Villa Song Hotel

Spicy Southeast Asia Honeymoon for Foodies

Countries: CambodiaVietnamLaos

15 Days | $6,000

Newlyweds looking to keep things spicy after their wedding is over need look no further than a tour through the restaurants, markets and coffee shops of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. This tour pairs you up with acclaimed chefs, home cooks and expert guides as you experience the myriad flavors of Southeast Asia while staying in incredible accommodations. Relaxation and cultural exploration is also built in – with 2 days in Halong Bay aboard a private junk boat as well as tours of the hidden temples of Angkor Wat to name just two experiences.

“A honeymoon should reflect the interests of the couple, and for couples who love to explore destinations through the local food, this trip is for you. I think one of the best ways to get to know a country is to sit down with locals and have a meal or chat over a beer. Wake up early in the morning, catch the light of the sunrise on the river and then walk the morning street market and sample the fresh fruit picked that morning. This is a quieter experience, really focused on the food and the experiences surrounding it. Vietnam is considered one of the best foodie destinations in the world, and Thailand is a very close contender, but for this trip, I opted to include Cambodia and Laos instead. The reason I did this is because, one – I LOVE the food in Laos, but the other reason is because I think Laos and Cambodia fall under the radar for their food but they really offer some of the best markets and dining in the region.” – April Cole, Journeys Within Honeymoon Specialist

Sofitel Hanoi

Day 1   Hanoi: Arrival

Arrive at Noi Bai airport where you will be met by your guide and driven the 1 hour journey to Hanoi.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel – 1Double Luxury Room

Day 2   Hanoi: Morning Market and Street Food Tour and Photography Class

This morning you will be met by a celebrated chef at your hotel at 08:30am.

Today you will get a chance to experience Hanoi in a truly unique way – by eating local food in the most local of places. Most of the areas visited will be outside of the main tourist areas. First, you will head to a local market where you will learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and see how locals engage in their routine of price negotiating. The chef will introduce you to some of the vendors and explain the uses of the food being sold. If you are interested in purchasing anything at the market, the chef will assist you in your negotiations.

After your haggling, relax and enjoy a Vietnamese Ca Phe (coffee) or Tra (tea) with the locals at one of the chef’s favorite sidewalk cafes in the historic French Quarter. Here the chef will give an overview of the Hanoi food scene and discuss the daily life and culture of Vietnam from an expat’s perspective.

Lunch will follow with the chef at one of Hanoi’s Bun Cha establishments to enjoy traditional grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs, greens, and crispy spring rolls (Nem Ran) like true Hanoians.

After lunch you will be transferred to your photography starting point below the famous Long Bien Bridge. Begin your afternoon with an introduction to the tour and an overview of your camera settings. Your first images will focus on establishing the shot and shutter speeds as you capture pictures of the trains coming into Long Bien Station. From here you will enjoy a slow pace of wandering through some of the alleyways leading into the Old Quarter before walking beneath the railway to capture images of life in and around the tracks. The technical focus here will be on ISO settings required for capturing activity.

Stop for a quick tea and coffee break to allow you to review your shots so far before moving further along the tracks to witness the residential areas based beside the railway. Here you will build your photographic story and change focus to capturing daily life in relation to the tracks. Over snacks at a local café you will choose your 3 images for your photo story before returning to your hotel at approximately 6:30pm.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel – 1Double Luxury Room

Day 3   Hanoi: Home Cooking in Dong Ngac Village with Bike Ride

At 8am your guide and private car will meet and take you to Dong Ngac cultural village about 15km from the center of Hanoi. This is an ancient village and has been dedicated as a cultural heritage site in honor of its educated and heroic people, recognized by the kings of Vietnam. By 8:30am, you will arrive in the village where you will embark on an interesting market tour. Your host will be from the Pham family who live in the traditional house where you will be cooking your lunch.

At the local market you will have the chance to experience the bustling local life as your host and your tour guide help you to purchase all the ingredients which you need to cook your lunch today. This is local market so you can easily bargain. Have a go and enjoy the experience! Head back to the traditional house, where your host will perform a private cooking demonstration for you. After watching your host, try your hand at preparing these traditional dishes before enjoying the best part of all – sampling your creations! After all your efforts, reward yourself and recline back into the chairs in the fragrant retreat of your host’s village garden.

Around mid-afternoon say good bye to your new friends and continue on your cultural village experience, as you cycle around Thuy Phuong village. Visit one the ancient communal house and pagoda, and drop in on some of the families who are happy to share their knowledge of their homes and history with you. Take note that each brick of these cobbled streets was part of a dowry of brick cobbles paid to the families of Dong Ngnac village brides in earlier times. Time permitting, you may also have the chance to cycle past some of the flower farms in the countryside. Have fun!

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel – 1Double Luxury Room

Day 4   Private Halong Bay Cruise: Day 1

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8 am. Today, you leave bustling Hanoi behind on your private transfer to wonderful Ha Long Bay. Your journey will take around 3.5 hours through the historical countryside of the Red River Delta peppered with hundred year old villages. On your journey our team will advise you of the best places to stop where you can experience the interesting history and daily life of the local people. In addition, there will be many chances for photo stops along the way of the local farming activities, rice fields, water buffalos and so on.

Arrive at Halong city by midday where you will transfer to the pier to board your junk. Enjoy a welcome drink before relaxing with a fresh seafood lunch, while cruising through the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay (the peaceful northern part of Halong Bay, commonly overlooked by most visitors). Take in the breathtaking serenity of your surroundings, before stopping mid-afternoon to visit Thien Canh Son cave. A short cruise further will bring you to Hon Co Island where you can spend the late afternoon relaxing on board the junk or on the white sandy beach. If weather permits, enjoy some kayaking around the bay. You will finish the day on board with dinner around 7pm followed by time to relax and reflect on your day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at L’AMOUR Junk – One Cabin Private Charter

Day 5   Private Halong Bay Cruise: Day 2 and Luang Prabang: Arrival

Today’s early start with breakfast around 7:30am is a wonderful opportunity to admire the bay waking up around you. After breakfast you will be taken on rustic rowboats to Vung Vieng Fishing Village which once housed hundreds of residents. Today the village is a museum of floating houses, a school and pearl farms allowing a glimpse into the floating lifestyle of its past residents. Enjoy your lunch as you cruise back to Hon Gai Harbor to disembark at the pier around midday.

Your guide will meet you as you disembark and will transfer you back to Hanoi. Along the way you will have the opportunity to take a comfort break and stretch your legs. You will arrive at Noi Bai airport in time to connect with your flight – Vietnam Airlines VN2905 departing from Hanoi at 18:50 & arriving in Luang Prabang at 19:50.

After your arrival in Luang Prabang, you’ll be picked up from the airport and driven to the main part of town for a quick orientation tour. Your guide will give you an introduction to the city, showing you the main roads, some restaurants and the night market area, before dropping you off at your hotel to check in.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Kiridara Hotel – 1Double Premium Room

Day 6   Luang Prabang: Morning Alms and City Tour

Wake up at sunrise to give monks morning alms. You’ll be accompanied by your guide who can demonstrate the proper method of alms giving and explain this daily Buddhist ceremony. Return to your hotel for breakfast.

Today you will explore the city by bicycle. Following your guide, travel through town along the main roads and go off the beaten path through alleys and side-streets. Ride along both the Mekong and Nam Khan roads to take in the views and stop at temples and national landmarks along the way. Enjoy lunch at the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Center, which is located on the Mekong River surrounded by a beautiful garden and a number of different artisans. After lunch, visit the temples on the outskirts of town and then end your afternoon by leaving your bikes behind and climbing Mt. Phou Si to see a sweeping view of the city.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Kiridara Hotel – 1Double Premium Room

Day 7   Luang Prabang: Temples and Villages on the Mekong

Today you will explore the villages and livelihoods of the locals living off of the Mekong River. After breakfast you will meet your guide and transfer to the boat pier on the Mekong. You will cross the river for Xieng Mien, in the district of Chomphet. Even though Xieng Mien and Luang Prabang are only separated by a short distance, you will quickly be able to see the differences between the two. Walk through the village lanes and visit three historic temples Wat Xieng Mene, Wat Chomphet and Wat Long Khoune. Afterwards you will join your boat and pick up your picnic lunch on the Luang Prabang side of the river before heading down to the pottery village of Ban Jan. Stroll around to observe this village which is centuries old and home to some interesting handicrafts. You might even want to further support the village and pick up one of the fun handmade trinkets sold by the locals.

Afterwards, head down river and take in the lush hilltops and serene river while on the less traveled stretch of the Mekong. Once you reach the fishing village of Ban Chompjua you will transfer to one of the local families’ fishing boats to join as they check traps. The styles and traps will vary depending on the season and level of the Mekong. Learn how time consuming the art of fishing is from the locals as they demonstrate the making of one of their gigantic fishing nets. You will then return to your long tail boat for a picturesque coast while you enjoy your picnic lunch and head for Ban Xing, the Lion Village. Take a walk around this village, believed to date from the 16th century, and see the remnants of a previous time. This farming and fishing village holds some of the oldest traditional homes near Luang Prabang. You will then join your village hosts in their home for a Lao baci ceremony. Your guide will explain this traditional blessing ceremony as you receive well wishes from elders in the village. After the ceremony you will travel up river back to Luang Prabang while taking in the setting sun.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Kiridara Hotel – 1Double Premium Room

Day 8   Luang Prabang: Kuang Si Waterfall and Tamarind Evening Class

Your guide will take you on a scenic drive to visit the stunning Kuang Si Waterfall. Driving through the countryside you may wish to stop along the way to visit a local village to observe a traditional Lao community. Before reaching the waterfall you can visit the Kuang Si Butterfly Park and the Free the Bears Projects to learn about these local organizations plight to educate on and protect native species. Once you reach the falls, enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the beautiful scenery and then wind down with a relaxing afternoon dip in the serene pools.

Enjoy learning the secrets of Lao cuisine in an early evening cooking class at the Tamarind Cooking School. You will have a hands-on opportunity to cook your own Lao feast, including how to make the local staple-Lao sticky rice. You will be instructed by the owners of Tamarind Restaurant in the lush and beautiful surroundings of their cooking center just outside of town. After you learn about local ingredients and preparation methods, you’ll cook your own version of these local dishes and afterwards sit to enjoy your well-deserved dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Kiridara Hotel – 1Double Premium Room

Day 9   Siem Reap: Arrival and Village House Dining Experience

Enjoy the morning at your leisure in Siem Reap.

You will be transferred to the Luang Prabang airport in time for your flight – Vietnam Airlines VN931 departing from Luang Prabang at 14:35 & arriving in Siem Reap at 16:05.

Arrive in Siem Reap where you will be met by a Journeys Within representative and will be transferred to your hotel.

You will be met at your hotel at 4pm and taken to the beautiful Kompheim village, located just outside Siem Reap. Here you can enjoy a short stroll through a traditional village with one of the local guides, finishing with sunset drinks at the beautiful and unique Village House. Relax and enjoy your very own private dining experience, surrounded by nothing but rice paddies and accompanied by traditional music. After enjoying your very special culinary experience, you will be transferred back to your hotel around 9pm.

Please note: The walk at the beginning of this experience is 45 minutes, please be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Your guide & driver for this tour will be different than your temple guide

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Sala Lodges – 1 Double One Bedroom Suite Lodge

Day 10  Siem Reap: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

This morning, head to Angkor Wat with your guide in an air-conditioned car. Explore this majestic temple throughout the morning while it is still cool and has fewer tourists. Return to your hotel for lunch or have your guide drop you off in town where they can help you find a good place to eat. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

In the afternoon head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city and see the many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon temple with its many magnificent faces smiling out. There are several beautiful spots from which to watch the sunset. Discuss with your guide where you would like to be and then relax and enjoy a memorable end to your day at the temples.

Your tour includes something extra special – you will be accompanied by photographer and long-term Siem Reap resident, Chris Cusick. Chris, who knows the Angkor temples inside out, will record your tour with a mixture of ‘fly-on-the-wall’ and directed posed images – just let him know which type of photos you prefer and he will tailor the pictures to your taste. While his approach will be very much to keep his distance and let you enjoy your tour uninterrupted, he is a valuable source of information regarding the best viewpoints at the temples and can help you with your own images. Your portfolio of between 25 – 30 high quality, professionally retouched images will be emailed directly to you within 1 week.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Sala Lodges – 1 Double One Bedroom Suite Lodge

Day 11   Siem Reap: Hidden Temples and Local Night Out

This morning your guide will meet you at the hotel at 7am and you will head into the temple complex via a special hidden road. Here you will find a smaller temple rarely visited by tourists. Despite being inside the Angkor temple complex, this is a quiet escape from the noise and bustle of some of the other temples. Once at the temple relax and do some exploring. When you’re ready to move on you can walk to a nearby Ta Keo Temple. Climb to the top and enjoy the amazing views! From Ta Keo head to the Angkor Thom Gate and take a walk along the Angkor Thom wall. Again, no one visits this beautiful area and it’s quiet and peaceful. At the end of the wall you will get to the East Gate, which was used for taking dead bodies to be cremated in Angkorian times. A beautiful gate with Bayon faces and you’ll be the only tourists there to see them. Return to your hotel for lunch or have your guide help you find a good place to eat in town. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

Head out in a tuk-tuk with one of the Journeys Within staff for a taste of the local nightlife. Plough Koksap, or the Road 6 Fun Fair is a perennial favourite for families and young Cambodians alike. Take in the hustle and bustle of this busy street, sampling Khmer fruits and snacks as you go.  From deep fried beetles and bugs to some of the tastiest barbeque in Siem Reap, enjoy all the local flavor this hotspot has to offer.  As you make your way through the crowds, your guide will give you the rundown on the Khmer food you sample. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about contemporary Cambodian cuisine and culture.  Feeling adventurous? Take a ride in the fair’s bumper cars but remember that health and safety regulations aren’t up to the same standards as back home! When you are finished, your tuk-tuk will be waiting to take you back to your hotel or into town for dinner if you haven’t filled up on local treats.

Please note: Your guide & driver for this tour will be different than your temple guide

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Sala Lodges – 1 Double One Bedroom Suite Lodge

Day 12   Saigon: Arrival and Truc Mai House Music – An Inspirational Journey

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight Vietnam Airlines VN3818 departing from Siem Reap at 10:10 & arriving in Saigon at 11:10.

Arrive in Saigon where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Your guide and driver will transfer you to the Mai Family Home. The stories of Vietnamese history and culture can be heard and understood through its traditional music. Mr. Truc and Mrs. Ngo (husband and wife), along with the other members of the family, are experts at playing traditional Vietnamese musical instruments such as the monochord zither, bamboo xylophone, and stone lithophone, among others. They have been granted special permission to share their knowledge with guests in Vietnam and for an hour you will be taken on a journey back in time. Enjoy a private concert as they tell you stories and play their traditional melodies. Then you will have the opportunity to try your hand at playing the instruments in their collection. At the end of the evening with these wonderful people, you will have unique personal insight into the culture and history of Vietnam. You will then be taken to a restaurant for your dinner and later returned to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Villa Song Hotel – 1Double Villa Room

Villa Song Hotel

Day 13   Saigon: Culture and Culinary Experience by Motorbike

Saigon is a vibrant and bustling city. Relax as you sit behind your trusted driver on a motorbike for a journey where you can combine some of the classic historical highlights the city has to offer (Reunification Palace, museums, pagodas, Cho Lon…) getting a real insight into local life behind the main streets. Meet and chat with local people, try special local cuisine at the different locations you stop by, and learn about daily life. Get to know Saigon with a refreshing twist to suit your culinary and cultural tastes. Our guides are the experts, and they will discuss the plan for the time with you in advance so that you get the very best experience designed just for you. Please note helmets will be provided. Today, you have 4 hours to explore with your guide.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

Overnight at Villa Song Hotel – 1Double Villa Room

Day 14   Saigon: Villages and Markets of the Mekong Delta

The latest recommended time for your guide to meet you and set off this morning is 7:30am. The earlier the start the better, so as to catch the market in Cai Be when it is most active. This morning you will be driven to Phu Nhuan Bridge in Phu An village, located in the Mekong Delta approximately 2 hours away from Saigon. Here you will board a small private boat to explore this small shady river and begin with a short cruise.

Take a break along the way at a unique village, where you can enjoy a walk around the area, meet some of the friendly locals and learn more about how they cultivate the many rice paddies in the area.  Return to your boat and continue along the river for a further 50 minutes, until you reach colorful Cai Be. Continue on for a short distance until you reach Tan Phong Island, where you will step ashore for a short bike ride of about 40 minutes (longer or shorter depending on your preferences), taking in the island’s luscious gardens and peaceful village life.

At the end of the bike ride, you will have lunch in a beautiful traditional garden house and be presented with local dishes, such as Elephant Ear Fish rolled and wrapped with rice paper, as well as different Vietnamese vegetables and fruits served with tamarind dipping sauce. After lunch, if time permits, you may then enjoy being rowed along in a traditional sampan boat alongside the banks of the fruit gardens and through the narrow shady canals. Enjoy the waterways a little longer as you cruise on back to Cai Be where your private transport will be waiting for you. Relax on the drive back to your hotel in Saigon (a drive of about 2 ½ hours), where you should arrive around 5:30pm.

Please note: You have the option to begin with Cai Be and end with Phu An village. Your guide will discuss the day with you in advance.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Snack

Overnight at Villa Song Hotel – 1Double Villa Room

Day 15   Saigon: Departure

You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

PLEASE NOTE: This itinerary is currently in progress and does not reflect hotel room availability. The pricing is not final until the itinerary has been confirmed and booked.

Tour Rate starting at: $6,000 per person based on two people traveling

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Hanoi – Luang Prabang – Siem Reap – Saigon
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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