13 Days Travel from Cambodia to Vietnam

Tonle Sap Lake - Siem Reap
Duration 13 Days/12 Nights
Starts in: Phnom Penh
Ends in: Hanoi
Activity: Vietnam Cambodia  Tours

Phnom Penh - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City - Da Nang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi - Halong

Day 1: Phnom Penh - Arrival (D)
Arrival in Phnom Penh, the fascinating, bustling capital city of Cambodia on the banks of three rivers, the Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Tonle Bassac. Meet your guide and transfer to your hotel to check in. This afternoon, enjoy time to relax from your flight, perhaps stroll the lovely streets around your centrally located hotel, or take a nap before dinner. If you aren't too tired and prefer to jump into sightseeing this afternoon, take advantage of an included bonus tour of Phnom Penh, beginning with an overview of the city from atop Wat Phnom.

Proceed to the incredible Silver Pagoda in the Royal Palace complex where you find a dazzling green-crystal Buddha and a life-size Buddha made of solid gold and encrusted with 9, 500 diamonds, resting on a floor covered with 5, 000 silver tiles. Continue to the the National Museum, which has a wonderful collection of Khmer art and sculpture. Time permitting, pay a respectful visit to Tuol Sleng Museum, a Khmer Rouge prison and torture chamber from which only seven out of more than 30, 000 inmates survived. Return to your hotel and prepare to join your fellow travelers at a "Welcome to Cambodia" dinner. Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 2: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B, L)
After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Siem Reap to begin your exploration of one of the largest religious sites in the world: Angkor Thom. The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures you see at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings - palaces, public buildings, and houses - were built of wood and are long since decayed and gone.

Begin your explorations at the mysterious royal walled city of Angkor Thom. Its 54-tower temple is an awesome sight that most visitors never forget, with each of its surreal towers topped with four giant, barely smiling faces that stare out in the directions of the four points of the compass. The faces are identical, depicting a Khmer royal ruler as a Buddhist deity, and the staggered height of the towers and the different viewpoint of each keeps the design from appearing repetitious. You are engulfed by the silent, heavy, enigmatic gaze of those faces, through half-closed eyes, staring out from a remote time in history.

Other sites you'll visit in this complex include the Baphoun, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace and Royal Palace area. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 3: Angkor Explorations (B, L)
This morning you will continue your exploration of the incredible ruins of Angkor, which consists of more than 30 temples and ancient buildings. All of the spectacular, carved-stone buildings were built between AD 800—1400, the height of the Khmer empire. Among the ruins you'll visit is the beautiful Bantey Srei, small in scale but considered to be a jewel in Angkor's crown because of its well-preserved, highly detailed carvings. Continue to Ta Prohm, shrouded in jungle and left untouched among twisted banyan trees and stone pillars, it is has the most mysterious atmosphere of the temples in the greater Angkor area.

This afternoon, visit the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat, built during the early years of the 12th century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. Consisting of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mt. Meru, its rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean. Hundreds of fine carvings and scenes from Hindu mythology can still be viewed here. Later on, enjoy a spectacular view of the sun setting at Angkor Wat. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 4: Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) (B, L)
This morning, drive to the Tonle Sap Lake, actually a combined lake and river system of huge importance to Cambodia, supporting over 3 million people and providing about 75% of Cambodia's annual inland fish. An unusual seasonal occurrence is one of the reasons the region is so productive: The monsoon rains pour so much water into the Mekong River that it briefly forces the Tonle Sap River to flow backwards, swelling the Tonle Sap Lake in western Cambodia to more than five times its normal size. After a visit to the Floating Village, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, located in the heart of the city within easy access to shopping, touring and dining. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to experience for yourself the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
After breakfast, drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels, begun by the Viet Minh in the 1940's. The incredible network of tunnels once stretched for 210 miles and contained extensive Viet Cong infrastructure including tactical quarters, storage rooms, kitchens, a school and even an underground hospital. Most entrances were so well disguised that only a small portion of the system was ever discovered during the war, despite the fact that some 125 mi/200 km ran under a U.S. military base. This afternoon, explore dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, including the former Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Saigon Post Office and Thien Hau Pagoda in the city's bustling Chinatown. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City - Danang - Hoi An (B, L)
After breakfast, enjoy some free time for shopping, then transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang, a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the East Sea. Upon arrival, board your touring coach and drive to Hoi An, on the banks of the Thu Bon River. The colorful market town of Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a major Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries, with ships arriving from all over the world to obtain silk and other fabrics, sugar, tea and ceramics. Hoi An's traditional Vietnamese architecture has been preserved, and there are many historic temples and pagodas in the area.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to explore on your own. You might want to take advantage of Hoi An's world-famous tailors during your stay here. Anything you might want to wear can be made for you in Hoi An, all at bargain prices and with expert workmanship. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7: Hoi An tour (B, L)
This morning, set out on a walking tour of this World Heritage Site. Along the way visit the Japanese Covered Bridge which features a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side and the town's most famous landmark, a beautiful Chinese Assembly Hall built in 1740 as a meeting place for all Chinese residents of the town. The hall is lavishly decorated with murals and a replica of a Chinese ship, and Phuoc Kien Pagoda, also called Kim Son Pagoda, built in 1697 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants at Hoi An.

Conclude your tour at the Central Market, where you will find everything from fruit and flowers to tailor-made clothes and silk lanterns, whose flexible bamboo frames are designed to collapse, so they're easily transported home as a souvenir. Enjoy lunch at a popular local restaurant, then spend the afternoon at leisure to explore further on your own. Time for a swim in the Cua Dai Beach, shop for wood carvings from Kim Bong village for which Hoi An is famous.

Optional Tour to My Son, $37 per person: To further explore the area, you will have an opportunity to take an optional half day trip to visit the capital and religious center of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son ($37). Here, 40km southwest of Hoi An in a lush green valley, are dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries. On the way back to Hoi An stop to visit Tra Kieu, formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel, the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. Some of the finest sculpture in Danang's Cham Museum originated from here. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8: Hoi An - Danang - Hue (B, L)
Board your touring coach this morning and drive to the coastal city of Danang, en route to Hue. Just south of Hue are the Marble Mountains, actually five marble hills, each said to represent one of the five elements of the universe—water, wood, fire, metal and earth. One of them, Thuy Son, is honeycombed with caves containing Cham, Buddhist, and Confucian relics, pagodas, and temples. En route stop at East Sea, a former U.S. recreation base, well known for its sparkling white-sand coast and excellent views of the nearby Marble Mountains, and the Cham Museum, containing the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. Drive over the Hai Van Pass with its spectacular views. Arrive in Hue and check in at your hotel.

This afternoon, explore Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Visit the Imperial Citadel, the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty which ruled Vietnam between 1802 and 1945. The former imperial seat of government and Hue's prime attraction, this is a great sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates, shops, museums and galleries. A boat trip on the Perfume River takes you past Hue's best-known religious site, the Thien Mu Pagoda where, according to legend, an old woman appeared on a hill where the pagoda now sits and predicted that a great leader would one day build a pagoda in that spot in order to bring peace to the country. Lord Nguyen Hoang visited the area in 1601 and upon hearing of the legend, he ordered the pagoda built, naming it Chua Thien Mu, the Heavenly Lady Pagoda.

End the day with a visit to the popular Dong Ba Market, one of the must-see sites in Hue, where fruit, vegetables, fish, rice and other staples of the traditional Vietnamese diet are sold along with foods made from these ingredients. Join your fellow tour members at Y Thao Restaurant for dinner this evening. Overnight in Hue.

Day 9: Hue - Hanoi (B, L)
Hue & Hanoi. Transfer to the airport this morning for the short flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check in. Hanoi's rich history is closely tied to French colonialism as well as the Chinese era, both evident in the city's architecture, cuisine and culture. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to visit the Maison Centrale (Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton during the American War).

Later this afternoon, you'll enjoy a tour by cyclo, a chauffeur-pedaled tricycle, through the city's Old Quarter, also known as the 36 streets. This bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore, especially by cyclo, with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. Continue to the theater to enjoy a unique, ancient form of Vietnamese entertainment known as Mua Roi Nuoc, or Water Puppets, where puppeteers control their puppets using long bamboo rods and string mechanisms hidden beneath the water's surface. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 10: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
After breakfast, drive from Hanoi to Halong where you'll board the deluxe cruise. While cruising on the emerald green waters of the bay, try a traditional Vietnamese massage, an optional extra (prices vary). Then, join your fellow shipmates for a beautiful sunset on the sun deck followed by a delicious Vietnamese buffet dinner Overnight on board.
Day 11: Halong bay - Hanoi (B)
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to the port. After disembarkation from your boat, your touring coach and drive back to Hanoi. This afternoon is at leisure to shop, stroll and enjoy the city on your own. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 12: Hanoi Sightseeing Tour (B, L)
On this morning's sightseeing tour, you'll explore the highlights of Hanoi. Stop first for outside views of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his "house on stilts" where he resided during the later years of his life, one of the most important and visited sites in Vietnam. Continue to the One Pillar Pagoda, built on stilts over a lake in 1049 by King Ly Thai Thong. A prayer here is said to bring fertility and good health.

Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university constructd in 1070 by King Ly Thanh Tong to pay tribute to education and to those of high academic achievement. Today, art students sit on the grass and try to reproduce the traditional Vietnamese architecture on paper while enjoying the beautiful and well-preserved gardens of this quiet retreat into Vietnamese educational history. The rest of the day is at leisure to shop for last-minute souvenirs or to simply enjoy a last stroll through Hanoi's fascinating streets. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at Au Lac Restaurant.

If your schedule permits, join us on a fabulous 3-night optional extension to Sapa, center of the H'Mong aand other Hill Tribe people. Departing by train after dinner this evening, this extension is a cultural experience not to be missed. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 13: Hanoi - Departure (B)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Later today, transfer to the airport to check in for your return flight to your home.
End of services. Our staff will give you the warmest goodbye and hope to see you again
Please contact us for best price!
Tour Package Includes
  • A/c private car/van for pick up, transfer & sightseeing as per program
  • English/French speaking tour guide at places
  • Economy class flights
  • Boat trips as described
  • All entrance fees Accommodation: twin sharing room at the below mentioned hotel or similar one
  • Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = dinner
Tour Package Excludes
  • Vias & visa fees
  • Personal expenses Late check out and early check in Other meals and drinks Tip for tour guide and driver Departure tax and other airport tax All other services not included on the written form
Angkor Wat - Siem Reap
Reunification Palace Saigon
Japanese Covered Bridge - Hoi An
Imperial Citadel - Hue
Fighting Cocks Island - Halong Bay

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