Indo-China Odyssey, Hanoi to Bangkok - 22 Days
You are going to love this trip! In short: You will travel down Vietnam hugging the coastline, oh and Halong Bay - what a treat! Travel into the historic Cambodia and end in the bustling Bangkok, Thailand. Markets, all the street food, beaches, temples, snorkelling, more food, sights, home-stays, really, really amazing Temple (i.e. the infamous Angkor Wat), fish pedicures, long-tail boat rides, amazing people and much more! There's over 400 tailors in Hoi An, Vietnam, in other ways if you want a suit that is custom fit and at a great price and fantastic quality... then you will love Hoi An!
- Perching on tiny street-side stool in Hanoi's Old Quarter with a beer or coffee, soaking up the buzzy vibes and the city's best entertainment.
- Halong Bay Cruise
- Chill out in the cultural town of Hoi An- cycle through rice paddies or get a custom made suit or dress!
- Beach time in the beautiful Nha Trang, night life is fab too!
- Traditional Vietnamese Homestay in the Mekong Delta
- Guided tour of Angkor Wat
- Visit to the Royal palace in Phnom Penh
- Chill at the beach at Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- Shop/sightsee in the bustling Bangkok
Is this trip for you?
- This is an organised group tour with a minimum of 1 person maximum of 16 people.
- Age range will be 18- 39 year old.
- Accommodation will be a mixture of Guest houses, homestay, Overnight trains and hotels.
- Transport will be boat, mini van, public bus and sleeper train
- Although we have lots planned for you, you will get lots of free time too!
- Some food
- Some activities
- Local guide
What's not included?
- Flights (Request a quote)
- Insurance (we can help you with this)
Day 1 - Hanoi
This capital of Vietnam is really a cute city, with only 6 million people living there. Hanoi is famous for its picturesque lakes, shady boulevards, public parks, and its Old Quarter, with buildings reminiscent of a 1930’s French town. Whilst Hanoi is trying to keep up with the modern times, there is also the charm of the old- ancient Buddhist temples and even more ancient trees.
As with most tours, we meet tonight at 6 pm, so you get a free day to explore. We will collect your insurance and emergency contact details at the welcome meeting and we will go out for a meal together if you like.
Optional Activities:Ho Chi MInh’s Mausoleum and Museum (in Hanoi) - VND 50000
Fine Arts Museum - VND 30000
Army Museum - VND20000
Women’s Museum - VND30000
Temple of Literature - VND20000
Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Accommodation: Hanoi Legacy Hotel or similar
Day 2 - Halong Bay
This place is gonna set the bar pretty high for the rest of your trip. We drive through the Red River Delta to Halong Bay (approx 4 hours), along the way we will stop for a handicraft village run by disabled people.
What is Halong Bay anyway and why do people keep talking about it? Basically, it is a secluded harbour with over 2,000 limestone islands rising from the water of the Bac Bo Gulf. This is without a doubt, one of the most scenic places you will visit in your lifetime. With an area of 1,500 sq km, you will find innumerable beaches and grotto's. You get to head out on a boat cruise to see the limestone's jutting out of the clear, green water. On board the boat you will enjoy a delectable seafood lunch on board, and considering the weather, in the warmer months we can even go for a dip!
We stay overnight in Halong City (Bai Chay)
The Halong Bay Boat Tour
Meals included: Lunch
Day 3 - Hanoi - Overnight Train
We head back to Hanoi by ferry and bus (approx 3 hours) for some more free time and an optional group dinner.
Because there is so much to do here, we are giving you some more time to actually take in all the sights. There are a vast array of museums and temples, from the Temple of Literature (dedicated to Confucius), or even learning about POW histories at the Hanoi Hilton.
Now for the best bit….You get to jump on board an overnight train to Hue (approx 12 hours). As you would expect conditions are basic but that said overnight trains are a true intrepid experience and THE best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. You will get a sheet, pillow and blanket provided for your comfort, although some travelers do prefer to bring along their own sleeping sheet. You can buy special travel sheets that fold up real small into your backpack for this. On some occasions, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will also be the odd times where you'll be sharing with local travelers or travelers who are not part of your group.
The trains for the most part have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Day 4 – Hue
Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam, and thus houses the treasures of Vietnam’s royal past. While streets are bustling with life, you can also find some quiet corners of this city. You will have a free day to explore, so take heed of the following.
Make sure you pass through the Imperial Citadel, and the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost entirely destroyed during the Vietnam War, and seeing the ruins will give you an idea of the scale of the destruction of their civil war.
There is a Dragon Boat Cruise on the Perfume River, with a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, this is considered the unofficial symbol of Hue, and is actually an active Buddhist monastery. Some date this place back to 1601.
Hue’s cuisine is also quite interesting and unique in Vietnam. Severely influenced by its imperial heritage and Buddhist heritage, you see small, beautiful dishes of food that is mostly vegetarian. So expect to see beautiful food displays in the many Buddhist restaurants!
Imperial citadel - VND 105000
Perfume River Cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda - VND 220000
Royal Tomb - VND 80000
Accommodation: Victory Hotel Hue or similar
Day 5-6 - Hoi An
Hoi An has only recently been declared a World Heritage Site, it is being beautifully restored and preserved. The early western travelers called this city Faifo. This was one of SE Asia’s popular international ports between the 17th and 19th centuries. This beautiful city retains its colonial charm in its architecture. Hoi An also offers amazing shopping. There is everything from original handicrafts such as woodwork, ceramics, and embroidery, lanterns even paintings. Hoi An is also very famous for its tailoring, so make sure you have a picture or two of your favourite clothing items to have it made. The countryside is also a beautiful sight to behold, and of course you have to do it the typically fairy-tale way, which is by bike.
Ancient town walking tour, including entrances
Food Urban Adventure- VND1030000
Boat and Bike Urban Adventure- VND590000
Accommodation: Hai Yen hotel or similar
Day 7 - Hoi An - Overnight Train
After another beautiful free day in Hoi An, we hop on an overnight train to Na Trang (about 8 hours).
Day 8 - Nha Trang
Once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', Nha Trang's sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make an idyllic picture, and a cosmopolitan feel prevails in the town itself.
Spend your two full days here soaking up the sun on a lovely beach, exploring the local markets or checking out the ancient Cham Towers nearby. Make sure you try some of the excellent seafood restaurants.
Boat trip - VND1316000
Mud baths - VND280000
Bao Dai Villa - VND120000
Accommodation: Cuong Long Hotel or similar
Day 9 - Nha Trang - Overnight Train
We board the Reunification Express again tonight for a 7 hour trip down to HCMC (For those of you that don’t know yet, Ho Chi Minh City)
Day 10-11 - Ho Chi Minh City
We arrive super early at our hotel 4 am early…where’s the coffee, am I right?)
Once upon a time known as Saigon, but now Ho Chi Minh City is characterized by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The truly vast number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city is truly amazing and gives it quite a dynamic atmosphere and one thing you will notice straight off is the French influence that is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer.
Much of daily city life takes place on the bustling streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their goods spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup and veg to sophisticated up to date electronics. You will definitely find something that is abstract to buy and take home with you while you are here, that’s for certain.
Just a few of the Urban Adventures available in HCMC include but are by no means limited to:
Mekong Discovery, Cyclos, Markets, Cu Chi Experience (this is actually super highly recommended by us here at Gapseekers!), Saigon Street Food by Night.
Your leader can help you book on the tour of your choice.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the make up of your group may change on Day 11. There will be a group meeting called upon to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travelers that have hopped on board.
Orientation walking tour of HCMC (entrances not included)
Reunification Palace - VND30000
War Remnants Museum- VND15000
Cu Chi Tunnels Urban Adventure- USD42-11
Accommodation: Saigon Royal Hotel or similar
Day 12 - Phnom Penh
Catch a public bus to the capital city of Phnom Penh (it’ll take about 6-7 hrs). We will not have a lot of time here now, but we will be coming back, so listen up close so you can plan your trip.
The bustling city of Phnom Penh is Cambodia's capital. It is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture.
There are an array of activities to chose from here including but not limited to:
The Choeung Ek Memorial site, where you will see a humbling stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls that marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng and standing in this very peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9000 corpses have been dug up from the area.
Now learn about a much happier time in Cambodian history with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Go and explore the beautiful Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple sited on a hill for which the city is named. As the legend goes, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill.
Now have a wander around the National Museum. Housed in a one of the beautiful traditional buildings, this museum contains many outstanding examples of the Khmer craftsmanship.
Soak up the sites by cyclo. Tours generally take in the following:
Mekong river front
Foreign Correspondent’s Club for a cocktail on the roof
Finishing at the Royal Palace.
If you fancy doing some shopping then this is the perfect place to have a browse and buy some souvenirs. You can stop in at the art deco-designed Psar Thmei (Central Market) which is a great place for picking up random things, or travel out to Psar Tuol Tom Pong (the Russian Market) for the best range of gifts that you can get for your friends and family back home.
Urban Adventures on offer in Phnom Penh include:
Phnom Penh's Past
Phnom Penh Secrets & Mekong Sunset
Your leader can help you make bookings if you are interested.
Killing Fields of Choueng Ek - USD3
Transport to Choeung Ek - USD10
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda - USD7
Wat Phnom - USD2
National Museum - USD5
Cyclo tour - USD4
Entrance to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek - USD3
Accommodation: Nawin Guesthouse or similar
Day 13 - Chambok Home Stay
Travelling by private bus you will arrive into the epitome of rural Cambodia (this will take us approx 3 hrs) to the region of Kampong Speu and into the village of Chambok, which shall be the location of our homestay for the night. Excited? You should be.
Our home stay is an eye-opening, not to mention very rare opportunity for you to witness not only everyday life, but really to put yourself right at the very heart of Cambodian living. Once your day is over, in the evening we enjoy a traditional-style dinner. Facilities are basic and multi share with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided.
Trek to waterfall
Meals included: dinner
Day 14-15 – Sihanoukville
We take a private bus to Sihanoukville from Chambok (about 4 hours).
Sihanoukville is filled with beaches both quiet and lively alike. You can even head out to the islands nearby for a view of the mainland from the islands nearby. There’s even a tropical safari for you to check out in Ream National Park!
Island Boat Trip- USD15
Ream National Park entry fee- USD5
Accommodation: Sunday Guesthouse or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 16 - Phnom Penh
It’s a 4 hour drive back to the capital today. You can take in some more stuff that this beautiful city has to offer. Don not forget to refer back to Day 12 of this tour for more amazing adventures to explore.
Accommodation: Nawin Guesthouse or similar
Day 17 - Kampong Cham
This quiet town was once a trading hub, but now, it’s a great way to experience small-town life in Cambodia, and it will only take us about 3 hours by public bus to get here.
There are a few different things to do here, including Wat Nokor (dating back to 11th century. There is also an island called Koh Paen, linked to the town by a bamboo bridge (take a ferry when it’s the wet season, the bridge won’t be passable then). Here, locals grow tobacco and sesame and also fish. If you are in to your temples, you will want to check out the twin ‘mountain temples’ of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei.
Wat Nokor- USD1
Bicycle Hire- USD2
Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei- USD10
Accommodation: Mekong Hotel or similar
Day 18-20 - Siem Reap
A huge amount of travellers make their way to the small but ever expanding town of Siem Reap as this is the gateway to Angkor, which is the most favoured destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. Once you are here you cannot leave without wandering around the markets, which are great places to shop or to try some very cheap, delicious street food.
Kick back and relax with your new found friends in this historic town this evening in anticipation of visiting Angkor tomorrow.
New day, up bright and early for your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex along with our guide. These majestic temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are both stunning and fascinating to look at and there are some truly awesome photographic opportunities at any time of day - we defiantly recommend watching both the sunrise or sunset over this ancient wonder of the world..
Once you start walking around this ancient site you will truly get to understand the sheer size of the complex, as you will learn the ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 sq km, but the main group of temples is close to Siem Reap so you'll have plenty of time to fully acknowledge the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
For those adventure seekers out there that feel like stepping it up a notch, another option is to do the "Flight of the Gibbon" zip-line course, giving you a birds eye view of the rain forest with extra adrenaline rush thrown in.
Other options here include a visit to the sobering Landmine Museum or our Siem Reap Street Food by Night Urban Adventure.
A One Day Angkor Pass is included on this tour. If you would like to return to Angkor outside of our included tour, you can purchase a longer pass through your tour leader.
1 Day Angkor Pass with Guided Tour
Tonle Sap boat trip - USD15
Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
Flight of the Gibbon ziplining - USD109
Landmine Museum - USD5
Three Day Angkor Pass - USD40
Accommodation Victory Guesthouse or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 21-22 – Bangkok
Ah, Bangkok! Considered by many travelers to be the hub of Asia, with travelers pouring in and out, it really is a most fascinating place to be. Keep this in mind as we take the long journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok (it will take about 9 hours including a border crossing and a lunch stop).
Get a famous Thai massage, or climb into a long tail boat to head down the Chao Phraya River to explore the canals (locally known as khlongs) that are famous in their own right. Other highlights of Bangkok to be considered are the Grand Palace, and of course the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
After breakfast on Day 22, we will have to say goodbye to our travel companions so you can depart at any time. Of course, if you prefer, you can also stay a few more day and we can help you arrange accommodation as well.
Thai massage - THB250
Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike - THB1500
Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
Jim Thompson's House - THB100
Urban Adventures - Temple & River of Kings - THB2200
Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk city tour - THB1400
Accommodation: Astera Sathorn or similar
Meals included: Breakfast