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I am totally captivated by Asia. Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea, and Hong Kong, traveled extensively across all of our destinations in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating exceptional trips comes naturally to me.
- from $3,670 PP
- 11 Nights
- Oct - Apr
- 12 hrs from London / 20 hrs from NYC
This thrilling 11-night tour captures the very best of Vietnam with an extension to the mesmerizing temples of Angkor, located across the Mekong Delta in neighboring Cambodia. You’ll begin with two nights in the bustling Vietnamese capital Hanoi, before embarking on an unforgettable overnight cruise through Lan Ha Bay. Fly down to central Vietnam for three nights in the ancient port of Hoi An, where you’ll enjoy a cycling tour through the emerald surrounding scenery, and a mouthwatering cooking class and market tour. Two nights in pulsating Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) follow, before you fly across to Siem Reap for three final nights discovering the incredible Angkor complex and the magical city and countryside which surrounds.
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- 11 nights in 4-star accommodation
- Daily breakfast throughout plus other meals as per itinerary
- Private transfers and tours throughout, accompanied by private English-speaking guides
- Regional flights as described in economy class
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
- Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Hanoi: Arrival into Noi Bai International Airport
Your begins with your arrival into Noi Bai International Airport. You’ll be greeted by your private English-speaking guide, and then a private driver, and together they will transfer you to your downtown hotel.
Located in the northwest of the Red River Delta, Hanoi translates as “the hinterland between the rivers.” It’s also a city of lakes, with 18 found here, the most prominent of which is the picturesque Hoan Kiem lake situated right in the city center, just south of the bustling Old Quarter. A heady mix of Eastern and European styles, Hanoi is a fascinating and fun place to explore independently.
Your guide will provide a brief introduction to the city during the transfer and after checking into your accommodation you’ll have the remainder of the day to relax, or to head out and discover plenty of places to drink, dine and shop.
Day 2 Hanoi: City tour of the Vietnamese capital
After breakfast you will meet your guide and head out for a private tour of the city. Start with a visit to the Temple of Literature, the first university in the country, built in 1070 instructing the teachings of Confucius. You’ll then enjoy a walking tour of the atmospheric and energetic Old Quarter, which includes a short stop inside a family home to learn more about local life and lifestyles. Continue to the highly photogenic Ngoc Son Temple which sits proudly in the middle of Hoan Kiem lake, before rounding out the morning with a lunch at a local restaurant. The afternoon is then yours to relax back at the hotel or continue exploring independently.
Day 3 Lan Ha Bay: Transfer to Lan Ha Bay for an overnight cruise
After an early breakfast you’ll be transferred out to the mouth of the Red River delta, making for Tuan Chau Marina, from where you’ll begin your overnight cruise in Lan Ha Bay. Lan Ha is the less-visited but equally stunning neighbor to Halong Bay (which has begun to suffer from over-tourism), made up of 100s of dramatic karst outcrops and islets. Your overnight cruise will pass through some truly breathtaking scenery, and will include excursions such as visits to small and sparsely populated islands, kayaking or swimming, and cooking demonstrations. Accommodation is in an extremely comfortable private cabin, with dining and service on board second-to-none. Please note that your local guide is not permitted to join you on board; all excursions will be led by cruise guides and shared with other passengers.
Day 4 Hoi An: Disembark and fly down to Hoi An
You have the option of an early start for an energizing Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck before the cruise begins its sail back to the mainland. Breakfast and a further excursion on board will be included before you disembark back in Tuan Chua. You’ll be met by your private guide and driver once more and then transferred to the airport for an onward flight down to Hoi An.
Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port. It was most active between the 15th and 19th centuries, with much of the infrastructure dating back to the time still standing. The whole town is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On arrival, your private guide will take you for a walking tour of the Old Town, with its narrow (and pedestrianized) streets full of historic shophouses. Take in the Phuc Kien Pagoda, the Japanese wooden bridge, and the lively central market. You will also find a great many tailoring outlets; Hoi An is famous for its tailors and is a great place to pick up well-priced bespoke clothing. Please speak to your guide for a recommendation.
Day 5 Hoi An: Cycling tour around Hoi An
Your guide will meet you after breakfast and together you will cycle out into the scenically and culturally rich countryside which surrounds Hoi An. Passing through paddy fields, coconut forests, farmland, and picturesque villages, you will cycle along quiet and flat tracks for approximately 6km, although this can be extended or shortened depending on your interests. The village lanes will bring you to an organic farm, where you will stop to spend some time learning about farming practices and get hands-on if you wish. You will also enjoy a basket boat ride along the Do River which finishes at the farm’s restaurant, where you will enjoy lunch.
The rest of the day is then at leisure. There is a wealth of activity on offer in Hoi An: take in a cycling tour of the nearby countryside and villages, shop for clothes or crafts in the Old Town, ask your guide about a side tour to the rural My Son temples, or spend the day relaxing back at the hotel or on the nearby beach.
Day 6 Hoi An: Private cooking class
This morning you’ll indulge in an exclusive cooking class during which you’ll discover the best of Vietnamese ingredients and cooking techniques. It’s an early start, with a 7am pick-up to arrive at Hoi An’s riverside market at its busiest and most interesting time of day. Led by a private chef, you’ll explore the market and pick up key ingredients – with your host consulting you on food preferences and tailoring the menu accordingly. Travel on to a small restaurant within the old town where you’ll find a private cooking station set up. With the help of your engaging chef hosts, you’ll create a series of delicious dishes that are then enjoyed for lunch. Additional side dishes, drinks, and sweet treats are provided by staff. You’ll also be given a recipe booklet so you can recreate the dishes once back at home.
Day 7 HCMC: Fly down to Ho Chi Minh City; Afternoon city tour
This morning you’ll be transferred to nearby Danang Airport from where you’ll take a short domestic flight down to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Upon arrival you will be greeted by a new guide and driver who will transfer you to your downtown hotel.
Ho Chi Minh City is among Asia’s most dynamic and enthralling cities. Older travelers will know it by its former name Saigon – it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976, although you’ll find many locals still use the former name. Today’s HCMC is a dynamic metropolis of skyscrapers and shopping malls, juxtaposed with sprawling traditional markets and ancient temples.
After settling in and freshening up head back out with your guide to discover the city. Start in Chinatown, one of the busiest districts in the city. Visit the Thien Hau Buddhist temple, dedicated to a Chinese sea goddess, and then enjoy a cyclo ride across to Binh Tay Market, where you’ll find a huge variety of wholesale and retail produce. Finish the tour with a drive through Ben Nghe district, the former French Colonial center of the city, which houses the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House, and still thriving central Post Office.
Day 8 HCMC: Cu Chi tunnels by speedboat
After breakfast you will be transferred to Bach Dang jetty, where you will board a shared speedboat boat to the Cu Chi tunnels. This river journey provides a glimpse of the changing faces of Vietnam – the glittering skyscrapers and busy commercial center give way to green paddy fields and pottery villages dotted along the Saigon River. The Cu Chi tunnel complex was initially started in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps. The tunnels also served as communication routes, storage facilities for food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war.
A visit to the underground villages will provide a better understanding of how the tunnels were constructed, the hardship of life in the tunnels, and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. Note that the Cu Chi tunnels have been widened in places for visitors, however they can still be dark, hot, and claustrophobic inside so please bear this in mind if you do not like enclosed spaces.
After returning to central Saigon you have the remainder of the day free. Relax back at the hotel, or head out to cram in some final shopping or sightseeing.
Day 9 Siem Reap: Fly to Siem Reap; Evening Cambodian circus visit
This morning you’ll be transferred back to Saigon Airport and then board a short flight over the border to Cambodia, landing in Siem Reap – home to the temples of Angkor. You’ll be greeted on arrival by your private English-speaking guide, and then a private driver, and together they will transfer you to your nearby hotel.
While best-known for the temples and ruins of Angkor, once the world’s largest and greatest pre-industrial city, Siem Reap also offers opportunities to explore museums, markets, and buzzing nightlife. Once checked in you will have the remainder of the day free to rest and recuperate at the hotel, or jump in a tuk-tuk and head out to explore.
In the evening you’ll be taken to enjoy Siem Reap’s finest contemporary spectacle – the Phare circus. Tightrope walkers, contortionists, and acrobats take to the stage for a dynamic artistic spectacle that blends visual art, music, dance, and circus skills. Phare arose from Battambang-based NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak, with all proceeds from the Siem Reap event going back to their mission of skilling impoverished children in the arts and performance. The NGO’s impact on rural Cambodia is genuinely remarkable, and the show itself hugely entertaining, so on all counts the 90-minute show (with private transfers to and from included) is an inspiring and invaluable use of your time.
Day 10 Siem Reap: Full day temple tours
Wake early this morning to enjoy the lesser-visited corners of the Angkor complex at their quietest time of day. Head first to Srah Srang, Angkor’s expansive 700m x 350m reservoir, which glows a deep orange at sunrise. Continue to the legendary jungle temple Ta Prohm, its crumbling ruins now held together with roots and vines. A 15-minute walk through the forest north of Ta Prohm then takes you to Ta Nei where you’ll be served a delicious picnic breakfast. At this time of day you’re likely to have the entire temple site to yourselves. A short drive then brings you to the final stop of the morning – Ta Keo, known as the ‘Mountain of Bronze Peaks’, with its impressive five-tiered pyramid structure. You’ll be dropped back at your hotel in the mid-morning and have some time to relax.
In the afternoon your guide will take you on a walking tour through the mighty Angkor Thom – literally ‘Great City’. Start at the imposing Victory Gate, then continue along the 5m high former city walls to the ‘Death Gate’ and then the Terrace of the Leper King. A further short walk from the Buddhist sanctuary of Preah Palilay takes you through shaded woodland to the three tiers of Phimeanakas, flanked by beautiful lakes, and then to the Hindu temple Baphuon. The big finish arrives in the exact center of Angkor Thom at the Bayon, former state temple of Jayavarman VII. The Bayon is known for its captivating bas relief faces, carved in their hundreds, each telling a different story of daily life and epic events in the time of Angkor. End the day with a leisurely boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom, enjoying the sunset with a cocktail in hand.
Day 11 Siem Reap: Sunrise at Angkor Wat; Sunset cruise on Lake Tonle Sap
This morning you will visit Angkor Wat, the mother of all temples. Timings are flexible but we recommend visiting at dawn, seeing the sun climb over the temple and bathe it in the softest and best light of the day. Angkor Wat is reputed to be the largest religious complex in the world. Constructed over 30 years during the reign of Suryavarman II, it was originally a Hindu mountain temple, then later converted to Buddhist use in the 16th century, remaining in such use today. The sheer scale of Angkor Wat, coupled with the incredible complexity and detail of its bas reliefs, is difficult to comprehend.
As the sun dips head out to the great Tonle Sap Lake: the richest freshwater fishing ground in the world and a Cambodian national treasure. A privately guided boat tour will introduce you to the communities that live around the margins of the lake, who adapt to the continual variation in water levels by building their homes on floating stilts. Take the opportunity to pause at the stilted houses to learn how a subsistence fishing family lives, before returning to shore, where you will find some cool sundowners have been prepared for you.
Day 12 Siem Reap: Departure day
Sadly your adventures in Indochina must come to an end. At the appropriate time, you’ll be transferred privately from your hotel back to Siem Reap Airport, arriving in good time to check in for your onward flight.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests to purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
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