Welcome to Vietnam! Your local guide and chauffeur take you to town. We leave the rest of the day for your leisure to while off the jet lag and acclimatize yourself. If you arrive in the morning, we have some interesting optional activities in the afternoon or evening ready upon your request.
Early hours, visit Ho Chi Minh’s Memorial Complex where you will see his mausoleum and have an insight of some interesting episodes of his life. We visit the old Tran Quoc Pagoda and hop on a cyclo and explore the Old Quarter in a fun way. Next, we visit Hoa Lo Prison once humorously dubbed “Hanoi Hilton” where shot-down US pilots were detained, one famous among them being Arizonian US Senator John McCain. For lunch let’s have the Vietnam’s signature dish “bun cha” at a shop which became famous after the visit of Obama and Anthony Boudain.
Leaving Hanoi we drive through the countryside towards Halong Bay. Today and the next 2 days we will be sailing out on the luxurious Paradise Elegance Cruise to explore the surreal half submerged karst landscape listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Many small islands and thousands of miraculously shaped limestone cliffs dominate the picture on our journey.
Continue the magnificent bay cruise with a number of interesting stops and activities on board.
Early risers can start the day with a relaxing taichi lesson in the unique settings of Halong Bay. The ship continues with the morning cruise and sail slowly back to the harbor. After landing we take the road transfer to the airport for the flight to Hue. The evening in Hue, we experience the a special dinner in the old Mandarin style with fine food elaborately presented.
In Hue we visit the Citadel of Hue with the majestic architecture of the Imperial City. Then towards the suburb we visit Thien Mu Pagoda and the tombs of King Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. Later we drive south towards Hoi An on a scenic route. Evening in Hoi An, enjoy the colorful lantern-lit streets with lots of shops and beautiful waterfront restaurants.
Day 7: Hoi An to Saigon
Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its well-preseverd architecture and traditions. In the morning we take a leisure walking tour in the Old Town and visit several landmarks including the Japanese Bridge, Fujian Temple, the tradional house of Phung Hung. Afternoon we drive to Danang to catch our flight to Saigon. In the evening we enjoy dinner on the Saigon River, aboard of the Bonsai Cruise.
The morning is for the excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels outside the city where we discover the incredible shovel engineering work in the form of underground system of bunkers and tunnels to support guerillar warfare of the Viet Cong during the war time. The afternoon back in Saigon with the war history aside, we visit Saigon Art Museum accompanied by the adjacent antique street, and Ben Thanh market.
Day 9 Cruise Starts - Saigon to Cai Be
Today the time has come for the fascinating waterway expedition up the mighty Mekong. Drive south to My Tho and board the Jayavarman. With a welcome cocktail, you will come across an unforgettable river cruise. Familiarize yourself with the comforts of the colonial-style ship. Enjoy a delicious welcome dinner as the ship set sails through the delta tranquility. The anchor is thrown near Cai Be.
Day 10 Cai Be to Chau Doc
You may like to rise early and take the morning taichi lesson on the sundeck. Hop on the small sampan to explore the local village in Cai Be. Onward, the cruise will take you past scenic river landscapes and there are interesting en route encounters providing insights of rural life on the Mekong. The ship moors in Chau Doc, just a stone’s throw to the border with Cambodia.
Day 11 Chau Doc to Border
Rise with the sun and have your breakfast in the tranquil settings of the river. Take smaller boat to explore the surroundings. Visit one of the many fish farms and an Islamic Cham village. When you are back on board, the ship set sails and continue the cruise toward Cambodia. Check the activity schedule to know what is coming up next on board.
Day 12 Border to Phnom Penh
Welcome to Cambodia! After breakfast, listen to an intersting lecture on culture and history of Cambodia and then plunge into the action: the focus to visit is the Royal Palace with the encompassed Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. The Tuol Sleng Museum and Killing Fields give you an insight into the dark epoch of Cambodia's history under the Khmer Rouge. Back on the ship, variations of cocktails are served and you will be delighted with another art form of the Khmer is presented, the Apsara Dance.
Day 13 Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham
Before sunrise the ship pulls the anchor and departs the capital of Cambodia. The next journey takes you upstream to Kampong Cham, passing picturesque villages where time seems to stand still. There will be a number of interesting stops for intercultural encounters.
The destination of today's shore excursion is the well-preserved Prasat Hanchey from the Pre-Angkor period. From the west bank of the Mekong River, the temple is accessible via 291 steps and offers magnificent panoramic views of the river and surrounding rural Cambodia. After returning to the ship, you will experience a blessing service from the local monks.
Day 15 Kampong Cham to Tonle Sap
Set out early in the morning and meander through lush jungle scenery. You will arrive at Kampong Chhnang, the main fishing port on the Tonle Sap. With a small motorboat you explore this unique water world with floating houses, school and pagoda. In the evening you can expect a feudal farewell dinner on the sundeck.
Day 16 Tonle Sap to Siem Reap
The Tonle Sap’s catchment area with an extraordinary wealth of flora and fauna is honored by UNESCO as a world’s biosphere reserve. Depending on the water level, the ship may either sail over the Tonle Sap Lake to the port in Siem Reap or let you get off at the Prek K’Dam and travel the remaing route by road.
Day 17 Tonle Sap to Siem Reap
The focus of our visit today is the exploration of the majestic Angkor Wat and the legendary royal city Angkor Thom. Within this complex we visit the Bayon Temple famous for its face towers and the temple of Ta Prohm which was the set of 2013’s Tomb Raider movie.
You are at leisure till transfer time. If you have late flight we will arrange extra activities or accommodation upon your request. We wish you a good journey home.