm plantation on the Thu Bon River. Along the way ride in a local basket boat know as a thung chai. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa (B / L)

Day 9 - Tra Que Village - Hoi An
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Today we spend time with a local farming family to learn about their daily lifestyle and to discover the flavours of fresh Vietnamese cuisine. After breakfast, we will bike along shady lanes to the village of Tra Que (about 30 minutes) and take a casual stroll around the vegetable garden and listen to the history of this unique village. 

We then join in and participate in farming activities like the locals by preparing the soil, fertilizing with seaweed, raking, sowing, watering and picking vegetables. Prior to lunch we enjoy a herbal foot bath before helping to prepare lunch with the local family. Join in and try cooking the local specialty dishes ‘Tam Huu’ spring rolls and ‘Banh xeo’ pancake of the central region of Viet Nam. After your morning activities and lunch, we then learn how to harvest and wrap the vegetables before farewelling our host family and cycling back to our hotel.

Afternoon free.

This evening will have a reservation at STREETS RestaurantAwarded membership to Clinton Global Initiative in 2014, Streets is a non-profit organization established in 2005 with the aim of providing training and employment for disadvantaged youths and street kids in the catering and hospitality industries. As part of the training programme, the trainees work at the restaurant where they learn to cook and serve international and contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The profit from the restaurant is then reinvested for future training. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa. (B / L)

Day 10 - Saigon
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Breakfast and check-out. We are transferred to Danang airport for our morning flight to Ho Chi Minh, flight departing at 10.30am.

Upon arrival in Saigon (11.55am), we will be greeted by our local guide and transferred to our hotel.

After check in, rest and refresh, we then depart for half day city tour. Our tour starts at the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace; from here we stroll (our vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: Reunification Palace, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral the Opera House and the Hotel de Ville. Later, explore colorful outdoor Markets and Dong Khoi Street, the city's main shopping boulevard, with fashionable boutiques and accessories designed by up-and-coming Vietnamese designers. 

Evening: A foodie night out on the town by Vespa. This Saigon night tour is part night excursion, part street food adventure. Experience Saigon nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. The city comes alive come sundown and people congregate on sidewalks, parks and all over the city at the end of each day. To start off this Saigon night tour, we enjoy drinks at a Vespa-themed café, Café Zoom. Throughout the night we try a variety of food and drinks at 2 local restaurants and samplings of Saigon’s best authentic local food. Zoom past the famous must- see sights of Ho Chi Minh City while in the bustling traffic. We’ll also go to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop with special live music, and then wrap up the evening at an exciting music bar where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique styles. 

We will ride pillion behind our drivers to enjoy and experience the Vietnamese nightlife with friends. We retunr to the hotel approx 10pm.

Overnight Hotel Des Arts Saigon. (B / Street Foods - D)

Day 11 - Mekong Delta
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Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta is only around 2 hours away from Saigon, and 15 minutes from My Tho. However, this wonderful destination retains an authenticity which has been somewhat lessened in nearby My Tho. 

This picturesque and friendly Mekong Delta town has historically seen very few travellers, but the recent opening of a bridge connecting Ben Tre and My Tho has made it far easier for day trippers to visit from Saigon. 

Our one day cruise excursion starts at 8:00 am from the lobby of our hotel in Saigon with a drive to Ben Tre. While there, we can take a walk along the waterfront, lined with French era shops and houses, and we’ll see plenty of coconuts being unloaded from boats for dispatch around the country. Then we jump on a boat for a couple of hours of cruising on the Mekong River. We enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant or on board. The excursion will end at around 16.00 PM where the vehicle will await us for our transfer back to Saigon. 

Return to hotel Evening free.

Overnight Hotel Des Arts Saigon. (B / L)

Day 12 - Day 12 - Depart Vietnam, Arrive Cambodia
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This morning we have free time until check-out. We are then transferred to Ho Chi Minh airport for our onward flight to Phnom Penh, departing 12.20pm. (Arrival in Phnom Penh at 13.20pm)

On arrival in Phnom Penh, we check in and relax at our gorgeous hotel – the White Mansion – where we will stay for three nights.

After check in, we have time to rest and relax.This afternoon would be a perfect time to try out the Hotel spa which is fabulous and completely affordable. 

Evening: Dine-Around the City at Night (Departure approx 5.30pm). Phnom Penh is at its finest at night—when the sun sets the city comes alive with energy and vibrancy. This evening we will head out with our guide to explore the sights of the capital while sampling dishes from various restaurants en route. We begin our evening with a sundowner cocktail at the city’s highest restaurant to watch the sun set beyond the capitol’s young skyline, before being whisked away by tuk-tuk to a hidden restaurant tucked down one of Phnom Penh’s back alleys, to whet your appetite on local tapas. Our main course will be at a fantastic hidden gem of a restaurant, well known by locals and expatriates alike but far from the tourists, where we will feast on Cambodian barbeque and locally-brewed beer. We end the evening on the riverfront with coffee and dessert at the famed FCC. The Foreign Correspondants Club (FCC) has been the meeting place for intrepid adventurers, locals and visitors, from around the world. It proved popular with foreign journalists and aid workers, who gathered around the bar for a cold beer and a swapping of tales. The FCC became the cornerstone of the capitol’s riverfront district.

Overnight White Mansion Boutique Hotel (B, Dine Around Dinner)

Day 13 - Phnom Penh
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Hidden Gems of Phnom Penh (08.30 AM – 11.30 AM). Weaving through Phnom Penh’s colourful city streets bustling with activity and the whizzing of motos, today a local architecture student will reveal some of our favourite hidden gems of this multifaceted capital by traditional transportation method, the cyclo. 

Pedal power affords a gentler pace to soak up the modern architectural heritage of this burgeoning capital. Take in highlights that showcase the city’s fusion of past and present and its juxtaposition of old and new. Most of these buildings reflect three basic groups, the Chinese shop-house style, the late 19th and early 20th century French colonial buildings – with an eclectic mix of influences and the New Khmer Architecture” of the late 1950’s – 1960’s, built in the post-independent Golden era. 

As brand new apartment blocks spring up from the charming chaos, discover there’s more than first meets the eye to Cambodia’s capital. 

We head back to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

PM: City tour of Phnom Penh (14.00 PM – 18.00 PM). 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 head to the National Museum, which houses the world's foremost collection of Khmer art. You can then opt to explore the shops and boutiques in Street 240 area or visit the small hill within the city, Wat Phnom and learn how the city got its name. 

This evening we have a dinner reservation 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. (*This is an optional evening)

Overnight White Mansion (B)

Day 14 - To Battambang
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AM: Killing Fields + S21 Prison. This morning (approx 08.00am) we visit the infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This is a former high school that the Khmer Rouge converted to an interrogation centre and prison in 1975 during the genocide. More than 17,000 people were tortured there before being murdered at the killing fields outside of the city. 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. Today, the country is finally at peace and in the process of recovery. 

We then transfer to Battambang (approx 5 hours by road). We will pass the villages, markets and rural scenery along National Road No 5. En-route we will stop at the ceramic village of Kampong Chhnang to learn more about the pottery in this province. Traditional Angkorian pottery has been resurrected in Kampong Chhnang, with villagers mixing ancient knowledge with modern techniques, a new exhibition illustrates. Chhnang, which means ‘pot’, tells the story of how villagers struggling to sell inferior earthenware products learned traditional methods in order to make their goods more attractive.

We arrive at our lovely hotel, check in, and enjoy a well-deserved cocktail!

Overnight Bambu Hotel. (B)

Day 15 - Battambang
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AM: Half Day Bicycle Tour, Local Industries. This tour takes us on journey to have a closer look at the traditional Cambodian local industries surrounding Battambang. We depart at 7:30am and take a relaxed route along shaded roads through the countryside, making it back to town in time for lunch (own cost). Along the way we will meet local families and learn about their traditional livelihoods and businesses, often unchanged throughout generations. We will get to try our hand at local industries such as rice paper making, rice wine and snack on Battambang’s famous bamboo rice cakes. This will be an interactive and personal experience in Cambodia’s countryside.

We can stop by Kinyei Cafe, an employee-owned social enterprise serving the best coffee in Battambang for a Cambodian coffee - either before or after the ride. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

This evening we have an early dinner reservation at Jaan Bai. Jaan Bai, meaning “rice bowl” in Khmer, is a social enterprise restaurant providing skills and employment for youth, with all profits going to the overall sustainability of Cambodian Children’s Trust. It has benefited from the support of Vittoria Coffee and training from chef David Thompson, as well as restaurateur John Fink. (*This an optional dinner)

Overnight Bambu Hotel (B)

Day 16 - To Siem Reap
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This morning we transfer from Battambang to Siem Reap by road (approx 3 hours, 30 minutes). En-route we can see villages, markets and rural scenery along National Road No 5 & 6. We can stop at Banteay Neang, with a pagoda on the top of the hill with good views of the village around, at Sisophon market to see what it looks like as this province gets much influence from Thailand, or at Preah Netpreah to learn more about the craft of stone carving, about 20Km after Sisophon. 

On arrival in Siem Reap, we are taken to our gorgeous hotel, Viroths’, where we spend the next 4 nights. We check in and take time to relax.

Evening: Siem Reap Foodie Night Tour by Vespa - 18:00 to 22:30. This evening we’ll take you on a food adventure, stopping off at some of the gems and hotspots popular with Siem Reap’s locals, from small local restaurants to night markets and bustling street-food stands. Exploring the city by Vespa – the perfect way to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle – we will have the opportunity to try exotic fruits, fried creepy crawlies, grilled meats and other treats, washed down with local beer, rice wine and soft drinks. You will awaken your senses to the sweet, bitter and unique flavours previously unknown to those outside of Cambodia, in a truly exciting and authentic way. This street food tour is great for photo opportunities so have your camera at the ready. 

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, D - Street Foods)

Day 17 - Siem Reap
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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.

Early Dinner: Enjoy local delicacies at 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.

Evening: Phare, The Cambodian Circus (Showtime 20.00 - 21.00). Tightrope walkers, contortionists and acrobats take to the stage for a dynamic artistic spectacle. Blending visual arts, traditional music, modern dance and classic circus skills, this sister circus set-up arose from the NGO, Phare Ponleu Selpak based in Battambang. They have toured internationally to critical acclaim, assuring an impressive and entertaining performance tonight. Our front row seats ensure we won’t miss a moment’s action.

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, L, Sunset Drinks)

Day 18 - Siem Reap
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AM: Learn to Cook Khmer. *Starts approx 0930am. This morning we discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine during a half-day cooking class. This is a hand on Cambodian Cooking Class in a bamboo pavilion. We will learn to make three Cambodian dishes - Amok fish or chicken, Khmer mango salad, and sticky rice four balls with palm sugar (aka husband-killing cake) - with a head chef and then enjoy our creation following the class. We also have a short visit to a local family to learn about food customs and beliefs within the village.

After lunch, & time permitting a brief visit to our hotel, we visit the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a local NGO which helps to revive the ancient Khmer know-how in silk activities and provides job opportunities to more than 100 local staff. The farm area, mulberry trees and weaving ateliers are part of our tour. Golden Silk products are ecologically produced from the yellow silkworm which is unique to Cambodia. Some of the silk products are months, or even years, in the making and each one is unique. This is one for the connoisseurs of high quality craftwork.

We then travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On our way back to Siem Reap, we enjoy sunset drinks with a leisurely boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom and view hidden elements of the ancient Khmer water systems, relaxing with Gin & Tonic in hand and accompanied by the sound of bird song. 

We return to the hotel. Evening is free.

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B)

Day 19 - Siem Reap
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Early AM: Angkor Wat Sunrise and Exploration. (04.45am-11.00am). A sunrise tour starts at pre-dawn to witness the breathtaking view of Angkor Wat temple, the best place for photography. 

Constructed over a period of 30 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II [AD1113], by some measures it is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally a Hindu mountain temple aligned to the spring equinox, around the C16th it was converted to a Theravada Buddhist monument, a capacity in which it continues today. 

We continue to visit Ta Prohm, where we can take our time to walk through the temple from the West entrance to the East entrance to meet again with our driver (walk 1–2 km). 

We stop for a light breakfast around this peaceful area before exploring further. 

End the morning at Angkor Wat by the quieter and less frequented Eastern causeway. The temple is busy at any time of day, but late morning is the quietest time for us to explore and admire this architectural wonder and the world class bas reliefs. 

We will explore the well preserved central complex and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and battles of the ancient empire. The beauty in balance and composition, combined with its sheer vast scale ensure Angkor Wat’s place as the crowning achievement in Khmer art and architecture. This is truly one of travel’s remaining great adventures. 

We then return by road to Siem Reap for lunch (own cost). 

Free time to relax. Option to visit the markets in Siem Reap, or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment or massage at the hotel and time to rest and relax following our early rise. 

PM: Countryside Senses – Farewell Dinner (14.00pm - 21.00pm). Beyond the temples lies a rural landscape which is often little changed since the days of Jayavarman VII. We depart on a journey of discovery through the rural landscape to reach villages where mass tourism cannot follow; we will be led between rice paddies, through woodland and back gardens on foot, by ox-cart and boat to experience the very best of the countryside. A short drive from Siem Reap allows us a visit to a colourful contemporary pagoda to seek a blessing from the monks. We will take an ox-cart ride through typical villages followed by an easy walk to bring us to the vast Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system. We will travel by boat (*depending on water level) to Chandara, a country Villa surrounded by rice paddies. While the chef prepares our dinner, you can take a wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk a short distance to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir, whilst listening to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for our meal - our ‘Farewell Dinner’.

Overnight Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, D)

Day 20 - Departure
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Depending on time of departure, we may have time for another exploration of the Old Market for souvenir shopping, selling all kinds of wonderful and exotic foodstuffs 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. Transfer to the airport and depart home.

About this tour

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.

Jasmine Junk, Halong Bay - Jasmine Junk offers comfort, a friendly crew and understated elegance. With 23 cabins, the Jasmine is built in the style of a traditional Vietnamese junk, with three tawny sails and dark wood-cladding. Jasmine’s interiors, like the exterior, are covered in polished wood, lending the Jasmine the stately air of an Indochina-era cruising boat. Guests can convene in the formal dining room, enjoy casual barbecues on the terrace and marvel at the bay’s moonlit beauty on the Jasmine’s wide Sundeck. After days spent learning Tai Chi, kayaking, and visiting local fishing villages, guests can enjoy various traditional massage treatments. The Jasmine’s experienced crew does their utmost to showcase the bay’s indescribable wonders.

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 Vedan? 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.

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. 

Hotel Des Art Saigon, Saigon - Set on a bustling street in the city center, the MGallery Hotel Des Art Saigon is an elegant hotel only a 6-minute walk from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and a 12-minute walk from Independence Palace. Featuring rainfall showerheads and floor-to-ceiling windows with city views, the polished rooms and suites come with free Wi-Fi and smart TVs, as well as minibars and tea and coffeemakers. Room service is offered. Dining options include 2 refined restaurants, 1 with a terrace and a gourmet European menu. There are also 3 bars, including 1 at the outdoor rooftop pool. Other amenities include a spa, a gym and 2 tennis courts. Bike rentals are offered.

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.

Bambu Lodge, Battambang - Bambu Hotel is a thoughtfully designed, 16 room boutique hotel in Battambang, about a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town or an even shorter tuk tuk ride. Most of the rooms are in traditionally inspired wooden villas at the rear of the property. Exposed roof beams, rustic art deco tiling and wooden shutters complete the look. All rooms have a balcony or terrace to chill out and relax. Careful landscaping ensures the ground floor terraces are private. Solar panels are used to provide most of the power for the hotel. There is a restaurant and bar onsite with a popular pre-dinner happy hour - especially while lazing around the salt water swimming pool. Straw hats are provided on the sun loungers for those who forgot to pack their own. Bambu connects with the community by supporting an English programme at a local village school, which guests may choose to visit.

Viroth Hotel, Siem Reap: In the centre of Siem Reap, on a lush property among shops and dining in the vibrant Wat Bo area, Viroth Hotel is all sharp lines, crisp whites and eye-catching vertical foliage. Open to the outdoors thanks to balconies, patios and a leafy courtyard restaurant, this bold but laid-back bolthole is the talk of the town: a smart pool, a pampering spa and sleek mid-century stylings just a hop and a skip from Siem Reap’s buzzy nightlife. Decked out with black floor tiles, jewel-toned day-beds and hand-picked antiques, rooms have a retro flavour livened up with tropical foliage and local handicraft, each with a private terrace. The centrepiece of a peaceful palm-fringed courtyard within drifting distance of the bar, the hotel’s 20-metre, mosaic-tiled pool is a crisp shade of aqua blue – just the ticket for a cooling dip after a day of temple-traipsing in the heat. And framed by a living plant wall, Sokkhak spa bears the Khmer name for tranquility. 

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 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 & 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 (including a spare pair of glasses). 

NOTES - 
*We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Vietnam.
*Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
*If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.

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 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 & Cambodia. Most ATMs have an English language version. 

Credit Cards: Most credit cards are accepted in Vietnam & 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 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
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • 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

TBC 2019 - TBC 2019


RATES

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 Hanoi

Arrive Hanoi. 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 Home Restaurant. Set within a former French residence in the charming Truc Bach neighbourhood, Home is the unique Vietnamese restaurant situated between the historic labyrinth of the old trading quarter and the expansive serenity of West Lake. (Drinks not included)

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel (B / D - Entree & Main)

Day 2 - Hanoi - Old Quarter

After breakfast, approx 08.30am, we depart the hotel for a tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 Streets’. This walking tour passes through the charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. Stop at Ngoc Son Temple. 

We continue to the Temple of Literature with well-preserved architecture offering a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. We then carry onto the mausoleum of the father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from the outside) and visit the former president’s stilted house where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar Pagoda.

We finish our tour at the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

We return to the hotel for a well earned rest. 

Late PM: Street food tour of Hanoi - This afternoon explore Hanoi's culture through a street food tour with a senior member of the Hanoi Gastronomy Club. Start off with a stroll around a local market to experience the sights and sounds of an authentic daily scene. Then wander about the Old Quarter streets to enjoy aromas from local street food stalls. The first stop will be made at Ly Quoc Su Street to taste the pan fried "Banh Goi" which is made of mashed rice, pork, and vermicelli served with vegetables and bean sprouts. Continue to Hang Manh Street where you will have a chance to taste fantastic "Bun Cha", a Hanoi noodle soup, which is served with fried "Nem", or spring-rolls filled with pork or crab. After this snack, a short stroll to Hang Da market will allow you to try some assorted sweet fried fruits "O Mai". End the trip at a well-known rustic restaurant - Cha Ca La Vong. There is only one dish - grilled fish fillets, smothered in dill and saffron-infused oil, served straight from the frying pan onto your plate. *Note: This tour may be subject to change due to weather conditions etc. The tour will be mostly conducted on foot so be sure that you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. 

Overnight Silk Path Boutique Hotel. (B / D - Street Food)

Day 3 - Halong Bay

After breakfast we leave Hanoi for our 2 night boat trip in Halong Bay. The journey there (approx 4 hours) passes through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. On the way, we will stop for refreshments, and upon arriving in Halong City, we will take a tender transfer to our junk and set sail through the bay while lunch is served.

As the boat sets sail to cruise into the Bay, a delectable buffet lunch with a feast of choices is served in the restaurant. Savour your first hours in Halong Bay on the sun deck by simply let your eyes wander around the scenery. 

We arrive at the area of Cua Van floating fishing village. From here we start to explore a cave, named Tien Ong, and the floating fishing village. Tien Ong is the most recently explored cave. It shows evidences of human civilization dating back to 10,000 – 8,000 BC. The cave is just 5 meters above sea level, 50 meters deep and covers 1000 square meters. Our guide takes you on a loop though the cave and explains about the historical findings and the cave’s particularities. 

The voyage continues to the fishing village. We can either hop on a small bamboo boat rowed by the local people or paddle by ourselves in a kayak. The second option is a perfect way to freely move around in the calm area and gain an insight into the village life. 

After returning to the boat we sail to the overnight mooring area Luom Bo. During this time Halong Bay reveals its most magnificent beauty - we call it the “blue hour”. Rewind on the sun deck with a drink of your choice and let the moment sink in. 

Dinner is served in the restaurant either à la carte or buffet style. Afterwards the night is ours to enjoy these moments amidst a surreal landscape. A presentation in the dining area with more interesting facts and insights on Halong Bay is also offered after dinner. 

Overnight Halong Bay Cruise (B / L / D)

Day 4 - Halong Bay

Wake up at dawn to the lapping of the waves and the smell of freshly brewed coffee and pastries. Join the Tai Chi morning class on the sun deck - a truly one-time experience.

By tender boat we transfer to our day boat named “Sunset”. It is a smaller, cozy vessel via which we discover the further hidden charms of Halong Bay. Breakfast is served as Sunset sails for the Surprise Cave, in Vietnamese “Sung Sot”. Sung Sot is the biggest cave in Halong Bay at over 10,000 square meters. It is a magnificent site with the most beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. The further you go inside the bigger it gets. We explore this natural sensation for about 60 minutes. 

Once back on the Sunset, take some time to relax. Lean back on your sun bed while Sunset smoothly sails further into the Bay. Here you have the chance to have another close encounter with the fairylike Halong Bay. Via kayak you can float through this bizarre water landscape. The cliffs stretch vertically out of the water and you feel a sense of freedom meandering through this green medley of water and tree-topped islets.

Back on board, lunch is served in the restaurant. Sunset continues the journey to a floating pearl farm. Halong Bay is also a place where pearls are cultivated. In a small factory we learn how pearls are harvested and processed.

After the visit we leisurely sail back to the mother ship. Back “home” you have time for spa or sunbathing while we sail to the overnight night spot. Dinner is served in the restaurant around seven o’clock. Before we retire to our cabin, we might like to have some fun with squid fishing together with our crew or simply lean back on one of the loungers and listen to serenity of Halong Bay. 

Overnight Halong Bay Cruise. (B / L / D)

Day 5 - Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue

For early risers (around 06.30 AM) tea, coffee and pastries are available at the restaurant area. A Tai Chi class is offered on the sundeck again to ease mind and muscles.

The boat continues to sail to Titop Island. We set over by tender to this little landmass in the bay. Prepare yourself for a refreshing morning swim on a sandy beach beneath high rock formations. If you prefer to be more active climb up to the hill top of Titop Island from where you have stunning views over Halong Bay (it is 400 stone steps up which takes about 20 minutes to the top, minimal fitness and proper footwear is required). There is also a viewing platform about half-way up with great panoramic views. 

Back on board (around 08.45 AM) you may like to shower and freshen up. Now it is time to enjoy the last sailing time back to the harbour. A full breakfast is served in the dining room. Relax on the sun deck or dine in the restaurant while savouring the last cruise moments of this iconic site before arriving back on shore where the crew bids us farewell.

Upon disembarkation our driver will meet us for the transfer back to Hanoi airport for our flight to Hue. *Domestic flight to Hue at 18.30 PM, arrival into Hue at 19.40 PM 

Upon arrival in Hue, we will be greeted by our local guide and transferred to the hotel for check-in. We will relax and can take a bite in the hotel's restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village. (B)

Day 6 - Hue

Today we will discover the hidden back roads and waterways of Hue by boat and bicycle.

Meander country roads passing craft villages, countless shrines and pagodas as well as ancient tombs of past kings as well as taking a traditional boat across the Perfume River. **A moderate level of fitness is required for this trip, however most of the terrain is flat. The van will be available to those that do not want to bike.  

After breakfast we will transfer from our hotel to Perfume River port and then take a private traditional boat for a cruise on the romantic Perfume River heading out of town. 

Get on your bicycle and meander country roads passing craft villages, countless shrines and pagodas as well as ancient tombs of past kings. Notable sites include a visit to An Hien Garden house and Hue Citadel, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City, and the Imperial Museum to learn about the lifestyle of the royal family and the aristocrats of the Nguyen Dynasty in the old days.

A late lunch will be arranged for us at a garden house with specialties of Hue. Dine at the private Nha Vuon, or “garden house”, of one Hue’s most famous architects. This traditional-style house, which is set in a large and attractive formal garden, has connections with the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. The traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of ‘feng-shui’. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

This evening, an optional Royal dinner will be arranged for us at Ancient Hue restaurant.

Overnight Pilgrimage Village. (B / L )

Day 7 - Han Vai Pass - Hoi An

This morning, we leave Hue for the three-hour drive to Hoi An Ancient Town over the Hai Van Pass. The scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world.

Arrive Hoi An. Check into hotel – relax.

Afternoon: A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town, so in the afternoon, we enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 year old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the Japanese Bridge and Hoi An market.

Return to hotel. Rest and relax.

This evening we will have a table reserved at Morning Glory Restaurant. 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’.

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa (B)

Day 8 - Hoi An - Culinary Day

We start the day around 08.15 AM with a drink at Hai Scout Café. We then visit Hoi An’s colorful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. 

We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise - 25 minutes - along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef’s before we prepare the same dish ourselves. We also have a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked! 

We will make fresh Rice Paper Rolls of Shrimp; Crispy Hoi An Pancakes with Shrimp, Herbs & a Peanut Sauce; Seafood Salad with mixed Vietnamese Herbs served in Half a Pineapple and Mi Quang Chicken Noodles. *Note: We will also eat Steamed Ocean Fish on a bed of Freshly Chopped Vegetables (not included in the demonstration). *A vegetarian lunch can be provided on request. 

We finish at approximately 13.00 PM – transfer back to Hoi An. Rest and relax.

Evening is free.
Evening option: Relax and enjoy a tranquil evening in the Hoi An countryside with a sunset cruise. Travel along the Thu Bon River by boat through the water coconut palm plantations as the sun is setting. Take a short journey in a traditional basket boat en route to experience a truly local mode of transport. A special moment of the day is watching the sun setting and there is no better place to see this than in Hoi An beside a water coconut palm plantation on the Thu Bon River. Along the way ride in a local basket boat know as a thung chai. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa (B / L)

Day 9 - Tra Que Village - Hoi An

Today we spend time with a local farming family to learn about their daily lifestyle and to discover the flavours of fresh Vietnamese cuisine. After breakfast, we will bike along shady lanes to the village of Tra Que (about 30 minutes) and take a casual stroll around the vegetable garden and listen to the history of this unique village. 

We then join in and participate in farming activities like the locals by preparing the soil, fertilizing with seaweed, raking, sowing, watering and picking vegetables. Prior to lunch we enjoy a herbal foot bath before helping to prepare lunch with the local family. Join in and try cooking the local specialty dishes ‘Tam Huu’ spring rolls and ‘Banh xeo’ pancake of the central region of Viet Nam. After your morning activities and lunch, we then learn how to harvest and wrap the vegetables before farewelling our host family and cycling back to our hotel.

Afternoon free.

This evening will have a reservation at STREETS RestaurantAwarded membership to Clinton Global Initiative in 2014, Streets is a non-profit organization established in 2005 with the aim of providing training and employment for disadvantaged youths and street kids in the catering and hospitality industries. As part of the training programme, the trainees work at the restaurant where they learn to cook and serve international and contemporary Vietnamese cuisine. The profit from the restaurant is then reinvested for future training. 

Overnight La Siesta Resort & Spa. (B / L)

Day 10 - Saigon

Breakfast and check-out. We are transferred to Danang airport for our morning flight to Ho Chi Minh, flight departing at 10.30am.

Upon arrival in Saigon (11.55am), we will be greeted by our local guide and transferred to our hotel.

After check in, rest and refresh, we then depart for half day city tour. Our tour starts at the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace; from here we stroll (our vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: Reunification Palace, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, Notre Dame Cathedral the Opera House and the Hotel de Ville. Later, explore colorful outdoor Markets and Dong Khoi Street, the city's main shopping boulevard, with fashionable boutiques and accessories designed by up-and-coming Vietnamese designers. 

Evening: A foodie night out on the town by Vespa. This Saigon night tour is part night excursion, part street food adventure. Experience Saigon nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. The city comes alive come sundown and people congregate on sidewalks, parks and all over the city at the end of each day. To start off this Saigon night tour, we enjoy drinks at a Vespa-themed café, Café Zoom. Throughout the night we try a variety of food and drinks at 2 local restaurants and samplings of Saigon’s best authentic local food. Zoom past the famous must- see sights of Ho Chi Minh City while in the bustling traffic. We’ll also go to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop with special live music, and then wrap up the evening at an exciting music bar where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique styles. 

We will ride pillion behind our drivers to enjoy and experience the Vietnamese nightlife with friends. We retunr to the hotel approx 10pm.

Overnight Hotel Des Arts Saigon. (B / Street Foods - D)

Day 11 - Mekong Delta

Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta is only around 2 hours away from Saigon, and 15 minutes from My Tho. However, this wonderful destination retains an authenticity which has been somewhat lessened in nearby My Tho. 

This picturesque and friendly Mekong Delta town has historically seen very few travellers, but the recent opening of a bridge connecting Ben Tre and My Tho has made it far easier for day trippers to visit from Saigon. 

Our one day cruise excursion starts at 8:00 am from the lobby of our hotel in Saigon with a drive to Ben Tre. While there, we can take a walk along the waterfront, lined with French era shops and houses, and we’ll see plenty of coconuts being unloaded from boats for dispatch around the country. Then we jump on a boat for a couple of hours of cruising on the Mekong River. We enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant or on board. The excursion will end at around 16.00 PM where the vehicle will await us for our transfer back to Saigon. 

Return to hotel Evening free.

Overnight Hotel Des Arts Saigon. (B / L)

Day 12 - Day 12 - Depart Vietnam, Arrive Cambodia

This morning we have free time until check-out. We are then transferred to Ho Chi Minh airport for our onward flight to Phnom Penh, departing 12.20pm. (Arrival in Phnom Penh at 13.20pm)

On arrival in Phnom Penh, we check in and relax at our gorgeous hotel – the White Mansion – where we will stay for three nights.

After check in, we have time to rest and relax.This afternoon would be a perfect time to try out the Hotel spa which is fabulous and completely affordable. 

Evening: Dine-Around the City at Night (Departure approx 5.30pm). Phnom Penh is at its finest at night—when the sun sets the city comes alive with energy and vibrancy. This evening we will head out with our guide to explore the sights of the capital while sampling dishes from various restaurants en route. We begin our evening with a sundowner cocktail at the city’s highest restaurant to watch the sun set beyond the capitol’s young skyline, before being whisked away by tuk-tuk to a hidden restaurant tucked down one of Phnom Penh’s back alleys, to whet your appetite on local tapas. Our main course will be at a fantastic hidden gem of a restaurant, well known by locals and expatriates alike but far from the tourists, where we will feast on Cambodian barbeque and locally-brewed beer. We end the evening on the riverfront with coffee and dessert at the famed FCC. The Foreign Correspondants Club (FCC) has been the meeting place for intrepid adventurers, locals and visitors, from around the world. It proved popular with foreign journalists and aid workers, who gathered around the bar for a cold beer and a swapping of tales. The FCC became the cornerstone of the capitol’s riverfront district.

Overnight White Mansion Boutique Hotel (B, Dine Around Dinner)

Day 13 - Phnom Penh

Hidden Gems of Phnom Penh (08.30 AM – 11.30 AM). Weaving through Phnom Penh’s colourful city streets bustling with activity and the whizzing of motos, today a local architecture student will reveal some of our favourite hidden gems of this multifaceted capital by traditional transportation method, the cyclo. 

Pedal power affords a gentler pace to soak up the modern architectural heritage of this burgeoning capital. Take in highlights that showcase the city’s fusion of past and present and its juxtaposition of old and new. Most of these buildings reflect three basic groups, the Chinese shop-house style, the late 19th and early 20th century French colonial buildings – with an eclectic mix of influences and the New Khmer Architecture” of the late 1950’s – 1960’s, built in the post-independent Golden era. 

As brand new apartment blocks spring up from the charming chaos, discover there’s more than first meets the eye to Cambodia’s capital. 

We head back to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

PM: City tour of Phnom Penh (14.00 PM – 18.00 PM). 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 head to the National Museum, which houses the world's foremost collection of Khmer art. You can then opt to explore the shops and boutiques in Street 240 area or visit the small hill within the city, Wat Phnom and learn how the city got its name. 

This evening we have a dinner reservation 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. (*This is an optional evening)

Overnight White Mansion (B)

Day 14 - To Battambang

AM: Killing Fields + S21 Prison. This morning (approx 08.00am) we visit the infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This is a former high school that the Khmer Rouge converted to an interrogation centre and prison in 1975 during the genocide. More than 17,000 people were tortured there before being murdered at the killing fields outside of the city. 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. Today, the country is finally at peace and in the process of recovery. 

We then transfer to Battambang (approx 5 hours by road). We will pass the villages, markets and rural scenery along National Road No 5. En-route we will stop at the ceramic village of Kampong Chhnang to learn more about the pottery in this province. Traditional Angkorian pottery has been resurrected in Kampong Chhnang, with villagers mixing ancient knowledge with modern techniques, a new exhibition illustrates. Chhnang, which means ‘pot’, tells the story of how villagers struggling to sell inferior earthenware products learned traditional methods in order to make their goods more attractive.

We arrive at our lovely hotel, check in, and enjoy a well-deserved cocktail!

Overnight Bambu Hotel. (B)

Day 15 - Battambang

AM: Half Day Bicycle Tour, Local Industries. This tour takes us on journey to have a closer look at the traditional Cambodian local industries surrounding Battambang. We depart at 7:30am and take a relaxed route along shaded roads through the countryside, making it back to town in time for lunch (own cost). Along the way we will meet local families and learn about their traditional livelihoods and businesses, often unchanged throughout generations. We will get to try our hand at local industries such as rice paper making, rice wine and snack on Battambang’s famous bamboo rice cakes. This will be an interactive and personal experience in Cambodia’s countryside.

We can stop by Kinyei Cafe, an employee-owned social enterprise serving the best coffee in Battambang for a Cambodian coffee - either before or after the ride. 

We return to the hotel for rest and relaxation.

This evening we have an early dinner reservation at Jaan Bai. Jaan Bai, meaning “rice bowl” in Khmer, is a social enterprise restaurant providing skills and employment for youth, with all profits going to the overall sustainability of Cambodian Children’s Trust. It has benefited from the support of Vittoria Coffee and training from chef David Thompson, as well as restaurateur John Fink. (*This an optional dinner)

Overnight Bambu Hotel (B)

Day 16 - To Siem Reap

This morning we transfer from Battambang to Siem Reap by road (approx 3 hours, 30 minutes). En-route we can see villages, markets and rural scenery along National Road No 5 & 6. We can stop at Banteay Neang, with a pagoda on the top of the hill with good views of the village around, at Sisophon market to see what it looks like as this province gets much influence from Thailand, or at Preah Netpreah to learn more about the craft of stone carving, about 20Km after Sisophon. 

On arrival in Siem Reap, we are taken to our gorgeous hotel, Viroths’, where we spend the next 4 nights. We check in and take time to relax.

Evening: Siem Reap Foodie Night Tour by Vespa - 18:00 to 22:30. This evening we’ll take you on a food adventure, stopping off at some of the gems and hotspots popular with Siem Reap’s locals, from small local restaurants to night markets and bustling street-food stands. Exploring the city by Vespa – the perfect way to immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle – we will have the opportunity to try exotic fruits, fried creepy crawlies, grilled meats and other treats, washed down with local beer, rice wine and soft drinks. You will awaken your senses to the sweet, bitter and unique flavours previously unknown to those outside of Cambodia, in a truly exciting and authentic way. This street food tour is great for photo opportunities so have your camera at the ready. 

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, D - Street Foods)

Day 17 - 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.

Early Dinner: Enjoy local delicacies at 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.

Evening: Phare, The Cambodian Circus (Showtime 20.00 - 21.00). Tightrope walkers, contortionists and acrobats take to the stage for a dynamic artistic spectacle. Blending visual arts, traditional music, modern dance and classic circus skills, this sister circus set-up arose from the NGO, Phare Ponleu Selpak based in Battambang. They have toured internationally to critical acclaim, assuring an impressive and entertaining performance tonight. Our front row seats ensure we won’t miss a moment’s action.

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, L, Sunset Drinks)

Day 18 - Siem Reap

AM: Learn to Cook Khmer. *Starts approx 0930am. This morning we discover the secrets of authentic Khmer cuisine during a half-day cooking class. This is a hand on Cambodian Cooking Class in a bamboo pavilion. We will learn to make three Cambodian dishes - Amok fish or chicken, Khmer mango salad, and sticky rice four balls with palm sugar (aka husband-killing cake) - with a head chef and then enjoy our creation following the class. We also have a short visit to a local family to learn about food customs and beliefs within the village.

After lunch, & time permitting a brief visit to our hotel, we visit the Golden Silk Pheach Farm, a local NGO which helps to revive the ancient Khmer know-how in silk activities and provides job opportunities to more than 100 local staff. The farm area, mulberry trees and weaving ateliers are part of our tour. Golden Silk products are ecologically produced from the yellow silkworm which is unique to Cambodia. Some of the silk products are months, or even years, in the making and each one is unique. This is one for the connoisseurs of high quality craftwork.

We then travel to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The so-called “Citadel of the Women” remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art as this small temple is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor.

On our way back to Siem Reap, we enjoy sunset drinks with a leisurely boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom and view hidden elements of the ancient Khmer water systems, relaxing with Gin & Tonic in hand and accompanied by the sound of bird song. 

We return to the hotel. Evening is free.

Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B)

Day 19 - Siem Reap

Early AM: Angkor Wat Sunrise and Exploration. (04.45am-11.00am). A sunrise tour starts at pre-dawn to witness the breathtaking view of Angkor Wat temple, the best place for photography. 

Constructed over a period of 30 years during the reign of King Suryavarman II [AD1113], by some measures it is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally a Hindu mountain temple aligned to the spring equinox, around the C16th it was converted to a Theravada Buddhist monument, a capacity in which it continues today. 

We continue to visit Ta Prohm, where we can take our time to walk through the temple from the West entrance to the East entrance to meet again with our driver (walk 1–2 km). 

We stop for a light breakfast around this peaceful area before exploring further. 

End the morning at Angkor Wat by the quieter and less frequented Eastern causeway. The temple is busy at any time of day, but late morning is the quietest time for us to explore and admire this architectural wonder and the world class bas reliefs. 

We will explore the well preserved central complex and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and battles of the ancient empire. The beauty in balance and composition, combined with its sheer vast scale ensure Angkor Wat’s place as the crowning achievement in Khmer art and architecture. This is truly one of travel’s remaining great adventures. 

We then return by road to Siem Reap for lunch (own cost). 

Free time to relax. Option to visit the markets in Siem Reap, or enjoy a relaxing spa treatment or massage at the hotel and time to rest and relax following our early rise. 

PM: Countryside Senses – Farewell Dinner (14.00pm - 21.00pm). Beyond the temples lies a rural landscape which is often little changed since the days of Jayavarman VII. We depart on a journey of discovery through the rural landscape to reach villages where mass tourism cannot follow; we will be led between rice paddies, through woodland and back gardens on foot, by ox-cart and boat to experience the very best of the countryside. A short drive from Siem Reap allows us a visit to a colourful contemporary pagoda to seek a blessing from the monks. We will take an ox-cart ride through typical villages followed by an easy walk to bring us to the vast Western Baray. An impressive engineering feat, this man-made reservoir was once integral to the complex Angkorian rice irrigation system. We will travel by boat (*depending on water level) to Chandara, a country Villa surrounded by rice paddies. While the chef prepares our dinner, you can take a wander across the levees of the rice paddies, look for fish traps, or walk a short distance to a viewpoint over the ancient reservoir, whilst listening to the elegance of traditional Khmer music played by local musicians, before being seated for our meal - our ‘Farewell Dinner’.

Overnight Overnight Viroth Hotel. (B, D)

Day 20 - Departure

Depending on time of departure, we may have time for another exploration of the Old Market for souvenir shopping, selling all kinds of wonderful and exotic foodstuffs 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. Transfer to the airport and depart home.

About this tour

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.

Jasmine Junk, Halong Bay - Jasmine Junk offers comfort, a friendly crew and understated elegance. With 23 cabins, the Jasmine is built in the style of a traditional Vietnamese junk, with three tawny sails and dark wood-cladding. Jasmine’s interiors, like the exterior, are covered in polished wood, lending the Jasmine the stately air of an Indochina-era cruising boat. Guests can convene in the formal dining room, enjoy casual barbecues on the terrace and marvel at the bay’s moonlit beauty on the Jasmine’s wide Sundeck. After days spent learning Tai Chi, kayaking, and visiting local fishing villages, guests can enjoy various traditional massage treatments. The Jasmine’s experienced crew does their utmost to showcase the bay’s indescribable wonders.

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 Vedan? 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.

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. 

Hotel Des Art Saigon, Saigon - Set on a bustling street in the city center, the MGallery Hotel Des Art Saigon is an elegant hotel only a 6-minute walk from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and a 12-minute walk from Independence Palace. Featuring rainfall showerheads and floor-to-ceiling windows with city views, the polished rooms and suites come with free Wi-Fi and smart TVs, as well as minibars and tea and coffeemakers. Room service is offered. Dining options include 2 refined restaurants, 1 with a terrace and a gourmet European menu. There are also 3 bars, including 1 at the outdoor rooftop pool. Other amenities include a spa, a gym and 2 tennis courts. Bike rentals are offered.

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.

Bambu Lodge, Battambang - Bambu Hotel is a thoughtfully designed, 16 room boutique hotel in Battambang, about a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town or an even shorter tuk tuk ride. Most of the rooms are in traditionally inspired wooden villas at the rear of the property. Exposed roof beams, rustic art deco tiling and wooden shutters complete the look. All rooms have a balcony or terrace to chill out and relax. Careful landscaping ensures the ground floor terraces are private. Solar panels are used to provide most of the power for the hotel. There is a restaurant and bar onsite with a popular pre-dinner happy hour - especially while lazing around the salt water swimming pool. Straw hats are provided on the sun loungers for those who forgot to pack their own. Bambu connects with the community by supporting an English programme at a local village school, which guests may choose to visit.

Viroth Hotel, Siem Reap: In the centre of Siem Reap, on a lush property among shops and dining in the vibrant Wat Bo area, Viroth Hotel is all sharp lines, crisp whites and eye-catching vertical foliage. Open to the outdoors thanks to balconies, patios and a leafy courtyard restaurant, this bold but laid-back bolthole is the talk of the town: a smart pool, a pampering spa and sleek mid-century stylings just a hop and a skip from Siem Reap’s buzzy nightlife. Decked out with black floor tiles, jewel-toned day-beds and hand-picked antiques, rooms have a retro flavour livened up with tropical foliage and local handicraft, each with a private terrace. The centrepiece of a peaceful palm-fringed courtyard within drifting distance of the bar, the hotel’s 20-metre, mosaic-tiled pool is a crisp shade of aqua blue – just the ticket for a cooling dip after a day of temple-traipsing in the heat. And framed by a living plant wall, Sokkhak spa bears the Khmer name for tranquility. 

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 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 & 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 (including a spare pair of glasses). 

NOTES - 
*We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Vietnam.
*Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
*If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.

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 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 & Cambodia. Most ATMs have an English language version. 

Credit Cards: Most credit cards are accepted in Vietnam & 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 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
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry unless stated
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance - PLEASE ASK US FOR A QUOTE
  • 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.