2017 Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Wednesday 28 Auckland – Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Depart Auckland on Air New Zealand at midday to arrive Ho Chi Minh early evening. Transfer to a centrally situated hotel for an overnight stay.
Thursday 29 Ho Chi Minh B L D
This mornings’ city tour visits all the highlights of Ho Chi Minh including the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office.
After lunch, travel to District 5 to visit Cho Lon (China Town) and the pagoda. This is followed by shopping at the famous Ben Thanh Market where the wide range of goods range from fake Nike shoes to beautiful silk Ao Dai.
Dinner is at a city restaurant in the city with time to explore the highest building in Saigon – the Bitexco.
Option: Saigon after dark by Vespa
This tour includes many stops for snacks, drinks at street restaurants and a visit to a coffee shop to experience live Vietnamese music and more. (approx. US$110 pp)
Friday 30 Ho Chi Minh – Vientiane (Laos) B L D
A morning drive out of the city to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast network of tunnels where people lived and fought during the Vietnam War.
After lunch travel to the airport for the flight to Vientiane – the sleepy riverside capital of Laos with its leafy boulevards.
On arrival transfer to your hotel for a two night stay.
Saturday 01 Vientiane B L D
This mornings’ tour includes the city’s oldest temple, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy with many Buddist sculptures.
After lunch travel into the countryside and visit a salt extraction plant and a village to see Lao rice whisky distillation. Embark on a long tail boat, visit fishing villages and stop to see the local lifestyle. Dinner and overnight in Vientiane.
Sunday 02 Vientiane – Luang Prabang B L D
This morning visit the Morning Market before transferring to the airport for flight to Luang Prabang a UNESCO city. Transfer to the hotel.
Later visit the stupa of Wat Visoun and climb to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy the sunset over the Mekong River.
This evening, haggle for wares at the quaint Night Market and see a wonderful selection of handmade textiles made by the hill tribes.
Monday 03 Luang Prabang B L D
An early start allows you to see the daily rituals of the saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of alms – Laos is the only nation to continue this tradition.
Return to the hotel for breakfast before departing on a city tour and a cruise upstream on the Mekong River with views of the tranquil countryside. Explore the Pak Ou Caves and stop at a village, well known for weaving.
Tuesday 04 Luang Prabang – Hanoi (Vietnam) B L D
Free time before departing on a midday flight to the French Colonial city of Hanoi.
After checking into your hotel enjoy a one hour cyclo tour of the French inspired ‘Old Quarter.’ A performance of the city’s famous Water Puppets show is included before dinner in a local restaurant.
Wednesday 05 Hanoi B L D
This morning the city tour includes the Ho Chi Minh complex, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, his former stilt-house, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda
After lunch, visit the infamous Hoa Loa Prison Museum also known as the ‘Hanoi Hilton.’ Time for shopping in the Old Quarter, including markets, designer boutiques and contemporary art galleries.
Thursday 06 Hanoi – Halong Bay B L D
This morning drive to the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Vietnam’ – Halong Bay. Board your boat and set sail while lunch served. Cruise among thousands of limestone Karst formations and understand why this area is now one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature.’
The afternoon provides time to kayak, swim and climb to the top of Soi Sim Island for a panoramic view of Halong Bay.
A wonderful seafood dinner aboard the boat is one to remember.
Friday 07 Halong Bay B L D
Begin the day with Tai Che exercises before breakfast! Cruise to the floating markets where we experience the lives of the local fishermen. Later explore the bay by kayak, enjoy a swim at a nearby beach or relax in this picturesque environment.
Return to our boat for lunch and continue cruising passing a fishing village and visit a pearl farm. Overnight on boat.
Saturday 08 Halong – Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An B D
This morning return to Hanoi for an early afternoon flight to Danang and travel by coach to Hoi An for a three night stay.
Sunday 09 Hoi An (Full Moon Night) B L D
This mornings’ walking tour of central Hoi An includes the Japanese Covered Bridge, the silk street of Hoi An, temples and pagodas of Chinese appearance.
After lunch, time to perhaps order some tailor made clothes or relax.
This evening enjoy dinner then be guided through ‘The Ancient Street’ to see the 1000’s of lanterns lit for the Full Moon Festival.
Monday 10 Hoi An (Farming and Fishing Eco Tour) B L D
An early start for a visit to the country side and see the farmers preparing the land, using seaweed fertilizer and watering with huge tin cans carried on their backs.
Then cycle through the country side to see more country life. This is followed by a ride on an Eco-Tour boat for a river cruise. See and meet local fishermen and try a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. To conclude the morning, transfer to a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat for a short race down a coconut palm lined waterway! Lunch includes vegetables picked earlier at Tra Que Village.
Afternoon free to collect your tailoring or relax.
Tuesday 11 Hoi An – Danang – Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho B L D
Return to Danang for a noon flight to Ho Chi Minh and coach south to Can Tho and the Mekong River Delta for a two night stay.
Wednesday 12 Can Tho B L D
An early morning boat trip to the famous Cai Rang floating market. Here all produce is sold off small boats - all action and is the largest floating market in the Delta.
This is followed by a visit to an orchard, a rice husking mill and a rice noodle making shop.
Rest of the day at leisure.
Thursday 13 Can Tho – Chau Doc B L D
This morning drive to Chau Doc to visit Thoai Ngoc Hau Confession and Nui Sam Mountain. An optional walk to the summit of Sam Mountain for views of the Mekong River and the pancake-flat plain across to the Cambodian border. Overnight at Chau Doc.
Friday 14 Chau Doc – Phnom Penh (Cambodia) B L D
This morning board a high speed hydrofoil to travel upriver to Phnom Penh – the capital city of Cambodia. On arrival transfer to your hotel for a two night stay and lunch.
In the afternoon visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum.
Saturday 15 Phnom Penh B L D
Morning visit to the sobering Genocide Museum and onto the ‘Killing Fields.’
En-route stop at the bustling market of Toul Tumpong – also known as the Russian Market.
Sunday 16 Phnom Penh – Siem Reap B L D
Travel by coach through the countryside and villages from Laos to Cambodia. On arrival in Siem Reap, settle into the hotel for a two night stay.
Monday 17 Siem Reap B L D
A full day to visit Angkor Wat, the UNESCO site and last capital of the Khmer Empire, built in the 12th century. The complex looks much the same as it would have done when the French explorers came here 140 years ago – shrouded in undergrowth with huge roots of old Banyan tress growing over and down the ruins. The Southern Gate is guarded by giant carvings of gods and demons. See the Royal enclosure, Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King, all preserved
After lunch explore the architectural and artistic masterpiece of the Khmer Empire. Sunset paints the temple in an orange light.
Tonight’s farewell dinner is at a local restaurant.
Tuesday 18 Siem Reap – Ho Chi Minh B
Check in for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City and an overnight stay.
Wed 19 Ho Chi Minh – Auckland B
Transfer to airport to connect with our Air New Zealand flight to Auckland.
Morning arrival in Auckland
* Itinerary may change due to schedule changes