Mother Indochina

Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi
The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon
'Junk' boat cruise among the limestone karsts of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay
Learn new road rules in Vietnam
Bond with your local guide in Thailand
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Phnom Penh
The tailors and market traders of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An
  • This trip has it all. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, beaches in Sihanoukville, history in Phnom Penh, and pho in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hanoi…

     

    Never heard of Indochina? Don't stress. You'll come for Angkor Wat, but you'll stay for the pho/amok/spring rolls (we could go on).

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Bangkok

    Markets, tuk-tuks, temples. What's not to like?

    Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. There will be a pre departure meeting at approx. 6pm tonight!

    Day 2-4 - Siem Reap

    Angkor Wat is the obvious highlight but you’ll get a real kick out of counting the faces of Bayon and the jungle of Ta Prohm. There’s a bit of temple overload here, so take some free time to haggle for souvenirs at the market or get a pedicure from thousands of tiny fish.

    • Take a bus to Siem Reap (approx 8 - 9 hours)
    • Optional Activities:
    • Visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant Terrace, Baphoun, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm and, of course, Angkor Wat. A sunrise or sunset at the temples is a must
    • Kick back in Siem Reap and just wander around the town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants
    • Depending on the season, perhaps visit Tonle Sap Lake to see local life
    • Get your heart pumping ith the flight of the Gibbon zip line adventures where you can feel like a bird flying through the jungle

    Day 5 - Kampong Cham

    Kampong Cham. Frontier charm, French-colonial character, etc. Hire a bike and pedal to Koh Paen island, if you want, or visit some nearby mountain temples.

    Travel by public bus to Kampong Cham (approx 4 hrs) - once an important trading hub and now a laid-back small town

    Optional Activities:
    Explore the serene 11th-century Wat Nokor
    Hire a bike to explore the island of Koh Paen, linked to Kompong Cham by a bamboo bridge (passable only in the dry season, take a ferry in the wet)

    Get a better understanding of ottage industries
    Perhaps travel further to the twin 'mountain temples' of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei.

    Day 6 - Phnom Penh

    Phnom Penh is somewhere you should go at least once in your life, which is good, because you're going there today. Visit the Killing Fields and Choeung Ek Museum. Cambodia puts hardship and horror into perspective so you don't have to.

    Optional Activities:

    • Join a bus to visit a reminder of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, the Choeung Ek Museum and the Killing Fields
    • Visit the Central Market, located in an old French colonial building - a good place to look for clothing or sarongs
    • Enjoy the rest of the day exploring Phnom Penh city
    • Perhaps stop by the Silver Pagoda, the temple of Wat Phnom, the National Museum and the French Quarter

    Day 7 - Homestay

    Meet and stay overnight with a local family, who will have you feeling welcome, humbled and lucky all at once. Tuck into a home-cooked Khmer meal. It's ace.

    Travel by private bus to rural Cambodia (approx 3 hrs)
    Witness everyday Cambodian life and enjoy a traditional-style dinner

    Facilities are basic and multishare with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets provided.

    Dinner

    Day 8-9 - Sihanoukville

    Visit the quiet beaches of Sihanoukville or scoot out to the nearby islands on a boat tour. You can even go on a tropical safari in Ream National Park, if you want.

    Take a private bus to Sihanoukville (approx 3 hrs) - named for the Cambodian royal family

    Sihanoukville is a beach town with warm, welcoming people.

    Optional Activities:
    Take a boat to one of the nearby islands, perhaps enjoy a barbecue lunch and relax on the beach
    Make a trip out to the Ream National Park - home to a variety of animal and bird species

    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Phnom Penh

    Shake the sand off your 'nads and jump on a bus back to the capital. Soak up more reminders of the country's horrific past in Tuol Sleng Museum, or visit Seeing Hands for a massage.

    Take a local bus to Phnom Penh (approx 4 hrs)

    Optional Activities:

    Perhaps visit the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison or indulge in a traditional massage at the Seeing Hands Massage parlour. An initiative set up to support the visually impaired masseurs, who also some of the best in the city

    Breakfast

    Day 11-12 - Ho Chi Minh City

    Take a bus to Ho Chi Minh City and submerge yourself in an ocean of motorbikes and madness. Explore this hub of vibrant life, smile at the locals and count yourself lucky for being in such an awesome place.

    Take a local bus to Ho Chi Minh City (approx 6-7 hrs) - a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West

    • Spend free time visiting all the city’s restaurants, bars, nightclubs and most interesting sights
    • Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral and the adjacent Gustav Eiffel designed Central Post Office are all within walking distance of each other
    • Consider hiring a ‘cyclo’ (bicycle rickshaw) for touring the city sights

    Day 13-14 - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City - overnight train

    Take a boat down the Mekong River. It's an experience that will fill you with joy, as will staying with a local family in the evening.

    Head down to the Mekong Delta and visit Ben Tre

    On arrival, board a private boat and cruise along the waterways to visit local cottage industries. 

    Head to our overnight homestay along the water.

    Sleep on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Shared toilet and bathroom facilities are basic.
    Rise early and enjoy a simple breakfast before boarding the boat, and catching a bus back to Ho Chi Minh City.
    Board an overnight train to Nha Trang - conditions are basic, but this is the best way to travel long distances in Vietnam. The berths sleep 4- 6 and you may be sharing with locals and different genders

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 15-16 - Nha Trang - overnight train

    Top up your criminally bad tan lines on the beaches of Nha Trang, take a boat to some islands or go for a mud bath (it's like a regular bath, but in wet dirt). You'll be chowing down on a seafood feast this evening.

    • Enjoy plenty of time to worship the sun during two full days in Nha Trang

    A great optional excursion (at additional cost) is a day to cruise around the islands where you spend stacks of time swimming and snorkelling and indulging in a lunchtime feast of freshly caught seafood

    • Board an overnight train to Danang

    Day 17-19 - Hoi An

    • Words like "untouched", "enthralling" and "atmospheric" get thrown at Hoi An all the time. They're not wrong, but we reckon "one of the best places you'll ever visit for reasons that are too complex and at the same time too perfectly simple to summarise in a tiny box of text such as this", is a much more accurate description.
    • Enjoy free time - there’s such a broad choice of things to see and do, and they can all be experienced without difficulty
    • Perhaps join an optional Vietnamese cooking class?
    • Perhaps rent bicycles and set off to explore the surrounding countryside, take a boat trip on the river, relax on the nearby beach, enjoy the cuisine on offer at some of the town’s numerous cheap cafes or have some clothes made up
    • Why not venture further afield to Vietnam’s world famous ‘China Beach’ (known locally as My Khe Beach) and the adjacent Marble Mountains
    • An optional visit to the Kingdom of Champa, the ancient ruins at My Son, can be completed in half a day

    Day 20-22 - Hue - overnight train

    Time for Hue. See ancient imperial ruins. Eat degustation-style Vietnamese cuisine. Take a cyclo tour. Sleep well. Repeat.

    Travel across Hai Van Pass to the fishing village of Lang Co. After a quick stop, continue on to Hue (approx 5 hrs including stops).

    Enjoy some free time, perhaps visit the Dong Ba market

    Check out the Forbidden Purple Palace and some royal tombs

    • Take a ‘Dragon Boat' cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda
    • Perhaps cycle out to one of the Royal tombs such as the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, one of the best remaining examples of its kind
    • Board overnight train to Hanoi

    Day 23 - Hanoi

    • Take an orientation walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter. Then go shopping (we recommend the Pho Hang Gai or Don Xuan Market). A water puppet show is a must for those who have an aversion to land, but a fondness for puppetry.
    • Take a walking tour of the Old Quarter,
    • Visit the Dong Xuan market, and stroll through the ancient '36 Streets'

    Day 24 - Halong Bay

    Visit an initiative that supports local people with disabilities, head out to the limestone karsts of Halong Bay, sleep on the jungle-clad Cat Ba Island (with a massive smile on your face).

    Drive through the Red River Delta to Halong Bay (approx 4 hrs), stop on the way for refreshments at a handicraft workshop run by disabled people
    Halong Bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with 2,000 limestone islands rising from the water
    Board a boat and cruise the bay with its limestone karsts rising from the clear emerald waters

    Enjoy a seafood lunch on board, explore some of the limestone caves in the area and go swimming during the warmer months
    Stay on Cat Ba Island. The foreshore is a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset

    Lunch

    Day 25-26 - Hanoi

    Travel by ferry to Tuan Chau, then take the bus back to Hanoi.

    Head back to Hanoi and spend time doing whatever the hell you want, unless it's illegal. Doing illegal things here can get you in the kind of trouble you'd rather avoid. Eat, shop, drink and relax. What more could you possibly want to do anyway!?

    • Enjoy some free time, wander around town and check out the lifestyles of Hanoi’s people
    • Perhaps visit One Pillar Pagoda near the Soviet-inspired mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
    • Or walk to the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first educational institute
    • The trip ends in the morning on Day 26
  • What's Included

    • An experienced local tour guide, all transportation, accommodation, meals and sightseeing as indicated.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
    27 Apr 2014 - 22 May 2014   On Request US $1,605 Contact Us
    11 May 2014 - 05 Jun 2014 3  Available US $1,560 Book Now
    08 Jun 2014 - 03 Jul 2014 6  Available
    US $1,560 On Sale
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    06 Jul 2014 - 31 Jul 2014   On Request US $1,605 Contact Us
    03 Aug 2014 - 28 Aug 2014 7+  Available US $1,560 Book Now
    07 Sep 2014 - 02 Oct 2014 7  Available US $1,605 Book Now
    05 Oct 2014 - 30 Oct 2014 5  Available US $1,560 Book Now
    23 Nov 2014 - 18 Dec 2014 7+  Available US $1,605 Book Now
    07 Dec 2014 - 01 Jan 2015 7+  Available US $1,655 Book Now
    28 Dec 2014 - 22 Jan 2015 7+  Available US $1,705 Book Now
    04 Jan 2015 - 29 Jan 2015 7+  Available US $1,605 Book Now
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    01 Feb 2015 - 26 Feb 2015 7+  Available US $1,560 Book Now
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  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

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26 days
$1404
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Nuts+Bolts

#GTMM
- 16
Boat, Ferry, Private bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Sleeper train
3 nights Sleeper train, 2 nights Homestay, 20 nights Basic hotel
Bangkok
Hanoi

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