Vietnam and Cambodian highlights

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 2: Hanoi

Morning tour the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, his house on stilts, and the One-Pillar Pagoda. Visit the Temple of Literature founded in the late 11th century, the Fine Arts Museum, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Hoan Kiem Lake.

In the afternoon tour the old quarter by “cyclo” (a three-wheeled rickshaw). This area has been the manufacturing and trading center for silk, rice, paper, fish and jewelry since the 15th century. In this area are numerous small shops carrying on their ancient trades. Drive along Hanoi’s tree-lined streets and wide boulevards to visit the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”. Tonight, have dinner at a local restaurant and take in a performance of the famous water-puppets.

Day 3:Halong Bay Cruise

This morning drive to Halong Bay (3 hours) which has thousands of weathered limestone islets that rise from the warm turquoise waters of the bay. We board our Junk to in time for lunch as the Junk cruises among the karst islands, visiting Heavenly Cave and Hang Luon Grotto. Dinner on board.

Overnight on the Junk, Halong Bay.

Day 4:Hanoi to Hue by Train

Brunch is served on board. This morning, the Junk will dock at Halong wharf for disembarkation of passengers. Transfer back to Hanoi, with free time until time to transfer to the Hanoi railway station & board the Reunification Express train to Hue.

Overnight on the train in a 2-bunk air-conditioned cabin (private basis for 2) , Soft Sleeper Class.

Day 5:Hue City Tour & Perfume River Boat Trip

Arrive at Hue railway station, and transfer to check-in at hotel for breakfast and shower before departing for a city tour. Serving as Vietnam’s capital from 1802-1945, Hue has traditionally been one of the country’s cultural, religious and educational centers.

Today’s adventure begins as we board our boat for a trip on the Perfume River. We will visit the Tien Mu Pagoda and the tombs of the emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. After lunch, we see the local Dong Ba market and take a cyclo to explore the ancient streets of Hue. Tour the Dai Noi citadel and view this fantastic structure, which was based on Chinese designs in Beijing.

Day 6: Hue to Hoi An via China Beach

Today, we drive to Hoi An. We stop at the Cham Museum in Danang to learn about Cham culture and history and have lunch at beautiful China Beach. In the afternoon, we arrive in Hoi An — a “living museum” because of its well-preserved architectural styles.

Day 7: Sightseeing Hoi An

This morning, a walking tour of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quaint pastel buildings line the streets, interspersed with colorful temples, small art galleries and meandering canals. We visit Hoi An Museum, a Chinese pagoda and an ancient Japanese bridge. This afternoon, we go to Cua Dai Beach (3 miles/5 km), a beautiful sandy beach with gentle surf.

Day 8: Danang to Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, transfer to Danang for flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

In the afternoon visit the Reunification Palace, which was the residence of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975. We will also see the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, as well as the best museum of Ho Chi Minh City. We spend the remainder of the day visiting Cholon (Cholon means Big Market), the bustling Chinese quarter, Thien Hau and Giac Vien Pagodas.

Day 9: Cao Dai and the Cu Chi Tunnels

Following breakfast, leave Ho Chi Minh City to Tay Ninh to attend the noonday Mass at the Cao Dai Great Temple – an eclectic experience. On the way back to HCMC we explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, the Vietcong’s underground tunnel system that, at one time, stretched as far as the Cambodian border.Return to your hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 10: Mekong Delta boat journey; floating market

Today, we drive to the Mekong Delta near the Cambodian border. After a ferry ride over the Mekong River branch, we’ll have lunch in Long Xuyen. This afternoon, we’ll have a boat trip on the Mekong, with visits to the floating market, the floating fish farm villages and the ethnic Cham village with its famous mosque. Dinner and overnight in Chau Doc hotel.

Day 11: Boat journey to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

This morning, we leave by the Hang Chau ferry from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh , sailing up the Mekong River for about five hours. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh jetty, meet and transfer to city for lunch and a city tour before checking into hotel.

The city tour will include the Royal Palace where King Sihamoni resides and the Silver Pagoda whose floor is covered with 5,000 pieces of silver tiles each weighing one kilogram. Take time to look at the structures of this complex which contains an exuberance of Khmer art and architecture. Visit the National Museum home to the world's finest collection of Khmer sculpture dating back one thousand years. See the Independence Monument built in 1958 to commemorate the country's independence from France; and Wat Phnom set on a 27-metre tree-covered knoll dating back to 1373 and reputed for granting wishes to those who ask.

Day 12: Phnom Pehn- Siam Reap- Angkor Thom & Ta Prohm

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap.Upon arrival your guide will meet you at the airport to take you on a tour of the Roluos group of temples (850-893 AD Lolei, Bakong & Preah Ko) to see the precedents of the classical Angkor monuments. In the afternoon, tour Angkor Thom, the great city as famous as Angkor Wat though not its equal. If there is time visit also Preah Khan dedicated to Buddhism and Neak Pean, both built by Jayavarman VII, the latter a healing place.

Day 13: Banteay Srei, Kbal Spean & Angkor Wat

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning tour of Banteay Srei, the exquisite pink sandstone temple 38km north of Angkor Wat. After lunch visit Angkor Wat, the great temple built before Angkor Thom. Angkor Wat was declared a world heritage site by the United Nations, and is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Watch the sunset from the upper terraces of Angkor Wat.

Day 14: Siam Reap

Breakfast at the hotel. Free day today to explore Siem Reap town and sample its many delights. You might like to experience a Khmer massage or spa treatment, do some shopping for souvenirs, and visit the market.

Day 15: Siem Reap

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until time to transfer to the airport for your departure flight.