Cambodia & Vietnam

28th February to 28th March 2017

30 days, 29 nights

Leaders: Norman Peterken and Carol Mantle1a

 

 

 

1 night Madrid, 2 nights Bangkok, 4 nights Siem Reap and 1 night Banteay Chhmar (or 5 nights Siem Reap), 1 night Phnom Penh, 1 night Chau Doc, 1 night Can Tho, 2 nights Ho Chi Minh City, 2 nights Dalat, 2 nights Hoi An, 2 nights Hue, 2 nights Mai Chau, 1 night Ninh Binh, 2 nights Halong Bay cruise, 3 nights Hanoi

Day 1

Bus transfer to Madrid for an overnight stay.

Day 2 and Day 3

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There will be an overnight flight from Madrid to Bangkok with one transfer. The location of the transfer will depend on the airline with the best price available at the time of booking. On arrival in Bangkok, there will be a bus transfer to the Centre Point Silom Hotel (4*) for a 2 night stay.

 

 

Day 4

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Today is a free day to give you time to recover from jetlag. Alternatively, you could go shopping or make use of the river bus service to visit the Royal Palace,…

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…..Wat Pho …

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…and Wat Arun

 

 

 

 

Day 55

There will be a short flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap and a bus transfer to the Tara Angkor Hotel (4*) for a 4 or 5 night stay. A Welcome dinner at a local restaurant is included.

Day 6

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Before sunrise, we depart our hotel for Angkor Wat, the largest and most breathtaking monument at Angkor. We will be able to to explore one of the world’s greatest locations with its …

 

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…surreal bas reliefs and incredible attention to detail before returning to our hotel for a late breakfast.

 

 

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After breakfast, we will visit Angkor Thom (Big Angkor), a walled and moated royal city and the last capital of the Angkorian empire. After Jayavarman VII recaptured the Angkorian capital from the Cham invaders in 1181, he began a massive building campaign across the empire, constructing Angkor Thom as his new capital city. Our day begins with a visit to the South Gate of Angkor Thom, with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk.

 

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We continue to the Bayon temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara and then to the recently re-opened Baphuon the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King before returning to Angkor Wat for sunset.  Lunch is included.

Day 7

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Our day begins with a 60 km drive to Beng Melea, the ‘Lotus Pond’ Temple built in the early 11th century. It was a very large temple with wide galleries with garudas holding up an outer platform. Its memorable jungle location makes a visit to these ruins an exploration to remember.

 

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In the afternoon, we visit Banteay Srei, the citadel of women, a tiny, enchanting temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The temple was built of red sandstone in the 10th century and contains male and female figures of exquisite quality. We will stop at a local village to visit families who produce palm sugar.

 

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We continue to Ta Prohm, the jungle temple made famous by ‘Tomb Raider’.

Lunch is included today.

 

 

Day 8

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Today, we have the opportunity to visit the village of Banteay Chhmar, a village with a major Khmer temple that has only recently become accessible by a paved road, for a one night homestay. The bedrooms are in tropical wood with a mosquito net but without en suite facilities.

 

 

If you do not wish to participate in the homestay, you will have an additional night at the Tara Angkor with free time to rest or to arrange visits to other Angkor temples, the floating village or the museum.

 

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In Banteay Chhmar, lunch will be provided by a local women’s group. In the afternoon, we visit Banteay Chhmar Temple and Ta Prohm, currently undergoing a major conservation programme.

Baneay

The most memorable part of the visit is likely to be the opportunity to view daily life in a rural Cambodian village. We will enjoy an ox-cart tour of the village, including a stop at the silk center, before enjoying dinner in the temple lit by traditional wooden torches with music provided by traditional musicians.

 

 

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After breakfast in Banteay Chhmar, we will walk through the village market before continuing to Banteay Torp. After returning to the village for lunch, we drive back to Siem Reap to rejoin the rest of the tour group for our final night at the Tara Angkor.

 

Day 10

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During the morning we fly to Phnom Penh and check into the Double Leaf Hotel (4*). In the afternoon, we will enjoy a guided tour of the Royal Palace and National Museum followed by

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… a sunset cruise on the Mekong.

Day 11

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Today, we visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where , between 1975 and 1978, about 17000 men, women, children and infants were exterminated. Over 8000 skulls are visible behind the clear glass panels of the memorial Stupa.

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We continue the tour to the Tuoi Sieng Museum, formerly the Tuoi Svay Prey High School.  In 1975 it was turned into the Country’s largest centre of detention and torture.  Lunch is included.

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Mekong

In the afternoon. we take a speed boat down the Mekong to Chau Doc on the Vietnam/Cambodia border and transfer to the Victoria Chau Doc Hotel (4*).

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Day 12

In the morning, we will visit Tra Su forest and bird sanctuary, home to 140 plant and 70 bird species. We will enjoy both a canoe trip and a rowing boat trip to travel deeper into the forest to the observation post.

 

Our excursion continues with a refreshing walk to Sam Mountain to visit Chua Xu temple.

We return to our hotel to refresh and have lunch before driving to Can Tho to check in at the Iris Hotel (4*).

 

Day 13

24This morning, we will board a sampan to explore Cai Rang, the largest floating market on the Mekong. We will weave through the boats to the tropical fruit garden to taste the fruits that are in season.

 

Lunch is included after which we will drive to Ho Chi Minh City for a two night stay at the Liberty Central Saigon Center Hotel (4*).

Day 14

25During the morning, we will drive through the scenic countryside to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. En route, we will stop at a local village that specialises in rice paper, used to make spring rolls.  Begun in the 1940s to hide their weapons from the French, the tunnels developed into a 151-mile underground network. We will discover secret trapdoors, field hospitals, command posts, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

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In the afternoon, there will be a guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks including  the War Remnants Museum, the General Post Office the FITO Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Market. Lunch is included today.

 

 

Day 15

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We will take a late morning flight to Dalat, known as ‘Flowers City’, for a two night stay at the Ngoc Lan Hotel (4* superior) in a lake view room.

 

 

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Our afternoon tour will visit the hand embroidery XQ garden, the dried flower showroom that exports to all parts of the world and Emperor Bao Dai’s Summer Palace.

 

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The tour will end with a stroll through Dalat market.

 

 

Day 16

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We will spend the full day exploring the beautiful countryside surrounding Dalat.

During the morning, we will visit the Elephant, Cam Ly and Datanla Waterfalls.

 

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We will have the opportunity to enjoy a ride on the Datanla Slide Rail.

 

 

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Our afternoon begins with a visit to the Flower Park.

 

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We then take the cable car to visit Truc Lam monastery, located on Phoenix Hill with a panoramic view of Tuyen Lam Lake and Elephant Mountain.  Lunch is included.

 

Day 17

Hoi an

After a morning flight to Danang, we transfer by bus to the charming riverside town of Hoi An and check in to the Vinh Hung Emerald Resort (3* superior). Lunch is included.

 

 

 

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In the afternoon, we will enjoy a guided tour by cyclo. Hoi An was awarded World Heritage status for its well-preserved, centuries-old streets, dwellings, temples and pagodas. Particular highlights are the Japanese Covered Bridge and the unique ‘Phung Hung’ house. We will visit a lantern maker and make one of our own before taking a boat trip along the Thu Bon River.

 

Day 18

My Son

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We will have a morning visit to the ancient Cham city of My Son, a World Heritage site. The ruins are located in a lush valley surrounded by hills and the Hon Quap (Cat’s Tooth) Mountain. Lunch is included.

The rest of the day is free. A range of optional activities is available.

 

Day 19

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We will drive north along Highway 1 to Hue, the former Imperial capital, for a two night stay at the Mondial Hotel (4*).

En route, we will visit the Cham Museum in Danang…

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…and the stunning scenery as Highway 1 passes through the Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Ocean Clouds).

 

 

 

Day 2039

 

We will take a morning cruise on the Perfume River to enjoy a visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda.

 

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We will continue to the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City, modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Lunch is included.

 

 

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After lunch, we will visit the Royal Mausoleums. Construction took place while the emperor was alive in order to ensure his comfort in the next life. Most tombs have courtyards, a temple, statues of elephants and human figures and a pond.

The tombs of Khai Dinh and Tu Duc are considered to be the most beautiful.

 

 

Day 21

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After a morning flight to Hanoi, we will transfer by road to the Mai Chau Ecolodge Resort (4*), located in an idyllic valley that is home to many hill tribes including the Dzao, Muong and Thai.

Dinner is included.

 

 

Day 2243

In the morning, we will explore the valley by cycling or walking. We will be welcomed by the friendly local people, talk with them and discover their traditional culture.

Lunch is included.

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The afternoon is free to relax or to continue your exploration of the surrounding area on your own.

Optional activities available in the evening include a traditional dance show, a cooking class and a weaving class.

 

 

 

Day 23

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In the morning,we drive to Ninh Binh to check in at the Ninh Binh Legend Hotel (4*).

Lunch is included.

 

 

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This afternoon, we will visit the World Heritage site of Trang An. We will travel by rowing boat to explore the picturesque waterways and karst landscape.

 

 

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We then visit a network of 11 caves with beautiful stalactites of all shapes and colours.

 

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Our excursion concludes at Hoa Lu, the capital city from 968 to 1009. The remains of the city include two temples surrounded by beautiful hibiscus gardens, ponds with lotus blossoms and frangipani.

 

Day 24

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This morning, we will drive to Halong Bay to board the Dragon Legend (5*) for a three day, two night cruise.

 

 

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This afternoon, we cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay. En route, there will be an opportunity for swimming or kayaking in the Mua Hoa area.  Lunch and dinner are included.

 

Day 25

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After starting the day with Tai Chi on the sundeck, we cruise to Hon Co Island to explore Thienh Canh Son cave with swimming and kayaking available as alternative activities on the sandy beach.

 

 

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In the afternoon, we cruise to the Vung Dang area. We can relax or swim at the unspoiled beach or go kayaking through the Karst mountains of Da Xep geological park.  On the beach, there will be a cocktail party and dancing at sunset.

Lunch and dinner are included.  Evening activities include squid fishing, a beauty spa and watching movies.

Day 26

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We will visit Vung Vieng fishing village by rowing boat to meet the local people and to pass through the floating houses and fish farms.

We will enjoy an early buffet lunch before disembarking for our drive to Hanoi.

 

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En route, we will take a short break at Yen Duc, a typical agricultural village, and we will enjoy a water puppet show performed by local artists.

We continue to Hanoi for a 3 night stay at the Boss Legend Hotel (4* superior).

 

Day 27

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In the morning our tour of Hanoi will include Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the One-Pillar Pagoda and  the Museum of Ethnology.

Lunch is included.

 

 

 

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In the afternoon, we will drive through Colonial Hanoi, seeing the Opera House and other local sights. We will go inside Hoa Lo Prison, the ‘Hanoi Hilton’, and continue to the Temple of Literature which dates back to 1070. Our tour concludes with a cyclo ride through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses.

Day 28

Today is a free day.

Optional excursions available include Hanoi food on foot tour, cook a typical meal with a local, a calligraphy class and a handmade cosmetics workshop.

Day 29 and Day 30

We transfer to Hanoi Airport and our flights back to Madrid via Bangkok and our bus transfer back from Madrid to Moraira.

The cost of the trip will be approximately €2800

The single room supplement will be approximately €1000.

The price includes:

  • Pick-ups and transfers, as specified, by private vehicle with an experienced, safe driver
  • Sightseeing with experienced local English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts and lunches and dinners as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees according to the itinerary
  • Bottled water while sightseeing and during transfers
  • VAT and all taxes

 

The price excludes:

  • The Cambodia visa stamp (30 USD) and Vietnam visa stamp (45 USD). These are payable individually upon arrival in each country.
  • Personal travel and health insurance
  • Drinks during meals (There may be some exceptions to this.)
  • Tips

 

There are three reasons why this is an approximate price:

  • The prices quoted for hotels, buses and entrance fees were the 2016 prices. There is likely to be a small difference in the 2017 prices.
  • The approximate cost of the flights was calculated using prices quoted for flights in February/March 2016. We will not know the exact price until we book the flights for 2017 in March or April next year.
  • Except for the flights, all prices quoted were in US Dollars. An exchange rate of                 1 euro = 1.11 US Dollars was used to calculate the approximate cost of the trip. The exchange rate when we make the final payments is likely to be different.

 

To secure a place on this trip, please pay a deposit of €400 at the Travel Desk at the next general meeting.

The provisional dates for the trip are from Monday 27th February to Tuesday 28th March.

If we find that can obtain better prices for the flights by leaving and returning a couple of days earlier or later, we will make this change. The dates of the trip will be fixed when the flights are booked in March/April 2016.

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