Arrive into Hanoi where you will meet with your guide before being transferred to your overnight accommodation.
This morning it’s off to the Hanoi Cooking Centre for an introduction into Vietnamese cuisine. Before getting down to business, you’ll visit the Chau Long Market to see the wide variety of fresh produce available before returning to the cooking centre for your class. Under the watchful eye of experiences cooks, you’ll prepare a range of dishes which can then be sampled alongside local beers or wines. After lunch back at the hotel, the afternoon is spent a leisure before a late check-out as you head for the station and the overnight train to Lao Cai.
Arriving into Lao Cai, you’ll meet up with your guide before the transfer through spectacular scenery to the mountain town of Sapa. After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be taken on a tour of the town and the local market with the afternoon then at leisure.
Head towards the Muong Hoa Valley before heading on foot through the largest rice paddy in the region; passing through the villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van en-route to the Topas Ecolodge. Here, you’ll spend the night entranced by some of the most impressive views of the surrounding valley.
Head on foot to Dao Lech Village to experience local life before travelling back to the Ecolodge to check out. After some time at leisure, you will be transferred back to Lao Cai to board the train for the overnight journey back to Hanoi.
Arriving back in Hanoi, you’ll embark on a day exploring the delights of the city; start starting out with a visit to the mausoleum of the father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. You’ll then continue onwards to the wooden house that he called home for part of his life through the 1950s and 60s and have opportunity to marvel at the nearby One Pillar Pagoda. From there, it’s on to the Temple of Literature and the temples of Tran Quoc and Quan Thanh before a walk through the Old Quarter – which is home to countless small businesses amidst a maze of streets and alleys. A special Water Puppet show will then bring the day to an end.
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the sights of Hanoi.
After a morning drive to Halong Bay, you’ll transfer onto your boat for a cruise out into Halong Bay. Enjoy lunch onboard as you explore the various rock formations – such as the Sail and the Dog - before the anchor is dropped as the sun goes down. Dinner will then be served before a night onboard.
Breakfast is served onboard as the ship returns to the dock in Halong Bay, before you are transferred back to Hanoi for the night.
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll head for the airport to board a flight to Hue, where you will then be taken your hotel to drop off your luggage. A half day tour of the city then gets underway with a visit to the Imperial Citadel to explore the ruins of the monument where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled for nearly 150 years, before a cyclo ride through the Old City to Tinh Tam Lake where emperors would go to relax. The day will then end with a trip to marvel at the impressive 21 metre tall tower at Thien Mu Pagoda before returning to your hotel.
- Muong Thanh Hue Hotel (B)
Leaving Hue behind, you’ll travel along the scenic route to Hoi An, passing through the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before travelling across the Pass of Ocean Clouds – a route described as ‘one of the best coast roads in the world’ by the hit TV show Top Gear
. On arrival in Hoi An, you can take a tour around the ancient town centre, including a visit to the 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market.
Spend a day at leisure to do as you wish
Checking out of your hotel, you’ll head for the airport to board a flight to Ho Chi Minh, where a guide will be waiting to transfer you onwards to your hotel. Once you are checked in, the remainder of the day can be spent at leisure.
Today you’ll have chance to see what it was like to be part of the Viet Cong during the French and American wars as you take a trip out to the Cu Chi district to visit the tunnel network constructed by the Vietnamese resistance fighters. During your trip to and from the tunnels, you can take in the backdrop of rice paddies and villagers going about their daily business before lunch in a local restaurant and the chance to start exploring Ho Chi Minh in the afternoon. The former Presidential Palace – where the Vietnam War ended – is amongst the sites that you’ll visit, as are the Old Saigon Post Office and the Opera House.
Today you’ll once again head out of Ho Chi Minh with a drive to the delta town of Cai Be. On arrival, you’ll board a boat to take a cruise onto the waterways of the Mekong Delta; starting out with a journey through the floating markets where you can watch the locals trading their goods. You’ll then visit a traditional Vietnamese cottage factory where pop-rice, rice paper and coconut candies are produced before getting back to the boat for the scenic ride to Dong Hiep Island. Here you can enjoy a traditional Mekong-style lunch and an optional Sampan trip before the return to Ho Chi Minh.
Your time in Vietnam comes to an end as you leave your hotel and head for the airport to board a flight to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Once you’ve been accompanied to your hotel to check in, you’ll have opportunity to relax in a city packed with colonial charm ahead of a busy day exploring all of the major tourist sites.
- Frangipani Royal Palace (B)
Your tour of Phnom Penh will start with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda; so called because of the 5000 silver tiles that cover the floors. Here, you can marvel at the impressive collection of a Buddhes before heading for the National Museum to take in one of the world’s foremost collections of Khmer artifacts. After a break at your hotel, it’s time to explore the recent dark history of the country with a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – housed in the former school that served as a detention and torture centre for the Khmer Rouge. There follows a visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, where a special audio guide will provide harrowing but compelling stories from survivors and liberators of the camp. Whilst far from an easy trip to make, the afternoon will give a true insight into the difficulties faced by the Cambodian people in the not-too-distant past.
- Frangipani Royal Palace (B)
After breakfast, you’ll take a short flight away from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap; the gateway to the Temples of Angkor. Today is all about the Tonle Sap Lake however with a chance to take a cruise out onto the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia to explore how locals live on a lake that grows in the wet season when the Mekong River reverses its flow. Whilst on the lake, you’ll visit the stilted village of Kompong Phluck and pass by flooded forests before returning to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
During the dry season, an alternative outing to Chong Kneas will be arranged instead
- Somadevi Angkor Hotel & Spa (B)
Enjoy a full day exploring the Temple of Angkor; starting out with the most famous of them all – Angkor Wat. Built in the early 12th century, the temple is home to a selection of impressive stone carvings and bas-reliefs and features on the Cambodian national flag as a symbol of the soul of the Khmer people. From there, you’ll head for the walled city of Angkor Tjom to visit the Bayon Temple before a well-earned rest back at your hotel. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the stunning pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srei and the unique remains of Ta Prohm – which has been left as it was found, overgrown by jungle trees and vines.
- Somadevi Angkor Hotel & Spa (B)
Enjoy some time at leisure to relax, or grab some last minute souvenirs before heading for the airport for your departure flight.
All content and services, including overnight hotels and number of nights, are subject to change and may vary from the inclusions as shown in the itinerary. Specified hotels/content/services are therefore not guaranteed, however we and our suppliers undertake to ensure that any alternatives provided will always be of a similar standard or content/service type.