Discovering Vietnam and Cambodia (Nov. 10 - 27, 2018)
Discovering Vietnam and Cambodia (Nov. 10 - 27, 2018)
TOUR PRICE: ONLY $3199.00 per person plus air taxes of approximately $158.00 based on a minimum of 20 passengers. The single supplement rate would be $699.00.
AVAILABILITY: SOLD OUT.
Discovering Vietnam and Cambodia:
Day 1 - Departure from USA on November, 10, 2018:
Departure from USA for Hanoi, Vietnam.
Day 2 - Arrival in Hanoi on November 12, 2018:
Arrival at Noi Bai Airport, and transfer to your accommodation in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam. Overnight at Sunway Ha Noi Hotel.
Day 3 - November 13, 2018:
Hanoi is over 1000 years old. Way back at its foundation on a bend in the Red River it was known as Thang Long, or ‘Soaring Dragon’. There are but a few reminders left of its earliest days, but there is a well-preserved Old Quarter where the ancient guilds once congregated, and the handsome boulevards and colonial architectural legacy of the French occupation from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries. Overnight at Hanoi Hotel or similar First class hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. This morning’s city tour includes a visit to the Temple of Literature, an ancient seat of learning founded in 1070. Exacting examinations to discern who could rise to the level of a Mandarin were carried out from 1484 through to 1878. The Tran Quoc Pagoda, formerly standing on the banks of the Cai River was later reassembled at its current location on an islet on the West Lake. Legend has it that it predates Hanoi itself, thought to have been constructed in the mid 6th century. See the Opera House, a fine example of French architecture in Indochina, and also the rather grimmer edifice of the Soviet-style Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square, where the man himself read out the Declaration of Independence in September 1945. The afternoon is yours to explore this thriving and fascinating city – perhaps take a Cyclo ride through the narrow lanes of the Old Quarter, enjoy a strong coffee at a café overlooking tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, or something a little stronger – bia hoi – Hanoi’s rough and ready draught beer taken with the locals at a kerbside stall. Overnight at Sunway Ha Noi Hotel.
Day 4 - November 14, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel.
OPTIONAL TOUR (extra charge): Ha Long Bay full day with lunch:
Early morning, drive 160 km to the east of Hanoi to Halong, sightseeing en route. Arrive in Halong and board a wooden junk for a 4-hour cruise. Discover Halong Bay, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its outstanding natural beauty. “The Dragon descending to the sea“ as it is known in Vietnamese, the picturesque Halong Bay has more than 3,000 limestone islets rising from clear emerald waters, many of them containing beautiful natural grottoes. Seafood lunch on board. Drive back to Hanoi in the afternoon. Overnight at Sunway Ha Noi Hotel.
Day 5 - November 15, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport for a flight to the imperial city of Hue. The last emperors of Vietnam, the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945) ruled the roost from their palace – all six square kilometers of it – in the centre of the country. These elegant lodgings on the north bank of the Perfume River suffered some damage during the course of the Tet Offensive in 1968 but restoration is now overseen by UNESCO. Overnight at Pilgrimage Village Hotel.
Day 6 - November 16, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the Imperial Citadel, sited in accordance with the rules of Feng Shui and modeled with one eye firmly fixed on the Forbidden City of Beijing, reflecting the glory that its occupant would want visited upon him. Such a grand-scale project called for grand-scale labour, 20,000 men to throw up the walls alone. Follow the Perfume River to the Thien Mu monastery, its iconic octagonal pagoda is the symbol of Hue. Visit the Mausoleum of Tu Duc which though designed for an Emperors afterlife was much frequented by him whilst living and breathing, as a serene retreat from the stifling intrigues of the palace. The afternoon is free to explore – maybe take a boat trip or eye up the produce at Dong Ba Market. Overnight at the Pilgrimage Village Hotel.
Day 7 - November 17, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Drive today over the Hai Van Pass marking the divide between Northern and Southern Vietnam, to the quaint town of Hoi An. Once it was a vigorous entre-pot where merchant ships of various nations would put up and await the trade winds to carry them onwards to China in one direction, or India in another. But come the end of the 19th century its river silted up and the town froze into a snapshot of that time and place. There are fine assembly houses for various Chinese dialect groups and eclectic architecture mirrors the provenance of the various merchants that temporarily called it home. Overnight at the Hoi An Beach Hotel.
Day 8 - November 18, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. A walking tour of downtown Hoi An includes a visit to one of the Assembly halls for use by a specific Chinese dialect group, from which they also could administer their own temples, schools and burial grounds. Also visit one of the well-preserved houses of the illustrious merchants, featuring period furnishings. The afternoon is at leisure – maybe spend it shopping for local arts and crafts such as traditional lanterns or embroidered table cloths. Overnight at the Hoi An Beach Hotel.
Day 9 - November 19, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Da Nang airport for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. To many natives it is still referred to by the former name Saigon. Hanoi may be the actual capital with the long history, but younger and larger Saigon is the de facto commercial capital, its teeming streets oozing business savvy and wheeler dealing. Most of the actual wheels are still ‘two’ – increasingly the motorized version over the pedal power version. Overnight at the Equatorial Hotel.
Day 10- November 20, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. This morning’s tour of vibrant Saigon includes visits of Notre Dame Cathedral and the nearby General Post Office, both products of the French colonial period. The Virgin Mary holds court before the twin spires of the austere cathedral. The cool and elegant interior of the post office comes courtesy of Gustav Eiffel, more famous for his symbolic tower in Paris. Take a walk through Vietnam’s past eras at the Historical Museum by the Botanical Gardens. Finally visit the Chinatown district aptly called Cho Lon, meaning ‘big market’, the pulsating heart of commerce in the city. In the afternoon you are free to look round the several markets – lacquerware is a craft with a particular reputation, and mother-of-pearl inlays are also popular buys. Overnight at the Equatorial Hotel.
Day 11 - November 21, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Tan Son Nhat airport for a flight to Phnom Penh. This former ‘Pearl of the Orient’ turned into a ghost town overnight in 1975 when its residents were ejected into the countryside by the victorious Khmer Rouge. A very dark period of modern history followed, leaving Cambodia synonymous with Killing Fields. However there has been relative peace over the past 20 years and the city is gradually regaining its composure and some of it charms. Overnight at the Himawari Hotel.
Day 12 - November 22, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. This morning visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. The palace was constructed in 1866 under the French Protectorate, to a Khmer architectural design. One particular building in the complex however does seem out of keeping with the general tone. The pavilion housing royal emorabilia was originally used by the Empress Eugenie for the opening of the Suez Canal. It was gifted to the Cambodian royal family by Napoleon III. The silver content of the Silver Pagoda are the 5329 tiles that cover the floor of the temple of the Emerald Buddha. Napoleon III also has a connection with the pagoda – the equestrian statue of King Norodom which was originally a statue of Napoleon III. The resourceful Cambodians merely switched the heads. Browse the stalls at the pale-yellow hued Central Market, a wonderful example of Art Deco. At leisure in the afternoon, you may take an optional excursion to the Killing Field memorial or visit the disturbing Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide. Or stroll along Sisowath Quay at the confluence of the Mekong and Sap Rivers. Overnight at the Himawari Hotel.
Day 13 - November 23, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer by coach to Siem Reap, passing by the Tonle Sap Lake en route. This modern town is the centre for visits to an ancient city – that of Angkor. What remains are mainly the temple buildings that were constructed in stone, leaving no trace of the domestic and royal residences of less durable materials, that would have filled the spaces between – for indeed to construct something as mammoth as the Angkor Wat and the barays (reservoirs) and canals that used to feed the city also required a mammoth labour force. Angkor was a work in progress from the 9th – 15th centuries, though most of the great works were completed between 9th – 12th centuries. Overnight at Tara Angkor Hotel.
Day 14 - November 24, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. A full day visit is the minimum requirement for Angkor. The three salient temples of the central area are included in this tour. Just inside the city walls of Angkor Thom stands the temple-mountain of the Bayon. This unique temple was constructed during the rule of Jayavarman VII (late 12th century), the most prolific builder of all Khmer kings and unlike most of his predecessors a Buddhist rather than a Hindu. The most outstanding features are the face towers, each featuring an image, perhaps of the king himself, facing in the four cardinal directions, and the wonderfully vivid bas-reliefs depicting scenes of contemporary life. Ta Prohm Temple has been partially neglected to show what the temple overtaken by the jungle looked like, great fig and silk-cotton trees wrapping their roots like talons around the masonry. And of course incomparable Angkor Wat, the funerary temple of Suryavarman II, coming on for 900 years old and still the largest edifice for a religious purpose on the planet. A sunset view can be taken from the Phnom Bakheng hill. Overnight at the Tara Angkor Hotel.
Day 15 - November 25, 2018:
Breakfast at hotel. Full day free for leisure. Overnight at the Tara Angkor Hotel.
Days 16 - November 26-27, 2018:
Breakfast at the hotel and then afternoon transfer to the airport for return flights to USA. You will arrive to JFK on November 27 at 11:15 a.m. on Singapore Airlines flight 026.
We hope you enjoyed this spectacular trip to Vietnam and Cambodia
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR: This tour features round trip trans-Pacific air transportation on Singapore Airlines (one of the top carriers in the world!); all internal flights within Vietnam and between Vietnam and Cambodia; fourteen nights in very good First Class hotels in Vietnam and Cambodia with fifteen breakfasts and four lunches included; a comprehensive sightseeing program as outlined on our web site at www.arawjotours.com (we encourage you to visit our web site and to review the itinerary, which is quite impressive.); the services of English-speaking professional Vietnamese and Cambodian guides; the opportunity to participate in optional excursions to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and to the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Museum; the services of a full-time ArawjoTours tour representative (David Myers, who is one of our best tour leaders and is also a Vietnam War Veteran); and a predeparture dinner and orientation.