Day 1 Home City – Siem Reap
Take your international flight to Siem Reap via Hong Kong. Cross the international dateline and adjust your clock accordingly.
Day 2 Arrival in Siem Reap
Arrive in Siem Reap in the morningand transfer to the hotel.
Accommodation: 4* Khemara Angkor Hotel (Deluxe room) 3 Nights
Day 3 Siem Reap (B)
The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.
Preah Khan is a temple built by King Jayavarman Vii with towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 meters.
Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors.
Watch the sunset over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.
Day 4 Siem Reap (B)
The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where visitors bear witness to giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle.
See Prasat Kravan - the five brick towers were built for Hindu worship in 921 and are notable for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls. Visit the massive Buddhist temple dating from the 12th century, Banteay Kdei, which is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 meters. Head to a basin opposite of Banteay Kdei, Sras Srang, measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple.
Explore the jungle-clad Ta Prohm, one of the most popular attractions of Angkor. Since much of the jungle has not been cleared from the ruins, it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Also see the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone, Ta Keo. It was built by Jayavarman V who ruled from 968 to 1001, and was dedicated to Shiva.
Discover Thommanon Temple and Chau Say Tevoda, both built around the same time in the 12th century and similarly designed.
Day 5 Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to Phnom Penh.
Explore Phnom Penh, a chaotic, energetic and always fascinating city. Graceful tree-lined boulevards and riverfront promenades are reminders of bygone eras; today they teem with life and activity, as motorcycles weave in and out of traffic, vendors hawk their wares, and pedestrians go about their business. Start the tour with an insight into Cambodia's cultural heritage with a visit to the Royal Palace, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoi and the adjacent Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. Continue to the elegant National Museum, which contains a comprehensive collection of Khmer Art. Finally, explore the modern-day city, visiting one of Phnom Penh's two great markets, the Central Market, located in a distinctive domed Art Deco building or the sprawling Russian Market, a labyrinth of stalls selling everything from Cds and Dvds to silks, crafts, jewellery and more.
Accommodation: 4* The Juliana Hotel (Superior room) 1 Night
Day 6 Phnom Penh - Hanoi (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to Hanoi.
Explore a dark chapter in the history of Cambodia with visits to the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The Tuol Sleng Museum (Museum of Genocide) was formerly the Tuol Svay Prey High School, then in 1975 it became the main torture and interrogation centre under the Khmer Rouge. It was known as Security Prison 21 or just S-21. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek were where many people who were tortured in the S-21 prison were brought to be executed. Many mass graves were found in this area. Continue to transfer to Hanoi and transfer to your hotel.
Accommodation: 4* The Ann Hotel (Deluxe room) 3 Nights
Day 7 Hanoi (B)
Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite an exciting exploration by walking, while it's many beautiful public spaces - lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments - give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals.
Visit the Museum of Ethnology (2-3 Hours):
The Museum of Ethnology brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artefacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings.
The Temple of Literature has a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam's first university. In one courtyard, giant stone tortoises bear stele on their backs, listing the accomplishments of graduating scholars.
Kiem Lake (Hoan Kiem means Lake of the Returned), is a lake in the historical centre of the Hanoi capital. It is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life. Legend has it that King Le Loi handed a magic sword called Heaven's Will which brought him victory in his revolt against the Chinese Ming dynasty back to the Golden Turtle God in the lake. The Tortoise Tower (Thap Rua) standing on a small island near the centre of the lake is linked to the legend.
The Ngoc Son Temple was erected in the 18th century. It honours the 13th -century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan - Mongol invaders, Van Xuong, a scholar and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864. Jade Island is connected to the shore by the wooden red-painted Huc Bridge (The Huc, means Morning Sunlight Bridge).
The Old Quarter holds over a thousand years of history and remains one of Vietnam's most lively and unusual places, where one can buy anything from a gravestone to silk pyjamas. Explore by walking to the maze of back streets with fascination wonderment at every turn and there are endless things to buy from wool clothes, cosmetics, gold and silver jewellery, silk clothes and herbal medicines.
See a Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi.
Day 8 Hanoi (B/L)
Depart from Hanoi in the morning for scenic Halong Bay. Arriving at the pier around noon, board the charming traditional wooden junk for a cruise through the bay. Lunch will be served while the boat sails on peacefully. The cruise passes by unique rock formations with names such as Stone Dog, Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), and Fighting Cock (Ga Choi). At the core of the islets, there is an unforgettable cave named Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto) which is the last site before returning to Halong pier. Disembark at Halong pier at approximately 16.30 pm and return to Hanoi by vehicle.
Day 9 Hanoi – Hue (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to Hue and continue with a sightseeing. Hue served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. It houses ancient temples, imperial buildings and French-style edifices. It was established in the 17th century.
Embark on a local boat and cruise down the Pefume River to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower which has become Hue's most widely recognizable monuments. During the early 1960s, this became a centre of anti-government protests, and the site of the famous self-immolation by the monk Thich Quang Duc.
Located in the heart of Hue is the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modelled after the Forbidden City of Peking. The original walls stretched for 10 km and were surrounded by a wide moat. Today, most of the buildings have been destroyed due to bombing during the Vietnam-American War, but the monuments that remain provide a fascinating glimpse into the court life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Approach the city past the striking Flag Tower, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing Ngo Mon Gate, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit Dien Tho Residence (Dien Tho palace) where the Queen mother lived, visit Thai Hoa Palace, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the Halls of the Mandarins, and the original Nine Dynastic Urns, among other sites, including a visit to the Hue Royal Antiquities Museum.
The Imperial Tomb of Tu Duc was designed and built by the longest reigning Vietnamese emperor,Tu Duc, during his lifetime, and was used as a retreat for meditation, reading and theatre performances. Take some time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere, and wander among the gracefully proportioned pavilions, courtyards and lotus ponds
Accommodation: 4* Saigon Morin Hotel (Colonial Deluxe) 1 Night
Day 10 Hue – Hoi An (B)
After breakfast, transfer by a coach from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang.
Drive south from Hue along scenic mountain roads with spectacular views over the coastline. Highlights along the way include the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the high dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam; Lang Co, a lovely stretch of beach curving outwards between a clear blue lagoon and the East Vietnam Sea; and the large coastal city of Danang.
After arriving in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, an elegant colonial building which houses the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world; and pass by Non Nuoc Beach, a famous spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam-American War. Continue south to Hoi An, stopping enroute to visit the Marble Mountains, five stone hillocks, once islands, that rise sharply from the surrounding rice fields. Riddled with caves and shrines, they are said to each represent one of the five elements of the universe.
Hoi An, a picturesque riverside town, was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This walking tour includes many of the town's highlights. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream. Near the bridge is Sa Huynh Museum which houses exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Wander into the Tran Family Chapel, a 200 year old house built for worshipping ancestors. Visit Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall, a Chinese pagoda built around 1690 and enlarged in 1900. It is typical of the Chinese clans in the Hoi An area and is dedicated to Thien Hau Thanh Mau, the Goddess of the Sea and Protector of Sailors and Fishermen. Also enter into a Lantern Making Workshop to see how the frame is made and the silk cloth put onto the lantern.
Accommodation: 4* Hoi An Trails Resort& Spa (Superior room) 2 Nights
Day 11 Hoi An (B)
Day at leisure. Explore Hoi An on your own.
Day 12 Hoi An – Saigon (B)
After breakfast, transfer to Danang airport and fly to Saigon.
A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life. Begin with a tour of the historic centre, strolling along Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall (Hotel De Ville), the old Opera House (both may only be viewed from the outside), and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
Afterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates. Continue to the harrowing War Remnants Museum, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam- American War. Inside are detailed photographic exhibitions; outside is a collection of tanks, planes and weapons. A powerful experience, this museum is guaranteed to provoke strong emotions. Finally, visit the Emperor of Jade Pagoda, one of Saigon's most interesting pagodas.
Accommodation: 4* Harmony Saigon Hotel (Premier Deluxe) 3 Nights
Day 13 Saigon (B)
After breakfast, start your excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Never discovered by American forces, the Cu Chi Tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapons factories. Today, walk through the area and learn about the day to day life of the Vietcong, bear witness to the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists.
The sprawling, densely packed Cholon (Chinatown) constantly bustles with activity and retains a traditional feeling, unlike the more modern Saigon city centre. Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with the Chinese Medicine Market and Binh Tay Market, the vast wholesale market selling every kind of good from dried foods, T-shirts, to electronics. Continue to Thien Hau Pagoda, built by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess.
Day 14 Saigon (B)
After breakfast, start your excursion to Ben Tre with boat trip on Mekong River (Full day) (8 Hours):
After a journey through Ben Luc and Tan An, proceed to Ben Tre to take a boat trip on the Mekong River to Vam Xep canal where local handicrafts and coconut sweets are produced. Enjoy fresh seasonal fruits, a performance of traditional songs, and observe the local life. Take a short ride on motor cart to a typical local house to taste some homemade honey-tea. Proceed by sampan through the small canals to observe the daily life of local people along the riverbanks with some stops for a leisurely stroll.
This evening meet at the hotel lobby for the transfer to Saigon Airport for your flight home.
Day 15 Saigon – Home City (B)
Your flight home will depart at 11:30 AM.