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Journey into 3 unique landscapes to explore a kaleidoscope of cultural treasures within Southeast Asia's peninsula.
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City Airport.
Today, begin your journey by exploring Vietnam's biggest city at leisure. A fury of sights and sounds, the striking contrast of ancient pagodas and imposing skyscrapers form Saigon's dizzying backdrop. At street level, parades of motorbikes flow passed mammoth malls, tucked away temples and wooden spice shacks that fill the air with an aromatic balance of sweet and spicy aromas.
This morning explore the extraordinary Cu Chi Tunnels, a hand-dug underground network used by Viet Cong soldiers during the 'American War'. The afternoon city tour of Saigon includes a visit to the Reunification Palace where the Vietnam War ultimately concluded, the charming neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the fascinating War Remnants Museum that presents retired artillery pieces alongside harrowing exhibitions.
After breakfast, catch a flight north to the cosmopolitan coastal city of Danang. This afternoon, visit the dramatic Marble Mountains, five outcrops shrouded by jungle and decorated with towering Buddhist pagodas. Discover grottos that enshrine religious icons as you ascend the tallest mountain - Thuy Son - to marvel at spectacular views of the idyllic Non Nuoc Beach. Late afternoon, journey to the neighbouring Hoi An, one of Vietnam's most atmospheric and delightful towns.
Today, embark on a walking tour through the narrow streets of this essential Vietnamese highlight, radiating a charming character brimming with intriguing sights to discover. Stroll across the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge to admire its magnificent wooden pagoda roof, explore the Sa Huynh Museum to inspect terracotta pieces sculpted by Hoi An's first settlers and visit the Lantern Workshop to learn how the flickering beacons which illuminate the town are crafted.
Leave Hoi An this morning for a scenic coastline drive to the northern capital of Hue, a cultural and spiritual highlight of Vietnam. Tour the imposing UNESCO Imperial Citadel complex, an impressive 19th century royal residence whose grandeur and beauty mask the scars of war. Later that afternoon meander through the bustling Dong Ba Market, alive with the rich scent of freshly prepared seafood and a flurry of colourful handicrafts including traditional pointed conical hats. This evening sample Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant.
This morning, embark on a traditional dragon longboat for a tranquil cruise along Hue's Perfume River. Stop at Ha Khe Hill, home to the striking tower of Thien Mu Pagoda and once a focal point for anti-government protests during the 1960s. Continue to the majestic Tomb of emperor Minh Mang, a serene resting place that blends harmoniously into its jungle surrounding. Later in the afternoon, fly north to Vietnam's elegant capital - Hanoi.
Awake in the enchanting metropolis of Hanoi, a city accentuated by traditional Vietnamese architecture coupled with a graceful transition into modernisation. Your full day tour starts with a visit to the Museum of Ethnology which displays diverse artistic pieces from the country's northern hill tribes. Visit the intricate Ngoc Son Temple that resides on Hoan Kiem Lake, alleged home of an infamous 200kg turtle named Cu Rua. Later in the day experience a charming water puppet show; originally developed by rice farmers, wooden puppets are manipulated to the tune of traditional Vietnamese instruments.
After breakfast, travel through the Red River Delta's expansive rural landscape to the awe-inspiring UNESCO Site of Halong Bay, undoubtedly one of your tour highlights. Over two thousand limestone karsts protrude through the azure waters of the Gulf of Tonkin; begin your overnight cruise by joining smaller 'junk' boats within this mystical seascape, disembarking at Thien Canh Son Cave to explore an ethereal wonderland of Buddhist carvings and drooping stalactites which hang beneath a canopy of sparkling gems. Following a relaxing wander along Hon Co Island's idyllic sandy beach, enjoy an authentic cooking demonstration before sampling mouth-watering traditional dishes. After dinner retire to your cabin for the evening.
Enjoy the rising sun's incandescent shimmer over Halong Bay as you unwind during your morning Tai Chi session. Following breakfast, transfer on to a rowing boat for the opportunity to witness the charming fishing community of Vung Vieng village. Upon returning to your ship, sail back to the harbour for a scenic drive past far-reaching rice paddies to Hanoi for your final night in Vietnam.
Relax this morning before leaving late afternoon for your short flight west of Vietnam to the city of Luang Prabang, the jewel of Indochina. Mirroring the character of Laos, French colonial architecture juxtaposes ornate Buddhist temples overlooked by rolling hills layered with pristine forests, home to the remarkable Indochinese Tiger. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
The full day tour begins with a cruise along one of the world's great rivers: the Mekong carves its way through six countries, passing imposing temples, luscious jungles and forming spectacular waterfalls, particularly in Laos. Further upstream, disembark to explore the Pak Ou Caves and their haunting collection of rejected Buddha statues. Continue to Ban Xang Hai - the 'whiskey village' - to sample the robust flavours of Laos famous rice whiskey. Return to dry land and ascend Phou Si Hill to marvel at the sun setting behind Luang Prabang city, transforming the Mekong's hue to a brilliant orange.
Following breakfast, fly to one of South East Asia's most beloved towns, Siem Reap. The town has a contemporary outlook with a rich supply of boutique guesthouses, luxurious spas and an array of eateries, whilst retaining a small-town charm through its shaded boulevards, vivid markets and remarkable temples. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with an evening at leisure.
Leave the town of Siem Reap and visit the remarkable 1st century Banteay Srei temple which, boasts some of the world's finest sandstone carvings depicting Hindu tales. Stop at Preah Dak, a rural Cambodian village with a bustling market brimming with local trinkets. In the afternoon visit Roluos, a former ancient capital that hosts remarkably preserved temples serving as a fantastic introduction to distinct Angkorian architecture.
This morning tour the ruins of the Angkor region, South-East Asia's most important archaeological location and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover an assortment of ancient treasures including the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat, a temple complex constructed to represent the earthly abode of Hindu Gods, which is reflected in both its enormity and grandeur. This afternoon experience the tranquil floating village of Tonle Sap lake, a fascinating network of stilted houses overlooking fragile fishing boats, followed by the nearby old market for your final taste of this enchanting land.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight back to the UK.
A visa is required for entry into Vietnam. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange this visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £98.50. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are only valid for three months from the date of entry. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure you will not need it during this time. Alternatively, you can visit the Embassy of Vietnam in London: 12-14 Victoria Road, London, W8 5RD.
A visa is required for entry into Laos and this can be purchased on arrival at the airport in Luang Prabang. The cost of this is approximately USD $35 per person and you will need to bring the money in cash in order to apply for your visa on arrival into Laos.
A visa is required for entry into Cambodia and this can be purchased on arrival at the airport in Siem Reap. The cost of this is approximately USD $30 per person. Please note that you will be required to bring a passport photo with you as well as USD $30 cash in order to apply for your visa on arrival into Cambodia.
Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up-to-date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 17 days cover||£42||£79||£135|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves climbing of steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 11 and the maximum will be 45. In the unlikely event there are fewer than 11 passengers booked on your tour date, you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour meaning that you will be met by a local guide in each of the cities that you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.
The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), the currency in Laos is the Laotian Kit (LAO) and the currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHM). We recommend that you take some US Dollars (USD) with you and exchange this currency whilst you are travelling.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any dinners where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £300-£400 per person should be sufficient for the duration of your tour.
Tipping is not compulsory at is at your discretion. Should you wish to tip, you can give this to your guide and driver when you leave them in each place. If you feel you have received a good level of service, we recommend approximately £2 ($3) per person per day for the guide and driver. This will be collected at the end of each destination visited for your convenience. Tipping for the porters at your hotels and the crew during the Halong Bay Cruise Bay Cruise will be at your discretion. Tips are accepted in the local currency, US dollars and British pounds.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|06 Sep 2017||21 Sep 2017||£2055pp|
|04 Oct 2017||19 Oct 2017||£2095pp|
|06 Dec 2017||21 Dec 2017||£2195pp|
|17 Jan 2018||01 Feb 2018||£2155pp|
|21 Feb 2018||08 Mar 2018||£2405pp|
|07 Mar 2018||22 Mar 2018||£2205pp|
|04 Apr 2018||19 Apr 2018||£2145pp|
|25 Apr 2018||10 May 2018||£2125pp|
|16 May 2018||31 May 2018||£1945pp|
|06 Jun 2018||21 Jun 2018||£2125pp|
|12 Sep 2018||27 Sep 2018||£2125pp|
|10 Oct 2018||25 Oct 2018||£2245pp|
|07 Nov 2018||22 Nov 2018||£2245pp|
|21 Nov 2018||06 Dec 2018||£2245pp|
Please note that our departures on 19th September 2016 and 12th October 2016 will include an additional day at leisure in Hanoi before proceeding to Luang Prabang. This will extend the tour by one additional night.
Unfortunately, we do not have any places with no single supplements on this tour. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner. Alternatively, please ask about our single supplement prices in order to book your own room.
If the group departure dates are not suitable for you or you would prefer a more personal and flexible experience then you can choose to book a private guide for your tour at a reasonable supplement.
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