Treasures of Southeast Asia: Best of Bali & Vietnam Tour

A 9 day trip to Bali / Indonesia & Vietnam 
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Indulge in your immersive experience of the exotic and compelling, the tropical and the inspiring during your custom tailored exploration of Vietnam and Bali’s highlights. Discover exquisite flowers and myriads of temples and then float down the famous Mekong River and traverse the meandering Cu Chi Tunnels. The ancient legends blend with contemporary culture, and old streets are accentuated by modern luxuries. From French colonial Cathedrals to white sand beaches, bustling spice markets to coffee plantations, you will uncover the pleasures and splendors Southeast Asia in Bali and Vietnam. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Saigon, My Tho, Mekong River, Cu Chi Tunnels, Nusa Dua, Gunung Kawi, Ubud, Denpasar, Mengwi, Jatiluwih Rice terraces, Tanah Lot, Monkey Forest, Ayung River

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Saigon – Arrive in Saigon with an Introductory Tour of the Bustling City

Saigon is filled with life that buzzes along the streets as the culture pulsates with forward moving energy. Luxury hotels and high-rises soar above the central walkways and frame trendy boutique stores and traditional markets. Alleyways have a sense of timelessness embellished by the scent of burning incense that emanates from the hidden temples as the city effortlessly blends its past and present in a celebratory collage. Your private transfer will meet you at Tan Son Nhat International Airport upon your arrival to take you along the roadways and walkways that border the banks of the Saigon River, which stretches 140 miles before reaching the South China Sea.

The Fine Arts Museum stands inside a 1920s colonial-era building that is decorated with yellow and white fixtures and embellished with exuberant tiles and stained glass. Sculptures of Buddha and Vishnu carved out of wood and stone date back to as early as the 7th century as the aroma of ground ginger and cardamom linger in the air around Binh Tay Market. The marketplace was originally constructed in the 1880s after the arrival of the French, and food vendors produce enticing bowls of pho, along with seductive barbecue as they fan the flames beneath their grill to tempt passersby with their fantastic food. Your first taste of Saigon will come in the form of the sweet and bitter combination of Vietnamese coffee, which traditionally allows condensed milk to drip slowly into the strong, black brew until turning the coffee creamy, thick, and sweet.      

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour

Day 2: Saigon – Enjoy a Half-Day Tour of Saigon’s Cultural and Colonial Past

In the morning, the streets of Saigon return to their vibrant life as women walk down the pathways balancing pots and cooking equipment on a long pole strung over their shoulder with conical hats on to protect themselves from the sun. Food carts are nestled into hidden alleys and produce popular breakfast soups filled with fish, noodles, and egg. Charming cafes fill with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, using ingredients only produced in Vietnam. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel eager to show you the preserved French colonial structures of Saigon.

The Central Post Office was erected in the 1890s and continues to function as the city’s main post office. Gustave Eiffel, the grand architect of both the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower, designed the elaborate structure with a focus on the arched windows and wooden shutters. The bright colors of the interior relate to the tropical climate as the intricate marble floors and vintage telephone boxes take you back to the days before mobile phones and internet service and embody Saigon’s living history. After visiting the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Old Opera House, you will venture outside of the city to traverse a portion of the nearly 75 miles of underground passageways making up the Chu Chi Tunnels.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Saigon – Relish the Countryside and Architecture on a Mekong River Tour

In the morning, both locals and visitors of Saigon enjoy the simple, yet seductive Vietnamese iced coffee. Hot coffee slowly releases into a cup before being poured over a glass of ice and sweetened with condensed milk. The sweet and savory dark roast brings a cooling effect to the tropical warmth of the day. After an early breakfast, your guide will lead you to My Tho, which is considered the gateway to the Mekong Delta. Boats glide down the gentle current of the river reaching the shores of quiet islands and cottage industries.

A cool breeze drifts over the water and rustles the bordering fronds. The town was founded in the 1680s by Chinese refugees and retains its traditions of fishing and cultivating rice, coconuts, and mangoes. The marketplace has vendors selling bushels of bananas and the scent of vibrant citrus emanates from mounds of oranges and lime. Stilts support the homes on the banks of the river as boats float past. You will stop at Vinh Trang Temple to view the remarkable Buddhist complex that fully encompasses five acres.

Fruit trees grow alongside the village, and the 19th-century structure seamlessly blends French colonial architecture with Vietnamese style. You will find hints of sandalwood emanating from incense burning at the shrines as the temple’s main hall contains elaborate statues of Buddha situated in different poses, along with different interpretations of the Buddha, from Amitabha, the celestial Buddha of East Asia, to Gautama, also known as Siddhartha. Monks maintain the ornate sanctuaries, and you will see their reverent caring evident all around.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Nusa Dua – Transfer from Captivating Saigon to Enchanting Nusa Dua, Bali

Saigon returns to its usual buzz as the morning light spreads across the meandering waters of Saigon River. Coa Dai practitioners wear white robes and enter into the temple of the religion that has taken elements of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, and Confucianism. The temple shimmers with bright colors, crowned by flying dragons that wrap around the banisters beneath a ceiling covered by a mural of clouds. Locals traverse the streets on bicycles and motorbikes as the marketplace once again fills with shoppers eager to find a good deal on the catch of the day to enjoy with traditional Chinese spinach.

After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to the airport for your flight to Bali, Indonesia. The skyscrapers of Saigon give way to rolling waves and emerald canopies. The fast pace of city life diminishes to a welcoming tranquility nestled between lush mountains and inviting sapphire seas. Your flight will land at Ngurah Rai International Airport where your private transfer will greet you upon arrival and escort you to your luxurious hotel burrowed between palm trees and ferns with a marvelous view to the pristine white sand shores of Nusa Dua.

The remainder of the day is yours to explore the beachside cafes, the quiet streets, and the charming atmosphere of the town. Seaweed farmers cultivate their crop on small-segmented plots over the water as surfers catch waves past the edging reef. Fishers cast their nets onto the sea in the hopes of drawing in a perfect catch. You could make your way to the Water Blow for an impressive display of nature’s raw power as the waves lap against the rugged shoreline amidst the aroma of fresh sea air. The water fills a narrow passageway in the rocks, building unseen pressure until the ocean erupts through the hole in the coast like an exciting volcano.   

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Nusa Dua – Delight in a Full Day Tour of Bali’s Temples and Rice Terraces

In the morning, the aroma of banana pancakes blends into the semi-sweet scent of the ocean breeze as palm fronds rustle and coconuts dangle from the canopy. After breakfast, your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby eager to lead you on a full day tour that will highlight the rich traditions and preserved culture of Balinese history. You will make your way into the midlands of the island, passing villages decorated with wild frangipani and blossoming hyacinths. The 17th-century temple of Taman Ayun stands amongst the lush trees and reflective ponds beside the town of Mengwi. Lotus blossoms bloom with bright hues of white and purple, displaying elegance along the surface of a stoic pond.

Hindu gods, such as Ganga and Ganesh, use lotus flowers as their seats in traditional iconography.  The complex served as a unifying symbol for the people of the Bali and the Mengwi royal family. Terraces ascend the preceding courtyards, graced with pagoda-style temples. The Pura Dalem Bekas Temple features a 26-foot tall wooden bell tower with two hanging rectangular wooden bells. The tower offers a remarkable view of the entire complex, from the soaring shrines to the graceful ponds. You can continue into the mountains to reach the village of Bedugul, which stands at an altitude of nearly 4,600 feet above sea level. The village overlooks the shores of three separate lakes with an elegant ambiance embodied by blossoming orchids.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Nusa Dua – Discover the Splendors of Bali with the Day at your Leisure

The sunlight spreads across the Indian Ocean from the east and glistens over the layers of sapphire, cobalt, and azure. Surfers return after dawn to ride cresting waves and fishers set out in their colorful traditional boats in search of a daily catch. At breakfast, you will find the delightful aromas of pineapple and rambutan accompanying freshly brewed Balinese coffee. The day is yours to enjoy the splendors of Bali as you desire, whether by basking in the tropical sunlight atop the white sand shoreline or traversing the galleries of the Museum Pasifika, home to thrilling assortment of artists and artifacts depicting the historical significance of Indonesian art and works inspired by the culture and landscape. For a unique view of Balinese history, you could venture to Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave.

Detailed reliefs adorn the cave mouth, including the wide eyes of a traditional demon situated above the door. The structure was erected in the 11th century and acted as a place of spiritual bathing with figures etched into the walls to ward off evil. Statues of Hindu angels hold vases, acting as waterspouts. Elements of the cave correlate with Buddhist themes dating back to the 8th century as three stone idols wrapped in colorful cloths fill the shallow cave. Traces of incense remain in the cool cavern before the priest lights another stick. Rice fields and streams surround the temple grounds leading to the Petanu River.  

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Nusa Dua – Experience a Rafting Excursion and Elephant Safari Park

Hyacinths shimmer against the framing jungle greenery as their large petals open, calling for lingering flowerpeckers. The scent of delicious coconut fills the air, mixing with the sea breeze. Your guide will meet you after breakfast and escort you into the central highlands to the banks of the Ayung River. The waterway extends for upwards of 45 miles until feeding into the Badung Strait at Sanur. The jungle trees shade the sunlight as Asian palm-swifts twitter in the canopy. You will board your raft and begin your journey down the mountains. The water is cool on your fingertips as you drag your hand against the current.

You will paddle past waterfalls and iridescent greenery as kingfishers soar above and rice fields sweep across the countryside beyond the dense rainforest. The rushing waters echo against the quiet landscape, foreshadowing the next rapids. You will paddle, kicking up water as the current speeds up. The whitewater will pour over the boulders and the smoothed-out rocky riverbanks. The rapids dip down like a rollercoaster, and you will feel your body raise off the raft for a brief second before the rapids ease. The river returns to normal, but your heart will continue to pound with excitement.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Nusa Dua – Explore Gunung Kawi Temple, Mount Batur, and a Dance Class

The seaweed farmers return to their crops in the morning light, cultivating the vines and leaves often utilized in the cosmetic industry. Surfers paddle out beyond the reef in search of cresting waves. Divine statues fill the niches carved into the seaside cliffs at Pandawa Beach. After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel eager to whisk you into the highlands to visit Gunung Kawi. The lush, emerald valley encircles the 11th-century temple, and the cliffs contain ten separate shrines carved into the rock face. The complex is one of Bali’s largest and oldest monuments, with marvelous detailed sculptures standing upwards of 26 feet above filled with ancient rice fields.

The sculptures are known as candi and were erected as memorials to the 11th-century Balinese royalty. A majestic ambiance emanates from the fountains and temples, accentuated by the sound of a trickling stream. A stone stairway leads down to the river, carved from an embankment of a solid boulder, which now contains more than 270 steps. Pools glow with crystal clear water fed by a natural mountain spring as golden carp swim in the crowning ponds. In the afternoon, you can partake in a traditional Barong and Keris Dance to learn the movements that narrate the endless battle between Good and Evil, exhibiting a captivating blend of history and mythology.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Nusa Dua – Depart for Home

The morning light will wash over the boardwalk that winds through the mangrove forest at the edge of Nusa Dua. The dense collection of trees grows along saltwater tributaries as the walkway travels beneath the canopy and into the open set beside the forest to offer a mixture of perspectives over nearly 3,400 acres. The sand warms beneath the tropical sun as the water continues to shimmer with layers of blue. Over breakfast, you will recall the wonders of your time across Vietnam and Bali, accentuated by the aromas of banana pancakes and freshly brewed coffee. After your meal, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Ngurah Rai International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$1,705
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.