It’s a long flight to Asia and if you are going all that way, you might as well make the most of it! And that’s exactly what the couple whose quote Tailormade consultant Mel is working on. I mean, what a combination – Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma?! This is what their itinerary is currently looking like:
Day 1: Depart the UK, flying with Emirates via Dubai.
Day 2: Arrive in Siem Reap, and take some time to relax and settle in after the flight.
Day 3: Explore the awe-inspiring Temples of Angkor. Spend the day touring, visiting the Bayon, the Terrace of the Elephant and Terrace of the Leper King, Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat and finish off with sunset over the jungle at Pre Rup.
Day 4: Get out of Siem Reap and into rural Cambodia. Drive to a spot just outside a small village and switch over to an ox cart and ride through the fields to a home of a Khmer family, who specialise in making brooms. Watch them at their craft and give it a go yourself, if you fancy. Explore the village and get involved in day to day life, helping to fish or farm. Enjoy a typical Khmer lunch and take some time to chat with the villagers. Return to Siem Reap, stopping at a temple en route to receive a blessing from the monks.
Day 5: Fly from Siem Reap to Saigon.
Day 6: Head out of the city to the lush green of the Mekong Delta, stopping at the town of Cai Be. Climb aboard a small boat to tour a floating market and watch the locals flogging their fresh produce. Cruise on through the maze of canals to Vinh Long and visit a gardener who specialises in bonsai cultivation as well as a handicraft village to see the local artisans at work. Continue your cruise through the orchards and rice paddies of the region before returning to Saigon in the late afternoon.
Day 7: Spend the day amongst the sights of Saigon. Admire the colonial grandeur of Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and Opera House. Catch up on your war history at the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum before exploring Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. Take a cyclo ride through the chaotic narrow streets and find yourself at Binh Tay market and peruse the huge range of wares.
Day 8: Journey out into the countryside, whizzing down the Saigon River by speedboat, watching the scenery change from urban to bucolic and taste a selection of delicious locally grown fruits. Continue to the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, the infamous underground tunnels of the Viet Cong. Leave here and visit a cricket farm before sitting dwon to a tasty local lunch. Return to Saigon.
Day 9: Fly from Saigon to Danang and transfer to Hoi An.
Day 10: Browse the local produce market before cruising along the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Here, enjoy a tour of the herb garden and take an informal cooking lesson before eating your way through all you’ve cooked. Later, tour Hoi An, looking at the diverse architecture and enjoying the relaxed vibe. You’ll see the Chua Ong Pagoda, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Tan Ky House and the Japanese Bridge. Take a boat trip along the Thu Bon River.
Day 11: Enjoy a day at leisure to explore Hoi An as you wish.
Day 12: Travel from Hoi An to Hue via the incredibly scenic Hai Van Pass. On arrival, discover the old imperial citadel and the royal tombs of Vietnam’s emperors, located just outside of the city on the riverbank.
Day 13: Fly from Hue to Hanoi. This evening sit down and enjoy the famous Water Puppet show, a showcase for this traditional Vietnamese art. After, dine on a true Hanoian dinner of Cha Ca, a northern Vietnamese specialty. Take a tea or coffee as a digestif in one of the Old Quarter’s cosy street side cafes – much as the locals do.
Day 14: Leave the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and travel to Halong Bay. Here, onboard a traditional junk boat set sail around this UNESCO World Heritage-listed bay. In a smaller boat, explore the Dark and Bright Lagoon and relax of the junk’s sun deck, sipping on a cocktail. A dinner of fresh Vietnamese dishes is served from the onboard kitchen in the evening.
Day 15: Wake up to sunrise over the bay and Tai Chi on the sundeck. Sail back towards port and travel on by road to Hanoi.
Day 16: Spend the day discovering the wonders of Hanoi. Start at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum before strolling the grounds of the Presidential Palace and visiting the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue to the 11th century Temple of Literature, which is dedicated to Confucius. This afternoon visit the Museum of Ethnology before taking to the streets of the Old Quarter on a cyclo. Head to the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and explore the Ngoc Son temple on its tiny island.
Day 17: Fly from Hanoi to Yangon.
Day 18: Formerly Burma’s capital, Yangon is an intriguing city – spend the day discovering more! Start by viewing the old colonial buildings before the huge reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda. Peruse the numerous wares of Scott Market and spend a magical evening soaking up the beauty of Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 19: Fly from Yangon to Bagan. Later, begin exploring some of the areas many spectacular temples. Take a horse and cart ride to Shwesandaw Pagoda for sunset.
Day 20: Travel from Bagan to Salay for a day trip. Wander the Yoke Sone monastery and admire the intricate woodcarvings. The town is full of monks, so take the opportunity to chat with a few of them. There are also some nice old colonial buildings to see. On the return to Bagan, stop for lunch a West Phwa Saw village, where you’ll dine in a local home and chat with the family about their lives. They’ll show you how to apply thanaka and how to wrap the traditional longyi.
Day 21: Fly from Bagan to Mandalay, the last of Burma’s royal cities. Spend the morning in the atmospheric surroundings of Mahamuni Pagoda, before visiting a marble stone carving and gold leaf workshop. Head to Kuthodaw Pagoda to marvel over the world’s largest book before ascending Mandalay Hill for sunset.
Day 22: Explore Amarapura and its monastery just outside of Mandalay, and wander across the picturesque U Bein Bridge. Later travel to Sagaing, where an impressive number of monasteries, temples and stupas are scattered through the hills. Finally see Inwa and the elegant teakwood monastery of Bagaya Kyaung.
Day 23: Fly from Mandalay to Heho and drive to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. Board a boat and head onto the lake where you’ll be able to see floating gardens, and pay a visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. Cruise over to the traditional handicraft villages and stop at Nga Pe Kyaung Monastery.
Day 24: Take a traditional sampan and cruise through the narrow winding waterways to reach Indein, a village famous for its huge collection of stupas, some of which have been partially reclaimed by nature. Meet the local ethnic minority people at the five-day market and browse for souvenirs.
Day 25: Fly from Inle Lake to Yangon.
Day 26: Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Day 27: Arrive back in the UK.
We think you’ll agree that that is a truly awesome itinerary. If you feel inspired to do the same, something similar or just like the idea of a big adventure, give the team a call and start planning!
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.