World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris



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FROM ANGKOR WAT TO HA LONG BAY
A World Heritage Sites Tour of Cambodia and Vietnam
The histories of Cambodia and Vietnam have influenced each other for many generations. Our two-week program covers the best of these two Indochina countries from the Angkorian era to the French and beyond. This journey is one of artistically designed temples, lush scenery and landscape, markets, sounds, music, the scent of the Perfume River and, above all, friendly and sociable people. There can be no doubt, this is a distinct world.


Tour Summary
Map
Day

Place
01
Phnom Penh (CAMBODIA)
02
Phnom Penh
03 Phnom Penh / Siem Reap
04
Siem Reap
05
Siem Reap / Saigon (VIETNAM)
06
Saigon
07
Saigon
08
Saigon / Dalat
09
Dalat / Nha Trang
10
Nha Trang
11
Nha Trang / Danang / Hoi An
12
Hoi An
13
Hoi An / Hue
14 Hue
15 Hue / Hanoi
16 Hanoi / Halong Bay
17 Halong Bay / Hanoi
18 Hanoi / Depart

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited
This tour has been tailored to include the following World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites in Cambodia covered on this tour
Angkor (1992) Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 sq. km, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide- ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.
World Heritage Sites in Vietnam covered on this tour
Complex of Hue Monuments (1993) Established as the capital of unified Vietnam in 1802, HuĆ¾ was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and Inner City, adding natural beauty to this unique feudal capital.
Ha Long Bay (1994, 2000) Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by man. The exceptional esthetic values of this site are complimented by its great biological interest.
Hoi An Ancient Town (1999) Hoi An constitutes an exceptionally well preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port from the period of the 15th to 19th centuries. Its buildings and its street pattern reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Detailed Itinerary

Day 01 Wednesday: Arrive Phnom Penh (CAMBODIA)
Sohm swaakohm! (Welcome in Khmer) We arrive in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, located at the confluence of the beautiful Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. The city is considered to be the loveliest of the French-built cities of Indochina and was founded as a small monastery in 1372 by a rich Khmer woman by the name of Penh after she found four Buddha statues in a tree trunk on the bank of the Mekong. She set up the monastery at a nearby hill or “Phnom”. Check in your hotel (early check in subject to availability).
Overnight: Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh (2 nights)

Day 02 Thursday: Phnom Penh
Morning, set out on a city tour to visit the National Museum, which houses Khmer art and sculptures from different periods of Cambodian history and visit the Royal Palace. The palace was built in 1866 by the French for King Norodom and is also home to the Silver Pagoda. It got its name because its floor is made up of 5,329 silver tiles. The palace has been inhabited by kings at all times with the exception of the period when the radical Khmer Rouge party took control in 1975. We end the morning tour at the Central market to witness the bustling and daily life. Although the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge ended over 20 years ago, justice for its victims remains elusive. Most of its senior officials never faced trial and even the United Nations backed genocide trial is not giving the Khmer people the comfort they need to leave this horrific chapter of their history behind. Only few people remain open to talk about their experiences during the Khmer Rouge period. Vann Nath is one of only seven survivors out of 14,000 inmates of S21 interrogation prison, nowadays known as Toul Sleng genocide museum. The S21 site is one of the most brutal excesses of the regime, where 14,000 people were viciously tortured before being executed or brought to the Killing Fields where they would found their deaths. In the afternoon, pay a visit to Vann Nath’s home/gallery and speak to him understand this tragic chapter of Cambodian history and his own experiences. Vann Nath’s artistic capabilities made him survive S21 as his jailors demanded him to paint and sculpt portraits of Pol Pot. Now 63 years of age, Vann Nath advocates justice for Khmer Rouge victims and puts his work that depicts the regime’s brutal ways on display around the world. Followed by a visit to Tuol Sleng museum and if time permits, the Killing Fields. (B)

Day 03 Friday: Phnom Penh/Siem Reap (Flight)
Morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap. A pleasant and sleepy backwater town, Siem Reap serves as a gateway to the ancient Khmer Empire temples of Angkor Wat. Check into the hotel (early check in subject to availability). Start exploring the stunning temples by tuk-tuk and visit the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument to get an overview of the Khmer history, culture, archaeology and civilization from a renowned Khmer scholar. Learn more about the temple that guidebooks and guides do not mention. Now working with the Angkor Temple Conservation Institution, the scholar knows a great deal about the past, present and future of the temple and can explain how the temple will be preserved in the decades to come. Take a stroll through the elaborate carved halls of Angkor Wat as the Khmer Empire is brought by to life through the scholar’s knowledge. In the afternoon, continue your journey to the ancient royal city of Angkor Thom. At first glance, it may seem like a shapeless mass of stone, but further scrutiny reveals towers with enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction. The faces are believed to be protecting the city from potential attackers. Continue the exploration with a visit to the Terrace of the Elephants, which served as a platform from where the King could welcome back his victorious army. Attached is the Terrace of the Leper King which holds perfect carvings winding along a narrow passage way that leads to the Baphuon complex. On the way back, stop at Les Artisans d’Angkor to see how artisans preserve age-old Khmer arts and crafts.
Overnight: Tara Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap (2 nights) (B)

Day 04: Siem Reap
We spend another day at Siem Reap and visit more interesting sites. Banteay Srei, built late in the 10th century, is a square Hindu temple with entrances on the east and west. We also visit the three central towers decorated with male and female divinities and beautiful filigree relief work. Banteay Samre, Ta Keo and Ta Prohm. One of the most popular attractions of Angkor, Ta Prohm looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across the site. Pre Rup and Eastern Mebon wrap-up an extraordinary day of sightseeing. (B)

Day 05: Siem Reap/Saigon (VIETNAM) (Flight)
Chào ban! (Welcome in Vietnamese) Upon arrival to one of Vietnams largest cities we are met and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Duxton Hotel, Saigon (3 nights) (B)

Day 06: Saigon
We have a whole day to explore some of the most interesting sites, including the beautiful neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the Opera House also known as “Saigon Concert Hall’, the Jade Emperor Pagoda with its colorful and mysterious ambiance, the Reunification Palace and Ben Thanh Market. We also visit the Giam Lam Pagoda built at the end of the 17th century and the oldest pagoda in Saigon, Binh Tay Market, and finally the Thien Hau Pagoda, one of the most active in Cholon. (B)

Day 07: Saigon
Today we take an interesting excursion to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang Province. The economy of My Tho is based on fishing and the cultivation of rice, coconuts, bananas, mangos, longans and citrus fruits. We have the opportunity to visit the centuries-old My Tho Church and experience the Central Market, filled with stalls selling everything from fresh food and bulk tobacco to boat propellers. Cao Dai Temple in the Long An Province, is a smaller temple than the one at Tay Ninh, but is well worth a visit. The Vinh Trang Pagoda is a beautiful and well-maintained sanctuary where charitable monks provide a home to needy children. Finally, we visit Dragon Island with its many longan orchards and lush, palm-fringed shores lined with traditional wooden fishing boats. (B)

Day 08: Saigon/Dalat (Drive 298 kms/185 miles)
This morning we journey northeast for Dalat. En Route we have the opportunity to stop at La Nga Lake, a reservoir that is crossed by a bridge and is residence to many floating houses. Next on our journey is Dinh Quan, where we will find 3 inactive volcanic craters dating from the late Jurassic period. Finally we explore Dambri Falls, the highest falls in Vietnam, where the views are breathtaking. This area is inhabited chiefly by Montagnards.
Overnight: Mercure Dalat du Parc Hotel, Dalat (1 night) (B)

Day 09 Thursday: Dalat/Nha Trang (Drive 213 kms/132 miles)
Today is our day to tour Dalat beginning with the Hang Nga Art Gallery, a café and art gallery run by the gallery's eccentric owner. The French District is a delightful area for walking around, and is reminiscent of a French provincial town. Next we are off to visit Prenn Falls then continue to the Valley Of Love was named the Valley of Peace by the Emperor; however in 1972 its name was changed by romantically-minded students. Dalat Cathedral was built between 1931 and 1942 for use by French residents and holidaymakers and features stained-glass windows that put us in medieval Europe. Domaine De Marie Convent is a pink tile-roofed structure and was once home to 300 nuns. Thien Vuong Pagoda, also known as the Chinese pagoda is set on a hilltop amid pine trees. Later this afternoon we depart for Nha Trang, the home of tens of thousands of descendents of the Cham people.
Overnight: Yasaka Hotel, Nha Trang (2 nights) (B)

Day 10 Friday: Nha Trang
Nha Trang is known for its fabulous sunny weather, turquoise water, and a white sandy beach stretching the whole length of the city. This morning, travel about 3.5km to Chong Promontory, a small marble peninsula with strange rock formations, layered on top one another. It looks like the work of a giant putting together several massive rocks. Afterwards, drive back to Nha Trang to visit the seaside villa of Vietnam's last Emperor that offers commanding views of the city. Continue to Long Son Pagoda dedicated to the Buddhist monks who died protesting against the US supported Diem regime. Step behind the pagoda to see an enormous 9m high Buddha image. This afternoon, visit Po Nagar temple, dating back to the 7th century, a typical Champa architectural relic. End the trip at Thap Ba Hot Spring centre. A great way to relieve pains, smoothening the skin and to relax, the hot spring water and mineral mud makes the skin softer. Interact with the locals before returning to the hotel and prepare for a peaceful evening. (B)

Day 11 Saturday: Nha Trang/Danang/Hoi An (Flight/Drive 30 kms/18 miles)
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, drive for another 45 minutes to the ancient town of Hoi An with a stop at the Cham Museum. This museum houses the best collection of the Cham ruins dating back to the 2nd to 15th century. The objects on display represent the art of architecture and sculptures of the Hindu-influenced ancient civilization of Champa. Check in your hotel.
Overnight: Life Resort, Hoi An (2 nights) (B)

Day 12 Sunday: Hoi An
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianized streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. The narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour. There is plenty to visit including the old merchant’s houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two. Visit the home of a lantern craftsman in the old streets of Hoi An for a brief introduction. Learn more about the history, shape, and colour of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. Try to create your own lantern and produce a souvenir for yourself or your loved ones at home. An optional stop, subject to availability, is the private home of Diep Dong Nguyen with a stunning collection of artefacts ranging from pottery, seals and paintings to money and old Hoi An’s photos. (B)

Day 13 Monday: Hoi An/Hue (Drive 132 kms/82 miles)
After breakfast, transfer overland to Hue, an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. Check in the hotel. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Start from your hotel with a 10 minute cyclo ride from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains about the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, a 20 minute cyclo ride will take you to a pier where you will embark on a half-hour boat trip on the picturesque Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold. Return to the hotel and evening at leisure.
Overnight: Mercure Hotel, Hue (2 nights) (B)

Day 14 Tuesday: Hue
Morning, drive out 30 minutes to the serene Tu Duc Royal Tomb, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and built on principles of Feng-Shui. An incense stick making house makes for an interesting stop before heading to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of eastern art and western designs. Then wind your way to Ho Quyen, the Royal Arena of the Nguyen Emperors, located 4km southwest of Hue. It was in this amphitheatre that tigers were forced to fight elephants – the symbol of imperial power – in order to entertain the Emperors and their entourage. Ho Quyen is a unique architectural work rarely found in South East Asia. Though it is not as huge as the arenas of the Roman Empire, it still creates a martial and imposing atmosphere. Transfer back to your hotel. This evening, enjoy home hosted dinner at Tha Om restored royal home, a descendent of a Royal family. Enjoy a meal at their beautifully-furnished dining room with elaborately carved reliefs and chat to the family to learn about their daily lives and how they bring the quintessence of the Royal ambiance and culture into their home. (B, D)

Day 15 Wednesday: Hue/Hanoi (Flight)
Morning free at leisure till we are transferred for our short flight to Hanoi, a city of lakes. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a charming city of peaceful shaded boulevards, French style buildings and public parks. Afternoon tour of Hanoi includes the One Pillar Pagoda built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong. Built of wood on a single stone pillar, this structure was designed to resemble a lotus blossom. Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the heart of Hanoi and is home to a small Tortoise Pagoda topped with a red star perched on an islet in the middle of the lake. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s great leader of independence. Our journey today concludes with a visit to St Joseph Cathedral, a striking neo-Gothic cathedral noteworthy for its square towers, elaborate altar and colourful stained-glass windows.
Overnight: Sunway Hotel, Hanoi (1 night) (B)

Day 16: Hanoi/Ha Long Bay (Drive)
This morning we depart for Ha Long Bay to embark a 4 hour cruise around Ha Long Bay, which includes a boat ride to Hang Dau Go, a huge cave consisting of three chambers that are reached climbing 90 steps. The cave derives its Vietnamese name from the third of the chambers, which is said to have been used by Tran Hung Dao during the 13th century to store bamboo stakes that were used against Mongol invaders. Bo Nau is the 'Pelican' cave of interest. Thien Cung is "Heaven Palace". Once the cruise ends you will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Ha Long Plaza Hotel, Ha Long Bay (1 night) (B)

Day 17: Ha Long Bay/Hanoi (Drive)
Return to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight: Sunway Hotel, Hanoi (1 night) (B)

Day 18 Saturday: Depart Hanoi
This morning we depart Vietnam having filled our senses with the rich offerings of this historic and artistically rich country. Check out time is by 1100 hrs. (B)

B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

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Departure Dates

2015
Please call for details - 1-800-663-0844 / 1-604-264-7378


Prices
Season Tour Price US$ Single Sup US$
2015

Please call for details - 1-800-663-0844 / 1-604-264-7378

Tour Price Includes Tour Price Does Not Include:
• Hotel accommodation as mentioned or similar
• Meal plan as mentioned (B = Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner)
• All sightseeing and transfers
• Entrance Fees to Museums and Sites
• Services of local English speaking guides
• International Airfare / Departure Taxes
• Insurances
• Visa Fees
• Drinks / Beverages with meals
• Tips / Gratuities to Drivers & Guides
Domestic / Regional Airfare INCLUDED in Tour Price
Regional & domestic airfares Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Saigon, Nha Trang-Danang, Hue-Hanoi

Estimated International Airfare (not included in tour price)
East Coast US $ 1400
West Coast US $ 1200
Please note: This tour operates with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 participants.

Other Dates / Customized Itinerary / Languages
In addition to our set programs we are also pleased to offer customized tours.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your individual needs.

Customized tours can be conducted in English, French, German, Spanish or Italian. Each departure is conducted in the designated language only.

Contact Information
Bestway Tours & Safaris
Fax: +1-604-264-7774
206–8678 Greenall Ave Phone: +1-604-264-7378
Burnaby B.C., Canada Toll Free (US & Canada): 1-800-663-0844
V5J 3M6 Email: bestway@bestway.com
33 years in small group journeys

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photographs © Peter Langer
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