Vietnam: Culture & Cuisine

Halong Bay, Vietnam
January 31, 2017
16 Days
Small-Ship Cruise
65 Guests
From $14,980

Before You Go

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb, unaided, into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances over sometimes rough and uneven terrain, especially at many of the archaeological sites we visit. Some stairs will be uneven and without handrails. Temperatures will range in the 80sºF with high humidity and precipitation to be expected.  

Trip Preparation: Gear Up!

  • Omnium Sandals
Omnium Sandals

No matter how much trekking you do in search of Vietnam’s intriguing culture and cuisine, your feet will never tire in your TEVA-made, all-purpose, toe-protective, Omnium sandals. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, they offer support and protection, as well as the renowned Spider Original rubber outsole for which the TEVA brand is known.

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Activity Level & Accommodations

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb, unaided, into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore. You must be able to walk moderate distances over sometimes rough and uneven terrain, especially at many of the sites we visit. Some stairs will be uneven and without handrails. 

Arrivals & Departures

Pre-Extension

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between the airport and our group hotel are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates or who have booked extra nights at our group hotel.

Your room will become available to check-in as of 2:00pm. If you would like to guarantee an earlier check-in time, please contact us and we can reserve an additional night for you at the Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor.

Main Program

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Hanoi, Vietnam at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between the airport and our group hotel are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates or who have booked extra nights at our group hotel.

PLEASE NOTE: Your room will become available to check-in as of 2:00pm. If you would like to guarantee an earlier check-in time, please contact us and we can reserve an additional night for you at the Hotel de l’Opera.

Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.

Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 206.285.4000, or 206.219.1641 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival into either Siem Reap, Cambodia or Hanoi, Vietnam so that we may inform our Expedition Leader.

If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program. 

Baggage Allowance

Pre-Extension

For your international flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia and from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider. For the flight on Air Vietnam from Siem Reap/ Hanoi, Vietnam, checked baggage allowance is 20kg in economy and 30kg in business class.

Main Program

For your international flight to Hanoi, Vietnam and return flight home from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm. 

PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.

We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you your essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.

Climate

Throughout January in Cambodia, you can expect excellent weather conditions with blue skies and little to no rain. Pleasant temperatures and dry days make the days at the Angkor temples far more manageable, although high humidity is to be expected.

February is amongst the best months to travel in Vietnam; conditions are at their very best with dry, bright weather expected along the entire length of the country. However, there is a variation in the temperature from one end of the country to the other, with the south being the hottest and the north experiencing cooler weather. Nonetheless, high humidity and some light precipitation is to be expected.

The following are average high/low temperatures for selected locations on our itinerary:

Pre-Extension

LocationHighLow
Siem Reap, Cambodia90º70º

Main Voyage

LocationHighLow
Hanoi66º59º
Da Nang77º69º
Qui Nhon80º70º
Nha Trang81º72º
Ho Chi Minh City90º73º

Currency

Pre-Extension

Please know that US dollars are widely and more commonly accepted than local currency in Cambodia. ATMs are available throughout the country and dispense US currency. Ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs.

As of August 2016, the exchange rate is as follows:

$1 US dollar (USD)4,100.95 Cambodian Riel (KHR)

Main Voyage

The Australian dollar is the standard currency on board the Coral Discoverer. Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. The Coral Discoverer will charge your credit card in Australian dollars and your bank will convert the charge to the currency it honors.

As of August 2016, the exchange rates are as follows:

$1 US dollar (USD)1.30 Australian Dollar (AUD)
$1 US dollar (USD)22,299 Vietnamese Dong (VND)

ATMs are a good option for obtaining local currency in Vietnam if you have a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card, although access to ATMs varies greatly from region to region. Please carry smaller denominations as most merchants will require local currency. Also, ensure you have a four-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your debit or credit card if you wish to obtain currency at ATMs.

Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.

Electricity

The electrical currents are as follows:

Cambodia230V/50Hz with Types A, C & G
Vietnam220V/50Hz with Types A, C & G

The electrical current found onboard the Coral Discoverer is 230/250V with type I plugs. If you are bringing standard North American appliances, please bring a converter and adapter.

PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.

 

Flight Information

Flights to and from your home city are not included in the cost of the expedition; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

Pre-Extension

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city / Siem Reap, Cambodia, Siem Reap / Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam / home city.

Main Voyage

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city / Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City / home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

Health Information

A yellow fever vaccination is not required for anyone strictly following our group itinerary. If you are deviating from the group itinerary, please be advised that a yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into both Vietnam and Cambodia if arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please refer to the World Health Organization website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries.

Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.

The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.

Internet & Phone

Wi-Fi is available at our group hotel in Siem Reap. While onboard, the Coral Discoverer has computers with Internet access as well as Wi-Fi for your personal devices in the cocktail bar. In order to use these services, you will need to register with the purser. All charges will be transferred to your onboard account.

Please note that Internet connections aboard the ship are low-bandwidth and intermittent. All suites are equipped with a telephone. Rates will be provided onboard.

Your final documentation will include contact information for the ship, including phone and fax numbers as well as email addresses.

Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00 a.m. on the North American west coast:

7:00amSeattle, WA (PDT)
10:00amNew York, NY (EDT)
10:00pmCambodia, Vietnam (ICT)

Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

Packing Suggestions

It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly. Laundry service (no dry cleaning) is available at our group hotel in Siem Reap and onboard the Coral Discoverer. By using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.

Conservative clothing should be worn when visiting and entering temples and religious sites or you may be denied entry. Such sites will be visited regularly, and it is recommended to cover your shoulders and ensure shorts are at least knee length. Visitors are requested to remove footwear when entering the precincts of religious monuments. A more relaxed style of clothing is permitted at hotels, pools, or while on the cruise.

Clothing on Board
The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended. Typically, there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: The Captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate, dressy attire, and men, possibly a jacket and tie. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.

Clothing Ashore
Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers and wick-a-way fabrics are recommended. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, including hats and polarized sunglasses, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two on our excursions.

Shore excursions will involve a fair amount of walking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.

Passport & Visa Requirements

Passport
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It is required that your passport is valid for 6 months after you return home, through August 15, 2017. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of two pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.

Pre-Extension Visas

Visas are required of US nationals for entry into Cambodia. You may apply for an e-visa online or obtain a visa upon arrival in Siem Reap. If you are obtaining your visa upon arrival to Siem Reap, guests will be required to provide their passport and 01 ID sized photo. At this time, the charge for a visa upon arrival is $30 USD and must be provided in cash.

Main Voyage Visas

Visas are required of US nationals for entry into Vietnam. A visa application kit is included with your pre-departure document.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the voyage, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

Payments & Cancellations

Reservations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare

Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.

With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more information.