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Jetset through Vietnam visiting the must-see attractions of Hanoi and Saigon, followed by the temples of Angkor in Cambodia! If you’ve only got 9 days and want to be whisked around without any fuss, then this is the Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary for you. Our guides and support staff will do all the hard work to ensure that you get the most out of this fast paced trip.
Start in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, with its French colonial architecture, bustling old quarter. Spend two days on breathtaking Halong Bay where thousands of limestone rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea. Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam, a sprawling metropolis with its Vietnam-American war history including the Cu Chi tunnels, and a day trip to the bustling Mekong Delta.
Fly from Saigon to Siem Reap in Cambodia, home to the fabled city of Angkor. Discover temples including Angkor Thom the ancient royal city of the Khmer Empire and Ta Prohm, buried in the jungle. Marvel at the morphing scene of Angkor Wat as the setting sun washes this mysterious monument in haunting red hues, and finally explore Banteay Srei, the jewel of Khmer art, with its red sandstone walls decorated with elaborate carvings.
Our Express itineraries cover the must-see attractions with a priority on enjoyment and convenience. All itineraries can be customised to suit your personal tastes. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Hanoi, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.
Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city and home to seven million people. Traditional and refined, with French colonial architecture, tree-lined boulevards, scenic lakes and a bustling Old Quarter, Hanoi has a sophisticated charm. Observe elderly people practicing Tai Chi by the lake, with barbers and food vendors plying their sidewalk trade.
Hanoi has many great restaurants with French, Vietnamese and international cuisines available. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.
Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Hanoi in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.
Accompanied by your guide, the day starts with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” resides. See the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda which rests on a single stone pillar emerging from the water, and then explore the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, to gain an overview of Hanoi culture and ancient Vietnamese architecture.
In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Ethnology offering a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Enjoy a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter before ending the day with a show at the water puppet theatre – a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history.
Itinerary Option: Your Guided tour can include alternate attractions like the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) and/or the Fine Arts Museum. Our staff can provide advice based upon your interests.
Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay and board your deluxe junk for your overnight cruise. Marvel at the dramatic vista and relax onboard, as you sail amongst the thousands of limestone islands that rise from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea and the numerous caves and grottoes have created an enchanting, timeless world.
Set sail through Bai Tu Long Bay whilst a seafood lunch is served, then sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as you cruise past various islands en route to Cua Van fishing village. Explore the floating village by bamboo rowing boat. Visit Tien Ong Cave before returning to the junk for sunset cocktails and canapés, followed by dinner served on the deck or in the restaurant.
Why not begin the day with a Tai Chi class on the top deck? Or just admire the beautiful scenery as the sun rises over the azure waters. Choose between an excursion to a secluded island with a sandy beach for a morning swim, or join the chef for a cooking demonstration to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoy a buffet brunch as your junk cruises Halong Bay, passing islets and caves as you make your way back to the dock.
You have the option to visit a pottery workshop on the trip back to Hanoi before flying to Saigon in the afternoon. Meet your guide on arrival in Saigon and transfer to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Saigon, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam is a sprawling metropolis of ten million people. Formally renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam-American war, locals still refer to Saigon. With thousands of motorbikes zipping past luxury cars, French colonial buildings dwarfed by modern skyscrapers and traditionally dressed school girls riding bicycles past trendy city workers, Saigon is an exciting city of contrasts.
Saigon is a city that never sleeps and offers a plethora of great restaurants and bars catering to all tastes, from street food vendors to the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel, where international correspondents covered the Vietnam War and where the U.S. military attaché’s press briefing was held daily and dubbed the “Five O’clock Follies”. Whatever your interests, be sure to ask your guide for personal recommendations.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are an immense network of interconnected tunnels near Saigon that are part of a much larger network lying below much of the country. A guided visit to these tunnels provides a better understanding of their history, the hardship of life underground and the resilience of the Vietnamese during combat.
The tunnels were built and used initially by the Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots to protect them from the French air and ground sweeps. They later served as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for the guerrilla fighters throughout the Vietnam-American war.
You're invited to enter a section of the tunnels to witness the secrets of the tunnels firsthand. Your guide will also show you various mantraps employed from this period, the remains of an American tank and numerous B52 bomb craters. There is also the opportunity to fire an M60, M16 or AK47 rifle at the range next to the tunnel complex.
After returning to Saigon, learn about the city’s historic landmarks as you tour the city with your guide. Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick building with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris, then head across the square to the Central Post Office designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel. Next stop is the former Presidential Palace, headquarters to the Saigon Government during the Vietnam-American war. You may also like to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight into the Vietnam-American war from a Vietnamese perspective.
Skyscrapers are replaced by rice paddies and fruit farms as you travel by road into the Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Vietnam. Witness daily life in the stilt houses and fish farms that you pass as your driver navigates the maze of canals in the traditional wooden motorboat.
Experience the vibrant energy of the floating markets where vendors trade their produce between the floating boats in a uniquely Mekong Delta fashion. Sample freshly picked exotic fruits from a small island orchard as the farmer before lunch served in a traditional Mandarin house where four generations of one family live. Walk back or be rowed in a sampan to your motorboat to return to the pier before travelling by road back to Saigon.
Get a late flight from Saigon to Siem Reap and meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. Your guide will make arrangements for the following day.
Wake up to Siem Reap. Situated in the north west of the country, Siem Reap is an enchanting town with Chinese-style shop houses, French colonial architecture and tree lined boulevards. It is the gateway to the World Heritage ancient temple ruins of Angkor, eighth wonder of the world and spectacular ancient capital of the powerful Khmer Dynasty. As well as the myriad of awe-inspiring temples and Khmer relics to explore, Siem Reap and its rural outskirts offers craft villages, silk farms, Khmer cuisine cooking classes, traditional Cambodian “apsara” dance performances and the floating villages on the tranquil waters of Tonle Sap Lake.
Explore temples of the World Heritage Angkor complex with your guide. Start with a visit to the picturesque and atmospheric Ta Prohm, built in 1186. This fascinating jungle-clad temple is one of Angkor’s most impressive and most beautiful structures. Over centuries the fig tree roots have engulfed the temple’s huge stone blocks, crumbling towers and walls. The living jungle is reclaiming this Buddhist temple, shrouding the courtyards and corridors in dappled sunlight, and creating a haunting and exotic atmosphere.
In the afternoon, visit one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites, the iconic temple of Angkor Wat. The largest and most breathtaking of Angkor’s monuments, this vast temple was constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and is the largest Hindu structure in the world. Angkor Wat is orientated towards the west, symbolically the direction of death. It is home to hundreds of beautiful carvings of Apsara and Hindu mythology and boasts some of the most well preserved carvings in the region. As you stroll the massive hallways you discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. Return to one of the grass terraces in front of the five massive towers of Angkor Wat to watch the sun setting over the temple complex. Afterwards, return to your hotel in Siem Reap.
Depart this morning with your guide to visit temples of the World Heritage Angkor complex. Visit Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city and former capital of the Khmer Empire. The fortified city of Angkor Thom consists of several temples including the Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. Enter the city through the impressive South Gate and drive towards the centre piece, the Bayon Temple.
At first glance the temple appears as a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking in every direction. There are over 200 huge carved faces that stare down from fifty four towers. Continue your exploration with a visit to the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King viewed the victorious return of his army. Then visit the Terrace of the Leper King with detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage that leads to the Baphuon.
After time for lunch in Siem Reap, set off again to explore Banteay Srei temple, the jewel of Khmer art, built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. This red sandstone temple is one of Angkor’s most significant structures. The temple walls are covered in elaborate and well preserved carvings that provide an insight into the Angkor people and their beliefs. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel in Siem Reap.
On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:
Note that the schedule above refers to the Jasmine and Ginger luxury sailing Junks. The schedule on the Halong Bay Sails junk used on the budget price standard differs, although it is similar.
Jasmine / Ginger
The Jasmine and Ginger are luxury sailing junks with polished woodwork, French Indochina design, refined Asian decor and golden sails. The sundecks are complete with lounge chairs giving you the opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery of Halong Bay. Relax at the bar and enjoy meals in the restaurant where lavish international brunches, casual Vietnamese lunches and formal dinners are served.
The cabins offer panoramic windows or private balconies, with individually controlled air conditioning and glass standing showers. Various optional activities are offered including kayaking to explore the bay’s uninhabited islands and caverns, tai chi, cooking classes and wine tasting.
GetAboutAsia recommend these Heritage Line junks for our Halong Bay one and two night stays due to the fantastic feedback received from our customers and from our own experience on these amazing boats. With our good relationship with Heritage Lines, we also believe these boats represent good value for this once in a lifetime experience.
Jasmine / Ginger Junk Photos
Halong Bay Sails
The Halong Bay Sails is a traditional wooden junk with modern facilities and amenities. Cabins are decorated simply but comfortably, with large windows, en-suite showers and air conditioning. The restaurant serves fresh seafood caught locally, and the bar serves coffee and cocktails. There is a large sundeck complete with sun lounges enabling you to relax and enjoy the beauty of Halong Bay.
Excursions are similar to those on the Jasmine / Ginger junks, and include trips to floating villages or exploring rock formations by boat or kayak.
The Halong Bay Sails is used on the budget itinerary option.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $2,442|
|Superior:||from AU $3,030|
|Deluxe:||from AU $3,767|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels or Halong Bay Junk each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.
This trip package includes 2 internal flights (Hanoi - Saigon and Saigon - Siem Reap) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.
Visa for Vietnam
When obtaining your visa you should allow 2-3 weeks for processing, the cost is approximately US$60 to US$100. Check with your embassy or consulate for further details. The Vietnamese Embassy in Edgecliff, Sydney has been known to issue a visa in 4 working days if all the correct documents are submitted at the time of application.
Visas for Cambodia
It is possible to obtain your Cambodian visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh or Siam Reap international airports or any border crossing for approx. US$30 (cost subject to change) - you will need 2 passport photos.
Availability of accommodation and season.