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Essence of Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia 2020

13 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe

Tauck Offers for this Trip

  • Receive $400 per person off the single supplement of select trips. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some offers are not combinable.


Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi
Tour begins: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi at 6:00 PM. A transfer from Noi Bai International Airport to your historic landmark hotel is included. Please join us this evening to meet your Tauck Director and your fellow travelers at our welcome cocktail reception and dinner. (D)

Day 2 History in Hanoi... and the people of Vietnam
Begin your exploration of Hanoi in Da Ba Dinh Square, where you'll view Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho's "house on stilts," and the One-Pillar Pagoda. Then you're off to visit the Temple of Literature, originally built in 1070 as a university dedicated to Confucius, scholars, and sages; at this well-preserved example of traditional Vietnamese architecture, discover the Well of Heavenly Clarity, landscaped gardens, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards, and passageways once used by royalty. Following an authentic Vietnamese lunch of bun cha, visit the Museum of Ethnology for insights into the histories and lives of Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. This evening, enjoy a water puppet performance, a uniquely North Vietnamese art form more than 1,000 years old that celebrates rural life and folklore. Please note: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex is closed each year for annual renovations from September to December; Ho Chi Minh's stilt house and the One-Pillar Pagoda remain open for viewing. (B, L)

Day 3 An overnight Cruise on Ha Long Bay
Watch rural Vietnamese daily life unfold as you pass water buffalo, ancient temples, and local farmers at work in rice paddies en route to Ha Long Bay - the "Bay of the Descending Dragons." Legend has it that dragons sent by the gods to help defend the land against ancient invaders spat out jewels and jade that became the many emerald green islands and islets dotting the bay. Board the Paradise Elegance, which combines classic Asian design with modern amenities, for an overnight cruise among the thousands of limestone islands. After lunch onboard ship and more sightseeing on the bay, enjoy free time for swimming or kayaking, followed by a cooking demonstration before dinner onboard ship this evening. (B, L, D)

Day 4 From Ha Long Bay to Da Nang
After spending part of the morning cruising on Ha Long Bay, disembark Paradise Elegance and return to Hanoi to catch your flight to the city of Da Nang on the South China Sea, where you'll spend the next two nights at Furama Resort Da Nang. (B, L, D)

Day 5 A day in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Discover how the traditions of the past are treasured in the present in Hoi An on the Thu Bon River, a key international trading port during the 16th to 19th centuries - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its centuries-old zigzag streets, yellow buildings, temples and pagodas, iconic Japanese-style bridge, and riverside street market. After exploring Hoi An's historic highlights via cyclo and a guided walking tour, enjoy free time in town or return to your resort in Da Nang. This evening you're in for an inspiring treat - the AO Show, a unique cultural performance that combines acrobatics, dance, and drama with bamboo and fishing baskets. Tauck guests have the best seats in the house. (B, D)

Day 6 To Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels
Fly from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City; upon arrival, head to the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ben Duoc for a close-up look at life in wartime Vietnam. Stretching out in a 120-mile underground network of meeting rooms, triage centers, and kitchens, this vast complex allowed North Vietnamese combatants to evade discovery as they moved freely throughout the area. Enjoy dinner tonight at your hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Discovering Ho Chi Minh City
Today Ho Chi Minh City bustles with the forward-looking energy of glittering skyscapes, street vendors, and open-air cafés. A sightseeing tour takes in vestiges of its past, including Reunification Hall, formerly South Vietnam's presidential palace, and the ornate French colonial architecture of the Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. A culinary and cultural immersion experience at the cooking school Grain, a brainchild of Master Chef Luke Nguyen Grain, gives you a taste of Vietnamese cuisine for lunch. Spend the evening out touring the city on the back of a vintage Vespa - and stopping at local foodie spots. This unusual look at city life after dark is sure to be a fun highlight of your stay in Ho Chi Minh City. (B, L)

Day 8 Fly to Phnom Penh
Enjoy a relaxed start to the day with a morning to yourself; your hotel is ideally located for exploring as you please in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, fly to Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, for an overview tour followed by your choice of either dinner at your hotel or a foodie tour of the city to sample local specialties in markets, mom and pop restaurants, and bars. (B, D)

Day 9 The many faces of Phnom Penh
Board a cyclo that takes you to the Royal Palace complex, where you'll find solid silver tiles on the floor of the Silver Pagoda, home to religious and cultural treasures; the architecture of the various buildings in the complex is extraordinary. Visit the National Museum, housing the world's premier collection of Khmer art, including bronzes, ceramics, and sculpture, for insights into Cambodia's history and culture. After lunch at a local restaurant, you have a choice of activities. One choice is a poignant trip to the infamous "Killing Fields" of Choeung Ek. Alternatively, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, memorializing the victims of the infamous "S-21" prison operated at the site. Another choice is a visit to the Russian Market, named for the days when it was frequented by Soviets who lived in the area. Or go on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where you'll view animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade. (B, L)

Day 10 To Siem Reap... and Angkor Wat
Drive through the countryside from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor. More than 1,000 archeological sites have been identified here in the ancient Khmer metropolitan areas. See some of them today on a guided visit to Angkor Wat, thought to be the largest temple ruins in the world; the bas-reliefs that adorn the massive temple are among the finest examples of 12th-century Khmer art. This evening, attend a performance at Phare, a unique combination of theatre, dance, music, and circus that tells stories of Cambodian culture and history - stories that were erased by the Khmer Rouge and have now been revived by the energy and passion of the performers, whom you'll meet after the show. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Temples of Angkor & a cultural evening
Visit Ta Prohm, a temple at Angkor where more than 12,000 people once lived; it has been left much as it was found - an eerie sight surrounded by jungle with silk-cotton trees growing out of its walls. Explore Angkor Thom, the last capital city of the Khmer Empire, home to the Bayon Temple and the Elephant Terrace, a huge platform adorned with carvings of elephants used as a reviewing stand for public ceremonies long ago. After lunch at a local restaurant, you have a choice of activities. One is a helicopter ride that takes you over Angkor Wat to remote jungle temples and floating villages. Another choice is an opportunity to meet the artists, designers and curators making waves and hosting exhibitions in the galleries, workshops, and boutiques of Siem Reap; with local insiders, see the best the city has to offer in art and design, from jewelry and textiles to fine art photography and contemporary art. Or go on a Vespa tour of rural life; visit villages off the beaten path and a pagoda, where you'll learn about Khymer beliefs and receive a Buddhist blessing, if you wish. Alternatively, relax with a spa treatment at your hotel. Or join us for zip lining through the jungle! This evening a special experience unfolds - an exclusive dinner and Cambodian entertainment at the home of a celebrated artist. After fleeing as a war refugee to France in 1980, he was trained as an artist and designer in Paris; he returned to Cambodia to help rebuild the country and its artistic life. His home is a showplace that embodies the country's rich artistic heritage. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Banteay Srei Temple
Discover the pink "citadel of the women," a small gem of a temple covered with intricate carvings of female deities and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Then pay a visit to Apopo, an organization that trains "HeroRats" to help detect landmines; see these life-saving animals in action! Join us this evening for our farewell reception and dinner at your hotel. (B, D)

Day 13 Journey home
Tour ends in Siem Reap. Fly home anytime. A transfer from Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor to Siem Reap International Airport is included. Allow three hours for flight check-in. (B)
Map
All This Included
New! Stories by Ken Burns... Opening doors to unseen worlds, Essence of Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia may cause you to rethink everything you know of these two Southeast Asian nations. Today the treasures of the past meet the renewal of the present... and dreams for the future. Explore the uniquely rich artistic heritage of each country, their ethnic groups, and complex histories... meet the people, from the chefs and Vespa drivers of Ho Chi Minh City to the performers of Hoi An and Siem Reap. Spend days exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor... cities where French colonial influence is still felt... countryside dotted with rice paddies and floating villages untouched by centuries... ancient temples, pagodas, gardens... and cultural stories reclaimed from a turbulent past. A range of sightseeing choices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap provide a more personal travel experience. Multiple-night stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap - plus an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay - complete this living portrait of Vietnam and Cambodia, then and now. Prepare to expand your horizons, deepen your insights, and transform your view of the world.

  • "Stories by Ken Burns," exclusive to Tauck filmed narratives featuring insights by award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein.
  • Multiple-night stays at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Furama Resort Da Nang, Park Hyatt Saigon, and Rosewood Phnom Penh, and Belmond La Résidence d'Angkor
  • Overnight cruise onboard Paradise Elegance on Ha Long Bay
  • Tauck Exclusive dinner and Cambodian entertainment at the home of an acclaimed artist
  • In Hoi An, the AO Vietnamese cultural show combining acrobatics, dance, and drama with bamboo and fishing baskets
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, a cooking and cultural immersion experience at Grain, the culinary school of Master Chef Luke Nguyen Grain
  • A foodie Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh City at night
  • In Siem Reap, a performance by Phare, a blend of theatre, dance, music, and circus that shares uniquely Cambodian stories
  • A visit to Apopo to meet "HeroRats" trained to detect landmines
  • Excursion choices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
  • On-tour air (3 flights) featuring VIP Fast Track
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure as noted
  • 29 meals (12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners); gratuities to local guides; admission fees, service charges, taxes and porterage
Highlights
  • Overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay
  • Cyclo ride and AO Vietnamese cultural show in Hoi An
  • Buggy ride & water puppet performance in Hanoi
  • Foodie Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh City at night
  • Optional "Killing Fields" visit
  • Guided visit to Angkor temples
  • Tauck Exclusive dinner and entertainment at home of an acclaimed Cambodian artist
Accommodations
Hanoi: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Ha Long Bay: Paradise Elegance
Hoi An: Furama Resort Da Nang
Ho Chi Minh City: Park Hyatt Saigon
Phnom Penh: Rosewood Phnom Penh
Siem Reap: Belmond La Residence d'Angkor
Notes
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.