Day 1: New Zealand – – Hanoi
Today, depart New Zealand for Hanoi!
Upon arrival to the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this vibrant city.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Today travel by coach through the rich farm land of the Red River Delta to arrive at Halong Bay. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty.
Upon arrival you will board a ship to visit the thousands of limestone islands filled with caves of all shapes and sizes. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent scene that blends into the sky. You also have the opportunity to visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs.
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B,L)
Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands, a sight not to be missed, especially if you are into photography. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Halong Bay.
Your driver will meet you at the Halong jetty then drive back to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Optional Tour: Halong Sea Plane A unique vantage point to appreciate the vastness, the beauty and all limestone formations of World Nature Wonder – Halong Bay from the air in 25 minutes. Witness with your own eyes the panorama of the famous film ‘Indochine’. This is the perfect combination with a wooden junk cruise through the bay before returning to Hanoi. After having an early morning breakfast on the sundeck and discovering various rock formations, you will disembark and get on the seaplane to see a uniquely different point of view of this destination.
Optional tour: Hanoi Street food (Dinner included) Enjoy a walk around the Old Quarter in the afternoon and appreciate the local lifestyles as you wind through Hanoi’s streets. You will have a taste of Northern Vietnamese delicacies such as: stuffed pancake, banh my, stuffed sticky rice balls, the unique egg coffee and many more.
Day 4: Hanoi –– Hoi An – Danang (B,L)
This morning, we take a city tour of Hanoi and will explore attractions such as the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda) and Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam.
Then we take a morning flight to Danang. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Hoi An, stopping en route at the Marble Mountains to enjoy the view of Danang. As an important trading route during the 15th to 19th centuries, Hoi An is now a unique blend of culture, cuisine and architecture. Step back in time as you wander the narrow streets of this charming former trading port, with its ancient covered bridges and temples.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Today you will explore Hoi An on foot, visiting an old merchant’s home, Hoi An Market, a local Chinese temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was first constructed here in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986.
Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to wander through the town or relax at one of the many cafés along the picturesque Thu Bon River.
Day 6: Hoi An –– Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
After breakfast, we leave Hoi An for Da Nang airport to fly to Saigon. You will have a half day tour of Ho Chi Minh City with highlights such as, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, War Remnant Museum and soaking up the atmosphere at Ben Thanh market, one of Ho Chi Minh’s liveliest areas.
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (optional) (B)
Enjoy a day of leisure to explore Ho Chi Minh City.
Optional Tour: Mekong Delta
Travel to Ben Tre to discover the unique lifestyle of inhabitants living along the Mekong Delta. Board your cruise on Ben Tre River (one of the tributaries of Mekong River) before stopping at a brickworks to see how bricks are made in traditional style by printing and baking. Next, visit a coconut processing workshop located along canal. Turn on natural scissors creeks where they look smaller and smaller which will lead to a local village. Walk to family workshop to observe sleep mats being made while enjoying some fruits and tea. Then you’ll take a motor cart or cycle under shady trees, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plains all while getting a feel for the life and tropical culture from Peasants. Lunch is served at a riverside restaurant. In the afternoon you’ll take a row-boat along water palm creek and then boat back to Hung Vuong Pier, where your transport is waiting back to Ho Chi Minh City. Lunch will be included on your Mekong Delta tour.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City tour – Cu Chi Tunnels (B,L)
After breakfast, we continue on to Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, guerrilla fighters built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels, using them to hide in during bombing raids and to stage surprise attacks. Today, the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a unique understanding of what life was like during the Vietnam War.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – – Siem Reap (B)
Today you will be transported to Ho Chi Minh City airport for your flight Siem Reap. On arrival at Siem Reap airport you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Tonight is at leisure.
Day 10: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (B,L)
Spend a full day discovering the mystical Angkor temples. Your day starts with a visit to Angkor Wat, then we will visit the ancient Ta Prohm Monastery.
In the afternoon, visit Angkor Thom (the Great City) beginning by the south gate and the famous Bayon of the 12th and 13th centuries. Then, journey to the Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace, built in the 12th century and which features many beautifully sculptured Apsaras. Tonight is at leisure.
Day 11: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B)
Enjoy your leisure time this morning before your 6 hour bus journey to Phnom Penh. Watch as the Cambodian countryside passes by and the unique modes of transport local people use to carry their wares. This evening is at leisure.
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. Then we return to the hotel for relaxing.
Day 12: Phnom Penh (B,L)
This morning we take in everything Phnom Penh has the offer, The Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum and Wat Ounalom. Afterwards, enjoy shopping for unique souvenirs at Central Market. Over lunch we watch the royal dance rehearsal by the Apsara Arts Association.
Later, discover the place where journalists camped on the eve of the Khmer Rouge takeover followed by the exciting ghostly building. Touring to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school served as Khmer Rouge prison before heading to the Choeung Ek Killing Field and learn about the atrocities that took place here. Finally, taste some Khmer snacks while learning how the bloody history still haunts Cambodian lives.
Day 13: Phnom Penh – – New Zealand (B)
This morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel before your transfer for your flight home to New Zealand.
Day 14: New Zealand
Arrive home today.