Grand Tour of Indochina Tailor-made
Day 1: To Hanoi
Midday departure from London Heathrow on direct Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi
Morning arrival in Hanoi. Met and transferred to the hotel. Two nights Sofitel Metropole.Accommodation: Sofitel Metropole Hotel 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. On arrival at Tuan Chau Island board the Paradise Cruise boat. Halong Bay achieved international fame as a key location in the French film ‘Indochine’ starring Catherine Deneuve. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that jut out of the sea, providing a spectacular natural setting. Explore its caves and cool down, swimming in one of the many secluded bays. Overnight onboard the Paradise Cruise.
Day 5: To Hue via Hanoi
A cool breeze greets the sunrise, then, after brunch disembark and transfer to Hanoi’s airport for late afternoon flight to Hue. Two nights at La Residence Hotel & Spa.Accommodation: La Residence Hotel & Spa – Hue
Day 6: Hue - guided tour
Start the day with a guided tour of Hue by taking a boat trip on Perfume River to one of the most famous sights in Hue - the Thien Mu Pagoda and Minh Mang’s tomb. An octagonal tower of seven tiers rises majestically over the tranquil Perfume (Huong) River. Occasionally robed monks chanting mantras, or novices carefully tending the bonsai garden can be seen.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Hue, visit Tu Duc’s tomb and the Imperial Citadel. The tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, resplendent in traditional architecture is a delight with paved walkways, resting pavilions overlooking tranquil lotus ponds and a small forest for hunting. The Imperial Citadel, built in 1804 by Emperor Gia Long (the first Nguyen emperor) has a 10km perimeter. Originally made of earth, the ramparts were, in the early 19th C. rebuilt in the style of the French military architect Vauban.
Day 7: To Hoi An
After 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 Four Seasons Nam Hai.Accommodation: The Four Seasons Nam Hai Resort – Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An excursion
In the morning, visit the unique, car free 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 transfer to the airport to board Vietnam Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Met on arrival and transferred to the hotel.
Later visit the former Presidential Palace (now preserved as a museum) and see the underground communications bunkers, 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. A water puppet performance is housed in the grounds. Visit Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city, the 'wedding cake' styled Hotel D'ville and the former US Embassy. Three nights at the Hôtel des Arts Saigon.
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 visit a historic Mandarin house dating from the 19th C. Continue by visiting an untouched area of the Mekong Delta, where life continues, largely undisturbed; as it has for generations.
Day 13: To Phnom Penh via Ho Chi Minh City – 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 the Raffles Hotel Le Royal.
Day 14: Phnom Penh - cultural visits
Visit The Royal Palace, built in 1866 by King Norodom. The Palace is made up from a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound. One, The Silver Pagoda, takes its name from its 5,000 plus silver tiles and houses many national treasures including a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds and weighs in at 90 kg. Also see the small 17th C. iconic ‘Emerald Buddha’.
The National Museum, a Khmer Temple inspired building, houses the world’s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures, including Angkorian era statues, lingas, ceramics and bronzes from different periods of Cambodian history. The most notable is the legendary statue of the ‘Leper King.’ Also see a good collection of pieces from later periods, including a special exhibition of post-Angkorian Buddha figures.
Day 15: To Siem Reap - Angkor Thom tour
After breakfast transfer to the airport to board Vietnam Airlines flight 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.Accommodation: The Raffles Grand Hotel d’ Angkor – Siem Reap – Cambodia
Day 16: Siem Reap -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 to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Ta Prohm is one of the most popular attractions of Angkor, and still partially lost to the jungle with huge trees growing from its ruined shell.
In the afternoon, boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia; the heart of the Cambodian fishing industry and the lifeblood for millions of Khmers living on its shores and hinterland. Every year, during the monsoon season, the flow of water from the Mekong River changes direction forcing water back into the lake, bringing nutrients that fertilise the rice fields and assists the breeding of the over 200 species of fish.
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 but the most celebrated of these is the mystical Churning of the Sea of Milk, located on the east wing.
Day 18: To Luang Prabang (Laos) - afternoon sightseeing
After breakfast transfer to the airport to board Lao Airlines flight 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.Accommodation: The Maison Souvannaphoum – Luang Prabang
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: Luang Prabang - 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. First visit the Elephant village for a brief introduction into the great work they do there. Talk with the veterinarian in the hospital and feed the elephants. Later take an elephant ride through interesting scenery to a delightful waterfall and stop for a traditional Lao lunch. After a short 1.5km trek arrive at the Nam Khan River – board a delightful bamboo raft complete with pillows and mats, to the landing jetty and genteelly sip tea or coffee.
Day 21: To London via Hanoi
Morning transfer to the airport to board Lao Airlines flight to Hanoi with onward connection with Vietnam Airlines.
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|Price per person (Double/Twin share)|
- 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 3, 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.
- Visa Fee.
- Any optional Excursions.
- Any expenses of a personal nature.
- Travel Insurance.