14 Day Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia
Halong Bay, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City discover Vietnam's famous highlights on this leisurely trip, which also reveals Cambodia's ancient Khmer culture and mystical Angkor Wat. It's Insider moments like… witnessing the wild beauty of Angkor Wat and the Ta Prohm temple. As you explore the crumbling ruins with our passionate expert, you discover the secret stories and hidden meaning behind this ancient religious monument, in the jungle heart of Siem Reap.
Our adventure map
Day by day
First Day Arrive in Hanoi
Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel before meeting your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception drink and local appetisers.
Hotel: Melia Hanoi
Second Day enjoy Hanoi Sightseeing
Take a full day to explore Hanoi's celebrated history. Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument where the preserved body of 'Uncle Ho' resides. A short walk from here is Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, a Unique Insight, as well as the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda which rests on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Continue to the Temple of Literature, the first university for the sons of mandarins, for an overview of Hanoian culture. After lunch enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarter to embrace the bustling local life. In the evening, see a traditional water puppet performance, a Unique Insight. This northern Vietnamese art form beautifully illustrates scenes of rural life and natural history.
Third Day Cruise to Halong Bay
This morning, drive through green rice paddy fields to Halong Bay to board your Authentic Accommodation, a traditional Vietnamese Junk sailing boat. Cruise among the hundreds of islets of Halong Bay, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Mid afternoon arrive at Titop Island for swimming and relaxation on the beach before continuing to Cua Van fishing village. Drop anchor later in the evening for a Regional Meal and a peaceful overnight stay.
Fourth Day its Halong Bay, Hanoi then Hue
Begin your day as the locals do during a morning Tai Chi class, a Local Speciality, on the deck of the traditional Junk boat. Then explore Sung Sot grotto where stalactites hanging from the high ceiling take on numerous shapes and forms. Return to the boat to indulge in a delectable brunch as you continue cruising amongst the islands. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi stopping at Dong Trieu Ceramic factory, a Local Speciality. Later enjoy a delicious Regional Meal at Thanh Chuong Palace. Continue to Hanoi Airport for your evening flight to Hue, and transfer to your hotel upon arrival.
Fifth Day Sightseeing in Hue
This morning take a cyclo ride from the hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO designated site. From there, transfer to the Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue's best-preserved religious monument and return to Hue city by dragon boat down the Perfume River. Enjoy lunch at Ngoc Son Garden House; one of the great remaining garden houses of Hue. This afternoon experience an optional visit to the private bonsai garden of Ms. Ton Nu, a Local Expert, who teaches you about the preparation and fertilization of the land, along with techniques to identify an outstanding bonsai.
Sixth Day see Danang and Hoi An
This morning depart Hue and drive over the scenic Hai Van Pass. Stop en-route at the Cham museum, a Unique Insight, to learn about the ancient Champa civilisation. Later arrive at your Hoi An resort hotel and enjoy some free time this afternoon. Perhaps choose to join an optional Vietnamese cooking class including a boat trip to the schools location on the banks of the An Hoa River, or learn more about the ancient Champa civilisation with a trip to My Son Cham Towers. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure to wander the peaceful lantern lit streets of this picturesque town.
Hotel: Green Heaven Resort and Spa
Seventh Day do some Sightseeing in Hoi An
This morning enjoy a walking tour around the ancient town of Hoi An. Today this ancient UNESCO designated town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianised streets, narrow lanes and a colourful market brimming with Local Specialities. See the old merchants houses and the 400 year old Japanese Covered Bridge. Later enjoy a delicious Be My Guest lunch with a local farming family at Tra Que Organic village. Walk through the market gardens and spend some time helping local farmers with their daily working routines, before indulging in a foot massage, a Local Speciality. Return to Hoi An Village for the rest of the day and evening at leisure.
Eighth Day visit Danang and Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, fly to Vietnam's largest metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Upon arrival enjoy some free time to stroll around the city before lunch at KOTO restaurant. The meal will be served by graduates from a training programme which works with disadvantaged young people. After lunch transfer to Dong Khoi Street to begin a walking tour and admire Saigon's historic landmarks. See the Opera House and the former Hotel de Ville. Wander up to the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel. Conclude the day at Ben Thanh market before arriving at your centrally located riverside hotel this evening.
Hotel: Renaissance Riverside
Ninth Day its Mekong Delta
Today take a day trip to My Tho situated in the Delta of the Mekong River. Transfer to a small sampan boat and discover the maze of small canals before stopping for a Regional Meal of delicious Mekong Delta specialities. Take a short walk along village roads to visit the house of a former soldier who survived fighting the Khmer Rouge and has some fascinating stories to tell. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper, a Local Speciality. Later return to Ho Chi Minh City for an evening at leisure.
Hotel: Caravelle Hotel (SF)
Tenth Day enjoy Free Time in Ho Chi Minh City
Today is a free day to enjoy Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace or to join an optional experience to visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels with a Local Expert. This evening join your fellow travellers in an exclusive Farewell Dinner at the home of the former American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, a Unique Insight.
Eleventh Day short flight to Siem Reap
Transfer to the airport for the short international flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Have some free time this afternoon to relax and enjoy the hotels' facilities. In the evening perhaps take an optional sunset cruise on Tonle Sap Lake to see Siem Reap's famous floating village and to observe the lifestyle of the people living on the lake.
Hotel: Tara Angkor
Twelfth Day take some Sightseeing time in Angkor Wat and Siem Reap
This morning, visit Angkor Wat, one of the most important religious monuments in the world, with a renowned Local Expert Khmer Scholar. Take a stroll through the elaborate carved hallways of Angkor Wat as the Khmer empire is brought to life through the scholar's explanations of the various stories contained in each of the bas reliefs and murals. Later head to nearby Angkor Thom the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire with its centrepiece; the Bayon Temple. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army. Make a stop for lunch at a local Khmer Restaurant before taking a guided walk around the fascinating corners of the Old Town of Siem Reap. Visit Artisans d'Angkor, for a Unique Insight into the training school and shop which creates job opportunities for young people living in rural areas, while at the same time reviving traditional Khmer craftsmanship. Cross picturesque Siem Reap River to Wat Damnak, a living temple, and receive a special blessing from one of the monks, which includes the tying of a blessed string around the wrist. Walk back across the Pedestrian Bridge to the Old Market and be lead through the maze of undercover stalls selling fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and household goods as well as an array of local handicrafts and souvenirs.
Thirteenth Day more Sightseeing and Free Time in Angkor
Start the day with a visit to picturesque temple of Ta Prohm which was used as the location for the film ‘Tomb Raider'. The magnificent tree roots have merged with the temple remains over the years, giving the feeling of a forgotten city. Next head to Banteay Srei temple which is one of Angkor's most significant structures. Made of red sand-stone, its walls are decorated with elaborate carvings and it is in an amazing state of preservation. Return to Siem Reap and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. This evening consider completing your trip in style with an optional Farewell Dinner accompanied by traditional Apsara Dancing.
Fourteenth Day Depart Siem Reap
After breakfast, transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for your onward flight.
- Cruise around Halong Bay and along the Perfume River in Hue
- City tour of Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City
- Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, and the Imperial Citadel in Hue
- Visit Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Terrace of the Elephants,Siem Reap Old Town, Artisans d'Angkor, Wat Damnak, and the temples of Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei
13 Buffet Breakfasts, 4 evening meals, 7 lunches
Depart from your hotel and transfer to Chong Kneas, a trading port of agricultural products on the edge of Tonle Sap Lake. Board a traditional and comfortable wooden boat, and embark on a relaxing and insightful sunset cruise on the lake. Drinks and canapes are served while you observe the local lifestyle of the people living on the lake in their floating and stilted homes. Towards the end of the day, the activity on the lake picks up as people return from their fish farms to present and sell their catch at the local market. Continue to the open waters and take in the sunset before returning to the port for a transfer back to Siem Reap town. Note: This trip will not operate during periods of low water which normally occur from April to September. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
This evening transfer to the Angkor Village Hotel for a wonderful dinner accompanied by traditional Apsara Dancing. Step back in time as the dancers and musicians will bring ancient Khmer culture to life. Enjoy the very best in Cambodian cuisine in spectacular surroundings. A souvenir booklet will help guide you through the stories behind every dance with details of the meanings behind each delicate hand movement. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
Ho Chi Minh City
Enjoy a two hour drive northwest of Saigon, through urbanized areas and typical lush Southern Vietnamese countryside to the famous Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnel complex was initially constructed in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from French air and ground sweeps. The tunnels also served as communication routes, storage facilities for food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam War. A visit to the underground villages provides a great understanding of the hardship of life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
My Son is one of the foremost Hindu temple sites in South East Asia. For the Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century, My Son was an important religious site and place of worship. A 1.5-hour drive from Hoi An will bring you to My Son where there are 20 monuments still standing today. The temples are set in a verdant valley surrounded by hills and overlooked by the impressive Cat Tooth Mountain. Stroll around this UNESCO listed temple complex and learn about the Cham culture, architecture and civilization before returning to Hoi An. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
This evening’s cooking demonstration is an interesting and fun way to learn about the local cuisine. The chef will introduce you to the local ingredients, take you through the preparation, and explain the Hoi An style of cooking. Then it is your turn to assist by turning the ingredients into a delicious meal. Later sit down to enjoy a five course dinner which includes two additional Hoi An specialties - White Rose and Fried Wanton. These secret recipes are made by only one family in Hoi An, and are included in the meal, but are not part of the cooking class. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
Royal cuisine served at the Nguyen Emperors’ banquets were legendary. Tonight, dress up in traditional Royal costume like King, Queen & Mandarins. Savour an unforgettable dinner with typical Royal dishes at an Ancient Hue restaurant. The restaurant, with its distinctive ancient houses, offers a glimpse of the city’s splendid past. There is nothing better than enjoying a delicious meal while listening to melodious music and having the feeling of being treated like Royal dignitaries. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
The tropical climate of Vietnam is perfect for growing bonsai and the people of Hue are well known for devoting their time and passion to bonsai art and gardening. Today visit a private bonsai garden and have a chat with the bonsai artisan Ms Ton Nu Ha. Learn about the preparation and fertilization of the land along with techniques on how to identify outstanding bonsai. Discover the value of blending two ancient Asian art forms - Feng Shui and Bonsai. NB. The above price is in US dollars.
Enamel (Phap Lam) plays a large role in Vietnamese history, particularly in Hue where enamelware was used for imperial structures and by royal families during the Nguyen Dynasty. After becoming lost in existence after nearly 200 years, Hue people are starting to relive this traditional fine art. The enamel is painted onto an ornamental object usually made of copper, gold or silver. Meet with the artisan Mr. Triet Do, a famous expert at Enamel Hue and learn about his endeavor to restore this way of art by working in collaboration with goldsmiths, silversmiths and specialists in metal carving and pottery. Take the opportunity to see the complete process of making a stunning Phap Lam product and have a go at creating one of your own!
Where you stay
All hotels included in your tour package are hand-picked, of an outstanding standard and far better value than if booked individually. Our valued travel partners who organise these tours also own the Red Carnation Hotel Group and where possible Red Carnation Hotels are used and please see our link for further details.
- Expertly sourced accommodations - always with private facilities
- Audio Headsets: provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences
- The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey
- All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included
- Complimentary keepsake photo and map
- All porterage and restaurant gratuities
- All your transportation and airport transfers
Guarantees, Bonds and Awards
- This tour is run by our outstanding travel partners who are multi-award winning Globe Best Tour operator in the world 2013, 2014 and 2015.
- Tours are fully bonded, protected and guaranteed and you pay the operator directly when booking.
- ABTA, IATA and ATOL protected
- Part of the Trade Right Foundation
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