Day 1 – Hanoi
On arrival in Hanoi you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After checking in, meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetisers.
Stay 2 Nights at Melia Hanoi (or similar) with buffet breakfast
Day 2 – Hanoi
Explore the city on a guided tour, starting with the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument where the preserved body of 'Uncle Ho' resides. A short walk from here you will find his famous house on stilts, before continuing to the Temple of Literature. After lunch (included) enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarter and enjoy the colourful shopfronts and street food vendors. Enjoy an evening at leisure or consider joining one of the optional excursions.
Day 3 – Hanoi to Halong Bay
Depart after breakfast for the 3.5 hour transfer to Halong Bay, where you will join your luxury traditional Vietnamese Junk Boat. Lunch will be served as you cruise out into the bay among the hundreds of islands; in the afternoon visit Cua Van Fishing Village by rowing boat to get a closer look into the lives of the local fishermen. Drop anchor later in the evening to relax, enjoy the scenery and enjoy a fabulous dinner on-board.
Stay 1 Night aboard Jasmine Cruise (or similar)
Day 4 – Halong Bay – Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An
Begin your day peacefully with a morning T'ai Chi class on the deck; then perhaps enjoy an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches. Continue to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Danang, where on arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Hoi An.
Stay 3 Nights at Royal Hoi An (or similar) with buffet breakfast
Day 5 – Hoi An
Hoi An is another UNESCO World Heritage site, given the status due its well-preserved ancient buildings and pedestrianised streets; enjoy a walking tour this morning including the local market and see the famous 400 year old Japanese Bridge. Then join a very special Cultural Insight with some time helping local farmers and learning about their daily working routines, before indulging in a relaxing foot massage. After lunch return to Hoi An for the rest of the day and evening at leisure.
Day 6 – Hoi An
Enjoy a morning exploring at your own pace and then in the afternoon choose between two very different cultural experiences; join a Lantern Making Workshop or a Fishing Life tour (learn about the local fishermen and have a go at casting a net yourself (the latter is weather dependent).
Day 7 – Hoi An to Hue
Spend this morning taking a boat trip to the Red Bridge Cooking School to learn the art of Vietnamese cuisine and then savour your efforts with a wonderful meal for lunch before returning to Hoi An. This afternoon depart Hoi An and drive over the scenic Hai Van Pass stopping en-route to see Red Beach where the American Marines first landed in Vietnam. Continue to Danang for a visit to the Cham Sculpture before arriving in Hue.
Stay 2 Nights at Imperial Hotel, Hue (or similar) with buffet breakfast
Day 8 - Hue
From the Hotel, travel to the ancient UNESCO world heritage site of the imperial Citadel by cyclo (pedal powered rickshaw). Your driver will then take you to see the seven storey Thien Mu Pagoda and you will join a dragon boat trip long the Perfume River to the beautifully preserved house of the former Princess Ngoc Son for a ‘Be My Guest’ lunch. Chat with the current family in residence to understand life in this historic house and city whilst you enjoy lunch they prepare for you. Your afternoon is then at leisure and you can seek out a local restaurant for dinner; alternatively, you can add a Bamboo Paper Art Workshop, where you can watch talented artists turn the bamboo material into various details and unique creations.
Day 9 – Hue - Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon). Upon arrival enjoy some free time to stroll around the city before lunch at KOTO restaurant; a non profit social enterprise that provides training to disadvantaged young people in the hospitality industry. Walk off lunch with a city tour on foot taking in some of the landmark French colonial buildings and visit the War Remnants Museum. After a stroll around Ben Thanh market, check in to your hotel on the riverside.
Stay 3 Nights at Sofitel Saigon Plaza (or similar) with buffet breakfast
Day 10 – Mekong Delta
After breakfast, it is a day out in the Delta of the Mekong River, starting at My Tho, where you will transfer to a small sampan boat and cruise the myriad canals to stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Take a short walk to the home of a former soldier, a survivor from the Khmer Rouge battles, whom now makes rice paper with his wife; they are a wealth of fascinating insights and tales. Return to Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy an evening at leisure.
Day 11 - Ho Chi Minh City
Today you will board a private speedboat to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels with a VC Veteran, a network of underground tunnels built to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from air and ground sweeps. Enjoy some free time this afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City before get together again this evening to visit the home of the former American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, then finish your tour with a Farewell Dinner.
Day 12 – Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your short flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Check in and enjoy free time at your hotel enjoying the facilities.
Stay 4 Nights at Le Meridien (or similar) with buffet breakfast
Day 13 – Angkor Wat and Siem Reap
This morning, visit the largest religious monument in the world, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat with a renowned Khmer Scholar, who will help interpret the stories contained within. Stop at the terracotta-hued walls of Banteay Srei Temple – “Citadel of Women” dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. Stop for lunch with a local family in their 80-year-old wooden house on their dragon fruit farm. This afternoon return to Siem Reap and take a guided walk around Siem Reap’s charming old town. Visit Artisans d'Angkor, a training school and shop which creates job opportunities for young people living in rural areas, while at the same time reviving traditional Khmer craftsmanship. Cross picturesque Siem Reap River to Wat Damnak, a living temple, and receive a special blessing from one of the monks. Walk back across the Pedestrian Bridge to the Old Market. In the evening spend time at leisure or visit the picturesque Ta Prohm, one of the famous temples of Angkor (payable).
Day 14 – Angkor Thom
Start the day with a visit to two more UNESCO listed sites - Angkor Thom the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire and the Terrace of the Elephants, the platform where the king could welcome back his victorious army. Next head to the picturesque temple of Ta Prohm (the location for the film 'Tomb Raider') where the magnificent tree roots have started to reclaim the temple back into the jungle, giving a forgotten city feel. Return to Siem Reap and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 15 – Peak Sneng Village
Begin the day in the company of local Khmer villagers with a visit to a local school for the opportunity to chat with some of the children who will join you on a walk through the village and to see their day to day lives. Visiting the village will help you gain insight into weaving Cambodia’s national hats which are made from palm leave or folding Lotus flowers into delicate works of art. This evening complete your trip in style with a Farewell Dinner accompanied by traditional Apsara Dancing.
Day 16 – Departure day
After breakfast, transfer to Siem Reap Airport for your flight home