South East Asia has always been a beguiling place. Sweltering afternoons baking in the sun, the heady scent of exotic spices and local cuisine drifting through the narrow alleys of historic cities, the deep sense culture and heritage. During your little adventure through the urban centers of Vietnam and the temples of Cambodia, you have the chance to experience all this and more, ending up in your own private villa on the tiny (but exquisite) island of Song Saa. We think it’s the perfect way to see these two enthralling countries in all their glory, and, most of all, we think you will too.
Once you’ve breezed through the airports of Bangkok and Hanoi, you’ll get the chance to rest your travel-weary body in the elegant Sofital Legend Metropole Hotel. Cue a few days touring the historic city with your very own insightful guide; a fantastic opportunity to dip into of the bustling Old Quarter, the city’s most vibrant district, for some shopping, sight-seeing and a bit of haggling. In the cooler evenings, recline with some jazz and cocktails at the legendary Le Club or be inspired by one of Vietnam’s top chefs that we’ll introduce you to for an opportunity to cook up and taste some Hanoian specialties. Once you’ve traversed the city (and with any luck you’ll have just about cracked the surface) it’s onwards, to the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay and the promise of even greater spectacles ahead.Read more
All hands on Deck
At Black Tomato we like to mix things up and after the bright lights of dynamic Hanoi, it’s time for a change of scenery. You’ll travel East, for a stop off at the inspiring Ha long Bay. Amidst the thousands of incredible spire-like rock formations, you’ll board your luxury junk ship and take to the water for a morning cruise. In the afternoon, you’ll stop off in the nearby Cua Van fishing village to get a closer look at the lives of local fishermen before you’re off again, transferring to a bamboo boat for some exploration of the placid lagoons and limestone caves dotting the bay. Join back up with the Junk later, for a sunset dinner and an enchanting night on the water.
Leaving Ha Long behind, you’ll then fly to Ho Chi Minh for another spot of urban-exploration. There’ll be plenty of time to admire the city’s historic landmarks, from the Opera House to the Notre Dame Cathedral (a direct copy of the Parisian original), before you dive into the heart and soul of the city: it’s food districts. From pork and rice pancakes to snail-based delicacies, Saigon quite literally has a lot on it’s plate when it comes to food. Discover what this thriving and exciting metropolis can offer in terms of street food, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. After a briefing at your hotel about the logistic, be introduced to your driver and start the journey. Stops include dinner and drinks at Saigon’s best authentic street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. This is a truly unique way to discover the foodie delights and truly understand what food-on-the-go means. Catch a flight to Siem Reap a day or two later and before you know it, you’ll be off to Cambodia for the afternoon.
Touch down in Siem Reap, the home to Angkor Wat and the ancient royal city of Angkor Thom. The main activity here is fairly obvious, but none the less fascinating. You’ll spend the next few days traversing the intricately-carved hallways of Angkor Wat and it’s surrounding temple-complexes. From here on it’s history, culture and incredible sights as your guide leads you through the age-old structures, from Buddhist shrines to the Terrace of The Leper King. If you want to, take a few more days to check out other nearby temple complexes, such as the ‘forgotten’ Ta Prohm, overgrown by fig trees as roots merge with the stone buildings. And if the food in Vietnam has given you a taste for Asian delights, then we’ll arrange for a truly one off experience being hosted by a Cambodian scholar, who’s family will prepare a delicious Khmer meal for you whilst he shares tales of the Khmer Empire’s history.
Sun, Sea and Seclusion
After all this excitement, we think it’s nigh-time you had a rest. And relaxing is what the islands of Song Saa does best. After a short transfer from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh this private resort is just a boat journey away. Nestled in the tranquil seas off the Gulf of Thailand, its secluded, intimate setting is the place you’ll need to unwind and reminisce after the vibrancy of mainland Vietnam and Cambodia. Infinity pools, open-air bars and contemporary villas populate the two islands; at Song Saa, it’s just you, the sea and some truly luxurious accommodation. We couldn’t think of a better way to end your trip.