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Best of Vietnam & Cambodia

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
16
Avg user rating: 
5
Asia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam | 19 days
Trip code: 
TVSKC
What's included: 

Transport - Private minibus, Bus, in country flight, Overnight sleeper train, Boat

Accommodation - Hotels (15 nts), overnight sailing junk (1 nt), overnight train (1 nt)

Meals - 11 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinner

Trip Highlights: 
Cruise Halong Bay
Discover a slower pace of life in the Mekong Delta
See the incredible temples of Angkor
Revisit Cambodia's dark past in Phnom Penh
see full itinerary >>
Holidays in Vietnam
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
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Itinerary options
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Itinery Map

Itinerary

(Departures in 2012-13)
  • Day 1 - Arrive Hanoi
  • Day 2 - Halong Bay
  • Day 3 - Halong Bay - Hanoi
  • Day 4-5 - Hue
  • Day 6-7 - Hoi An
  • Day 8-10 - Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 11-12 - Phnom Penh
  • Day 13-15 - Siem Reap / Angkor Wat
  • Day 16 - Battambang
  • Day 17 - Bangkok
  • Day 18 - Tour ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Unpublished
Day
1

Arrive Hanoi

Arrive Hanoi and make your way to your hotel. There are no activities planned until your welcome meeting early this evening. The meeting will be followed by an optional group dinner. Hotel - 1 nt

Day
2
Halong Bay

Halong Bay

After a buffet breakfast at the inspirational KOTO restaurant, dedicated to training disadvantaged street children in hospitality, you drive to Halong Bay (approx. 4 hours) and board your private boat. You'll enjoy lunch while cruising past some of the thousands of limestone karsts within this World Heritage site. You'll have an opportunity to swim in the bay's emerald waters, explore caves with incredible formations of stalactites and stalagmites or simply kick back and enjoy the tranquility of this bay of wonders. You then spend a peaceful night on board your boat. 

Your Halong Bay overnight accommodation is on a sailing junk with twin bed cabins that have air-conditioning and private facilities. There is also a dining room and bar where we enjoy a scrumptious lunch and dinner. Junk - 1 nt (B,L,D)

Please note: due to an unforseen change in regulations by the authorities, the number of boats allowed to overnight in the bay has been decreased, so in order to ensure that all groups can be accommodated, you may find yourself sharing a larger boat (appros. 12 cabins) with another group.

Day
3
Halong Bay - Hanoi

Halong Bay - Hanoi

In the morning you may be able to visit the Dong Trieu ceramic village as you make your way back to the capital (approx. 3.5 hours). Once back in Hanoi, there's a chance for more exploration. Why not head back to the Old Quarter, stroll the city's tree-lined boulevards or enjoy the tranquillity of the lakes over a traditional Vietnamese coffee? Otherwise, stock up on freshly baked baguettes and bottled water for the trip ahead. 

In the evening you board an overnight train. Conditions are basic and cleanliness might not be as we would expect back home, however overnight trains are a truly Intrepid experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have 4 berth compartments (occasionally 6 berth depending on seasonal variations) of which are bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you will be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure. Overnight train - 1 nt (B)

Day
4-5
Hue

Hue

Arriving in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, you have two full days to enjoy the many sights and slower pace of this tranquil city. You'll visit the Imperial Citadel, one of the Nguyen emperors' tombs and also if not in festival time enjoy a dragonboat cruise on the Perfume River. Hue, known as the centre of Buddhism and education in Vietnam, has a wealth of pagodas and monasteries to discover. You'll also find many a student here willing to be your personal guide and to show you the many secrets of this regal city. Don't miss the busy Dong Ba Market while you're here - it offers a vast array of goods and foods to see and sample, including traditional Hue specialties such as banh khoai, a delicious stuffed pancake. Hotel - 2 nts (B - day 5)

Day
6-7
Hoi An

Hoi An

Leaving Hue, your bus journey (approx. 4 hours) takes you south through rural countryside and the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co before ascending the dramatic Hai Van Pass. You arrive at the newly declared World Heritage Site of Hoi An and take an orientation tour of the ancient town. 

Once a thriving river port, the town's architecture has been mostly preserved and restored. This small town is a real favourite of ours and wandering the streets and narrow alleyways brings hours of pleasure and discovery. Hoi An's citizens today trade in ceramics, wood-ware, painting and tailoring so there is something here for everyone and it's the perfect place to pick up gifts for those at home. The town has also become famous for it's tailoring and if you take along an item of clothing or even just a picture, you'll be amazed how quickly and accurately it's copied. There are options here for a visit to the ancient Cham city of My Son, boating, or simply lazing the day away on a nearby beach. Hotel - 2 nts (B)

Day
8-10
Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

A short flight takes you to the emerging economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City (approx. 1 hour). Your hotel is located close to Ben Thanh Market and the city's main shopping district, so there is much for you to explore and discover. In the afternoon, you take a city tour and also visit the War Remnants Museum.

Starting early in the morning on day 9 (8.00am) you take a day trip to My Tho (2.5 hrs). En Route you stop by a local brick making factory and visit the small cottage industry of salt making. Take this opportunity to wander this remote village and learn more about the local rural life so seldom seen. You then visit a nearby garden restaurant, in the heart of the Delta, where you can sample some of the regional specialities such as the famous Elephant ear fish. After lunch you board small rowing boats, sampans, and paddle through the many mangrove tributaries that make up the Mekong Delta. Boarding your main private boat, you then cruise through more major waterways, arriving in Ben Tre town. Boarding your private minivan you visit a candy factory and have the opportunity to sample the local candies for which this region is famous. Returning to Ho Chi Minh City (approx 6.00pm), there's time for some shopping at the night market or some further sightseeing.

As this is a combination trip the composition of your group and your Group Leader will change on day 10. Hotel - 3 nts (B)

Day
11-12
Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh

From Ho Chi Minh City you travel by public bus through rural Vietnam and Cambodia (approx. 6-7 hours) to reach Phnom Penh.

You confront Cambodia's tragic past here, paying a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. You also drive out to the Choueng Ek Memorial, which marks the site of the Killing Fields. To learn about a brighter period in the country's history, make an optional visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Phnom Penh has many other attractions also, and there is time for you to explore the Russian Market and National Museum. You could also take a stroll along the famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the bustling river traffic. 

On these nights we stay in a centrally located 2 star standard hotel. Hotel - 2 nts (B - day 11)

Day
13-15
Siem Reap / Angkor Wat

Siem Reap / Angkor Wat

You travel by private bus to Siem Reap (approx. 6 hrs). A great opportunity to look at the real Cambodia, you will make several stops at points of interest along the way, including an opportunity to sample the local cuisine of deep fried spiders; and for a boat trip to visit one of the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake. 

Important note about the boat trip:
Water levels on the Tonle Sap lake fluctuate greatly and sometimes rapidly. If the quality of the trip is likely to be compromised due to extreme water levels or weather conditions, it may be necessary to cancel the local boat trip on the Tonle Sap Lake or schedule a day change for the visit.

On days 14 and 15 you temple-hop from sunrise to sunset to make the most of your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex with your local guide. These temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer Empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are mind-blowing and there are spectacular photographic opportunities at any time of day. The ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 sq km, but the main cluster of temples is close to Siem Reap so you will have plenty of time to fully appreciate the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.

On these nights you stay in a 2 star standard hotel with restaurant and swimming pool. Hotel - 3 nts

Day
16
Battambang

Battambang

On Day 16 you travel by bus to Battambang, (pronounced Battambong). Cambodia's second-largest city, is an attractive riverside town with traces of French elegance, friendly Khmer people and well-preserved colonial architecture. There is time to explore the town and to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Depending on group wishes there is the chance to take a mouth-watering cooking class, a leisurely walk along the river, or explore the local life and surrounding countryside.

Tonight you stay in a 2 star standard hotel. Hotel - 1 nt

Day
17
Bangkok

Bangkok

It's a long day's drive from Battambang to Bangkok, approx 7 hours including a border crossing (at Poipet) and lunch stop.

Time permitting on arrival in Bangkok, your leader can help you to organise some activities, perhaps a visit the opulent Grand Palace, a boat ride down the famous Bangkok khlongs or a trip to the shopping districts in downtown Bangkok. Your leader will organise an optional final dinner together. Tonight you stay in a 2 star standard hotel with restaurant. Hotel - 1 nt

Day
18

Tour ends

Your tour ends today in Bangkok.

 

Meals above are reflective of tours departing in 2013.