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Beyond Boundaries

Unforgettable: Most tourists never see Halong Bay in the morning. They miss the fishing junks sliding past limestone spires that thrust from the turquoise water. They can't imagine how the scent of fresh coffee hangs in the air as eagles float overhead. It's an extravagant sensory moment possible only because we spend the night on the water...on a luxury junk. And it's just one unique event we'll share with you in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Of course we visit the great cities of Indochina. But we also stop at the simple homestead of a rice farmer...meet the enormous residents of a Laotian elephant preserve…wander the temples of Angkor with an expert guide…and stay in Indochina’s finest hotels and resorts. Along the way, you’ll wend your way through exotic markets, eat truly remarkable local specialties, and experience the traditional cultures you only find if you approach the region like a traveler, rather than a tourist.
Itinerary at a glance
We meet in Saigon (2 nights) and we start our time here with a visit to the countryside. Southern Vietnam is a lush, classic landscape, carpeted with rice fields and brightly dressed workers in conical straw hats. From Cai Lay, a small town on the Mekong River, we take a long-tail boat to the start of an ultra-leisurely bike ride into the heart of the Mekong Delta. We see no tourists on narrow country roads that curve past fruit gardens and sleepy villages. Tonight, dinner is at one of the city’s finest French restaurants. Tomorrow go exploring by bike-powered rickshaw. Just outside the city, we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, the underground refuge for thousands of Viet Cong during the war. 

An evening flight takes us to Danang (2 nights) where our resort sits on pristine Oriental Beach. From here, we visit Hoi An for a glimpse of a Vietnam that exists almost nowhere else with Chinese, Japanese and European architecture and a riverfront where boats brim with people and wares. In the afternoon, our guide leads us along footpaths to Hoa Chau, a village in the endless rice fields, for a special insight into the everyday life.

In Hue, a local friend joins us to show off the Imperial City, an amazing complex of museums, lakes and gardens. Midday, a vice president of the Hué Monuments Preservation Center hosts us for a traditional lunch and a chance to meet descendants of King Khai Dinh. An afternoon flight takes us to Hanoi (2 nights). In the countryside, we walk from a pagoda through bamboo groves to a small village where we visit a local school to interact with the children and their teacher.

Back in Hanoi, we’ll stroll in the lovely Old Quarter before dinner at the Press Club, a true local institution.

 Halong Bay (2 nights) is considered Vietnam’s eighth wonder of the world, and it’s easy to see why. Three thousand chalk and limestone islands sweep like a dragon’s tail across the emerald green bay. From our luxury junk boat, we see local fishermen glide by, selling their catch. On deck, you can join in a cooking demonstration and discover the tasty secrets of spring rolls.

Next day, a late afternoon flight leads to Luang Prabang (2 nights) in Laos. From our glamorous colonial-style hotel, we venture into the town’s night market, known for fine ethnic handicrafts. Early risers will witness a moving ritual as lines of barefoot monks walk silently along the streets on their morning alms rounds. Then we visit a 2,000-acre elephant sanctuary in the unspoiled Nam Khan River valley. Spend the afternoon walking along scenic riverside farms and taking a narrow boat back to Luang Prabang, or take our vehicle back to the hotel to relax poolside or even take advantage of the excellent optional spa treatments.

For the week’s grand finale, we fly to Siem Reap (2 night) in Cambodia for a stay at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, one of Indochina’s finest properties. You’ll meet our good friend Roath, one of the country’s first and most experienced guides. Sleep in if you like, but it’s worth rising before the sun to see Angkor Wat at daybreak. After breakfast, we all return for an in-depth walking tour of the world’s largest temple. Later, you’ll have time to explore more on your own. We’ll also take in the monastic complex of Preah Khan (The Sacred Sword). Late afternoon, you catch your flight back home.

What's included:
Your Vietnam & Angkor Wat tour price includes the following. For additional information, please call or email us and one of our exceptional Guest Service Coordinators will be happy to share with you all kinds of details.

• First class accommodations 

• All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners included

• Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip, handle behind-the-scenes logistics and are there to help with anything from haggling for a rug to buying a tube of toothpaste

• Support vehicle(s)

• Admissions to tastings, historic sites and other scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
• Gratuities for hotels, meals and baggage

• Trip literature

• All land transportation during the trip, whether by mini-coach or boat

Internal Airfare
This trip includes several internal flights which are priced separately from the land tour. The total cost for the internal flights is approximately $697 per person.

Background reading:
Vietnam, A History - Stanley Karnow
This blockbuster book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author is history at its best: masterfully researched, well written and comprehensive.

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain - Robert Olen Butler
Winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize, this collection of 15 short stories captures the spirit of Vietnam in a juxtaposition of American and Vietnamese perspectives and settings.
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