A truly unique experience in the heart of Indochina for the traveler with little time in their hands. Experience the mixture of two unique countries through the two most important cities in each country and its two world famous attractions, Halong Bay and Angkor Wat. Start at the cultural and political heart of Vietnam and end up in the beautifully preserved Siem Reap.
Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport, our driver will be waiting at the arrival entrance and holding a welcome sign. He will accompany you to the hotel to check in (transfer without a tour guide; official check-in time is from 14.00 o’clock; early check-in can be booked with surcharge).
3 overnights in Hanoi. Hotel is booked and handled by clients.
Notes: should you wish to have a tour guide during transfer, surcharge will be applied.
Start exploring the charming Hanoi by visiting some of its iconic sites with the 1st visit at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Mondays, Fridays and every afternoon; visit only from outside). The locals who come here often dress in their finest outfits to see “Uncle Ho” who, like his Communist counterparts such as Mao, Stalin and Lenin, is embalmed and entombed in state in a glass coffin.
Continue to Ho Chi Minh's House, a simple wooden stilt house which sets in a tranquil background and displays some of his belongings. Swing your way to the one pillar pagoda, a pilgrimage site for Vietnamese couples praying for the birth of a son. This small shrine by Emperor Ly Thai Tong in 1049 and Propped up by a single stone pillar. Next, head the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century and one of Hanoi’s best-preserved buildings, this is the most important of the so-called Temples of Literature to be found throughout Vietnam. Continue to Hanoi Hilton (or Hoa Lo prison), one of the most notorious sites from the Vietnam War, it was used by the French between 1896-1954 to imprison Vietnamese political prisoners before it housed American POWs. During the Vietnam War, American pilots and soldiers were detained and tortured here, including Douglas Peter Peterson, who later became the first US Ambassador to Viet Nam and John McCain, a US Senator.
Later, drive back to Hanoi center for a 1-hour cyclo tour to explore the bustling streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter which is known for its ‘36 alleyways of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Return to your hotel and rest of the day at leisure.
After breakfast, check out from your hotel and head to Halong Bay. A UNESCO Natural Heritage Site, Halong Bay covers an area of 43,400 ha, encompassing over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and untouched by humans. The bay is renowned for its spectacular seascape of limestone islets and pillars, an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape.
After a 2h30m roadtrip we will arrive at the Tuan Chau Marina, where you will embark your luxurious cruise. Enjoy a welcome drink while the crew briefs you on the itinerary and safety protocols. A tasty lunch will be served on board as our cruise starts sailing towards the southeast of Halong Bay, passing some of the most peculiar rock formations, including the Chicken Rock, Finger Islet, and Frog Islet. Arrive to Dark and Bright Lagoon and explore the area by rowboat or kayak (kayaks can be booked in advance at reception with extra cost). Back on board you will have time to rest and enjoy the scenery. Later, take part in a cooking demonstration with traditional Vietnamese dishes on the sundeck (or in the restaurant if weather does not allow). Dinner will be served as the boat cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage in the Ho Dong Tien area. Overnight on board.
In the early morning, start your day with a Tai Chi lesson. A light breakfast of hot tea, coffee and pastries will be served on the sundeck before exploring the Surprise Cave, one of the biggest caves in Halong Bay.
After this morning's activities, we will return to the boat and check-out from the cabins. A delicious brunch will be served in the restaurant while the boat heads back to the harbour. Disembark at Tuan Chau port and return to Hanoi.
Transfer to Noi Bai Airport for a flight to Tan Son Nhat Airport (Ho Chi Minh City ).
Upon your arrival at the Tan Son Nhat airport, our driver will be waiting at the exit entrance and holding a welcome sign. He will accompany you to the hotel to check in (transfer without a tour guide).
Notes: should you wish to have a tour guide during transfer, surcharge will be applied.
Saigon, the largest commercial city in Vietnam, is also a scientific, technological and industrial Centre of the country. Today, follow our tour director and discover some of its historic landmarks, including the former Presidential Palace, which was built on the compound of Norodom mansion and used to be the headquarter of the Saigon Government before 1975. Next, drive to the Notre Dame Cathedral (only outside), one of the most famous colonial constructions built in 1891 by the architect J. Bourard with all the materials imported from France then followed by the old Post Office just a few minutes’ walk before heading to the ChinaTown in district 5. We will visit the Thien Hau temple, a Chinese folk temple built in 1979. It had a very important role in the religion and culture of the Vietnamese – Chinese community.
Conclude your highlight tour at a local market before returning to Saigon.
Depart from your hotel for a 2 hour drive to Ben Tre, located in the Mekong River Delta and known as a kingdom of coconut. Upon arrival, embark on a traditional wooden boat, start sailing along Ben Tre river and make a first visit to the bricks-kiln where you will learn about how bricks were made by using centuries-old traditional methods. Wind your way to the coconut candy workshop nearby to observe the process making this delicious candy by hand.
Return to our boat and cruise to the small creek where you will be led to the local garden for a coconut drink while tasting some tropical fruit.
Later, experience the rowing sampan which goes along the narrow canals lined by nipa palms then cycle to the local restaurant for a tasty lunch. Afterwards, continue the cycling trip through the countryside by passing the fruit orchard, local houses followed by a stop at the local business for a sugar cane juice or the wooden coconut factory (subject to availability) before heading back to our pick-up point and driving straight to Saigon's international airport to board your 1 hour flight to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
Arrival in Phnom Penh and after immigration and custom procedures, our guide will be waiting for you outside the arrival hall to transfer you to your hotel in the center of town.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
We start our day with the Tuol Sleng museum that is the site of a former high school that was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979.
The National Museum houses the world’s most important collection of Khmer sculpture and carvings. Inaugurated in 1920 during the heyday of French colonial rule, its architect and first curator, George Groslier, was determined to collect and preserve Cambodia’s rich past and then we explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda which were both built in 1866 under King Norodom. The Royal Palace is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the King of Cambodia. The 'Silver Pagoda' sits next to the Royal Palace, separated by a walled walkway, but within the same larger walled compound.
After these visits transfer to the airport to board a flight direct flight to Siem Reap, the door to the impressive city of Angkor.
Arrival in Siem Reap and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
In the morning an ubiquitous tuk tuk will take you to the old royal city of Angkor Thom. In addition to the towers of the Bayon Temple, which are decorated with countless smiling faces, the huge complex also houses the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants.
We continue to the Ta Phrom Temple, which has been slowly but surely recaptured by the jungle and is covered in vines, trees and roots. At the end of the day, there is another highlight on the program: the famous Angkor Wat temple, the biggest religious structure in the world. Marvel at the famous sight of this 12th-century temple and get an impression of the former splendor of this unique complex.
Transfer back to the hotel and overnight in Siem Reap.
Today we will transfer you to the airport in time to board the flight to your next destination.
*Depending on the time of your flight, today we can organize visits to the following attractions around Siem Reap: Phnom Kulen Sacred Mountain / Banteay Srei Temple / Tonle Sap Lake and floating villages.