This tour is designed to provide innumerable learning and orientation opportunities to students as we travel from Hanoi in the north to Saigon in the south and from Saigon to Siem Reap in Cambodia.We will discover the two great heritage sites of Vietnam and Cambodia: Halong bay one of the seven natural wonders of the world and Sieam Reap with Angkor temple complex a UNESCO World Heritage Site besides numerous other exciting sights in these two wonderful countries. The other activities include a city tour of Hanoi, Saigon, farming in Hoi An, a cooking class in Hanoi and Hoi An ancient town.
We ensure the students get maximum exposure by keeping them actively engaged in the local culture by offering numerous interactive activities, so that they not only see but participate in the local culture. The students will also have an opportunity to do some community service, making their trip a responsible and emotionally fulfilling one.
Day 1: Arrival Hanoi (D)
Upon arrival in Hanoi we will be met by our friendly guides and then transferred to the hotel. Before our official ‘welcome’ dinner we will have one hour cyclo ride through the Old Quarter and then experience an evening performance of the city’s famous Water Puppets.
Day 2: Hanoi (B,L,D)
This morning we will venture out to explore Hanoi. First up we will drive to the Ho Chi Minh complex where we will spend time at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, his former stilt-house, the Presidential Palace, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar Pagoda. After lunch we will visit the Museum of Ethnology and the infamous eye-opening Hanoi ‘Hilton’ prison. We will also be able to do a spot of shopping. Shopping in the old quarter ranges from markets through to designer boutique stores to amazing contemporary art galleries.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong (B,L,D)
This morning, after a sumptuous breakfast, we will leave for Halong Bay. Our buses will leave the hotel at 8:00am and will travel through breathtaking scenery en route to a World Heritage area of outstanding beauty. Upon arrival we will board our private boat and spend the next 4 hours cruising around this secluded bay which has been referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. Whilst cruising we will feast on a seafood extravaganza for lunch, explore forgotten caves and have the opportunity to canoe or swim from the boat. Later that afternoon we will board the bus and head back to Hanoi for dinner. After dinner we will spend some time perusing the local markets in the hope of snapping up a bargain
Day 4: Hanoi – Hue (B,L,D)
This morning after breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our short flight to the former imperial city of Hue. After checking in to our hotel and then enjoying some outstanding regional cuisine for lunch we will embark on a scenic boat trip along the Perfume River to visit the Ming Mang Tomb and the Thien Mu Pagoda, which built in 1601 is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. After this we will visit the Ancient Imperial Citadel enjoying the experience whilst riding in cyclos. Our dinner tonight will put an exclamation mark on an outstanding day.
Day 5: Hue – Hoi An (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we will board our buses and depart Hue for Hoi An; travelling along the high pass of Hai Van with its spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Today we will visit the Cham Museum, Marble Mountain, “China Beach” and finally Cu Dai Beach to check into our hotel. After check-in we will have some free time before dinner.
Day 6: Hoi An (B,D)
Today we will undertake a walking tour through the World Heritage listed town of Hoi An. Often featured in newspapers and travelling shows such as ‘Getaway’, this small quiet town is now a very popular spot to visit. Hoi An is known for its excellent food, interesting architecture and countless tailors. So whether its a new pair of shoes or an outfit that you’re after there is something here for you. And of course if you need a break from it all, sit down in one of the many coffee shops where the smell of french pastries will be just too tempting to resist!
Day 7: Hoi An – cooking class (B,L)
We have an early start today and after breakfast will make our way into Hoi An town to Hai Scout Cafe. After a welcome drink, we will visit Hoi An’s colourful market to experience the sights, sounds and aromas of this amazing place. During our market experience we will have the opportunity to interact with local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in our impending cooking lesson. We will then board a private boat for a leisurely cruise along the Thu Bon River which will take us to the Red Bridge Cooking School. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours with each dish first being demonstrated by the Red Bridge’s master Chef before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving and plate decoration. After the lesson we will sit down and enjoy what we have just prepared for lunch. Once we have finished we will catch our boat back to Hoi An town were you will have some free time before we transfer back to the hotel.
Day 8: Hoi An – Danang – Ho Chi Minh City (B,D)
After breakfast today you will have some free time to enjoy some swimming, beachfront volleyball or even a well earned sleep in! Around 11.30am we will transfer back to Da Nang for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formally known as Saigon). Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City you will transfer to your hotel and then set off for lunch (today will be a student favourite – KFC!) After lunch your group will visit Cho Lon (Ho Chi Minh City’s China town) and then spend time at the War Remnants Museum where you will see countless artefacts, photographs and pictures documenting the tragic Vietnam War. To finish the day your group will have a great time trying to snap up a bargain at the Ben Thanh Markets before heading off to a fine local restaurant for dinner.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi (B,L,D)
After breakfast we will depart our hotel for the Reunification Palace (the former Presidential Palace of the President of South of Vietnam), the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office. After lunch we will set off for the Cu Chi tunnel system; a complex maze once home to Communist guerrillas in their wars against the Japanese, French, Americans (and Australians). Before entering the tunnels, we will watch a short introductory video ( a great example of propaganda and one which History students could analyse particularly with respect to perspective, reliability and usefulness) and then explore Cu Chi. Also on display are various mantraps, the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters created by 500lb bombs dropped by B52 bombers. Once we are finished at Cu-Chi we will drive back to Ho Chi Minh City to freshen up before dinner.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap (B,L,D)
This morning we will take the short flight to Siem Reap. Upon landing we will be met by our tour guides and transferred to the hotel. After check-in we will sit down for our first experience of Khmer cuisine and then make our way to the majestic Ta Prohm Temple. Dinner tonight will be a feast of local dishes as well as western favourites. At dinner we will also be entertained by a traditional Aspara dance performance.
Day 11: Angkor Temple Complex (B,L,D)
After breakfast we head off to visit the main sites of the ancient royal capital of Angkor Thom. Interestingly Cambodia’s national flag features a silhouette of Angkor, the ensign being the only one of all the nations to feature a building. In the afternoon we visit the most famous of temples; Angkor Wat before enjoying the sunset from the top of Bakheng Hill. Tonight our farewell dinner will be an Italian feast at the FCC Angkor which sits at the heart of Siem Reap Town. Overlooking the Siem Reap River, this renovated French Governor’s mansion is the perfect place to enjoy our final formal dinner together. After dinner we will make our way back to the hotel to prepare our bags for tomorrow’s departure.
Day 12: Siem Reap – Departure (B)
This morning after breakfast we will check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for our flight home.
Tour ends. Thank you for traveling with us! We look forward to serving you again.