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Hanuman. Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. Tailor-made travel and unique journeys
Local Knowledge, International Expertise. Est 1990
 

Introduction

Bangkok to Saigon
   
18 Days / 17 Nights
   

This popular journey cuts a swathe through three of the most popular countries in the Mekong region. Beginning in bustling Bangkok, we absorb the city highlights before heading for an adventure with luxury experience at the 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge in Koh Kong. Vibrant Phnom Penh awaits with its engaging riverfront and museums, whilst the jewel of Cambodia, the incredible temples of the Khmer Empire at Angkor are next. There is nothing to rival the majesty of Angkor Wat, though the eccentric faces of the Bayon and the jungle-clad Ta Prohm come close. The re-emerging resort of Kep on the South Coast beckons for a beach adventure before we cross into Vietnam to wallow in the luxurious white sands of beautiful Phu Quoc Island. We bring our journey to an end with the highlights of Saigon, the dynamic hub of southern Vietnam. Combining the diverse destinations of Bangkok, Siem Reap and Phu Quoc, this is a trip to savour.

Bangkok to Saigon

In Brief

Bangkok to Saigon
18 Days / 17 Nights

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok. Afternoon city tour.

Day 2: Floating markets. Free time to see the city.

Day 3: Bangkok to Trat by flight. Transfer to 4 Rivers Ecolodge.

Day 4: Kayaking and sightseeing around 4 Rivers.

Day 5: 4 Rivers to Phnom Penh.

Day 6: Phnom Penh sightseeing, including Palace and Museum.

Day 7: Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via Sambor Prei Kuk and Angkor bridge.

Day 8: Roluos group and Preah Khan, Neak Poan, Pre Rup.

Day 9: Ta Prohm dawn. Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre

Day 10: Angkor Wat sunrise and visit. Angkor Thom.

Day 11: Fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to Kep.

Day 12: Rabbit Island am. Cave pagodas pm.

Day 13: Kep to Phu Quoc via Ha Tien.

Day 14: At leisure in Phu Quoc.

Day 15: At leisure in Phu Quoc.

Day 16: Phu Quoc to Saigon. Afternoon War Remnants Museum

Day 17: Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels. Free afternoon

Day 18: Transfer to airport for onward travel.

In Detail

Bangkok to Saigon
18 Days / 17 Nights

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok. Afternoon city tour.
Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel. Later, we take in the most important of Bangkok’s sights. We start with a visit to the opulent Royal Grand Palace which has a place in the hearts of all Thai people. The king is loved by the nation and is revered as a semi divine figure, as were his predesessors. We’ll visit the palace, Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and also Wat Pho, home to a famous 48 metre, gold plated reclining Buddha. There will be the chance to stop at the landmark Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). Overnight in Bangkok.

Day 2: Canals by Boat and Jim Thompson's House. Free to see the city.
Then we’ll take to the waters of the Chao Prae River and the canals of Bangkok. Bangkok used to be known as the Venice of Southeast Asia and the city is connected by a network of rivers and canals which are still used by city folk on the commute to work. We’ll travel by boat through the water ways of Bangkok, escaping the traffic on the roads, travelling on the canals offers a very different perspective of this great city. We then visit Jim Thompson's House. The home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Thompson's achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the "Legendary American of Thailand". His silk company produces some of the most celebrated designs to emerge from Thailand and his collection of renovated traditional Thai houses is an oasis in the heart of Bangkok. He almost amassed a priceless collection of antiquities from around Asia during his lifetime and these are on display here, making it a museum more than a house. The rest of the day is free to explore this Asian metropolis. Overnight in Bangkok.

Day 3: Bangkok to Trat by flight. Transfer to 4 Rivers Lodge.
Today, we transfer to the airport for our domestic flight to Trat in the far southeast of Thailand. Upon arrival in Trat, we transfer by road to the Cambodian border at Hat Lek and Cham Yeam. Proceeding through immigration, we continue by road through Koh Kong town and on to Ta Tai River where we board a boat to transfer to 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge. This striking resort is unique in Cambodia as the tents are built on floating platforms that sit on a beautiful and isolated bend in the river. Overnight in 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge.

Day 4: Kayaking and sightseeing around 4 Rivers.
Today we enjoy some eco-friendly activities around the Koh Kong area. In the morning, we have fun kayaking through the mangroves that surround the lodge. We explore the waterways that penetrate the jungle, visit a remote island village and can try your hand at fishing. After lunch, we travel upriver to the pretty waterfall of Ta Tai. The large boulders here ensure there are many swimming holes. Later we return to the lodge. Overnight in 4 Rivers Floating Ecolodge.

Day 5: Drive to Phnom Penh. National Museum and Royal Palace.
This morning we drive to Phnom Penh. Having checked in and rested we then explore the stunning Royal Palace complex, home to the Cambodian royal family and a symbol of the nation. We continue to the Silver Pagoda, named after the 5000 silver tiles covering the floor, each weighing 1kg. Inside are some of the country's most cherished treasures, including a life-size gold Buddha studded with 9584 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. We leave the Royal Palace and continue to the nearby National Museum, home to the world's finest collection of sculpture from the Angkor period.

Day 6: Tuol Sleng and Killing Fields. Free afternoon.
We come face to face with the horrific crimes of the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was a former high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a centre for interrogation, torture and death. Today it is a museum of torture and serves to remind visitors of the terrible atrocities that came to pass in Cambodia. 17,000 people passed through the gates of this prison and only seven lived to tell the tale. We then travel out of town to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Prisoners from Tuol Sleng followed this same route to their fate. An old Chinese cemetery, Choeung Ek was turned into an extermination camp for political prisoners. The remains of 8985 people were exhumed from mass graves and are kept in a memorial stupa here.

Day 7 : Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via Sambor Prei Kuk and Angkor bridge.
We leave Phnom Penh and travel north towards the provincial capital of Kompong Thom. En route, there is the chance to pause at Skuon, affectionately known as 'Spiderville', where it is possible to sample the local delicacy of deep fried tarantula. Then we explore the impressive pre-Angkorian capital of Sambor Prei Kuk. The first major temple city in South-East Asia, the brick temples of Sambor Prei Kuk are a peaceful contrast to their more illustrious relatives at Angkor. On our way to Siem Reap we’ll stop at the Angkorian Praptos Bridge which has more than 20 arches and is a spectacular sight, reinforcing the impression that the Khmers were like the Romans of Southeast Asia.

Day 8: Roluos Group, Preah Khan and Remote Temples.
We travel back in time to one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. We begin with a visit to the brick temple of Lolei, originally set on an island in the centre of the Indratataka baray (reservoir). This temple has some well preserved sandstone carvings and the vast stone doors are carved from a single piece of stone. We continue to Preah Ko and finally onto Bakong, the earliest of the temple mountains. In the afternoon, We travel to the mighty temple of Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword'. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. We then continue on to the elegant curves of Neak Poan. Our day ends with a sunset over the rice fields from the royal crematorium of Pre Rup, a classic view of the Cambodian countryside.

Day 9: Ta Prohm at Dawn. Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre.
We rise early to travel to Ta Prohm in the dawn light. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860. We continue to the giant pyramid of Takeo, one of the highest temples in the Angkor area. In the afternoon, we head to Banteay Srei, Angkor’s ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia. Later we visit the 12th century temple of Banteay Samre. Built by King Suryavarman II, the genius behind Angkor Wat.

Day 10: Angkor Wat sunrise. Afternoon at Walled City of Angkor Thom.
Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is most famous temple at Angkor. In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city of Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. We begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King and continue to the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. Our climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon.

Day 11: Fly to Phnom Penh and transfer to Kep.
This morning we fly to Phnom Penh and travel south towards the coast. As we leave behind the suburbs of Phnom Penh, the road passes through some beautiful rural areas and there may be some good photo opportunities as we make our way through the villages and rice fields. We stop for a short break in Angk Tasaom before continuing to the old French-era beach resort of Kep. We check into a comfortable hotel for the night.

Day 12: Rabbit Island am. Cave pagodas pm.
We travel to the boat pier to board a local boat for the journey to Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island. We journey across calm waters to this beautiful palm-fringed island, home to a small community of fisherfolk and farmers. We leave some time free to enjoy the white-sand beaches that ring the island. After a lunch of fresh seafood, there is more time to enjoy the sun, sea and sand before we travel back to Kep by boat. In the afternoon, we travel to the little town of Kompong Trach. We stop to visit the interesting cave temple of Wat Kirisan, built into the base of Phnom Sor. We travel through a small cave to a hidden chamber open to the elements, the sheer walls dripping with foliage. There are several hidden shrines here, as well as the Cave of a Thousand Ricefields and the White Elephant Cave. We then journey to Phnom Chhnork, a large cave that contains a 7th century brick temple in remarkable condition. This hidden temple is a very sacred place for local Khmers. Later we return to Kep, our base for the night.

Day 13: Kep to Phu Quoc via Ha Tien.
Today we head South to the Vietnamese border. Here we say a fond fairwell to Cambodia and “Good morning Vietnam!.” We’ll stop for lunch in Ha Tien and continue to the ferry terminal of Rach Gia. Here we board a catamaran ferry to the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.

Day 14: At leisure in Phu Quoc.
The tropical island paradise of Phu Quoc is our base for the next couple of days. We leave this day free to explore the beautiful beaches on this lovely island. Choose from the (unsurprisingly) long Long Beach or the accessible Bai Cua Can or venture to the uncrowded beaches in the north, Bai Dai and Bai Thom. There are no shortages of beautiful beaches on Phu Quoc Island. Possible activities include diving and snorkeling during the dry season months of November to May for those that want to explore the underwater world and sea kayaking for those who prefer to stay above the surface.

Day 15: At leisure in Phu Quoc.
Today is also free time for leisure in Phu Quoc.

Day 16: Phu Quoc to Saigon. Afternoon War Remnants Museum
This morning we leave the white sands and tropical waters behind and fly to the bustling city of Saigon. This afternoon, we begin exploring the sights of Saigon. We learn about the legacy of war at the dramatic War Remnants Museum. The Requiem photo exhibition showcases the work of the era's most famous combat photographers and is a must. We also visit Reunification Hall, formerly the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam. It was here that a North Vietnamese tank famously crashed through the gates bringing an end to the long Vietnam War and the building has been preserved exactly as it was in 1975. We then take a stroll around the impressive old French-built post office and Notre Dame Cathedral before continuing to the City Hall area, another grand old colonial-era relic. We then leave guests free to explore the famous Dong Khoi area, home to the legendary Continental Hotel, made famous by Graham Greene in the Quiet American, and lots of popular restaurants, bars and boutiques.

Day 17: Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh and Cu Chi Tunnels.
We leave the bustling streets of Saigon and head northwest to the town of Tay Ninh, headquarters of the Cao Dai religion. The Cao Dai Great Temple is an incredible cotton candy building and we learn about this unique religious fusion of East meets West. We arrive in time to witness one of their noon prayer service.
After a local lunch, we continue to the Cu Chi Tunnels an incredible underground world used by the Vietnamese communists to elude the Americans. Whole villages went underground during the 1960s and the tunnels stretched for more than 250km, from the Cambodian border to the suburbs of Saigon. Using this incredible warren of tunnels, the Vietcong were able to stage ambushes and attacks on American patrols and even bases. We explore this astonishing complex, a testament to the tenacity of the Vietnamese people. Return to Saigon.

Day 18: Transfer to airport for onward travel.
After breakfast, free at leisure for shopping or packing. Transfer to the airport to catch the departure flight.

What's In

Bangkok to Saigon
18 Days / 17 Nights

What’s In:
   -  All sightseeing and transfer services as detailed in our itinerary
   -  Accommodation in confirmed room category and named hotels
   -  Meals: daily breakfast at hotel only or as specified (drinks not included)
   -  English-speaking local guides (or the relevant language requested)
   -  All entrance fees as detailed in our itinerary
   -  Private air-conditioned vehicle with drinking water during sightseeing
   -  Boat trips as specified
   -  Hanuman arrival and departure gifts
   -  Public liability insurance

What’s Not:
   -  Tour services not detailed in our itinerary
   -  All meals not specified and no drinks except complimentary water
   -  International departure taxes
   -  Visa fees
   -  All International flight tickets
   -  Overweight luggage
   -  Early Hotel check-in/ Late check-out
   -  Expenditure of a personal nature
   -  Tips and gratuities
   -  Other services not listed in ‘What’s In’
   -  Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expense, including repatriation in the event of accident or illness).

Service Charter
Many local companies promise a high level of service, but not all are able to reach this goal. Here at Hanuman, we are genuinely committed to delivering the highest level of service during all stages of your trip, including the planning. Should our standards drop below your expectations at any stage during the booking procedure, then please contact us immediately.

Price Promise
We don't claim to offer the cheapest trips in the Mekong region, as many of the cheap tours cut corners. We don't believe in cutting corners and strive to deliver the best experiences on offer during a visit to the Mekong region. We do claim to offer value for money and strongly believe that our original trips are an excellent deal. However, we are aware that we operate in a competitive environment, so please do contact us if you find a significantly better price elsewhere. There may be a reason for the discrepancy in the detail, but we will take it upon ourselves to review your quote and see if we can offer a better price.

Extra Touches
We pride ourselves on really looking after our guests. Travel with a personal touch isn't just an empty slogan, but a philosophy that has guided our company through almost two decades of friendship with international travellers from more than 150 countries around the world. Welcome gifts on arrival, departure gifts to remember Cambodia by, complimentary drinking water throughout, our team is always on hand to ensure you have a most memorable time in the Mekong region. Your satisfaction is our satisfaction. Rely on our experience to better your experience and enjoy an authentic journey to the Mekong region with Hanuman.
 
     
PATA
Hanuman is proud to be a member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Hanuman is also a member of the
Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA) and the Cambodian Community-based Ecotourism Network (CCBEN).
Hanuman's Temple Safari is featured on page 32 of ‘The Guide to Responsible Tourism in Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam'.
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