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Beyond Boundaries

22D/21N - ESSENCE OF VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & LUXURY MEKONG CRUISE
22D/21N - Essence of Vietnam, Cambodia & Luxury Mekong Cruise
Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoian, Hue, Saigon, Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, Siemreap
Unforgettable: This 22 day amazing journey from Hanoi to Siem Reap will showcase the essence of Vietnam and Cambodia including a seven night luxury cruise on the Mekong River from Saigon to Siemreap to witness the daily life of locals along the scenic waterways.
Highlights:
- Explore the picturesque bays and limestone cliffs on a two night scenic cruise through Halong Bay
- Enjoy a traditional dance performance at Hue Citadel
- Enjoy lunch at KOTO (Know One Teach One in Ho Chi Minh City, teaching hospitality skills to street children
- Witness the sun rise over Angkor Wat before touring the spectacular complex of temples
- Learn about the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge and visit the infamous Killing Fields
- Receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from monks at Wat Hanchey
- Attend a unique performance of Phare, the Cambodian Circus for a story about Cambodian lives
- Enjoy a Tai Chi lesson at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake
- Catch a performance of Vietnam’s unique Water Puppets and enjoy a special ‘backstage pass’
- In Hoi An visit a former merchant’s home for a special talk by one of the families
- Meet nuns at Hue’s Duc Son Pagoda providing education and training to orphaned children
- Uncover secrets of the Cu Chi Tunnels with your veteran guide, who lived and fought there
- Witness a traditional Apsara dance performance
- Watch a shadow puppet show accompanied by a traditional Khmer orchestra

Day by day Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrive Hanoi
Xin Chao and welcome to Vietnam! On arrival you will be met by your Scenic Tours representative and transferred* to your luxury hotel. (Please arrive by 5.00pm). Enjoy time at leisure before meeting your Tour Director for your tour briefing and Welcome Dinner. Two Night Special Stay: Hanoi

Day 02: Hanoi
Join your instructor for a gentle morning Tai Chi lesson by the tranquil waters of the Hoan Kiem Lake. FREE CHOICE (1) visit the History Museum and Hoa Lu Prison to uncover the history of the Vietnamese revolution; or (2) stroll the bustling local markets to buy ingredients for your cooking class; or (3) discover hidden places that make Hanoi the artistic and cultural capital of Vietnam; or (4) cycle along the quiet roads of West Lake; or (5) explore cultural and historical sites during your half day tour; or (6) visit the pottery village of Bat Trang. In the afternoon discover the Old Quarter, known as ‘36 streets’ on your cyclo (rickshaw) ride. Be entertained by a traditional Water Puppets performance and relish your special ‘backstage pass’.  FREE CHOICE DINING (1) The Press Club, evocative of Vietnam in the 1920s; or (2) La Terrace at Sofitel, inspired by Parisian cafés; or (3) Au Lac o. ering a Vietnamese set menu; or (4) the multi-award winning Le Beaulieu at Sofitel Metropole.

Day 03: Hanoi - Embark Halong Bay Cruise
Travel through rich fertile farmlands to Halong Bay. Embark on board the Au Co, Halong Bay’s most luxurious and beautiful vessel, for your two night cruise through the tranquil emerald waters, taking in the spectacular scenery of this World Heritage area. Two Night Special Stay: Au Co Cruise

Day 04: Halong Bay Cruise
Wake early and while the sun rises over your luxury vessel join your Tai Chi lesson on the Sun Deck. Visit Cat Ba Island before cruising further into quieter bays and exploring the Viet Hai Village in Catba National Park.

Day 05: Disembark Halong Bay Cruise - Hoi An

Disembark your luxury cruise and journey to Hanoi for your flight to Danang. Transfer to Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved trading port dating from the 15th century and Vietnam’s most charming and relaxing town.
Three Night Special Stay: Hoi An at the Nam Hai Resort

Day 06: Hoi An
Step back in time as you take a walking tour of Hoi An’s World Heritage-listed old quarter. SCENIC ENRICH Enter one of the atmospheric former merchants’ homes and appreciate a special talk by one of the families. Spend some time at leisure before relaxing on your sunset cruise along the tranquil Thu Bon River and watch the fishermen cast their nets. FREE CHOICE DINING ( 1) Lanterns Restaurant showcasing the very best of Vietnamese cuisine; or (2) Ancient Faifo, a culinary journey through Hoi An’s past, present and future; or (3) Mango Mango, a contemporary Asian fusion restaurant.

Day 07: Hoi An - Discover Ancient Town
SCENIC FREE CHOICE (1) visit the temple ruins of My Son; or (2) take a street food tour; or (3) unwind on Cham Island; or (4) learn how to make traditional Pho noodle soup; or (5) cycle to a nearby farming village.

Day 08: Hoi An - Hue
Travel through the picturesque Marble Mountains via the breathtaking Hai Van Pass to Hue, the former capital. En-route enjoy a visit to the open air Cham Museum. Relive the grandeur of Hue’s Imperial Citadel and enjoy a traditional dance performance accompanied with traditional court music in the Royal Ancient Theatre. Take a cruise down the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda. Two Night Special Stay: Stay at La Residence de Hue

Day 09: Hue - Explore Royal City
On this morning’s tour of Hue discover the Mausoleum of former Emperor Minh Mang, explore the local Dong Ba market and meet the deaf and mute workers at the Spiral Foundation. Visit Duc Son Pagoda, talk with the nuns and learn how they are supporting their orphanage through different initiatives including the proceeds from your lunch. Learn about traditional woodblock printing during a visit to a nearby local village and witness the craftsmen at work.

Day 10: Hue - Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy lunch at KOTO (Know One Teach One) a restaurant set up to train and educate street children with English and hospitality skills. On your sightseeing tour visit the Post Office designed by Gustave Eiffel, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace and the lively Binh Tay Market. This evening indulge in your sumptuous contemporary Vietnamese meal in the unusual setting of a former opium refinery.
Two Night Special Stay: Ho Chi Minh City

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City

FREE CHOICE (1) explore local neighbourhoods on your walking tour; or (2) uncover this bustling city on a vintage Vespa; or (3) discover Vietnam’s history through the diverse religions and cultural influences. This afternoon experience the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground rooms and tunnels spanning 250 kilometres, used by the communist guerrillas during the Vietnam War. Explore the underground labyrinth of tunnels with your War Veteran, who shares his experiences during this time. FREE CHOICE DINING (1) take a dinner cruise along the Saigon River; or (2) discover lively local streets by night and sample different street food dishes; or (3) enjoy an international buffet at Restaurant Nineteen; or (4) indulge in Italian delights overlooking the Opera House.

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City - Embark Cruise
After breakfast you will be transferred to My Tho to board the luxurious Mekong Navigator for your 7 night luxury Mekong River cruise. This evening enjoy your Champagne welcome reception followed by your delicious Mekong Delta Welcome Dinner. Seven Night Special Stay: Mekong Navigator

Day 13: Cai Be - Sa Dec
Arrive at the charming town of Cai Be with its colourful floating market. Following your Champagne breakfast, board sampans and tour historic Anh Kiet House and visit a traditional rice factory. Later navigate the narrow canals and observe the daily routines of the villagers en route to the historic town of Sa Dec. Following a visit to a local brick factory discover the home of Mr Hyun Thuy Le who inspired Marguerite Duras’ novel L’Amant (The Lover).

Day 14: Tan Chau - Border crossing into Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Cruise into Tan Chau Port and take a rickshaw tour of the surrounding area. Continue to the Cao Dai temple, a syncret Vietnamese religious movement that incorporates aspect of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism. Visit a local family’s fish farm and learn about the various types of fish being farmed before returning to the ship for lunch. Continue cruising and cross the border into Cambodia. Sous Sdei and welcome to Cambodia! Spend the afternoon at leisure cruising to Phnom Penh.

Day 15: Phnom Penh
Take an exciting cyclo tour along the city’s riverfront, uncover ancient artefacts inside the National Museum and visit the Royal Palace and stroll through the expansive grounds. Explore the many pavilions and the famous Silver Pagoda with its Emerald Buddha encrusted with 9000 diamonds. Before dinner witness a cultural performance featuring traditional Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance.

Day 16: Phnom Penh
Reflect upon Cambodia’s darkest history with a visit to the infamous Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng, the former school that was converted to the main prison of the Khmer Rouge. This evening enjoy a shadow puppet show featuring ancient Khmer folktales accompanied by a traditional Khmer orchestra.

Day 17: Tonle Sap - Kampong Chhnang
Enjoy a full day of sailing on the scenic Tonle Sap River. Cruise the floating villages at Kampong Chhnang and observe the friendly locals living, working and even shopping on the river.

Day 18: Wat Hanchey - Kampong Cham
This morning visit a local secondary school and meet with the principal and students. Walk up to Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the resident monks. Later take a visit to the Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (man and woman hill) and see the stupa with its immense preaching and reclining Buddha. Tonight gather for a farewell reception and Royal Cambodian Theme Dinner.

Day 19: Disembark Cruise - Siem Reap

After breakfast transfer from your luxury cruise to your hotel in Siem Reap. Tonight attend a unique and special performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’, a story about Cambodian lives and society.
Three Night Special Stay: Siem Reap

Day 20: Siem Reap
Rise early this morning for your visit to Angkor Wat and witness the sunrise over the magnificent 12th century World Heritage temple complex. A. er breakfast at the hotel visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm, entangled by the surrounding jungle vines. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant that trains young Cambodians from poor families in the principles of hospitality. This a. ernoon visit the temples of the Roluos Group, an ancient centre of Khmer civilization in the countryside surrounded by paddy fields and sugar palm trees. Enjoy a relaxing journey in a unique row boat to watch the sunset over the surrounding temples.

Day 21: Siem Reap
FREE CHOICE (1) discover the temple of Banteay Srei and visit the Landmine Museum; or (2) visit a local market and take part in an authentic Khmer cooking class; or (3) explore the recently accessible Beng Mealea in the jungles of Siem Reap; or (4) uncover the mountain site of Phnom Kulen; or (5) appreciate Cambodia’s exquisite handicrafts. As you farewell Cambodia this evening enjoy your authentic Khmer dinner.

Day 22: Depart Siem Reap
After breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight. End of our service
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