Experience dramatic natural landscapes, large cities abuzz with activity, several UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a generous and resilient people on a once-in-a-lifetime journey offered by General Tours World Traveler. This comprehensive itinerary takes you from historic sites in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) to the world's largest temple complex in Angkor.
Engaging experiences and highlights include:
• Step aboard a Bhaya ship for an overnight voyage into magnificent Ha Long Bay.
• Learn the techniques of Vietnamese cooking during a hands-on cooking class.
• Sail the waterways of the Mekong Delta on a private cruise.
• Spend two days exploring the Temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
$115 per person discount
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Your journey begins in Vietnam where you’ll visit sights important to the country's history like Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the Temple of Literature, and the Cu Chi Tunnels – an incredible network of underground passages used during the Vietnam War. Stroll along the beaches of Hoi An, a major international port during the 17th-19th centuries and now a popular seaside resort. Here, you’ll learn about some of the ingredients and techniques of traditional Vietnamese cooking during a hands-on class with skilled chefs. In Ho Chi Minh City, see the city's French influence in the city’s colonial architecture and enjoy an elegant dinner at Au Manoir de Khai, located in a stunningly restored French colonial home.
You'll also have a chance to experience Vietnam's remarkable natural beauty. Witness thousands of limestone islands rising from the emerald waters of majestic and inspiring Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll see this breathtaking body of water in style aboard a Bhaya ship, where you’ll spend the night. Experience the timeless ways of a traditional fishing village in Cam Thanh and explore the bustling waterways and pastoral landscapes of the Mekong Delta on a private cruise excursion aboard the Cai Be Princess.
Then venture to Cambodia where, assisted by your knowledgeable guide, you'll explore the magnificent jungle ruins of Angkor and the impressive architecture of Angkor Wat, once the royal seat of the mighty Khmer Empire and the largest temple complex in the world. Your two-day guided tour also includes Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmers, with its Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King; the stunning Bayon temple; and less-visited sites like Ta Prohm, Chau Say Tevoda and Preah Khan. Conclude your Southeast Asia adventure with a festive dinner of traditional Khmer cuisine at Viroth’s in Siem Reap.
• 12 nights in 5-star hotels and resorts: 3 nights in Hanoi, 1 night aboard a Bhaya ship, 3 nights in Danang, 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City and 3 nights in Siem Reap
• Daily breakfast, 7 lunches and 6 dinners
• All on-tour transportation plus 3 internal flights
• Comprehensive escorted sightseeing with no more than 16 guests; includes all entry fees
• Luggage handling, port charges, and all hotel taxes and service charges
Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam
Settle in to your deluxe French-inspired hotel situated in the bustling heart of the city.
Accommodation: Mövenpick Hotel - 3 nights
Day 2 - Hanoi Sightseeing
Today, experience the timeless traditions of the city as you enjoy a Cyclo ride through Hanoi’s historic French Quarter with its handsome Colonial-era architecture. Continue on to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an impressive monument of granite, marble and exotic hardwoods modeled after Lenin’s tomb. Also see the simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived. Then visit the 11th-century Temple of Literature before sitting down to lunch at KOTO Hanoi, acclaimed for its fine cuisine. Later, stroll along the atmospheric lanes of the Old Quarter, now home to many artists’ studios. This evening’s Water Puppet performance is followed by a dinner featuring the delicious Vietnamese cuisine of Madam Hien Restaurant.
Day 3 - Ha Long Bay Overnight Cruise
Early risers can head to beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake to join city residents for a brisk early morning stroll or some Tai Chi. Return to the hotel for breakfast then drive to Ha Long Bay. The drive is just a few hours, but the breathtaking scenery that greets you will feel worlds away from the city. Ha Long Bay is filled with thousands of limestone islands, forested peaks, hidden coves, secret caves, and emerald green waters that stretch forth as far as you can see.
Upon arrival, step aboard a Bhaya ship styled after the grand junks once reserved exclusively for the Emperor. You board around noon and have plenty of time to settle in to your air-conditioned outside stateroom before enjoying a welcome drink as you set sail. After a buffet lunch, the afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy as you cruise through the magnificent scenery, exploring along tranquil coves and past limestone caves to visit a selection of islands. As weather and sea conditions permit, you might swim, snorkel or kayak during the afternoon. Dinner is served onboard.
Accommodation: Bhaya ship - 1 night
Day 4 - Arise in Ha Long Bay and Travel to Danang
Early risers can enjoy an invigorating Tai Chi session on deck as the sun casts its first light across the peaks and coves of this magnificent bay. After a leisurely breakfast and time to take in the scenery, step off ship in mid-morning and transfer to Hanoi for your flight to Central Vietnam. Upon arrival in Danang, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to your 5-star exceptional beachfront resort. Dine this evening along the riverfront at the celebrated Brother’s Café.
Accommodation: Hyatt Regency - 3 nights
Day 5 - Cooking Class & Hoi An
The skilled culinary team at the popular Morning Glory restaurant in ancient Hoi An will conduct a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class. Learn all about the ingredients and preparation techniques for traditional dishes including fresh spring rolls, green papaya salad and fish in banana leaf.
After a delightful lunch featuring the dishes you just helped prepare, take a guided walking tour of historic Hoi An. This colorful seaport will bring you back to the 18th century when this was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. Known as Faifo to early western traders, Hoi An was home to Japanese, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese merchants. Today, Hoi An is known for its collection of original Chinese temples and impressive homes built by these wealthy merchants of earlier times. Wander through the old town center to admire these old merchants’ homes, the art galleries that now draw visitors from all over the world, and the famous Japanese Covered Bridge.
Day 6 - Excursion to Cam Thanh
Travel to the peaceful fishing village of Cam Thanh and experience the timeless rhythms of daily rural life: children returning from school along bamboo-shaded country roads, water buffalos being fed and farmers returning to the fields after the midday heat has passed. Marvel at the network of small canals that lace this agricultural region. See village homes, vegetable and fruit gardens and groves of unique water palm trees. Return to Hoi An where you can explore at your own pace or just relax and enjoy the captivating beachfront setting of your deluxe resort.
Day 7 - Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon)
This morning, you’ll be escorted to Danang Airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). After lunch at the famed Hoa Tuc Restaurant, your afternoon sightseeing tour will include Saigon’s most important Colonial-era landmarks. See Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. It was towards this modern building that Communist tanks rolled on the morning of April 30, 1975, as the city fell at the end of the Vietnam War. Stop by the General Post Office, a picturesque Colonial-era landmark, City Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral. Then stroll along Le Cong Kieu Street, famous for the many shops and galleries selling antiques – both old and new!
Accommodation: Sofitel Hotel - 2 nights
Day 8 - Mekong Delta
Journey deep into the Mekong Delta and board the Cai Be Princess for a private cruise. See the colorful Cai Be floating market and explore the Delta’s bustling waterways, filled with sampans carrying all sorts of tropical fruits and vegetables. Continue your cruise through the evergreen islands of the Mekong River and visit the home of a 19th-century Mandarin. After your cruise, sit down to lunch at Le Longanier, set in an Indochinese villa along the river. Enjoy a guided stroll along picturesque canals before returning to your hotel. This evening, you’ll enter into a stunningly restored French Colonial mansion for an elegant dinner of fine French cuisine at Au Manoir de Khai.
Day 9 - Cu Chi Tunnels & Siem Reap, Cambodia
An enriching day begins this morning at the Cu Chi Tunnels, the incredible underground network used by guerilla fighters during the Vietnam War that once stretched for 210 miles. Marvel at secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living quarters, and even conference rooms. You’ll have ample opportunity to view the excavated areas from above. The more adventurous can even explore the deeper second and even third-level tunnels. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia where you’ll be greeted and escorted to your hotel.
Accommodation: Victoria Angkor Hotel - 3 nights
Day 10 - The Glory of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
Set out with your guide after breakfast to begin your in-depth exploration of the magnificent jungle ruins of Angkor, once the royal seat of the mighty Khmer Empire. This morning you’ll explore imposing Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world with a volume of stone equaling that of the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt. Inspired by 12th century Hinduism, it took an estimated 30 years to build Angkor Wat, including the intricately carved bas-relief which adorns all four sides of the temple.
After a relaxing lunch at the Sugar Palm Restaurant, discover the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmers with its Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon temple. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very centre of Angkor Thom and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. Late in the day, your guide will lead you to a prime vantage point to witness the sun set over Angkor, a magnificent and unforgettable spectacle. Tonight’s dinner at the resort is accompanied by the traditional music and dance of Cambodia.
Day 11 - Ruins of Angkor: Exploring Further Afield
This morning’s expertly guided exploration focuses on the less-visited but equally impressive sites of Angkor, including Ta Prohm. Dedicated in 1186, this vast temple complex has been largely left in its natural state, surrounded by the massive roots and limbs of the encroaching jungle.
See Chau Say Tevoda, an ancient Hindu temple, and Preah Khan, an extensive monastic complex built by King Jayavarman VII. Watch skilled students at Les Artisans d’Angkor and learn about the efforts to preserve ancient Cambodian crafts like wood carving, stone sculpting and lacquer ware. There’s time to freshen up before this evening’s elegant Farewell Dinner at Viroth’s, hailed for its ambiance and traditional Khmer cuisine.
Day 12 - Depart Siem Reap
Bid adieu as your tour concludes this morning.
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
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