Timeless Wonder of Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong

Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong

13 DAYS FROM HO CHI MINH CITY TO SIEM REAP

Bangkok, Thailand

Included in your 4-day stay:

• 3 nights at the InterContinental Bangkok (or similar)
• Breakfast daily and all service charges, taxes and porterage
• Guided city tour
• All transfers, transportation and intra-Asia flights

Pricing:

$999 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $399.

Note: This extension is for cruise/tours that begin or end in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day to Day:

  • DAY 1: Bangkok
    Once you have cleared customs at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative, who will assist you with your luggage and take you to your hotel (located near the city’s most popular shopping district). After settling in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions.

    DAY 2: Bangkok
    FEATURED EXCURSION: Bangkok city tour
    Bangkok is home to 6.5 million people, and its streets teem with life—but the city also boasts fascinating palaces and beautiful temples. Your motorcoach tour will carry you to three of the city’s most remarkable Buddhist temples. Wat Traimit is home to the famed Golden Buddha, the largest solid-gold statue in the world. Cast in the 13th century, the Golden Buddha was once covered in plaster to hide it from thieves—its true value wasn’t discovered until workers moving the statue to Wat Traimit in the 1950s dropped it, causing some of the plaster to chip off, revealing the gold underneath. You’ll also visit Wat Po, commonly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Thailand’s first public university and one of its earliest Thai massage schools began here. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located inside the dazzling Grand Palace, which served as a royal residence and the administrative seat of Thailand’s government for over 150 years. Within the palace complex are courts, halls and temples, each of which served a specific purpose in historic Siam. Walk around the rooms in which the royal family and their ministers lived, worked and worshipped, including the Funeral Palace, Reception Palace, Coronation Hall and Throne Hall.

    DAY 3: Bangkok
    OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Canal cruise on the Chao Phraya River
    When King Rama I moved his capital to the western banks of the Chao Phraya River in 1782, canals linked new areas with the river, causing European visitors to dub Bangkok the “Venice of the East.” Cruising these canals gives you the firsthand experience of the scenic life along Bangkok’s waterways. You’ll also visit the Royal Barges Museum, a dockyard for royal ships used in ceremonial processions, and the Temple of Dawn, the landmark setting for the annual Royal Tod Kathin ceremony, in which the king sails to the temple to deliver new robes to the monks.

    You have the entire day to explore exciting Bangkok at your leisure, seeking out whichever of the city’s many diversions suit you best. High-end shoppers can stick close to home, as some of the world’s most sophisticated shopping malls are located near the hotel. Those seeking bargains need to travel only a few minutes to Pathumwan Market for an exhilarating hunt through a labyrinth of vendor stalls. Foodies can ask their local host about the best spots to find the finest Thai food in town, while those craving a bit of relaxation might seek out a traditional Thai massage or meditation center. There’s no shortage of spectacular temples, museums and nightclubs to explore.

    DAY 4: Bangkok, fly to Ho Chi Minh City
    Check out of your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Ho Chi Minh City. It’s time for your exciting cruise/tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River to begin.

  • DAY 1: Bangkok
    Your included flight will take you from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative, who will assist you with your luggage and take you to your hotel (located near the city’s most popular shopping district). After settling in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions.

    DAY 2: Bangkok
    FEATURED EXCURSION: Bangkok city tour
    Bangkok is home to 6.5 million people, and its streets teem with life—but the city also boasts fascinating palaces and beautiful temples. Your motorcoach tour will carry you to three of the city’s most remarkable Buddhist temples. Wat Traimit is home to the famed Golden Buddha, the largest solid-gold statue in the world. Cast in the 13th century, the Golden Buddha was once covered in plaster to hide it from thieves—its true value wasn’t discovered until workers moving the statue to Wat Traimit in the 1950s dropped it, causing some of the plaster to chip off, revealing the gold underneath. You’ll also visit Wat Po, commonly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Thailand’s first public university and one of its earliest Thai massage schools began here. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located inside the dazzling Grand Palace, which served as a royal residence and the administrative seat of Thailand’s government for over 150 years. Within the palace complex are courts, halls and temples, each of which served a specific purpose in historic Siam. Walk around the rooms in which the royal family and their ministers lived, worked and worshipped, including the Funeral Palace, Reception Palace, Coronation Hall and Throne Hall.

    DAY 3: Bangkok
    OPTIONAL EXCURSION: Canal cruise on the Chao Phraya River
    When King Rama I moved his capital to the western banks of the Chao Phraya River in 1782, canals linked new areas with the river, causing European visitors to dub Bangkok the “Venice of the East.” Cruising these canals gives you the firsthand experience of the scenic life along Bangkok’s waterways. You’ll also visit the Royal Barges Museum, a dockyard for royal ships used in ceremonial processions, and the Temple of Dawn, the landmark setting for the annual Royal Tod Kathin ceremony, in which the king sails to the temple to deliver new robes to the monks.

    You have the entire day to explore exciting Bangkok at your leisure, seeking out whichever of the city’s many diversions suit you best. High-end shoppers can stick close to home, as some of the world’s most sophisticated shopping malls are located near the hotel. Those seeking bargains need to travel only a few minutes to Pathumwan Market for an exhilarating hunt through a labyrinth of vendor stalls. Foodies can ask their local host about the best spots to find the finest Thai food in town, while those craving a bit of relaxation might seek out a traditional Thai massage or meditation center. There’s no shortage of spectacular temples, museums and nightclubs to explore.

    DAY 4: Bangkok
    After breakfast at the hotel, your extraordinary Asian adventure will draw to a close; laden with fond memories of your remarkable journey, you will be transferred to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport for your flight home.

Hanoi & Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Included in your 5-day stay:

• 3 nights at the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake (or similar)
• 1 night on a Paradise Elegance Junk, Ha Long Bay with all meals onboard
• Breakfast daily and all service charges, taxes and porterage
• Hanoi full day city tour
• Visit to Sung Sôt Cave and Titop Island
• All transfers and transportation

Pricing:

$1,199 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $579.

Note: This extension is for cruise/tours that begin or end in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day to Day:

  • Multifaceted Hanoi and breathtaking Ha Long Bay will be sure to captivate you on this five-day pre-cruise/tour extension. Between Hanoi’s centuries-old architecture, enchanting pagodas and verdant landscapes, there’s much to be explored in Vietnam’s burgeoning capital city. Ha Long Bay is an extraordinary natural wonder—an open-air geological museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. An invigorating exploration of the bay, its islands and Hanoi is the perfect way to launch your Mekong River adventure.

    DAY 1: Hanoi
    Once you’ve arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will help you with your luggage and take you to your luxury hotel. After check-in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions, such as a stop at the nearby Kim Lien Pagoda. The stunning 800-year-old temple, whose name means “golden lotus,” is considered the most beautiful in Hanoi.

    DAY 2: Hanoi
    Today, you’ll explore what has been called Asia’s most beautiful city. Begin your full-day city tour by visiting a complex honoring Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam. Here, you’ll see his residence, the museum devoted to his life and the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, which has been built and rebuilt countless times since 1049 AD. You’ll also visit the Temple of Literature, which was originally built as a Confucian temple in 1070 AD and later became the site of Vietnam’s first university. See another aspect of Vietnam’s complex history by stepping into one of the cells of Hoa Lo, a French colonial-era prison that was known to American pilots held there during the Vietnam War as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Much of the original prison has been demolished, but the remnants are now a museum.

    After lunch, it’s time to hop onboard an electric car for a tour of colonial Hanoi. The city’s elegant, tree-lined boulevards and weathered colonial buildings are sure to delight you, as are the affable street vendors selling everything from flowers to ice cream off the backs of their bicycles. Enjoy a traditional water puppet show, a thousand-year-old musical performance that tells tales from northern Vietnam’s rural villages.

    DAY 3: Ha Long Bay
    Pay witness to the otherworldly beauty of Ha Long Bay, where emerald waters are flanked by towering limestone pillars and a seemingly endless collection of islets. Board a traditional sampan for a water-bound tour past some of the bay’s most colorful fishing villages. Adventurers will rejoice at a one-of-a-kind excursion that will bring you to one of the most spectacular caves—Sung Sot Cave on Bo Hon Island. This massive cave encompasses three separate chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and also gives a colorful ethereal glow. After, you’ll have time to swim or enjoy optional services, including a kayak trip through the bay or a relaxing massage.

    DAY 4: Hanoi
    Disembark today and return to Hanoi, where you’ll check back into the hotel from the start of your extension. You’ll then have the rest of the day to spend at leisure in Vietnam’s charming capital city. Perhaps you’d like to venture up to the 65th floor of the of the Lotte Center for an unmatched view of the city or head into the Old Quarter for a look at the Heritage House, a beautifully decorated, traditional merchant’s house.

    DAY 5: Hanoi
    Your extension may be over, but there’s much more to discover as you fly to Ho Chi Minh City and embark on your cruise/tour.

  • Multifaceted Hanoi and breathtaking Ha Long Bay will be sure to captivate you on this five-day post-cruise/tour extension. Between Hanoi’s centuries-old architecture, enchanting pagodas and verdant landscapes, there’s much to be explored in Vietnam’s burgeoning capital city. Ha Long Bay is an extraordinary natural wonder—an open-air geological museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. An invigorating exploration of the bay, its islands and Hanoi is the perfect way to launch your Mekong River adventure.

    DAY 1: Hanoi
    Once you’ve arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will help you with your luggage and take you to your luxury hotel. After check-in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions, such as a stop at the nearby Kim Lien Pagoda. The stunning 800-year-old temple, whose name means “golden lotus,” is considered the most beautiful in Hanoi.

    DAY 2: Hanoi
    Today, you’ll explore what has been called Asia’s most beautiful city. Begin your full-day city tour by visiting a complex honoring Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam. Here, you’ll see his residence, the museum devoted to his life and the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, which has been built and rebuilt countless times since 1049 AD. You’ll also visit the Temple of Literature, which was originally built as a Confucian temple in 1070 AD and later became the site of Vietnam’s first university. See another aspect of Vietnam’s complex history by stepping into one of the cells of Hoa Lo, a French colonial-era prison that was known to American pilots held there during the Vietnam War as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Much of the original prison has been demolished, but the remnants are now a museum.

    After lunch, it’s time to hop onboard an electric car for a tour of colonial Hanoi. The city’s elegant, tree-lined boulevards and weathered colonial buildings are sure to delight you, as are the affable street vendors selling everything from flowers to ice cream off the backs of their bicycles. Enjoy a traditional water puppet show, a thousand-year-old musical performance that tells tales from northern Vietnam’s rural villages.

    DAY 3: Ha Long Bay
    Pay witness to the otherworldly beauty of Ha Long Bay, where emerald waters are flanked by towering limestone pillars and a seemingly endless collection of islets. Board a traditional sampan for a water-bound tour past some of the bay’s most colorful fishing villages. Adventurers will rejoice at a one-of-a-kind excursion that will bring you to one of the most spectacular caves—Sung Sot Cave on Bo Hon Island. This massive cave encompasses three separate chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites, and also gives a colorful ethereal glow. After, you’ll have time to swim or enjoy optional services, including a kayak trip through the bay or a relaxing massage.

    DAY 4: Hanoi
    Disembark today and return to Hanoi, where you’ll check back into the hotel from the start of your extension. You’ll then have the rest of the day to spend at leisure in Vietnam’s charming capital city. Perhaps you’d like to venture up to the 65th floor of the of the Lotte Center for an unmatched view of the city or head into the Old Quarter for a look at the Heritage House, a beautifully decorated, traditional merchant’s house.

    DAY 5: Hanoi
    You’ll check out of your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport. Though your adventure has ended, the memories will last you a lifetime.

Sapa, Vietnam

Included in your 6-day stay:

• 2 nights at the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake (or similar)
• 3 nights at the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa (or similar)
• Breakfast daily and all service charges, taxes and porterage
• Cross-cultural encounters with Vietnam’s ethnic hill tribes
• All transfers and transportation

Pricing:

$1,299 per person (for 2 guests)

For solo travelers, there is a single supplement of $549.

Note: This extension is for cruise/tours that begin or end in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day to Day:

  • DAY 1: Hanoi
    Once you’ve arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will help you with your luggage and take you to your luxury hotel. After check-in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions, such as a stop at the nearby Kim Lien Pagoda. The stunning 800-year-old temple, whose name means “golden lotus,” is considered the most beautiful in Hanoi.

    DAY 2: Hanoi, transfer to Sapa
    This morning you’ll check out of your hotel after breakfast and head via motorcoach to Sapa, where you’ll check in and relax over lunch.

    FEATURED EXCURSION: Sapa’s vivid street life
    Join a guide to get acquainted with the boisterous, everchanging streets of the town. Stroll down Cau May Street, the town’s main avenue, to the open-air market. Like a European market town, Sapa’s open-air market spreads out around a Gothic-style church in the center of town. Unlike a European town market, though, you won’t find tables and canopies; rather, you’ll find the vendors—who are often the creators of their wares—sitting on the grass or sidewalk with their goods spread out around them: colorful and intricately hand-stitched and embroidered textiles, bags, garments, sandals and jewelry. After your tour, you can venture off on your own. A climb to the top of the Sapa Radio Tower will reward you with a great view of the town and its environs.

    DAY 3: Sapa
    FEATURED EXCURSION: “Huge sky, great green mountains”
    One of Vietnam’s most famous poets, Khong Lo, began a poem with that line in the 12th century, but it might describe your adventure today in the Sapa highlands. People come from all over the world to trek through this ravishing landscape; join them on the trail to the villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van. Rice paddies are terraced into impossibly steep hillsides, water buffalo graze beside the path, women work in the fields—every step calls for another photo. Lao Chai is home to about 100 Black Hmong families; the Hmong migrated over the mountains from China around 300 years ago and, like other ethnic minorities in the area, have maintained their distinctive culture and lifestyle over the centuries. Lunch awaits you at the community house in the village of Ta Van, where you will also have a chance to watch traditional dances performed to music played on the qeej (a reed pipe) and other traditional instruments. It’s almost like stepping into a living history museum—but these are real people maintaining their genuine traditions; nothing here has been recreated.

    After lunch, your group will head up to Silver Falls and Heaven’s Gate, two of the most scenic spots in this astonishingly scenic region. Silver Falls—sometimes fancifully described as a white dragon—spills down a series of cliffs. The road winds up from the falls to the pass called Heaven’s Gate, where you’ll have a fabulous view of the Sapa valley below and the surrounding mountains, including Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s tallest peak.

    DAY 4: Sapa
    FEATURED EXCURSION: Ethnic communities
    Sapa’s street market takes place every day, as the Hmong bring their handcrafts in to sell them, but many villages in the area also host outdoor markets once a week. You’ll ramble through one of these markets—its location will be determined by the day of the week—and stop at Ta Phin, home to the Red Dao people. There are 24 different ethnic groups in this region, each one following its own customs and speaking its own language. Traditional garb helps identify each group: Black Hmong women, for instance, generally wear black headdresses; Flower Hmong are among the colorfully dressed. The Red Dao women wear red headdresses. In Ta Phin you’ll see the area’s characteristic bamboo-and-wood houses topped with corrugated roofs, often with wood stacked along one wall for burning—it’s a simple life, with meals prepared over an open fire. Men and women work in the fields growing corn and rice; women create the elaborately embroidered costumes they wear. Did these people cross from China into Vietnam at the same spot on the border where you’ll stop for a photo opportunity? No one knows, of course, but it’s not hard to imagine that crossing all those centuries ago.

    DAY 5: Sapa, transfer to Hanoi
    This morning you’ll check out of your hotel after breakfast and head via motorcoach to the hotel from the start of your extension. You’ll then have the rest of the day to spend at leisure in Vietnam’s charming capital city. Perhaps you’d like to venture up to the 65th floor of the of the Lotte Center for an unmatched view of the city or head into the Old Quarter for a look at the Heritage House, a beautifully decorated, traditional merchant’s house.

    DAY 6: Hanoi, fly to Ho Chi Minh City
    Your extension may be over, but there’s much more to discover. Check out of your hotel after breakfast and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. It’s time for your exciting cruise/tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong River to begin.

  • DAY 1: Ho Chi Minh City, fly to Hanoi
    Once you’ve arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you’ll be greeted by a Uniworld representative who will help you with your luggage and take you to your luxury hotel. After check-in, you may choose to rest at the hotel or go out and explore the city. Your local host will be happy to offer suggestions, such as a stop at the nearby Kim Lien Pagoda. The stunning 800-year-old temple, whose name means “golden lotus,” is considered the most beautiful in Hanoi.

    DAY 2: Hanoi, transfer to Sapa
    This morning you’ll check out of your hotel after breakfast and head via motorcoach to Sapa, where you’ll check in and relax over lunch.

    FEATURED EXCURSION: Sapa’s vivid street life
    Join a guide to get acquainted with the boisterous, everchanging streets of the town. Stroll down Cau May Street, the town’s main avenue, to the open-air market. Like a European market town, Sapa’s open-air market spreads out around a Gothic-style church in the center of town. Unlike a European town market, though, you won’t find tables and canopies; rather, you’ll find the vendors—who are often the creators of their wares—sitting on the grass or sidewalk with their goods spread out around them: colorful and intricately hand-stitched and embroidered textiles, bags, garments, sandals and jewelry. After your tour, you can venture off on your own. A climb to the top of the Sapa Radio Tower will reward you with a great view of the town and its environs.

    DAY 3: Sapa
    FEATURED EXCURSION: “Huge sky, great green mountains”
    One of Vietnam’s most famous poets, Khong Lo, began a poem with that line in the 12th century, but it might describe your adventure today in the Sapa highlands. People come from all over the world to trek through this ravishing landscape; join them on the trail to the villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van. Rice paddies are terraced into impossibly steep hillsides, water buffalo graze beside the path, women work in the fields—every step calls for another photo. Lao Chai is home to about 100 Black Hmong families; the Hmong migrated over the mountains from China around 300 years ago and, like other ethnic minorities in the area, have maintained their distinctive culture and lifestyle over the centuries. Lunch awaits you at the community house in the village of Ta Van, where you will also have a chance to watch traditional dances performed to music played on the qeej (a reed pipe) and other traditional instruments. It’s almost like stepping into a living history museum—but these are real people maintaining their genuine traditions; nothing here has been recreated.

    After lunch, your group will head up to Silver Falls and Heaven’s Gate, two of the most scenic spots in this astonishingly scenic region. Silver Falls—sometimes fancifully described as a white dragon—spills down a series of cliffs. The road winds up from the falls to the pass called Heaven’s Gate, where you’ll have a fabulous view of the Sapa valley below and the surrounding mountains, including Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s tallest peak.

    DAY 4: Sapa
    FEATURED EXCURSION: Ethnic communities
    Sapa’s street market takes place every day, as the Hmong bring their handcrafts in to sell them, but many villages in the area also host outdoor markets once a week. You’ll ramble through one of these markets—its location will be determined by the day of the week—and stop at Ta Phin, home to the Red Dao people. There are 24 different ethnic groups in this region, each one following its own customs and speaking its own language. Traditional garb helps identify each group: Black Hmong women, for instance, generally wear black headdresses; Flower Hmong are among the colorfully dressed. The Red Dao women wear red headdresses. In Ta Phin you’ll see the area’s characteristic bamboo-and-wood houses topped with corrugated roofs, often with wood stacked along one wall for burning—it’s a simple life, with meals prepared over an open fire. Men and women work in the fields growing corn and rice; women create the elaborately embroidered costumes they wear. Did these people cross from China into Vietnam at the same spot on the border where you’ll stop for a photo opportunity? No one knows, of course, but it’s not hard to imagine that crossing all those centuries ago.

    DAY 5: Sapa, transfer to Hanoi
    Check out of your hotel in Sapa and return to Hanoi, where you’ll check into your hotel for one last night in Vietnam. You’ll have some free time in the afternoon to explore on your own.

    DAY 6: Hanoi
    You’ll check out of your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport. Though your adventure has ended, the memories will last you a lifetime.

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