Day 1: Arrive Siem Reap (D)
Upon arrival, you will be met at Siem Reap airport by our Local Guide from Indochina Pioneer, then transferred (30 minute drive) to your hotel and check-in to your room. If time permits, we will enjoy the sunset view from the top of Phnom Bakheng hill with a panoramic view of the western Baray and Angkor Wat. Tonight we are treated a special dinner with traditional Apsara show at Angkor Village resort.
Stay overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 2: Siem Reap Exploration (B, L)
Set off in the morning, we begin our day with a visit to the temples of King Jayavarman Vll, reputedly Angkor’s greatest king. The fortified city of Angkor Thom which he had built at the end of the 12th Century is enclosed by a square wall 8 metre high with five 20 metre long monumental gates decorated with stone elephant trunks. Originally the moat was said to be inhabited by crocodiles and each gate was protected by huge statues of 54 different gods.
The city contains another of Angkor’s true gems – The Bayon. Not nearly as impressive as Angkor Wat from a distance, The Bayon is nevertheless incredible for its maze of corridors, gothic style towers and magical central temples with 1200 metres of the finest bas reliefs depicting scenes of every day life in 12th Century Cambodia.
From Angkor Thom we will walk to Phimeanakas, located in the middle of the old Royal Palace area, and to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Leper King. We continue with our exploration with a visit to Ta Phrom,a temple half consumed by the Cambodian jungle and famous in the west as the film location for “Tomb Raider”.
We will enjoy lunch at Local restaurant before proceeding to the famous temple of Angkor Wat – the best known and most breathtaking of all the sights and a highlight of any visit to Angkor. Originally built as a funerary temple for Suryavarman ll in honour of Vishnu, the temple is unique as it faces west – symbolically the direction of death. It is a very grand and imposing structure but its most stunning features are the extensive and intricately carved bas reliefs that stretch throughout the galleries and inner temples. Free evening to explore the night life of Siem Reap on your own. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 3: Siem Reap further Exploration (B, L)
In the morning we enjoy a guided tour to Banteay Srei with the most stunning carved lintels at Angkor and Banteay Samre, a fortified temple built by Suryavarman II and located far away from the normal temple crowds. In the afternoon we vist the exquisite Prasat Kravan, famous for its sculptures of brick Srah Srang – the Real baths which were utilized for the ritual bath and the Banteay Kdei (surrounded by concentric walls). We also visit the Neak Poan, supposed to be a symbol of the Universe. The site was built in 1191 according to the tradition on a spot where the king fought a crucial battle against the Cham. Return to the hotel and the rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.
(N.B: It can get hot and humid here so you must carry sun protection and drinking water with you.)
Day 4: Siem Reap – Fly to Phnom Penh (B)
In the morning we are taken to the airport for a morning flight to Phnom Penh (flight duration 55 minutes). Arrive and check in to our hotel room. In the afternoon we will do some sightseeing in the city centre involves 3 hours of leisurely walking. Afterwards we drive 15 minutes to Tuol Sleng Museum (known as the Museum of Genocidal Crimes). The museum commemorates the atrocities that occurred during the regime of Pol Pot. Most people find it quite confronting and emotional so you will be given time to explore on your own.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Day 5: Phnom Penh – Fly to Saigon (B)
The whole morning is free until transfer to the airport for an early afternoon flight to Saigon (flight duration 1 hour). On arrival, we meet our tour guide and transfer (30 minute drive) to the hotel and check-into our rooms. The rest of the day is free at leisure. You can have a walk around and have some fun shopping at the nearby Ben Thanh night Market. Overnight in Saigon
Day 6: Saigon City Tour (B, L)
Today we will enjoy a full-day city tour which unravels Saigon’s turbulent past and also provides a glimpse into the fascinating variety the city has to offer.
In the morning, we will visit The Reunification Palace – here on April 30th 1975 the war officially ended when tank 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time, the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam. Next is the War Remnants Museum: This is a poignant display of the futility of war. We also make a quick stop for Kodak moments at the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral and General Post Office: Built between 1877 and 1883 this is one of the best examples of classical French colonial architecture. At approximately 1pm we will take lunch at one of the city’s many fine Vietnamese restaurants.
In the afternoon we continue our exploration of this dynamic city with visits to;
– Giac Lam Pagoda: This is Saigon’s oldest pagoda dating back to 1744 and one of the finest in Vietnam.
– Cholon (An Dong market), including the Thien Hau Pagoda: Cholon actually means Big Market – a claim that is well justified as Vietnam’s largest market, the Binh Tay is situated here.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Free for your own evening. Overnight in Saigon
Day 7: Mekong Delta day trip (B, L)
Depart Saigon in the morning; we drive 2 hours (80km) to the township of My Tho. Upon arrival we will meet our local guide and travel by motorized, wooden boats between the islands and perhaps smaller, paddle boats in the canals. Sightseeing involves crossing from one small boat to another to embark/disembark and 1 hour on foot to cross the islands. We also visit some of the local cottage industries as well as a local orchard farm where we enjoy some of the region exotic fruits and listen to the local melodies played by the farmers themselves. Return to the docks for lunch and then drive back to Saigon. Overnight in Saigon
Day 8: Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple (B, L)
In the morning we drive for 2 hours (75 km) to the district of Cu Chi; which is actually an outer suburb of Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, we have a chance to watch a brief video that will introduce you to the Cu Chi tunnels, and then followed by a 2 hours sightseeing on foot on uneven paths through the bush and, if you choose, crawling through some of the tunnels.
Depart Cu Chi tunnels we continue to drive 1 hour 30 minutes (60km) to Tay Ninh to the ‘Holy See’ and watch most of the Cao Dai service. Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, is home to the unique Cao Dai sect, whose patron saints include Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo and Winston Churchill to name a few. The religion is an odd mix of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. Then transfer (10 minute drive) to have lunch – the meal is simple but this is the only suitable restaurant in the area. After lunch we drive 3 hours (100km) back to Saigon. Overnight in Saigon
[N.B: Remember to take insect repellent today as mosquitoes are more common in the Cu Chi district. At the Cu Chi Tunnels you will be given the opportunity to shoot a range of guns (example AK47, M16). If you are keen on this, please be aware that the level of noise is extremely high and although ear muffs are available, they may not provide the level of protection required. It is recommended you bring ear plugs from home if you would like to participate.]
Day 9: Saigon – Fly to Da Nang/ Hoi An (B, L)
After breakfast we are taken to the airport for a morning flight to Danang (flight duration 1 hour); the closest airport to Hoi An. Meet our tour guide in the arrivals hall and drive to Hoi An. We will make a stop en route to visit the Cham Museum and China Beach. Arrive in Hoi An and check into our hotel room.
From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port. Today it is a quaint riverside town popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailor shops, and cafes. After settling into our hotel we will head out for lunch and followed by a two hour walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, the 200-year-old Tam Ky house, and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The remainder of the day is free to explore Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 10: Free day in Hoi An (B)
The whole day is free at leisure.
Options: You can hire a bycle to ride to Cua Dai Beach, visit the local markets or visit the tailor shops where you can get a whole new wardrobe. You can also have fun by joining a cooking class. You will walk through Hoi An’s riverside market, always a hive of activity, to purchase the lunch ingredients before spending the morning in a cooking demonstration with the chef of restaurant. Please note: no activities planned today so any of option suggested above is exclusive.
Overnight in Hoi An
Day 11: Hoi An – Drive to Hue (B, L)
Leave Hoi An in the morning, we drive northward to the Old Imperial City of Hue. Today we will enjoy on of the most scenic drives by climbing over the Hai Van (Cloudy) Pass with some stops for photos and coffee en route. This is a winding and sometimes steep, scenic road along the coast.
On arrival we will enjoy sightseeing at the Citadel involves 1.5 hours on foot through the palace complex. The ancient walled Citadel contains the former Imperial Palace. The Citadel was closely modeled along the lines of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Much was damaged during the last 2 wars.
We then take our dragon boat cruising up stream to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda. Afterwards, transfer (20 minutes) to the hotel and check-in. Free for your own evening.
Overnight in Hue
(Note: it can get hot here and it sometimes rains in the afternoon, so it is a good idea to bring along sun and/or rain protection.
Day 12: Hue – Fly to Hanoi (B, L)
This morning is easy sightseeing around Hue. We visit the King Khai Dinh’s Mausoleum. The impressive mausoleum was built in early 20 century combining Vietnamese and French architecture, yet the best part is the interior which was artfully decorated with colorful broken china and glass and beautiful drawings. Then we visit a local workshop where we will see the process of incense makings. Today we will have an opportunity to enjoy a vegetarian buffet lunch in a local Buddhist monastery. This will be absolutely the highlight of the day. Afterwards drive to the airport for an early evening flight to Hanoi (flight duration 1 hour). From Noi Boi airport, we are met and transferred (1 hour drive) to the hotel and check-in. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 13: Hanoi City tour (B, L)
Today we will enjoy a full day tour of Hanoi, Vietnam’s charming capital. We will visit the Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (walk from the outside) and his private home, a wooden stilt‐house surrounded by lush gardens. In the same complex, we also visit the One Pillar Pagoda in the same complex, an important symbol for Hanoians. The tour continues with a short drive to the museum of Ethnology where we will see Vietnam’s diverse culture through the Museum’s display of articles and dress used in daily life. We have lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the Temple of Literature (Confucius Temple), considered the first National University of Vietnam.
Next, we visit Hoa Lo prison (known as the “Hanoi Hilton” during the American war). Then we enjoy a cyclo (rickshaw) tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. This bustling area of narrow streets and alley ways houses thousands of small family businesses and shops. Traveling by cyclo is the way to get a real feeling for the town as well as some great photographs. In the late afternoon we enjoy a performance of the traditional water puppet show, a typical northern Vietnam art form. Free for your own dinner.
Stay overnight in Hanoi
Day 14: Hanoi – Halong Bay overnight Junk Boat (B, L, D)
After breakfast we check out of room and leave our languages at hotel’s storage room. We just need to take a day pack with all the necessities for the overnight trip. We then drive 3.5 hours (170km) to Halong City and port, including a 20 minute rest stop at Hong Ngoc Charity Center. Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay (approx. midday) we will board our traditional wooden junk boat. Once we have settled in, we can begin our cruise around majestic Ha Long Bay accompanied by a delicious lunch. After lunch we indulge ourselves in magnificent scenery of this world natural heritage site followed by a trip to explore to one of the best known limestone caves. The boat will anchor for the night in Halong Bay.
Day 15: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B, L, D)
After breakfast we continue to cruise the bay before an early lunch. Then return to docks before midday where our awaiting driver and guide will take us back to Hanoi. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 16: Departure Day (B)
You will be transferred from the hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your international flight.
Wishing you an unforgetable holiday with Indochina Pioneer!
INDOCHINA PIONEER CO., LTD |
The Professional Tour Operator based in Vietnam
Tel: +84 43715 3627 | Fax: +84 43715 3626
Hotline: +84 983 145 799 (Mr. Quyen)
Booking Office: Level 4, 18 Yen Ninh Street, Quan Thanh Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Licence No: 01-327/2010/TCDL-GPLHQT