- Tour Hanoi and the temples in Vietnam's countryside
- Cycle around local farms near the ancient river city of Hoi An
- Walk in the clouds on the famous Golden Bridge
- Travel to floating villages and explore the sprawling ruins of Angkor
|Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Market Visit
|Ninh Binh History & Nature Tour
|Fly to Da Nang, Transfer to Hoi An
|Cycle to Tra Que, Ancient Town Tour & Lantern Workshop
|Transfer to Da Nang, Visit the Golden Bridge
|Day Trip to the Hoi An Countryside, Traditional Basket Boat Ride
|Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia)
|Day Trip to the Temples of Angkor
|Day Trip to Banteay Srei & Floating Villages
|Depart Siem Reap
Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Market Visit
Welcome to Vietnam! This former war-torn nation has, in recent decades, become one of the most captivating travel destinations in the world. There are many reasons for this, including the country's natural beauty, ancient historical sites, and some of the best cuisine around. Your adventure begins with your arrival in the capital of Hanoi. At the terminal, a driver will meet you for the transfer to your hotel in the city.
As you cruise through the famous Old Quarter (historic center), you'll pass famous French colonial landmarks like the Opera House and St Joseph's Cathedral, a Gothic Revival church dating to the 19th century. You'll also make a brief stop at Dong Xuan. This market is famed for its noodle shops, and here you can sample treats such as pho sot vang (noodle soup with pork and herbs) and bun dau (tofu served in soup with rice noodles and fermented shrimp paste). Afterward, you'll continue to your hotel and later enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Ninh Binh History & Nature Tour
Meet your driver in the morning and head out on a full-day journey two hours south to Ninh Binh, a region loved for its palace ruins and verdant rice paddies bisected by snaking rivers. Your first stop is Hoa Lu, Vietnam's capital in the 10th and 11th centuries, which features decorative temples built in honor of former emperors like Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty.
Stop at a market and restaurant for lunch before heading to the dock at Tam Coc. Here, you'll board a traditional flat-bottomed sampan boat, which your driver will row with their feet, local style. Float through limestone grottoes and marvel at spiritual sites like Dia Linh Mountain, which stands out amid the dramatic karst scenery. End the day with a trip to Mua Cave, where you can climb nearly 500 steps for a panoramic view over Tam Coc, before returning to Hanoi.
Day 3: Fly to Da Nang, Transfer to Hoi AnAfter breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport and catch a domestic flight 1.5 hours north to Da Nang. A driver will be waiting for the ride about one hour south down the coast to Hoi An. Sitting on the Thu Bon River, this historic city was a major trading port with the West from the 15th through the 19th centuries, attracting merchants from around the globe. Its international legacy is represented in the assortment of architectural styles in Hoi An's Ancient Town. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel and have the rest of the night free.
Day 4: Cycle to Tra Que, Ancient Town Tour & Lantern Workshop
Meet your guide this morning and hop on a bicycle for the 2-mile (3 km) ride outside Hoi An to Tra Que Vegetable Village. For centuries, the farmers on this 98-acre (40 ha) plot of land have been growing the highest quality herbs and vegetables through totally organic methods and without electric machinery. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted at the home of some local farmers with an herbal beverage.
Then, change into work clothes and take a stroll along the fields, observing how the farmers work the lands in the exact same way they've been doing for over 300 years. You'll even join in, helping to add fertilizer and water the crops. Later, return to the house, where you'll kick back and relax in a refreshing way: by soaking your feet in herbal waters.
Afterward, you'll return to Hoi An for a city tour, where your guide will lead you to the top sites in Ancient Town. These include Hoi An Market, the Japanese Covered Bridge, and the historic Chinese meeting hall Phuc Kien, which dates to the late-17th century. Afterward, you can participate in a lantern-making workshop. Japanese settlers brought the first lanterns to this region in the 16th century, and they've been a cultural icon ever since.
Day 5: Transfer to Da Nang, Visit the Golden Bridge
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Today, you'll visit one of the most impressive landmarks in Vietnam. Your private driver/guide will pick you up in the morning for the drive back to Da Nang. Your destination is Ba Na Hill, a mountaintop resort/theme park that was once a popular vacation spot for the French during the colonial period. Today, it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
At the station, you'll ride a cable car to the famous Golden Bridge, a 492-foot-long (150 m) pedestrian bridge supported by two giant stone hands. Here, at 4,900 feet (1,500 m) in altitude, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Quang Nam province and Da Nang below. You can also visit landmarks like Linh Ung Pagoda and the massive 100-foot (30 m) Buddha. Then, explore the charming French Village, which boasts a Gothic-style cathedral and French restaurant. After a buffet lunch, you'll return to Da Nang via cable car and get settled into your hotel there.
Day 6: Day Trip to the Hoi An Countryside, Traditional Basket Boat Ride
You're headed back to Hoi An today for more nature tours and cultural experiences. Once in the city, leave the car and hop on a bicycle for a ride to the country. During this half-day excursion, you'll follow the river around farms and villages, stopping to chat with locals along the way. Eventually, you'll arrive near the mouth of the river and the waterfront region of Cam Thanh. Here, you'll hop in a Vietnamese circular basket boat (called a thung chai) for a ride along the nipa palm forests of the Thu Bon River. You'll even get to try your hand at traditional net fishing.
Later, you'll participate in a cooking workshop where locals will teach you how to prepare regional specialties like green papaya salad, spring rolls, pancakes, fish in a clay pot, or lemongrass chicken. Afterward, you'll return to Da Nang.
Day 7: Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia)The next leg of your Southeast Asian adventure begins today as you transfer to the airport and catch a two-hour flight to Siem Reap. This resort town in northwest Cambodia sits on the shores of Tonlé Sap and is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor. These ruins were once the capital city of the Khmer Kingdom from the ninth to the 15th centuries and are considered one of the great wonders of the world. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you'll transfer to your hotel and will have the evening free to explore the city's bustling night markets and street food scene.
Day 8: Day Trip to the Temples of Angkor
It's time to see the star of the show. After breakfast, meet your guide and head out to visit one of the most famous temples in the world: Angkor Wat. This 12th-century complex covers 200 acres (81 ha), and its five towers are so iconic they're actually emblazoned on the Cambodian flag. On this walking tour, you'll immerse yourself in the ruins as you stroll through its galleries, libraries, pavilions, and courtyards.
The tour continues in Angkor Thom (literally "Great City"), once the most impressive royal city of Cambodia's Angkor period, and its looming Bayon Temple. Comprised of 54 Gothic towers, Jayavarman VII commissioned it in the 12th century, and his smiling face and glaring eyes are represented in its 216 stone sculptures. Other structures you'll visit include the Terrace of the Elephants (featuring sculptures and bas-reliefs of elephants), Phimeanakas (a three-tiered pyramid), and the Terrace of the Leper King, known for its carvings of demons and mythological figures.
End the day with a visit to Ta Prohm, a 12th-century Buddhist temple whose crumbling towers have been all but absorbed by the surrounding jungle. Here, you'll receive a blessing from a Buddhist monk wishing you prosperity, happiness, and a safe trip. Afterward, you'll return to Siem Reap.
Day 9: Day Trip to Banteay Srei & Floating Villages
Meet your guide this morning for a trip back to the ruins. This time, you'll visit Banteay Srey, a 10th-century Hindu temple made of pink sandstone, almost every inch of which is adorned with intricate designs. The name Banteay Srey translates to "Citadel of Women," and it's indeed likely that women completed the elegant carvings depicting scenes from the Sanskrit epic "Ramayana." Whoever built it, Banteay Srey is regarded as the finest example of Khmer art in the world.
In the afternoon, you'll transfer 11 miles (18 km) south to Tonlé Sap. This "Great Lake of Cambodia" is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems. Here, you'll board a traditional wooden boat and travel to the famous floating villages—communities comprised of wooden stilt houses over the water. On a visit to one such village, you'll visit Les Chantiers Écoles. Since 1992, this group of artisans has been providing training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting.
Day 10: Depart Siem ReapIt's time to bid farewell to Cambodia and Southeast Asia. In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the ride to the airport in Siem Reap, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!
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