A Dream of Indochine: Vietnam & Cambodia.
"The trip exceeded expectations. We were pleased with the pace of activity as well as the breadth of experiences. Our guides and drivers were exceptional.
—Bob C., journey to Hong Kong, Vietnam, & Cambodia
Surprising Vietnam, forward-looking but with a reverent nod to the past. Cambodia, where Angkor holds tight to history’s secrets. Begin in Vietnam with bustling Hanoi. Opt for a look at Halong Bay, then My Son and charming old Hoi An (both UNESCO World Heritage sites), Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Cu Chi Tunnels. On to Cambodia: Phnom Penh first, then the magnificent temple complex of Angkor.
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
This is an 18-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create an Indochine journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Asia.
Overnight in flight
Day 2: Asian Gateway City
• Land in the Asian gateway city of your choice: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Tokyo.
Overnight in Asian Gateway City
Day 3: Asian Gateway City; Hanoi, Vietnam
• Fly to Hanoi.
• Cyclo tour of old French Quarter.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day 4-5: Hanoi
• City tour including Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Home, One Pillar Pagoda, Museum of Ethnology.
• Hoan Kiem Lake.
• Hoa Lo Prison ("Hanoi Hilton"), Temple of Literature.
• Water-puppet show.
Overnights in Hanoi
Day 6: Halong Bay
• Fly or drive to Halong Bay, embark traditional junk, cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay.
• Option to floating village or beach time.
• Cooking lesson.
Overnight on Halong Bay
Day 7: Halong Bay, Hanoi, Da Nang
• Cruise to Lan Ha Bay, kayak tour.
• Disembark junk, fly or drive to Hanoi, fly to Da Nang.
Overnight in Da Nang
Day 8: Hoi An
• Walking tour including Tan Ky House, Fukhien Association, Thien Hau Pagoda, cyclo ride, cooking lesson, option to Cham Museum with local expert.
Overnight in Da Nang
Day 9: My Son or Hoi An, Da Nang
• Day at leisure at the resort or in Hoi An.
• Option to Cham tombs of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Opotion to ride bikes through ride paddies and villages.
Overnight in Da Nang
Day 10: Hue
• Drive to Hue.
• Kinh Thanh citadel, Forbidden Purple City, Long An Palace, Museum of Royal Arts, Thien Mu Pagoda, private visit to Phan historic home.
Overnight in Hue
Day 11: Hue, Ho Chi Minh City
• Nguyen Tu Duc tomb.
• Fly to Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12: Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh City
• Drive to Cu Chi Tunnels.
• Return to Ho Chi Minh City, War Remnants Museum.
• [Option to add Mekoing Delta visit; speak to your R. Crusoe travel sepcialist for details.]
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City; Phnom Penh, Cambodia
• Reunification Palace.
• Fly to Phnom Penh.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Day 14: Phnom Penh
• Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, National Museum Khmer art collection.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Day 15: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap
• Optional visit to the infamous Killing Fields.
• Tuol Sleng prison.
• Fly to Siem Reap.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Day 16-17: Siem Reap, Angkor
• Angkor temple complex including Angkor Thom, Baphoun, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants and Leper King, Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom, Preah Khan.
• Optional visits: sunrise and sunset at Angkor, meet a photographer at his Siem Reap gallery, Artisans d'Angkor, Tonle Sap by boat, Banteay Srei, helicopter ride over Angkor.
Overnights in Siem Reap
Day 18: Siem Reap; Asian Gateway City; United States
• Fly home through your chosen Asian gateway city.
Per person sharing room from $9,890 for this 18-day sample itinerary
Internal air per person (estimate) $690
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Options
If you’ve got a bit more time, there’s more of Indochina we think you ought to see. R. Crusoe offers five short extensions in the region. There are all sorts of ways to configure them. Take one or two (or all four), and add them to Crusoe’s Dream of Indochine journey. Or put some or all four of them together for a wonderful exploration of Southeast Asia.
Bangkok, Thailand, Extension. 3 Days.
In Bangkok, focus on the city’s endangered canals (explored via longtail riverboat), Wat Arun and Wat Po, and the Grand Palace. There is also Jim Thompson’s house (he was an American entrepreneur with a keen eye for traditional Thai art and architecture).
Laos Extension. 4 Days.
Around the city of Luang Prabang, spend time in temples and with weavers and paper-makers in outlying villages. Participate in a Baci ceremony, explore Buddha-filled caves.
Chiang Mai, Thailand, Extension. 4 Days.
Chiang Mai has a Four Seasons resort that’s out of this world. And it’s near our favorite elephant camp, where mahouts show us their skills. Follow up with sacred shrines and optional shopping outings, if retail is your thing.
Chiang Rai, Thailand, Extension. 4 Days.
In the Golden Triangle, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar (formerly Burma) converge. Within the region is Chiang Rai, first capital of what would become Thailand. Get comfortable in a luxurious Four Seasons tented camp, have dinner in an elephant camp, view the local wildlife, cruise the Mekong river, take a tutorial in the local crafts. Altogether marvelous.
Vietnam Highlands Extension. 5 Days.
Head for the Highlands, where few outsiders have the opportunity to see life in the shadow of Mount Finsipan, Southeast Asia’s tallest peak. Here, a handful of diverse ethnic minorities are busy in quiet settlements among the terraced slopes and neon-green valleys of northeast Vietnam. Come meet the Jarai, the Dzao, and other tribes that have kept tradition alive and the modern world at bay.
Have we mentioned that all of our journeys use the best hotels in Southeast Asia, and we match you up with our most knowledgeable (and entertaining) guides? Of course we do.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create Indochina pre-tour and post-tour itineraries of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Sofitel Legend Metropole. A French-colonial city landmark since 1901, this hotel is located steps from the Opera House in Hanoi’s old French Quarter. 22 guest suites, 364 guest rooms. Amenities: spa, swimming pool, fitness center, hair salon, 3 restaurants, 3 bars.
Hoi An, Vietnam.
The Nam Hai. On the shore of the South China Sea, this elegant all-villa resort is absolutely stunning. Contemporary architecture is beautifully mixed with traditional touches to produce a property you won’t want to leave. Please note: The villa guestrooms are designed on several levels within one room, which might be challenging to some guests. 60 one-bedroom villas, 40 pool villas (each with a private pool). Amenities: private butler service at each villa, spa, fitness center, three-tiered outdoor pool, tennis courts, half-court for basketball, table tennis, badminton court, 2 restaurants, 1 bar, child activity villa.
La Résidence Hotel & Spa. A lovely boutique hotel on the banks of the fabled Perfume River overlooking the Imperial Citadel. A former residence of the French colonial governor, the hotel has been restored down to its distinctive bowed facade and other 1930s art deco architectural features. 118 guest rooms, 4 guest suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, outdoor saltwater pool, tennis courts, boutique, bar, restaurant.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Park Hyatt Saigon. A grand boutique hotel steps from the elegant Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, Ben Thanh Market, and other city sites. 223 guest rooms, 21 guest suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, outdoor pool, 3 restaurants, 1 bar.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal. The historic Raffles Le Royal has been in operation since 1929. Located at the heart of the city directly across from the American embassy, this landmark luxury hotel offers easy access to the Central Market and Russian Market and makes an ideal base for sightseeing in general. 133 guest rooms, 37 guest suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, pools, 3 restaurants, 2 bars, boutiques.
Siem Reap, Cambodia.
La Résidence d’Angkor. This Orient-Express property stands on the riverside in central Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor. It is a short walk from the bustling markets of Siem Reap and 10 minutes’ drive from Angkor Wat. 54 guest rooms, 8 guest suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, outdoor pool, 2 restaurants, 1 bar.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This colonial-style beauty, which sits on the banks of the Chao Phraya River among gardens and terraces, is the grand dame of the city’s hotels. The location allows easy access to Bangkok’s most interesting sites. 358 guest rooms, 35 guest suites. Amenities: spa, fitness center, two outdoor pools, tennis and squash courts, jogging track, 9 restaurant/bars.
The Siam. This art deco, antiques-filled boutique hotel is a real stunner and the wonderful addition to the city's most elegant properties. Like the Mandarin Oriental, it, too, stands beside the river and affords easy access to the premier sites in Bangkok. 28 suites, 11 villas. Amenities: spa, fitness center, pool, Jacuzzi, children's splash pool, library/screening room, boutique, art gallery, private pier, cooking school, 3 restaurants, 1 bar.
Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Four Seasons Resort. This gorgeous and elegantly appointed property is styled after luxurious northern Thai homes, and it is fitted with all the modern conveniences. 64 guest rooms, 34 guest villas. Amenities: spa, pools, tennis courts, fitness center, boutiques, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, cooking school, Gecko Club for children.
Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Reached by river boat and set in one of Thailand’s lush bamboo jungles, this luxurious property is incredible right down to the hand-hammered copper bathtubs, open-air spa, and riverside pool. 15 luxury tents with private full bathrooms and additional outdoor rain showers. Amenities: spa, outdoor pool, whirlpools, elephant camp, 1 restaurant, 2 bars.
Luang Prabang, Laos.
La Residence Phou Vao. Featured in Architectural Digest, this is a beautiful Orient-Express property, extremely quiet and elegant, just outside the old town of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. La Residence is the only hotel on Phou Vao Hill; as such, it offers marvelous views over the countryside. 32 guest rooms, 2 suites. Amenities: spa, outdoor pool, boutique, 1 restaurant, 1 bar.
In Hoi An, Stop, Drop, and Roll.
“And tuck! And roll!”
Not instructions barked by an exercise coach, but those gently given by Ms. Lu, a chef at Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An, Vietnam.
In early 2012, our extended family of nine visited Vietnam, seeing the sights, meeting the people, and eating our way through some terrific meals. The 16th-century trading town of Hoi An was a particular favorite, from its vibrant market to its charming streets.
Back to the kitchen. Aprons tied on, workstations at the ready, the nine of us hunkered down to a hands-on lesson in traditional local cooking at the Morning Glory, a restaurant opened in 2006 by Trinh Diem Vy, a native of Hoi An and a superbly talented chef, teacher, and writer.
Ms. Lu has worked side by side with Ms. Vy since the latter opened her first restaurant in Hoi An in 1992. She proved to be an inspiration to all nine of us, her eager students. Over the course of the lesson, she taught us to make some of Hoi An’s most popular street foods—goi cuon (rice paper rolls), barbecued chicken with lime leaves, banh xeo (crispy Hoi An pancakes), and green mango salad.
My particular favorite was goi cuon, the rice paper rolls, which include slices of cau lau pork. The recipe for both—as well as a marvelous collection of traditional Hoi An dishes—can be found in Taste Vietnam: the Morning Glory Cookbook, Trinh Diem Vy’s memoir and illustrated cookbook that is now front and center on my kitchen shelf at home.
Here are recipes for cau lau pork and rice paper rolls. Make the pork first, and enjoy a meal of it, but remember to set aside eight thin slices of pork for your rice paper rolls. Both dishes are delicious. Your local Asian market should carry any unfamiliar-sounding ingredients. For more information about the book, go to www.restaurant-hoian.com.
—Beth Tulipan, R. Crusoe & Son director of marketing
Cau Lau Pork with Noodles
1 lb. pork loin
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 stick lemongrass, bruised
½ tsp. Vietnamese (not Chinese) five spice powder
3 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. coarse-ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 cups pork or beef stock
8 oz. bean sprouts
1 lb. thick Chinese wheat noodles or ramen noodles
4 oz. mixed fresh herbs: anise basil, coriander leaves, mustard sprouts, lettuce, chrysanthemum leaves
½ cup thick pita bread, cut into 1-in squares and shallow-fried in oil till brown and crispy
½ cup spring onions, julienned
4 yellow chilies, sliced
Soy sauce to serve on the side
- Heat oil in a large frying pan, add lemongrass, and cook slowly to release fragrance.
- In a bowl, coat pork well in five spice powder, 1 tsp. sugar, salt, black pepper, and garlic.
- Add the pork to the pan with the lemongrass, and sear well on all sides, being careful not to overcook the garlic. Add soy sauce and 1 tsp. sugar, coat well, and cook slowly for 2-3 minutes to reduce sauce.
- Add 1 cup stock, then cook slowly for 10 minutes on each side until sauce is reduced and forms a glaze. Remove pork and set aside.
- Add 1 cup of stock and 1 tsp. sugar top the pan, bring to a boil, then turn off heat.
- Cut pork into thin slices.
- Heat a pot of water to a boil, and add bean sprouts, cooking for 30 seconds, then remove and drain well. Next, add noodles to the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds. Drain well.
- In four serving bowls, place a cup each of bean sprouts, noodles, and a bunch of herbs. Top with pork slices (be sure to set aside eight thin slices of pork for your rice paper rolls), and drip two spoonfuls of sauce over the pork. Garnish with spring onion curls, pita croutons, and slices of chili. Serve with rice crackers and soy sauce on the side.
Gui Cuon (Rice Paper Rolls)
8 sheets round rice paper
3 cups mixed fresh herbs: anise basil, mint, Vietnamese mint, butter lettuce, coriander leaves, shredded morning glory stems, bean sprouts, chrysanthemum leaves
12 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
8 thin slices cau lau pork
12 shrimp, cooked and sliced in half lengthwise
12 flat garlic chives
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. Vietnamese fish sauce
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. garlic-chili sauce (Sriracha)
- To make rolls, place a sheet of rice paper on a flat surface, and wipe it with a wet cloth to moisten.
- Place a small handful of mixed herbs at the edge of the rice paper closest to you, then two slices of pork slightly farther away from you, and 3 slices of shrimp, pink side down, farthest away from you.
- Roll over the rice paper from the near edge until you reach the shrimp. Fold in the sides of the rice paper, placing the garlic chives on the right-hand side of the roll so that they stick out of the roll. Finish rolling. Through the rice paper, you should be able to see the three shrimp in a row.
- Prepare the sweet and sour dipping sauce by putting lime juice and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the fish sauce and garlic-chili sauce.
- Serve rice paper rolls at room temperature with a bowl of dipping sauce on the side.
Call us to start planning
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