Our guide to
Indochina

VIETNAM - HO CHI MINH CITY

Saigon, officially named Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial and financial hub of Vietnam and its most popular tourist destination. Saigon is a entwined mix of ancient and modern Asian and International architectural styles. Older tree-lined streets have a vaguely French atmosphere, while the multi-storey buildings and office blocks show the cities modern heritage.


VIETNAM - HALONG BAY

Halong Bay is a world heritage site and one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located about 180km from Hanoi and covering an area of over 1,500 km, an overnight cruise on Halong bay is a must. 

 

VIETNAM - HANOI

Hanoi is the ancient capital city of Vietnam, established in 1010 during the Ly dynasty and is the political, economic & cultural centre of the country. Nowadays Hanoi still preserves plenty of ancient architectural works comprising of old historic streets and over 600 pagodas and Temples. Hanoi's present architecture is mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries and the stately French built section of town is largely intact. Main places to see include:

  • President Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum.
  • The Temple of Literature built in 1070, dedicated to the teachings of Confucius.
  • The Temple of Quan Thanh.
  • The 19th century temple of Ngoc Son - dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a hero against the Mongolians in the 13th century.
  • The old quarter and Dong Xuan market.
  • Cultural palace
  •  Hoan kiem lake, West lake and Truc ach lake.

VIETNAM - SAPA

The remote mountain town of Sapa is an intriguing mix of landscapes, ethnic cultures and fresh mountain air. Looming above Sapa is Mount Fansipan which is Vietnam's highest peak at 3143m (10,312 feet).

Ethnic groups that live around Sapa include the H'mong, Red Zao, Xapho and Tai minorities, who can be seen wearing traditional dress.

 Sapa market on a Saturday or Sunday is a fantastic chance to see and compare different ethnic cultures, as the people descend upon the town to buy and sell their wares, conduct centuries old matchmaking rituals and other social customs.

VIETNAM - HUE

Hue is a quiet scenic city, famous for its magnificent architecture of citadel, palaces, pagodas and Royal tombs.  built under the 13 Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty alongside the banks of the Perfume River. UNESCO has called Hue "an adorable architectural poem".

The Citadel and Imperial City was constructed between 1804-1833 and covers an area of 52 km2. 

King Tu Duc's Tomb is the resting place of the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. 

King Khai Dinh's tomb is the resting place of the twelfth king of the Nguyen Dynasty and the father of King Bao Dai who is the last emperor of Vietnam.

The Thien Mu Pagoda is a Buddhist monastery erected in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang.

HOI AN

Hoi An is an ancient port town on the Thubon River, 30 km south of Danang. Between the 17th & 19th centuries it was one of Southeast Asia's major international ports.

Hoian is one of the rare places in Vietnam where you'll find genuine Vietnamese architecture and parts of Hoian look exactly as they did a century and a half ago. 

 Hoian has fascinating Japanese and Chinese quarters, which are linked together by the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in 1593.

VIETNAM - NHA TRANG

Nha Trang is encircled by an imposing and beautiful landscape. Its palm-fringed white sandy beaches stretch for more than 4 miles & are arguably the best beaches in Vietnam. The waters around Nha Trang are almost transparent, making for excellent fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.

On the North side of Nha Trang, are the best-preserved Cham towers in central Vietnam.  On the other side of the city is Long Son Pagoda, founded in the late 19th century. The Pagoda has a 14m high white Buddha atop the hill and visible across the entire city.

MEKONG DELTA

The Mekong Delta covers an area of about 25000 square miles. One of the world's great rivers, the mighty Mekong empties waters from Tibet 2,800 miles away into the South China Sea through the Mekong Delta. This great river crosses into Vietnam from Cambodia and divides into the many rivers that create the Delta (Cuu Long or Nine Dragons in Vietnamese), and nourish one of the worlds greatest rice growing regions, before ending its journey in the South China Sea.

A trip into the Mekong Delta provides an excellent opportunity to experience traditional Vietnamese rural life. Boating through the maze of canals and waterways gives the opportunity to view rural life. water buffaloes, floating markets, orchards overflowing with delectable fruits, humble thatched dwellings, ancient Khmer temples, fishermen and excited local children!

CAMBODIA - SIEM REAP

Siem Reap is an attractive little town perched not far from the Tonle Sap, South East Asia's largest freshwater lake. It serves as the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Temple complex that sits just a few kilometres to the north.

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares. The magic of Angkor is best experienced at sunset when the carved sandstone monuments and Temples glow a deep gold colour.


CAMBODIA - PHNOM PENH

Phnom Penh is as a laid-back city sitting at the junction of four rivers. It's the current capital of Cambodia, and was founded by a Khmer woman named Penh. Following her discovery of Buddha statues hidden in a tree; she built a pagoda on a hill to commemorate her find. The name for hill in Khmer is Phnom, hence the cities name is Phnom Penh.

Main Highlights:

  • The Silver Pagoda is the must-see historic sites in the city.
  • The National Museum, notable not only for its outstanding exhibits but also for its superb traditional-style architecture.
  • Royal Palace hearken back to the traditions of the historic Cambodian kings.
  • The Tuol Sleng prison displays a far more sinister and violent part of the country's past which occurred during the 4 year rule of Pol Pot, who wiped out more than a million people.

LAOS - VIENTIANE

Vientiane sits in a bend of the Mekong River and has been the Capital of Laos since the 15th century when it was moved there from Luang Prabang. It's one of the world's smallest capital with a population of only 25,000 residents.

Vientiane has many fascinating gilded pagodas to explore with saffron robed monks. Vientiane also specialises in a wide range of spicy food for visitors to enjoy.

LAOS - LUANG PRABANG

Luang Prabang was the capital city of the first Lao kingdom Lang Xang until it was consolidated in 1545 by the Khmer supported conqueror of Fangum.

Today, the World Heritage site of Luang Prabang is famous for its beautiful temples and mountainous setting.

Main Highlights:

  • .Royal Palace Museum,
  • Wat Xieng Thong temple
  • Phousy Mountain and many temples nearby.
  • 30km by boat along the Mekong River, is the famous Pakou caves housing thousands of Buddha statues.