Classic Indochina Experience

Travel Idea:

Classic Indochina Experience

Like this vacation? Speak DIRECTLY with the travel agent who compiled it!

Length of trip:

20 days

Approximate price of this trip per person:

from $ 2775

Best travel dates to go:

Jan 09, 2009 to Feb 01, 2009; Apr 24, 2009 to May 17, 2009; Mar 27, 2009 to Apr 19, 2009; Oct 24, 2008 to Nov 16, 2008; Feb 13, 2009 to Mar 08, 2009; Nov 14, 2008 to Dec 07, 2008; Dec 05, 2008 to Dec 28, 2008; Jun 19, 2009 to Jul 12, 2009; May 22, 2009 to Jun 14, 2009;


Detailed Description of this trip:

This is the epic Indochina experience, combining Thailand with Cambodia and Vietnam. After experiencing vibrant Bangkok, fly to Siem Reap, the launching pad for an exploration of the magnificent Angkor Wat complex. The capital, Phnom Penh, shows you the face of a Cambodia that has recovered from the ravages of the Pol Pot era. Your last country is Vietnam, where you cross the border near Chau Doc and explore the waterways of the bustling Mekong Delta, before traveling up the length of the country, from exciting Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to the capital Hanoi. Along the way, visit hill retreats, coastal beaches, historic towns, quaint fishing hamlets and old imperial capitals – all parts of the kaleidoscope that make Indochina such a fascinating place to visit.



Trip Itinerary:

  • Day 1 - Bangkok

    Arrive Bangkok.

    Arrive in Bangkok where you will be met by local staff and transferred to your local hotel. A pre-trip briefing is held to meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary.

    Food and Dining

    After the meeting, you may adjourn to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a local meal together.

    Shopping

    The rest of the evening is free, allowing you time to enjoy a quiet drink or a visit to one of Bangkok’s busy night markets.

  • Day 2 - Bangkok

    Sightseeing

    Today is a full day to enjoy the sights of Bangkok. To give you a true taste of life in this busy city, you will be traveling by sky-train, canal boat, ferry and bus. First up is a stop at Jim Thompson’s House to appreciate its amazing Asian art collection. Jim Thompson was an American who is credited with reviving the Thai silk industry, before mysteriously disappearing in 1967.

    Sightseeing

    Next visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a ‘must’ for first-time travelers to Bangkok.

    Sightseeing

    You will also visit Wat Po, the home of the famous Reclining Buddha, followed by a long-tail boat ride through the lively and fascinating waterways of the city.

    Shopping

    In the afternoon, enjoy some free time to investigate the local shopping opportunities.

    Food and Dining

    For dinner, head down to the Chao Praya River for a Thai feast at a riverside restaurant (optional). Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 3 - Siem Reap

    Bangkok - Siem Reap.
    Commercial Flight

    After saying goodbye to your Thai guide, catch a flight to the archaeologically rich land of Cambodia. (Please note that you are likely to be unescorted for the duration of this flight and will be met on arrival in Siem Reap by your Cambodian tour leader). Siem Reap is your base for visiting the world-famous temples of the ancient city of Angkor, home of the powerful Khmer Empire (802 AD to 1350 AD).

    Sightseeing

    After checking into your hotel in town, drive to the historic area and end the day with a sunset view of Angkor Wat from a lookout point at Phnom Bakheng.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 4 - Siem Reap

    Sightseeing

    Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided tour. Angkor Thom, the ‘Great Royal City,' is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Angkor Wat, the largest and most complete structure, is the only one of Angkor’s temples with its entrance facing to the west (the others face east). The reason for this is that it was constructed as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II, and a westerly countenance was seen to represent a sunset. The remarkable Ta Prohm temple is an incredible sight, with large trees embedding themselves in the stone foundations of the structure as if reclaiming the land from mankind’s creation. Preah Khan Temple contains a maze of vaulted corridors, and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 5 - Siem Reap

    Sightseeing

    Your ticket for the Angkor ruins enables you to spend more time exploring this memorable archaeological area. It is an early morning start as you travel out to Banteay Srei, famous for its detailed and intricate stone carvings. It is not a big temple, but has been sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art.'

    Sightseeing

    Back at the main temple complex, Preah Khan contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Meals: Breakfast.

  • Day 6 - Phnom Penh

    Siem Reap - Phnom Penh.
    Shopping

    You have a free morning before leaving Siem Reap. If you wish to stay in town, you can sit outside one of the cafes or visit the local market that sells some interesting souvenirs.

    Relaxation

    If you would rather relax, stay by the hotel pool or enjoy a massage by one of the famous blind masseuses of Siem Reap.

    Commercial Flight

    Flying to Phnom Penh in the afternoon, you will notice a change of pace as you arrive in Cambodia’s capital.

    Food and Dining

    A relaxing drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club is a great way to start your evening. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 7 - Phnom Penh

    Sightseeing

    A full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. Although the private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihanouk and his family and are therefore closed to the public, you will be able to visit the Silver Pagoda, which lies in the palace complex. This temple, the most sacred in all of Cambodia, was previously spared from destruction by the Khmer Rouge. The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful but unavoidable, part of Cambodia’s recent history, and visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of this tragic legacy. (Note: These sites are a major part of sightseeing in Phnom Penh; however, if you do not wish to visit either of them, please inform your tour leader.)

    Food and Dining

    An ideal way to spend your last evening in Cambodia is to relax in a café by the river front. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 8 - Phnom Penh

    Phnom Penh - Chau Doc.
    Private Car Service

    The tour continues by road with a two-hour drive to Neak Luong.

    Sailing

    Here, you board a boat for another two-hour ride to the Cambodian-Vietnamese border point at Vinh Xuong. (Please note that a Vietnamese visa must be obtained prior to joining this tour, as it is impossible to obtain one at the border).

    Sailing

    At the border crossing, meet your Vietnamese tour leader and say goodbye to your Cambodian tour leader. Transfer to a slow Vietnamese boat and travel on the waterways for a further two and a half hours to your final destination, Chau Doc. The market area runs along the riverfront and sells black-market goods smuggled in from Thailand.

    Sightseeing

    Being on the water allows you to see the interesting lifestyles of many local people. Homes are built over metal netting, and their inhabitants are kept busy producing enormous amounts of food to feed the thousands of fish being breed there. The nearby Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sam Mountain offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside sweeping down into Cambodia. The mountain is covered with tombs, religious sanctuaries, and temples.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 9 - Vinh Long

    Chau Doc - Vinh Long.
    Private Car Service

    Continue your journey down the Mekong Delta towards Vinh Long.

    Bed & Breakfast

    Here you will overnight in a local home stay, an old French village situated on the waterways and filled with fruit gardens. The house is basic, with all beds set up in a large communal room, but the experience is unique and offers you an insight into the way that the local people live. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

  • Day 10 - Vinh Long

    Vinh Long - Saigon.
    Sightseeing

    Wake up early to visit the busy floating markets before cruising to Cai Be.

    Sightseeing

    Stop to see the local industries, as well as a church belonging to the unusual Cao Dai religion on your drive back to Saigon.

    Nightlife

    Upon arrival, have a final evening to enjoy the exciting nightlife of Vietnam’s largest city. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 11 - Vietnam

    Saigon.
    Sightseeing

    Head out of town today to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is actually the name of the district that covers an extensive underground network (approximately 200 kilometers) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh, and later expanded by the Viet Cong. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation, and schools, and were used extensively for refuge and storage as well as a military base for the Viet Cong. The 1968 Tet Offensive was launched from Cu Chi with surprising effect. A section of the tunnels have been widened to allow tourists to get a feel for what life underground must have been like.

    Sightseeing

    You will also visit Tay Ninh, which is the headquarters of the Cao Dai religion.

    Sightseeing

    Hopefully, you will arrive for the mid-day church service wherein the followers fill the hall wearing colored robes, a symbol of the curious combination of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. (Please note that the church service does not operate during Tet).
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 12 - Vietnam

    Saigon.
    Sightseeing

    Today is a free day to explore this vibrant and captivating city. There are many places of interest located close to the center of town – the Re-unification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Ben Thanh Market. You may choose to get around by ‘cyclo’, which is the local version of the rickshaw.

    Hotel

    Take time out to enjoy cafes on tree-lined boulevards, or a drink in the Continental Hotel, the meeting place for journalists during the Vietnam War.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 13 - Dalat

    Saigon - Dalat.
    Sightseeing

    Today you begin your scenic northbound journey with the first stop being Dalat, one of Vietnam’s most charming towns. The influence of the French is prevalent, as Dalat was founded as a hill station to enable the colonials to escape the heat and chaos of Saigon. The city is set around a lake and surround by forests, waterfalls, and rolling countryside.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 14 - Dalat

    Sightseeing

    You have a free day to enjoy the sights in and around Dalat. A pleasant way to get around is by bicycle. This is also a great place for sitting in cafes, relaxing, and soaking up the atmosphere.

    Sightseeing

    Close to Dalat are local Lat and Chill tribal villages, which you sometimes have the option to visit (this depends on the government restrictions at the time). However, you must purchase special permits, which your tour leader can help you obtain.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 15 - Nha Trang

    Dalat - Nha Trang.
    Beach

    Make your way to the coast for some ‘R & R’ on the beaches of Nha Trang.

    Sightseeing

    En route, you will stop at Po Klong Garai Cham Towers. The Hindu kingdom of Champa was a significant power that evolved in the 2nd century. Many relics of this empire are to be found in this central coastal area.

    Sightseeing

    On arrival in Nha Trang, visit the Long Son Pagoda, home of an eye-catching nine-meter-high white Buddha image. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 16 - Nha Trang

    Sightseeing

    A highlight of any visit to Nha Trang is a day trip out on a boat exploring the islands of the South China Sea.

    Snorkeling

    Spend a day on the water enjoying swimming, snorkeling, laying on a beach and feasting on a seafood lunch. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 17 - Quang Ngai

    Nha Trang - Quang Ngai.
    Sightseeing

    This is a very long traveling day. Before departing Nha Trang, visit the impressive Po Nagar Cham Towers overlooking the colorful fishing port.

    Private Car Service

    The drive north along the coast is long and the road is poor, but the views are fantastic and you can make stops as you please to stretch your legs and take photographs. Part of the pleasure of traveling in Vietnam is the simple joy of seeing green rice fields dotted with conical hats, and the smiling faces of the people.

    Hotel

    You arrive in Quy Nhon in the evening. This is basically an overnight stop to break your long journey.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 18 - Quang Ngai

    Quang Ngai - Hoi An.
    Sightseeing

    Depart Quy Nhon early and make a stop at the site of the My Lai Massacre. This area and its people are now at peace, and along the old road to the memorial and museum site you can stop to take a walk through the colorful country roadside markets.

    Sightseeing

    You arrive in Hoi An in the afternoon, and continue north past the town for further sightseeing.

    Beach

    China Beach, enjoyed as an ‘R & R’ spot for soldiers during the Vietnam War, lies against a backdrop of the sensational Marble Mountains.

    Sightseeing

    The history of the mountains is a rich one. The five peaks, which are actually limestone with marble outcrops, are seen to epitomize the five elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal. The Chams once used them for religious purposes, but in more recent times the Marble Mountains became a haven for the Viet Cong, with their clear view of the Danang air base – at one time the busiest airport in the world. Good footwear is essential, as is a tolerance towards the most aggressive vendors in Vietnam! Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 19 - Vietnam

    Hoi An.
    Sightseeing

    Today is a free day to explore the town. Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced through the centuries by a myriad traders from various cultures. There is a distinctly Chinese appearance, with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. The tranquility and charm of this town makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in Vietnam. It is a constant favorite of travelers and staff.

    Shopping

    The market is a good place to buy silk, which can be made up into fine garments within a day.

    Beach

    Close to town there is a nice beach, which can be reached easily by bicycle. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 20 - Hue

    Hoi An - Hue.
    Sightseeing

    The road to Hue takes you through the city of Danang, before a climb over the hills.
    The scene from the top of the Hai Van Pass is one of the most impressive panoramic scenes in Vietnam, with views over Lang Co Beach.

    Sightseeing

    Upon arrival in Hue, visit the Citadel and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins.
    Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 21 - Hanoi

    Hue - Hanoi.
    River or Barge Cruise

    Hue was once the capital of Vietnam. The royal mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc and the beautiful Thien My Pagoda are not to be missed. These sights are included in a guided cruise on the Perfume River, which also gives you a taste of the tranquil countryside.

    Train

    In the evening, you have an early dinner before boarding the train for your overnight journey to Hanoi. The train is very basic; you travel in ‘soft sleeper’ class, which is a compartment for up to four people. It is a very communal environment. Blankets, pillows and dinner are provided. The food is not the best you will have in Vietnam, so buy food in Hue as snacks to eat along the way. This journey is in keeping with the adventurous nature of this trip and allows you to experience a taste of ‘real’ Vietnam. Meals: Breakfast

  • Day 22 - Hanoi

    Sightseeing

    Hanoi is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities. This northern capital is quiet, contrary to its southern counterpart. Its relaxed ambience is a joy, with exploration best on foot or bicycle.

    Shopping

    The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes. You have enough time in the afternoon to explore the Old Quarter streets named after the goods once offered for sale there, including ‘Silk Street,' ‘Rice Street,' and ‘Jewelers Street.'

    Optional
    Performing Arts

    In the evening, there is an option to enjoy a performance of the unique ‘Water Puppets.'

  • Day 23 - Hanoi

    Sightseeing

    Take a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting the major sights. These include the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and paying homage to Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh.

    Shopping

    The remainder of the day is free to further explore Hanoi or catch up on some shopping in Hang Gai Street. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Day 24 - Hanoi

    Hanoi - Onward.

    The tour ends after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available. Meals: Breakfast

Planning a similar vacation?
Work with the expert travel agent who compiled this trip
to build your own personalized itinerary!
Fill out the form at the top of the page

Planning a similar vacation?

Have the expert travel agent who compiled this itinerary build a dream vacation for you!

Additional comments about your trip (optional)

Font Size: increase font size decrease font size