This private tour is ideal for those with just over two weeks, who would like to see the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia. From the majestic beauty of Halong Bay and the quaint, pretty beach town of Hoi An in Vietnam – to the temples and rolling countryside of Cambodia, this tour takes you right into the heart of the two neighbouring countries. It can be done in reverse if you would prefer to finish on the beach in Vietnam.
Your private driver and English-speaking guide will give you a warm welcome when you land in Hanoi. They will then drive you through the bustling capital to your central hotel in the Old Quarter. where you can relax and enjoy the evening at your leisure. The Maison d’Hanoi Boutique is a wonderful little hotel – stylish and smack bang in the centre of the Old Quarter. (Junior Suite).
Today you will explore Hanoi like a local; walk down the capital’s winding streets with a private walking, try local street food and have a local whipped coffee in a hidden coffee shop before exploring Hoa Lo Priosn where American and French POWs were once held and the Temple of Literature built in 1076. Finish your day walking down the city’s railway tracks and then stop for a home brewed beer, the renowned Bia Hoi.
Today you will be driven out to Halong Bay (four hours east of Halong Bay) in an air-conditioned mini bus with your cruise companions. Here you will board your traditional junk and enjoy a delicious as you cruise through the emerald bay surrounded by islets. You can kayak through a small fishing village or visit on a bamboo boat before returning on board for a cookery demonstration and a slap-up dinner. We love Indochina Sails’ traditional style junks. (Deluxe Cabin – Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Rise early for Tai Chi on the sundeck if you wish before transferring to the Indochina Sails Day Boat, which will cruise to a less crowded areas of the bay for swimming, kayaking and other activities. Lunch is served on board mid-day and you will return to the main boat later in the afternoon before dinner. You can even try your hand at squid fishing off the back of the boat tonight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
This morning you will visit an island, where you can climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay before returning to the boat for breakfast as you motor back to the mainland. You will return to Hanoi by shuttle bus and catch a short one-hour flight to Hue in the centre of Vietnam, which is the old imperial capital of the country. Here you will check into the beautiful La Residence hotel. (Superior River View Room).
This morning you will explore the ancient capital of Vietnam. The Forbidden Purple City and old Imperial Palace, which was constructed in the early 19th century. It suffered during the Vietnam War but remains very significant. Afterwards, board a dragon boat and sail down the Perfume River to visit the striking Thien Mu Pagoda, then visit tombs of the emperors TuDuc and Khai Dinh. If time permits you can enjoy a short cyclo ride to Dong Ba market where you can buy traditional souvenirs.
Take one of the most scenic journeys down the Vietnam coastline this morning, over a beautiful pass, and along miles of coast as you make your way from Hue to Hoi An. You’ll make a day of it stopping for fabulous seafood, visit mountain caves and a fresh cool spring, before reaching Hoi An and checking into one of our favourite boutique hotels – the Essence hotel, which is on the edge of this historic town. (Deluxe double with balcony). If you wish, you can do this journey by motorbike.
Take three full days to soak up this glorious beach town. Hoi An has it all; delicious cuisine, fabulous tailors and shopping and a beautiful beach just 4km away. We haven’t organised anything for you for these days so you can explore and sunbathe at your own pace (but do ask us about local excursions here including a fun fishing trip in traditional basket boats with local fishermen!) If you wish, you can upgrade to a beach hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast this morning, bid farewell to Vietnam and get ready for your Cambodian adventure! Your private driver will take you to Da Nang Airport, just half an hour from Hoi An. We will fly you to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where a chauffeur will be waiting for you. You can enjoy this evening at your leisure at the very lovely Shinta Mani Resort, which is central and stylish. (Poolside Room).
Rise early to see sunrise over the largest temple in the whole complex; Angkor Wat, which you can explore at your own pass. Return to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast before visiting Bayon Temple, which has become famous for the countless faces in the stone, as well as Baphoun, Phimean Akas, The Royal Enclosure, Terrace of Elephants and Leper King. Finish your day tour with the sunset at Pre Rup Temple, the beautiful rusty-red bricks are accentuated during sunset.
This morning take a scenic drive to the mid-10th century Banteay Srei, a lesser visited temple which has been well-preserved, and the Roluos Group of temples (built in the 9th century), that served as the capital of the Khmer empire under King Idravarman. Later this afternoon, visit the majestic Ta Phrom, which is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Round the day off with a fantastic performance by the Phare Cambodian Circus – this non-profit organisation trains young Cambodians in the arts.
Today you will be driven to Battambang by a private driver, which will take about three hours, and will take you through some lovely rural scenery. This afternoon take a tour around the small town, which has some of the best preserved French colonial architecture in the country, before riding the legendary “bamboo train” in Battambang, which is little more than a bamboo raft that hurtles down a dis-used railway track in the countryside. Tonight you will stay at Bambu – a home from home. (Superior Room).
Enjoy a half-day bike tour this morning through the gorgeous countryside and rice paddies surrounding Battambang. You will meet local families along the way who will teach you about traditional industries such as rice paper making, rice wine and Battambang’s famous bamboo rice cakes. It is a wonderful opportunity to see ‘real Cambodia’. At dusk your guide will take you to see tens of thousands of bats exit a cave on a hill – it takesabout 40 minutes for all the bats to leave and is an amazing sight.
After a leisurely breakfast, your driver will pick you up from Bambu and drive you three hours back to Siem Reap, to catch your international flight home. Safe travels!
This itinerary costs from £2,820 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.
You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.
Do you fancy having a chat about Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia? Personally, it's one of our favourite things to talk about.