Day 1: New Zealand –– Bangkok.
Today, depart for Bangkok, Thailand! Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in.
Please note: Some flights arrive in the evening on day 1 or depart 1 day early depending on schedule.
Day 2: Bangkok (B,L)
After breakfast, you’ll enjoy a city and temple tour of Bangkok, a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. Drive through Chinatown and then on to the colorful Indian Market. Visit serene Wat Po, the oldest and largest temple in the city, with the astonishing giant Reclining Buddha, over 150 feet long and almost 40 feet high. Drive to Royal Avenue where most of the Government offices are located and the King’s Palace.
Day 3: Bangkok (B)
Enjoy a free day of leisure.
Day 4: Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Bridge over River Kwai (B,L)
This morning, travel southwest to the vibrant Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where you’ll observe how the ancient trading of wares is conducted between hundreds of local farmers and villagers aboard small Sampan boats. The boats are fully loaded with all kinds of products including fruits, vegetables, dry goods, and freshly cooked food. From the Floating market, continue to the quiet provincial capital of Kanchanaburi, with its stunning natural beauty, spectacular waterfalls and beautiful rivers. Walk over the stone bridge at the River Kwai, one of the most famous rivers in the world, which gained international fame in the book and film, “Bridge on the River Kwai”. The bridge, several museums and cemeteries have respectfully preserved the history and memorialized the dead.
Day 5: Kanchanaburi – Ayutthaya – Bangkok – – Hanoi (B,L)
An early start to travel to Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai for over 400 years, once glorified as the largest city in Southeast Asia. In the center of the city lies Ayutthaya Historical Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can see the ruins of the former capital and its remaining palaces, monasteries and towers; one can envision the grandeur and splendour that was once the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. After lunch, continue to the Chai Wattanaram Temple, built by King Prasat Tong, a commoner who overthrew the previous king and took his throne. Then travel through to Bangkok airport for your flight to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 6: Hanoi (B)
After breakfast, set off on an orientation walk where you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and the first university of Vietnam – Temple of Literature. In the evening, experience traditional folk music at a Water Puppet Show.
Day 7: 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 8: 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: 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 9: Hanoi –– Hoi An (B)
This morning we take a morning flight to Danang. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoi An (B,L)
Today we will take a walking tour visiting the Temple Kwan, Phuc Kien Temple, Tan Ky Ancient House, Phung Hung house, Japanese Bridge. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings. Today is the ideal way to learn a great deal about its history and fascinating stories. After lunch at a local restaurant we will head back to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxation to further time to explore Hoi An. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
Day 11: Hoi An – Danang –– Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
Today you will be transported to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival at Ho Chi Minh City airport you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. You’ll then 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 12: Ho Chi Minh City (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 13: Ho Chi Minh City –– Siem Reap (B,L)
This morning we will visit 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. We then travel to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. On arrival in Siem Reap you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Day 14: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (B,L)
Spend a full day discovering the mystical Angkor temples. Your day starts with a visit to Angkor Wat, followed by 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 featuring many beautifully sculptured Apsaras.
Day 15: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap Lake – Phnom Penh (B)
Today we depart Siem Reap for Phnom Penh by bus. We’ll drive along the rolling verdant hills of the farm lands, stopping for a ride on an ox-cart, still being used today by local farmers. Arrive at Tonle Sap Lake in the heart of Cambodia, with its rich and diverse ecosystem. Embark on a serene boat excursion – observe the local life unfolding and the floating fishing villages that dot the shoreline.
Day 16: 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 17: Phnom Penh –– New Zealand (B)
Today you are free at leisure before your transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day 18: New Zealand
Arrive home today.