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Italiano Francais

Vietnam and Cambodia Adventure with Samuele Barnabe and Anna Balestrazzi

We have just returned from our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia which was organized with the help of this agency and we have to say that we were just happy! I claim that my husband and I were never sort of an agency, but being an articulated and full-time trip to see as much as possible within three weeks, we preferred to be entrusted with an agency (local) to save time and be sure everything went smoothly. And so it was!
A special thank you to Ms Trang who was extremely helpful and polite and always kept us under the eye throughout our vacation.
Another positive aspect: the operators of the agency speak and write well Italian, so even those who are not familiar with English will have no problems communicating with them!
Highly recommended!

Group of: Mr. Samuele Barnabé e Ms. Anna Balestrazzi
Travel Date: 9/8/2015 – 28/8/2015 
Travel Style:  Vietnam and Cambodia Adventure


Day 01: Welcome to Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi. Upon arrival to the airport, you well be met by our guide and transfer to you hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi – Perfume Pagoda – night train for Lao Cai (B /L/-)
8.00 welcome from private car driving to your hotel. Departure for a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda, pagoda complex and Buddhist pilgrimage site, located 70 km south-east of Hanoi. Upon arrival, we will embark on a sampan for a magnificent walk on the Yen River to the Thien Tru Pagoda. During your walk, the boat will stop to visit the Trinh Temple and some pagoda. Pique-nique before heading off the hill to reach the Giai Oan Pagoda and the Huong Tich Cave. Return to Hanoi in the afternoon.
At night you will take the night train to Lao Cai.

Day 03 : Trekking at Sapa: Y Linh Ho – Lao Chai – Ta Van Village (B/L/D)
Morning: Arriving in the early morning at Lao Cai station, you would be on a scenic drive to Sapa after the short breakfast at the downtown. You may be catching some wow moments along the way by witnessing spectacular views of rice-terraced mountains besides with hill tribe people (Black H’Mong and Red Dao) walking along the side with unique colorful wares.
Then checking in at the hotel, there would be a short walking tour to the market to catch up with the local life of ethnic people from faraway villages converging there. Lunch would be at your own arrangement.

Afternoon: Your guide would wait to see you to start the trekking along the vast Muong Hoa valley with terraced fields lying on, heading to Lao Chai and Ta Van villages of H’mong and Tay people. Here, there are 3 options for you: the soft trek (at only 3 km), medium trek (around 6 km) or long trek (nearly 12 km). For each, you would have chance to imbue the well-preserved unique culture and traditions of the north ethnic minorities.

 Day 04: Trekking at Sapa: Cat Cat – Sin Chai Village – overnight train to Hanoi (B/L/D)
Your guide would wait to see you to start the trekking along the vast Muong Hoa valley with terraced fields lying on, heading to Cat Cat and Sin Chai villages of H’mong and Tay people. Here, there are 3 options for you: the soft trek (at only 3 km), medium trek (around 6 km) or long trek (nearly 12 km). For each, you would have chance to imbue the well-preserved unique culture and traditions of the north ethnic minorities. Transfer to Lao Cai station for the train back to Hanoi. Overnight at train.

Day 05: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Arrived at Hanoi Station at 05:00 AM. We will arrange a room near the station to rest for a while. Breakfast at hotel. New Moon Hotel.
07:30 – 08:30 Our tour guide and bus pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi old quarter.
08:30 Departure to Halong Bay for 3.5 Hours.
10:00 Arrive in Hai Duong province, and have 20 minute short break.
12:00 Arrive Tuan Chau harbor, Halong Bay.
12:15 Welcome to Majestic Cruise and enjoy Welcome drink, Enjoy welcome drink get a brief introduction about cruise and safety guidelines. Check-in your cabin.
12:30 Have Vietnamese seafood and vegetarian lunch, while cruising in the magnificent Halong Bay, admiring the fascinating rock formations in the bay.
14:30 arrival in Pearl Farm, take rowing boat through the village or kayaking
15:30 Continued exploration the bay.
16:00 Visiting Titop Island
17.30 Back Majestic Halong cruise and relax.
18:00 Join cooking class guided directly by Chef of Majestic Halong Cruise. You have chance to practice Vietnamese traditional dishes such as spring roll or famous cuisine of Vietnam.
19:30 Time for dinner enjoying special BBQ seafood on the cruise.
21:00 Evening entertainments: play game on the cruise: cards game, chess, karaoke,squid fishing, and overnight on the Majestic Cruise.

Day 06: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B/L/-)
06.30: Early morning sun risers can enjoy Tai Chi lesson on sundeck.
07.00: Morning view of bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast.
08:00 Arrive Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) and joining with guide to visiting and explore the cave.
10:00 Check-out and enjoy a fantastic cruise on the bay.
11:00 Enjoy the lunch on cruise.
12:00 Majestic Cruise are landing Halong Bay harbor, tourist say goodbye to sailors and finish the cruise.
12:30 Return to Hanoi by shuttle bus.
14:30 Stopover in Hai Duong province to visit a ceramics workshop.
16:00 – 16:30 Arrive in Hanoi end your trip.

 Day 07: Hanoi visit – Flight to Danang – Hoi An (B/-/-)
At 09:00AM, our waiting guide and driver will welcome you at your hotel and transfer us to Temple of Literature. Following is a visit to The Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilt and nearby One Pillar Pagoda Then followed by Tran Quoc Pagoda and Van Mieu literally translated “Temple of Literature” which is wel-known in Vietnam for a combination of Confucian sanctuary and academy, the centre also housed the country’s first university, founded in 1076. We have time to wander through the stone tablets and soak up a thousand years of learning with our local guide. Lunch break in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon you will visit the Museum of Ethnology where it focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in the country. The wonderful Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is considered one of the most beautiful museums in the whole country. Set in a modern building, it houses a wonderful collection of art and crafts of ethnic minorities, as well as daily life utensils from all over the nation. Outside Visitors can access several traditional homes, including a Tay pile, a solemn Bahnar building and a Dzao home. Do not miss the tomb of Giarai with the straw roof and the wooden statues in bold poses.
Next is Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake Walking tour. Followed by, we travel by rickshaw cyclo (traditional bike-propelled cart) and foot along tree-lined boulevards and through the 1000-year-old Old Quarter, exploring the markets and taking in some of the city’s great colonial architecture.
We finish day by visiting Ngoc Son Temple. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Danang. Upon arrival, transfer to Hoi An. Overnight in hotel.

Day 8: Bicycle Tour at the Tra Que Village Village – Lantern Class (B /L/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. Then take a bicycle ride to the Tra Que Village (5km) for the discovery of the rural life that takes place there. When you arrive at a family home in Tra Que we will have the chance to refresh ourselves before we begin the lesson. We work together with our Family Chef to learn the best and traditional Vietnamese cooking. Lunch at homestay. A foot massage before leaving Tra Que.
The day continues with the discovery of how to do lanterns on a farm. You can admire with your own eyes as you do the glittering lanterns in every step. I’m going back to the hotel.

Day 9: Free Day at Hoi An (B/-/-)
Today’s schedule is up to you, but as usual we will give you some suggestions on the various attractions and possibilities. One of the things we recommend is to use the bicycle for your travels so that Hoi An will look like a desert when compared to the busy streets of other cities in Vietnam!
There are many other things to do in Hoi An: climbing on marble mountains; snorkel and immersion at Cham Island (very close to Hoi An); relax on Cua Dai Beach. This city offers a lot of opportunities.
What do I recommend to Amo Vietnam?
Take a look at Ngoc Anh Store (58 Nguyen Thai Hoc), located in the ancient city selling antiques.
If you want to try a classic Vietnamese sandwich, one of the best places in Hoi An is Banh Mi Phuong, near the market: Street Hoang Dieu.
To make two laughs in the company we recommend the coffee des Amis and the Bup Restaurant Café 96.

Day 10: Hoi An – Danang – Hue (B/-/-)
Morning transfer to Hue.
Stop to visit the pass of Hai Van (Cloud Pass) where the sky, the mountain and the sea reach. Visit the Sculpture Village under Marble Mountain with Linh Ung Pagoda.
Arrival in Hue. Start discovering the city.

Day 11: Hue visit – Flight to Saigon (B/-/-)
The Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River. It covers an area 500 ha and has a system of three circles of ramparts: Kinh Thanh Hue (Hue Capital Citadel), Hoang Thanh (Royal Citadel) and Tu Cam Thanh (Forbidden Citadel). The Hue royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
At 08:00 Hue arrival. In the morning, enjoy a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda or Heavenly Lady pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue. Situated 4 km upstream on the banks of the Perfume River, it is an active Buddhist monastery with its origins dating back to 1601.
Visit the Imperial Citadel of Hue with the Purple Forbidden City.
Lunch at a local restaurant then transfer to Minh Mang Royal Tombthe Emperor of the Imperial City built his own tomb during his reign and today you will visit one of the most beautiful mausoleums. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Sai Gon. Free dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 12: Saigon – Can Gio Mangrove Forest – Saigon (B/L/-)
Only 50 km from the center of Saigon is a world of mongrops, the marshy area is formed by rivers sediments, Dong Nai, Sai Gon, Dong Dong and You Co Tay. The Can gio forest has a surface of 75,740 hectares where several types of animals and plants live like long-haired monkeys, crocodiles and various birds. Upon arrival you will visit the Can Gio Museum before visiting the forest, seeing over 1000 monkeys. You can feed the monkeys by taking photos with them. You will continue for crocodile breeding, where the locals reserve so many crocodiles from the war. You will have the opportunity to fish crocodiles (option). Then you will make a quick boat trip around the Sac Mangrove Forest. You will continue to visit the Vietcong military base during the war, seeing how the Vietcong fight the enemies. Lunch will be served at a resort near the beach. I return to the city.

Day 13: Saigon – Cu Chi Visit – Saigon visit (B/-/-)     
Breakfast at hotel. At 08:30. Transfer to Cu Chi Tunnel, located about 70km northwest of Sai Gon city. The incredible underground tunnel network of Cu Chi stretches for more than 250 km and becomes legendary during the American War. The entire tunnel architecture has been built by providing it with habitable areas, food storage stores, gun factory, command center and dormitories. During the excursion you will visit a large tunnel section to experience the thrill of the underground life. Return to the city in the afternoon. In the afternoon visit: Post Office, Catedrale Notre Dame, Chinese Quatiere with Thien Hau Pagoda, War Museum, Dong Xuan Market.
Overnight in hotel.

Day 14: Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho (B/L/-)
After breakfast, transfer to Mekong Delta – considered the “rice paddle of Vietnam”. Come to town to visit  Vinh Trang Pagoda then board for an excursion on the Ben Tre River – one of the main tributaries of the Mekong River. During the journey you have the opportunity to admire the lively local activities, the fishing along the river, the functionality of the irrigation channels … Stop in a furnace of Mr. Tu Lo to observe traditional brickwork in molds and baking. Visit, along the canal, of one of the many coconuts processing workshops. Stop by a family for tea and fruit in place. With a taxi ride (Xe Loi) or a bike ride we go through local nature: groves, fields of green rice paddies and verdure cultures, a real approach to local farming life. Lunch  at the local restaurant.
With private car transfer from Vinh Long to Can Tho. Free dinner and  overnight stay at hotel.

Day 15: Can Tho – Long Xuyen – Chau Doc (B /-/ -)
Early in the morning, after breakfast, you will enjoy a pleasant boat ride to explore one of the tributaries of Low Mekong (the Bassac River), then go to the Cai Rang floating market, which is perhaps the most lively in the region. Have you ever tasted the typical Vietnamese vermicelli soup? Well, now you can see how it prepares. Then you can go for the villages to get to know the local friendly locals and experience the experience of crossing the “Monkey Bridge”, built entirely of bamboo roots. Visit a garden of orchids and stop for lunch. Proceeding for Chau Doc, it continues with a visit to the Wild Bird Sanctuary of Tra Su, gently sailing with a small boat through the canals immersed in the forest, observing storks, cranes and other tropical birds. During the return visit there will be a visit to the Sam Mountain and, if the weather permits, to the Hang Pagoda. Arrival at Chau Doc and check in at the hotel.

 Day 16: Chau Doc – speedboat to Phnom Penh – Phnom Penh visit (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. At 7.00 am welcome with the Xe Loi (Tuk Tuk Vietnamese) and transfer to the port to take the boat to Phnom Penh.
Approximately half way, individual Cambodian customs formalities. Arrival in Phnom Penh, landing and meeting with local guide for hotel transfer. Free lunch.
Once you check in you will visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (not suitable for children). Toul Sleng was an institute, the Chao Ponhea Yat Institute, which was transformed by the Red Khmer into a Prison S-21. More than 20,000 men, women and children have been questioned, tortured and killed in this area. Toul Sleng was one of the 150 extermination camps of the Red Khmer regime of Pol Pot.
Then there will be a visit to the Choeung Ek extermination camps. In this terrible place there are buried in total tombs, more than 8,000 people, on the collective tombs there is a monument to the memory of the victims.

Day 17: Phnom Penh visit – bus to Siem Reap (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning you will visit the classic part of the capital of Cambodia: the Royal Palace with the Hall of the Throne and the contiguous complex of the Silver Pagoda; Pagoda on the top of Wat Phnom. Then transfer to the bus station to take the morning bus to Siem Reap. After about 6 hours arrival to Siem Reap. Transfer to hotel for check-in. Free time in Siem Reap.

Day 18: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat ( Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda, Takeo, Spean Thma) – Preah Khan – Neak Pean (B/-/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. Wake up early and take a “tuk-tuk” tour to visit the jungle-intertwined temple, Ta Prohm. Dawn is one of the most beautiful and emotional moments to visit the temples, whose ancient sandstone blocks are gold-plated in the morning rays. Go back to the hotel for breakfast and continue the tour of the day.
Lunch at local restaurant then visita Prei khan Temple, built by Jayavarman VII in 1191 in honor of his father who is represented as the savage god of Buddhism Mayahanista. The temple was originally a true city and a place dedicated to Buddhist studies.
In the afternoon you will discover the wonderful temple of Angkor Wat, a world heritage site of humanity built in the 12th century (1112-1152) in honor of Vishnu covering an area of ​​200 hectares surrounded by the canal and the wall of 1300m x 1500m. In the late afternoon, you can admire the sunset over the Ta Phrom. Accommodation and lodging in the hotel.

Day 19: Siem Reap – Angkor Thom (Cancello di Vittoria, Bayon, Baphoun, Terrazzo di Re Lebbroso e di Elefanti) – Prasat Kravan – Banteay Kdaey – Srah Srang – Ta Prohm (B/-/-) A whole day is dedicate to visit the temples of Angkor: the largest archaeological site in the world where archeologists classified 276 monuments of primary importance.
Departure to visit Angkor Thom (large cities) will begin with the South reef and the famous Bayon temple of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, dedicated to Buddhism. The Temple is composed of no less than 54 laps and 216 gigantic faces of Avalokitesvara. Then, you will continue your visit with the terrace of the elephants, along 350m which is at the foot of the Royal Hall and is a place used to organize public ceremonies. Following the terrace of the Leper King, built in the twelfth century, which has several sculptures of apsaras … .and Phimean Akas, Baphuon, Elephant Terrace. Watch the sunset on the hill Ta Phrom. Dinner and accomodation in hotel.

Day 20: Siem Reap – Banteay Srey – Banteay Samre – Partenza (B/-/-)
During the morning you will visit the temple of Banteay Srei where is kept one of the finest jewels of Khmer art. Built in the tenth century, this small temple of pink sandstone, whose name means “The Citadel of Women contains masterpieces of sculpture still in good condition. André Malraux made him famous at the beginning of the twentieth century thanks to the gathering of some “apsara” heads that have been returned to the community in 1923. During the trip you will visit the temple of Bantey Samre where, according to legend, a peasant became King: the king of sweet cucumbers. Admire the remarkable sculptures of this classical temple, preserved with great care.
Transfer to the airport for the Departure Flight.
End of services.