Cambodia & Vietnam Discovery
20 Nights / 21 Days
Active Tour¦21 Days¦Physical Level 3
Hanoi – Hoang Su Phi – Halong Bay – Hoi An – Hue – Saigon – Mekong Delta – Siem Reap
Discover two fascinating countries. Hike through the verdant rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi and taste the street food in Hanoi. Your journey ends with an unforgettable exploration of the Angkor Wat complex by tuk tuk.
? Taste Hanoi's delightful cuisine ? Hike lush rice terraces ? Kayak on stunning Halong Bay ? Learn traditional farming techniques in Hoi An ? Ride pillion on a vintage Vespa on a night time foodie tour of Saigon ? Discover Angkor by tuk tuk ? See local life on Tonle Sap
Vietnam and Cambodia Discovery tour inclusions:
Meals as stated on your itinerary
ll sightseeing and entrance fees
All transportation and transfers
English speaking National Escort (if your group is 10 or more passengers) or Local Guides
Visa fees for UK and EU passport holders
Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
Comprehensive travel guides
Safe and secure with ABTA, ATOL and IATA
Please ask our sales agent to price the International Flights
The only thing you may have to pay for are personal expenditure e.g. drinks, optional excursions or shows, insurance of any kind, early check in or late checkout and other items not specified on the itinerary.
Itinerary – Vietnam and Cambodia Discovery
Day 1-2: Hanoi Meals included: Dinner
Fly to Hanoi, where you will be met at the airport in the arrival hall by your Local Guide or National Escort. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer 45 minutes to your hotel and check into your room or store any luggage if arriving prior to check-in time. There is no sightseeing today.
● With a population of approximately four million, Hanoi is a charming and richly historic city of lakes, shaded boulevards and leafy open parks. The centre is an architectural museum piece housing groups of ochre coloured buildings evoking the atmosphere of provincial French towns of the 1930s.
Day 3: Hanoi Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Start your morning with a wander through Ba Dinh Square and visit the Ho Chi Minh complex, passing the final resting place of Uncle Ho and the House on Stilts. Next, learn about Vietnam’s ethnic minorities at the Ethnology Museum before visiting the Confucian Temple of Literature. Take a walking tour of Hanoi’s exciting Old Quarter before taking a light stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake, a great place to people watch. Sightseeing in central Hanoi involves approximately 4 hours on foot. This evening, take a walking tour of the city’s unique street-side night life and food vendors. Taste the varied flavours of Vietnamese street food such as Pho Cuon and barbecued beef.
In case of rain, the street food tour itinerary may include a visit to a covered noodle stall.
The Ethnology Museum is closed on Mondays and on Vietnamese New Year; if your visit falls on these days, you will go to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum as an alternative.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – is a large memorial, located in Ba Dinh Square. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, who announced Vietnam’s independence in the same location in 1945.
Ethnology Museum – At the Ethnology Museum you will learn about the minority groups of Hanoi, including the black and red H’mong hill people. The museum is made up of an inside and outside area. The outside area displays traditional Vietnamese houses.
Temple of Literature – Dating back to 11th century, the Temple of Literature has long played an important centre for Confucianism and scholarly learning.
Day 4: Hanoi
● Hoang Su Phi Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast travel approximately 9 hours to Hoang Su Phi, one of northern Vietnam’s emerald green rice terrace areas, stoppping en route for lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin exploring. In Hoang Su Phi you will be staying in a local eco lodge. Please be aware that accommodation here is basic and the hot water for showers is solar powered so may not always be reliable. You will need to pack a smaller bag for your 3 night trip to Hoang Su Phi. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Hanoi and picked up your return
Hoang Su Phi – Home to spectacular rice terraces, lush valleys and rugged mountains, Hoang Su Phi is an explorer’s dream and Sapa’s lesser known, but equally spectacular counterpart.
Day 5: Panhou Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hike for approximately 4 hours today to visit Tay village, through the spectacular countryside, you will walk over some uneven surfaces and at times at an incline. You will walk along the Chay river, pass through the dam, enjoy rice paddies and mountain scenery while walking to Tay Village where you can discovery more local culture. Enjoy lunch at the one of the houses of the Tay people, before walking back to the lodge.
Please ensure you have sturdy and comfortable walking shoes as mountain trails can become slippery in wet weather.
Day 6: Panhou Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today leave Pan Hou with your guide to explore the nearby mountains through rice terraces. Walk through a local market before hiking along the trail and see a panorama view of terrace paddies fields. By necessity, the local people have sculpted the mountainside and use its water courses to grow rice. These laborious adjustments, which enable them to live in the heights, offer you some unique landscapes to contemplate. In crop season, their fields look like pieces of curved mirror. Later in rice season, they have various green and yellow colours with different tones which made them a vivid picture. After a few hours of trekking, take a break in a village of the Red Dao for lunch. Then we continue our discovery of the local vegetation while trekking back to Panhou.
Today’s walking time will total a duration of approximately 4-5 hours.
Day 7: Hoang Su Phi – Hanoi Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Travel 9 hours back to Hanoi and enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.
Day 8: Hanoi – Halong Bay Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive around 2 and a half hours today from Hanoi to Halong, where you will take an overnight cruise to the far-most corners of the bay. Boarding your boat could involve navigating your way over and through other boats, moored between it and the dock, sometimes without handrails, ladders or assistance from staff.
Enjoy lunch onboard as you cruise out into the bay, stopping to anchor for an afternoon of activities (which are subject to change due to cruise selection and weather conditions). Sightseeing includes visiting underground caves on the islands, which require climbing up and down steps inside and outside of the caves. End the day on deck with a drink in hand to watch the sunset over the bay followed by a freshly prepared dinner, before retiring to your cabin for the night.
You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to Halong Bay. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Hanoi and picked up on your return. Please note: Weather conditions may delay the departure time of your cruise, or in rarer cases your cruise may be cancelled. Notifications of any delays or cancellations may not be known until your group’s arrival in Halong Bay. If your cruise is cancelled after your arrival in Halong Bay, you will have lunch in Halong City and return to Hanoi. If notification of the cruise cancellation is given prior to your departure for Halong Bay an alternative day trip will be arranged to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc or ‘Halong Bay on Land’, an area located approximately 2 hours from Hanoi. Our guides will make every effort to inform the group at the earliest possible moment should there be any itinerary changes.
● Compared to the landscape of the limestone islets of Guilin in China and Krabi in southern Thailand, Halong Bay shares a common border with China in the north and harbours some of the most stunning scenery in Vietnam. Unique rock sculptures jut out dramatically from the clear emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and numerous grottoes have created an enchanting, timeless world, looking out onto the horizon with the sails of the passing junks completing the picture.
Day 9: Halong Bay – Hoi An Meals included: Brunch, Dinner
Start your day on deck with a relaxing Tai Chi session whilst you admire an amazing sunrise over the karst scenery. Spend the morning sailing through Halong Bay. After brunch return to Hanoi for your 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Danang. From here, drive to Hoi An.
● Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religion and architecture. In 1999, the town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage listed site for having the most unique architecture in Southeast Asia.
Day 10: Hoi An Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Hop on your bike today and wheel through the scenic rice paddies outside Hoi An. Pay a visit to local farmers where you can try your hand at traditional farming techniques – look out for water buffalo! Enjoy a calming boat ride to a peaceful fishing village, where you can try making a fishing net and go paddling in unique bamboo basket boats.
Day 11: Hoi An – Hue Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Enjoy a leisurely walk past Chinese traders’ houses, local artists and the 16th century Japanese Bridge. Drive for 3 to 4 hours to Hue, stopping en route at the Museum of Cham Sculpture. This journey will take you over the scenic Hai Van Pass.
Museum of Cham Sculpture – Located on the Han River, the Museum of Cham Sculpture is the world’s largest collection of Cham architecture. The Cham people are an ethnic group of South East Asia, living in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Japanese Covered Bridge
● First constructed in the 1590s to link the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the town. This iconic pink hued bridge has been restored to its former splendour.
Hue – was the former imperial capital of Vietnam and the imperial palace is based on the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Day 12: Hue Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Cycle through Hue for a tour of the imperial sights. The tour lasts from around 8.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. stopping for lunch and at the sites, the roads are mostly flat. Start at the imperial City, then continue to Phu Mong Garden House, part of Hue’s legacy from the Nguyen Dynasty. Return to your bike and stop at Thien Mu Pagoda which overlooks the Perfume River. Drive to Tu Duc Tomb, a sprawling compound with lakes, waterways and walkways connecting different memorials. From here, take a cyclo tour along the banks of the Perfume River
● A walled fortress accompanied by cannons, artilleries and surrounded by a moat for protection. Inside the Citadel are numerous gates, courtyards and the Forbidden Purple City.
Thien Mu Pagoda
● This seven-storey octagonal tower built on a hillock, overlooking the Perfume River is Hue's oldest and most beautiful pagoda.
Day 13: Hue
● Saigon Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Spend the morning at leisure before transferring to Da Nang for your 1 hour flight to Saigon. This evening, you will be driven around Saigon on the back of a vintage Vespa with an experienced driver. Stop for a cocktail before tasting mouthwatering dishes in Chinatown, District 4 and the backstreets of Saigon.
● Saigon is one of the world’s truly cosmopolitan cities with a history, culture and style obtained from colonial France, ancient China and the art deco era. Once the main port of Cambodia's Mekong territory, Saigon became the capital of France's Cochinchina and later the capital of the Republic of Vietnam. It remained the capital of South Vietnam until reunification at the end of the American War in Vietnam in 1975, when the capital was moved to Hanoi.
Day 14: Saigon Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning drive 2 hours to discover the amazing network of the Cu Chi Tunnels. Sightseeing here involves 2 hours on foot on uneven paths through the bush and, if you choose, crawling through some of the tunnels. Continue to Reunification Palace and the iconic Central Post Office, and view the façade of the Notre Dame Cathedral (under renovation until 2023) before visiting the War Remnants Museum. This is an emotive museum which you are invited to explore at your own pace. Sightseeing in central Saigon will be approximately 3 hours.
● The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong's base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped to counter the growing American military effort.
● Built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Vi?t Th? and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on 30th April 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.
War Remnants Museum
● Comprised of numerous buildings displaying military equipment, photographs and artefacts relating to the Vietnam War from 1961-1975. This museum illustrates a harrowing period in this nation’s history.
Day 15: Saigon
● Mekong Delta Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Head south for 2 hours to Ben Tre, gateway to the Mekong Delta. Here, you will take a boat ride on the river, observing daily life and the beautiful scenery, passing by the mangrove and palm trees along the river bank. Visit a handy brickkiln, a coconut processing workshop and a candy workshop. Continue boating through the winding natural canal whilst discovering the rural countryside. Visit a farmer’s house making sleep mats. Take a bicycle on paths to a local house for lunch and continue on a rowing boat along the canal. Ride on coconut tree-shaded paths through the village, and stop at the house of Mr. Sau Khanh– a local man who has collected a lot of ancient ceramics.
You will need to pack a smaller overnight bag for your trip to the Mekong Delta. Main luggage will be left in safe storage at the hotel in Saigon and picked up on your return.
● Although primarily rural, the Mekong Delta is a densely populated area where life progresses around its fertile banks. The Mekong Delta is the 13th longest, and the 10th largest, by volume alone and people live, trade, travel and even go to school on the riverbanks. The rice which is cultivated in the many farming lands is said to be enough to supply the entire country with a little extra.
Day 16: Mekong Delta
● Saigon Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Travel to the Cho Lach district, stopping to visit Vinh Bac bonsai and a flower village. Pay a visit to Cai Nhum Cathedral before returning to Saigon.
Day 17: Saigon – Siem Reap Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning transfer to the airport for your 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor complex. This evening, watch a performance by the PHARE Cambodian Circus, an NGO which teaches street children to become internationally renowned performing artists whilst also providing them with an education.
Siem Reap – Known as the gateway to Angkor, the architecture in Siem Reap is heavily influenced by Chinese, French and Khmer styles. Siem Reap literally translates as ‘Defeat of Siam’, a reference to a historical battle between the Khmer people and the Thai Siam people.
Day 18: Siem Reap Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
What better way to get around the world-famous Angkor Wat Complex than from the back of a traditional tuk tuk? You will explore Angkor Wat, the centrepiece of the Complex, before visiting Angkor Thom and the Bayon. Lastly, visit Ta Prohm, atmospherically buried deep in the jungle. Two people plus one guide can travel in each tuk tuk. The complex can get very hot so please bring water with you and wear comfortable, light clothing. You will tour the Angkor Complex for approximately 5 hours.
Please note: The Central Tower of the Angkor Wat complex is closed on Buddhist holidays and on all other days has a limited number of visitors allowed at any given time, under regulations from UNESCO. If you wish to visit this tower, you will be required to wait in the queue alongside all other visitors. The ability to do this will be determined upon the groups’ schedule.
● Surrounded by a 190-metre moat and taking 30 years to build, Angkor Wat represents the Khmer civilisation at its grandest. With its fascinating decorative flourishes, extensive bas-relief and multiple tiers, it is the best-preserved temple within the complex.
● This fortified city is flanked by a row of 54 stone figures on each side, which leads you through a 23-metre imposing stone entrance gate to the various temples inside.
● Beautifully crafted central towers, decorated with four opposing faces representing King Jayavarman VII. Bayon’s stone galleries display extraordinary bas-reliefs incorporating over 11,000 figures.
● Swallowed by the jungle where Strangler Figs and Kapok Trees have entwined themselves around the ruins. Undoubtedly, the most atmospheric ruin at Angkor with several towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors to explore.
Day 19: Siem Reap & Tonle Sap Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast this morning, head to the floating villages of Tonle Sap. The Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water lake in southeast Asia and is home to a very different lifestyle, which can be observed from your boat. In the high-water season, you will also visit Kompong Khleang, a unique village on stilts. In the lower water season, you will visit Chong Kneas floating village. Return to Siem Reap via a Cambodian artistry assembly (Les Artisans D’Angkor) before arriving back at your hotel this evening. Tonight, enjoy dinner while watching an Apsara dance performance.
Days 20-21: Depart Siem Reap Meals included: Breakfast
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, arriving home the following day; any time before your flight is at leisure.
25/02/23 & 03/09/23 & 07/10/23 & 24/02/24 & 21/09/24 & 05/10/24