Couple speaking with a Buddhist Monk outside of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Culture & History

Our personal network from cultural experts, historians, to artists offers an insightful perspective and local connections that truly brings the culture and history of Southeast Asia to life.

Our Sample Itineraries

Toraja odyssey: Unveiling the hidden culture

Makassar – Toraja

Discover the hidden cultural and historical gems of Toraja, home to the indigenous Torajan people in southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Immerse yourself in the unique Torajan lifestyle amidst picturesque surroundings.

Hue Historical Charms


Discover Hue, Vietnam's cherished ancient city and former imperial capital. Uncover hidden gems beyond citadels and tombs on a unique tour blending city charm with the tranquility of rural life. Indulge in cyclo culinary adventures, explore Kim Long's royal elegance, and witness traditional craftsmanship. An enriching exploration of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Discovering the Kingdoms of Ancient Thailand

Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Khao Yai - Phitsanulok - Sukhothai

Unveil the history of Thailand’s ancient kingdoms on this illuminating tour of three magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stepping back in time, you’ll witness the majesty of these ancestral civilisations whose beauty permeates Thai culture to this day.

Ancient royal-palaces, the Forbidden City in Beijing

Ancient & Modern Wonders of Beijing & Tokyo

Beijing – Japan

Journey through China and Japan’s two historic capitals and present-day megacities, Beijing and Tokyo, experiencing magnificent ancient wonders, exciting modern attractions and memorable cultural activities

A Buddhist monk in an orange robe walks through the ancient temple door way at Ta Prohm, Seim Reap

Hidden Splendours of Cambodia

Siem Reap – Kratie – Mondulkiri – Phnom Penh

Embark on a unique, off-the-beaten-track adventure in Cambodia, bookended by vibrant Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Discover ancient ruins, elusive wildlife and rural Khmer villages amid a spectacular backdrop of pristine jungles, mountainous terrain, remote countryside and the legendary Mekong River.

Two young women in traditional Vietnamese dress walk beside the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam

Discover the Charms of Indochina

Luang Prabang – Vientiane – Hue – Hoi An – Bach Ma – Hoi An – Siem Reap

Guided by local experts, experience prolific natural wonders, historic sites and cultural experiences on our extensive ‘cross border’ odyssey through old Indochina – Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia – and some of their enchanting destinations.

Vier of stupas and golden Wats at twilight in Banglkok

Cultural and Natural Wonders of Southern Laos & Thailand

Bangkok – Ubon Ratchathani – Ban Khiet Ngong – Vat Phou – Khong Island – Pakse

Our adventurous cross-border journey takes intrepid travellers from Thailand’s vibrant capital, Bangkok, up to remote north-eastern lands continuing into Southern Laos. Memorable days are filled with experiencing stupendous natural wonders, ancient cultural sights, fascinating local encounters and diverse landscapes, guided by local expert.

A goup of tourists give alms to young monks in front of Wat Sop Sickharam Laos

Authentic Highlights of Northern Thailand & Laos

Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong/Huay Xai Border – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang

Our adventurous cross-border journey takes intrepid travellers deep into the spectacular mountainous countryside of Northern Thailand and Northern Laos. This enthralling itinerary features several days cruising along the mighty Mekong River and engaging in authentic cultural experiences amid remote riverside communities.

Wat Sen in Luang Prabang, Laos

Adventure across Laos and Cambodia

Luang Prabang – Ban Khiet Ngong – Don Khong – Don Khone – Siem Reap – Koh Ker – Siem Reap

Guided by local experts, experience the most prolific natural wonders, ancient historic sites and memorable cultural experiences in two Indochina countries – Laos and Cambodia – on this action-packed and enthralling ‘cross border’ odyssey.

Woman Displaying Traditional Laos Cloth For Camera

Ancient Wonders of Laos

Pakse – Don Khong – Don Khone – Vientiane – Xiang Khouang – Phonsavan – Sam Neua – Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang

Explore unforgettable historic highlights in Laos, from the astounding ancient wonders of Plain of Jars and pre-Angkorian temples to modern-day history immortalised at Vieng Xai Caves, combined with Laotian cultural pursuits and a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty.

Ancient and Modern Cambodia

Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

Gain unparalleled and in-depth insight into Cambodia’s enthralling modern and ancient history and culture. During stays at the nation’s two major cities, the capital, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, home to spectacular ancient temples, immerse yourself in a wealth of unparalleled experience and sights for a better understanding of Cambodia’s past and present.

Bali, Indonesia

Classic Indonesia

Yogyakarta – Blitar – Malang - Ubud

Culture enthusiasts, spiritually-inclined travellers and history buffs will thoroughly relish the activities and experiences of these 'must-see' destinations of Indonesia.

At sunrise over Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist site, Shwezigon Pagoda built in the 11th century

World Heritage Sites of Southeast Asia

Bagan – Luang Prabang – Siem Reap – Hoi An

History and culture buffs will treasure this fascinating journey visiting Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. The tour not only explores key historic, spiritual and cultural sites but also the architectural and natural wonders as recognised by the esteemed UNESCO organisation

Heritage and Traditions of Vietnam

Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hue – Hoi An – Danang – Ho Chi Minh City

Discover Vietnam’s fascinating culture and history visiting key cities from north to south. Explore heritage sites and learn about their cultural significance with opportunities to interact with local experts for a unique perspective of the country’s recent history.

Two Novice Nuns Walking Past Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar

Classic Myanmar

Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay – Inle Lake

Our classic journey across Myanmar, the ‘Hidden jewel of Southeast Asia,’ takes the intrepid traveller on a memorable 12-days of experiences featuring the very best of cultural heritage, arts, spirituality and historical elements.

Overland Explorer

Bangkok – Udon Thani – Nong Khai – Vientiane – Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang – Muang La – Muang Khua – Dien Bien Phu – Phong Tho – Sapa – Hanoi – Haiphong – Lan Ha Bay

This extensive overland journey across Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam features days packed with the best adventure, culture, spiritual and historical experiences.



Our Tailored Experiences

  • A Playful Day in the Forest with Cambodian Gentle Giants
    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Kulen Forest, located near Siem Reap, Cambodia, is a haven of lush greenery, wildlife, and cultural heritage which offers a serene escape into nature and a glimpse into history.

    Visiting the gentle giants of Kulen Forest in the morning promises an unforgettable experience on your journey to Siem Reap. Spend a day in the heartwarming lives of these majestic creatures, from feeding to observing their bathing ritual and them enjoying in their natural habitat. Share sweet moments in between and conclude the day with a heartfelt meal.

    Duration: 7 hours

  • Hue Heritage Villages on Two Wheels

    Hue, Vietnam

    Hue, nestled in the heart of Vietnam, is a mesmerizing blend of heritage and history Celebrated for its UNESCO-listed Imperial City, this ancient realm unfolds with a tapestry of time-honored temples, royal palaces, and heritage villages.

    On a 10km adventure, step back in time through Hue’s hidden gems as you pedal along idyllic lanes, passing rice paddies and quaint villages. Discover the tradition intertwined with the village’s wetlands in the intricate art of mats, handbags and hats weaving with sedge plants. Explore the wood carving legacy passed down from Nguyen dynasty artisans. Next, delve into Phuoc Tich’s ancient village, a treasure trove of cultural heritage that boasts well-preserved traditional “ruong” and garden houses, evoking the charm of bygone eras. Visit a private museum which houses a remarkable collection of ancient pottery. Then, wrap up this unforgettable journey at a local residence with a home-hosted lunch and delectable lotus seed cake making.

    Duration: Full day biking ; 6.5hrs

  • Experience the Japanese ‘Way of the Tea’

    Tokyo, Japan

    Attending a Japanese tea ceremony – known as Chanoyu, Sado or ‘Way of the Tea’ – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For centuries, this traditional tea-drinking ritual has been intrinsically woven into Japan’s cultural fabric, originating when the Zen monk, Eisai, brought back tea from China in the late 12th century. The ceremonious preparation and serving of matcha tea (powdered green tea leaves) developed in the late 15th century as a more refined version of tea parties, infused with Zen spirituality.

    For the Japanese, the tea ceremony embodies key aspects of Buddhism and Shintoism and is one of several ‘life arts’ activities to practice Zen (‘at peace with your own thoughts’). Rooted in Japanese aesthetics, the Zen tea-drinking ceremony emanates a meditative quality, promoting wellbeing, mindfulness and harmony.

    In Nihonbashi, one of Japan’s most historic commercial districts, experience a private tea ceremony hosted by a tea master, in one of Tokyo’s most authentic and most exquisitely decorated tea ceremony rooms. Sat upon a tatami floor, observe the kimono-clad tea master meticulously prepare and serve matcha tea using traditional utensils carefullyselected for their specific value. As the ceremony proceeds, your guide will explain all the unique etiquette and rituals. Enjoy the cordial hospitality, Japanese sweets and delicious matcha tea. Immerse yourself in the sense of calm, far removed from our fast-paced daily lives.

    Duration: 1 hr

  • Experience the Ancient Traditions of Chinese Medicine

    Hong Kong Island

    Boasting a rich legacy dating back to ancient China, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) evolved as a holistic form of alternative medicine. Nowadays, TCM is still widely practiced for general health and wellbeing. While in Hong Kong, don’t miss this opportunity to unravel the mysteries of TCM and experience an important element in Chinese culture. We visit an old-school TCM clinic, discovering complex medicinal herbs and powerful natural concoctions stored in the apothecary cabinets. Learn about the therapeutic properties and medicinal uses of various aromatic roots and herbs and the history behind TCM.  Afterwards, take a private consultation with Dr. Guo Yue Feng, a qualified TCM practitioner with over 30 years of experience.

    Duration: 1.5 hrs

  • A Spiritual Journey through Time

    Bali, Indonesia

    Bali is synonymous with spirituality and on this tour, you will visit key spiritual sites. Begin by travelling to the Pakerisan Valley to visit an 8th century World Heritage site and birthplace of the Hindu Darma religion, to uncover the historical religious roots of modern-day Bali. Visit the very first Hindu Temple in Bali with the curator of the Sukarno Museum as your guide. Departing from the jungle temple you will head to Tirtha Mengening, a very small temple located next to Holy Spring fed pools. This temple offers a cleansing purification ritual conducted by a local priest. After the ceremony you can take a cooling plunge into the adjacent river. Enjoy a locally sourced, organic lunch while gazing out over verdant paddy fields picturesque Bali coastline.

    Duration: 8hrs

  • Insight to Thai Royalty

    Bangkok, Thailand

    The monarchy has played an important role in the lives of Thai people for the last 800 years, with its kings and queens accorded almost divine reverence. Spend a fascinating half day learning about Thai royalty, starting with a visit to the stupendous Royal Grand Palace, a collection of spectacular buildings and sacred sites.

    Spread over 94ha (233ac), the Grand Palace served as the residence of the King and his court, as well as the country’s entire administrative seat of government for nearly 150 years. Explore its galleries, throne rooms and Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a sacred statue believed to be nearly 2,000 years old. Also tour the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles to see how Her Majesty has promoted the heritage and artistry of Thai silk through the decades, including displays of stunning gowns of Thai silk designed by European fashion houses for her public appearances.

    Duration: 4.5hrs

  • Rural Life on Bangkok’s Scenic Island

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Known for its glitzy buildings and frenetic pace of life, one of Bangkok’s best-kept secrets is the tiny island of Koh Kret in the middle of the Chao Praya River. Formed nearly 300 years ago during the construction of a canal, Koh Kret is one of the kingdom’s oldest existing Mon settlements, an ethnic group from Central Thailand who were dominant between the 6th to 10th centuries.

    Spend a half day in this fantastically rural setting, less than an hour away from downtown Bangkok, getting lost among its pedestrian-only walkways. Visit a Mon pottery workshop and learn how to make one of the island’s famed hand-thrown terracotta pots. Also use a terracotta stove to make “kanom krok”, tasty coconut custard-filled cakes.

    Duration: 4.5hrs

  • Living Legacy of Jim Thompson’s Weavers

    Bangkok, Thailand

    The mysterious disappearance of Jim Thompson in 1967 continues to captivate the imagination of many. While much is known about the American businessman who helped revitalise the Thai silk industry in the 1950s on the way to becoming a global silk brand today, very few know about the other half of his legacy.

    Upon discovering a community of skilled weavers of Cham descent living across the canal from his Bangkok home, Jim Thompson decided to build his company right next to the community and hired the weavers to produce his prized silk. Visit the last of his original weavers who still produce silk and listen to their fascinating childhood stories of when they watched Jim Thompson cross over to their homes every morning to visit his weavers and their families.

    Duration: 6hrs

  • Cruise the River of Kings with a Thai Historian

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Stretching almost 400km from central Thailand down to the Gulf of Thailand, the mighty Chao Phraya River commands a place in Bangkok’s sprawling landscape. Board a lovingly restored rice barge on a luxury evening cruise along the River of Kings.

    Sail past beguiling temples and modern skyscrapers, with chic boutiques standing side by side with 100-year-old shops selling congee and roast duck. Best of all, you will be accompanied by a Thai historian who will breathe life into the story of how the Chao Phraya has helped shape the City of Angels, along with its role in the development of Thai heritage, culture and economics. Enjoy a feast of Royal Thai cuisine, backed against a hypnotic parade of ferries, barges and steamboats gliding by in the magical evening hours.

    Duration: 3.5hrs

  • In Search of the Lanna Heritage

    Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Chiang Mai has a long and storied history, stretching back more than 700 years, making it one of Thailand’s most historic cities. Established as the capital of the kingdom of Lanna or “Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields” in 1296 by King Meng Rai, Chiang Mai reached its peak in the 16th century, when the Lanna kings ruled territory as far east as present-day Nan Province, south to Sukhothai and north to the present-day Myanmar-China border.

    Embrace your role as a historian in an interactive role-playing game, searching for clues based on Chiang Mai’s history to help locate a colleague who mysteriously disappeared. Among others, learn about the 15th century Wat Chedi Luang, one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks, as well as the history of the Golden Triangle, while engaging in this fun, educational experience.

    Duration: 3.5hrs

  • Spiritual Bangkok

    Bangkok, Thailand

    Spend an afternoon exploring the spiritual side of Thailand, one of the world’s most devoutly Buddhist countries. At the Wat Mahathat meditation centre, meet an English-speaking monk who will teach you about Vipassana, the type of meditation practised by Gautama Buddha and used by many to achieve mindfulness and harmony. Have your fortune told the Thai traditional way by a respected fortune teller.

    Also visit several temples, including: Sri Maha Mariamman, Bangkok’s main Hindu temple with colourful shrines dedicated to Ganesh, Kartik and Sri Maha Mariamman; Wat Pathum Wanaram with its surprisingly peaceful meditation garden despite being surrounded by the city’s largest malls; and Erawan, a shrine honouring the Thai representation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. 

    Duration: 6.5hrs

  • Scenic River Cruise to Mingun

    Mandalay, Myanmar

    Cruise along the legendary Ayeyarwady River to the charming riverside town of Mingun. In the late 18th century, ambitious King Bodawpaya used thousands of prisoners of war to build what he hoped would be the world’s largest stupa.

    Had it been completed, it would have been 152m (500ft) high, as high as the Great Pyramid of Giza. While the stupa was never finished, the 52m (170ft) base is still incredibly impressive, as is the nearby 90-ton Mingun Bell that King Bodawpaya cast to go with his gigantic stupa. Visit several more notable sites before re-boarding your boat for a traditional Burmese lunch as you cruise back to Mandalay.

    Duration: 6hrs

  • Witness a Traditional Novice Ceremony

    Bagan, Myanmar

    “To be Burmese is to be Buddhist” is a well-known Myanmar saying speaking to the integral role religion plays in the life of every Burmese. In fact, according to Myanmar’s Buddhist traditions, all males are expected to join the monkhood at least once in their life, marked by a novitiation ceremony.

    Spend a full day with rare, behind-the-scenes access to this coming-of-age rite where young boys become temporary novices for a week, a month or forever, and girls choose between having their ears pierced or shaving their heads and becoming a nun. Witness as the children are decked out in their finery before joining a lively procession to the local monastery where the novice will be handed over by his or her parents to an elder monk to experience life in the monastery, studying ancient Pali scripts and Buddhist philosophy.

    Duration: 6-8hrs

  • Discovering the Monasteries of Dala

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Just 15 minutes from downtown Yangon, the rural township of Dala is truly a world away from the fast pace of the big city. Board the local ferry to cross the Yangon River over to Dala, gateway to the Ayeyarwady Delta. Take a trishaw ride along dusty lanes to observe life in the Delta where families in bamboo homes with tin roofs run small businesses like making candles for pagoda offerings and crafts from recycled materials.

    Walk through a colourful local market to a monastery which also functions as a community centre. Monasteries are incredibly important in Myanmar, traditionally providing the community with moral guidance as well as basic education. Gain insight into what monastic life is like in a country with half a million monks.

    Duration: 4hrs

  • Explore Yangon Like a Local

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Home to more than 5 million people, Yangon is a wonderful mix of colonial architecture, modern high-rise buildings and sparkling, centuries-old pagodas. Spend the day exploring Myanmar’s largest city like a local by train, ferry and trishaw.

    Highlights include: joining the 150,000 or so daily commuters on Yangon’s 46km (28mi) Circular Railway, and riding it to the outskirts of Yangon to visit a colourful local market; walking through vibrant downtown Chinatown to visit a temple and to see shops hand-making noodles and rice paper; and boarding a ferry across the Yangon River to explore the rural backwater village of Dala by local trishaw. Just minutes from the big city, Dala is far removed from the bustle of Yangon with many residents still earning a simple living from fishing and farming.

    Duration: 8hrs

  • Gain a Deeper Understanding of Monastic Life

    Bagan, Myanmar

    King Anawrahta, the 11th century founder of the Pagan Empire, is credited with introducing Theravada Buddhism to Upper Burma. Visit the Ngat Pyit Taung pagoda and monastery built by the king and explore its impressive prayer hall and nearby temple caves. The monastery is also home to a primary school.

    Established by King Anawrahta, these monastic schools traditionally provided education in secular as well as Buddhist teachings. Today, they supplement the government schools by helping disadvantaged children acquire literacy and numeracy skills while learning Buddhist values such as generosity and kindness. You are welcome to donate school supplies during your visit.

    Duration: 1hr

  • Burmese Fortune Telling and Palmistry

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Astrology, divination and the reverence of nats (spirits) is embraced by many Burmese, with belief in the supernatural influencing major events from changing the country’s name to Myanmar to moving the capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw. In addition to the 12 zodiac signs common in many countries, the Burmese zodiac also places importance on the day of the week one is born.

    Meet with one of Myanmar’s most famous and respected fortune teller known for making predictions on television, radio stations and in newspapers. Listen as he predicts your destiny based on characteristics unique to you through astrology, palmistry and numerology.

    Duration: 2hrs

  • Conversations with a Local Artist

    Yangon, Myanmar

    Recent democratic reforms in Myanmar have spurred the growth of its contemporary art scene, particularly in Yangon where private galleries represent a diverse range of artists experimenting with different subjects and art forms.

    Visit the home gallery of a Yangon resident artist, considered one of Myanmar’s masters of watercolour paintings, well-known for depicting Buddhist monastic life and the detailed temple architecture of Bagan. View his latest paintings in progress and listen as the soft-spoken artist shares stories of his humble beginnings and how the country’s fascinating political events as well as his own personal experiences have influenced his work. Afterwards, the artist will accompany you to visit a couple of his favorite art galleries.

    Duration: 2-3hrs

  • Experience an Authentic Traditional Baci Ceremony

    Luang Prabang, Laos

    In Lao tradition, baci ceremonies are held to celebrate special events including marriages, homecomings and births. An integral part of Lao culture, the purpose of the ceremony is to re-establish equilibrium by calling the “kwan”, or parts of the soul, back to the body. Take part in this ancient practice at a local family’s home.

    Observe as a village elder officiates the ceremony by chanting an invocation to call the “kwan” and to strengthen the power of the blessing. A white cotton thread will be tied around your wrist, a symbol of peace, good fortune and continuity. Being able to participate in this age-old practice with emphasis on renewal, forgiveness and the strengthening of social and family bonds is truly a deep, contemplative experience not easily forgotten.

    Duration: 1hr

  • Luang Prabang Heritage Walk with UNESCO Expert

    Luang Prabang, Laos

    Luang Prabang was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995 for its exceptionally rich architecture and artistic heritage, a gorgeous fusing of traditional Lao structures and European colonial buildings.

    Spend a fascinating hour with a UNESCO consultant as he shares some of his expertise in the cultural heritage of the country as well as an understanding of Lao history and people. After, set out on a walking tour with a local guide taking in the highlights of Luang Prabang’s distinct architecture, including well-preserved traditional wood houses, brick colonial-era buildings, stone temples and richly decorated pagodas.

    Duration: 4hrs

  • Real-Life Stories from a Pol Pot Survivor

    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Casual visitors to Cambodia may not readily see signs of the tragedy brought on by the Pol Pot Regime more than 40 years ago, but underneath Cambodia’s friendly veneer, the wounds still run deep. Gain a personal perspective of this tragic event by spending some time with a local family who lived through those tumultuous years. Meet a former soldier who was in his 20s when Pol Pot came to power. Learn about his life before the Khmer Rouge, working with the French to restore the Angkorian temples, and hear stories from his time as a soldier fighting against the regime. Over tea and local sweets with his family, listen as he recounts his strikingly real personal narrative filled with incredible highs and devastating lows, marked by adversity, survival and hope.

    Duration: 2hrs

  • Experience Local Life On Silk Island

    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    Just minutes from bustling Phnom Penh lies Koh Dach, a pair of rural islands on the Mekong River collectively known as “Silk Island”. Spend the day with a local resident and her expat husband and explore the island known for its home-based silk weaving industry.

    With a background in creative arts, Sopheap will take you to homes specialising in handicrafts and food production, and provide fascinating insights into their livelihoods. Learn how to make your own noodles from a woman who has spent her life dedicated to perfecting their texture and flavour. Before departing the island, visit the very school Sopheap attended as a child, and meet with the headmaster to deliver school supplies that are very much in need.

    Duration: 6hrs

  • Tonle Sap Lake Through the Lens

    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    One of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, there are over two million people who live and work on and around the Tonle Sap. Spend a full day putting your camera settings through its paces to photograph this challenging yet beautiful mix of landscapes, animals and people.

    Practice your wildlife photography in this rich ecosystem that is home to more than 100 varieties of water birds, as well as crocodiles, turtles, macaques, otter and other wildlife. Capture portraits and people shots at the lake’s monasteries, floating villages and vibrant local market. Landscape photographers will especially enjoy taking wide shots of the scenery from a village perched on 10m (33ft) high stilts, looking across the water during the late afternoon golden hour.

    Duration: 9hrs

    Note: Seat in coach

  • The Serenity of Angkor

    Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Escape the crowds at Angkor at three of the more atmospheric yet less visited spots in the temple complex. Travel by tuk-tuk to the 12th century Banteay Kdei, an impressive Buddhist monastery also known as the “Citadel of Cells”. Walk around this peaceful compound, surrounded by four concentric walls and look for a rare Buddha statue in the largely Hindu complex.

    Also cruise the quiet waters surrounding Angkor Thom in a gondola reminiscent of those used in ancient Khmer ceremonies and battles. In the tranquil solitude, visualise the royal city when it ruled over two million people nearly 800 years ago. Make your way to Prasat Chrung, a small temple built in the style of Bayon, and climb a steep iron staircase to a quiet spot for excellent sunset views over the ruins.

    Duration: 3-4hrs

  • Exploring the River Life of the Mekong Delta (Exclusive)

    Mekong Delta, Vietnam

    Vietnam’s lush, green Mekong Delta is home to about 20 million people and nearly 3,600km (2,230 mi) of streams, canals and rivers. The Delta is Vietnam’s pantry, producing 50% of the nation’s rice, 80% of its fruit, and 60% of its fish. Spend a full day exploring the sprawling rice paddies, colourful fruit farms and bountiful waterways of the region for a glimpse of how life is lived in the Vietnamese countryside.

    Highlights include visiting a small home factory that makes sticky rice wrapped in coconut leaves; scenic motorboat and sampan ride along narrow, tree-lined canals past rural riverscapes; leisurely cycling along small village lanes for a taste of country living; and visiting the Delta’s tropical fruit orchards via your choice of horse-drawn cart or tri-motorcycle.

    Duration: Full day

  • Learn the Practice of Royal Martial Arts

    Hue, Vietnam

    Martial arts in Hue originated as a way for mandarins to protect the royal court. In time, a form of martial arts was taught to soldiers tasked with enlarging the territory of the Nguyen Lords in the 17th century. So revered were the martial arts masters that they were awarded Doctorates of Philosophy and King Minh Mang built a Martial Arts Temple not far from the Thien Mu Pagoda to honour these masters. Rediscover this ancient practice by visiting a martial arts school. Enjoy a private class with the head master and see how the gestures and sequences of Hue martial arts resemble the movements of animals defending themselves. Also tap into Master Kim’s comprehensive knowledge of the human body which he uses to treat injuries holistically.

    Duration: 1.5hrs

  • Afternoon With A Kite-Making Master

    Hue, Vietnam

    Vietnam has a long, storied kite-making and -flying tradition stretching back more than a thousand years. Northern Vietnam is famous for making musical kites with bamboo flutes attached while kites in the South are more aerodynamic. In the past, farmers believed kites carried their wishes for a good harvest to the gods. About 300 years ago, kites found their way into the Hue Royal Court, leading to Hue’s tradition of creating colourful and elaborate kites. Spend the afternoon with a kite artisan who’s been crafting kites for more than 45 years. Listen as he shares his passion for Vietnamese kites while learning how to create a kite yourself, possibly with the opportunity to let it take flight in the skies over the Citadel.

    Duration: 2.5hrs

  • The History Of Saigon Through Its Architecture

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    While Ho Chi Minh City may appear like a gleaming Asian metropolis, several cultures have played a part in the city’s unique history. Accompanied by a local cultural and history researcher, learn about Saigon’s fascinating story through its architecture and observe the influences from the Chinese and French. Highlights include: the Jade Pagoda, built in the early 1900s to honour the supreme Taoist god; the Archbishop’s Palace with its French architecture and 200-year-old prayer house used by early French Catholic missionaries; the University of Social Sciences & Humanities which once housed colonial-era military barracks; the Fine Arts Museum, a lovely combination of Art Deco elements and local decorative motifs; and a heritage building that served as the residence of former US Ambassador Henry C. Lodge in the 1960s.

    Duration: 4.5hrs

  • Beauty of Hang Trong Paintings

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Down an obscure alley in Hanoi’s Old Quarter lives a 66-year-old man who happens to be the last remaining master of Hang Trong folk paintings. Originating in the 17th century under the Le Dynasty, this ancient art form involves a combination of woodblock printing and colourful painting on special handmade paper. Spend a fascinating few hours visiting this talented artisan in his home, witnessing him create folk paintings using the same woodblock used by previous generations of craftsmen and come to understand his desire to preserve this ancient craft. Though this folk painting tradition has nearly disappeared, the paintings themselves continue to be prized by Hanoians, especially during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, when the paintings are placed on family altars, valued for their spiritual and cultural symbolism.

    Duration: 3hrs