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Vietnam & Cambodia

  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Vietnam & Cambodia

In the past few years Vietnam has opened its doors to the world and much has changed. Today, in one of the world’s last communist countries, the motorcycles and western dress of the industrious youth happily co-exist with orange-clad Buddhist monks and political posters from a different era. Hanoi and Saigon still retain a French flavour in their pavement cafes, architecture and wide tree-lined boulevards. We also visit the limestone archipelago of Halong Bay, the ancient royal capital of Hue and a full-day guided visit to the fascinating Mekong Delta. In Cambodia our tour includes a stay in the capital, Phnom Penh, with its vibrant riverside ambience it’s one of the ‘hidden gems’ of Asian cities. A short flight away is the town of Siem Reap, gateway to the incredible complex of temples within the ancient city of Angkor. At its height in the thirteenth century, Angkor had a staggering million inhabitants and was the capital of the fabulously wealthy Khmer Empire. The incredible state of preservation and artistry of its sculptures have, for many, made Angkor one of the great wonders of the world. Riviera Travel » code: VN » id: 31671

16 Days from £2,289 per passenger

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Travelling to...

 

  • Cambodia
  • Asia
  • Southeast Asia
 

Day 1

 

You will take an overnight flight from London Heathrow, direct to Hanoi, on Vietnam Airlines.

 

Day 2

 

We arrive in Hanoi during the morning, following a short stop at our hotel, the five-star Melia Hotel where we stay for three nights on bed and breakfast, we will then commence our tour of Hanoi by cycle rickshaw where there will be time for lunch before returning to the hotel to check-in. The rest of the day is at your leisure. The Melia Hotel is a fabulous hotel with three restaurants, lovely pool, fitness centre and all the facilities you would expect from a major international property.

 

Day 3

 

Today we explore Hanoi, past and present. The French created this gorgeous colonial city of tree-lined avenues, belle époque villas, grand public buildings and an Opera house, all built around more than a dozen enchanting lakes. This graceful scene blends beautifully with its old quarter, a tangle of narrow streets, the commercial heart of the city for hundreds of years and now full of tiny shops, pagodas and the ever-present populace astride their bicycles and mopeds. During our guided tour we also see the beautiful Temple of Literature dedicated to Confucius and Vietnam’s first university, and the imposing marble mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh himself, embalmed and eerily on display. This afternoon is free for you to explore this beautiful city as you wish. You could even visit a traditional water puppet show - a real spectacle where, as the name suggests, with the aid of fireworks and music, folk stories are played out by skilful puppeteers.

 

Day 4

 

Today we visit Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay. Leaving Hanoi, we enter a timeless landscape of rice paddies, following the Red River delta to the emerald seas of the Gulf of Tonkin. Just offshore, some 3,000 limestone islands and outcrops rise almost vertically from the sea, forming one of the most extraordinary and spectacular bays in the world. As we board our converted Chinese junk and glide along the jade-green waters it’s not hard to imagine how the myths of their creation began: a dragon is said to have plunged into the sea and its thrashing tail sculpted the craggy islands. We visit some of the vast and beautifully illuminated caves and grottoes before having lunch on board. We return to Hanoi late afternoon.

 

Day 5

 

We will fly south to Danang and then drive over the stunning scenery of the Hai Van Pass before descending into Hue, Vietnam’s last royal capital and its traditional centre of religion, culture and education. It’s one of the country’s most beautiful small towns, bisected by the serene Perfume River and dominated by its immense Citadel. This houses the ancient capital, encircled by an amazing 6 miles of high, 65 foot-thick walls and a moat. Tonight we stay on bed and breakfast basis at the excellent five-star Imperial Hotel.

 

Day 6

 

This morning we start with a leisurely river cruise to the magnificent seven-storied Thien Mu pagoda, a working Buddhist shrine, affording beautiful views towards the mountains on the border with Laos. We then visit the incredible complex of the Citadel and within it, the Imperial City. We see the Palace of Supreme Harmony, which contained the Emperor’s throne and was the site of the most important official ceremonies and functions. Everything is painted in the royal colours of red and gold and the whole building is a stunning example of the magnificent lifestyle enjoyed by the Vietnamese royal family. In the afternoon we visit emperor Tu Duc’s mausoleum. More interested in poetry than running the country, Tu Duc’s lifestyle suggests he had plenty of free time – he had 104 wives, 50-course meals and tea made from the dewdrops of lotus blossoms! It took 3,000 workers three years to build his amazing mausoleum, which includes a large lake, pavilions and a theatre. Lunch is included today and the evening is at leisure.

 

Day 7

 

Today we fly to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals still insist on calling it. Brash and boisterous, it has real zest for life. Built virtually from scratch by the French, on a bend of the wide Saigon River, we stay three nights on bed and breakfast at the excellent, five-star Equatorial Hotel. Saigon is Vietnam’s culinary capital offering a very wide variety of excellent dining experiences, from top class restaurants in swish luxury hotels to French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Indian options, plus everything in between.

 

Day 8

 

This will be a day to remember! We visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a complex underground network stretching for 200 kilometres, which included hospitals, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters and kitchens. Begun during the last years of French rule and vastly expanded during the 1960’s, the tunnels provided a base for the Vietcong from which to attack US forces within just 30 miles of Saigon. Our visit here is a fascinating insight into these times: we see the tunnels themselves and examples of the many mantraps and stake pits which protected them. Despite being carpet-bombed, the tunnels were never really penetrated and should you wish, you may even try out real period weapons on a firing range. We continue through rural farming communities back to Saigon. In the afternoon our city tour covers all the major sights including the colonial-style central post office, the cathedral and the Reunification Palace where famously in 1975, a tank burst through its gates in the final defining moment of the Vietnam War. We also see the War Remnants Museum and the lively Ben Thanh market – a fascinating insight into Saigon daily life, you can find anything here, all at extremely good prices!

 

Day 9

 

Today we drive out of Saigon towards the great Mekong River delta. The first stop is at one of the many islands where we walk through a typical village and try out several different types of tropical fruit that are grown in the area. Travelling in small boats we continue our exploration through the narrow canals by visiting the aptly-named Coconut Island, where locals specialise in producing rice paper, coconut cakes and other local delicacies. Dappled sunlight filters through the wide leaves of the mangroves as we arrive at a typical local restaurant for lunch of local Mekong specialities, including the famous and delicious fried elephant ear fish! We return to Saigon in the afternoon.

 

Day 10

 

Your last morning in Vietnam and you have just enough time for a final walk round Saigon centre, before taking the short flight to Phnom Penh, stopping for two nights in the centrally-located four-star Himawari Hotel on bed and breakfast.

 

Day 11

 

We’ll visit the majestic Royal Palace with its silver pagoda and the fascinating National Museum. After lunch in a local restaurant, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum – originally a school, turned into the country’s most notorious prison by the Khmer Rouge, it now charts the terrible suffering during their occupation of the city. Following the final stop of the day, at one of the local markets, you will return to your hotel for the evening.

 

Day 12

 

We leave for the airport and our short flight to Siem Reap, staying three nights at the five-star Angkor Miracle Resort on bed and breakfast, it is extremely comfortable with two restaurants, a large pool and spa.

 

Day 13

 

Today we see the haunting soft morning light rise over the eerie temples of Angkor. Surrounded by jungle, shrouded in mist with a tropical dawn chorus reverberating in the air, this is something you will never forget! We visit the huge fortified 13th century city of Angkor Thom, with its five monumental gates, and 300-foot wide moat - its centre containing one of Angkor’s most remarkable sites, the temple of Bayon. Crowned by over fifty towers, each with four enormous carved heads looking out in every direction, this is an awe-inspiring masterpiece of Khmer art. We’ll also visit the smaller temple of Ta Prohm which has been left in its natural, un-restored state, with giant tropical trees bursting through the ruins, their roots clinging like vast tentacles across the walls and roofs. After lunch at a local restaurant and late in the afternoon we see the massive temple of Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious structures in the world. The main entrance faces due west to catch the rose-red glow of the setting sun, a truly magical time of day.

 

Day 14

 

Today we have left free for you to return to the many monuments of Angkor, explore Siem Reap or relax around the attractive pool at the hotel. Alternatively, you could take an interesting tour to the nearby lake of Tonle Sap to visit a floating village.

 

Day 15

 

At the appropriate time you will be taken to the airport for your return flight via Saigon (change of aircraft) connecting to our homeward direct flight to Heathrow.

 

Day 16

 

We arrive back in the UK in the morning after a truly unforgettable tour.

 

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room; thirteen nights on bed-and-breakfast in four & five-star hotels, five lunches; all flights as mentioned; guided tours of Hanoi, Halong Bay cruise, Hue, Saigon, Cu Chi tunnels, Mekong Delta and Phnom Penh, plus one-day entrance and guided tour of Angkor; services of an experienced Riviera tour manager. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement (date dependant) from £399 to £439 per person. Luggage allowance for internal flights is limited to one bag per person weighing no more that 20kg.

 

Return direct scheduled flights  Premium economy upgrades available at a supplement Stay in excellent quality four and five-star hotels with daily breakfast A fascinating tour visiting the major sights of Vietnam, the very essence of Indochina, experiencing its captivating blend of French colonial history, Vietnamese life and beautiful rural scenery Visit the vast ancient city and temples of Angkor in Cambodia - considered to be one of the greatest ancient sites in the world, comparable to ancient Rome or the Pyramids Stay and tour Phnom Penh, known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’ and considered the most beautiful of French colonial cities in Indochina Tour of Hanoi by cycle rickshaw, including the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum Take a leisurely cruise aboard a converted Chinese junk in the limestone archipelago of Halong Bay Visit the awe-inspiring Citadel and Forbidden City in the former imperial capital of Hue Stay in the heart of exciting Saigon visiting the fascinating Cu-Chi tunnels, a poignant reminder of the US-Vietnam conflict Enjoy a full day tour and cruise along the mighty Mekong River delta Daily breakfast and five meals included Escorted by an experienced tour manager

Melia Hanoi

 

Hanoi - the five-star Melia Hanoi (http://www.meliahanoi.com) is one of the city's premier hotels and its two high-rise towers offer outstanding panoramic views of the city's parks, lakes, tree-lined avenues and the crowded, crooked alleys of the old quarter. There's a huge colourful and bustling lobby, an outdoor pool, spa, fitness centre and beauty salon. Dining options include the Deli, with its delicious light snacks, pastries & desserts, the Cava Lounge for afternoon tea or a pre-dinner drink, an all-day dining international restaurant and a specialist Asian/Vietnamese restaurant. All the 306 elegantly decorated and spacious rooms are air-conditioned and include en-suite luxury bathroom, hairdryer & bathrobes, safe, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge in room, free in lobby), flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and tea/coffee-maker.

 

Imperial Hotel

 

Hue - the five-star Imperial Hotel (http://www.imperial-hotel.com.vn) is located in the centre of town, just a few short minutes’ walk from the Perfume River. There’s an outdoor pool, fitness room, an all-day dining restaurant, an excellent Japanese a la carte restaurant, a piano bar and a great rooftop bar on the 16th floor with spectacular views. All 195 rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, free wireless internet, safe, minibar, tea/coffee-maker and large windows with panoramic views across the city and the Perfume River.

 

Equatorial Hotel

 

Ho Chi Minh City - the five-star Equatorial Hotel (http://www.equatorial.com/hcm) is centrally located in the city’s fascinating Chinatown district. There’s a rooftop outside pool with bar, a fitness centre, spa & beauty salon. Dining choices include the new Orientica seafood restaurant & bar with its open show kitchen and teppanyaki counter, an all-day dining cafe with a very wide variety of cuisine on offer both as a la carte or a buffet and finally there’s a comfortable lounge serving afternoon tea & evening cocktails. All the 333 elegantly decorated and spacious rooms are air-conditioned and include en-suite luxury bathroom, hairdryer & bathrobes, safe, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge), flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and tea/coffee-maker.

 

Himawari Hotel - Phnom Penh

 

The four-star Himawari Hotel is very centrally located overlooking the wide Mekong River on one side and the Royal Palace on the other. There’s an outdoor pool & sun terrace with a poolside cafe serving drinks and snacks, a fitness centre and a spa. The hotel’s dining venues include an all-day dining buffet & a la carte restaurant with both Asian & continental cuisine and Cambodia’s one and only micro-brewery! All 115 spacious rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, cable TV, safe, fridge and small kitchenette and tea/coffee-maker.

 

Angkor Palace Resort - Siem Reap

 

The five-star Angkor Palace is nestled in 11 acres of grounds and offers the serenity of a secluded retreat with the splendour of five- star facilities including the outdoor pool, Spa, Sauna and Gym. There is a bar/lounge along with a couple of restaurants offering local and international dishes.  The 260 rooms are spacious, with wooden teak floors and warming colour schemes, in-keeping with Cambodian tradition of Khmer artistry and architecture.  All rooms are fully equipped with TV, air conditioning, free Wifi, minibar and safe.