Day 01 – Siem Reap
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon, you will have your first taste of the Angkorian temples. Explore the sprawling labyrinth of Banteay Kdei with its Hall of Dancing Girls. A short drive through the forest takes you to one of the favorite places in the Angkor Archaeological Park. A boatman will row you in a traditional gondola the length of the navigable moat of Angkor Thom. This ancient Angkorian waterway, once home to 10,000 crocodiles, is the perfect stage to enjoy a late afternoon drink and watch the sunset over the water. View hidden elements of the ancient Khmer water systems, accompanied by the sounds of birds singing.
Meals included: Nil.
Day 02 – Siem Reap
Morning, by road to Srah Srang and then Ta Prohm (11km), take your time to walk through the temple from the West entrance to the East entrance to meet again with our driver (walk 1-2 km). From the Northwest of Ta Prohm we shall walk (15 minutes) through the forest to the lightly visited temple of Ta Nei. There is a reasonable chance of having this beautiful Angkor temple to yourself to explore. Take a much needed break at Ta Nei temple with a beautiful temple breakfast of fresh croissants, seasonal fruit, juices, Tea and Coffee, before exploring further. End the morning at Ta Keo temple, known as the “mountain with bronze peaks”, and admire its five-tiered pyramid structure. Return by road to Siem Reap for lunch.
In the afternoon, travel by road to the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom. You have the choice of either walking along the path of 8m high laterite city wall (500m) to the Death Gate or continuing around by road. En route to the Terrace of the Leper King, you can stop briefly to see an imposing statue found in Bayon which is now displayed at Vihear Prampeilveng. Begin again at the atmospheric Preah Palilay and walk (1km) through the shaded parkland behind the terraces, pass Phimeanakas with its beautiful lakes, and the imposing Baphuon to finally reach Jayavarman?s state temple of Bayon at the centre of the city. Explore this important temple with its many captivating giant stone faces. Your guide will point out the most interesting of the detailed bas reliefs illustrating everyday life in the Angkorian era.
In the evening, Dancers and musicians bring to life the ancient Khmer art form of the Apsara dance tonight in a colorful cultural performance, coupled with traditional Khmer cuisine for a relaxing evening’s entertainment. Enjoyed by all in the Angkor era, these intricate classical and traditional theatrical dance-dramas were almost wiped out during the Khmer Rouge. Tonight, through this beautiful display of highly stylized art form and sparkling costumes, you will gain insight into the current Cambodian cultural renaissance.
*Note: Apsara dinner show at Raffles available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner. Lunch not covered.
Day 03 – Siem Reap/Hanoi
A sunrise tour starts pre-dawn to witness the breathtaking view of Angkor Wat temple, the best place for photography. Explore the central complex and bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat, before returning to your hotel for a late breakfast. Time at leisure before transfer to the airport for flight to Hanoi.
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch.
Day 04 – Hanoi
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (open in the morning only and closed Mon and Fri), his Former Residence and Temple of Literature – the first University and the capital of Vietnam 1000 years ago.
After a traditional lunch, visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, an excellent showcase of women’s role in the Vietnamese society and culture and how it has changed over time. Then, visit the thought-provoking Hoa Lo Prison, where John McCain famously spent part of his 5.5 years as a POW in.
Have some free time in the 36 bustling streets of the Old Quarters.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch.
Day 05 – Hanoi / Halong Bay
Head 4 hours to Halong Bay and board your overnight junk (ship). After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panorama view of the bay. As the day wanes, slip into a kayak or swim in the cool water before enjoying a sumptuous dinner under the moonlit sky. (Note: Program may differ slightly based on cruise ships).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Day 06 – Hanoi Bay/ Halong
Greet the new day with Tai Chi exercise before visiting a beautiful limestone grotto to admire its many unique rock formations before driving back to Hanoi for your flight.
Meals included: Breakfast.