Essence of Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia - 13 Days

Essence of Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia

KEN BURNS AMERICAN JOURNEYS

Hanoi Vietnam – Siem Reap Cambodia

TIME OF YEAR – Jan – Mar, Sep – Dec

Explore the uniquely rich artistic heritage of each country, their ethnic groups, and complex histories… meet the people, from the chefs and Vespa drivers of Ho Chi Minh City to the performers of Hoi An and Siem Reap. Spend days exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor… cities where French colonial influence is still felt… countryside dotted with rice paddies and floating villages untouched by centuries… ancient temples, pagodas, gardens… and cultural stories reclaimed from a turbulent past. A range of sightseeing choices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap provide a more personal travel experience. Multiple-night stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap – plus an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay – complete this living portrait of Vietnam and Cambodia, then and now. Prepare to expand your horizons, deepen your insights, and transform your view of the world.

Only With Tauck

TAUCK EXCLUSIVE – “Stories by Ken Burns,” exclusive to Tauck filmed narratives featuring insights by award- winning filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein.

Day 01:
Welcome to Hanoi

Tour begins: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi at 6:00 PM. A transfer from Noi Bai International Airport to your historic landmark hotel is included. Please join us this evening to meet your Tauck Director and your fellow travelers at our welcome cocktail reception and dinner.

Meals – Dinner

Lodging – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 02:
History in Hanoi... and the people of Vietnam

Begin your exploration of Hanoi in Da Ba Dinh Square, where you’ll view Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho’s”houseonstilts,”andtheOne-PillarPagoda. Thenyou’reofftovisittheTempleofLiterature,originallybuiltin1070asa university dedicated to Confucius, scholars, and sages; at this well-preserved example of traditional Vietnamese architecture, discover the Well of Heavenly Clarity, landscaped gardens, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards, and passageways once used by royalty. FollowinganauthenticVietnameselunchofbuncha,visittheMuseumofEthnologyforinsightsintothehistoriesand lives of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. This evening, enjoy a water puppet performance, a uniquely North Vietnamese art form more than 1,000 years old that celebrates rural life and folklore. Please note: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex is closed each year for annual renovations from September to December; Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house and the One-Pillar Pagoda remain open for viewing.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Lodging – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 03:
Cruising on Ha Long Bay

Watch rural Vietnamese daily life unfold as you pass water buffalo, ancient temples, and local farmers at work in rice paddies en route to Ha Long Bay – the “Bay of the Descending Dragons.” Legend has it that dragons sent by the gods to help defend the land against ancient invaders spat out jewels and jade that became the many emerald green islands and islets dotting the bay. Board the Paradise Elegance, which combines classic Asian design with modern amenities, for an overnight cruise among the thousands of limestone islands. After lunch onboard ship and more sightseeing on the bay, enjoy free time for swimming or kayaking, followed by a cooking demonstration before dinner onboard ship this evening.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 04:
From Ha Long Bay to Da Nang

After spending part of the morning cruising on Ha Long Bay, disembark Paradise Elegance and return to Hanoi to catch your flight to the city of Da Nang on the South China Sea, where you’ll spend the next two nights at Furama Resort Da Nang.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lodging – Furama Resort Da Nang

Day 05:
A day in Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Discover how the traditions of the past are treasured in the present in Hoi An on the Thu Bon River, a key international trading port during the 16th to 19th centuries – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its centuries-old zigzag streets, yellow buildings, temples and pagodas, iconic Japanese-style bridge, and riverside street market. After exploring Hoi An’s historic highlights via cyclo and a guided walking tour, enjoy free time in town or return to your resort in Da Nang. This evening you’re in for an inspiring treat – the AO Show, a unique cultural performance that combines acrobatics, dance, and drama with bamboo and fishing baskets. Tauck guests have the best seats in the house.

Meal – Breakfast, Dinner

Lodging – Furama Resort Da Nang

Day 06:
Ho Chi Minh City & the Cu Chi Tunnels

Fly from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City; upon arrival, head to the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ben Duoc for a close-up look at life in wartime Vietnam. Stretching out in a 120-mile underground network of meeting rooms, triage centers, and kitchens, this vast complex allowed North Vietnamese combatants to evade discovery as they moved freely throughout the area. Enjoy dinner tonight at your hotel.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 07:
Once known as Saigon... Ho Chi Minh City

Today Ho Chi Minh City bustles with the forward-looking energy of glittering skyscapes, street vendors, and open-air cafés. A sightseeing tour takes in vestiges of its past, including Reunification Hall, formerly South Vietnam’s presidential palace, and the ornate French colonial architecture of the Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral. A culinary and cultural immersion experience at the cooking school Grain, a brainchild of Master Chef Luke Nguyen Grain, gives you a taste of Vietnamese cuisine for lunch. Spend the evening out touring the city on the back of a vintage Vespa – and stopping at local foodie spots. This unusual look at city life after dark is sure to be a fun highlight of your stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Day 08:
Fly to PhnomPenh

Enjoy a relaxed start to the day with a morning to yourself; your hotel is ideally located for exploring as you please in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, fly to Phnom Penh for an overview tour followed by your choice of either dinner at your hotel or a foodie tour of the city to sample local specialties in markets, mom and pop restaurants, and bars.

Meals – Breakfast, Dinner

Lodging – Rosewood Phnom Penh

Day 09:
The many faces of Phnom Penh

Board a cyclo that takes you to the Royal Palace complex, where you’ll find solid silver tiles on the floor of the Silver Pagoda, home to religious and cultural treasures; the architecture of the various buildings in the complex is extraordinary. Visit the National Museum, housing the world’s premier collection of Khmer art, including bronzes, ceramics, and sculpture, for insights into Cambodia’s history and culture. After lunch at a local restaurant, you have a choice of activities. One choice is a poignant trip to the infamous “Killing Fields” of Choeung Ek. Alternatively, visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, memorializing the victims of the infamous “S-21” prison operated at the site. Another choice is a visit to the Russian Market, named for the days when it was frequented by Soviets who lived in the area. Or go on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where you’ll view animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch

Lodging – Rosewood Phnom Penh

Day 10:
To Siem Reap...and Angkor Wat

Drive through the countryside from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor. More than 1,000 archeological sites have been identified here in the ancient Khmer metropolitan areas. See some of them today on a guided visit to Angkor Wat, thought to be the largest temple ruins in the world; the bas-reliefs that adorn the massive temple are among the finest examples of 12th-century Khmer art. This evening, attend a performance at Phare, a unique combination of theatre, dance, music, and circus that tells stories of Cambodian culture and history – stories that were erased by the Khmer Rouge and have now been revived by the energy and passion of the performers, whom you’ll meet after the show.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11:
Temples of Angkor & a cultural evening

Visit Ta Prohm, a temple at Angkor where more than 12,000 people once lived; it has been left much as it was found – an eerie sight surrounded by jungle with silk-cotton trees growing out of its walls. Explore Angkor Thom, the last capital city of the Khmer Empire, home to the Bayon Temple and the Elephant Terrace, a huge platform adorned with carvings of elephants used as a reviewing stand for public ceremonies long ago. After lunch at a local restaurant, you have a choice of activities. One is a helicopter ride that takes you over Angkor Wat to remote jungle temples and floating villages. Another choice is an opportunity to meet the artists, designers and curators making waves and hosting exhibitions in the galleries, workshops, and boutiques of Siem Reap; with local insiders, see the best the city has to offer in art and design, from jewelry and textiles to fine art photography and contemporary art. Or go on a Vespa tour of rural life; visit villages off the beaten path and a pagoda, where you’ll learn about Khymer beliefs and receive a Buddhist blessing, if you wish. Alternatively, relax with a spa treatment at your hotel. Or join us for zip lining through the jungle! This evening a special experience unfolds – an exclusive dinner and Cambodian entertainment at the home of a celebrated artist. After fleeing as a war refugee to France in 1980, he was trained as an artist and designer in Paris; he returned to Cambodia to help rebuild the country and its artistic life. His home is a showplace that embodies the country’s rich artistic heritage.

Meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12:
Banteay Srei Temple

Discover the pink “citadel of the women,” a small gem of a temple covered with intricate carvings of female deities and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Then pay a visit to Apopo, an organization that trains “HeroRats” to help detect landmines; see these life-saving animals in action! Join us this evening for our farewell reception and dinner at your hotel.

Meals – Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13:
Journey home

Tour ends: Siem Reap. Fly home anytime. A transfer from Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor to Siem Reap International

Airport is included.

Allow three hours for flight check-in.

Meals – Breakfast

What's Included

  • Multiple-night stays at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Furama Resort Da Nang, Park Hyatt Saigon, and Rosewood Phnom Penh, and Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor
  • Overnight cruise onboard Paradise Elegance on Ha Long Bay
  • Tauck Exclusive dinner and Cambodian entertainment at the home of an acclaimed artist
  • In Hoi An, the AO Vietnamese cultural show combining acrobatics, dance, and drama with bamboo and fishing baskets In Ho Chi Minh City, a cooking and cultural immersion experience at Grain, the culinary school of Master Chef Luke Nguyen Grain
  • A foodie Vespa tour of Ho Chi Minh City at night
  • In Siem Reap, a performance by Phare, a blend of theatre, dance, music, and circus that shares uniquely Cambodian stories
  • A visit to Apopo to meet “HeroRats” trained to detect landmines
  • Excursion choices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
  • On-tour air (3 flights) featuring VIP Fast Track
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure as noted
  • 29 meals (12 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners); gratuities to local guides; admission fees, service charges, taxes and porterage

Nights 1-2 Hanoi, Vietnam

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Located in the heart of downtown Hanoi close to the famed Opera House, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has been hosting discerning travelers since 1901. Comfortable guest rooms welcome you with LCD and DVD player, air conditioning, in-room safe deposit box, satellite and cable color TV and minibar and a bathroom with separate shower and tub, hair dryer and telephone extension. After a busy day, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, work out the kinks in the Fitness Center or enjoy a pampering treatment in the full-service spa. Rub elbows with Hanoi’s elite at Angelina – Italian Steak House, sample the best French cuisine in town at Le Beaulieu Restaurant or enjoy Vietnamese fare with an exotic twist at the Spices Garden Restaurant. Enjoy your favorite cocktail – or ice cream, fruit juices or something exotic from the exclusive Metropole tea collection – at the Bamboo Bar.

Night 3
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Paradise Elegance

A sleek, modern vessel that fuses contemporary styling with Vietnamese design concepts, the Paradise Elegance is a meticulously designed steel boat that has reimagined luxury cruising on Ha Long Bay. Boasting a piano bar, day spa and wellness centre, butler service and the full range of dining options, the Elegance is a work of art, the experience exquisite, the journey flawless. Each spacious cabin is equipped with a queen-sized bed, a spacious private balcony with views of Ha Long Bay, a walk-in wardrobe, a beautifully appointed bathroom and more.

Nights 4-5
Da Nang, Vietnam

Furama Resort Da Nang

The luxurious Furama Resort Da Nang is set in a stunning location on Vietnam’s famed “China Beach.” Renowned as Vietnam’s most prestigious resort, it counts celebrities, international business leaders, heads of state and royalty among its guests. Welcoming guest rooms feature luxurious marble baths, direct-dial telephone, satellite color TV, minibar, hairdryer, air conditioning, coffee and tea maker and safety deposit box. Opportunities for enjoyable recreational activities, from diving to tennis to a fully equipped Fitness Center to a casino abound. The graceful combination of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture and style is sure to impress. Dine at the resort’s signature restaurant, Café Indochine, or enjoy the view of the beach from the Ocean Terrace.

Nights 6-7
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Park Hyatt Siagon

Discover urban luxury with a combination of sophisticated design, handcrafted details, and modern-day comforts at Park Hyatt Saigon. Experience the most sumptuous and seamless of stays at one of the leading accommodations in Saigon District 1, which recently underwent a complete renovation of décor, facilities and furnishings. Today, the upgraded French-colonial style rooms combine elegant, traditional comfort with the latest technology, including in-room mini iPads, Nespresso machines and sensor lighting systems. Indulge in a well-rounded dining experience at Park Hyatt Saigon. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Square One, features authentic Vietnamese and French cuisine, while Opera offers traditional Italian dishes prepared in a large open kitchen and served in a cosy trattoria setting. Or for a great night out, head to 2 Lam Son, the liveliest nightspot in Ho Chi Minh City. Park Hyatt Saigon looks forward to welcoming you with warm and dignified service for the ultimate personalized luxury experience.

Nights 8-9
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Rosewood Phnom Penh

Soaring 188 meters above the heart of Phnom Penh’s business district, Rosewood Phnom Penh occupies the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower, the city’s most iconic modern structure and a symbol of the new Cambodia. It is an ideal location from which to explore the exotic pulse of the Kingdom’s capital, Phnom Penh, once known as the “Pearl of Asia.” Elegant guest rooms and suites blend traditional refinement with sophistication, and each offers unparalleled views of the city. From plush furnishings to intuitive technology, every element has been thoughtfully considered, to create comfortable, residential-style living spaces that are equally suited to business and leisure stays. The hotels’ dining venues are varied: steak and seafood at Cuts; continental, French and Cambodian at Brasserie Louis; and Japanese and Izakaya-style cuisine at Iza. And Sense, A Rosewood Spa, instantly entices guests to leave their worries behind them, as specially trained therapists nurture body and mind using products inspired by Khmer traditional healing herbs.

Nights 10 – 12
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor

Anticipate an authentic Cambodian experience at Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor, a Khmer hideaway near fabled Angkor Wat, where ancient tradition meets contemporary style. With a reputation for excellence among Siem Reap hotels, Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor beautifully captures the area’s rich history while offering every modern luxury, and is an ideal base to explore the treasures of the region. Traditional Khmer architecture is complemented by elegant teak and basalt accents, echoing the ancient temples and other wonders nearby at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Tonlé Sap Lake. One of the first luxury hotels to open in Siem Reap, Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor boasts an enviable position on the river moments away from the mystifying temple complexes. Siem Reap’s lively markets, galleries and thriving restaurant and nightlife scene are also just moments away. Traditionally-designed suites spread out among lush flora. Retreat to the salt-water pool, or indulge at Kong Kea Spa. After a day of adventure, it’s the perfect welcome home.

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Essence of Indochina: Vietnam & Cambodia

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