Simple Indochina - Sun N' Sea Tours

Basic Information

15 days, 14 nights
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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Saigon, Danang, Hoian, Hanoi, Halong, Luang Prabang, SiemReap 

Overview

Simple Indochina

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive SAIGON 
Day 2 CUCHI TUNNEL & SAIGON city highlights 
Day 3 SAIGON, DANANG, HOIAN
Day 4 HOIAN; countryside bike 
Day 5 HOIAN 
Day 6 HOIAN, DANANG, HANOI
Day 7 HANOI; city highlights  
Day 8 HANOI, HALONG 
Day 9 HALONG, HANOI, LUANG PRABANG  
Day 10 LUANG PRABANG; walking tour, Monk school 
Day 11 Luang Prabang, day free
Day 12 LUANG PRABANG, SIEMREAP  
Day 13 SiemReap, Angkor explore
Day 14 SIEMREAP; Village explorer  
Day 15 SIEMREAP, departure 

Day 1 Arrive SAIGON 

Arrive in Saigon. Pick up at Tan Son Nhat airport and transfer to hotel for checking in.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the largest city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta. The city was then renamed once again, after the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam in 1975, becoming Ho Chi Minh City. Today the city centre is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French buildings. However, as the undoubted economic centre of Vietnam, high rise office towers are starting to take their place amongst this wonderful colonial architecture.

Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh

Day 2 CUCHI TUNNEL & SAIGON city highlights 

Morning drive north of the city to the famous Cu Chi tunnels - an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels, over 250km in length and up to three levels deep in places, played a huge part in the Viet Cong’s victory over the Americans, allowing them to control a large rural area surrounding Ho Chi Minh City. Today, some of the remaining tunnels have been opened to tourists, offering a unique insight into what underground life must have been like during the ‘American’ war.
Having returned to the city, set off to tour some of Ho Chi Minh City’s highlights at which we particularly recommend certain sites; the Reunification Palace, formerly South Vietnam's Presidential Palace, was built in the 1960s and remains largely untouched since the day Saigon finally fell to North Vietnamese troops in 1975. Others offer visitors a sense of the region’s French Colonial past; Notre Dame Basilica was built in the late 1800s, and the pink neoclassic confection that is Saigon Central Post Office was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself.
Continue to Cho Lon, which has been HCMC’s Chinatown since 1778. Visit the Quan Am Pagoda, a Chinese style Buddhist pagoda built during the 19th century, with beautifully decorated interiors. As you explore Chinatown, you will see all manner of goods on sale, from dragon artwork, masks and pet fish, to sacks of rice, fabric and cooking utensils. Leave Chinatown for newer developing areas, observing a visual feast of old and new architecture side by side, before a drive by what was once known as the “Southern stomach” - specifically, the city’s largest rice market, founded by the Chinese in the 18th century.

Ho Chi Minh Cu Chi
Ho Chi Minh
Breakfast, Lunch
SAIGON -> CUCHI ~ an-hour & half drive 

Day 3 SAIGON, DANANG, HOIAN

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang. Upon arrival, and having been met by your guide, drive south to Hoi An. If you wish, there will be time to visit the city's excellent Cham Museum, containing the finest collection of Cham sculpture. You can also stop at the sacred hill known as the Marble Mountain which contain dozens of Buddhist shrines, as well as the nearby Non Nuoc Beach.

Once known as Faifo, the UNESCO designated World Heritage town of Hoi An was one of the Orient’s major trading ports in the 16th and 17th centuries. Despite the passing of years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it did in its heyday. The town is undoubtedly one of the highlights of any visit to Vietnam with the laid-back atmosphere and the fine colonial architecture lining cobbled streets offering a glimpse of times gone-by. Explore the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market.

Ho Chi Minh Da Nang Hoi An
Hoi An
Breakfast, Lunch
SAIGON -> DANANG  ~ 1.15mns flight 

Day 4 HOIAN; countryside bike 

Spend ½ day leisurely cycling though the scenic countryside of Vietnam, far from the traffic the motor scooters, and the noises the city. You will cross the islands on the Song Thu river delta using local transportation, including ferries and floating bridge . This tour will take you to discover how wooden river boats are made, learn the secret of weaving the colorful straw “Hoi An” sleeping mats Try the renowned Vietnamese basket boats . You will spend the day with first-hand contact with one of the rural inhabitant of the region, far from the usual tourist circuits. At lunchtime you will be invited into the home of a local Vietnamese family for a traditional Vietnamese meal, and learn their customs and traditions. After a while break, we will ride back the town which takes us by an hour. ……….

Hoi An
Hoi An
Beakfast, Lunch
Biking distance: 10km on local road

Day 5 HOIAN 

Day free to explore the town on your own.

Hoi An
Hoi An
Breakfast

Day 6 HOIAN, DANANG, HANOI

Breakfast at the hotel, free at leisure till the flight to Hanoi. Pick up upon arrival and transfer to hotel. 

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, ranks amongst the world's most attractive and interesting cities. It was first the capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010, and though the nation's capital moved to Hue under the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, the city continued to flourish after the French took control in 1888. In 1954, after the French departed, Hanoi was declared Vietnam's capital once again. The remnants of over 1,000 years of history are still visible here, with that of the past few hundred years wonderfully preserved.

Hoi An Da Nang Ha Noi
Ha Noi
Breakfast
DANANG -> HANOI ~ 1.20mns flight 

Day 7 HANOI; city highlights  

Enjoy a full day tour of Hanoi. Your guide will be happy to personalise your programme, however we would recommend sites such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake. For many the Temple of Literature is a highlight worth lingering over. Built in 1070, this complex of atmospheric halls, pavilions and courtyards is dedicated to Confucius and scholars. Of special note are the 82 remaining steles of stone shaped like turtles which are elaborately carved with the names of candidates that sat the Royal examinations. A walking tour through the Old Quarter will provide another fascinating insight into the character and history of the city, before moving on to Dong Xuan Market with its bustling stalls and brisk trading of day-to-day local goods.
After lunch, consider visiting the very popular Ethnology Museum or the central Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by American POW's during the war. Alternatively your guide will be happy to discuss alternative places of interest that you may wish to consider.

In the evening we recommend staying in and around the Old Quarter where there is a large selection of excellent restaurants and cafes to choose from. There is also the amazing 'street-food' such as Pho to be found on every corner!

Ha Noi
Ha Noi
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 HANOI, HALONG 

After an early breakfast it’s a three hour drive from the city to Halong Bay, passing through a number of typical North Vietnamese towns and villages. Upon arrival you will be welcomed aboard your traditional junk; the same style that have sailed the bay for 100’s of years.
A natural wonder of the world and one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the creation of Halong Bay is shrouded in myth. Local legend tells us how the gods sent a family of dragons to defend the country from the invading Chinese. The dragons spat out gemstones that turned into islands, linking together to create a wall against the enemy. The truth is almost as evocative as the legend and upon setting out into the bay you are met by one of the most beguiling natural scenes you will ever witness. 
Lunch is served as you depart port. You will soon leave the mainland far behind, navigating amongst the jagged limestone islands and karsts emerging from the emerald waters. Whilst some islands are no more than large rocks others are far more substantial in size. 
During your cruise there will be opportunities to disembark, often using smaller boats, or possibly kayaks, to venture into hidden grottos and caves. You will also make stops to explore points of interest such as floating fishing villages and picturesque lookout points.

Ha Noi Ha Long
Ha Long
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
HANOI -> HALONG ~ 3.5-hour driving 

Day 9 HALONG, HANOI, LUANG PRABANG  

In the early morning many of the islands are alive with the sound of various sea birds nesting in the thick green vegetation that engulf the limestone karsts. Early risers may wish to start the day with a Tai Chi class on the top deck as the sun rises over the bay. Enjoy brunch on board whilst your junk slowly turns back in the direction of the mainland, passing points of interest such as Sung Sot Cave. ……Arrive back in port in the late morning. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi for our flight heading to Luang Prabang.  

Luang Prabang, the ‘Jewel of Indochina’, is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and regularly voted as one of Asia's premier travel destinations. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers.

Ha Long Ha Noi Luang Prabang (Laos)
Luang Prabang
Breakfast
HANOI -> LUANG PRABANG ~ an-hour flight 

Day 10 LUANG PRABANG; walking tour, Monk school 

An option for early-risers is to rise before dawn to witness tak bat, or the giving of alms, to the lines of orange-robed monks leaving their pagodas to receive offerings of food from the residents of Luang Prabang. It’s an iconic sight and for many one of the highlights of their stay in Luang Prabang, and can be arranged on any early morning during your stay.

Your city circuit begins after breakfast at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, which gives a good overview of the local history. The next section of the tour takes in some of the city’s temples, beginning with Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-reliefs, before continuing on to Wat Xieng Thong, perhaps the most photographed temple in Luang Prabang, and the unique Wat Visoun, known as ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. Your last visit of the morning is the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre which will give you further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos.

In the afternoon visit the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek before returning to town to visit a monk school. After some time chatting with the novice monks finish the day by climbing Mount Phousi, to enjoy the stunning views across Luang Prabang and the Mekong River as the sun sets.

Luang Prabang (Laos)
Luang Prabang
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11 Luang Prabang, day free

Day free to stroll the town on your own.

Luang Prabang (Laos)
Luang Prabang
Breakfast

Day 12 LUANG PRABANG, SIEMREAP  

Morning transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide, who will transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world.

Luang Prabang (Laos) Siem Reap (Cambodia)
Siem Reap
Breakfast
LUANG PRABANG -> SIEMREAP ~ an hour & half flight 

Day 13 SiemReap, Angkor explore

Having met with your guide, you will be able to discuss in detail what you are looking to achieve from your time at the temples. Whilst some wish to explore as many temples as they can during their stay, others like to travel at a slower, more relaxed pace. 

Temples in focus in a day
Angkor Wat – certainly the most famous of all the Angkor temples and, some would argue the most impressive. The temple, built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II contains three storeys of libraries, galleries and towers surrounded by a thick retaining wall and an imposing moat. Many visitors aim to visit the temple at sunrise to capture one of the most iconic Angkor photos. 
Ta Prohm - a temple left in much the same condition as when it was found - creating one of the most photogenic and atmospheric temples of the entire Angkor site. The tree roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers can be seen breaking through the walls and stone carvings. Any visit is truly an adventure. 
The Bayon - built in the 13th century as the state temple of King Jayavarman VII, standing at the centre of his capital - Angkor Thom. The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of huge faces carved into large towers which rise up to form the central peak. The Bayon sits at the exact centre of Angkor Thom and roads lead to it from each of the city's cardinal points. 
Banteay Srei - one of the most unusual and widely recognisable temples of Angkor. Built largely of red sandstone, it is covered with elaborate and deeply carved decoration. All the buildings are miniature in scale and it is this, along with the beautiful carvings, that have made it such a popular temple.

Siem Reap (Cambodia)
Siem Reap
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14 SIEMREAP; Village explorer  

Today provides the perfect opportunity to gain a better understanding of Cambodian rural life, along with an insight into traditional Khmer culture; something which few visitors are lucky enough to experience. Departing after breakfast accompanied by your guide, you’ll spend the day travelling through a number of relatively un-touched villages and learning about the day-to-day lives of the local people. This is a world away from Siem Reap, and provides you with the perfect opportunity to get ‘off the beaten track’.
Your first stop is the village of Krabei Real, where there is time to explore the local market and to purchase some supplies for your lunch. Continue on, this time without the benefit of air-conditioning, using a more typical method of transportation for this region. The (almost!) pollution free ox and cart is still widely used throughout Cambodia, and allows you to travel at a gentle, almost hypnotic pace along the narrow, sandy, village roads. Winding your way through the rice fields, you’ll pass houses, schools and pagodas. Many of the families in this area are skilled rattan weavers, using techniques passed down through the generations to create a wide variety of crafts and day-to-day items to sell in the markets of the nearby towns. 
After around an hour, arrive at the home of a local family who have been carefully. Having been welcomed by your hosts, there will be plenty of time to relax and chat with the family as they prepare lunch using the produce selected at the market (with your guide acting as interpreter). If you wish to assist then you are very welcome to do so, and this is also a fantastic opportunity to further your understanding of typical Khmer cuisine. This is likely to be very different from the dishes you may have sampled in the more westerner-orientated restaurants of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh! 
Having enjoyed your lunch, there is plenty of time to relax and explore the village before returning to Siem Reap. En route, stop to visit the workshops of the Artisans d’Angkor, and explore Siem Reap’s market before arriving back at your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure. 

Siem Reap (Cambodia)
Siem Reap
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15 SIEMREAP, departure 

Free to stroll the town till departure. 

Siem Reap (Cambodia)
Breakfast

Rates (per person in USD)

Accommodation 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax or more
High Season
MID-RANGE 1,346 1,188 1,096 1,044 1,005
SUPERIOR 1,587 1,430 1,339 1,290 1,247
Low Season
MID-RANGE 1,270 1,112 1,021 974 929
SUPERIOR 1,494 1,334 1,247 1,195 1,153
HIGH SEASON : MAR – APR & OCT - DEC, 2017
LOW SEASON : MAY - SEP, 2017

ACCOMMODATION SELECTION: 
MID-RANGE 
Saigon : Silverland Central hotel – Deluxe – www.silverlandhotels.com 
Hoian : Atlas hotel Hoian – Superior city – www.atlashoian.com 
Hanoi : Golden Cyclo hotel – Executive room – www.goldencyclohotel.com     
Halong : Glory Legend Cruises – Deluxe – www.glorylegendcruises.net 
Luang Prabang : My Dream Boutique hotel – Classic room - www.mydreamresort.com 
SiemReap : Royal Empire hotel – Superior room – www.royalempirehotel.com 

SUPERIOR 
Saigon : Paragon Saigon hotel – Premium – www.paragonsaigon.com    
Hoian : La Resiencia hotel – Junior Suite town view - www.laresidenciahotel.com 
Hanoi : O’Gallery Premier hotel – Deluxe room - www.ogallerypremierhotel.com 
Halong : Pelican cruise – Deluxe room – www.pelicancruise.com 
Luang Prabang : Maison Dalabua – Grand Deluxe - www.maison-dalabua.com 
SiemReap : Lynnaya Urban River Resort – Deluxe Garden View room – www.lynnaya.com

Policies

Inclusions
English speaking, local guide 
All accommodation listed in double/twin share with breakfast 
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles 
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary 
Boat trip wherever it has 
All meals listed 
Government tax 
Exclusions
Visas 
International arrival & departure flight ticket and airport tax 
Regional flight: Hanoi/Luang Prabang; Luang Prabang/SiemReap  (on request)
Domestic flight within Vietnam (on request)
Any meals not listed in the itinerary 
Drinks, other than water on activity days 
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tips…)
Peak-season/public holiday surcharge & compulsory meals to be advised at the time of booking 
Travel insurance  & other services not listed in “inclusive”

Remarks
The itinerary is flexible, depending on arrival or departure flights of passengers 
Ground operator reserved the right to amend or adjust itinerary to match with real situation
The confirmation is subject to the availability at the time of booking 

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