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18 Day Indochina Textile and Weaving Tour May 2017 (Tour Code: VCL)

Depart Australia on Vietnam Airlines in the morning and arrive in Saigon in the evening. Upon arrival, you are welcomed at the airport and transferred to hotel. Stay overnight at Harmony Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you will drive to Cu Chi guerrilla's area and visit the underground tunnels. There are more than 200km of tunnels that were built by the Communist guerrillas during the war. After that, continue to drive to Can Tho City, considered as the capital of Mekong Delta. Visit Caodaist Temple in Cai Lay District on the way. Stay overnight at Ninh Kieu 2 Hotel**** or similar.

Day 03: CAN THO – SAIGON (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, you will take a boat ride to visit the floating market and fruit garden. Then continue to visit Southern Tyni Pagoda and the local market. Lunch with Southern Amateur Musical Performance. In the afternoon, drive back to Saigon. Stop at China Town to visit the bustling wholesales market and Holy Lady Temple. Stay overnight at Harmony Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, you will visit the former Presidential Palace, the History Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Saigon Post Office. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for the flight to Danang. On arrival, transfer to Hoi An. Overnight at Thanh Binh Resort**** plus or similar.

Day 05: HOI AN (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Hoi An town with Japanese Bridge, Old House, Chinese Temple and Hoi An Cultural Museum. In the afternoon, visit Thang Loi Hand Fine Arts – Handicraft Manufacture Co., Ltd. where they make silkworm breeding, silk weaving and lantern making. Overnight at Thanh Binh Resort **** plus or similar.

Day 06: HOI AN – MY SON – HOI AN (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Take a boat ride on Thu Bon River for the overview of Hoi An Ancient City, then followed by a visit to My Son, Vietnam's most important Cham ruins site and Bang An, one of Vietnam's best preserved Cham towers. Then back to Hoi An. In the afternoon, take a walking tour around Hoi An Market to learn about ready made clothing and shopping. Overnight at Thanh Binh Resort **** plus or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. We will visit Cham Museum where the remaining evidence of the Champa civilization can be viewed. Then visit the Marble Mountains, which is fascinating maze of cave and temples, hidden with five sacred marble rocks. In the afternoon, visit a textile factory in Danang. Then drive to Danang Airport to take the flight to Siem Reap. On arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to Cheathata Suite Hotel**** plus or similar.

Day 08: SIEM REAP (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. The sightseeing tour of Angkor area we spend a full day exploring the wondrous ancient ruins with the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the largest as well as the most complete temple of Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. We stroll around this massive edifice, seeing the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. We will continue to "Chantiers Ecoles - Les Artisans d'Angkor" which provides training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting. Stay overnight at Cheathata Suite Hotel**** plus or similar.

Day 09: SIEM REAP (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, by car to the Pouk district about 15 Km in the West of Siem Reap town you visit the silk farm, a fascinating farm/workshop where you can see the entire silk creation process including growing the food for the silk worms, breeding the worms, silk extraction and refinement, traditional kit dying pattern creation and looming. Retail silk and souvenir shop. Then take Silk farm factory tour. Our first stop was to look at the mulberry plants. They have a large field of it because the mulberry leaves will be used to feed the silk worms. In the wild, I suppose it's the silk worm's job to find the mulberry leaves, but that's not so here at the farm. Here, the leaves come to them. All they need to do is eat and fatten themselves up. Once they eat enough, the worms start making their cocoons and then rest inside. The worms think they’re going to have an undisturbed sleep and later metamorphose into beautiful butterflies. Sadly for them, it is not meant to be. Once the cocoon is at the right age, they are 'harvested' and sent to the factory. There, the cocoons are boiled in order to make it easier to pull the silk threads. There are kinder ways of extracting silk threads without killing the worms, but they don't seem to be practiced here. Each silk cocoon can produce a rather lengthy thread. At this stage, the silk is still very rough and thick, unlike the ones we see at the market, but you can already see that shine that we all associate with silk materials. Once the raw silk is gathered, the next stage is to dye them into many different colors. Here they use natural dyes from herbs and plants. The silk threads are then dyed individually, submerged in these hot vessels. These colorful silk threads are the end result. However, these threads are still raw silk. They will need to be thinned even more before they can be used. Technically, you can use rough silk, but you don't see many of those in the market. The girls below are preparing the silk threads for weaving, and they seem to have a good time doing it. When it comes to weaving, the farm does it manually, and they make some gorgeous looking silk materials which will be sold later for top dollars. Play this quick video below to see how they weave the silk. On the way back, visit the Western Baray (Baray Occidental) measuring 8 km by 2.3 km which provided water for the intensive cultivation of lands around Angkor. Afternoon, visiting the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 13 kilometers south of Siem Reap. Take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap Lake, the "Great Lake" of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia, where you can find schools, restaurants, and hospitals and much more on the great lake of Tonle Sap. Return to the town for some shopping, we also visit War museum on the way. Stay overnight at Cheathata Suite Hotel**** plus or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Cambodian Cultural Villages; Your programs include Wax Museum, which exhibits the well-know persons of Cambodia since the century until the present, Miniatures which gather all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures, former capital Ou Dong, Royal palace, National Museum, Wat Phnom, Phsar Thmey, 12th century Kompong Kdey Bridge, 16th century reclining Buddha, Independent Monument and more..., Carving ( Carvers who work in Cambodian Cultural village have skills on carving stone, wood and carving silver ), Traditional Dances Show ( Cambodia has a long and rich tradition of classical dance, also known as Apsara dancing. Though some of the dances are shared with other cultures in the region, the slow graceful style of Cambodian dance is unique ) and Villages ( There are many types of houses in Khmer village such as House Peth, House Kantaing, House Raungdoeung, Sala Chan as a small pagoda, etc ). Free at own leisure until the time and transfer to airport for the flight to Luang Prabang. Meet upon arrival, transfer and check-in at your hotel. Stay overnight at Villa Santi Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. Start your visit to the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the day of the early kings right through the last sovereign and the central market are not to be missed. Afterwards travel to see Kuangsi Waterfall. Then we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Mai. We then climb up to the top of Phousi Hill for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. Stay overnight at Villa Santi Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. Take a traditional riverboat for a 2-hour cruise up the Mekong River to Pak Ou, at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong Rivers, to visit the sacred caves of Tham Ting and Tham Phum, home to hundreds of Buddha statues. After that we visit:
- Ban Xang Hai village where sticky rice wine is distilled. This village is also a hand weaving village. See & observe how local make their textile.
- Ban Xang Khong weaving village where traditional mulberry leaf paper is also produced & hand weaving Village.
Stay overnight at Villa Santi Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit OCK POP TOK Garellies (Laos Textile Design Center). In the afternoon drive outskirt to visit Ban Phanom Village, its hand weaving village & handicraft. Then, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, you are transferred Church Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. You will have breakfast in the morning, and then we depart from Hanoi and travel by air-conditioned bus through the Red River Delta to beautiful Ha Long Bay. The scenic drive will pass through some of the rural landscape before arriving in the afternoon to the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay consists of more than 3000 islands, which time, wind and waves have sculptured into fantastic shapes. Upon arrival, check in the junk at noon. You will experience a fantastic cruise in Ha Long bay to visit Thien Cung cave, Dau Go cave, and round over Tuan Chau Island, Dinh Huong Island, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island, Sail Island and a swim at Titov beach. Enjoy dinner on board while watching sunset and enjoy fishing, drinking Vietnamese wine (at your own cost), and spending a night on the Phoenix Deluxe Junk**** or similar.

In the morning, you will have breakfast and from there, go for a morning cruise to visit Man's Head Island, Tortoise Island, Luon Cave, Bai Tu Long Bay, Toad Island and Bai Tho Mountain. Afterwards, return to Halong city and have lunch on board. We will drive back to Hanoi for the night. In the evening enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show. Stay overnight at Church Hotel**** or similar.
Day 16: HANOI (B.L.D)
Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning, city tour includes such sights as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the Fine Art Museum. Then move on to the Temple of Literature, Lake of Restored Sword and the Old Quarter. In the afternoon, visit Van Phuc Textile and Weaving Village well-known both nationwide and worldwide. Stay overnight at Church Hotel**** or similar.

Breakfast at the hotel. You are at leisure today for shopping until you are transfer to airport for your flight homeward to Australia.

You will arrive in Australia in the morning. Your unforgettable Vietnam Tour ends.

Departure dates: 11 May 2017

Tour price: $4,580 per person, twin or double share
Single supplement: $1,050

This price includes:
1. Vietnam Airlines return economy class ticket to Vietnam from Sydney or Melbourne;
2. Vietnam Airlines one way ticket: Danang – Siem Reap – Luang Prabang – Hanoi;
3. Airport tax and fuel surcharge (currently $770, subject to change)
4. 15 night accommodation on Twin sharing basic at the international 4 star standard hotels located in the heart of the destinations as indicated in the itinerary or similar;
5. One night accommodation on twin sharing basis on a 4 star Junk Boat as stated or similar;
6. Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (Buffet and Set Menu with local Vietnamese, Cambodian, Loas, Chinese and Western dishes).
7. Air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver and available cold water & tissue.
8. Sightseeing tour with entrance fees as per the itinerary;
9. Cruise as specified in itinerary;
10. English speaking guide.

Tour price excludes:
1. Visa fees (Vietnam visa: $140, Cambodia: $70, Laos: $70);
2. Travel insurance;
3. Tip to guide and driver ($5 per person per day to the guide and driver to share is suggested);
4. Any meals or services not mentioned in the itinerary;
5. Personal expenses.

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