Day 1 Halong
By vehicle from Hanoi to Halong Bay Excursion by boat through Halong Bay including a leisurely 4 hrs lunch Cruise on a traditional wooden boat among the emerald waters and craggy limestone cliffs of Halong Bay, stopping to explore one of the many caves in this area. Sail past picturesque islands, floating villages, fishermen casting their nets and pearl fisheries and observe the rhythms of daily life on the bay. Return to Halong pier. Overnight in Halong.
Day 2 Hanoi
Breakfast in hotel followed by drive from Halong to Hanoi Sightseeing in Hanoi Head to HOAN KIEM LAKE, located in heart of Hanoi, which contains an islet with the tiny TORTOISE PAGODA. From there, walking to explore the OLD QUARTER. This fascinating network of narrow alleys and shop houses is also known as The 36 Streets, each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there, ranging from fabrics to crafts to medicines to tombstones. A handicraft lover paradise and a endlessly interesting place to explore local life. Afterwards, visit the MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY, which brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artifacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3 Hue
Breakfast in hotel followed by transfer for flight from Hanoi to Hue Sightseeing in Hue Hue served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. It houses ancient temples, imperial buildings and French-style edifices. It was established in the 17th century. Visit the Old Imperial City Located in the heart of Hue is the IMPERIAL CITADEL, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modelled after the Forbidden City of Peking. The original walls stretched for 10 km and were surrounded by a wide moat. Today, most of the buildings have been destroyed due to bombing during the Vietnam-American War, but the monuments that remain provide a fascinating glimpse into the court life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Approach the city past the striking FLAG TOWER, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing NGO MON GATE, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit DIEN THO Residence ( Dien Tho palace) is where the Queen mother lived, visit THAI HOA PALACE, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the HALLS OF THE MANDARINS, and the original NINE DYNASTIC URNS, among other sites. Vist the Dong Ba local market near the Imperial City. Overnight in Hue.
Day 4 Hoi An
Breakfast in hotel followed by excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda with a boat trip on the Huong Giang river Embark on a local boat and cruise down the PERFUME RIVER to the iconic THIEN MU PAGODA, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower which has become Hue's most widely recognizable monument. During the early 1960s, this became a center of anti-government protest, and the site of the famous self-immolation of the monk Thich Quang Duc. Drive from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang Visit Cham Museum- this houses probably the best collection of Cham art to be found anywhere in the world. There are more than 300 artifacts in the museum, many dating to the 4th century. There are beautiful sculptures reflecting the 1000 year Cham period. Visit Marble Mountains- consist of 5 stone hillocks, once islands, made of marble. Each is said to represent one of the five elements of the universe. The largest and most famous, Thuy Son, has a number of natural caves in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. When the Champas ruled this area, these same caves were used as Hindu shrines. Visit TAM THAN located in Marble Mountain near Thuy Son. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 5 Hoi An to Saigon
Breakfast in hotel followed by sightseeing in Hoi An. Hoi An is a picturesque riverside town south of Da Nang. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Now, this beautifully preserved historic city is best seen on foot. The walking tour includes: JAPANESE COVERED BRIDGE PAGODA: the first bridge on this site was constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream. The bridge was provided with a roof so it could be used as a shelter from rain and sun. SA HUYNH MUSEUM: located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, it contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. TRAN FAMILY CHAPEL: this house for worshipping ancestors was built about 200 years ago with donations from family members. The Tran family traces its origins to China and moved to Vietnam around 1700. The architecture of the building reflects the influence of Chinese and Japanese styles. PHUOC KIEN ASSEMBLY HALL: Chinese pagoda built around 1690 and then restored and enlarged in 1900. It is typical of the Chinese clans that were established in the Hoi An area. The temple is dedicated to Thien Hau Thanh Mau (Goddess of the Sea and Protector of Sailors and Fishermen). LANTERN MAKING WORKSHOP: Visit one of the lantern workshop in Hoi An. The framework of lantern will be made by the industry itself and clients can observe locals making silk cloth on the lantern. By vehicle from Hoi An to Da Nang. Flight from Da Nang to Saigon. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 6 Saigon
Breakfast in hotel followed by sightseeing in Saigon. A vibrant metropolis, SAIGON teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life. The emerging modern skyline stands cheek by jowl with colonial buildings and traditional temples. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on motorcycles, chatting on cell phones; inside the quiet temple courtyards, worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense. Begin your tour into modern history with a tour of the REUNIFICATION PALACE. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates. Continue to the harrowing WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam- American War. Inside are detailed photographic exhibitions; outside is a collection of tanks, planes and weapons. A powerful experience, this museum is guaranteed to provoke strong emotions. Afterwards driving to the historic center to visit EMPEROR OF JADE PAGODA, one of Saigon's most interesting pagoda. Proceed to pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and the CENTRAL POST OFFICE. Pass by the classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate CITY HALL (HOTEL DE VILLE), the old OPERA HOUSE (both may only be viewed from the outside). Finally, end up at the central BEN THANH MARKET, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste. Transfer to airport for flight to Phnom Penh Arrival in Phnom Penh Transfer Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 7 Phnom Penh.
Breakfast in your hotel and then sightseeing in Phnom Penh Explore PHNOM PENH, a chaotic, energetic and always fascinating city. Graceful tree-lined boulevards and riverfront promenades are reminders of bygone eras; today they teem with life and activity, as motorcycles weave in and out of traffic, vendor hawk their wares, and pedestrians go about their business. Start your tour with an insight into Cambodia's cultural heritage with a visit to the ROYAL PALACE, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoi and the adjacent SILVER PAGODA, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. Continue to the elegant NATIONAL MUSEUM, which contains a comprehensive collection of Khmer Art. Finally, explore the modern-day city, visiting one of Phnom Penh's two great markets, the CENTRAL MARKET, located in a distinctive domed Art Deco building (Central Market is currently under construction but can be visited as usual), OR the sprawling RUSSIAN MARKET, a labyrinth of stalls selling everything from CDs and DVDs to silks, crafts, jewelry and more. Visit Tuol Sleng (S-21) -learn about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent, tragic past at the TUOL SLENG MUSEUM (Museum of Genocide). Formerly the Tuol Svay Prey High School, in 1975, this became the interrogation and torture facility for the Khmer Rouge regime At that time known as Security Prison 21, or simply S-21 and kept largely unchanged, this prison now showcases photographs and exhibits about the thousands of victims that passed through these doors-only seven of whom came out alive. Excursion to the Killing Fields - just outside Phnom Penh, in a peaceful rural setting, the KILLING FIELDS OF CHOEUNG EK provide a stark reminder of the atrocities under the Pol Pot regime. Thousands of people were killed here between the years of 1975 and 1978 and buried in mass graves. Flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Arrival in Siem Reap Overnight in Siem Riep.
Day 8 Siem Riep and Angkor Wat
Breakfast in hotel followed by sightseeing in Angkor Wat. The crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, ANGKOR WAT is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stonecarvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones. Visit a temple for sunset. Watch the sun set over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 9 Siem Reap
Breakfast in your hotel. Visit Angkor Thom. The fortified city of ANGKOR THOM covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats, the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. Enter by the monumental SOUTH GATE over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the TERRACE OF THE ELEPHANTS and the TERRACE OF THE LEPER KINGS, former spaces for public cermonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined BAPHUON, ROYAL ENCLOSURE and PHIMEANAKAS before continuing to the mysterious BAYON TEMPLE. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where you will find giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down at you from every angle. Visit Ta Prohm-TA PROHM: one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them. Visit Banteay Srei Temple. Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, BANTEAY SREI is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 10 Siem Reap.
Breakfast in your hotel. Sightseeing in Angkor. Visit Banteay Kdei Temple. A massive Buddhist temple dating from the second half of the 12th century, BANTEAY KDEI is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 meters. Visit Sras Srang -SRAS SRANG: a basin opposite of Banteay Kdei measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple. Visit Pre Rup Temple-PRE RUP: built by Rajendravarman II (ruled 944 to 968), it consists of a pyramid shaped temple with the upper-most of the three tiers carrying five square shrines arranged as a quincunx. The name means turning the body and refers to the traditional method of cremation. Visit Ta Keo-TA KEO: built by Jayavarman V who ruled from 968 to 1001), it was the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone and was dedicated to Shiva. The summit of the central tower is 50 meters high and is surrounded by four lower towers. Visit Preah Khan-PREAH KHAN: a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 meters. Visit Neak Pean Temple-NEAK PEAN: built by King Jayavarman VII (ruled 1181 to 1201), it is a Buddhist temple consisting of a square pool with four smaller square pools arranged on each axis. In the centre of the large central pool is a circular island encircled by two nagas with intertwined tails. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 11 Departure
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.