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Explore the highlights Southeast Asia on this fascinating journey with Independence by Globus. You’ll begin in Hanoi, Vietnam, with guided sightseeing and a cyclo ride through the ancient Old Quarter where merchants trade as they have for centuries. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s humble cottage, as well as the mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the 900-year-old Temple of Literature. Embark on a cruise on stunning Ha Long Bay, with its 3,000 limestone islands carved by time into spectacular landscapes rising from the Gulf of Tonkin. Taste traditional Vietnamese cuisine on this overnight cruise and visit spectacular caves, tunnels, and pristine beaches. Take a walking tour in ancient Hoi An town and sample the region's famous Cao Lau noodle dish. You’ll have plenty of I-time to relax at the beach or day trip to historic Hue. Fly to Ho Chi Minh City to explore the city’s many famed landmarks, including the War Remnants Museum and the bustling Ben Thanh Market. Take an excursion to the Cu Chi tunnels—an extraordinary network of passageways used by the Viet Cong during the war. In Siem Reap, visit the largest temple complex in the world—including incomparable Angkor Wat. See the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom with some 200 faces carved in 54 towers. Interact with the children at a local school and venture on to Ta Prohm—virtually untouched and wrapped in ancient tree roots around its ruins.
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Breakfast daily; 5 lunches; 1 dinner
ARRIVE IN HANOI, VIETNAMWelcome to Vietnam! Your hotel is available for mid-afternoon check-in.
HANOI• This morning, enjoy a private guided tour of the city. First, take a cyclo ride though the ancient streets of the fascinating Old Quarter. Here, merchants trade as they have for centuries. • Then, visit the mausoleum and the humble cottage from which “Uncle Ho” ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. Next on the agenda: One Pillar Pagoda and the Presidential Palace. • Also, visit the ancient Temple of Literature, more than 900 years old and Hanoi’s first university.• Enjoy lunch at Koto, a non-profit restaurant and hospitality program that teaches local children restaurant skills for stable employment opportunities.
HANOI–HA LONG BAY CRUISE (EMBARKATION)• A private transfer takes you from Hanoi through the fertile countryside to Hon Gai, gateway to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, the bay is dotted with more than 3,000 limestone islands carved into fanciful shapes by the action of the water. • Upon arrival, board an overnight cruise that takes you to explore the tunnels, caves, pristine beaches, and floating villages that are sprinkled across the bay.
Breakfast Lunch DinnerYou may consider a massage or spa treatment.
HA LONG BAY CRUISE (DISEMBARKATION)–HANOI–DANANG–HOI AN• Early birds can participate in a tai chi demonstration on the Sun Deck at the break of dawn. • Further, explore the bay before disembarking later in the morning.• A private transfer brings you to Hanoi for your flight to Danang. • Upon arrival transfer to nearby Hoi An, a charming trading town that has been largely preserved with influences from China, Japan, Portugal, and France.
HOI AN• Start today with a walking tour of Hoi An Ancient Town including an old merchant house, the Hoi An Museum, a Chinese assembly Hall, and the Japanese Covered Bridge. • For lunch, sample Cao Lau, a distinctive dish with smoked, chewy noodles only made here in Hoi An. • Afterwards, take a cruise on the Thu Bon River, passing unspoiled countryside before visiting with a local farmer.
HOI AN• Enjoy a full day at your leisure.
BreakfastEnjoy a full day at leisure for your own discoveries. Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps spend it at the beach, take a full day excursion to historic Hue, or explore pottery and wood carving villages.
HOI AN–DANANG–HO CHI MINH CITY• Transfer to nearby Danang for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many.
HO CHI MINH CITY• Start your private guided sightseeing with a walking tour of the city’s famous and historic landmarks as you stroll through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat) past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, the Municipal Theatre, Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. • Next, visit the moving War Remnants Museum, followed by bustling Ben Thanh Market, the largest and oldest in the city.
HO CHI MINH CITY • Today, enjoy a half-day private guided excursion to the Cu Chi tunnels, an extraordinary network of tunnels more than 120 miles in length that was used by the Viet Cong as a hideout during the war.
BreakfastSample a sweet Vietnamese iced coffee or stop at for a drink at one of the city’s iconic rooftop bars.
HO CHI MINH CITY–SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA• Today, fly to Siem Reap, your base for exploring the temples of Angkor. Constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries, the temples are unmatched among the world’s ancient ruins.
SIEM REAP• Your private guided sightseeing starts at the best preserved of all the temples—Angkor Wat, honoring the Hindu god Vishnu. • Next stop is Angkor Thom to see Bayon Temple. One of the few Buddhist temples in Angkor, it features some 200 striking faces carved in 54 towers.
Breakfast Lunch You may consider a Apsara dinner show featuring traditional Khmer music and dance or an exciting performance of Phare, The Cambodian Circus.
SIEM REAP• Continue exploring the Angkor temple complex on a private guided tour. • Start at Banteay Srei, a unique, small temple outside the main complex built from red sandstone and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. On your return journey stop at a local school to interact with the children.• Then, on to Ta Prohm, which has been left relatively untouched, unlike many other temples. Here, the jungle surrounds you, and tree roots grow over and through the ruins. The afternoon is at your leisure.
BreakfastExplore the temple complex further or take a cruise on Tonle Sap Lake to see a floating village.
SIEM REAPYour vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
With Globus, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Escorting tours for more than 20 years
"I'm Hiep, and I get great joy out of sharing my knowledge about Vietnam with people from around the world. From fascinating stories and friendly people to the unique culture and hidden charms, visitors are often pleasantly surprised by what this great country has to offer. Most people say they choose their career, but for me, tourism chose me - and I have loved every moment of it from day one!"