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Thien Mu Pagoda
Sung Sot Cave
Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An
Iconic cities, fascinating history, and unique culture come together in two incredible Southeast Asia destinations. Positively packed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, explore Hue’s Imperial City by cyclo (a bike taxi), and visit a 600 year-old port district in Hoi An. Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay, featuring hundreds of limestone islands and pillars rising up from emerald-green waters. In Cambodia’s Angkor Wat region, visit some of the largest religious sites on the planet at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. We will also partake in a traditional Vietnamese cooking class, take in delightful performances, visit several historic museums, and so much more.
March 8 – 21, 2020 | Offer good through December 4, 2019
Starting at: $8299 $7799 per person (including all airfare)
We set out on a pleasant overnight flight to Vietnam.
Arrive in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where we meet our English-speaking local guide. We check-in to our comfortable accommodations for the evening.
Our day begins with an emotional visit to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, where American prisoners were held during the Vietnam war. See the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument where the iconic leader’s preserved body resides. Recognize the role women played in Vietnamese history, arts, and family life at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Explore the bustling local life on the Old Quarter on memorable electric car ride. Visit the Temple of Literature for a presentation by a local scholar covering 3,000 years of Vietnamese history and culture. We also visit One Pillar Pagoda, one of the country’s most iconic Buddhist temples, which rises up from the center of a tranquil lotus pond. This evening we take in a traditional water puppet show, where performers stand chest-deep in water and use colorful wooden puppets to depict scenes based on Vietnamese folklore set to traditional music and singers narrating the action. B,D
Depart for a journey across the emerald waters of Halong Bay, a UNESCO site. We board our modern vessel and settle into comfortable cabins, our overnight accommodations this evening. Enjoy lunch as we cruise Halong Bay, passing Chicken Rock, Finger Islet, and Frog Islet. We may explore the bay by rowboat, kayak, or simply swim and sunbathe. Onboard events include a Master Chef competition, a naturalist discussion, and a squid fishing demonstration. B,L,D
Rise early to greet the day with a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck. After a light breakfast, we discover Sung Sot cave, Halong Bay’s largest cave featuring beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. A hearty brunch is served while the boat passes Van Boi Island and returns to the harbor. Disembark the ship and fly to the city of Hué. Once serving as an imperial capital, Hué offers impressive emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas, and royal charm. B,L
Begin the day with a fun bicycle taxi ride to the Imperial Citadel, where despite heavy bombing there are several well-preserved sections still intact. Visit the seven-story Thien Mu Pagoda on the riverbank. Later, discover an excellent collection of ancient artifacts and a fabulous lunch at the former residence of Princess Ngoc Son, now the residence of popular conservationist and writer Mr. Phan Thuan An. We continue our day at the Royal Tomb of Tu Duc. Next we check-in to our accommodations in Danang for two nights. B,L,D
Learn the secrets of traditional Vietnamese cuisine at the Market Restaurant & Cooking School. Select fresh ingredients at the market and participate in an entertaining, hands-on cooking course. Chat with our chef as we prepare delicious cuisine and taste the foods you have prepared. This afternoon, unearth the city on a guided walking tour of Hoi An. Highlights include a 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, canals, and colorful shops brimming with local specialties, including silk. B,L
Today we fly to Saigon. Visit the Zone 5 Military Museum on our way to the airport for our flight to Saigon. A city that never sleeps, Saigon retains its deep connection with its past. Admire the Notre Dame Cathedral, based on the original in Paris, then view the Central Post Office, designed by Gustave Eiffel, and the former Presidential Palace. Visit the War Remnants Museum for vivid insight of the Vietnam War through the locals’ eyes with displays of military vehicles, equipment, and photography. B,D
Travel beside lush rice paddies and fruit farms on our way to Cai Lay. Explore the groves of a tropical fruit farmer and taste fresh fruit, then relax aboard a small sampan boat as we are paddled along tropical canals. Take a short rickshaw or bicycle ride past fruit orchards and local cottages. Enjoy a home-hosted lunch of Mekong Delta specialties before returning to Saigon for dinner on our own. B,L
In 1948, the North Vietnamese dug over 120 miles of elaborate tunnels in order to avoid aerial attacks, house troops, and transport supplies. We visit these underground villages with a VC veteran to learn about life in the tunnels. We return to Saigon and visit a lacquerware factory to learn about this time-intensive art form. At Thien Hau Temple, make a wish, write it on a small card, and attach it to an incense coil in their local custom. Tonight’s dinner is served at the home of former US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge. Enjoy a cocktail reception and traditional dance performances before a sophisticated Vietnamese meal accompanied by live music.B,D
Fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia’s gateway to some of the greatest archaeological sites in all of Southeast Asia. Enjoy dinner and a show at the Angkor Village Apsara Theatre where dancers in ornate silk costumes perform the 1,400-year-old tradition of Apsara dance. B,D
One of the largest religious sites in the world is ours to explore today – Angkor Wat. The Khmer empire built this enormous temple complex in the 12th century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu and to serve as King Suryavarman II’s personal mausoleum. Feel Angkor Wat’s exotic mystery as we witness its grand interior packed with monumental stone carvings. A renowned Khmer scholar joins us to tell the stories behind Angkor Wat murals and share their knowledge of this civilization’s history and culture. Our day continues at Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city, where our guide escorts us through two major temples: The Bayon, best recognized for its smiling stone faces, and The Baphuon, a three-tiered “temple mountain.” Tonight, traditional and modern theater blends together at Phare Circus as musicians, dancers, acrobats, and contortionists are joined by riveting storytellers to shed light on major events in Cambodia’s recent history. B,D
We begin our return home with a flight to Saigon and one night in the city. B,D
Arrive home with memories of our extraordinary experiences in Southeast Asia. B
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