Combine the excitement of Vietnam with the friendly warmth of Cambodi

Take the family on a trip to remember when you voyage across Indochina from Hanoi to Siem Reap via Halong Bay, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Angkor. This trip takes in beaches, historic sites, bustling cities and beautiful rice paddies.

Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Countries
Cambodia,
Vietnam
Themes
Family
Code
TVFC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2 Max 16
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Angkor Wat is simply one of the most amazing sights in South East Asia, and a three-day pass gives you and your family plenty of time to explore this staggering Khmer complex
  • There's a great mix of included activities and free time, which is perfect in atmospheric destinations like Hoi An, with the beach just a short bike ride away
  • Halong Bay is not only an amazing and unique natural wonder – it's a proper escape from the world around you. Sleep under the stars on a comfortable cruise boat and enjoy a sumptuous lunch and dinner on board
  • By dining at KOTO in Hanoi, you'll not only dine on delicious northern specialties, you'll be supporting an excellent cause that connects street kids with careers in hospitality
  • One of the many advantages of group travel is the social aspect, and kids often have playmates, giving you a little more time to relax
  • The novelty of travelling on the back of a cyclo seems to never wear off. Explore Phom Penh's atmospheric riverfront from the back of this three-wheeled wonder

Itinerary

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Meet your driver and be transferred to your hotel. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and thriving Old Quarter. The latter is a veritable architectural museum piece – a great place to explore if you have time today. Your adventure begins with a 6 pm welcome meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Notes: Your arrival transfer is valid only if arriving on Day 1, or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum of 15 days prior to travel (note that we may not be able confirm requests made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details, a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Enjoy a guided tour of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. You will also visit the tranquil Temple of Literature, an oasis of calm in the heart of town. A little later, head to the Museum of Ethnology to learn more about the diverse heritage of Vietnam. For lunch you will dine at the KOTO restaurant, an excellent establishment and longtime friend of Intrepid which lives by the philosophy of 'know one, teach one'. It supports the underprivileged local youth by giving them a chance at making a career in the hospitality industry. In the evening, sit down to a traditional water puppet performance. This northern tradition, dating back nearly a thousand years, is performed alongside Vietnamese music that employs drums, wooden bells, horns and bamboo flutes.
Travel by minibus to the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay (approximately 4 hours). The bay is a breathtaking secluded harbour with some 2,000 limestone islands jutting out of the waters of the Bac Bo Gulf. Board your private boat and cruise among these limestone peaks. There's an opportunity to swim in the famous Vietnam East Sea and explore caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a sky alive with stars. Your sailing junk has twin-share cabins, air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar.

Notes: Due to recent, unforeseen changes by local authorities, many boats are no longer permitted to stay overnight on the bay. This has resulted in a boat shortage. To ensure Intrepid travellers are all accommodated, a larger boat, usually with twelve cabins, may be used, and passengers may be split across multiple boats. An Intrepid leader will be present on each boat, and the route and onboard inclusions will remain the same.
Return to Hanoi by bus (approximately 3.5 hours). From Hanoi you will take an overnight train to Da Nang. Although conditions are basic on your train journey, overnight trains are a classic South East Asian experience and the best way to travel long distances with the locals. Lie back and enjoy the ride! Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but it's a great idea to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit before you head off.

Notes: Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally they're six-berth, depending on seasonal variations) with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. On occasion, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group.
Arrive in Danang and travel by minibus to Hoi An (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around Hoi An's gorgeous Ancient Town. Recently declared a World Heritage site, this old town is beautifully preserved and exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It's perfect for strolling around at a leisurely pace, with many beautiful Japanese houses and Chinese temples lining the narrow lanes. Parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago. It's also a shopping mecca – browse local markets and shops for original paintings, handcrafted woodwork, ceramics, embroidery and lanterns. Hoi An has also become famous for its tailoring, with a great variety of fabrics and tailors to choose from.
After a hearty breakfast, head out on an excursion to CHIA (Children's Hope in Action Centre). This community-based project is a longtime friend of Intrepid. The project endeavours to support disadvantaged children in central Vietnam with a range of services. Here in the wider Quang Nam province, many families are barely surviving on less than three dollars per day, and while life has improved across the country in the last ten years, this is still one of its poorest areas. After learning about the project, and perhaps interacting with some of the local kids, you'll have an afternoon of free time with which to further explore Hoi An.
Spend today as you please. Perhaps take up a cooking class and learn the secrets of preparing local specialties like cao lau (dark pork broth with thick yellow noodles, sliced pork, bean sprouts and green vegetables). Street food tours can also be arranged. Alternatively, hire some bikes and take the family out on a cycling trip into the gorgeous surrounding countryside. Another great activity which kids will enjoy is a bamboo basket ride down the waterways of the jungle. For more optional day trips and half-day trips, chat to your leader. Getting some clothing tailored while you're here is a great idea – it's a speciality of this town, and many merchants offer a same-day service.
Take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds – a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. Check out Ben Thanh Market and experience a delicious local lunch of street food. Afterwards, you're free to explore the city on your own. Your leader will have plenty of interesting and fun ideas for you and the family. Consider scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City, for a bit of temple-hopping. Or visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some serious shopping.
Board the boat to Ben Tre to see a coconut candy factory and sample the local candies for which this region is famous. Take the opportunity for a tuk-tuk trip around this remote village with a stop to sample tropical fruits, and visit a honey farm to learn more about local rural life. Then visit a nearby restaurant in the heart of the delta, where you can sample some of the regional specialities such as elephant-ear fish. After lunch, you will board a sampan (small rowing boat) and paddle past the many water coconut trees that populate the Mekong Delta. Boarding your main private boat, cruise through more major waterways, arriving in My Tho town. Here your bus back to Ho Chi Minh City will be waiting for you.
Sua s'dei! Welcome to Cambodia. It's a short flight here (approximately 1 hour). The sensational ruins of Angkor may be the main attraction, but Cambodia’s secluded beaches, charming villages and magical markets deserve lots of attention too. While Phnomh Penh has suffered from years of civil war, its former glory and colour is re-emerging. Your hotel in Phnom Penh is located in the heart of the city. A welcome meeting will be held today with your leader for the Cambodia section of the trip. Afterwards, there is an optional group dinner with your fellow travellers.
Explore the historic buildings of the Riverfront area by cylco, Cambodia's signature three-wheeled rickshaw. In the afternoon, journey by remork (local tuk tuk) and a local boat to a Mekong Island, where you will get an insight into the daily lives of the people who make their living from silk weaving, agriculture and aquaculture. Your day concludes with a boat cruise starting along the junction of the Tonle Bassac, Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers. If the weather's fine, the sunset is sure to be spectacular from out on the water. This is one for the photographers!
After breakfast, fly to Siem Reap (approximately 1 hour). Siem Reap is the gateway to Ankor, Cambodia's larger-than-life Khmer temple complex, which is located about 7 kilometres away. The town of Siem Reap itself is worth exploring too. The street food, inexpensive and delicious, is sure to be a hit among spice lovers and foodies alike. A visit to the old market is a must, even if you're not looking for souvenirs. Wandering through the stalls and surrounding shops the silks, cottons, sarongs, silver and statues are a riot of colour and a feast for the eyes. There's also a long tradition of shadow puppetry in the region, and if you're lucky you might catch a show at one of the local restaurants in the evening. For something relaxing, perhaps indulge in a traditional Khmer massage.
After breakfast, be collected by your local guide and head to Angkor. This mind-boggling temple complex was built between the 9th and 12th centuries and were meant to represent the cosmic world, perfectly aligned in balance and symmetry. Look out for the monkeys that gather on the temple ruins along the way. Your tour of the site visits Angkor Wat (the largest religious site in the world), Ta Prohm (the jungle temple made famous by the Tomb Raider films) and Bayon (a 54-tower marvel adorned with some 200 huge smiling faces carved from stone). Angkor Wat is particularly spectacular, and nothing can quite prepare you for your first glimpse of the temple's five majestic towers. As you approach, the intricacy of the layout becomes apparent, and close up, every nook and cranny reveals itself to be filled with finest detail. Throughout the day, the colours of the stone seem to change, and at dusk the spires are a lovely golden colour.
Venture into the countryside to visit ACCB (Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity) which is housed at the base of Kbal Spien Moutain. Its resident creatures include gibbons, monkeys, anteaters, snakes, giant ibis and turtles. On the way, you'll pass through rural villages where you can sample sugar palm candy as it is made. On the way back to town, visit the exquisite Banteay Srey (Citadel of the Women) and see its classical Khmer art carved into the pinkish sandstone. You might like to stop at the Landmine Museum which was set up in 1997 by the former child soldier Aki Ra. After lunch at Bong Thom homestay you will visit Banteay Srei Butterfly Centre. After dinner tonight you will visit Phare The Cambodian Circus whose performers come from vulnerable households. Like a Cambodian Cirque Du Soleil, its modern Khmer tales mix theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling, aerial acts, and contortion.
Today is a departure day and no activities have been planned. If you and your family are not 'templed out', perhaps explore some more of Angkor with your three-day temple pass. Your leader can help you arrange a remork or a car to take you out. If you have extra time, you might like to deepen your culinary knowledge with a Khmer Cooking Class, take a trip to the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, indulge yourself with high tea at Raffles Hotel, or simply relax by the hotel pool.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
14 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Car, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle
Accommodation
Hotel (9 nights)
Included activities
  • Hanoi - Water puppet show
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology
  • Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
  • Hoi An - Ancient town guided walk and entrance ticket
  • Children Hope in Action visit
  • River cruise
  • Local Guide half day Phnom Penh
  • Phnom Penh - Cyclo tour
  • Siem Reap - Three Day Angkor Pass
  • Siem Reap - Phare Cambodia Circus Ticket
  • Angkor Butterfly Center Ticket
  • Siem Reap - Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity

Dates

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Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Indochina Family Holiday trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews in the last year.

Indochina Family Holiday , June 2016