Cultures and People

Get ready for an original discovery of the major sites of Vietnam and Cambodia. The destinations are famous and the tour will be interesting with its unusual and focused people. Get out of the tourism clichés and explore these different cultures from an experiential perspective.

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Arrival In Hanoi (-/L/-)

Hanoi, Rural Cooking Class And Important Landmarks (B/L/-)

Hanoi – Halong (B/L/D)

Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hue (Brunch/-/-)

Hue Through Its People (B/L/-)

Hue – Tam Giang – Hoi An (B/L/-)

Hoi An, Day At Leisure (B/-/-)

Hoi An –Saigon (B/-/D)

Saigon – Mekong Delta (B/L/-)

Mekong Delta – Saigon – Siem Reap (B/L/-)

Angkor Highlights (B/L/-)

Tonle Sap And The ”Indiana Jones Experience” – Flight To Phnom Penh (B/L/-)

DAY 1

Hanoi

ARRIVAL IN HANOI (-/L/-)

 

  • Driver and guide welcome you at the airport and drive you to your hotel in the city center.
  • Rooms might be available from 2pm only, so drop the luggage and go for a short introduction to the vibrant heart of Hanoi.
  • Walk the busy and narrow streets of the old quarter; passing by ancient temples and communal houses.
  • Sit on the pavement and have a cup of coffee or green tea as locals do.
  • Reach the HoanKiem Lake and its famous little red bridge to the Ngoc Son temple.
  • Go for a street food lunch somewhere around upon your preference: bun cha, papaya salad, spring rolls, banh cuon, fried rice. There are plenty of options.
  • The guide takes you back to the hotel so you can check-in your room.
  • End of the day at leisure.

 

Fun Fact

Having a drink on the pavement is a must-experience in Hanoi. People like to gather and exchange gossip. Vietnamese people like to sit and chat. They may sit with a stranger and exchange about all topics with this person like if they had known each other for a long time.

 

Night at MK Premier – Luxury. http://mkpremier.vn/

Night at MK Premier – Luxury

DAY 2

HanoI


HANOI, RURAL COOKING CLASS AND IMPORTANT LANDMARKS (B/L/-)

 

  • Departure at 8.30am from your hotel.
  • Drive across the Chuong Duong Bridge over the Red River and to South until you reach by 9am, Thanh Tri, an ancient village now integrated into Hanoi urban area.
  • Meet Quyen, your host and chef for this morning.
  • Start the class with the visit of a small market for an overview of the ingredients used in local food.
  • Your chef will introduce some of the vendors, demystify the ingredients, encourage you to taste and assist you with purchasing items for the cooking lesson later.
  • Back at the house, learn how to make some of Vietnam’s well-known dishes like banh cuon (rolled rice pancake) and spring rolls with fish.
  • Enjoy lunch of your own creation, topped off by time to chat with your host about Vietnamese cuisine and culture.
  • In the afternoon, visit the temple of literature, unmissable in Hanoi.
  • Walk across the Ho Chi Minh complex to the Tran Quoc pagoda.
  • Visit the pagoda and return to the hotel for an end of day at leisure.

 

Fun Fact

For dinner, if you want to sample some traditional dishes of North Vietnam in a relaxed atmosphere, we highly recommend you to try Chim Sao restaurant on Ngo Hue Street. It requires a taxi ride but it is really worth it. Their food is delicious and their home-made rice wines go along perfectly.

 

Night at MK Premier – Luxury. http://mkpremier.vn/

Night at MK Premier – Luxury.

DAY 3

Hanoi Halong

HANOI – HALONG (B/L/D)

 

  • Have breakfast at hotel before heading out to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Departure is set by shuttle bus between 7.40 and 8.15 for an arrival on the coast a little before noon time.
  • In Halong you will board a junk boat for a night cruise amongst the thousands of limestone islands rising majestically out of the turquoise bay.
  • You pass grand rock formations and quaint floating fishing farms.
  • Sample a delicious lunch of freshly caught fish and seafood.
  • In the afternoon, the activity may depend on the time of the year and weather: grotto visit, kayaking, swimming, floating village exploration, etc.
  • End the day with a spectacular set-menu gastronomic dinner.
  • Spend the night on board.

 

Fun Fact

You may be among the last people to stay for the night on a wooden junk in Halong bay. The authorities allow only steel boats to navigate the bay in the future. So make the max of your time out there.

 

Night at Bhaya Classic cruise (Deluxe). www.bhayacruises.com

Night at Bhaya Classic cruise (Deluxe).

DAY 4

Halong bay

HALONG BAY – HANOI – HUE (BRUNCH/-/-)

 

  • Cruising back to the pier, a brunch is served as you get closer to disembarkation.
  • Early Tai Chi session is proposed, coffee and tea are served early as well for the early birds wishing to see the beautiful lights of sunrise.
  • Visit a grotto before starting your way back to the coast.
  • Disembark and the shuttle bus takes you back to Hanoi.
  • Have a little bit of free time and maybe an early dinner before you are picked you up.
  • Drive to the airport for a late flight to Hue.
  • Welcome to Hue, you are driven to the hotel.

 

Fun Fact

If you look for some animation at night, walk to the Pham Ngu Lao and Chu Van An Streets area. There are bars and one of the best local food shops in town just at the corner on Vo Thi Sau Street.

 

Night at Cherish Hotel – Deluxe. http://cherishhotel.com/

Night at Cherish Hotel – Deluxe

DAY 5

Hue

HUE THROUGH ITS PEOPLE (B/L/-)

 

  • Explore Hue through its people from the craftsmen preserving their art to the artists creating new ones.
  • But before, see the imperial citadel, loaded with thrilling History.
  • Then travel not far from it to meet Truc Chi, an artist who develops the art of sculpture on bamboo paper. This is surprising and beautiful.
  • Have lunch in a local home in Thuy Bieu village, where the descendants of the Mandarins live in stunning ancient houses built by their ancestors.
  • Exit the village after lunch.
  • Visit TuDuc tomb before hoping on bikes and ride along rice fields to meet farmers of Hue. The emperor’s food was grown here and the people are still willing to grow the best possible ingredients.
  • End the day by meeting the Buddhist nuns and monks of the Duc Son pagoda-run orphanage.
  • Back at the hotel in the late afternoon.
  • Evening at leisure.

 

Fun Fact

In Vietnam, almost each region has its own beer. Hanoi beer, Saigon beer in Hue, the local brew is Huda beer. A must-try if you are a beer drinker and a good opportunity to meet and exchange with locals.

 

Night at Cherish Hotel – Deluxe. http://cherishhotel.com/

Night at Cherish Hotel – Deluxe

DAY 6

Hue

 

HUE – TAM GIANG – HOI AN (B/L/-)

 

  • After breakfast, take a 30-km drive along the impressive road of tombs to the northern edge of the Tam Giang lagoon.
  • Meet another community of Hue, the fishermen of the lagoon. They will give you a boat ride and show you their particular fishing techniques. The lagoon is large and provides the daily supply of seafood to the whole village.
  • Come back to the local home.
  • Enjoy a fresh seafood-based lunch.
  • In the afternoon, make your way to Hoi Analong a nice winding road, then passing the Lang Co bay and the superb Hai Van Pass around 4.30-5pm when the lights are beautiful.
  • Arrival in Hoi An in the early evening.
  • Evening free.

 

Fun Fact

On the 14th day of every lunar month, Hoi An organizes a lantern festival. On this occasion the old quarter and the riverbanks are lighted with hundreds of candlelit lanterns. It is a truly enchanting moment to witness. So watch the dates and you may be lucky to be there on the right day.

 

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort – Deluxe Pool View http://www.vinhhungemeraldresort.com/

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort

DAY 7

Hoi An

HOI AN, DAY AT LEISURE (B/-/-)

 

  • Full day at leisure for you to visit the town.
  • Do some shopping.
  • Go sunbathing on the beach.

 

Fun Fact

If you wake up early morning, go to the central market in Hoi An old town, its part on the riverside, to witness fish and seafood wholesale market. The daily rendez-vous of chefs and commis for them to purchase what will be on their menu of today.

 

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort – Deluxe Pool View http://www.vinhhungemeraldresort.com/

Night at Vinh Hung Emerald Resort

DAY 8

Saigon


HOI AN –SAIGON (B/-/D)

 

  • Morning at leisure.
  • In the afternoon, you will be taken to the airport in Danang for a flight to Saigon
  • In Saigon, you are driven to the hotel to drop the luggage.
  • Assist a beautiful show mixing folklore and contemporary arts. Saigon is all about, a young, creative and dynamic city with strong anchorage in roots and culture.
  • After the show, sample some popular street food of Saigon before heading back to the hotel.

 

Fun Fact

There is no real special food originated from Saigon. Unlike other important cities of the country, the metropolis does not have its own signature dish. But Saigon offers the unique opportunity to taste all the specialties from all over Vietnam gathered in one city.

 

Night at Le Duy Hotel – Deluxe. www.leduyhotel.com.vn

Night at Le Duy Hotel – Deluxe

DAY 9

Saigon

 

SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA (B/L/-)

 

  • Catch up at 7am in the lobby to depart across the busy streets of Saigon and make your way to Cai Be.
  • Reaching a small pier, well hidden away from the busy Cai Be tourist center, get on a boat to start exploring the mighty river and the life it generates.
  • Walk or ride a bicycle to discover an island, its orchards and local workshops.
  • Have lunch at a local home.
  • In the afternoon, drive to Sadec, explore its flower and bonsai gardens.
  • Visit the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le (made famous in the novel The Lover from Marguerite Duras). You might be lucky and see the starting of the fruits market just in front of the ancient house on the riverside.
  • Drive to Can Tho in the late afternoon.
  • Evening at leisure.

 

Fun fact

The Durian fruit is the delicacy that Vietnamese people love to eat when traveling to the Mekong delta. This is a very special fruit with a strong fragrance that may repel people at first but then become kind of addiction.

 

Night at Iris Hotel – Superior. http://www.irishotelcantho.vn/home.html

Night at Iris Hotel – Superior.

DAY 10

Mekong delta

MEKONG DELTA – SAIGON – SIEM REAP (B/L/-)

 

  • Embark in the early morning on a breakfast cruise to the Cai Rang floating market.
  • Make your way around the large barges loaded with pyramids of fruits and other locally grown crops.
  • End the cruise, and start your way back to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Have lunch en-route.
  • Transfer straight to the airport where you catch a flight to Siem Reap.
  • You are welcomed in Cambodia.
  • Transfer to your hotel.
  • Evening at leisure

 

Fun Fact

In the evening, look around Pub Street area and you should see some big aquariums that are actually “fish spas”. Plunge your feet in and tiny little fishes will nibble dead skin from your toes.

DAY 11

Angkor

ANGKOR HIGHLIGHTS (B/L/-)

 

  • Wake up early and explore the amazing temples complex, UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • First visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, surrounded by an 8m high wall. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII.
  • Continue to Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur, its exterior gallery walls featuring extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries.
  • See the Ta Prohm Temple, unlike most other Angkor temples, has been left just it was when rediscovered: a photogenic and atmospheric maze of trees growing out of temple ruins amidst jungle surroundings, making it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.
  • In the afternoon, explore the masterpiece Angkor Wat, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. It is a massive three-tiered structure crowned by five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters from ground level.
  • In the evening, attend a show of traditional Apsara dance.
  • Dinner on your own.

 

Fun Fact

We highly recommend a visit to the old market of Phsar Chas. Walk around colorful stalls full of spices, fabrics and crafts and try some Cambodia’s special food including crispy fried tarantulas or other meats from octopus to chicken for a real culinary feast.

DAY 12

Tonle Sap

 

TONLE SAP AND THE ”INDIANA JONES EXPERIENCE” – FLIGHT TO PHNOM PENH (B/L/-)

 

  • After breakfast, drive to Kompong Kleang floating village. It is, in fact, a community of over 20,000 people where stilt-houses tower up to ten meters above the water.
  • Depending on the season, explore the village on feet or by boat. Greeted by friendly locals, here you get a glimpse of Cambodia’s countryside culture and traditional family lifestyle.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in KompongKleang.
  • From Khleang, head out to the hidden jungle temple of BengMealea. Just a short walk through dense jungle brings you to this overgrown temple, whose wonders lay undiscovered for centuries. Reaching this temple will remind you of the best scenes of Indiana Jones movies.
  • Then transfer to the airport to catch a late afternoon flight to Phnom Penh.
  • Arrival in Phnom Penh.
  • Transfer to the hotel.
  • Evening at leisure.

 

Fun Fact

To know a bit what to expect when coming to Kampong Khleang, note that high waters season lasts roughly from June to November. The low waters season is from December to May.

DAY 13

Phnom

 

PHNOM PENH, CRUISE TO UDONG (B/L/-)

 

  • Spend the day off the classic tourism spots.
  • Discover Udong, the former capital of Cambodia.
  • Embark on a nice cruise on the Tonle Sap River and cruise along witnessing life on both water and banks.
  • Get off the boat and take a tuk-tuk ride for about 10 minutes to reach the heights of Udong. The site features stupas and pagodas, and offers nice panoramic view over the surrounding countryside.
  • Take the time to visit the place and get back on boat heading to a remote quaint spot for lunch.
  • About 2pm, make your way back to Phnom Penh.
  • You will be back at the hotel in the late afternoon.
  • Evening at leisure.

 

Fun fact

Phnom Penh has several big markets. While tourists prefer Russian and Central markets for souvenirs shopping, we recommend you to visit Kandal market and Old market if you want a genuine glimpse of daily life in the capital.

DAY 14

Departure

 

 

DEPARTURE (B/-/-)

 

  • Day at leisure until you are transferred to the airport for your international flight.

 

Fun fact

If you have a late departure flight, interesting sightseeings in Phnom Penh include the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum and the Royal Palace. If you go to visit these, plan to wear long sleaves shirt and pants that cover below the knee.

Our services include:
  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the below indicated room types (see hotel category list below) (check in and check out around noontime)
  • 2Days/1Night cruise on boat in Ha Long Bay (shared cabin on shared boat)
  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):
  • 1-2pax: car of 4 seats
  • 3-6pax: van of 16 seats
  • Transfers by shuttle bus for Hanoi – Halong – Hanoi (no guide).
  • Local ENGLISH speaking guides (no guide during free time):
  • North (Hanoi): 1 guide (no guide for Halong)
  • Centre (Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An): 1 guide
  • South (Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta): 1 guide
  • All entrance fees as program.
  • Cooking class in Hanoi.
  • Boat on Tam Giang lagoon.
  • Bicycle in Hue.
  • Private boat trip in Cai Be and Cai Rang.
  • A O Show in Saigon.
  • Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program.
  • 02 bottles of mineral water per person per day on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing only.
Tour price excludes:
  • Airfares (international and domestic).
  • Meals (other than mentioned in the program).
  • Beverages
  • Visas to Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Tips
  • Early check in or late check out.
  • Insurances
  • Optional excursions and activities.
  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation.
  • Items of a personal nature (Phone calls, laundry, beverages…).
  • Peak season surcharges if any.
  • All not mentioned above.

Guilhem , your local expert

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