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Transfer to your elegant hotel, which was once the home of royalty. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Stroll through the manicured hotel gardens, relax under the frangipani trees beside the magniﬁcent architect-designed pool or perhaps enjoy a massage to ease your way into your holiday. At 19:00 meet your Travelling Concierge and fellow travel companions for your Welcome Dinner at Mahob, set in a traditional Khmer wooden house you will enjoy delicacies created from locally produced ingredients.
Explore Angkor Archaeological Park accompanied by a renowned archaeologist. Begin with Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm, the temple is a perfect example of how nature crept in and reclaimed its land after the fall of the Angkorian empires. Finishing the day with a sunset over Angkor Wat, it is easy to see why it has become the symbol of Cambodia and took 30 years to build. Step outside for sunset and admire the views as the last light of day shines on the temple. This evening, join a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Set up in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps who learned about using art as a means of coping with trauma. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. The theatre supports the lives of local at-risk youth through gainful employment in the arts. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant Malis. Malis was born out of a desire and passion to restore Cambodian cuisine to its former glory and put Cambodia back on the map as a culinary destination. Renowned for its fresh seasonal produce, delicate flavours, and generous hospitality, this flagship restaurant of Master Chef Luu Meng and his team offer cuisine from the past that has been adapted to the present.
Fly to Ho Chi Min City to start the next part of your journey. Once you have checked in to your central hotel you will meet up with your fellow travellers. This evening enjoy a Welcome Dinner in one of the busy rooftop restaurants of Saigon and watch the lights of the city from a perfect vantage point.
See the best of Saigon as you travel from the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy ﬁelds scattered along the Saigon River by speedboat. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were like. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Ofﬁce. Over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for local street-side cafe culture.
Travel to the Mekong Delta and board a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of juice fresh from the fruit. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you'll enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper.
Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cyclo's ride to Phu Mong village, take in a traditional garden house and craft houses, enjoy a serene life here. You will be impressed by green sceneries on the journey. This evening, take a visit to a special venue where it's not only a dining place but also a culture exchange experience - Ben Xuan Garden House Theatre. It is set in a magnificent structure built in Hue royal architectural style — located by the Perfume River between Thien Mu pagoda and the Temple of Literature Van Thanh.You are invited to meet with the owner Ms. Camille Huyen - a celebrated painter, singer and all-around renaissance woman with royal ancestry and her husband, a former Swiss banker. Combined, the two put on an intimate and welcoming hosted meal which includes a stroll of their own designed traditional house and a small concert that features Huyen on vocals, accompanied by local musicians playing traditional instruments, a scrumptious meal. Chat with the family about their career and life in the Western world and how the nostalgia brings them back to their hometown to nourish their dream and passion.
Rise early for a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant on the Perfume River with views of the Thien Mu Pagoda. After lunch you will meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you.
Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be enchanted by the historic wonders and sleepy charm of UNESCO-heritage Hoi An. Spend a half day with a local guide, exploring the ancient town. Explore former merchants’ homes, colourful communal halls, narrow lanes lined with traditional houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Leave the crowded venue behind and discover some untouched stories in the beautiful old town.Meander down the small alley to discover an ancient house where the art of healing through martial art is passed down through generations. This healing method is the master’s invention, combined between Qigong and traditional Vietnamese martial art. Have a chance to learn some basic steps under the guidance of the master. This evening, choose to dine at restaurants focusing on traditional local cuisine, modern Vietnamese or East-meets-West fusion.
Visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you'll learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese folk games and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef. Savour your creations for your Highlight Lunch.
Board a morning ﬂight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi’s robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city’s very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travelling Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby.
Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you'll have the choice to learn more about local cuisine with an on-board cooking demonstration, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner.
Start the day with Tai Chi on the upper deck while cruising through the limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy a brunch on-board as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. Journey back to Hanoi where the evening is at leisure.
Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the ﬁrst university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast to your travels during your Celebration Dinner.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.
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