Destination of the Month: Indochina


Following our hugely successful Showcase Event at Chigwell Golf Club, this month’s destination introduces you to the essential experiences, diverse culture and exclusive hotels on offer in Indochina.

Focusing on Vietnam and Cambodia, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Western & Oriental to touch the heart and soul of the region.

Vietnam

Fall into the ebb and flow of this majestic country where spectacular scenery hides around every corner, from the misty green mountains of Sapa to the mysterious wetlands of the Mekong Delta.

Vietnam is an immensely long country, stretching for more than 2000 km. From the French colonial rule through to the war of the sixties, Vietnam has undergone extensive change. Visitors can see the underground tunnels of the Viet Cong and explore the cultural sites that add unique flavour, from the citadel of Hue to the historic streets of Hoi An.

There’s a frenetic energy pulsing through Vietnam’s two major cities. Whether it’s Ho Chi Minh’s vibrant metropolitan allure or the colonial charm of Hanoi, you’ll feel compelled to hit the streets and explore.

The food of Vietnam is some of the most delicate and carefully balanced in the world. Throughout this country you’ll feast on regional dishes that combine staple ingredients like lime, chilli and the abundant rice noodle. Slurp down a bowl of the iconic noodle soup, pho, for the definitive taste of a nation.

Sink your toes into the soft sands of a beach resort and indulge yourself in some serious rest and relaxation. For tropical beaches and remote hideaway islands, Vietnam leaves you spoilt for choice with expansive coastline and a wide choice of oceanside destinations.

The months between October and March offer the best weather for travelling. Even outside these months, when monsoon patterns fluctuate between the north and south, rains are short and the temperature still warm.

Tourism came late to Vietnam, but it’s now one of Asia's booming destinations. Visit and see why.

Cambodia

Take in the unadorned beauty of Cambodia and explore the temples that fill this unspoilt country.

Your trip wouldn’t be complete without marvelling at the iconic temple of Angkor Wat. Angkor is home to a multitude of temples dating from the 9th to the 14th centuries and all are within easy reach of Siem Reap. We also recommend exploring elsewhere to take in the abundant natural attractions of this stunning country.

The Gateway to Angkor, Siem Reap is just 3km south of the temple complex and although development is at hand, the city still retains the small shops, cafes and art galleries. Leave the tourist areas for a street food tour to eat like a local at one of the many markets and hidden food stands.

South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap is home to a huge diversity of fish and a large number of fishing communities that rely on its bounty. A boat trip enables you to witness the unique lifestyle of Tonle Sap's residents.

From the regal elegance of the Royal Palace, through to the thought provoking Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields, Phnom Penh is a city of contrasts. Take an early evening stroll along the riverside promenade before a Cambodian feast.

The second largest city, Battambang is home to an emerging art scene and some of the finest French architecture in the country. Be sure to ride the Bamboo Train, one of the most eccentric and noisy contraptions you are ever likely to encounter.

Take a luxury escape to Song Saa Private Island. This untouched paradise lies just a 35-minute boat ride from Sihanoukville. Built with sustainable materials and dedicated to local conservation, this opulent beach resort is the perfect sanctuary for total relaxation.

The best time of year to travel tends to be the dry season, which lasts from mid-October through to March; temperatures are moderate, humidity is relatively low and there isn’t too much rainfall.

A melting pot of culture and history, Cambodia is a once in a lifetime destination. Alongside majestic places of worship and authentic local markets, a life of luxury is offered to visitors, incorporating esteemed service and stunning villas adorning tranquil sandy beaches. A country of abundant nature, juxtaposing the chaos of the cities, makes Cambodia high on the tourist hit list.

Places to stay

There’s a whole host of accommodation in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Travel along the Mekong River in a stunning 20-suite vessel with Aqua Expeditions, relax and unwind at the beachfront boutique resort, Fusion Maia Danang or JW Marriott’s Emerald Bay Resort & Spa with its quirky style and an enviable location on the pristine beaches of Phu Quoc, off Vietnam's south coast.

Meet the experts from spa practitioners and celebrity chefs to stargazers and marine biologists that make up the wellness professionals at the Six Senses Hotel Resorts Spas, experience the diversity of Indochina in the authentic luxury of Anantara Hotels, or indulge yourself at Song Saa Private Island Resort with its spacious private villas, gourmet dining, snorkelling, diving and spa therapies.

Alternatively you could explore the region aboard the ‘World’s Best Cruise Ship’ (Hapag Lloyd’s MS Europa 2), boarding in Bangkok and experiencing spectacular natural scenery alongside Asian modernity as you follow the coastline up to Hong Kong.

Hapag-Lloyd are also very generously offering Abbotts Travel customers a complimentary private transfer service to/from the airport up to the value of £400, on any of their cruises booked by 31 Dec 2017.

Things to do and see

It’s not just accommodation that is in abundance, but itineraries can be tailored to suit even the choosiest of travellers. 15 days in Vietnam and Cambodia could see you arrive in Hanoi for a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, learn about traditional Vietnamese architecture and drive through paddy fields to Ha Long Bay. Take a morning boat cruise on the peaceful Perfume River, visit the Imperial Citadel and the Dong Ba Market, before seeing one of Hoi An’s famous lantern workshops and learning how to make one yourself.

See the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels where Vietnamese guerrillas built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels as hideouts during the war. Return to Ho Chi Minh City, where highlights include the Reunification Palace (photo stop) and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Phnom Penh, visit some of the capital’s most impressive sites including the Silver Pagoda containing the Emerald Buddha statue, the Royal Palace and Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh’s oldest shrine.

Enter Angkor Thom via the Southern Gate and explore the ancient city. In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Angkor Wat. Explore its extraordinary architecture for an opportunity to experience a spectacular sunset over the monuments. Drive to a local monastery, meet the resident monks and participate in a private good luck blessing ceremony.

For further details, or to make a booking, contact us on info@abbottstravel.com or 020 8989 9445.

Abbotts Travel
134 George Lane

South Woodford

London

E18 1BA

 

+44 (0) 20 8989 9445

info@abbottstravel.com

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For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

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