Go Ahead Tour - Viet Nam and Angkor Wat, Cambodia


Viet Nam and Angkor Wat, Cambodia

March 2016

Welcome traveling friends of Sandra and Field Carden and UNION/YOGA to our next adventure with Go Ahead Tours (GAT). We have traveled with Go Ahead to India, Turkey, Peru, and most recently, Field went to Sicily. They are a great company. You can’t beat the education, accommodations or the price. See goaheadtours.com.

We have chosen this next excursion on the highest recommendation from GAT Customer Relations Manager Lana DeAngelis and Travel Coordinator Daniela Vaccaro. Lana and Daniela traveled with our group to Peru last winter as feet on the ground to assess how the trip fared and how it might be improved. Both were immensely helpful, warm and wise, assisting with all our travel questions and needs. It is on their enthusiastic experience and endorsement that we are so excited to offer this tour.
Here are some reviews:
“What a Trip! This was definitely an eye-opener to the Southeast Asia culture and history. We had a great time and met some wonderful people.”
“Great Accommodations. The Ha Long Bay cruise was everything we could have expected.”
“Outstanding tour. We more than got our money’s worth on this tour. We stayed in the finest hotels and ate delicious meals. Our days were very full with sightseeing activities. We had wonderful Tour Directors.”

Viet Nam is officially named the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, with a population of 90 million. The name Vietnam translates as "Southern Viet." Vietnam is bordered by China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea.
Vietnam was part of Imperial China from 111 BC to 938 AD. Viet Nam has been occupied by the French and Japanese, ending with victory over the French in 1954. The country was then divided politically into two rival states, North and South Vietnam. When conflict between the two sides intensified, the United States entered the fray, in what is known in the USA as the Vietnam War. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975. The capital has been Hanoi since 1976, upon the reunification of North and South Vietnam, under a Communist government.
Economic and political reforms were set in 1986, by which Vietnam was able to enter the world economy. Since 2000, Vietnam's economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world.

OVERVIEW 15 Day Trip
The Viet Nam/Cambodia tour is 15 days, door to door. You may choose the city most convenient for your departure. We depart on an international overnight flight on February 27, 2016. We arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and will spend three nights there. Among our explorations will be the Reunification Palace, Saigon Notre Dame Basilica and the War Remnants Museum. We’ll have the opportunity to stroll along Le Cong Kleu with its famous trove of antique shops. While in Ho Chi Minh City, there are 2 optional extension tours: The Cu Chi Tunnels where staging was held for the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, and a cruise of the Me Kong Delta and its labyrinthine canals aboard a motorized sampan.
We will fly to Da Nang and travel to spend two nights in Hoi An where our tour includes visits to the local market at the Thu Bon River. Shop well, because our afternoon includes a cooking class after which we’ll sample the local cuisine that we helped to prepare. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Old Towne and a local school. We then travel to Hue via the Hal Van Pass with its magnificent views of the South China Sea where we will reside for one night. We’ll then cruise down the Perfume River and continue on to Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial City. Optional excursions take you to the tombs of emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh.
We spend two nights in Hanoi. Here we’ll take in the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Opera House, Ba Dinh Square, and the Governors Residence. We’ll marvel at the beautiful lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda and become steeped in wisdom at the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius. We’ll cross the magical red wooden bridge over Hoan Kiem Lake, a popular public park. And a great treat; we’ll enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dinner prepared and served by a home host.
Another cruise takes us to Ha Long Bay, resplendent with some 3,000 natural limestone towers, cliffs and arches with shores dotted with small fishing villages. Dinner on board.
From Ha Long Bay we transfer to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We’ll be stunned at sunrise with a trek to ancient Ankor Wat, one of the largest sacred structures in the world. We visit nearby (and even larger) Ankor Thom, base of the Khmer Empire. 
At Ta Prohm, we’ll explore jungle-covered temples, tombs and hidden lakes. We’ll stop and visit the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake and enjoy a performance of traditional Apsara dance. Some will stay behind here, for the 6-day Yoga Retreat.
If you are not attending the 6-day Yoga Retreat, you will travel finally to Bangkok, Thailand for a bit of sight seeing before your departure to the USA. You may choose to add a 3-day add-on excursion to explore the “City of Angels,” shop, and delight in the spicy and delectable Thai cuisine.
Breakfast is included daily, 3 lunches and 8 three-course dinners with beer or wine. All scheduled sightseeing is guided by local experts in fluent English. All hotels are rated at least 3-4 stars. Entrance fees to venues are provided, avoiding long lines and ticket waits. We travel by land in deluxe air-conditioned motor coaches, with onboard lectures provided by our tour guides on all manner of things Vietnamese: culture, history, economy, politics, art, architecture, education, social conditions, etc. Be prepared to become educated.

OVERVIEW 6 Day Stay Behind Yoga Retreat
Many of our guests have enjoyed “stay-behind” with us before, extending the adventure to include a Yoga retreat experience. This is a perfect way to end with a “time-out. This year, we have chosen Navutu Dreams Resort and Spa in Siem Reap, Cambodia, March 11-17.  www.navutudreams.com. Each day we will practice yoga at least twice. Your locally grown fresh cuisine daily lunch is included. Light breakfast is provided. Dinners are on your own. Tranfers to and from the airport are included. Free taxi service is provided from the resort into central Siem Reap daily. Guides are available for hiking and touring. Check out the wonderful spa offerings you will want to treat yourself to. Relax and renew before you begin to move again.


Day 1  Saturday, February 27, 2016  FLIGHT to VIET NAM
Leave the USA aboard an internationally recognized airline for an overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2  Sunday, February 28, 2016  ARRIVAL in VIET NAM
Welcome to Viet Nam! Check in at our hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
(breakfast included, in flight)

Day 3  Monday, February 29, 2016  HO CHI MINH CITY
Guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, tracing the history from French colony to unified independent nation. Landmarks included: The Reunification Palace, general Post Office, City Hall, Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, and the War Remnants Museum. A stroll along the famed “antique street,” Le Cong Kieu. Then meet your fellow travelers at a welcome reception dinner.
(breakfast and dinner included)

Day 4  Tuesday, March 1, 2016  HO CHI MINH CITY
Free play in Ho Chi Minh City- explore on your own, or consider an optional Mekong Delta cruise ($45pp) upon a motorized sampan, visiting the canals and streams of the upper river, and the famous floating markets of Cái Be.
(breakfast included)

Day 5   Wednesday, March 2, 2016  FLIGHT to HOI AN
This morning you have some free time to enjoy some leisure at the hotel or to further explore in this amazing city, or join the optional excursion to the Cú Chi Tunnels ($25pp), which were a staging area for the Tet Offensive’s attacks on Saigon. In the evening we board a plane for a flight to Da Nang, then on to Hoi An in time for dinner.
(breakfast and dinner included)

Day 6  Thursday, March 3, 2016  HOI AN and THU BON RIVER CRUISE
In Hoi An we visit the marketplace on the Thu Bon River with our guide this morning, where we will learn about market shopping and select ingredients for a traditional Vietnamese dinner. Our cooking class today will culminate in a luncheon, where we will sample our preparations.  In the afternoon, we return to Hoi An for a guided tour of Old Town, featuring the Reunification Palace and the History Museum, a local school, and the picturesque Japanese covered bridge.
(breakfast and lunch included)

Day 7  Friday, March 4, 2016  HUE
This morning we journey to Hue, via the Hai Van Pass and its panoramic views of the South China Sea, or East Sea. Once in Hue, we are guided through the former national capital starting with a cruise down the Perfume River and ending at the Imperial City with a stop along the way at the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Day 8  Saturday, March 5, 2016  FLIGHT to HANOI
A day of leisure in Hue is at hand today. There is an optional excursion to the tombs of two emperors, Tu Doc and Khai Dinh ($29pp). This evening we board a flight to Hanoi, and arrive in time for dinner.
(breakfast and dinner included)

Day 9  Sunday, March 6, 2016  HANOI
Today our guide will escort us around the great city of Hanoi.  Sights will include Ba Dinh Square, famous as the place where Ho Chi Minh made the proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. We’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Governor’s Residence and the Opera House. The day is full. We’ll also take in the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucious, and the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda. We’ll enjoy the serenity of Kiem Lake and it’s red wooden bridge. Tonight we’re in for a big treat- an optional home hosted traditional Vietnamese dinner ($35pp)
(breakfast included)

Day 10  Monday, March 7, 2016  HA LONG BAY CRUISE
Today is cruise day! We transfer to Ha Long Bay where we embark on an overnight stay aboard. Ha Long Bay is incredibly beautiful -and surreal- with its 3000 limestone towers, cliffs and arches rising as far as the eye can see. We’ll pass numerous fishing villages as we relax as the scenery drifts by.
(breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Day 11  Tuesday, March 8, 2016  FLIGHT to SIEM REAP
We disembark and return today to Hanoi, where say goodbye to Viet Nam as we board our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Once landed, we dine this evening with our tour group in Siem Reap.
(breakfast and dinner included)

Day 12  Wednesday, March 9, 2016   ANGKOR WAT and ANGKOR THOM
Sunrise at Angkor Wat! Rising from the jungle, this ancient temple is one of the largest religious structures in the world. The nearby and even larger complex at Angkor Thom acted as the capital of the Khmer Empire.  The intricately carved architecture sets the Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King and faces of the Bayon Temple apart from anything, anywhere else in the world.
(breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

Day 13  Thursday, March 10, 2016  TA PROHM and TONLÉ SAP LAKE CRUISE
Today we explore Ta Prohm, enshrouded within the jungle and with its enormous banyan, and silk tree roots entwined around the ruins.  Nearby we’ll marvel at the ruins of Preah Khan temple. This afternoon we’ll refresh upon a cruise on Tonlé Sap Lake, visiting its floating villages. In the evening we’ll be entertained by a performance of traditional Apsara dance during dinner with our group.
(breakfast and dinner included)

Day 14  Friday, March 11, 2016  Here’s where our group disburses, some going home, some staying for 3 more days in Bangkok, and some staying for a 6 day yoga retreat in Cambodia. Regardless of if you are staying behind for yoga, returning home, or adding excursions in Bangkok, we all leave from the Siem Reap airport.

Take a FLIGHT to BANGKOK or STAY BEHIND and transfer to NAVUTU DREAMS RESORT AND SPA. The group staying behind will transfer by car from the Siem Reap Airport to Navutu Dreams Resort and Spa.
The group not staying for the yoga retreat will board a flight to Bangkok to stay or leave for home this morning.
For those adding the Bangkok excursion: Enjoy a full free day in Bangkok or add an excursion, including the Grand Palace, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and the Temple of the Golden Buddha ($259pp). A second Optional Excursion in Bangkok includes a market visit and cooking class ($105*pp).

OPTIONAL Days 15- 20 Saturday, March 12 to Thursday, March 17, 2016
7 nights and 6 Full days at Navutu Dreams Spa and Resort, Siem Reap, Cambodia (March 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17).

Please note: If you are “staying behind” for the yoga retreat you will not be able to take the optional guided excursion of Bangkok with Go Ahead Tours.

We have chosen Navutu Dreams for our 2016 Yoga Retreat. Navutu Dreams is a beautiful resort for the body, soul and mind in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You can read more and see gorgeous pictures at http://navutudreams.com/

Navutu Dreams Details
Your one-way transfer to Navutu Dreams from the airport is included. Return to the airport is provided by Navutu Dreams at 7US$ (+5% Service charge) by tuk tuk, or 10US$ (+5% service charge) by an aircon car with 4 seats.  

Free transportation to and from Siem Reap is offered daily, for your explorations in town. Please note that the tuk tuk is included is your package for 12 hrs a day (latest time 10pm), with destinations including Siem Reap town, and a small and big circuit of Angkor Archeological Park.

Our daily agenda will include two UNION/YOGA classes with Sandra, one in the morning and one in the evening. These classes will be progressive each day, building on the prior day’s opening. Be prepared to feel fabulous. Bring your individual needs and goals to explore on the mat.

The middle of your day will be yours- to explore, swim, relax, read, create, hike, enjoy massage and spa treatments, or to attend more yoga (included in your UNION YOGA retreat fee) with the excellent teachers at Navutu Dreams. Yoga classes, teachers and spa treatments can be viewed at http://navutudreams.com/

Delicious local cuisine is served for your daily lunch, also included.

The fee for your accommodations depends on the type of room you book. See ROOMS on the Navutu Dreams website. If you split a room, the cost is divided between you. A deposit of the first nights fee is required.

The fee for the UNION/YOGA Chakra Yoga Retreat is $500. Your Chakra Yoga Retreat fee is paid half when you make your reservation and the balance when you check out.  Reserve with Reaksmey at Navutu Dreams and note that you are with the UNION/YOGA Sandra Carden Retreat. Please contact Reaksmey at reservations@navutudreams.com. She is warmly awaiting your contact.

Day  21 Friday, March 18, 2016  FLIGHT to USA
Transfer from Navutu Dreams Spa and Resort to Siem Reap. Return to the airport is provided by Navutu Dreams at 7US$ (+5% Service charge) by tuk tuk, or 10US$ (+5% service charge) by an aircon car with 4 seats.  

Go Ahead handles our flight reservations from Siem Reap to Bangkok and from Bangkok to home. We’ll board a flight to Bangkok March 18. Transfer to your international flight back to USA.

Day 22 Saturday, March 19, 2016
Arrive in USA.

TO SUM IT UP: Sign Up Details
For Go Ahead Portion: Your 15 day Go Ahead portion depends on the city you depart from and the extension add-ons you sign up for. Please go to our Go Ahead Group’s website site to calculate. www.sandracarden.grouptoursite.com
Once you have requested your departure city on the website, your total tour fee will be calculated from your departure airport. Upon registration, you will create your own password and webpage, which will keep track of your payments and notify you as to what is needed to complete your personal travel plans. It’s really easy. Once you make your down payment you may pay on your trip by credit card whenever is convenient. Final payment is not due until December 2015.

For Navutu Dreams: Your 6 full days at Navutu Dreams is $500, plus the cost of your accommodations. To see the rooms please see the website http://navutudreams.com/
To reserve your UNION/YOGA Chakra Yoga retreat and your room at Navutu Dreams, please contact Reaksmey at Navutu Dreams. You will be asked to pay the first night’s fee plus half of your Yoga retreat fee. The balance is due upon check out.  reservations@navutudreams.com