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Day 1 – Ho Chi Minh City Arrival – On arrival at Ho Chi Minh Tan Son Nhat International Airport you will be greeted by our airport representative who will provide the private vehicle transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City Tour and Cu Chi Tunnels – This morning after enjoying breakfast at your hotel, meet your guide and enjoy the journey of 75 km from Ho Chi Minh City to The Cu Chi Tunnels – a complex of an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters (Viet Cong) during both the French and American wars. There is more than 200 km of tunnels, comprising a main axis system with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters and other tunnels. You have the chance to crawl through this amazing system of tunnels. For a more “thrilling” experience, you can even test your shooting skills on original AK47s and other guns from past war times (subject to a surcharge).
Enjoy lunch today at a local restaurant before you journey back to Ho Chi Minh. Your tour continues to visit places such as the Independence Palace (Reunification Palace), War Remnants Museum (closed Mondays). Afterward, stroll through the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City, the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral inaugurated in 1880 became the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient as was the Post office designed by Gustav Eiffel and resembling a grand railway station, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee (formerly Hôtel de Ville) which is one of the most photographed buildings in Vietnam – notable for its gardens, ornate facade and elegant interior lit with crystal chandeliers. Tonight you will enjoy a buffet dinner served on the Bon Sai Cruise. (B, L & D)
Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City to Con Tho – This morning you will leave the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City behind and drive and cruise deep into the Mekong Delta on this Cai Be day tour. Upon arrival in Cai Be, disembark the boat at Tan Phong Island and start a very interesting cycling tour on the backroads of small villages and be immersed in nature. Take the opportunity to visit local families making traditional products such as handicraft items made from water hyacinth, roofs made from palm leaves, hammocks made from coconut ropes, and rice paper.
Enjoy lunch with specialties of the Mekong Delta in the ambiance of an ancient house. After lunch, walk through narrow lanes of a local market and enjoy the hustle and bustle of activities. Then board your boat and continue cruising the Mekong River. Witness the everyday life of riverside communities and sample local fresh fruits along the way. Leave the boat for a while to visit local businesses such as family-run rice winemaking and rice mill factory and interact with the host and learn about their daily lives. In the late afternoon, following the river cruise, continue by vehicle to Can Tho. (B & L)
Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Be (100km) 2 hours
Cai Be – Can Tho (180km) 4 hours
Day 4 – Con Tho to Chau Doc – Wake up early for a breakfast cruise to the colourful Cai Rang Floating Market bustling with wholesalers on big boats. Here, during the early morning market hours, larger sized boats anchor and create lanes that smaller boats weave in and out of. The main items sold here are fruit and vegetables and every boat has a long upright pole at its bow from which samples of the goods for sale are hung. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats packed with mango, bananas, papaya, pineapple, and even floating pho vendors. Afterward, you will enjoy the driving journey of 3-hour to Chau Doc and on arrival enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. (B)
Can Tho to Chau Doc (120 Km): 3 hours
Day 5 – Chau Doc – After breakfast at your hotel meet your guide depart for a day of touring Chau Doc. Today you will visit Chau Doc’s local market which overlooks the confluence of three rivers, and later enjoy a boat to Chau Giang District where a tiny mosque serves the local Cham community. The Cham minority who dominated coastal Vietnam from the 2nd to the 9th centuries were originally Hindu however, became Muslim as a result of contact with Arab seafarers and merchants in the Middle Ages. In Southeast Asia, Islam was disseminated primarily by merchants who, following the monsoon winds, lived in various coastal towns for months at a time. The Chams also practice silk weaving and there is an opportunity to see them at work, also the architecture here is rather distinctive.
Visit a beautiful Khmer temple, and later visit the floating houses that double as catfish farms, now a huge industry for the country. Late this afternoon visit Sam Mountain, an important pilgrimage site that is frequently visited by pilgrims from all over the Mekong Delta. There are dozens of pagodas and temples around Sam Mountain and reaching the peak is the highlight of the visit. The views from the top are spectacular (weather permitting) and one can easily see Cambodia. (B)
Day 6 – Chau Doc to Phnom Penh – After breakfast at the hotel enjoy the speed boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh (4-5 hours). Upon arrival in Phnom Penh around 13h00, you are warmly welcomed by our local English-speaking guide and be accompanied to the hotel for check-in. Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient, and despite its turbulent history and more recent (and rapid) development, it still retains a colonial charm. Cambodia’s capital, majestically located at the confluence of the mighty rivers of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap, is at once bustling but also laid back. Wide tree-lined boulevards and many colonial-era buildings reflect the glorious days of old and add to the allure of the city, where Asian and Western traditions meet in a fascinating way.
Afterward, you will enjoy the tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation, and a fun way to explore this lively city. First, head to Wat Phnom, a small hilltop temple that marks the founding place of the city. Then continue along the riverfront to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. The next stop is the National Museum, which was built in the traditional Khmer style. It houses the world’s foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from prehistory to the 17th century. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom’s cultural wealth. Besides, the roof space is home to a large bat colony! In the late afternoon, enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise with a coconut juice degustation on board while watching how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront comes to life in the early evening. Phnom Penh has an excellent selection of restaurants for all tastes. Tonight, enjoy dinner at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located on the Riverside. The building is a colonial gem with great views of the confluence of the Upper Mekong, Lower Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. (B &D)
Day 7 – Phnom Penh departure – Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and enjoy your final few hours in Phnom Penh at your leisure. At a pre-arranged time meet your driver in the hotel foyer who will provide the private vehicle transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport for your onward flight. (B)
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