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Patrick and I had a wonderful time in Vietnam - a holiday to remember. We loved the whole experience from the beautiful scenery, the delicious food, the friendly people and all the different modes of transport! By the end of the holiday we'd travelled by plane, boat (stunning trip around Halong Bay), train, car, horse & cart!!! The tour was very well organized. Our guides were always on time to meet us (this was especially good when arriving at stations after long train journeys) and were well informed. A special mention must go to our guide for the central region around Hue & Hoi An, Mr Chun (can't remember the correct spelling). He was exceptional. He had an amazing knowledge of the history, people and area and really impressed us. All the guides were friendly and helpful, however Mr Chun stood out for us.
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HighlightsSiem Reap, Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, Mekong, Saigon,
    Cuchi Tunnels, Nhatrang, Danang, Hoian, Hue, Halong Bay, Hanoi
Duration: 16 days/15 nights
Tour Type: Private Tour / Daily Departure
Cost from:
Start from: Siem Reap or can be reverted. 
 
 
BRIEF ITINERARY:

Day 01: Arrive Siem Reap – Welcome to Cambodia (D)
Day 02: Siem Reap – Angkor Tour (B)
Day 03: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh, City Tour (B)
Day 04: Phnom Penh Tour – Chau Doc – Vietnam (B)
Day 05: Chau Doc – Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)
Day 06: Discover Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)
Day 07: Mekong – Saigon (B)
Day 08: Saigon – Cuchi Tunnels (B)
Day 09: Saigon – Nhatrang Beach (B)
Day 10: Nhatrang – Boat trip to Island (B/L)
Day 11: Nhatrang – Danang - Hoian (B)
Day 12: Hoian - Hue, visit old citadel (B)
Day 13: Hue – Hanoi – Halong (B)
Day 14: Halong Bay Cruise – Hanoi (B/L)
Day 15: Hanoi City Tour (B)
Day 16: Hanoi – Departure (B)
 
 

DETAILED ITINERARY:

Day 01: Arrive Siem Reap – Welcome to Cambodia (D)
On your arrival in Siem Reap, meet our driver at the airport for the transfer to your hotel in City center. You will be free at leisure in the rest of the day to explore this small town and visit the local market in the morning.
Afternoon, visit Banteay Srei temple (10th c), regarded as the jewel in the crown of Classical Khmer Art. Continue to visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of "anastylosis". The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.



Day 02: Siem Reap – Angkor Tour (B)
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.
Afternoon, visit the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk), the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Sunset at Angkor Wat. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 03: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh, City Tour (B)
Early morning transfer to the boat station in the Tonle Sap Lake for the express boat trip to PhnomPenh. The 5 hour boat trip will take you through the floating villages and you will see the local life on the Tonle Sap Lake, the biggest lake in Asia, and along the Mekong River where you will see the real countryside of Cambodia.
Arrive in Phnom Penh at around 12.00 at noon, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Afternoon, we will visit this charming city of Phnom Penh: The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the notorious ‘Killing Fields’ of Choeung Ek are not to be missed. A visit to these sights provides a deep insight into the painful bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge. Visit Wat Phnom temple. Before ending the tour of today, we enjoy the Cyclo ride along the Mekong River side to visit Children Khmer Dancing School. Overnight at hotel in Phnom Penh.



Day 04: Phnom Penh Tour – Chau Doc – Vietnam (B)
Morning, visit the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the grounds of 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. Visit to the National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts. A French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed it in Khmer style in 1917. The museum contains a collection of Khmer art - notably sculptures - from throughout the ages. We continue to one of the city’s lively open markets, Psar Toul Tom Pong, all called the “Russian Market”, where anything and everything is for sales.
Early afternoon, you will be transfer to the boat station for the express boat trip to Chau Doc, the border town of Vietnam. To enter Vietnam at border with Cambodia, you will need to have Vietnam visa in advance. Arrive Chau Doc in late afternoon, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Chau Doc.

Day 05: Chau Doc – Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)
Located on the upper Mekong Delta, Chau Doc town is 280 km (174 miles) south-west of Ho Chi Minh City close to the Cambodian border. With such proximity to Cambodia, the local population is an eclectic mix of Cham, Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese, sharing different cultures and historical richness.
Your cruise journey on the private sampan will start at noon in Chau Doc or Long Xuyen. We will be cruising the Mekong river and see the floating fish farming villages, floating markets and Cham villages, an ancient Muslim ethnic population with their kingdom covering Cambodia and south Vietnam during the 10th century. We will continue our cruise to Cho Moi on such a beautiful river, little arm of the Mekong, where several traditional activities can be observed on the banks (artisanal boat factories, bamboo baskets making, palm leaves cutting, net fishing), as well as old Vietnamese temples dating from late 19th century.
In the evening, we will organize for you an exciting experience in a village located in the suburbs of Cho Moi, where your dinner will be arranged at some typical local house. You will be able to share experiences with family members and learn about traditional Southern Vietnam lifestyle, one of the highlights of your journey on the Mekong which should not be forgotten! Back on board your private sampan for your first night on the boat on the river.



Day 06: Discover Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)
The breakfast will be served on board at 07am.Your Sampan will slowly leave Cho Moi for Sa Dec and proceed the cruise downstream the river to Long Xuyen, a peaceful provincial town located on the Mekong’s banks. We will pass by several luxuriant islands, crossing countless sampan boats carrying sand, rice, fruits and vegetables, fishes, showing an intense activity on the river. Approaching Long Xuyen, your lunch will be served on board. Later, you will have a quick tour of Long Xuyen typical center before cruising further to “Cu Lao Ong Ho” (The Tiger Island) for a visit at Ton Duc Thang museum, second president of Vietnam…We will proceed downstream on the Mekong river to Sa Dec. Some stops on the banks will be possible for cycling tours to discover deeper the inhabitants’ life style.
Back on board your sampan, you will enjoy a romantic dinner served on the deck during the sunset. Second night on board on the Mekong River…

Day 07: Mekong – Saigon (B)
Early morning, your breakfast will be served on board while cruising. Further, Sa Dec town will appear like a little “Venice” with numerous narrow canals…You will disembark for a guided visit of this charming and peaceful town, walking along its narrow streets where beautiful French old houses and Chinese temples dating from the last century are numerous… You will visit the local market and the Trung Vuong primary school where well known writer Marguerite Duras spent her childhood (see her famous novel turned into the movie “The Lover”).

After lunch, your sampan will proceed to Vinh Long, cruising by Dong Phu and An Binh islets famous for their fruit orchards. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River bring about large networks of meandering rivers, criss-crossed with countless arroyos, and remaining unknown to many people. Crossing the large Co Chien River we will pass under the spectacular My Thuan Bridge. On the banks, some dark smokes in the sky will lead us to one of the largest artisanal bricks and tiles factory where you will have an interesting visit.
We will proceed to Phu An hamlet, an untouched beautiful area reflecting some of the best sights the Mekong Delta can offer. A delicious lunch will await you at "Le Longanier", a superb Indochinese villa located by the river, in a lush tropical garden surrounded by fruit plantations.
Our cruise continues on to Cai Be where you will visit Cai Be colorful floating market cruising among local barges full of fruits and vegetables. Visits will be made at an ancient mandarin house dating from 1890 where you will we welcomed by the owner. Another stop at some local home factories will allow you to observe how rice paste, coconut candies and other specialties are traditionally made.
We will finish our Mekong River adventure on private sampan in Cai Be where will take our car for the trip to Saigon. Transfer to your own hotel in Saigon.

Day 08: Saigon – Cuchi Tunnels (B)
Depart this morning for the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels begun in 1948 by the Viet Minh in their struggle against the French. These tunnels were expanded and used by the Viet Cong during the war between Vietnam and America. American called this area the “Iron Triangle” and was a Viet Cong strong hold for almost thirty years. You may walk underground in the tunnels. Return to the city before lunch time.
Afternoon, you will explore this cosmopolitan city o­n a guided tour. High lights are the famed Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, Municipal Theater, Ben Thanh Market, Cho Lon and a Buddhist Temple. Overnight at hotel in Saigon.



Day 09: Saigon – Nhatrang Beach (B)
Take the early morning flight to Nhatrang. You will be met at the airport by your guide for the transfer to your hotel.
Nha Trang has o­ne of the most popular beaches in all of Vietnam, with clear turquoise water and mountains backdrop. The coconut palms provide shelter along most of the 6 km beachfront. Today, enjoy free time on the beach. Overnight at hotel in Nhatrang.



Day 10: Nhatrang – Boat trip to Island (B/L)
You will have one day boat trip. Firstly we will go to Mun Island, the best site for snorkeling where you will see lots of live colorful corals and fish. Relax, sunbath and swim at Tam island. Then visit Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island where you will have chance to see the life of the many sea species of Nhatrang Ocean in this aquarium. Return to Nha Trang at about 16.00. Overnight in Nha trang.

Day 11: Nhatrang – Danang - Hoian (B)
You will take a morning flight to Da Nang. On arrival at Da Nang Airport, you are transferred to a local restaurant in the city for lunch, and then visit to Cham Museum (rich collection of Cham sculptures from in 14-15 century back with Indian influences) before transferring to Hoian town, which was originally one of major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Visit of Hoian Town with mixed the culture of Vietnam/Chinese/Japanese with Chinese tiled houses, Chinese temples, Japanese covered bridge. Overnight in Hoian town.



Day 12: Hoian - Myson - Hue (B)
Morning, take a discovery trip to My Son, 40km from Hoi An. Located in a lush valley, My Son was a capital and religious center of Cham people, now remaining with red brick towers and sanctuaries. My Son, considered being in the same league as some of Southeast Asia's greatest archaeological sites, including Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, Ayutthaya in Thailand and Borobudur in Indonesia. These towers and sanctuaries were built from the 7 to 13 centuries. Admiring great architectural and art works of the Cham lost Kingdom. Having a brief understanding of the history, culture for which My Son was recognized the World Cultural Heritage.
Afternoon, we drive 4 hours northwards to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam. Take some stops on the way to see the spectacular view on the top of “Hai Van Pass”and the legend beach of Lang Co.
Late in the afternoon, enjoy a leisure boat-ride along the scenic Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda. Overnight at hotel in Hue.



Day 13: Hue, visit old citadel – Hanoi – Halong (B)
Morning, take a sightseeing in Hue to the Ancient Imperial Citadel, a complex of palaces and temples built by the Nguyen from early 19th Century for which Hue was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Drive to the countryside of Hue to visit King Minh Mang tomb (typical formal oriental style designed).
Early afternoon, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Hanoi. From aiport in Hanoi we take a 3 hour drive passing the nice countryside of the Red river delta to Halong city. Overnight in Halong City.



Day 14: Halong Bay Cruise – Hanoi (B/L)
Morning we will board a traditional junk to discover Halong Bay – the World Heritage Site. Cruising around the Bay with famous sites such as: Fighting cock's islet, Stone dog or Joss stick bowl islet. Visit Thien Cung cave, one of the most beautiful caves on the bay and take a round walking to visit beautiful stalactites and stalagmites inside which have been formed millions of years ago. Back to the Junk boat and keep cruising to view fabulous scenery of Halong bay. Lunch will be served on board. After a 5 hour boat trip, we will take our private car for the trip back to Hanoi. Free in the rest of the day to wander around or just relax in the hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 15: Hanoi City Tour (B)
Today we will take a sightseeing of the most Hanoi's outstanding historical and cultural sites. The visit includes:
- The complex of Ho Chi Minh historical sites, also called the political center of Vietnam.
- One-pillar Pagoda and The Temple of Literature for the brief understanding about the two most popular religions in Vietnam (Buddhism and Confucianism).
- Visit one of the museums in Hanoi (Museum of History, Museum of Ethnology, Museum of Fine Art).
- You will know our legend/history about Hoan Kiem Lake (the lake of the Restored Sword), our architectural and our way of with small streets and its name (Old quarter) on a cyclo ride.
- Late afternoon, enjoy our welcome show of northern rural of Vietnam – Water Puppet show. Overnight in Hanoi.



Day 16: Hanoi – Departure (B)
You will be free until the departure time. Our driver will meet you at the hotel and take you to the airport for the departure flight home or to the next destination.

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TOUR COST:
The cost is quoted in US Dollars per Person (Pax) base on TWIN/DOUBLE share basic, and applied for private tour.
Peak season surcharge may be applied for Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, Tet Holiday.

Class

Cost/Person Cost inquiry
Standard (3 star hotels)   Contact
Superior (3+4 star hotels) from 1530 US$ Contact
Deluxe (4 star hotels)   Contact
Luxury (5 star hotels)   Contact

Include:
Accommodation with daily breakfast bases on twin/double share
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)
Transportation by private vehicle with A/C
3 domestic flights: Saigon – Nhatrang, Nhatrang – Danang, Hue – Hanoi (Y Class)
2 nights on Private sampan in Mekong
Boat trips in Mekong Delta and Halong Bay as in the program
Local English/French speaking tour guides
All entrance fees and permits where applicable

Exclude:
Meals that not mentioned in the program
Travel insurance
Vietnam visa for this trip must be obtained in advance
Cambodia visa (20 US$/Person, can get at airport by yourself)
International flight and departure tax
Tipping, drinks and other personal expenses

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PA TOURS specializes in private and personalized travel services and tours in Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos.
Planning your personalized travel on Private Asia Tours is easy and enjoyable. You can always change, modify, or adjust your package details to suit your travel plan, flight schedule and budget before actually making the final purchase. The custom-design service of PA Tours is absolutely free!


 

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