Chinapac Offers a New Super Vietnam and Cambodia Tour for 2013

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This 16-day excursion explores Indochina’s historical gems, ancient ruins and art featured in Saigon, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat

This program features the historical and ancient ruins of Vietnam and Cambodia. The tour begins in Saigon. A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life. Continue the tour to Hue, the national capital of Vietnam until 1945, reigned by the Nguyen dynasty, this city is rich with historical buildings standing from the 17th century. Next visit, Hoi An and Hanoi: These cities are best seen on foot as their majestic natural scenery meets traditional Chinese architecture. The program continues to Cambodia. This part of Indochina boasts beautiful Khmer art and architecture seen at the Angkor temples and the fortified city of Angkor Thom. The capital, Phnom Penh, is the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. Visits to the Royal Palace and museums will delight guests and highlight the rich cultural history of Cambodia.

Begin the tour into modern history with Saigon’s Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. Afterwards drive to the historic center to visit the Emperor of Jade Pagoda, classic European-style landmarks the Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall and the old Opera House.

Never discovered by American forces, the Cu Chi Tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Guests will walk through the area and learn about the day-to-day life of the VC before the tour moves onto Hue.

Hue served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. It houses ancient temples, imperial buildings and French-style edifices. Guests’ two days in Hue begin with an excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda with a boat trip on the Huong Giang River. Embark on a local boat and cruise down the Perfume River to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower that has become Hue's most widely recognizable monument.

Located in the heart of Hue is the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modeled after the Forbidden City of Peking. Approach the city past the striking Flag Tower, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing Ngo Mon Gate, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit Dien Tho Palace, where the Queen mother lived, Thai Hoa Palace, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the Hals of the Mandarins, and the original Nine Dynastic Urns, among other sites.

The beautifully preserved historic city of Hoi An is best seen on foot. A walking tour includes the Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda. The first bridge on this site was constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream.

With the Indochina tour nearing completion, guests visit the crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat: a national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, it impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.

The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where you will find giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down at you from every angle. Prasat Kravan, the five brick towers were built for Hindu worship in 921 and are notable for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls.

Learn about Cambodia's rich cultural heritage with a visit to the Royal Palace, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoi and the adjacent Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha.

The 16-Day Super Vietnam and Cambodia 2013 tours depart Vancouver February 20, March 20 and October 23. Packages begin at a very low $2699 plus taxes from Vancouver. For more information, call 1-800-661-8182 or http://www.chinapac.com.

Chinapac International specializes in travel service to China and the Orient and is proud to celebrate 27 successful years in the travel industry as the premier travel package tour operator to the People's Republic of China and South East Asia.
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Otis Ashby
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