SOUTHEAST ASIA'S MOST RENOWNED CITIES, TEMPLES AND PALACES TAKE CENTER STAGE
Pacific Delight Tours, always looking for new ways to introduce the mysteries of Asia to North Americans, has designed a 16-day deluxe package that offers in-depth exploration of many of the most famous and interesting sights in Southeast Asia — splitting the time between Vietnam, Bangkok and Cambodia — as well as a host of cultural experiences: dinner at a variety of local restaurants and while cruising along Bangkok's Chao Phraya River; excursions to bustling local markets; a Water Puppet Theater performance in Hanoi, and a cruise along the country's Halong Bay in a traditional Chinese junk, exploring caves along the way.
The 16-day "Vietnam, Cambodia & Bangkok" Luxury Vistas itinerary is limited to 16 participants and utilizes deluxe hotels throughout, including the Sofitel Phokeethra Royal Angkor Golf & Spa Resort, The Oriental Bangkok and the Furama Resort Danang . The tour, fully escorted in Vietnam by Pacific Delight's bi-lingual tour personnel and locally guided in Cambodia and Bangkok, is $6,382 to $6,862 per person, double. Four-day Hong Kong tour extensions are available for $1,118 to $1,328 per person, double. Government-imposed taxes and fees, including the Sept. 11th Security Fee of up to $155, are additional. Prices are subject to change.
Kicking off in Vietnam, guests visit Hanoi's Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, modeled after Lenin's Tomb in Moscow; and the One Pillar Pagoda, originally built in 1049; and take a pedicab tour of the Old Quarter. Sights in Hue include the former Imperial City, set inside the walls of the Citadel and home to the Thai Hoa Palace, Halls of the Mandarins and the Forbidden Purple City. En route to Danang — for visits to Hoi An, an impeccably well-preserved 15th-century southeast Asian trading post — travelers cross the spectacular Hai Van Pass, stopping at South China Sea's Lang Co to shop or take in its white-sand beach. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) exudes a decidedly French colonial atmosphere with its tile-roofed buildings and Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall and Reunification Palace. Other Vietnam highlights are the Cu-Chi Tunnels, an underground military network operated during the Vietnam War, and Tay Ninh, a bastion of Caodism, a fusion of Eastern and Western religious philosophies — and home to the Cao Dai Great Temple.
Cambodia's Siem Reap serves as the gateway for excursions to the Angkor Archaeological Park, comprising temple ruins and beautiful examples of 12th-century Khmer and Hindu art. Travelers visit the most famous of the temples, Angkor Wat, built more than 800 years ago; Angkor Thom, a fortified Royal City; the jungle-entwined complex of Ta Prohm; and hilltop Phnom Bakheng temple, for spectacular sunsets over the complex. Three days in Bangkok bring even more cultural and architectural wonders to life with excursions to the glittering Royal Grand Palace, home of the Emerald Buddha; visits to Damnoen Saduak and its floating market; and Nakorn Pathom, site of the Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest stupa in the world.
The air-inclusive itinerary, offered in conjunction with Cathay Pacific, includes year-round departures from San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York, all meals, pre-confirmed hotel accommodations, all Asia air/land transportation, sightseeing, entertainment and performances, tour escort, transfers, fuel surcharges, hotel taxes, service charges and baggage handling. Land-only prices, single supplements and business class air upgrades are available as are add-on fares from dozens of North American gateways ranging from $130 to $440. Travelers receive $100,000 flight insurance when Pacific Delight tickets the tour.