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Discover the beauty of Vietnam and Beyond VIETNAM TOURS AND BEYOND Vietnam Tours and Beyond specialises in catering for the independent traveller to Vietnam Cambodia and Laos. In this brochure we have put together what is essentially a sample of the travel products available that we can offer. These exciting destinations are among the safest and are becoming some of the most popular countries to visit in South East Asia. Our company has for over 38 years specialised in individual tours and we are very proud of the knowledge our consultants have built up enabling us to put together the perfect itinerary for the discerning traveller. We offer a range of flights hotels transfers and sightseeing tours to choose from to create your ideal holiday from budget to deluxe. To deliver a high standard of service we have chosen one of the most experienced local tour operators Destination Asia. Their expertise and commitment to quality ensures a service that will exceed our traveller s expectations. Laos The unit of currency is the Kip. At the time of writing 1 Australian Dollar converts to 7 500 Kip. US dollars and Thai Baht are the most commonly accepted currencies although only Kip is accepted in some rural areas. ATMs are very rare though payment via credit card is becoming easier (beware of surcharges commissions). Traveller s cheques are best denominated in US dollars or UK Pound Stirling. LANGUAGE Vietnam Vietnamese is the national language though French and English are used and understood in the main cities. Cambodia The national language is Khmer though English is becoming increasingly well spoken amongst the younger generation. Laos Lao is the national language but there are many local dialects. French is again spoken by many of the elders and hotel staff however most government officials and shopkeepers have some command of English. LET US SHOW YOU THE BEAUTY OF VIETNAM CAMBODIA AND LAOS. HEALTH Make sure to consult your doctor for medical advice well in advance of your departure date. Discuss your itinerary so your doctor can advise you on any inoculations that are recommended. Also make sure to bring sunscreen protection and to only drink bottled water. PASSPORT VISA REQUIREMENTS A passport with minimum 6 months validity is required for entry into Vietnam Cambodia and Laos. Visas for Vietnam must be organised prior to departure. While visas for Cambodia and Laos can be issued on arrival they are best organised prior to your departure from Australia. Please check with your travel agent. INSURANCE We strongly recommend that travellers protect themselves with adequate travel insurance. Ask your travel agent for details. DEPARTURE TAXES Departure taxes ex Australia and ex Vietnam are prepaid before departure and are shown on your ticket. Cambodian Laotian departure taxes are not included and have to be paid at the airport on the day of departure from the relevant country. At the time of printing the international departure taxes are as follows CAMBODIA - US 25 per person LAOS - US 10 per person. TET Tet is the Vietnamese New Year and is the only holiday that most Vietnamese take in the year. It is celebrated in conjunction with the Lunar New Year with the festival lasting for up to a fortnight. During this time the roads can be quite crowded and hotels full. On the 3 days of official holidays (the first 3 days of the New Year) most shops and restaurants are closed. ELECTRICITY Vietnam 220 Volts although 110 Volts is still found in some areas. Sockets are round two-pin though some of the higher standard hotels feature the UK-style 3 square-pin sockets. Cambodia 220 Volts. Sockets are round two-pin. Laos 220 Volts in the main towns and 110 volts in the country. Sockets are most commonly round two-pin. HOTEL GRADING Vietnam Tours has classified the accommodation contained herein with our own star rating system. These ratings have been classified according to our own inspections as well as local rating systems and are provided solely for the guidance of our customers. The ratings apply to the overall standard of the property and do not take into account the differences between individual room types. STANDARD Comfortable rooms with a reasonable variety of facilities and services. SUPERIOR Well-appointed rooms and public areas with a wide range of facilities and excellent service standards. DELUXE The highest international standards of accommodation service and facilities. Generally considered one of the best properties available. If a property has that something special it is assigned an extra half star in its category. CURRENCY Vietnam The unit of currency is the Dong although US dollars are also widely accepted. At the time of writing one Australian Dollar converts to 20 000 dong. Money changing can be done at banks and most of the larger hotels. ATMs are common in tourist centres and credit cards are increasingly accepted although it is quite common for a surcharge to be imposed. Traveller s cheques are best denominated in US dollars. Cambodia The unit of currency is the Riel. At the time of writing 1 Australian Dollar converts to 3 700 Riel. In Phnom Penh and other towns most prices are in US dollars although some rural areas do still price things in Riel. ATMs are quite prominent and money can be exchanged at banks and in most of the larger hotels. Credit card facilities are more limited than in Vietnam though they are accepted in larger hotels and restaurants. Traveller s cheques are best denominated in US dollars. C O N T E N T S VIETNAM VIETNAM PACKAGE TOURS HO CHI MINH CITY HANOI HOI AN & DA NANG HUE NHA TRANG VIETNAM BEACH AREAS CAMBODIA 4 5 8 13 18 22 24 27 30 CAMBODIA PACKAGE TOURS 31 PHNOM PENH SIEM REAP LAOS LAOS PACKAGE TOUR VIENTIANE LUANG PRABANG MEKONG CRUISING 3 COUNTRY PACKAGE TOUR CONDITIONS 32 34 37 38 39 40 43 46 48 VIETNAM Page 4 Vietnam is a country of contrasts from its natural assets pristine sandy beaches the spectacular limestone islands of Halong Bay the Mekong Delta and the mountainous north to its historical marvels Cham ruins from the 14th century in My Son and the ancient tombs of Hue. There are bustling cities constantly growing and changing and quiet country villages relying on the same rice paddies that they have for centuries. Ornate Confucian temples appear within walking distance of high-rises and splendid French colonial architecture is everywhere. Bordered by Cambodia China and Laos Vietnam s mainland features an amazing 3260km of coastline with some of Asia s best beaches. Nha Trang Phan Thiet and China Beach are spectacular as is the massive main beach of Phu Quoc Island. Fighting back from a history of conflict the warm and welcoming people of Vietnam are proud to show you their culture traditions and the stunning natural beauty of their homeland. CLIMATE The weather patterns in Vietnam are roughly split into 3 zones North South and Central Vietnam. North Vietnam has a very distinct winter running from November to April where temperatures can drop to below 10 degrees in parts. Rainfall is very sparse during this period in contrast to the summer months of May October when the monsoon season brings heavier rainfalls and substantially warmer weather. South Vietnam by contrast has a much more consistent temperature range with the high humidity monsoon season lasting from May October. The rain is usually very heavy but relatively short-lived falling mostly in the afternoons. The Central areas have a much longer dry season running from January to October after which there is a short wet season. Temperature fluctuations are not as severe as in the North nor as static as in the South. Average Daily Min Max Temperatures Jan North Central South 12 20 17 25 21 32 Feb 13 21 18 26 22 32 Mar 20 28 20 28 23 33 Apr 25 32 23 30 25 35 May 28 33 25 35 25 35 Jun 28 33 29 36 24 33 Jul 22 32 29 36 24 33 Aug 28 33 25 34 24 33 Sep 25 31 23 30 24 33 Oct 23 28 23 28 23 32 Nov 18 27 21 28 23 32 Dec 15 21 20 27 22 32 VIETNAM - PACKAGE TOURS Page 5 EXPERIENCE OF VIETNAM - 11 Days & 10 Nights HO CHI MINH CITY DANANG HOI AN HUE HANOI & HALONG Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Saigon is surely one of the most evocative place names in Asia and definitely one of the most extraordinary cities in the world. The most Western in atmosphere of Vietnam s cities Ho Chi Minh City (to use its official name - although to residents and visitors alike it is universally and affectionately known as Saigon) has a population of 5 million and a booming free-market economy. It is a city of amazing contrasts elegant new international hotels exclusive restaurants and trendy bars side-by-side with roadside noodle stalls street children and vociferous cyclo drivers. Golf courses bowling alleys and shopping malls vie for space with fruit and vegetable markets pagodas and karaoke rooms. Bustling booming crowded noisy - all words that barely scratch the surface of the addictive and often mesmerising chaos that is Saigon and yet there are the elegant colonial French boulevards and buildings the Cathedral the riverfront the quiet moments at a sidewalk cafe watching the world literally go by you at breakneck speed. On arrival you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to your chosen hotel with the balance of the day at leisure. Dinner is at local restaurant tonight. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included dinner Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City After a buffet breakfast at your hotel this morning you will take a journey out of the city centre to the Cu Chi regions where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defence against the French and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors underground kitchens living areas and meeting rooms and the more adventurous may explore the deeper second and even third level tunnels. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering. For those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty Return to Saigon for a late lunch at a local restaurant followed by a half day tour of this exciting city. In this essential highlight tour visit the former Presidential Palace which is now preserved as a museum including the underground communications bunkers headquarters for the Saigon Government during the War. Continue to the History Museum which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese then visit the War Remnant Museum which primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of Vietnam War. Alternatively you may wish to visit the Fine Art Museum which is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Next you will visit Notre Dame an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city the wedding cake styled Hotel d ville and Dong Khoi Street formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City Mekong Delta area Vietnam s rice-bowl the Mekong Delta is a rich fertile region of flat farmland interlaced with thousands of waterways and tributaries of the mighty Mekong. Known locally as Cuu Long or the River of Nine Dragons the Mekong splits into two reaches as it makes its final path through Vietnam before finally dissipating into the South China Sea. The river provides a lifelong flurry of activity and commerce among its waters and is interspersed with seemingly endless rice fields colourful floating markets isolated villages accessed only by boat and a populace of constantly smiling people. Travel the bustling highway into the surrounding countryside where you will pass lush rice paddies carefully tended before boarding your motorised sampan for a unique experience on the mighty Mekong Delta waterways. You will see how to the people of Delta the water is a lifeline - the focus of all daily activity as you journey through a maze of tributaries and fruit plantations. Enjoy a sample of delicious fruit in the shade of a fruit farmer s garden before continuing via even smaller waterways to lunch where the speciality is a remarkable dish of elephants ear fish . Return to Saigon in the afternoon with the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City Da Nang Hoi An After breakfast you will be collected by your guide and transferred to the airport for your short flight to Da Nang. One of the most ancient cities in Vietnam Da Nang was the centre of the Cham Dynasty from the 2nd century and today boasts the largest and most impressive collection of Cham artefacts anywhere in the world. Da Nang s rich cultural history its proximity to the extraordinary ruins of My Son it s atmospheric riverfront promenade it s world-famous Cham Museum all continue to draw visitors. Unwelcome visitors have made their mark here too Da Nang was the first landing-point for the invading French troops and again decades later for the US Marines. Close by is China Beach immortalised by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Also nearby are the Marble Mountains the 5 craggy limestone peaks that are said to represent the 5 elements of the universe. A climb inside through the hundreds of natural caves and grottoes is a must. On arrival in Da Nang you will visit the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain followed by lunch at a local restaurant. You will then transfer to your chosen hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An with the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An Meals included breakfast lunch Day 5 Da Nang Hoi An This morning your will visit historic Hoi An an extraordinary jewel of a town. In a country so ravaged by war Hoi An managed to remain untouched and as you wander the completely traffic-free streets of this ancient seaport it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th Century when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. Enjoy lunch at one of many superb restaurants in the town before returning to your hotel with the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An Meals included breakfast lunch Day 6 Da Nang Hoi An Hue Leaving Da Nang Hoi An after breakfast for an overland to Hue you will see some of the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam as you traverse the Hai Van or Cloudy Pass. There will be opportunities for photo stops at various beaches and coves en-route. Visitors to Hue are often taken aback to discover that the sleepy provincial town of Hue was once the religious economic and cultural epicentre of Vietnam the mighty Imperial headquarters and the political capital of the country until 1945. That this glorious architectural masterpiece of a city should have been reduced almost completely to rubble as a result war is indeed a tragedy in the truest sense of the word. Lunch will be at a local restaurant before you visit the Imperial Citadel in the afternoon marvelling at the legends of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors who built the fortress and lived within its moated walls for nearly 150 years. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hue Meals included breakfast lunch Day 7 Hue Today you will have a chance to visit Thien Mu Pagoda by boat before continuing on to the less visited and perhaps most majestic of all of Hue s tombs that of Minh Mang. Built between 1841 and 1843 this tomb is well known for its harmonious blend of architecture and natural landscape. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before visiting the tombs of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh in the afternoon. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hue Meals included breakfast lunch Day 8 Hue Hanoi The morning will be spent at your leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your one-hour flight to Hanoi. Here you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the city with a stop for a leisurely lunch at local restaurant. This will be followed by an afternoon of sightseeing with visits to some of the highlights of Hanoi City. After checking in to your hotel and freshening up you will enjoy a water puppet performance in the early evening with the rest of evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch VIETNAM - PACKAGE TOURS Page 6 Day 9 Hanoi This morning visit Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. See the simple cottage where Uncle Ho lived and worked then visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the father of the country and the evolution of Vietnamese independence. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. The rest of the day is at leisure Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 10 Hanoi Ha Long Start out early this morning for your overland drive to Halong Bay. Made famous when it was featured in the French film Indochine Halong Bay is dotted with thousands of limestone islands their jagged points jutting out of an oceanic area of over 1500 square kilometres. Considered Vietnam s natural wonder it is also believed to be home to its very own Loch Ness monster Upon arrival enjoy a peaceful cruise onboard a traditional junk on the Bay stopping at some of the grottoes and caves on the islands to explore on foot. A set seafood lunch will be served onboard before disembarking in the afternoon for a return to Hanoi in the early evening. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight at a local restaurant in Hanoi. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day 11 Depart Hanoi Today is at leisure until your transfer to Hanoi Airport for your onward flight. Meals included breakfast HIGHLIGHTS OF VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY DANANG HO AN HUE AND HANOI 8 Days & 7 Nights Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) On arrival you will be met by your tour guide and transferred by private car to your chosen hotel. The balance of your day is at leisure until it is time to go for dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included dinner Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City This morning you will take a journey out to the Cu Chi regions where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels including secret trapdoors underground kitchens living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may consider exploring the deeper second and even third level tunnels. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering. For those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. Returning to Saigon for a late lunch at a local restaurant you will follow this with a half day tour of this exciting city. The first stop will be to the former Presidential Palace now preserved as a museum before continuing to the History Museum which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese. You will then visit the War Remnant Museum or you may instead wish to visit the Fine Art Museum which is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Next you will visit the Notre Dame cathedral in the centre of city the wedding cake styled Hotel d ville and Dong Khoi Street formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City Da Nang Hoi An This morning you will be collected from you hotel by your guide and transferred to Saigon airport for the one hour flight to Da Nang. On arrival you will start with a visit to the Cham Museum before continuing on to Hoi An for a walking tour including lunch at one of the many lovely restaurants in town. Hoi An is an extraordinary traffic-free town somehow managing to remain untouched by the ravages of war yet previously one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. After the tour you are transferred to hotel or remain free to further discover the town on your own. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An Meals included breakfast lunch Day 4 Da Nang Hue We leave Da Nang Hoi An this morning for an overland through the Hai Van or Cloudy Pass to reach Hue during which there will be plenty of opportunities for photo stops at beaches and coves en-route. Lunch will be on arrival at your hotel followed by a visit to the Imperial Citadel in the afternoon. Unfortunately suffering much damage during years of war many of the pavilions bridges libraries and great halls are now being carefully restored with help from UNESCO. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hue Meals included breakfast lunch Day 5 Hue Today you will have chance to visit Thien Mu Pagoda by boat before continuing to the less visited and perhaps most majestic of all of Hue s tombs - the tomb of Minh Mang well known for its harmonious blend of architecture and natural landscape. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before visiting the tombs of the emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh in the afternoon. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hue Meals included breakfast lunch Day 6 Hue Hanoi The morning will be spent at your leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your one-hour flight to Hanoi. Here you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the city with a stop for lunch at local restaurant. After lunch enjoy an orientation of the tree-lined streets of Hanoi resplendent with French colonial architecture including the recently restored Opera House. Pass by Hoan Kiem Lake en-route to one of the city s fascinating museums (Army History or Fine Arts depending on your preference). Continue to the Temple of Literature then take to the streets for a walking tour of the Ancient Quarter. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 7 Hanoi This morning visit Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. See the simple cottage where he lived and worked then visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the father of the country . See also the One Pillar Pagoda and the nearby former Governor s Residence which is a fine example of French architecture. After lunch at a local restaurant the afternoon is at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 8 Depart Hanoi This morning is at leisure until it is time to transfer to Hanoi Airport for your onward flight. Meals included breakfast VIETNAM - PACKAGE TOURS Page 7 SAIGON & HANOI 4 Days & 3 Nights (Can be done in reverse order) Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) On arrival you will be met by your tour guide and transferred by private car to your chosen hotel with the balance of your day at leisure Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included none Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City After a buffet breakfast at your hotel this morning you will start with a half day tour of this exciting city. You will visit the former Presidential Palace now preserved as a museum before continuing to the History Museum the War Remnant Museum or you may wish to visit the Fine Art Museum which is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Next you will visit Notre Dame the wedding cake styled Hotel d ville and Dong Khoi Street. After lunch at a local restaurant you will journey out to the Cu Chi regions where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels. See secret trapdoors underground kitchens living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper second and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above as well as various other above-ground areas of interest. Return to Saigon in late afternoon with the rest of the evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City Hanoi This morning you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport for the early flight to Hanoi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel before heading out for a half day visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex. You will see Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state followed by the simple cottage where Uncle Ho lived and worked and lastly the nearby Ho Chi Minh Museum. A quick stop at the nearby Governor s Residence is followed by the One Pillar Pagoda before lunch is enjoyed at a local restaurant. The afternoon is spent taking in a city highlights tour including visits to the recently restored Opera House Hoan Kiem Lake then one of the city s fascinating museums (Army History or Fine Arts depending on your preference). Continue to the Temple of Literature before taking to the streets for a walking tour of the Ancient Quarter or 36 Streets District. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 4 Depart Hanoi After breakfast the morning is at leisure until it is time to transfer to Noi Bai airport for your onward flight. Meals included breakfast DA NANG & HUE 3 Days & 2 Nights Day 1 Da Nang Hoi An On arrival in Da Nang you are met and transferred to the city with a visit Cham Museum Marble Mountain and China Beach before heading to Hoi An. Lunch will be served at local restaurant before commencing a walking tour of this small town. Hoi An is an extraordinary jewel in a country so ravaged by war Hoi An managed to remain untouched and as you wander the completely traffic-free streets of this ancient seaport it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th Century when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. After a walking tour of historic Hoi An old town centre transfer to your hotel with the rest of the evening at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An Meals included lunch Day 2 Da Nang Hoi An Hue Leaving Da Nang Hoi An this morning for an overland drive through the Hai Van or Cloudy Pass to reach Hue there will be opportunities for photo stops at beaches and coves en-route. Upon arrival start with lunch at your hotel before taking a boat cruise to visit Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Citadel in the afternoon Built in 1601 between a river and a pine forest the Thien Mu Pagoda or the Heavenly Lady Pagoda in Hue is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Next come to the Imperial Citadel which was built by the Emperor Gia Long in the very early 19th Century when the Nguyen Dynasty administered Vietnam from Hue. It was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing however suffered much damage during years of war. Many of the pavilions bridges libraries and great halls are now being carefully restored with help from UNESCO. Return to your hotel for the rest of the evening at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hue Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Depart Hue This morning you will have a half day to visit another two royal tombs in Hue including those of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. Tu Duc s tomb is one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture of the Nguyen dynasty lying in a boundless pine forest 8 km from Hue. Your final visit is the Khai Dinh s tomb 10km away from Hue. The construction of the tomb was started on 1920 and lasted for 11 years with the architecture of this tomb being the most criticized of all those of the Nguyen dynasty. The structure of the tomb is of concrete elements with cement a mixture of Vietnamese and Western concepts. The rest of the day is at leisure until your transfer to the airport or back to Da Nang Hoi An. Meals included breakfast VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON) Page 8 Formerly known as Saigon Ho Chi Minh City is the country s foremost economic and industrial hub. The action is frenetic here with the apparently chaotic traffic bustling markets and shops busy restaurants and cafes and a seemingly endless amount of boats navigating the Saigon River and nearby Mekong Delta. This city the largest in Vietnam is constantly changing with growth in all areas yet it retains much of its centuries old culture and traditions. You will find numerous pagodas and temples out of which waft the exquisite aromas of burning incense. Local artists dressmakers and fishermen work feverishly all the while watched over by the recently erected office buildings of big business. Ho Chi Minh City features an abundance of restaurants cafes and hotels and there are many sites to see for visitors. The Reunification Palace and Historical Museum are very central and easily accessible while the Ben Thanh Market has a good choice of clothing and souvenirs as well as selection of food that is without peer. The area of Cholon (Chinatown) is worth visiting for the various temples and the War Remnants Museum recalls the years of fighting that burdened the country. Further afield the Cu Chi Tunnels offer a sobering experience while seeing the Cao Dai Great Temple during prayers is a truly unique experience. HALF DAY SAIGON CITY TOUR In this essential highlight tour you will visit the former Presidential Palace now preserved as a museum including the underground communications bunkers which were headquarters for the Saigon Government during the War. Continue to the History Museum housing an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese and also the War Remnant Museum which primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of Vietnam War. Alternatively you may wish to visit the Fine Art Museum of the city that is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Next you will visit Notre Dame an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city the wedding cake styled Hotel d ville and Dong Khoi Street formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. This tour can also be combined with the half day Tunnels of Cu Chi tour to make a full day package. HALF DAY MARKET VISIT AND COOKING CLASS WITH HOA TUC RESTAURANT (Lunch) At 8.40am you will head out from your hotel for a visit to the colorful and vibrant Ben Thanh market. There a Vietnamese chef will guide you through the purchase of the ingredients you will use with him during the cooking lesson. Feel free to ask any questions you want After an hour at the market your Chef will bring you back to the cooking class where you will use Vietnamese kitchenware to realize and enjoy a tasty 3 course Vietnamese meal. During the class you concentrate on the pleasure of discovering and cooking and detailed recipes will be given to each participant at the end of the class. To end on a sweet note the restaurant will complete this meal with a delicious seasonal dessert. VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON) Page 9 CLASSIC FULL DAY MEKONG DELTA TOUR IN MY THO (Lunch) Travel the bustling highway into the surrounding countryside where you will pass lush rice paddies carefully tended before boarding your motorised sampan for a unique experience on the mighty Mekong Delta waterways. You will see how to the people of Delta the water is a lifeline - the focus of all daily activity - as you journey through a maze of tributaries and fruit plantations. Enjoy a sample of delicious fruit in the shade of a fruit farmer s garden before continuing via small canals on to lunch where the speciality is a remarkable dish of elephant s ear fish . Return to Ho Chi Minh City by the late afternoon. MEKONG DELTA 2 Days & 1 Night Day 1 Saigon Cai Be Can Tho The day begins with a journey south by road for approximately 2.5 hours to the Mekong River town of Cai Be where you will board a motorised sampan for an introduction to life on the river. Cai Be is known for its large floating market where displays of food produce are hung from bamboo poles over the host boat in order to attract custom. From here the journey continues across the upper reach of the river to a maze of tributaries and fruit plantations. Barges ply the route overloaded with rice husks used as fuel for the regions numerous brick kilns. Depending on the season a sample of local tropical fruit will be served with lunch in a local farmer s home before rejoining your craft for the leisurely cruise to Vinh Long. From here drive and ferry to the Delta s economic hub city of Can Tho where you will heck into your hotel with the rest of day at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Can Tho Meals included lunch Day 2 Can Tho Saigon Early this morning you will enjoy a cruise to Cai Rang which is a bustling market town. Enjoy a sampan ride through the colourful congestion of women and children jostling for space vying to sell their wares before returning to Can Tho to visit the museum and a Khmer pagoda in the city. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before departing Can Tho for the 3.5 hour drive to Saigon. Meals included breakfast lunch HALF DAY TUNNELS OF CU CHI TOUR Journey out of the city centre to the Cu Chi regions where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defence against the French and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors underground kitchens living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper second and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering some are easily accessed by stairs. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty This tour can also be combined with the half day Saigon City tour to make a full day package. BATTLE FIELD VUNG TAU LONG TAN NUI DAT LONG PHUOC 3 Days & 2 Nights Day 1 Saigon Vung Tau After checking out of your hotel we will travel to Vung Tau and the former site of the 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG). After booking into your hotel and freshening up we will enjoy an orientation tour of the town including the former 1 ALSG base area the former Peter Badcoe Club site and the front and back beach areas. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Vung Tau Meals included breakfast Day 2 Vung Tau Nui Dat Hoa Long Long Phuoc Vung Tau This morning travels take you to Nui Dat passing what is left of the Horseshoe on the way. Whilst few remnants of the former Task Force Base remain plenty of time is allowed to explore the area and visit the local school which is situated at the end of what was once Luscombe Airstrip. After visiting the township of Hoa Long you will lunch at the Long Phuoc Tunnels and then make your way back to Vung Tau. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Vung Tau Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Vung Tau Long Tan Saigon This morning we travel to the Long Tan Battlefield then onwards to Long Hai for a visit to the former Minh Dam Secret Zone. We climb to the apex of the Long Hai Hills to take in spectacular views of the area and visit the local museum in the former Viet Cong Sanctuary. Returning to Vung Tau we travel through the former area of operations and visit the site of the Battle of Ap My An near Lang Phuoc Hai that occurred during Operation Bribie in February 1967. Later in the day we drive back to Saigon where the tour concludes. Meals included breakfast VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON) Page 10 Saigon Hotel This new property is perfectly located right in the middle of the tourist district of Ho Chi Minh City a great choice for travellers who want to experience the hustle and bustle of Saigon. With 86 well-furnished and spacious rooms and suites Saigon Hotel was designed with every convenience in mind offering guests a comfortable and relaxing stay. Room facilities include a minibar LCD TV in-room safe tea and coffee making facilities and Wi-Fi internet access. HOTELS 1 Rex Hotel 2 Saigon Hotel 3 Duxton Hotel Saigon 4 Grand Hotel 5 Hotel Majestic 6 InterContinental Asiana Saigon 7 Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers 8 Park Hyatt Saigon 9 Caravelle Hotel 10 Palace Hotel 11 Lavender Hotel 12 Liberty Central Hotel ATTRACTIONS A Ben Tanh Market B Reunification Palace C Historical Museum D Notre Dame Cathedral E War Remnants Museum F Opera House G Ho Chi Minh Museum H Central Post Office Lavender Hotel Ideally located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City this boutique hotel offers cosy rooms with the latest modern comforts and is close walking distance from a selection of shops restaurants bars and local attractions including the Ben Thanh Market which lies opposite the hotel. The Lavender Coffee Lounge offers first class Western and Asian dishes in an elegant relaxed setting with other facilities including a fitness centre library and a fully-equipped business centre. Palace Hotel Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City only 7km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport Palace Hotel is close to the shopping areas of Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue Streets and walking distance to the Saigon River and a variety of tourist attractions. Built in 1968 and extensively renovated as recently as 2006 the 144 guestrooms and suites feature contemporary design and are equipped with air-conditioning IDD Telephone satellite TV mini-bar & refrigerator safety box and a variety of other amenities. On the rooftop the hotel features an outdoor swimming pool and open-air bar providing stunning views while Lemongrass Restaurant features traditional Vietnamese cuisine overlooking the Saigon River. Liberty Central Nestled in the heart of District 1 beside Ben Thanh Market this boutique property is an ideal spot from which to discover Ho Chi Minh City. The rooms are well appointed with modern amenities and the rooftop area offers a lovely haven where guests can enjoy a dip in the pool a drink from the bar or squeeze in a quick workout in the health centre. Downstairs guests will find the Central Restaurant offering a fusion of Western Asian and Vietnamese cuisines and the Bistro Cafe and wine bar where lighter snacks and cocktails are served. VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON) Page 11 Rex Hotel This historic hotel is ideally located in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City within 5 minutes walk of the famous Ben Thanh Market. The 217 rooms are ornately appointed with rattan furniture and handicrafts fully equipped with IDD telephones satellite TV in-room electronic safes hairdryers and minibars. There are 3 restaurants to choose from a coffee lounge a bar and the hotel offers 24-hour room service. Other features include a swimming pool roof top tennis court and fitness centre with a sauna jacuzzi steam bath and massage rooms. Duxton Hotel Saigon Location is everything and this 4-star boutique hotel is located in the heart of the city only a few minutes walk to the Saigon River The Opera House and the Ben Thanh market. All 198 rooms are furnished with contemporary Vietnamese artwork and traditional fabrics each equipped with air-conditioning coffee and tea making facilities satellite television and in-room safes. The hotel features 2 restaurants and a bar an outdoor swimming pool and a gymnasium. After a long day of sightseeing unwind at the Zanadu Health Club with a massage or relax in the jacuzzi steam bath or sauna. Grand Hotel As one of the oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh originally built in the twenties the Grand Hotel still retains its original Frenchstyle. Perfectly located on Dong Khoi Street with its colonial facade the recently renovated hotel offers 230 well-equipped rooms. Room facilities include satellite TV IDD phone airconditioning minibar in-room safe and hairdryer. There is an outdoor swimming pool fitness centre with jacuzzi sauna and steam bath. The hotel features one restaurant a coffee shop and bar a beauty salon and a gift shop. Hotel Majestic Overlooking the Saigon River in the heart of the city this beautiful hotel with its French architecture offers 175 guest rooms decorated in colonial style but with modern amenities. Features include airconditioning safe deposit box minibar coffee and tea making facilities satellite television and hairdryer. Other facilities include two restaurants and bars as well as an outdoor swimming pool fitness centre beauty salon and a his and hers spa with services such as massages sauna steam bath and jacuzzi. VIETNAM HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON) Page 12 Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers Strategically located in the heart of the city just a stone s throw from the beautiful Opera House the Saigon River and the greatest mix of traditional and fine restaurants. The 374 deluxe rooms are furnished with the latest amenities such as bedside master touch control panel for lighting drapes and air-conditioning electronic safes high speed broadband internet minibar tea and coffee making facilities flat screen television sets and marble bathrooms with separate bath and deluxe massage style shower. Eight restaurants and bars 24 hour in-room dining shopping arcade outdoor lap pool separate children s pool tennis court table tennis fitness centre and the Aqua Day Spa are among the many guest services provided. Park Hyatt Saigon The 252-room Park Hyatt Saigon is centrally located at Lam Son Square overlooking the elegant Opera House. The hotel is designed to feel more like a contemporary Vietnamese residence. Colonial style guestrooms with large french windows and wooden plantation shutters offer all the modern amenities individually controlled air-conditioning ceiling fans for natural ventilation broadband internet access flat screen satellite television in-room safe minibar and marble-tiled bathrooms with separate bath and shower. Recreation facilities include a Spa with seven treatment rooms steam room and whirlpool bath 20-metre outdoor swimming pool and a fully equipped fitness studio. There are several restaurants and bars to choose from and the hotel offers 24-hour in-room dining. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Caravelle Hotel Transformed from an original 1950 s colonial icon the Caravelle Hotel is now a truly leading international 5 star hotel and is host to the famous Saigon Saigon Bar once a popular rendezvous spot for wartime correspondents. The hotel is perfectly located in the centre of the city with the 335 rooms offering modern comfort and facilities include air-conditioning IDD phones in-room safe high-speed broadband internet connection satellite television minibar and coffee and tea making facilities. An outdoor swimming pool the luxurious QI Salon and Spa fitness centre beauty centre and 4 restaurants are among the many services this hotel has to offer. Opened in late 2009 this landmark property rising 21 stories above cosmopolitan Hai Ba Trung Street offers unparalleled 360-degree views of downtown Saigon. The 305 rooms and suites offer contemporary luxury and the newest technology with flat screen TVs home theatre systems iPod and iPhone docking stations and high speed internet access. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for stunning views from each room while for those staying in a Club room exclusive access is granted to the 19th floor Club InterContinental with panoramic views over the city evening cocktails and a host of other privileges. Other property features include the luxurious Spa InterContinental a health club with outdoor lap pool and an enticing selection of restaurants and bars. VIETNAM HANOI Page 13 The Vietnamese Capital has a long and eventful history resulting in a stunning array of temples museums and historic sites to visit. Situated in the centre of North Vietnam on a bend in the Red River Hanoi is heavily French influenced. The city features some stunning colonial architecture wide tree-lined boulevards numerous parks and squares and a total of 18 lakes including Hoan Kiem which dominates the centre of the city. The two main areas of interest for tourists are the Old Quarter and the French Quarter lying to the North and South of Hoan Kiem Lake respectively. The Old Quarter featuring the famous 36 Old streets is generally considered the most beautiful area of the city. Each of the narrow streets is named after the products that were originally sold there although in some cases these names still ring true. The French Quarter features many prominent buildings and architecture including the Opera House and Hanoi s History Museum. This area also houses the grandest hotels and shops in Hanoi. Other attractions that simply must be seen include Ho Chi Minh s Mausoleum the Temple of Literature One Pillar Pagoda the famous Water Puppet show and the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) Museum. 350 kilometres northwest of Hanoi situated 3 000 metres above sea level in the Fansipan Mountain lies Sapa a remote and isolated town which has changed little over the years. Women still wear exquisite traditional head dresses marking their individual tribes whilst the Hmong young men wear embroidered caps and sashes with large bone handled knives in the waistband. About 170 kilometres east of Hanoi you will find the World Natural Heritage site of Halong Bay. With its picturesque blend of land and sea Halong is considered one of the world s most precious and beautiful areas with thousands of rocky islands covering an area of over 1 500 km. Overnight cruises on the bay are very popular with visitors of the area. EVENING WATER PUPPET PERFORMANCE WITH CYCLO RIDE AND DINNER Your cyclo awaits you for a transfer to the theatre where the ancient and unique art form of water puppetry is enacted. The stage is a pool of water in which the hidden puppeteer must stand (waist deep ) to skilfully manoeuvre dancing puppets attached to bamboo poles on its surface. Each short skit in the performance relates to the daily life of the people and featured are scenes such as Returning from School after Graduation and Rearing Ducks and Chasing Foxes . Following the performance transfer by private vehicle to dinner in one of Hanoi s many superb Vietnamese restaurants. HALF DAY MARKET VISIT AND COOKING CLASS (Lunch) Vietnam is a paradise for cooks with plenty of delicious ingredients available to produce one of the best and most well known cuisines in the world. Enjoy the cooking classes led by a team of professional chefs with individual workstations at your disposal. Depart the restaurant for a short cyclo ride to a typical market in the Old Quarter where a budget is provided to buy some of the herbs that are needed in the cooking class. Transfer back to the restaurant for short talks through today s dishes after which the local chef will lead you through each dish giving you plenty of opportunity to get involved and try your hand at reproducing the flavors. The dishes that are prepared are then enjoyed for lunch and you will also receive a recipe booklet containing all the information needed to reproduce the authentic tastes back home. HALF DAY HANOI CITY TOUR WITH CYCLO RIDE & CITY BUGGY Enjoy an orientation of the tree-lined streets of Hanoi resplendent with French colonial architecture including the recently restored Opera House. Pass by Hoan Kiem Lake also known as Lake of the Restored Sword from the legend that surrounds it en-route to one of the city s fascinating museums (Army History or Fine Arts depending on your preference). Continue to the Temple of Literature built in 1070 then dedicated to Confucius a serene retreat from the busy streets outside. The tour then continues to the Ancient Quarter (or 36 Streets District) by cylo ride and city buggy. This densely populated corner of the city was once a centre of commerce where goods were sold under the street name of a particular guild. Still a thriving community of sellers today you will see street names such as Sugar Street Tin Street and Paper Street. Ancient homes and temples are interspersed with stores in this souvenir hunter s paradise. VIETNAM HANOI Page 14 FULL DAY HANOI CITY TOUR (Lunch) In this morning you will visit Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. See the simple cottage where Uncle Ho lived and worked then visit the nearby Ho Chi Minh Museum an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the father of the country and the evolution of Vietnamese independence. French architecture is a feature of Hanoi and the nearby former Governor s Residence is a fine example. See also the One Pillar Pagoda and hear the legend of its construction born from the love of an emperor in the 11th Century. Lunch is taken at local restaurant we then continue with an afternoon Hanoi Highlights tour for a thorough exploration of this Paris of the Orient. MAI CHAU & ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS 2 Days & 1 Night Mai Chau is a mountainous area of outstanding natural beauty inhabited by Thai and H mong ethnic minority groups. This trip offers an easy trek combined with a home stay in villages of Thai people where you will have the chance to learn about culture of the Thai people. Day 1 Hanoi Mai Chau After a beautiful 4 hour bus ride we reach Pom Coong a village of the Thai ethnic minority in Mai Chau valley. Enjoy lunch in Pom Coong followed by a light walk down the road to Xo another village of the Thai ethnic minority. Dinner and overnight in a local house. Meals included lunch dinner Day 2 Xo village Xam Khoe Village Hanoi After breakfast at the home stay we walk on village roads which run between mountains and rice paddies. We reach our lunch stop Van Mai Village around 11 30am. Lunch is taken at a local house before taking a bus ride back to Hanoi arriving back in the early evening where the tour ends. Meals included breakfast lunch HIGHLAND S TRIBAL FACES & MARKET AT WEEKEND 4 Days & 3 Nights Day 1 Depart Hanoi Lao Cai In the evening your guide in Hanoi will transfer you to the railway station for the evening train to Lao Cai which normally departs at 21 15pm. Guests are advised to dine before boarding. Overnight in an air-conditioned cabin (sharing) Meals included none Day 2 Lao Cai Sapa trekking from Cat Cat village to Y Linh Ho village and from Lao Chai to Ta Van village Upon arrival at Lao Cai station in the early morning you are met by our local guide and vehicle who will escort you to the hotel. After breakfast you will be met at around 9am before heading downhill to Cat Cat village enjoying beautiful landscape and scenery along the way. Upon reaching a waterfall and a hydroelectric station you will take a short rest before continuing your trek on a dirt trail through rice paddy terraced fields. This area is still covered by rain forest under the protection of Hoang Lien National Park. On arrival at Y Linh Ho village inhabited by Black Hmong people you will have one more rest before climbing toward the main road where you will be picked up for the drive back to Sapa for lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon you will commence another short journey by driving south toward Muong Hoa valley where you will start your walk by descending into the largest rice paddy terraced area in the region. If you visit the valley sometime in between May and October you will be able to observe and experience how the locals do plant and harvest one of the most important activities in their daily life. The walk then takes you from Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority to Ta Van village of Giay minority including a visit to the local Catholic Church. After visiting Ta Van the car will return you to Sapa. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Sapa Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day 3 Sapa Lao Cai Following breakfast you are transferred to Bac Ha one of the most interesting ethnic markets in Vietnam and possibly everywhere in South East Asia. Sunday is market day which is the occasion for the various locals to gather in huge crowds to exchange the latest news and gossip to shop and to eat a copious lunch Stopping for lunch at a local restaurant you are then transferred back to Lao Cai with a stop en-route at Trung Do village where the Tay minority live along the river bank. Enjoy a half hour boat cruise on Chay River to see the life of the locals before disembark at Bao Nhai village where you are transferred to Lao Cai station for the evening train back to Hanoi. Dinner will be at a local restaurant near the train station before boarding otherwise onboard. Overnight in an air-conditioned cabin (sharing) Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day 4 Arrive Hanoi Upon arrival at Hanoi station in early morning you are met and transferred back to your hotel in Hanoi or to downtown. Meals included none HALONG BAY THE DRAGON PASSAGE LUXURY JUNK CRUISE 2 Days & 1 Night Day 1 Hanoi Halong Bay You will be picked up from your hotel early in the morning for your overland drive to Halong City. On arrival you will board your Heritage Line junk where a delectable buffet lunch will be served. Guests are able to take time to get acquainted with the facilities onboard before the boat starts to cruise into the Bay with Tien Ong Cave being the first visit. This huge cave is peppered with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed out of ancient limestone karsts about 700 000 years ago. Continuing on to the Cua Van Fishing Village the biggest and oldest fishing village in Halong Bay guests travel via a small boat past the various floating houses and schools. After returning to the ship in the late afternoon guests are free to sharpen their culinary skills at a cooking class performance conducted by the energetic on-board chef. The boat cruises slowly with the evening sun to its mooring points and at approximately 7 pm there is a presentation in the restaurant area about Halong Bay prior to dinner being served. Meals included lunch dinner Day 2 Halong Bay Hanoi For early risers complimentary tea coffee and pastries are served in the restaurant followed by - if you so desire - a Tai Chi Class on the terrace deck. Then it is time for an early morning bath - in the Bay By tender boat guests travel to a natural white sandy stretch of beach with crystal clear water. Sporty types can climb up to a hill top for a last view from above before they return to the boat and cruise slowly back to Halong City passing picturesque areas like the Ti Top Island the Tam Cung Cave and Poem Mountain. A buffet brunch is served before arriving back to the shore at around 11 am where you will be met by your transfer back to Hanoi arriving mid-afternoon. Meals included breakfast brunch. VIETNAM HANOI Page 15 Super Hotel Hanoi Old Quarter This property is close to central Hanoi easy walking distance to the nearby Dong Xuan Market the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Hoan Kiem Lake. Featuring views of the park or city each of the 56 air-conditioned rooms and suites is furnished with a personal safe flat-screen cable TV minibar and an ensuite bathroom. The restaurant and bar serves Western Asian and authentic Vietnamese cuisine in a cosy atmosphere and guests enjoy free Wi-Fi internet access throughout the property. HOTELS 1 Church Boutique Hotel 2 Super Hotel Hanoi Old Quarter 3 Sunway Hotel 4 Melia Hanoi 5 Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi 6 7 8 9 10 La Dolce Vita Hotel Silk Path Hotel Hilton Hanoi Opera Mercure La Gare Hanoi Hotel de l Opera Hanoi ATTRACTIONS A Opera House B Ho Chi Minh s Mausoleum C Temple of Literature D One Pillar Pagoda E Hoa Lo Prison Museum (Hanoi Hilton) Church Boutique Hotel Nha Tho The centre of Catholicism in Hanoi is the beautiful neoGothic St Joseph s Cathedral. Built in the early days of the colony St Joseph s opened its doors to worshippers in 1886. Built as Presbytery House the hotel was one of Old Quarter s first edifications of the Cathedral. Ten years after first opening the property recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and is now the Old Quarter s newest boutique hotel. Each of the comfortably appointed rooms features a spacious bathtub flat-screen TV with international channels free cable and wireless internet access mini-bar complimentary Perfetto espresso coffee making facilities in-room safe hairdryer and individually controlled air-conditioning. La Petite Eglise restaurant is elegant sophisticated and gorgeous yet with a refreshing simplicity. The mouth-watering menu offers progressive fusion Asian cuisine featuring classic international dishes all from organic sources. La Dolce Vita Hotel Convenient affordable and chic this property sits right in the heart of Hanoi and provides excellence in service for its guests. La Dolce Vita Hotel is a preferred choice for leisure travellers with its stylish 8-storey interior and 53 elegant rooms. Just steps from the hotel lies countless restaurants boutique shops and entertainment venues while famous attractions such as the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake the historic Old Quarter and the Opera House are all within walking distance. Getting to and from the airport is hassle free as it only takes 40 minutes by car. The inhouse La Dolce Vita Restaurant offers a chic and festive setting to sample authentic Vietnamese cuisine as well as a variety of universal favourites. VIETNAM HANOI Page 16 Silk Path Hotel Prominently located in the heart of Hanoi s tourist district the Silk Path Hotel is a sanctuary of convenience connecting guests directly with the charismatic grace of Indochina. This boutique hotel features 106 well appointed rooms and suites featuring sophisticated designs and signature Vietnamese lacquer paintings. The property features 2 unique restaurants and 3 stylish bars so guests are spoiled for choice and on the top floor with views over the Old Quarter the Silk Path Fitness Centre has a fully equipped gym sauna steam room and a Jacuzzi. Sunway Hotel Hanoi You will find this modern hotel on a quiet street in the Old French Quarter of Hanoi. All 145 rooms and suites feature air-conditioning satellite television minibar IDD telephone internet connection tea and coffee making facilities in-room safe and hairdryer. There are 2 restaurants a coffee shop and a bar. Although the hotel does not have a swimming pool it has a Health Club located on the second floor that offers exercise machines such as bicycle treadmill stepper rowing machines weights etc. and also separate male and female sauna and steam rooms. Mercure La Gare Hanoi Enjoy quality service at the internationally branded Mercure Hotel La Gare Hanoi. This hotel offers 206 modern cosy rooms free Wi-Fi a gymnasium and guests wake up to full Western or Vietnamese breakfast. Located in the city centre this hotel is a great base for discovering Hanoi being just minutes from La Gare station where the overnight train from Sapa arrives 10 minutes walk to the Old Quarter or the Temple of Literature 15 minutes to the 36-streets area and Hoan Kiem Lake and only 5 minutes from the shopping centre. Melia Hanoi This luxury hotel features breathtaking views over the city and is close to the main tourist attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake and the old quarter Quan Su Pagoda the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh s Mausoleum. Convenient to the train station and airport the property features an outdoor swimming pool fully equipped fitness centre health spa and a variety of bars and restaurants serving an exquisite blend of Vietnamese dishes and international cuisine. VIETNAM HANOI Page 17 Hotel de l Opera Hanoi The Hotel de l Opera Hanoi- MGallery is situated in Hanoi s historic quarter just a stone s throw from the Opera House. The influence of the theatre is apparent in everything from the property s namesake to its d cor. Blending colonial accents with theatrical design in which high ceilings rich fabrics and a bold color palette are balanced against a host of modern facilities. There are 107 wellequipped rooms all of which exude luxurious ambiences that will no doubt amount to a memorable stay. Borrowing from the country s rich heritage and inspired by its burgeoning future in equal measure this stunning hotel showcases Vietnamese textiles and art within guestrooms with hotel facilities including an indoor swimming pool fitness centre cocktail lounge and exquisite restaurants and bars in which to savor both local and international cuisine. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Being a French colonial-style property in the heart of Hanoi the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi was renovated to preserve the hotel s original grandeur and charm while updating its facilities to the highest possible standard. All 364 rooms are tastefully decorated and well equipped with air-conditioning IDD telephone voice mail room safe minibar tea & coffee making facilities hairdryer broadband internet and sound-proof windows. Other facilities include 2 restaurants 3 bars outdoor swimming pool fitness centre with an international standard gym qualified instructors massage therapists exercise classes and a sauna. The hotel also organises a cooking class that takes its participants on an ingredient shopping tour before engaging them in real cooking experiences in the hotel s kitchen. Hilton Hanoi Opera The minute you arrive at this 7-storey French colonial-style hotel you feel the warm friendly welcome. Strategically located adjacent to the magnificent Hanoi Opera House this hotel offers 269 attractively furnished rooms with all the amenities one would expect from a 5-star hotel luxuriously fitted bathrooms with separate shower units airconditioning double-glazed windows IDD telephones with voice mail high speed internet access satellite television minibar tea and coffee making facilities and in room safes. Leisure facilities include outdoor swimming pool (heated in winter) Fitness Centre sauna whirlpool and massage rooms. Dining and entertainment facilities include 2 restaurants coffee shop bakery and 2 bars. VIETNAM HOI AN & DA NANG Page 18 An hour s flight from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City Da Nang was the centre of the Cham Dynasty from the 2nd century and today boasts the largest collection of Cham artefacts anywhere in the world. Da Nang s rich cultural history its proximity to the extraordinary ruins of My Son and its world-famous Cham Museum all continue to draw visitors. It was also the first landing-point for the invading French troops and again decades later for the US Marines. Just to the south lies the famed 30km stretch that makes up China Beach. The My Khe section is probably the most well known thanks to its proximity to Da Nang but further down the beaches of My An and Non Nuoc shows an increasing amount of new resorts and hotels. Also nearby are the Marble Mountains the 5 craggy limestone peaks that are said to represent the 5 elements of the universe. Further south you will find Hoi An recently World Heritage listed by UNESCO which was a bustling trading port from the 17th to 19th centuries only slowing down as the river silted up making it impossible for the larger ships to access the port. Almost all of the architecture streets and ports are still intact providing a unique blend of Chinese Japanese French and Vietnamese styles and cultures. Considered a Living Museum there is plenty to see throughout the city and being a very pedestrian-friendly place with the Old Quarter closed off to all cars walking tours are very popular. The shopping here is superb also the tailor-made clothes are fantastic as are the local arts and handicrafts. HALF DAY WALKING TOUR IN HOI AN - ANCIENT CIVILIZATION Just a short drive from Da Nang the unique trading town of Hoi An was a civilisation cut off by destroyed rail lines and a silted river leaving it untouched by war and frozen in time. No cars are allowed to pass through Hoi An rendering it an excellent walking village. You are transferred from your hotel to town to start the walking tour which includes a visit at Chinese communal houses pagodas the unique Japanese covered bridge seeing architecture reminiscent of traders of a bygone era - Japanese French Chinese and Indian as well as beautifully preserved ancient houses. You will also have chance to visit the Hoi An local market or shopping for art at one of the numerous galleries while enjoying the riverside ambience. HALF DAY MARKET VISIT & COOKING LESSON IN HOI AN We start the day with a drink at a local restaurant then visit Hoi An s colourful market to experience the amazing sights sounds and aromas. We will interact with the local sellers purchasing some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. We then board a boat for a leisurely cruise along the Hoi An River to the local restaurant a great opportunity to view local life along riverbanks. On arrival we explore the cooking school s herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of both Hoi An s and Vietnam s best-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours each dish first demonstrated by a local chef before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson we enjoy the fruits of our labour for lunch. FULL DAY ANCIENT RUINS OF MY SON & DA NANG CITY TOUR (Lunch) Your day will begin with an early morning drive from Da Nang Hoi An through 60 km of rolling countryside passing through small towns with markets in full swing often journeying alongside the wide reaches of the Han River. As you draw closer to My Son which translates literally as Beautiful Mountain the condition of the road begins to deteriorate and the last few kilometres of track are often quite rough. On arriving at the My Son area you will take a short 500m walk through lush hillsides trees and brush before emerging into the main site. There were over 70 classic Cham monuments at My Son dating from the 7th - 13th Centuries. Set against the backdrop of the appropriately named Cat s Tooth Mountain they would then have been an awesome sight. Until 1968 they remained remarkably in almost perfect condition having been sheltered from the worst excesses of weather by the surrounding hills. Regrettably however man achieved what nature could not and B52 bombers destroyed most of the towers when My Son found itself in a free-fire zone during the Vietnam War. Your guide will offer full commentary on the Cham heritage of My Son whilst you wander at will around this most historic site. Take the opportunity to do so now as My Son is due to become part of UNESCO s protected monuments list and access may well be restricted in the future Return to Da Nang for lunch at local restaurant followed by a tour around the city including a trek to the top of the Marble Mountains before returning to your hotel in the afternoon. HALF DAY DA NANG CITY TOUR The tour starts with a visit the Cham Museum in Da Nang once centre of the ancient Cham civilisation. Hindu in origin the Cham people left a legacy of excellent sculptures now housed in the only museum if its kind in Da Nang as they were pushed south by the advancing Vietnamese invaders. Close by Da Nang is Non Nuoc Beach immortalised for many by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Continue to the Marble Mountains where the five rocky outcrops are said to represent the five natural elements. As well as housing temples and once even an army hospital they are also the source of many intriguing legends. Be prepared to trek up to the top travelling through caves and temples on the way to Heaven s Gate enjoying spectacular views of Non Nuoc Beach and Da Nang city. Upon descending you will see skilled artisans carving all manner of statues from marble sourced locally at the mountains base before heading back to your hotel. VIETNAM HOI AN & DA NANG Page 19 Alma Courtyard Hoi An Hoi An Historic Hotel The Hoi An Historic Hotel is ideally located for those travellers wanting to stay in the heart of the ancient town of Hoi An rather than at the beach. This 4-star hotel surrounded by lush gardens has 160 rooms all equipped with air-conditioning satellite television IDD telephone minibar and a hairdryer. Other facilities the hotel offers are a restaurant bar garden caf outdoor swimming pool tennis court fitness centre sauna Jacuzzi and a steam bath. Due to open mid-2014 and located near the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An Alma Courtyard Hoi An reflects the rich culture of its location in its architecture & design. The resort will be home to 144 rooms with five different room types set in tropical courtyard gardens. Alma Courtyard Hoi An will offer a complete journey for mind body and soul with guests enjoying an inclusive daily My Chi wellness journey including a steam and sauna choice of massage Tai Chi energy movement and meditation practice. The facilities of the hotel include terraced pools a large spa and gym area a spa library & juice bar a restaurant with interactive demo kitchens a casual caf and an al fresco terrace. Anantara Hoi An Resort This resort is located in the French colonial quarter of Hoi An right on the banks of the Thu Bon River and only a 5 minute walk from the bustling market. The 94 rooms are housed in 2 and 3-storey town houses and offer a separate lounge area bedroom and a private porch. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning ceiling-fan satellite television IDD telephone in room safe tea and coffee making facilities minibar in-room safe and a hairdryer. Other facilities the hotel offer are a swimming pool 2 restaurants a bar and a spa and massage centre. Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort Perfectly positioned along the popular Cua Dai Beach only 35 minutes by car from Da nang Airport this new resort offers enchanting views to one of the most stunning coastlines in the world. Boasting 222 rooms suites and villas guests are pampered with all the residential touches of home. While timeless tradition waits to be discovered in Hoi An Ancient Town only a 10minute drive away. Signature restaurants and bars at the resort provide unforgettable dining experiences showcasing culinary masterpieces that are sure to excite the palate as well as the senses while decadent revitalization is achieved at Bodyworks Spa. The resort features two stunning swimming pools a modern fitness centre and a wide range of complimentary recreational activities for the more active guest. VIETNAM HOI AN & DA NANG Page 20 Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa The Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa is situated 30km from Da Nang Airport and only 5 km from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An town. Situated on a unique stretch of white sand beach one side of the resort faces the river delta with the other facing the sea. The resort replicates a traditional fishing village with small streets water ponds and village houses with clay-tiled roofs providing a warm and restful environment. There are several bars and restaurants to choose from and the recreational facilities include a large swimming pool tennis courts fitness centre and an array of water sport activities. Palm Garden Resort This resort situated on a 220-metre stretch of private beach offers 163 well-equipped rooms bungalows and suites that are set comfortably on 5 hectares of private tropical garden setting. Guest rooms are equipped with individually controlled airconditioning satellite television IDD telephone safety box fridge and minibar tea and coffee making facilities bathrobe and a hairdryer. Several restaurants and bars cater for all tastes. Sports and recreation facilities include a huge pool tennis courts table tennis billiards and snooker bicycle rental beach activities and watersports. Other services include a fitness centre kid s club and the Qi Shiseido Salon and Spa. Golden Sand Resort & Spa A luxury beachfront property centrally located along the famous Cua Dai Beach just 10 minutes away from the World Heritage site of Hoi An town. All 212 rooms are well appointed and provide every comfort expected of an international hotel from remote controlled television and air-conditioning to complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. There are 5 restaurants and bars to choose from and facilities include one of Vietnam s largest outdoor swimming pools 2 outdoor whirlpools 2 children pools watersports centre bicycle rental jet ski rental table tennis billiards cooking classes and daily children activities. Furama Resort Danang This world class resort set on Danang Beach is a gateway to three World Heritage Sites of Hoi An My Son and Hue. Blending traditional Vietnamese design with a French colonial accent the 198 rooms and suites are a haven of opulence and craftsmanship. This award-winning resort offers extensive diving spots just off one of the world s most luxurious beaches as well as many other water sports. The signature Caf Indochine Don Cipriani s Italian restaurant The Fan beach-front steak house Hai Van Lounge openair bars and poolside restaurants make the resort a warm and cozy distinctly chic drinking and dining destination. VIETNAM HOI AN & DA NANG Page 21 Fusion Maia Da Nang An enticing blend of hip luxury resort and all-inclusive spa Fusion Maia dedicates itself entirely to the art of tranquility. Each day guests are treated to spa treatments all included in the room rate this is a chance to indulge in therapies such as foot reflexology massage scrubs wraps and facials plus take guidance in yoga breathing and meditation techniques. Maia Spa is set in tropical gardens with swimming pool and waterfall steam rooms saunas and couples Jacuzzis. Simple d cor and modern sleek style add to the calm Zen-like atmosphere and the hotel s unique breakfast anywhere concept creates an intimate boutique feel that encourages easy relaxation. The Nam Hai Part of the GHM hotel chain the Nam Hai sets a new standard of 5-star luxury hotel in Vietnam. The property is situated on Ha My a stunningly picturesque section of China Beach with unspoilt stretches of white sand only a 15 minute drive from Hoi An. Each of the 60 wellappointed one-bedroom villas showcases luxurious indoor and outdoor sitting areas while the 40 pool villa complexes ranging from one to four-bedrooms each have a courtyard entrance that leads into a living and dining area. They all have a private temperature-controlled swimming pool and each villa is equipped with in-room bathtubs rain shower hairdryer inroom safe flat screen LCD television iPod and Sound Dock System wireless internet access an espresso machine and tea making facilities. Other facilities include 2 restaurants and a bar spa centre with 8 private spa suites gym 3 beachfront swimming pools 4 tennis courts and a boutique and library. Vinpearl Luxury Danang Vinpearl Luxury Danang offers an ideal base from which to embrace a cultural exploration of the central coast of Vietnam whilst luxuriating on one of the world s best beaches. From here you can visit the ancient town of Hoi An boasting lovely boutique shops charming cafes and quaint winding streets providing an amazing insight into colorful Vietnamese life. If relaxation is more of a draw guests can rest by one of the five massive infinity pools chill out in the gardens or take a stroll along the resort s 500-metre beachfront. All 200 guest rooms and 39 exclusive 3-bedroom villas have private sea-facing balconies and are equipped with amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible including free Wi-Fi internet large screen LCD television with hundreds of movies and games separate rain shower and bathtub complimentary bath salts and a pillow menu to maximize your comfort and relaxation. For an exciting and relaxing holiday filled with luxury and exploration Vinpearl Luxury Danang is the perfect choice. VIETNAM HUE Page 22 Visitors to Hue are often taken aback to discover that the sleepy provincial town of Hue was once the religious economic and cultural epicentre of Vietnam the mighty Imperial headquarters and the political capital of the country until 1945. That this glorious architectural masterpiece of a city should have been reduced almost completely to rubble as a result war is indeed a tragedy in the truest sense of the word. Thirteen Nguyen Dynasty Emperors ruled Vietnam from Hue. They built a fortress around the ancient city a huge Citadel with walls 10 metres thick modelled on Beijing s Forbidden City. Even this seemingly impenetrable defence though was useless during the Tet Offensive of 1968 when the proud city of Hue was reduced to ruins. Hue today has regained its royal demeanour and is a calm peaceful and relaxed place to visit. The remaining French colonial garden houses and villas the quiet streets the riverbanks the outlying tombs and pagodas that escaped damage all give Hue a unique atmosphere of tranquillity. IMPERIAL FEAST DINNER CRUISE WITH FOLK MUSIC In the evening you are transferred from the hotel to the river where you will board a private Dragon Boat for a dinner cruise on the romantically named Perfume River. The cruise is usually accompanied by 45 minutes of live Hue folk music while a set menu of specialized Hue cuisine is served. At the end of the meal you are transferred back to the hotel. FULL DAY ROYAL KINGDOM TOUR (Lunch) The Citadel Complex of Hue set up by Nguyen Dynasty from 1805 to 1945 is located on the North bank of the Huong River (Perfume River) inside Hue city. It is a huge complex covering an area of 520ha and comprising three circles of ramparts Kinh Thanh Hue (Hue Capital Citadel) Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel). Next you will visit a religious site in Hue that lures tourists with its beautiful and ancient architectural structures of worship the Thien Mu pagoda. Thien Mu Pagoda (namely Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda) also known as Linh Mu Pagoda is one of the most fascinating and ancient pagodas in Hue city. It is situated on Ha Khe hill on the north bank of the Perfume River 5 kilometres from Hue city and was built in 1601. The initial temple was in a very simple form of construction but as time went by it has been redeveloped and expanded with more intricate features. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant followed by afternoon visits to Tu Duc and Khai Dinh s Tombs. Tu Duc s tomb is located in a narrow valley in Duong Xuan Thuong village. It is one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture of the Nguyen dynasty lying in a boundless pine forest 8 km from Hue. Its construction started in December 1864 and finished in 1867 with nearly 50 constructions built on terraces of various levels. Your final visit is the Khai Dinh s tomb 10km away from Hue. The construction of the tomb was started on 1920 and lasted for 11 years with the architecture of this tomb being the most criticized of all those of the Nguyen dynasty. The structure of the tomb is of concrete elements with cement a mixture of Vietnamese and Western concepts. The overall construction of the tomb is a hill-site emerging rectangular structure with 127 steps. On both sides of the courtyard there are two rows of statues facing towards the centre together with other statues representing bodyguard soldiers. HALF DAY BOAT CRUISE CAR DRIVE TO THIEN MU PAGODA IMPERIAL CITADEL & LONG AN PALACE One of the most notable features of Hue is the meandering Perfume (Huong) River that divides the city. As both the Imperial Citadel and the Thien Mu Pagoda are situated on the river banks boating on a simple yet comfortable vessel offers a relaxing alternative to the Imperial Hue tour. Built in 1601 between a river and a pine forest the Thien Mu Pagoda ( Heavenly Lady Pagoda ) is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Among the many interesting artefacts housed at the complex is the car that took the monk Thich Quang Duc to his selfimmolation in 1963 Saigon. Next you will visit the Citadel started in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long and completed in 1832 under the reign of Emperor Ming Mang. Over 200 years to now it is still original with nearly 140 small and large constructions. Leaving the Citadel you are transferred to Long An Palace which was reopened to tourists in late March 2012 after being closed for four years while it underwent a restoration. The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre also reopened the Hue Museum of Royal Fine Arts inside the palace with more than 10 000 items used by members of the Nguyen Dynasty as well as artefacts from other Asian countries. HALF DAY BOAT CRUISE TO THIEN MU PAGODA AND MINH MANG S TOMB Visit Thien Mu Pagoda by boat then continue by boat (or by land) to the less visited and perhaps most majestic of all of Hue s tombs - the tomb of Minh Mang. This tomb is well known for its harmonious blend of architecture and natural landscape and is 12km from Hue on Cam Ke Mountain near Bang Lang fork on the west bank of the Perfume River. In September 1840 the construction of the tomb began however in January 1841 Minh Mang became sick and passed away. Emperor Thieu Tri his successor to the throne continued the task according to his father s plans. Emperor Minh Mang s corpse was buried in Buu Thanh on August 20th of 1841 and construction was fully completed in 1843. Minh Mang s tomb is a standard architectural complex consisting of 40 constructions (palaces temples pavilions etc.) designed on a symmetric axis running from Dai Hong gate to the foot of La Thanh (Surrounding Wall) behind the Emperor s tomb. HALF DAY TU DUC & KHAI DINH TOMB TOUR The hills surrounding Hue are dotted with the tombs of the Nguyen dynasty emperors. Built not only as an eternal resting place the tombs were designed for recreation somewhere the Emperor could fish hunt and enjoy the company of concubines in his twilight years. Visit first the tomb of Emperor Tu Duc resplendent in traditional architecture paved walkways resting pavilions overlooking tranquil lotus ponds and a small forest for hunting. In stark contrast continue to Khai Dinh s Tomb. Remembered as the Puppet Emperor because of his affiliation with the French this tomb was designed with colonial flair and a glass mosaic frieze dominates the interior. VIETNAM HUE Page 23 Saigon Morin Hotel This modern business class hotel located on bustling Le Loi Street boasts magnificent rooftop views of the Perfume River and is the perfect property for a relaxing stay in a prime location with guests enjoying easy access to a myriad of local attractions. The spacious and elegantly appointed rooms are decorated with a colonial style ambience that is visually relaxing and are equipped with balconies that offer superb scenic views. The hotel boasts a comprehensive selection of facilities including a contemporary fitness centre free-form swimming pool and a restaurant that serves a combination of authentic local and international dishes in a comforting ambience. Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa This lovely resort offers the harmony of soothing natural environment and local culture delicious meals sound sleep and a peaceful countryside lifestyle. Laid out in a village-style setting the resort is as warm and inviting as it is fresh and full of vision. There are 99 rooms & villas each with a private gate and garden and 2 private balconies that lead out onto the lakes and countryside. The Junrei restaurant offers a variety of renowned Vietnamese fusion cuisine plus some specialties of Hue while the Valley restaurant offers an open air space where guests can start their day with breakfast. The property also features a variety of bars 2 swimming pools yoga house fitness centre complimentary shuttle services into Hue city centre and the Vedana Spa which blends ancient traditional healing wisdom from the east with therapies from the west. La R sidence Hue Hotel & Spa A member of the MGallery collection La R sidence Hue Hotel & Spa is an enchanting boutique hotel on the banks of the fabled Perfume River overlooking the former Imperial Citadel. Endowed with opulence and warmth this former residence of the French Colonial governor has been painstakingly restored into an exceptional boutique hotel. With 122 rooms and suites great care has been taken to preserve the charm comfort and atmosphere of a classic colonial villa. The hotel s distinctive bowed fa ade long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of art deco architecture and whilst all rooms boast every modern convenience the atmosphere of a bygone age is captured through sensitive use of local materials and careful attention to detail. A huge saltwater pool is the centerpiece of the hotel s lush tropical garden and for those wanting to relax even further Le Spa offers a divine selection of traditional treatments and massages. Food is not forgotten with the chefs at Le Parfum restaurant experimenting with Vietnamese Asian and European fusion dishes and the hotel runs regular cooking classes and visits to the local markets. VIETNAM NHA TRANG Page 24 Four hundred and forty five kilometres north of Ho Chi Minh City by road or a short 40-minute flight lies Vietnam s premier beach resort of Nha Trang. With a backdrop of mountains numerous deserted islands and kilometres of white sandy beaches it is hard not to enjoy the benefits of such an idyllic location. The long stretch of beach is blessed with the best all-round weather in Vietnam plus some unique resorts ranging from standard through to luxury. Restaurants caf s and umbrellas line the beach itself with fishing sailing tours snorkelling and scuba diving being very popular activities amongst the visitors to this lively town. HALF DAY NHA TRANG CITY TOUR Visit Long Son Pagoda which was founded in the late 19th Century with the entrance and roofs decorated with mosaic dragons made of glass and ceramic tile. From the pagoda the more energetic will have the chance to climb the 154 stone steps leading to the giant white Buddha seated on a lotus blossom. There are superb views of the whole city from the platforms around the Buddha which was built in 1963. You will also visit Dam market in the centre of Nha Trang - one of Vietnams most interesting local markets. There s a colourful selection of local produce - fruit vegetables and seafood are the most common but you will also see dried seahorses and lizards - popular specialities of Nha Trang Evidence of the ancient Cham civilisation of Vietnam can be seen in Nha Trang at the hilltop Po Nagar Cham Towers. Built between the 7th and 12th Century and named in honour of the former Cham Princess who introduced her people to profitable weaving and wet rice cultivation techniques it is still used as a centre for worship today. Walk across Xom Bong Bridge below to photograph the abundant fishing boats moored in the shallow Nha Trang harbour. The boats are brightly painted in blue and red - an engaging sight against a typically azure sky. FULL DAY BOAT & ISLANDS TRIP (Lunch) Experience the coast of Nha Trang via boat trip as we set out in the morning for our first stop at the aquarium. We then head out to Hon Mun Island where we have the chance for swimming and snorkelling to see really beautiful coral reef in the crystal clear waters. Get back on the boat we keep sailing to fishing village of Lang Chai for lunch. From here we continue to Hon Tam Island where you have the choice of relaxing on the beach or for the energetic - there is a choice of water sports where we have time to enjoy that before boarding our boat back to Nha Trang harbor. HALF DAY MARKET VISIT AND COOKING CLASS AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT (Lunch) One of the best things that Vietnam offers tourists is unique food. Eating is great but enjoying the food you cook is even better At 9am guests are picked up from their hotel for a short transfer to a local restaurant where they will meet the chef and join her him on a trip to the local market by cyclo. At the market you will buy ingredients for the cooking class learning some Vietnamese market culture at the same time. You will then return to the restaurant to start learning some of the finer arts of Vietnamese cooking. On completion the class get to enjoy the meal that has been prepared before their transfer back to the hotel. VIETNAM NHA TRANG Page 25 Novotel Nha Trang Whether you are looking for a fun resort-style destination or a sophisticated conference venue you cannot go past Novotel Nha Trang. Looking out to the sea and close to the transport and the city centre this stylish four star hotel is centrally located on the main street of the renowned resort city of Nha Trang. Along with 154 modern rooms each with terrace and stunning sea view Novotel Nha Trang offers a pool spa restaurant bar and a meeting room catering for up to 200 delegates. Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa This 121-room resort overlooks one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam and is located close to the city centre. Every room has great views of the ocean from its private balcony and come with modern amenities including air-conditioning satellite television IDD telephone minibar in-room safe and tea and coffee making facilities. An exclusive floor has been designated solely for female guests to offer privacy and another floor offers connecting rooms for families with children. Other facilities include a swimming pool 2 restaurants and coffee shop 2 bars a nightclub shops library gymnasium and a spa. Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses Spa Nha Trang s only beachfront resort occupying more than 6 acres of private tropical gardens Evason Ana Mandara offers simplicity serenity and refinement together with spectacular views of Nha Trang Bay. Comprising 74 semi-detached garden villas the guest accommodations combine traditional Vietnamese touches with locally-inspired architecture and modern conveniences. Rooms are either situated in the lush tropical gardens or with breathtaking views across the bay. Private terraces off every room are an ideal spot to relax at days end. The Pavilion Restaurant offers all-day dining with classic Vietnamese and international favorites using the freshest ingredients sourced from local markets and the resort s own organic garden while The Beach Restaurant opens for lunch and dinner and features fresh seafood that is cooked to your order in the open kitchen. The Six Senses Spa at Evason Ana Mandara presents a Vietnamese experience of specialty treatments and programs in addition to an a la carte menu of holistic rejuvenation and pampering. Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa Overlooking one of the world s most beautiful bays the Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa offers stunning ocean views from the private balconies of its 284 spacious rooms and suites each tastefully appointed with modern features and amenities. The resort features a stunning infinity pool on the 6th floor with a soothing Jacuzzi and just above there is also a 24-hour health club with state-of-the-art equipment featuring views over the bay. Situated adjacent to the health club the Shine Spa offers a range of treatments originating from China Thailand India Arabia and the Mediterranean. There are nine private rooms each with a shower and bath as well as an outdoor treatment area steam rooms saunas and Jacuzzis. Guests are spoiled for choice with 6 restaurants and bars to choose from featuring cuisine from all over the world plus a purpose-built cooking school which focuses on Vietnamese cuisine. HOVIETNAM CITY TRANG CHI MINH NHA (SAIGON) Page 26 Page 26 Vinpearl Nha Trang A 10-minute boat trip away from the Nha Trang coast on Hon Tre Island this large resort complex is includes the Vinpearl Golf Club Vinpearl Land amusement park as well as 2 accommodation options for guests. Vinpearl Resort is set in large tropical gardens with most of the modern rooms overlooking the China Sea. Some of the excellent guest facilities available include 2 pools one being the largest outdoor swimming pool in Southeast Asia 4 restaurants 3 bars a spa and health club jogging track and a children s club. Vinpearl Luxury offers 84 villas and suites each facing Nha Trang Bay with stunning views of the island s pristine beaches. With sophisticated interior designs each villa and suite offers direct access to a private pool Jacuzzi and garden and features the utmost in modern comfort with amenities such as 46 LCD TVs 100 channel IPTV system DVD Players Espresso machines and much more. Dining options are numerous with a delightful mix of cuisine from the Asia-Pacific region as well as some international favourites and the unique over-water Vincharm Spa offers a variety of massages and treatments as well as access to a sauna steam-bath and Jacuzzi. An Lam Ninh Van Bay Picturesque pristine and off the beaten path Ninh Van Bay is a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered. There you will find An Lam Ninh Van Bay Villas an abode to travellers who seek the ultimate indulgence of a luxurious lifestyle with serenity peace excellent food caring service and a stunning white beach. The 35 private villas of An Lam Ninh Van Bay each feature plunge pools and are nestled next to a tropical forest that is cast beneath a luscious green mountain backdrop with rolling granite boulders that cascade into the private lagoon and even further beyond into South China Sea. Each villa has a personalised butler service while rooms are fitted out with every modern convenience including iPod docking stations wireless internet and high definition televisions. The open terrace restaurant overlooks the pool in an intimate setting or guests can choose to slip away with a gourmet hamper. For the more active there is a fully equipped gym yoga platform nature trail walks and a dedicated water sports area with kayaks pedal catamarans and windsurfers. Six Senses Hideaway Ninh Van Bay This stunning resort sits on a dramatic bay taking full advantage of the superb setting with impressive rock formations white sand beach a playful stream and the towering mountains behind. Ninh Van Bay is accessible only by land and water and is a 20-minute boat trip from the pier. The Six Senses Hideaway comprises of 58 pool villas situated on the beach front hillside and over water amongst rock formations into which private swimming pools have been crafted. The restaurants serve international and local favorites plus East-meets-West specialties. Adjacent to Dining by the Bay is Drinks by the Bay - a duplex structure that provides ample space for lounging on daybeds with drinks in hand plus a wine-cellar cave featuring wines from the old and new worlds. Other restaurants and dining options include Dining by the Pool Dining by the Rocks Dining by the Jetty private barbeques and cooking classes. The Six Senses Spa is blended into the rocks beside a gentle waterfall and provides signature treatments together with individual rejuvenation specialties of the region. VIETNAM BEACH AREAS Page 27 Phan Thiet & Mui Ne A lazy 3.5 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City the 15km of coastline between Phan Thiet and Mui Ne Town with a stunning backdrop of rolling sand dunes is very laid back and relaxing. There is a growing array of international-standard hotels and resorts and whilst famous for its fish sauce the area also boasts the championship level Ocean Dunes Golf Course designed by Nick Faldo surely one of the most beautiful golf courses in Asia. Above all this stretch is known for its beaches - mile upon mile of pristine white sands lined by Casuarina trees and Coconut palms. Phu Quoc Island A 1-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City lands you on Vietnam s largest island Phu Quoc. Still in its tourism infancy Phu Quoc has some of the most stunning beaches in Vietnam and being relatively undeveloped finding a totally deserted stretch is easy. Most of the island is made up of forests and the 99 Mountains that give the island its nickname so bushwalks are common. There are a few resorts with more planned and most include airport transfers. Con Dao Located 230km from Ho Chi Minh City Con Dao is an archipelago of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and is made up of 16 islands and islets. A national park with islands covered in forest and almond trees it was originally used by the French to incarcerate revolutionary prisoners. In recent years tourist facilities have been added along with charming narrow roads so that visitors can get around by car motorbike or bicycle and the seemingly deserted beaches allow for excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities. VIETNAM BEACH AREAS Page 28 Long Beach Resort Phu Quoc Stretching along a pristine beach only 10 minutes from both the airport and the island s night market this 72-room resort possesses the unique architecture of Vietnam s traditional past. Guests walk around not so much a resort but a village. The rooms are luxurious with calming d cor using timber to great effect. The property boasts a swimming pool down by the ocean which is accessible by a bridge over a small lagoon as well as 2 restaurants and even its own brewery. A great place to relax and use as your base while exploring everything this idyllic island has to offer. Victoria Phan Thiet Beach Resort & Spa Set amongst 7 hectares of exotic gardens this resort features 57 cosy bungalows each designed in the style of traditional Vietnamese country houses. Located close to the traditional fishing village of Phan Thiet away from the busier stretch of Mui Ne beach Victoria Phan Thiet Resort & Spa is blessed with warm sunny weather and offers an idyllic location for a relaxing stay. Should you be seeking a more adventurous stay the property offers a great choice of activities such as excursions by jeep to the nearby desert-like sand dunes visits to the fishing village and trekking the 1 000 steps to the top of Ta Ku Mountain to admire the giant 49-metre reclining Buddha statue. La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc A boutique resort on the island of Phu Quoc off the south coast of Vietnam La Veranda Resort is one of a kind. With an energy saving focus greenery and tropical flowers surround the garden room accommodations and the beachfront villas offer stunning views of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. With a design reminiscent of a French colonial season mansion all 68 rooms and villas provide international standard comfort with wireless internet access cable TV IDD telephone and luxurious amenities. All rooms are only few steps to the beach or the beautiful cobalt-blue pool. Situated in a quaint colonial-style house overlooking the beach the restaurants offer two dining options to suit all tastes. Le Jardin specialises in barbecue dishes ranging from fresh local seafood to imported meats while the Pepper Tree restaurant serves a tempting array of European Vietnamese and Asian favorites in a relaxed beachside setting. Novotel Coralia Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort Phan Thiet This resort is located only minutes away from the centre of town situated on a private beach and surrounded on three sides by an 18hole championship golf course designed by Nick Faldo. All 123 rooms feature a private balcony with views of the ocean or the golf course and are equipped with air-conditioning IDD phone in room internet access satellite television minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. Other services include 2 large outdoor swimming pools a restaurant and bar floodlit tennis courts fitness centre with saunas and massage rooms kids club and play ground. The 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse also boasts a unique restaurant pro-shop and fully equipped locker room facilities. VIETNAM BEACH AREAS Page 29 Seahorse Resort Phan Thiet Along 200 metres of pristine white sand lies the warm and welcoming Seahorse Resort. The 40 luxurious bungalows and 50 rooms and suites were built to international standards with distinct Vietnamese architecture. Each has a private terrace and is equipped with airconditioning ceiling fans IDD phones satellite television minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. The resort features 2 restaurants a bar and lounge an ocean view swimming pool and whirlpool a private beach and a spa to treat yourself to a body massage foot reflexology facial care hair service manicure and a steam bath. Other services include a well-lit tennis court jeep and bicycle hire plus wind and kite surfing. Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa Set on a pristine sweeping beach this property is an oasis of elegance and comfort offering a unique and unforgettable way to experience the southern coast of Vietnam. Blending legendary Anantara service with Vietnamese tradition Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa offers a tropical retreat worlds away from the urban hustle and bustle. Set in the main building the luxurious rooms and suites embody a contemporary grace infused with touches of Vietnamese charm and incorporate a full range of modern comforts and amenities. Within the impeccably landscaped grounds lie the more exclusive villas with private pools outdoor dining pavilions and views over the lagoon exquisite gardens or out to sea. Guests can take in the splendour of the sunset from the stunning pool deck or sample mouth-watering international cuisine at a variety of restaurants. There are also numerous organised and do-ityourself activities available for guests to enjoy including a modern fitness centre yoga a variety of water sports and Vietnamese cooking classes. Six Senses Con Dao Six Senses Con Dao Resort is tucked away on a pristine tropical island just a 45 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City. A unique eco-friendly luxury experience Six Senses Con Dao features 35 one bedroom hotel villas and 15 three-four bedroom residential villas all with private infinity pools and panoramic ocean views. The award-winning sustainable architecture is located sensitively within the natural slope and contour of the surrounding dunes to ensure the ultimate luxury experience in harmony with the spectacular native setting. CAMBODIA Page 30 Despite a ravaged past the Kingdom of Cambodia remains one of Asia s most enthralling destinations. A country deeply enriched in its culture and history it never fails to impress even the most seasoned traveller. Bordered by Vietnam Thailand and Laos Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia s best-kept secrets as yet relatively untouched by rampant commercialism. To the North you will find Siem Reap and the spectacular Temples of Angkor by far the biggest tourist attraction of Cambodia. This massive complex of temples and monuments includes Angkor Wat the biggest religious monument in the world and the only man-made structure featured on a national flag. The visual impact and archeological significance of Angkor Wat cannot be overstated and it is also one of the most unspoiled world-class monuments. Further south lining the banks of three rivers Tonle Sap the Mekong and the Bassac is the national capital Phnom Penh. Once considered the most beautiful city in Indochina Phnom Penh still retains traces of its former splendour. Visitors have much to see here with the glittering Royal Palace Silver Pagoda National Museum and Central Market proving very popular while Choeung Ek and the Tuol Sleng Museum provide a sobering reminder of the Khmer Rouge s reign. On the southern coast there are also some lovely deserted beaches overlooking the Gulf of Thailand with the Sihanoukville area being a real standout. Now featuring a variety of top class hotels and resorts it is possible to see the great sights of Cambodia in unabated luxury and in the style and elegance of an era long past. CLIMATE The seasonality in Cambodia mirrors that of South Vietnam although the wet season in Cambodia can be a better time to travel as the moats in Angkor Wat fill with water and the countryside becomes very lush. Average Daily Min Max Temperatures Jan 21 31 Feb 22 32 Mar 23 34 Apr 24 35 May 24 34 Jun 24 33 Jul 24 32 Aug 26 32 Sep 25 31 Oct 24 30 Nov 23 30 Dec 22 30 CAMBODIA - PACKAGE TOURS Page 31 HERITAGE OF CAMBODIA PHNOM PENH AND SIEM REAP 6 Days & 5 Nights Day One Arrival in Phnom Penh Upon arrival at Phnom Penh Airport you will be met by the Tour Guide and taken to your hotel to check in and freshen up followed by dinner at your hotel Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phnom Penh Meals included dinner Day Two Phnom Penh In the morning take a Cyclo Tour to visit The Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. Continue to the National Museum a Khmer temple inspired building that houses the world s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures ceramics and bronzes. Finish the morning with a local shopping experience at Toul Tom Pong Market where you can find silk silver and countless souvenirs. Lunch is taken back at your hotel and will be followed by a visit to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek also known as the Killing Fields . Today Cheung Ek is a Memorial site with a memorial stupa having been erected that displays over 5 000 human skulls bones and clothes of the victims. Dinner will be at Malis Restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phnom Penh Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day Three Phnom Penh Siem Reap This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival you will transfer to your hotel to freshen up and enjoy your lunch. This afternoon experience the Remok tour to visit the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom - last capital of the Khmers with its Elephant Terrace the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon temple. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very centre of Angkor Thom and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive bas-reliefs but the highlight is the faces more than 200 of them silent but with the famous half-smile playing on their lips. Continue to sunset at Pre Rup temple about 2 kilometres northeast of Srah Srang and 500 meters south of the East Baray. The boldness of the architectural design is superb and gives the temple fine balance scale and proportion. Dinner will be at your hotel Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day Four Siem Reap This morning you will visit Angkor Wat arguably the largest religious building in the world with a volume of stone equalling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all the other Khmer temples in that it faces west and is inspired by 12th Century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylised on the modern Cambodian flag. Conceived by Suryavarman II Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build and is generally believed to have been a funeral temple for the king. Intricate bas-reliefs surround the complex each telling a story with the most celebrated of these being the Churning of the Sea of Milk. Lunch is taken at your hotel after which you will take the Remok tour to Ta Prohm. Built in the 12th century this temple has been left largely in its natural state since its re-discovery by French explorers. Surrounded by jungle its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees. Continue to Preah Khan The Sacred Sword an extensive monastic complex covering over 56 hectares built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a monastery and teaching complex. This is the site of the World Monuments Fund prime Asian project a painstaking renovation that aims to maintain its mysterious allures and superb original structure. Dinner will be at local restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals Included breakfast lunch dinner Day Five Siem Reap Depart early morning to visit Banteay Srey the Woman s Citadel - a tiny enchanting temple which is one of the jewels in this remarkable city. Built of red sandstone in the tenth century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva the carved male and female figures in the niches are exquisitely executed. Continue to Banteay Samre built under Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early 12th century and named after the Samr an ancient people of Indochina. Lunch is taken at your hotel and is followed by a drive to Tonle Sap Lake. Every year during the monsoon season the flow of water from the Mekong River changes direction forcing water back into the Lake bringing nutrients that fertilise the rice fields and support the breeding of the 200 fish species. You will visit one of the floating villages of Tonle Sap where you can see how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side. If time allows the tour will visit a development project teaching young adults stone carving wood carving and lacquer application. Artisans d Angkor is a heart warming reminder that progress in Cambodia can go hand in hand with traditional crafts. Dinner will be at a local restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day Six Siem Reap - Departure After breakfast you will have some free leisure time until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Meals included breakfast THE ANGKOR CIRCUIT SIEM REAP 3 Days & 2 Nights Day One ARRIVAL IN SIEM REAP Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport you will be met by the Tour Guide and taken to your hotel to check in and freshen up before starting the journey. In the afternoon you will visit the magnificent Angkor Thom - last capital of the Khmers. At the very centre of this complex lies the Bayon temple a 12th century archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior walls have extensive bas-reliefs but the highlight is the faces more than 200 of them silent but with the famous half-smile playing on their lips. The evening concludes with a welcome dinner with a cultural dance show. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included dinner Day Two SIEM REAP This morning you will visit Angkor Wat arguably the largest religious building in the world. Its symmetrical towers are stylised on the modern Cambodian flag and it took an estimated 30 years to build. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides with each telling a story. Lunch is taken at your hotel after which you will take a Remok tour to visit Ta Prohm. Surrounded by jungle its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees. Continue to Preah Khan an extensive monastic complex covering over 56 hectares built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Dinner follows at local Restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner Day Three SIEM REAP DEPARTURE After breakfast you will visit Tonle Sap Lake boarding a comfortable boat to visit one of the floating villages where you can see how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side. If time allows the tour will visit a development project teaching young adults stone carving wood carving and lacquer application. Artisans d Angkor is a heart warming reminder that progress in Cambodia can go hand in hand with traditional crafts. You then have some free leisure time until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Meals included breakfast CAMBODIA PHNOM PENH Page 32 Phnom Penh is an attractive city situated at the junction of two rivers and like most of the towns on the Mekong it possesses a broad boulevard on the river-front with an avenue of trees. Trees line many of the streets and in the midst of the European quarter there are beautiful botanical gardens containing aviaries and cages of wild animals. The gardens surround a small hill called the Phnom whence the town takes its name - which is crowned by a Buddhist monument with a conical spire. A steep flight of steps lead to its summit with twin images of Naga the many headed serpent carved in stone at the base of the balustrades. The French influence can be felt today in the city a legacy of a 90 year period that saw the construction of many lovely colonial era residences for French administrators. Combined with an era of modern development with the addition of tree lined avenues gardens with fountains and several distinctive monuments reflects the city s new found sense of freedom. Phnom Penh-ites rise early. Be prepared to be awakened by the strains of Buddhist music playing in the street motorbikes tooting their horns and a rooster crowing. There is plenty to see the Silver Pagoda the National Museum Independence Monument Wat Phnom and the market areas where hand woven silks silver gems and antiques will compete for your attention. The waterfront of the city has been rejuvenated in recent years and now countless al fresco restaurants and bars with views stretching across the Mekong have made this area one of the Indochina s in vogue places to be . HALF DAY TOUL SLENG & KILLING FIELD TOUR A visit to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek is essential for a first time visitor to Cambodia. During the Pol Pot regime Toul Sleng formerly a high school was converted to a detention centre known as S21. After interrogation and often torture prisoners were transferred to the Killing Fields where they were often tortured again and brutally killed. Today Cheung Ek is a Memorial site for Cambodians and visitors from all over the world to pay their respects for those lost. A memorial stupa has been erected and displays over 5 000 human skulls bones and clothes of the victims. During the Khmer Rouge years thousands of Cambodians were tortured and imprisoned in detention centres around the country the visit is a profoundly moving experience. FULL DAY ROYAL PALACE SILVER PAGODA NATIONAL MUSEUM RUSSIAN MARKET TOUL SLENG & KILLING FIELD TOUR (Lunch) Depart early morning to visit The Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. The Palace is made up from a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound one of which is The Silver Pagoda which takes its name from its 5 000 silver tiles. The building itself holds a number of national treasures perhaps most notably a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds weighing in at 90 kg. Continue to the National Museum a Khmer temple inspired building that houses the world s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures ceramics and bronzes. Over 5000 objects are on display including Angkorian era statues lingas and other artefacts most notably the legendary statue of the Leper King. Finish the morning with a local shopping experience at Toul Tom Pong Market where you can find silk silver and countless souvenirs. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant after which the tour moves on to the sombre Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek. Plantation Resort and Spa Located behind the Royal Palace in the historical center of Phnom Penh the newly opened Plantation Resort & Spa offers all of the services you d expect of a quality resort right in the center of the city. Spread over half a hectare the Plantation hosts 70 rooms two swimming pools a restaurant two bars a gym a meeting room and even a luxurious rooftop suite. Of course all this is located just a two minute walk from some of the must see attractions in Phnom Penh. CAMBODIA PHNOM PENH Page 33 The Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel & Spa This brand new 72room seven-story property opened its doors in November 2012 and is situated close to the Royal Palace and National Museum. It features a roof-top swimming pool smart contemporary rooms a spa and a ground floor restaurant. The concept of the Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel & Spa is for a harmonious balance between the traditional and the modern the East and the West. The hotel blends into the scenery of the surrounding area and at the same time gives travellers the feeling of being in a home away from home. The Sunway Hotel The Sunway Hotel is situated in Phnom Penh s green belt at one of the capital s most exclusive addresses and is within easy walking distance of the renowned Wat Phnom Pagoda National Museum and the Royal Palace. All 138 rooms feature air-conditioning IDD telephones satellite TV minibar in-room safe hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. Additional facilities include a gymnasium and health spa with sauna steam room spa massage and reflexology. The hotel has one restaurant and one bar. InterContinental This international hotel is located in a newly defined business and retail area offering excellent services and facilities. The 346 rooms including 2 floors of Club InterContinental rooms offer the latest modern amenities. Rooms are equipped with airconditioning minibar in-room safe satellite TV IDD telephones hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. Club InterContinental guests enjoy access to the Club Lounge with complimentary buffet breakfast and evening cocktails. An excellent choice of cuisine is available including Khmer Chinese and International favourites. Other facilities include a large outdoor swimming pool and a health and fitness centre with sauna. Raffles Hotel Le Royal Established in 1929 and carefully restored in 1997 this beautiful historic hotel in Phnom Penh combines Khmer Art Deco and French colonial architecture. Set amidst tropical gardens within easy access of the Royal Palace Central Market and National Museum the 170 rooms are spread over 3 low-rise wings overlooking the garden courtyard and the swimming pool. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning hairdryer in-room safe minibar satellite television and IDD telephone. Choose from 5 restaurants and bars ranging from traditional French and Khmer cuisine to the famous Elephant Bar. The Amrita Spa includes a fully equipped gym saunas jacuzzi and massage rooms. CAMBODIA SIEM REAP Page 34 In the ninth century the Khmer established Angkor as the capital of their huge kingdom stretching from present-day Thailand to Vietnam s Mekong Delta. For the next six centuries they ruled one of the largest empires in South East Asia. Angkor cultivated a power base of a mighty military and political force and a rich and sophisticated civilisation. The ruins seen today represent successive capitals constructed by a dozen Khmer kings between the 9th and 13th Centuries. These were cities of massive stone temples wide majestic causeways thrusting towers and imposing gates. The sheer size and magnificence of Angkor Wat is compelling. With a full restoration program by the Ecole Francaise d Extreme that began in 1908 and continuing to this day the monuments of Angkor now open to all have been regaining their claim as one of mankind s greatest feats of construction. FULL DAY ANGKOR TOUR (LUNCH) BANTEAY SREY BANTEAY SAMRE & TONLE SAP LAKE The tour begins in the morning exploring some of the smaller temples outside the main complex. These temples are unique as they use different sandstone to the majority of the temples. Pink Sandstone is harder to find and much harder to work with but the carvings are able to hold much more intricate details. You will see this clearly at Banteay Srey the Woman s Citadel - a tiny enchanting temple which is one of the jewels in this remarkable city. Built of red sandstone in the tenth century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva the carved male and female figures in the niches are exquisitely executed in both style and proportion. This is the most Indian of all the temples in Angkor. Continue to Banteay Samre built under Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early 12th century it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat style. Named after the Samr an ancient people of Indochina the temple uses the same materials as Banteay Srey. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant and is followed by a drive to Tonle Sap Lake. Every year during the monsoon season the flow of water from the Mekong River changes direction forcing water back into the Tonle Sap Lake bringing nutrients that fertilise the rice fields and support the breeding of the 200 fish species. You will board a comfortable boat to visit one of the floating villages of Tonle Sap where they can see how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side. If time allows the tour will visit a development project teaching young adults stone carving wood carving and lacquer application. Artisans d Angkor is a heart warming reminder that progress in Cambodia can go hand in hand with traditional crafts. HALF DAY TONLE SAP LAKE BOAT TOUR The tour begins with a drive to Ton Le Sap Lake the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia and the lifeblood of the Cambodian fishing industry. The Mekong River from as a far away as Phnom Penh reverses the direction of the Ton Le Sap river to bring an overflow of water and silt to support both rice growing and the breeding fish of many sizes and varieties. Hopping on board a small shaded vessel and moving between the floating homes and small fish farms you will experience close up daily lake life. FULL DAY ANGKOR TOUR (LUNCH) ANGKOR THOM CITY & ANGKOR WAT The morning begins with a visit to the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom the last capital of the great Khmer Empire. You will see the sprawling Elephant Terrace the Terrace of the Leper King and the enchanting Bayon. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very centre of Angkor Thom City and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant after which the tour moves to Angkor Wat arguably the largest religious building in the world with a volume of stone equalling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all the other Khmer temples in that it faces west and is inspired by 12th Century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylised on the modern Cambodian flag. Conceived by Suryavarman II Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build. It is generally believed to have been a funeral temple for the king and has been occupied continuously by Buddhist monks. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a story but the most celebrated of these is the Churning of the Sea of Milk which is located on the east wing the guide will explain this mystical tale. The tour is completed by a stunning sunset at Angkor Wat. CAMBODIA SIEM REAP Page 35 FCC ANGKOR HOTEL Located in the centre of town overlooking the Siem Reap River and just minutes away from Angkor Wat the FCC Angkor is built around a renovation of the old French Governors mansion creating an atmosphere of refined luxury and casual elegance. With lush green gardens and the salt-water swimming pool this property embodies Cambodias tranquil pace of life a casual swim drinks in the garden dinner on the terrace. There are three accommodation types on offer Standard Deluxe and the double-sized Suites and all include free Wi-Fi for guests. The Kitchen offers a full bar indoor outdoor and pool-side seating and a casually elegant ambience that defines the FCC Angkor while the Visaya Spa combines ancient Khmer techniques with modern spa treatments for a perfect blend of East-meets-West relaxation therapy. Prince D Angkor Hotel & Spa Located in the heart of Siem Reap Prince D Angkor Hotel & Spa is an easy walk to the Old Market only 15 minutes drive from the airport and 10 minutes from the legendary Angkor temples. There are 222 elegantly furnished rooms including the Royal Presidential and Junior Suites as well as the Deluxe and Superior rooms. All rooms feature modern amenities and are finely decorated in traditional Khmer style with polished wooden floors. The property features a saltwater swimming pool fitness centre spa hair salon and a selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. La R sidence d Angkor An intimate Orient-Express hotel on the banks of Siem Reap s tree-lined river La R sidence dAngkor is located close to Angkor Wat so is ideally placed to explore this breathtaking complex of temples. Also near at hand are the town s busy craft markets restaurants and galleries as well as fascinating Tonle Sap Lake with its floating village . Khmer style is evident in each of the 62 spacious rooms and suites all exquisitely decorated using traditional hardwoods bamboo and natural textiles such as silk and cotton. Light and airy jeweltoned silk scatter cushions and floor-to-ceiling windows exude peace and tranquillity. There is a variety of dining experiences available to guests with royal Khmer cuisine or refined international dishes at Circle or for a more casual experience Ember offers a spectacular choice of light meals snacks and salads. The hotels swimming pool is surrounded by lush verdant foliage to provide a private intimate space and is styled after the nearby Baray lakes. Filled with saltwater using a unique system which removes the need for artificial chlorination the pool offers the swimmer a more pleasant experience. Kong Kea Spa is a totally indulgent sensory experience dedicated to pampering your body while relaxing your mind using local organic and chemical free products and the resort also offers guests a fully equipped fitness centre with free weights and top of the line cardiovascular training machines. Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa Located in the heart of Siem Reap opposite the Royal Gardens this hotel is a replica of a French Colonial era hotel with all the modern facilities. All 130 rooms have beautiful wooden floors stylish furniture Khmer artefacts and balconies. They are equipped with airconditioning minibar satellite television IDD telephone internet access personal safe hairdryer and tea and coffee making facilities. There are 3 restaurants and one bar to choose from. Leisure facilities include a large swimming pool with kids pool a library boutique and Le Lotus Blanc Spa. CAMBODIA SIEM REAP Page 36 Shinta Mani Siem Reap Just a 15 minute tuktuk ride from the Angkor Wat and within walking distance of the Old market and the vibrant tourist trail these 2 properties offer something for everyone when visiting Angkor. Shinta Mani Club an upscale boutique hotel showcases 39 contemporary guestrooms and public spaces in a Khmer inspired design. The minimalist and chic guestrooms offer stylish accommodation with modern facilities including a wallmounted LCD TV and soundbar. Dine at Kroya well known for its innovative culinary concepts or relax in the open air Bensley s Bar. Directly across the road Shinta Mani Resort features 63 rooms in a tropical setting. All rooms are equipped with modern facilities and enjoy direct access or first floor balcony views to the stunning swimming pool and gardens. Bai Tong offers all day dining poolside or in airconditioned comfort. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort Situated in the cultural and historical heart of Cambodia Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort is just 5 minutes away from the town of Siem Reap and the world renowned heritage site of Angkor Wat. Set amidst a landscaped lake garden with Angkor s majestic temples rising from the distant jungles Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort offers the discerning traveler the ultimate in comfort and refinement. The luxurious accommodation combines timeless colonial style and elegance with modern comfort in 238 rooms and suites tastefully decorated with period furniture leather sofas four-poster beds classic ceiling fans and hardwood floors. Set in a peaceful garden sanctuary each room affords inspiring views of the pool gardens or lake. So SPA with L Occitane offers a selection of the best and most effective health and beauty treatments combined with French cosmetology for golf lovers the 18-hole course will provide a friendly challenge while the fitness centre offers a wide range of activities for everything from light workouts to muscle-toning exercises. Amansara Amansara the former guesthouse of King Sihanouk is situated on the edge of Siem Reap just 10 minutes from the entrance to the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site. It derives its name from the twinning of two Sanskrit words aman (peace) and apsara (the heavenly nymphs of ancient Hindu mythology). Set in a garden compound the 24-suite resort has the ambience of a private home and is the ideal base for travellers seeking to explore Khmer culture and the majestic ruins of Angkor. Each suite enjoys an open-plan setting with finishes in terrazzo and timber and features a stunning bathroom with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a large light-filled courtyard garden with cushioned banquette. Near the main swimming pool the circular Dining Room is the focal point of the property with a menu featuring traditional Khmer and Western cuisines as well as a walk-in wine and cheese cellar. Other features of this stunning property are a library rooftop terrace spa lap pool and a variety of temple tours and cultural walks are available as part of the guest experience. Raffles Grand Hotel D Angkor Superbly restored and refurbished this grand hotel established in 1932 reflects all that is synonymous with the Raffles name. The hotel is just a short drive from the bustling market centre and 8 km away from the famous Angkor Wat. The 131 rooms are tastefully appointed with art deco country-style furniture and Cambodian objets d art and are equipped with air-conditioning minibar satellite television IDD telephone wireless internet connection hairdryer and in-room safe. There are 8 restaurants and bars to choose from including the Elephant Bar which is famous for its wide selection of cocktails. Other features include a 35-metre lap pool 2 tennis courts and the Raffles Amrita Spa with a fully equipped gym sauna jacuzzi steam rooms and a wide variety of spa and massage treatments. LAOS Page 37 Bordered by Vietnam Cambodia Myanmar China and Thailand Laos is the least developed of the old Indochinese states. The country is packed with beautiful scenery relaxed and friendly people great food and stunning sights. With a long and fascinating history of royalty occupation and struggles for independence Laos is still very new to the travel scene when compared to the more established destinations like Thailand and Vietnam though the major centres have a range of accommodation and facilities to suit most tastes. The capital city Vientiane which follows the mighty Mekong has a very laid back small town atmosphere. Here you will find Pha That Luang Laos national symbol and Patuxai or Arch of Triumph inspired by the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Further north lies Luang Prabang the former royal capital and seat of Lao culture. Surrounded by mountains and bordered by both the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers this sleepy town is visually stunning. There is an astonishing array of gilded temples and shrines including the wonderfully ornate Wat Xieng Thong and the early morning procession of the local monks in their saffron robes is a colourful sight that is truly magical. CLIMATE The northern areas of Laos like Luang Prabang feature a distinct winter period stretching from November through February during which time it can get quite chilly. Between the North and South there can be quite a difference in temperature as well as rainfall with the North generally getting lower levels. The rainy season stretches from April May through to mid-October. Average Daily Min Max Temperatures Jan Luang Prabang 13 28 Vientiane 14 28 Feb 14 32 17 30 Mar 17 34 19 33 Apr 21 36 23 34 May 23 35 23 32 Jun 23 34 24 32 Jul 23 32 24 31 Aug 23 32 24 31 Sep 23 33 24 31 Oct 21 32 21 31 Nov 18 29 18 29 Dec 15 27 16 28 LAOS PACKAGE TOUR Page 38 INTRODUCING LAOS TOUR LUANG PRABANG & VIENTIANE 6 Days & 5 Nights DAY 1 ARRIVAL LUANG PRABANG City Sightseeing Sabaidii... Welcome to Luang Prabang Once immigration formalities have been completed you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your accommodation. After checking in head out to see some of the sights that have made this town the World Heritage Jewel that it is Visit Vat Visoun the site of the impressive That Makmo stupa. Continue on to the nearby Vat Aham one of the city s major tutelary shrines then climb Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city. In the evening head out for a delicious introduction to Laotian cuisine at Tamnak Lao restaurant. After dinner take a tour around Luang Prabang s fabulous night market with your local guide where there is an overwhelming selection of local handicrafts on offer. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Luang Prabang Meals included dinner DAY 2 LUANG PRABANG Mekong River Trip to Pak Ou Caves After breakfast at the hotel head off with your guide to visit Wat Xieng Thong. Often said to be Luang Prabang s most beautiful it is characterized by its several roofs sweeping low to the ground and the impressive tree of life mosaic. Next head down to the river to begin a relaxing riverboat trip to visit the famous and sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. After exploring the caves and lunch at a local restaurant it is time to return to your boat and begin the journey back to Luang Prabang. On arrival take a drive out of town to Ban Phanom a weaving village populated by Lu minority people that originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China. Lao textiles are still woven here in the traditional and this village was once famed for producing silks for the Royal Palace. On your return to Luang Prabang the remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Luang Prabang Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 3 LUANG PRABANG Morning Alms & Kuang Sii Waterfalls Start the day early with one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang Tak Bat . At dawn hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms. After breakfast take a visit to the National Museum formerly the Royal Palace where you will view the lovely collection of personal artefacts of the royal family including many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. You will then be driven up to the Tad Kuang Sii waterfalls a journey of approximately one hour passing through very scenic Laotian countryside. The waterfalls cascade over many calcified tiers down several hundred feet into a series of cool turquoise pools. Enjoy a local style lunch at the waterfalls before returning to Luang Prabang town. En route it is possible to visit one of the many small ethnic minority villages along the way. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Luang Prabang Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 4 LUANG PRABANG VIENTIANE After breakfast at the hotel you have some free time to relax before transferring to the airport for your short flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel for the next two nights. After check-in you are free to relax with the rest of the day at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Vientiane Meals included breakfast DAY 5 VIENTIANE City Sightseeing & Buddha Park After breakfast your local guide will take you on a full-day city tour which visits the highlights of the capital. Visit Wat Sisaket the oldest original temple in Vientiane which features remarkable frescoes and over 6 000 Buddha images. Nearby is Haw Phra Kaew once the royal temple of the Laotian monarchy which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patuxai the victory gate also known as Anousavari inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Another famous landmark is the Phra That Luang stupa built by King Sethtathirat in 1566 and considered the national symbol. Take a visit to the Talaat Sao Vientiane s morning market a wonderful venue for shopping and meeting the charming and fun-loving Laotians. After lunch at a local restaurant we journey out of town to visit one of Laos slightly stranger attractions - Xieng Khuan Buddha Park. Built on the banks of the Mekong River is the site of a large collection of many kinds of Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures. En route we stop to visit the impressive Friendship Bridge and the National Cultural Park also on the Mekong River bank. If time permits you can then pay a visit to Carol Cassidy at her gallery and weaving workshop. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Vientiane Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 6 VIENTIANE DEPARTURE After breakfast at the hotel your time is free until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Meals included breakfast LAOS VIENTIANE Page 39 Located on the majestic Mekong River Vientiane (translated as sandalwood city ) dates back to the 10th century but has been the capital of Laos from the early 16th century to the present. Vientiane is a relatively small laid-back city with tree lined boulevards French colonial architecture and majestic Buddhist temples. HALF DAY CITY HIGHLIGHTS TOUR Your local guide will meet you at your hotel at approximately 8.30 am for this half-day city tour which visits the highlights of the capital. Visit Wat Sisaket the oldest original temple in Vientiane which features remarkable frescoes and over 6 000 Buddha images. Nearby is Haw Phra Kaew once the royal temple of the Laotian monarchy which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patuxai the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958 its architecture is inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Another famous landmark is the Phra That Luang stupa which was built by King Sethtathirat in 1566 and is considered the national symbol. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha. If time permits we will take a visit to the Talaat Sao Vientiane s morning market which is open all day and is a wonderful venue for shopping and meeting the charming and fun-loving Laotians. HALF DAY BUDDHA PARK TOUR At around 8.30am you will be collected by your guide and driver and transferred by private vehicle to the south of Vientiane to visit the Xieng Khuan Buddha Park approximately 25 kilometres from Vientiane city. Built in 1958 this park on the banks of the Mekong River is the site of a large collection of many kinds of Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures. En route take a look at the impressive Friendship Bridge and the National Cultural Park also located on the banks of the Mekong. If time permits take a visit to the morning market of Talaat Sao where you will stop and try some local coffee and snacks while looking around. Mercure Vientiane A charming hotel that caters to both business and leisure travellers Mercure Vientiane is positioned conveniently close to the Airport Mekong River the Vientiane waterfront and town centre with its many restaurants cafes and bars. It also offers easy access to tourist attractions including temples and night markets. The rooms are spacious and contemporary in design and the property features a restaurant 3 bars fitness centre a recently renovated swimming pool and a tennis court. Beau Rivage Mekong Hotel This small boutique hotel is situated in a quiet village location along the Mekong River between the airport and the city centre yet is only a pleasant 15-minute stroll along the riverbank into the centre of the city. The 16 rooms are all stylishly decorated with facilities that include air-conditioning and fan IDD telephone minibar tea and coffee making facilities cable TV and wireless internet connection. The Spirit House Bar & Restaurants is known for it s great cocktails. Green Park Boutique Hotel This stylish resort type boutique hotel opened in 2006 is located a 10-minute walk from the city centre. All 34 rooms are elegantly furnished with Lao materials and fabrics and have private balconies or terraces. Features include airconditioning cable TV IDD telephones internet access safe deposit box minibar tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer. Set in tropical gardens the facilities on-site include a swimming pool with Jacuzzi and spa a restaurant serving Lao and international dishes and business centre. Settha Palace Hotel Built at the turn of the century the luxury Settha Palace Hotel is now restored to its former charm. Although in a quiet neighbourhood it is only a short walking distance from the shops and most tourist attractions. The French colonial architecture period furniture lush landscaped gardens swimming pool and jacuzzi complemented by modern facilities are some of the features of this historical landmark. All 29 rooms are equipped with a minibar satellite television IDD telephone in-room safe hairdryer and wireless internet connection. La Belle Epoque Restaurant serves classical French cuisine. LAOS LUANG PRABANG Page 40 Surrounded by thickly forested mountains and situated at the confluence of the Khan and Mekong Rivers Luang Prabang has a tranquil old world charm rarely found in Asia today. This fascinating town was the capital of the Lane Xang (million elephants) kingdom until the mid-sixteenth century. In colonial times it served as a provincial headquarters of the north. The legacy of the European presence here - well preserved French architecture and careful street planning has blended delightfully with more than 30 gilded Buddhist temples to create a town rich in atmosphere and history. Luang Prabang is probably the most unhurried relaxed city in Asia with some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere. There are few cars and no pollution or traffic jam - it s a perfect place to stroll leisurely through the ancient lanes and alleyways and absorb the timelessness of this still relatively undiscovered part of the world. The city is located on the Mekong River in a lovely mountain-encircled setting. FULL DAY TOUR TAD XAE WATERFALLS BY ELEPHANT (Lunch) Depart Luang Prabang at approximately 9 am and transfer by road to the Elephant Camp located in the countryside near the Nam Khan River approximately 15 kilometres from Luang Prabang town. On arrival you will be introduced to the protected Asian Elephants for your scenic ride. Enjoy your new perspective on this 1 to 1.5 hour trip through forests rice paddies and along the Nam Khan River. The ride finishes at the beautiful Tad Xae waterfalls where clear waters cascade over multi-level limestone formations. There will be time to relax or take a dip and to enjoy a picnic lunch nearby the waterfalls. A short trip by local boat will bring you back to the Elephant Camp for your transfer by road back to Luang Prabang town. HALF DAY TOUR RIVER TRIP TO PAK OU BUDDHA CAVES Your local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at approximately 8.30am and transfer you to the river. Here you will begin a relaxing local style riverboat trip on the mighty Mekong River to visit the famous & sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. En route it is possible to stopover at Ban Xanghai village where local people produce Lao rice wine. Pak Ou caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that have been placed here by local people since 16th century when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition. After exploring the caves it s time to return to your boat and begin the journey back to Luang Prabang town. LAOS LUANG PRABANG Page 41 FULL DAY CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR (Lunch) Today you will visit some priceless monuments on a full day tour around the old city now under UNESCO protection as a World Heritage Site. At about 8.30am head off with your guide to visit Wat Xieng Thong often said to be Luang Prabang s most beautiful. It is characterized by its several roofs sweeping low to the ground and the impressive tree of life mosaic. Next you will visit Vat Visoun the site of the impressive That Makmo stupa then to the nearby Vat Aham which is one of the city s major tutelary shrines. After lunch at a local restaurant you will visit Luang Prabang s National Museum which was formerly the Royal Palace and now displays a collection of personal artefacts of the former Laotian Royal Family. Continue on to visit nearby Wat Mai where the five-tiered roof epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. There is also time to take a stroll through the H mong Market where locals and ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages sell an array of handicrafts. Phou Sii hill stands right in the centre of town and the climb up its 350 steps provides commanding views for many miles in each direction. Wat Phu Sii sits at the top alongside the skeletons of Indochina war antiaircraft guns. Sunset can be enjoyed with a cold drink at one of the cafes located along the Mekong River. PLAIN OF JARS 3 Days & 2 Nights Depart early this morning for the overland journey to one of the great mysteries of this region The Plain of Jars. The journey is approximately 220 km and takes roughly 6 hours passing through remote areas of spectacular mountainous scenery along the way. Xieng Khuang Province an area of strategic trading and military importance is one of the northern regions of Laos most heavily affected by the Secret war. Phonsavan the capital of the region acts as a tourism hub for the area and includes a fine collection of archaeological riches including the mysterious Plain of Jars. Virtually every town and village was bombed at one time or another between 1964 1973 leaving behind a devastating toll on the local terrain and farmlands. Located close to the Vietnamese border the area has also been home to conflicts with neighbours. By 1964 the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao had established vast tunnels under the Plain of Jars as part of the Ho Chi Minh trail. This battlefield received daily bombing by American planes and was the site of ground battles between the Pathet Lao and US-trained Hmong army. The remains of ordinance left behind play a role in everyday life with bomb fragments serving various uses such as fence posts and planter boxes. Upon arrival in Phonsavan check into your hotel before heading out to explore the township with your local guide. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phonsavan Meals included lunch DAY 2 PLAIN OF JARS After breakfast you will visit the local market in town where ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages usually gather before exploring the mystery that is the Plain of Jars. There are over 500 jars spread over 3 sites and they vary in size from 1 to 3 meters in height with the largest 2.7 meters in diameter. The purpose of these Jars thought to have been carved from solid rock around 3 000 years ago remain a mystery even today. After lunch at a local restaurant continue to explore the surrounding region where the effects of the Secret War are still visible. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phonsavan Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 3 PLAIN OF JARS VIENTIANE After breakfast the hotel you are free to relax or head out to explore the local area. Lunch will be at a local restaurant after which it may be possible to visit a silk centre located outside the city where you can view the process from mulberry tree plantation to wonderful silk products. You will then join your mid-afternoon transfer to the airport for the short domestic flight to Vientiane. On arrival at Vientiane Airport you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your selected hotel where your tour will wind up. Meals included breakfast lunch KAMU LODGE EXPERIENCE 2 Days & 1 Night The Kamu Eco-Lodge is located approximately three-hours upstream from Luang Prabang. Built between the river and rice fields the Lodge was designed with responsible tourism in mind and fits in perfectly with the lush tropical landscape. It is only accessible by boat and features accommodation in 20 private canvas tents. Built out of natural local products (bamboo wood and stone) each features a private attached bathroom and toilet with solar powered hot water and electricity. The Lodge offers a tranquil and serene respite from hectic modern life as well as a quiet break in an active holiday. DAY 1 LUANG PRABANG KAMU LODGE You will arrive at Luang Prabang Jetty around 9am to begin a trip on the Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. The Pak Ou caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since the 16th century when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition. You will then continue upstream reaching Kamu Lodge around noon. On arrival enjoy a lunch of delicious Laotian specialities in the Lodge s Sala with the afternoon at your leisure before dinner is served. Accommodation Kamu Lodge standard accommodation (Tent Room) Meals included lunch dinner DAY 2 KAMU LODGE LUANG PRABANG Breakfast is included at the Lodge. After some relaxation time you will cruise back down the Mekong to Luang Prabang by boat arriving at approximately 12 noon. Meal included breakfast LAOS LUANG PRABANG Page 42 3 Nagas Ancient Luang Prabang Hotel This 4-storey hotel is located in the very centre of town on the main street right across from the H mong market and the colourful night market is also outside the front door. This prime location is also an ideal place for observing the monks daily early morning tak bat procession. The 12 spacious rooms feature modern facilities with air-conditioning minibar telephone and cable satellite television and have been very tastefully designed with a fresh blend of modern and Laotian d cor. The restaurant on the top floor offers panoramic views over Luang Prabang and surrounds and access to upper floors is via an open angular staircase. Staying at 3 Nagas is embarking on a timeless cultural journey of discoveries. The design is inspired by Lao traditions that exude a warm and inviting atmosphere amid tranquil surroundings. The Lao character has been highly respected giving the rooms a luxurious authentic charming look and feel with exotic wooden floors traditional torchis walls and clay-tiled roofs. The property consists of two houses Lamache House at the side of the Mekong River amongst the mango trees and Khamboua House beside the Khan River. Lamache House built in 1989 features seven rooms and suites and combines a warm atmosphere inspired by tradition with contemporary comfort and facilities. Khamboua House is a jewel of traditional Lao architecture featuring a unique garden on the Nam Khan River and comprises eight rooms including one executive suite. Maison Souvannaphuom This centrally located boutique property is the former residence of the late Prince Souvannaphouma former Prime Minister of Laos. The 25 stately rooms in either the Garden Wing or La Residence Wing combine contemporary decor with colonial architecture and include modern amenities such as Wi-Fi internet access mini-bar and TVs with International stations. The Elephant Blanc restaurant serves a sumptuous blend of French Laotian and Indochinese cuisine in a serene poolside setting or guests can choose to dine in a romantic garden setting or in the privacy of their room. Finally the award winning Angsana Spa offers holistic massages beauty wraps and tropical scrubs in three outdoor spa pavilions nestled amidst a picturesque garden. Hotel de la Paix Built on a heritage site in the former royal capital of Laos Hotel de la Paix fuses colonial charge with contemporary elegance in one of the finest luxury all-suite resorts in the region. French colonial style recalls an age of historical splendor with large courtyards landscaped gardens a reflecting pool and fireplaces providing a welcome retreat in all seasons with fully restored buildings from a 100 year old prison forming part of this unique city resort. Individually designed suites create sanctuaries of private space and sumptuous comfort and set against a backdrop of mountainous beauty this property promises a secluded and restful stay embracing the warmth of Lao hospitality. La Residence Phou Vao This Orient Express hotel occupies an area of 3 hectares of lush gardens which fringe the breathtaking swimming pool easily the best in Laos. Set on a hillside the hotel is on the outskirts of town with 34 spacious rooms featuring rosewood and cotton d cor. Rooms feature air-conditioning and heating IDD telephones satellite television minibar safe and a large en-suite bathroom. Other facilities include a restaurant serving French and Laotian cuisine a bar and The Spa at La Residence - the first luxury spa in Luang Prabang which offers a full range of face and body treatments. MEKONG CRUISING Page 43 The mighty Mekong. A river so vast and important it practically feeds the entire population of Vietnam several times over. Known as Vietnam s rice bowl the southern tip of the country is sometimes ignored by visitors yet it holds abundant interest. Flowing down from the mountains of Tibet through China Myanmar Thailand Laos and Cambodia the Mekong then splits at Phnom Penh before pouring into the South China Sea. In between these two bodies of water are hundreds of thousands of tributaries and canals all feeding into vast expanses of agricultural land. The opportunities to explore this region are endless from private motorised boat journeys up river to visit small communities and villages to multi day cruises heading across the Cambodia border to Phnom Penh and onto the fabled temples and monuments of Angkor. Bassac Cruises The Bassac is entirely built of wood from the hull of an 80-foot-long rice barge. She can accommodate up to 12 passengers in six nicely decorated cabins each with air-conditioning and a private bathroom. The cabins are set at the front of the ship and are well insulated to ensure passengers can enjoy a good night s sleep even if underway. The 500 square feet at the stern of the main deck accommodates the restaurant and bar and can be completely opened to the outside. The upper deck features 1500 square feet of mostly shaded space with the front ideal for sunbathing while the bar at the back welcomes you for a drink outside as the sun sets. The Bassac can take her passengers on cruises up to seven days without stopping and offers a great flexibility in programming your journey. OVERNIGHT CRUISE FROM CAI BE CAN THO 2 Days & 1 Night Day 1 Saigon Cai Be Tra On In the morning you will head south of Ho Chi Minh City by road for approximately 2.5 hours to the Mekong River town of Cai Be where you will board the boat at noon. A welcome drink will be served followed by an introduction to the ship and crew before checking into your private cabin. The boat then heads off towards Cho Lach on the Tien Giang River while lunch is served after which there will be plenty of time to relax on the deck. In mid-afternoon the Bassac slips into the Cho Lach canal in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the river traffic between markets and churches a unique opportunity for a glimpse of the very varied life on the banks as well as on the water. You will visit of a village on the banks of river Mang Thit an opportunity to appreciate the way of life and hospitality of the local inhabitants. A quick stop at an orchard or rice fields nearby is followed by a complimentary welcome back drink as you re-board the ship. After resting on the deck as the sun sets the crew will serve dinner while the Bassac is cruising Mang Thit River before setting anchor just downstream from the little Tra On floating market for the night. Day 2 Tra On Can Tho Cai Rang market Saigon Waking up for breakfast as early as 06 30 the ship is resumes its cruise to the Tra On floating market. After a quick stop the ship then departs towards Can Tho. On arrival you will check out and transfer onto a local boat to visit the Cai Rang floating market the nearby arroyos and gardens before returning to the Ninh Kieu pier where the trip ends. From there you are picked up for the drive back to Saigon with lunch enjoyed at local restaurant en-route MEKONG CRUISING Page 44 Heritage Line Cruises Heritage Line started in 2009 and is a dynamic cruise company offering guests an experience at once intimate authentic and adventurous. Each vessel is unique in its d cor and setting. Authenticity tradition art and exploration lie at the heart of the fleet each vessel with its own tales to tell. Servicing the Mekong The Jayavarman is the father of the Heritage Line collection with a deep appreciation of the ancient heritage of Indochina. This wonderful boutique ship marries avant-garde French colonial style with enchanting Indochine architecture. The boat offers 27 generously sized cabins all with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows a private balcony and unique decor with Khmer accents. Also sailing the Mekong The Jahan is a British-Indian Colonial-themed flagship and has all the trappings of a century old marvel. The decor the colours the architecture the carefully chosen paintings and decorative items transport you to a bygone era. There are 26 beautifully appointed cabins on two decks each with a private balcony. Two 52 square metre suites feature private Jacuzzis and the terrace deck combines a pool the Spa the Observatory Lounge restaurant and the famous East India Club outdoor bar. THE LOST CIVILISATION Siem Reap Saigon 8 Days & 7 Nights (Cruise can also be taken upstream) Day 1 Siem Reap - Kampong Cham Waterworld In the morning guests join a transfer to Kampong Cham on the Mekong River arriving in the early afternoon to embark the ship greeted by a welcome drink. Later that evening there is a meet-andgreet session followed by a welcome dinner at the Dining Hall. Day 2 Kampong Cham - Wat Hanchey Monks and Hilltops In the small hours of the morning travellers either take a motor-taxi or climb the 291 steps to the tops of the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. Located at the top of a hill overlooking the river this temple offers one of the most breath-taking views in Cambodia. Guests then return to the ship to witness a blessing ceremony performed by local monks before cruising towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor built within the ruins of an ancient temple. On the way back there is a visit to a local orphanage along the way traversing a 2-kilometer bamboo bridge. Day 3 Kampong Chhnang Cambodia s Province and The Wetlands Kampong Chhnang is a busy rural port town with bustling markets and boisterous children who wave and greet as the ship arrives. From here guests will take a short bus trip to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village followed by a rugged motor boat excursion into the wetlands at the mouth of the river. The afternoon cruise continues along the Tonle River towards Prek K dam where guests will take a walk through the silversmith village of Koh Chen. Dinner is served in the Dining Hall as the ship cruises to Phnom Penh. Day 4 Phnom Penh Pearl of the East This morning features a comprehensive lecture on Cambodia s modern history followed by a city tour of this dynamic historical capital city of Cambodia including visits to the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace the Silver Pagoda and viewing the exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum. After lunch there is a confronting visit to the Genocide museum and the Killing Field in town followed by a return to the ship for a rest in preparation for the exciting evening event encompassing cocktails on the sundeck followed by an Aspara dance performance and barbeque dinner. Day 5 Phnom Penh - Chau Doc (Border Crossing) The Highway Blues This morning the cruise liner sets sail for a lazy day of cruising along the main Mekong Channel. Later in the afternoon the ship reaches the Vietnamese border. As the requisite cross border paperwork tends to take some time guests are free to bask in the glow of the afternoon sun on the sun deck pamper themselves at the Spa or sharpen their culinary skills with the Heritage Line s Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine cooking class. Day 6 Chau Doc - Sa Dec Circus of Fish Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. The day begins with a short excursion in Chau Doc a pleasant town near the Cambodian border with sizeable Chinese Kinh and Khmer communities. You will visit the colourful local market followed by a boat excursion to the floating market and rustic catfish farms before heading back to the ship for lunch. In the mid afternoon it is off for My An Hung Village where you will walk to a family house to see the boat building yard and canals. Crossing a monkey bridge guests will see chilli corn and beetle nut plantations followed by a gathering at the family s house to taste tea and honey with local delicacies and fruits. Day 7 Sa Dec - Cai Be - My Tho Vietnamese Inventiveness In the morning guests embark a traditional sampan to tour Binh Thanh Island and its man-made canals. Here every villager is involved in the process of growing and processing water hyacinths into natural fibre floor mats and rattan baskets. After returning to the ship for lunch you will arrive in Cai Be where the tour starts with a visit to the boisterous and colourful floating market. The cruise will then halt intermittently to allow guests to observe how rice paste rice cookies and coconut candies are made along with the longan fruit drying process. In the afternoon you will visit an ancient house surrounded by fruit orchards before heading back to the ship for dinner. Cruising towards My Tho in the evening guests will enjoy a wonderful farewell party. Day 8 My Tho - Ho Chi Minh City Good Morning Saigon The morning breaks with the ship winding its way to My Tho approximately 70 kilometres south of Saigon on the upper Mekong River. Here guests bid farewell to the cruise disembarking at around 8.30am to join the transfer to the hustle and bustle of Saigon. MEKONG CRUISING Page 45 Pandaw Cruises The atmosphere on board a Pandaw river expedition is very friendly and informal more like a party on a private yacht than a cruise ship. Nearly everything is included in the price and there is an incredibly high level of personal service and care aboard with a crew passenger ratio of 1 2. Each Pandaw ship is built new and designed and finished as replicas of colonial river steamers. The staterooms are hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen and whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that predominate. All ships have ultra shallow drafts and can travel to remote areas which would be unreachable by some other vessels let alone overland. Sailing on a Pandaw is essentially an outdoor experience. Whilst the staterooms are very comfortable and roomy passengers generally prefer to spend their time sitting outside on the promenade decks or on the vast observation deck above. Unlike other cruise ships every window (except the port holes on the lower deck) can open. Excursions ashore a key part of any Pandaw river expedition. These may be in the form of a good walk through countryside and villages or further explorations by speed boat going deeper into jungle or up river. THE MEKONG UNEXPLORED Saigon Siem Reap 11 Days & 10 Nights (Overnights are spent onboard except where indicated ) Day 1 Down the Saigon River Embark at the Saigon city port for a fascinating down river cruise before crossing the Delta through the busy Cao Gao canal to My Tho. Day 2 The floating market of Can Tho Explore the largest floating market in the world having traversed the Delta through the back waters taking advantage of the Angkor Pandaw s low air draft. Day 3 From Chau Doc to Ba Phnom Heading ashore at the busy border port of Chau Doc we will explore a Cham tribal village and visit fish farms before returning to the ship for lunch then and casting off for the Cambodian border. After completing the usual formalities you will then travel by coach to Ba Phnom - one of the first religious and cultural sites in Cambodia sometimes considered a birthplace of the Cambodian nation. Day 4 Phnom Penh by cyclo Passengers will visit Phnom Penh where they will be provided with a private cyclo for a tour of the city. In the afternoon there is an optional excursion available (by coach) to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge s grim Tuol Sleng or S21 detention centre. (This tour is included in the cost of your cruise but must be requested at the time of booking) Day 5 Cruising upriver with a run ashore Today there is no fixed schedule with the exception of a run ashore to visit a village and take a walk Day 6 Kampong Cham and inland Travel by local bus to Wat Nokor a modern Theravada Buddhist pagoda squeezed into the walls of an 11th century Mahayana Buddhist shrine of sandstone and laterite. It is a kitsch kind of place and many older building s archways have been incorporated into the new building as shrines for worship. There is also a large reclining Buddha. At Chlung walk along the road fronting the river which contains a series of French colonial and Chinese style buildings some in disrepair and others family homes. Day 7 River dolphins You will travel by coach then transfer by boat to the WWF protected area where with luck you will see the rare river dolphins. The river here is rocky and not navigable for larger vessels. In the afternoon there will be free time to explore the town of Kratie another remnant of French colonialism. Overnight in Kratie. Day 8 Kratie and beyond This morning you will visit Phnom Sabok where passengers will visit a variety of small wats monasteries and pagodas at the top of the hill and experience a wonderful view over the Mekong and surrounding areas. In the afternoon the boat will continue cruising downstream. Day 9 On the Tonle river and into the Tonle lake Cruise up the Tonle River to Kampong Chhnang for an excursion into the lake wetlands on our Pandaw Explorer expedition boat before continuing by mother ship across the lake through the afternoon and evening. Day 10 Battambang and the circus school Today you will visit Battambang Cambodia s second most populous city. Featuring many ancient temples monasteries and the very curious bamboo railway a further highlight will be a visit to an NGOrun circus school. Day 11 Across the lake to Siem Reap On your last day you will make an early morning visit The Prek Toal a virgin area freshwater swamp forest and bird sanctuary before disembarking at the Siem Reap port for the 45min transfer to the city and temple areas. 3 COUNTRY PACKAGE TOUR - VIETNAM LAOS & CAMBODIA Page 46 VIETNAM CAMBODIA AND LAOS DISCOVERY 16 Days & 15 Nights Day 1 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Saigon is surely one of the most evocative place names in Asia and definitely one of the most extraordinary cities in the world. The most Western in atmosphere of Vietnam s cities Ho Chi Minh City (to use its official name - although to residents and visitors alike it is universally and affectionately known as Saigon) has a population of 5 million and a booming free-market economy. It is a city of amazing contrasts elegant new international hotels exclusive restaurants and trendy bars side-by-side with roadside noodle stalls street children and vociferous cyclo drivers. Golf courses bowling alleys and shopping malls vie for space with fruit and vegetable markets pagodas and karaoke rooms. Bustling booming crowded noisy - all words that barely scratch the surface of the addictive and often mesmerising chaos that is Saigon and yet there are the elegant colonial French boulevards and buildings the Cathedral the riverfront the quiet moments at a sidewalk cafe watching the world literally go by you at breakneck speed. On arrival you will be met by your tour guide and transferred by private car to your chosen hotel. The balance of your day is at leisure until it is time to go for dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included dinner Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City After a buffet breakfast at your hotel this morning you will take a journey out of the city centre to the Cu Chi regions where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defence against the French and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors underground kitchens living areas and meeting rooms and the more adventurous may explore the deeper second and even third level tunnels. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering. For those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty Return to Saigon for a late lunch at a local restaurant followed by a half day tour of this exciting city. In this essential highlight tour visit the former Presidential Palace which is now preserved as a museum including the underground communications bunkers headquarters for the Saigon Government during the War. Continue to the History Museum which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese then visit the War Remnant Museum which primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of Vietnam War. Alternatively you may wish to visit the Fine Art Museum which is indispensable for those who are keen on Vietnam arts and culture. Next you will visit Notre Dame an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city the wedding cake styled Hotel d ville and Dong Khoi Street formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City After breakfast in your hotel you will head out along the bustling highway into the surrounding countryside where you will pass lush rice paddies carefully tended before boarding a motorised sampan for a unique experience on the mighty Mekong Delta waterways. You will see how to the people of Delta the water is a lifeline - the focus of all daily activity - as you journey through a maze of tributaries and fruit plantations. Enjoy a sample of delicious fruit in the shade of a fruit farmer s garden before continuing via small canals on to lunch where the speciality is a remarkable dish of elephant s ear fish . Return to Ho Chi Minh City by the late afternoon with the rest of the evening at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Ho Chi Minh City Meals included breakfast lunch Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City Da Nang Hoi An This morning you will be collected from you hotel by your guide and transferred to Saigon airport for the one hour flight to Da Nang. One of the most ancient cities in Vietnam Da Nang was the centre of the Cham Dynasty from the 2nd century and today boasts the largest and most impressive collection of Cham artefacts anywhere in the world. Da Nang s rich cultural history its proximity to the extraordinary ruins of My Son its atmospheric riverfront promenade and its world-famous Cham Museum all continue to draw visitors. Unwelcome visitors have made their mark here too Da Nang was the first landing-point for the invading French troops and again decades later for the US Marines. Close by Da Nang is China Beach immortalised for many by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Also nearby are the Marble Mountains the 5 craggy limestone peaks that are said to represent the 5 elements of the universe. A climb inside through the hundreds of natural caves and grottoes is a must. On arrival in Da Nang start with a visit to the Cham Museum before continuing with the Ancient Civilisations walking tour of Hoi An including lunch at one of the many lovely restaurants in Hoi An. Hoi An is an extraordinary jewel of a town. In a country so ravaged by war Hoi An managed to remain untouched and as you wander the completely traffic-free streets of this ancient seaport it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th Century when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. Afterwards you are transferred to hotel or you are free to further discover the town on your own. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Da Nang or Hoi An Meals included breakfast lunch Day 5 Da Nang Hoi An Hanoi The morning will be spent at your leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your short flight to Hanoi. Here you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the city with a stop for lunch at local restaurant followed by an afternoon of sightseeing with visits to some of the highlights of Hanoi City. Enjoy an orientation of the tree-lined streets of Hanoi resplendent with French colonial architecture including the recently restored Opera House. Pass by Hoan Kiem Lake also known as Lake of the Restored Sword en-route to one of the city s fascinating museums (Army History or Fine Arts depending on your preference). Continue to the Temple of Literature built in 1070 and then dedicated to Confucius later became becoming Vietnam s first university. Then take to the streets on foot for a walking tour of the Ancient Quarter. This densely populated corner of the city was once a centre of commerce where goods were sold under the street name of a particular guild. Still a thriving community of sellers today you will see names such as Sugar Street Tin Street and Paper Street. Ancient homes and temples are interspersed with stores in this souvenir hunter s paradise. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 6 Hanoi This morning visit Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. See the simple cottage where Uncle Ho lived and worked then visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the father of the country and the evolution of Vietnamese independence. French architecture is a feature of Hanoi and the nearby former Governor s Residence is a fine example. See also the One Pillar Pagoda and hear the legend of its construction born from the love of an emperor in the 11th Century. After lunch at a local restaurant the afternoon is at leisure. Accommodation at a selected hotel in Hanoi Meals included breakfast lunch Day 7 Hanoi Luang Prabang This morning is at leisure until it is time to transfer to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Luang Prabang. Once immigration formalities have been completed you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your accommodation. After checking in head out to see some of the sights that have made this town the World Heritage Jewel that it is Visit Vat Visoun the site of the impressive That Makmo stupa. Continue on to the nearby Vat Aham one of the city s major tutelary shrines then climb Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city. Sunset can be enjoyed with a cold drink at one of the cafes located along the Mekong River. This evening head out for a delicious dinner at Tamnak Lao restaurant for a great introduction to Luang Prabang style Laotian cuisine. After dinner take a tour around Luang Prabang s fabulous night market with your local guide where there is an overwhelming selection of local handicrafts on offer. Accommodation at selected hotel in Luang Prabang Meals included breakfast dinner DAY 8 Luang Prabang After breakfast take a visit to the National Museum formerly the Royal Palace where you will view the lovely collection of personal artefacts of the royal family including many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. You will then be driven up to the Tad Kuang Sii waterfalls a journey of approximately one hour passing through very scenic Laotian countryside. The waterfalls cascade over many calcified tiers and down several hundred feet into a series of cool turquoise pools. Enjoy a local style lunch at the waterfalls before returning to Luang Prabang town. En route it is possible to visit one of the many small ethnic minority villages along the way. Accommodation at selected hotel in Luang Prabang Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 9 Luang Prabang Vientiane After breakfast at the hotel you have some free time to relax before transferring to the airport for your short flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival at Vientiane 3 COUNTRY PACKAGE TOUR - VIETNAM LAOS & CAMBODIA Page 47 Airport you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel for the next two nights. After check-in you are free to relax or you may choose to enjoy a cool drink on the nearby banks of the Mekong as the sun sets. Accommodation at selected hotel in Vientiane Meals included breakfast DAY 10 Vientiane After breakfast at your hotel your local guide will take you on a full-day city tour which visits the highlights of the capital. Visit Wat Sisaket the oldest original temple in Vientiane which features remarkable frescoes and over 6 000 Buddha images. Nearby is Haw Phra Kaew once the royal temple of the Laotian monarchy which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patuxai the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958 its architecture is inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Another famous landmark is the Phra That Luang stupa which was built by King Sethtathirat in 1566 and is considered the national symbol. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha. Take a visit to the Talaat Sao Vientiane s morning market which is open all day and is a wonderful venue for shopping and meeting the charming and fun-loving Laotians. After lunch at a local restaurant we journey out of town to visit one of Laos slightly stranger attractions - Xieng Khuan Buddha Park. Built on the banks of the Mekong River is the site of a large collection of many kinds of Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures. En route we stop to visit the impressive Friendship Bridge and the National Cultural Park also on the Mekong River bank. If time permits you can then pay a visit to Carol Cassidy at her gallery and weaving workshop. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. Accommodation at selected hotel in Vientiane Meals included breakfast lunch DAY 11 Vientiane Phnom Penh After breakfast at the hotel your time is free until your transfer to the airport for your flight to Phnom Penh. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and taken to your hotel to check in and freshen up followed by dinner at your hotel Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phnom Penh Meals included breakfast dinner DAY 12 Phnom Penh In the morning take the Cyclo Tour to visit The Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. The Palace is made up from a number of structures within a pagoda-style compound one of which is The Silver Pagoda which takes its name from its 5 000 silver tiles. The building itself holds a number of national treasures perhaps most notably a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds weighing in at 90 kg. Continue to the National Museum a Khmer temple inspired building that houses the world s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures ceramics and bronzes. Over 5000 objects are on display including Angkorian era statues lingas and other artefacts most notably the legendary statue of the Leper King. Finish the morning with a local shopping experience at Toul Tom Pong Market where you can find silk silver and countless souvenirs. Lunch is taken back at your hotel and will be followed by a visit to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Cheung Ek. During the Pol Pot regime Toul Sleng formerly a high school was converted to a detention centre known as S21. After interrogation and often torture prisoners were transferred to the Killing Fields where they were often tortured again and brutally killed. Today Cheung Ek is a Memorial site for Cambodians and visitors from all over the world to pay their respects for those lost. A memorial stupa has been erected and displays over 5 000 human skulls bones and clothes of the victims. During the Khmer Rouge years thousands of Cambodians were tortured and imprisoned in detention centres around the country the visit is a profoundly moving experience. Dinner will be at Malis Restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Phnom Penh Meals included breakfast lunch dinner DAY 13 Phnom Penh Siem Reap This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap where you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel to freshen up and enjoy your lunch. This afternoon experience the Remok tour to visit the monumental magnificence of Angkor Thom - last capital of the Khmers with its Elephant Terrace the Terrace of the Leper King and the stunning Bayon temple. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very centre of Angkor Thom and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive bas-reliefs but the highlight is the faces more than 200 of them silent but with the famous half-smile playing on their lips. Continue to sunset at Pre Rup temple about 2 kilometres northeast of Srah Srang and 500 meters south of the East Baray. This temple was built in 961 during the reign of King Rajendravarman dedicated to Shiva Brahmanism. The boldness of the architectural design is superb and gives the temple fine balance scale and proportion. Dinner will be at your hotel Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner DAY 14 Siem Reap This morning you will visit Angkor Wat arguably the largest religious building in the world with a volume of stone equalling that of the Cheops pyramid in Egypt. It is unlike all the other Khmer temples in that it faces west and is inspired by 12th Century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylised on the modern Cambodian flag. Conceived by Suryavarman II Angkor Wat took an estimated 30 years to build. It is generally believed to have been a funeral temple for the king and has been occupied continuously by Buddhist monks. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides. Each tells a story but the most celebrated of these is the Churning of the Sea of Milk which is located on the east wing the guide will explain this mystical tale. Lunch is taken at your hotel after which you will take the Remok tour to visit Ta Prohm. Built in the 12th century this temple has been left largely in its natural state since its re-discovery by French explorers. Surrounded by jungle its labyrinth of stone hallways is overgrown with the roots and limbs of massive banyan trees. Continue to Preah Khan The Sacred Sword an extensive monastic complex covering over 56 hectares built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a monastery and teaching complex. This is the site of the World Monuments Fund prime Asian project a painstaking renovation that aims to maintain its mysterious allures and superb original structure. Dinner will be at local restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner DAY 15 Siem Reap Depart early morning to visit Banteay Srey the Woman s Citadel - a tiny enchanting temple which is one of the jewels in this remarkable city. Built of red sandstone in the tenth century and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva the carved male and female figures in the niches are exquisitely executed in both style and proportion. This is the most Indian of all the temples in Angkor. Continue to Banteay Samre built under Suryavarman II and Yasovarman II in the early 12th century it is a Hindu temple in the Angkor Wat style. Named after the Samr an ancient people of Indochina the temple uses the same materials as Banteay Srey. Lunch is taken at your hotel and is followed by a drive to Tonle Sap Lake. Every year during the monsoon season the flow of water from the Mekong River changes direction forcing water back into the Tonle Sap Lake bringing nutrients that fertilise the rice fields and support the breeding of the 200 fish species. You will board a comfortable boat to visit one of the floating villages of Tonle Sap where they can see how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side. If time allows the tour will visit a development project teaching young adults stone carving wood carving and lacquer application. Artisans d Angkor is a heart warming reminder that progress in Cambodia can go hand in hand with traditional crafts. Dinner will be at a local restaurant Accommodation at a selected hotel in Siem Reap Meals included breakfast lunch dinner DAY 16 Siem Reap Departure After breakfast you will have some free leisure time until your transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Meals included breakfast CONSUMER PROTECTION CONSUMER PROTECTION Details of important booking conditions and operator s responsibilities applicable to holiday arrangements included in our brochure are set out below. Tours described in this brochure may have changed since it was published. Changes in airline fares and other changes in exchange rates may have affected the price of particular tours and services. Make sure you carefully study the Tour Conditions and Responsibilities and ask your travel agent and or Vietnam Tours and Beyond to check whether changes have occurred in the tour service you want before you book after booking and when paying the balance.. reflect on the services provided routings or precise location. Photographs of the hotel rooms may not be specific to the room provided. Land Arrangements A minimum of 3 nights is required for any land only booking. Travel Documents A passport with minimum 6 months validity is required for entry into Vietnam Cambodia and Laos. All airline tickets must be issued in the name of the passport holder as some carriers will deny carriage if the name varies. Visas for Vietnam must be organised prior to departure. While visas for Cambodia and Laos can be issued on arrival they are best organised prior to your departure from Australia. Please check with your travel agent. Non-Australian passport holders must check with the relevant Consulate regarding their individual visa requirements. Insurance We strongly recommend holiday insurance which can be arranged through your travel agent or insurance broker. Travel Advisories We urge all travellers to consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade http www.smartraveller.gov.au or their travel agent for the latest travel advisories. Health No vaccinations or inoculations are required at the time of printing however we suggest you consult your doctor or check with the Department of Health for up-to-date information and recommendations. Validity These tours will operate from April 1 2014 March 31 2015. What is not included in the cost of tours 1. Passport visa and inoculation costs 2. Excess baggage charges 3. Airport taxes from Vietnam Cambodia Laos 4. Beverages meals transfers or tours other than those specified Responsibilities Vietnam Tours Bali Travel Service (VIC) Pty Ltd (herein called the Operator) act only as agents for the hotels airlines bus companies railroads steamship lines or owners or contractors providing accommodation transportation or other services and all coupons exchange orders receipts contracts and by the acceptance of such coupons exchange orders receipts contracts and tickets the tour member agrees to the foregoing and also agrees that neither the Operator subsidiary or affiliate company shall be or become liable or responsible for any loss injury or damage to person property or otherwise in connection with any accommodations transportation or other services or resulting directly or indirectly from Acts of God acts of terrorism dangers incident to the air sae fire breakdown in machinery acts of government or other authorities de jure or de facto wars whether declared or not hostilities civil disturbances strikes riots thefts pilferage epidemics quarantines medical or customs regulations delays or cancellations of or changes in itinerary or schedules or from any causes beyond the Operators control or for any loss or damage resulting from improper or insufficient passports visas or other documents and that neither the Operator nor any parent subsidiary or affiliate company shall become liable or responsible for any additional expense or liability sustained or incurred by the tour member as a result of any of the foregoing clauses. The Operator does not accept any liability for failure on the part of transportation companies whose responsibility is confined to their own operations. The Operator reserves the right to alter amend or cancel all or any of the arrangements contained in the itineraries. The Operator its Associate s or Agents while taking every care with passenger s luggage or property shall not accept any liability for damage loss or inconvenience in the handling thereof. The transportation companies or firms shall be exempt from all liability in respect of any detention delay loss damage sickness or injury however or by whomsoever caused and of whatever kind occurring of or to the passenger at any time when the passenger is not on board a carrier or conveyance used and operated by the transport companies or firms. The passage contract in use by the transportation companies or firms concerned shall constitute the sole contract between the transportation companies or firms and the purchaser of these tours and or passengers. The services of any IATA or non-IATA carrier may be used. TOUR CONDITIONS Bookings A deposit of 150 per person is payable within 7 days of booking with the balance due at least 60 days prior to departure. However some suppliers may require an additional deposit to satisfy their individual booking conditions in which case you will be notified at the time of booking. All deposits are non-refundable. A number of airfares can be used in conjunction with your holiday package which can have different conditions as to when payment is due. Bookings made 60 36 days prior to departure require full payment on receipt of invoice. If payment is not received by the due date Vietnam Tours and Beyond reserves the right to cancel the booking and charge the applicable cancellation levies. Bookings made within 35 days of departure will only be accepted if full payment is received by Vietnam Tours and Beyond at the time of reservation. These bookings can also attract communication costs incurred and are subject to availability of flights and accommodation. Cancellations There are cancellation costs affecting both ground arrangements and airfares which can be up to 100% of the value of the booking. The following cancellation fees will apply as a minimum and are subject to change Ground arrangements - Up to 60 days prior to departure - 150 per person plus any supplier fees - 60 - 36 days prior to departure 50% of total ground cost - 35 days or less prior to departure 100% of ground cost Airfares Cancellation charges will be subject to the fees charged by the airline(s). Fees depend on the conditions of the airfares used in conjunction with travel packages booked. Reservations Amendments If a change of accommodation or departure date is requested after confirmation of a reservation an amendment fee of 50 per person will apply in addition to any supplier or airline amendment fees. 100 per person will be charged if travel documents have been issued also in addition to any supplier or airline amendment fees. Refunds No refunds of any unused tours accommodation or other services after commencement of travel. Tour Costs All costs are based on current exchange rates hotel and sightseeing charges airfares taxes and surcharges and are subject to change. A number of airfares can be used in conjunction with your holiday package. All airfares are subject to availability and will be subject to the rules of the airfare purchased. Airline tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable after departure. Baggage Baggage allowances including cabin and checked vary between carriers. We recommend confirming your baggage allowance prior to travelling as excess charges may apply for exceeding these allowances. Accommodation Twin accommodation is based on 2 people sharing a twin or double-bedded room. Triple share accommodation is normally a twin or double-bedded room with a rollaway or sofa bed added. Whenever 2 adults and 2 children share one room we must point out that in most cases these are standard rooms and may be a little crowded. Hotel and Tour Descriptions Descriptions of hotels and tours featured in this brochure are based on current information and are subject to change at any time. Travel times are approximate only and may vary. Photographs and Maps Photographs and maps are for general information only and may not necessarily Your Travel Agent A.B.N. 76 005 461 094 Licence No. 30815 2nd Floor Fawkner Centre 499 St Kilda Road Melbourne 3004 Reservations (03) 9820 9288 Toll Free 1800 338 004 Fax (03) 9867 1050 Email reservations vietnam-tours.com.au www.vietnam-tours.com.au