HANOI – HALONG BAY – SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA – PHNOM PENH – SIEM REAP
TOUR CODE: LUX1
Day 1: Hanoi Capital welcomes you
Day 2: Full-day exploration of Hanoi Capital
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong by Seaplane
Day 4: Halong Bay cruise – Yen Duc Village – Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City (Flight), explore the nightlife by Vintage Vespa
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels by speedboat
Day 7: Saigon – My Tho, the River Cruise on Saigon River
Day 8: Ben Tre, the 2nd-day cruise
Day 9: Con Phuoc Island, the 3rd-day cruise
Day 10: Cambodia Border, the 4th-day cruise
Day 11: Phnom Penh, the 5th-day cruise
Day 12: Silk Island, the 6th-day cruise
Day 13: Wat Hanchey & Wat Nokor Bachey, the 7th-day cruise
Day 14: Disembark in Kampong Cham – Siem Reap by Bus
Day 15: Siem Reap, Temple tour
Day 16: Siem Reap, Free at leisure
Day 17: Siem Reap – Departure
Day 1: Hanoi welcomes you (D)
Our tour guide will welcome at Noi Bai airport and then transfer to your chosen hotel for check-in, (Check-in time is 14h00, check-out time is 12h00. Early check-in & late check-out are subject to the availability of the hotel. There will be a surcharge if requested).
Afternoon: free time to take a rest, walking around…
A Welcome Dinner will be at a Vietnamese local restaurant in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Full-day exploration of Hanoi Capital (B,L,D)
This morning, pay a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s stilted house, located among banyan and milkweed trees. Continue to the iconic, lotus-shaped One-Pillar Pagoda, built by King Ly Thai To; the Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam) recognized as Hanoi’s first university – The temple is featured on the back of the 100,000 VND banknote.
Having lunch with Hanoi’s specialties, at a local restaurant.
After a short rest at your hotel, enjoy a 1-hour cyclo ride (rickshaw) through the bustling Old Quarter along its time-honored streets. Visit the Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Having a Vietnamese dinner in Hanoi. Overnight at your hotel.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong by Seaplane (B,L,D)
Morning: After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Noi Bai airport to take an interesting 45-minute flight from Hanoi to Halong Bay by seaplane (depart at 9:00AM). Along the way, enjoy fabulous aerial views over the Red River Delta and experience the thrill of a water landing at the Tuan Chau Island Marina.
The flight can be extended to offer you an additional 15-minutes scenic tour over the bay.
This allows you to enjoy thousands of limestone karsts jutting up from the jade-green waters from a bird’s eye view and see remote fishing villages before landing on Tuan Chau Island Marina.
Ha Long Bay was recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage in 1994 and in 2000.
The bay includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence.
10:00 AM: The seaplane will land at Tuan Chau Island Marina. Transfer to Halong cruise port. Take a rest with a welcome drink while waiting for the boarding formalities.
Around 12:30, transfer to your cruise ship. After a short briefing and the cabin check-in, it’s time to enjoy a lunch with fresh seafood served in the dining room while cruising towards the bay itself.
In the afternoon, relax on the boat or join in some activities such as sea kayaking, swimming on a nice sandy beach (if the weather permits), bamboo boat rowing; explore a beautiful cave (guided)…
You’ll have a cooking demonstration in the restaurant before enjoying your dinner in the dining room.
Evening: Onboard activities: relax on deck, Beauty Spa services (on guest’s own account); drink some beer, cocktail at the bar (on guest’s own account), or night time squid fishing (seasonal)… Overnight on board.
Day 4: Halong Bay cruise – Yen Duc Village - Hanoi (B,L,D)
Waking up early for Tai Chi exercises on the sun deck, and watching the amazing sunrise over the Bay. After Tai Chi, reward yourself with a healthful and light breakfast in the ship’s restaurant.
Relaxing on the sundeck to enjoy your cruising time on the Bay. Enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port. Cabin check-out.
Your driver and bus will transfer you back to Hanoi. You’ll stop at Yen Duc village. This is one of the villages in the Red River Delta that still preserves its authentic lifestyle. The local people’s lives revolve around rice cultivation and farming activities.
Taking a short walk through the village, you’ll see the charming rice fields, traditional houses and gardens, and friendly locals working on their farms…
Arriving at a Northern traditional house, you’ll taste some seasonal fruit and local specialties then enjoy a 30-minute Vietnamese water puppet show.
Walking back to your bus and continuing the way to Hanoi. Check into your hotel.
Having dinner at a fine dining restaurant in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City (Flight), explore the nightlife by Vintage Vespa (B,L,D)
Morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Transfer to the downtown. You will visit Ben Thanh market where you can buy everything. Transfer to your hotel for check-in.
Having lunch at a restaurant. Then enjoy a true Vietnamese coffee (and more beverages choices) in a coffee shop.
Free time at leisure for personal visits or just relax at the hotel.
18H30: Your Vintage Vespa scooter & driver will meet you at your hotel. Tonight, you will experience the daily life of Saigonese, a “different Saigon”!
The first stop will be at Café zoom to “watch the world goes by” (quoted by The Lonely Planet) and enjoy cocktail and appetizer (inclusive) before adventuring into favorite local eating spots. Guests experience the nightlife of Saigon the way locals do.
Riding to the Chinatown and then heading to District 4 through busy streets and alleys to see the nightlife of locals and enjoy street seafood and cold drinks, places that foreigners won’t be found.
Leaving district 4 to district 3, the tour passes through downtown district 1 to take in the sights on the way to Banh Xeo, a specialty of Saigon, and southern food with the locals.
Then the tour will continue to a hidden Vietnamese-style coffee shop to have a taste of Vietnamese music (live) as a local. After this, the tour will bring guests to a lively bar to enjoy the drinks with live music. Going back to your hotel around 22h00. Overnight in HCMC.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels by speedboat (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel.
7:00 am: Transfer to the boat pier by Saigon River. Embark on a speed boat and enjoy a scenic cruise on Saigon River. Within 15 minutes, the banks of the river change from city sprawl to lush jungle. A light breakfast of sandwiches or pastries, fresh tropical fruits and Vietnamese iced coffee (Ca Phe Sua Da) is served, as your guide explains rural traditions and aspects of riverbank life.
8:50 am: You will arrive at the Cu Chi Tunnels site before the majority of larger bus tours arrive. Watch a brief introductory ‘propaganda’ video to the Cu Chi area.
Explore the tunnel site, which includes weapon and booby trap exhibitions, navigating authentic Viet Cong tunnel, visiting different underground bunkers (kitchens, meeting rooms, ammunitions, etc.), a firing range and much more. Try the local cassava root that sustained Viet Cong fighters for years.
Enjoy a delicious traditional Vietnamese lunch by the river, consisting of authentic fried spring rolls, chicken and beef dishes and soup.
Say goodbye to Cu Chi Tunnel and return to Ho Chi Minh City.
Around 1:00 pm: Arrive back at the pier. Transfer to your hotel to relax. Free at your leisure.
Having dinner at a fine dining restaurant. Overnight in HCMC.
Day 7: Saigon - My Tho, the River Cruise on Saigon River (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer from the meeting point in Saigon to My Tho Port. After boarding your Pandaw we sail downstream to Ben Tre and anchor midstream. In the afternoon, there is a lecture on Vietnamese life on the Mekong Delta. During cocktail hour passengers are entertained by an indigenous dance group and meet your key crew.
Day 8: Ben Tre, the 2nd-day cruise (B,L,D)
Travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in birdlife and on our return journey we travel by local transport through the lush countryside.
After lunch, the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo.
Day 9: Con Phuoc Island, the 3rd-day cruise (B,L,D)
After breakfast, there is a short coach journey to the Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas. After returning to the boat we cruise upstream to Con Phuoc Island. We Moor in a small canal off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by Xe Loi seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church as well as local woodworking artisans.
Day 10: Cambodia Border, the 4th-day cruise (B,L,D)
Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xe Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong. Border crossing formalities take up much of the afternoon and during this stationary period, there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck.
Day 11: Phnom Penh, the 5th-day cruise (B,L,D)
Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvelous collection of Angkorian statuary. Afternoon optional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide museum or take a tuk-tuk to explore the riverfront and finish with High Tea at Raffles Hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and nightlife.
Day 12: Silk Island, the 6th-day cruise (B,L,D)
Sail up the Mekong/Tonle River convergence to visit Koh Okhna Tey, or ‘silk island’ to study the entire silk-making process from worms to weavers. There will be a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. Return to ship and cruise upstream towards Kampong Cham. Evening lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture.
Day 13: Wat Hanchey, OBT Chiro Village & Wat Nokor Bachey, the 7th-day cruise (B,L,D)
Sunrise cruise to Wat Hanchey, an important center of worship during the Chenla period located on top of a hill above the mighty Mekong River with some of the best Mekong views in Cambodia. Visit the 8th-century structures some destroyed by American bombings during the Vietnam War. Well noted for its bizarre Fruit and Animal statues.
We cruise back downstream to Kampong Cham where after lunch we travel by Bus to the local OBT Chiro Village where the education of local children is high on the agenda. Pre-Hospitality training courses, plastic recycling, bee keeping, farming and handicraft skill projects are set up to improve the skill set of local children. We then travel to the Wat Nokor Bachey dating back to the Jayarvaman VII period. Built completely from Black Sandstone which makes it stand out from other temples built during this period. Many legends surround this complex one being it was built by a king who accidentally killed his father then married his mother as per Greek legend. This temple was built in penance for his crime.
Day 14: Disembark in Kampong Cham - Siem Reap by Bus (B,L,D)
Sail downstream to moor at Kampong Cham for disembarkation and road transfer to Siem Reap (app. 5 hours).
Check into your chosen hotel in Siem Reap. The rest of the day is free.
Evening: Having dinner at a restaurant. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 15: Siem Reap, Temple tour (B,L,D)
AM: After breakfast, visit the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk) the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century) and visit Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, impressive laterite and sandstone pyramid. The lack of surviving carving leases it practically uninteresting, but it is the tallest scalable temple in Angkor Thom, providing a nice view from the top. The Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King and visit the fabulous Ta Prohm Temple, embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
PM: Visit the 7th world heritage, Angkor Wat a unique and stunning blend of spirituality and symmetry, an enduring example of man’s devotion to his Gods. It is the largest and undoubtedly the most breathtaking of the monuments of Angkor and it is widely believed that it is the largest religious structure in the world until sunset.
In the evening enjoy dinner at a local restaurant for dinner and enjoy the traditional Apsara performance. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 16: Siem Reap, Free at leisure (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today is free at your leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 17: Siem Reap - Departure (B)
NOTE: B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner
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