On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights

20 nights from £2075

Angkor Wat
Boats in Hoi An
Rice terraces at Pu Luong
Making rice pancakes, Mekong Delta
Karst scenery at Halong Bay
Start:Hanoi
Finish:Siem Reap
Duration:20 Nights
Group size:4 - 16
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Simple
Physical rating:Medium, Easy to Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 19 Lunch: 2 Dinner: 3
Diets:Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour operated in: English

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Overview

A holiday that explores the exciting diversity of Vietnam on foot. Enjoy walking tours around the must-see city sights in Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, and rural rambles between tribal villages and to ancient jungle temples. Extend your trip to visit the laid-back Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh and incredible temple complex at Angkor. Halong Bay - Cruise among breathtaking limestone landscapes aboard a junk Hoi An - Discover this charming ancient merchant's town Culinary delights - Enjoy Vietnam's amazing street food .......read more
Highlights
  • Halong Bay - Cruise among breathtaking limestone landscapes aboard a junk
  • Hoi An - Discover this charming ancient merchant's town
  • Culinary delights - Enjoy Vietnam's amazing street food

Itinerary

Location: Hanoi

The trip starts today in Hanoi. Vietnam's bustling capital is architecturally styled like a French provincial town, with tree-lined boulevards and low-rise buildings. It's a wonderful city to explore on foot. Your Leader plans to meet everyone in the hotel reception at 4pm for a welcome meeting. Afterwards, for those that wish, we'll head to a restaurant for dinner. On the way to dinner your leader will orientate you and introduce you to life in Vietnam as you head through some of the bustling streets and markets of Hanoi's Old Quarter. The maze of fascinating alleys is known for its interesting 'tube' houses, whose narrow frontages give way to long rooms that stretch back from the road. There are no other activities planned today. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), which is 45 minutes from the hotel. Please note that if you wish to join the afternoon orientation tour today, you must arrive at the hotel by 4pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around 45 minutes' drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 1pm. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information by note left at the front desk.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Pù Luông Nature Reserve

Leaving Hanoi behind this morning, we drive west to the Pu Luong Nature Reserve, a beautiful region of limestone cliffs, forests and terraced fields that is richly biodiverse. This area is a home to the Thai ethnic minority tribe who live in villages of stilt houses. We will be staying in the heart of the Reserve at the Pu Luong Retreat, an eco-friendly lodge built from traditional materials in a 'boutique' style, with breathtaking views all around. There is even an infinity pool in the former fish pond! At the Retreat we will be staying in its unique stilt house, a beautifully appointed and traditional structure where we sleep on comfortable mattresses in one very large room that can be divided into sections by curtains. The shared bathrooms are connected to the stilt house and open to the elements. See http://puluongretreat.com/house-on-stilt/. On arriving at the Nature Reserve, we hike across the paddy fields to our accommodation while the bus continues there with our luggage. We can expect today's eight kilometre walk to take around two-and-a-half hours across gently undulating terrain.

Accommodation: Stilt House

Location: Pù Luông Nature Reserve

We spend today hiking among the beautiful landscapes of the Reserve and will enjoy plenty of stops along the way, planning to spend time in some of the villages of the Thai minority tribe and have a traditional lunch at a local house en route. Today's leisurely paced hike of approximately 10 kilometres will take around five hours across gently undulating terrain.

Accommodation: Stilt House

Location: Hanoi

In the morning we enjoy another walk, rambling alongside the bubbling river with its vast wooden waterwheels which transport its waters to irrigate the terraced paddy fields. Ending at spot where we take to the river on simple bamboo rafts, we float along in this tranquil place and will no doubt feel rejuvenated and ready for our adventure ahead! We return to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi later today with time in the evening to enjoy a performance of traditional water puppets (optional). These puppet shows date back to the 11th century, and performances took place in the flooded rice fields of the villages in the Red River Delta. This morning's walk covers approximately five-and-a-half kilometres and is expected to take around two-and-a-half hours.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Hạ Long Bay

This morning we will discover more of Hanoi outside of the Old Quarter on a walking tour. Architecturally styled like a French provincial town with tree-lined boulevards and substantial low-built houses, the city is wonderfully nostalgic. Among the interesting sights that we will visit are the charming One-Pillar Pagoda, Confucius Temple and the Presidential Palace. Ho Chi Minh himself, a spartan-living and scholarly man, chose not to live in the Presidential Palace; he preferred instead a simple teak stilt-house specially built for him and which we will see in the Palace grounds. In the afternoon we drive to our hotel at Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin. We can expect today's seven kilometre walking tour to take around four hours including sightseeing.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Train

This morning we enjoy the romantic scenery of Halong Bay on a junk cruise amongst the thousands of jagged limestone islands that rise out of the jade green waters like the hairy scales of a submerged dragon! In fact Halong means: 'Where the dragon descends to the sea'. As legend has it the rugged seascape was created by the pounding tail of a dragon as he ran from the mountains into the sea, carving the islands in his wake. During our cruise we'll have the chance to stop at a grotto beneath towering cliffs and perhaps visit a beach and enjoy a delicious freshly caught seafood lunch on board the boat. After disembarking, we return to our hotel in Hanoi to freshen up before boarding the 'Reunification Express' to Hue. We travel 'soft sleeper' class on the train, with four people to a compartment with all bedding provided.

Accommodation: Overnight Train

Location: Hue

Awaking aboard the train, we pass through a rural landscape of seemingly endless rice paddies before arriving in the city of Hue mid morning. This afternoon we will discover Hue's fascinating history on a walking tour around the Imperial Citadel. Located on the left bank of the river, the palace was built by the Nguyen dynasty, Vietnam's ruling emperors from the early 1800s to 1945. The Citadel has formal moats and impressive ramparts that were constructed by 20,000 men and was a copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Although most of the inner part of the city was totally destroyed during the month-long Tet Offensive in 1968, the vast outer walls and the west wing remain an eloquent reminder of the palace's former glory. We can expect today's seven kilometre walking tour to take around three-and-a-half hours including sightseeing.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Hue

This morning we drive out of the city to enjoy a hike through the countryside and villages overlooking the Huong Giang River, better known as the Perfume River. Exploring on foot enables us to observe rural life up close and our leader is always on hand to explain what we see. Various cottage industries take place in the villages here including silk painting, bronze casting and incense stick production. The river supposedly got its name from the aromas carried by the river downstream from the forests and mountains of its source. Near the end of our walk we'll stop on Vong Canh Hill to admire the great view of the river down below before descending to board our own boat for a leisurely cruise along the river back to Hue. Today's hike of approximately eight kilometres will take around three hours. We will walk along village footpaths and the terrain is undulating.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Hội An

Today we enjoy a scenic drive south to Hoi An, crossing the spectacular Hai Van Pass en route and passing through rural scenes of thatched, wooden houses and lime-green rice paddies as well as panoramic sea views. The UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An was one of the busiest international trading ports of Southeast Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries. First colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it still retains its medieval charm today, with many of its old buildings superbly preserved. The afternoon has been left free to explore Hoi An at your own pace. You may choose to visit the Japanese Bridge or some of the Chinese temples and meeting halls in the Old Town. There are also many shops, bars and restaurants and it is a great place to buy souvenirs, have clothing tailored or simply watch the world go by in a riverside cafe.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Hội An

Today we drive for around an hour from Hoi An and enjoy a hike through a hilly landscape of pine forest and grasslands to the ancient Cham site of My Son. The Chams were dynastic lords who rejected the authority of China in the second century and established their own kingdom in what is now Vietnam. Although they benefited from strong sea links with the rest of South East Asia, the kingdom's interior could not supply sufficient food for a strong military force. For 1000 years they managed to stave off attacks by the Vietnamese and Chinese, before being overcome by the Vietnamese in the 15th century. The site is impressive, despite the fact that much of it was bombed in the 1960s and there are several groupings of Cham temples which we can visit. We can expect today's eight kilometre hike to take around four-and-a-half hours across undulating terrain with a high point of 168m.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Bình Hòa Phước

After a short drive to Danang Airport first thing this morning, we fly to Ho Chi Minh City, from where we drive further south to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta. Surrounded with lush and fertile land the area is home to small villages and swaying coconut palms. We take a walk on Tan Phong Islands to see local Delta life. Later we travel by boat to the island of Binh Hoa Phoc where we spend the night in a local homestay-cum-guesthouse. At the homestay we will be accommodated in a mix of twin and triple rooms with attached bathrooms. The rich soil of the Mekong provides an abundant harvest, including coconut, fruits, rice and of course fish and tonight we will enjoy a dinner of local produce We can expect today's four kilometre hike to take around one-and-a-half hours.

Accommodation: Homestay

Location: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning we plan a walk on the island, stopping off along the way to observe some of the traditional cottage industries of the Delta such as the production of rice paper and coconut sweets. Other glimpses of everyday life may include seeing people catching fish from the river, or mending baskets and repairing tools by the river bank. Departing by boat once more we meet our bus in Vinh Long and drive to our final destination of the trip, Ho Chi Minh City. Still unofficially referred to as 'Saigon', the city is the largest in Vietnam with a population of around eight million. You will find an eclectic mix of the traditional and the new, where pagodas and markets compete alongside the trappings of Vietnam's newly discovered entrepreneurial spirit. We can expect today's eight-and-a-half kilometre hike to take around three hours across at a leisurely pace. The terrain of the Delta is flat.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning we walk around the central sights of Old Saigon, now known as District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. We see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the GPO building as well as some of the old French Colonial hotels such as The Rex. We then continue to the Independence Palace (renamed the Reunification Hall) and the War Remnants Museum. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city further, perhaps with a visit to the huge Ben Thanh market for some shopping. We can expect today's five kilometre walking tour to take around four hours including sightseeing.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Phnom Penh

This morning we take a short drive out of the city to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, which formed an incredible underground command base for 10,000 Viet Cong troops and were a major part of the 1968 Tet Offensive. The site is a fascinating insight into the resourcefulness of the Vietnamese. There is the opportunity to crawl through a small specially adapted section of the tunnels should you wish to sample the claustrophobic conditions in which the Viet Cong lived. Afterwards we bid farewell to our tour leader who continues back to Ho Chi Minh City while you join with customers who have been enjoying other trips in Vietnam to continue by road into Cambodia. Border formalities take place at Moc Bai (Vietnam) and Bavet (Cambodia) crossing point. Our final destination is Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh took over from Angkor as Cambodia's capital city in the 1440s. It is now a lively city with many French colonial buildings and plenty to see. Accompanied by a local guide we visit the National Museum, a treasure trove of beautifully preserved carvings and lintels rescued from Angkor; the emotive Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly a high school that became the Khmer Rouge's main torture and interrogation centre; and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek - the memorial stupa is a glass tower filled with human skulls - a gruesome reminder of the scale of Pol Pot's atrocities. This afternoon we visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda as well as the temple of Wat Phnom before having some free time in the city.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Phnom Penh

Today is free allowing you the opportunity to explore the city or its surrounds further. Optional excursions close to the city include a trip to Silk Island, Chiso Mountain or the abandoned Royal City of Oudong. Each of these excursions are half a day in duration and may be combined, your tour leader will discuss in more detail. Silk Island or Koh Dach is reached by a short boat journey along the Mekong where the majority of villagers on the island earn a living through producing handicrafts. It is a great opportunity to learn more about traditional ways of life and interact with locals as you learn about silk weaving, woodcarving, pottery, painting, and jewellery making. Chiso Mountain (380m), located in Sia village about 62 km south of Phnom Penh, is topped by the ruins of an 11th century Khmer Brahmanic Temple with fine views of the surrounding paddy fields. Oudong is about an hour north of the capital and offers the opportunity to explore attractive historic temples and stupas.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Krong Siem Reap

This morning we make an early start for our drive to Siem Reap, stopping somewhere for lunch on the way. Later in the day we journey to nearby Tonle Sap Lake where we board our charter boat for a leisurely cruise through the fascinating floating village of Chong Kneas, where we see stilt houses, floating markets and an array of boats.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Krong Siem Reap

Our exact programme over the next three days may change slightly at our local guide's discretion (to avoid crowds, coincide with sunsets, etc.). Angkor was actually a series of cities, built between the 9th and the 13th centuries by the Khmer kings, with a population of 750,000 in its heyday. The Angkor complex is spread out over some 155 square kilometres, scattered with magnificent carved stone temples, elegant sculptures and incredible bas reliefs. We visit the Rolous group, which are some of the earliest temples. In the afternoon we visit the temples of Banteay Srei, a small but beautiful temples with exquisite carvings. We end the day at East Mebon, with a visit to Pre Rup temple for sunset.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Krong Siem Reap

We continue our exploration with a visit to the temples of King Jayavarman Vll, reputedly Angkor's greatest king. The fortified city of Angkor Thom, which he built at the end of the 12th century is enclosed by a square wall with five monumental gates decorated with stone elephant trunks. Originally, crocodiles inhabited the moat and huge statues of 54 different gods protected each gate. The city contains another of Angkor's true gems - The Bayon. Although not as impressive as Angkor Wat from a distance, The Bayon is nevertheless incredible for its maze of corridors, gothic style towers and magical central temples. We'll explore The Terrace of the Elephants and the Leper King, the Baphuon and Phimeanakas, and some of the surrounding temples such as Preah Khan.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Krong Siem Reap

On our final day we make a visit to the 2nd Angkor capital that includes the temples of Prasat Kravan, Banteay Kdei and Takeo. A highlight for many is a visit to the atmospheric temple of Ta Prohm, where the film Tomb Raider was filmed, lying half consumed by the jungle. We leave the best known and most breathtaking of all the sights, Angkor Wat, to the end - where we stay until the sun sets on the last night of our adventure.

Accommodation: Hotel

Location: Krong Siem Reap

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Siem Reap. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Siem Reap at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Siem Reap International Airport (airport code REP), which is around 30 minutes drive from the hotel.

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What's Included

Included
  • Accommodation
  • Fully Guided
  • Meals – Breakfast Only
    Breakfast: 19 Lunch: 2 Dinner: 3
  • Train Tickets
  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

Not Included
  • Tipping and Gratuities
  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day
  • Country Entry Visas

FAQ

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Reviews

5* On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights
An excellent trip, pretty full on with plenty to see and do
Added By:
Date: 24-Feb-2020

5* On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights
It was my first Explore trip and having never done a group trip before I was slightly nervous about this element of it. But it was a fantastic experience from start to finish and I can't wait to book my next trip.
Added By:
Date: 30-Dec-2017

5* On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights
Tra Sopheaktra our leader/guide in Cambodia - whose name I could not find on the leaders list - is the BEST guide I have ever had on any holiday.
Added By:
Date: 02-Aug-2020

5* On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights
I would highly recommend both tour leaders as for their local knowledge and enthusiasm for their people and country. They were happy people and were very much aware of the needs of all..
Added By:
Date: 22-Mar-2018

5* On Foot in Vietnam + Cambodia Highlights
We rated this as the best holiday it was a real adventure will be remembered and talked about for a long time
Added By:
Date: 24-Nov-2017

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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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05-Mar-2022
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05-Mar-2022
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05-Mar-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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29-Oct-2022
20 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share View live deal
12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share View live deal
12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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12-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share View live deal
19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share View live deal
19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share Flight Included View live deal
19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share Flight Included View live deal
19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
Twin Share Flight Included View live deal
19-Nov-2022
20 Nights
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Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

20 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:Hanoi
Finish:Siem Reap
Duration:20 Nights
Group size:4 - 16
Suitable for: Adult
Accommodation:Simple
Physical rating:Medium, Easy to Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 19 Lunch: 2 Dinner: 3
Diets:Vegetarians, Vegans
Tour operated in: English
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