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Vietnam & Cambodia Rail & Sail Explorer
19 days, January to November, 2020, from £2999 per person
Day 1: UK to Vietnam
Depart from Heathrow Airport and fly to Hanoi. Flights from other airports may be possible, please call to discuss. Flight supplement may apply.
Day 2: Hanoi
Flight arrives Hanoi. On arrival transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon (flight time permitting) we will have a tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi, visiting Ngoc Son Temple, the Hoan Kiem Lake (the “Sword” Lake), and Quan Thanh Taoist Temple. The tour will be by the popular cyclo (a type of rickshaw). We also attend a show of Water Puppetry, a traditional stage art of Northern Vietnam. A welcome dinner will be included this evening. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Full Day City tour Hanoi
Today we have a full day exploring Hanoi with visits to Ho Chi Minh Complex Mausoleum; Hoa Lo Prison Museum, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton”, an infamous prison used by the French colonists. We also visit the Ethology Museum and Temple of Literature, an ancient collection of courtyards, gardens and architecture built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. Overnight in Hanoi. (Breakfast & lunch included).
Day 4: Hanoi – Halong Bay Cruise
This morning we head East to Halong Bay, the pride of the Gulf of Tonkin and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site (around 4 hours drive). The road will pass by the Red River delta with green paddy fields and rural villages. In Halong we board a comfortable junk style boat for a cruise in the “Descending-dragon” bay, created by thousands of limestone rocks and karst grottoes. Overnight on the boat near Titov Beach. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included).
Junk Boat: All cabins have large windows, en-suite facilities, satellite TV, hairdryer. The ships can carry a total of 28 passengers in 14 cabins and a restaurant serving local cuisine, a bar and outside seating area to enjoy the stunning scenery.
Day 5: Halong Bay – Ninh Binh
Early morning wake up call to enjoy the dawn on the sea. After breakfast continue our cruise in the area, where each islet name is inspired by its shape, such as Sail Island, Fisherman’s head rock, Butterfly rock or Turtle islet. This afternoon we disembark the boat and travel to Ninh Binh (around 4 hours drive) where we check into our hotel. Overnight in Ninh Binh. Breakfast/brunch included on board.
Day 6: Bai Dinh pagoda – Trang An – Night train to Hue
This morning we travel to Bai Dinh Pagoda, the biggest pagoda in Vietnam with 500 La Han statues. Have lunch in local restaurant with some local special dishes before we continue to UNESCO site of Trang An (around 30 minutes drive); Travel on a boat through the paddy fields to the impressive limestone cave complex seeing temples, pagodas and stunning scenery along the route. We have time to freshen up in a local hotel before transferring to Ninh Binh station where we join our overnight sleeper train travelling south to Hué. Overnight on train. Breakfast & lunch included.
Livitrans Express Train: Cabins are 4-berth, for a 2 berth cabin a supplement will apply. Every carriage has a wash basin and a toilet situated at the end and there is a dining car with a bar.
Day 7: Hué
On arrival in Hué, Vietnam’s capital from 1802 to 1945, we transfer to the hotel for check-in and breakfast. Today we have a full day sightseeing in Hué to discover the charm of the city including the Royal Citadel, Forbidden City and the Hué Royal Museum. In the afternoon we visit King Tu Duc tomb – the best-preserved monuments of the Nguyen Emperors since early 19th and early 20th centuries. Today’s schedule will include a cruise sailing along Perfume river. We will reach King Minh Mang tomb, a complex consisting of 40 palaces, temples and pavilions and enjoy the sun set before disembarking and returning to the hotel. Overnight in Hue. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 8: Hué – Da Nang – Coastal Train – Hoi An
This morning we travel from Hué to Da Nang on the stunning coastal railway. Continue by coach to Hoi An (around 45 minutes drive). On arrival we walk over the tile-roofed Japanese Bridge, visit the taciturn Chinese Assembly Halls, ancient houses, and pagodas, and stroll into the market on the Thu Bon river. This is also a wonderful town to shop for lanterns, soft silk, raw silk, or get your clothes tailored within a day. Breakfast & Lunch included.
Day 9: Hoi An – Ba Na Hill – Golden Bridge
This morning we travel to Ba Na Hills Station to take the cable car up onto Nui Chua Mountain. Ba Na Station was founded in 1919 by French Colonists as a leisure destination for French tourists. Here you can experience the hill climbing train, the first funicular in Vietnam; Le Jardin D’Amour Flower Garden, 9 impressive gardens all linked together; The 100 year old wine cellar, which is dug into the mountain; and the French Village, like stepping back in time. The highlight of Ba Na for many is the Golden Bridge, held up by giant stone hands and linking the station to the garden and offering amazing views of the area. Mid afternoon we return to Hoi An. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 10: Hoi An – Danang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
This morning we transfer to Danang (around a 1-hour drive) for the flight to Ho Chi Minh city (flight time 1 hour 25 minutes). Upon arrival transfer to our hotel located in the city centre. This afternoon we have a tour taking-in Saigon’s historic landmarks: Dong Khoi Street, previously Rue Catinat; Reunification Palace, where the Vietnam War ended in 1975, today a Museum and Hall for official receptions; The impressive Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office, designed by famous architect Gustave Eiffel – legacies of France’s six decade rule from 1887 to 1954. Our last stop this afternoon will be the War Remnants Museum, a striking reminder of the so-called ‘American War’ – entry included. Afterwards drop off at central Ben Thanh market for shopping. Overnight in Hoi Chi Minh. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi Tunnels – Can Tho
This morning we checkout of our hotel and drive out of Ho Chi Minh City to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels (around 90 minutes drive). This network of tunnels, which stretched for over 200km, is one of the most famous and historical aspects of the Vietnam War. Upon arrival we watch a short introductory documentary before following our guide into the winding, underground network to explore the war memorial park. Afterwards continue to Can Tho in the heart of the Mekong Delta and our overnight hotel (around 4 hours drive). Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 12: Can Tho Floating Market – Chau Doc
A highlight of the Mekong delta is its floating market. We rise early check out of the hotel and visit the local Cai Rang and enjoy the daily life of Mekong people who come to the markets on the rivers every day. Afterwards continue to Chau Doc (around 3 hours drive), explore the Tra Su Indigo Forest, which has an area of nearly 1,500 hectares with various species of animals, plants and peaceful sceneries. Here we enjoy its unique beauty by travelling on small boats through the forest. Overnight in Chau Doc. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 13: Chau Doc – Cambodia – Phnom Penh City – Killing Fields
After an breakfast transfer to the pier to take the Hangchau Express boat for great views and a quicker journey across the border to Cambodia. We arrive in Phnom Penh early afternoon, a city which retains its traditional colonial style with French villas and large tree-lined footpaths. We visit the impressive colourful Khmer-style royal palace complex built in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom. Nearby is Silver pagoda (the emerald Buddha temple), where the Buddha statues are decorated and made of gold, diamonds, gemstones and silver. Afterwards we travel the short distance to Cheoung Ek, known as the Killing Fields and an important stop not only to remember the infamous events enforced by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, but it is only when you have visited that you can begin to understand modern Cambodia. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 14: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
After breakfast we travel the short distance to Phom Penh Airport for the short flight to Siem Reap. On arrival at Siem Reap we visit West Baray Big Pond “baray” a water reservoir built by the ancient Khmer people and Pre Rup temple for a stunning sunset view. Overnight in Siem Reap. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 15: Angkor Temples
Today we have a full day visiting the nearby Angkor Temples to include; Angkor Thom, known as Big Angkor, the last capital of the Angkorian Empire, The Bayon Temple; and the Terrace of the Elephants, an impressive 300 metre long terrace wall adorned with carved elephants that spans the heart of Angkor Thom. We also visit the Baphuon temple mountain; Royal Palace Area, Ta Prohm Temple and Angkor Wat Temple. We finish the day at Angkor night market. Overnight in Siem Reap. Breakfast & lunch Included.
Day 16: Angkor Temples
Today we visit Banteay Srei (around a 1-hour drive) , which loosely translates to “Citadel of the Women”. On the way we will visit Banteay Samre temple and Roluos group, one of the earliest Angkor capitals. The three Hindu sanctuaries: Preah Ko, Bakong and Lolei will also be included. Overnight in Siem Reap. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 17: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap
Today is at leisure in Siem Reap where recommended visits include the French Quarter, the old market and the Cambodian cultural village. In the late afternoon we visit nearby Tonle Sap, the “Great Lake” of Cambodia for a trip in a traditional wooden boat in the sunset around the floating villages followed by a farewell dinner. Overnight in Siem Reap. Breakfast & lunch included.
Day 18: Siem Reap – Departure
This morning we transfer to Siem Reap Airport for our return flight to the UK. Breakfast included.
Day 19: Arrival in UK
Legend Hotel – Ninh Binh
Huong Giang Hotel & Spa – Hue
Hoi An Silk Village – Hoi An
Paragon Hotel – Ho Chi Minh
TTC Hotel Premium – Can Tho
Victoria Hotel – Chau Doc
Green Palace Hotel, Phnom Penh
Sokha Roth Hotel, Siem Reap
What Our Customers Say
From the arrival in Hanoi till our departure from Siem Reap we enjoyed a fabulous holiday. The guides were exceptional, friendly reliable, knowledgeable and went the extra mile. The itinerary more than lived up to expectations. Mr R Park, 2018 Read more “Vietnam & Cambodia”