From £2,475 pp incl. UK flights
This holiday offers a taste of everything - historic Angkor Temples, 3 night first class Mekong cruise, vibrant city stays in Saigon & Phnom Penh plus a few days on a tropical beach. The Mekong is central to life in Cambodia & Vietnam and a cruise knits together the holiday beautifully whilst slowly showing you the people, wildlife and beautiful scenery of the Mekong Delta.
Day 1: Depart on your overnight flight to Siem Reap
Day 2: On arrival met and private transfer to your hotel for 3 nights in Siem Reap (Angkor)
Day 3: Private guided Angkor Temples Highlights day tour, incl. Angkor Wat
Day 4: Private Community Village Tour incl. boat tour on Tonle Sap Lake
Day 5: Fly to Phnom Penh for 2 nights at your choice of hotel
Day 6: Private guided Phnom Penh City Tour with Killing Fields
Day 7: Board the Pandaw boat for 3 night cruise through Mekong Delta to Saigon
Day 8: Cruise Mekong channel into Vietnam. Get first taste of delta's labyrinthine canal system
Day 9: Experience delta life visiting villages, islands & bird sanctuary
Day 10: Cruise to My Tho. Transfer to Saigon to your choice of hotel for 2 nights.
Day 11: Private guided Cu Chi Tunnels (Vietnam War) & Saigon City tour
Day 12: Fly to Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang or by car to Mui Ne for 4 nights on beach
Days 13-15: Beach days
Day 16: Overnight flight home.
Day 17: Arrive home
Day 1: UK Airport / Siem Reap
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Siem Reap
Day 2: Arrive Siem Reap
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred to the city centre where you check in to your choice of hotel for 3 nights. This evening you might like to visit the circus that performs nightly in the centre of town. We can
Day 3: Siem Reap - Private Guided Angkor Temples Highlights Tour (B / L)
This morning your private guide will pick you up for a private guided tour of the iconic Angkor Archaeological Park. Start off at Angkor Thom, the last great capital of the Khmer Empire. Highlights include the magnificent Bayon, one of the most recognisable sites because of the 54 towers adorned with 216 enigmatically smiling stone faces, the Terrace of Elephants, a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and the Terrace of Leper Kings, whose walls boast beautifully carved nagas, demons and other mythological beings. In the low morning sun the carvings really stand out and as you stand on the Terrace of Elephants you get a great view across a parkland scene interspersed with giant trees protected in the National Park.
Then move onto the temple of Ta Phrom, jungle covered and pretty much left as originally found by European explorers to create a mystical atmosphere.
Back to Siem Reap (15 minutes away) for lunch and a rest in the hot midday. This afternoon return to explore Angkor Wat, the most famous and best preserved of all the Angkor temples. You’ll have time for a thorough exploration before climbing to the top of Pre Rup temple to watch the sunsetover the jungle. Back to the hotel by early evening.
Extra…The great thing about having your own specialist guide is that the itinerary can be tailored to you and be adapted on the ground to take advantage of local knowledge and keep ahead of the crowds. Angkor represents the universe in miniature and you could spend weeks touring round the thousand or so temples, so on this tour we focus on the highlights, but we can easily extend your stay.
Day 4: Siem Reap - Community Village Tour to Tonle Sap Lake (B / L)
This day tour offers a slightly less touristic view of Angkor, allowing you to explore partly on foot and also experience the traditions and ways of life that make the country so fascinating. This morning drive to the edge of Tonle Sap Lake and sail 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. Mangroves are also hosts for a variety of wildlife, keep an eye out for birds and especially the crab-eating macaques.
Then, continue to drive to a small village called Chansar and stop just outside the village and hop aboard an ox cart for a fun ride through the fields and to the home of a Khmer family who specialises in making brooms. Watch how they make brooms from natural materials and if you like have a go! Then take a guided walking tour around the village where you have the opportunity to participate in fishing, farming or animal husbandry activities, depending on the time of year. Enjoy a simple Khmer lunch followed by more activities or just spend time chatting with the locals. Funds from your tour go directly to the community to improve the lives of the people. On the way back to Siem Reap, you will stop at a Buddhist temple to receive a blessing from the monks.
Day 5: Siem Reap (B) Fly To Phnom Penh
Morning airport transfer and short flight to Phnom Penh. On arrival met and transferred to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. Evening free.
Phnom Penh is a traditional Far East city, full of energy and still tatty around the edges. A great place to start in the early evening is to take a tuk tuk to the riverside promenade. As you walk along the Mekong look across to the French colonial buildings that are interspersed with the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and National Museum. Evening is the time everyone congregates along the wide promenade with impromptu aerobics, football matches and time to catch up with friends. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the way.
Day 6: Phnom Penh - Private City Tour with Killing Field (B / L)
After breakfast your guide will pick you up for a half day city tour of the fascinating Khmer Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. After lunch in a local restaurant you visit the sobering and poignant Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a testament to Cambodia’s bloody past. Then you can explore the colourful stalls of the vast Central Market. The tour ends at the Choeung Ek Killing Fields just outside the city. This is now a Buddhist memorial park that has been constructed around the mass graves of the thousands of victims. Dozens of mass graves are visible above ground, several which have not yet been excavated. The field is marked by a Buddhist stupa that has glass walls and is filled with over 5,000 skulls. You’ll be back at the hotel by the late afternoon.
Day 7: Phnom Penh- Board the Pandaw Cruise (B / D)
Morning free then early afternoon transfer to the Pandaw boat for the start of your 3 night Mekong cruise. Time to settle into your cabin and get a feel for the boat as you slowly cruise towards the Vietnam border. This evening meet your fellow passengers at the Welcome Dinner.
Day 8: Cruise across the Vietnam Border into Mekong Delta (B / L / D)
Early sailing to the Vietnam border for formalities and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck. This afternoon explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xe Loi (motorised cyclo) stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.
Day 9: Cruise - Con Phuoc Island - Goa Giong (B / L / D)
This morning cruise downstream to Con Phuoc Island. Moor in a small canal and go ashore to explore the island by Xi Loi seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church as well as local woodworking artisans. Back on the bosat for lunch, then take short coach journey to the Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Board a rowing boat and explore the canals to see the principal nesting areas. Back on boat mid-afternoon.
Day 10: Cruise (B) - My Tho - Saigon
In the morning we take a cruise downstream to Ben Tre. Mornings are the best time on the river and today join a Sampan excursion to explore the Mekong’s spider web of canals and backwaters of Ben Tre. Here you'll see local artisans at work and will be invited into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on the return journey travel by horse cart through the lush countryside.
Back on board, continue the cruise to My Tho where you'll disembark for the coach transfer to Saigon and 2 nights at your choice of hotel. Evening free to get your first taste of this vibrant city.
Day 11: Saigon - Full day private Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour (B / L)
This morning you’ll be collected by your private guide for a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels that were integral to the Viet Cong’s ability to fight and eventually help force the American withdrawal. On arrival watch a short introductory video on their construction. The next hour is spent exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by another guide. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500-pound bombs from B52 bombers.
Back in Saigon for lunch in a local restaurant then re-join your guide for a tour of Saigon City. Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city but only dates back only 300 years. In 1859 it was captured by the French and became the capital of Cochin China. From 1956 until April 1975 it was the capital of the Republic of Vietnam. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is at the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurial activity. City centre highlights include the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office & Opera House, as well as the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Back at the hotel late afternoon.
Day 12: Saigon (B) - fly to Phu Quoc Island or Nha Trang. Or take car to Mui Ne
Today you have a choice of beach resorts for 4 nights whether it be Phu Quoc Island an hour's flight south of Saigon in the Gulf of Thailand, still relatively undeveloped and ringed by beautiful beaches, or north on a 1 hour flight to Nha Trang whose luxury hideaway resorts sit on some of Vietnam's most beautiful beaches, or perhaps you'd rather be driven (or take the train) out to Mui Ne / Phan Thiet the best mainland resorts within easy reach of Saigon.
Days 13-15: Beach Days (B)
3 days to enjoy your beachside setting, explore the surrounding countryside and perhaps take a snorkelling / diving excursion.
Day 16: Fly Saigon (B) / UK Airport
Morning free then airport transfer (or add a few more nights on the beach) and fly home. Arrive back in UK the following morning.
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Siem Reap
Gateway to the magnificent Angkor Temples, Siem Reap offers a great range of hotel options
Hotels in Phnom Penh
Authentic and cultured Phnom Penh, the modern heart of the country
Mekong River Cruise Boats
Relax as you cruise in luxury aboard the Pandaw boat down the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam
Hotels in Saigon
A mix of grand colonial buildings and modern luxuries make Saigon a fantastic place to stay
Hotels in Phu Quoc
Relax in style on the pristine beaches of Phu Quoc Island
Hotels in Nha Trang
Nha Trang offers some on the best hideaway hotels on Vietnam's most beautiful beaches
Hotels in Mui Ne
South Vietnam's most established beach resort - great beaches, restaurants, bars and watersports