Essential Cambodia & VietnamReference WW40585
From the wonders of Angkor to charming Hanoi, take a journey filled with culture, history and breath-taking landscapes. Get a glimpse into Cambodia’s past in Phnom Penh then venture through captivating Angkorian temples. See heritage sites in Hue and Hoi An and cruise the Mekong Delta and majestic Halong Bay.
Got your own itinerary idea? Let us know your plans & one of our USA specialists will be in touch to help you plan your unique trip.
Overnight flight to Phnom Penh from your local airport.
Upon arrival to Phnom Penh, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to the hotel for check in. After a relaxing break, set out to discover the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a cyclo, an original Phnom Penh mode of transportation and a very fun way to explore this lively city.
The sightseeing concludes with a visit to Wat Phnom Temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop and a great place to people watch as the locals come to pray for good luck.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. On arrival in Siem Reap, your local English speaking guide will greet you and accompany you to the hotel for check in. This afternoon, start your visits to Angkor by visiting the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, with each side of the city being 4 km long, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake. From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. The particularity of this monument is the 54 towers with four faces representing the 54 provinces of the then Great Khmer Empire.
After breakfast, explore the temples of the Small Circuit by ‘remork’ . Start the tour with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. After a rest at the hotel, depart on a very special sightseeing tour of the famous Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed to symbolise Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. After touring this incredible temple, return to the hotel.
After breakfast, spend the rest of the morning at leisure until receiving a transfer to the airport for a flight from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure.
Depart from the hotel for a full day Ho Chi Minh City tour. Begin the day with a visit to Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops, and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda. Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Enjoy a stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.
This afternoon, visit the War Remnants or History Museum and the former Presidential Palace. From the Palace, stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall (your vehicle will be available at all times). At the end of the afternoon head back to the hotel.
This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2 hour drive to the Delta town of Cai Be. Upon arrival, board a local vessel for the day’s cruise in the Delta’s waterways. Start the journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market. Continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island. En route, admire the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers. Lunch will be served in the local Mekong style with specialties of the area. Following the cruise drive back to Ho Chi Minh City.
After breakfast transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang. On arrival in Danang, our guide and driver will be waiting to provide transport to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries. Upon arrival to Hoi An, embark on a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.
After breakfast at the hotel, depart Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today. Upon arrival to Hue, begin a half-day tour of the former imperial capital. After the tour, enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure.
Start the day with a visit to the city’s vibrant Dong Ba Market to see its abundance of fresh produce. After exploring the market take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to relax. The lake is full of lotus flowers in summer and is surrounded by local style coffee shops, a favourite local spot to pass the time. Continue with a visit to the former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb, located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
Next, pay a visit to Khai Dinh’s Tomb, designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. After the day’s explorations, a 30-minute transfer will be provided to the airport for the flight north to Hanoi.
Following breakfast, depart Hanoi for the 4 hour's drive to Halong Bay. Upon arrival to Halong City’s pier (around noon), continue with check in formalities and board the vessel. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising into the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy sightseeing, on-board activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board.
Towards the end of the day, the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Early risers can enjoy a memorable sunrise over the karst formations of Halong. After sunrise, breakfast will be served (brunch on some boats) while the junk cruises back towards the port through more limestone formations. Upon arrival to port, disembark and meet the guide and driver who will provide transport back to Hanoi.
After check-in at the hotel, embark on a tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake, a bustling area home to literally thousands of small businesses and shops. If time permits, finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely north Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.
After breakfast, depart from the hotel for a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university.
After the Temple of Literature, pay a visit to the One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Just nearby is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and his modest house on stilts. (Sites are viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov) If time permits, continue to picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.
Arrive back into the UK.