Travel from ancient temples to bustling centres as you experience the incredible diversity of modern Cambodia and Vietnam in 17 days. This trip is full of unforgettable experiences and gives a true insight into the culture and day to day life of these unique countries.
Meals: No Meals
Welcome to Siem Reap. Upon arrival in Siem Reap Airport, obtain your Cambodia visa and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local driver. He will be holding a sign with your names on it. From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely hotel. Settle in and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Full day tour of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom; The Bayon: These temples were built from the 9th to 12th centuries by a Khmer empire that controlled not only but large parts of what are now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as well. With their grandeur of scale and extraordinary delicacy in detail, the temples rank among humankind's most supreme artistic expressions. Spend the early morning visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, visit Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King.
In the late afternoon and sunset hours, explore the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks – the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat.
After dusk, you'll be returned to your hotel with the evening free to relax or explore independently.
Dawn at Ta Prohm & tour of Preah Khan: Rise early to travel to Ta Phrom. Built in 1186, Ta Phrom was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Unlike most of the other inner temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much as it must have when "discovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Navigating through its narrow passages, immense kapok trees and jungle-covered ruins is an unparalleled experience and one of the highlights of Angkor.
Next, you’ll visit Preah Khan with its labyrinth of grey, decaying stone courtyards that are slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. Large kapok trees extend limbs and roots throughout the carved stonework, while raucous red-breasted parakeets screech and monkeys keep watch over the surreal setting. Return back to your resort and relax.
Afternoon tour of Banteay Srei:
Later this afternoon, journey north to visit Banteay Srei. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women', thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar.
This evening, walk up Phnom Bakheng for a sunset view of Angkor Wat and the surrounding areas. This view provides a wonderful overview of the entire area.
Please note: The tour program is flexible. Your guide will be more than happy to adjust the tour itinerary to suit you. You can skip one site or add another if you so wish.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Morning tour of Lake Tonle Sap:
This morning, depart Siem Reap for a tour of the surrounding countryside and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives. Then drive to the fishing village of Kompong Pluk (if the road is passable) near Siem Reap and board a private boat. Visit Kompong Pluk village with its houses standing on stilts and board a pirogue to discover the seasonally flooded forest. Enjoy the natural splendor of the country during a cruise across the Tonle Sap Lake to the village of Chhong Kneas. Visit the floating village and discover the centuries-old lifestyle of the inhabitants of the lake.
You will have free time in the afternoon until transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.
Welcome to Vietnam.
Upon arrival at HCMC Airport, obtain your Vietnam visa ( with pre-approval letter) , and then clear Immigration and Customs before meet your driver outside. From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely hotel. Settle in and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Saigon.
Morning tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels:
At 7.00, pick up at hotel & enjoy scenic drive through the countryside as people work on their rice paddies and thatched hut villages scattered along the way. Visit a local village making rice paper, a well-known product used to make the delicious spring rolls. Arriving at the Cu Chi Tunnels to explore part of the 151-mile underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Cambodia to the Saigon River. Cu Chi is a must for anyone interested in understanding a vital aspect of guerrilla warfare fought by the Vietnamese against both the French and the Americans. These cross-crossing tunnels were begun in the late 1940s by local resistance fighters looking for a place to hide their weapons from the French. Discover secret trapdoors, field hospitals, command posts, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.
Afternoon tour of HCMC:
We’ll discover Saigon's historic landmarks including the War Remnants Museum, established in September 1975 in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), it contains countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting some of the less heroic activities carried out by the US army in Vietnam. Planes, tanks, bombs and helicopters are also on display. Next visit the FITO Museum, it is the first museum of Vietnamese medicine. On display are nearly 3,000 items dating back to the Stone Age. Exhibits include tools used to prepare medicine, knives, mortars and pestles, documents and objects from a traditional pharmacy. The museum regularly screens a documentary about the history of medicine. Continue visiting to the 1880's General Post Office and the late 19th century Notre Dame cathedral, located in a peaceful part of the city.
Ending at Ben Thanh Market or House of Saigon for shopping and café.
Overnight in Saigon
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Road journey through the Mekong Delta to Tan Phong, via Cai Be: Leave the city by minivan and drive south to Cai Be in the Mekong delta, a journey of approximately 2 hours. The Mekong Delta is Vietnam's 'rice bowl' - a fertile region of flat farmland interlaced with thousands of waterways and tributaries of the Mekong. The delta's waters are interspersed with rice fields, colorful floating markets and isolated villages accessible only by boat.
On arrival in Cai Be embarkation, set off by motor boat to visit the Cai Be floating market and watch the locals trading fruit and many other commodities on board their vessels. Visit a small family business to see how coconut candy and crispy rice popcorn are made. Then wander into the small villages to visit the orchard and fruit plantation, accompanied by traditional southern Vietnamese folk music. Keep cruising through a series of small canals to experience the charms of the Upper Mekong Delta. Arrive in Tan Phong island, the green pearl of Vinh Long town where you can immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy your cooking experience and learn how to prepare special Vietnamese dishes. Food cooked by yourself and fresh river food served in the heart of the garden. Relax on the hammocks to get back your energy.
Afternoon we cycle around the village path with fruit orchards and bonsai garden. Cycle around the village path with fruit orchards and bonsai garden. Meet the local islanders to learn more about the local daily life in the Mekong delta.
Take a boat ride back to Cai Be, meet your bus for the trip back to Ho chi minh city (Saigon)
Overnight in Saigon
Welcome to Danang. Upon arrival at Danang Airport, after collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside your guide. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely hotel in Hoian . Settle in and enjoy rest few hour at your leisure and have lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon tour of Hoi An: take a walking tour around this enchanting port town of Hoi an, follow the narrow lanes lined with centuries-old houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures and visit its numerous places of interest: the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Halls, the Tan Ky old house, the local market …
Check in hotel. Overnight in Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Day guided tour to discover Hoi an & Vietnam in special way. Among these tours below, please select one which you are wishing to experience most.
1. Wet Rice Farmer (4.5 hours):
Learn hands on about the whole process of how rice reaches its finished product. Start the day by riding a water buffalo and then take part in plough, raking, sowing, planting, grinding and separating the rice and making rice flour. At the end of the tour you will have the opportunity to cook and eat beautiful crispy pancakes which will be served with a cool drink. This whole experience is held on a family farm and will be something you will never forget.
2. Fishermen & Palm Paradise (4 hours):
With this tour, you will enjoy a wide range of experiences - from learning traditional fishing techniques to paddling the strange and unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boats while exploring the now tranquil coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war. On this tour we provide an authentic social and cultural insight into the local Vietnamese way of life. As well you will take part in some hands-on activities that are fun, safe and interesting to people all of ages.
3. Wet market visit and cooking class at Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School ( 4.5 hours )
Join this tour to enjoy fun & interesting half-day learning about Vietnamese food and the Hoi An way of life. You will have a change visit Hoi An’s colourful market with the professional chief, experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market, interact with the local sellers and learn about all the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson before enjoy a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy.
The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – the Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat what we have cooked.
Bring your swimsuit and after the cooking tour has finished relax and enjoy free use of our 20 metre swimming pool - towels and showers provided.
Overnight in Hoi An
After breakfast, you’ll be driven north along highway 1 to Hue, a journey of approximately 3 hours with a short visit at Cham architecture & art museum in Danang city.
On arrival, visit the Royal Palace which has three perimeters of rampart, namely from outside to inside: Kinh Thanh (Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel)
Continue to visit the tomb of King Khai Dinh which is located in Chau Chu Mountain near Hue in Vietnam. It was built from 1920 to 1931 taking 11 years to complete. In comparison with those of the preceding emperors, Khai Dinh’s tomb is much smaller in surface but it is very elaborate
Enjoy a boat trip to Thien Mu pagoda, an ancient pagoda in Hue city. Its pagoda has seven storeys and is the tallest one in Vietnam. The temple is often the subject of folk rhymes about Hue, such is its iconic status and association with the city. It is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital.
Overnight in Hue
This morning, stroll around the hectic Dong Ba market with your guide. The market is best explored in the morning when a sea of conical hats, colorful fabrics, produce of every description and an array of vendors offer delights for the senses await you.
Continue to visit Emperors Tombs Hue’s environment is dotted with tombs of past emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Construction of the tombs was meticulous carried out starting whilst the king was still alive in order to ensure his comfort in the next life. Most of the tombs have courtyards, a temple for worship, statues of elephants and figures and a pond, but the layout of each is different reflecting differing each king’s personality and style. They have a lovely peaceful atmosphere. Khai Dinh and Tu Duc Royal Tombs, considered the most beautiful mausoleums around Hue. Each ruler of the Imperial City built his own tomb during his reign.
Later this afternoon, you'll be transferred to the Hue airport in time for your flight to Hanoi.
Upon arrival at Hanoi airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely central hotel. Settle in and enjoy the rest of day at your leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi
Welcome to Hanoi. Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, after collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it.
Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.
Transfer to the centre, enjoy a visit to Ho Chi Minh Complex, A traffic-free area of botanical gardens, monuments, memorials and pagodas, it’s usually crowded with groups of all ages, from all over the nation, who has come to pay their respects. Within the complex you can visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House.
Closed by, the famous One Pillar Pagoda which is built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter. It is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond.
Then, take a cyclo tour around Hanoi Old Quarter which is considered the central and the soul of the city. Visit Ngoc Son Temple which is located at the northern end of Sword Lake. From the shore, walking on the Welcoming Morning Sunlight Bridge leads to the island.
End the tour with a show of Water Puppetry, a unique stage art created by the Vietnamese peasants. Water puppetry - " puppets that dance on water"- is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam
Overnight in Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Return to your junk boat to watch a cooking class or fruits & vegetable carving on sundeck – How to make spring rolls. Then enjoy Sunset Party together and Happy Hour (buys two drinks, gets one free from 18.00 to 19.00). It is time for chit chat and relaxing before enjoy your dinner and evening activities around the bar.
Accommodation: Stay 1 night onboard, in a private cabin with en-suite bathroom.
Please note: Program may differ slightly base on cruise ships. An extra night can be added to the program. If your time is flexible, we highly recommend it.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Return your Hanoi hotel by cruise’s shuttle bus.
Back to Hanoi then upon on departure, guide will pick up and transfer to the train station in time to catch the overnight train to Lao Cai
Overnight on train. Air-con cabin of 4 berths ( 4 pax per cabin)
Accommodation: Stay 1 night at hotel in Sapa
Below are the market options:
Please note: Your tour program may vary, depending on your day of arrival and whether you are wishing to focus on activities or culture.
Option 1: Bac Ha - Sunday market.
Leaving Sapa we drive to Bac Ha market (approximately 3 hours). Arriving at Bac Ha, we visit the big market and the colorful ethnic people of the Flower H'mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen minorities, who gather here to buy and sell their handicraft products. After spending the morning exploring the market our lunch will be served at a local restaurant. After lunch we drive downhill to start a short walk to Trung Do Village which is home to the Tay minority. Here we can visit a traditional Tay house. We will then travel by boat through amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village.
Option 2: Can Cau Market - Saturday market.
We will take a 3 hour drive to Can Cau market. Our journey will take us through the mountainous border area between Vietnam and China. Situated 20 kilometres from Bac Ha, Can Cau is a small but very colorful market. Opening only on Saturdays, it always delivers a very photogenic display of Flower Hmong, Nung and Phu La ethnic costumes. After spending the morning exploring the market, we will leave for Bac Ha town where we will have lunch. From Bac Ha we drive downhill (1/2 hour) to start a short walk to Trung Do Village which belongs to the Tay minority. Have the opportunity to visit a traditional Tay house. We will then travel by boat through the amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village.
Option 3: Lung Khau Nhin - Thursday market.
From Sapa, we drive first downhill to Lao Cai City, then uphill through Muong Khuong District onto Lung Khau Nhin Commune. The road condition is good but having many sharp bends which offers stunning scenery of the beautiful mountainous region along the border to China, especially the terraced rice paddies, tea farms and pine plantations… Taking place every Thursday, Lung Khau Nhin Market is not only a small market hiding itself amongst the mountains and forests of the far North Vietnam but also an original tribal one. This remote mountainous area is the place where the Flower H’mong mainly gathers to exchange their homemade products. You will join locals to enjoy the excitement of this weekly market to which local tribal peoples come to attend not only for shopping but also for socializing. Walk from section to sections, corner to corners, seeing and smelling of different local products such as spices, vegetable, farming tools, handicraft and even medicinal herb…, meeting smiling peoples everywhere. There are not many foreign travelers get here and you will find yourself lost in the crowd of ethnic people in their traditional colorful costumes.
Option 4: Cao Son - Wednesday market.
Enjoy a beautiful scenic drive to visit the Cao Son market. We take a dirt road which leads up into the mountains through the pine tree forests and villages that surround the tiny markets. Flower H'mong, Tu Di, Tay and Giay are ethnic minorities who come to trade local products such as food, agricultural supplies and fabric here. After exploring these markets our car will take us back to Muong Khuong for lunch. After lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the most secluded peaceful villages, and have the opportunity to observe traditional practices such as distilling wine from corn and making bacon. We will be offered a special corn cake when you stop by a local house.
Option 5: Coc Ly Market – Tuesday market.
Drive from Sapa (3hrs) to Coc Ly market situated between the stunning mountains by the Chay River. Every Tuesday morning, the people from the surrounding ethnic villages such as Flower H’mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen gather to sell and buy their products. Having explored the market, we will have a boat trip to Flower H’mong village of Na Nen then trek to Trung Do village of Tay minority people. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a local house with the Tay people. From there we can travel by boat, down the river, and experience the magnificent sights surrounding the beautiful river banks.
This morning set off on a trek around the valleys and minority villages around Sapa. Start on the road leading west from Sapa, which winds through hilly terrain and past terraced paddy fields Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai San, Lao Chai village, just 8km from the town. Take a walk through the ancient village to see traditional customs and practices of the ethnic Black H'mong, Dzao. From here follow a dirt trail which sneaks between mountains along a narrow river until you reach Muong Hoa Valley, a stunning spot with the largest rice terraces in Sapa. Visits between May and October coincide with the planting and harvesting season, a chance to see local farmers in action. The few miles trek then takes you from the Black H'mong Lao Chai village to Ta Van village of the Giay minority, with a stop at the local Catholic Church. You will then be met by your driver and taken to Giang Ta Chai village for taking a home stay at Black H’mong family. The two- storey house of three generations H’mong family, provided both bed or mattress and blanket on second floor.
Settle in and enjoy the dinner (your own payment) with H’mong family and then chat or play with two kids. They are very cute and can speaking a little English.
Accommodation: Stay 1 night at the H’mong Home stay.
Minority village trek: Giang Ta Chai – Bamboo forest - Ta Van – Sapa: Once you get energy for your last day trek by having a delicious breakfast, you leave for Giang Ta Chai village of Red Dao minority. You will trek through bamboo forest, which belongs to Hoang Lien National Park. On the way you will pass by a waterfall where you will have time to take a rest and enjoy the surroundings. You will find a nice place to enjoy your lunch. Here you start your journey back to your hotel in Sapa by car to collect big baggage and having a shower before transfer back Hanoi by shuttle bus at 15:00.
Arrive in Hanoi around 21:00, check in hotel and relax.
Accommodation: Stay 1 night in Hanoi
Today is your final day. You are free to chill out and relax. Depending on your departure flight, your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and transfer you to the airport in time for your flight to the next destination. They will ensure you are the correct gate.
We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.
Our prices shown are 'per person', based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults, and sharing a room. If you intend to travel alone, the cost might be much higher. However, you also earn money by using the Share button above to invite your friends and family, traveller forum's members to book this tour with you.
The 'Single supplement' applies for single travelers who require their own room and needs to be added to the tour price.
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements, but may incur price changes
+ 13 nights at hotels with breakfast on a private double/twin sharing room
+ 01 night at homestay
+ 01 night on train Hanoi – Lao Cai
+ 01 night on a cruise in Halong bay
+ Complimentary Vietnam visa pre- approval letter
+ Meals mentioned in the itinerary
+ Daily buffet or set menu breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.
+ Entrance fees for all visits as mentioned in the program
+ Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced and safe driver
+ Domestic flights
+ Activities as in program
+ Private English speaking guide with legal license
+ 01 bottle of mineral water/ pax/ day and souvenir
+ VAT, all taxes and service charge
- Bank fees for both sides
- Vietnam visa stamping (25 USD per pax for one time entry)
- International flight
- Single room supplement
- Early check in and late check out at all hotels
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, shopping)
- Tipping for guide, driver
- Drinks and other meals which are not indicated in the program
- Travel insurance
- International or domestic air ticket and airport tax
- Other services which are not mentioned clearly in the “Including” item
- Surcharge for peak season & compulsory dinner on X’mas and New Year’s Eve
We’ll immerse you in the diverse cultures of Vietnam by showcasing the unique local flavors. And with the perfect balance of included sightseeing and free time, you can customize your dream vacation with the things you have always wanted to do.
Most countries in South East Asia require you to obtain a visa. Please check carefully with your travel specialist regarding specific visa requirements for each country you plan to visit as the legislation does change frequently. Thailand offers a free visa on arrival to most nationalities. Other countries including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar offer a “visa-on-arrival” service which requires you to pay a fee at the airport, or you may prefer to obtain this in advance through the relevant embassy or a visa agent. For visa-on-arrival in Vietnam, you must submit some paperwork before you arrive.
This is an option to get your visa for Vietnam instead of getting visa at the Vietnam consulate in your country.
Step 3: Send the visa approval letter via email to you after 2 working days
After we obtain the visa approval letter from the Immigration department for you, we will forward you a scanned copy of it by email (Your visa information then have been recorded to the Visa system of the Vietnam Immigration department).
Step 4: Get your visa stamp on your arrival
Just print the approval letter out, prepare 2 passport sized photos and an amount of USD for stamping fee ($45 for single entry visa; $65 for 1 month multiple entry visa and $95 for 3 multiple entry visa). Put all above mentioned things along with your passport in a package, then show them to Immigration officer at Vietnam arrival airports.
Upon arrival at Vietnam’s airport, expect a simple form to fill in (or you can download here to fill beforehand), present the visa approval letter, passport, photos to the Immigration officer inside the counter and look for a place to hear your name be called to get the passport back and pay for the stamping fee. The actual process takes around 15 minutes without hassle or trouble.
What are the differences between this process and getting visa at Vietnam embassies?
It is only applicable for those who travel to Vietnam by air. You only need fill out the visa application form online instead of visiting the Vietnam embassies or sending documents to Embassies over by post.The online visa application does not require sending your passport away.You get a visa approval letter issued by Vietnam Immigration Department indicating that you are allowed to enter Vietnam and have your visa stamped upon arrival at one of Vietnam international airports.
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