|DAY||SUMMARY OF ACTIVITY||LOCATION|
|1||Arrival, evening Vietnamese street food moto tour||Saigon|
|2||Old Town tour, plus visits to Chinatown, Thien Hau Pagoda and the Reunification Palace||Saigon|
|3||To the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be||Cai Be|
|4||Exploring the Mekong Delta by boat, An Binh island and Vinh Long market, then on to Can Tho||Can Tho|
|5||Cai Rang Floating Market and the stunning scenery of Chau Doc||Chau Doc|
|6||Speedboat to the Vietnam-Cambodian border and on to Phnom Penh, free evening||Phnom Penh|
|7||Phnom Penh city tour, including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields||Phnom Penh|
|8||Day trip to a rural village with home-cooked lunch, then flight to Siem Reap||Siem Reap|
|9||Cycle tour of the temples, including Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple and Ta Phrom||Siem Reap|
|10||A visit to Kompong Khleang Stilted Village, and then the jungle temple of Beng Mealea||Siem Reap|
|11||Local crafts tour from Les Artisans d’Angkor, departure
Arrival into Ho Chi Minh City – (SGN) Tan Son Nhat Airport (flight details tbc).
Meet you outside of the arrivals hall and private transfer to the city, which takes around 45 minutes. Check-in to your hotel, take a rest and then head our for an amazing introduction to Saigon…
EVENING STREET-FOOD AND DRINKS WITH THE LOCALS
Experience Saigon the local way!
You will ride on the back of typical Saigon transportation – the xe-om (motorbike)… With an experienced driver to get away from the main tourist spots and see the ‘real Saigon’. Our night time Vietnamese food tour will take us through Districts 1,3,5 and 10 of this energetic city. We will be visiting local Vietnamese Street food vendors on the pavement or in small local Vietnamese style restaurants so please be prepared to be outdoors in the open air for most of the tour unless the weather in Vietnam decides to not cooperate.
Guests will be paired with an English speaking Vietnamese guide from a local university who will be with them through the whole tour to help explain all of the Vietnamese food as you spend your evening in a unique and highly enjoyable way.
The atmosphere is light and fun with a focus on enjoying great Vietnamese food. It is truly like going to a dinner party with local Vietnamese, except this one moves!
Included in this small-group tour:
Unlimited Food and Drink, Helmet, Rain Poncho, English Speaking Drivers, Tour Leaders, Security and Support Team, $5,000 Accident Insurance Coverage
Tour starts at 18:00 and finishes around 22:00
Included: transport, tour guide, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues
SAIGON NOW AND THEN
We’ll begin with a short orientation tour (walking / driving) of Old Saigon Streets and Iconic Buildings. Appreciate the splendidly restored exteriors of the Opera House and the former Hotel de Ville which are still two of the finest buildings in Saigon.
Wander up to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris. Then head across the square to the Central Post office, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel before he had risen to fame for the Eiffel Tower.
Drive a short way to Cholon (China town). Nowhere epitomizes Cholon’s vibrant commercialism like Binh Tay Market. Cholon translates as “big market” and this is the areas biggest, covering a huge 17,000 square meters. Exteriors display one of the finest examples of early 20th-century Chinese-French architecture: multitier roofs adorned with dragons, mixed with mustard-hued halls and a central clock tower.
Around 2,300 stalls are piled high with a goods ranging from ironmongery and ceramics to wet noodles and live chickens. One section is devoted to incense, another to traditional medicine ingredients and there are basic food stalls serving dishes such as Cantonese roast pork.
Walk along to Thien Hau Pagoda. Cantonese founders dedicated this temple-pagoda in 1760 to Thien Hau, Goddess Protector of Seafarers, thanking her for safe passage across the South China Sea. One of Cholon’s most important pagodas, Thien Hau is also known as Women’s Pagoda because the Goddesses of Fertility and Mothers are worshipped here. It’s noteworthy, too, for its fine friezes, murals and glazed ceramic rooftop figurines.
Originally a Chinese satellite city of Saigon, the main city has now engulfed its little sister. Still, Cholon has a distinctive character and its people have played an outsized role in Saigon’s economy and history since the enclave was created.
We begin this story with a visit to The Reunification Palace (former Presidential Palace), the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war and reveals the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past. This is the location where the two North Vietnamese army tanks crushed the gates of the palace on 30th April 1975 and signalled the end of the conflict, by taking the surrender from Duong Van Minh, who had been president of South Vietnam for only three days.
We’ll continue to visit the site of the wartime offices of the US Information Service (USIS). This is now The War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes). This museum is a disturbing experience. It graphically recounts the Vietnam War from the perspective of the victors. The Requiem gallery, depicting the images taken by many international War Photographers during the conflict, is especially graphic and moving.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, transport
DOWN TO THE DELTA
Meet you at Tan Son Nhat airport (SGN) and we’ll drive around 2.5 hours south to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be. Here we will board our private boat for the first glimpse of the Mekong and take a short cruise to our hotel, which is ideally situated on the banks of the Mekong River.
The remainder of today is free and easy for you to relax and enjoy the resort facilities and river views.
1 x night accommodation
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, private boat.
MEANDERING ON THE MEKONG
This morning we leave our resort by boat for a day exploration of the Mekong Delta.
Visit local gardens and houses to see orchards, rice production, fruit farms and small cottage industries. Cruise along the river and canals of An Binh island to see the peaceful and tranquil life of local villagers, admiring the marvelous natural setting of the Mekong Delta region. Enjoy a traditional home-cooked lunch at a family house on An Binh Island.
Continue cruising through the delightful scenery and around 3 pm, the boat will arrive at Vinh Long, where you have a chance to explore the land market, before the 1 hour drive to Can Tho.
After check-in at your hotel, you may wish to explore this lively area along the Mekong riverside yourself. There are a number of restaurants, street food vendors and an authentic local night market.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, private boat
CAI RENG FLOATING MARKET AND CHAU DOC
A visit to Cai Rang floating market on a small boat from Can Tho is a definite Mekong Delta highlight. It’s one of the most photogenic spots in southern Vietnam. Floating markets have long thrived in the delta since they’re the most convenient way for traders who transport everything on the river, to trade their wares.
Cai Rang market is best visited very early. Leave Can Tho at around 6am to arrive at the market around 7am when things will be in full swing with hundreds small boats converging to buy and sell.
Stopping by Le Binh market on the way back to Can Tho is recommended. It’s a superbly chaotic local market with plenty of the delta’s fish bounty on display alongside fruits and vegetables.
Return to Can Tho for hotel check-out and then we’ll drive past waterways and rice fields for around 3 hours to Chau Doc, by way of Long Xuyen. The riverside and markets are a major highlight of Chau Doc, along with the stunning mountain scenery and multitude of paddy fields surrounding the city. Depending on time, we will visit the local fishing village, meet the local Cham minority community and travelling almost 6km to the west,you will have a chance to view the 230m-high Sam Mountain with beautiful landscapes and many historic remains.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, private boat
ACROSS THE RIVER BORDER TOWARDS CAMBODIA AND THE CAPITAL CITY OF PHNOM PENH
Early morning departure by public speedboat from Chau Doc, cruising fast along the Hau River to Vinh Xuong international border for Vietnam/Cambodia immigration (there is an on-board courier to assist with formalities).
Continue your fast cruise along the Mekong, to arrive Phnom Penh, Sisowath Quay around 1.00pm or so. (Usual running time is approximately 4.5 hours from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh) and around 1 hour for customs and immigration).
Meet your Phnom Penh local guide on disembarkation and transfer you to your hotel in the city.
Included: public speedboat, transport, tour guide, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues
PHNOM PENH CITY TOUR
We explore “the hidden pearl of Asia” with a guided tour of the city stopping at sites of interest along the way, including the spectacular Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda (Emerald Buddha), the pagoda at Wat Phnom, the Independence Monument and the newly erected statue commemorating the late King Father (Sihanouk).
For an insight into Cambodian religious life, visit a pagoda. In the late morning, depending on your time of arrival at the pagoda, you may also be able to see the monks chanting, (not guaranteed) prior to their lunch.
After lunch (included), we continue our tour of Phnom Penh by taking a sobering walk through Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21). Here there are stark and moving reminders of Cambodia’s recent tragic past. Our expert guide will explain the historical, political and social context of the bleak period of Khmer history which followed the fall of Phnom Penh in April 1975.
Then continue on to Choeung Ek Memorial -one of the infamous Killing Fields, where the Khmer Rouge executed around 17,000 of the estimated 2 million Cambodians who perished under the Pol Pot regime.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, transport
GOOD DAY CAMBODIA
Our most popular day trip! Embark on a colourful journey of discovery to a rural village, learning key historical and cultural facts about the area and its people along the way. A guided ox-cart or horse-cart ride to the rice fields will reveal the farming techniques used in Cambodia, close up.
Watch the local food be prepared and enjoy a tasty home cooked lunch, afterwards meeting to chat with the delightful family and learning about their lives. Explore the village, meet the locals and get a real feel for what it’s like to live in a rural Cambodian community.
Private transfer to Phnom Penh Airport for your outbound flight.
Domestic flight from Phnom Penh (PNH) to Siem Reap (REP) taking around 45 minutes (flight detail tbc).
ARRIVAL IN SIEM REAP
Your guide will meet you just outside of the arrivals hall at Siem Reap International Airport and transfer you to your accommodation to check in. (Flight arrival details tbc).
1 x night accommodation
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, transport, domestic flight, bedroom and breakfast
CYCLE TOUR OF THE TEMPLES
This gentle cycle ride gives you the chance to explore the hidden wonders of the Angkor complex, travelling along magical jungle paths and dirt roads only accessible by bike. Mango Cambodia developed this unique route specifically to avoid the throngs of tourists, and it’s become our most popular temple tour. In-between the main sights, there is often not another soul in sight.
We start the day early, transporting you to the temple complex by vehicle and then cycling to the stunning, jungle-clad temple of Ta Phrom. You’ll see how the tentacle-like tree roots are slowly strangling the surviving stones. It’s an evocative sight. Admire the temple in the early morning light and with fewer people around than later in the day.
Our journey continues with a tour of the South Gate of Angkor Thom, where we see the smiling faces of the Bayon Temple, the Terrace of Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King. After an early lunch we visit the spectacular Angkor Wat. During this time of the day the crowds are at a minimum letting you view this amazing structure at its most serene. If at any time you have had enough of cycling, we can relieve you of your bicycle and continue the tour in the support vehicle, which will never be far away, with copious supplies of ice cold bottled water available.
Please note: While Mango Cambodia has developed our own route, please discuss with your guide your expectations. We are happy to provide adventuresome cycling, single-track or a more sedate route.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, transport, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues
FLOATING VILLAGE AND JUNGLE TEMPLE
Today we visit the remote stilted village of Kompong Khleang, on the floodplains of the Tonle Sap Lake.
During the dry season the 6-metre stilted homes tower above the low water line, exposing the various livestock of the villagers, including chicken, pigs and dogs.
The villagers are fishing folk with shrimp harvesting their primary source of income. Giant sheets covered with pink shrimp drying in the sun can be seen on the lake shore and along the main street.
In the afternoon we venture out to visit one of the larger, but further afield temples of the Angkor region, deep in the jungle at Beng Mealea. It has been described as “unquestionably one of the most beautiful Angkorian sites,’ and possibly served as the direct model for Angkor Wat itself.
Included: tour guide, entrance fees, transport, lunch, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues, private boat
LOCAL CRAFTS (FAIR TRADE)
For your final morning in Siem Reap, our guide will escort you to Les Artisans d’Angkor, where you’ll see local crafts being made.
Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian company which was originally created to help young rural people find work near their home village. As the offshoot of an educational project called Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle, aiming at providing professional skills to communities with limited educational opportunities, Artisans Angkor has maintained its commitment to education by developing its own training program.
Since its creation at the end of 1990s, Artisans Angkor has strived to offer good working conditions and social advantages to its employees. It has now opened 42 workshops in Siem Reap province and it provides employment to over 1300 people, including more than 900 artisans.
DEPARTURE FROM SIEM REAP
Private transfer to Siem Reap Airport which is around 20 minutes drive from the downtown area.
Included: tour guide, transport, bottled drinking water and fresh-up tissues
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