Miss. Julie Clare Harrison - United Kingdom (UK)

  • Group: of 2 persons
  • Impression: EXOTIC VIETNAM & CAMBODIA
  • Date: from 15/1/2018 to 29/1/2018
 

It is our last day today and we have had a wonderful time in both Vietnam and Cambodia.  Thank you for everything you have done for us and our trip,  we hope to be back next year!!?? We also thought Thao our guide from our Saigon trip was suoer, she had excellent English and was a lovely person.  We enjoyed being with her.  Please can you pass on our thanks, as we didn’t have her number.  Also Van has been a lovely guide in Cambodia with good English and very knowledgeable. He too has been a super person and we have enjoyed his company.  All the drivers have been great too.  We have loved it all.  Hope you are well.  Enjoy your new year celebrations and we hope to speak to you again soon.  All the best, Julie and Ian

PROGRAM DETAIL 

Day 01 . Mon 15 January 2018 : Hanoi arrival (EK394 @12:30PM) (-) |  Guide and driver 

Arrival in Noi Bai airport , you will be picked up then transferred to the hotel in city center. The check-in is available at 2 pm. The day is free for your own exploration and shopping. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 02 . Tue 16 January 2018 : Hanoi city tour- night train to Lao Cai (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

You will be picked up at the hotel at 8:00am. Starting the day trip will be a visit of the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which compromises Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays), his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Museum. We will then visit the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius, which served as the first Royal National University in Vietnam. The site also honors 82 Vietnamese doctorates who passed a number of rigid exams in the feudal ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in 82 headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its peaceful green compound with its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays, the alternative being the History Museum), which offers informative and well-documented displays of the country’s 54 ethnic groups, including elaborate and colorful hill tribe costumes. The display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses of numerous minority groups, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. Then back to the Old Quarter for a 1 hour cyclo tour. We then head to Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple dates back to the 13th century, and the lake itself is the picturesque heart of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. Relax at a mini hotel near the train station until the departure of the night train to Lao Cai. Overnight on train.

(private cabin)

 

 

Day 03 . Wed 17 January 2018 : Lao Cai - Sapa - Ma Tra - Ta Phin (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

 Arrive in Lao Cai 6:00am, and drive to Sapa. After having breakfast, we will start the tour. The walk commences from Sapa on a trail running through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests. You will then pass through the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a very small village hiding way from the civilisation. The walk continues through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery. During the day you will also be able to visit a local school. You will enjoy your lunch before arriving at the Taphin village. Here you can hear about the unmixed cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 largest ethnic groups in the area. You can already recognise them by dressing while they are both very famous of handicraft. You will enjoy walking among local people. The trip also offers you the opportunity to visit the local houses as well as visit the local caves. You will return Sapa by car.

Approx: 0,5 hour driving/ 4 hours walking/ 1 hour lunch.

 

Day 04 . Thu 18 January 2018 : Sapa-Lao Chai & Ta Van Villages - Giang Ta Chai - night train to Hanoi (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

The day is devoted to a beautiful hike through the breathtaking scenery of Sa Pa valley. Start by road that descends in the wake of the street Cau May (6 km) En route, admire the rice terraces hidden behind mist of the morning, a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Follow a small track and cross Muong Hoa River and pass well tended rice terraces on your way to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai.  Continuing through the colorful rice terraces you will reach the village of Ta Van Giay. As you continue your trek along the Muong Hoa River you will cross a small suspension bridge, roughly 2km from the settlement. Here you can discover a fascinating collection of rock carvings. These engravings depict some beautiful images of man, stilt houses and some beautiful decorative patterns. We lunch in a home in the village. After lunch the walk continues through a bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai, a Red Dao ethnic minority village. After taking a rest nearby a waterfall to refresh, you start climbing uphill to a road where the car is ready for your journey back to Sapa.  You then return to Lao Cai train station by car to catch the night train to Hanoi. Overnight on the train (private cabin)

 

Approx: 1-hour driving/ 4 hours walking/ 1-hour lunch.

 

Day 05 . Fri 19 January 2018 : Hanoi arrival - Tam Coc (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

We will arrive at Hanoi train station at 5:30am where you will be picked up brought to a small hotel to freshen up and have breakfast, then our car and guide will pick you up to travel to Hoa Lu – the former capital of Vietnam, about a two-hour drive from Hanoi. On arrival, you will visit two temples, one of them dedicated to Emperor Dinh and the other in memory of Emperor Le, followed by a brief visit to the remains of the Old Palace. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit Tam Coc (three caves), a peaceful valley among limestone ‘karst’ hills, There, you will be rowed along a gentle river between paddy fields and through the caves. After the boat trip in Tam Coc, the rest of day we will cycle along winding roads passing lotus ponds, temples and cottages, typical of Vietnamese countryside to visit Bich Dong Pagoda situated on a hillside. Overnight in hotel in Tam Coc.

 

Day 06 . Sat 20 January 2018 : Ninh Binh - Halong (B, L, D) |  Guide and driver 

After breakfast depart to Halong Bay via Thai Binh and Nam Dinh, passing a peaceful countryside typical of Red River Delta with endless rice fields and winding rivers. We will arrive at Halong’s tourist wharf around noon and embark an elegant wooden junk. Lunch will be served while the boat gently cruises past numerous islands and limestone structures rising from the emerald water. A fresh seafood dinner will be prepared by an experienced chef and served on deck. A peaceful night on board in your private cabin.

 

Day 07 . Sun 21 January 2018 : Halong - Hanoi - flight to Danang - Hoi An (VN 185 HANDAD 1830 1950) (B) |  Guide and driver 

Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay you have time for an early morning dip while the sun rises, followed by breakfast on board. We will continue to sail through the bay during the morning to explore more secluded areas. The junk will stay close at all times serving as a backup vessel for those that require it. Around midday we will return to the main harbor. A 3-hour drive will take you to Noi Bai airport for your flight to Danang where you check into your hotel in Hoi An. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.

 

Day 08 . Mon 22 January 2018 : Hoian - Danang - Hue (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

In the morning, explore Hoi An ancient town, when visiting the Japanese Pagoda Bridge, Chinese streets, old Phung Hung houses, Hoi An’s market and ancient port. On the 1st and 15th of every lunar month, Hoi An’s ancient town is lit up by hundreds of colorful lanterns, giving it an extra portion of sparkle. Enjoy the city’s transformation and stroll through this quaint, glowing fairytale town in your free time. 

In the afternoon drive along the Mandarin road, a scenic journey from Hoi An to Hue, which allows you to see a picturesque Vietnam with stunning beaches and lush tropical forest. Visiting the Museum of Cham Sculptures, with many precious antique artifacts of the former Cham Kingdom on display & stunning Marble Mountain. You then continue our drive to Hue. Check in hotel for refreshment for overnight

 

Day 09 . Tue 23 January 2018 : Hue- Thuy Bieu village (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

Start the day with a visit to Hue Imperial City, the remaining vestiges of Hue's citadel, including: Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and the Forbidden Purple City (Tu Cam Thanh), Then, we will take a boat trip on poetic Perfume River. Stop to visit Thien Mu Pagoda (Celestial Lady Pagoda) built in 1601 - the symbol of Hue city. Cruise toward Thuy Bieu eco-village, an old laid back village situated on the bank of Perfume River known for its green tea fruit orchards. Arrive in the village, and join our cooking class to prepare Hue’s signature dishes with our chef’s instruction, then enjoy your creations in the open air riverside restaurant surrounded by lush trees. The afternoon is reserved for cycling through the peaceful village, visiting several communal houses, ancient temples and the garden-house, a typical and unique feature of Hue. Soaking your feet in medicinal herb water followed by an excellent blind massage will refresh them after a day of sightseeing. Back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Hue.

 

Day 10 . Wed 24 January 2018 : Hue - Saigon (VN1371 HUISGN 0755 0925) (B) |  Guide and driver 

Having your breakfast taken away, then at 6AM, you will be taken to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival, check into hotel. In the afternoon you will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office. The Saigon city tour then continues along Dong Khoi Street, where the Opera House and the Peoples’ Committee building, built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene, are situated. The 800 seat Opera House served as the home of the Lower House Assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. You will then visit The Reunification Palace, formerly known as Presidential Palace, which was the residence of the president of South Vietnam until the end of April 1975. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Day 11 . Thu 25 January 2018 : Saigon - Ben Tre - Saigon (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

 You will be picked up at your hotel at 8:30am and driven to Ben Tre. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong pier you will embark a boat to cruise on Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the Mekong River. Enjoy the lively activities on the river like fishing and water transferring. You will stop at a brick-factory, to see how bricks are made by hand in a traditional way. Your next stop is one of numerous coconut processing workshops located along the canal.

Take a bicycle-cart along a village path and stop at a farmer’s house for lunch. You then talk a walk to a mat-weaving village before embarking small rowing-boats to travel along palm tree lined waterways back to Hung Vuong pier. You return to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping along the way to visit the beautiful Vinh Trang Pagoda. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Day 12 . Fri 26 January 2018 : Saigon - fly to Siemreap - Tonle Sap (VN3825 SGNREP 1215 1320) (B) |  Guide and driver 

After breakfast, at 9AM, you are transfered to the airport for flight to Siem Reap. On arrival, check in hotel. In the afternoon, take a boat trip to explore Tonle Sap lake- the largest natural lake in Indochina. 1 to 2 hours cruising will bring you closer to the floating villages and Cambodian waterfront life. Overnight in Siem Reap

 

Day 13 . Sat 27 January 2018 : Siemreap - Angkor Thom - Angkor Wat - Siemreap (B, L, D) |  Guide and driver 

We will visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom also referred to as "Great City", the famous Bayon Temple built in the late 12th century and the Baphoun Temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the Terrace of Elephants, the Terrace of the Leper King and Phimean Akas known as "Heavenly Palace". In the afternoon, we will tour the World Heritage site "Angkor Wat", the world's largest religious building. We continue our day with a visit to Bakheng Hill Temple and watch the sunset from the top of the hill. Back to the hotel. Dinner with special Aspara dance show.

 

Day 14 . Sun 28 January 2018 : Siem Reap - Kbal Spean - Banteay Srei - Siem Reap (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

 We will start our day trip by visiting Kbal Spean referred to as “The river of a Thousand Lingas” which is situated 30km north of Angkor Wat, roughly a one hour drive. It closes at 3pm. We will take a forest walk and then return for lunch. We will continue from there straight to Banteay Srei, "The Citadel of Women" built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power. Like numerous others, it is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It is a masterpiece of Khmer art with its intricate, pink sandstone construction and ornate design. On the way back to Siem Reap, we will visit Srah Srang, "The Royal Bath" and Banteay Kdei, a richly decorated Buddhist temple. Overnight at hotel.

 

Day 15 . Mon 29 January 2018 : Siem Reap – departure (PG906 @ 13:25) (B) |  Guide and driver 

You are free until transfert to the airport at 10AM for the flight off.

 

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