Vietnam – Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, DanangCambodia – Siem Reap, Angkor Wat Complex
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Awe-inspiring history, staggering natural beauty, complex cultural heritage, and majestic former kingdoms will be the highlights of your custom-tailored historical tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. The ancient and contemporary worlds blend into an authentic excursion accentuated with delicious street foods, bustling antique marketplaces, lavish skyscrapers, and elegant temple pagodas. You will find reverence in the details of bas-reliefs, antique statues, elegant circus performances, and classic myths....
Hanoi – Arrive in Hanoi with a Fantastic Introduction to Vietnam’s Capital
The streets of Hanoi pulse with excitement that embodies the essence of life in Vietnam as the economic and traditional cultures collide. The bustling streets filled with motorbikes, pedestrians, and bicycles fade to pockets of serenity along the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. Majestic paths of the Imperial Citadel wander through 1,000 years of archeological history. Your private transfer will greet you at Noi Bai International Airport upon your arrival and escort you to a luxurious hotel at the center of the city’s captivating movement. The layers of Hanoi reveal a history of imperial power that emanates from the architectural designs erected during the French and Chinese occupations.
After enjoying some rest in the comforts of your hotel, you will venture to Dinh Tien Hoang Street for an audience with the famous Water Puppet Theater. The traditional storytelling technique dates back to the agrarian culture of the country when farmers would perform sketches in the flooded rice fields during the monsoon season. The ancient art remains a cultural staple performed in a custom-made water pool instead of the fields. The puppets retell popular legends accompanied by a live band playing customary Vietnamese instruments display how myths, legends, and stories from the 11th century remain popular and pertinent in modern culture.
Hanoi – Gain Insight into Vietnam’s Ancient and Contemporary History
The morning in Vietnam fills with locals sipping noodle soup for breakfast and practicing T’ai Chi on the quiet shores of Hoan Kiem Lake at sunrise. You will have your first taste of Vietnamese coffee at breakfast. Sample the strong, distinctive flavor of Robusta beans combined with the sweetness of condensed milk slowly dripping into the brew. Your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby interested in sharing the cultural history of Hanoi during your visit to Hai Ba Trung Temple. The holy complex, located less than two miles from Hoan Kiem Lake, was founded in the 12th century AD. A statue crafted in the 1st century AD depicts the two kneeling Trung sisters with their arms raised to the air.
The statue embodies the legend of the nobility who preferred death by drowning rather than surrender to the Chinese. Their determination is an allegory for the independent spirit of Vietnam. The Old Quarter of the country’s capital contains narrow alleyways winding around the commercial heart like a labyrinth and dating back more than a millennium. Medieval era architecture retains a sense of grandeur and grace amid the constant movement of motorbikes, street vendors, and commerce representing contemporary life. The scent of traditional medicine drifts through the streets along the edges of Buddhist religious icons that lead to the French colonial neo-Gothic structure of St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
Halong Bay – Cruise the Unique Contours and Grand Caves of Halong Bay
You will travel to Halong Bay in the morning, which is a gorgeous mixture of fantastical karsts, rugged shores, and glassy turquoise water 108 miles from Hanoi. The bay encompasses approximately 600 square miles with upwards of 2,000 limestone islets. Board a traditional wooden junk to cruise the reflective waters decorated with towering pillars formed by millions of years of wind, rain, and crashing waves. The scent of the briny water accentuates the tranquil ambiance of the bay as you glide along a branch of the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea. The land- and seascape has inspired poets, authors, and photographers. World travelers have come to view the “descending dragons,” which refers to the weathered islands resembling the back of a dragon sleeping in the water.
The boat weighs anchor near Cat Ba, the largest island in the bay. The island is home to a diverse landscape that encompasses the soft white sands lining Lan Ha Bay to the network of caves leading deep into the core of the island. Hospital Cave combines the natural history of Halong Bay with the contemporary history of the American-Vietnam War. The feat of engineering features 17 rooms over three stories erected as a safe bomb-proof hospital for the Viet Cong. The massive natural cavern was used as a cinema for workers and patients.
Hoi An – Travel by Plane to Danang to Explore the City en route to Hoi An
In the early morning, you will join the captain of the ship for a T’ai Chi class. The martial art was invented in China as a form of defense training with health benefits. You practice slow movements while drifting between massive karts. Gain a practical sense of purpose by focusing both on the intention of each motion and the present beauty of your surroundings. A fishing boat passes with fishermen searching for clams, fish, crabs, and shrimp. You will return to shore, where your private transfer escorts you to Hanoi’s airport for a brief flight to Danang.
The city along the water offers a perspective of Vietnam’s constant evolution in real-time. Modernist hotels gleam above the Han riverfront and marvelous bridges connect the distant banks in view of the booming resorts spanning Danang Beach. Conventional monuments and museums retain the classic traditions accentuated by the popular customary street food. For an immersive excursion into history, you will visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture. The fascinating galleries decorate the rooms of a French-colonial structure combined with Cham architectural elements erected in 1915. Over 300 pieces depict the Cham Empire dating from the 2nd century AD until the 19th century AD, which is captured in garudas, apsaras, and images of Ganesh and Shiva.
Hoi An – Discover the Preserved Charms and Cultural Treasures of Hoi An
The charm of Hoi An spans the banks of the Thu Bon River. There is an impressive collection of wealth amassed through the 16th and 17th centuries during the various trade routes with the Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Indian, and Portuguese. In the morning, you will immediately notice the tranquil ambiance of Old Town, which retains a sense of customary allure due to the absence of traffic and pollution. Ancient tea warehouses, antique Chinese temples, and vintage Japanese merchant houses continue to decorate the city leading to the bustling boats and aisles overtaking the marketplace at Cam Nam Island.
The Japanese covered bridge was erected in the 1590s as a link between the Japanese district on one side of the river to the Chinese quarters on the opposite banks. The ornamentation retains a connection to the original edifice. The original archway was restored in the 1980s after the French flattened the bridge for passing cars. Weathered statues depicting monkeys flank the entrance, along with a pair of dogs. The Tan Ky House symbolizes the influence of trade on Hoi An’s culture and artistic aesthetic with the ethnically Vietnamese family home decorated with signs of Japanese and Chinese styles. The courtyard allows light to enter the interior complex while also providing ventilation, in addition to welcoming a modicum of nature into the home.
Ho Chi Minh City – Venture to Saigon to View Iconic Sites and Monuments
The central market in Hoi An is the most active and vibrant in the morning. Vendors sell colorful flowers in front of the marketplace adding floral aromas to the prominent scent of herbs and spices. Merchants sell gorgeous silks, elegant saffron, and intense sticks of cinnamon. Home cooks and chefs venture to the market early to negotiate over fresh fish. You will travel by private transfer to the Danang Airport for the brief flight to Ho Chi Minh City, which locals continue to affectionately call Saigon. The stunning mixture of chic contemporary culture with traditional heritage blends street stalls with sophisticated restaurants and quality boutiques while temples brim with incense and soaring 21st-century high-rises.
Your guided tour of the remarkable city will combine antiquity with a more contemporary view of Saigon from the Jade Emperor Pagoda to the Reunification Palace. Palm trees surround the edifice and contrast the rugged 1960s architecture resembling a government building. The first Communist tanks to enter Saigon in 1975 rolled onto the forecourt and crushed the wrought-iron gates, where they have remained ever since. The original residence was erected in 1868 for the French governor-general of Cochin-China and rebuilt in 1962. Venture into the basement to see a distinctive perspective on the American-Vietnam War, with a replica war room set up to depict the telecommunications center and a warren of tunnels. Old fans whir and the antique radio transmitters sit soundlessly on the tables.
Ho Chi Minh City – Witness the Cu Chi Tunnels and Famous Mekong Delta
The morning light washes over the orange and white hues of the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. The French-colonial architecture contains a Neo-Romanesque design with twin spires reaching over 196 feet above the surrounding streets. You rise early for a guided tour around the outskirts of bustling city streets that lead first to the fascinating mouth of the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Viet Cong utilized the network of passageways during the American-Vietnam War. Altogether, they maneuvered through 155 miles of tunnels. The narrow subterranean spaces acted as hiding places, hospitals, communication centers, and supply routes for the North Vietnamese fighters and provide deep insight into the conditions the troops faced, which hardened their resistance against American forces.
The damp, dark, and confined space can be difficult to maneuver in filling with the scent of musty soil and the legends of booby traps. You continue to the waters of the Mekong Delta, a natural labyrinth of channels fringed with palm trees and tall grass encompassing nearly 15,445 square miles. You help paddle the traditional shallow boat to the shores of a small island fringed with coconut fronds. A local family welcomes you to the island with an abundant display of tropical fruits. The scent of mangosteen and pomelo drift through the air amid the luscious aroma of coconut, which adds a sweet, tropical ambiance to your time on the Mekong River.
Siem Reap – Travel to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat and the Famous Circus
The scent of burning incense fills the gallery of the Jade Emperor Pagoda. The early 20th-century edifice was erected in honor of the Taoist god to represent both Buddhist and Taoist deities as flickering candles illuminate the altars. After breakfast, your private transfer whisks you to Hoi Chi Minh City Airport for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The gateway into Ancient Angkor has become the epicenter of contemporary Cambodia. The region hosts chic hotels, world-class restaurants, and the resilient introduction to the heritage in the continued customs of the merchant and culinary market.
Your guide will greet you in the hotel lobby and escort you into the grand complex of Angkor for a welcoming tour of the main temple Angkor Wat. The magnificent grounds were erected between 1113 and 1150 AD. They encompass approximately 500 acres resulting in one of the largest religious developments ever built. The central tower symbolizes Mount Meru, the home of the gods. The scent of old stone emanates from the halls with decorative bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the sacred Hindu texts of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The decorative bas-relief in the southern section of the east gallery catches your eye with a depiction of the Churning of the Ocean Milk, a marvelous stone carving of 88 asuras and 92 devas churning the sea from which the elixir of immortality springs.
In the evening, you will attend a lauded performance of Phare Ponleu Selpak, the remarkable Cambodian circus. The presentation emphasizes the art of making a social message with moving stories about abuse and hardship combining ancient and contemporary history. The unique blend of storytelling and acrobatics come to the forefront of drama, comedy, and the advanced training of disadvantaged youth shining through a colorful spectacle. The modern acrobatics only accentuate the beauty of Khmer cultural dance and traditional music for a night that effortlessly merges the past with the present.
Siem Reap – Spend a Full Day Exploring the Marvels of the Angkor Complex
You will travel back onto the marvelous grounds of Angkor Archeological Park’s 155 square miles of protected landscape before sunrise. The cool morning juxtaposes the tropical heat of the day. You reach the entrance to Ta Prohm temple, erected by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century. The remarkable complex contains crumbling towers and walls locked in growing vast root systems of the exotic trees pressing tightly against the stone like a slow, deadly embrace. The jungle has begun to swallow the monument back up making you feel like you have stumbled upon a previously undiscovered temple, the way European explorers must have felt when they stumbled upon the ancient city in the 1860s.
As the sun rises over the mixture of soaring trees, rambling vines, and aristocratic walls, you will notice Ta Prohm’s collection of courtyards, narrow corridors, and towers. You notice an eroded bas-relief illustrating the moment when the future Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, left his father’s palace in a scene known as the “Great Departure.” The early hours at Ta Prohm provide a serene moment without the crowds. You will be eager to view the vines wrapping around the doorways and pouring over the colonnades for a majestic, personal experience that reveals the flickering sunlight returning through the jungle canopy.
Siem Reap – Depart for Home
The craftspeople in Les Chantiers Écoles, Siem Reap’s art center, return to the studios in the morning. Artisans have revitalized the customs of traditional culture nearly eradicated during the harsh rule of the Khmer Rouge. Teachers mentor new students in the traditional methods of crafting wood- and stone-carving, as well as silk painting for stunning representations of Angkorian-era depictions, elegant reflections on Hindu mythology, and also handmade household furniture. You will make your way to the Siem Reap Airport by private transfer after breakfast. This brings an end to your tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. You could extend your time in Southeast Asia by traveling into the gorgeous landscapes and hidden histories of Laos or continue your discovery of Cambodia.
- Experience the thrilling ambiance and fascinating artistry of the Angkor complex in Cambodia, home to incredible Angkor Wat
- Sail the stunning waters of Halong Bay for views of sensational karsts, glassy turquoise waters, and a unique tunnel system carved into Cat Ba Island
- Travel the iconic waters of the Mekong Delta, one of the largest river systems in the world, before visiting a local family on a small farming island
- Witness the magnificent Cambodian Circus known as of Phare Ponleu Selpak for a fascinating performance telling contemporary and ancient stories
- Wander through the preserved history of Hoi An’s golden age when you visit elegant merchant houses showcasing the artistic influence of outside cultures
- Enter the narrow network of subterranean passageways known as the Cu Chi Tunnels used during the American-Vietnam War by the Vietcong
- Discover the remarkable collection of 2nd to 15th-century Cham-era artworks on display inside the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Danang
- Enjoy a performance of the Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi, which celebrates an ancient storytelling technique to share preserved legends of Vietnamese History
The mixture of jungle terrain, ebbing waters, and the imperial architecture create a fascinating ambiance during your 10-day historical tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. The distinctive heritage and historic centers retain a sense of the past while moving into contemporary times. Elements of Chinese and French colonial influences are present at bustling markets and captivating landscapes that sweep from the shoreline of the South China Sea to the flowing channels of the Mekong Delta. Exotic, dynamic, compelling, ancient, and modern, Vietnam and Cambodia will exceed your expectations by showcasing the layers of enchanting majesty.
The marvelous adventure through the history of Southeast Asia begins in Vietnam, with a stay in the capital city of Hanoi. The radiant urban space contains picturesque pagodas and fascinating museums, charming cafes, and elaborate temples. The Old Quarter frames the historic culture and the serene shores of Hoan Kiem Lake offer a tranquil escape from the bustling streets. Visit the monuments and enjoy the unique legends told with puppets over water that bring a new perspective to charms of the city. Spend a night on a cruise in Halong Bay that will illuminate the magnificent allure of limestone karsts, glassy waters, and a distinctive cave system hidden in islands that resemble the scales of a dragon descending into the water.
Then, in Hoi An have you will dive deep into the history of Vietnam in the museums of Danang. Marvel at the artistry on display in the Cham Sculpture Museum and the Phap Lam Pagoda. The beauty of Hoi An crosses the running waters of the Thu Bon River to reveal the rise of the affluent merchants who connected the kingdom to distant kingdoms of the Far East and Central Asia, as well as Europe. Visit Ho Chi Minh City for a dizzying mixture of Old-World allure and New-World glamor. The vibrant buzz emanates from monuments like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Giac Lam Pagoda, and the Reunification Palace. The countryside on the outskirts of the city contains the unique network of underground passageways the Vietcong used, which resulted in hundreds of miles of the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Mekong Delta captures the spirit of Vietnam with a rich history of routine flooding that shaped the culture of local villages.
Travel to Siem Reap where Cambodia will immerse you in the historic marvels of Angkor Wat. The temple complex has preserved the images of the Khmer architectural style and kingdom. The temples contain bas-reliefs, spectacular towers, and distinctive story-telling techniques regarding ancient religious Hindu texts. Artists and performers celebrate the ancient past and divulge the struggles of the present told with artisan craftsmanship and the stunning sophisticated styles of acrobats in the Phare Ponleu Selpak circus.
$1,795 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.82 stars based on 269 reviews
"The guides, drivers, attractions and hotels were all top...
Reviewed By brian f.
"The guides and drivers arranged by this travel agency were...
Reviewed By Jim D.
"The tour was tailored exactly to our wants and it was flexible...
Reviewed By Leslye B.
"HIGHLY recommended. "
Reviewed By Ted B.
"[The travel company] planned a meticulous agenda..."
Reviewed By Douglas L.
"The travel team created an absolutely incredible adventure,...
Reviewed By Suzann S.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era