16 Nights / 17 Days
Classic Tour ¦17 Days¦Physical Level 1
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – 3N Victoria Mekong Cruise – Saigon – Hoi An – Halong Bay – Hanoi
Enjoy a VIP edition of one of our favourite itineraries, featuring Cambodia & Vietnam. Embark on a glorious adventure, starting amongst the magnificence of the temples of Angkor before a three-night Victoria Mekong cruise, complete with shore excursions designed to give you an authentic glimpse of Mekong life. Sail into Vietnam to discover its many treasures, including vibrant Saigon, charming Hoi An and historic Hanoi. End your trip with an overnight cruise through Halong Bay.
• Experience an Angkor sunset boat ride
• Cruise the Mekong for 3 nights
• Try ‘dining in the dark’ at NOIR Saigon
• Turn your hand to farming techniques in Hoi An
• Sail through magnificent Halong Bay
Classic Mekong tour inclusions:
All sightseeing and entrance fees
All transportation and transfers
English speaking National Escorts (if your group is 10 or more passengers) or Local Guides
Cambodia visa fees for UK and EU passport holders (please see visa section below for further information on Vietnam visas)
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 – Classic Mekong
Day 1-2: Siem Reap
You will be met at Siem Reap in the arrivals hall by your Local Guide or National Escort from Wendy Wu Tours. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, travel to your hotel for check in.
Day 3: Siem Reap
Spanning from the 9th to 15th century, the Angkor complex was the capital of the thriving Khmer Empire, and home to over 1,000 temples. Begin at the city of Angkor Thom, built by Jayavarman VII. Here, sights include the enigmatic Bayon, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. One of the most evocative ruins here is to the temple of Ta Prohm, enveloped in a labyrinth of jungle. This afternoon is devoted to the fascinating and awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and nationally considered to be Cambodia’s spiritual heart. Later, relax on board a boat and view the sunset on Angkor Thom’s moat.
Please note: Your group will drive to the main entrance gate to get your entrance passes, which you must carry with you. The ability to do this will be determined upon the groups’ schedule. If you choose to climb at any site, you must be able to climb and descend without assistance.
Angkor Thom – (lit. ‘Great City’) This was the last capital of the Khmer empire, established by Buddhist King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. This walled city, covering an area of 9 square km, 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.
The Bayon – A rich, late 12th century state temple at the centre of Angkor Thom. Its beautifully-crafted central towers are decorated with four opposing faces representing Jayavarman. Bayon’s stone galleries display extraordinary bas-reliefs incorporating over 11,000 figures.
Elephant Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King
● The Elephant Terrace is named for the carved elephant parade on its eastern side. Giant viewing platforms used for public ceremonies, which served as a base for the King's grand audience hall. To the north is the Terrace of the Leper King, named for a statue found there.
Ta Prohm – One of Angkor Thom’s most atmospheric ruins, swallowed by the roots of the jungle, Ta Prohm has several towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors to explore. Originally dedicated to Sri Jayarajacudamani, the mother of the king who established Angkor Thom, it was made famous by the film Tomb Raider.
Angkor Wat – This 12th century temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world. Surrounded by a 190-metre moat and taking 30 years to build, Angkor Wat showcases the Khmer civilisation at its grandest, and was designed to represent Mt Meru, the Hindu equivalent of Mt Olympus. With its fascinating decorative flourishes, extensive bas-relief and multiple tiers, it is the best-preserved temple within the complex. Angkor temples were traditionally dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, but Angkor Wat broke tradition in that it was originally dedicated to Vishnu, and was later reworked as a Buddhist temple. The silhouette on the flag of Cambodia is that of Angkor Wat, and it is recognised as Cambodia’s spiritual and cultural heart.
Day 4: Siem Reap & Tonle Sap
In the high-water season, visit Chansar Village, and enjoy a treated to a glimpse into local life at the home of a Khmer family. After lunch, board a boat and cruise on the Tonle Sap lake for an insight into how local communities create floating homes on the water.
Day 5: Siem Reap
● Phnom Penh
Depart Siem Reap and fly 1 hour to Phnom Penh, a city of attractive boulevards. Visit the Cambodian Royal Palace, the opulent Silver Pagoda and Wat Phnom before heading to a local craft brewery. Here, sample Phnom Penh’s favourite locally-made beers and learn all about the brewing process.
● The capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia is built around four river arms formed by a sharp curve in the Mekong River near the junctions of the Bassac and the Tonle Sap tributaries. This charming city has a pleasant blend of oriental and colonial architecture, but reminders of a troubled past are also evident.
The Royal Palace
● Built by the French in 1866, these ornate buildings are the official residence of the reigning Cambodian royal family and King Sihamoni. View the Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda.
● This concrete and marble structure includes a floor with over 5,000 silver tiles, each a kilo in weight. Famous artefacts include a 90kg solid gold Buddha, made in 1907, and the Emerald Buddha; opinions differ as to whether the latter is made of emerald, jade, or French Baccarat Crystal.
● A hilltop temple, rebuilt on multiple occasions. The walls within the sanctuaries are covered in murals, chiefly telling the stories of the Buddha. Locals flock here to pray for good luck and success.
Day 6: Phnom Penh – Victoria Mekong Cruise
Transfer to Cheung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields, where many civilians became victims of the brutal Khmer Rouge. Many people find it confronting and emotional; you will be given time to explore and reflect on your own. Later, transfer to Phnom Penh pier, where you will say goodbye to your National Escort and be picked up by a local guide from the Victoria Mekong. After a welcome briefing, you will cast off into the waters of the Mekong Delta. Relax with a sundowner on deck and sit down to a sumptuous gala dinner whilst enjoying an Apsara performance on board.
Killing Fields – The emotional Killing Fields of Cheung Ek, made famous by the film of the same name. More than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves here, making this place a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.
Mekong River – The 7th longest river in Asia and the heart of Southeast Asia civilisation, there is no tapestry of river life as fascinating and varied as the Mekong.
Day 7: Victoria Mekong Cruise
Sail towards the border, passing into Vietnam in the early afternoon. Spend a relaxed morning appreciating the passing scenery, or choose from the onboard activities, such as cocktail making or a cultural lecture. This evening, before dinner, experience a thrilling lion dance performance!
Day 8: Victoria Mekong Cruise
Continue downstream to Long Xuyen and disembark to visit the bustling floating market and a local museum. After lunch back onboard, arrive at Tan Loc Island, where you will visit a historic house and a lush garden for tea and fruit
● a taste of Mekong hospitality. Alternatively, visit a ‘rose apple’ distillery, where they distill a liqueur known locally as plum wine, which you can taste. Sail on to Can Tho, a Mekong Delta city where the ship will dock. Hear a performance of Ð?n ca tài t?, traditional music of the Mekong, as you sip a farewell cocktail before dinner.
Day 9: Victoria Mekong Cruise – Saigon
Bid farewell to the Victoria Mekong, boarding the ship’s shuttle bus from Can Tho to Saigon and stopping en route in Cai Be for a delicious local lunch. In Saigon, you will be met by your Vietnamese guide. This evening, dinner will be at Noir, a restaurant that supports Saigon’s visually impaired, for a sensory ‘dining in the dark‘ experience.
● The exuberant city of Saigon is driving Vietnam forward into the modern world, but is also a treasure trove of fascinating heritage. During the 1960s and early 1970s, there were many different subcurrents of emotion in response to the American occupation. Today, the old mixes seamlessly with the new and you can wander through timeless alleys and French colonial landmarks before catching up with the present in designer malls beneath sleek skyscrapers.
Noir Restaurant – A unique culinary experience, Noir is a social enterprise restaurant where you dine in the dark and experience your food in new ways. Waiters with visual impairments become your eyes and guide you through a delicious meal to challenge your other four senses.
Day 10: Saigon
Confront the reality of guerrilla warfare at the Cu Chi Tunnels. The cramped tunnels were central to a few of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they did not escape damage. American B52 bombers dropped hundreds of missiles leaving huge craters behind. The Cu Chi experience can be emotional for some visitors, but it offers a fascinating window into the hardship and traumas of war. Sightseeing here involves two hours on foot, with the opportunity to crouch and walk through an example of the tunnel network.
Return to Saigon to explore its heady mix of local culture and colonial influences. See Notre Dame Cathedral and visit the Central Post Office, the Reunification Palace and the chilling War Remnants Museum.
Please note: The Notre Dame Cathedral will be under renovation until 2023. During this time, we are unable to enter the Cathedral; however, we can view it from the outside.
● The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Saigon, 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.
Notre Dame Cathedral
● Influenced by French design and built between 1863 and 1880, the red brick exterior and 60-metre bell towers overlook downtown Saigon.
Central Post Office
● Located next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Central Post Office building was constructed in the late 19th century. It counts Gothic, Renaissance and French influences and was designed by Auguste Henri Vildieu and Alfred Foulhoux, but is often erroneously credited as being the work of Gustave Eiffel.
● 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 11: Saigon – Hoi An
After breakfast, depart Saigon and fly 1h20 to Da Nang Airport. Drive 45 minutes to your hotel in Hoi An. Enjoy a walking tour through the streets of Hoi An, arriving first at Chua Ong Pagoda. Next, pass by the 200-year old Tan Ky House and take a short break at the Japanese Covered Bridge
● one of Hoi An’s most iconic structures. Visit the Reaching Out Tea House, an establishment that aids locals with disabilities, for a rejuvenating cup of tea.
● 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.
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.
Reaching Out – Provides opportunities for people with disabilities to learn skills and gain meaningful employment. The arts and crafts workshop provides a platform for local people to showcase their talents.
Day 12: Hoi An
This morning, visit a local community farming project just outside of Hoi An. Here, the community has come together to create a large vegetable farm. Learn the traditional methods the farmers use to plant, fertilise and harvest the crop, then try your hand at raking the ground and sowing seeds. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure, with free time to head to the beach or explore Hoi An ancient town.
Tra Que Village
● Located a few kilometres from Hoi An, this picturesque village is renowned for its agriculture. Witness local farming techniques and learn about different exotic Vietnamese produce.
Day 13: Hoi An – Hanoi
After breakfast, transfer to Danang and fly 1 hour and 20 minutes to the charming city of Hanoi where you will check into your hotel. This afternoon, visit the serene Temple of Literature, Hanoi’s first university. Then take a cyclo tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Each cyclo takes one passenger and is operated by a cycle driver behind the carriage. Wrap up your ride with an opportunity to taste some traditional egg coffee and feel like a local on your plastic stool!
● 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 with an air of provincial French towns of the 1930s; a “Paris of the Orient”, as people have called it.
Temple of Literature
● Hanoi's first university dating back to 1070 and a historical centre of learning, now dedicated to Confucian worship.
Hanoi Old Quarter
● A maze of streets weaving through Hanoi and dating back to the 13th century. Each street specialises in merchants and artisans selling their wares of silk, silver, wood and more.
Day 14: Hanoi
Discover the sights of Hanoi. First stop at the Ho Chi Minh Quarter and an external visit of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, followed by the Humble House on Stilts and the One Pillar Pagoda. This evening, sit back and enjoy the Quintessence of Tonkin, a cultural celebration of northern Vietnamese history.
Please note: The performance schedule is subject to change; if the Quintessence of Tonkin is not operating, you will enjoy a similar artistic performance in Saigon or Hoi An.
Ho Chi Minh Quarter
● Dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam and where Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum stands in Ba Dinh Square. Ho Chi Minh first declared independence from French rule in 1945.
Humble House on Stilts
● In the grounds of the Presidential Palace sits the two-storey wooden home of Ho Chi Minh, who ruled Vietnam from here until his death in 1969.
One Pillar Pagoda
● Rebuilt in 1955 after damage during the French evacuation, the pagoda is made of wood and sits on a single pillar. Designed to reflect the shape of a lotus flower emerging from the water, it has become a popular spot for locals to enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Day 15: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Drive around 2 and a half hours from Hanoi to Halong, where you will take an overnight cruise to the far-most corners of the bay by boat. There is usually a crowd of boats at the docks; however, the cruise itself will be scenic and relaxing. 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 your return.
Please note: Weather conditions such as mist, fog, wind, rain and storms may delay the departure time of your cruise, or in some 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 junks and sampans completing the picture.
Day 16: Halong Bay
Spend the morning sailing through Halong Bay. After an early lunch (or brunch meal), disembark your cruise and return to Hanoi.
Day 17: Depart Hanoi
You will be transferred 1 hour from the hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight. Any time before your flight is at leisure.
Please note: Only breakfast is provided on the group’s day of departure; no refund will be given for meals missed.
08/02/23 & 22/02/23 & 01/03/23 & 15/03/23 & 29/03/23 & 05/04/23 & 20/09/23 & 04/10/23 and many more date