Experience the mixture of these unique Southeast Asian countries. Start in the bustling and rapidly changing capital of Cambodia Phnom Penh to learn about the country's more recent history and its present. Then make your way north to Siem Reap, the gateway to the ancient kingdom of Angkor. Our last destination in this program is the town of Hoi An, once a bustling port founded by the Cham people, an ancient civilization that once ruled over much of Vietnam and shared strong cultural links with the Khmer, evidenced by the similarities in their architecture and religious practices. Here explore the ancient ruins of My Son, together with Angkor and Bagan among the most relevant ancient sites in Indochina. Lastly, relax on one of Hoi An's most beautiful beaches after a trip full of culture and history.
Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to the hotel. After check-in at the hotel you can explore this charming city in your own way.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
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.
Moreover we visit The National Museum, that 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.
Lastly, 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.
Return to the hotel and rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Breakfast at the hotel you will take a morning flight to Siem Reap. After arrival, our tour guide and driver transferred to Chung Kneas village boat pier where we will embark on a private sheltered boat for Tonle Sap exploration. The excursion provides nice views of Tonle Sap Great Lake, the most important lake that supplies hundreds of species of fish to the country. It’s known as the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hotspot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997. The guided boat tour also takes you passing by a floating community where it’s the most interactive spot for tourists, see lifestyles animated by fishing activities and learn about its ecosystem. Return the town for a guided walking tour around the old market and artisan wood and stone carving center.
Drive back to the hotel for check-in and relaxation.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
We depart the hotel at 4.50am which is right before dawn, visit a spectacular sunrise overlooking the Angkor Wat and its beautiful sunrise reflection over the lotus pond. Enjoy your packed breakfast or return hotel for breakfast before we unlock the famous 7th Wonders of the World – the legendary Angkor Wat Temple.
This incredible complex was built by Suryavarman II in the middle of the 12th century and was considered to be the spiritual, political and geographical heart of the Great Khmer Empire. In addition, the exterior walls of the lower level display the most extraordinary bas-reliefs, depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology, and the historical wars of Suryavarman II.
Afternoon, we will continue to the South gate of Angkor Thom, the capital of Jayavarman VII. We visit Bayon temple consisting of more than 200 smiling faces and within the walls. Continue to visit other interesting temples such as the terrace of elephants, the terrace of the leper King, Baphuon and Phimeanakas. Continue to unlock the intertwined Ta Prohm jungle temple while the crowds are gathering at Angkor Wat temple. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.
Return to the hotel and overnight in Siem Reap.
Today you will have a free at in Siem Reap to explore the city at your own pace or rest in the hotel. We recommend the Old Market and Pub Street if you feel inclined to walk the city streets. Siem Reap offers numerous entertainment and culinary options including some world-class restaurants.
Transfer to the airport to catch your afternoon flight to Danang.
Arrival in Danang and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An.
In the morning, explore the charming colonial port city of Hoian. For centuries, Hoi An was Vietnam’s most active trading center and the unique buildings have, for the most part, been carefully preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders that passed through during its years as a trading hub.
The walking tour of this enchanting town includes a visit to an old merchant house, the Hoi An Museum, a Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Also we will explore the town’s colorful fish market, bustling river life and at least a few of its colorful tailor shops – a custom outfit is the perfect takeaway or souvenir of your journey and it is also a great way to interact with the local tailors of Hoi An.
After breakfast, step into the old world, before the Vietnamese nation even existed, and explore the ancient Hindu temples of My Son. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the temples were constructed by the Cham civilization from the 4th to 13th century A.D to pay tribute to the Hindu god Shiva. At its height the complex consisted of more than 70 structures as well as numerous stele bearing historically important inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham. Mỹ Sơn is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina, but a large majority of its architecture was destroyed by US bombing during a single week of the Vietnam War.
Together with places such as Angkor, Borobudur and Bagan it is considered one of the most important heritage sites in SE Asia and the most important of its kind in Vietnam. If you want to explore a less known side of the history of Vietnam we encourage you to come see My Son and its ancient mysteries.
Return to your hotel after exploring the ruins. Rest of the day free.
*As an option this afternoon you can partake in a traditional Cham artisan workshop or attend one of Hoi An's excellent cooking classes.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Free at your leisure to enjoy the rest and the beach in Hoi An.
Free at your leisure to enjoy the rest and the beach in Hoi An.
Free at your leisure until departure time then our tour guide accompanies you to the airport for the flight departure.