From the organized chaos of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the soothing lush green terraces of Pu Luong, Vietnam pushes you to let go, step out of your comfort zone, and reconnect with your inner explorer. Vietnam can feel unfamiliar and familiar all at once. Try foods you have never even heard of before while being greeted with smiling hosts who feel like familiar friends. Welcome to Hanoi, and to Vietnam, and we invite you to dive in, push your limits, and refill your cup.
It wouldn't be a trip to Vietnam without hopping on the back of a motorbike. Your drivers and guides this morning are all women from a local organization dedicated to empowering women through employment as motorbike drivers in the tourism sector. These women will guide you through the city-stopping the motorbike to allow for exploration of all the must see stops. Walk around the perimeter of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and visit Ba Dinh Square and One Pillar Pagoda. Explore Huu Tiep Lake and Tran Quoc Pagoda. After working up an appetite, return to the Old Quarter for a huge bowl of Pho at a local restaurant. Slurping is highly encouraged.
Standing as a symbol of centuries worth of discoveries by sea, the junk boat was first created in 3000 B.C. and throughout time the ship has been used by explorers and merchants alike. Now is your chance to spend a night aboard, embracing your inner explorer. (Albeit with way comfier pillows.) Glide through the steely waters in Halong Bay past limestone karst mountains and lush green islands and paddle a kayak through thousand year old caves.
Tropical rainforest covers the low mountains that surround Pu Luong-with rice terraces as far as the eye can see. Villages dotted throughout the valley are like splashes of colour against a bright green painting. Trekking along the terraces, throughout villages, brings you face to face with day to day life in this picturesque corner of northern Vietnam.
The village of Pu Luong lies just west of Hanoi, but feels a million miles away. Step out of your wooden bungalow to a vast landscape of green. Start the day with a rich coffee and fuel up for a morning trekking among the rice paddies. Pass by local villages and wave hello to local people as they move about their daily routines. Walk to Ban Cong and dig into a BBQ picnic lunch prepared for you by local chefs just along the riverbank.
Hoi An roughly translates to "a peaceful meeting place" and we promise it lives up to its name. Admittedly, it's hard to get more peaceful than the rice terraces of Pu Luong, but Hoi An offers a contrast to its northern neighbour. Where Pu Luong boasts serenity and calm, Hoi An offers conviviality and vibrancy. Explore this meeting place with a cooking class led by a local chef preparing a three course meal.
Discover the highlights of Hoi An with your CEO on an informative walking tour. Visit the Ong Pagoda, Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge), and the local market. You're getting to know a lot about Hoi An-but what about the claim that its home to the best banh mi in Vietnam? You CEO will offer to show you to the best place in town (but no guarantees you won't acquire a serious banh mi craving from here on out).
Hoi An is a must visit on any Vietnam itinerary because you can do it all here. From ancient ruins and fascinating architecture, to delicious food and active adventures-there is a dizzying array of things to see and do. You get to choose today between two curated choices. Embark on a kayaking adventure that takes you from the Cua Dai bridge down to a fishing village and beyond. If you would rather explore the ruins of My Son, join a local guide for comprehensive exploration of various complexes of the site, before returning to Hoi An by boat.
Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's most populated city with just around 9 million people calling it their home. For every 6 people, 1 motorbike enters the city on a daily basis. This organized chaos is a recognizable feature of many Vietnamese cities and learning to navigate the chaos is all part of the adventure. When you arrive in the afternoon, hop onto a pedaling cyclo to get a bit above the motorbike fray and tour the city with your knowledgeable guide. A sunset boat ride is peaceful way to end the day in the big city.
The Cu Chi Tunnels remain a testament to the enduring spirit of the Vietnamese people and their ingenuity in the face of unthinkable wartime tradgedies. The tunnels may be your destination today, but the journey to gets you off the beaten track to discover more of Vietnam. Hop on a bicycle and pedal your way through the countryside en route to the the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Siem Reap is home to the famous site of Angkor Wat but there is plenty to see and do here before exploring the ancient site. Grab a coffee, try some Cambodian cuisine, or hop in a tuk tuk and explore. After a morning flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, arrive to Siem Reap around lunchtime. Your CEO will take you on a walk through town this afternoon.
It's possible that there is no quicker way to understand a culture than by cooking and eating. Spend the morning in the local market with a chef, smelling and tasting the local ingredients. Continue on to Chreav village just outside of Siem Reap and join the chef in cooking some delicious local dishes. With a full belly, the afternoon is yours to choose between a sunset bike ride from village to village, or a scenic boat tour to Kampong Khleang Floating Village.
The ruins of Angkor Wat stand as a testament to the dynamic history of the Cambodian people. Though they, like all ruined structures, are little by little being reclaimed by the jungle around them, luckily for us they defiantly remain standing ready to be admired. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat with your fellow travellers and expert guide.
Established in 1993, The Botum Sakur National Park in southern Cambodia, home to the Cardamom Mountains, has been continuously threatened by illegal logging and the poaching of endangered wildlife. The dense jungle of the Cardamoms is one of Asia's seven remaining elephant corridors and is home to gibbons, pangolins and hornbills. This remote and wild place is being protected by an alliance between a number of organizations, and our exclusive stay at Cardamom Tented Camp helps fund the Wildlife Alliance and its partners in protecting this vital piece of our planet.
Waking up in the jungle, in a safari style glamping tent, with the sound of the birds and the monkeys rustling overhead is probably not an experience you associate with Cambodia, but from now on it will be. After a refreshing sleep, it's time to explore the Cardamoms. Kayak downriver first en route to the old ranger station. Trek through the lush forest on old logging trails, crossing streams from time to time. Your local Cambodian guides let you in on the history of this special place while you explore.
As locals approached Koh Chang by boat four centuries ago, they remarked that the island's shape looked like an Elephant and thus Koh Chang translated to Elephant Island. Although it is possible to spot elephants here, the island is also home to an abundance of other bird, mammal and marine wildlife. Eighty percent of Koh Chang is designated as National Park and your exploration begins with a CEO-led excursion to a nearby waterfall.
Thailand shines in this full day exploration of Koh Chang by kayak. Paddle from island to island, stopping to jump into the refreshing water. Paddle to Koh Yuak where you stop for lunch and to snorkel the turquoise waters.
Explore Bangkok's iconic food scene in an exclusive gastronomic adventure. Board a private longtail boat to head to your first stop-to try the one and only Pad Thai. Created by a politician during World War II, Pad Thai is the most famous gastronomic export from Thailand, and a trip to Bangkok wouldn't be complete without sampling it. Afterwards, head by tuk-tuk convoy to Rattanakosin Historical Island to sample a few more small bites. A sweet bite, like Mango and sticky rice, is the finishing touch on delicious evening. A sweet way to end an epic adventure.
Today your adventure comes to an end. We hope you loved visiting Southeast Asia as much as we do! We promise you won't need a vacation after your vacation, but we guarantee you'll be ready for another adventure with G.