Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

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29 days, from £1871
Tucan Travel
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Description

Journey through bustling cities, quiet islands, leafy rice terraces and riverside towns as you head towards Bangkok. Drift through Halong Bay, exploring the many caves and taste traditional Vietnamese meals in Hanoi. In Cambodia, learn about the Khmer Rouge, visiting the Killing Fields and admire the intricate ruins of Angkor Wat, at its best at sunrise.

Type of travel: Public Transport
Group size: Average 10-14. Maximum 16.
Recommended age: 18-65
What you need to know:
* We will try to run your tour as close to the itinerary as conditions will allow. On very rare occasions, local events may affect the way your itinerary operates. We ask for your flexibility and understanding in these situations.

What's included:

Accommodation:
25 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) on Halong Bay junk, 1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains, 1 night(s) in homestays

Meals:
19 Breakfast(s), 2 Lunch(es), 2 Dinner(s), 3 Basic Breakfast(s), 5 Buffet Breakfast(s)

Excursions:
Halong Bay overnight stay on a junk boat, Guided tour & entrance to caves, An evening trip to the Vietnamese Water Puppet Theatre, Half-day trip to visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Museum, Presidential Palace, Stilt House and the famous 1-Pillar Pagoda, Visit the Forbidden Citadel with tour leader, Marble Mountain, Visit Hai Van Pass, Mekong Delta Overnight Excursion, Tour Leader local walking tour to Ben Tha nh Market, Opera House, Notre Dam Cathedral & Eifell Post Office, Independance Palace, War Remnents Museum (inc entrance to musuem), Countryside tuk- tuk trip to the Kampot Salt Fields, Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields, Spider Market, Khmer Wine Tasting, Ride the Bamboo Railway, Guided Tour of Angkor Wat

Transport:
Public Bus, flight(s)What's excluded:
Visas and travel insuranceSpending money - budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extrasInternational flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms. Optional excursions - On each trip, you may find there are some excursions that are not included. This might be because they are not to everyone's taste or there may be various options of differing value to choose from. More information on the excursions we recommend is listed under each day of your itinerary though prices may vary. If you are after something in particular, don't hesitate to ask your tour leader.

Itinerary


 Day 1 Arrive Hanoi

Hanoi offers a beguiling combination of tranquillity and chaos, from the elegance of its crumbling colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards, to the boisterous cacophony of street vendors and motorcycles. Much can be absorbed of daily life by wandering the streets of the old quarter, tasting local market food, and people-watching. For the culture buffs there are museums, temples and tombs which offer insight into a city rich in history and character.
1 night(s) in hotels at Golden Charm Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 2 Halong Bay

We depart Hanoi for the mystical Halong Bay, boarding a traditional Chinese sailing vessel which will take us out to the UNESCO world heritage site. The bay includes hundreds of islands with towering limestone karsts draped in verdant foliage. The boat - called a 'junk' - will be our home for the evening and staying overnight in the bay means we have time to explore caves, go swimming and soak in the beauty of the area.
Translated, Halong means 'Bay of Descending Dragons' and local legend describes a great dragon coming down from the mountains, gouging out the valleys and spitting out jewels which turned into the various islands. Tonight we are treated to dinner aboard our boat followed by a spot of night fishing if you're still awake!
1 night(s) on Halong Bay junk . No single room upgrade available.


 Day 3 Hanoi

This morning we'll do some final exploring around the bay, perhaps to see some of the large caves filled with stalagmites and stalactites that lay hidden behind the towering cliffs, before making our way back to the mainland, arriving back in Hanoi sometime in the afternoon.
1 night(s) in hotels . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 4 Hanoi

Today your Tour Leader will take you on trip to visit a number of sights. Discover Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, the Stilt House and the famous 1-Pillar Pagoda.
You can also visit 'coffee street' in the old quarter for a ca phe sua da (a milky iced coffee) for a caffeine fix, or grab some hearty bowls of Pho from the street vendors selling delicious Vietnamese street food. You can also head to the pretty Hoa n Ki?m Lake and try and spot the endangered large soft shell turtles that are hiding in the water, before crossing the red Huc Bridge to visit Jade Island where the Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of Jade Mountain) stands.
1 night(s) in hotels at Golden Charm Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 5-6 Hue

We'll have one more morning in Hanoi, the perfect opportunity to see some of the sites you may have missed before our cruise, before we head to the airport to catch our short flight to Hue. Before we leave, make sure you have visited the Temple of Literature, the country's first university and discover the stone tablets with the names of graduates from over the years.
The time-worn grandeur of Hue has been the stage of many battles from the dynastic rivalry and rebellions of the 17th and 18th centuries, to French occupation and most recently as the site of the Battle of Hue, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in the Vietnam War. Its location at the geographic heart of Vietnam has perhaps done it no favours, but uncovering its past and exploring its relics is a delight for travellers in a place where history interweaves and overlaps with modern life.
The picturesque Perfume River winds its way through the city, past the citadels and pagodas that make this a UNESCO world heritage site. Hue is also a centre of artistic and intellectual learning and the community of artists, poets and scholars that have called this place home contribute to making it captivating and engaging city.
Here we tour around the ancient forbidden citadel. The citadel was only for the emperors and those closest, with severe punishments if you were caught trespassing. Along the Perfume River we can visit the tombs of those who used to dominate the citadel.
2 night(s) in hotels at DMZ Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 7-8 Hoi An

We depart Hue and travel south to Hoi An. Our drive takes us up and over the famous and scenic Hai van Pass (ocean cloud pass) where you will enjoy stunning views of the surrounding coastline and rice paddies. The name of the road refers to the mist from the sea, and is renowned for its beauty, featuring predominantly on the British motoring programme Top Gear. Before arriving in Hoi An our short journey takes us through the city of Da Nang, along Non Nuoc Beach, more familiarly known as China Beach before stopping for a brief exploration of the hidden temples and caves of Marble Mountain, a small cluster of 5 mini-mountains on the south side of Da Nang. For those adventurous to head for the very top , amazing city and sea views are your just rewards.
While the journey from Hue is incredible, Hoi An is even better. Largely spared damage during the Vietnamese conflict, The old trading port of Hoi An is a UNESCO Heritage town offering an amazing central old town with small friendly streets dotted with an abundance of small family run shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Whether you want to stop for a nice cheap beer while watching the sun set over the river or splash out on an incredible seafood supper, Hoi An has it all within walking distance. One of the main highlights of Hoi An, other than its beauty, culture and history are the more than 300 tailor shops located all over town and on every street corner. Where else can you have designer, tailor made to measure clothes fitted and ready to take away the next day for less than an off the peg purchase back at home? If you love clothes and want something special or unique you may never want to leave Hoi An. If clothes aren't your thing why not rent a bicycle and take the short 5km ride through country lanes bordered by rice paddy fields to the wholly unspoiled Cua Dai beach for the day or join an organised excursion to visit My Son, another UNESCO World Heritage site located close to Hoi An and the location of some of Vietnam's best preserved ancient Hindu Temple ruins dating back hundreds of years to the Champa era?
2 night(s) in hotels at Hoang Trinh Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 9 Overnight Train to Nha Trang

Enjoy most of the day exploring Hoi An before catching an overnight train to Nha Trang.
1 night(s) on overnight sleeper trains . No single room upgrade available.


 Days 10-11 Nha Trang

Situated on the beach, Nha Trang is a perfect place to relax. You can opt for a snorkelling boat trip or visit the sulphur mud bath spas. There are also a number of cultural sights including the Long Son Pagoda, Alexandre Yersin Museum and the Po Nagar Cham Towers.
2 night(s) in hotels . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City

Today we catch a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. This bustling and vibrant city, the former capital of South Vietnam and formerly known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War (around 1975) and the infamous 'Fall of Saigon' when the city was renamed after North Vietnam's illustrious and revered leader Ho Chi Minh. Originally a small fishing village, it is now the most important economic centre in Vietnam and is the largest city in the country.
Traffic in the city is fairly hectic at the best of times but getting around is surprisingly easy by taxi although drivers may not always speak English. Bus is the only form of public transport and motorbikes rule the road; there are around 3 million motorbikes cruising around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Although we have one night in Ho Chi Minh, we will be returning after our overnight adventure on the Mekong Delta for two full days in which to explore and enjoy this vibrant city.
1 night(s) in hotels at La Felix Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 13 Mekong Delta

This morning we travel to the heart of the Mekong Delta, a region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River, the longest river in South East Asia, approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and many of the villages are often accessible more easily by rivers and canals rather than by road. The region produces half of the country's rice output which is more than Japan and Korea combined.
Once we arrive to the Delta, we board a long boat and begin our day exploring life in and around the river and its tributaries, visiting local workshops where the local people are always happy to see you and the children will follow you around wearing their western football shirts. Visit a local Bonsai garden, fruit orchard, ceramics workshop and local brickworks to discover how local needs are met without the modern technology we take so much for granted. Want to try the local 'snake wine' or 'rice wine' then today you get your chance when we visit a local homestay where you'll be invited into the family home and offered the local wines. Whatever you do, don't take the term 'wine' too lightly as these drink pack a powerful kick! During the day your guide will take you to a local home for a wonderful local seafood meal (quality non-seafood options are available). Don't forget your cameras.
1 night(s) in homestays . No single room upgrade available.


 Days 14-15 Ho Chi Minh City

The next morning after breakfast and before returning to Ho Chi Minh City, we take an early cruise on a traditional sampan through the famous floating markets and past the imposing Christian Church to visit local craft shops and a chance to support the local community by purchasing a gift or two for your friends back home. Whether it's a treat from the sweet and candy workshop or a souvenir snake wine, we're sure you'll find something of interest . Late in the morning we disembark our boat, say farewell to our guide and boat captain and head back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Your Tour Leader will take you on a walking tour where you will visit the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Hall. If you're less of a history buff and more in the mood to haggle for a bargain, don't worry - we will also explore Ho Chi Minh's largest market, the Ben Thanh Market. You can buy everything from cosmetics to live ducks here. There are also numerous food stalls at this market, and at the popular night market nearby. The food in Ho Chi Minh is some of the best and most diverse in all of Vietnam so make sure you eat well during your stay. There are also many bars and clubs to spend your evening in.
2 night(s) in hotels at La Felix Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 16-17 Sihanoukville

We fly to Cambodia heading to Sihanoukville .Originally started in the 1950's as an Cambodia's first deep water port, Sihanoukvulle, named after the King of the time .
We spend two nights here and there is plenty of time to enjoy the many beaches and snorkel in the sparkling waters. Enjoy sunset views from Wat Leu, an ornate temple situated on the forested hills.
2 night(s) in hotels at Grand Sihanoukville Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 18 Kampot

Today we travel to the French colonial town of Kampot located by the Praek Tuek Chhu River on the route to Phnom Penh. Is is famous for its pepper plantations and salt fields and we will take a tuk-tuk tour of the countryside
1 night(s) in hotels . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 19-20 Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is Cambodia's bustling capital city with a turbulent past. Sitting on the juncture of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap river, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonised Cambodia during the 19th century. The city has grown from a small fishing village to what is now the industrial, commercial, cultural and historical centre of Cambodia.
During our time in Phnom Penh we visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which was transformed into one of the Khmer Rouge's most feared prison and torture camps during the Pol Pot regime. The building is now a haunting tribute to the thousands who died here and at the other 150 similar camps throughout the country in the late 1970's. Those who were detained at the camp were later taken and executed at the Choueng Ek extermination Centre, more commonly known as 'The Killing Fields', a site we also visit to learn more of and try to understand this wonderful country's turbulent past.
Whilst the aforementioned visits are included in the tour they are also entirely optional should anybody prefer not to visit and Phnom Penh has a lot more to offer including the Russian Market and National Museum. Or you could also take a stroll along the river's famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the bustling river traffic. Our Tour Leaders particularly recommend the Foreign Correspondents Club or F.C.C. as it's better known. You may wish to take a tuk-tuk ride around Phnom Penh (a tuk-tuk is a motorbike-taxi with an enclosed passenger cabin that can fit around 4 people).
2 night(s) in hotels at Pacific Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 21-22 Kratie

Heading away from the big city life, we head into the Khmer countryside to enjoy a couple of days in relaxing Kratie to enjoy some of the best Mekong River sunsets available. As well as being one of the very best locations to spot the fast becoming rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins, Kratie is home to a number of interesting temples from different era's, a museum that hardly ever opens (ask your Tour Leader to try for you) and some marvelous countryside tours to see the other side of this wonderful country and its people. So, soak up the peaceful rural life, wander the central marketplace to pick up handmade souvenirs and admire the French colonial architecture, and the village homes built upon wooden stilts.
2 night(s) in hotels at Ly Cheu Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 23 Kompong Cham

Staying in close touch with the mighty Mekong River which so dominates Southeast Asia we travel slightly South to the riverside town of Kompong Cham and back into civilisation so to speak. Literally meaning 'port of the Chams' and referring to the local ethnic Cham people living in the province, Kompong Cham offers a chance to experience yet another different facet of the Cambodia that many miss when passing through.
Enjoy the colonial charms of the sleepy city, situated along the Mekong River. Watch traditional Apsara dances or visit Nokor Wat to admire the Angkor architecture.
You may also like to get a tuk-tuk or a boat down the river to Wat Maha Leap, one of the remaining wooden pagodas in Cambodia. Over 100 years old, it was one of the few pagodas not destroyed by the Khmer Rouge because they used it as a hospital. Monks since reformed it to it's original beauty and you can see the gilded patterns on the black wooden pillars that support the stunning blue roof in total contrast to the nearby, impressive Kizuna Bridge which at 1.5 km long is still Cambodia's 2nd longest and the first to cross the Mekong in Cambodia
1 night(s) in hotels at Monorom VIP Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 24-25 Battambang

Crossing from Eastern Cambodia to the Western side, our day's journey allows a visit on route to Cambodia' famous Spider Market where the more adventurous of you may can try the local delicacy, fried spider.
An important former trading city, Battambang is Cambodia's second most populated city, and appeals to tourists due to its vibrant personality as well as its cultural highlights and many nearby temples.
Soak up the cultural atmosphere in Battambang with it's blend of modern city and well preserved colonial architecture, admire the statues that pepper the streets, and the art deco buildings such as the Central Market and train station or visit Cambodia's most famous circus, Phare Ponleu Selpak.
Today we will taste the traditional khmer wine before making our way through the rice paddy covered land to the ride the famouse Bamboo Railway. In the evening - take an optional tuk tuk ride out to the Battambang bat caves at Phnom Sampeu where you will witness thousands upon thousands of bats streaming out of the cave and flying off into the sunset
2 night(s) in hotels at King Fy Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Days 26-27 Siem Reap

Siem Reap is our base for exploring the famous temples of the Angkor area. The name Siem Reap means 'Defeat of Siam' - today's Thailand - and refers to a century-old bloodbath which you can see commemorated in stone in the celebrated bas relief carvings of the monuments around the area.
Our first day we head out on our included excursion to the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, with a guide to give us an overview of the history and layout of the temple. Our remaining time in Siem Reap can be spent at our own leisure exploring this expansive site armed with our cameras and the knowledge from our guide.
There are over one thousand temples here which attract over one million visitors annually. The temples range from small ruins to the famous Angkor Wat, and the site is said to be the world's largest single religious monument.
Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site, pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu and has a dazzling array of beautiful ornate carvings. The many ceremonial structures and temples here were built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Khmer Empire that spanned a period of approximately 600 years. These temples are some of the most famous in the world and take up an area of approximately 160 square kilometres.
There are superb photographic opportunities here at most times of the day so make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and your memory card is ready to go! Tuk-tuks provide a convenient form of transport around the area here, and you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day if you wish. The Angkor area (in and around the Ta Prohm temple) was the site where the film Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie was filmed.
2 night(s) in hotels at Xing Angkor Hotel or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 28 Bangkok

Today we fly to Bangkok where we can enjoy a final dinner and spend the night before the end of our tour tomorrow
1 night(s) in hotels at New Siam II or similar . Upgrade to your own room here.


 Day 29 Depart Bangkok

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.