Sit back and relax on our flight from Canada into the “land of smiles”.
Greeted by the tropical heat we get a first hand impression of what living in one of the most dynamic and fun-loving countries means. On our drive into Thailand’s capital we pass illuminated temples, gigantic billboards and speeding tuk-tuks. We’re all set and excited to discover this fascinating city.
The city of Angels
Thai life is just like the world famous Thai food – hot and spicy. Let’s get a bite of this exciting mix of sites, sounds and smells by visiting Bangkok’s most holy site first – the temple complex of Wat Phra Keo. The gold shining temples, deeply religious pilgrims and the air filled with the smell of incense sticks provides the background for the Smaragd Buddha, Thailand most revered Buddha statue. From here it is just a few minutes to the majestic buildings of the former Royal Palace. After so much sightseeing it is time to relax. Let’s do it in style by taking a boat ride through the picturesque klongs (canals) of Thonburi. We finish the day with a panoramic view over Bangkok from the top of the 82 m high temple of Wat Arun.
Our day starts with the vibrant colors, eye-catching shapes and wonderful smells at the Flower Market. From here we visit the crowded alleys of Chinatown. The energetic activity in this maze of alleys lined with shops, porters, food stalls and vendors is breathtaking.
After some time to relax, enjoying delicious Thai food and great views at one of the countless restaurants along the Chao Phraya river we visit Wat Traimit with its 5.5-t Buddha made out of pure gold. After joining the daily thousands of devotees at the famous Erawan shrine it’s time for some shopping: The giant malls next to the famous Erawan Shrine sell everything from Starbucks to Ferrari – make your choice…
From the urban jungle to the real jungle
We leave early for our journey from Bangkok to Cambodia. As soon as we cross the Cambodian border we notice a significant change. Bullock carts instead of AC-cars, wooden stilt houses instead of fancy concrete bungalows, real jungle instead of urban jungle. Cambodia seems decades away from the modern living standard in Thailand. Once we arrive in Siem Reap, the gateway town to „the magical temple ruins of Angkor“ we have some time left to walk through this appealing city at the banks of the Siem Reap river.
RHenri Mouhot, the Frenchman who rediscovered the temples of Angkor in 1860, described them as “a rival to that of Solomon and erected by some ancient Michelangelo… grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome”. Whoever stood in front of these ancient temples built in the middle of the jungle will agree. The temples of Angkor are without a doubt one of the world’s most awe-inspiring historical sites. On our first day of sightseeing we discover three of the most fascinating sites. We stand in awe in front of the giant Buddha–faces of the Bayon, climb over giant roots and under hanging branches to discover the mystical temple Ta Phom and watch the sunset of the masterpiece of Angkor – Angkor Wat.
Today we drive to the temples of Banteay Srei, one hour outside of Siem Reap. With its extremely fine miniature carvings “the citadel of the princesses” is one of the most beautiful temples of Angkor. On the way back we visit the Cambodian Land Mine Museum. Displays, historical photos and explanation boards give a vivid insight in the catastrophic impact of landmines during the Khmer Rouge regime. Back in Siem Reap we have some time to relax or shop in the cafes and shops in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
On our journey to the capital of Cambodia we make a couple of stops along the way to experience some rural local life in the villages. Phnom Penh has many faces – let’s look at all of them. With its golden spired Pagodas, multicoloured roofs and richly decorated palaces the Royal Palace ground with the adjacent Silver Pagoda are vivid reminders of the god-like status of the kings of Cambodia. A very sombre reminder of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge Regime is our visit to the Tuol Sleng Museum. Between 1975 and 1978 more than 17.000 people weld held captive and tortured in this Nazi-like prison camp before they were taken to the killing fields outside of Phnom Penh for execution.
Cambodia rise from the ashes since than is mirrored not just by the modern apartments buildings and restored temples in the city center but by the fun-loving, friendly and optimistic Cambodian who meet every afternoon at the Boulevard Sisowath to watch the sunset.
Phnom Penh – Saigon
On our way to Da Nang we climb the scenic Marble Mountains from where we visit the romantically lid caves and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean. Afterwards we board our overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City.
Rush hour in Saigon
Vietnam’s boomtown and economic powerhouse is one of the most dynamic cities in Asia which energy captivates every visitor. We roll along by walking through the Colonial Quarter between the Saigon River and the Cathedral Notre-Dame. A visit to the War Remnants Museum reminds us of the still very present memories of the Vietnam War. Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown is brimming with life while the Chinese pagodas are places of worship and tranquility. We finish our day at the beautiful Ben Thanh Market – shop till you drop or just enjoy the sights and sounds.
Return to Canada
Sit back and relax during your flight from Saigon back home.
All international and domestic flights according to the itinerary
Collection and greeting in Bangkok Airport by FRF tour leader who will be with the group until they fly out of Saigon Airport
Airport transfer as well as departure with FRF tour guide
Transport in modern coach with toilet and aircondition
Coach available exclusively for the group inclusive excursions within the route described
Road toll and parking fees
FRF tour guide for the entire tour
Information material for all participants
24 hour emergency call
Complimentary trip with single room for the bus driver and the FRF tour guide
Complimentary trip with single room for two chaperones (up to 29 participants) or 4 chaperones (from 30 participants)