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Grand Tour of Vietnam and Cambodia

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
18 days From £3,295 £3,095 per person

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Enjoy a culture-rich Far Eastern rail adventure

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2024 Tour code: VMG24

About the tour

Explore the fascinating intertwined countries of Vietnam and Cambodia. We discover the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, the spectacular natural beauty of Halong Bay, and the maze of rivers, canals and streams that make up the Mekong Delta.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Hanoi

We meet at London Heathrow for our overnight flight to Hanoi, Vietnam's bustling capital.

Day 2 - Hanoi

We arrive in Hanoi and check into our hotel. This afternoon, we begin our sightseeing with a city tour that introduces us to wonderful Hanoi. Along the way, we visit the Temple of Literature, a stunning temple built in 1070 that holds Vietnam's first national university. We continue with a traditional cyclo (a pedal-powered tuk-tuk) ride through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter. Here, the architecture dates back to the 13th century and the streets are packed with colonial buildings that sit alongside Buddhist temples and pagodas.

Day 3 - Halong Bay

We continue exploring Hanoi, seeing the Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square that houses the body of Ho Chi Minh, the famous Vietnamese revolutionary. Next, we transfer to the sensational Halong Bay. An extraordinary collection of limestone karst rock formations and lush islands dotted on emerald waters, this area of outstanding natural beauty is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we begin one of the highlights of the holiday as we board our luxury junk for an overnight cruise. We arrive in Cat Ba Island, where you can choose a bicycle and pedal to Viet Hai Village - a small village nestled in the heart of Cat Ba National Park. Stop at Bhaya Café for a drink and learn about "Viet Hai Community Farm" &"Save the Langurs", two of Bhaya Cruises' corporate social responsibilities projects.

Day 4 - Cua Van floating village

We have time to enjoy a swim, sunbathe or even kayak around Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay that's filled with breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. We continue with a visit to Dai Viet Craft Centre, where we have an insight into traditional local crafts. This evening, we visit a Water Puppet Theatre to enjoy a performance of this Vietnamese art form - one that dates back to the 11th century. Tonight, we board the overnight sleeper service to Hue.

Day 5 - Hue

Our train arrives in Hue this morning and we check into our hotel. Heading out into the city this afternoon, we visit the Imperial Citadel, a historic royal complex that sits in the heart of the city and is one of Vietnam's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. The vast citadel is surrounded by a moat fed by the Perfume River and its towering walls, dotted with ten ornate gates, guard the array of gardens, temples and the palace within. A fascinating guided tour reveals more about this intriguing site.

Day 6 - To Hoi An

After a visit to the lively Dong Ba market, the oldest of its kind in Hue, we travel to Da Nang. Our journey showcases one of the most beautiful stretches of railway in Vietnam, winding through verdant landscapes before emerging onto a dramatic coastline, where steep mountains meet pristine beaches. When we arrive in Da Nang, we explore the Museum of Cham Sculpture which has the most Cham sculptures in the world alongside fascinating artefacts. Next, we experience the stunning Marble Mountains, a cluster of five captivating limestone and marble hills. We then check into our hotel.

Day 7 - Exploring Hoi An

A guided tour of Hoi An's colourful Old Town awaits us today. We visit the Tan Ky Old House, a merchant house with Japanese and Chinese influences, and the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. After wandering the local market, we visit the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum admiring French photographer Réhahn's collection. After lunch, we're treated to a lantern-making workshop where we learn how to create traditional paper lanterns that became popular here in the 16th century. The city's Old Quarter still lights up with rainbow-hued lanterns in the evening.

Day 8 - Nha Trang

Leaving Hoi An, we transfer to Da Nang for the train to the vibrant coastal city of Nha Trang. Along the route, we admire wonderful views across Vietnamese landscapes as we pass terraced rice paddies and mighty oxen working in the countryside. Our train arrives in Nha Trang and we check into our hotel located on the beachfront, overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of the bay.

Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh City

We make a daytime journey by rail to Ho Chi Minh City, an exciting place that's modern yet has a rich cultural history. The city was famously known as Saigon under French colonial rule - a name which many locals still use for their city to this day. In their time ruling, the French heavily influenced the design of the city with wide, leafy boulevards and grand historic colonial buildings across the central districts. We check into our hotel, where we stay for two nights.

Day 10 - The Cu Chi tunnels

We travel to the Cu Chi Tunnels - a vast underground complex utilised during the war against the US. At its height, this system stretched almost 155 miles towards the Cambodian border and contained field hospitals, weapons factories, kitchens and living quarters. We take a fascinating tour of the tunnels before lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City, taking in the beautiful Central Post Office and Reunification Palace at Reunification Square. We see the Opera House with its French colonial architecture as well as Dong Khoi Street, a lively street known for being the hub of the city.

Day 11 - The Mekong Delta

We travel by coach to the Mekong Delta, a wonder of nature. Here, the enormous Mekong River splits into branches on its way to the South China Sea, creating a vast maze of rivers dotted with lush islands. Boarding our boat, we sail past the communities that make their living amongst these tropical surroundings before stopping at the floating market of Cai Be, where vendors are found nestled amongst rice paddies. We then cross a lower branch of the Mekong River and disembark to continue to Can Tho, where we stay for two nights on the banks of the Hau River.

Day 12 - Can Tho

Enjoy a free day today. You could relax in the comfort of our hotel, lounging by the outdoor pool with a cocktail or you could walk through the beautiful gardens. Another option is to head into Can Tho to explore at your own pace. If you visit Ninh Kieu Wharf you'll find a lush park and, in the evening, a great night market. There are many great dishes you could try during your time here, too. Banh Xeo is a Vietnamese traditional pancake that, in the Mekong Delta, is typically stuffed with pork, prawn and beansprouts.

Day 13 - Into Cambodia

This morning, we visit Cai Rang, one of the world's largest and most impressive floating markets. After time to peruse the goods on offer, we transfer to Cao Lanh for a boat journey through the Mekong Delta into Phnom Penh, Cambodia's vibrant capital. Known as the 'Pearl of Asia' the city is the meeting point for three great rivers - the Mekong, the Tonle Sap, and the Bassac - and has many enticing cafés, bars, and world-class restaurants. Its French-influenced streets are also lined with several tempting street food stalls and colourful markets.

Day 14 - Phnom Penh

We get to know Phnom Penh on a full-day guided tour that introduces us to some of the city's main sights. Grand Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are two sites that occupy an impressive riverside location surrounded by beautiful, manicured gardens and iconic yellow walls. We continue to the Central Market, a typical Cambodian market on a huge scale, found in a landmark Art Deco building. Enjoy time here to peruse the stalls which sell a wide variety of treats from ornaments and clothing to unique food items. We also visit the poignant Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, for an insight into the history of Cambodia.

Day 15 - Siem Reap

Today we journey to Siem Reap. On the way, we stop at the Skuon Market where you could sample some traditional Cambodian snacks before lunch at a local restaurant. Once we arrive in Siem Reap, we check into our hotel for the next two nights. This vibrant city is the gateway to the famous Angkor region, with a dizzying blend of colonial and Chinese influences, especially in its Old French Quarter.

Day 16 - Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

Today is a highlight of our holiday as we visit the famous Angkor Wat temple city, the world's largest religious structure. There are few places in the world like this; built over 800 years ago for the god Vishnu, the temple would originally have been an extravagant display of golden roofs and whitewashed buildings. Now, it's been reclaimed by nature making it even more captivating. We continue by tuk-tuk to Angkor Thom, the 'Great City' that was the last capital of the Khmer Empire.

The now-abandoned city is fascinating to discover. We explore some more stunning temples, including Ta Prohm, which was built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and is now covered in a web of overgrown fig, banyan and kapok tree roots. Later, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, accompanied by a traditional dance show.

Day 17 - Siem Reap to London

On our final day in Cambodia, we have time to explore Siem Reap's lively markets in the morning. After lunch at a local restaurant, we head to the airport for our flight back to London Heathrow via Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 18 - London

We arrive back in the UK today, and your holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Victoria Can Tho Resort, Can Tho

Victoria Can Tho Resort, Can Tho

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Melia Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi

Melia Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi

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Grand Hotel Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

Grand Hotel Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City

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Royal Hoi An Mgallery, Hoi An

Royal Hoi An Mgallery, Hoi An

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Best Western Premier Indochine Palace, Hue

Best Western Premier Indochine Palace, Hue

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Novotel, Nha Trang

Novotel, Nha Trang

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Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh

Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh

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Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa, Siem Reap

Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa, Siem Reap

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Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Flight upgrades
UK rail connections
London hotels