Vietnam Explorer (20 days / 19 nights )

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Day 1 Siem Reap - Arrival (G)

Morning arrival at Siem Reap airport. Transfer to your hotel. Siem Reap is the nearest town to the temple complex of Angkor. From the 9th to 13th century, Angkor was the heart of a rich and sophisticated civilization. You will see massive stone monuments, wide majestic causeways, imposing gateways and towers, all in a wonderful jungle setting.Morning you will visit with your prived professional guide, the “Great City” of Angkor Thom, visits include the famous Bayon Temple, Phimeanakas Temple within the Royal Palace enclosure, Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elephants.

In the afternoon, visit the most famous & magnificent Angkor Wat temple.This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. With many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water, carved low-reliefs about Ramayana Story and day-to-day life at the time of Angkor’s construction. At the end of afternoon, following the season, since the Mountain Bakend, the sunset on all the temples, with spectacular views over Angkor Wat.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 2 Siem Reap (B, L, G)

Visit the Roluos Group. The monuments of Roluos, which served as the capital of Indravarman I (reigned 877-89), are among the earliest large, permanent temples built by the Khmers and mark the beginning of Khmer classical art. Preah Ko erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century dedicated by the King to his ancestors in 880. Bakong the largest and most interesting of the Roluos group temples, with his active Buddhist monastery just to the north of the east entrance. Lolei built on an islet in the center of a large reservoir (now rice fields) by Yasovarman I, the founder to the first city at Angkor. Visit ”Les Artisans d’Angkor – Chantiers Ecoles” of Siem Reap and time at leisure at the local market (if time permits).

Note: From Feb-July, the visit to the Tonle Sap lake is not recommended because of the low water level. The below visits will be provided instead in the morning:
Visit to the Dance school of Aspeca where you can watch young children learn the ancient traditional Khmer dances. Visit Wat Inkosei built on the site of an ancient temple, which still remains. Continue to Wat Bo pagoda to view its well-preserved paintings. You will also observe monks making the various moldings, which adorn the pagodas. Visit a workshop where traditional shadow play puppets are made.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 3 Siem Reap (B, L, G)

The temple of Ta Prohm with enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers embracing themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man’s creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature, is an incredible sight. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, At Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. The grand circuit with Preah Khan, Kravan, Neak Pean, Krol Ko, At Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup Temples, is also visited this afternoon before we walk up to Phnom Bakheng Hill for a view of the spectacular sunset over these sandstone monuments.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 4 Siem Reap (B, L, G)

Heading out of the town we drive on a newly paved road past the Preah Dark village to the intricately carved and well preserved temple of Banteay Srei.

After seeing this beautiful landmark we make our way through the rugged mountain scenery to Kbal Spean, known as the River of 1000 Lingas. This place offers at first sight no particular attractions except the natural environment, but a careful looking will enable us to discover the impressive riverbed covered by many lingars. They are carved in stone in the past to sanctify the water and thank the gods for their gifts.

The next stop of our trip is the Banteay Samre Temple which is adorned with impressive reliefs depicting scenes of Vishunu as well as Krishna legends.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 5 Siem Reap - Phnom Penh (B, G)

An early morning transfer to the boat landing for hydrofoil journey down the Tonle Sap River to Phnom Penh. The cruise is long; however the picturesque scenery changing along the way makes for an interesting journey. Phnom Penh was once considered the loveliest city of Indochina. Despite its recent turbulent history, it still maintains considerable charm.

A half day city tour acquaints us with some major sights of Phnom Penh. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are now home to the royal family and are therefore very close to the public. At the northern area of the palace grounds is Silver Pagoda, the most sacred temple in the country. We visit both structures as well as the legendary temple of Wat Phnom which recites the history of the city’s name.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 6 Phnom Penh (B, G)

The sightseeing tour continues with the Royal University of Fine Arts, where the young Cambodians learn the ancient arts of their ancestors. A view of numerous children practicing the graceful movements of the beautiful national dances is impressive. The next stop of our trip is the National Museum, exclusively dedicated to Khmer art and sculpture. The majority of the exhibits are from the Angkor period from 9th to 15th centuries, but some date from as early as the 4th century.

Heading out of town we visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the notorious ‘Killing Fields’ of Choeung Ek, which will give us a deep insight into the painful bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge. We have time this afternoon for exploring Psar Toul Tom Pong, also called the Russian Market”, where anything and everything is for sales.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 7 Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville (B, G)

The lovely beaches of Sihanoukville are some of the most unspoiled in all of Southeast Asia although the fast growing of tourism. There are some 10 km of beach along the mainland and dozens of small islands a short boat ride away, which make for a perfect tropical getaway, with facilities for swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.

Upon leaving the town we depart for Sihanoukville. After checking into hotel we take a short guided trip to catch a glimpse of the town and spend the remainder of the day on the turquoise water or lazing on a beach.

Overnight in Sihanoukville.

Day 8 Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh (B, G)

Today we have a free morning to relax on a beach. There is also possibility to rent a boat to explore the nearby coastal islands or the Ream national park which is well known for the mangrove forest and the eco-system. These optional activities are not included, however our guide will be on hand to advise you with valuable information.

The return journey begins as we depart Sihanoukville and pass through the spectacular rural landscape. An ideal way to spend your last evening in Cambodia is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 9 Phnom Penh - Ho Chi Minh City (B, G)

There is a free time for your own exploration of the city and strolling around the shopping areas. The trip ends after your transfer to Phnom Penh international Airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

On arrival, you will be picked up to transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day will be your own.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City tour (1 day) (B, L, G)

After breakfast, you’ll start your city tour including the History Museum (special exhibition of the 5thC “Oc Eo” civilisation), the Museum of War Remnants (very partial, but riveting, recollections of the “American War”: not for the squeamish), the huge Ben Thanh market (one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City), the Jade Emperor Temple (superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries) and a lacquer workshop.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi (B, L, G)

Drive to Tay Ninh to visit the Cao Dai Holy See (in time to watch the mid-day ceremony). Cao Dai is a “new” religion unique to Vietnam with around a million followers. After that you’ll visit Cu Chi (intricate network of underground passages and bunkers that became legendary during the 1960′s for their role in the war of liberation). Both its creed and its architecture are remarkable and exotic.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.  

Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh Long (1 day) (B, L, G)

Drive to Vinh Long, cruise on Mekong River, Cai Be floating market, fruit orchards, traditional family-run brick kilns, wide range of varied cottage industries, e.g. manufacture of fish sauce, (distinctive feature of Vietnamese cuisine), construction of massive coffins (unique to Mekong). 

Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon for an overnight stay.

Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang (B, G)

After breakfast, you’ll be free until transfer to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang. On arrival, you’ll be picked up to visit Cham Ponaga Tower.

The rest of the day will be your own.

Overnight in Nha Trang in a hotel which overlooks the sea.

Day 14 Nha Trang (B, L, G)

A whole day boat cruise to the Mun Island for snorkeling. Seafood lunch on boat, wine and fruit party at the Mot Island. Rowing bamboo-basket at a fishing village on the Mieu Island. Overnight in Nha Trang.

The boat trip is a “fun” event. You’ll join a boat party of tourists, with a Vietnamese crew who act as guides, cooks, and musicians. Plenty of wine is included (Vietnamese – very good after the first few glasses), and you’ll be offered the local delicacy of “sea-urchin soup” – definitely an acquired taste. The coral around Mun Island is good, provided you swim away from the area where the boats tie up.

You should get back to the land in time for a visit to the hot spring spa near the Cham tower in the town – you can wallow in mud, shower in spring water, and bathe in a large hot mineral water swimming pool set in beautiful gardens for just over $3 – amazing value! Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send a quotation for this arrangement.

Day 15 Nha Trang (free day) (B)

Free day in Nha Trang for a beach break.

Nha Trang offers a sufficient variety of activities for a short break in the beach resort. You can have a boat trip to the islands for snorkeling, swimming, “water bar” with Vietnamese wine, water sport. Diving facilities and service here is supposed to be the best in Vietnam. There are many restaurants along the beach offering good Vietnamese and international food. A ten minutes drive takes you to the hot spring spa – you can wallow in mud, shower in spring water, and bathe in a large hot mineral water swimming pool set in beautiful gardens for just over $3 – cheap at ten times the price!

Day 16 Nha Trang - Hanoi (B, G)

After breakfast, you’ll be free until transfer to airport for your flight to Hanoi. On arrival, the car will pick you up and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 17 Hanoi city tour (B, L, G)

An all day city tour, possibly including the Temple of Literature, (the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th C), the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ethnology Museum and the centre of Hanoi, including the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son temple and the bustling Old Quarter with a complex of architecture – traditional tube houses, religious buildings and the colonial houses. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of Cheo (an traditional music typical for the northern Vietnam).

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 18 Hanoi - Ha Long (B, L, D, G)

A morning drive to Ha Long Bay, (one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas – the world’s largest marine “karst” landscape). Travel by traditional-style boat to some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Includes swimming, fishing, hill (not mountain) climbing for Bay overviews, exploring sea level caves in a small sampan, etc.

All meals will be provided on board and your accommodation will be on the boat in a twin room with en suite toilet and shower.

Day 19 Ha Long - Hanoi (B, L, G)

Morning cruising Ha Long Bay, followed by lunch and then return to Hanoi for an overnight stay.

Day 20 Hanoi - Departure (B, G)

After breakfast, you’ll be free until transfer to airport for your departure flight.

The package includes:

– Private transportation.

– English speaking guide

– Hotel accommodation: Three-star hotel (Twin sharing)

– Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

– Entrance tickets as the itinerary

– Fresh water (2 bottles/pax/day)

The package excludes:

– Domestic air ticket

– Drinks, tips, personal expenses

– Unmentioned meals

– Travel insurance

– International bank fee for transferring money

– Credit card payment: 3% will be added in total amount

– Single Supplement charge

– Others not mentioned above


VNM01: Experience of Vietnam

VNM02: Vietnam – North and South

VNM03: Know about Vietnam

VNM04: Understand Vietnam

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