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JTW 2017 – Vietnam & Cambodia

7 February 2017 – 2 March 2017

V&CTour Highlights

// Try the local cuisine and specialties in a Hanoi Backstreets food tour – eat like a local!
// Spend 2 nights sailing on a private charter through Halong Bay

// Visit a local incense workshop in Hue
// Visit the Dong Thien Pagoda in Hue, with lunch prepared by the nuns
// Cooking class in Hoi An with Ms Vy at Cargo Club in Hoi An

// Special dinner in Saigon at ‘The Deck’ Restaurant
// 2 nights’ sailing along the Mekong Delta
// Sunrise at Angkor Wat, entering through the little used East Gate by tuk tuks
// Receive a water blessing from a Buddhist monk before entering Ta Prohm temple in Siem Reap
// See the ‘Golden Buddha’ encrusted with more than 9000 diamonds
// Champagne picnic at dusk, in Siem Reap with breathtaking views

Day One // 7th February 2017
Today you will be transferred to Sydney airport for your overnight flight to Hanoi.
Meals: In flight

Day Two // 8th February 2017
After arriving into Hanoi and being transferred to your accommodation, you will have a free afternoon to recover from the flight. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner at one of our favourite restaurants.
Meals: In flight, Dinner

Day Three // 9th February 2017
This morning you have the opportunity to see Hanoi in a way few tourists ever get to experience. This is an included optional as it does require some level of fitness. At dawn, cycle for 3-5kms from the hotel to the Hanoi flower market. This is the busiest time of the day at the colourful markets and you will be able to see all the local vendors in action.  Continue via the West Lake and the Old Quarter, witnessing the early risers begin their morning exercise before returning to the hotel for breakfast and to meet the rest of the group who didn’t join the early morning adventure.

After breakfast, we begin our discovery of Hanoi at the Ho Chi Minh Quarter and Ba Dinh Square. Today you will learn much more about Ho Chi Minh (affectionately known as ‘Uncle Ho), one of the great figures of the 20th century and considered the ‘father of modern Vietnam’. The sightseeing will take us to the One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature and the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’. Finally it’s time to jump on board the traditional bicycle taxi of Vietnam, the Cyclo! Discover the streets of the old Quarter as you witness the busy early evening traffic before visiting a local ‘Bia Hoi’ restaurant to try the local specialties.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

FoodSoup

Day Four // 10th February 2017
Today we travel by road, passing spectacular mountain scenery to reach the charming town of Sapa. Famous for its’ rugged scenery and rich cultural diversity, Sapa is home to the Blue H’mong and Red Dao communities who continue to maintain their strong traditional and warmly welcome visitors. With its’ lush, deep river valleys this is a spectacular part of Vietnam.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Five // 11th February 2017
Today we travel to the Muong Hoa Valley, to descend on foot through the largest terraced rice paddy area in the Sapa region.
Our walk takes us through the village of Lao Chai, home to the Black Hmong minority and then onto the Ta Van village. Here we have a great opportunity to observe the daily life and experience their hospitality. After lunch we continue through the Bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai, a Red Dao ethnic Minority village.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Six // 12th February 2017
This morning we visit the famous Bac Ha Sunday markets – where this sleepy town erupts with a riot of colour and energy. Witness the villagers, who have flocked from the hills and valleys, fill the laneways to barter, buy and sell their goods. After, we will return to Hanoi for a unique experience embracing the local cuisine. Our back streets food tour will take us to visit some of the local markets and specialty food stores that tourists don’t know to look for! We will try the local dishes Hanoi is famous for, giving us the perfect ‘live like a local’ experience.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Seven // 13th February 2017
Today we travel to one of Vietnam’s premier natural attractions, Halong Bay. With its thousands of limestone islets emerging from the South China Sea, the bay has an important position in Vietnamese legend and continues to capture the imagination of visitors. We will set sail through beautiful Bai Tu Long bay with today’s activities including the opportunity to kayak and take in an on board cooking class.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Eight // 14th February 2017
Today we will spend the whole day in Halong Bay! Relax on board, Discover hidden caves, visit a Pearl Farm or take a kayak to secluded beaches – there will be plenty on offer for you to explore Halong Bay.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

HalongBay

Day Nine // 15th February 2017
After breakfast we will travel by tender to the ‘Amazing Cave’ (Sung Sot cave). Our tour guide will take you to a huge cave with many interesting stalactite and stalagmite in different amazing shapes. Returning to the boat, we will cruise back to Bai Chay wharf and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue. Hue is the former capital of Hue and presents an insight into historic Vietnam. This peaceful town is also the cradle of Buddhism in Vietnam and is thriving with tranquil pagodas.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Ten // 16th February 2017
The Citadel and the Imperial Palace, the impressive home of the Nguyen Dynasty,
is where our sightseeing begins in Hue.
We will also visit the revered Thien Mu Pagoda, the city’s oldest and most beautiful religious monuments; before continuing to the Royal Mausoleum. But today we have the opportunity to delve beyond the city sights with three amazing, unique experiences. This starts with a visit to a local incense workshop to test your craftmanships at one of the major trades in Hue. After, we stop at the Dong Thien Pagoda for a vegetarian lunch prepared by the nuns. The Pagoda also runs a kindergarten for underprivileged children and out visit will contribute directly to the children in these classes. During our visit we can interact with the nuns to learn more about their daily life and activities.
This is all followed by a special visit to the Spiral Foundation to meet the deaf and mute workers as they guide you to make your own souvenir from 100% recycled materials. Since 1999, the SPIRAL foundation has financed humanitarian aid projects, giving those involved in the process a sense of pride that comes by helping and sustaining many other, in even greater need than themselves.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Eleven // 17th February 2017
Today we start our adventures at the Cargo Club Restaurant in downtown Hoi An. From there, you will begin with  visit to Hoi An’s colourful market. One of Vietnam’s best, the markets offer an unmissable shopping experience! Rich with the smell of fragrant herbs and spices, it is sure to heighten your senses! You then return to the Cargo Club with the owner of the restaurant and chef, Ms. Vy for her famous cooking classes. This is an interesting and fun way to learn about the cuisine, with after a demonstration on the preparation of each dish, you will then get to try for yourselves!
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Twelve // 18th February 2017
Today is free at leisure. This is an opportunity to wander the laneways of the beautiful town, perhaps order some tailor made clothes or take a bicycle and ride to the beach. To conclude the day, dinner will be included in Hoi An.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Monks

Day Thirteen // 19th February 2017
Today pick up your last minute purchases before we transfer to the airport for our last stay in Vietnam – Saigon!

Saigon is Vietnam’s biggest city and its most popular tourist destination. In Saigon you will be captivated by its Chinese and French influences, great food and the friendly, smiling people. On arrival we will get straight into the atmosphere of the city, trying the famous Vietnam noodle dish – Pho –  in a local restaurant.

This evening you will be enjoying dinner at the divine, ‘The Deck Restaurant’. It is the city’s most modern Pan Asian cuisine where friendships and fine food comes together. Once you’ve been greeted, share the sunset, unwind with a signature cocktail and enjoy the contemporary experience … it will be hard for you depart and is sure to be a highlight of your city stay.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Fourteen // 20th February 2017
Before travelling to the Cu Chi Tunnels, enjoy the locals delicious breakfast – steaming hot bowl of noodle soup at a local eatery. This is another opportunity to live like a local! The tunnels are located in an area known during the Vietnam War as the “Iron Triangle” on account of the strength of its Communist insurgency. The Cu Chi tunnels network was established as a means of war against superior French and later American fire power. After our visit, we stop by a local restaurant for lunch before embarking on an afternoon of sightseeing.
The tour will take you through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street, Past the Ho Chi Minh Square, Municipal Theatre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Commence with a tour of the Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museums.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Fifteen // 21st February 2017
After breakfast we will transfer to Cai Be to board our Mekong River wooden river cruise vessel. Setting sail at noon, it’s time for a refreshing welcoming drink and to take in the fantastic scenery. After lunch on board we disembark for a guided leisurely stroll through the village. Here take in the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields…meet the friendly locals and taste the locale produce and fruits! Back on board, enjoy a drink at the bar or relax on deck as the sun sets over the magnificent water landscape of the Mekong River. The day ends with a delicious onboard dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Mekong

Day Sixteen // 22nd February 2017
Wake up early this morning and enjoy seeing the Mekong Delta come to life. We continue our travels to the charming Sa Dec to tour the city. There you will witness the busy and colorful local market, stopping to enjoy a coffee on the riverside promenade. The charming town still has a lot of colonial architecture – in particular the old market, the church and many old villas and traders houses. We will be able to visit one of them, a beautifully renovated traditional house of a Chinese traders family. This building belonged to the main character of the novel “The Lover” the lover of Marguerite Duras. Back on board, we cruise towards the island of Cu Lao Gieng. Here you will be amazed to see such an impressive monastery in the middle of nowhere. Time permitting, we will take the opportunity to visit the Catholic monastery which was built on the island in 1875 by French nuns of Saint Paul de Chartres. In the afternoon you return to your ship for our final night on board.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Seventeen // 23rd February 2017
The boat starts cruising towards Chau Doc early in the morning. After breakfast on the top deck to take in the arrival, we will then visit a floating fish farm and take part in an excursion to a cham village. Our Mekong river cruise ends after a delicious lunch on board; afterwards being transferred to our hotel for the night.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Eighteen // 24th February 2017
This morning you will board the Victoria speed boat to Phnom Penh (shared boat).

Cambodia has emerged from its recent tragic past to a friendly open people, eager to communicate with the rest of the world and share their knowledge of truly remarkable national history. Cambodia reveals ancient temple complexes unrivalled in scale and aura! This afternoon we will enjoy sundowners at the FCC Club followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Nineteen // 25th February 2017
In colonial times, Phnom Penh was pocketed with cinemas, grand catholic churches and smoky opium dens. After years of war and terror in the 1970’s, Phnom Penh is now a city reinventing itself.

Discover from the unique front-seat perspective of a traditional Cyclo ride, a colorful three-wheeled pedal powered taxi. Glide through the backstreets and local markets of a city whose architecture bears testimony to its rich French colonial past and majestic Royal character. Our cyclo ride takes us past “Wat Phnom” and through Penh’s old colonial city centre, ending at the Royal Palace and its famous landmark, the Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda enshrines a ‘Golden Buddha’ encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds! Afterwards we stroll over the National Museum for an appreciation of the splendor of Khmer history and art. Lunch is included at a local restaurant before climbing the steps of Phnom Penhs namesake, Wat Phnom We finish our touring with a visit to ’Psah Thmei’ or Central Market; built in 1937 and a remarkable example of French Art Deco architecture with its emblematic yellow dome.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Golden Buddha

Day Twenty // 26th February 2017
Today we transfer to the airport for your short flight to Siem Reap, home to the treasures of Angkor, A UNESCO World Heritage site. Near the port of Chong Kneas stands Phnom Krom, a 140m hill with an Angkorian temple on its summit. After the short drive from Siem Reap, either drive or walk to the hill-top to enjoy sunset and a breathtaking view of the Tonle Sap Lake. Sure to be highlight, this evening we will stop on the hill top for a champagne picnic! Take in the wonderful view, before heading back to Siem Reap at dusk.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Twenty-One // 27th February 2017
The temples of Angkor represent six hundred years (802-1432) of Khmer civilization – one of Asia’s greatest kingdoms. The adventure begins with a predawn departure, as we enter the temple complex. We have special access through The Eastern side of the temple, which not many tourists get to experience.  Creep through the forest, past the longest stretch of bas-relief carvings in the world before soaking up the atmosphere of dawn at Angkor.  Freshly cooked local breakfast will be served outside the temple. After you will enter the walled city of Angkor Thom or ‘big city’.Marvel at the eerie stone heads and evocative bas-reliefs of Bayon temple and the central structure of Angkor Thom.
We will then move on to the Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. Receive a water blessing from the Buddhist monk at the peaceful Tep Pranam Pagoda and gain a deeper understanding of Cambodia’s main religion before exploring the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Twenty-Two // 28th February 2017
Today we visit three of the most interesting temples outside Angkor Thom city. We start with a 2 hour driver through scenic rural Cambodia to Boeng Mealea temple. Mid-morning we arrive at King Suryavarman 11’s eleventh century Boeng Mealea temple – a prototype for the more famous Angkor Wat. Boeng Mealea stands almost forgotten in the jungle and getting to the site is quite an adventure in itself. It is the largest temple outside the main Angkor complex and in places it is remarkably intact, but in other places utterly destroyed; tree roots envelop many of the temple walls and doorways. Boeng Mealea shares may characteristics with Angkor Wat, but on a smaller scale.
We continue our drive through rural areas to the intricately carved and well-preserved Banteav Srei Temple. Enjoy a freshly cooked lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the temple. Upon your return to Siem Reap we first make a stop at the Cambodian Landmine Museum before making a stop at a small village known for producing palm sugar and wine. Enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate the end of your tour.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day Twenty-Three // 1st March 2017
This morning you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your onward flight.
Meals: Breakfast, In flight

Day Twenty-Four // 2nd March 2017
Upon arrival in Sydney you will farewell your JTW travelling companions and will be transferred to your home address.
Meals: In flight

Angkor

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