Discover the incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty of Cambodia and Vietnam. Delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh, view Vietnam's colourful history on the busy streets of Saigon and explore the colonial-era amongst the grand architecture of Hanoi. This trip offers places of breathtaking beauty, from the beaches of Nha Trang and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the jungles of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay. Add to that a mix of friendly locals and age-old traditions for the ultimate Indochina experience.
- Delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh, view Vietnam's colourful history on the busy streets of Saigon and explore the colonial-era amongst the grand architecture of Hanoi
- Discover the incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic history, natural beauty, friendly locals and age-old traditions of Cambodia and Vietnam on the ultimate Indochina experience
- This trip serves up a wealth of South East Asia’s breath-taking beauty, from the beaches of Nha Trang and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the jungles of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay
Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
- Start Date
- End Date
- Start Date:26 Dec 16
- End Date:14 Jan 17
- Availability:On Request
Day - 1
Location: Phnom Penh - Sua s'dei. Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. You'll be transferred to your hotel – check with hotel reception for more information about your important group meeting this evening. If you have free time in the afternoon, perhaps stroll the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city, taking in the interesting French colonial architecture. The National Museum, with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship, is well worth a visit. Dinner tonight will be at the restaurant run by the Friends organisation. You might decide to go for a drink at the Foreign Correspondents' Club afterwards. Notes: The restaurant run by the Friends organisation is closed on public and school holidays. Alternative dinner arrangements will be made during these times.
Day - 2
Location: Phnom Penh - Today a full city tour introduces you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are closed to the public. You will, however, be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country. Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes. Your included visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. There is an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century. An ideal way to spend your second evening here is to relax in a cafe by the riverfront. Notes: The Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek are major parts of the experience here, but if you don't wish to visit them, please inform your tour leader.
Day - 3
Location: Siem Reap - Fly north to Siem Reap (approximately 40 minutes) where the great temples of Angkor await. On arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk to help you get acquainted with the town. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. You'll probably notice a change of pace here, so take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere. There are an abundance of local eateries and lively markets in which to mingle with the locals.
Day - 4
Location: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat - Spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided exploration. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure, and the only one of Angkor's temples that has its entrance facing west – the others face east. Then there is Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', a temple is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone. Of all the temples visited today, Bayon temple is the centrepiece, with over 200 smiling carved faces and more than 50 gothic towers. For lunch you'll visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. Here you can enjoy a meal prepared by students at the school. After lunch you will head to the Ta Prohm temple, which has large trees embedded in the stone foundations of the structure – a powerful symbol of nature. End the day with a sunset view of the temples: an extraordinary way to see the sun go down. Notes: The Sala Bai Hotel School is closed on public and school holidays, so on these days an alternative restaurant will be used.
Day - 5
Location: Siem Reap - Embrace a very early start today if you wish to experience a sunrise visit to the Angkor complex (this is optional). Later in the morning, venture to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a organisation that rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and provides a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. From here, continue onto Banteay Srei. You'll see it's not a huge temple, but thanks to its intricate stone carvings it is sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’. At this point you can either head back to your hotel or carry on exploring more temples, such as Preah Khan. This temple contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle. Your ticket for the Angkor ruins also lets you spend more time exploring this site. Otherwise you might like to take a free afternoon to explore the town. If you have time, perhaps indulge in a traditional Khmer massage. A final Khmer dinner caps off your adventure tonight.
Day - 6
Location: Ho Chi Minh City - Leave Cambodia behind today with a transfer to the airport and a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.P lease note that you are likely to be unescorted on this flight, but you will be met in the arrivals hall of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport by a local representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening you will gather together for another briefing with your Vietnamese tour leader. This meeting is generally followed by a group meal out at one of Ho Chi Minh City's many fantastic eating spots.
Day - 7
Location: Mekong Delta - Sit down to a leisurely buffet breakfast at KOTO this morning. This restaurant is designed to give disadvantaged youth an education in hospitality. Then you'll drive south to Cai Be for a boat cruise along the intricate and beautiful waterways of the Mekong Delta. En route you'll stop and visit an orchard and sample some local tropical fruit, and visit some local cottage industries. As the sun starts to drop, continue to your homestay, your place of rest tonight. Here you will enjoy a beautiful home-cooked meal of local specialties. Notes: The sleeping arrangement is a dormitory-style room with single camp beds. Bedding and mosquito nets are supplied. Keep in mind that the bathrooms are very simple and will only have cold water available. We do rotate the homestays to share business around, so amenities may vary slightly. While accommodation tonight is basic, typically our travellers find that the experience of seeing life in a local community is more than worthwhile.
Day - 8
Location: Ho Chi Minh City - Today is an early start, as after breakfast you will be taken to visit the bustling Cai Be floating market, a place awash with colour and activity. Mingle with the locals and browse the stalls at this delightfully unconventional bazaar. You will then return to Ho Chi Minh City for a walking tour around the city. You'll visit Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral. Admire the many beautiful French colonial buildings along the way, such as the main post office and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall).
Day - 9
Location: Ho Chi Minh City – Overnight Train - This morning after breakfast it's time for a half-day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an extensive underground network (some 200 kilometres) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong. They contained hospitals, dwellings and schools and were used extensively for refuge and storage, as well as being a military base. As you explore this extraordinary labyrinth you will learn more about its history and the 1968 Tet Offensive. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow tourists to get a feel for what the underground life must have been like. Note that this will be hot and can be a little claustrophobic. Return to Ho Chi Minh for some free time this afternoon. This evening you will board your overnight train for Nha Trang (approximately 9 hours). Notes: Overnight trains are not renowned for their opulence, but this is a true local experience, and the best way to cover a long distance in Vietnam. The trains are usually made up of four berth compartments with sheets and blankets provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sheets, but this is up to you. There is a chance that you will share your berth with people of different sexes and, on occasion, with people outside of your travel group. There is a simple dining cart on the train, but it can be wise to stock up on bread, fruit or other snacks prior to departure.
Day - 10
Location: Nha Trang - Arrive in Nha Trang early this morning. After an early hotel check-in, enjoy a free day exploring this idyllic seaside town. With palm trees, white-sand beaches and a hip cosmopolitan atmosphere, Nha Trang is often referred to as the Cannes of the Orient. Perhaps treat yourself and soak in a natural mud bath at one of the nearby spas. You may also like to venture to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, which date back as far as the 7th century and are still active sites of worship.
Day - 11
Location: Nha Trang - Venture out on a boat to explore the nearby islands today. From the main boat, you will take basket boats to shore and visit a fishing village. There's also the chance to snorkel in the pristine water, feast on a fresh seafood buffet lunch (included) and enjoy the sunshine on the deck of the boat.
Day - 12
Location: Hoi An - Take a short flight to Danang (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes). From here you will embark on a short minibus ride to Hoi An (approximately 1 hour). Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced by a myriad of traders from various cultures. With its charming low tiled houses and tranquil feel, this is a delightful town to walk around. You'll notice a distinctly Chinese appearance here, with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small lanes.
Day - 13
Location: Hoi An - A morning walking tour today takes you to a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. Afterwards, sit down to a delicious lunch with the group. This afternoon you are free to make the most of Hoi An and its surrounding areas. Your leader will be able to help with suggestions for extra activities in Hoi An.
Day - 14
Location: Hoi An - Enjoy a day at your leisure today. Hoi An is renowned for its specialist tailors, so perhaps take this opportunity to get some clothing made from some unique local fabrics. If you feel like getting active, a lovely beach is located just nearby and is easily accessible by bicyle (these are easily rented). Or take a tour to My Son Cham to explore the ruins dating back to the 4th century. You might like to visit a local workshop to learn how to make your own rice paper. A Vietnamese cooking class too is a great way to familiarise yourself with some age-old culinary techniques, not to mentioning feasting on the fruits of your own labour.
Day - 15
Location: Hue - Depart beautiful Hoi An today for Hue, the former imperial capital and hub of Vietnam's historic past. En route you'll stop at My Khe Beach, then pass through the Hai Van Pass – a scenic mountainous stretch of highway with views across Lang Co beach. You will also make a stop at this beach to stroll the shore. Arrive in Hue and discover its eclectic mix of frenetic streets and peaceful beauty. You will visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war.
Day - 16
Location: Hue - Take a boat cruise on the Perfume River before visiting the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. The Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601. You will also enjoy lunch at a local nunnery or monastery. This not only allows you to sample some of Hue’s famed vegetarian food, but also offers a chance to learn about Vietnamese Buddhism. You will also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees.
Day - 17
Location: Hanoi - Fly from Hue to Hanoi today (approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes). Enjoy a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting the major sights, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. Be taken through the ancient '36 streets' and discover an amazing selection of shops that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery and beautifully embroidered tablecloths. In your free time, the Vietnam Fine Arts museum is well worth a visit. Walking or riding a bike is the best way to explore this town. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city. You'll see that this enchanting northern capital can be quieter than its southern counterpart. In the evening, you'll sit down to a unique water-puppet performance.
Day - 18
Location: Halong Bay - Leave your luggage at the hotel and pack an overnight bag as you drive to Ha Long Bay (approximately 3 hours). Take in glorious views of this World Heritage-listed beauty and its spectacular limestone islands. You will travel to Bai Chay (Halong City West) and board a boat for an exploration of the bay, enjoying a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood is also available). This boat is where you'll stay the night. You'll visit one cave in the area, and there's the the chance to do some kayaking (optional and at extra cost). If the weather is obliging, the views at sunset are especially incredible. Notes: All boats used by Peregrine have twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. As there are only a limited number of cabins on each boat, the single supplement is not available on board, and all accommodation is twin share. Conditions may be somewhat more communal compared to the usual hotel setting, but spending a night on the bay is such a wonderful experience. Local authorities only permit a limited number of boats to stay overnight in Halong Bay. To ensure we can accommodate all travellers on board available boats, at times larger boats will be used (approximately 12 cabins). In rare cases the group may need to be split across different boats. If this occurs, a group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same. Your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Tip Island beach during the warmer months. Swimming in the bay from the boats is not permitted.
Day - 19
Location: Hanoi - In the morning, sail back to the port, disembark and then take a bus back to Hanoi (approximately 4 hours). Arriving back in the capital, there will be free time to wander around and enjoy some of the city’s attractions you may have missed the first time. You can shop on Hang Gai Street or perhaps enjoy some afternoon tea at the Metropole Hotel. In the evening, enjoy a final dinner in a Hanoi restaurant, bidding farewell to your newfound friends.
Day - 20
Location: Hanoi - Your journey comes to an end after breakfast today. Perhaps extend your stay in Hanoi and explore further on an Urban Adventure.