20 days

Jewels of Indochina

Jewels of Indochina

'Junk' boat cruise among the limestone karsts of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay

Tuol Sleng Prison Museum

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat

Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi

Perfume River cruise to the Thien Mu Pagoda and royal mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc

The tailors and market traders of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An

Angkor Thom's stone-carved human faces

Cu Chi Tunnels - the underground network of the Viet Minh and Viet Cong

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Phnom Penh

Nha Trang cruise - the islands of the South China Sea

Phnom Penh's history

The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon

Trip rating
  • Discover the incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty of Cambodia and Vietnam. Delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh, view Vietnam's colourful history on the busy streets of Saigon and explore the colonial-era amongst the grand architecture of Hanoi. This trip offers places of breathtaking beauty, from the beaches of Nha Trang and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the jungles of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay. Add to that a mix of friendly locals and age-old traditions for the ultimate Indochina experience.

    Why we love it

    • Discover the incredible diversity, delectable cuisines, dramatic histories and natural beauty of Cambodia and Vietnam.
    • Delve into the dramatic Khmer legacy in Phnom Penh, view Vietnam's colourful history on the busy streets of Saigon and explore the colonial-era amongst the grand architecture of Hanoi.
    • This trip offers places of breathtaking beauty, from the beaches of Nha Trang and the backwaters of the Mekong Delta, to the jungles of Cambodia and the wonder of Halong Bay.
    • Add to that a mix of friendly locals and age-old traditions for the ultimate Indochina experience.

    Itinerary

    Day 1-2 - Phnom Penh

    • Sua s'dei! Welcome to Cambodia.
    • When you arrive in Phnom Pehn you will be transferred to a comfortable and centrally located hotel
    • A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening, to meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a welcome notice on the Peregrine notice board located near the hotel lifts. This will provide you with your tour leader's name and the exact time and location of your Welcome Meeting.
    • Keep in mind that you will need to bring your travel insurance details with you to the meeting.
    • There is nothing planned until this meeting, so we recommend you take to the streets of Phnom Penh and explore the city.
    • For those with extra time, a visit to the National Museum with its collection of classic Khmer craftsmanship is worth a visit.
    • After a pre-trip briefing, you will adjourn for dinner in the restaurant run by the Friends organisation (closed on public and school holidays when you will dine at an alternative restaurant).
    • During your free time after dinner, you might even choose to have a relaxing drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a great way to spend your evening.
    • Cambodia has a rich and diverse history, which is especially evident in its bustling capital. From the winding Mekong River, French-inspired colonial architecture, and proud Khmer pre-industrial empire, to the more recent devastation of the Khmer Rouge – Phnom Penh remains a living relic of the country’s past struggles and successes.
    • A full city tour will introduce you to the sights of Phnom Penh, a city that lies near the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers.
    • The private quarters of the Royal Palace are home to King Sihamoni and are therefore closed to the public; however, you will be able to visit the Silver Pagoda that lies in the palace complex, which is the most sacred temple in the country and was previously spared from destruction by the Khmer Rouge.
    • You can make an optional visit to Wat Phnom, the temple that gave rise to the foundation of the city in the 15th century.
    • The bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge is a painful, but unavoidable, part of Cambodia's recent history and visits to the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek tell the story of this tragic legacy.
    • (Note: These sites are a major part of sightseeing in Phnom Penh; however, if you do not wish to visit either of them, please inform your tour leader.)
    • An ideal way to spend your second evening to relax in a cafe by the riverfront.
    Ohana Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3-5 - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

    • You will catch a flight north to Siem Reap today, home of the great temples of Angkor. You'll notice a change of pace here, and wandering the streets you will find an abundance of local eateries and colourful markets.
    • On Day 4 you will spend a full day visiting the amazing temples of Angkor on a guided tour. Angkor Thom, the 'Great Royal City', is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone.
    • The impressive Bayon temple is the centrepiece. Angkor Wat is the largest and most complete structure. It is the only one of Angkor's temples with its entrance facing to the west (the others face east), the reason being that it was constructed as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and a westerly countenance was seen to represent a sunset.
    • Ta Prohm temple is an incredible sight, with large trees embedding themselves in the stone foundations of the structure. This demonstrates the true feebleness of man’s creations when confronted with the powerful force of nature.
    • It is an early morning start as you travel out to Banteay Srei, famous for its detailed and intricate stone carvings. It is not a big temple, but has been sometimes referred to as ‘the jewel in the crown of Angkorian art’.
    • Back at the main temple complex, Preah Khan contains a maze of vaulted corridors and is another complex that has been largely reclaimed by the jungle.
    • You have the opportunity to visit the Sala Bai Hotel School where underprivileged local youths learn skills that enable them to find gainful employment in the hospitality industry. You enjoy a lunch prepared by students at the school (please note that this is closed on public holidays and school holidays and an alternative restaurant will be used).
    • You will end the day with a sunset view of the temples.
    • Your ticket for the Angkor ruins enables you to spend more time exploring this memorable archaeological area.
    • Indulge with a traditional Khmer massage.
    • Visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), a place that rehabilitates animals that have fallen victim to wildlife trafficking and provides a breeding facility for highly endangered animal species. It is also a centre of education and information for the local population.
    • Learn to prepare Khmer food in a local cooking class (optional).
    • Enjoy a final Khmer dinner on your last night in Siem Reap.
    Steung Siem Reap Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

    • You will be transferred back to the airport, where you will say goodbye to Cambodia and fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
    • Please note that you are likely to be unescorted on this flight and will be met on arrival in Saigon by your Vietnamese tour leader or a local representative.
    • This evening you will gather together for another briefing with your Vietnamese tour leader. The meeting is followed by a Welcome Dinner at one of Ho Chi Minh City's many fantastic eating spots.
    Hoang Hai Long Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 7 - Mekong Delta

    • You will have the opportunity to enjoy a buffet breakfast at KOTO restaurant today. This restaurant is designed to give street children an education in hospitality.
    • After breakfast you will drive south to Cai Be for a boat cruise along the intricate and beautiful waterways of the Mekong Delta.
    • The Mekong Delta is renowned for its fertile land - rich in tropical fruits, flowers and rice. For this reason, it is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam.
    • You will visit an orchard in your cruise, where you will have the chance to taste some tropical fruits, before moving on to visit some local cottage industries.
    • As the sun starts to drop you will continue to your homestay, where you will be sleeping for the night. Here you will enjoy a beautiful home cooked meal of local specialties.
    • You will be sleeping in a dorm style room, with single camp beds. The beds will be fitted with bedding and mosquito nets. Keep in mind that the bathrooms and toilets are very simple, and will only have cold water available to them. This is very in keeping with the spirit of adventurous travel that you have undertaken to partake in!
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 8-9 - Ho Chi Minh City - overnight train

    • You will awake early with the locals today, and after breakfast you will be taken to visit the bustling Cai Be floating market – a place awash with colour and activity.
    • You will then return to Ho Chi Minh City via the Cu Chi Tunnels.
    • Cu Chi is actually the name of the district that covers an extensive underground network (approximately 200 kilometres) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong.
    • The tunnels contained hospitals, plus accommodation and schools, and were used extensively for refuge and storage and also utilised as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Saigon.
    • The 1968 Tet Offensive was launched from Cu Chi with surprising effect. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow tourists to get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty and also a bit claustrophobic!).
    • Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and the nation's economic capital, after visiting the tunnels you will partake in a short city tour that will take you to the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral, and will allow you to admire the many beautiful French colonial buildings, such as the main post office and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall).
    • You will then board an overnight train to Nha Trang. Overnight trains are not renowned for their cleanliness or opulence, but this is a true local experience, and it is also the best way to cover a long distance in Vietnam.
    • The trains are usually made up of four berth compartments, and sheets and blankets are provided, Some travellers prefer to bring their own sheets, but this completely up to you. There is a chance that you will be sharing your berth with people of different sexes and on occasion with people outside of your travel group.
    • There is a simple dining cart on the train, but it can be wise to stock up on bread, fruit and other delicacies prior to departure.
    Hoang Hai Long Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10-11 - Nha Trang

    • You will arrive in Nha Trang today, and spend the day exploring this idyllic seaside town. With palm trees, white sandy beaches and a hip cosmopolitan atmosphere, Nha Trang is often referred to as the Cannes of the Orient.
    • You will venture out on a boat to explore the nearby islands, as well as a fishing village. You will also have the chance to snorkel in the pristine water, feast on a fresh seafood buffet and enjoy soaking up some sunshine on the deck of the boat.
    Starlet hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 12-14 - Hoi An

    • You will take a short flight to Danang today, from where you will embark on a short minibus ride to Hoi An.
    • Hoi An was originally a Cham port town, but has been influenced by a myriad of traders from various cultures. There is a distinctly Chinese appearance with pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. Hoi An was once a bustling port in centuries gone by, before the river silted up. Today it is a delightful backwater town with an air of liveliness about it. The tranquility and charm of Hoi An, coupled with its low tiled houses, makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in Vietnam. It is a consistent favourite among travellers and staff alike. A tour will take you to a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum.
    • You get the chance to learn how to prepare Vietnamese cuisine in a cooking class. Better still, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour!
    • You will enjoy a free afternoon to make the most of delightful Hoi An and its surrounding areas. The market is a good place to buy silk that can be made up into fine garments, all within a day. Close to town there is a nice beach, which can be reached easily by bicycle.
    Thuy Duong 3 Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 15-16 - Hue

    • You will leave beautiful Hoi An today for Hue, stopping at China Beach and passing through the beautiful Hai Van Pass – a scenic, mountainous stretch of highway with views across Lang Co beach. You will also stop at this beach for lunch.
    • Hue is the hub of Vietnam’s historic past. The former imperial capital, Hue is an eclectic mix of busy streets and peaceful beauty.
    • You will visit the Imperial Citadel here, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter of these was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War – but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history, and offer a little insight into the horrific damage endured during the war.
    • You will take a boat cruise on the Perfume River next, before visiting the Thien Mu Pagoda – the unofficial symbol of Hue. The Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601.
    • You will also have the opportunity to visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees.
    • While you are in Hue, you will also enjoy lunch at a local nunnery or monastery – this not only allows you to sample some of Hue’s famed vegetarian food, but also offers an insight into Vietnamese Buddhism. This is also presents an opportunity for you to help keep these institutions alive through donations.
    Romance Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 17 - Hanoi

    • You will fly from Hue to Hanoi today.
    • Hanoi is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities. The northern capital is a quiet contradiction to its southern counterpart. Its relaxed ambience is a joy, and exploration by foot or bicycle is recommended. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city.
    • You will take a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting the major sights, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and paying a homage to Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh.
    • The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO café, an amazing project aimed at providing vocational training and experience in the hospitality industry for underprivileged young people.
    • In the evening there is an option to enjoy a performance of the unique Water Puppets.
    Lan Vien Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 18 - Halong Bay

    • You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag. It is a three-hour drive to famous Ha Long Bay, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders.
    • The views of sailing junks navigating past over 3000 limestone islands with rocky outcrops are nothing short of spectacular.
    • You will travel to Bai Chay (Halong City West) where you will board a boat for an exploration of the bay, enjoying a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available), as well as spending a night on board. We visit one cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim.
    • Conditions may be somewhat more communal compared to the usual hotel setting, but spending a night on the bay is such a wonderful experience. If the weather is obliging, the views at sunset are especially incredible.
    • There are only limited numbers of cabins on each boat, so the Single Supplement does not apply on the Halong Bay cruise, as all accommodation here is on a twin-share basis.
    • All boats used by Peregrine have twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning.
    • You may also have the chance to do some kayaking (optional and extra cost involved) while on Halong Bay.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 19-20 - Hanoi

    • In the morning you will sail back to the port, where you will disembark and drive back to Hanoi.
    • Arriving back in the capital, you will have free time to wander around and enjoy some of the city’s other attractions. Perhaps some shopping on Hang Gai Street, or afternoon tea at the Metropole Hotel?
    • You enjoy a final dinner in a Hanoi restaurant - a chance to farewell your fellow travel companions and new-found friends.
    • Your trip will come to an end after breakfast on Day 20.
    Lan Vien Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of an expert English-speaking local tour leaders throuhout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Angkor Wat; Phnom Penh's Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda; Cu Chi Tunnels; Hoi An historical sites; China Beach; Marble Mountain;
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Hai Van Pass, Thien Mu Pagoda and Emperor Tu Duc's Mausoleum; and Hanoi's One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh's House and Temple of Literature.
    • Mekong Delta boat journey.
    • Overnight homestay on Mekong Delta island, on beds in a large communal bedroom.
    • Overnight cruise on a traditional boat on Halong Bay with a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available) and accommodation in twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning.
    • Traditional boat cruise on the South China Sea.
    • Lunch at Sala Bai Hotel School prepared by underprivileged local youths training to work in the hospitality industry.
    • Breakfast at KOTO café in Hanoi – a project providing vocational hospitality training to underprivileged young people.
    • Perfume River cruise in Hue.
    • Internal flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and Danang (for Hoi An), and Hue and Hanoi.
    • Arrival transfer.
    • Accommodation: 16 nights comfortable hotel, 1 night overnight train, 1 night homestay, 1 night boat
    • Meals: 18 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Departure transfer
    • Insurance
    • Other meals
    • Any optional tours and activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature.

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Jewels of Indochina

    Eve - Australia, 16 Sep, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    For a first time group traveller I was very impressed with the local knowledge, professionalism, friendly and welcoming attitudes shown to me by my tour leaders, Miss Alann (Cambodia) and Ngoc Nguyen (Vietnam). The history and insight I gained about their respective countries, cultures and people was fantastic. Not only did I get to enjoy many amazing and interesting places and experiences but, I was also priviledged to be invited into Alann's family home.

    Jewels of Indochina

    sarah - United Kingdom, 30 Sep, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    This trip was brilliant! Covered everything I wanted to experience! This was my first tour with Peregrine, and I cannot wait to book the next one! All hotels were of a good standard, the coach was always clean and comfortable, and the local knowledge was second to none. I've loved every minute!! Thank you!

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PAJI
Start City: Phnom Penh , Cambodia
End City: Hanoi, Vietnam
Style: Small Group

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