Board a train, hit the road, cruise the waters and embrace some pedal power. There’s hundreds of ways to explore this crazy part of the world. We’ll show you just a few.
(Was Indochina Discoverer)
Day 1-2 - Hanoi
See One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature (no relation to the Temple of Doom) and Hoa Lo Prison (AKA Hanoi Hilton). Take an overnight trip on the Reunification Express, and laugh at all the snorers in your group.
- Arrive in Hanoi and get acquainted with the city. There will be a pre departure meeting at approx 6pm tonight!
- Begin by visiting the One Pillar Pagoda near the Soviet-inspired mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
- Walk to the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first educational institute
- Visit the Hoa Lo Prison, probably better known to most as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’
- Enjoy a free afternoon to wander around town and check out the lifestyles of Hanoi’s people
- Perhaps stop by the city’s Old Quarter, situated to the north of the lake
- Board the Reunification Express in the evening for the trip to Hue
Day 3 - Hue
Jump on bikes to see the Forbidden Purple Palace, royal tombs and nearby villages. If you happen to get bonked* while riding, you can re-energise on a dragon boat cruise up the Perfume River. *cycling slang for “running out of energy” (why, what were you thinking?).
- Mount local ‘shopping’ bikes, as they’re known here, and cycle down to the riverside
- Place the bikes on board a ‘Dragon Boat’, and enjoy a cruise up the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda
- Choose to either cycle back into town from here, approximately 8km, or staying on the boat to head back down river to the Citadel
- Spend a couple of hours exploring Hue’s massive walled citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace enclosed within
- 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
- Alternatively, set off on an optional motorcycle tour of the sights in Hue and some surrounding villages
Day 4-5 - Hoi An
Hoi An is like a living museum, minus the entry fee and fat security guard. We’re back on the bikes, so if you forgot to bring shorts just ask one of the same-day tailors to whip you up a spiffy new riding outfit.
- Enjoy a free morning to explore Hue under your own steam
- Take an enjoyable four-hour drive to Hoi An in the afternoon, through a region of rural and coastal Vietnam
- Pass through Lang Co Beach, and join Highway One through Hai Van Pass or, ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’
- Drive through the busy streets of Danang and pass by the massive former US airbase that was, in 1968, the busiest airport in the world
- Take a walking tour of Hoi An
- Enjoy free time - there’s such a broad choice of things to see and do, and they can all be experienced without difficulty
- 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’ 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
- Leave Hoi An and take the day train to Nha Trang
Day 6-8 - Nha Trang
The term “fresh seafood lunch” takes on a new meaning after watching your crew catch, cook and serve it in front of you while cruising on the South China Sea. There’s plenty of time to swim and snorkel before getting back on the Reunification Express.
Breakfast | Lunch
- Enjoy plenty of time to worship the sun during two full days in Nha Trang
- Head out onto the water for a day to cruise around the islands
- Spend stacks of time swimming and snorkelling
- Indulge in a lunchtime feast of freshly caught seafood and other delights for non-fish eaters
- Board the Reunification Express for the final time and make our overnight journey to Ho Chi Minh
Day 9-10 - Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
Three random facts about the Cu Chi Tunnels: A lot of the 250 km network was dug by hand; the Vietcong ran around the tunnels wearing sandals made from rubber tires; parts of the tunnel have been blasted out so westerners can fit.
- Wake to the sounds of frenzied activity this morning as the train rolls to a halt at Ho Chi Minh
- Choose to make the most of your time, by hiring a ‘cyclo’ (bicycle rickshaw)
- Crawl through a section of the Cu Chi Tunnels
- Learn how the brave men and women of Cu Chi built underground hospitals, kitchens and meeting rooms during their struggle
- Spend the last afternoon in Vietnam shopping in the city’s main business district, or take a cyclo ride through the busy city streets to Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown district, Cholon
Day 11-12 - Phnom Penh
See the Silver Pagoda, Royal Palace, Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Toast the end of a long day with a G & T at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
- Drive to Phnom Penh by VIP public bus
- Take a cyclo sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh to include the Royal Palace and the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison
- Join a bus to visit another reminder of the Khmer Rouge atrocities, the Choeung Ek 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 13-15 - Siem Reap - Angkor
Put on your history hat and your exploring pants as we take a full day tour of Angkor Wat (spanning 220sqm and 600 years of history). We’ll throw in plenty of free time so you don’t get all templed-out.
- Leave Phnom Penh on a private bus and head towards Siem Reap
- Follow the Tônlé Sap River and pass through fishing villages
- Drive out to the Angkor temple complex to watch the sunset from one of the structures; Phnom Bakheng, Pre Rup temple, Sras Srong, Phnom Krom or Phnom Bok
- Take an informative day-long tour of the Angkor complex, visiting 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
- Free time to do some exploring of your own
- Optional visit to the rose-coloured Banteay Srei Temple
- Perhaps visit Banteay Srei, located about 30 kilometres north of Siem Reap - considered to be the best preserved of all of Cambodia’s temples
- Optional trip with into the countryside to discover facets of rural life with a local site guide
- Kick back in Siem Reap and just wander around the town, visiting its market, shops and restaurants
Day 16 - Siem Reap - Bangkok
So you think you can haggle? Why not challenge the group to see who comes back with the best bargain. Hit MBK and Platinum for Bangkok’s best shopping. And may the best haggler win.
- Jump into local mini-vans for an adventurous journey to the Cambodian/Thai border town of Poipet
- Stop for lunch in the Thai border town of Aranya Prathet
- Continue on by local bus to Bangkok
Day 17-18 - Bangkok
Devote your last few days in Bangkok to answering the age-old question, ‘which Thai dish is the best?’ Contenders include tom yum goong (spicy Thai soup with shrimp), som tam (spicy papaya salad) and ghang keow wan (green curry).
- Take a short walking tour and visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
- Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs
- Day 18 is your final day, you are free to leave at any time after breakfast on this day (or even before breakfast if you prefer)
What to Know
• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guides throughout the tour, and local site guides at some sites.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Hanoi; Hue's Thien Mu Pagoda; Hai Van Pass; Hoi An; Saigon; Cu Chi Tunnels; Angkor temple complex; and Bangkok.
• Three journeys (including two overnight) on board the Reunification Express train.
• Bike ride around Hue and Dragon Boat cruise up the Perfume River.
• Day cruise on the South China Sea in Nha Trang, with a freshly-caught seafood lunch included (non-seafood options available).
• Cyclo tour of Phnom Penh including the Royal Palace and Tuol Sleng Prison. Visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and the Russian Market.
- 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.
Trip Dates and Prices
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