Cultural Lens of Vietnam and Cambodia 14Days
Starts : Hanoi City , ends : Siem Reap City
Trip code: CLOVAC14D
Ages: Minimum age for children on this trip is 8 years old.
Accommodation: Hotel 4 & 5 stars
Transport: Boat, Private Van /Car, Plane
Tour Type: Private (min 2 persons)
Day 1: The Beginning Sights
Welcome to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The city is energized in equal parts from its cultural traditions and modern movements. The skyline rises around serene lakes fringed with blossoming trees. The streets roar with cars and motorbikes but also overflow with bicycles ridden by people in button down shirts and conical hats. The contrast fits beautifully, an organic mixture of the evolution of the city that represents the vast differences of the country, from the rural to the urban landscape. From the airport you are met by private transfer and taken to your hotel. The wonder of the city is immediately apparent; the gregarious culture of the people is set within the sleepy town surrounded by a big city.
Day 2 : Hanoi City Tour
This full-day private tour of Hanoi showcases the best of a city known as the “Paris of the East”. Travelers will kick off their morning with a stop at the Ho Chi Minh Complex, where they will get an up-close look at the former leader’s stilt-house residence, mausoleum and Presidential Palace before exploring the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Afterwards, visitors with journey to the Temple of Literature, which was constructed as an homage to the great thinker Confucius. Travelers can wander the grounds of the first university in the nation, which dates all the way back to 1070! The historic halls are lined with decorative turtle backs inscribed with the names of university graduates. Five impressive courtyards with paths once reserved for the Emperor are now open to the public. Check out the statue of Confucius in one of the courtyards and marvel at the bronze storks standing atop resting turtles meant to guard the academic. Because Ho Chi Minh Moausoleum is closed on Mondays and Fridays, travelers will tour the Hoa Lo Prison instead.
Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch in comfort and style before touring the Museum of Ethnology. Championed as the top museum in the country, this impressive hub of culture and history offers up plenty of information about the 54 ethnic minorities that make up this nation. From there, travelers will head to Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island in the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake. This striking architectural masterpiece dates back to the 13th century.
Visitors will end the day on an hour-long cyclo tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where an expert driver will navigate the narrow streets and back alley passes. Travelers can comb through the wares at tiny shops and quiet storefronts before returning to the hotel.
Day 3: Capturing Culture
Our adventure starts with the drive to the mountain town of Sapa. The journey to Sapa will take the best part of the day. The drive is worthwhile though, as the scenery on your northward journey into the highlands is both dramatic and breathtaking.
Within the high, gorgeous mountains of northern Vietnam along the border of China, you will come to the former French Hill Station of Sapa. The mountainous altitude gives a lush color to the rolling hills which are often covered in a morning mist, the scent and color of emerald grass climbing up and down the slopes. En route to the city you will find the stunning relationship between the hill tribes and nature, where the landscape gives you the iconic image of paddy fields terracing the steep slopes, layers of color and grace from the ground to the sky.
The road connecting from Hanoi to Lao Cai is Highway and take 3hours driving
From Lao Cai to Sapa. The car ride uphill takes a bit more than an half hour, giving you a glimpse of the region’s stunning vistas and impressive rice terraces along the way. When you reach Sapa, Check in Hotel and have a lunch at local restaurant
Your today trek departs from Sapa to Ta Phin valley. Walk with your experienced guide through the town for about 20 minutes before turning down a dirt road to Ma Tra, a Black Hmong village defined by its traditional clothing and customs. The moderate hiking route through this rural community offers more picturesque vistas of vegetable gardens and rice terraces flanked by green mountains rising in the background. You have time to visit with local families and learn about traditional fiber processing before continuing your trek to Ta Phin village, located in one of the most scenic valleys in Vietnam. Exploring the village, admiring the embroidered clothing and red headscarves worn by the tribal women of this ethnic group called the Red Dao. you’ll return to Sapa by private, air-conditioned car to check in to your hotel and eat dinner. You’re free to explore the charming town’s sloping streets or the market with many colorful handicrafts, or head up to Ham Rong peak for a fantastic photo op over Sapa .
Day 4: Sapa
Following a hotel breakfast, meet your guide in the morning and depart on a second trek from the town of Sapa to Golden Stream valley. Today’s hike offers more stunning views of rice terraces and gardens as well as Mt Fansipan, whose summit rises 10,312 feet (3,143 meters) above sea level. After crossing a suspension bridge, marvel at the breathtaking scenery as you continue through the Golden Stream valley, stopping at Lao Chai village for lunch. After your meal, follow your guide on a walk through this village where Black Hmong people reside, and continue on to Ta Van village, home to the Dzay tribe. This part of the hike is relatively easy, though the trail can be quite slippery if it rains, so good footwear is recommended. You’ll visit with some local families and learn about their daily lifestyle and fascinating culture, before departing to the main road to meet up with your driver and return to Sapa.
Stay overnight at hotel in Sapa
Day 5 : Sapa sightseeing > Drive back to Hanoi
Today We begin our Sapa experience with an orientation walk along the town ’s historic boulevards, passing some of its most interesting sights as Stone Church, Flower Park and smile of little red Dzao girls follow your step with their innocent eyes.
Stop at the Market to see the busy of trade of tribes fresh produce as fruits, vegetables, domestic animal.
Continuity with a steep and very beautiful hike down to Cat Cat Village ; if you’re too exhausted or unfit to hike back up, our car ready and willing to car you back to your hotel.
Cat Cat Vilage is Black Mong Vilage, Traditionally, they were the poorest of the poor, hut have rapidly learnt the spirit of free enterprise. Most of the Montagnards have had little formal education and are illiterate. Take a change to communicate with Black Mong by your guide’ s help to experience the Montagnards nature life. ” Dragon water fall ” is the best to stop for ” Kodak at moment” before we hike through the Green Rice field before back to Sapa.
Say Goodbye Sapa and we take our private car for 4hours driving back to Hanoi
Stay overnight at hotel in Hanoi
Day 6: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Explore one of Vietnam’s most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites on a 2-day cruise of Halong Bay. Marvel at the spectacular sight of more than a thousand limestone peaks rising from the emerald waters of the ocean as your junk boat sails past mysterious caves and blissful bays. Soak up the soothing sunshine on the tanning deck; plunge into the crystal clear waters during a refreshing dip or kayak ride; and pleasure your palate with delicious Vietnamese cuisine throughout the 2-day expedition. Enjoy the luxurious facilities of the junk boat, which include: hot and cold running water; en-suite bathrooms with powerful showers; an elegant dining room and licensed bar serving an extensive selection of wines; a courteous crew; and a sun-tanning area and relaxation deck.
After early morning pickup from your hotel, depart from the capital for Halong Bay – an approximate four-hour drive by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Upon arrival at Halong Bay around midday, you’ll be greeted by a tour representative and transferred to the traditional junk boat. Settle in with a complimentary welcome drink as you begin your cruise around majestic Halong Bay. Meet the expert crew and get acquainted with your small group while you dine on a delicious seafood lunch, including tea and coffee. After lunch, unwind and soak up the sun on the top deck – a great spot for photographing the natural wonders of the bay – as your captain finds a secluded area, perfect for swimming in the clear waters. You’ll have the chance to try your hand at kayaking and explore some of the ancient limestone caves dotting the bay. As you glide along the most secluded lagoons, admire the surrounding limestone karsts amid unforgettable scenery only accessible by kayak! The modern kayaks are lightweight and easy to maneuver, and all participants will be issued water buoyancy vests. The junk boat will be nearby at all times, serving as a back-up vessel for those who need it. After exploring, retire to the boat for more relaxation on the deck and enjoy a refreshing drink from the bar if you’d like. In the evening, your cook will prepare a splendid meal comprised of fresh seafood dishes as well as traditional Vietnamese fare as your crew weighs anchor in the heart of the bay. Afterward, you’ll have the opportunity to try some night fishing from the boat.
Overnight: Ensuite twin cabin aboard traditional junk boat in Halong Bay
Day 7: Halong Bay – Ninh Binh
Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay, there’s time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Then, head to the Cave of Surprises – the biggest cave in Halong Bay – where you’ll discover magnificent stalagmites and stalactites as you walk along the lit paths on a guided tour. After another delectable lunch around midday, start your cruise back to the main harbor before transferring to your awaiting vehicle for the four-hour journey to Ninh Binh. Explore the stunningly lush scenery of Ninh Binh Province, a region many consider to be an inland version of the world-famous Ha Long Bay
Arrive at Ninh Binh, check-in to your hotel and enjoy free time.
Have dinner and stay overnight at hotel in Ninh Binh.
Day 8: Ninh Binh Cruise – Hanoi
Today, We learn about the important role the area played in Vietnam’s history. This city was the ancient capital of the country in the 10th and 11th centuries and was built by the Dinh and Le dynasties. Hoa Lu is surrounded by limestone mountains and the Hoang Long River, naturally protecting it and making for an incredibly picturesque setting. At 11am, head for the ruins of the temples left by the Dinh and Le dynasties. Explore the excavation area at the Le Dai Hanh temple and the remains of the 10th-Century Royal Palaces.
We then have a 40-minute bike ride from Trang An to the to Tam Coc, known for its resemblance to famous Ha Long Bay and gorgeous rise paddies. Meaning ‘three caves,’ Tam Coc is the perfect place for countryside exploring, a total of 5km cycling that passes along a country road through lush rice paddies.
Get in 2-person sampan boats and drive up the river to three different caves. Explore their natural wonders and then return to the dock, where our private car will be waiting to drive back to Hanoi. As the day wares on you will return to Hanoi to make your flight to Ho Chi Minh City where you will have the evening at rest.
Day 9: Early Delta
The early morning rises over the city, once known as Saigon, giving the quiet streets a new and revived energy. With the scent of ginger and chili paste splashing through the morning you will leave the city behind and venture to the Mekong Delta, a wealth of water that separates into nine distinct rivers throughout Southeast Asia. Climb aboard your boat where you will spend time wandering through the expansive windings of the Mekong, home to vast cultures that thrive beside the riverbanks. You’ll begin your exploration with the Floating Market at Cai Rang. At first you notice the large swath of boats drifting through the water, canoes swarming the riverbanks with massive energy and focus.
Then you notice the fabulous colors that burst from those very boats, each one almost overflowing with goods, from jackfruit to lemons, chili to chom chom, also known as rambutan. This is the culture of the waterway, where the people understand the importance of their local highway system for sharing and spending. Some women even cook fresh fish to order, frying them in a wok in their boat and handing them to their customer shortly after. As you continue to drift along the water you have already experienced some of amazement that the future has to offer.
Day 10: Images of the Mekong
The serene waters of the morning wrap around you as the light lingers over the horizon. You continue your tour down the Mekong today combining your discovery of the waterway with an exploration of the land, ensuring that you find the mixture of the people that cultivate the earth and traverse the water. People pass by in the now familiar shallow skiffs using long poles to pull-push themselves along the rising palms. Farther down the water you find lavish greenery rising around a network of ponds and flood banks where the water rises and often overflows in the rainy season and lends its tremendous richness to the land. Lily pads pave the surface of the water and blossom with lotuses, shining incredible pink and purple petals against the surrounding emerald leaves. From the people to the land itself, your day traversing the water will once again take on the iconic portraits of the nation.
Day 11: A Pace Change
Today brings a new pace to the wondering waters of the Mekong as you come close to the border of Cambodia. The earlier part of your day will be spent on the Blue Cruiser continuing your journey on the Mekong, over the border into Cambodia and arriving within the capital city of Phnom Penh. The wide, palm lined streets next to the river give a brief recollection of the French Colonial past displayed through sparse remnants within the city. The bustle of the city winds through the inner streets away from the riverbanks. As you make your way through the neighborhoods you see the past and present blending into what has become the capital, where the images of the royal history, once considered the Pearl of Asia, continues to rise from the fragments of a tumultuous modern period.
On the Royal Palace compound you will find the Silver Pagoda, known not only for its intricate stupa with jutting concentric layers that look carved with draping shapes, but also for the decadent display of dedication to Buddha. A staircase made of Italian marble leads up to the Pagoda while the interior houses a Buddha made entirely of Baccarat crystal sitting on a glistening pedestal over a dais. The light glints off of the precious stones and marble, showcasing the jewels and the extraordinary reflections shaped by nature and crafted by artistry.
Day 12: Focused Temples
When the morning rises over Phnom Penh the city will come to life with a resounding grace. After breakfast you will make your way to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. The city sits adjacent to the famous Angkor temple complex housing the most notable temple of Angkor Wat. The afternoon sun brings a wash of light to the surrounding jungle trees. You will be guided through the enclave of the royal city finding the bulging stones and delicate detail along the way.
Angkor Wat, which means City Temple, was constructed in the 12th century and is dedicated to a Hindu deity. As you cross the main bridge and come to the central plaza a pond stands before the large, outstretched temple. Monks in orange robes stroll along the open air while five large stupas rise over the stones and reflect in the water. The entire complex was built on a hill imitating the legend of Mount Meru, which can also be seen in representation of the central tower. The elegance of the architecture and detail of the reliefs combine to make the wealth of the temple equal in both its size and construction. Incense wafts through the central gallery where monks have set up a station to pray, giving a spice to the air and a comfort to the drifting light.
Day 13: Temples in Backlight
Before the morning stretches over the city you are out in the cool air of the dawn as part of the collection of dedicated visitors that wish to see the sunrise over the temple. However, unlike the eager rest that will stand within the large square in an attempt to see the sun peek over the central stupa, you will find yourself at a different temple, within the serenity of the pre-lit morning, and able to enjoy the quiet, cool breeze, and the harmonious sounds of sunrise.
Ta Prohm is filled with a sense of discovery, as if you have stumbled upon the remains of a lost city that has been forgotten for centuries. Within the shadows of the morning you can watch the light begin to hit the covered stones and towers wrapped in roots that have tangled over and around the powerful walls. When the daylight finally sweeps across the sky you can find the hidden reliefs of the temple running beneath the draping foliage. As the day continues you will witness the exceptional architecture found within the intricacies of each temple, each different from the next, yet collectively unified.
Day 14: Returning the Lens Cap
The morning comes fast and late today, giving you the opportunity to spend the early light however you wish. Breakfast comes like a whirlwind bringing the scent of rich coffee and buttery baguettes to the air. The splendor of the temples has stayed with you through the evening and you know that soon you will be on a plane homeward bound. Your time in Vietnam and Cambodia has allowed you immerse yourself in the cultures of the past and present, where cities shined in the skyline, villages climbed along terraced mountains, locals drifted along waterways, and you captured every second.
All accommodations (with Twin/Double rooms) while on tour
The tour price includes all hotel accommodations with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available accommodations without sacrificing value. Although the quality may vary slightly from one hotel to another, our commitment to your comfort is unwavering. Two-bedded rooms and One-beded with Queen size rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are accommodated in two-bedded rooms plus a rollaway cot where available, and are not recommended for comfort.
All transfers and road transport in modern, air-conditioned vehicles
– For a private smaller groups (2pax -10pax), modern sedan cars and minibuses are used.
– For tour groups of 11pax or more travelers, air-conditioned Hyundai with 19- 25-35 seats are used on all road journeys. These vehicles are designed with excellent viewing windows and a high roof. All our vehicles are modern, spacious, comfortable, well-maintained, and safe
•Complimentary airport transfer on arrival and on departure days
All Breakfasts & Lunches on tour
• Breakfast – Is always included on all Vietnam Royal Tourism – European Continental breakfasts are supplied at the hotels where you stay. The Continental style usually consists of rolls, butter, jams, tea or coffee and juices.
• Lunch – Your Lunch meals are included and generally served at a local restaurant
• Dinner – is not included and is always up to you – allows you the freedom to eat what you want and enjoy the local flavors.
Please note: If you have special dietary requirements (eg Vegetarian), let us know so we can notify restaurants and prepare appropriate food for you.
Experienced, friendly and knowledgeable guides.
Your tour guide is a professional, fully trained employee of Vietnam Royal Tourism
All sightseeing as specified including entrance fees
Airfare While on Tour
– All on-tour flights must be purchased through Vietnam Royal Tourism as part of your tour package . From the moment you land in the starting city to the moment you are transferred to the airport in the end city, all transport arrangements are taken care of by us.
– The cost of international flights from your country to Asia (starting city) is not included in our prices. We believe we are giving all our customers, wherever you live, the flexibility to travel from regional airports, in any class of travel and include a stopover en route if you so wish. It also allows you the opportunity to use your frequent flyer points if you so wish
Visa Approval Code or Visa on Arrival
– After approval, we will fax or email you a copy of the Approval letter as an attachment
– Our Service do not include the Stamping Fee of about US$25-165/ 1pax to be submitted directly to the Embassy or Consulate (the stamping fee vary from Embassy to Embassy) or pay at Airport for Stamping Fee with Visa on Arrival
+ International airfare& airport taxes
+ Travel insurance
+ Surcharges for compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges (which will be advised at time of booking) ,
+ Personal expenses
+ Tips & gratuities
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Ho Chi Minh
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