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 of culture and heritage. During your little adventure through the urban centres of Vietnam and the temples of Cambodia, you’ll have the chance to experience all this and more, ending up in your own private villa in the exquisite Vietnamese archipelago. 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.
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. Whilst in the evenings, you’ll retreat to the tranquil garden setting of Belmond La Residence d’Angkor Hotel, your days will be spent traversing the intricately-carved hallways of Angkor Wat and it’s surrounding temple-complexes. From here on in, 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. For a real taste of Asian culinary delights, we can arrange a truly one off experience for you – You’ll be 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. Cambodia doesn’t get more authentic than that.
From Siem Reap, hop over the border to Vietnam and onto Hanoi, where you’ll rest your travel-weary body in the elegant Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel. Cue a few days touring the historic city with your very own insightful guide; it’s a fantastic opportunity to dip into the bustling Old Quarter, the city’s most vibrant district, for some shopping, sight-seeing and a bit of haggling. In the cool evening breeze, recline with some jazz and cocktails at the legendary Le Club or be inspired by one of Vietnam’s top chefs and cook up and taste some Hanoian specialities. After a few days of exploring this thriving city (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.
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 awe-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: its food districts. From pork and rice pancakes to snail-based delicacies, Saigon quite literally has a lot on its 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. Under the reliable direction of your private driver, stops will include dinner and drinks at Saigon’s best authentic street food stalls, as well as a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. This is a truly unique way to discover Saigon’s foodie delights and gives you a real understanding of what ‘food-on-the-go’ means.
Sun, Sea and Seclusion
After all this excitement, we think it’s high-time you had a rest. And relaxing is what Six Senses Con Dao does best. Remote, yet accessible, on the tranquil shores of Con Son Island in the Vietnamese archipelago, it’s the perfect place to unwind and reminisce after the vibrancy of mainland Vietnam and Cambodia. Boasting private infinity pools, an open air cinema and a world class spa, complete with ocean-view yoga pavilion and juice bar – it’s a real stress-buster. At Six Senses Con Dao, it’s just you, the sun, the sea and some truly luxurious accommodation. We couldn’t think of a better way to end your trip.