Hanoi's famous Water Puppet
show needs no translation.
Sailing amidst the limestone edifaces
of Halong Bay in comfort.
Your vessel for our 4 and 7 day
Your own sampan.
Explore exotic wildlife habitat by boat.
Sail into Siem Reap and visit the
or disembark at Phnom Penh.
• 16 day trip, including the 2 night/3 day private Sampan cruise, ending in Phnom Penh.
• Overnight accommodation (double occupancy) with daily breakfast
• 4 star or boutique hotels (upgraded to 5 star upon request)
• Private transfers and transportation on tour
• Sightseeing with local English speaking guides; KarmaQuest Western group leader for groups of 6 or more
• Entrance fees to sightseeing sites
• Private boat rides as specified
• Water puppet show in Hanoi (1st class ticket)
• Meals on board the Sampan cruise
• Cold towels and water on sightseeing days
• Option 2 or 3 Mekong River Cruise
• Airport assistance service
• Vietnam and Cambodian visa
• Other meals and beverages
• Domestic and international flights and airport taxes
• Hotel early check in/ Late check out
• Overweight luggage
• Personal expenses
• Travel insurance
• Tips and gratuities; donations
• Other services not listed as Included
We invite you on a relaxing journey through north and south Vietnam, ending with a Mekong cruise and a guided tour of the stunning bas reliefs and monumental temples of Angkor. Disembark in Phnom Penh for an historical overview of Cambodia's storied past, while appreciating its rich artistic heritage of weaving, dance and architecture.
We offer you three different Mekong cruise options, described below, each following the 11-day guided tour of Vietnam. Please contact us to guide you through the choices.
The trip begins in Hanoi and skirts the east coast of Vietnam, taking you to naturally picturesque and culturally important sites. The overland portion of the trip ends in Saigon, from where you'll embark on your choice of cruises up the Mekong River, one of Asia's most important and scenic waterways.
In this itinerary, we've included the flexible scheduled 3 day cruise on a private Sampan boat, a unique and pampered way to experience the unforettable Mekong. Or you can select a larger cruise vessel with fixed date departures -- the choice allows you to match the personal standard of travel you prefer. Please see the options below. From wherever you disembark, we'll route you back home or onward to your next destination via daily flights.
The best time of year to make this journey is November through February: it's cooler then (although still plenty warm) and the rainy season, which runs from July through October, has passed. Note that the cruise portion along the Mekong River and Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia can be affected by seasonal water levels, so itinerary details are subject to change.
All trips conclude with assistance in connecting to your homeward international flight. We will make all regional flight arrangements as well.
Vietnam Land Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, a thriving city. Transfer to your hotel. Rest or explore on your own.
Day 2: Day of Sightseeing in Hanoi. With its stately buildings and tree-lined boulevards, Hanoi showcases a blend of Southeast Asian, Chinese and French styles. With your own guide and driver, you will tour the massive Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and, in contrast, "The Greatest Leader"'s tiny, simple home on stilts. Travel open air on a ”cyclo” (pedicab) tour through the Old Quarter, and attend a whimsical water puppet show (photo left). Stop by one of the best and socially responsible places to buy authentic souvenirs: Craft Link, a not-for-profit handicraft business benefiting traditional women artisans.
Days 3 and 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay. Depart for the coast and board your restored wooden “junk” boat (2nd photo from top, at left) for a 2 day-1 night exploration of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sail amongst the towering limestone karsts and caves; relax on board or enjoy kayaking, a cooking class, and swim at a picturesque beach lapped by turquoise waters. Meals and overnights on board.
Days 5 to 7: Hoi An and My Son. Fly to Danang and drive to Hoi An, a 17-19th century trading port. Today, this quaint UNESCO-listed town is ideal for a walking tour. Purchase some stunning silk at the colorful silk market and engage a tailor to make you a fashionable outfit in a day. Learn to prepare a traditional Hoi An meal in a cooking class (optional). On another day, drive to My Son, a 4th century counterpart to Bagan, Ayuthaya and Borobudur and other grand cities of Asia. Overnight in Hoi An.
Days 8 and 9: Hue. Drive through the scenic countryside to Hue, the imperial capital from the 17th to 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Attend a royal martial arts performance reminiscent of dramatic heroic plots and be the guest at a series of contemporary and traditional artists’ studios. Overnight in Hue.
Days 10 and 11: Saigon. Fly to Saigon -- a city that never sleeps. Take a city tour of historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, patterned after the original in Paris; the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel; the former Presidential Palace, HQs of the Saigon Government during the American war; and the War Remnants Museum. Spend a day at the famous Cu Chi tunnels, started in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps and later as underground communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters. In the evening, hop on to a vintage Vespa scooter and travel on two wheels as do 8 million locals. Sample Saigon's best authentic street food and relax at a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Overnight in Saigon.
Days 12 to 14: Private Sampan Cruise on the Mekong River (2 nights/3 days on board): Board your charming boat and begin your journey. These charming traditional wooden boats are comfortably outfitted with bedroom, bath, A/C and an open dining area off the back. They sleep 4 to 8 persons. Enjoy an intimate exploration of the surroundings by small boat, bicycle or motorized tricycle. Visit a rice noodle factory, where you'll see how the national dish of Vietnam, pho is made. Be a guest at a family farm and see the fruits of their labors at a colorful floating market, where dug-outs serve as display counters. Glide through a nature reserve of canals and jungle tunnels, alive with bird calls. Sail from Saigon to Chau Doc by Sampan, overnight in a hotel, and then and continue on to Phnom Penh by speed boat.
Day 15: Phnom Penh Phnom Penh is nowadays a bustling city and its ochre-coloured colonial buildings, bustling squares, trendy cafés, and frangipani-lined boulevards. Tour the royal palace, learn the stories of past at the national museum, and join an architectural historian on a walking tour of classic 19th century French-colonial buildings now housing plush hotels and the railway station. Be sure to take home some Cambodian silk, and you can see it being made by hand at an artisan silk weaving center. Take in a sunset cruise as a fitting end to your unforgettable travels in South East Asia. If you'd like to add another day, take a break from the urban scene and spend a day in the countryside at a well reputed wildlife rehabilitation center, home to 1,200 rescued animals including tigers, leopards, gibbons, elephants and others.
Day 16: Fly to Bangkok and homeward. Or extend your trip with a 3-night visit to Siem Reap and the stunning Angkor temple complex. Please inquire.
Optional Siem Reap and Angkor Extension: Days 16 to 19: Fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and enjoy three days to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site,, one of the wonders and most important religious monuments in the world, with a renowned Khmer scholar. He has a detailed knowledge of the temple’s history as well as how they will be preserved in the decades to come. Take a stroll through the elaborate carved hallways of Angkor Wat as the Khmer empire is brought to life through the scholar’s explanations of the stories contained in each of the bas reliefs and murals. In the evenings, attend a cultural dance show and a lively, non-traditional circus that benefits disadvantaged peoples. Fly to Bangkok.
16 Day Trip Cost with Customized Dates
Note: Prices are based on November 2018 travel dates, subject to peak season increases during late December to early January.
From $5,850 per person
Please inquire for departure dates and prices for Mekong Cruise Options mentioned below.
Other Mekong Cruise Options:
Travel in elegance aboard a 190 ft long, 27 cabin vessel adorned with classic Asian art and wood carvings, a fine dining hall, and spa and jacuzzi. Please inquire for departure dates.
Option 2. Choose a 3 night/4 day deluxe cruise from Saigon to Phnom Penh. On side excursions, you'll visit farming villages, markets, a fish farm, and various cottage industries. You'll sail into Phnom Penh, where (with the addition of a customized extension) you can partake in several days of sightseeing as described above. Please inquire for details.
Option 3. On the 7 night/8 day Mekong River trip, extend the 3 night/4 day deluxe cruise (above) for 4 more days to Siem Reap. Visit an 8th century temple pre-dating Angkor and villages with specialized artisan skills. Glide along the Tonle River where village homes perch over the water on stilts, and everything is carried by boat. Cross the “Great Lake” of Tonle Sap, before putting down anchor in Siem Reap for an optional 3-day stay, hosted by your Angkor cultural expert for a private tour of the best known and hidden treasures of the Angkor temple complex (see above for details).
For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact
KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA