Family Foray in Indochina: A Month-Long Sabbatical
This month-long luxury family sabbatical around Indochina is brim-full of family fun, culture and culinary delights aplenty throughout Vietnam and Cambodia. Spend your time exploring sleepy countryside villages, marvelling at ancient temples and tasting your way around bustling cities. Treat the children and yourselves to an unforgettable family getaway.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore Northern Vietnam and visit the buzzing capital of Hanoi
- Live out your desert island fantasies while staying in the coastal haven of Hoi An
- Enjoy scavenger hunts around ancient temple complexes for the children in Vietnam and Cambodia
- Cruise along the Tatai River and marvel at the impressive waterfalls
- Enjoy a walking tour of Kep
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Days 1-7: Explore Northern Vietnam
Your luxury Indochina family sabbatical begins with a week-long trip around Northern Vietnam that takes you from high-voltage Hanoi to peaceful Trang An.
Spend your first few days in Vietnam's buzzing capital, Hanoi. Alive with colours and commotion, you'll have the chance to eat your way around the city and introduce the little ones to a spectrum of new flavours from banh cuon (steamed rice paper stuffed with pork and mushrooms) to pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). Browse the colourful street stalls and explore the labyrinthine lanes of the city's Old Quarter; then head out of town to a suburb in the south to discover an area oozing with culture yet still undiscovered by many tourists, and enjoy a home-cooked lunch with a friendly local family.
After Hanoi, it's on to Mai Chau, one of Vietnam's lesser-known rural gems. Spend the next few days enjoying fun family bike rides through the surrounding villages and a guided walk to meet a hill tribe. In the evening, you'll be treated to a traditional musical and dance performance at your hotel and parents can enjoy a drink or two in the bar while the sun sets.
Continue your immersion in rural Vietnam with a trip to Ninh Binh, a small city in the Red River Delta where you'll have the chance to learn the art of bamboo weaving and enjoy a family cooking class. Afterwards, it's on to the UNESCO protected wilderness of Trang An where you'll have the chance to explore the caves and drift along the peaceful river aboard a private sampan (flat-bottomed boat).
Days 8-12: Slow Down in My Son and Hoi An
Leave behind the lush green wilderness of rural Vietnam in favour of the soft sands of the coast where you'll be staying for the next four days.
Relish the opportunity to slow down and relax over the next few days. Laze on a sun lounger and enjoy the sensation of the sand between your toes and the sun on your face, cool down in the sea with the family and build countless sandcastles.
Should you start to get itchy feet, rest assured that the sleepy old town of Hoi An is a lovely place to explore on a guided walking tour. Barter for gifts in the markets, admire the quaint wooden-fronted houses and browse the colourful market and antique shops. In the evenings, dine in local restaurants recommended to you by your guide and treat the whole family to a sunset boat cruise down the Thu Bon River.
Break up your stay in Hoi An with a trip to My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site comprised of dozens of ruins scattered across the tranquil landscape. Fill your little ones' heads with fascinating historical facts as you enjoy stories from your guide about the brick structures that were built during the era of the Champa Kingdom and dedicated to the Hindu gods.
Days 13-17: Temples in Cambodia
Hop across the border into Cambodia and spend the next few days visiting a number of impressive temples and injecting plenty of culture into your luxury Indochina family sabbatical.
Starting in Siem Reap in north-western Cambodia, saddle up for a cycling tour of the Temples of the Forest. Beginning at Srah Srang reservoir, pedal to the gate of Ta Prohm (which you may recognise from Tomb Raider), and then continue on foot to marvel at the giant kapok roots that wind through the temple's stones. Refuel with a picnic and then delve into the ancient abandoned city of Angkor Thom where we've organised for you to enjoy a family scavenger hunt, following clues that will lead you around the iconic landmarks.
Set off towards the Thai border to see the remote Banteay Chhmar temple, often referred to as the Citadel of the Cat. Venture among the ruins and then enjoy a family trip to a local silk centre where you and the children can learn how this luxurious fabric is woven and dyed. Tonight you'll have the incredible opportunity to stay with a local family and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal with your host.
Days 18-22: Phnom Penh And Tatai Waterfalls
Journey south to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's busy capital, and spend a day exploring the city before venturing on to the tropical dreamscapes of Tatai River.
Rent some bikes and spend the day exploring the tranquil countryside surrounding Cambodia's capital. Pass through Cham Muslim communities and stop every now and again to photograph the beautiful orchards and market gardens in the area.
In the afternoon - if your little ones aren't too tired out after the family bike ride - head into the city for a tour of some of the most iconic spots from the 19th century Royal Palace with its silver pagoda tiled in 5000 silver tiles, to the Khmer art on display in the National Museum.
Next, head west to Tatai River and spend the next three days staying in a luxurious floating lodge in the heart of the Cardamom Mountains. Explore Southeast Asia's largest coastal mangrove, cruise along the Tatai river by boat and marvel at the force of Mother Nature as you pass by thundering waterfalls. During your stay, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for endangered creatures that live in the area including the Indochinese tigers and sun bears and challenge the children to an epic round of I-Spy.
Days 23-27: Seafood and Sunsets In Kep
End your luxury family sabbatical around Indochina with a trip to the former French settlement of Kep where you will be based for the final four days of your trip.
Often described as the jewel in the crown of Cambodia's colonial era towns, Kep draws in plenty of visitors with its sensational seafood and sunsets. Spend your time enjoying a number of memorable experiences. Don your aprons for a family cooking class to try your hand at crafting some delicious Khmer-style dishes, hike to the top of Kep Hill for far reaching views over the Gulf of Thailand and live out your castaway fantasies on a trip to Koh Tonsay, endearingly known as Rabbit Island.
Don't miss your final chance to savour the flavours of Cambodia as you visit the rows of crab shacks lining the beach and end your family sabbatical in style with a evening meal at the end of the Knai Bang Chatt Sailing Club's jetty. Soak up the fabulous views and celebrate the success of your unforgettable family adventure with a cocktail for the parents and mocktail for the children.
Frances and Holly are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.