The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE STORY -

SAM­PLING THE NAT­U­RAL won­ders and vi­brant cul­ture of Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia has been sim­pli­fied with an es­corted, 18-day tour ar­ranged by Ven­ture Hol­i­days. There are Ade­laide de­par­tures avail­able in 2015 – May 6, Septem­ber 16 and Oc­to­ber 14 – and high­lights in­clude a scenic Ha­long Bay cruise, the Ho Chi Minh Memo­rial com­plex, the im­pe­rial ar­chi­tec­ture of Hue, and the for­ti­fied city of Angkor Thom in Cam­bo­dia.

The tour flies into Hanoi then trav­els by coach to Ha­long Bay for a cruise on a wooden junk.

The group takes in Hanoi on day four, in­clud­ing the Tem­ple of Lit­er­a­ture founded in 1070, and Hao Lo Prison where many US sol­diers were held dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

The coun­try’s for­mer, im­pe­rial cap­i­tal Hue takes cen­tre stage on day six with sight­see­ing through the city built in the 19th cen­tury.

There’s also a cruise on the Per­fume River, tak­ing trav­ellers to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda.

A road trip then takes the group to Danang to tour the Cham Mu­seum's un­sur­passed Cham sculp­ture col­lec­tion be­fore mov­ing to river­side Hoi An, a ma­jor port from the 17th to 19th cen­turies, for three nights. Sites vis­ited in and around Hoi An in­clude the Ja­panese cov­ered bridge pagoda (1593), Sa Huynh Mu­seum, a silk lan­tern work­shop and the an­cient My Son archaeolog­ical sites.

There’s a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City on day 10 to see its Notre Dame Cathe­dral, cen­tral post of­fice, Re­uni­fi­ca­tion Palace, War Rem­nants Mu­seum and Ben Thanh Mar­kets.

While in Saigon, the group will visit the Cu Chi Tun­nels built by the Viet Cong; Tay Ninh, the birth­place of the unique Cao Dao re­li­gion; and My Tho on the Mekong Delta on day 12.

The My Tho visit in­cludes the Vinh Trang Pagoda be­fore board­ing a boat and sam­pan to ex­plore the is­lands of the Mekong.

The last leg takes you to Cam­bo­dia, fly­ing into Siem Reap where you’ll see Tonle Sap lake by boat and ex­plore its float­ing fish­ing vil­lages.

Pil­grim­age site Ph­nom Kulen is vis­ited on day 15 along with a tem­ple ded­i­cated to Shiva at Ban­teay Srei. The tour ends on a high with the visit to the for­ti­fied city of Angkor Thom.

Nat­u­rally, it then moves onto Angkor Wat, the largest and best pre­served of all Angkor tem­ples.

The tour pack­age costs $4445 per per­son, twin share, in­clud­ing re­turn flights to Ade­laide with Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, do­mes­tic air­fares in Asia, ac­com­mo­da­tion, most din­ners and break­fasts.

Tip­ping will be sim­pli­fied with an amount col­lected on ar­rival in Viet­nam which will cover the tour. In­ter­na­tional groups man­ager for Ven­ture Hol­i­days Stephen Peters will give an in­sight into the tour at a film and talk on Oc­to­ber 17. More de­tails: King Wil­liam Travel 8212 2132, kingwillia­

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