South East Asia Express
Bangkok to Bangkok
In two short weeks, fly through South East Asia’s greatest highlights from busy Bangkok to the relaxing Halong Bay. See the impact of the Vietnam War in Ho Chi Minh City and the preserved way of life on the Mekong Delta. This tour is jam-packed with sights.
- Halong Bay overnight stay on a junk boat
- Ti Top visit and Secret Cave trip
- Guided Tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels
- Mekong Delta day trip
- Floating market, RIver workshops
- Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields
- S21 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
- Guided Tour of Angkor Wat
- Bangkok Grand Palace (time permitting)
12 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) on Halong Bay junk
Travel by 4 flight(s), Private Vehicle, Boat
11 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner
Staff & Experts
Tucan Travel tour leader
What's Not Included
- Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
- International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes
- Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
- Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
Maximum 16. Average 8-12.
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Bangkok
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.
Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is a crazy and chaotic city! Known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon pronounced or Krung Thep "city of angels" for short, Bangkok was a small trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Bangkok is now the gateway to South East Asia for most travellers and international backpackers come and go and the streets are always buzzing and full of life.
From people watching and bargain hunting down the Khao San Road to shopping for world famous brands in Siam Central and local bargains in MBK or Chatuchak, the world’s largest weekend market, Bangkok has it all, Food and drink lovers have it all their own way too with a choice that will make your eyes water, sometimes literally. From world renowned downtown night-clubs., Vegas style extravaganza shows, cheap beers and a Pad Thai by the roadside or a sumptuous river and dinner cruise, the choice is endless. If you're feeling adventurous you might wish to try a fried insect or two!
On a more cultural note, Bangkok also boasts hundreds of Wats (temples), with Wat Arun being the main one visited by most travellers. The Grand Palace is also a popular attraction, and for something different you can cruise along the Chao Phraya River and through the local canals by taxi long boat. Bangkok once had an elaborate network of canals and was given the nickname, 'Venice of the East', and although some of them have been filled in and converted to streets, many still exist today. Travelling through these canals you will see how the locals live along the riverside - you almost forget you are in a large, bustling city.
Thailand's currency is the Thai Baht (BHT).
Day 2 to 3 - Hanoi
A short flight takes us to the colourful country of Vietnam, landing in Hanoi, the nation’s capital.
Hanoi offers a beguiling combination of tranquillity and chaos, from the elegance of its crumbling colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards, to the boisterous cacophony of street vendors and motorcycles. We can enjoy a guided tour around the city wandering the streets of the old quarter, tasting local market food, and people-watching. For the culture buffs there are museums, temples and tombs which offer insight into a city rich in history and character.
Head to the pretty Hoàn Ki?m Lake and try and spot the endangered large soft shell turtles that are hiding in the water, before crossing the red Huc Bridge to visit Jade Island where the Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of Jade Mountain) stands. Part of your time in Hanoi includes a guided City tour where you can enjoy Vietnam's Capital City in one full day out including visits the Ho Chi Minh complex where you will find and learn about Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the final resting place of Vietnam's beloved national hero; The one-pillar pagoda and Presidential Palace. Lunch is included with additional visits to Hanoi's most famous museums and highlights. Whether you choose to spend you time strolling the grand boulevards and wide pavements of the French Quarter with its impressive architecture and Grand Opera House or to mix it up in the tiny narrow streets of the old quarter on the North bank of Hoan Kiem Lake packed pavement to pavement with mopeds and pedestrians vying for space, Hanoi has something for everyone.
Day 4 to 4 - Halong Bay
Imagine thousands of limestone islands draped in verdant foliage rising up out of the turquoise water for as far as the eye can see. This is Halong Bay, probably Vietnam’s most famous UNESCO heritage sight. No visit to Vietnam is complete without visiting Halong Bay and the sheer majesty oif the area will create memories that will live with you for a lifetime.For our overnight stay, we board a traditional Chinese ‘junk’ with private comfortable cabins all with private en-suite facilities. Sailing away from the mainland we enter a new fairytale kingdom to explore huge caves, climb Ti Top viewpoint for amazing aerial views and kayak to a hidden lagoon before relaxing on board as the sun goes down with a wonderful seafood dinner (quality non-seafood options available) Translated, Halong means ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’ and local legend describes a great dragon coming down from the mountains, gouging out the valleys and spitting out jewels which turned into the various islands.
Day 5 to 7 - Ho Chi Minh City
We fly the length of the country from the new Capital of the Vietnamese Republic, Hanoi to the old capital of French Cochinchina and later the republic of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City or as it was known then, Saigon! Originally a small fishing village, Saigon thrived in last century under French rule and later South Vietnamese rule until 1976 when, after the infamous ‘Fall of Saigon’ and the end of the Vietnamese war, Saigon was merged with surrounding districts and renamed Ho Chi Minh city after the North Vietnamese victorious leader, Ho Chi Minh, or as he is now affectionately know, Uncle Ho. it is now the most important economic centre in Vietnam and is the largest city in the country.
Our first day here is a free time to either get your second wind after your flight or to wander the streets people watching and taking in the sights of this memorable city. During the afternoon or early evening why not kick back with a local Saigon beer? On the second day we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of tunnels which was home to around 10,000 people who lived underground for several years during the war. It took about 25 years to build this underground city. It has living rooms, kitchens, hospitals, weapon factories, storage facilities and command centres. At its largest the tunnel system stretched over 250 kilometres from Saigon to the Cambodian border and was three levels deep. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life during the American war must have been like
If you're interested in the history of the Vietnam War make sure to join us on the included guided Ho Chi Minh City tour when we visit the War Remnants Museum detailing the darkest hours of the Vietnam conflict, and the Reunification Palace the scene of the end of the war when a Nroth Vietnamese tank famously crashed through the Palace Gates. Everybody likes a bargain and one love the haggle. For you folks, there’s no better place than Ho Chi Minh's largest market, the Ben Thanh Market. You can buy everything from cosmetics to live ducks here. There are also numerous food stalls at the centre of the market where you sit at wooden stools and enjoy some wonderful Vietnamese spring rolls. The food in Ho Chi Minh is some of the best and most diverse in all of Vietnam so make sure you eat well during your stay. There are also many bars and clubs to spend your evening in.
Day 8 to 8 - Mekong Delta
This morning we travel to the heart of the Mekong Delta, a region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the South China Sea through its network of tributaries. Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and many of the villages are often accessible by rivers and canals rather than by road. The region produces half of the country's rice output which is more than Japan and Korea together.
On route from Ho Chi Minh City to the border town of Chau Doc we enjoy an insight into a real perspective of Delta life including an authentic Mekong rowing boat ride through the maze of shady tributaries enjoying stops at a local orchard to enjoy the local tropical fruits and the handicraft village including a bee farm, rice paper working shop, coconut candy making shop before stopping for lunch and traditional music at the orchard fruit garden. After lunch we make out way to our final stop of the day, Chau Doc where we stay overnight at a basic but comfortable hotel close to the border and take the opportunity to rest our weary bodies over a cold bottle of Beer Saigon or glass of red or white Vietnamese Dalat wine.
Day 9 to 10 - Phnom Penh
After crossing of the border in the morning, we journey from Chau Doc through the Mekong River into Cambodia and on to Phnom Penh Cambodia's bustling capital city. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonised Cambodia during the 19th century. The city has grown from a small fishing village to what is now the industrial, commercial, cultural and historical centre of Cambodia.
During our time in Phnom Penh we visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which was transformed into one of the Khmer Rouge’s most feared prison and torture camps during the Pol Pot regime. The building is now a haunting tribute to the thousands who died here and at the other 150 similar camps throughout the country in the late 1970’s. Those who were detained at the camp were later taken and executed at the Choueng Ek extermination Centre, more commonly known as ‘The Killing Fields, a site we also visit to learn more of and try to understand this wonderful country’s turbulent past.
Whilst the aforementioned visits are included in the tour they are also entirely optional should anybody prefer not to visit and Phnom Penh has a lot more to offer including the Russian Market and National Museum. Or you could also take a stroll along the river's famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the bustling river traffic. Our Tour Leaders particularly recommend the Foreign Correspondents Club or F.C.C. as it’s better known. You may wish to take a tuk-tuk ride around Phnom Penh (a tuk-tuk is a motorbike-taxi with an enclosed passenger cabin that can fit around 4 people).
Day 11 to 12 - Siem Reap
A short flight takes us to Siem Reap, our base for exploring the famous temples of the Angkor area. The name Siem Reap means 'Defeat of Siam' - today's Thailand - and refers to a century-old bloodbath which you can see commemorated in stone in the celebrated bas relief carvings of the monuments around the area.
Our first day we head out on our included excursion to the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, with a guide to give us an overview of the history and layout of the temple. Our remaining time in Siem Reap can be spent at our own leisure exploring this expansive site armed with our cameras and the knowledge from our guide.
There are over one thousand temples here which attract over one million visitors annually. The temples range from small ruins to the famous Angkor Wat, and the site is said to be the world's largest single religious monument.
Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site, pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu and has a dazzling array of beautiful ornate carvings. The many ceremonial structures and temples here were built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Khmer Empire that spanned a period of approximately 600 years. These temples are some of the most famous in the world and take up an area of approximately 160 square kilometres.
There are superb photographic opportunities here at most times of the day so make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and your memory card is ready to go! Tuk-tuks provide a convenient form of transport around the area here, and you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day if you wish. The Angkor area (in and around the Ta Prohm temple) was the site where the film Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie was filmed.
Day 13 to 13 - Bangkok
Returning back to Bangkok, we can enjoy one final meal with our tour group. We also get a guided tour of the Bangkok Grand Palace, which holds the revered emerald Buddha. Admire the gold, ornate temples and get a final insight into the religion that makes up so much of South East Asia.
Day 14 to 14 - Depart Bangkok
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
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10% February Sale Discount
10% February Sale Discount