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Vietnam | 17d/14n:

Highlights of Vietnam & Angkor Wat

SMALL GROUP TOUR – ALL DEPARTURES GUARANTEED.

Highlights of this tour:

Hanoi, mini-cruise on Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi tunnels, the Mekong Delta, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Siem Reap.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Flights from the UK to Hanoi; return flight from Siem Reap
  • Domestic flight in Vietnam, from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City
  • Flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap
  • 12 nights at 3-star hotels
  • 1 night on the 4-star mini cruise ship Emeraude
  • 1 night in a 4-bunk sleeping compartment on the train Violette from Hanoi to Danang
  • Local, English-speaking guides to accompany you on the trip
  • 13 x breakfast (days 3–5 and 7–16)
  • 4 x lunch (days 4–6 and 12)
  • 1 x dinner (day 4)
  • Transport by car or minibus with air conditioning
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip

Comprehensive package of excursions included:

  • Temple of Literature, Cyclo ride through the old quarter
  • Water puppet theatre
  • Ha Long Bay
  • The old quarter of Hoi An, the Chua Ong Pagoda, the Tam Ky building
  • The Japanese Bridge
  • Notre Dame Cathedral, the old Post Office, Dong Khoi street
  • The Opera House, the Reunification Palace
  • The War Museum
  • The Cu Chi Tunnels
  • The Mekong Delta, sailing trip, visit to local cottage industries
  • Angkor Wat
  • Angkor Thom
  • Admission and fees for the sights and attractions mentioned

Our promise to you:

  • The top highlights along this travel route
  • A well-constructed travel itinerary. No time wasted & world class
    logistics
  • Guaranteed price, with no hidden surcharges
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
Single room supplement £560
Discounts for large groups

Choose this tour because…

This 17-day tour takes in the classic sights and attractions of Vietnam, as well as the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, presented by skilled, local, English-speaking guides. The itinerary includes plenty of breaks during which you can explore the various destinations for yourself. The tour starts in the beautiful city of Hanoi in the tranquil north of the country, showcasing the contrasts between the modern and more traditional parts of the city. You have every opportunity to experience UNESCO Heritage Sites (both natural and cultural) at first hand during visits to Ha Long Bay and the old streets of Hoi An. In addition, you can immerse yourself in more modern history in the Cu Chi tunnel network – an indelible symbol of the guerrilla war waged by the Viet Cong against the American forces. Ho Chi Minh City is the economic dynamo of Vietnam, and the contrast to Hanoi is clear to see. In the Mekong Delta, you can admire the fertile ‘pantry’ of Vietnam, with its floating markets set against a background of green paddy fields and fruit plantations. Your trip winds up in Cambodia with a visit to the Angkor Wat temple complex, which features on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Your visit will take you to both Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. You will also have a day in Siem Reap, where you can explore the local area for yourself.

Detailed Itinerary
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Day 1: Outward flight from the UK
Day 1: Outward flight from the UK

Departure day, where you will fly to Hanoi with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Hanoi
Day 2: Arrival in Hanoi

After arriving in Hanoi, you will pass through immigration before collecting your luggage. You will be met in the arrivals hall by a guide holding an Asiatours sign, who will accompany you to the hotel where you will be spending the next two nights. Having checked in at your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

For example, you can saunter along the busy streets and alleyways of the exotic old quarter, stopping as you please to admire the sights and sounds of this amazing city. Hoan Kiem Lake is close by; it takes about half an hour to walk all the way around it – a delightful stroll in the shade of the tall trees.

Overnight stay Authentic Hanoi Hotel 

Day 3: Sightseeing in Hanoi
Day 3: Sightseeing in Hanoi

Today, you can look forward to a fascinating half-day sightseeing tour that takes in the biggest sights and attractions in Hanoi. Your itinerary starts at the Temple of Literature, which was built in the 1100s by students of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. With a history stretching back almost 1,000 years, the temple is one of the last remaining examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture.

It is then time to visit the Ngoc Son Temple, which is located on a small island in the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake. Access to the temple is across Huc Bridge, whose name literally means ‘the placed touched by the rays of the morning sun’. Here, you will hear the legend of the Emperor, the magical sword and the giant turtle after which the lake is named. The next treat is a ride on a traditional ‘cyclo’ – a bicycle taxi – along some of the 36 streets that make up the charming old quarter. The local citizens flock to the area to buy everything from noodles to Buddha figurines. The 36 streets in this part of the city were named after the goods traded there, and ‘Bamboo Street’ and ‘Tin Street’ still live up to their names. Your sightseeing tour concludes with a traditional performance at the water puppet theatre.

Overnight stay Authentic Hanoi Hotel 

Day 4: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Mini cruise
Day 4: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Mini cruise

From Hanoi, your tour continues through the fertile delta of the Red River to Ha Long Bay.

Ha Long Bay is one of the most remarkable nature areas in Vietnam. The bay is dotted with green-clad limestone cliffs rising almost vertically from the water, which changes in tone from deep blue to jade green with the turning of the seasons. Several of the islands also feature large grottoes. The large Cat Ba island is the site of several villages, while a number of smaller islands are home to modest fishing hamlets. For tourists, Ha Long Bay is first and foremost a magnificent area of nature of the finest calibre, but for the Vietnamese people it is also inextricably interwoven with legends of dragons and drama. Ha Long Bay covers approx. 1,500 km² and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1994.

For this mini-cruise around Ha Long Bay, you will be sailing on the cruise ship Emeraude. The vessel heads out among the scattered islands in the bay, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of the sea and the magnificent cliffs and islands. You can also experience life in a traditional fishing hamlet. Of course, you could choose simply to relax and enjoy life and the view out over the islands and the floating fishing villages, treating yourself to an occasional swim in the turquoise sea.

NB!! In the event of bad weather (storm conditions), the authorities in Vietnam reserve the right to cancel all sailing trips in Ha Long Bay in the interests of safety. This actually happens a few times every year. If this is the case, the mini-cruise will be replaced by hotel accommodation and an excursion in Hanoi.

Extra excursion: How about a bird’s-eye view of Ha Long Bay? This magnificent bay is a truly beautiful sight from above, and an aerial view will give you an excellent impression of the sheer size of the area, as well as the chance to admire the numerous limestone islands and islets towering majestically above the water.

Overnight stay Emeraude cruise ship 

Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – train journey to Danang
Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – train journey to Danang

Start the day with a refreshing dip in the clear, warm waters of Ha Long Bay, or perhaps simply admire the sunrise from the magnificent sun deck – where you can also take part in morning exercises (usually Tai Chi). Breakfast is served while the boat starts to glide peacefully back towards the harbour. On the return trip, there will be time to visit a grotto to admire the impressive stalagmites and stalactites. Once you return to dry land, it is time to head off to Hanoi by road. You will then have a few hours in the city to do with as you wish before your guide accompanies you to the station to catch your train to Danang.

Overnight stay Sleeper carriage on the Violette night train from Hanoi to Danang

Day 6: Hoi An
Day 6: Hoi An

On arrival in Danang midway through the morning, you will be met by your guide who will accompany you to your hotel in Hoi An. (You can buy breakfast on the train or on the platform at one of the stations the train stops at en route).

After checking in at the hotel, it is time for a guided walking tour of the old quarter of Hoi An, which UNESCO has included on its World Heritage List. This part of the city is a prime example of an active, international harbour dating back to the ascent and golden age of the European East Asia Trading Companies from the 1500s onwards. Notable sights here include: Chua Ong Pagoda, the 200-year-old Tam Ky house, and The Covered Japanese Bridge.

Overnight stay Êmm Hotel Hoi An 

Days 7-8: Hoi An
Days 7-8: Hoi An

These days are yours to do with as you wish. You can choose to spend them enjoying the beach and the water, or exploring the charming city and the old harbour area.

For an extra fee, you can take one or more excursions:

Overnight stay Êmm Hotel Hoi An 

Day 9: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. This is the biggest city in Vietnam, and is still often referred to by its old name: Saigon. It is a hectic metropolis where trade and foreign contacts are hugely important.

The city architecture is an intriguing mix of steel and glass skyscrapers and colonial buildings. There are also a great many western shops. For a magnificent view of the lights of the city, we recommend that you visit the 262-metre-high Bitexco Financial Tower, which was completed in 2010 and has already achieved international icon status.

After arrival and check-in at the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

 

Overnight stay Sonnet Saigon Hotel 

Day 10: Half-day sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10: Half-day sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City

Your guide will meet you at your hotel early in the morning. The tour starts at The Old Post Office, which was designed by the world-famous French architect, Gustav Eiffel. You will then visit the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, which was started in 1863 and finished in 1880. From here, you can head towards the Saigon River, strolling along the Dong Khoi shopping street, which was accorded a prominent role in Graham Greene’s famous novel ‘The Quiet American’. The tour subsequently takes you past the magnificent Saigon Opera House, which was built in 1901. The last stop is at the War Museum and Reunification Square, where the Vietnam War – or the ‘American War’, as the Vietnamese people call it – ended on 30 April 1975. The tour ends around lunchtime, after which the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

 

For an extra fee, you can take part in an extra excursion in the evening:

Overnight stay Sonnet Saigon Hotel 

Day 11: The Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 11: The Cu Chi Tunnels

On the agenda for today: a half-day excursion to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese troops – the Viet Cong – constructed a huge network of tunnels linking underground command centres, staging posts, schools and training facilities. The tunnels also served as hiding places for launching ‘pinprick’ attacks on the American forces. The entrances to the tunnel system are tiny, and the tunnels themselves were constructed for people small in stature.

Overnight stay Sonnet Saigon Hotel 

Day 12: Full-day outing to the Mekong Delta
Day 12: Full-day outing to the Mekong Delta

Covering a distance of 4,500 km, the Mekong River flows through six countries from its source to the point where it meets the coast just south of Ho Chi Minh City. The Mekong Delta is known as the ‘pantry of Vietnam’, and as the name suggests it is an extremely fertile region. The delta extends over an area of almost 40,000 km², and precisely how much of the delta is covered by water depends on the volume of rain and the season of the year.

The itinerary for the day starts with a drive south from Ho Chi Minh City, passing through a landscape of green paddy fields. The climate here allows the farmers to plant and harvest three crops per year. You will soon arrive at the town of Cai Be, which is famous for the floating markets on the Mekong River itself. Here, you will board a private boat and set off along the city’s canals to visit the floating market, before continuing down the intricate maze of canals and natural watercourses that lead to Vinh Long. En route, you will visit a bonsai garden and a number of small local craftsmen and manufacturers. A good lunch is included, giving you the chance to sample local specialities such as the ‘elephant ear fish’, which only lives in the Mekong Delta – and tastes sublime! After lunch, your odyssey along the waterways continues. You will reach Vinh Long midway through the afternoon, and it is then time to head back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Overnight stay is at Sonnet Saigon Hotel

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap

From Ho Chi Minh City, you fly to Siem Reap. On arrival, and after passing through customs and immigration, you will be met at the airport by your guide who will accompany you to the hotel and help you check in. Once you have checked in, it is time to head off to the Angkor Wat temple complex to visit some of the best-preserved temples at the site. To round off the day, you can enjoy the magnificent sunset over Angkor.

Overnight stay Angkor Paradise Hotel 

Day 14: Sightseeing tour of the Angkor temple complex
Day 14: Sightseeing tour of the Angkor temple complex

The day starts at the southern gate to Angkor Thom, where you will have the opportunity to explore Bayon, one of the main buildings in the city ruins. Bayon comprises 54 towers decorated with more than 200 stylised smiling faces carved in stone. During the morning, you will also visit the royal enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Leper King Terrace and – of course –Ta Prohm Temple, which received global exposure in the film ‘Tomb Raider’.

Overnight stay Angkor Paradise Hotel 

Day 15: Siem Reap
Day 15: Siem Reap

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

For an extra fee, you can take one or more excursions:

Overnight stay Angkor Paradise Hotel 

Day 16: Siem Reap – the UK
Day 16: Siem Reap – the UK

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven out to the airport to catch your flight from Siem Reap back to the UK. There will be
connecting flights along the way.

Day 17: Arrival in the UK
Day 17: Arrival in the UK

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderful holiday.

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