Vietnam & Cambodia Highlights 14 days
ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY:
Ho Chi Minh on Arrival
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is known as Saigon formerly, and today locals often called it the city centre. It's one of the country's leading commercial city centres with plenty of changes. Formally, Saigon was well-known with Independence Palace or Norodom Palace, the most significant historical sites in Vietnam. Vietnam Backroads team will meet you at the airport, take you to Saigon centre, check in the hotel, and have a rest of the day. Welcome dinner at a famous restaurant in town.
Saigon – Cao Dai Temple – Cu Chi Tunnels
Today's tour begins with 2 sections, explore the mystery Cao Dai religion in the morning and visit the Benh Dinh original tunnels in the afternoon.
Depart at 8:30 am in Saigon with a couple of hours drive to Tay Ninh Province. Arrive around 11:30 am, and this is a perfect time to learn about Cao Daism, its history and have time for endless photos before you watch the followers attending noon mass. Caodaism is an almost new religious movement officially established in Tay Ninh in 1926. The religion is a combination of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. Watching pilgrims pray is one of the major highlights. Most of the followers are in white with long dresses. The pope, cardinals, archbishops and priests are in colourful long dresses. The noon mass takes place at the holy temple.
Then have lunch in the famous restaurant, continue travelling to Cu Chi tunnels, and visit the Ben Duoc original tunnels. Viet Minh dug the tunnels in 1948 when the French were here, then Viet Cong built the tunnels longer and more complicated than when US Army was in South Vietnam until 1975. It is an impressive underground constructed base. You explore these tunnels with your leader and are accompanied by a local knowledge Viet Cong guide. Then return to Saigon in the late afternoon.
Saigon – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Tra On
8:00am: Pick up at your hotel in Saigon and depart to Mekong Delta.
Arrives at 10h30-11h00 A.M: Arrival at the pier of Cai Be. Transfer by junk which takes us to a sumptuous traditional residence, former imperial residence, where the descendants of the family of Kiet welcome you and invite you to taste tea accompanied by savoury samples of tropical fruits. We have the opportunity to walk through the orchard. Continue towards the artisanal villages where locals producing rice alcohol, puffed rice cakes, rice paper, coconut milk sweets from grains of rice and coconuts.
12h00: Re-board on the Le Cochinchine cruise, welcome lunch and drinks as the ship heads towards Co Chien. During the cruise, you will have the opportunity to contemplate beautiful authentic landscapes that stand by the river. In the afternoon, we go on foot or by bike along the paths through the villages. The walk allows us to discover verdant orchards and river activities, especially conversing with the local inhabitants. The boat continues in the direction of Tra On, while ascending the river. The aperitif is offered on the upper deck while enjoying a foot massage as the sun gradually sets on the river.
Taking part in a cooking class on the boat, you will have the chance to make Pumpkin flowers stuffed with That Lat fish and learn how to cut vegetables for decorating dishes.
Enjoy your dinner and overnight on cruise.
Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh
An early awakening allows you to contemplate the dawn on the Mekong River: fresh air, bird song, barges traffic, and bubbling activities of the inhabitants on the banks of the river. You have breakfast on board while the boat sails slowly toward Can Tho.
Check out the Le Cochinchine boat and say “goodbye” to our friendly staff; we transfer you by small boat to visit Cai Rang, one of the most bustling floating markets in the whole Mekong Delta. The Cai Rang floating market is known as a highlight that cannot be missed when you explore the Western rivers of Vietnam. Enjoy the boat trip along the coves shaded by palm trees. You will be able to admire magnificent orchards, local dwellings, shipbuilding yards and the hustle and bustle of the river industry. Visit an orchard where you will find many kinds of tropical fruits such as mango, dragon fruit, kumquat, jackfruit etc.
Return and disembarkation of the boat at 11h00 A.M. End of the cruise.
Saigon – Siem Reap by Air
After breakfast at the hotel, have a private transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for a flight to Siem Reap. Welcome to Siem Reap, be greeted by your guide and driver, then a private transfer to your hotel, check in. The rest of today is free. Take a guided walking tour to Siem Reap's Night Market with a welcome dinner.
Discover Angkor Complex
The mystical scenes of beautiful sunrise and sunset are at Angkor temple. Either to view the sunrise or sunset is depends on your choice. Explore Angkor Complex has many trails and small roads that limit your visit if you travel by vehicle. The Tuk-tuk is the best way to discover the Angkor complex, including; Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphoun, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of Leper King.
Option with the sunrise: Depart early morning, enjoy a sunrise, discover the mysterious Angkor temple. It's designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. Then go back to the hotel for breakfast and be ready to explore following other temples, the imposing south gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon temple of many of four direction faces on each tower, and the to Baphoun, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of Leper King. Lunch en route, then return to the hotel in the afternoon.
Option with the sunset: Depart at 8:30 am after your breakfast, travel 9 km by tuk-tuk to the world's largest religious temple complex, explore the most significant temple and ancient history with endless photos. Admire at the Bayon's spectacular 54 towers decorated with more than 200 enigmatic stone faces. Lunch en route, and follow tuk-tuk- drive to visit Baphuon temple and the 350 meters long 'Terrace of the Elephants'. Next is the mysterious Terrace of the Leper King. Enjoy sunset at 6:00 pm. Return to the hotel, and free on your own.
Siem Reap – Ha Noi
After breakfast, check out, take a private transfer to Siem Reap Airport for an international flight to Ha Noi. You are welcome by your Vietnamese team and transfer to your hotel in Ha Noi downtown. Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, with rich culture, cuisine, character and hidden charms of Old Quarter French colonial architectures. Check-in, the hotel, enjoys dinner in town and watch a Water Puppet Show Thang Long Theatre.
Explore - Ha Noi Explorer – Night Train – Lao Cai
After breakfast, a short drive to Tam Coc where you have a sanpan rowed, take you through pristine scenery of deserted limestone mountains along and rice paddies. Enjoy a one-way trip of about 1.5 hours, and it gives you the chance to admire karsts, mountains, natural caves, and stunning views of yellow rice fields during the harvest season. Finish the boat trip and disembark from the sampan, have a coffee break before exploring the countryside and Binh Dong temple by bicycle. The ride is about an hour, and it takes you on the rural lance, visits the ancient Bich Dong temple, continues cycling on rural road through rice paddy fields and lush country farmlands. Return to the hotel by car, take a shower, and check out for a 20-minute drive to Ho Lu, visit the capital of Dai Co Viet Nation in the 10th and 11th centuries. Lunch en route before 2.5 hours drives back to Ha Noi.
Lao Cai – Sapa – Fansipan Peak
The train arrives at the Lao Cai's railway station in early the morning. Have private car transfer on a winding road to Sapa. The winding road through the mountain to Sapa is beautiful with spectacular views, rice terraces and green valleys. Sapa is a famous destination of North-West Vietnam, near the Chinese border that is perfect for adventures, hiking, and mountain biking trips. You will have an early check-in hotel, have breakfast, and rest until midday to have lunch in town.
In the afternoon, you will board on the cable car to reach Fansipan. It's the best time of the day to have a feeling of soaring through the clouds, look over the rice terraces, enjoy the scenery of Muong Hoa valley. Midday is the best time to view the stunning landscapes because it is foggy in the morning and the afternoon. This is the opportunity for you to view the homes of tribes and Hoang Lien Son mountain ranges.
From the Fansipan cable car station to the peak of Fansipan, you can climb up or option with a mountain train to the summit. Hoping your camera's battery is complete for a fantastic endless photo taken. At the Fansipan, you take a walk around, admire more sites and immerse yourself into nature at 360 degrees. The cable car is 6 km, and each turn takes about 15 minutes. Then you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views as long as you wish, finally, return cable car station and back to Sapa. Explore the Sapa town on your own in the evening.
Sapa – Hiking – Night Train – Ha Noi
You had a great time looking over the valleys from the cable car yesterday, and today is another fantastic day for a stunning close-up. Hike into the countryside to learn about the culture, customs of hill tribes. Enjoy a full-day tour to explore Muong Hoa Valley and 3 villages of ethnic groups with a short drive out of Sapa town. Begins to trek through Muong Hoa valley to Y Linh Ho village, the home to Blac H'mong, visit a primary school, local houses, Then trek 4 km down to Lao Chai village, the village is about 7 km from Sapa. It's the home to the Giay ethnic, and people live in the lowland with much water. Continue trekking 4 km to Ta Van where most of the villagers are Dzay tribes. You will have delicious homecooked food at a local home.
After lunch, continue to trek deeper into the village to explore the countryside before returning to Lao Cai, have a shower, enjoy dinner before a night train back to Ha Noi.
Ha Noi – Ha Long Bay
After a night on a luxury train cabin, the train comes back to Ha Noi in the morning. There is a private transfer available for a journey to Ha Long Bay. Your guide will choose a good restaurant for breakfast in the town of Ha Noi before 3.5 hours heading to the bay. Ha Long Bay is one of many highlights of your vacation through Vietnam magical landscape. Ha Long Bay means the dragon descends into the sea. "Legend has it that the gods sent a family of giant dragons to help us. The dragons spat great blocks of jade, the size of mountains, which formed this barricade of islands and blocked the invasion." The Bay is listed UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1994. It's a fantastic bay with 1,600 limestone islands and islets, and world well-known and attracts a million travellers worldwide. Make a journey planned to Vietnam without visiting Ha Long Bay if you are disappointed. Arrives at the Ha Long harbour about 11:30 am, board a boat and enjoy lunch as the boat cruise into this breathtaking bay. The itinerary combined with swimming, kayaking, and stopping at some main highlights; fishing villages, hidden caves, and seafood farms. Endless photos, fresh seafood on board, enjoy Vietnamese coffee, relax on the sun deck, and watch sunrise and sunset.
Ha Long – Ninh Binh
The boat continues to cruise around Halong Bay this morning, and it will return to the harbour at 11:30 am. you wake up early to enjoy the fresh atmosphere and great dawn. Then enjoy morning tea, Vietnamese coffee and fruits and breakfast. The last visit is Surprising Cave, the most famous and beautiful cave in Halong bay. Then return to the cruise to have lunch while cruising to the harbour. Take a private car for 4 hours drive on the scenic roads to Ninh Binh. Check in the resort in Tam Coc
Ninh Binh – Ha Noi
After breakfast, a short drive to Tam Coc where you have a sanpan rowed, take you through pristine scenery of deserted limestone mountains along and rice paddies. Enjoy a one-way trip of about 1.5 hours, and it gives you the chance to admire karsts, mountains, natural caves and stunning views of yellow rice fields during the harvest season. Finish the boat trip and disembark from the sampan, have a coffee break before exploring the countryside and Binh Dong temple by bicycle. The ride is about an hour, and it takes you on the rural lance, visits the ancient Bich Dong temple, continues cycling on rural road through rice paddy fields and lush country farmlands. Return to the hotel by car, take a shower, and check out for a 20-minute drive to Ho Lu, visit the capital of Dai Co Viet Nation in the 10th and 11th centuries. Lunch en route before 2.5 hours drives back to Ha Noi.
Ha Noi – Departure
Today is your return home. After breakfast, spend the rest on shopping on until a pick up for transfer to the International Airport to fly home. End of Services!