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    • — Two nights at the intimate Lynnaya Urban River Resort & Spa – the perfect base to explore Angkor — Spend one night aboard a Le Journey Cruise in Ha Long Bay; enjoy sunset drinks on deck — Explore the historic trading town of Hoi An; test your culinary skills at a Vietnamese cooking class — Traverse the meandering waterways of the Mekong Delta by boat — Encounter the spellbinding Angkor Wat
  • 1

    Start Hanoi; welcome dinner in the evening

    The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is ready to welcome you when you arrive. Get acclimatised and familiarise yourself with the city by wandering the tree-lined avenues. There will be a group welcome meeting this evening with your expert leader followed by an included welcome dinner at KOTO (Know One, Teach One), a well-established training restaurant for disadvantaged youths where you'll be served a blend of Vietnamese and Southeast Asian foods. Premium accommodation: Foreign Relations Hotel, Hanoi (four-star)

  • 2

    City tour of Hanoi; free afternoon

    This morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city that includes a visit to the Temple of Literature, the site of the oldest university in Vietnam; Hoa Lo Prison; and the Old Quarter. For lunch, we'll visit the much-loved restaurant, Bun Cha Huong Lien, to try their bun cha (a local speciality of noodles, broth and meat served with greens). The afternoon is then free for you to wander around the Hoan Kiem Lake and perhaps enjoy the view from a lakeside cafe. Premium accommodation: Foreign Relations Hotel, Hanoi (four-star)

  • 3

    To Ha Long Bay; cruise followed by sundowners on deck; overnight on board a Le Journey Cruise

    We make an early start for the approximate four-hour journey to Ha Long Bay, one of the most stunning sights in Southeast Asia with some 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the emerald sea. We cruise among this striking karst scenery, stopping to swim and kayak, allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting), and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. Later in the afternoon, join your expert leader and group for a drink or two on the top deck while watching the sunset before spending the night in twin-share cabins. Premium accommodation: Le Journey Cruises (join-in basis), Ha Long Bay

  • 4

    Continue cruise; visit Ha Long Women's Association, return to Hanoi

    We continue to cruise around Ha Long Bay this morning before returning to port. Your leader will then introduce your group to the Ha Long Women's Association in the Hon Gai township, a local sustainable initiative committed to cleaning waste in Ha Long Bay and upcycling it, where possible, into items of value. Here you'll meet the local women and witness how they upcycle trash into beautiful, handcrafted products. You may also get the chance to try upcycling too. We then drive back to Hanoi for a free evening to explore or relax. There may be an option of seeing a Water Puppets performance, which your leader can arrange if you wish (subject to availability). Premium accommodation: Foreign Relations Hotel, Hanoi (four-star)

  • 5

    Fly to Da Nang; transfer to Hoi An

    After breakfast, we transfer to Hanoi Airport for a flight to Da Nang. In Da Nang, we climb Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. There are wonderful views from the mountain peak over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside which leads on to the captivating town of Hoi An, our next destination (approximately one-hour transfer). This evening, the group will dine at a local restaurant while enjoying views of the atmospheric Thu Bon River. Premium accommodation: Hoi An Blue Sky Boutique Hotel & Spa, Hoi An (four-star)

  • 6

    Walking tour of Hoi An; free afternoon

    This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around, dipping into the thriving riverside market and shopping for silk clothing. After lunch at a local eatery, the afternoon is free to enjoy a town that has become a favourite for so many travellers to Vietnam. Options include a trip to My Son (the spiritual home of the Cham civilisation) where Cham kings were buried as long ago as the fourth century. Although bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are several interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. Premium accommodation: Hoi An Blue Sky Boutique Hotel & Spa, Hoi An (four-star)

  • 7

    Morning visit to the local market and cooking class; free afternoon

    We spend the morning visiting the colourful local market where we will shop for ingredients before visiting the renowned Green Mango Cooking School. Here we learn the intricacies of Vietnamese cooking. Under the supervision of an English-speaking Vietnamese chef, you create your own dishes. You don't need to be a proficient cook to enjoy this activity – but be warned, you eat your creations at the end of the morning! The afternoon is free for you to enjoy Hoi An at leisure, or jump on a bike (optional) for a ride through the countryside, passing markets, schools and villages before continuing to Cua Dai beach (3mi/5km). Premium accommodation: Hoi An Blue Sky Boutique Hotel & Spa, Hoi An (four-star)

  • 8

    Fly to Ho Chi Minh City; afternoon city tour

    This morning we transfer to Da Nang Airport for the flight (approximately 1hr 25min) to Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon). This is an exciting, absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free-market city where anything goes. The Saigon River and Ben Thanh market are within walking distance and are highly recommended. After arrival, your group will dine at a Ho Chi Minh City institution, Pho Hoa on Pasteur, which has been in operation for more than 50 years. Here you will enjoy a tasty lunch of southern-style Vietnamese noodles and spring rolls. An afternoon city tour will include a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. The museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware, some images at the museum are very graphic. Premium accommodation: Sila Urban Living, Ho Chi Minh City (four-star)

  • 9

    Morning visit to Cu Chi tunnels; free afternoon

    Today we leave the city and head north to visit the Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers three levels and incorporates around 150mi (240km) of tunnels. Traditionally, these were very narrow, but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine. In the afternoon, we return to Ho Chi Minh City and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration. Premium accommodation: Sila Urban Living, Ho Chi Minh City (four-star)

  • 10

    To Mekong Delta; cruise through waterways

    In the morning, we drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta (approximately 2hr 30min), known as the rice bowl of Vietnam. This region produces most of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We take a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River, passing many orchards and friendly locals also travelling by boat. Recently, Cai Be floating market has become less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and traditional trade on a smaller scale. We stop to see small cottage industries, such as rice paper and coconut candy, getting a chance to sample the produce before enjoying the local specialty, elephant ear fish, for lunch. After, we continue by boat to Vinh Long where our private transport takes us to Can Tho. This evening, the group will dine and enjoy local Mekong specialties. Premium accommodation: Ninh Kieu Riverside Hotel, Can Tho (four-star)

  • 11

    Visit floating market; return to Ho Chi Minh City

    This morning, we take a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market, the biggest and most lively floating market in the Delta, with great photo opportunities. It is a maze of hundreds of boats packed with fruits, vegetables and plants, where samples are hung from the tops of long poles so buyers can see from a distance what is for sale. After, we drive back to Ho Chi Minh City where the remainder of the afternoon is free. This evening, you'll meet your leader and group for a final traditional meal in a Vietnamese-style house-restaurant in the heart of the city. Premium accommodation: Sila Urban Living, Ho Chi Minh City (four-star)

  • 12

    Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and be based at the Lynnaya Urban River Resort & Spa

    Today we transfer to Ho Chi Minh City Airport for the flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. On arrival, the group will be met by our Cambodian expert tour leader. Here the group will spend the next two nights at the intimate Lynnaya Urban River Resort & Spa – the perfect base to explore Angkor. This evening, we enjoy a welcome dinner in the local village of Lum Orng at the first farm-to-table restaurant in Cambodia where we feast on authentic Khmer cuisine made with many ingredients from the organic garden. We may also have the opportunity to see the sunset at the temple-complex this evening (flight time dependent). If not, we enjoy this marvel tomorrow. Premium accommodation: Lynnaya Urban River Resort & Spa, Siem Reap (four-star)

  • 13

    Full day to explore Angkor

    We visit the incredible Angkor Wat and the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which comprises 54 intricately carved towers in a single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated, 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm, the latter still covered in jungle as it was first found. Re-discovered in the 1870s and described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this Unesco World Heritage site is one of the most spectacular archaeological zones in the world. A truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise. This evening, gather with your leader and group members for a special farewell dinner featuring traditional cuisine and entertainment. Premium accommodation: Lynnaya Urban River Resort & Spa, Siem Reap (four-star)

  • 14

    End Siem Reap

    This cultural tour ends after breakfast. There are free transfers to Siem Reap Airport for all customers (see the Joining Instructions for more information). Alternatively, if you’d like more time to explore this fascinating destination, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

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