Vietnam’s landscape of limestone cliffs and great rivers provides a backdrop to a fascinating culture. Much of life in Vietnam is lived out in the streets, and in the cities of Saigon and Hanoi we are able to witness this endless spectacle. Slowing the pace, we visit scenic Halong Bay and enjoy the calm of the Mekong Delta. Hoi An provides remnants of a rich heritage. Finally in Cambodia we visit one of the world's great surviving archaeological wonders, the temple complex of Angkor.
The day is free to recover from the flight or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period. There is a faded colonial charm where baguettes and good coffee are sold from doorways of grand buildings of a past era.
This evening there will be a welcome briefing with your leader followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
Lan Vien Hotel or similar
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city that includes a visit to the Temple of Literature; the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates, Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'tourist souvenir street'.
We have the afternoon free in Hanoi to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy the view from a lakeside café.
Lan Vien Hotel or similar
We make an early start for the approximately 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with some 3000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to swim and kayak, allowing us to get to places inaccessible by boat (weather permitting), and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.
We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi where the evening is free to explore or relax. There is the option of seeing a performance of the famous Water Puppets, which your leader can arrange if you have not already seen them and wish to do so.
Lan Vien Hotel or similar
After breakfast we transfer to Hanoi Airport for a flight to Da Nang. In Da Nang, we climb Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside which leads on to Hoi An, our next destination.
Hoi An Riverside Resort & Spa or similar
This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk clothes shopping.
The afternoon is free to enjoy a town that has become a favourite for so many travellers to Vietnam. Options include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as long ago as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there's a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries.
Hoi An Riverside Resort & Spa or similar
We spend the morning at the wonderful Red Bridge restaurant, located on the bank of the Thu Bon River. Visiting the colourful local market first, we shop for ingredients before taking a boat ride to the restaurant. Here we learn the intricacies of Vietnamese cooking. Under the supervision of an English-speaking Vietnamese chef you have the opportunity to create your own dishes. You don't need to be a proficient cook to enjoy this activity but be warned, you get to eat your creations at the end of the morning! You may choose to stay on and enjoy the idyllic garden at the restaurant or make your way back into Hoi An town for an afternoon at leisure, or jump on a bike (optional) for a ride through the countryside, passing markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km).
Hoi An Riverside Resort & Spa or similar
This morning we transfer to Da Nang Airport for the flight to Saigon, officially known as Ho Chi Minh City. This is an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. The Saigon River and Ben Thanh market, are within easy walking distance and are highly recommended. This afternoon a city tour will include a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.
Sila Urban Living or similar
Today we leave the city behind us and head north to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and incorporates around 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration.
Sila Urban Living or similar
In the morning we drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta (approx 2½ hours), known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. This region produces most of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We take a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River, passing many orchards and friendly locals also travelling by boat. Recently, Cai Be floating market has become less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. We stop to see some small cottage industries such as rice paper and coconut candy, getting a chance to sample the produce along the way before enjoying the local speciality, ‘Elephant Ear Fish', for lunch. After lunch, we continue by boat to Vinh Long where our bus is waiting to take us to Can Tho.
TTC Can Tho Hotel or similar
This morning we take a boat trip to visit Cai Rang floating market, the biggest and most lively floating market in the Delta, with great photo opportunities. It is a maze of hundreds of boats packed with fruits, vegetables and plants, where samples are hung from the tops of long poles so that buyers can see from a distance what is for sale. Later we drive back to Saigon where the remainder of the day is free.
Sila Urban Living or similar
Today we transfer to Saigon Airport for the flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. On arrival in Siem Reap, we will be met by our Cambodian tour leader. Flight-time dependent we may have the opportunity to see the sunset at the temple-complex this evening. If not, we will enjoy this magnificent marvel tomorrow evening.
Tara Angkor Hotel or similar
A full day spent exploring the Angkor complex. We will visit the incredible Angkor Wat and the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which comprises of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm, which is still covered in jungle as it was first found. Re-discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this World Heritage Site stands alongside Chichen Itza and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. A truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise.
Tara Angkor Hotel or similar
For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Siem Reap after breakfast.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. As this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available from our customers, but here are the comments that have been received from previous Exodus travellers.
Everything about this holiday was excellent from the arrangements and information prior to the holiday through to the sights visited, food, accommodation, tour leaders and the people of Vietnam & Cambodia. A truly memorable holiday!
We both enjoyed this trip which more than lived up to expectations. There was a good balance between activities and leisure time with options available for those who wanted more. Angela did a lantern class in Hoi An, for instance, which did not feature on the itinerary. Excellent and patient instructors - could provide an apron though as glue was involved! The boat trips were good - though wish use of non-plastic straws had prevailed throughout . Great cookery class at Red Bridge restaurant - we hope to reproduce some of the recipes over Christmas. The Halong Bay trip with a boat to ourselves was amazing as was the visit to all the temples in Cambodia especially Ta Promh with its sense of nature taking over. Excellent photographic opportunities.
What a fantastic trip, Cong the leader was excellent, always willing to share his extensive knowledge of both local and country wide topics.
Every day provided an interesting insight into the culture
This was my first trip to Asia and the itinerary was excellent. We visited 3 main places Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh city. All very different but fascinating in their own ways. The trips to Halong Bay and the Mekong delta we’re also fascinating and very different. The Mekong delta used basic boats and Halong Bay boat was very comfortable with excellent food and service. We also had a great visit to cookery school where lesson was presented very well and with great humour. The visit to Angkor wat was fascinating and more impressive than anticipated. A great introduction to Asia
Fascinating colourful experience of Vietnam. The trip includes insight into it’s turbulent history, and inspired many of the group to read more about it. I went single, into a group of 16, and with Ngok, one of the nicest and best guides I’ve ever experienced. He was with us in Vietnam, and joined us evenings and for optional tours as well. We had to say goodbye to him before the early morning onward flight to Siem Reap. There we had a new guide, who met us with the unsurprising news that it was too early to check into the hotel – and then took us on a full day program, through to watching sunset over a temple (unfortunately underwhelming on that particular day) – without yet checking in. We arrived at the chosen temple and waited there 2 hours for sunset, tired and travel weary after 2 weeks in Vietnam. The hotel was no more than half an hour away, so we really felt he could have planned the day better for us. We had all been up very early (the previous day too). Half the group wanted to go direct to the hotel and miss the sunset, but the guide felt we should see the sunset because it was mentioned in the original itinerary. The majority of our group were disappointed with the Hotels. Comfortable and clean, friendly staff, but not as good as we expected from a trip advertised as Premium. Exception was the Hotel in Siem Reap, which met our expectations of Premium class. Note, only the hotel in Hanoi was not the one advertised in the original programme, it was supposed to be an 'or similar' hotel. Several of us wrote to our travel agents to complain of its distance from the town centre (shuttle bus ran insufficiently), its proximity next to a road, and general failure to meet expectations. Another point worth mentioning to those who choose this trip having noted that it is classed as leisurely. It wasn’t! There was very little free time, admittedly partly due to participation in some optional activities, and partly due to traffic jams keeping our bus on the road for hours longer than planned. It would help relieve some of the stress if the itinerary could be changed such that we do not spend 2 nights in a hotel, travel some hours for an overnight elsewhere, and then do the reverse travel to return to the original hotel for another night. It happens twice in this itinerary.
Experience the sights, smells and sounds of Vietnam, a bustling culture with life on the streets. Take your life in your hands as you cross the busy roads, where confidence is key and the traffic will avoid you, well I lived to tell the tale! From the stunning natural beauty of Halong bay, which would make a good set for a dragon movie, to the quaint and colourful Hoi an. The cookery course was a fantastic addition, set in the wonderful surroundings of the red bridge resteraunt. Siagon was not my scene but showed us another side of the politics and country and we were lucky enough to stumble upon a lion and dragon dance display when walking to visit the geen pagoda. To top off the trip we finished in Cambodia at Angkor Watt which was very high on my bucket list and did not disapoint. I personally would have preferred one day less in Saigon and another day in Cambodia but that is just a personal view. An extreamly enjoyable holiday with a good bunch of people.
Very interesting experience for my first time in Asia. Excellent variety of sights and experiences. Met a lovely group of travellers who made the trip memorable.
Great Trip, some fantastic sights. A lot of early mornings, which means that you will probably feel more tired by the end of this trip, but you see a lot. Local guides were fantastic and very knowledgeable, and food absolutely fantastic both in Vietnam and Cambodia - of which we had plenty of. I was with a much older age group on this trip and it would have been nice to have had some people of similar age group on the trip as well. Perhaps something that Exodus can consider as a suggestion. Over all this was a well worth fantastic trip with the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia, some more time in Cambodia would have been great however, as only 1 day spent at Angkor Wat in reality.
This is a packed, full on tour that provides something for everyone to experience Vietnam and Cambodia. There is a real variety of activities, from a cooking course in Hoi An to a visit to see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi. It is city based. The cities are busy and bustling, which can be a shock to the system to start with. Once you get used to how the traffic works with all the scooters on the road, it becomes exciting and exhilarating. The local people in both Vietnam and Cambodia are friendly and welcoming. We didn’t once feel threatened and there is little in the way of being hassled to buy things. Hanoi and Saigon are very different cities, but there is so much to see and do in both of them. Not to mention the history in both cities. Hoi An is wonderful. Very much set up for tourists, but special with the lanterns in the streets and on the river. We also loved Siem Reap. Different again, quite a party city. There are a lot of early mornings, but we didn’t mind because it meant we got to experience so many different things by getting up & making the most of every day.
The trip was efficiently organised and the guides - especially Trung - did all they could to make the tour a well-informed and smoothly-run experience. The hotels were comfortable and a couple were positively luxurious, though taxis in the evening in Hoi An were difficult to obtain. We were not overly impressed with Saigon and would have preferred, instead, to have spent more time in Hoi An or Can Tho. Cambodia was wonderful..
My husband and I enjoyed the whole trip. We were with a group of 16 and we all got on fabulously. The Vietnamese people are very resilient and hard working. This trip is well suited for active seniors and it does have a lot of free time if you want to explore on your own .
Broad introduction to Vietnam with extension to Angkor, which was perfect climax to trip.
Excellent trip. Well organized and interesting. Good quality accommodations.
Traveling with Exodus was indeed a tremendous experience and far surpassed any group travel I have previously encountered. Hotels selected were of very high quality with excellent locations, allowing for easy access during free time to various opportunities. Activities scheduled were both educational and enjoyable, reflective of meaningful experiences in the history of each country visited. The tour was perfectly paced for active seniors, with enough activity without being overload, interspersing in enough free time to add in those activities which we might wish to choose for our personal enjoyment. Most importantly, the other 14 members in our group were totally enjoyable, warm & friendly, thereby creating an unanticipated group experience for sharing in these foreign turfs. Excellent tour which is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in both history and culture in the countries of both Vietnam & Cambodia
Trip met my expectations in terms of seeing and experiencing the best of both countries. Trip made special by our young and enthusiastic guide Nhi. She had certainly studied well enabling her to express great knowledge in places visited. Lovely engaging personality and great organisation of both listed events and evening eating experiences. As always good company among the group too helped make this trip memorable.
This holiday does not show you everything but it does give you a true flavour of the region. Vietnam is such a big country we were happy to choose this holiday as the internal flights cuts down the travelling time so that you can enjoy even more activities in the time. Everything was well organised with variety to suit all interests. Our Guide was well informed and completely professional with a lovely friendly nature. She made the holiday even better for us all. Accommodation was good too.This is our third trip with Exodus and the standards are still high. We were lucky with the weather too as we on ly had a few drops of rain on one day.
We'd never visited South East Asia before so everything was new to us. We weren't disappointed. Although there are the classic high spots like Halong Bay and the Angkor Wat complex, the overwhelming emotion we came away with was all about the people. Given the recent histories of Vietnam and Cambodia it was amazing to find the people so happy, friendly and, apparently, without resentment towards Westerners. (Even making allowances for the fact that tourism is so important)
Organisation very good e.g. timing of boats, buses & cycles Variety of trips and optional events very good. All good quality, interesting and very varied. Saw lots of beautiful places. Guides background knowledge good. Vietnam guide especially helpful with almost everything including stropey people. Hotels clean and tidy. Food varied, though bit cheaper if went to a local restaurant, rather than one suggested by the guide. Clearly told what was optional and how much it cost. Overal a wonderful holiday.
Very varied and interesting trip that gave a good flavour of the country. The addition of a couple of days in Angkor was a bonus.
The most amazing experience ever! Painless booking with a really friendly and helpful team; excellent service on arrival; lovely comfortable hotels which were ideally placed for independent exploration; knowledgeable and friendly leaders who went the extra mile to ensure everyone had a great time; memorable meals; and the unique companionship of a diverse group of people who totally gelled together and who will hopefully become long-term friends. We cannot recommend Exodus and this trip more strongly!
Varied and well organised. You see, experience and learn a lot.
Takes a while to get used to the frenetic pace of Vietnam (ie; confidence to cross the road!) People were so friendly. Halong Bay was magical, even though the weather wasn't brilliant and the kayak was worth it. At times it felt a bit rushed although that may be because most opted for the additional activities. Very little down time. I'm glad we finished with Cambodia and the temples as it felt slightly calmer. Wish we had one more day in Cambodia to do a bit more than the temples, ie; visit the food markets.
The varied itinerary was really well planned and we did and saw things which we probably would have struggled to do if we had been an independent traveller - eg kayaking in Halong Bay; half day cookery course; cyclo tour of Ho Chi Minh City; bicycle tour through the paddy fields; drinking snake wine.
This is an amazing trip around a beautiful, diverse country, finishing with 2 days in Cambodia.
I travel internationally a lot and I am often asked what my favorite destination is. I never really had a favorite until now. I cannot say enough about my like-minded travel mates, the friendly and professional tour guides, the beautiful buses we were transported in, the selection of hotels near tourists areas, the varied itinerary and the wealth of free time allowing us to explore on our own or simply rest is we needed to. Exodus does it right! I will hopefully embark on another Exodus adventure in the future!
A very enjoyable and interesting experience. The tour was well planned with a fair balance between organised trips and free time.
We really enjoyed our holiday. Looking back we did an amazing variety of activities and travelled a long way. For the first time ever a on an Exodus holiday I have some reservations about recommending it to my friends. Mainly because we spent too much time in cities and too much time in Hanoi, not being able to do things because it was Tet ( New Year)
A wonderful trip. Beautiful scenery, friendly people. A tragic history which made some parts of the trip very thought provoking and sobering
A generally very enjoyable trip, though standard of accommodation was more variable than expected. Timing in Siem Reap could be improved - 2 sparse 1/2 days & 1 full-on day didn't allow best time to appreciate everything.
This was a fantastic way to see as much of Vietnam as possible in a short space of time in comfortable surroundings. The local people are extremely friendly and always have a smile, which on remembering what they have gone through in the past is very humbling. There are opportunities to have free time but the temptation of the optional activities is very strong and I would recommend as many as possible.
Vietnam & Cambodia adventure in comfort with local guide and small group.
In able to say there were many
Travel time is minimised but this trip still packs alot in. There are some free afternoons but tempting optional experiences soon fill the time. We were made very welcome by everyone we met.
This was an incredibly varied, exciting, well organised and enjoyable trip. It covered major sights of interest in Vietnam, and the visit to Angkor Wat was a real bonus.
Fantastic trip: great itinerary, good food, comfortable accommodation and an amazing guide. You can make the trip as active or as restful as you like due to the good range of optional activities, balanced itinerary and lack of long travel time.
Learning all the time
A very enjoyable trip through Vietnam with a little bit of Cambodia. The history of both countries are fascinating and it was interesting to see how the countries have developed since their most recent wars. Hotels were comfortable and the food was great. Hot and humid in Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia. Much cooler and more comfortable in the North ( trip was in November). I wish we had longer in Cambodia. All we really had time to see was the Temple of Angkor Wat.
The experiences on this trip will live on in our memories for many years. Future trips will be held up against this trip as a guide to a good holiday. Thom (our guide) was keen to show us the 'real' Vietnam. He took us to traditional eateries where the food was excellent. Lots of very healthy fruit and veg. In fact as a Scot I've never seen so many vegetables in my life! It's changed my eating habits now I'm back home! Thom did his job very well and we loved every minute of our trip.
A fascinating insight into life in Vietnam. This tour visited the highlights of the country - it's not a relaxing holiday, but very interesting. Cambodia was worth seeing too - even though it was only two nights in that country.
A very interesting & mixed trip. Fascinating country, my eyes were out on stalks most of the time. All life can be seen on the back of a motor bike.
Quite simply both are lands of beauty, interesting wildlife (birds), very friendly people and superb food. I would recommend a visit to anyone but would suggest sooner rather than later - before it becomes too commercialised.Great for serious photography, and for snap-shooting also.
Excellent variety of things to see and do. Small congenial group.
Friendly people, lovely country, good tour leaders taking care of all our needs without being overbearing, good hotel facilities. Always difficult to strike a balance, but I think going forward you might want to progressively let go of the past legacy, the war, the politics and concentrate more on cultural highlights (Hue ?) and leisure
It is far more jam packed than the itinerary would lead you to think. The places we stayed in were, in this order: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap. Eight different beds in two weeks and a heck of a lot of walking, bus rides and three internal flights. Everything went extremely smoothly thanks to amazing organisation and a tour leader/guide who was extremely professional and capable.
This was an excellent trip made even better by a particularly congenial group of fellow travellers. Our guide in Vietnam, Nam, was truly Mr Fix-it, even lending me his watch for the duration of the trip when mine was out of battery. Vietnam was a fascinating country and the trip should really be sub-titled 'A Gastronomic Tour'. The food was great throughout
North to South travel better in February. No beach swimming on offer - so hotel pools (in the south) would be good - BUT - balance between hotel in city centres (without pool) and hotel out of town.Probably not possible in Hanoi and Saigon. Hetel in Hoi An had lovely pool and was within the town - lovely ! Also had hotel pool in Siem Reap
Itinerary was perfect and the group leader was fantastic - a lovely guy; each day was truly one adventure after another and I will keep those wonderful memories with me for a long, long time!
A very good highlights tour of an interesting part of the world with history (both ancient and modern) and an intersting culture - fascinating to see the contrasts between north, central and south Vietnam in a short time. For me Angkor Wat deserves more time so either extend your trip or choose another and be warned this trip has a lot of early morning starts.
Very enjoyable holiday; nice people, good guides (excellent in Cambodia) and all went according to plan. Would have preferred less time in Hanoi, which was cold and (for me at least) not very interesting, and an extra day either in Hoi An, Halong Bay or Siem Reap.
Both countries amazing, with wonderful people and cultures. The sense of humour, culture and history are well worth the trip and definitely warrant another trip at some stage.
The was a very enjoyable trip that was full of fun and interesting activities.
A whilstle stop tour of the highlights of Vietnam - with each destination having its own character. Served with great food.
I had wanted to do this trip for some time, and specifically chose it to avoid any long bus/train journeys. I enjoyed it greatly, particularly thanks to Dzung, the tour leader, who made an incredible effort to ensure we all experienced whatever it was that had drawn us to Vietnam.
This trip gave a good overview of the country, its history and culture. Doing a multi stop trip afforded us some quality time in each location, we were able to absorb the different atmosphere between north and south and see the things we most wanted to
An excellent introduction to fascinating countries. Vietnam was very special with wonderful people and great food. Cambodia and Angkor Wat was simply amazing. Guides great, very warm and welcoming and made the trip.
Really good trip. Got see to a lot in a short space of time. Tour leader was very good and had a great group too.
An excellant trip which I would recommend to others.
This trip is a great taster for Vietnam and Cambodia. There are parts which can feel a bit rushed (see additional comments), but overall the pace is fairly relaxed and yet still covers most of the top highlights of the region.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 13 night guided walking holiday includes:
All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinner
All transport and listed activities
Tour leader throughout
Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Arrival & departure transfers
How to book:
We do not currently have departure dates and prices available on-line. The season may have ended for this tour, or we are still in the process of adding these details to our website. Please contact us for further details.
This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
12 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, all en suite
Travel by private car/minibus/bus (subject to group size), 3 flights and boats
Some gentle walking in humid conditions
Leisurely pace of travel