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Enchanting and Exotic

Three of South East Asia’s most enthralling countries are brought to life on this mesmerising, tremendous value journey of the senses.

Over the course of three weeks, you’ll take in Vietnam’s enchanting Hanoi, the astonishing scenery of Halong Bay, the port of Hoi An, Imperial capital, Hué and Ho Chi Minh City – the capital formerly known as Saigon. You’ll cruise the Mekong River and journey to Cambodia’s French-colonial gem, Phnom Penh. The awe-inspiring wonders of Angkor Wat, discovered from colourful Siem Reap, and Laos’ former royal capital, Luang Prabang, complete a scintillating tour full of wish-list must-sees, wonderful food and unforgettable highlights.

What does this price include?

  • 17 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation in Hanoi (2 nights), aboard a Halong Bay traditional junk (1), Hoi An (2), Hué (1), Ho Chi Minh City (3), Phnom Penh (2), Siem Reap (3) and Luang Prabang (3), plus two nights on the plane
  • Seven dinners and six lunches
  • Return scheduled flights to Hanoi
  • Internal flights from Hanoi to Da Nang, Hue to Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap to Luang Prabang, and Luang Prabang to Hanoi
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
  • Fully escorted by friendly, experienced tour managers

Your Itinerary

  • Fly overnight from the UK to Hanoi.

  • You’ll arrive in Vietnam very early this morning. Your tour manager will meet you at the airport, and you’ll be transferred to your hotel in elegant, romantic Hanoi. After an opportunity for breakfast at your hotel, and the chance to rest and relax after your journey, get to know the city an introductory tour. See its colonial architecture, the labyrinthine 36 Streets in the Old Quarter, tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake and its island Ngoc San Temple, which is reached by the iconic Sunbeam Bridge.

    You’ll then have the evening free to spend as you wish.

  • Today’s guided tour continues your introduction to the city. Highlights might include Hoa La Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” where captured American soldiers and airmen were incarcerated during the Vietnam War, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his traditional house, the Imperial Citadel and the fascinating Temple of Literature. After a traditional lunch of noodle soup, you’ll also see Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh declared Independence in 1945. Soak up the atmosphere of this delightful, friendly city, and this evening, to complete your visit, enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Show with dinner.

  • Today you’ll journey through the timeless paddy fields to the Gulf of Tonkin, and board a traditional junk for an overnight cruise through stunning, Halong Bay. Here, countless limestone pillars and cone-shaped islands, home to floating villages and pearl-fishermen, and fringed by exquisite beaches, rise spectacularly out of the water. On board your vessel, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch and dinner, a cookery demonstration, and (weather permitting) have the chance to try night fishing under the stars.

  • Early risers can catch sunrise over the bay or join in a Tai Chi class on board, this morning. After breakfast, you’ll return to Hanoi, and board a short flight south to Da Nang. From here, you’ll transfer to your hotel in the delightful port town of Hoi An, and have an evening free to enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many restaurants, cafés and bars.

  • Explore the ancient streets of Hoi An on this morning’s walking tour, taking in the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, the Chinese Assembly Halls and historic Ong Hoi An pagoda. Wander colourful markets thronged with friendly locals, stop for a snack in a local restaurant and enjoy a cruise on the Thu Bon River to the village of Tra Que. In this vegetable-growing oasis in a sea of rice-paddies and rivers, you can join the farmers picking and preparing the fresh produce for lunch. After lunch you’ll return to Hoi An, to spend the rest of the day as you please, perhaps heading to the idyllic beach or wandering the shops and stalls of the town.

  • Drive north today, past stunning coastal lagoons, the perfect beach at Lang Co and the Marble Mountains. On the way you’ll also pass historic Da Nang, head through dramatic Hai Van Pass and see the restored tomb of Emperor Tu Duc on your way to the wonderful imperial city of Hué. The relaxed, laid-back former Vietnamese capital is a place of pagodas, tombs of the emperors and ancient temples, with the restored Imperial City of the Nyugen Dynasty at its heart. Take a cruise on the Perfume River, on which the city stands, then join your guide for a tour of the Imperial City’s moated, turreted palace.

    Spend the evening in this tranquil, friendly town, relaxing amid its historic buildings and host of restaurants and bars.

  • This morning you’ll transfer to Danang Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) the former Saigon. Here you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city, which remains a fascinating mix of French colonial past and the buzzing bustle and energy of the Vietnam of today. Highlights will include the grand General Post Office, the Reunification Hall, the Xa Loi Pagoda with its bronze Buddha and – time-permitting – the War Remnants Museum.

    This evening, why not visit wonderful Ben Thanh Market to enjoy some of the world’s most delicious street food at your leisure?

  • On today’s hugely enjoyable tour, you’ll travel into the iconic, fertile landscape of the Mekong Delta. Cross futuristic Rach Mieu Bridge to My Tho, and then take a boat to the languid delta town of Ben Tré. Enjoy a traditional lunch and take another boat trip deeper into this scenic wonderland. Visit local craft workshops, and enjoy a cart ride to a fruit farm, before returning to the city via a fascinating Coconut Village demonstration and tasting, and a rice-paper workshop.

  • Today you’re completely free to rest, relax and to explore more of the HCMC’s many attractions.

  • Leaving the hotel, you’ll head to the remarkable Cu Chi tunnel complex, part of an underground labyrinth that was used by the Viet Cong, and now a permanent memorial of the conflict. From there you’ll head west to Tay Ninh, home to an extraordinarily ornate Great Temple, and on to the Cambodian border at Bavet (enjoying lunch en route). Border formalities completed, you’ll continue to the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, and check in to your hotel before enjoying your first evening in this French colonial treasure chest on the banks of the Mekong River.

  • Join your tour manager for a fascinating introduction to what was once one of Southeast Asia’s most elegant, European outposts, and that now mixes faded colonial glories with Buddhist traditions and 21st-century modernity. Highlights will include the Royal Palace, with its Silver Pagoda of priceless Buddhist artefacts, the stunning view from ancient Wat Phnom, and a sobering visit to the Tuoi Sleng Museum, which chronicles the inhumanity of the Pol Pot dictatorship. There will also be an opportunity to marvel at the exhibits in the National Museum before a memorable dinner at the famous riverside Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

  • Board the coach, this morning, and head north and west out of the city into the Cambodian countryside. Stop for lunch at a welcoming Khmer Village homestay community, and learn about a tourism project making a direct difference to the lives of the villagers. By evening you’ll have arrived in the colourful market town of Siem Reap, not far from the incredible complex at Angkor Thom, where you’ll spend the next three nights. After checking in to your hotel, enjoy dinner at an excellent restaurant overlooking the old market.

  • A memorable day awaits, after breakfast, beginning with the short journey to the village of Kampong Phluk, where you’ll board a traditional wooden craft to cruise the waters of Tonlé Sap. On the waters of Southeast Asia’s Great Lake, you’ll pass villages built entirely on stilts, and floating communities that make their living from the lake. Returning to Siem Reap, you’ll visit the fascinating Angkor National Museum, which provides the perfect introduction to tomorrow’s visit to the extraordinary temple complex. After a chance to relax at the hotel, enjoy a traditional Cambodian dance show and dinner, this evening.

  • This unforgettable day begins very early, as you watch the sun rise over the five great towers and 1000-metre-long bas-relief of Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building. Return to the hotel for breakfast, then head back out to explore the “lost city” of Angkor Thom, the great citadel of the Khmer Empire, which ruled up to half of Southeast Asia for nearly six centuries. Here, amid the verdant jungle, great ruins litter a vast area. Among the most astounding are the Bayon Temple, with its four giant heads and countless other faces carved into the rock, and the Indiana Jones-like, half-hidden Ta Prohm Temple.

    At the end of this exceptional day, you’ll enjoy another dinner at a traditional Khmer restaurant.

  • Spend a last morning in colourful Siem Reap, then transfer to the airport for the 90-minute flight to the ancient royal capital of Laos, enchanting Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, meet your tour manager and transfer to your final hotel. Dine at the hotel, this evening, or head out into town. The city’s restaurants, and especially its popular night market, serve some delicious traditional and French-influence food.

  • Awaken early to the sight and sound of saffron-cloaked monks chanting their way through the streets, performing their morning rituals and collecting alms for the poor. Enjoy breakfast, then join our a guided tour of this charming, UNESCO-listed former royal capital. Set at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers, it’s as easy-going and relaxed a city as you’ll find. Highlights of the tour will include the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong temple that rises above the river, the royal temple of Wat Mai and the former Royal Palace, which now houses the National Museum. Take in the view from among the shrines on lofty Phou Si hill, and see the statues of the Buddha’s Footprint Temple.

  • On the last full day of your holiday you’ll visit Kuang Si Falls, the beautiful cascades formed by a tributary of the Mekong. This staggering three-tiered torrent of blue waters tumbles down from a verdant jungle, and there’s the chance to swim in designated areas. You’ll travel through a perfect Lao landscape of rice-paddies and tiny, delightful villages, two of which you’ll visit – along with a colourful butterfly farm – before returning to Luang Prabang for the afternoon.

    Your Southeast Asia adventure draws to a close this evening with a Farewell Dinner, during which you’ll no doubt relive the many highlights of the past days and weeks.

  • Bid farewell to your Lao hosts, and head back to the airport to board your flight back to Hanoi, where you’ll catch your connecting overnight flight home.

  • Today you’ll arrive home, at the end of a magical, memorable tour.

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Hotels

Classic Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Touring Hotels

You will be staying in a series of comfortable hotels that are conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.

  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

  • British citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. A visa is required for entry to Cambodia. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for six months beyond the exit date from Cambodia. The current charge for British Citizens is £30. British Citizens do not require a visa to visit Thailand. Until 30 June 2021, British Citizens do not require a visa for single entry visits to Vietnam if staying for less than 15 days. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before your departure date.

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