Culinary Vietnam & Cambodia

Culinary Vietnam & Cambodia

10 Days / 9 Nights Siem Reap to Saigon or vice versa

Price from$4,923

Hanoi • Hue • Saigon • Siem Reap, with Angkor Wat

Experience first-hand the delicious cuisine, colonial architecture, ancient temples and fascinating history of Vietnam and Cambodia. Visit colourful markets with top chefs, enjoy hands-on cooking classes, glimpse vibrant cultures, and experience the wonder of Angkor Wat. Staying in only the best luxury 5-star hotels, you will enjoy private transport and expert local guides throughout - this is an exceptional tour with some very exclusive experiences for the discerning traveller.

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival Transfer to your hotel by private car. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included).

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 2: Hanoi (B,L,D) With ochre-colored colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Commence your morning half-day tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" resides. (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from early September until mid-November). After that, you can visit One Pillar Pagoda which is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples. Behind the Mausoleum, you can see Ho Chi Minh's House where he lived and worked. It is made of wood and enjoys a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh's belongings are on display and you can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. Wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Enjoy a bowl of the traditional Pho in one of the most famous Pho restaurants for lunch, before the afternoon's culinary experience at EZ Cooking Class Centre. Visit a vibrant market with a local chef from the EZ cooking class center, where the trainers have been sourced from famous restaurants and hotels around Hanoi. Select locally produced food, fresh vegetables and spices under the chef's guidance before returning to the kitchen to learn how to prepare Vietnamese traditional cuisine in this hands-on cooking class. Demonstrate your culinary flair in the kitchen before you have a chance to enjoy your creations with the chef. Bon appetit!

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 3: Hanoi (B,D) Take a street food tour of Hanoi's best culinary spots with food blogger - Mr. Van Cong Tu. His blog is where he started to document his enormous passion for food and culture since 2005. Today, stroll through the Old Quarter past the old east gate to Thanh Ha market. Along the way, try local delicacies and listen to his explanation of Vietnamese food practices. This busy, eclectic market is alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi and is the essence of Vietnamese culture. Continue through the streets of the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan market to sample some local treats such as pho tiu and bun dau. See dried goods and aromatics, the essentials of Vietnamese cuisine. Stroll up a 'food alley' to see other interesting dishes on offer. Walk down to Hang Than Street to view ceremonial cake stalls and taste a special French influenced dessert. An explanation on traditions and food gifts for celebrations will be given. Continue back into the Old Quarter via Hang Cot Street - check specially treated fruit which are dependable on the seasons and a common snack in Vietnam. Walk along Phung Hung Street through temporary market stalls where you can see the changing market scene in Hanoi and how modernization is shaping tradition. At the end of the tour, stop at one of the Old Quarter's busiest (yet smallest) coffee shop for a well-earned sit down and coffee before transferring back to your hotel. NB The tour will be mostly conducted on foot so be sure that you are wearing comfortable walking shoes.

Early evening transfer to a public theatre for a Water Puppet performance. The art of water puppetry began approximately a thousand years ago, possibly in the flooded rice fields of Vietnam. Puppeteers stand in waist-high water and manipulate their charges in such a way that you can't help but be swept up in the legend being told. Each short skit in the performance relates to the daily life of the people. Tonight you visit Cha Ca La Vong for a traditional Hanoian meal served in a local restaurant for dinner.

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 4: Hanoi > Hue (B,L) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon, enjoy a cooking class at Ancient Hue Restaurant. Set in a lush garden, the peaceful Ancient Hue site boasts a ceremonial gate backed by 8 protective pillars. More than just a restaurant, Ancient Hue has 5 distinctive ancient houses offering a glimpse of the city's splendid past. Walk through the local market with the chef to learn about local ingredients before returning to the open-air cultural complex. Here, you will learn to prepare refined, imperial-style cuisine during a hands-on cooking demonstration which you can sample afterwards.

Overnight at: La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa - Superior River View Room

Day 5: Hue (B,D) This morning take a half day city tour. Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Drive from your hotel to visit the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. Continue to visit the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and built on principles of Feng-Shui or the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture showcases elements of eastern art and western design.

In the afternoon, enjoy a sunset kayak on the Perfume River. The Perfume River brings to Hue a meditative poetic characteristic and the harmonious limpidity exhaling from a land of age-old culture. Enjoy the tranquility and peaceful view of the city at dusk by kayak. Paddle downstream along the river passing by Truong Tien Bridge and Dong Ba Market. Make a stop at Mussel Island and stroll around the village to experience local daily life before kayaking back to the pier.

This evening enjoy a Vietnamese set menu dinner served in Ancient Hue restaurant.

Overnight at: La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa - Superior River View Room

Day 6: Hue > Saigon (B,D) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Upon arrival in Saigon, transfer from the airport to The Reverie Saigon (with guide). In the afternoon transfer from your hotel to Tan Cang Jetty and depart for a scenic sunset cruise exploring the waterways in and around Saigon. Cruise through isolated canals, local neighborhoods around Thanh Da and Binh Quoi peninsula for a unique view of the city and its suburbs. Visit the Phu Chau floating temple; discover the most interesting sights both on and off the river which resembles the Mekong Delta yet is just minutes from the city. You'll be astonished how the bustling streets contrast to the quiet waterways in this rapidly changing city. At the end of the cruise, watch the sunset over the city's ever-changing skyline. Your vehicle will be waiting upon disembarkation at the jetty and take you to Hoa Tuc restaurant for dinner.

Overnight at: The Reverie Saigon Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 7: Saigon (B,L) In the morning, visit Grain Cooking Studio. Founded by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen and his talented team, the studio offers you an interactive experience and full hands-on creation of your own dishes. Today, enjoy a cooking class with one of Luke's selected chefs. You can select and choose your own fresh produce, herbs and spices from the small market pantry. Each cooking class starts with a basic lesson about fish sauce followed by some traditional yet innovative dishes. In addition to learning the fundamentals of food preparation and presentation, you'll experience a glimpse of Vietnamese history and culture through each individual dish that you create.

This afternoon, you have a half day city tour. Saigon is the country's commercial center and, with over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, a city that never sleeps. Despite the hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past. Enjoy a city tour to admire Saigon's historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris (it is only possible to visit inside when no service is being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustave Eiffel. Continue your visit with the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war, revealing the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past. Then drive to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight of the American war through the local's eyes (Please note that some of the photos are very graphic). Then sit down at a street coffee shop for a break to observe the daily life of the locals, and chat with your guide over a cup of coffee. Your guide will give you some interesting tips such as how to cross the road without breaking a sweat or to say a few simple words in Vietnamese as well as offer an insight of the local's daily lives.

Overnight at: The Reverie Saigon Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 8: Saigon > Siem Reap (B,D) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

This evening you will go to the circus! Purely Cambodian and daringly modern! Phare - the Cambodian Circus lets you see Cambodian culture from a totally different angle. Enjoy a delicious pre-circus dinner at Circle and then get ready for an evening full of laughter and surprises at the Phare Circus.

Overnight at: Raffles Grand Angkor Hotel - State Room (formerly Garden View Room)

Day 9: Siem Reap (B,D) Start with a visit to the picturesque Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple is one of Angkor's most impressive structures and is overgrown with the magnificent roots of thousands of jungle trees, giving a haunting and exotic, "lost-city" atmosphere. Continue with a visit to the ancient city capital Angkor Thom , starting at the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army. Attached is the Terrace of the Leper King which holds detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage way that leads to the huge Phimeanakas & Baphuon temples which we admire from the ground. Continue to Angkor Thom's centre piece, the Bayon temple. At first glance, it may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals towers with enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction.

The morning ends with a visit to the centerpiece temple of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat, one of the world's most impressive temples constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and the largest Hindu structure in the world. The temple is home to hundreds of well-preserved carvings of Apsara, Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Stroll around the massive hallways to discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. After an exciting morning of temple sightseeing, return to your hotel with time for a rest, lunch (own arrangements) and maybe a dip in the pool.

Start again this afternoon at 3pm and head to the Old Market area. Explore the maze of undercover stalls selling produce, household goods, clothing and of course, lots of items to appeal to the tourist. Next head across the pedestrian bridge pausing to admire the picturesque Siem Reap River. Step into one of the loveliest Wats (temples) in Siem Reap - Wat Damnak. This is a living temple with monks praying, a vibrant school and a colourful "forest of stupas". Walk back over the river and visit the 15th century Wat Prom Rath, the largest Wat in Siem Reap, before returning to your hotel. Dinner is served in Sugar Palm restaurant.

Overnight at: Raffles Grand Angkor Hotel - State Room (formerly Garden View Room)

Day 10: Siem Reap (B) Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your flight. (The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12.00 pm. Late check-out is not included).

Reverse Itinerary

Day 1: Siem Reap Arrival (D) Transfer to your hotel by private car. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included).

This evening you will go to the circus! Purely Cambodian and daringly modern! Phare - the Cambodian Circus lets you see Cambodian culture from a totally different angle. Enjoy a delicious pre-circus dinner at Circle and then get ready for an evening full of laughter and surprises at the Phare Circus.

Overnight at: Raffles Grand Angkor Hotel - State Room (formerly Garden View Room)

Day 2: Siem Reap (B,D) Start with a visit to the picturesque Ta Prohm. This beautiful temple is one of Angkor's most impressive structures and is overgrown with the magnificent roots of thousands of jungle trees, giving a haunting and exotic, "lost-city" atmosphere. Continue with a visit to the ancient city capital Angkor Thom , starting at the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army. Attached is the Terrace of the Leper King which holds detailed carvings winding along a narrow passage way that leads to the huge Phimeanakas & Baphuon temples which we admire from the ground. Continue to Angkor Thom's centre piece, the Bayon temple. At first glance, it may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals towers with enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction.

The morning ends with a visit to the centerpiece temple of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Wat, one of the world's most impressive temples constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries and the largest Hindu structure in the world. The temple is home to hundreds of well-preserved carvings of Apsara, Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Stroll around the massive hallways to discover small shrines still in use today by the local people. After an exciting morning of temple sightseeing, return to your hotel with time for a rest, lunch (own arrangements) and maybe a dip in the pool.

Start again this afternoon at 3pm and head to the Old Market area. Explore the maze of undercover stalls selling produce, household goods, clothing and of course, lots of items to appeal to the tourist. Next head across the pedestrian bridge pausing to admire the picturesque Siem Reap River. Step into one of the loveliest Wats (temples) in Siem Reap - Wat Damnak. This is a living temple with monks praying, a vibrant school and a colourful "forest of stupas". Walk back over the river and visit the 15th century Wat Prom Rath, the largest Wat in Siem Reap, before returning to your hotel. Dinner is served in Sugar Palm restaurant.

Overnight at: Raffles Grand Angkor Hotel - State Room (formerly Garden View Room)

Day 3: Siem Reap > Hanoi (B) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 4: Hanoi (B,L,D) With ochre-colored colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Commence your morning half-day tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" resides. (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from early September until mid-November). After that, you can visit One Pillar Pagoda which is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples. Behind the Mausoleum, you can see Ho Chi Minh's House where he lived and worked. It is made of wood and enjoys a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh's belongings are on display and you can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. Wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Enjoy a bowl of the traditional Pho in one of the most famous Pho restaurants for lunch, before the afternoon's culinary experience at EZ Cooking Class Centre. Visit a vibrant market with a local chef from the EZ cooking class center, where the trainers have been sourced from famous restaurants and hotels around Hanoi. Select locally produced food, fresh vegetables and spices under the chef's guidance before returning to the kitchen to learn how to prepare Vietnamese traditional cuisine in this hands-on cooking class. Demonstrate your culinary flair in the kitchen before you have a chance to enjoy your creations with the chef. Bon appetit!

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 5: Hanoi (B,D) Take a street food tour of Hanoi's best culinary spots with food blogger - Mr. Van Cong Tu. His blog is where he started to document his enormous passion for food and culture since 2005. Today, stroll through the Old Quarter past the old east gate to Thanh Ha market. Along the way, try local delicacies and listen to his explanation of Vietnamese food practices. This busy, eclectic market is alive with the sights and sounds of Hanoi and is the essence of Vietnamese culture. Continue through the streets of the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan market to sample some local treats such as pho tiu and bun dau. See dried goods and aromatics, the essentials of Vietnamese cuisine. Stroll up a 'food alley' to see other interesting dishes on offer. Walk down to Hang Than Street to view ceremonial cake stalls and taste a special French influenced dessert. An explanation on traditions and food gifts for celebrations will be given. Continue back into the Old Quarter via Hang Cot Street - check specially treated fruit which are dependable on the seasons and a common snack in Vietnam. Walk along Phung Hung Street through temporary market stalls where you can see the changing market scene in Hanoi and how modernization is shaping tradition. At the end of the tour, stop at one of the Old Quarter's busiest (yet smallest) coffee shop for a well-earned sit down and coffee before transferring back to your hotel. NB The tour will be mostly conducted on foot so be sure that you are wearing comfortable walking shoes.

Early evening transfer to a public theatre for a Water Puppet performance. The art of water puppetry began approximately a thousand years ago, possibly in the flooded rice fields of Vietnam. Puppeteers stand in waist-high water and manipulate their charges in such a way that you can't help but be swept up in the legend being told. Each short skit in the performance relates to the daily life of the people. Tonight you visit Cha Ca La Vong for a traditional Hanoian meal served in a local restaurant for dinner.

Overnight at: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel - Premium Room

Day 6: Hanoi > Hue (B,L) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon, enjoy a cooking class at Ancient Hue Restaurant. Set in a lush garden, the peaceful Ancient Hue site boasts a ceremonial gate backed by 8 protective pillars. More than just a restaurant, Ancient Hue has 5 distinctive ancient houses offering a glimpse of the city's splendid past. Walk through the local market with the chef to learn about local ingredients before returning to the open-air cultural complex. Here, you will learn to prepare refined, imperial-style cuisine during a hands-on cooking demonstration which you can sample afterwards.

Overnight at: La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa - Superior River View Room

Day 7: Hue (B,D) This morning take a half day city tour. Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Drive from your hotel to visit the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. Continue to visit the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and built on principles of Feng-Shui or the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture showcases elements of eastern art and western design.

In the afternoon, enjoy a sunset kayak on the Perfume River. The Perfume River brings to Hue a meditative poetic characteristic and the harmonious limpidity exhaling from a land of age-old culture. Enjoy the tranquility and peaceful view of the city at dusk by kayak. Paddle downstream along the river passing by Truong Tien Bridge and Dong Ba Market. Make a stop at Mussel Island and stroll around the village to experience local daily life before kayaking back to the pier.

This evening enjoy a Vietnamese set menu dinner served in Ancient Hue restaurant.

Overnight at: La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa - Superior River View Room

Day 8: Hue > Saigon (B,D) Transfer to the airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Upon arrival in Saigon, transfer from the airport to The Reverie Saigon (with guide). In the afternoon transfer from your hotel to Tan Cang Jetty and depart for a scenic sunset cruise exploring the waterways in and around Saigon. Cruise through isolated canals, local neighborhoods around Thanh Da and Binh Quoi peninsula for a unique view of the city and its suburbs. Visit the Phu Chau floating temple; discover the most interesting sights both on and off the river which resembles the Mekong Delta yet is just minutes from the city. You'll be astonished how the bustling streets contrast to the quiet waterways in this rapidly changing city. At the end of the cruise, watch the sunset over the city's ever-changing skyline. Your vehicle will be waiting upon disembarkation at the jetty and take you to Hoa Tuc restaurant for dinner.

Overnight at: The Reverie Saigon Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 9: Saigon (B,L) In the morning, visit Grain Cooking Studio. Founded by celebrity chef Luke Nguyen and his talented team, the studio offers you an interactive experience and full hands-on creation of your own dishes. Today, enjoy a cooking class with one of Luke's selected chefs. You can select and choose your own fresh produce, herbs and spices from the small market pantry. Each cooking class starts with a basic lesson about fish sauce followed by some traditional yet innovative dishes. In addition to learning the fundamentals of food preparation and presentation, you'll experience a glimpse of Vietnamese history and culture through each individual dish that you create.

This afternoon, you have a half day city tour. Saigon is the country's commercial center and, with over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, a city that never sleeps. Despite the hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past. Enjoy a city tour to admire Saigon's historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris (it is only possible to visit inside when no service is being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustave Eiffel. Continue your visit with the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war, revealing the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past. Then drive to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight of the American war through the local's eyes (Please note that some of the photos are very graphic). Then sit down at a street coffee shop for a break to observe the daily life of the locals, and chat with your guide over a cup of coffee. Your guide will give you some interesting tips such as how to cross the road without breaking a sweat or to say a few simple words in Vietnamese as well as offer an insight of the local's daily lives.

Overnight at: The Reverie Saigon Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 10: Saigon (B) Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your flight. (The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12.00 pm. Late check-out is not included).

• Tailor-made journey with local English speaking guides • 13 nights luxury accommodation • Transfers and transportation • Sightseeing and entrance fees • Economy Class flights Siem Reap > Hanoi > Hue > Saigon • 9 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 6 Dinners

Pricing (per person) $AUD

Type TWIN SINGLE

2017

1 Apr - 30 Sep

-

$4,923

-

$8,382

Departs

2017 Daily
1 Jan - 30 Sep

Booking conditions

• Surcharges apply during TET Vietnamese New Year 15 Feb to 21 Feb 2018 • Surcharges apply during the Cambodian New Year Chaul Chnam Thmey 14 Apr - 17 Apr 2018 • Surcharges apply 1 - 7 Jan 2018

VIETNAM: During Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. Travellers who are visiting larger cities like Saigon or Hanoi during the holidays may encounter empty streets and deserted parks as Vietnamese people return to their home town to celebrate the New Year with their families. Most businesses are closed.

CAMBODIA: During Chaul Chnam Thmey, the Cambodian New Year - In Cambodia, many shops, restaurants & businesses are closed during this period or may operate on a limited schedule. Departing Phnom Penh or Siem Reap by road may be difficult during this period since many locals will travel over the holiday as well. Flying between cities should be fine, although please allow for some delays and more traffic than usual. Local attractions in the countryside and around Phnom Penh will be crowded with domestic visitors, who usually travel with their entire family. It is recommended that during the Khmer New Year period, smaller local attractions like streams, waterfalls and parks are avoided as they will be very overcrowded with locals on holiday.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.

Not included

Vietnam and Cambodian visas