Gain an in-depth understanding of the cultures and arts of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam as you meet the people and go hiking, bicycling, and kayaking in both urban and rural areas.

Starting at: $6,295 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Kayaking in mystical Ha Long Bay  Bicycling in Laos  Looking at Angkor Wat  Temple at the Royal Palace, Luang Prabang  Buddha at Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Luang Prabang  The relaxing waters of Tad Sae Waterfall, near Luang Prabang  View of the Nam Khan River, Laos  Pagoda on Hanoi's West Lake  Kayaking in Ha Long Bay  The ethereal Ha Long Bay, Vietnam  Pavilion in Hue  Gate at the Imperial City, Hue  The Hai Van Pass near Da Nang  The canals of Hoi An  The Japanese Bridge at Hoi An  My Son Sanctuary, near Hoi An  Monks at Angkor Wat  View of Angkor Wat  View of Angkor Wat  Terrace of the Leper King, Angkor Thom  Elephant Terrace at Angkor Thom  Close up of sculpture at Bayon, Angkor Thom  Monk at Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat  The iconic site of Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat  Monk at Angkor Wat. Credit: Chris Palmer

Southeast Asia on Foot and Bike

Featuring Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam

16 days from $6,295

Gain an in-depth understanding of the cultures and arts of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam as you meet the people and go hiking, bicycling, and kayaking in both urban and rural areas.

or Call 833-254-6678

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Hotel

Samut Prakarn, Thailand

The conveniently located hotel is a 5-minute walk from airport terminals. Rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities. Guests have a choice among five restaurants and two bars. 

Number of nights: 1

Kiridara Hotel

Luang Prabang, Laos

This top boutique hotel offers the best of Laotian service in an elegant setting. Contemporary rooms sit among lush courtyard and expansive views. Amenities include a bar, an outdoor infinity pool with a hot tub and restaurant with Mount Phou Si views. 

Number of nights: 3

Hilton Hanoi Opera

Hanoi City, Vietnam

This stately hotel is adjacent to the French-colonial Opera House. Modern rooms decorated in a traditional Vietnamese style include complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests may enjoy two onsite restaurants plus a relaxed lobby lounge and a bakery.

Number of nights: 2

Indochina Sails Junk

Halong Bay, Vietnam

The Indochina Sails, traditional junk boats built of Aromatic wood with modern facilities and first class service, are the perfect vessel for exploring Halong Bay.

Number of nights: 2

La Residence Hotel & Spa

Hue City, Vietnam

This enchanting boutique hotel on the banks of the Perfume River overlooks the former Imperial Citadel and is the former residence of the French Colonial Governor. Property amenities include the fine-dining Le Parfum Restaurant, a spa, and saltwater swimming pool.

Number of nights: 2

Almanity Hoi An Resort

Hoi An, Vietnam

In a world of commercialism and hustle and bustle, Almanity is an oasis for the soul and a rejuvenating retreat for the weary traveler.

Located in the heart of Hoi An ancient town, a World Heritage Centre. The property is charming and poetic, welcoming and unassuming. The hotel offers something unique; personal journeys that connect the ancient culture with modern Vietnam. Enjoy the spa for a modern interpretation of ancient fables, or take a journey into local culture and cuisine with our chefs as guides.

Number of nights: 1

Shina Mani Resort

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Located in the French Quarter, this polished resort dotted with palm trees is a short walk from the Angkor Wat temple complex. Upscale rooms have chic décor, complimentary Wi-Fi, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. 

Number of nights: 3

Activity Level

Activity Level 4: Active

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. As some trips are more difficult than others, please review the following activity level description—and feel free to contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length—to ensure this Active Journey is right for you.

For this trip, cycling excursions cover 7 to 24 miles (from three to four hours) on city roads and dirt paths, sometimes in traffic, on hybrid, road, or mountain bikes. Previous experience is recommended. Walks and hikes range from 2 to 8 miles (from two to four hours) at a leisurely pace, covering varied terrain that ranges from city streets to well-established trails. Shorter options may be available. Sturdy shoes or light hiking boots and day packs for daily necessities are a must. No previous experience is necessary to enjoy kayaking on Ha Long Bay. Routes and mileage will depend on weather, currents, and the interests of the group, lasting approximately 4 hours in protected waters.

Each day features a cultural site or activity associated with the walk, such as a historic site or temple visit, culinary highlight, meeting with local artisans or a local expert. Support vehicles are provided while cycling but are limited while hiking. Most days offer longer and shorter options based upon the group’s fitness and interests. It is often feasible to skip a day’s activities and relax at the hotel, if desired. During vehicle transfers, transport is by 15-passenger van. Accommodations feature city hotels, comfortable lodges, and a traditional-style junk on Ha Long Bay.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to seven hours of physical activity per day, and enjoy a physical challenge.

Reading List

Highly Recommended

Southeast Asia: An Introductory History
By: Milton Osborne
The first edition of Southeast Asia: An Introductory History was published in 1979 and immediately filled a need for travelers and students interested in a tantalizingly different part of the world. Subsequent editions have continued to document with great perception the enormous changes and dramatic growth experienced in the region. Dr. Milton Osborne has been a resident, student, and fascinated observer of Southeast Asia for more than 50 years. This familiarity has resulted in a highly readable and lively chronicle. While giving due regard to the early history of the region, Osborne concentrates on the changes that have taken place since the 18th century: the impact of colonial rule, economic transformations of the 19th and 20th centuries, the emergence and triumph of the independence movements, the impact of social change, and the pivotal roles played by religion, ethnic minorities, and immigrant groups. He also provides an introduction to the art of the region and a comprehensive guide to literature about Southeast Asia. Clearly written and extensively illustrated, this 12th edition of Southeast Asia: An Introductory History remains a classic in the field.
Arts of Southeast Asia (World of Art)
By: Fiona Kerlogue
A totally new World of Art survey of artistic achievements in Southeast Asia from prehistory to the modern period. The pagodas of Burma, the temples of Angkor, the great Buddhist monument of Borobudurthese achievements of powerful courts and rulers are part of a broad artistic tradition including textiles, applied arts, vernacular architecture, and village crafts. Covering Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, and the Philippines, Fiona Kerlogue examines the roots and development of the arts of this distinctive region from prehistory to the present day. Broadly chronological, the book traces the different religions that have shaped the region's historic culturesHinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianityfinishing with an exploration of the arts of the postcolonial period. With nearly 200 illustrations, over 100 in color, a glossary of names and places, and suggestions for further reading, the book is a comprehensive introduction to the arts and culture of Southeast Asia. It will appeal to students, travelers, expatriates, and anyone with an interest in the region. 190 illustrations, 110 in color.
Insight Guides Southeast Asia
By: Insight Guides
Insight Guides: all you need to inspire every step of your journey.An in-depth book, now with free app and eBook.From deciding when to go, to choosing what to see when you arrive, this is all you need to plan your trip and experience the best of Southeast Asia, with in-depth insider information on must-see, top attractions like Angkor Wat, Singapore's markets and the island of Boracay, and hidden cultural gems like the pagodas of Mandalay and Borneo's wild national parks.Insight Guide Southeast Asia is ideal for travellers seeking immersive cultural experiences, from exploring Laos' Plain of Jars and the high-energy capital of Bangkok, to discovering the remote peoples of Papua's highlands and the rich spirituality of Bali.In-depth on history and culture: enjoy special features on the legacy of war in Vietnam and diving in the Philippines, all written by local expertsIncludes innovative, unique extras to keep you up-to-date when you're on the move - this guide comes with a free eBook, and an app that highlights top attractions and regional information and is regularly updated with new hotel, bar, restaurant, shop and local event listingsInvaluable maps, travel tips and practical information ensure effortless planning, and encourage venturing off the beaten trackInspirational colour photography throughout - Insight Guides is a pioneer of full-colour guide booksInventive design makes for an engaging, easy reading experienceAbout Insight Guides: Insight Guides is a pioneer of full-colour guide books, with almost 50 years' experience of publishing high-quality, visual travel guides with user-friendly, modern design. We produce around 400 full-colour print guide books and maps, as well as phrase books, picture-packed eBooks and apps to meet different travellers' needs. Insight Guides' unique combination of beautiful travel photography and focus on history and culture create a unique visual reference and planning tool to inspire your next adventure.
Southeast Asia Map (English and German Edition)
By: Nelles
New 2017 edition of this bestseller travel map, with roads and byways updates as of the time of publication. City insert maps and points of interest.Featuring:Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, East Timor, Philippines and Taiwan.Waterproof and tear resistant for durability.

Maps & Guidebooks

Ancient Luang Prabang & Laos
By: Denise Heywood
The first edition of Ancient Luang Prabang was published in 2006, and a critically acclaimed revised edition appeared in 2008. This current edition is a substantially revised and updated work, with new sections added as well as additional photographs and the latest research and traveler information. The sections on the temples in Luang Prabang has been revised and updated and the book now includes other cultural highlights of Laos, such as the Plain of Jars and Wat Phu.Aimed at the cultural traveler who has limited need for independent travel information and hotel bookings, this essential guide includes almost 400 color illustrations, over 60 black and white archive photographs, 27 temple plans, Plain of Jars plans, as well as architectural drawings and sections on the art and culture of Laos, silk, silver and other local crafts and buying suggestions, French colonial architecture, a restaurant guide and a brief hotel listing.Richly illustrated, it is the most extensive and beautiful guide available for the cultural traveler visiting Laos today.
Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand (Travel Guide)
By: Lonely Planet, Phillip Tang, Tim Bewer, Greg Bloom, Austin Bush, Nick Ray, Richard Waters, China Williams
Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Tempt your tastebuds with pho noodle soup in Vietnam, sail past the limestone peaks of Halong Bay, or experience the transcendent tranquility of temples like Angkor Wat; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand and begin your journey now!Inside Lonely Planet's Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand Travel Guide: Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - customs, history, art, music, dance, landscapes, environment, cuisine Over 70 maps Covers Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle and more The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand , our most comprehensive guide to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos & Northern Thailand, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves. The world awaits! Lonely Planet guides have won the TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice Award in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' -- Fairfax Media 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times
Moon Hanoi: Including Ha Long Bay (Travel Guide)
By: Dana Filek-Gibson
Moon Travel Guides: Your World, Your WayWandering Hanoi's jam-packed neighborhoods, bustling markets, and vibrant Old Quarter, you'll find the soul of Vietnam. See it all with Moon Hanoi.Strategic itineraries for seeing the best of the city and worthwhile excursions to remote villages in Vietnam's northern mountainsDetailed maps and full-color photos throughoutActivities and ideas for every traveler: Take in the history of this thousand-year-old city at the Temple of Literature, or visit the embalmed remains of Vietnam's greatest hero, Ho Chi Minh. Explore the art galleries of the Old Quarter, and sample authentic Vietnamese cuisine, including the country's best pho. Experience the best of Hanoi after dark with local craft beers and live music in the chic French Quarter. Head north to wander the markets of Sapa, hike to remote waterfalls, or learn about H'mong cultureExpert insight from journalist and expat Dana Filek-Gibson on her adopted homeUseful tips on health and safety, sustainable travel, traveling solo as a woman, and scheduling group toursHonest advice on when to go, how to get around, and where to stay, plus a handy Vietnamese phrasebookThorough information on the landscape, history, and culture, all packaged in a book light enough to fit in your carry-onWith Moon Hanoi's expert advice, myriad activities, and local know-how, you can plan your trip your way.Seeing more than just the city? Check out Moon Vietnam. Expanding your trip? Try Moon Phuket & Ko Samui, or Moon Angkor Wat.

History, Culture & Exploration

Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam
By: Kim Fay
Living in Vietnam for four years in the 1990s, Seattle native Kim Fay fell in love with the romantic landscapes, the rich culture, and the uninhibited warmth of the people. A decade later, she grew hungry for more. Inspired by the dream of learning to make a Vietnamese meal for her friends and family in America, Kim returned to Vietnam and embarked on an unforgettable five-week culinary journey from Hanoi to Saigon. Joined by her sister and best Vietnamese girlfriend, Kim set off to taste as much as possible while exploring rituals and traditions, street cafés and haute cuisine, famine and feast, and Communism and the legacy of war. Together, the three women discovered a society shaped by its ever-changing relationship with food. Every encounter serves up an enticing morsel, from uncovering the secret world of ragu in the French hill town of Dalat to bonding with the Julia Child of Vietnam in Saigon. Epicures and culture buffs will delight in markets, restaurants, farms, fisheries, and cooking classes as Kim assembles her dream meal and shares recipes such as banana flower salad and clay pot fish. Examining how we eat reflects who we are as individuals and as communities, Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam offers a feast for armchair gourmets, as well as a colorful guide for travelers hungering for their next adventure.  
Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land
By: Joel Brinkley
A generation after the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia shows every sign of having overcome its history--the streets of Phnom Penh are paved; skyscrapers dot the skyline. But under this façade lies a country still haunted by its years of terror. Joel Brinkley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime that killed one quarter of the nation's population during its years in power. In 1992, the world came together to help pull the small nation out of the mire. Cambodia became a United Nations protectorate--the first and only time the UN tried something so ambitious. What did the new, democratically-elected government do with this unprecedented gift? In 2008 and 2009, Brinkley returned to Cambodia to find out. He discovered a population in the grip of a venal government. He learned that one-third to one-half of Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge era have P.T.S.D.--and its afflictions are being passed to the next generation. His extensive close-up reporting in Cambodia's Curse illuminates the country, its people, and the deep historical roots of its modern-day behavior.
Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam
By: Mark Bowden
A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in History Winner of the 2018 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Greene Award for a distinguished work of nonfiction The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam. In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II. With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.
The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia: Second Edition (SUNY Series in Religious Studies)
By: Donald K. Swearer
A wide-ranging, readable account of the Theravada Buddhist thought and practice in the Southeast Asian societies of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.
The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future
By: Milton Osborne
A compelling, lively narrative history of the peoples and cultures of the great river of Southeast Asia, The Mekong spans two thousand years--from the dawn of civilization on the Mekong Delta to the political and environmental challenges the region faces today. Beginning with the rise of ancient seafaring civilizations at Oc Eco and moving on to the glory of the Cambodian empire in the first millennium, through European colonization and the struggle for independence in the twentieth century, Osborne traces the history of the region that comprises the modern nations of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, and China. Vibrant, insightful, and eminently readable, The Mekong is a rousing history of a dynamic region that has fascinated readers the world over.
Understanding Vietnam (Philip E. Lilienthal Book.)
By: Neil L. Jamieson
The American experience in Vietnam divided us as a nation and eroded our confidence in both the morality and the effectiveness of our foreign policy. Yet our understanding of this tragic episode remains superficial because, then and now, we have never grasped the passionate commitment with which the Vietnamese clung to and fought over their own competing visions of what Vietnam was and what it might become. To understand the war, we must understand the Vietnamese, their culture, and their ways of looking at the world. Neil L. Jamieson, after many years of living and working in Vietnam, has written the book that provides this understanding.Jamieson paints a portrait of twentieth-century Vietnam. Against the background of traditional Vietnamese culture, he takes us through the saga of modern Vietnamese history and Western involvement in the country, from the coming of the French in 1858 through the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Throughout his analysis, he allows the Vietnamese―both our friends and foes, and those who wished to be neither―to speak for themselves through poetry, fiction, essays, newspaper editorials and reports of interviews and personal experiences.By putting our old and partial perceptions into this new and broader context, Jamieson provides positive insights that may perhaps ease the lingering pain and doubt resulting from our involvement in Vietnam. As the United States and Vietnam appear poised to embark on a new phase in their relationship, Jamieson's book is particularly timely.
Vietnam: Rising Dragon
By: Bill Hayton
The eyes of the West have recently been trained on China and India, but Vietnam is rising fast among its Asian peers. A breathtaking period of social change has seen foreign investment bringing capitalism flooding into its nominally communist society, booming cities swallowing up smaller villages, and the lure of modern living tugging at the traditional networks of family and community. Yet beneath these sweeping developments lurks an authoritarian political system that complicates the nation’s apparent renaissance. In this engaging work, experienced journalist Bill Hayton looks at the costs of change in Vietnam and questions whether this rising Asian power is really heading toward capitalism and democracy. Based on vivid eyewitness accounts and pertinent case studies, Hayton’s book addresses a broad variety of issues in today’s Vietnam, including important shifts in international relations, the growth of civil society, economic developments and challenges, and the nation’s nascent democracy movement as well as its notorious internal security. His analysis of Vietnam’s “police state,” and its systematic mechanisms of social control, coercion, and surveillance, is fresh and particularly imperative when viewed alongside his portraits of urban and street life, cultural legacies, religion, the media, and the arts. With a firm sense of historical and cultural context, Hayton examines how these issues have emerged and where they will lead Vietnam in the next stage of its development.
What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada
By: Walpola Rahula
This comprehensive, compact, lucid, and faithful account of the Buddha’s teachings persistently enjoys great popularity in colleges, universities, and theological schools both here and abroad. “An exposition of Buddhism conceived in a resolutely modern spirit.”—from the Foreword.“For years,” says the Journal of the Buddhist Society, “the newcomer to Buddhism has lacked a simple and reliable introduction to the complexities of the subject. Dr. Rahula’s What the Buddha Taught fills the need as only could be done by one having a firm grasp of the vast material to be sifted. It is a model of what a book should be that is addressed first of all to ‘the educated and intelligent reader.’ Authoritative and clear, logical and sober, this study is as comprehensive as it is masterly.”A classic introductory book to Buddhism, What the Buddha Taught, contains a selection of illustrative texts from the original Pali texts, including the Suttas and the Dhammapada (specially translated by the author), sixteen illustrations, and a bibliography, glossary, and index.

Archaeology, Art & Architecture

Art & Architecture of Cambodia (World of Art)
By: Helen Ibbitson Jessup
An essential, authoritative, and up-to-date introduction to the art of Cambodia, and a vivid glimpse into a world that continues to challenge travelers. Legendary tales of kings and princes, wars, conquests, and unions with gods and goddessesall these are portrayed in the spectacular friezes, reliefs, and stone carvings for which Cambodia has become justly renowned. The enormous variety of styles and influences, both sacred and secular, that are expressed in Cambodian art make this one of the most surprising and rewarding of all Southeast Asian cultures. Our understanding of the Khmers, whose kingdom dates back to early in the first millennium, is drawn from written Chinese records, myths recorded in Sanskrit, and the evidence revealed by research and exploration that continues to the present day. The profound and lasting influence of India on Khmer culture is evident in Cambodia's religious architecture, principally Hindu and Buddhist temples; each faith is reflected in work of remarkable vigor and exceptional grace and beauty. French archaeologists in the nineteenth century reopened the doors onto this world. Still more remarkable, perhaps, is how much has survived through generations of determined looting and political conflict. These persistent features of Cambodia's history make the richness and fragility of its architectural and artistic legacy strikingly apparent. World-famous sites, such as Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear, breathtaking monuments in their own right, have tended to overshadow a wealth of lesser-known buildings and complexes buried deep in the jungle.Many remarkable photographs are published here for the first time, of both famous sites and those that have, until now, been almost impossible to see, for both geographical and political reasons. 180 illustrations, 85 in color.
Of Gods, Kings and Men: The Reliefs of Angkor Wat
By: Thomas S. Maxwell
The rich and evocative bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat have captured the imagination of travelers, artists, and scholars for centuries. Built for the Khmer king Suryavarman II in the twelfth century, the enormous temple complex consists of an outer enclosure surrounded by a moat, with three further concentric rectangular enclosures inside it. The bas-reliefs featured in this book are carved on the walls of the third enclosure.Jaroslav Poncar has brilliantly captured the detail of these huge reliefs, measuring more than two meters in height and five hundred meters in overall length, using the high-precision technique of slit-scan photography. One hundred full-page panoramic photographs bring readers within the very walls of Angkor. Scenes from the great Indian epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata are expansively explained and interpreted by Angkor expert Thomas S. Maxwell.

Travel, Biography & Memoir

A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam
By: Norman Lewis
Originally published in 1951, it is said that A Dragon Apparent inspired Graham Greene to go to Vietnam and write The Quiet American. Norman Lewis traveled in Indo-China during the precarious last years of the French colonial regime. Much of the charm and grandeur of the ancient native civilizations survived until the devastation of the Vietnam War. Lewis could still meet a King of Cambodia and an Emperor of Vietnam; in the hills he could stay in the spectacular longhouses of the highlanders; on the plains he could be enchanted by a people whom he found ""gentle, tolerant and dedicated to the pleasures and satisfactions of a discriminating kind.""
The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars
By: Andrew X. Pham
One of the Ten Best Books of the Year, Washington Post Book WorldOne of the Los Angeles Times’ Favorite Books of the YearOne of the Top Ten National Books of 2008, Portland OregonianA 2009 Honor Book of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association“Few books have combined the historical scope and the literary skill to give the ­foreign reader a sense of events from a Vietnamese perspective. . . . Now we can add Andrew Pham’s Eaves of Heaven to this list of indispensable books.” —New York Times Book Review“Searing . . . vivid–and harrowing . . . Here is war and life through the eyes of a Vietnamese everyman.”—Seattle TimesOnce wealthy landowners, Thong Van Pham’s family was shattered by the tumultuous events of the twentieth century: the French occupation of Indochina, the Japanese invasion during World War II, and the Vietnam War.Told in dazzling chapters that alternate between events in the past and those closer to the present, The Eaves of Heaven brilliantly re-creates the trials of everyday life in Vietnam as endured by one man, from the fall of Hanoi and the collapse of French colonialism to the frenzied evacuation of Saigon. Pham offers a rare portal into a lost world as he chronicles Thong Van Pham’s heartbreaks, triumphs, and bizarre reversals of fortune, whether as a South Vietnamese soldier pinned down by enemy fire, a prisoner of the North Vietnamese under brutal interrogation, or a refugee desperately trying to escape Vietnam after the last American helicopter has abandoned Saigon. This is the story of a man caught in the maelstrom of twentieth-century politics, a gripping memoir told with the urgency of a wartime dispatch by a writer of surpassing talent.
The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong
By: Edward Gargan
Along the Mekong, from northern Tibet to Lijiang, from Luang Prabang to Phnom Penh to Can Lo, I moved from one world to another, among cultural islands often ignorant of each other’s presence. Yet each island, as if built on shifting sands and eroded and reshaped by a universal sea, was re-forming itself, or was being remolded, was expanding its horizons or sinking under the rising waters of a cultural global warming. It was a journey between worlds, worlds fragiley conjoined by a river both ominous and luminescent, muscular and bosomy, harsh and sensuous. From windswept plateaus to the South China Sea, the Mekong flows for three thousand miles, snaking its way through Southeast Asia. Long fascinated with this part of the world, former New York Times correspondent Edward Gargan embarked on an ambitious exploration of the Mekong and those living within its watershed. The River’s Tale is a rare and profound book that delivers more than a correspondent’s account of a place. It is a seminal examination of the Mekong and its people, a testament to the their struggles, their defeats and their victories.

Literature

Letters from Thailand
By: Botan
When the original Thai version of Letters from Thailand appeared in Bangkok in 1969, it was promptly awarded the SEATO Prize for Thai Literature. Thirteen years later, it was translated into English to reach a much wider readership. Today, the book is still considered one of Thailand’s most entertaining and enduring modern novels, and one of the few portrayals of the immigrant Chinese experience in urban Thailand.Letters from Thailand is the story of Tan Suang U, a young man who leaves China to make his fortune in Thailand at the close of World War II, and ends up marrying, raising a family, and operating a successful business. The novel unfolds through his letters to his beloved mother in China.In Tan Suang U’s lively account of his daily life in Bangkok’s bustling Chinatown, larger and deeper themes emerge: his determination to succeed at business in this strange new culture; his hopes for his family; his resentment at how easily his children embrace urban Thai culture at the expense of the Chinese heritage which he holds dear; his inability to understand or adopt Thai ways; and his growing alienation from a society that is changing too fast for him.About the authorBotan (pseud. Supa Sirising) is a native of Bangkok, born of Chinese parents. She was recoginzed as a National Artist in 1999 and has published more than ten novels. Susan Fulop Kepner has been translating Thai literature for more than thirty years. Her works included A child of the Northeast, by Kampoon Boontawee, and an anthology, The Lioness in Bloom.
The Quiet American (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
By: Graham Greene
Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress.Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Natural History & Field Guides

Birds of Southeast Asia (Princeton Field Guides)
By: Craig Robson
This concise, updated edition of the award-winning A Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia (Princeton, 2000) is the most comprehensive, compact guide to this magnificent bird-rich region. It is a complete field and reference guide to the birds of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It also covers a wide range of species found in the Indian subcontinent, China, Taiwan, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Borneo, and the Philippines. More than 140 full-color plates All 1,270 species covered in detail Up-to-date text covers the identification, voice, habitat, behavior, and range of all the region's species and distinctive subspecies Complete coverage of some fifteen Southeast Asian countries and regions
Thailand: Traveller's Wildlife Guide (Travellers' Wildlife Guides)
By: Research Professor David L Pearson, Dr Les Beletsky
As part of Interlink's Travellers' Wildlife Guides, this entry on Thailand focuses heavily on ecotourism, and how this discipline can lead to a more rewarding tour of the area's parks and preserves. Pearson (Arizona State U.) and Beletsky, a professional wildlife biologist, have included hundreds of photographs and illustrations identifying almost 600 common denizens of Thailand's rain forests, including insects and fish. This book has been designed to be both comprehensive and compact, so it will be easier for any ecotourist to bring it along on a hike or tour. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
  • All gratuities for all tour staff
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents Only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full by the tour operator. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised at the time of final invoicing.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

This policy also applies to pre and post tour extensions. If we cancel a Tour, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by participant in his/her preparation for the Tour (e.g. nonrefundable airline tickets, visa fees, if applicable, clothing, equipment and medical expenses, etc.).

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If you have scheduled your own airfare and it is delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

Basic medical and evacuation travel protection is purchased on your behalf (Tour cancellation is not included in this plan). Optional Tour-cancellation protection is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. For more information about and to enroll in the option available through Travel Guard, visit the “Travel Insurance” section of our website at www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, the tour operator will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

Smithsonian Journeys strives to offer programs that optimize our travelers' time and enjoyment, and we want participants to be aware of the physical requirements involved. By registering for a Smithsonian Journeys tour, the participant certifies that he/she is physically fit and does not have a condition that would limit mobility or trip participation. Participant further certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. For Tours that take place at higher elevations (above 5,000 feet), participant certifies that he/she does not suffer from a respiratory, cardiac or circulatory disorder. Participant must notify tour operator of any medical issues well before departure. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Tour at any time during the Tour. In the event of removal from a Tour, refunds are not given. Hospital facilities or appropriate medical facilities or doctors are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. We assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Participants will receive appropriate health information and provide the tour operator with his/her medical history and any dietary restrictions as requested on the Personal Information Form. On certain designated Tours, a Physician Certificate must be signed by the participant’s physician and returned to us within 30 days after the participant receives it.

Each tour carries an activity rating from Level 1- Level 5. For the most satisfying experience (and in fairness to your fellow travelers), please carefully review the itinerary and physical requirements for your specific trip. If you have questions about the physical demands of your itinerary, call us at 833-254-6678.

Please be aware that healthcare standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform tour operator in writing of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number available on a tour may be limited. Therefore, we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender to share with you. If a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy 

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Responsibility Statement

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, and safety of our travelers.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Responsibilities of Participants

Participant is responsible for understanding the conditions as described in the Tour Itinerary and selecting a Tour in consultation with us that is appropriate to his/her interests and abilities. In addition, the participant should prepare for the Tour by reading the Tour Itinerary and supplemental Tour information in the pre-Tour materials and bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised in those materials. The participant should also consult his or her physician to determine his/her suitability for the Tour and to discuss any over the counter or prescription medicines he/she should consider taking in the case of Tours which travel to higher altitudes. Screening for fitness (for Tours rated “Level 4 or Level 5”) is made during the confirmation of booking. In addition, we strongly urge all participants to review any State Department warnings, alerts, advisories, and destination specific information at www.travel.state.gov as well as specific health information for their destination at www.cdc.gov.