Savor breathtaking beauty and enduring traditions as you travel from Vietnam's imperial cities to the Mekong River Delta.

Starting at: $4,487 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The breathtaking Ha Long Bay  Throwing fishing nets along the river in Vietnam. Credit: Amanda Mack  Terraced rice fields in Vietnam. Credit: Hoang Long Ly  Temple of Literature, Hanoi  The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi  Da Nang Harbor  Terraced rice fields
  Traditional musicians   The village of Hoi An, a World Heritage site  The canals of Hoi An  The Perfume River near Hue  At the Tomb of Khai Dinh in Hue  Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue. Credit: Keren Su/Danita Delimont  Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue  Pavilion at the Tomb of Minh Mang in Hue  Woman working with flowers on the Mekong. Credit: Nhiem Hoang  Floating market on the river  Skyline of Ho Chi Minh City at dusk  History Museum, Ho Chi Minh City  Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City

Discovering Vietnam

17 days from $4,487 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Savor breathtaking beauty and enduring traditions as you travel from Vietnam's imperial cities to the Mekong River Delta.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was our first Smithsonian tour and we were impressed! It combined first class transportation and accommodations with intelligent and thought provoking seminars plus knowledgeable tour directors and study leaders. It won't be our last Smithsonian Journey. 

- Carol R.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

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

Wyndham Legend Halong

Halong Bay, Vietnam

As one of the outstanding Wyndham brand hotels, Wyndham Legend Halong locates on the coastline of Bai Chay with stunning views of the World Heritage site, Ha Long Bay, and Bai Chay Bridge whilst offering an easy access to the downtown and surrounding attractions. Along with 217 spacious luxury rooms and suites, ultra-modern meeting equipment, WIFI internet throughout and a range of in-house upscale facilities.

Just a quick walk from the hotel to the Sun World Ha Long Park and the cable car station, do not miss your chance to explore the most challenging roller coaster in Vietnam and one of the highest ferris wheels in the world.

Number of nights: 1

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

Hanoi, Vietnam

The InterContinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel is a welcome retreat from the bustling city center, located over the serene waters of West Lake, yet only minutes from Hanoi’s Old Quarter. This luxurious urban resort offers tai chi lessons beside the outdoor pool. Savor fine cuisine at the hotel’s Café Du Lac and Milan restaurants, and relax in contemporary guest rooms and suites with a large soaking bathtub, separate walk-in rain shower and spectacular views from your own private balcony. 

Number of nights: 3

Hyatt Regency Da Nang

Da Nang, Vietnam

Hyatt Regency Da Nang Resort and Spa is a luxury hotel in Da Nang located on Vietnam's picturesque central coast. Situated on an immaculate stretch of white-sand beach, the resort offers an idyllic oceanfront setting, with sweeping views of the East Sea. The 200-room hotel includes several restaurants and a spa. Air-conditioned guest rooms have a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Saigon Morin Hotel

Hue, Vietnam

Built in 1901 and renovated in 1998, this colonial style hotel in the city center blends old world charm with traditional Vietnamese hospitality. Hotel amenities include several restaurants and lounges, Fitness Center with sauna and massage, outdoor pool, beauty salon, and crafts shop. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Victoria Can Tho Hotel

Can Tho (Mekong Delta), Vietnam

Built in 1998, this resort hotel sits on the banks of the Hau River, an estuary of the Mekong River, amid beautiful tropical gardens. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar; outdoor pool; spa with sauna, massage, and aromatherapy; tennis and badminton courts; billiard table; and a library. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Sofitel Saigon Plaza

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Sofitel Saigon Plaza is located in the city center, in the heart of the business district and close to Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace. The 275-room property includes two restaurants, two bars, a swimming pool and fitness center. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Tour Extension

Angkor Wat and Cambodia Post-Program Option 3 Days, 2 Nights

A special opportunity to discover the amazing temples and statuary from the Angkorian Empire. Your tour extension includes:

  • Air transportation Ho Chi Minh City/Siem Reap inclusive of airline taxes and departure fees
  • 2 nights accommodations in Siem Reap at Sofitel Angkor (Deluxe)
  • 4 meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners
  • Three days sightseeing of Angkor complex (World Heritage site), including all entrance fees
  • Services of a professional tour director
  • Private motorcoach transportation
  • Gratuities for tour director, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Gold and Spa Resort
Set amidst tranquil landscaped gardens on beautiful tree-lined Charles de Gaulle Avenue, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort is close to the ruins at Angkor Wat, as well as near traditional markets and other local attractions. Combining French and Khmer architecture to provide refined, elegant accommodation, the 238-room hotel features five restaurants and two bars, Internet access, fitness center with jacuzzi and sauna, and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails), and walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

This was our first Smithsonian tour and we were impressed! It combined first class transportation and accommodations with intelligent and thought provoking seminars plus knowledgeable tour directors and study leaders. It won't be our last Smithsonian Journey. 

- Carol R.
Reading List
The Vietnam War: An Intimate History
By: Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns
From the award-winning historian and filmmakers of The Civil War, Baseball, The War, The Roosevelts, and others: a vivid, uniquely powerful history of the conflict that tore America apart--the companion volume to the major, multipart PBS film to be aired in September 2017.More than forty years after it ended, the Vietnam War continues to haunt our country. We still argue over why we were there, whether we could have won, and who was right and wrong in their response to the conflict. When the war divided the country, it created deep political fault lines that continue to divide us today. Now, continuing in the tradition of their critically acclaimed collaborations, the authors draw on dozens and dozens of interviews in America and Vietnam to give us the perspectives of people involved at all levels of the war: U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers and their families, high-level officials in America and Vietnam, antiwar protestors, POWs, and many more. The book plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book seeks to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Beautifully written and richly illustrated, this is a tour de force that is certain to launch a new national conversation.
The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick DVD
By: PBS Video
The Vietnam War, an immersive ten-part, eighteen hour documentary film series directed by acclaimed filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the epic story of one of the most divisive, consequential and misunderstood events in American history, as it has never before been told on film.
The Vietnam War: The Definitive Illustrated History
By: DK
Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, this authoritative guide chronicles America's fight against Communism in southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, and comprehensively explores the people, politics, events, and lasting effects of the Vietnam War.Honoring those who served in the war at home or abroad, the inside covers of this book feature images of submitted photographs of Vietnam veterans.Filled with more than 500 photographs, The Vietnam War tells the story of Vietnam through powerful images; profiles of the war's most influential figures, such as Henry Kissinger and Pol Pot; and a complete overview of the conduct, strategies, and events in this controversial war, including Ho Chi Minh's rise to power, the Geneva conference, America's intervention, and the Christmas bombings. Gallery spreads feature collections of infantry weapons, artillery, aircraft, and armored vehicles, and diagrams and maps show exactly where battles and key moments happened.A divisive and destructive event, the Vietnam War was the world's first televised war, and photographs from its front lines powerfully convey war's complex reality. Taking a global perspective, The Vietnam War remembers the people who served and features full spreads about prisoners of war, anti-war protest movements, and the significance of the war for black Americans as they struggled for civil rights.A powerful gift for the military enthusiast, The Vietnam War is a stirring visual record of the suffering, sacrifice, and heroism in America's longest and bloodiest conflict of the 20th century.
Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: John Balaban, Nguyen Qui Duc
Since relations between the U.S. and Vietnam have normalized, many more people are traveling to this exotic country, previously closed to a generation of Western visitors. Vietnam provides one of the first chances for Americans to know the Vietnamese outside the context of war. Vietnamese have been telling stories for thousands of years, in poetry and in song, in Chinese script and then in Vietnamese nôm, and more recently, in novels and short stories. These 17 stories, from contemporary Vietnamese writers living in Vietnam and abroad, take the literary traveler to extraordinary places: from the jungle-clad mountain ranges of the North to the mysterious silence of the old capital along the Perfume River. Proximity of the spirit world, love of family, exhaustion from war, one's Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist obligations, social protest, and the hunger for a better life — these are some of the concerns to be encountered in these thrilling landscapes. Contributors include Nguyen Huy Thiep, Linh Bao, Nguyen Ba Trac, Thich Duc Thien, Ho Anh Thai, Le Minh Khue, Doan Quoc Sy, Vu Bao, Duong Thu Huong, Andrew Q. Lam, Nguyen Qui Duc, Qui The, Bao Ninh, and Pham Thi Hoai.
Vietnam, Now: A Reporter Returns
By: David Lamb
When he left war-ravaged Vietnam some thirty years ago, journalist David Lamb averred "I didn't care if I ever saw the wretched country again." But in 1997, he found himself living in Hanoi, in charge of the Los Angeles Times's first peacetime bureau and in the midst of a country on the move, as it progresses toward a free-market economy and divorces itself from the restrictive, isolationist policies established at the end of the war. This was a new country; in Vietnam, Now, David Lamb brings it--and us--forward from its dark, distant past. From the myriad personalities entwined in the dark, distant history of the war to those focused toward the future, Lamb reveals a rich and culturally diverse people as they share their memories of the country's past, and their hopes for a peacetime future. A portrait of a beautiful country and a remarkable, determined people, Vietnam, Now is a personal journey that will change the way we think of Vietnam, and perhaps the war as well.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat will lead you straight to the best attractions this beautiful part of the world has to offer.Explore the floating markets of the Mekong Delta, the hill towns in the north, and all the best beaches to be found in between; zip around old Hanoi in a pedal-powered cyclo; and be sure to indulge in the exquisite local cuisine.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat.   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city maps each include a street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Vietnam and Angkor Wat truly shows you what others only tell you.Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.
Vietnam 1:1,000,000 Travel Reference Map
By: ITMB Publishing LTD
A detailed double sided map of Vietnam with insets of street plans of Saigon, Hue, Danag and Hoi An. Includes also an inset with Phu Quoc Island 1:200,000, comprehensive place name index for each side. Authentic Vietnamese cartography.
Vietnam - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Geoffrey Murray
In the second half of the twentieth century war raged in Vietnam. It was hard to know if it would ever end, and harder still to understand fully the rights and wrongs of the various protagonists. At last, the North Vietnamese turned out to be tough, resilient, and ultimately victorious. Patience in adversity sums up the Vietnamese character. After reunification in 1975 the Vietnamese experienced many difficulties. The immediate postwar years were harsh. Some fled into exile; others underwent “rehabilitation” to make them fit to live in a Communist state. To this were added economic hardships and even starvation. Since then, however, life has been transformed. The decision to abandon the centrally planned economy in favor of a “socialist market economy” was a bold step, as was the decision to throw open the doors and invite the world to invest in the new Vietnam. Visitors today will find a confident, independent people, nursing few if any grudges about the war. They are open and friendly, with a sense of humor and irony, and frankly curious about the outside world. Kind and generally helpful toward strangers, they are industrious, shrewd, and determined to improve their lot. Culture Smart! Vietnam outlines the history, culture, traditions, sensibilities, and modern way of life of the Vietnamese. It explains certain deep-seated attitudes, describes some of the social and cultural changes now under way, and gives practical advice on what to expect and how to behave in unfamiliar situations. It aims to help you discover for yourself the warmth and vast potential of this fascinating country and its delightful people.
Lonely Planet Vietnamese Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Ben Handicott
Lonely Planet's Vietnamese Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful Vietnamese phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Order your coffee with authority, bargain like a pro at the market, and know what you're eating from street stalls, all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation! Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 3500-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for both common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet's Vietnamese Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full colour throughout User-friendly layout organized by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Convenient features Listen For - phrases you may hear Look For - phrases you may see on signs Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, amounts, pronunciation, reading tips, grammar rules Practical - travel with kids, disabled travellers, sightseeing, business, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, activities, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, pharmacist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at the market, at the bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet's Vietnamese Phrasebook & Dictionary, a pocket-sized comprehensive language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Ben Handicott About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits! Check out our Fast Talk Phrasebook mobile app for on-the-go language needs. (Available languages: German, Latin Spanish, European Spanish, French, and Italian.)
Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam
By: Frances FitzGerald
Frances FitzGerald's landmark history of Vietnam and the Vietnam War, "A compassionate and penetrating account of the collision of two societies that remain untranslatable to one another." (New York Times Book Review)This magisterial work, based on Frances FitzGerald's many years of research and travels, takes us inside the history of Vietnam--the traditional, ancestor-worshiping villages, the conflicts between Communists and anti-Communists, Catholics and Buddhists, generals and monks, the disruption created by French colonialism, and America's ill-fated intervention--and reveals the country as seen through Vietnamese eyes. Originally published in 1972, FIRE IN THE LAKE was the first history of Vietnam written by an American, and subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the National Book Award. With a clarity and insight unrivaled by any author before it or since, Frances FitzGerald illustrates how America utterly and tragically misinterpreted the realities of Vietnam.
Vietnam: A New History
By: Christopher Goscha
A 2017 Cundill History Prize Finalist"Groundbreaking...Goscha has provided quite simply the finest, most readable single-volume history of Vietnam in English."--GuardianIn Vietnam, Christopher Goscha tells the full history of Vietnam, from antiquity to the present day. Generations of emperors, rebels, priests, and colonizers left complicated legacies in this remarkable country. Periods of Chinese, French, and Japanese rule reshaped and modernized Vietnam, but so too did the colonial enterprises of the Vietnamese themselves as they extended their influence southward from the Red River Delta. Over the centuries, numerous kingdoms, dynasties, and states have ruled over--and fought for--what is now Vietnam. The bloody Cold War-era conflict between Ho Chi Minh's communist-backed Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the American-backed Republic of Vietnam was only the most recent instance when war divided and transformed Vietnam.A major achievement, Vietnam offers the grand narrative of the country's complex past and the creation of the modern state of Vietnam. It is the definitive single-volume history for anyone seeking to understand Vietnam today.
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.
Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table
By: Graham Holliday
A journalist and blogger takes us on a colorful and spicy gastronomic tour through Viet Nam in this entertaining, offbeat travel memoir, with a foreword by Anthony Bourdain. Growing up in a small town in northern England, Graham Holliday wasn’t keen on travel. But in his early twenties, a picture of Hanoi sparked a curiosity that propelled him halfway across the globe. Graham didn’t want to be a tourist in an alien land, though; he was determined to live it. An ordinary guy who liked trying interesting food, he moved to the capital city and embarked on a quest to find real Vietnamese food. In Eating Viet Nam, he chronicles his odyssey in this strange, enticing land infused with sublime smells and tastes.Traveling through the back alleys and across the boulevards of Hanoi—where home cooks set up grills and stripped-down stands serving sumptuous fare on blue plastic furniture—he risked dysentery, giardia, and diarrhea to discover a culinary treasure-load that was truly foreign and unique. Holliday shares every bite of the extraordinary fresh dishes, pungent and bursting with flavor, which he came to love in Hanoi, Saigon, and the countryside. Here, too, are the remarkable people who became a part of his new life, including his wife, Sophie.A feast for the senses, funny, charming, and always delicious, Eating Viet Nam will inspire armchair travelers, curious palates, and everyone itching for a taste of adventure. 
Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam
By: Fredrik Logevall
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE   Written with the style of a great novelist and the intrigue of a Cold War thriller, Embers of War is a landmark work that will forever change your understanding of how and why America went to war in Vietnam. Tapping newly accessible diplomatic archives in several nations, Fredrik Logevall traces the path that led two Western nations to tragically lose their way in the jungles of Southeast Asia. He brings to life the bloodiest battles of France’s final years in Indochina—and shows how, from an early point, a succession of American leaders made disastrous policy choices that put America on its own collision course with history. An epic story of wasted opportunities and deadly miscalculations, Embers of War delves deep into the historical record to provide hard answers to the unanswered questions surrounding the demise of one Western power in Vietnam and the arrival of another. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Embers of War is a gripping, heralded work that illuminates the hidden history of the French and American experiences in Vietnam.   ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED WORKS OF HISTORY IN RECENT YEARS Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians • Winner of the American Library in Paris Book Award • Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award • Finalist for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature   NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • The Christian Science Monitor • The Globe and Mail   “A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.”—Pulitzer Prize citation   “This extraordinary work of modern history combines powerful narrative thrust, deep scholarly authority, and quiet interpretive confidence.”—Francis Parkman Prize citation   “A monumental history . . . a widely researched and eloquently written account of how the U.S. came to be involved in Vietnam . . . certainly the most comprehensive review of this period to date.”—The Wall Street Journal   “Superb . . . a product of formidable international research.”—The Washington Post   “Lucid and vivid . . . [a] definitive history.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “An essential work for those seeking to understand the worst foreign-policy adventure in American history . . . Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad—they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time.”—The Christian Science Monitor   “A remarkable new history . . . Logevall skillfully explains everything that led up to Vietnam’s fatal partition in 1954 [and] peppers the grand sweep of his book with vignettes of remarkable characters, wise and foolish.”—The Economist   “Fascinating, beautifully written . . . Logevall’s account provides much new detail and important new insights. . . . It is impossible to read the book without being struck by contemporary parallels.”—Foreign Policy   “[A] brilliant history of how the French colonial war to hang on to its colonies in Indochina became what the Vietnamese now call ‘the American war.’”—Esquire   “An excellent, valuable book.”—The Dallas Morning News
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.
Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
By: Andrew X. Pham
Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
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 Coroner's Lunch (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery)
By: Colin Cotterill
Laos, 1978: Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old medical doctor, has unwillingly been appointed the national coroner of the new socialist Laos. His lab is underfunded, his boss is incompetent, and his support staff is quirky, to say the least. But Siri’s sense of humor gets him through his often frustrating days. When the body of the wife of a prominent politician comes through his morgue, Siri has reason to suspect the woman has been murdered. To get to the truth, Siri and his team face government secrets, spying neighbors, victim hauntings, Hmong shamans, botched romances, and other deadly dangers. Somehow, Siri must figure out a way to balance the will of the party and the will of the dead.
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.
The Things They Carried
By: Tim O'Brien
A classic work of American literature that has not stopped changing minds and lives since it burst onto the literary scene, The Things They Carried is a ground-breaking meditation on war, memory, imagination, and the redemptive power of storytelling.   The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.  Taught everywhere—from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing—it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing.
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: Stories
By: Robert Olen Butler
Robert Olen Butler's lyrical and poignant collection of stories about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and its impact on the Vietnamese was acclaimed by critics across the nation and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Now Grove Press is proud to reissue this contemporary classic by one of America's most important living writers, in a new edition of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain that includes two subsequently published stories -- "Salem" and "Missing" -- that brilliantly complete the collection's narrative journey, returning to the jungles of Vietnam.
Wildlife of Southeast Asia (Princeton Pocket Guides)
By: Susan Myers
This handy photographic guide offers a stunning look at the wildlife of Southeast Asia, which includes Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Malaysia, and Singapore. Accessible text and more than 500 color photographs help readers to learn about and identify the most common species found in the region, particularly the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects that visitors will most likely encounter. Detailed photos are accompanied on facing pages by succinct species accounts highlighting key identification features, status, and distribution. The book's brief introduction offers readers useful information on major wildlife sites as well as practical advice on making the most of a wildlife-watching trip.Wildlife of Southeast Asia is the essential resource for visitors and residents interested in the fauna of this fascinating area of the world.A photographic guide to the wildlife of Southeast Asia, including Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Malaysia, and SingaporeMore than 500 stunning color photographsAccessible species accounts highlight key identification features, status, and distributionA brief introduction discusses wildlife locations and practical travel know-how
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
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 emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance. You will receive details on this included insurance with your Tour Confirmation and Tour Bulletins after you book a tour (U.S. Residents only).

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

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 a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • 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
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad (for air inclusive guests)
  • 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)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, surcharges, and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made (for air inclusive guests only)

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance (learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys)
  • 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
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Transfers and baggage handling abroad when purchasing “land only” package
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city (for air inclusive guests only).

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

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 may be made by credit card or check 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 (180 for Alaska) 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, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, 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. 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.

For additional information, please contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu and SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. 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 prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a wait list by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Eastern Time), at SJReservations@si.edu or at www.SmithsonianJourneys.org/Contact. 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 date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. 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 before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If your flights are 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

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown.  Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, the tour operator  will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignments for your international flights is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. Tours can also be canceled due to low enrollments. 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- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents and Information

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, we 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. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. 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

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) 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 Tour 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, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

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.

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

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms 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 and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When 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 after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  . For participants using air, only post tour extensions are offered. Tour operator may be able to assist land only participants with pre-tour arrangements.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

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.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

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.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

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 participants 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, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, 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.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.