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Hanoi - Mai Chau - Lan Ha Bay - Hoi An - Siem Reap - Preah Vihear - Battambang - Phnom Penh

Adventure

Your journey at a glance

This 19-day adventure will take you through two of Southeast Asia’s most lively yet contrasting cultures. Begin your journey in Vietnam, where you’ll encounter the vibrant ethnic tribes of Mai Chau Valley, cruise amidst the breathtaking karst peaks of Lan Ha Bay, and bask in the timeless allure of Hoi An. And later in Cambodia, you can delve into the country’s rich culture at the jaw-dropping Angkor temples and uncover its storied past in the capital of Phnom Penh. Along the way, by going off the beaten path, it’s your chance to connecting deeper to the essence of this fascinating region as well as its wonderful people.

Brief

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi - City tour

Day 3: Mai Chau - Cycling tour

Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi

Day 5: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Day 6: Lan Ha Bay - Viet Hai Village

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Day 8: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Day 9: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Day 10: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Day 11: Siem Reap - Free & Easy

Day 12: Siem Reap - Angkor

Day 13: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap

Day 14: Siem Reap – Koh Ker

Day 15: Battambang - Bamboo train

Day 16: Battambang - Phnom Sampeou

Day 17: Phnom Penh - Craft villages

Day 18: Phnom Penh - City tour

Day 19: Phnom Penh – Departure

Hanoi - Mai Chau - Lan Ha Bay - Hoi An - Siem Reap - Preah Vihear - Battambang - Phnom Penh

Important Information

  • Uncover Hanoi’s street culture on a cylco
  • Pedal through rice terraces in Mai Chau
  • Cruise through karst peaks in Lan Ha Bay
  • Visit UNESCO heritage sites in Hoi An
  • Visit the world’s wonder Angkor Wat
  • Ride on a bamboo train in Battambang
  • Learn about Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh
  • Unlimited customization upon request
  • Instant support
  • Accommodation with breakfast in the central location and highly recommended on travel forum
  • Experienced local guide (language is upon request)
  • All entrance fees and sightseeing tickets as listed
  • Local dishes with hygiene (others are upon request)
  • Air-conditioned transfer during the whole tour
  • Complimentary water each day
  • Service charges and government taxes
  • Any extra services are upon request

This customized itinerary allows us to tailor the accommodation to your specific preferences and budgetary considerations. Our local travel experts will recommend accommodations that align with the unique requirements of your journey, ensuring comfort, convenience, and a memorable stay.

From local homestay, boutique hotels to renowned hotel chains, we prioritize collaboration with accredited and reputable accommodation providers, guaranteeing the highest possible standards of service and hospitality throughout your entire travel experience.

Detailed information about accommodation for this itinerary will be provided in the final tour proposal.

Here are some essential tips to keep in mind before your trip. Our team is here to help, so don't hesitate to reach out to us with questions.
- Visa & Passport: Check the visa requirements for your nationality well in advance. Also, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your trip.
- Health & Safety: Make sure you have suitable travel insurance and consult your healthcare provider about any vaccinations or medications you might need before you travel.
- Dress Code: Pack modest clothing, especially when you plan to visit religious sites or rural areas. Lightweight, breathable clothing is ideal due to the tropical climate.
- Travel Documents: Keep copies of important travel documents (passport, visa, and travel insurance) and store them in a separate place from the originals. It's also a good idea to have digital copies stored on your phone or in cloud storage for easy access.
For more helpful travel tips, check out our free Travel Guide. You can get your copy below:

Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Vibrant, inviting, and delightful – the city reveals itself with your first glimpse of scooters whizzing through the streets. Yet in contrast to the city’s modern tempo, the echoes of history still resonate in many architectural sites, reflecting the eras of dynasties and French influence.

No matter your flight schedule, our friendly guide and driver will warmly welcome you upon arrival and take you to your hotel in the city center. Once settling in, you will have a chance to explore Hanoi at your leisure. While no meals have been planned for today, why not fill your stomach with some local dishes? If your taste buds need direction, our guide can introduce to you a Vietnamese restaurant in Michelin Guide.

Overnight in Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - City tour

Day 2: Hanoi - City tour

Morning:
Today, let’s embark on a journey through Hanoi’s fascinating history and rich culture. We’ll start at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum to delve into the inspiring legacy of ‘Uncle Ho’, Vietnam’s beloved former leader. Next, a visit to his traditional stilt house nearby will provide insights into his presidential years during wartime. Following our exploration is the unique architecture of One Pillar Pagoda, shaped like a lotus blossom. Our guide then takes you to the Temple of Literature, hailed as Vietnam’s first university, with doctoral steles dating back 1000 years.

Afternoon:
After lunch, we will leave for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Returning to the city centre, you’ll hop aboard a cyclo and meander through the bustling streets of the Old Quarters, passing by vibrant shops and street food stalls. Our journey concludes at Hoan Kiem Lake, home to Ngoc Son Temple on Jade Island, accessed via the iconic The Huc Bridge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hanoi

Day 3: Mai Chau - Cycling tour

Day 3: Mai Chau - Cycling tour

Morning:
Get away from the crowded streets in Hanoi, we’ll have 3.5-hour car ride to the idyllic Mai Chau Valley. Hemmed in by rolling forested hills rising dramatically from the valley floor, Mai Chau is a separate world where the sounds of nature replace the buzz of traffic and the fresh air fills our lungs. Upon arrival, shake off that morning travel fatigue and savor a traditional lunch at your stay, overlooking the breathtaking panoramic views of verdant rice paddies.

Afternoon:
Mai Chau is a melting pot of diverse minority cultures. We’ll have a cycling tour along paved roads to the long stilt houses of Thai ethnic people. Engage with the locals learn about their rural but peaceful lives, and try your hand at traditional crafts such as embroidery or cloth dyeing. Continue pedalling, if you’re lucky, you might even encounter a peaceful herd of water buffalo returning from a day’s work in the fields. Afterwards, get back to your stay for a cozy dinner featuring local specialties and the famous “”bamboo”” dance.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight in Mai Chau

Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi

Day 4: Mai Chau – Hanoi

Morning:
Since the valley is beautifully flat, hiking is also a great way to discovering the hidden gems in Mai Chau. After breakfast, you’ll have a walk, passing by clusters of stilt houses and rice fields, to Chieu Cave. The climb up may be steep, but it’s worth it for the breathtaking view of Mai Chau that awaits you at the top. And the cave itself is a natural wonder, with striking stalactites and stalagmites that will leave you in awe.
Later, we can explore the nearby market and pick up some amazing handmade souvenirs crafted by the skilled locals to take back home.

Afternoon:
Before heading back to Hanoi, enjoy another delicious local lunch to keep you fueled for the journey. Once back in the city centre, it’s time for some free-spirited exploration! You can leisurely stroll through the charming old streets, enjoying the lively atmosphere of bustling locals. If you prefer a quieter vibe, our guide can lead you to tiny alleys tucked between street vendors, where you’ll discover secret upstairs cafes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight in Mai Chau

Day 5: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Day 5: Lan Ha Bay - Luxury cruise trip

Morning:
Let’s swap city bustle for serene seas today as we’re off on an exciting journey to Lan Ha Bay. After a cozy ride in a private car to the port, you’ll check in and board a luxurious cruise, ready to reveal the untouched beauty of this UNESCO-listed natural wonder. Once the captain sets sail, it’s time to fill your tummy with a delicious lunch and feast your eyes with odd-shaped limestone pillars and hidden coves along the way.

Afternoon:
A bamboo boat awaits to cruise you through a 70-meter water passage of Sang Cave, where you can marvel at the majestic limestone formations above your head. After that, our cruise will drop achor in Tra Bau, a tranquil area with emerald waters where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. When the sun sets, head back to the cruise for a breathtaking view from the top deck, followed by a traditional Vietnamese cooking class. Conclude the day with a delightful dinner and an overnight stay amidst the exotic landscape of Lan Ha bay.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight on cruise

Day 6: Lan Ha Bay - Viet Hai Village

Day 6: Lan Ha Bay - Viet Hai Village

Morning:
Waking up to the sunlight streaming through your windows, your day begins with a Tai-Chi session on deck and a warm breakfast after. Then, a boat will transfer you to Cat Ba Island, where we visit Viet Hai Village, nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by jungle-cladded mountains. Exploring this valley by bicycle offers fascinating insights into the secluded but peaceful life of the local inhabitants. Later, we return to our boat and enjoy lunch right on board.

Afternoon:
Heading to Three Peaches Area, you can make the most of this afternoon at your own pace with options including relaxing or swimming at the beach or kayaking through the calm water. As the sun sets, get back to our cruise. And why not treat your tired body to spa treatments, a steam bath, or a sauna after a whole day outside. We’ll end up our day with a luxury course meal and an overnight stay under the twinkling night sky.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight on cruise

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Cat Ba National Park

Morning:
Waking up to the melody of waves lapping against the cruise, your day begins with a Tai-Chi session on deck and a warm breakfast after. Today we return to Cat Ba Island for a hiking outing in Cat Ba National Park. Discovering this UNESCO biosphere reserve, it’s your chance to get to know a variety of rare species. Go further to explore Trung Trang Cave and marvel at its magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. After the cave exploration, save this time to soak in the panoramic bay views as we cruise back to the shore.

Afternoon:
Once we’re back in Hanoi, depending on the flight schedule, you’ll head to Da Nang in Central Vietnam. Our driver will be there to welcome and let you enjoy a bit of downtime in this city before heading to Hoi An.

Meals included: Brunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Day 8: Hoi An - Tra Que Village

Morning:
Today’s your chance to experience life as a local farmer. You can choose between a leisurely bike ride or a comfy ride in a private car to visit Tra Que Vegetable Village. Did you know this 400-year-old farm village actually supplies organic veggies for all Hoi An and its neighboring areas? When you arrive, get your hands dirty and learn the age-old art of cultivating and harvesting veggies alongside skilled farmers. Then, head to a local family’s home for a cooking class, where you’ll whip up your own traditional Hoi An lunch using freshly picked veggies from the village.

Afternoon:
After lunch, your tour guide will take you on an orientation walk around the UNESCO-listed Old Town. Our tour highlights include iconic landmarks such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Chinese Assembly Hall, Tan Ky Ancient House, and the bustling ChinaTown. The rest of the day will be on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 9: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Day 9: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Today is all yours to freely explore the beauty of Hoi An. Do you need some inspiration? These suggestions might be helpful for you:
– Why not bring back home a new wardrobe? Hoi An’s talented ateliers offer custom-made garments at affordable prices, tailored just for you in a matter of days.
– For all beach lovers, head to An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach, with white sand and crystal clear water (Make sure to only swim at areas with lifeguards!)
– When night falls, the best way to see the whole old town is from a boat on Hoai River. If you want a wish to come true, light up your paper lantern with a candle and release it into the water, just like the locals believe.
– And for dinner, let’s try some local cuisine. Hoi An is truly a food paradise! From famous banh mi to delicious ‘Com ga’, ‘Mi Quang’, or ‘Banh xeo’, there’s something for everyone, including vegan and Halal options.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 10: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Day 10: Hoi An - Free & Easy

Today is all yours to freely explore the beauty of Hoi An. Do you need some inspiration? These suggestions might be helpful for you:
– Have you ever heard about the traditional lantern crafting in Hoi An? It’s been going strong for over 400 years now! With over 30 workshops, you can easily find a place to make your own lantern.
– For all beach lovers, head to An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach, with white sand and crystal clear water (Make sure to only swim at areas with lifeguards!)
– And for dinner, let’s try some local cuisine. Hoi An is truly a food paradise! From famous banh mi to delicious ‘Com ga’, ‘Mi Quang’, or ‘Banh xeo’, there’s something for everyone, including vegan and Halal options.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in Hoi An

Day 11: Siem Reap - Free & Easy

Day 11: Siem Reap - Free & Easy

It’s time to say goodbye to Vietnam for the flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Three decades ago, Siem Reap was a small, dusty provincial gateway to one of the most remarkable Angkor creations on earth. The locals endured the rule of the Khmer Rouge stronghold in the 1970s, facing heinous war crimes. Only the most adventurous travelers visited Cambodia during decades of conflict and political turmoil. Until the early 90s, when peace finally descended on Cambodia, Siem Reap gradually transformed into a modern and safe tourism spot.

No matter your flight schedule, our friendly guide and driver will warmly welcome you upon arrival and take you to your hotel in the city center. Once settling in, you will have a chance to explore Siem Reap at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 12: Siem Reap - Angkor

Day 12: Siem Reap - Angkor

Morning:
Our day begins with a visit to Angkor Thom, a fortified city that houses iconic sites like the Terrace of Elephants, the Royal Enclosure, and the Temple of Bayon, known for its giant smiling Buddha faces. We’ll explore the dense tree canopy to discover the moss-covered ruins of Ta Prohm, a Buddhist temple made mainstream by the film ‘Tomb Raider’. Wander through its towers, courtyards, and corridors to find out intricate stone reliefs that are hidden by ancient giant roots and lush foliage.

Afternoon:
After lunch, we’ll pass by stone faces watching over us at South Gate of Angkor Thom to reach Cambodia’s national icon and Khmer people’s pride, Angkor Wat. Do you know that this UNESCO-listed wonder stands as the world’s largest temple monument? The sacred site holds significant cultural importance in Hindu mythology, symbolizing the peaks of Mount Meru, the Gods’ dwelling. Explore further to admire intricately carved bas reliefs depicting the king in battle and graceful Apsara dancers.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 13: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap

Day 13: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap

Morning:
We’ll start our journey by heading to the outskirts of Siem Reap. Our first destination is the picturesque Preah Dak village, offering a glimpse into the local country life. Continue to the terracotta-hued walls of Banteay Srei, also known as the “Citadel of Women,” where you’ll be mesmerized by intricate 10th-century carvings depicting female characters. Returning to the city center, we’ll visit the impressive Banteay Samre, constructed during the same period as Angkor Wat and renowned as one of the finest and most intact Khmer monuments.

Afternoon:
After lunch, we’ll journey south to experience life on the expansive Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is also a vital source of fish towards the locals’ livelihood. Get on a kayak and explore this exotic landscape, where hundreds of fishing families reside in stilted wooden houses positioned directly above the water. Afterwards, you can freely discover the beauty of Siem Reap.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 14: Siem Reap – Koh Ker

Day 14: Siem Reap – Koh Ker

Morning:
Today, we’ll leave Siem Reap and drive through the beautiful Khmer countryside, passing charming villages and endless rice paddies. Our first stop is the breathtaking Beng Mealea, which has been engulfed by the jungle for centuries. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you explore this ancient temple, with tree roots and vines slowly overtaking the ruins. Then, we’ll head to Koh Ker, a hidden treasure in northern Cambodia that was once a bustling capital of the Khmer Empire. Here, we’ll discover over 30 major structures and some of the 100 minor sacred buildings.

Afternoon:
After lunch, return to the centre of Siem Reap and enjoy the city at your own pace. The magnificent architecture of the Angkor period often steals the spotlight, causing many to overlook Cambodia’s culinary heritage. Tonight, treat yourself to the distinct flavors of Cambodian food. Savor the national steamed fish curry ‘Amok’, flavorful meat skewers, or freshly mixed green mango salad ‘Nhoam Svay Kchai’. These mouthwatering dishes are easily found at any bustling night markets in Siem Reap.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 15: Battambang - Bamboo train

Day 15: Battambang - Bamboo train

Morning:
We will have a 3-hour journey to Battambang, known for its laid-back atmosphere compared to the livelier hot spots. Upon arrival, we’ll first explore the captivating complex of Wat Ek Phnom. This enchanting temple, dating back to the 11th century, features partially collapsed structures surrounded by remnants of a laterite wall and an ancient reservoir.

Afternoon:
After enjoying your lunch, our day continues with a visit to Wat Slaket, a serene monastery and pagoda situated along the scenic Sangker River. Then, immerse yourself in the local culture at a nearby market, where you can observe the traditional process of making Prahoc, a Cambodian fish paste. Finally, you’ll experience a unique ride on the bamboo train, locally known as ‘norry’. The locals have ingeniously constructed a train consisting of nothing more than a bamboo platform powered by motors. And it can be set up or taken down in just a few minutes! Along the train route, you’ll pass by colonial bridges, picturesque countryside, and lush jungle landscapes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Battambang

Day 16: Battambang - Phnom Sampeou

Day 16: Battambang - Phnom Sampeou

Morning:
We’ll head out to the outskirts of Battambang for a thrilling discovery, starting with Phnom Banan. Climb 358 laterite steps to reach the top, where you’ll be greeted by five sandstone towers overlooking the Sangker River, surrounded by sugar palm trees, rice fields, and charming villages. Afterward, we’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon:
Continue our journey by exploring Phnom Sampeou, a lesser-known mountain but steeped in Cambodian history. As you ascend about halfway to the summit, take a moment to respectfully pause at the Killing Caves of Phnom Sampeau. Pay homage at the glass-walled memorial, which houses the skeletal remains of victims brutally killed and then discarded into the cave by the Khmer Rouge. Afterwards, you can spending some time exploring the complex of Wat Sampeou atop the mountain until dusk. As the sun sets, return to the mountain’s base and marvel at the mesmerizing scene of bats pouring from a cave to begin their nightly hunt. Make sure your camera is fully charged all day long, as this is a moment you won’t want to miss.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Battambang

Day 17: Phnom Penh - Craft villages

Day 17: Phnom Penh - Craft villages

Morning:
Prepare a small bag with all necessary items as we’ll have a 5-hour car journey to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. While it may seem lengthy, you’ll find excitement in our stops at age-old craft villages, offering insights into the country’s rich culture. Our first destination is Andong Russei Village in Kampong Chhnang, renowned for its pottery craft dating back over 1,500 years. Nearly every household in the village is involved in ceramics, showcasing pottery of various shapes and patterns. Remember to greet the locals with a smile and say ‘suosdei’ or ‘joom reab sou’. These warm-hearted villagers are always ready to welcome and teach you about traditional clay pot-making by hand. Later, we’ll visit a bustling fish market to witness the freshest catches of the day before enjoying lunch at a nearby local restaurant.

Afternoon:
Continue to Pol Toch Village in Kandal province, renowned for its skilled silversmiths who create exquisite silverware and jewelry. You can pick up some unique souvenirs to take back home. Upon arriving in Phnom Penh, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the city or simply relax at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Phnom Penh

Day 18: Phnom Penh - City tour

Day 18: Phnom Penh - City tour

Morning:
We’ll begin with a visit to the Royal Palace, used to be the official residence of King Sihamoni. Right within the royal complex, we’ll explore the Silver Pagoda, which is covered with 5 tonnes of gleaming silver. Inside is a stunning collection of Buddha statues made of precious metals. Next, we’ll head to Wat Phnom, situated atop the only ‘hill’ in town. Fun fact: Legend has it that this temple’s spiritual tale, centered around its founder Lady Penh, drew countless visitors and contributed to Phnom Penh’s expansion. As a tribute to Lady Penh, this capital was later named after her.

Afternoon:
Get ready in formal attire because we’re heading to the “”Killing Fields”” of Choeng Ek and Tuol Sleng Museum (formerly the S-21 prison). These places resemble the pages of a tragic history book, documenting the darkest chapter of Cambodia under the dictatorship of Khmer Rouge. Take a moment to pay tribute to the thousands of Cambodian who were detained and subjected to torture at S-21 before being sent to the extermination camp. Later, if there’s time, we can explore Toul Tumpong Market for some shopping.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Phnom Penh

Day 19: Phnom Penh – Departure

Day 19: Phnom Penh – Departure

Your journey across iconic destinations in Vietnam and Cambodia comes to its end. After breakfast today, you’ll get the morning to yourself – no scheduled activities. Whenever you’re ready to go, our attentive driver will be ready to take you to the airport, ensuring a seamless transition for your departing flight. Until our paths cross again on your next adventure, safe travels!

Meals included: Breakfast

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