Experience the fascinating history, enchanting landscapes, and friendly people of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Discover the remains of early empires and energy of modern day as guest experts discuss the history, culture, and artistic treasures of this fascinating region. In Bangkok observe the strong Buddhist influence during visits to colorful, ornate Buddhist temples. Explore the mystical temples of Angkor, including a full day at Angkor Wat, one of the most spectacular architectural achievements in the world with beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art. In Vietnam highlights include visits to Ho Chi Minh City with a cruise along the Mekong Delta; the imperial city of Hue with a cruise along the Perfume River with its gardens, pagodas, and temples; and gracious Hanoi with its many cultural treasures and local craftsmen. Conclude your journey with a special visit to Hong Kong, featuring a farewell dinner atop Victoria Peak.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Your tour begins with an overnight flight to Thailand. Lose a day en route as you cross the International Dateline.
Day #2 Arrive Bangkok, Thailand - Arrive in one of the most fascinating cities in the world, Bangkok.
Day #3 Bangkok - A captivating city tour of Bangkok introduces you to this land’s religious beliefs. Visit two of Bangkok’s famous temples: the Golden Buddha and the Reclining Buddha. Also tour the Grand Palace, an ornate royal residence built in 1782. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception followed by a dinner cruise on a rice barge along the Chao Phraya River.
Day #4 Bangkok - Today visit Jim Thompson’s house, a magnificent Thai-styled home containing an extensive collection of art objects and antiques. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy on your own.
Day #5 Bangkok - Siem Reap, Cambodia - Take a morning flight* to Siem Reap, the gateway to the mystical temple complex of Angkor. Enjoy a tour of the remarkable fortified city of Angkor Thom and visit the mysterious temple of Bayon with its astonishing smiling faces and detailed bas-reliefs depicting scenes of everyday life in the 12th century.
Day #6 Angkor Wat - Angkor Wat is the largest of all monuments in Angkor, and one of the most spectacular architectural achievements in the world. Gain an understanding of the ancient Khmer Empire during a full-day visit. See the grand complex of temples and examine the spectacular bas-reliefs illustrating some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art. After dinner at your hotel, relax or take a stroll down the lively streets of Siem Reap.
Day #7 Angkor Wat - Travel to the heart of Cambodia for a boat trip on Tonle Sap** (Great Lake). This extraordinary lake swells to seven times its original size during the monsoon season. Its ecosystem is one of the richest and most diverse in the region. The boat trip will explore the floating fishing villages situated on the edges of the lake and pass submerged forests and fishing farms.
Day #8 Angkor Wat - Hanoi, Vietnam - Spend the morning at Preah Khan. At its height in the 12th century, more than 100,000 farmers produced rice to feed over 15,000 monks, teachers and students. The rest of the day is at leisure before your flight* to Hanoi, Vietnam's gracious capital city.
Day #9 Hanoi - Discover some of Hanoi's cultural treasures during visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Lake of Restored Sword, Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda. The afternoon allows time for exploring the Old Quarter, considered the jewel of Hanoi because of its ideal location around the pristine Hoan Kiem Lake, and the labyrinth of narrow streets, each dedicated to particular merchandise. Tonight, enjoy a performance at the world-famous Water Puppet Theater.
Day #10 Hanoi - Halong Bay - This morning drive to Halong Bay. After a seafood lunch, enjoy an excursion by boat through Halong Bay. Cruise on a traditional wooden boat among the emerald waters and craggy limestone cliffs, stopping to explore one of the many caves in this area and observe the rhythms of daily life on the bay.
Day #11 Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An - This morning return to Hanoi for a short flight* to Danang, then drive to the city of Hoi An, the 16th- and 17th-century trading port of Vietnam. Enjoy leisure time this afternoon in this preserved merchant town which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Day #12 Hoi An - Begin your day with coffee at Hai Scout Café before proceeding to the Hoi An market to purchase the ingredients for your cooking class! Next, take a leisurely cruise up the Perfume River arriving at the cooking school. Learn the secrets of Vietnamese cooking as you help prepare five traditional dishes to enjoy for lunch. After lunch, take a cyclo (pedal cab) tour of Hoi An where the traditional lifestyle and Chinese architecture have remained unspoiled since the 17th century.
Day #13 Hoi An - Hue - Your journey takes you along the coast, traveling from Hoi An to the city of Hue. Travel along the Hai Van Pass, whose name means “pass of the ocean clouds,” as the peak of the mountain is above cloud level while its base is close to the sea. After arriving in Hue, visit the old Imperial City, including the Citadel, the “Forbidden Purple City” and the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Day #14 Hue - Ho Chi Minh City - Fly* to Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant metropolis, and take a guided tour of the historic city landmarks including the Palace of the Jade Emperor and Cholon, the city’s Chinatown. Then, drive to the historic city center for a view of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, the Opera House and the ornate city hall.
Day #15 Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Travel this morning to My Tho, a bustling town in the rich agricultural region of the Mekong Delta and visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, a beautiful temple and a sanctuary for orphans and other needy children. Board a small boat to explore the Mekong River islands, stopping at a fruit orchard for fruit and tea and to listen to some local music. Later, return to the city and visit the War Remnants Museum, featuring a diverse collection of weapons and photographs from two Indochina wars. Join your fellow travelers this evening for a farewell dinner.
Day #16 Ho Chi Minh City - Tour Concludes - Returning home, you will cross the International Dateline and gain a day, arriving home the same day you departed from Vietnam.