Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - First Class Tour
Delve into an ancient and mysterious world. Begin in Vietnam and explore its complex relationship with the west. From there, a colourful mosaic unfolds. Learn unique culinary secrets in the ancient town of Hoi An. Cruise overnight aboard a luxury junk boat on Halong Bay. Venture into the lush jungle to an elephant village. Immerse yourself in a traditional Laotian Baci ceremony. Find inspiration at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple. Come to know this region through experiences like the offering of alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks and a journey on the Mekong River. From contemplating the Fall of Saigon to exploring a once forgotten temple deep in the jungle, each day paints a new picture of the rich cultures of Indochina.
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Days 2-4 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -
Arrive in historic Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.
Tour the city’s colonial landmarks including the Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and Opera House. Visit the Reunification Palace where the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon, learn more about the lasting effects of this struggle at the War Remnants Museum.Enjoy dinner at a rooftop garden that was a popular hangout for American military officials and war correspondents. Travel to the fertile Mekong Delta and embark on a cruise along the bustling river, see floating markets, fruit orchards and the Mekong River islands. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in a lush tropical garden and explore local villages. Visit Cao Dai Temple and its unique architectural style. Experience the region’s multifaceted culinary heritage with an optional dinner at a French restaurant.
Days 5-6: Ho Chi Minh City - Hoi An
Fly to Da Nang stop at China Beach where American troops landed during the war. Venture to Hoi An, an ancient merchant trading port and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a cycle tour of the preserved town and see the Tan Ky Old House, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Chua Ong Pagoda and a 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge. Don't forget to take advantage of the option to have a suit or dress made by one of Hoi An’s world-famous tailors. Today’s cooking class begins at a local market, interact with vendors and learn about traditional ingredients. Follow the Thu Bon river to the cooking school and observe local life along the way. Visit the school’s herb garden and discover the art of plate decorating and prepare five traditional Vietnamese dishes.
Day 7: Hue
Take an optional sunrise photography class and observe fishermen bringing in their catch in the dawn light. Travel to Hue, the Imperial capital city, via the panoramic Hai Van Pass, en route, savour a seafood lunch at Lang Co fishing village. Arrive in Hue, home of the Nguyen dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage site, visit the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. Tonight, enjoy a lavish royal feast.
Days 8-10: Hanoi
Cruise on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch at a local monastery and converse with monks to learn about their daily life. Later, fly to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Enjoy a dinner that showcases authentic flavours in an environment reminiscent of local markets. Explore the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university then enjoy lunch at a non-profit restaurant that empowers underprivileged children, training them with new skills. Continue to Hoa Lo Prison (aka the Hanoi Hilton), where American POWs were detained. Stroll along Hoan Kiem Lake and through the craft guild streets in the nearby old quarter. Enjoy a traditional Water Puppet performance. Visit the mausoleum that holds the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, discover Minh’s simple house on stilts. Admire the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. For lunch, you have the option of embarking on a street food tour of Hanoi that delves into authentic culinary delights such as pho noodles, tonight, you may choose to enjoy French cuisine.
Day 11: Halong Bay
Drive to Halong Bay for your overnight cruise on a luxury junk boat, savour a welcome drink and lunch on board. Marvel at the thousands of limestone islands that dot these waters. Transfer to a sampan and visit a floating fishing village, watch the sunset before sharing a seafood feast.
Days 12-14: Luang Prabang, Laos
Join a sunrise tai chi class on deck as the fog lifts, revealing the morning light. Explore an ancient cave on a nearby island, enjoy brunch on board and cruise back to the harbour. From Hanoi, fly to Luang Prabang, tonight enjoy a tasting menu sampling local Laotian delicacies. Visit an elephant village nestled in a lush jungle valley on the banks of a river and learn how mahouts train their elephants. Here you can opt to take an elephant ride. Proceed to the three-tiered Kuang Si waterfall and have a picnic lunch then stop at a local village to learn the traditions of ethnic minorities. Attend a traditional Baci ceremony, a “calling of the soul” reserved for special events. Wake before dawn and participate in the offering of alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks, stroll the local market and watch the town come to life. Cruise the Mekong River to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, home to thousands of Buddha statues left by pilgrims. Stop at Ban Xang Hai, famous for its rice wine, and Ban Xang Khong, known for silk weaving. Return to Luang Prabang and take a guided tour of the National Museum, the former Royal Palace. Visit the sacred temples of Wat Aham, Wat Visoun and Wat Xieng Thong, climb to the top of Mount Phousi to watch the sunset.
Days 15-17: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Fly to Siem Reap and visit Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building and the symbol of Cambodia. Marvel at the stone carvings and bas-reliefs that decorate this 12th century complex, a prime example of classical Khmer architecture. Perhaps choose to remain at Angkor Wat until sunset when the golden light creates an awe-inspiring sight then enjoy a traditional Apsara show with dinner. Explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Thom, famous for the Bayon temple and its colossal stone-carved faces. Continue to the haunting Ta Prohm temple, overgrown by creeping jungle and enjoy a Khmer lunch set in a traditional wooden house. Meet local school children at the JWOC Community Center*, visit Artisans d’Angkor which teaches young Cambodians to revive ancient traditions like stone carving. Sail on Tonle Sap – the Great Lake of Cambodia. Explore Kompong Phluk, a floating village. Visit the Roluos Group and take an ox cart ride to the Roluos Pagoda where monks celebrate a private blessing ceremony.
Day 18-19 Phnom Penh
Travel to Phnom Penh and enjoy lunch at a non-profit restaurant that trains and employs former Cambodian street children. Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in a notorious Khmer Rouge prison. Continue to the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a highly-acclaimed restaurant.
Fly home with memories of an unforgettable journey.
40 meals (17 Breakfasts, 14 lunches, 9 dinners)
Door to Door UK airport transfers
Transport in air conditioned vehicles
Professional Tour manager
Expert local guides
Applicable gratuities for bellmen, doormen and waiting staff
Prices from £1519 per person
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