Journey to Angkor Wat
Day 1: Hanoi
Saturday. Welcome to Hanoi! Airport to hotel arrival transfer. Free time to explore. Overnight - Hanoi
Day 2: Junk boat cruising
Hanoi – Halong Bay - breakfast. Early this morning we drive to the strikingly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, we board our traditional wooden junk boat and cruise the emerald waters studded with a thousand or so karst limestone islands. Later opt for a refreshing swim in one of the many sheltered coves before taking row boats to the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng. Tonight, there's a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served. Overnight - Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat (B, L, D)
Day 3: Hidden Grottoes, Halong Bay
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Start the day with Tai Chi on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs we return to Hanoi.
Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the labyrinth of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’. Each of the narrow lanes are named after various guilds of the city’s artisan who established themselves here centuries ago. On a hair raising cyclo (rickshaw ride) we'll see the old quarter and the delightful Hoan Kiem Lake.
Tonight we board our overnight sleeper train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic stanard) operating on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B)
Day 4: Imperial Hue
Upon arrival to Hue we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city and the citadel. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.
After we drive into the countryside to see the elaborate mausoleums of the Nguyen kings. As the sun sets opt for a cruise in a long boat along the gentle Perfume River or enjoy some retail therapy at the ever lively Dong Ba Market, a minute's walk from our hotel. Overnight - Hue (B, L)
Day 5: Road of the Ocean Clouds
Today we take the scenic Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds), which offers magnificent views of beaches to one side and lush hills to the other, to Hoi An. A stop is made en route at China Beach.
Compact Hoi An with its cobbled streets, tiny shop houses and laid back restaurants and bars is a perfect place to relax a while. On a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. Overnight - Hoi An (B)
Days 6 - 7: Tra Que village & free time
On a bicycle ride to the local village of Tra Que we discover age old farming practises and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a hands on experience today where we’ll assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch.
Day 7 is free for you to independently explore Hoi An. Relax by the beach or pool, or take a day trip to the Cham Kingdom site at My Son or My Lai - where the massacre of civilians took place at the hands of Charlie Company during the Vietnam War. Overnight - Hoi An (B:2, L:1)
Day 8: Cruising the Mekong
Hoi An - Saigon. Fly to Saigon and drive to the Mekong Delta. The fertile Mekong Delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits, flowers and rice, as well as its fantastic views while boating along the canals. Taking our sampan from Vinh Long we’ll cruise downstream from Cai Be through the maze of waterways watching the hubbub of daily life on the river. Passing colourful trading boats, house boats and children swimming we stop to visit some of the local cottage industries that produce popcorn, coco candies and paper along the way. Lunch is served today in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Overnight - Can Tho (B, L)
Day 9: Mekong & Saigon
Can Tho - Saigon. Early this morning we visit the lively Cai Rang floating market and drive to Saigon. On a walking tour of the city we’ll visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure. Overnight - Saigon (B)
Day 10: Chu Chi Tunnels, Phmon Penh
This morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling underground network of tunnels and living quarters used by the Viet Cong during the war. Then we drive to the Cambodian border (crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet) and continue on to the capital of Phnom Penh. Today the nation’s capital offers a bustling mix of Asia’s past and present, a city quickly taking its place amongst the trendy capitals of the region with superb restaurants and a number of attractions. Overnight - Phnom Penh (B, D)
Day 11: Royal Palace, Crimes of Pol Pot
Today we’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh starting at the National Museum of Fine Arts, a graceful terracotta building of traditional design housing the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. We continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decorations – the floors are paved with silver tiles and statues of Buddha are encrusted with thousands of diamonds.
We later come face to face with the horrors of the Pol Pot regime as we visit Toul Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was gruesomely transformed into a torture chamber under the Khmer Rouge, and visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed. Overnight - Phnom Penh (B)
Day 12: Siem Reap & Angkor Wat
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap. Hotel check out and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Siem Reap.
After time to freshen up we visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and is famed for the huge statue heads that glare down from every angle. We continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to the mother of all temples – Angkor Wat. This breathtaking monument of man’s devotion to his gods is believed to be the largest religious building in the world and contains thousands of wall carvings and extensive bas-reliefs. In the evening we enjoy a walking tour of the old market. Overnight - Siem Reap (B)
Day 13: Ta Phrom, Banteay Srei
Siem Reap – breakfast. Early this morning opt to see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later, we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the finest stone carvings in the world. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains lavishly decorated libraries and stunning reliefs of divinities. The temple expedition continues with visits to Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei and the atmospheric Ta Prohm. Swallowed by the jungle, vast muscular roots envelop the crumbling towers and walls whilst the trees’ foliage dapples the temple in shadow. There are plenty of great bars and restaurants in the compact city centre, easily navigated on foot. Overnight - Siem Reap (B)
Day 14: Roluos Temples & floating villages
This morning we visit the Roluos group of temples (Bakong, Lolei and Preak Ko), the earliest large and permanent temples built by the Khmers. The monuments mark the dawn of Khmer classical art, dating from the late 9th century, with elaborate inscriptions in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit. Later visit the floating village of Kompong Pluk. Houses built on soaring stilts hover over the Tonle Sap Lake whilst nearby, the petrified trees of a flooded forest are revealed whenever the water level drops. Afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight - Siem Reap (B, L)
Day 15: Free time Siem Reap
Saturday. Today marks the end of our memorable journey. Spend the morning at leisure before hotel check out and your departure transfer to the airport. (B)
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. StudentUniverse should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.