Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi
Having been met off the aircraft and assisted through customs and immigration, you will be introduced to your driver who will transfer to your charming hotel located in Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter.
Stay at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel for two nights on Bed and Breakfast Basis.
Day 2: Hanoi
Spend the day exploring the historic city with your private guide.
You could start early and join the locals in their morning routine of tai chi and aerobics before heading to the Old Quarter to discover bustling markets and beautiful French colonial architecture. During the course of the day, you will have an opportunity to sample some of the popular local street foods including bun cha – a traditional rice noodle dish made with grilled pork, enjoy a pint of refreshing draught beer at a local bia hoi spot, and explore the stunning Temple of Literature where the country’s first university was established. Whether you are interested in photography, local life or Vietnam’s war related history, your guide will also take you to some of the most fascinating off-the-beaten-track places.
In the late afternoon, enjoy an interesting conversation with a renowned Vietnamese war veteran who was one of the only 120 qualified fighter pilots to serve the country during the American War. Chat with him over a cup of tea and learn about this troubling but important part of Vietnamese history and hear his most unique and heart-warming story, which has made him famous at home and in the US.
Day 3: Explore Halong Bay and travel to Hoi An
Start the day early with a thrilling adventure as you take a scenic private seaplane flight to Halong Bay to admire its magnificent karst mountains rising from the emerald waters. Spread over a vast area of 2,000 square kilometres, this area is renowned for its astounding beauty and is one of the natural highlights of the country.
You will then return to Hanoi and fly to Danang by a private jet. The journey from Hanoi to Danang would take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
You will be met on arrival and transferred by private car to your luxurious beach resort near Hoi An (45 minutes). The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Stay at Four Seasons The Nam Hai for two nights on Bed and Breakfast Basis.
Day 4: Hoi An
Spend the morning exploring the UNESCO-listed old town of Hoi An with your private guide. On a leisurely walking tour, you will be shown around the local market and narrow alleyways filled with historic merchant houses, Buddhist shrines, Japanese covered bridge, craft and textile workshops as well as chic cafes and restaurants. It’s a wonderful way to mingle with the locals and soak up the town’s laidback atmosphere.
If interested, visit a family-owned workshop to learn the art of paper lantern-making. You will then be taken to a local farm by a small fishing boat where you will learn about a fascinating socio-ecological project focusing on sustainable farming, low-impact communal living and youth education. This will be a wonderful opportunity to explore a completely off-the-beaten-track part of Hoi An.
Enjoy a simple but wholesome lunch at the farm with the local community and meet with a well-known local conservationist and philanthropist – Ms Hanh – the founder of Green Youth Collective. Besides her farming and community welfare initiatives, Ms Hanh is also working to protect and rebuild Hoi An’s rapidly eroding riverbanks, which play a very important part in protecting the vulnerable communities living along the river during the monsoon season.
The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 5: Travel to Ho Chi Minh City
You will be flown to Saigon by a private jet this morning. The journey will take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel, located in the heart of Saigon’s historic District 1.
Stay at Park Hyatt Saigon for two nights on Bed and Breakfast Basis.
In the afternoon, enjoy a fascinating art-focused tour with a renowned British expatriate who’s been involved in the city’s art community since 2009. His knowledge of Saigon’s history, culture and food is amazing, and you will get to see this fascinating city from his unique perspective, meeting with great up-and-coming local artists and visiting his favourite workshops and galleries focusing on contemporary art.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City
Being the day with a private sightseeing tour of Saigon’s important cultural highlights. During the tour, you will meet with Tim Doling, a renowned author and historian who has been based in the city since the early 1990’s.
In the afternoon, visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels by a private speedboat – a vast network of underground passageways built and used by the Viet Cong to evade detection as they moved troops and supplies throughout the city’s northern district.
Day 7: Fly to Phnom Penh
This morning, you will be flown to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh by private jet. The journey will take approximately 45 minutes.
You will be fast-tracked upon arrival through immigration and customs formalities and then transferred to your hotel by private car.
Stay at Rosewood Phnom Penh for one night on Bed and Breakfast Basis.
In the afternoon, your expert local guide will help you learn about the country’s grim recent past as you visit Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields. The atrocities carried out by the brutal Khmer Rouge have been starkly portrayed in the recent film ‘First They Killed My Father’ and famous novel ‘The Killing Fields’.
Day 8: Fly to Siem Reap
Begin the day with a leisurely tour of central Phnom Penh taking it some of its beautiful colonial buildings and the Royal Palace complex which houses the National Museum.
In the afternoon, you will be flown to Siem Reap by private jet, taking approximately 45 minutes. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel by private vehicle.
Stay at Amansara for three nights on Bed and Breakfast Basis. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 9: Siem Reap
Spend the day exploring some of the highlights of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which in terms of scale is as impressive and awe-inspiring at Machu Pichu and Beijing’s Forbidden City.
Stretching over a vast area of 400 square kilometres, the park contains the magnificent remnants of the Khmer Empire, built between the 9th and 15th centuries. Accompanied by an expert photographer, you will explore some of the important sights including the temples of Bayon, Baphoun and Terraces of Elephants and The Leper King, as well as the jungle temple of Ta Prohm and the crown jewel Angkor Wat – the largest Hindu temple in the world. You will finish the day on the quiet east side of Angkor Wat or at the less frequented Pre Rup Temple to catch an unforgettable sunset.
Day 10: Siem Reap
Today you will embark on an off the beaten track adventure by private helicopter to experience the seldom visited ruins of Koh Ker - the fabulous pyramid temple. Koh Ker is a remote archaeological site about 120 kilometres outside Siem Reap located in a lush and sparsely populated region. About 180 sanctuaries have been discovered here but only about two dozen are open to visitors are others are either too deep inside the forest or located in an area that is not yet fully demined.
Return to your hotel and have the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a unique Cambodian circus performance. The show begins around 20:00 and lasts about an hour.
This is a truly unique concept and performance and is far from the typical circus. Phare performers use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. The artists are students and graduates from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training centre in Battambang. The association was formed in 1994 by 9 young men coming home from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge regime. They were greatly helped during that time by an art teacher using drawing classes as therapy and wanted to share this new skill among the poor, socially deprived and troubled youngsters in Battambang. They founded an art school and public school followed to offer free education. A music school and theatre school were next and finally, for the kids who wanted more, the circus school. Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the alternative schools. Phare Ponleu Selpak also has extensive outreach programs, trying to help with the problems highlighted in their own tales.
Phare The Cambodian Circus offers these students and graduates somewhere to hone their skills and a place to earn a decent wage. Money that will take them out of poverty and give them self-respect and freedom.
Day 11: Departure from Siem Reap
Today, you will be transferred to the international airport to check-in for your flight home.
This extraordinary journey starts from US$51,900.00 per person, sharing, based on a minimum group size of four travellers. This is merely a sample itinerary and it is entirely possible to customise it according to your specific requirements and interests. The indicative cost does not include the international flights. This itinerary can also be extended to include a beach break in either Cambodia or Thailand.