4-star Hotel from $1343 USD p/p twin share.
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Single supplement $600 USD
Welcome to Vietnam, one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia. Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City, still often called Saigon by many locals. Your local guide will greet you at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and then transfer you to your hotel by private transfer.
In the late afternoon, jump on the back of a motorbike and take a thrilling sightseeing tour through the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
In the evening discover HCMC’s food. For the first course of the night, “Banh hoi thit nuong”. “Banh hoi” is a super thin rice noodle which is light, fluffy, and woven into intricate bundles or mats. Then your “thit nuong” a ubiquitous smoky grilled pork which is the hallmark of a lot of street-side barbeques. Banh hoi is served as a layer on a plate and topped with thit nuong. For those who don’t like pork, “bo la lot” (grilled beef rolled in pepper leaves) is your alternative choice.
Next, we motorbike through Chinatown. Then, we are off to District 8 to view the small stilt houses along the canal of the Saigon River, an area best explored at night. Stop for a beer and have a closer look at local life along the canal in the old town. The last destination of this journey is District 4. Barbecued seafood and exotic street food are waiting for you to enjoy. Show off your own cooking skills as you sit on the sidewalk eating street food like a local.
Start your day visiting the wholesale flower market. The alleys are filled with fresh flowers ranging from endemic ones to Vietnam to imported ones. You can walk the vibrant and bustling streets, as you stop from one colourful shop to another.
Next, we’ll tour many of Saigon’s icons including the ornate Hotel de Ville which serves as Saigon’s city hall, the turn-of-the-century Opera House, the Notre Dame Cathedral (1880), the spectacular turn-of-the-century Colonial French Post Office and Reunification Palace, the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese Government and Presidential residence. Finally, the former US embassy where the last American helicopters departed from on the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.
After lunch, transfer about 75km Northwest of downtown Ho Chi Minh City to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which were once a major underground hideout and resistance base of Viet Cong forces during the two wars against the French and the Americans. The tunnels, entirely hand-dug, formed a highly intricate network of interlinked multilevel passageways at times stretched as far as the Cambodian border and totalling over 120km in length. An amazing complex containing meeting rooms, kitchens, wells, clinics, schools, depots, trenches, hospitals and emergency exits. The tunnels were deep and strong enough to withstand destructive bombings and self-contained enough to outlast prolonged sieges. Afterwards, transfer back to your hotel.
We begin the day by picking you up at your hotel and heading down to the Delta, with our first stop being Ben Tre. We start our exploration of the Delta along narrow canals lined with mangrove trees by sampan before returning to land for a stroll through dense coconut plantations. We then return to the quayside in Ben Tre, where the bustling market and streets full of commercial activity provide a vibrant tableau for street photography.
In the afternoon we head to the Khmer cultural heartland of Tra Vinh, where we will visit some of the 141 Khmer temples practising the Theravada branch of Buddhism – a wonderful opportunity to experience these serene, peaceful places and get some wonderful photos of the young monks in their saffron-coloured robes. We will then head to Can Tho – the capital of the Mekong Delta. In the evening, take the short walk to the night market
Wake early and leave the hotel to visit the famous Cai Rang floating market by motor boat. Experience the daily life of the Mekong River Delta as vendors from around the region gather to sell fresh fruit, local delicacies and handmade goods. Then tour the local cottage industries watching people making coconut candies and rice paper. Lunch at your own choice. Continue to Chau Doc where a sunset journey up Sam Mountain provides sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. You also visit Lady Xu and Thoai Ngoc Hau Temple if time permits.
Early breakfast at your hotel then depart to Chau Doc pier where you take a speedboat along Mekong to Phnom Penh passing many of the riverside and floating villages.
Arrive in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. A Cambodian visa on arrival is easily done on-site. Your guide will meet you at the dock in Phnom Penh and take you to the hotel. Begin with a leisurely walk through the French Quarter, which will open your eyes to Phnom Penh’s colonial-era architecture. Admire Belle Epoque and Art Deco design, a train station built during colonial times as well as the Buddhist Temple, Wat Phnom, the tallest religious structure in the city.
Meet your guide and head out to visit the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh.
You will visit the Royal Palace Compound built-in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom, the largest and most impressive of the Khmer-style Palaces. Near the Royal Palace are the Silver Pagoda (The Emerald Buddha temple) and its arrays of Buddha Statues decorated in diamonds, emeralds, gold, and silver. After touring the pagoda, back to your hotel for a rest during the mid-day heat.
Gain insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as Prison S21) and listen to English commentary en route. The prison comprises 4 buildings with exhibitions in several rooms. During your visit, you won’t meet a single person who didn’t lose a member of their family during these years, yet they are all willing to talk openly about it with you. They wish you to hear about it and see these places, to ensure that it never happens again.
After visiting the museum, take a 40-minute drive to the Killing Fields, and see a documentary on the Khmer Rouge regime. Under the leadership of Pol Pot, his government caused the deaths of more than two million people. There will be around 1 hour and 15 minutes to explore the site. An audio guide is available in 15 languages along with a map of the fields.
Meet your food expert guide and zoom around the streets of Phnom Penh aboard a tuk-tuk and visit the city’s famous landmarks by night. Spice up the ride with unlimited beer and drinks as you go from one destination to another.
Fill yourself up with the best noodles in town, delight in the rich taste of roasted chicken and ribs, and wrap your own lettuce and rice noodle rolls. Continue to discover the taste of Cambodian cuisine by visiting family-run restaurants that serve authentic Khmer dishes.
Head to a local rooftop bar and enjoy the stunning views of the city as you sip on delicious craft beer or cocktails. Sit among the locals and see how they spend their nights with family and friends.
We will proceed to Siem Reap by our private van. The journey is 314Km takes about 6 hours. Once arrival, check in hotel & relax. (Transfer from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap with driver only – no guide).
Indulge in a scrumptious Cambodian dinner with the classical Apsara dancers depicting scenes from Khmer mythology at Angkor Village Theater.
A very early start today for one of the highlights of our tour. We travel by TukTuk to experience Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple. The remains of a disappeared civilization which between the 8th and 13th century built the splendid Temple of Angkor, partially annihilated afterwards by invasion and hidden for centuries by forest. This Hindu temple, the largest in the world and dedicated to Vishnu, was constructed at the beginning of the twelfth century. Return to the hotel for breakfast then free at leisure.
In the afternoon to discover more of Angkor Thom (the Great City) including the Southern Gate, Bayon temple, Baphuon temple, Terrace of Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King & Phimean Akas: “Celestial Palace”, dedicated to Hinduism. Then visit the jungle-entwined temple, Ta Prohm – a hauntingly beautiful temple where the roots of giant banyans and strangler figs enfold much of the stonework, creating scenes little changed since the French Adventurer Henri Mouhot re-discovered Angkor in the 1850s. This temple makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.
Evening at leisure with an optional Experience:
Your guide and driver will take you out to watch Phare – the Cambodian Circus, an amazing blend of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatic, juggling and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society.
Your driver will meet you at hotel and take you to Siem Reap International Aiport to catch your departure flight home.