Day 1. To Hanoi
Midday departure from London Gatwick on direct Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi or from London Heathrow with Thai Airways flight to Hanoi via Bangkok.
Day 2. Hanoi
Morning arrival in Hanoi. Met and transferred to the hotel. Two nights Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi.
Day 3. Hanoi City Tour
After breakfast guided tour of Hanoi visiting the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, including the Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s house and the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to the Temple of Literature then see the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison.
Day 4. To Halong Bay - Cruise
An early start to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest treasure, with its spectacular natural scenery, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands soaring out of the sea. Explore its caves and cool down or swim in one of the many secluded bays. Overnight onboard the Paradise Cruise.
Day 5. To Hue via Hanoi
After brunch disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for late afternoon flight to Hue. Two nights at Pilgrims Village Hotel.
Day 6. Hue - Guided tour
Guided tour of Hue including a boat trip on the Perfume River to see some of the famous sights in Hue - the Thien Mu Pagoda and Minh Mang’s Tomb. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Tu Duc’s Tomb and the Imperial Citadel.
Day 7. To Hoi AnAfter breakfast depart for Hoi An. The coastal drive from Hue to Hoi An is considered the most beautiful drive in Central Vietnam passing through a unique combination of rural, mountainous and coastal settings. Three nights at the Fusion Maia.
Day 8. Hoi An excursion
In the morning, visit the unique trading town Hoi An. Virtually cut off by destroyed rail lines and a silted river, it’s a vignette of an era past with old trading houses in Japanese, French, Chinese and Indian style. See the exceptional Japanese covered bridge and a Chinese communal house.
Day 9. My Son tour
After early breakfast tour to My Son ruins – the mini Angkor Wat of Vietnam. After a fairly smooth start the road becomes quite rickety, cross a bamboo ‘Monkey’ bridge and transfer to a jeep, then walk the last 500m to the main site. There are over 70 classic Cham monuments at My Son, dating from the 7th – 13th C. Set against the backdrop of the Cat's Tooth Mountain, they remained relatively intact until 1968 when B52 bombers destroyed most of the towers during the Vietnam War.
Day 10. To Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon - City visit
Morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Later visit the former Presidential Palace (now preserved as a museum) and see the underground communications bunkers, the headquarters for the Saigon Government during the American War. Continue to the History Museum, housing an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese. Visit Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque Cathedral in the centre of city, the 'wedding cake' styled Hotel D' Ville and see the former US Embassy. Three nights at the Majestic Hotel.
Day 11. Cu Chi excursion
After breakfast drive to the fascinating Cu Chi tunnel networks, established as a means of waging guerrilla warfare against superior French, then later American firepower. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 12. Mekong Delta Day Trip - Cai Be Floating Market
Early this morning depart Saigon by road and journey into the Mekong Delta. Embark on a traditional wooden boat, stylishly fitted out with bamboo chairs and lounging cushions. Tour the colourful floating market of Cai Be, afterwards tour a historic Mandarin house dating from the 19th C. Finally visit an untouched area of the Mekong Delta, where life continues, largely undisturbed; as it has for generations.
Day 13. To Phnom Penh – The Killing Fields
Morning transfer to the airport to board flight to Phnom Penh. In the afternoon visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek. During the Pol Pot regime, Toul Sleng, formerly a high school was converted to a detention centre known as S21. After interrogation and often torture, prisoners were transferred to the ‘Killing Fields’ where they were often tortured again and brutally killed. Two nights at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal.
Day 14. Phnom Penh - cultural visits
Visit the Royal Palace: a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound. It was built in 1866 by King Norodo. The Silver Pagoda, was named after its amazing 5,000 plus silver tiles. Also see the small 17th C. iconic ‘Emerald Buddha’. The National Museum has the world’s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures; the most notable is the legendary statue of the ‘Leper King.’
Day 15. To Siem Reap - Angkor Thom tour
After breakfast fly to Siem Reap. Afternoon visit the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom – the last capital of the great Khmer Empire. Visit the sprawling Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the enchanting Bayon with its enigmatic faces. Three nights at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor.
Day 16. Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm and Tonle Sap Lake
Morning visit Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm. Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor Temples, Banteay Srei is considered the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Ta Prohm, still partially lost to the jungle, is one of the most popular attractions of Angkor. Afternoon boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia.
Day 17. Siem Reap - Angkor Wat tour
This morning visit Angkor Wat, arguably the largest religious building in the world, with a volume of stone equalling that of the pyramid of Cheops. Conceived by Suryavarman II, and generally believed to be his funeral Temple, Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build. Unlike all the other Khmer Temples it faces west, and was inspired by 12th C. Hinduism architecture. Its symmetrical towers are stylized on the modern Cambodian flag. Occupied, continuously, by Buddhist monks it’s still well preserved. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a story - the most
celebrated of these is the mystical Churning of the Sea of Milk, located on the east wing.
Day 18. To Luang Prabang - Afternoon sightseeing
After breakfast fly to Luang Prabang. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Luang Prabang including the Haw Kham Royal Palace Museum and the Wat Xieng Thong Temple. Three nights at the Maison Souvannaphoum.
Day 19. Morning Alms giving, River cruise, Pak Ou caves
At dawn witness the daily morning alms giving as hundreds of monks, of all ages, file silently by collecting gifts of food from devotees. After breakfast, take a cruise down the jungle fringed river, visiting colourful local villages and the Pak Ou Caves filled with hundreds of Buddha statues.
Day 20. Day Walking excursion with Elephant and Raft rides
Walk in the footsteps of French explorer Dr. P. Neiss, who once surveyed the local tribes around Luang Prabang. This ‘safari’ starts at the Elephant village for an overview of the work going on - talk with the Veterinarian and feed the elephants. Later take an elephant ride to a delightful waterfall and stop for a traditional Lao lunch. After a short 1.5km trek to the Nam Khan River board a delightful bamboo raft for a fun trip to the landing jetty.
Day 21. To London via Bangkok or Hanoi
Morning flight to Bangkok or Hanoi with onward connection with Thai Airways or Vietnam Airlines back to London.
Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis £4,175.00
Single room supplement £1,665.00
International & internal flights in economy class.
Accommodation in a double/twin sharing room with en-suite facilities.
Daily breakfast throughout. Full board on Halong Bay Cruise. Lunch at local restaurant on Day 12 & Picnic lunch on Day 20
Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing.
Transfers as per the itinerary by air-conditioned vehicles.
Excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary.
Full ATOL Bonding.
Any optional Excursions.
Any expenses of a personal nature.
Hidden Treasures of Indochina
In leading museums and conservations departments privately meet leading art experts and archaeologists. Visit the store rooms to see a plethora of treasures.