24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates: Select a departure from November 2015 – March 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Hanoi cyclo tour, Halong Bay overnight cruise, Perfume River cruise, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, Angkor Wat Complex|
|Themes||History & Culture, Premium|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
Discover Vietnam and Cambodia, among the most fascinating and stunningly beautiful natural settings on earth, where ancient civilizations, welcoming people and dramatic history await. Our 16-day escorted tour of Vietnam and Cambodia includes the highlights of Vietnam from north to south: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as an overnight cruise on the picturesque Halong Bay. Then, continue to Cambodia and to the amazing Angkor temple complex and the lovely Cambodian capital city of Phnom Penh. To maximize your visit to Southeast Asia, take advantage of your already-included airfare by joining our optional extension to Bangkok, Thailand.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Fri||Sep 4||2015||Sat||Sep 19||2015||$3099||Closed|
|Fri||Oct 2||2015||Sat||Oct 17||2015||$3199||Closed|
|Fri||Nov 6||2015||Sat||Nov 21||2015||$3699||$3299||Available|
|Fri||Dec 4||2015||Sat||Dec 19||2015||$3699||$3299||Available|
|Fri||Jan 15||2016||Sat||Jan 30||2016||$3699||$3299||Closed|
|Fri||Feb 12||2016||Sat||Feb 27||2016||$3699||$3299||Available|
|Fri||Mar 11||2016||Sat||Mar 26||2016||$3699||$3299||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
Reservations for triples are possible for this tour. On the cruise portion, passengers will stay in 1 double and 1 single cabin. Please contact our reservations team for pricing and availability.
|Best of Vietnam & Cambodia|
|Single room supplement||+$999|
|My Son Optional Tour1||+$55|
1. My Son optional tour requires a minimum of 3 passengers to operate.
|Separately Paid Fees|
|Vietnam Visa Fee1 (paid separately)||+$150|
|Cambodia Visa Fee2 (paid separately)||+$30|
|Cambodia Departure Tax3 (paid separately)||+$25|
1. All visitors to Vietnam must obtain their own visa before departure. Comprehensive visa instructions will be included in your confirmation packet.
2. Visa Fee is paid locally.
3. Departure Tax is paid locally.
|Bangkok Post-Tour Extension1|
|Single room supplement||+$159|
1. Passengers taking the post tour extension will return to the US 3 days later than the scheduled return date. The Bangkok extension requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights. This extension also requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||included|
|San Francisco (SFO)|
|All other departures||included|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||+$250|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
New York (JFK): Due to China Airline's schedule, JFK passengers must check in for their flight one day prior to the scheduled departure dates listed and will arrive to Hanoi on Day 2, an extra night will be provided.
San Francisco (SFO): Passengers returning to San Francisco (SFO) will have a 8-hour layover in Taipei before continuing to SFO, a day-use room will be provided.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey to Cambodia and Vietnam begins as you check in for your wide-body jet flight bound for Hanoi, Vietnam via Taipei.
Due to China Airline's Schedule, JFK passengers must check in for their flight one day prior to the scheduled departure dates listed and will arrive to Hanoi on Day 2, an extra night will be provided.
Day 2: En route. Cross the International Dateline and lose a day. (You'll recover this day on your return trip.)
Day 3: Hanoi. Arrive today in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Meet your guide and transfer to your hotel for check-in. This afternoon take a cyclo tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter, also known as the "36 streets." This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore, with plenty of photo opportunities all around. Later, enjoy a traditional water puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form. This evening, join your fellow passengers for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodations: Melia Hanoi. Dinner provided.
Day 4: Hanoi. This morning explore the highlights of Hanoi. First, visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and his "house on stilts" where he resided during the later years of his life, one of the most important and visited sites in Vietnam. Continue to the One Pillar Pagoda, built on stilts over a lake in 1049 by King Ly Thai Thong. A prayer here is said to bring fertility and good health.
Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university constructed in 1070 by King Ly Thanh Tong to pay tribute to education and to those of high academic achievement. Today, art students sit on the grass and try to reproduce the traditional Vietnamese architecture on paper while enjoying the beautiful and well-preserved gardens of this quiet retreat into Vietnamese educational history.
Have lunch at KOTO (Know One Teach One) restaurant, a non-profit restaurant and vocational training program for young people in Vietnam. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion (purchased locally): Hanoi Culinary Tour. This afternoon take advantage of an optional culinary excursion through the streets of Hanoi. Begin your exploration at a "wet market" where a huge variety of produce is sold, everything from fresh tropical fruits, to live fish and frogs. Sample some different dishes as you stroll through the market. Next, walk through the backstreets where there are makeshift smaller markets set up along the road. Enjoy some excellent street food: choose between "pho gad" (chicken noodle soup and Vietnam's national dish) or "bun cha" (fresh rice noodles with grilled pork and herbs) in a local style specialty restaurant where only the dish mentioned is served. Continue south to the "thieves' market" where motorbike spare parts and industrial machinery are sold. The labyrinth of stalls makes for excellent photos and the chaos is captivating. Later, return to your hotel.
Day 5: Hanoi, Halong Bay & Indochina Sails Boutique Cruise. After breakfast, drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay. This amazing bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is dotted with thousands of limestone karsts and isles.
Local legend has it that long ago, when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent dragons to help defend the land. The dragons spit out jewels and jade, which turned into the islands and islets of Halong, forming a great wall against the invaders.
Here you’ll board the Boutique Indochina Sails. Upon boarding, you will be greeted with a welcome drink and gather in the dining room for a comprehensive safety and boat orientation briefing followed by itinerary details. Lunch is served on board at 1:00PM. During lunch, you’ll cruise through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village. After the visit, return to the ship for a cooking class held by the ship’s chef, who will show you how to prepare traditional Vietnamese food and guests will taste the food after the class. Later, join your fellow shipmates for happy hour before your sumptuous Vietnamese buffet dinner. After dinner, relax in the lounge or upper deck and enjoy the second happy hour. Board games and playing cards are available onboard or take advantage of the cruise’s massage services. Guests can even try their luck at squid fishing from the boat! Accommodations: Indochina Sails Boutique. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Indochina Sails Boutique Cruise, Hai Phong, Da Nang & Hoi An. Wake up to fresh coffee, tea, and breakfast pastries. An early morning Tai Chi lesson will be led by the ship’s Tai Chi master before disembarking for a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. Climb the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the bay stopping at the expansive viewing deck half way up. Once back on board, freshen up before enjoying a full buffet breakfast including traditional Vietnamese Noodles (Pho). After breakfast, relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last views of the bay. After disembarkation, board your touring coach and drive to the Hai Phong airport for your short flight to the coastal city of Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s most important ports. During the Vietnam War, Da Nang was home to a huge U.S. Air Force base. Continue to Hoi An, on the banks of the Thu Bon River. The colorful market town of Hoi An is an exceptionally well preserved example of a major Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries, with ships arriving from all over the world to obtain silk and other fabrics, sugar, tea, and ceramics. Hoi An’s traditional Vietnamese architecture has been preserved and there are many historic temples and pagodas in the area. Accommodations: Alma Courtyard Hotel . Breakfast & dinner provided. (Dinner may be substituted by lunch depending on flight time.)
Day 7: Hoi An. Enjoy today at leisure to explore on your own. You might want to take advantage of Hoi An's world-famous tailors during your stay here. Anything you might want to wear can be made for you in Hoi An, all at bargain prices and with expert workmanship. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: My Son & Phuoc Kieu Village, $55. Enjoy an optional half day trip to visit the capital and religious center of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. En route, stop at Phuoc Kieu Village, a 500 year old village specialized in bronze crafting. Walk around the village's streets and visit a workshop and a temple where locals worship their ancestors. Continue on to the cultural highlight of Central Vietnam, the temple complex at My Son. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999 the tower-temples were the seat of the Champa Kingdom for the majority of its existence between the 4th and 13th centuries. The sanctuary is situated in an impressive location surrounded by hills. Wander through the impressive ruins then visit a small museum at the entrance to My Son before heading back to Hoi An. Requires a minimum of 3 passengers.
Optional Excursion (purchased locally): Tra Que Village. Take advantage of an optional bicycle excursion with lunch. Ride your bicycle to a local farm in Tra Que Village. Take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilising it with seaweed. Continue gardening activities such as raking, sowing, watering greens, picking greens etc. After farming activities you will be shown how to prepare tam huu, a local delicacy. Then sit down for a home cooked meal including banh xeo a specialty savory pancake wrapped in rice paper.
Day 8: Hoi An & Hue. This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Hoi An. Along the way, visit the Japanese Covered Bridge which features a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side and the town's most famous landmark, a beautiful Chinese Assembly Hall built in 1740 as a meeting place for all Chinese residents of the town. The hall is lavishly decorated with murals and a replica of a Chinese ship, and Phuoc Kien Pagoda, also called Kim Son Pagoda, built in 1697 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants at Hoi An. Conclude your tour at the Central Market, where you will find everything from fruit and flowers to tailor-made clothes and silk lanterns, whose flexible bamboo frames are designed to collapse, so they're easily transported home as a souvenir.
Enjoy lunch in Hoi An before continuing your journey by motor coach to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam and seat of the Nguyen Dynasty that ruled Vietnam between 1802 and 1945. Stop en route at the Cham Museum, home of the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. Accommodations: Best Western Premier Indochine. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Hue. After breakfast, visit the walled Citadel containing the Imperial City, modeled on the Forbidden City of Beijing, and the Purple Forbidden City within, former home of the royal family. This great sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, walls, gates, shops, museums and galleries is Hue's prime attraction.
Next, a boat trip on the Perfume River takes you past Hue's best known religious site, the Thien Mu Pagoda where, according to legend, an old woman appeared on a hill where the pagoda now sits and predicted that a great leader would one day build a pagoda in that spot in order to bring peace to the country. Lord Nguyen Hoang visited the area in 1601 and upon hearing of the legend, he ordered the pagoda built, naming it Chua Thien Mu, the Heavenly Lady Pagoda. Then drive to the mausoleum of former Emperor Minh Mang, before continuing to the tomb of the former emperor Khai Dinh, unique for its European influenced design.
End the day with a visit to the popular Dong Ba Market, one of the must-see sites in Hue, where fruit, vegetables, fish, rice and other staples of the traditional Vietnamese diet are sold along with foods made from these ingredients. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Hue & Ho Chi Minh City. After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. Upon arrival, your guide will meet you and transfer you to OSEDC Center for Disadvantaged People and Supporting Charity (time permitting). Next, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, depart for a half day tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by many locals). Your program includes the War Remnants Museum where exhibition halls display imagery of both the French and American wars. Continue to the Reunification Hall, formerly the Presidential Palace, it was towards this building that North Vietnamese tanks stormed on the morning of April 30 1975, as Saigon fell. From there, walk to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. Accommodations: Pullman Saigon Centre. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels. After breakfast, visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1. Dating from 1909 and built by Cantonese Buddhists this quiet oasis was designed using feng shui principals showcasing ornate statues and effigies.
Continue to the Cu Chi Tunnels, begun by the Viet Minh in the 1940's. The incredible network of tunnels once stretched for 210 miles and contained extensive Viet Cong infrastructure including tactical quarters, storage rooms, kitchens, a school and even an underground hospital. Most entrances were so well disguised that only a small portion of the system was ever discovered during the war, despite the fact that some 125 miles ran under a U.S. military base. Return to Ho Chi Minh City this afternoon for the balance of the day at leisure, or join one of two optional excursions available this evening. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion (purchased locally): Saigon Nightlife. Tonight offers a chance to experience the nightlife of Saigon from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. The city comes alive come sundown and people congregate on sidewalks, parks and all over the city. The first stop on your culinary exploration will be to sample some light evening snacks. Continue to a traditional quan (bia hoi) for dinner and drinks. An evening out in Ho Chi Minh City is not complete without a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Conclude the evening at one of the many local clubs, where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique style.
Day 12: Mekong Delta. Depart this morning for Cai Be, deep in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Embark on a private cruise to the colorful Cai Be floating market. Your tour continues with a visit to a local home factory which produces rice paste, rice popcorn and coconut candies. Transfer to smaller boats for a ride through the beautiful canals of Tan Phuong island. Then, enjoy lunch at Ut Kiet Mandarin Home before boarding the junk again and slowly cruise back Cai Be as you take in the beautiful landscapes and observe typical rural life on the Mekong Delta. On your return, stop at Cao Dai Temple to witness firsthand a fascinating fusion of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, native Vietnamese spiritualism, Christianity & Islam. Return to Ho Chi Minh City later today. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap & Angkor. After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Set off for the Angkor Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that contains the ruins of more than a thousand stone temples. The temples are the surviving remnants of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings were built of wood and are long since decayed and gone. Built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, the temples and the great city that surrounded them are one of mankind's most astonishing architectural achievements.
Satellite photographs reveal Angkor to have been the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an urban sprawl of 3000 square kilometers and supporting a population of up to one million people. Mysteriously abandoned in the 15th century, the site remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century, when archaeologists began to clear away the forest and embark on a long restoration process that continues today.
Begin your explorations at the mysterious royal walled city of Angkor Thom. Its temple is an awesome and surreal sight that most visitors never forget. Atop each of its 50 towers, staring out in the directions of the four points of the compass, are four giant, barely-smiling faces, depicting Khmer royal rulers as Buddhist deities. You are engulfed by the silent, heavy, enigmatic gaze of those faces, staring out through half-closed eyes from a remote time in history.
Other sites you'll visit in this complex include the Baphuon, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace and Royal Palace area, from which the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. Accommodations: Lotus Blanc Resort. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 14: Siem Reap. After breakfast, depart for your exploration of the temples of the Small Circuit. The most famous is Ta Prohm temple, shrouded in jungle and left untouched among twisted banyan trees and stone pillars, it is has the most mysterious atmosphere of the temples in the Angkor area. Visit Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the 12th century and Srah Srang, also known as the "pool of ablutions", as well as the twin towers of Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon.
This afternoon, depart by local Tuk-Tuk to visit the intricately carved ruins at Angkor Wat, built by Suryavarman II during the early years of the 12th century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. Consisting of an enormous temple symbolizing the mythic Mt. Meru, its rectangular walls and moats represent chains of mountains and the cosmic ocean. Hundreds of fine carvings and scenes from Hindu mythology can still be viewed here.
Continue to visit the Lake Tonle Sap where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonle Sap is Souteast Asia's largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season. Board a boat and visit the Chong Kneah village where you will see floating houses, farms and even a floating hospital. Breakfast provided.
Day 15: Siem Reap & Phnom Penh. After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Phnom Penh, the fascinating, bustling capital city of Cambodia on the banks of three rivers, the Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Tonle Bassac. Meet your guide and, time permitting, pay a respectful visit to Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes, a Khmer Rouge prison and torture chamber from which only seven out of more than 30,000 inmates survived, and Cheung Ek, better known as the Killing Fields, located just outside of the city. This afternoon visit the Royal Palace complex. This palace dates from 1866 and was the last one built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Continue on to the National Museum, built in 1917. Housed there are over 5000 statues, lingas and others artifacts arranged according to pre-Angkor and post-Angkor periods of Cambodia's history. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodations: InterContinental Phnom Penh Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 16: Phnom Penh/USA. Today, transfer to the airport to check in for your return flight to the USA. Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to San Francisco (SFO) will have a 8-hour layover in Taipei before continuing to SFO, a day-use room will be provided.
Why not take advantage of your already included international airfare and add three days in exotic Bangkok, bustling capital of Thailand? Your extension includes airfare from Hanoi to Bangkok, three nights at the deluxe Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, full buffet breakfast daily, and all group transfers! For JFK passengers, the Bangkok Extension must be arranged on a custom basis to be coordinated with China Airlines' JFK schedule; please contact us for details.
Day 16: Phnom Penh & Bangkok. Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Bangkok, bustling capital of Thailand, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Upon arrival, you'll be escorted to your deluxe, centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to take in your new surroundings and explore the city independently. Your hotel boasts a prime location within walking distance to many attractions. Accommodations: Royal Orchid Sheraton. Breakfast provided.
Day 17: Bangkok. Enjoy two full days at leisure to discover Thailand's vibrant capital at your own pace. Bangkok offers no shortage of shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Your hotel concierge will gladly offer suggestions for independent exploration. We recommend a visit to the Grand Palace, which for 150 years functioned as the home of the King and his court as well as the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadite (jasper). Reclining Buddha Temples, along with the monarchy, are the fabric that binds together the national identity that is Thailand, and some of the most interesting of Thai temples are found in Bangkok.
We suggest visits to three of Bangkok's most visually stunning temples: Wat Trimitr, which houses the 700-year-old, 5-ton Golden Buddha, the largest in the world; Wat Po, the oldest temple in Bangkok and home to the amazing Reclining Buddha; and Wat Benchamabophit, with its abundance of white Italian marble. Often called the "Venice of the East" for its network of canals (klongs), Bangkok can also be explored by boat. From this vantage point, you can gain close-up views of traditional Thai life. And of course, no visit to Bankgok would be complete without a visit to the colorful Damneon Saduak floating market, held daily. It is an experience not to be missed! Breakfast provided.
Day 18: Bangkok. Another day to explore Bangkok. Breakfast provided.
Day 19: Bangkok/USA. Today, transfer to the airport for your return flight. Your memorable journey to Vietnam and Thailand comes to an end as you arrive in the US later today. Breakfast provided.
Excellent value. Great hotels. Food was very good, buses large and comfortable. The guide in Cambodia was excellent and the love of his country showed. Our guide in Vietnam was very knowledgeable. Ha Long Bay was beautiful. All in all, just loved the trip and will most certainly use Friendly Planet again.
Osa Lemma, Hudson, FL
In Cambodia, we've seen this first-hand. We were amazed to discover that it takes as little as $200 to dig a well and install a pump that provides clean water to several dozen families. Friendly Planet has been funding the construction of wells in villages for the past three years. Several of our passengers have volunteered to fund wells themselves. Together, we've built over 200!
You can too! Learn more and donate towards a well yourself. $200 buys a complete well and pump, which will bear your name!