Day 1: New Zealand–– Hanoi
Say hello to Vietnam as you board a flight bound for Hanoi. You will be met on your arrival at the airport and transferred to the hotel for check in.
Day 2: Hanoi (B, L)
Take a city tour of Hanoi this morning and explore attractions including the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh complex and Tran Quoc Pagoda. The rest of the day is yours to see more of Hanoi at your leisure.
Optional: Hanoi Street Food Tour
Enjoy an afternoon walk around Hanoi’s Old Quarter and explore the labyrinthine alleyways and streets. Refuel with samples of authentic North Vietnamese fare, including stuffed pancake, banh mi, sticky rice balls and egg coffee. Additional cost applies.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Travel by coach through the rich farmland of the Red River Delta towards Halong Bay. The bay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and is a magnet for tourists eager to take in its spectacular scatter of islands, wave- and wind-eroded grottoes, and hidden caves. Step onto a traditional Vietnamese junk boat to set out for your overnight cruise.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi –– Hue (B,L)
Rise early to partake in a morning Tai chi session on the junk’s top deck or wake up slowly and sip coffee or tea as you watch the sunrise. Hop into one of the rowboats and be taken out to explore the surrounding islands. Return to the junk for breakfast and enjoy more time on board. A light lunch is served before the group heads back to the jetty, where a driver meets you and takes you to Hanoi Airport. Fly to Hue and be transferred to the hotel upon arrival.
Day 5: Hue (B,L)
Today, visit the Imperial City. This was the former seat of power for the Nguyen Dynasty and it houses Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and the Forbidden Purple City. The next stop is a boat ride on Perfume River and a visit to Thien Mu pagoda, where you will enjoy a vegetarian meal prepared by local nuns. The rest of the day is free time.
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (B)
Head to Hoi An today. The journey to reach this charming French-style town takes you over the Hai Van Pass, which was once the boundary between the Dai Viet and Champa kingdoms. The pass forms a natural weather barrier too. There is a transfer to the Hoi An accommodation.
Day 7: Hoi An (B)
Explore Hoi An on foot and wander past an old merchant’s home, the local market and a Chinese temple. You will also see the Japanese Covered Bridge, which was originally built in the 1590s to connect the Japanese community with the Chinese quarters. Spend your afternoon leisure time strolling through Hoi An’s streets, visiting a tailor, or sipping a drink while sat at a riverfront café.
Day 8: Hoi An (B)
The whole day is free time. You might continue your discovery of Hoi An, or perhaps schedule some down time by the hotel swimming pool. You can also head to the Hoi An beach.
Day 9: Hoi An – Danang –– Nha Trang (B)
Leave Hoi An to make for Danang Airport and board a flight to Nha Trang, a popular coastal resort city. Once you are transferred and checked in at the hotel, the remainder of the day is free time.
Day 10: Nha Trang – Islands and Snorkelling Tour (B,L)
Spend the day hopping behind the islands and seeing the beaches of Nha Trang. Go to Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island to catch a glimpse of native sea life and slip on a snorkel as you paddle in the waters of Mun Island. Try your hand at a water sport while on Mot Island, Tranh Beach Island or the isle dubbed ‘Mini Beach’. There are ample opportunities for swimming and relaxing along the way. Visit a local fishing village on the way back to the mainland.
Day 11: Nha Trang –– Ho Chi Minh City (B)
There is more free time before you are transferred to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. A hotel transfer greets you upon arrival and the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Tour – Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
A half-day tour of Ho Chi Minh City departs after breakfast at the hotel. It takes in sights such as Central Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum. Another highlight is soaking up the lively atmosphere of Ben Thanh market. This afternoon’s excursion is to Cu Chi tunnels. Known for its role during the Vietnam War, the tunnel network gives its visitors an opportunity to learn about this 20th century conflict.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Cai Be – Vinh Long) (B,L,D)
Depart for Cai Be in the Mekong Delta after breakfast. The group then boards a boat and sets out for the overnight river cruise. Tea and fruit are served along the way and the boat makes regular stops, including at a pottery factory, the outdoor market at Sa Dec, the house of Huynh Thuy Le, and Cao Dai Temple. As the cruise sails this mighty river, travellers will pass by local villages and monkey bridges. The last stop before sunset is Nha Co, an ancient house that dates back to the 19th century. Be welcomed by the owner and enjoy a candlelit dinner before returning to the boat. Tonight is spent on-board.
Day 14: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
It is an early start this morning, so you can visit the hustle and bustle of Cai Rang Floating Market. Breakfast is served on-board the boat as it moves between the local barges carrying fresh fruit and vegetables. Continue the cruise towards Victoria Can Tho and disembark. A transfer takes you back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City –– Siem Reap (B)
Catch a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The evening is at your leisure once you have been transferred to the hotel and are checked in.
Day 16: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (B,L)
It is a busy day discovering the mystique of the Angkor temples. The first visit of the day is to the iconic Angkor Wat and then you move to the ancient Ta Prohm monastery. See Angkor Thom and the Bayon in the afternoon. Seek out the Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace. You will have free time in the evening.
Day 17: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B)
There is some leisure time in the morning before you travel to Phnom Penh by bus (approximately 6 hours). The evening is yours once in Phnom Penh.
Optional Tour: Tonle Sap Lake.
Start your trip with Kampong Kleang, a floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake, and as yet bypassed by mass tourism. All the houses are on stilts offering an exceptional natural environment with breathtaking views of floodplains, rice fields and water vistas as far as the eye can see. Walk through the village meeting the locals and a family who raises crocodiles. Afterwards, travel by boat over the canals to a large lake where Vietnamese people live when they are displaced from their homes because of the seasons.
Day 18: Phnom Penh (B,L)
Explore Phnom Penh this morning. Take in the city’s sights, from the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda to the National Museum and Wat Ounalom. Shop for souvenirs at the Central Market and watch the royal dance rehearsal by the Apsara Arts Association as you enjoy lunch. The group learns about modern Cambodian history in the afternoon; visiting the site where journalists camped on the eve of the Khmer Rouge takeover and touring the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The insights include a stop at Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.
Day 19: Phnom Penh – – New Zealand(B)
Head to the airport after breakfast to take a flight back to New Zealand.
Day 20: New Zealand
Arrive home today.