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Luxury Vietnam & Cambodia

14 Day tour

Depart 1st September

from Sydney

Return 14th September

PRICE: $3999 per person twin share

INCLUSION

  • A small intimate group experience
  • All International and internal airfares ( 20kg/ person + 7Kg for hand carry)
  • All transfers throughout Vietnam and Cambodia
  • 12 nights’ luxury accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Breakfast daily
  • 6 lunches (street food & pho)
  • 4 dinners (1 dinner buffet in Hanoi)
  • Deluxe overnight Halong Bay cruise including all meals while on-board
  • Private Cruise in Halong Bay
  • In-depth sightseeing in all cities
  • Dedicated air-conditioned transportation with water bottles on bus
  • The services of professional English speaking local tour guides throughout
  • All tipping
  • Visa to Vietnam
  • Visa to Cambodia

Single Supplement $700 per person

Deposit of $1000 to secure the booking, Final balance by 1 July 2018. Prices are correct as at 5 February, limited numbers. This tour is exclusively organized for Chris Watson Travel. Travel Insurance is not included but highly recommended. Ful terms & Conditions on our website.

01 September: ARRIVE SAIGON 

Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city, its commercial capital, and is a city of extraordinary energy. Nowhere is Vietnam’s rush to modernise more visible, yet despite this, Saigon as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming place that contains many reminders of its colourful and sometimes turbulent past.

Upon arrival at Saigon airport, you will be met by Insider Journeys representative then transferred to your hotel.This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants.

Meals: Welcome dinner

02 September: FULL DAY CU CHI TUNNELS & SAIGON CITY TOUR

This morning we travel to the Cu Chi tunnels located in an area known during the Vietnam War as the “Iron Triangle” on account of the strength of its Communist insurgency. The Cu Chi tunnels network was established as a means of waging guerrilla war against superior French and later American fire power. The network stretches over 250km and extends to three levels underground providing a remarkable insight into the method and determination of Communist forces during the Vietnam War. You will return to Saigon and have a chance to try Pho – a famous Vietnam noodle dish in a local restaurant before the exploring the city in the afternoon.

After lunch, begin a walking tour of Saigon’s famous and historic city landmarks. The tour will take you through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), past the Ho Chi Minh Square, Municipal Theatre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Finish with a tour of the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) and War Remnants Museum.

Meals: breakfast and Pho for lunch

03 September: FULL DAY MEKONG DELTA

This morning we will travel south from Ho Chi Minh City to the gateway to the Mekong Delta also known as the "rice bowl" of Vietnam. The Delta is the most fertile region in the country and the main producer of rice and tropical fruits.

Board your boat to begin your exploration of the mighty Mekong River as well as its narrow canals, gaining a real insight into the lives of the local people. Visit a brick factory where old-fashioned kiln techniques are used, stop at a riverside coconut processing factory and visit a local family home to experience their hospitality. After a delicious lunch featuring some local specialties return to Ho Chi Minh City by late afternoon.

Meals: breakfast and lunch

04 September: SAIGON - HUE – HUE CITY TOUR

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue.

Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue was the imperial capital during the Nguyen Dynasty and is the country’s centre of Mahayana Buddhism and scholarship. Hue was the setting for some of the Vietnam War’s most brutal fighting, and the city provides a unique window into Vietnam’s culture and its complex past.

Begin your exploration of Hue by visiting the elaborate tomb of the former emperor, Tu Duc. Explore the grounds of this large complex, and learn a little bit about the history of this colourful period.

Next, visit the imposing Citadel and Imperial Palace, the impressive home of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty, who lived here with their families between 1802 and 1945. Much of the Citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968 but since then has gradually been restored to its beauty. After time exploring the Citadel, visit the much revered and tranquil Thien Mu Pagoda - Hue’s oldest and most beautiful religious monument situated near the banks of the Perfume River.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

05 September: HUE - HOI AN

This morning, drive south to the beautiful town of Hoi An via the spectacular Hai Van Pass (meaning ocean and clouds in Chinese). This drive is considered one of the most beautiful in Vietnam and takes you through a combination of both rural and coastal settings.

The World Heritage listed old part of Hoi An town was Vietnam’s most active trading centre over many centuries and has been largely preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders. Hoi An is also the town where French Missionary Alexandre De Rhodes introduced Catholicism to Vietnam as well as the Romanised script that has become the standard Vietnamese script. Arrive in Hoi An in time for lunch before exploring the historic centre on a walking tour in the afternoon. Visit an old merchant house, a Chinese assembly hall and the famous Japanese Covered Bridge. Check-in to your centrally-located hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening exploring Hoi An independently.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

06 September: FREE DAY IN HOI AN

Hoi An is famous for its clothing tailors and distinct local cuisine. You have an entire day free to explore the town’s many clothing shops, colourful fish market and river life. Alternatively spend the day enjoying the nearby beach or simply relax by the pool at your resort. Have a good night’s sleep for an early start tomorrow morning.

Meals: breakfast

07 September: HOI AN – HA LONG

An early airport transfer and flight takes you north to Hanoi.

On arrival, venture north-east to Halong City, the gateway to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural landscape.

En route enjoy the captivating rural scenery and see fields of busy workers farming their rice fields using traditional methods of cultivation. Enjoying a fresh seafood lunch on board along the way. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that jut out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. We visit some of the beautiful cave and islets around the bay, then enjoy a sumptuous dinner on board before retiring to bed.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Accommodation: WHITE DOLPHIN CRUISE private – charter boat (1 night)

08 September: HA LONG – HANOI – HANOI FOOD TOUR

After breakfast, continue cruising amongst the many spectacular islets and visit several more fascinating grottoes. Finally leave the bay and head back towards Bai Chay wharf, transferring back to Hanoi.

Take a walking tour of the Hanoi backstreets to visit some local markets and specialty food stores. You will have the opportunity to try some local dishes and in the process learn more about daily life and culinary customs and habits of the Vietnamese people. Sample “Che” a local dessert served with crushed ice, and made with sugar cane, green bean, black bean, glutinous rice, and lotus seed. Perhaps try Banh Tom or “shrimp cake”, a local Hanoi specialty, sold in a small tucked away food alley. We make a fun stop at a local ‘Bia Hoi’ establishment. Available throughout Vietnam but originating from Hanoi, these small roadside cafes are not just about beer but are a social outlet for many Hanoians. These local establishments offer a wonderful opportunity to interact with the friendly and sometimes boisterous patrons! Afterward, sample a Hanoi specialty called “Banh Cuon”, a Vietnamese-style cannelloni, made with steamed rice pancake, filled with mince pork and crunchy black fungus pork, and served with fresh baby herbs and sweet and sour fish sauce, Yum!

Meals: breakfast and afternoon street food

09 September: HA NOI FULL DAY CITY TOUR

Today’s exploration begins with a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter - 36 ancient streets where you can observe the daily bustle of life around the markets where peddlers continue to trade as they have done for centuries.

Continuing, we visit the infamous Hoa Lo Prison Musuem, aka ‘Hanoi Hilton’ - Hanoi’s former central prison made famous first for the incarceration of the leaders of Vietnam’s National Liberation movement and later US Air force pilots shot down over North Vietnam. Drive across the city to Hanoi’s first university - the Temple of Literature - dating back to 1070. This historical centre of learning is now dedicated to Confucian worship.

Later visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, starting at Ba Dinh Square, site of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and where Ho Chi Minh first declared the goal of attaining independence from French rule in 1945. Ho Chi Minh is arguably one of the great figures of 20th century history and the ‘father of modern Vietnam’. You’ll visit the humble House on Stilts where ‘Uncle Ho’, as he is affectionately known, led North Vietnam until his death in 1969. You’ll also visit the nearby Presidential Palace, and One Pillar Pagoda.

This evening we’ve included a delicious group dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants, to celebrate the end of a memorable holiday in Vietnam. It’s a chance to farewell your fellow travellers and the new friends you’ve made during a memorable trip through Vietnam.

Meals: breakfast and dinner buffet

10 September: DEPART HA NOI – SIEM REAP

It's time to say goodbye, but just think of all the wonderful stories you will take home. A transfer will take you to the airport for your onward travels to Cambodia.

Upon arrival in Siem Reap (please ensure you have 30USD in cash and a passport photo if you are obtaining your Cambodian visa on arrival) you will be met and transferred to your hotel. It is free at leisure today.

Meals: breakfast

11 September: SIEM REAP

The temples of Angkor represent 600 years (802-1432) of Khmer civilisation - one of Asia's greatest Kingdoms. We dedicate the whole day to exploring the most magnificent of the Angkor temples. We begin with a pre-dawn departure (4.30 to 5.00 am depending on the time of year) by Tuk Tuk from your hotel for sunrise at Angkor Wat. Enter the temple grounds in darkness (please bring a torch) from the little-visited eastern side. Soak up the atmosphere of dawn at Angkor, from the edge of one of the ancient library pools.

We then explore the interior of the great temple, spending a thorough two hours discovering the corridors, central chambers and upper terraces of this truly great temple. Your expert local guide will decipher the myriad of stories behind the longest stretch of bas-relief carvings in the world, and give you an insight into life during the height of the Khmer empire. We end our touring at Angkor with breakfast outside the temple (take away, from your hotel), and a short rest.

Continue the morning by driving through Angkor Thom city and visit the temple of Bayon before moving on to Preah Khan temple, a ruined but highly atmospheric mélange of tree roots and crumbling stone structures. Construction of this site was commissioned by the great ‘temple builder’ Jayavaraman VII (in honour of his father) and a visit to this smaller site makes for an interesting contrast with the more imposing Angkor Wat. Preah Khan is currently being restored by the World Monument Fund and in places is in remarkably good condition.

At the end of the morning return to your hotel for lunch and a swim, and in the afternoon visit Banteay Kdei temple, a setting for the movie ‘Lord Jim’ and currently under restoration by a Japanese university. We end the afternoon with a visit to jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor and sister site of Preah Khan. Once home to 2,740 monks, Ta Prohm today looks much as it did in the early 1850s, when French explorer Henri Mouhot ‘rediscovered’ this crumbling site. At the end of the day, we catch a final sunset glimpse of Angkor Wat, then return to our hotel. Today is a long but fulfilling day which will leave you with lifetime memories of some of the most impressive monuments built by mankind.

Meals: breakfast, lunch

12 September: SIEM REAP

Today after breakfast, you will visit the Tonle Sap lake, it is known as the ‘great lake’ and is one of the two main topographical features of Cambodia. It is the second largest freshwater lake in the world and the largest natural lake in South East Asia. In the rainy season, the connecting Mekong River gushes into the lake, reversing its current, and increasing the surface area four-fold to almost 10,000 square kilometres. This marvellous lake is one of the world's richest sources of freshwater fish and protein for most of the Cambodian population.

Today we drive 30 minutes to the departure point and cruise along a canal, past floating villages complete with schools, restaurants and even a hospital. See fishing nets being mended, children swimming and playing, floating pigpens and even crocodile enclosures. We continue through a section of mangroves and out onto the massive lake, past local fishermen and an amazing array of boats where we will stop at a floating fish and crocodile farm. The roof of this structure makes an excellent spot to take photos of the lake and the surrounding area. This journey provides a truly amazing look into a remarkable way of life. Return to your hotel approximately three hours from departure from your hotel and it is free at leisure this afternoon.

This evening , local guide and driver will pick you up from hotel for farewell dinner.

Meals: breakfast, dinner

13 September: DEPART SIEM REAP

It's time to say goodbye, but just think of all the wonderful stories you will take home. A transfer will take you to the airport for your onward home.

14 September:  Arrive Sydney

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