Vietnam Cambodia (April 2020)

A$4,454
POSTPONED
A$4,454
POSTPONED

Vietnam is a country of outstanding natural beauty, wonderful food and welcoming and warm people. The larger towns and cities retain much of their colonial charm and beauty in the architecture, parks and boulevards left as a cultural legacy by the French.

We start our adventure in Hanoi, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and often referred to as the “Paris of the Orient”. You’ll soon see why when you step out of our hotel located right in the heart of the Old Quarter. You’ll probably even hear some of the older Vietnamese still speaking French. While in Hanoi we enjoy a full day city tour followed by a Street Eats Tour where we can taste from the myriad of sizzling woks and bubbling pots. From Hanoi we head to iconic Halong Bay where we cruise the jade waters and spend a night on-board our private junk boat. There will be plenty of time for a swim and even sea kayaking. You’ll have your own cabin of course.

From Halong Bay we journey to the UNESCO heritage listed Hoi An. This quaint riverside town is truly a step back in time with much of the old quarter (where our hotel is located) untouched for over a century. In Hoi An we’ve included a half day walking city tour along with a cooking class. If you want to have some clothes tailor made then Hoi An is the place. We’ve built in plenty of free time in Hoi An to soak up the atmosphere at local cafes, explore the markets, sample some street food or simply relax by the pool at your hotel. Following a relaxing few days in Hoi An we fly to Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it’s officially known. Saigon is a fast paced modern city although it still boasts many historic sites and is our base from which to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta. Once again we have free time and a street eats tour.

Next we fly to Siem Reap to begin our Cambodian adventure. Our hotel is in a perfect location right in the heart of town. At the doorstep is the local market, cafes, restaurants, day spas, tailors and so much more.

Siem Reap is the provincial capital and an energetic tourist destination given its proximity to ancient Khmer city of Angkor. Speaking of Angkor, the highlight of your visit will no doubt be the amazing Angkor Wat.

All up there is a fabulous 15 days of amazing sights, wonderful food and new friends on offer.

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Wednesday 1st April 2020

Hanoi (D)

Upon arrival, you will be met by your tour host and transferred to the hotel. Tonight the group will meet for a welcome dinner and tour briefing at the hotel.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 2 – Thursday 2nd April 2020

Cyclo Tour – Evening Street Food Tour (B, L, D)

We begin the morning with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. Here, you will hear about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Every October the mausoleum is closed for a month and Uncle Ho is given a bit of a spruce up. You’ll also hear about the legend of the one pillar pagoda built by an emperor to honour the goddess of mercy. This small pagoda is built over a pretty lotus pond and is rumoured to have healing powers. Next, visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the apex of regional political power for more than a millennium where research and excavation is still underway, and then head to another 11th century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. After lunch, transfer to visit Quan Thanh temple and Westlake followed by a 1 hour cyclo ride around the Old Quarter.

Street Eats tour

Tonight our guide will take us on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are.

We start our Hanoi Street Eats tour at Bia Hoi corner and try the local brew, ‘Bia Hoi,’ an extra-carbonated draft beer that traces its roots to Eastern Europe. Do as the locals do and pull up a stool and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.

Continue through the old quarter’s narrow streets as our guide points out a range of tasty noodles, breads and snacks.

At night the sidewalks are packed with locals perched on stools, amongst sizzling woks and bubbling pots. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day.

Highlights may include Banh Cuon, rice rolls that include beef and fresh herbs, or Banh My, Vietnam’s famous baguette sandwich. But the best has to be the flame grilled Vietnamese barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables on skewers. End the night with dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlour. Yum!

Please note: In case of rain, the itinerary may include a visit to a covered noodle stall.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 3 – Friday 3rd April 2020

Hanoi – Halong Bay (B, L, D)

Leave the pace of the city behind as you travel about four hours to Halong Bay. Hop aboard a small tender boat to get to the ‘Bai Tho’, a beautifully restored traditional wooden junk and explore the jade green waters of Halong Bay over lunch. Cruise through famous sights such as the Ba Hang fishing village, Đỉnh Hương island, Chó Đá islet, Gà Chọi islet… before stopping at Bồ Nâu cave. Transfer by tender to explore one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay: Surprise cave. Next head to Titov island, named by Uncle Ho, after Gherman Stepanovich Titov – the Soviet astronaut who visited in 1962. Enjoy a swim, relax on the beach or climb the steps of the Rock to the top of the island and see the corner of magical Halong Bay. We’ll return back to Bai Tho just in time to watch the sunset from the top deck before enjoying a seafood dinner on board.

Accommodation: Bai Tho Junk Boat (4.5 star). Private Cabin (Chartered exclusively Two’s a Crowd)


Day 4 – Saturday 4th April 2020

Halong Bay – Hanoi (B, L)

Wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep and enjoy some Tai Chi on the sundeck. After breakfast take a traditionally woven (bamboo) boat rowed by a local boatman to Luồn cave for a guided tour of the beautiful grotto. After a light lunch, we will make our return back to Hanoi.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 5 – Sunday 5th April 2020

Hanoi – flight to Danang/Hoi An (B, D)

Transfer to the airport in Hanoi for our flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, transfers are provided to the hotel in Hoi An. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at the Hai Cafe in the Old town.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 6 – Monday 6th April 2020

Hoi An – Half Day tour (B)

From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, renowned for its silk and popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailor shops and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century and much of the town is now UNESCO heritage-listed. You will truly feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. In the morning, enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Balance of day at leisure.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 7 – Tuesday 7th April 2020

Hoi An – Half Day Cooking Class (B, L)

Taste the regional specialties of Hoi An and learn how they are made with a cooking class at Ms Vy’s Cooking School. We start our culinary adventure with a visit to the market with a local chef who will explain all the different herbs and vegetables. Once our purchases have been made, hop aboard a boat and head to the cooking school for a hands-on lesson. With your apron on, get set to roll rice paper into spring rolls, make a claypot and slice and dice to create the beautiful garnishes that decorate the food. At the completion enjoy a delicious lunch, including what we have just prepared.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 8 – Wednesday 8th April 2020

Hoi An (B)

Free day at leisure. Our guide will have many suggestions for us. Plenty of time to visit a local tailor, explore the Hoi An markets, sample the incredible street food or take a cycle ride through the ancient streets.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 9 – Thursday 9th April 2020

Hoi An – Danang – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City – Cyclo Tour (B)

Transfer to the airport in Danang and take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. This afternoon, we head to Cholon, the city’s Chinatown. With intricate friezes, carv tableaus and impressive incense coils make for some great photos. Then observe street life, through the narrow streets to Ben Thanh market that sells everything from hats to dried squid.

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 10 – Friday 10th April 2020

Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels – Street Eats Tour (B,D)

We begin our journey to the Cu Chi Tunnels by departing at around 8am from our hotel and travel through the countryside which was once a stronghold of the Viet Cong. Upon arrival, watch a short video about what life was like for soldiers who lived there during the war.The cramped tunnels were central to many of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they didn’t escape damage. American B52 bombers dropped hundreds of missiles leaving huge tell-tale craters behind. The tunnels served not only as living quarters, but as supply routes and hospitals for thousands of guerrilla fighters. Many died there from malaria and other diseases, and a few were also born or married. Today they are viewed as a testimony to the Vietnamese people’s resilience. An incredible place. Return to Ho Chi Minh City around 2pm. The afternoon is then free to enjoy as you wish. This evening get set for a culinary adventure in downtown Saigon, away from the tourist areas and into the heart of the city, where the locals eat. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are. Pull up a stool and taste a selection of different types of Vietnamese favorites from tasty banh mi baguettes, noodle dishes and flamed grilled barbecue skewers, maybe even rice paper pizza! End the night with dessert from one of Saigon’s best little places for sweet soup. This is a fun night out where you will discover the people and the culture of Vietnam through its food!

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 11 – Saturday 11th April 2020

Ho Chi Minh – Full day Mekong Delta (B,L,D)

The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam. It is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam as it produces three harvests per year. The fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruit and flowers. The Delta area marks the end of a 4,500km journey made by the Mekong River after having traveled through six countries. Traditional transportation in the Delta is by boat along a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience for all visitors. The tour starts with a drive through the Mekong Delta to Cai Be floating market; from here we’ll board our river boat for a cruise along the endless waterways of the mighty Mekong. We will visit a Bonsai Garden and the handicraft village to see how bricks and pottery items are made. The visit also allows you to discover how candy and pop rice are made. One of your stops will be to a small restaurant serving local delicacies. We’ll then return to Vinh Long town where we are transferred to Ho Chi Minh City. The group will enjoy dinner together tonight- feasting on more local delicacies!

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 12 – Sunday 12th April 2020

ARRIVE SIEM REAP (B)

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap. Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival into Siem Reap, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. We will then set off to experience a private tour of the area. See where it all began as you travel to the ancient site of the Roluos group of temples- just a short drive from Siem Reap. Preah Ko or the sacred bull temple is named after the statues of bulls in front of the central towers and Bakong, is the largest and most impressive in the group dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Tonight is then your own to enjoy at leisure.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 13 – Monday 13th April 2020

SIEM REAP – ANGKOR THOM, BAYON, TA PROHM; ANGKOR WAT FULL DAY TOUR (B,L)

Shortly after breakfast we visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom where statues of the gods of good and evil line the entrance. Your next stop is the Bayon, known for the hundreds of smiling faces that grace the towers. Move on to Phimeanakas, shaped a bit like a pyramid with two ponds in the rear. The ponds were once used for religious rituals but today serve as swimming pools for Khmer kids. Then it’s a short drive to one of the most loved temples of all – Ta Prohm. This small crumbling temple is held together by giant tree roots giving it a magical feel. Return to Siem Reap for lunch before departing to explore the magnificent Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. This visually spectacular temple is a massive three-tiered pyramid, rising 65 metres from the ground and crowned by five lotus towers. It’s the national symbol of Cambodia and proudly appears on the country’s flag. End your day with sunset views over the jungle from the top of Pre Rup Temple before returning to Siem Reap to enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 14 – Tuesday 14th April 2020

SIEM REAP – TONLE SAP LAKE HALF DAY TOUR (B)

After breakfast we drive to the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake and embark on a cruise to Kompong Phluk, an isolated Khmer community of three villages built on wooden stilts, rising from six to eight metres high. The community has about 3,000 inhabitants who farm fish and vegetables on floating platforms. During your visit, your boat will take you through mangrove forests, a unique ecosystem that survives on flooded soil for months and hosts to a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds and especially the crab eating macaques! We return to Siem Reap and enjoy a final group dinner together this evening.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 15 – Wednesday 15th April 2020

SIEM REAP DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast your Vietnam and Cambodia solos tour will then come to an end. A transfer to the airport will be organised for you. Alternately, if you wish to extend your stay and discover anothe jewel of Sh East Asia, please join us on the ‘Laid-back Laos’ small-group tour that follows on straight after this tour. Otherwise, please request your Two’s a Crowd travel consultant to book your post-tour accommodation and any further touring arrangements you need.

 

TOUR PRICE A$4,454 PLUS INTERNATIONAL AIRFARES

TOUR DATES: 1ST – 15TH APRIL 2020

Vietnam

Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi

Bright rooms in an informal hotel offering city views, plus a restaurant, a gym and free breakfast.

Hoi An Historic Hotel:

Established in 1991, the Hoi An Historic Hotel is a 4-start hotel admired for its location, charm, and world-class facilities. Guests can access stunning Cua Dai beach, 4km East, by hopping on a shuttle bus that runs on the fifteen minutes. It is also a few steps to the Old Town with its old world charm, amazing shopping and myriad of eating options.

The hotel provides 150 international-standard rooms and suites in low rise blocks spaced throughout lush, shady grounds. The rooms include air-conditioning, LCD TV, bathroom with tub and shower, and in-room safety box. Room design discards the minimalist fad of recent years, sticking to basics such as bed, fridge, cupboard and television. The four-star hotel also offers use of a vast, outdoor pool with poolside recliners, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, souvenir shop and art gallery.

Paradise Saigon Hotel:

This modern hotel with a rounded corner tower is a 4-minute walk from Bến Thành Market, 1 km from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and 8 km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Bright rooms and suites include minibars, safes, flat-screen TVs and tea and coffeemaking equipment. Upgraded accommodations feature curved corner windows, and some have either marble floors or balconies with open-air tubs. There’s 24-hour room service.

A top-floor restaurant with city views serves international and local cuisine, plus steak specialties and pizzas. There’s a cafe, a gym and a spa with a sauna, a hot tub and massages. Airport transfers (fee) are offered.

Cambodia

Steung Siem Reap Hotel (3 star):

Located in the French Quarter; Psah Chas (Old Market) retaining her true colonial French characteristics, wooden louvre french-windows, doors and wooden floors complete with wrought iron balconies.

The interiors whilst youthfully modern, bright airy and cheerful retain some semblance of her 1930’s art-decor characteristics with a hint Khmer flavour. Walking distance to eveything!

Weather

The North of Vietnam is generally cooler than other South East Asian regions in the same longitude. It experiences two main distinct seasons. In winter months, the weather gets colder and colder from November to March and considerably warmer in April (a leap into summer).  This is also time to observe much cloud and frequent drizzle. In the summer (from May to October), the whole region is quite hot. The Central Vietnam with two sub-regions, coastal lowlands and central highlands, can be seen as an in-between climatic area of the North and the South. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter than the rest in the summer, as the Truong Son Mountains do not allow it to enjoy most rainfall of south-western monsoon (from April to October). Unprotected coasts in their turn, however, make it wet and colder than the rest in winter-monsoon season (from November to March). Also, storms and typhoons strike this area more frequently than the northern coasts in summer months (from July to November). The South of Vietnam, merely 8 degrees north of the Equator, is typical of humid tropical climate which is excellent for growing rice. The region’s temperatures experience little variations in a year (around 27-32°C/80-90°F). There are two main seasons: the rainy and the dry. During the rainy/monsoon season (from May to November), downpours are expected to happen nearly every afternoon, resulting in occasional street flooding in and around Saigon. In the dry season, it is hot from late February to April then slightly cooler when first downpours come. Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) enjoys rather equitable tropical climate with high humidity all year round. December to March is said to be the most pleasant time to hit this region’s center.

Money

Vietnam’s currency is dong issued by State Bank of Vietnam. Abbreviated form: “VND” before the amount or “d” after the amount. Small denominations include VND 200; 500; 1000; 2000; 5000 in both coin and paper notes though coin is more popular. Bigger denominations include VND 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000; 500,000 in both polymer and normal paper notes. Generally, all major currencies can be converted into dong without any hassle but American dollar is normally much more preferred. It is wise to cash your traveler cheques into US dollar in Vietcombank or other major local banks before jumping into anywhere. You may be charged 0.5 to 2% commission for this, still much lower than in black market. Also, it is important to make sure that any note you take do not have any tear or look too worn, as it is possible to pass them to no one again. It is strongly recommended that you do not equip yourself with lots of cash, neither dollar nor dong. In Vietnam now, it is much easier for you to access your money almost everywhere and any time in Hanoi, Saigon or other major cities through an extensive ATM network. It is, therefore, important to check whether your credit card company has any ATM access in Vietnam in advance.

Electricity

In Vietnam the standard voltage is 220 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type A (Japan) / C (Europe)  and  G (UK)

Visas

Visas on arrival are available at both Vietnam and Cambodia international airports. Two’s a Crowd can provide more information on the process and required documentation and costs.

Tour Inclusions:

  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host from Australia.
  • All domestic Vietnam flight tickets : Hanoi – Danang – Saigon – Siem Reap (economy class & incl. taxes)
  • All meals as mentioned in the program (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D=dinner)
  • Your own room at listed hotels with daily breakfast. Sole-use cabin on board Bai Tho Junk Boat – chartered exclusively by Two’s a Crowd.
  • All transport as detailed in the itinerary by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Professional english-speaking guide throughout.
  • All entrance fees and touring inclusions, as per itinerary.
  • Gratuities/tips for drivers
  • Hotel porterage.
  • Standard CHI Travel Insurance Policy. Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medial condition or wish to extend your travelling dates (underwritten by Allianz).

Tour Exclusions:

  • All international airfares and taxes.
  • Visas (required. Two’s a Crowd can advise).
  • Services, meals and drinks if not mentioned in the itinerary or inclusions.
  • Expenditure of a personal nature, such as laundry, telephone calls and souveniers.

Vietnam is a country of outstanding natural beauty, wonderful food and welcoming and warm people. The larger towns and cities retain much of their colonial charm and beauty in the architecture, parks and boulevards left as a cultural legacy by the French.

We start our adventure in Hanoi, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and often referred to as the “Paris of the Orient”. You’ll soon see why when you step out of our hotel located right in the heart of the Old Quarter. You’ll probably even hear some of the older Vietnamese still speaking French. While in Hanoi we enjoy a full day city tour followed by a Street Eats Tour where we can taste from the myriad of sizzling woks and bubbling pots. From Hanoi we head to iconic Halong Bay where we cruise the jade waters and spend a night on-board our private junk boat. There will be plenty of time for a swim and even sea kayaking. You’ll have your own cabin of course.

From Halong Bay we journey to the UNESCO heritage listed Hoi An. This quaint riverside town is truly a step back in time with much of the old quarter (where our hotel is located) untouched for over a century. In Hoi An we’ve included a half day walking city tour along with a cooking class. If you want to have some clothes tailor made then Hoi An is the place. We’ve built in plenty of free time in Hoi An to soak up the atmosphere at local cafes, explore the markets, sample some street food or simply relax by the pool at your hotel. Following a relaxing few days in Hoi An we fly to Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it’s officially known. Saigon is a fast paced modern city although it still boasts many historic sites and is our base from which to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta. Once again we have free time and a street eats tour.

Next we fly to Siem Reap to begin our Cambodian adventure. Our hotel is in a perfect location right in the heart of town. At the doorstep is the local market, cafes, restaurants, day spas, tailors and so much more.

Siem Reap is the provincial capital and an energetic tourist destination given its proximity to ancient Khmer city of Angkor. Speaking of Angkor, the highlight of your visit will no doubt be the amazing Angkor Wat.

All up there is a fabulous 15 days of amazing sights, wonderful food and new friends on offer.

Will you join us?

Day 1 – Wednesday 1st April 2020

Hanoi (D)

Upon arrival, you will be met by your tour host and transferred to the hotel. Tonight the group will meet for a welcome dinner and tour briefing at the hotel.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 2 – Thursday 2nd April 2020

Cyclo Tour – Evening Street Food Tour (B, L, D)

We begin the morning with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. Here, you will hear about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Every October the mausoleum is closed for a month and Uncle Ho is given a bit of a spruce up. You’ll also hear about the legend of the one pillar pagoda built by an emperor to honour the goddess of mercy. This small pagoda is built over a pretty lotus pond and is rumoured to have healing powers. Next, visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the apex of regional political power for more than a millennium where research and excavation is still underway, and then head to another 11th century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius. After lunch, transfer to visit Quan Thanh temple and Westlake followed by a 1 hour cyclo ride around the Old Quarter.

Street Eats tour

Tonight our guide will take us on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are.

We start our Hanoi Street Eats tour at Bia Hoi corner and try the local brew, ‘Bia Hoi,’ an extra-carbonated draft beer that traces its roots to Eastern Europe. Do as the locals do and pull up a stool and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.

Continue through the old quarter’s narrow streets as our guide points out a range of tasty noodles, breads and snacks.

At night the sidewalks are packed with locals perched on stools, amongst sizzling woks and bubbling pots. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day.

Highlights may include Banh Cuon, rice rolls that include beef and fresh herbs, or Banh My, Vietnam’s famous baguette sandwich. But the best has to be the flame grilled Vietnamese barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables on skewers. End the night with dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlour. Yum!

Please note: In case of rain, the itinerary may include a visit to a covered noodle stall.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 3 – Friday 3rd April 2020

Hanoi – Halong Bay (B, L, D)

Leave the pace of the city behind as you travel about four hours to Halong Bay. Hop aboard a small tender boat to get to the ‘Bai Tho’, a beautifully restored traditional wooden junk and explore the jade green waters of Halong Bay over lunch. Cruise through famous sights such as the Ba Hang fishing village, Đỉnh Hương island, Chó Đá islet, Gà Chọi islet… before stopping at Bồ Nâu cave. Transfer by tender to explore one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay: Surprise cave. Next head to Titov island, named by Uncle Ho, after Gherman Stepanovich Titov – the Soviet astronaut who visited in 1962. Enjoy a swim, relax on the beach or climb the steps of the Rock to the top of the island and see the corner of magical Halong Bay. We’ll return back to Bai Tho just in time to watch the sunset from the top deck before enjoying a seafood dinner on board.

Accommodation: Bai Tho Junk Boat (4.5 star). Private Cabin (Chartered exclusively Two’s a Crowd)


Day 4 – Saturday 4th April 2020

Halong Bay – Hanoi (B, L)

Wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep and enjoy some Tai Chi on the sundeck. After breakfast take a traditionally woven (bamboo) boat rowed by a local boatman to Luồn cave for a guided tour of the beautiful grotto. After a light lunch, we will make our return back to Hanoi.

Accommodation: Your own ensuite room at ‘Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi’ (3.5 star)


Day 5 – Sunday 5th April 2020

Hanoi – flight to Danang/Hoi An (B, D)

Transfer to the airport in Hanoi for our flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, transfers are provided to the hotel in Hoi An. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at the Hai Cafe in the Old town.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 6 – Monday 6th April 2020

Hoi An – Half Day tour (B)

From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, renowned for its silk and popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailor shops and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century and much of the town is now UNESCO heritage-listed. You will truly feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. In the morning, enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Balance of day at leisure.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 7 – Tuesday 7th April 2020

Hoi An – Half Day Cooking Class (B, L)

Taste the regional specialties of Hoi An and learn how they are made with a cooking class at Ms Vy’s Cooking School. We start our culinary adventure with a visit to the market with a local chef who will explain all the different herbs and vegetables. Once our purchases have been made, hop aboard a boat and head to the cooking school for a hands-on lesson. With your apron on, get set to roll rice paper into spring rolls, make a claypot and slice and dice to create the beautiful garnishes that decorate the food. At the completion enjoy a delicious lunch, including what we have just prepared.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 8 – Wednesday 8th April 2020

Hoi An (B)

Free day at leisure. Our guide will have many suggestions for us. Plenty of time to visit a local tailor, explore the Hoi An markets, sample the incredible street food or take a cycle ride through the ancient streets.

Accommodation: Royal Riverside Hotel Hoi An in your own deluxe water front room (4 star)


Day 9 – Thursday 9th April 2020

Hoi An – Danang – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City – Cyclo Tour (B)

Transfer to the airport in Danang and take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. This afternoon, we head to Cholon, the city’s Chinatown. With intricate friezes, carv tableaus and impressive incense coils make for some great photos. Then observe street life, through the narrow streets to Ben Thanh market that sells everything from hats to dried squid.

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 10 – Friday 10th April 2020

Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels – Street Eats Tour (B,D)

We begin our journey to the Cu Chi Tunnels by departing at around 8am from our hotel and travel through the countryside which was once a stronghold of the Viet Cong. Upon arrival, watch a short video about what life was like for soldiers who lived there during the war.The cramped tunnels were central to many of the war’s strategic operations, including the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, and they didn’t escape damage. American B52 bombers dropped hundreds of missiles leaving huge tell-tale craters behind. The tunnels served not only as living quarters, but as supply routes and hospitals for thousands of guerrilla fighters. Many died there from malaria and other diseases, and a few were also born or married. Today they are viewed as a testimony to the Vietnamese people’s resilience. An incredible place. Return to Ho Chi Minh City around 2pm. The afternoon is then free to enjoy as you wish. This evening get set for a culinary adventure in downtown Saigon, away from the tourist areas and into the heart of the city, where the locals eat. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are. Pull up a stool and taste a selection of different types of Vietnamese favorites from tasty banh mi baguettes, noodle dishes and flamed grilled barbecue skewers, maybe even rice paper pizza! End the night with dessert from one of Saigon’s best little places for sweet soup. This is a fun night out where you will discover the people and the culture of Vietnam through its food!

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 11 – Saturday 11th April 2020

Ho Chi Minh – Full day Mekong Delta (B,L,D)

The Mekong Delta is the southernmost region of Vietnam. It is often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam as it produces three harvests per year. The fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruit and flowers. The Delta area marks the end of a 4,500km journey made by the Mekong River after having traveled through six countries. Traditional transportation in the Delta is by boat along a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets always proves to be a fascinating and rewarding experience for all visitors. The tour starts with a drive through the Mekong Delta to Cai Be floating market; from here we’ll board our river boat for a cruise along the endless waterways of the mighty Mekong. We will visit a Bonsai Garden and the handicraft village to see how bricks and pottery items are made. The visit also allows you to discover how candy and pop rice are made. One of your stops will be to a small restaurant serving local delicacies. We’ll then return to Vinh Long town where we are transferred to Ho Chi Minh City. The group will enjoy dinner together tonight- feasting on more local delicacies!

Accommodation: Paradise Saigon Boutique Hotel in your own deluxe window room (3.5 star)


Day 12 – Sunday 12th April 2020

ARRIVE SIEM REAP (B)

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap. Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival into Siem Reap, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. We will then set off to experience a private tour of the area. See where it all began as you travel to the ancient site of the Roluos group of temples- just a short drive from Siem Reap. Preah Ko or the sacred bull temple is named after the statues of bulls in front of the central towers and Bakong, is the largest and most impressive in the group dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Tonight is then your own to enjoy at leisure.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 13 – Monday 13th April 2020

SIEM REAP – ANGKOR THOM, BAYON, TA PROHM; ANGKOR WAT FULL DAY TOUR (B,L)

Shortly after breakfast we visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom where statues of the gods of good and evil line the entrance. Your next stop is the Bayon, known for the hundreds of smiling faces that grace the towers. Move on to Phimeanakas, shaped a bit like a pyramid with two ponds in the rear. The ponds were once used for religious rituals but today serve as swimming pools for Khmer kids. Then it’s a short drive to one of the most loved temples of all – Ta Prohm. This small crumbling temple is held together by giant tree roots giving it a magical feel. Return to Siem Reap for lunch before departing to explore the magnificent Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument. This visually spectacular temple is a massive three-tiered pyramid, rising 65 metres from the ground and crowned by five lotus towers. It’s the national symbol of Cambodia and proudly appears on the country’s flag. End your day with sunset views over the jungle from the top of Pre Rup Temple before returning to Siem Reap to enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 14 – Tuesday 14th April 2020

SIEM REAP – TONLE SAP LAKE HALF DAY TOUR (B)

After breakfast we drive to the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake and embark on a cruise to Kompong Phluk, an isolated Khmer community of three villages built on wooden stilts, rising from six to eight metres high. The community has about 3,000 inhabitants who farm fish and vegetables on floating platforms. During your visit, your boat will take you through mangrove forests, a unique ecosystem that survives on flooded soil for months and hosts to a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds and especially the crab eating macaques! We return to Siem Reap and enjoy a final group dinner together this evening.

Accommodation: Your own superior room at ‘Steung Siem Reap Hotel’ (4 star)


Day 15 – Wednesday 15th April 2020

SIEM REAP DEPARTURE (B)

After breakfast your Vietnam and Cambodia solos tour will then come to an end. A transfer to the airport will be organised for you. Alternately, if you wish to extend your stay and discover anothe jewel of Sh East Asia, please join us on the ‘Laid-back Laos’ small-group tour that follows on straight after this tour. Otherwise, please request your Two’s a Crowd travel consultant to book your post-tour accommodation and any further touring arrangements you need.

 

TOUR PRICE A$4,454 PLUS INTERNATIONAL AIRFARES

TOUR DATES: 1ST – 15TH APRIL 2020

Vietnam

Grand Citadel Hotel Hanoi

Bright rooms in an informal hotel offering city views, plus a restaurant, a gym and free breakfast.

Hoi An Historic Hotel:

Established in 1991, the Hoi An Historic Hotel is a 4-start hotel admired for its location, charm, and world-class facilities. Guests can access stunning Cua Dai beach, 4km East, by hopping on a shuttle bus that runs on the fifteen minutes. It is also a few steps to the Old Town with its old world charm, amazing shopping and myriad of eating options.

The hotel provides 150 international-standard rooms and suites in low rise blocks spaced throughout lush, shady grounds. The rooms include air-conditioning, LCD TV, bathroom with tub and shower, and in-room safety box. Room design discards the minimalist fad of recent years, sticking to basics such as bed, fridge, cupboard and television. The four-star hotel also offers use of a vast, outdoor pool with poolside recliners, Jacuzzi, tennis courts, souvenir shop and art gallery.

Paradise Saigon Hotel:

This modern hotel with a rounded corner tower is a 4-minute walk from Bến Thành Market, 1 km from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and 8 km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Bright rooms and suites include minibars, safes, flat-screen TVs and tea and coffeemaking equipment. Upgraded accommodations feature curved corner windows, and some have either marble floors or balconies with open-air tubs. There’s 24-hour room service.

A top-floor restaurant with city views serves international and local cuisine, plus steak specialties and pizzas. There’s a cafe, a gym and a spa with a sauna, a hot tub and massages. Airport transfers (fee) are offered.

Cambodia

Steung Siem Reap Hotel (3 star):

Located in the French Quarter; Psah Chas (Old Market) retaining her true colonial French characteristics, wooden louvre french-windows, doors and wooden floors complete with wrought iron balconies.

The interiors whilst youthfully modern, bright airy and cheerful retain some semblance of her 1930’s art-decor characteristics with a hint Khmer flavour. Walking distance to eveything!

Weather

The North of Vietnam is generally cooler than other South East Asian regions in the same longitude. It experiences two main distinct seasons. In winter months, the weather gets colder and colder from November to March and considerably warmer in April (a leap into summer).  This is also time to observe much cloud and frequent drizzle. In the summer (from May to October), the whole region is quite hot. The Central Vietnam with two sub-regions, coastal lowlands and central highlands, can be seen as an in-between climatic area of the North and the South. The coastal strip is usually dry and hotter than the rest in the summer, as the Truong Son Mountains do not allow it to enjoy most rainfall of south-western monsoon (from April to October). Unprotected coasts in their turn, however, make it wet and colder than the rest in winter-monsoon season (from November to March). Also, storms and typhoons strike this area more frequently than the northern coasts in summer months (from July to November). The South of Vietnam, merely 8 degrees north of the Equator, is typical of humid tropical climate which is excellent for growing rice. The region’s temperatures experience little variations in a year (around 27-32°C/80-90°F). There are two main seasons: the rainy and the dry. During the rainy/monsoon season (from May to November), downpours are expected to happen nearly every afternoon, resulting in occasional street flooding in and around Saigon. In the dry season, it is hot from late February to April then slightly cooler when first downpours come. Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) enjoys rather equitable tropical climate with high humidity all year round. December to March is said to be the most pleasant time to hit this region’s center.

Money

Vietnam’s currency is dong issued by State Bank of Vietnam. Abbreviated form: “VND” before the amount or “d” after the amount. Small denominations include VND 200; 500; 1000; 2000; 5000 in both coin and paper notes though coin is more popular. Bigger denominations include VND 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000; 500,000 in both polymer and normal paper notes. Generally, all major currencies can be converted into dong without any hassle but American dollar is normally much more preferred. It is wise to cash your traveler cheques into US dollar in Vietcombank or other major local banks before jumping into anywhere. You may be charged 0.5 to 2% commission for this, still much lower than in black market. Also, it is important to make sure that any note you take do not have any tear or look too worn, as it is possible to pass them to no one again. It is strongly recommended that you do not equip yourself with lots of cash, neither dollar nor dong. In Vietnam now, it is much easier for you to access your money almost everywhere and any time in Hanoi, Saigon or other major cities through an extensive ATM network. It is, therefore, important to check whether your credit card company has any ATM access in Vietnam in advance.

Electricity

In Vietnam the standard voltage is 220 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type A (Japan) / C (Europe)  and  G (UK)

Visas

Visas on arrival are available at both Vietnam and Cambodia international airports. Two’s a Crowd can provide more information on the process and required documentation and costs.

Tour Inclusions:

  • Two’s a Crowd Tour Host from Australia.
  • All domestic Vietnam flight tickets : Hanoi – Danang – Saigon – Siem Reap (economy class & incl. taxes)
  • All meals as mentioned in the program (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D=dinner)
  • Your own room at listed hotels with daily breakfast. Sole-use cabin on board Bai Tho Junk Boat – chartered exclusively by Two’s a Crowd.
  • All transport as detailed in the itinerary by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Professional english-speaking guide throughout.
  • All entrance fees and touring inclusions, as per itinerary.
  • Gratuities/tips for drivers
  • Hotel porterage.
  • Standard CHI Travel Insurance Policy. Additional premium may be payable if over 69 years, have an existing medial condition or wish to extend your travelling dates (underwritten by Allianz).

Tour Exclusions:

  • All international airfares and taxes.
  • Visas (required. Two’s a Crowd can advise).
  • Services, meals and drinks if not mentioned in the itinerary or inclusions.
  • Expenditure of a personal nature, such as laundry, telephone calls and souveniers.
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