Vietnam and Cambodia featuring the Hoi An Lantern Festival | Sisterhood Womens Travel

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Vietnam and Cambodia featuring the Hoi An Lantern Festival

21 Days  |  Departing Saturday 1st February 2020 and returning Friday 21st February 2020

Prices & Options

Choose your Room:

$2000 deposit payable $2500 deposit payable $ deposit payable $ deposit payable

Progress Payment: $ 2800 3400 by 4 Oct 2019
Final Payment: $ 3199 3899 by 4 Nov 2019
Pay by direct deposit, credit card or cheque.

Join us for the beautiful Hoi An Lantern Festival!

Highlights

  • Guided Tour Highlights of Hanoi and visit to Women's Museum
  • Cyclo Tour of Hanoi’s Ancient Streets and Water Puppet Show
  • 3 Day/2 Night Halong Bay Junk Boat Cruise
  • 4 Night Stay in Hoi An with free time for personal discovery
  • Enjoy the festivities of the beautiful Hoi An Lantern Festival
  • Visit to the Golden Bridge at Cau Vang (Full Day Tour)
  • Hoi An City Walking Tour
  • Red Bridge Cooking Class in Hoi An
  • Snorkelling and Swimming in the Beach Resort Area of Nha Trang
  • Visit Tap Ba Hot Mineral Springs in Nha Trang
  • Free time for Shopping in Saigon
  • Visit to Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Private boat exploring the Mekong Delta
  • After Dark Tour of Saigon on Vespa **Highly recommended**
  • Visit to Mystical Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
  • Boat Trip on Great Lake – Tonle Sap
  • Friends for Company!

Inclusions

  • Personally Escorted from Australia, your SWT tour hostess is on hand to assist with making your holiday a memorable one
  • Return international economy airfares ex Melbourne to Cambodia / Vietnam inc taxes (other cities available on request)**
  • English speaking professional guides at each destination
  • All Sightseeing as per detailed itinerary
  • All transportation as per detailed itinerary
  • Meals as per detailed itinerary
  • Quality accommodation as per detailed itinerary
  • Vietnam Visa Processing Fee (Australian Passport Holders)
  • Cambodia Visa Processing Fee (Australian Passport Holder)
  • Willing to Share Option for Single Travellers (subject to availability)
  • Meet and greet prior to departure (subj to minimum numbers)
  • Sisterhood documentation and ticket wallet

** Taxes are subject to change

Notice

What is the Hoi An Lantern Festival?
For the Vietnamese people, the full moon festival is a time to pay tribute to one’s ancestors with offerings of fruit, flowers and burning incense (or fake money!) at alters. Monks will hold candlelit ceremonies in the temples. In Hoi An, these traditions have evolved into the Hoi An Lantern Festival as it is today.  During the evening of the event itself, all of the electric lights in the Hoi An old town are turned off, and the rivers and street take on a magical aura as thousands of Vietnamese lanterns and candles twinkle and flicker through the darkness. There is no cost to visit the Hoi An moon lantern festival itself. You only need to wander down to the riverfront during the evening. Most of the action takes place around the Japanese Bridge or the bridge that connect An Hoi island to Hoi An ancient city. The ceremonies that take place in the various pagodas are also free to visit. As you wander along the riverfront, you will see literally hundreds of old grannies and young girls plying their trade in moon festival lanterns. One moon lantern only costs around 1-2$ if you end up convinced that releasing one of these lanterns into the river will bring you happiness, luck and prosperity. 

Fitness Level Required
This tour requires a basic level of fitness.   You will also encounter uneven surfaces, steep stairs and may need to walk gang planks when participating in any cruising activities.  

Climate  
You can expect Vietnam and Cambodia to be humid and warm.  Please pack accordingly.

Passport and Visa Information
Your Passports must have at least 6 months validity from your date of re-entry back into Australia.
A pre arranged visa is required for both Vietnam and Cambodia.

**TIPPING**

Local tipping is customary in Vietnam and Cambodia.  Sisterhood Womens Travel  tipping system on all Group Tours involves passengers contributing to a kitty which is  paid to the tour hostess at the beginning of the tour who then distributes it daily to service providers on your behalf. This avoids the need for you to consider individual tipping situations daily throughout your trip. The estimated amount for your tour is USD200.00 and this will confirmed in your final documentation.


Vaccinations
We suggest you visit your local GP for up to date advice and recommendations on your vaccination requirements for both Vietnam and Cambodia.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday 1 February 2020

Melbourne - Hanoi (meals in flight)

Our Adventure begins!  Meet your Sisterhood hostess and fellow travellers at Melbourne Airport for our flight to Vietnam's capitol City Hanoi .  Sit back relax and enjoy the flight.  

Upon arrival we will be greeted by our local guide and transfered to our Hotel.  The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight The Lapis Hanoi (or similar)

Day 2 - Sunday 2 February 2020

Hanoi (B)

This morning we will set off on a half day guided tour of Hanoi’s highlights. Dive right in with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Explore the incredible compound which was constructed in 1076. Hear stories of the buildings’ history, getting a glimpse into the past when it served as a university and temple. 

Next up is a short drive away is Ho Chi Minh complex;.  See locals paying homage to this historic figure and ‘father’ of modern Vietnam. Take a short walk to his house on stilts, where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Walk around the tranquil grounds, learning about Ho Chi Minh’s life and legacy. Turn into the One Pillar pagoda, built in 1049, is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples.

We will finish our day with a visit  to Vietnam Women’s Museum. This highly acclaimed museum highlights the country’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role women play in Vietnamese society.

Late afternoon, we will take a rickshaw ride around the old quarter of Hanoi and finish the day at the water puppet theatre where we will watch an entertaining live performance of this unique northern Vietnamese art form, a great way to end the tour of Hanoi.

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight The Lapis Hanoi (or similar)

Day 3 - Monday 3 February 2020

Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)

Following breakfast, we'll leave Hanoi for a 4-hour drive to Halong Bay.  Sit back and relax and enjoy the drive through local villages. 

"Welcome Aboard"  A welcome drink followed by lunch will be served as we begin our 3 day / 2  night Halong Bay Junk Cruise

As we cruise through the bay we will pass the most beautiful and quiet areas, such as Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Soi Sim beach, Coconut Three Island

After lunch we will visit Tung Sau ( pearl farm ) area,  Here we can learn about the process of the pearl, from culturing to harvesting and sculpting, alternatively we have the option to enjoy a swim or do some kayaking.

Later, we'll visit the beautiful Ti Top beach which is especially famous for its clean water, and smooth white sand, here we can swim and relax or take stairs to reach the top of Ti Top beach where we will have a whole panorama view of Halong Bay.  Then it's back to the boat for free time while sailing to Luon Bo area, and anchor overnight.

This afternoon we have the option to attend the Cooking demonstration on the sundeck – where we will learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls - traditional Vietnamese food.

Following a  Deluxe Vietnamese and International BBQ Set Menu Dinner we can enjoy the evening activities including  watching movies and many sorts of Vietnam cultural films,  playing cards, chess or reading magazines  There is also an opportunity try your luck at squid fishing & fishing from the boat..

Overnight Halong Bay Pelican Cruise Deluxe cabin

Day 4 - Tuesday 4 February 2020

Halong Bay (B, L, D)

For the early risers you may wish to take part in a Tai Chi class on the sundeck (duration about 30 minutes).

After breakfast we will visit Cua Van village, a small community with around 700 residents living in the root of Ngoc Mountain. We visit Cua Van village by a rustic row boat, where we will meet the local people who will help us row the boat. 

We will visit Me Cung Cave, which is also known as Maze Cave. Lying in the absolute protection of the World Natural Heritage – Halong Bay, Me Cung has a complex structure, including many compartments and a corridor of around 100m. According to archaeologists, Me Cung Cave belongs to preliminary Halong culture, about 7,000 – 10,000 years ago. The cave entrance looks like a house roof carving deep into the slopes of the island. Upon walking inside, visitors may get the feeling as if they are entering in a great palace of a Persian King. In combination with the light shining from the outer, sparkling stalactites in diverse shapes and sizes drooping like multi-colored curtains make Me Cung Cave shimmering and fanciful.  In addition, the blue waters of Me Cung Lake inside the cave create picturesque beauty of nature.

After lunch on the day boat we will be transfered back to our Junk where we can relax and enjoy the beauty of Halong Bay.

Enjoy happy hour on the boat as we watch the magnificent sunset over Halong Bay followed by a Deluxe Viettnamese Dinner.

Overnight Halong Bay Pelican Cruise Deluxe cabin

Day 5 - Wednesday 5 February 2020

Halong Bay - Hanoi (B)

The day starts early again onboard with Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Tai chi, also called Tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.

After breakfast we will visit Sung Sot Cave, one of the biggest caves in Halong bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Return to the boat by tender. Proper shoes are highly recommended.

We will enjoy lunch while cruising back to the Tuan Chau Wharf. Relaxing on the sundeck or in the dining room enjoying the bay scenery whilst approaching the wharf.

This afternoon we will transfer back to our hotel in Hanoi.

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight The Lapis Hanoi (or similar)

Day 6 - Thursday 6 February 2020

Hanoi - Hoi An (B)

After breakfast we'll transfer to Hanoi airport for our flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, we will be greeted by our local guide and transfered to our hotel in Hoi An. The rest of our day is free at leisure. A perfect opportunity to organise your tailor made clothes and shoes at one of the many nearby market stands.  

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight Hoi An Historic (or similar)

Day 7 - Friday 7 February 2020

Hoi An (B)

Today we will be charmed by Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most picturesque towns. Meet with a knowledgeable local guide for this introductory, half day Hoi An city tour, learning all about its illustrious past as a trading port. Take a walk through town, seeing remarkably well-preserved traditional houses that have withstood 200 years of weather and war. Learn about the prosperous merchants who used to live in these homes, trading with buyers from all over the world.

Make a stop at the Japanese Covered Bridge, one of two such bridges in Vietnam. The bridge spans a small waterway and was built more than 400 years ago to connect the Japanese community with the Chinese who lived on the other side of the water. Admire the carvings and paintings inside the bridge, learning about their symbolism and cultural significance.

Continue to a Chinese communal hall, a colourful mélange of bright gates, dragon statues and elaborate rooftops. Get an introduction to ancestor worship while visiting the family altar and watching local devotees making offerings.

Additionally, visit some of Hoi An’s famous handicraft shops, art galleries and the town’s vibrant market. Explore smaller laneways and local neighbourhoods, gaining a better appreciation of Hoi An’s endless charm. After this insightful glimpse of Hoi An, say farewell to the guide and return to the hotel.

This evening we will take part in the Hoi An Lantern Festival which coincides with the beautiful Full Moon  The historical centre of Hoi An transforms into a spectacular fairytale from sunset to moonlight where shops put up brightly-colored lanterns, turning the narrow old streets and the old Japanese bridge into a radiant, festively-illuminated light spectacle, augmented by the haunting strains of traditional music which can be heard from just about everywhere in the Old Town.  The flow of hundreds of colourful lanterns down the Thu Bon river is definitely a highlight and we'll have the opportunity to join in by purchasing a lantern which we can then float down the river ourselves.  This will be a beautiful experience.


Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight Hoi An Historic (or similar)

Day 8 - Saturday 8 February 2020

Hoi An (B, L)

This Morning we set off on a culinary adventure with a half day Hoi An cooking class. After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to Hai Café, a charming restaurant in the centre of Hoi An’s old town. Enjoy a welcome drink while being briefed on the day’s activities.

Then it’s off to the market to shop for ingredients. Learn about the fresh items on sale, from herbs and spices to colourful vegetables and live seafood, and how they are used in authentic Vietnamese cooking. Purchase a selection of items and mingle with the locals, enjoying the sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market.

Take a short walk to the pier where a private motorboat is waiting. Climb aboard and cruise up the Thu Bon River, enjoying the passing views of fishermen on the way to the Red Bridge Cooking School.

Upon arrival meet with the chefs and start cooking! The two-hour course starts with a demonstration from the chefs, showing the proper cooking techniques and introducing the ingredients. Then, at a personal cooking station, prepare a selection of Vietnamese dishes under the watchful eye of the Red Bridge team.

Once ready, sit down and feast on a delicious meal of authentic local cuisine. After filling up on these home-cooked delights, return to Hoi An for the afternoon.

The rest of the day is a leisure including dinner.

Overnight Hoi An Historic (or similar)

Day 9 - Sunday 9 February 2020

Hoi An (B)

An early start today after breakfast we take the 1.5hr journey from the hotel in Hoi An to Ba Na Hills.

We will spend the day visiting  this mountainous theme park perched 1,500m high on a mountain, a hill resort inherited from the French. The site was first developed by the French in the 1920s, who escaped the summer heat for its cool, mountain air.

This day trip offers scenic sights popular among the locals and a healthy dose of much needed mountain air. First head to the Ba Na Hills cable car station and ascend one of the world’s longest and highest cable car rides with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Once at the station we will see the Linh Ung Pagoda, Loc Uyen Garden and Quan Am Pavilion. Next, we will visit the Monkey Garden and finally to God Mountain, the highest peak in central Vietnam.

We will stroll through the Golden Bridge amid the misty hills of the mountain, enjoy the gorgeous view of Da Nang city. Here we will have a choice to choose from one of the plenty of restaurants up there to have lunch (own arrangement) and then, head into Fantasy Park to enjoy some fun and games after.

Spend the rest of the day free at leisure before the transfer back to the hotel in the afternoon.

Overnight at Hoi An Historic (or similar)

Day 10 - Monday 10 February 2020

Hoi An (B)

Today we have a free day at leisure to further explore Hoi An. Perhaps some last minute shopping or soak up the sun at one of the many beaches nearby.

Overnight at Hoi An Historic (or similar)

Day 11 - Tuesday 11 February 2020

Hoi An - Nha Trang (B)

After breakfast, transfer to Danang airport for our flight to Nha Trang. Upon arrival in Nha Trang, we will be greeted by our local guide and transfered to our hotel.

The rest of day is free at leisure to relax and enjoy Nha Trang's beautiful beach.

Overnight Sunrise Nha Trang (or similar)

Day 12 - Wednesday 12 February 2020

Nha Trang (B, L)

This mornings tour will take us by boat to Hon Mieu island where we will visit the Tringuyen aquarium then on to Mun Island for some Snorkeling.  After that we will take a local basket boat and explore the life of fishermen at Mieu fishing village. Then on to Bamboo resort for a special seafood lunch and afterwards relax and swim at bamboo island until it is time to return to our Hotel.

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight Sunrise Nha Trang (or similar)

Day 13 - Thursday 13 February 2020

Nha Trang (B)

Today we will visit the Thap Ba Hot Springs Centre which is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate   Not far from the bustling city of Nha Trang the hot springs centre is set against a mountain backdrop with plenty of greenery and flowers. It is also fitted with private and shared mud-baths, herbal-bath, Jacuzzi, waterfall, swimming pool, and sauna.  For those wishing to pamper themselves you can also indulge in a massage, acupuncture therapy and other beauty services (extra cost).

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight Sunrise Nha Trang (or similar

Day 14 - Friday 14 February 2020

Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh (B)

After breakfast we will transfer to Nha Trang airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC). Upon arival in HCMC, we will be greeted by our local guide and transfer to our hotel.

This afternoon, we will take a tour of HCMC. Start with a visit to the city’s most iconic building: Reunification Hall. Formerly called the Presidential Palace, images of the building were seen around the world on 30 April 1975 when tanks stormed the gates as Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Hear the echoes of time while walking through this historic downtown site.

Then take a stroll to Ho Chi Minh City’s colonial quarter, walking past scenes of everyday life on the way. Admire the beautiful architecture of the Opera House, City Hall, the old Saigon Post Office, Hear about the glory days of French Indochina and how that era continues to influence aspects of modern Vietnamese culture.

Step inside the War Remnants Museum for an insightful, yet sombre, look into Vietnam’s military history. See exhibitions displaying imagery from the French and American wars, learning more about the country’s struggle for independence and hearing tales of the resilience of the Vietnamese people.

Then step off the tourist trail for one last visit on this Ho Chi Minh City tour at a Vietnamese coffee shop, sit down and taste the coffee like locals. After this insightful visit, return to the hotel.

Dinner at leisure.

Overnight Liberty Central Station Center (or similar)

Day 15 - Saturday 15 February 2020

Ho Chi Minh (B, D)

Depart early this morning to avoid the crowds at Cu Chi. Drive away from Ho Chi Minh City, watching the city skyline fade into the distance as the road winds through rice paddies, villages and other scenes typical to southern Vietnam.Spend a couple of hours walking around Cu Chi’s rugged grounds with a local guide. Hear how the residents constructed an intricate, underground network of tunnels during the French and American Wars. Crawl underground and have a look at the tiny chambers, imagining what life was like for those who lived there. Hear incredible tales of perseverance- from the unusual foods the residents ate to survive to the story of a baby being born in the tunnels. Once above ground, see other ingenious items used by the residents to defend themselves such as bamboo traps and camouflaged pits.Throughout the tour, the guide will explain the impact of war on the local community and the country as a whole. Following this insightful visit, journey back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Afternoon at leisure

Tonight upon dark we’ll enjoy an “After Dark Tour” of Saigon by Vespa to see all that the nightlife has to offer.  

Climb aboard the back of this classic motorbike and zip off through the city’s buzzing streets. See the city come to life as the sun sets and offices close down for the day.

The first stop of the evening is at a roof top bar where you can take in the views of the streets below while enjoying some snacks and refreshments.

Kick off the mobile aspect of the evening visiting a series of local restaurants and street stalls. The food-loving host will explain each of the items on offer and purchase a selection of sweet and savoury dishes to sample. During the tour, sample a range of dishes from simple satays to more exotic, yet highly popular treats. Raise a glass and toast the night out alongside local diners.

Time to relax at a hidden and quite café, where you can enjoy a musical performance which will transport you back in time. Enjoy the performance with a drink and ice cream

Overnight Liberty Central Station Center (or similar)

Day 16 - Sunday 16 February 2020

Ho Chi Minh (B, L)

Today we leave behind the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City and drive deep into the Mekong Delta on this Cai Be day tour. Upon arriving in Cai Be we board a private boat and start exploring the Delta.

Pass by trading boats laden with fresh produce while cruising past river islands, coconut groves, and fish farms. Go ashore at small family-run workshops making local specialties such as rice popcorn and coconut candy. After this introduction to the Mekong Delta, get a closer look at the lives of its residents. Take a short walk through a local village and flourishing fruit gardens. Arrive at the home of Mr. Kiet and his family. The house has been lived in by more than four generations and is a great example of traditional ‘Mandarin’ architecture. A delicious home-cooked Vietnamese meal will be served for lunch in the family’s house.

Then take a walk through their fruit orchard to see the fresh seasonal fruits on the trees. Say farewell to the host family and continue to Tan Phong Island. Take a local row boat through the narrow canals around the island, appreciating the tranquility and lush landscapes of this part of the Delta.

As the sun begins to dip lower in the sky it is time to return to Cai Be and onwards to Ho Chi Minh City.

Dinner at leisure.

Overnight Liberty Central Station Center (or similar)

Day 17 - Monday 17 February 2020

Ho Chi Minh - Siem Reap (B)

After breakfast transfrer to HCMC airport for our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Upon our arrival in Siem Reap, we wll be welcomed by a local English speaking guide and transferred to our hotel for check in. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

The rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight Victoria Angkor (or similar)

Day 18 - Tuesday 18 February 2020

Siem Reap (B)

Today we will visit the most spectacular temples at the ancient city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.

From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs.

Take a break for lunch (at own expense), before we continue to Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples.

Now we are ready for the highlight: The magnificent Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

We will be there during the sunset, when Angkor Wat is less busy and the Apsaras will shine in the most beautiful light - a sight to behold.

Dinner at leisure tonight.

Overnight Victoria Angkor (or similar)

Day 19 - Wednesday 19 February 2020

Siem Reap (B)

This morning we'll visit Kampong Phluck, a village where you will see houses on stilts that are submerged when Tonlé Sap Lake extends. Embark on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where we will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. We will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, portraying life on the water. Tonle Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season.

Dinner at leisure.

Overnight Victoria Angkor (or similar)

Day 20 - Thursday 20 February 2020

Siem Reap - Melbourne (B, Meals inflight)

Today we will be transfered to the Airport for our flight home to Australia.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment of our airlines as we head towards home.

Day 21 - Friday 21 February 2020

Welcome Home

Today we arrive back into Melbourne.  What a great trip we’ve enjoyed.  We encourage you to stay in touch with your new found friends after your tour!  Thank you for travelling with Sisterhood Womens Travel and we look forward to welcoming you to your next adventure!

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