Day 1: Australia – – Hanoi
Make your way to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and board your Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi. Arrive into Noi Bai International Airport (BAN) and be met by a tour representative who will assist with the transfer to the hotel. Check in and settle into your room, and have the rest of the day to relax.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Begin to get to know your fellow travellers over breakfast at the hotel, and then set out for the drive through the farmland of the Red River Delta. Your destination is Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most prolific UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The bay’s stunning natural beauty has seen it featured on endless postcards, and seeing the scattering of islands and eroded grottoes in person is even better. Step aboard a traditional Vietnamese junk boat to embark on your overnight cruise through the bay. Your junk takes you through the emerald waters, past towering cliffs, limestone isles and more. All meals are included while you are sailing. Other optional activities aboard include cooking demonstrations and mini golf.
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B, L)
Embrace an early morning by waking up in time to partake in a Tai chi session held on the junk’s top deck, or simply nurse a cup of coffee or tea as you watch the sunrise. Those wanting a lazier start to the day can also lounge in their cabin until it’s time to swap the junk for a smaller rowboat and paddle out to see some of the nearby islands. The group makes it back to the junk for breakfast. Return to the jetty and meet up with your driver for the journey to Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi – – Danang – Hoi An (B, L)
Head out into the hustle and bustle of Hoi An for a morning city tour. An expert guide will take you around the Vietnamese capital, offering insight into some of Hanoi’s most important landmarks, such as the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Complex (location of One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum), and Tran Quoc Pagoda.
An afternoon transfer sees you collected from the hotel and whisked to the airport in time to catch a short one-way flight to Danang, a resort city on Vietnam’s central coast. Another transfer is waiting upon your arrival in Danang and will take you to nearby Hoi An. Check into your hotel in this UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed town and have the rest of the day as leisure time.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then join the rest of the group for an excursion to Golden Bridge in the Ba Na Hills. Take the cable car up to Marseille station, and then make the short walk out onto the bridge. This striking landmark is relatively new – only opening to the public in June 2018. It was designed to make its visitors feel as though they are walking among the clouds. Naturally, a stroll along the bridge promises a wealth of photo opportunities! Afterwards, head to Le Jardin d’Amour, a series of nine landscaped gardens that are designed in nine different styles to depict nine different stories. The last stop of this outing is Linh Ung Pagoda, home of the 27-metre-tall Shakyamuni statue. Return to Hoi An and have the evening as free time.
Day 6: Hoi An (B)
You have the day as free time to explore Hoi An however you fancy. You might walk around the Old Town to take in its streets lined with French-influenced and ivy-strewn facades; snap a photo of the Japanese covered bridge; wake up early to wander through the lively food market; slip on your swimmers and SPF for a trip to the nearby beach; or take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront and simply get lost for a couple of hours.
Optional: My Son Sanctuary and Thanh Ha Village. Make the drive out of Hoi An to nearby My Son. This ancient site is a collection of Hindu temple ruins, that date back to the Champa kingdom. There are sculptures, towers and temples to see within the sanctuary’s lush rainforest setting. A traditional music show is enjoyed afterwards. The excursion returns to Hoi An in the later morning. Additional cost applies.
Day 7: Hoi An – Danang – – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Be transferred from Hoi An to Danang in time to catch your one-way flight to Ho Chi Minh City. You are transferred to the hotel upon arrival and have leisure time after checking in.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong River Cruise (B, L)
Today’s itinerary takes you into the depths of the Mekong Delta to discover a bit more about local life around this powerful waterway. You board a cruise boat to glide through the canals and streams, and pass by a landscape of coconut forest, farmland and small villages. Have lunch at a local restaurant on Turtle Island, and then follow with visits to fruit and bonsai gardens, a coconut candy workshop and a rice paper mill. Choose between a bicycle or horse cart to make the journey along a village road. There is a stop at Vinh Trang Pagoda before returning to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon. The evening is at your leisure.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, D)
Make one of the most historically important excursions of your time in Vietnam this morning as you travel just out of Ho Chi Minh City to the site of the Cu Chi Tunnels. This underground network is perhaps best-known for their use by guerrilla fighters during the Vietnam War. The tunnels and bunkers doubled as military headquarters, living spaces and strategic positions during the conflict. A visit to the site gives the chance to learn more about the tunnels, peer inside and see more artefacts, including booby traps, used during the war. You are returned to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon.
Reconvene with your group in the evening for tonight’s dinner cruise along the Saigon River. You’ll dine on traditional Vietnamese cuisine as you cruise along the river and take in a unique aspect of the city. This is your last night in Vietnam.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – – Siem Reap (B)
Your final morning in Ho Chi Minh City sees you take in its most recognisable landmarks on a guided city tour. Be shown around the city and admire structures including Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Saigon Post Office, War Remnants Museum and the lively Ben Thanh Market. A late afternoon transfer takes you to the airport to board a flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. You are met upon arrival and taken to the hotel for check in.
Day 11: Siem Reap (B, L, D)
Siem Reap is most commonly visited by travellers with their sights set on one thing: the temples of Angkor. This is the most frequented site in Cambodia by international visitors; all coming to admire these ancient structures, mystical temples and old-world legends associated with these landmarks. You have a full day at Angkor, and the first stop of your time here is the iconic Angkor Wat. Then move to Ta Prohm Monastery before sitting down to a lunch of authentic Khmer cuisine. This afternoon, see Angkor Thom, Bayon Gate, Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace. Tonight, you’ll attend a dinner and Aspara dance performance.
Day 12: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B, L)
Leave Siem Reap behind this morning as you take a trip to Tonle Sap Lake. Visit the floating village of Chong Kneas to appreciate the stilt-built houses, serene surrounding views, and to meet a local family who raise crocodiles. Hop into a larger boat to move around the canals to see the lake where displaced Vietnamese relocate due to the change in seasons. The group then undertakes the drive to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. This journey takes about six hours and moves through some incredibly scenic countryside; a chance to glimpse into the goings-on of rural Cambodian life. Arrive in Phnom Penh to check in to the hotel and have the afternoon as free time.
Day 13: Phnom Penh (B, L, D)
Today is wholly dedicated to exploring Phnom Penh and uncovering its landmarks, legacy and culture. Take in some of the city’s top sights, from the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, to the National Museum and Wat Ounalom. Peruse the stalls and wares on offer within Central Market, and attend a royal dance rehearsal by the Aspara Arts Association. The afternoon has you learn about a more recent chapter in Cambodia’s history as you visit sites associated with the notorious Khmer Rouge regime. See the site where journalists camped out on the evening of the regime’s takeover, and tour the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and walk through the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.
Tonight is your final evening in Cambodia.
Day 14: Phnom Penh – – Australia (B)
Have breakfast at the hotel and then take an airport transfer to begin your return journey to Australia.
Day 15: Australia
Arrive home today.