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ID16: Discovery Vietnam and Cambodia Tour 25 days

Destination: Phnompenh – Kongpong Thom - Siem reap – Ho chi minh - Mekong delta - Cu chi tunnel - Dalat – Nha trang - Hoi an – My son sanctuary – Hue - Ha noi – Sapa - Ha long bay – Hanoi
Starts in: Phnompenh
Ends in: Ha Noi
Duration: 25D-24N
Tour code: ID16

Discovery Vietnam and Cambodia Tour 25 days

Itinerary in Brief:

Day 1: Phnompenh arrival (D)
Day 2: Phnompenh ( B , L )
Day 3: Phnom Penh - Kompong Cham - Kompong Thom (B, L, D)
Day 4: Kompong Thom - Siem Reap (B, L,)
Day 5: Siem reap – Angkor tour (B, L)

Day 6: Siemreap ( B , D )
Day 7: Siem reap – Ho chi minh  (B,)

Day 8: Ho chi minh city – Cu chi tunnel – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
Day 9: Ho chi minh – Mekong delta – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
Day 10: Ho chi minh – Dalat ( B, L )
Day 11: Dalat – Nha trang ( B, L )
Day 12: Nha trang island tour ( B, L )
Day 13: Nha trang relaxation ( B )
Day 14: Nha trang – Danang – Hoian ( B )
Day 15: Hoian ancient town ( B, L )
Day 16: Hoian – My son ( B )
Day 17: Hoian – Hue ( B, L )
Day 18: Hue – Hanoi ( B )
Day 19: Hanoi city – night train to Sapa( B, L )
Day 20: Sapa – Cat cat village ( B, L )
Day 21: Lao chai – Ta van village ( B , L )
Day 22: Sapa – Sunday Bacha market – night train back Hanoi ( B , L )
Day 23: Hanoi – Halong bay cruise ( B, L,D )
Day 24: Halong bay – Hanoi ( B , L)
Day 25: Hanoi departure  ( B )
 
Itinerary in Details:
 
Day 1: Phnompenh arrival (D)
Meet upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Phnom Penh city tour: Visit the Victory Monument, the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5000 silver tiles. The treasures found inside include a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90kilograms and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. End your afternoon with a visit to Wat Phnom Temple, Phnom Penh’s namesake, from where you can enjoy views over the tree-lined avenues of Phnom Penh during sunset. Dinner at local restaurant and accommodation at hotel.
 
Day 2: Phnompenh ( B , L )
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the Killing Field and the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum (S 21 prison). This former school was used as a prison by Pol Pot’s security forces and became the largest center for detention and torture during the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Lunch at local restaurant
Time at leisure at the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Tom Poung). Visit the Central Market, a landmark in the city of Phnom Penh. Sunset cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.
 
Day 3: Phnom Penh - Kompong Cham - Kompong Thom (B, L, D)
Breakfast at hotel.
Depart to Kompong Cham by overland. Short tour of Kompong Cham to view examples of colonial architecture. Visit Wat Nokhor with its ancient temple and modern style pagoda (12th century).
Lunch at local restaurant.
Continue to Kompong Thom. En route, visit Wat Kohear Nokor (11th century). Continue to Phum Prasat with its single ancient temple. Arrive in Kompong Thom. Dinner at local restaurant.
 
Day 4: Kompong Thom - Siem Reap (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel. Depart Kompong Thom for Sambor Prei Kuk, located 35km northeast of Kompong Thom. Visit the ancient capital of Chenla with its 100 temples dating from the Pre-Angkorian period. Return to Kompong Thom. Lunch at local restaurant. Continue to Siem Reap. En route, visit traditional villages and stop at the ancient Naga Bridge (Spean Pratpo), located 40 Km from Siem Reap. Arrive in Siem Reap and transfer to the hotel. First visit of the Angkor Complex at sunset (after 17:00), if time permits.

Day 5: Siem reap – Angkor tour (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel.
In the morning, visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat's five towers symbolize Meru's five peaks - the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond.
Lunch at restaurant.
Visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara).
 
Day 6: Siemreap ( B, D )
In the morning, visit Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures and Ta Prohm.  One of the area's most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the ways most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. Visit as well Takeo, Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon.
Afternoon visit Preah Khan temple. Built by the King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulders-hanging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation.  Continue your visits to Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool and representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake and visit the temple of Ta Som and Sunset at Pre Rup. Dinner at local restaurang and enjoy Apsara Dance show.

Day 7: Siem reap – Ho chi minh (B)
Breakfast at the hotel, Visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap Lake, the "Great Lake" of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for flight to Ho chi minh city.
Arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you are warmly welcomed and transfered to hotel, check in, relax. Overnight at hotel in Ho chi minh.
 
Day 8: Ho chi minh city – Cu chi tunnel – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
Morning after breakfast, 8:00 AM pick up at  hotel, drive tothe famous Cuchi Tunnels. It takes you nearly 2 hours traveling by road from Ho chi minh to Cu chi tunnel.
At the height of the Vietnam war, the tunnel system stretched from the outskirts of Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border of over 250 kilometers of tunnels. The tunnel system, built over 25 years starting in the 1940s, let the Viet Minh and, later, the Viet Cong, control a huge rural area. It was an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers. In places, it was several  stories deep and housed up to 10,000 people who virtually lived underground for years.... getting married, giving birth, going to school.
Back city for lunch.
Afternoon take city tour of dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals. We visit the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975, and some French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Sai Gon Post Office before we shall see the exhibition on Vietnam War to the famous War Museum. and the bustling Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale. Overnight at hotel in Ho chi minh.
 
Day 9: Ho chi minh – Mekong delta – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
You will be picked up at hotel, transfer to My Tho, 80km from Ho chi minh city. It takes you around 2 hours to get the area. This trip provides a look at a wide variety of the life and scenery on Vietnam River from the peaceful Delta. The huge ships, which come from many different countries moving slowly, quietly along the river is what you will see at the Saigon River. Do not miss this sight! On the way you will see daily activities of local people along the river sellers and buyers bargaining, exchanging fish, the products that they got from their working on the sea. From My Tho, you will ride on a local motor boat around Dragon Island, Unicorn Island, Phoenix Island, Turtle Island and stop at the famous Unicorn Island. While at the Unicorn Island, you will take a short trek and go for a rowing boat trip. You will also enjoy lunch, tropical fruit and free time  bike ride in the rural village. From there, you will continue your motor boat trip to Ben Tre province to visit a handmade coconut candy workshop. Then transfer to a small motor boat and travel along the lush, green canals that are so beautiful for photography. Take 2 hour drive back Ho chi minh city, check in, relax.
 
Day 10: Ho chi minh – Dalat ( B, L )
Our tour guide and driver will pick you up at  hotel in Ho Chi Minh City then depart for Dalat. We will drive through scenic rubber and tea plantation farms en route to the cooler climes of Dalat, 300km from Saigon. Established as a hill station at the beginning of 20th century, Dalat is reminiscent of an Alpine town with its French chalets and pine forests. Along the way stop  for photos, enjoy the beautiful landscape. Upon arrival, check in the hotel.
We spend the rest of afternoon to visit  the former Palace of Emperor Bao Dai that is indicative of Bao Dai's status as the puppet ruler of an occupied country, Hang Nga Crazy House, romantic Love Valley. You'll be taken to have a look at an embroidery workshop in an attractive garden setting called XQ Su Quan. Overnight at hotel in Dalat.
 
Day 11: Dalat – Nha trang ( B, L )
Breakfast at hotel, pick up at 8:45 AM and we will ride a cable car to visit Truc Lam Buddhist Meditation Monastery and attractive Flower Garden, Dalanta waterfall, then transfer to Nha trang at noon time. It takes you around 4.5 hours to travel from Dalat to Nha trang. Our destination for today is Nha Trang, the country's premier Resort town. This part of the country was once inhabited by an ancient civilization known as the Cham, and our next stop will be at the Po Klong Garai Cham tower. This amazing structure, which has endured the test of time, the elements and indeed war, was built in the 13th century. Arrive in Nha trang late afternoon, check in, relax. Overnight at hotel in Nha trang
 
Day 12: Nha trang island tour ( B, L )
Start from your hotel to Cau Da port. Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island is the first place to visit, many sea species of Nha Trang/Khanh Hoa province make a small ocean world there. Mun Island is the best island for snorkeling where you can see lots of lives colorful corals and fish. Visit a fishing village and taking a fresh lunch at the island. On the way back you will be able to see caves in which the sea swallows make their nest.
 
Day 13: Nha trang relaxation ( B )
Breakfast at hotel. All day free for the beach relaxation.
 
Day 14: Nha trang – Danang – Hoian ( B )
Free until transfer to airport for flight to Danang. Pick up at Danang airport, transfer to hotel in Hoian, check in, relx.
 
Day 15: Hoian ancient town ( B, L )
Today we have a lot of time to explore Hoian ancient town, once a major Asian trading port in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Hoi An’s architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Take a leisurely walking tour of the ancient town center and visit the sites of former merchants’ homes, a 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, and a Chinese Communal Hall. Believed to have been settled no less than 2,200 years ago, Hoi An was known as Faifo to early Western traders.  Hoi An was one of the major ports of Southeast Asia from the 17th to 19th centuries. Chinese, Japanese, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and other traders had small communities here, and the old wooden houses, bridges and temples that remain are reminiscent of a Vietnam of centuries past. This unique old trading town slowly became isolated due to its river silting up and by destroyed rail lines, leaving it untouched by war and frozen in time. Nowadays, this absolutely charming and relaxed town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is also famous for it's shops in particular it's large number of tailors. If you wanted, you could  have a whole new wardrobe made for you here!
Overnight at resort in Hoian.
 
Day 16: Hoian – My son ( B )
We drive to visit holly land My Son. This is a former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled central Vietnam between the second and thirteenth centuries. Hinduism from India heavily influenced their religion. Located 60km from Danang, My Son is considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham structures in Vietnam. The complex is comprised of seventy Hindu-like towers and temples dating from the second century. This site is a must-see for those who are interested in architecture and ancient civilizations. It is one of four World Heritage listed sites in Vietnam. Balance of the day will be at your leisure to do your endless shopping in Hoian. Overnight at hotel in Hoian.
 
Day 17: Hoian – Hue ( B, L )
After breakfast at hotel, say good bye Hoian and embark on northern bound journey to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam.  Stop en route at the beautiful Non Nuoc Beach. In Danang you will visit the Marble Mountains, five sacred hills containing dozens of Buddhist shrines. The guide and driver will take you over the beautiful Hai Van Pass - Vietnam's geographical and psychological boundary between north and south. The peak of the pass lies perpetually shrouded in clouds.
Arrival Hue in Hue at noon time. This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the City was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945. We then take a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market and pass many fantastic eating spots where visitors have a chance to sample some local delicacies. Overnight at hotel in Hue.
 
Day 18: Hue – Hanoi ( B )
Breakfast at hotel, we embark on a boat for cruise upstream on the Perfume River, viewing the city and the tranquil villages on the riverbank. We will walk up to visit the Thien Mu pagoda, a nicely located pagoda, overlooks the Perfume River and the beautiful scenery beyond, where you get to learn more about the Buddhism in Vietnam. One of the most poignant displays here is a car belonging to a former monk, who in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the South Vietnamese regime and its treatment of Buddhists. Disembark the board for a visit the elaborate mausoleum of former emperor Tu Duc, built decades before its occupant's death the tomb was used as a palace retreat before the emperors final resting place. Transfer to the airport for flight to Hanoi. The guide in Hanoi will pick you up, transfer to hotel in city center, check in, relax. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi
 
Day 19: Hanoi city tour – night train to Sapa( B, L )
After breakfast, pick up at hotel, start city tour  with the Ho Chi Minh Complex. This famous site contains the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh (Close on Monday, Friday & October, half of November for annual maintenance), the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with the impressive Ethnology Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups.  Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon, visit the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam, Vietnam’s first university. Constructed in 1070, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. We continue to visit the Restored Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake) and Ngoc Son Temple, do a cyclo tour around around the 36 streets of the Hanoi old quarter to learn more about simple life of Hanoian. Enjoy water puppet show- a remarkable Vietnamese art form that combines traditional music, fireworks, underwater puppeteers, and elaborate puppets floating gracefully over water. Transfer to the train station for night train to Sapa. The train leaves Hanoi at around 9:00 PM. Overnight on train with soft sleep 4 berth / cabin.
 
Day 20: Sapa – Cat cat vilage ( B, L )
The train arrives at the Lao Cai train station at approximately 05:00 AM. There will be a vehicle and tour guide waiting to transfer us to Sapa. The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours to make our way up the mountains. Arrive Sapa and  enjoy  breakfast at the hotel (There will be surcharge if require early check in).
After breakfast,  we  do the a tour with car and guide  to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, and Sansaho village home to the H'mong  hill tribes minority peoples. As we walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, we will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. Here we have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families that live in the area. Back to the hotel , check in, then enjoy lunch at local restaurant.
This afternoon you travel by car toward the Silver Waterfall where you will be able to take a short walk to waterfall. You will then drive further to Heaven Gate, the highest peak of roads in Vietnam. From there you can see Fansipan, the highest peak of Indochina mountains as well as enjoy stunning views. The walk commences at a point nearby the waterfall, by a descent on a trail through bamboo forest, which belongs to Hoang Lien National Park. Transfer back Sapa town. Overnight at hotel.
 
Day 21: Lao chai – Tavan village ( B, L )
After breakfast, we start the trip to the Lao Chai village, take picture of paddle field and visit minority house and school. The lovely walk  that will take us along small paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Tavan, home to H'mong, and Dzay people. This is a absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Stopping for a lunch on the way at a family in Ta Van village. Opportunity to meet with local people and study the art of making batik and local weaving villages - study textile tradition of craft women o Black H'mong and Red Dzao. Overnight at hotel.
 
Day 22: Sapa – Sunday Bacha market – night train back Hanoi ( B, L )
The beginning of the day on which you visit a big market filled with many different hill-tribe peoples. It takes you around 2 hour drive to the Bac ha market.
This is the most colourful market in North Vietnam. At the market, you have chance to enjoy BacHa people's simple but unique kinds of food with special wines made from rice, cassavas, corn and different sorts of fruits such as plumps, apples, peaches... talking to the minorities through the guide's interpretation. Leave the market for the H'mong King's house (King Hoang A Tuong) built by the French colonists and the Chinese in 1920. Return the town for lunch. In the afternoon, spend time visiting another village (BanPho village) Say good bye to BacHa and get back to Sapa. Reach Sapa late in the afternoon. Check in hotel.
Transfer back Lao cai for the night train back Hanoi.
Overnight on train with 4 berth / cabin.

Day 23: Hanoi – Halong Bay on board (B, L, D) – 180km – around 3,5 hour drive
Arrival in Hanoi in the early morning at round 5:00 am. Pick up at train station and the guide will take you to a mini hotel near the train station gate to have shower and basic set menu breakfast.
8:00 Am pick up at hotel, depart for Halong bay. It takes around 3,5 hours traveling by road.
Comfort stop en route for photos and coffee (by your own) before arriving to Ha Long City.
11:30-12.15 Arrive in Ha Long city, board our traditional wooden junk boat for an overnight journey. Sip on a refreshing welcome drink upon check in before you begin your cruise through the bay.
13.00 Start sail from Bai Tu Long Bay area, Feast on a delicious lunch as you cruise among beautiful of islets (Tea pot islet, Mat Quy –Monster Face islet, Yen Ngua islet, Man’s Head islet, Tortoise islet etc.) to discover unspoilt pockets of Halong Bay and visit Sung Sot - Amazing cave, one of the most imposing grottos of the Bay. Swim at Soi Sim beach or Titov beach or a short trek to the top of Titov mountain (426 Steps) for a magnificent panorama scenery.
17.30 Fresh fruits serve at lounge or sundeck. Enjoy vegetable/fruit carving & Folding Napkin 19.30 Enjoy your dinner on board. 21.00 Squid fishing or relax and chatting with your partner, friends, family.
Overnight on Junk.

Day 24: Halong – Hanoi (B, L )
06.20 Tai Chi Exercise with an opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery of sunrise over the Bay.
07.00 For early riser complimentary tea, coffee and break fast are served.
08.00 Visit Luon cave on small bamboo boat paddle by out crew staff and enjoy the quiet atmosphere enclosed by high islets and mountains. Be back to our Huong Hai Junk. Sail past rock formations such as and passing Finger islet, Hoa Cuong fishing village area, Ga Choi – Fghting Cock islet, Dinh Huong Islet, Little Dog islet. Enjoy the tranquil scenery as the boat meanders its way through the bay on the way back to Ha Long city, etc.
09.00 Arrange your luggage and do the check out onboard.
10.15 Enjoy a lunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations.
11:30–12:00: We will return to the main harbor before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for a 3.5 hours back Hanoi. We reach hotel at around 15:30 – 16:00, check in, relax
 
Day 25: Hanoi departure ( B )
Free until transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of tour.

Accommodation Options
 
Location Standard 3* Superior 3* First class 4* Deluxe 5*
Hanoi Le Carnot 3* Le Carnot 3** Lan Vien 4* De L’ Opera 5*
Halong boat V Spirit 3* V Spirit 3* Pelican 4* Starlight 5*
Sapa Sapa Lodge 3* Sapa Lodge 3* Chau long II 4* Victoria Sapa 4*
Hoian Vinh hung II 3* Vinh Hung Emerald 3* Hoian Beach resort 4* Palm Garden 5*
Hue Hue Serene 3* Asia hotel 3* Moonlight 4* Imperial 5*
Saigon Ruby River 3* Tan Hai long hotel &spa 3* Grand Silverland 4* Majestic 5*
Dalat Best Western Plaza 3* Best Western Plaza 3* Ngoc Lan 4* AnaMandara 5*
Nha trang Ruby 3* Ruby 3* The light 4* Sunrise Nhatrang 5*
Phnompenh Cardamom 3* King grand  Boutique 3* White Maison 4* Sofitel l 5*
Siem reap Casa angkor 3* Central Boutique 3* Prince D'angkor 4* Borei Angkor 5*
 
Tour includes:
  • All accommodation in double / twin room with daily breakfast at selected hotels
  • 2 days 1 night cruise in Halong Bay ( private cabin – sharing boat )
  • 2 nights on train with soft sleep 4 berth / cabin Hanoi – Lao cai - Hanoi
  • All tours & transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Private English or French speaking guide
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary with local foods (B = breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
  • Boat cruise as stated
  • Airfare & aiport taxes: Siemreap – Ho chi minh, Nha trang – Danang, Hue – Hanoi
  • Entrance fees and permits for all sights visited
  • Mineral water & towel
  • Government taxes & Service charges
 
Tour excludes:
  • International flights that not mentioned above
  • Vietnam visa arrangement (We can apply Visa on arrival if you request)
  • Cambodia Visa (available at the airport at 20 USD/person)
  • Kayak in Halong Bay
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Surcharge on 24,31 December and Lunar New Year
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as Telephone and Laundry bills, drink during meals
  • Tips and gratuities
 
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