Hanoi Vietnam Timeless Wonders 2017

Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong

15 DAYS FROM HO CHI MINH CITY TO HANOI

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the tranquil Park Hyatt Saigon hotel.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City

FEATURED EXCURSION: Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City
Known as Saigon for centuries, the city boasts incredible French Colonial architecture—including a post office designed by Gustav Eiffel—and the mid-20th-century Reunification Palace. A Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine at a beautiful restaurant caps the day.


Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City, transfer to My Tho (embark)

FEATURED EXCURSION: Vestiges of War - Cu Chi Tunnels
Entering the Cu Chi tunnels, which stretch to the Cambodian border, is an adventure. Join your ship in My Tho and kick off your Mekong River voyage with a Welcome Reception and dinner.


Day 4: Cai Be, Vinh Long

FEATURED EXCURSION: Village life on the Mekong

In the Mekong Delta, residents live, work and shop on the water, and villages like Cai Be and Vinh Long are home to busy little family-run factories and historic colonial houses. Catch a trishaw for a ride through town and listen to the stories of village elders who have seen so many changes in Vietnam.

Day 5: Sa Dec, Gieng Island, cruising the Mekong River

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Sampans and colonial romance
Oar-powered sampans, the traditional flat-bottomed boats of Vietnam, fill the narrow canals and inlets of the delta, carrying passengers—including you—to bustling waterfront markets. See how they’re built, observe the daily lives of the locals, and discover scenes made famous by Marguerite Duras’ novel The Lover. Also visit the small island of Gieng, where you will be very surprised to see such an architecturally impressive Catholic cathedral, built shortly after the one in Saigon.


Day 6: Tan Chau, Evergreen Island, cruising the Mekong River

FEATURED EXCURSION: Daily life on the great delta
Did you know that Vietnam has its own religion? Learn the meaning of every color used in the Cao Dai temple in Tan Chau; later, feed the fish at a fish farm, meet the farmers of Evergreen Island, enjoy a rickshaw ride, and relax onboard the ship as it sets sail for the Cambodian border.


Day 7: Phnom Penh

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Cambodia's capital - Phnom Penh
Wide boulevards, saffron-robed monks, French Colonial architecture and traditional Khmer pagodas—Phnom Penh is a feast for the eyes, as you’ll see on a cyclo tour. You'll also visit the Royal Palace’s Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda—which contains jewel-encrusted Buddhas and a floor completely tiled with pure silver—and the National Museum, where priceless artifacts from Angkor Wat are displayed.


Day 8: Phnom Penh, cruising the Mekong River

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: The Killing Fields - tragedy and reconciliation in Cambodia
Six thousand photographs of the dead line the walls of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a moving and revealing tribute to the nation’s grievous experience under the Khmer Rouge. Cambodians don’t live in the past, however, as a visit to the silk weavers on a Mekong island demonstrates.


Day 9: Angkor Ban, Wat Hanchey

FEATURED EXCURSION: Cambodia's vibrant cultural life
Visit a local school and villagers in their homes before strolling through an eighth-century temple where monks will bestow an unforgettable water blessing upon you.


Day 10: Kampong Cham (disembark), transfer to Siem Reap

Siem Reap is your base for exploring Angkor Wat, the heart of the ancient Khmer empire. The city has an allure all its own, with sprawling markets, a lively dining scene and enticing street food.

You’ll disembark in the morning and transfer via executive motorcoach to Siem Reap, a place name that means, literally, “Defeat of Siam”—which tells you something of its history. It is the gateway to Angkor, the legendary archaeological site.

Day 11: Siem Reap

FEATURED EXCURSION: Amazing Angkor Wat, Art School & Artisan Visit by remork

Today is a Bucket List Moment kind of day, as you unleash your inner Indiana Jones and explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, a gigantic religious complex that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regarded as the pinnacle of the dazzling, inventive culture that flourished in medieval Cambodia, it is one of the most spectacular monuments you will ever lay eyes on.

The next two days are devoted to the astonishing Angkor Wat complex.

Amazing Angkor Wat
Every aspect of Angkor Wat had religious meaning to its builders 900 years ago: the great rectangular moat, the main gate facing the west, the towers topped with stone lotuses, the huge smiling stone heads, the layout of the lanes and buildings. The largest religious monument in the world, magnificent Angkor Wat is the single most recognizable landmark in Cambodia. It is simply breathtaking in both size and scope and boasts the longest continuous bas-relief in the world. Although Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its importance is so immeasurable, several other conservation organizations have been enlisted to help ensure its protection. And yet, Angkor Wat is just one piece of this enormous complex at the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire (which ruled this region between the ninth and 12th centuries). It was part of a roughly 250-square-mile (64,749-hectare) city that has largely disappeared into the jungle, though excavation efforts are ongoing (recent laser imaging has revealed another, even larger nearby city under the jungle floor that was linked to the temple city).

Art School & Artisan Visit by remork
Climb aboard a remork for a relaxing tour of the streets of Siem Reap, with stops at several artisans’ workshop that will introduce you to Siem Reap’s thriving arts scene. Your first stop is Tlai Tno, an art association where young performers learn the intricate moves of traditional Apsara dance. You’ll also visit Artisans Angkor’s workshops, which promote the resurrection of traditional Khmer crafts: hand-carved sculptures in wood or stone, lacquer work, silk paintings and silk fabrics—all locally made by hand in the traditional way—are available at the shop.

NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 11 and 12. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.

Day 12: Siem Reap

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: South gate of Angkor Thom Bayon and Ta Prohm or Apsara show and dinner

Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Prepare to be amazed! Built during the heyday of the Khmer dynasty in the 12th century, this extraordinary complex of Hindu and Buddhist monuments was once lost to the world for many years, hidden under dense jungle vines.

South gate of Angkor Thom Bayon and Ta Prohm
Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Once a huge, square city, Angkor Thom was founded in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII after his people’s previous capital had been overrun by the Chams. You can still see the defensive measures that surrounded the city—in fact, you’ll enter through one, crossing over the moat and passing between the stone figures lining the lane leading to the intricately decorated south gate in the great wall around Angkor Thom. The king’s palace, made of wood, has long since vanished, but the ruins that remain are astonishing, including the pyramidal temple of Bayon, with the enormous carved heads that have become an iconic symbol of the Angkor archaeological area. You’ll also visit the temples of Bantey Srei and Bantey Samre. You’ll have some time for lunch on your own before heading to the amazing “jungle temple” of Ta Prohm. Unlike the other Angkor temples, which have been painstakingly excavated and restored, Ta Prohm has been left almost as it was found. Massive trees grow like magic out of stone walls and roofs, their tentacle-like roots pouring over doorways and stretching across courtyards. This manmade wonder has been reclaimed by the jungle over the course of many centuries, and exploring it is sure to bring out the adventurer in you. From Ta Prohm, you’ll move on to the unfinished temple of Ta Keo. Legend has it that construction on Ta Keo was suspended when the temple was struck by lightning—an event that was considered a bad omen.

Apsara show and dinner
After an exciting day of sightseeing, you’ll indulge in a lavish dinner with an Apsara dance show. Apsara is the traditional Khmer dance form that tells stories and conveys messages using ornate costumes, graceful movements, codified facial expressions, and distinctive hand and foot positions. The many Apsara figures that adorn Angkor and pre-Angkor temples you’ve just visited testify to the dance form’s long and esteemed history.

NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 11 and 12. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.

Day 13: Siem Reap, fly to Hanoi

Featured Excursion: Khmer Noodle House at Preak Dak Village

Today you'll fly from Siem Reap to Hanoi and check into your luxury hotel, where you'll be greeted with a private check-in and a welcome briefing with complimentary drinks. The remainder of your time today is yours to spend at leisure in Vietnam's charming capital city.

Khmer Noodle House at Preak Dak Village
Khmer legend holds that China got the recipe for noodles from a Cambodian exile. Modern-day foodies know that if Cambodia has a national dish, it’s num banh chok, the traditional rice noodles that are most often combined with fish sauce and fresh vegetables—and the num banh chok made in Preah Dak is famous throughout the country. This village, near the Angkor Wat temple complex, abounds in noodle stalls, but the highlight for visitors may be the chance to see the traditional process by which these noodles are made. Watch as the rice flour and water are hand-kneaded to form a dough, which is then laboriously pressed through a heavy mill to create the noodles. Preah Dak itself is as almost as traditional as the noodle-making process, as you’ll see as you stroll among the stilt houses: water buffalo graze nearby, water is drawn from wells, and meals are cooked over open fires.

Day 14: Hanoi

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Atmospheric Hanoi
Parisian elegance infuses Hanoi’s boulevards, which are lined with handsome colonial buildings. Take in a traditional water puppet show and a complex honoring Ho Chi Minh, founder of modern Vietnam, that contains his residence, a museum devoted to his life, and the famous One Pillar Pagoda, which has been built and rebuilt since 1049. You can see another aspect of Vietnam’s history if you step into one of the dank cells at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton.” Your Southeast Asian adventure ends with a Farewell Dinner with complimentary wine and live entertainment at one of Hanoi’s most charming establishments.


Day 15: Depart Hanoi (Vietnam)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your tour with optional extensions.

Day 1: Hanoi

A Uniworld representative will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the tranquil InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Atmospheric Hanoi
Parisian elegance infuses Hanoi’s boulevards, which are lined with handsome colonial buildings. Take in a traditional water puppet show and a complex honoring Ho Chi Minh, founder of modern Vietnam, that contains his residence, a museum devoted to his life, and the famous One Pillar Pagoda, which has been built and rebuilt since 1049. You can see another aspect of Vietnam’s history if you step into one of the dank cells at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton.” Your Southeast Asian adventure ends with a Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine and live entertainment at one of Hanoi’s most charming establishments.


Day 3: Hanoi, fly to Siem Reap Cambodia

Enjoy free time in Hanoi before your flight to Siem Reap, then check into the elegant and serene Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort.

Day 4: Siem Reap

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Angkor Wat and Khmer Noodle House at Preah Dak Village, Art School and Artisan Visit by Remork

Today is a Bucket List Moment kind of day, as you unleash your inner Indiana Jones and explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, a gigantic religious complex that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Regarded as the pinnacle of the dazzling, inventive culture that flourished in medieval Cambodia, it is one of the most spectacular monuments you will ever lay eyes on. The next two days are devoted to the astonishing Angkor Wat complex.

Angkor Wat and Khmer Noodle House at Preah Dak Village
Put on your walking shoes and prepare to explore one of the wonders of the world: the vast, fascinating and stunning temple complex known as Angkor Wat. Every aspect of Angkor Wat had religious meaning to its builders 900 years ago: the great rectangular moat, the main gate facing the west, the towers topped with stone lotuses, the huge smiling stone heads, the layout of the lanes and buildings. The largest religious monument in the world, magnificent Angkor Wat is the single most recognizable landmark in Cambodia. It is simply breathtaking in both size and scope. Today you’ll get your passes to the site and take a tour of the broad outlines of the complex; tomorrow you’ll explore further. Following your introduction to Angkor Wat, you’ll head off to nearby Preah Dak, a village famous for its num banh chok, the traditional rice noodles that are Cambodia’s unofficial national dish. (Noodles are so intrinsic to Cambodian cuisine that the nation claims China got the recipe for noodles from a Cambodian exile.) Noodle stalls abound in Preah Dak, but the highlight for visitors may be the chance to see the traditional process by which these noodles are made at the Khmer Noodle House. Watch as the rice flour and water are hand-kneaded to form a dough, which is then laboriously pressed through a heavy mill to create the noodles. Preah Dak itself is as almost as traditional as the noodle-making process, as you’ll see as you stroll among the stilt houses: water buffalo graze nearby, water is drawn from wells, and meals are cooked over open fires.

Art School & Artisan Visit by remork
Climb aboard a remork for a relaxing tour of the streets of Siem Reap, with stops at several artisans’ workshop that will introduce you to Siem Reap’s thriving arts scene. Your first stop is Tlai Tno, an art association where young performers learn the intricate moves of traditional Apsara dance. You’ll also visit Artisans Angkor’s workshops, which promote the resurrection of traditional Khmer crafts: hand-carved sculptures in wood or stone, lacquer work, silk paintings and silk fabrics—all locally made by hand in the traditional way—are available at the shop.

NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 5 and 4. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.

Day 5: Siem Reap

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: South gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ta Prohm or Apsara show and dinner

Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Prepare to be amazed! Built during the heyday of the Khmer dynasty in the 12th century, this extraordinary complex of Hindu and Buddhist monuments was once lost to the world for many years, hidden under dense jungle vines.

South gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ta Prohm
Today you will enter the spectacular remnants of Angkor Thom, the royal city. Once a huge, square city, Angkor Thom was founded in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII after his people’s previous capital had been overrun by the Chams. You can still see the defensive measures that surrounded the city—in fact, you’ll enter through one, crossing over the moat and passing between the stone figures lining the lane leading to the intricately decorated south gate in the great wall around Angkor Thom. The king’s palace, made of wood, has long since vanished, but the ruins that remain are astonishing, including the pyramidal temple of Bayon, with the enormous carved heads that have become an iconic symbol of the Angkor archaeological area. You’ll also visit the temples of Bantey Srei and Bantey Samre. You’ll have some time for lunch on your own before heading to the amazing “jungle temple” of Ta Prohm. Unlike the other Angkor temples, which have been painstakingly excavated and restored, Ta Prohm has been left almost as it was found. Massive trees grow like magic out of stone walls and roofs, their tentacle-like roots pouring over doorways and stretching across courtyards. This manmade wonder has been reclaimed by the jungle over the course of many centuries, and exploring it is sure to bring out the adventurer in you. From Ta Prohm, you’ll move on to the unfinished temple of Ta Keo. Legend has it that construction on Ta Keo was suspended when the temple was struck by lightning—an event that was considered a bad omen.

Apsara show and dinner
After an exciting day of sightseeing, you’ll indulge in a lavish dinner with an Apsara dance show. Apsara is the traditional Khmer dance form that tells stories and conveys messages using ornate costumes, graceful movements, codified facial expressions, and distinctive hand and foot positions. The many Apsara figures that adorn Angkor and pre-Angkor temples you’ve just visited testify to the dance form’s long and esteemed history.

NOTE: Order of sightseeing may change on Days 5 and 4. Temple visits are subject to change due to factors beyond our control.

Day 6: Siem Reap, transfer to Kampong Cham (embark)

Today, you’ll have free time to explore the Siem Reap, a place name that means, literally, “Defeat of Siam”—which tells you something of its history. It is the gateway to Angkor, the legendary archaeological site. Later check out and transfer via executive motorcoach to Kampong Cham, to embark on the beautiful Mekong Navigator—your elegant home for the next seven nights—and set sail on the beautiful Mekong.

Day 7: Wat Hanchey, Angkor Ban

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Cambodia's vibrant cultural life
Visit a local school and villagers in their homes before strolling through an eighth-century temple where monks will bestow an unforgettable water blessing upon you.


Day 8: Phnom Penh

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: The Killing Fields-tragedy and reconciliation in Cambodia
Six thousand photographs of the dead line the walls of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a moving and revealing tribute to the nation's grievous experience under the Khmer Rouge. Cambodians don't live in the past, however, as a visit to the silk weavers on a Mekong island demonstrates.

Day 9: Phnom Penh

FEATURED EXCURSION: Cambodia's capital- Phnom Penh
Wide boulevards, saffron-robed monks, French Colonial architecture and traditional Khmer pagodas—Phnom Penh is a feast for the eyes, as you’ll see on a cyclo tour. You'll also visit the Royal Palace’s Throne Hall and Silver Pagoda—which contains jewel-encrusted Buddhas and a floor completely tiled with pure silver—and the National Museum, where priceless artifacts from Angkor Wat are displayed.


Day 10: Cruising the Mekong River, Evergreen Island, Tan Chau

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Daily life on the great delta
In the Mekong Delta, residents live, work, and even shop on the water. Today you’ll get a taste for this way of life during a sampan tour of lively Tan Chau harbor, which teems with traditional Vietnamese floating markets and homes. We will start our tour of the main land of Tan Chau by visiting the beautiful Cao Dai temple. We will then get in a XE LOI traditional Rickshaw to go visit a rattan factory that produce baskets and mats. We will then re board our Sampan to go and visit a fish farm. Our Sampan will then take us through “Ever Green Island” and disembark for an Authentic, cultural interaction stroll around the Island and dive into the daily life of its inhabitants. After this eye opener, we will get back to our Colonial Mekong Navigator and sail away for new adventures in Vietnam.

Day 11: Cruising the Mekong River, Gieng Island, Sa Dec

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Sampans and colonial romance
Oar-powered sampans, the traditional flat-bottomed boats of Vietnam, fill the narrow canals and inlets of the delta, carrying passengers—including you—to bustling waterfront markets. See how they’re built, observe the daily lives of the locals, and discover scenes made famous by Marguerite Duras’ novel The Lover. Also visit the small island of Gieng, where you will be very surprised to see such an architecturally impressive Catholic cathedral, built shortly after the one in Saigon.


Day 12: Vinh Long, Cai Be

FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Village life on the Mekong
In the Mekong Delta, residents live, work and shop on the water, and villages like Cai Be and Vinh Long are home to busy little family-run factories and historic colonial houses. Catch a trishaw for a ride through town and listen to the stories of village elders who have seen so many changes in Vietnam.


Day 13: My Tho (disembark), transfer to Ho Chi Minh City

FEATURED EXCURSION: Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City
After disembarking, settle in to Ho Chi Minh city's tranquil Park Hyatt Saigon hotel, then enjoy a tour of the city’s incredible French Colonial architecture. You'll also visit the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. A Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine at a beautifully decorated local restaurant, complete with live traditional entertainment, caps off your day. 

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City

FEATURED EXCURSION: Vestiges of War-Cu Chi Tunnels
Known as Saigon for centuries, the city boasts incredible French Colonial architecture—including a post office designed by Gustav Eiffel—and the mid-20th-century Reunification Palace. A Welcome Dinner with complimentary wine at a beautiful restaurant caps the day.


Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue your tour with an optional extension in Bangkok.