Southern Vietnam and Cambodia
This tour gives you an insight into the delights of the South of Vietnam, from Saigon and the Cu Chi tunnels, a Byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong down to Phnom Penh, Chau Doc and the Mekong with its large networks of meandering rivers
The tour ends off with a visit to some of the temples of Cambodia from Angkor Watt to Ta Phrom.
Day-1: Ho Chi Minh City
Day-2: Cu Chi Saigon (B,L)
Day-3: Saigon Cai Be Can Tho (B,L)
Day-4: Can Tho Chau Doc (B,L)
Day-5: Chau Doc Phnom Penh (B)
Day-6: Phnom Penh city tour (B)
Day-7: Phnom Penh Siem Reap (B)
Day-8: Angkor highlights Cambodia (B)
Day-9: Angkor Wat Cambodia . Night flight to Vietnam, Hanoi (B)
Day-10: Depart (B)
Southern Vietnam and Cambodia Detailed Itinerary
Day-1: Ho Chi Minh City on
Be greeted at the Tan Son Nhat airport and transferred to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Free time at your leisure and overnight in the hotel.
Day-2: Cu Chi Saigon (B,L)
After breakfast, your guide will take you to visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a Byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong to suddenly materialize as if from nowhere, launch a lightning ambush, and vanish equally rapidly. After lunch, you'll return to Ho Chi Minh City. You'll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of the 5th century 'Oc Eo' civilisation. The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the 'American War': not for the squeamish! You'll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
*** Please note that Museum closes on Mondays.
Day-3: Saigon Cai Be
Can Tho (B,L)
In the morning, pick up at your hotel and drive towards the south to Cai Be. Upon arrival, start our private cruise excursion, departing from our own pier in Phu An hamlet at around 10.00 am. Upon embarkation on Cai Be Princess boat, clients are welcomed with fresh rolled cotton towels.
The tour will start with the visit of some local factories to observe rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying process. We will proceed to Cai Be colourful floating market cruising among barges full of fruits and vegetables.
The Mekong River brings about large networks of meandering rivers, crisscrossed with countless arroyos, and remaining unknown to many people. Your cruise will then lead you to Sa Dec. We will cruise for some time on the Tien Giang River before entering a beautiful canal. The water way is getting narrower while the banks are appearing more attractive with beautiful landscapes. You will be able to observe several water jacinth plantations on the banks used for furniture and handicrafts. Further, passing by several traditional bricks and tiles factories along the river, we will have an interesting visit at one of them. We will reach Sa Dec at around 01pm. We will disembark at the local market place, and have a short walk through it.
Your lunch will be served at 'Marguerite Duras' Lover ancient house. A visit will be done at this beautiful ancient house dating from 1880. The excursion will end at around 3.00pm. Your own private transportation vehicle will await you for your hotel in Can Tho. Overnight at hotel.
Day-4: Can Tho Chau Doc (B,L)
Breakfast at the hotel is followed by an early boat trip (6h30) to the bustling wholesale Cai Rang where the farmers exchange their products. We then cruise on some small canals of the delta in the water palm canopy. A walk on a peaceful country road provides magnificent sceneries of local houses, orchard gardens and fields. We will then process along the Mekong river to Chau Doc. Lunch will be on the way in a simple local restaurant. We'll try a few typical food of the region before turn on a countryside road Tri Ton then onto Chi Lang. This area is one of three biggest Khmer centre in the Delta. You'll see some of the impressive Khmer pagodas along the way. We arrive at Tra Su, a Cajuput forest which is also a home of about 100 species of birds. In the afternoon, birds are heading back to the forest from the vast plains in Cambodia. In the rainy season (Apr to Aug), we may be able to take a boat trip in the forest as well.
After the visit at the bird sanctuary, we will leave for Chau Doc. If time and energy permit, we'll visit the famous Lady Chua Xu Temple (1820), the most important religion architecture of the whole delta. We arrive at Victoria Chau Doc late in the afternoon.
Day-5: Chau Doc Phnom
After breakfast we'll take an express boat at 7h00 (4hours) to Phnom Penh.
Upon arrival, you'll be welcomes and transferred to your hotel for check in. Free time at your leisure.
Day-6: Phnom Penh city tour
In the morning, we explore the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. We begin amid the beautiful royal gardens, landscaped with tropical plants and studded with gleaming spires. We enter the Throne Hall where the royal receptions are held and the Cambodian king's coronation took place. We then pass the Napoleon III Pavilion made from iron, a gift from the French emperor in the 19th century.
We continue to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5000 silver tiles covering the floor, each weighing 1kg. Inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-size gold Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. There is also a delicate emerald Buddha made of baccarat crystal, which gives the temple its Khmer name of Wat Preah Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha.We leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period. The exquisite building was completed between 1917 and 1920 and features a lush courtyard garden surrounded by collections from the pre Angkor, Angkor and post Angkor periods. We concentrate on the incredible sandstone sculpture from Angkor, as well as the intricate bronzes.
In the afternoon, we come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. 17,000 people passed through the gates of this prison and only seven lived to tell the tale.We then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. The remains of 8985 people were exhumed from mass graves and are kept in a memorial stupa here. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people.
Day-7: Phnom Penh Siem
This morning, we board a flight to Siem Reap. On arrival, transfer to the hotel in the city.
In the afternoon, we start an exploration with a visit to Banteay Srei, Angkor's ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as 'Fortress of the Women', thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man.Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture.
Day-8:Angkor highlights Cambodia (B)
We rise early to travel to Ta Prohm in the dawn light. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was 'discovered' by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentaclelike tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy.
After soaking up the unique atmosphere of Ta Prohm, we continue to the giant pyramid of Takeo, one of the highest temples in the Angkor area. Built at the end of the 10th century, it was never completed. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail.This morning we also visit the remains of an old Angkorian bridge which once spanned the Siem Reap river. Like the Romans before them, the Khmer kings built long, straight roads connecting the outposts of their empire and these included many magnificent bridges. There is also the option to visit the smaller temples of Chau Sey Devada and Thommanon for avid temple enthusiasts.
In the afternoon, we travel through the traditional village of Preah Dak to the 12th century temple of Banteay Samre. Built by King Suryavarman II, this temple has been extensively restored. The temple is unique in that over quarrying of sandstone led to the use of laterite for the roofed corridors. The pediments above the inner doors here include some of the most accomplished carving from the Angkor period.We continue to Banteay Srei, Angkor's ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkorera sculpture. The elaborate carvings are the finest in Cambodia and the name translates as 'Fortress of the Women'.
Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested it may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high water mark in Khmer sculpture.Overnight in Siem Reap
Day-9:Angkor Wat Cambodia . Night
flight to Vietnam, Hanoi (B)
Rising early, we journey to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is a fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are one of the world's longest unbroken pieces of art. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all. Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Watt, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.
In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.We begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman 1 in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.
We end off at the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Buddha. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire. Before clambering upwards, we unravel the mysteries of the bas reliefs, with their intricate scenes of ancient battles against the Chams and their snapshot of daily life during the Angkor period.
Day-10: Free day (B)
Other Indochina ToursGlimpse of Vietnam
Southern Vietnam and Cambodia
Vietnam and Cambodia Delights
Cooking tour in Vietnam
Vietnam Cycling Tour
Vietnam Wellness and Spa Tour
Highlights of Vietnam
Laos Tour and Muang La
Laos Tour and Pak Ou Caves
|Best time||November to April|
Although we have some open departure dates, most tours are arranged on a private basis.
Prices vary based on the number of people and class of accommodation
For current prices
Local English speaking guide as per program
Private transportation with air con
Accommodation in twin shard room with daily breakfast as mentioned above (or similar)
Meals as dedicated (B Breakfast, L lunch)
Boat trip as indicated
Entrance fees and permits
Required airport taxes