Jan 16: Arrival in Phnom Penh
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in Phnom Penh for one night.
Hotel: La Rose
Jan 17: Transfer to the Pier for cruise embarkation (D)
Embark your 3-night cruise. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.
Onboard Aqua Mekong Cruise
Jan 18: Tonle Sap River – Koh Chen – Kampong Prasat (B, L, D)
In the silversmith village of Koh Chen, we watch artisans producing the magnificent silverware favored by Khmer royalty. We continue to Udong, the royal capital from the 17-19th centuries, where we learn about a uniquely challenging Buddhist practice at the Vipassana Dhura Mandala, a meditation center. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Kampong Prasat offers a close up perspective on local lives and their riverside environment.
Jan 19: Tonle Sap River – Kampong Chhnang – Kampong Tralach (B, L, D)
In the cooler hours, we head into the lush countryside to visit traditional potters and palm-sugar producers, astride mountain bikes or chauffeured by shaded tuk-tuk. Into the rice paddies we pedal to watch wizened masters scale sky-piercing palms towering over us. Cruise across the glassy water and disembark among the lotuses for an ox-cart ride along the Tonle Sap riverbanks, past lacquered wooden houses where during these dry months residents take refuge in the relative cool of these outdoor impromptu living rooms.
Jan 20: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap (B)
We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. Disembark.
Transfer to the airport for flight to Siem Reap.
Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Hotel: Sokkhak Boutique Resort
Jan 21: Reap (B)
Visit Angkor Wat – The crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. Upon entering the main structure, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface of the temple, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted from the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.
Visit Angkor Thom – The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor’s most popular sights. Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle.
Visit Ta Prohm temple – Ta Prohm is one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Jan 22: Siem Reap (B)
Visit Roluos Group Temples – The Roluos Group of monuments mark the beginning of Khmer classical art, and they represent some of the earliest great temples built by the Khmer. They served as the capital of Indravarman (who reigned from 877 to 889). Lolei was built on an islet by Yasovarman I (who ruled from 889 to 910), the founder of the first city of Angkor. The sandstone carvings in the niches of the temples are notable as are the Sanskrit inscriptions on the doorposts. Preah Ko was erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century in dedication to his defied ancestors in 880. There are inscriptions in Sanskrit on the doorsteps of each temple. Bakong was built and dedicated to Shiva by Indravarman I, and is the largest and most interesting of the Roluos Group of temples and still has an active Buddhist monastery.
Visit Banteay Srei Temple – Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, wondrous atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favourite with visitors.
Visit Banteay Samre – Banteay Samre is a mid-12th century temple dedicated to the god Vishnu.
Visit Pre Rup Temple – Pre Rup was built by Rajendravarman II (ruled 944 to 968), it consists of a pyramid shaped temple with the upper-most of the three tiers carrying five square shrines arranged as a quincunx. The name means turning the body and refers to the traditional method of cremation.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Jan 23: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang.
Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel
Hotel: Le Sen Boutique Hotel
Jan 24: Luang Prabang (B)
Full day sightseeing in Luang Prabang
Set between the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Start the day at Wat Visoun (Wat Wisunalat), the oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat dating back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas. Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stencilled murals. From there, stroll down the main street of Luang Prabang, stopping at some of the many temples that line its sides, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene.
Continue to the National Museum(Royal Palace), a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos. Then, visit Hor Phrabang. In the right front corner room of the Palace which opens to the outside, is a collection of the palace’s most prized art, including the Phrabang, cast of a gold, silver and bronze alloy. This Buddha stands at 83 cm tall and weighs around 50 kg. Afterwards, visit Wat Mai.
Visit Mount Phousi for sunset
Climb 328 steps starting from the entrance on the opposite side of National Museum, or 410 steps on the other side of Khan River to the small temples atop Phou Si. The hill is 150m high and sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Jan 25: Luang Prabang – Hanoi (B)
This morning, take an excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls. From Luang Prabang, travel by vehicle to to Kuang Si Waterfall. This waterfall is located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. Enjoy swimming in the clear water or just relaxing in the natural environment. Visit a local village (Ban Ou or Ban Na Ouane) on the way, before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle.
Later this afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Hotel: Apricot Hotel
Jan 26: Hanoi (B, D)
Walking tour to Huu Tiep lake and the downed B52
Start the tour in the northern part of the city at a colorful market selling herbs, spices, sea products and many other local and exotic ingredients. Stroll alongside the lake till Tran Quoc
the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, located on a small island near the southeastern shore of the West Lake. Carry on past the peaceful Quan Thanh a Taoist temple and the Presidential Palace to the Botanical Gardens, the green lung of the capital. Wander through the maze of narrow streets and crowded alleys until you emerge at a small lake containing the wreckage of a crashed B52 from the Vietnam War. Enjoy coffee at a small local shop nearby the lake and continue by walk to Ngoc Ha Street where the car will transfer you back to your hotel.
Sightseeing in Hanoi
Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite an exciting exploration by walking, while it’s many beautiful public spaces lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals.
Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature has a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university. In one courtyard, giant stone tortoises bear stele on their backs, listing the accomplishments of graduating scholars.
Visit the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter holds over a thousand years of history and remains one of Vietnam’s most lively and unusual places, where one can buy anything from a gravestone to silk pyjamas. Explore by walking to the maze of back streets with fascination wonderment at every turn and there are endless things to buy from wool clothes, cosmetics, gold and silver jewellery, silk clothes and herbal medicines.
Dinner at Ngon Villa Restaurant.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Jan 27: Hanoi (B, D)
Visit Ho Chi Minh Stilt House and One Pillar Pagoda
Stroll through the park to the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. This simple two-room dwelling has been preserved in the same condition as during his life, and can be viewed through the windows. Continue to the miniature 11th century One Pillar Pagoda which was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954.
Hanoi Food Walk (private)
Pick up at hotel in the Old Quarter, walk over the most famous streets while listening to the presentation about the busy daily life activities, the typical architecture as well as the interesting histories about this old capital city. Stop at some restaurants, food stalls or local market to contemplate and try typical Vietnamese foods and drinks those are really well-known and most popular for Hanoian. Our guide will introduce the recipe and main ingredients, the historical backgrounds of each dish while tasting them.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Jan 28: Hanoi Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Minimum 2 guests
- Valid for Travel from May – Sep
- Single Supplement: $1850