Day 1: Australia –– Hanoi
Depart from Australia to Hanoi. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel to check-in.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Today you will travel by coach through the rich farm land of the Red River Delta to arrive at Halong Bay. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty. Upon arrival, you will board a ship to visit the thousands of limestone islands filled with caves of all shapes and sizes. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent scene that blends into the sky. You will also have the opportunity to visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs.
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B,L)
Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands, a sight that’s not to be missed. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast, before taking advantage of the sundeck and admiring the amazing rock formations of Halong Bay. Your driver will meet you at the Halong jetty to drive you back to Hanoi.
Optional tour (at own expense): Halong Seaplane – A unique vantage point to appreciate the vastness and beauty Halong Bay’s limestone formations from the air in 25 minutes. Witness with your own eyes the panorama of the famous film “Indochine”. Combined with a wooden junk cruise through the bay, this is the perfect way to see this UNESCO listed site, before returning back to Hanoi.
Optional tour (at own expense): Hanoi Street food (Dinner included) – Enjoy a walk around the Old Quarter in the afternoon and appreciate the local lifestyles as you wind through Hanoi’s streets. Taste Northern Vietnamese delicacies such as: stuffed pancake, banh my, stuffed sticky rice balls, the unique egg coffee and many more.
Day 4: Hanoi – – Lao Cai (B,L)
This morning, we take a city tour of Hanoi and will explore some of its attractions including the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda) and Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. The rest of the day is at leisure. Why not explore the Old Quarter for shopping, bars and restaurants. You have free time until your transfer to the train station for your overnight journey to Lao Cai Province.
Day 5: Lao Cai – Sapa – Tribe Village Excursions (B,L)
Arrive at Lao Cai railway station in the early morning, then drive straight to your hotel for breakfast. The drive will take approximately one hour. Afterwards, discover Lao Chai village, Muong Hoa Valley and the surrounding mountains and rice terrace fields. Next visit the Black H’mong village in Lao Chai and stroll to Ta Van village. Return to Sapa town by car in the afternoon.
Day 6: Sapa Trekking – Express car to Hanoi (B)
Following breakfast, visit Suoi Ho village and continue trekking to Ta Phin village. Afterwards, take an express car from Sapa to Hanoi, where you will arrive back in Hanoi around 9PM.
Day 7: Hanoi – – Hoi An (B)
Today you will take a domestic flight to Danang and then transfer to Hoi An. Arrive at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 8: Hoi An – Walking Tour (B,L)
Today you will explore Hoi An on foot, visiting an old merchant’s home, Hoi An Market, a local Chinese temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was first constructed here in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries, the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure to wander through the town or relax at one of the many cafés along the picturesque Thu Bon River.
Optional tour (at own expense): Hoi An Cooking Class.
Start your Hoi An cooking class with a special signature welcome drink. Get your hands dirty and try your skills at cooking your own dish. Learn theory and watch demonstrations’ for the first two courses, before cooking for yourself under the chef’s observation. You will then have time to enjoy your own food.
Day 9: Hoi An (B)
Free day at leisure – continue exploring the Ancient Quarter or head to the beach/swimming pool to relax.
Optional tour (at own expense): My Son Sanctuary & Thanh Ha Village – Depart the hotel for the 40km journey outside Hoi An. Arrive at My Son Sanctuary, a great sample of ancient Champa civilization situated in the southern region of Vietnam. Admire the great number of exquisite stone sculptures, temples and towers nestled in the tropical jungle. There will be a traditional music show you can choose to enjoy. Around late morning, we will journey back to Hoi An.
Optional tour (at own expense): Golden Bridge – The trip starts when our guide & car driver pick you up for the transfer. On arrival at the Ba Na mountain foot, we’ll travel by cable car up to the Marseille station. Get out and take a short walk to the Golden Bridge – a break point of the trip – to feel like walking on the clouds. Just newly opened to the public in early June 2018 the bridge which was built in the midst of the forest stands out in yellow. Noteworthy, this unique architecture with the bridge image supported by grey hands, creates a beautiful scenery surprised. Time for taking photos and enjoying the easy breeze, breathtaking view and afterwards, we’ll walk further to a romantic flower garden – Le Jardin D’Amour. The 9 gardens are 9 interesting stories in 9 unique architectural styles. These create a poetic and colorful space. Next, walk to visit Linh Ung Pagoda to admire its sophisticated architecture together with a 27m high Shakyamuni statue which brings us peaceful feeling as visiting this place. Finally, we’ll catch the cable car downhill and then transfer to Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoi An – Danang –– Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
Today is free at leisure before your transfer for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Enjoy a day of leisure to explore Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon)
Optional tour (at own expense): Mekong Delta Trip – Travel to Ben Tre to discover the unique lifestyle of inhabitants living along the Mekong Delta. Board your cruise on Ben Tre River (one of the tributaries of Mekong River) before stopping at s brickworks to see how bricks are made in the traditional style by printing and baking. Next, visit a coconut processing workshop located along the canal. Walk to family workshop to observe sleep mats being made while enjoying some fresh fruits and tea. You’ll then take either a motor cart or bicycle under shady trees, pass green rice fields and vegetable plains, all whilst getting a feel for the traditional and tropical culture of this stunning place. Enjoy lunch at a riverside restaurant, before taking a row-boat in the afternoon along water palm creek, before taking a boat back to Hung Vuong Pier, where your transport will be waiting to take you back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels (B,L)
After breakfast, you will have a half day tour of Ho Chi Minh City with highlights such as, Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office and the War Remnant Museum, before having the chance to soak up the atmosphere of Ben Thanh market, one of Ho Chi Minh’s liveliest areas. In the afternoon, we continue on to the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, guerrilla fighters built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels, using them to hide in during bombing raids and to stage surprise attacks. Today, the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a unique understanding of what life was like during the Vietnam War.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City –– Siem Reap (B)
Today you will be transported to Ho Chi Minh City airport for your flight to Siem Reap. On arrival at Siem Riep airport, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Optional tour (at own expense): Sunset Tour over Angkor Thom – This optional tour picks up the best moment to enjoy Angkor Thom at Sunset. The trip starts when our guide welcomes you at the hotel lobby. Hop on a bus for the transfer to the South Gate of Angkor Thom where you will be impressed with its magic old doors and artefacts. Time for photo opportunity and a chance to listen to the guide’s interesting stories. Embark on an Angkor gondola, a replica of a traditional Khmer boat, which is propelled with a wooden paddle by an experienced oarsman. Glide gently along the Southern Angkor Thom’s moat while admiring the sunset over Angkor Archaeological Park. Once you reach the southwest corner of the Ancient City, disembark near one of the four temples called Prasat Chrung and hike with your guide to the ruined building, constructed in the late 12th century. Walk under the shade of trees to the top of the gate, where a sunset viewpoint awaits. During your visit, learn about the four small sandstone temples, which were dedicated to a bodhisattva and designed in the style of Prasat Bayon, the magnificent temple at the centre of Angkor Thom. Be transferred back to the hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 14: Siem Reap – Angkor Temples (B,L)
Spend a full day discovering the mystical Angkor temples. Your day starts with a visit to Angkor Wat, followed by a visit to the ancient Ta Prohm Monastery.
In the afternoon, visit Angkor Thom (the Great City) beginning by the west gate and the famous Bayon of the 12th and 13th centuries. Journey to the Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace, built in the 12th century and which features many beautifully sculptured Apsaras. Tonight is at leisure.
Optional tour (at own expense): Phare Circus Optional Tour – Phare, The Cambodian Circus – Siem Reap’s most unique, authentic, top rated evening entertainment. You’ll feast your senses on a 90-minute spectacle that blends riveting theatre with folk music and distinctly Cambodian stories. Commend the determination of the young circus artists, many of who are from challenging social and economic backgrounds, as they hypnotise the audience with their energy and emotion. A must-see when visiting Siem Reap and after a day of sightseeing at the temples, there is simply nothing better than attending this show.
Day 15: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (B)
You have free time at leisure in the morning before your journey by bus to Phnom Penh. Spend five hours driving through rice fields, visiting Kampong Cham along the way.
In the late afternoon, you’ll arrive in Phnom Penh and check-in to your hotel where the rest of the evening is at leisure.
Day 16: Phnom Penh (B,L)
This morning we take in everything Phnom Penh has the offer, The Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Wat Ounalom. Afterwards, enjoy shopping for unique souvenirs at Central Market. Over lunch we watch the royal dance rehearsal by the Apsara Arts Association.
Later, the mood will turn slightly sombre, as we travel to the place journalists camped on the eve of the Khmer Rouge takeover. Paying our respects, we will visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school served as Khmer Rouge prison, before heading to the Choeung Ek Killing Field, to learn about the devastating events in history that affected the lives of many Cambodians.
Day 17: Phnom Penh –– Australia (B)
Enjoy a day at leisure before being transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Day 18: Australia
Arrive home in Australia this morning.