Historical & Cultural Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia
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  Duration: 13 DAYS/12 NIGHTS STYLE: Classic Travel

Historical & Cultural Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia

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Although close neighbors, Vietnam and Cambodia are totally unique in their history, culture and character. This exciting trip takes you on a journey to see the many and awe inspiring historical and cultural highlights of both countries.

You start the tour in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi. This is a vibrant and exciting city full of diversity and old world charm with many historical and cultural sites to see. A few hours from Hanoi is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the spectacular Ha Long Bay. You will be amazed as you sail around the unique Karsts (enormous rocks exploding from the sea). Vietnamese legend talks about Dragons that came from the heavens many centuries ago to help the local people to fight off invaders. The Dragons decided to stay to help to protect the land in the form of these rocks!

Moving south, your next stop is the delightful ancient town of Hoi An with its narrow streets, amazing architecture and a unique historical background of being a significant trading port for the East and the West. As well as many places to visit, there are an abundance of shops and excellent restaurants to keep you entertained. You will then travel by road to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam, where you can see the Citadel. The Citadel is currently being beautifully restored after a huge amount of damage during the Vietnam/American war. It offers an intriguing insight into life for the elite of Vietnam, the Emperor, his family and entourage. A short flight from Hue takes you to the commercial capital of Vietnam, to Ho Chi Minh City. As well as being a modern bustling city, you will also find many historical and cultural highlights from different eras and stages of the growth of Vietnam.

Leaving the hustle and bustle of HCM, you then head West for a visit to the Mekong Delta to see how people live and trade on and by the grand river. It is then time to change countries and head for Cambodia. From Chau Doc, you board a motor boat to take you to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

In Phnom Penh, there is a city tour to show you the palace, the National Museum, a grand Pagoda.  In the evening, you can visit the Russian Market alongside the river and near to the riverside cafes and bars. After a fun evening in Phnom Penh, you will then take a flight to the north of Cambodia to visit Siem Reap.

Siem Reap is the small town that sits outside of the National Park and World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. The site extends over approximately 400 square kilometers and consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes and the remains one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia.

The largest of the buildings and the best preserved is Angkor Wat itself. In its beauty and state of preservation it is unrivaled. However many of the other temples and palaces offer unique insights into the historical and cultural aspects of life during the 12th Century when this area was a huge, powerful and rich dynasty.

'Historical and Cultural Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia' is the perfect tour for you if you are want to visit the highlights of both Vietnam and Cambodia in comfort and style. 

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WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK THIS TOUR WITH US?
  • Personal attention to detail by all HGH from the time of your initial enquiry through to the end of your tour
  • 24 hour support available during the tour
  • Enjoy the degree of historical and cultural information throughout your tour from our local and knowledgeable tour hosts to the degree that you and your group are interested.
  • We focus on sustainable tourism by creating the very best experience for you as the tourist while supporting our local environment and local people
Itinerary Highlights
Day 1: Arrival Ha Noi

Your arrival at the Noi Bai International Airport marks the start of your tour. Our guide is waiting to welcome you and take you into Ha Noi, the 1000-year-old capital city of Vietnam, and the commercial, political, and cultural heart of the country.

The city tour takes you on a drive around the city while visiting the main tourist hotspots. After the One-Pillar Pagoda, we go to the Temple of Literature. Built in October 1073, the temple honors Confucius and is the first university built in Vietnam. If Ha Noi is the heart of the country, Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of Ha Noi. In the centre of the lake is the Ngoc Son Temple, which is our next stop.

Hanoi is a city of contrast. A short walk from Hoan Kien Lake and the Old Quarter (which you will see in the afternoon) is the elegant French quarter with its tree lined boulevards and beautiful buildings such as the Hanoi Opera House, the State Bank, the former Governor's palace, and the Hanoi Cathedral (Saint Joseph’s built in the late 19th century).

Later in the afternoon, you will take a 1-hour cyclo ride around the 36 streets of the Old Quarter and be amazed at the narrow streets, the tiny buildings and the shops and street vendors that crowd the space selling their goods to locals and tourists alike.  You are invited to a welcome dinner after which you are free to explore or rest.

Hotel in Ha Noi

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Day 2: Ha Noi – Ha Long

After breakfast, we drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful and mystical places in Southeast Asia. The day starts with a leisurely boat ride through the breathtaking Ha Long Bay where you will see unique mountainous rock formations (karsts) reaching majestically out of the water. We can enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh seafood cooked in a characteristically Vietnamese style while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay, Teapot Islet, Blockhouse Islet, and Goat Head Islet.

After lunch, explore the mystery of Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay. This is en route to the beach where you can enjoy swimming & kayaking in the bay. We return to the boat in time to settle in and enjoy a spectacular sunset while cruising to the Hang Trong area to anchor at Ho Dong Tien. During the evening, relax in the casual and comfortable atmosphere on the luxury boat and enjoy an elegant dining experience.

To complete a perfect day, relax on deck under the clear, starry sky, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Bay before retiring to your cabin.

Overnight on Board

The cruise continues karsts some of which display fantastic shapes, many of which have ancient stories connected to them. We also pass Hoa Cuong and Ga Choi Islands on the way to visit the Luon Cave. Back onboard, we have an early lunch before saying goodbye to the boat and to the crew. On the way back to Ha Noi, we have a short stop at the Bat Trang ceramics and pottery village where they make and sell all kinds of ceramics, embroidery and marble statues.

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Day 3: Ha Long – Ha Noi – Da Nang – Hoi An

The cruise continues karsts some of which display fantastic shapes, many of which have ancient stories connected to them. We also pass Hoa Cuong and Ga Choi Islands on the way to visit the Luon Cave. Back onboard, we have an early lunch before saying goodbye to the boat and to the crew. On the way back to Ha Noi, we have a short stop at the Bat Trang ceramics and pottery village where they make and sell all kinds of ceramics, embroidery and marble statues.

The transport will take you directly to Noi Bai Airport to catch the flight to Da Nang in the central region of Vietnam from where you drive to Hoi An. After checking into the hotel, you are free to explore this adorable town.

Hotel in Hoi An

Day 4: Hoi An

Enjoy a walking tour through the narrow and ancient streets of this charming town. Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years, merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religions and architecture. The town has the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, listed for having the ‘most unique’ architecture in Southeast Asia. It has been restored and protected by both the UNESCO funding and proud locals ever since. The tour takes in the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and old family houses.

Lorsque l’estuaire du fleuve Thu Bon s’ensabla, le commerce cessa au profit de Da Nang et Fai Fo, éloignée de la mer, tomba dans l’oubli. Devenue Hoi An, cette cité à conserver tout le charme d’une ancienne ville asiatique. Elle est classée depuis 1999 au Patrimoine Mondial de l’UNESCO. Balade à travers les petites rues bordées de maisons à deux étages avec balcons de bois et toits de tuiles, les temples en bois du XVIIIème siècle, le pont-pagode japonais datant du XVIème siècle. Déjeuner dans un restaurant local. Option: cours de cuisine au Morning School Hoian, chez Mme Vy. Après-midi libre pour profiter d’une balade à vélo menant à la plage Cua Dai ou pour flâner dans la charmante bourgade. Nuit à l’hôtel.

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Day 4: Hoi An - Da Nang - Hue

You will depart from Hoi An to Hue City through the emerald-green paddy fields. Hue was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802–1945) and used to be the home of past emperors. 

Along the way, you will have the opportunity to stop en route to take pictures at the summit of Lang Co BeachHai Van Pass and visit the Cham Museum located in Da Nang City. The museum offers the most extensive collection of Cham art sculptures throughout the world. The sculptures date from the 7th to the 15th century. Once you arrive in Hue, you will be taken downtown to check into the hotel and then be free at your leisure. Dinner will be served at one of the local restaurants in Hue City. You will stay the rest of the night in Hue.

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Day 6: Hue

Our tour of Hue starts by our taking a boat trip down the romantic Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest and most beautiful pagodas in Hue. After that we move on to see the Minh Mang Tomb. Ming Mang was was emperor of Vietnam from 1820 to 1841. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch and take the opportunity to talk to the nuns to learn more about Buddhism and gain insights into their daily lives and their calligraphy art.

 

La promenade continue et mène au tombeau de l’Empereur Minh Mang. Déjeuner en cours de visite. L'histoire impériale sera contée à la Citadelle Interdite et au tombeau de l’Empereur Tu Duc. Dîner. Soirée "spectacle musical en bateau-dragon": croisière nocturne le long de la Rivière des Parfums pour apprécier et découvrir les chants traditionnels de Hué. Hébergement à l’hôtel.

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Day 7: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, we leave Central Vietnam and take a flight to the modernized faster-paced city of Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as “Saigon”. You will transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Ho Chi Minh.

The HCM tour starts with a visit to the imposing Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat). We will go next to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Viet Nam as the twin bell towers are visible from a long distance. In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the largest functioning post office in Vietnam.

In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the largest functioning post office in Vietnam. Designed and built by Gustave Eiffel, this building is extraordinary. Gustave Eiffel is also famous for designing and building the Eiffel Tour in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York.

We then drive to China Town, Binh Tay Market and Thien Hau Temple. After a day of history and culture, next stop is to do some shopping at the Ben Thanh Market. The rest of the evening is free to explore the city on your own.

Hotel in Ho Chi Minh.

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Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City – Vinh Long – Can Tho

After breakfast, we leave Ho Chi Minh City for a beautiful scenic drive through the Mekong River Delta, home to the richest agricultural lands in Vietnam. Enjoy a boat trip to an island that houses orchard gardens and the beautiful Cai Be floating market, a famous place in the Mekong Delta. The Cai Be floating market is a magnificent site to see as hundreds of small merchant boats anchor alongside the banks of the river trading their commodities to locals and tourists alike. Continuing by boat, you see a family-run enterprise that produces coconut candy. After lunch, we travel by road to Can Tho where you will spend the night. Dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Hotel in Can Tho.

Day 9: Can Tho – Chau Doc

Begin the day with a gentle boat ride down the Mekong River to the beautiful Cai Rang Floating Market, which is one of the most bustling floating markets in Mekong Delta with hundreds of small boats laden fruits barging and jostling for space as owners attempt to sell their goods. After the Cai Rang Market, we travel to Chau Doc. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.

Hotel in Chau Doc

Day 10: Chau Doc – Phnom Penh

Day-10 takes us by speed boat to Phnom Penh, Camodia. Once settled into the hotel, we start the tour of this capital city at the Royal Palace, which used to house the kings of Cambodia before they were deposed. Next to the Royal Palac, stands the Silver Pagoda, one of the most beautiful Pagoda’s due to its lavish style. Built in 1962, the Silver Pagoda has statues of Buddha’s made from precious metals and stones. The floors are made from concrete and marble. The pagoda has over 5000 silver tiles each weighing 1 kilo. It is famous for its 90 kg solid gold Buddha made in 1907 and an emerald Buddha said to be made of baccarat crystal. After the Palace, the next stop is the National Museum of Phnom Penh, which houses the world’s largest and extensive collection of Khmer and Angkor art. The tour ends with a visit to the Wat Phnom Pagoda.

During the evening, visit the Russian market and enjoy the nightlife of Cambodia.

Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Day 11: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

After breakfast, you transfer to the airport to catch the domestic flight to Siem Riep. Siem Reap is the town local to the Angkor National Park and our first stop in the park is the Angkor Thom Temple. We enter through the South Gate with the eerie Bayon, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. The next stop is at one of the 7 wonders of the world - Angkor Wat, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. It is the largest and most preserved temple on this 400 square km site. Later in the evening, enjoy the breathtaking sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill.

To make your trip even more memorable and enjoyable, we offer a 1-hour full body or foot massage. Later in the evening, indulge in an elegant buffet dinner and relax to a beautifully performed Apsara Dance Show at the Angkor Mondial Restaurant.

Hotel in Siem Reap

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Day 12: Siem Reap

Day-12 takes us back to the National Park to visit some of the smaller though no less impressive buildings. First stop is Banteay Srey, considered one of the most unusual of the Angkor temples in Cambodia. The temple is built mostly of red sandstone covered with elaborate and deeply carved decorations. After that, we will travel to Preah Khan, a huge monastic complex. The complex is full of carvings and passages for you to explore. Lunch at a local restaurant.

 

Later in the afternoon, we go the Roluos Group. The Roluos Group is a collection of monuments that represent the remains of the Hariharalaya, the first major capital of the Angkorian-era Khmer Empire. It has become known as the ‘Roluos Group’ due to its proximity to the modern town of Roluos. You will also visit one of the most popular Angkor Temples, the Ta Prohm Temple. Ta Prohm is unlike most other Angkor temples in the sense that it has been untouched over the years. The jungle that weaves itself protectively through and around the ruins creates a mystical and awesome sight and atmosphere.

Hotel in Siem Reap

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Day 13: Siem Reap – Departure

Your last day starts with a boat cruise on the Tonle Sap Lake to experience the daily life of the local people at the floating village followed by a visit to Les Artisans d’Angkor - Chantiers Ecoles. This workshop teaches people the beautiful art of stone and woodcarving traditional to Cambodian artistry. You will also get the chance to get those last minute souvenirs and presents at the old market. You are then free to do whatever you choose until you are transferred to Siem Reap Airport.

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