Trip Type : Private Guided
From Vietnam’s Hanoi to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat tour

From Vietnam’s Hanoi to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat

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Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
16 days
From: $ 5,595 $ 350 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Explore Hoi An and Danang
  • Have a chance to see water puppet show
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City
  • Experience the cruise in Mekong river delta
  • Discover Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

Short Description

A superb trip for families and individuals, this is a marvelous blend of the Vietnamese Mekong world and the magnificence of the Cambodian Khmer civilization. Beginning in the marvelous city of Hanoi, you explore the old city, do tai chi by the lake, learn to cook Vietnamese food, and enjoy some typical Vietnamese music. From Hanoi, you travel to Danang to see the museum, before heading to the marvelous Viet Chinese port town of Hoi An. Here you can see Vietnam’s version of Angkor Wat. Flying to Ho Chi Minh City, you wander the markets and dodge the bicycles before ending up in the Mekong Delta. From the delta you take a boat from Vietnam’s Can Tho along the Mekong to Phnom Penh. Your journey finishes in Siem Reap, exploring the temples of the Angkor civilization. Here you take a boat ride to less visited Kompong  Khleang, visit Angkor at dawn for a picnic breakfast and blessing from the monks and see the area in a very special way.

Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Trip Type Private Guided
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Hanoi
End City Hanoi

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations as listed, including all service charges and taxes
  • All ground transfers
  • All excursions with expert English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums, temples, etc.
  • All meals as indicated with B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Hanoi – Cyclo Ride And Cheo Performance

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Mk Premier Hotel – Premier Suite Or Sofitel Metropole

Arriving in Hanoi, you will be met by our operator, clear customs and immigration, and head over to your hotel. After washing up, changing clothes and a brief lunch, you will take a cyclo ride around the city.

Hanoi, located at the confluence of the Red and Duong Rivers, has come a long way from the stilt houses of the stone and bronze age dwellers of four and five thousand years ago. Myths link Hanoi’s origins to the center of the earth, visions of soaring dragons, and fears of invasions or fierce winds from the north. Between Chinese power struggles, peasant rebellions, invasions from warring Mongol hordes, the French occupation, and American bombing attacks, the city has undergone and continues to undergo tremendous growth and change. Today’s Hanoi, “the city inside a bend of the Red River,” is a blend of thousand-year-old temples, tube houses, neo-Parisian buildings, and new, modern hotels and office buildings.

Late in the afternoon, you will head to the Old Quarter for a special Cheo musical performance in an old home in Hanoi and enjoy a welcome dinner. Cheo arose in the northern part of Vietnam in the Red River Delta as part of the Viet Kinh (peasant) tradition. In many ways, the goal of the musical performance was to spread a moral philosophy promoting good and condemning evil. Influenced somewhat by Confucian thinking, the Cheo performances depict an idealized society and the ideal relationships and behaviors of the people. The performance will take about an hour and include a welcome ceremony and extracts of two famous Cheo plays.

After the performance you will have dinner.

Day 2: Hanoi Touring And Cooking Lesson

Meals: Breakfast andLunch

Accommodation: Hotel Mk Premier Hotel – Premier Suite Or Sofitel Metropole

Today you will begin to tour Hanoi, accompanied by your guide. Your visit begins with the Temple of Literature, called “Le Pagoda des Corbeaux” by the French, because of the huge flocks of crows gathering in the mango trees near the entrance. Built in 1070, the complex consists of five  ourtyards, dedicated to Confucius and the pursuit of Confucian thought and behavior. It is here that Vietnam’s first university was founded.

Leaving the museum, you will walk around Hoan Kiem Lake in the middle of the city passing the One Pillar Pagoda, built in 1049 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong to celebrate the birth of his only son, The Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh’s house, given him by the people of the country in thanks for his leadership.

Lunch is a short drive out of the city center – not just a meal, but a cooking demonstration at a local house. The family will teach you how to prepare rice pancakes, and you can enjoy this and a delightful meal in the garden.

After lunch, you visit the Vietnam History Museum, established in the 1920s as the Musée Louis Finot and housed in a building typifying the Indochinese style of architecture. The museum traces the history of the Vietnamese people from early times to the present day.

Five minutes walking from the museum is the Hanoi Opera House, one of the most beautiful French architectural buildings remaining in Hanoi.

Perhaps the most interesting area you will visit is the Old Quarter. Here many tiny streets join to sell a huge diversity of products. In the old days, each street bore the name of the product sold – “Shoe Street,” “Noodle Street,” and the like. Today, the streets sometimes sell a variety of items, but often the names are accurate. You can visit the last blacksmith of the Old Quarter, the Silk Flower shop, and the Old Garden House, the only one left in the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter also houses some of the most interesting art galleries. You spend some time visiting several of the most respected galleries, meeting with the owners and artists. You can also try some of Hanoi’s “bitter sweet” coffee, the oldest brand in Hanoi, dating from 1946, at Café Giang.

You can end the day at the home of a puppet master and have a private water puppet show.

Day 3: Drive Halong Bay And Begin Boat Ride

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Orchid Cruise

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel in Hanoi and driven to Haiphong City, where you will be transferred by tender to your boat.

Halong Bay, or “Bay of the Landing Dragon,” is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Here, among approximately 1,500 square miles of water, sprout numerous limestone islets and odd-shaped rock sculptures. Both caves and lagoons welcome the rarely seen visitor and contain many new and wonderful life forms.

After checking in and receiving cruise instructions, you can enjoy a buffet lunch while cruising to Da Chong islet to see a lighthouse built by the French about 100 years ago. While you are eating, you pass the untouched islands of the Con Vit area, rarely visited, as most cruise ships use a different route.

Landing on Cat Ba, you take a bus to Trung Trang Cave, located in the middle of the island surrounded by forest. You can explore the cave, with its striking stalactite formations.

Back on the boat, you head to Tra Bau in the less populated Lan Ha Bay, for some swimming and watch sunset.

Before dinner, there is a cooking class for those interested.

Day 4: Continue Exploring The Bay

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Orchid Cruise

Today you continue traveling through the Bay, stopping at Viet Hai village. Here you can bicycle  along village paths, visit rice fields, and get a sense of the local life of the people. For those who do not want to bike, an electric car is available for an additional cost.

Lunch is back on the day boat used to take you to the village and you can marvel at the scenery and unnamed islands that dot the bay and do some swimming in a area that is barely touched by tourism.

Back on the boat, you can continue with your cooking lessons, sign up for a massage or just relax. After dinner, there is an opportunity to fish for squid, watch a movie or simply enjoy the night landscape.

Day 5: Return To Halong. Fly Danang and Drive Hoian

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Vinh Hung Resort Or Anantara

After breakfast, you can take your own Kayak from the Ao Ech area and head out on your own to discover the charms of Lan Ha bay. Then, back on board, it is time to pack up and check out.

While cruising back, there is time to enjoy a late brunch and a special Vietnamese Tea Ceremony.

Docking at the harbor, you will be met and taken to the airport to catch a flight to Danang. On arrival, you will be met and driven to Hoi An.

Day 6: Tour Hoi An

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Vinh Hung Resort Or Anantara

Today you will explore Hoi An, nestled on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Before the river silted up, Hoi An was one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia, and a center for East-West exchange and trade. From the 2nd until the 10th century, Hoi An was one of the principal Cham cities. Over the years, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese, French, Thai, Indonesian, Spanish, American, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese ships docked in Hoi An. In the 19th century, as the result of warfare and environmental changes, Hoi An was replaced by Danang as a major port. Reflecting the diversity of the traders and missionaries that settled in the port (including Alexander of Rhodes), the ancient architecture is a fascinating mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese. The rooftops of Hoi An retain a magical old-world Oriental feel and are a favorite subject for Vietnamese artists. In the early 1980s Hoi An’s ancient quarters and historical monuments came under the protection and restoration efforts of UNESCO and the Polish government.

You will spend the day visiting the town of Hoi An – walking the Japanese Bridge, visiting the different Chinese Assembly Halls and pagodas and walking the market. Hoi An is also a wonderful town to shop for silk. In the afternoon, you will take a boat ride to some of the islands in the river. Here you can see some of the craftspeople at work – carvers, papermakers, and others. In the evening, you might want to have dinner on your own at Brothers, a magnificent restaurant in Hoi An.

Day 7: Visit My Son

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Vinh Hung Resort Or Anantara

This morning, you will drive up to My Son, a world heritage site that is the Cham version of Angkor Wat, Bagan, Borobudur or Ayutthaya. For the Cham Empire that flourished in Vietnam from the 4th to the 13th centuries, My Son was the intellectual and religious center of the country, and perhaps served as the burial place for the Cham kings. If one considers that the Angkor Empire or that of Bagan only lasted about 3 centuries, the long reign of My Son is quite spectacular.

The Chams were primarily Hindu, but Hinduism came not by way of India, but from Indonesia (Java), in the 12th century. Most of the temples are dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, considered by the Cham as the founder and protector of their dynasties. Many of the Cham elite studied in Java and commerce flourished between these two seafaring empires. Actually, in the 12th century, one of the Cham Kings married a Javanese woman. As you look at the buildings and towers, know that you are looking at an architectural mystery. People do not truly know exactly how the masons managed to fit the bricks so securely together or what sort of paste they used.

The afternoon is free to wander on your own.

DAY 8

Meals Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Hotel Saigon Or La Reverie

After breakfast, return to Danang, stopping at the Cham Museum (if time permits) to learn a bit about the art and history of these seafaring people who settled Vietnam’s coasts. The Chams settled the central coast of Vietnam from the east – Indonesia, Polynesia, and Malaysia, bringing with them their traditions first of Hinduism and later of Buddhism and Islam. By the 15th century, the kingdom had been destroyed and few monuments remain. The museum here houses a few carvings and temple pieces that have been gathered from diverse Cham sites. Sadly, the French took most of the best pieces back to European museums.

Then, you catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon. Built on the site of an ancient Khmer settlement and an outpost for early pioneers in the 14th century, Ho Chi Minh City did not begin to come into its own until the early 7th century. The derivation of the name, Saigon, is somewhat vague and centers around its water location. Some say that Saigon comes from the Annamese word Thay Ngon, meaning a highly populated area near a dammed river. Others claim that Sai Con is a transcription of the Khmer word Prei Kor or The Kapok Tree Forest. In any case, the city is fast regaining its reputation as one of Asia’s most vibrant cities. The tree-lined boulevards and French colonial architecture hearken to the city’s recent past, while the bustling markets, changing infrastructure and dynamism of the people look to the future.

When you are ready, you can do some sightseeing in the city, spinning by the Re-Unification Palace, the former palace of President Thieu and his predecessors. Today this building is a museum and venue for official receptions. Inside you can visit the private rooms of the president, the “War Room” from where the South Vietnamese forces were controlled, and, most poignantly, the room where the North Vietnamese army finally took control in 1975. Nearby is the Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883 and one of the city’s major landmarks. Neo- Romanesque in form, Notre Dame is the major seat of the Catholic religion in modern Vietnam.

After a taste of the central part of town, you can head to Cholon, or “Big Market,” Saigon’s colorful and large Chinatown, spending as much time as you want exploring the area.

Day 9: Visit Mekong Delta, Board Pandaw Cruise and Head to Ben Tre

Meals Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Pandaw

This morning, you venture out of Ho Chi Minh City to the flood plains of the Mekong Delta, “the mystic serpent with nine tails.” To Vietnamese, the river is Cuu Long, “The River of Nine Dragons,” referring to the number of mouths as the river empties into the sea. As well as producing over half of the nation’s rice, the Delta area is abundant with fruit orchards and traditional fish farms. Culturally, the area is a diverse mix of ethnic Khmer and Chinese. To some degree, our itinerary will be determined by the seasons - the best being from January to March, and the worst, around November, when the rivers flood.

You head to My Tho, board the Pandaw, sail down to Ben Tre and anchor midstream. Taking sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves, you travel to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. Here local artisans are at work and you can visit their homes, sip tea, and eat fruit and honey products made from their own honey. The area is rich in bird life, and on the return, you travel by horse cart through the countryside.

In the evening, there is a lecture on Vietnamese life on the Mekong Delta. During cocktail hour, everyone is entertained by an indigenous dance group and will meet the key crew.

Day 10: Visit Gao Giong Bird Sanctuary and Con Phuoc Island

Meals Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Pandaw

After a short cruise upstream, you take a short coach trip to Gao Giong “Green Oasis.” With its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets gather in the tens of thousands acro0ss the Duong Tharp Muoi or “Plain of Reeds.” Rowing boats traverse the canals and take you to see the principal nesting areas.

In the afternoon, you visit Con Phuoc Island, and go ashore to explore by tuk-tuk, seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year-old Catholic church and local woodworking artisans.

Day 11: Tan Chao and Vietnam Border

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Pandaw

MEALS BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNERIn the morning, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau, visiting a Taoist temple, where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi, stopping off to help locals tend their fields. Then you visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.

In the afternoon, sail on to the Vietnam border for formalities. During this stationary period, there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck.

Day 12: Boat to Phnom Penh. Tour City

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel The Plantation

The final leg of your boat will take you to Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh is relatively new as the capital ofCambodia, replacing Angkor. By the end of the 16th century, the emphasis in Cambodia had become more andmore focused on maritime trade with Southeast Asia, rendering Angkor unsuitable as a capital for the country. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers, Phnom Penh could control the riverine trade from Laos, fish and pottery trade from the Tonle area, as well as goods from the Mekong area, particularly fromChina. Moreover, culturally, there also seems to have been a shift from the power of the elite Angkor population to the less brahmanical and more cosmopolitan elite centered around Phnom Penh. Thus, as you tour Phnom Penh today, you will find that most of what you see is relatively new, compared to your next Cambodian stop – Angkor Wat.

You start your look at the living fabric of PhnomPenh at the very beginning, Wat Phnom. The city’s first pagoda was erected here in 1373 at the behest of the city’s founder, Madame Daun Penh. You then head for a look at the gorgeous French colonial-era buildings that have been restored near the Post Office and to see some of the locations used in the film City of Ghosts. We head north along Monivong Boulevard to the French Embassy, the site of the final evacuation of foreigners still in the city when the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975. Returning south you stop by the deserted Railway Station, the classic Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Le Bibliotheque before passing the art deco Central Market (currently undergoing renovation) and along Norodom Boulevard for a visit to the city’s school of choice Lycee Sisowath, first established in 1873. You sweep past the National Museum and Royal Palace as we head for a look at the White Building, built in the New Khmer Architecture style of the 50s and 60s, to find out more about the current living conditions of the city’s residents. You finish your look at the city’s living history with a view over the capital from one of its highest points.

Day 13: Toul Sleng, Killing Fields, Pse Center, Markets And Cruise

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Plantation

This morning, you come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a center for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. 17,000 people passed through the gates of this prison and only seven lived to tell the tale.

The Khmer Rouge were meticulous in their record keeping, photographing all the prisoners and many of these haunting black and white images are on display in the cells. Enemies of the revolution were killed her, as well as many Khmer Rouge loyalists, denounced by an ever more paranoid political party. It became a production line for killing, as those that worked within its walls were unwaveringly loyal to Pol Pot. The party did not make mistakes, so those sent here had to be guilty. The role of the prison was not to prove innocence but to confirm guilt. Tuol Sleng is a profoundly moving experience and not everyone will want to visit. However, it is key to understanding the hell into which Cambodia descended and how far it has come in the years since.

You then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. The remains of 8,985 people were exhumed from mass graves and are kept in a memorial stupa here. Despite the horrors of the past, it is a peaceful place to go and a tranquil spot to reflect on the tragic events that engulfed Cambodia and its people.

Leaving the past, you turn to the future and its children. You head to the campus of Pour Un Sourire d’Enfant, a French non-profit organization dedicated to providing food, medical care, general education and vocational training to maltreated, destitute and uneducated children in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Lunch will be at Lotus Blanc on their campus.

In the afternoon, you visit some of the different markets of Phnom Penh. The first stop is the Russian Market, one of the premier shopping destinations in the Cambodian capital. Known as Psar Tuol Tom Pong, it earned its nickname in the 1980s, when Russians were the only tourists in Cambodia. A rambling place, it is bursting with bargains, including handicrafts, carvings, silk and textiles, clothing and footwear, and lots of pirated software, CDs and DVDs, not forgetting enough motorcycle parts to assemble a homemade moped.

After time here for browsing or buying, you travel to the impressive Central Market, one of the city landmarks.

Originally completed by the French in 1937, this striking structure is known as Psar Thmei in Khmer or New Market. The huge dome is wonderfully ventilated; a testament to the design, and the market is loaded with anything and everything available in Cambodia. Buy with caution, as this market has a reputation for overcharging or 'shaving your head' as Cambodians like to call it.

Late in the afternoon, you board a local boat for a sunset cruise on the river, setting off on the Tonle Sap River. The Tonle Sap famously reverses direction each year, acting as the world's largest natural flood barrier for the Mekong River. You cruise past the Royal Palace compound and around the Chrouy Changvar Peninsular on to the mighty Mekong River, passing small villages and seeing fishermen preparing their catch. You return to Phnom Penh after dark.

Day 14: Fly Siem Reap. Tonle Sap Visit And Circus

Meals Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Montra Nivesha

After an early breakfast, you will transfer back to the airport to catch your flight to Siem Reap.

Siem Reap is the cultural home of the Khmer people and one of the ancient wonders of the world. This vast network of Wats, dating back to the 7th century, is the center of some of the most important structures, statues, and carvings produced in the name of the Buddhist and Hindu religions. First rediscovered by Western archeologists in the late 19th century, the "lost city of Angkor" was recently re-opened to foreigners.

The whole area is a model of the Hindu universe, where construction was designed to create harmony between mankind and the gods. Each of the temples must be visualized as a three-dimensional mandala, or representation of the Hindu (and later, the Buddhist) universe. The central shrines are Kailas, the Abode of Shiva, or Mt. Meru, the center of the world to the Buddhists. Cloisters and side chapels are both homes for the protector deities, as well as external envelopes of the cosmic reality. Moats are the seven sacred, concentric oceans surrounding the holy mountain in the center. As you walk across the causeways and up and down the many stairways of the temples, you need to think of yourself as a pilgrim, working your way to the center of the world and the home of the supreme deity. From the airport, you drive southeast to

Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. It has a population of about 10,000 people, all of who make a living from the fishing industry. You explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. You will visit one of the pagodas here, built on the site of an ancient temple, and see the wall paintings. You can also stop off to visit a house in the village to learn a little more about local life. Then, you cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier.

Later you return to Siem Reap by road, stopping on the way to visit one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. Here, you encounter Bakong, the earliest of the “temple mountains,” that later became the signature of Khmer kings. Bakong is a giant pyramid, its cardinal points marked by giant elephants. You can climb to the summit for views over the surrounding countryside.

In the evening, you head to the circus, with its acrobats, high wire acts, juggling and theatrical performances.

Day 15: Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Land Mine Museum, Angkor Thom, Meet The Artists

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Montra Nivesha

Rising very early, you drive out to Ta Prohm, abandoned to the elements and a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones, man first conquering nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy.

After your visit, you can enjoy breakfast at Sala Kdei.

Then you head to the unique and charming jungle temple of Banteay Srei, also called “The Citadel of Women”. Built by a "learned Brahmin" by the name of Yajnavaraha, Banteay Srei is dedicated to Shiva as the Great Lord of the Three Worlds, or Tribhuvanamahesvara. Constructed from pink sandstone, the temple is designed to become smaller and smaller as one approaches the main sanctuary, forcing the pilgrim to bend down more and more to squeeze through the narrow doors. The décor of the temples is the most refined in the Angkor complex, a tour de force of sculptures and carvings. Not only are the gods shown in various poses, but you also find depicted, for the first time, local people at various times in their lives – fighting, meditating, walking through forests, and the like.

Heading back into Siem Reap, you stop at the Cambodia Landmine Museum – truly a treasure and well worth the visit. Here you learn more about the scourge of landmines and the shadow they cast  over rural communities in Cambodia with a visit to this flagship museum promoting mine awareness and education. Here you can find a large collection of weapons of war, including guns, rifles, rocket launchers, mortars, bombs and landmines. The site includes a mocked up minefield and visitors can attempt to locate the deactivated mines. The museum is a rich resource of information about landmines and UXO with many educational displays detailing how certain mines are used and in what situations. There is also a DVD available telling the story of landmines and UXO in Cambodia and the disastrous impact they have had on the population. Not only a weapon of war, they are a weapon against peace.

The Landmine Museum promotes land mine accident prevention awareness and public education; and provides educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injuries. It also provides education and support for dozens of at-risk, land mine-affected children who have suffered overwhelming hardships. The Cambodia Landmine Museum was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds.

In the afternoon, you visit the immense walled city Angkor Thom, the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The scale is simply staggering and you will be immediately overwhelmed by the audacity of Jayavarman on arrival at the city’s gates. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.

You begin your visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium, and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. You continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman 1 in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.

Your climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact center of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire. Before clambering upwards, we unravel the mysteries of the bas-reliefs, with their intricate scenes of ancient battles against the Chams and their snapshot of daily life during the Angkor period.

Late today, you have an opportunity to meet some of Cambodia’s iconic masters of the arts, from classical royal Khmer ballet to the famed art of shadow puppetry.

Day 16: Angkor Wat, Artisans D’angkor, Markets And Shopping

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel None (We Are Happy To Arrange A Hotel In Bangkok If Necessary)

Rising at the crack of dawn, you journey out to the mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. You stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, you venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. You begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometer, these intricate carvings are candidates for the world’s longest unbroken piece of art.

Following in the footsteps of the devout and the destructive before you, you then continue to the upper levels of the inner sanctuary. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all, as pilgrims of old were to stoop on their pilgrimage to encounter the Gods. Finally, the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Wat, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.

When you are ready, you can visit the Artisans d’Angkor, one of the most famous of the weaving houses here in Siem Reap.

After lunch, you can explore the markets for some lastminute shopping.

Late in the afternoon, you will return to the airport and catch your flight onward.

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Oct-31-2019Nov-15-2019$ 3,995$ 5,035Limited Reserve
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From Vietnam’s Hanoi to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat

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You all do an amazing job

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
You all do an amazing job. I have recommended M & M to everyone who expresses an interest in travel. I can think of no other company, besides yours, that really shares my values about educational and responsible tourism.
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Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Favorite Trip Memory: Halong Bay, ethnic groups near Bac Ha Market day! | Favorite Guide: Cuong! Experienced, passionate, straightforward, funny. | Helpful Tip: Use Myths & Mountains. They’re the best!
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Precisely what I wanted

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I got what I wanted. I wanted to see the ethnic groups -- not the Han or the Viet. That was what I got to see. Precisely what I wanted. Thanks.

Our second guide was fabulous

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Paro Festival was all we had hoped for. Our second guide was fabulous. He was attuned to what we wanted and made good suggestions and changes to the itinerary as needed.
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Very helpful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Myths and Mountains local guide, Achi, was perfect and so sweet. Very helpful on so many occasions and always smiling. I warmly recommend her.
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Unexpected invitation to the wedding in Imphal was a highlight

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The unexpected invitation to the wedding in Imphal was a highlight. Another one was the visit to the Hindu monastery on Majuli Island. Ranjan appeared to know all of the monks, which greatly facilitated our visit and got us an extra show of music and dance.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Private - your group only

Cancellation Policy:

International Airfare/Air Tickets: Refund subject to airline cancellation rules and procedures.

Land Portion & Internal Air*: Refund will be given according to the schedule outlined below.

NOTE: Minimum cancellation charge is $1,000 even for trips with land cost less than $1500.

  • If 120 Days or more prior to departure date, then Applicable Cancellation Fee is $1,000 per person plus any varying non-refundable pre-payments we have made in advance on your behalf (i.e. Penalties incurred for cancelling air, deposits paid to hold reservations, etc.)
  • If 61-119 Days prior to departure date, then Applicable Cancellation Fee is 50% of the land cost plus any varying non-refundable pre-payments we have made in advance on your behalf (i.e. Penalties incurred for cancelling air, deposits paid to hold reservations, etc.)
  • 60 Days or less, then No refund
  • At or after departure, then No refund

Trip ID#:

VitCamMyt

Trip Excludes

  • Comprehensive insurance coverage, including medical, evacuation, baggage loss/delay, cancellation ins., etc.
  • International airfare
  • Internal airfare – noted separately
  • Visa fees
  • Meals where not indicated with a B,L,D
  • Tips/gratuity (porters, drivers, local guides, etc.)
  • Domestic and international airport taxes
  • Other items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic beverages, etc.
  • Additional expenses resulting from the delay or extension of the trip due to causes beyond our reasonable control

Meals Included:

15 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches and 7 Dinners

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