Encounter the colorful cultures of Indochina on an 16-day journey to Vietnam and Thailand. Cruise Ha Long Bay, explore Hoi An, interact with local families, and taste some of the world’s best street food at the night markets of Chiang Mai. Soak up the richness of this corner of the globe so steeped in tradition.
Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Negotiate a passage past the ubiquitous knock-off merchants and you’ll find the original streets of the Old Quarter. Defiant real-deal farmers hawk their wares, while city folk breakfast on noodles, practise t’ai chi at dawn or play chess with goateed grandfathers. Dine on the wild and wonderful at every corner, sample market wares, uncover an evolving arts scene, then sleep soundly in luxury for very little cost. Meet the people, delve into the past and witness the awakening of a Hanoi on the move.
Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1994, Halong Bay's scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam's number one-tourism hub.
Graceful, historic Hoi An is Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town. Once a major port, it boasts the grand architecture and beguiling riverside setting that befits its heritage, and the 21st-century curses of traffic and pollution are almost entirely absent. The face of the Old Town has preserved its incredible legacy of tottering Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea warehouses.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride. From the finest of hotels to the cheapest of guesthouses, the classiest of restaurants to the tastiest of street stalls, the choicest of boutiques to the scrum of the markets, HCMC is a city of energy and discovery.
Bangkok welcomes more visitors than any other city in the world and it doesn’t take long to realise why. Bangkok is a city of contrasts with action at every turn. Marvel at the gleaming temples, catch a tuk tuk along the bustling Chinatown or take a longtail boat through floating markets. Food is another Bangkok highlight, from local dishes served at humble street stalls to haute cuisine at romantic rooftop restaurants. Luxury malls compete with a sea of boutiques and markets, where you can treat yourself without overspending. Extravagant Luxury hotels and surprisingly cheap serviced apartments welcome you with the same famed Thai hospitality. And no visit to Bangkok would be complete without a glimpse of its famous nightlife.
The former seat of the Lanna kingdom is a blissfully calm and laid-back place to relax and recharge your batteries. Participate in a vast array of activities on offer, or just stroll around the backstreets, and discover a city that is still firmly Thai in its atmosphere and attitude.
Whether you're sun-seeking, dozing in a hammock, feasting on world-class cuisine, beach partying or discovering wellness in an exclusive spa, Ko Samui has it covered. The kiss of sun on tanned skin, the deep azure of the sky and the gentle lapping of warm waves on satin sands are ideal ingredients for the perfect retreat. Ko Samui’s beaches are a diverse bunch to boot: roll up your beach towel and see what you can find.