Explore the fascinating intertwined countries of Vietnam and Cambodia, from the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh and the ancient kingdom of Angkor Wat, to the spectacular natural beauty and unmistakable outline of Halong Bay and the waterways of the Mekong Delta.
We depart London Heathrow on an overnight flight direct to Hanoi, Vietnam's bustling capital, arriving on Day 2. In the afternoon we begin our sightseeing tour of the city, with a traditional cyclo ride to Hanoi's Old Quarter, past Hoàn Kiém Lake. We return to the hotel for dinner this evening
We continue exploring Hanoi before we transfer to iconic Halong Bay. An extraordinary collection of limestone karst rock formations and islands dotted amongst emerald waters, this area of outstanding natural beauty is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we begin one of the highlights of the tour as we board our luxury junk for an overnight cruise. We travel through the incredibly scenic Halong Bay, enjoying lunch and dinner on board as we sail through the beautiful bay.
As the sun rises over the glorious panorama this morning, you could try Tai Chi on deck. After breakfast we visit one of the bay's typical limestone grottos, before we sail back to shore. From here we transfer back to Hanoi, stopping en-route at Dong Trieu Pottery Village. This evening, we visit a Water Puppet Theatre, where we are treated to a performance of this traditional Vietnamese art form. Tonight we join the overnight sleeper service to Hue, in twoberth compartments.
On Day 5 our early arrival in Hue gives us a full day to explore. We embark on a cruise on the famous 'Perfume River' to the magnificent seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda. We continue to the immense Imperial Citadel, whose impressive six miles of walls contain the Imperial and the Purple Forbidden City.
Today we travel south by train from Hue to Danang, on one of the most beautiful stretches of line in Vietnam. We wend our way through the thick, verdant landscape, emerging onto a dramatic coastline, where the steep mountains tumble down to the pristine beaches fringing the South China Sea. We leave the train in Danang and transfer by coach to Hoi An.
The charming riverside town of Hoi An is famed for its beautiful old buildings and its history as a merchant trading post. This morning we discover the old town on a walking tour, during which we see the 400-year old Japanese covered bridge, Tan Ky merchant house, and the vibrant local market. After lunch in a local restaurant, your afternoon is at leisure to explore the lively streets and the myriad of tradesmen offering made to measure clothing and custom made shoes, or perhaps just absorb the relaxed atmosphere and unwind in the beautiful surroundings of our hotel.
Leaving Hoi An, we transfer by coach to Danang for the train to the vibrant coastal resort of Nha Trang, passing rice paddies and mighty oxen working the countryside. We check in to our hotel, located on the beachfront, for a two night stay.
Your day is free to spend at leisure in Nha Trang. The city is renowned for its superb beaches and idyllic setting in one of the world's most beautiful bays.
We continue with a daytime journey by rail to Ho Chi Minh City - best known by its former name, Saigon. Chaotic and boisterous, this is a city with a huge zeal for life. On arrival we enjoy a sightseeing tour, taking in the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and Reunification Square.
We travel to the Cu Chi tunnels, and visit the vast underground complex utilised by the Viet Cong during the war against the US. At its height, this system stretched for almost 250 km towards the Cambodian border, and contained field hospitals, weapons factories, kitchens, and living quarters. Our visit gives a real insight to life during this period. We enjoy a talk with a local expert about the history of Vietnam's railways during lunch, and this afternoon and this evening you are at leisure to continue exploring Ho Chi Minh City, and prior to dinner, we enjoy a talk with a local expert about the history of Vietnam's railways.
We travel west by coach to the Mekong Delta, a wonder of nature where the enormous Mekong River splits into branches on its way to the South China Sea. We travel by boat to get a glimpse of the communities which make their living here, and stop at the floating market of Cai Be, before crossing a lower branch of the Mekong River. Later we reach Can Tho, and stay here overnight on the Mekong's banks.
This morning we visit Cai Rang, one of the world's largest floating markets. After time to explore, we transfer to Cao Lanh for our onwards boat journey through the Mekong Delta, and into Cambodia. We arrive in Phnom Penh, the country's exciting capital, known as the 'Pearl of Asia', situated at the meeting point for three great rivers - the Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac.
On Day 14, we explore Phnom Penh. Despite its chequered recent history, Phnom Penh is a wonderful place, home to a number of ornate golden temples. Today's full-day sightseeing tour introduces us to some of the city's main sights. We see the Silver Pagoda, the grand Royal Palace, the National Museum and the Russian market. We later visit the moving Tuol Sleng - a museum dedicated to the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.
We journey by road to Siem Reap today, pausing en-route at Sa Dec, a peaceful city made up of rustic colonial houses and tree-lined avenues, where Marguerite Duras set his semi-autobiographical novel, 'The Lovers.' On Day 16 we visit the world-famous Angkor Wat temple, a source of true national pride and the world's largest religious structure. During our time here we visit Ta Prohm, a temple within the complex. We continue by tuk-tuk to the abandoned city of Angkor Thom.
We transfer to the airport for our flight back to London. Travelling via Hanoi, we arrive on Day 18.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 29 verified reviews
We have already completed a detailed questionnaire for GRJ on our last day in Cambodia (and given our names)
A wonderful holiday from start to finish, excellent hotels, full days but adequate rest periods, enjoyed the local restaurants and all the different locations and forms of travel. Ivan was a very well organised tour manager, friendly but non intrusive. He encouraged us all to experience new things, even I went in a kayak with him. Quite the best holiday I've had for a long time.
Well organised holiday with high standard of hotels. Excellent Great Rail guide supported by very good local guides. In all an adventure.
Hotels were very good but nah Trang could of been better as the rooms were not a very good standard and were an accident waiting to happen, as we found out on our trip
A nice holiday but rather crammed. We seemed to be moving on very frequently with very long rail journeys (1x Overnight, 1x 10 hours, 1x 8 hours and 1x 7 hours on a high speed very noisy speedboat-type craft on the Mekong). All the hotels were superb with the exception of the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh. It would be better to extend the holiday or split it into two separate holidays in my opinion.
A brilliant experience made all the better by the excellent Tour Manager and amiable group of fellow travellers. So many happy memories.
From the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the relaxing areas of Halong Bay, Hoi An and Nha Trang and the sites of historical importance this is an ideal way to experience this part of the world. With the tour finishing with the Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap it was a constant immersion of the culture in these two countries.
Very well organised with attention to detail. Very good hotels. We really appreciated the supply of bottled water. The local guides were very helpful, friendly and informative.
A perfect way to experience two beautiful countries. The itinerary is well balanced and provides a wonderful insight into the countries, their people, their history and hopes for the future.
Excellent tour with good itinerary. Brilliant local guides and tour manager. Superb hotels.
Enjoy a fantastic Far Eastern rail adventure