These fascinating countries of South East Asia have many common threads running through them.
The hotels we use are of good standard, the food is superb and the people friendly and welcoming.
The saffron of the Buddist monks, gorgeous silks and flowers, motor scooters, charming people, a recent history of war, heat and humidity and a determination to move forward.
The Kingdom of Cambodia, more than UNESCO Heritage Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap Lake, offers an array of sleepy towns, faded colonial architecture, memorable landscapes, a chequered history and friendly people.
Vietnam - rich in history, a diverse culture, World Heritage sites, natural scenery and charming innocence, plus frenetic Ho Chi Minh City, enchanting Hoi An, colonial Hanoi, UNESCO Halong Bay and Sapa in the highlands.
Landlocked by five countries, mountainous and captivating, Laos defines itself as “Simply Beautiful.” Its laid-back capital Vientiane on the banks of the Mekong will delight, while its rich history dates back 10,000 years,
You will return with an understanding of this area we used to call Indochina.
Our 17th tour to the region - a tried and true itinerary.
Depart Auckland on Singapore Airlines with a late evening arrival in Singapore. Overnight at the Airport Hotel.
A morning flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. After settling into the hotel and lunch, we take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake (Asia’s largest inland lake) to see the way of life of the lake- dwelling people - this continues to be an unexpected highlight. Dinner is included tonight.
A full day to visit Angkor Wat, the UNESCO site built in the 12th century and last capital of the Khmer Empire,. 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.
After breakfast travel by coach through the countryside and villages to Phnom Penh. On arrival, settle into the hotel for a two-night stay.
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. Dinner and overnight in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast we head to Koh Dach Island (Home of Silk). Here the village women weave delicate silks by hand, while just down the orchard lane, monks wearing brilliant saffron robes collect morning alms. After lunch, we will take the hydrofoil to Chau Doc in Vietnam. On arrival, transfer to our overnight hotel.
Today we visit Thoai Ngoc Hau Confession and continue to Nui Sam Mountain. It is an easy climb to the summit of Sam Mountain and worth the effort because the views of the pancake-flat Mekong and the plain across the Cambodian border are striking. Continue by coach to Can Tho and arrive late afternoon. Overnight in Can Tho.
This morning take a boat trip to visit the famous Cai Rang floating market, the biggest floating market in the Mekong Delta. We will then stop to explore a rice husking mill before heading back to the hotel to freshen up. This afternoon continue to Ho Chi Minh City with lunch en-route. Dinner and overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
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 we return to the Ho Chi Minh City and visit the city highlights including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office.
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. NZ$170 pp).
A morning flight to Danang and a drive to Hoi An via the Marble Mountains. Hoi An retains the feeling of centuries past and is a real gem. The ‘old town’ is a pedestrian and bike-only zone with a maze of shops and tailors. Our hotel is located on the edge of this very special area. On arrival, an opportunity to order any tailor-made clothes you may want.
We plan an early start before it gets too hot and included is a guided walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Old Quarter and the fruit, vegetable and fish markets. Remainder of the day free to explore.
Another early start as we head off on our Farming and Fishing Life Eco Tour. We get a personal insight into the local farming communities before we board our river cruise. Here we will meet and witness local fishermen working their craft, before enjoying a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. Lunch today is on board our boat, which is prepared using vegetables picked earlier at Tra Que Village. After lunch free time to wander around Hoi An and possibly collect your new tailored clothes.
This morning we fly 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.
This morning drive to the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Vietnam’ – Halong Bay. Board your boat and set sail while lunch is served. Cruise among thousands of limestone Karst formations and understand why this area is now one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature.’ A wonderful seafood dinner aboard the boat is one to remember.
Enjoy breakfast on board and the morning cruise before disembarking for the drive back to Hanoi. Hanoi’s history dates back a thousand years, but the French European influence is clearly seen in the elegant colonial buildings and tree-lined boulevards which contrast with the Old Quarter – a bustling area of narrow streets and home to thousands of small businesses.
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.
Return to the hotel to freshen up for dinner before the overnight train journey. Dinner is included tonight prior to boarding the overnight ‘Fanzipan’ train at 8.30pm. Tonight’s journey is in a comfortable sleeper train with two people per four berth cabin.
We arrive early at Lao Cai Station, only three kms from the Chinese border. Continue by coach to the town of Sapa, our hotel, the Victoria Sapa for breakfast and a two night stay. After breakfast we will visit Cat Cat village and then continue through rice paddy terraced fields and areas of rain forest to the Y Linh Ho village inhabited by Black Hmong people. We return to Sapa early afternoon with free time to explore before dinner.
This morning a short drive toward Muong Hoa valley. We will be able to observe and experience how the locals do rice planting and harvesting, one of the most important activities in the daily life. We then take a short walk from Lao Chai village of the Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of Giay minority.
Dinner and overnight in Sapa.
This morning free time to wander around the town or Sapa’s market. After lunch we will travel by express coach back to Hanoi. We arrive late evening and check into our overnight hotel.
Today we fly to Vientiane and transfer to our hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of Vientiane and watch the sunset along the Mekong River. Dinner and overnight in Vientiane.
After breakfast we explore the city by coach. Highlights include the Luang Stupa and Wat Sisaket, the most important heritage temple now standing in Laos. After lunch visit the eccentric Buddha Park before returning to the city for our farewell dinner tonight.
A morning at leisure or shopping at the market before transferring to the airport for an afternoon flight to Singapore. Overnight stay in airport hotel.
Morning departure from Singapore Airport. Arrive Auckland late evening.
• Return International economy class flights Auckland – Singapore / Singapore - Auckland
• Economy flights: Singapore – Siem Reap / Ho Chi Minh City – Danang / Danang – Hanoi / Hanoi – Vientiane / Vientiane - Singapore
• English speaking guides in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
• All hotel accommodation on a twin share basis in rooms with private facilities.
• Meals as specified
• All transfers and transport as outlined
• Entrance fees and permits during guided time
• River hydrofoil experience from Cambodia – Phnom Penh
• Cyclo tour in Hanoi
• Farming & Fishing Life Eco Tour in Hoi An
• All boat trips including Halong Bay (overnight)
• Escort subject to 15 persons travelling
|Cost Per Person * |
Auckland - Auckland
|Twin Share||Single Supplement|
|Land only cost (Arrive Siem Reap – depart Vientiane)||$6,738|
|Business Class Upgrade (Singapore Airlines Only)||+$4,000|
|Premium Economy Class Upgrade (Singapore Airlines Only)||+$2,3000|
|Early Booking Discount (01 December 2017 )||$150|
|Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount||$100|
*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment
• A non-refundable deposit of $750 per person secures a place on the tour
• Full payment is due no later than 21 April 2018
Climate / Temperatures
May / June in Indo China is summertime and it will be hot most of the time – max 35°c in Hanoi. We have planned rest time from the heat.
The hotels, coaches and the trains are air-conditioned.
Lightweight, comfortable clothes are the order of the day – the laundry service in the hotels is inexpensive and efficient. Hats, sunglasses and comfortable sandals are a must. A scarf or pareu is handy for temples etc or for sun protection.
A small umbrella is great for rain showers or sunshade.
Bottled water is available for purchase at all times.
Fruit and vegetables are plentiful. Due to the colonial influence, bread is of very good quality. Meals are reasonably priced, the cost of Western style food is more expensive, but still reasonable. Beer is the best alcohol option, local and international brands are available – wine and spirits are relatively expensive.
Currency / Money
Vietnam - the Dong
Cambodia – Riel (Tourists only use USD)
Laos - Kip
These currencies are not available outside the three countries. US Dollar cash is widely used and the currency to travel with. ATM’s in Cambodia dispense USD
A budget of NZD40 per person per day will adequately cover extra meals, incidentals and tipping.
The scope is huge: silk, linen, lacquer-ware, tailor made clothes, children’s clothes, shoes to name a few. Remember to leave home with no more than 12 to 15 kg of luggage!!
Hawkers are everywhere, follow the guide’s advice and be prepared to bargain or ignore.
Photographic opportunities are plentiful – respect the local people and ask before taking photos.
A good standard of health is required with the ability to walk on uneven, fairly steep surfaces for a period of time
• Travel insurance is compulsory
• A current passport is required – valid six months beyond return date of travel
• All other passports – please ask
• A Vietnamese Visa is required and Pukekohe Travel will assist in obtaining this (NZD140)
• Cambodian & Laotian Visas issued on arrival (approx. USD30) each
• Deposit - non refundable
• After 21 April 2018 – no refund
Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change