Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center


With an Optional Post-Tour Extension:
Cambodia: Angkor Wat & Phnom Penh

October 20 - November 4, 2013

We invite you to join us on a trip to Vietnam - a land of breathtaking natural beauty, abiding tradition, and profoundly hospitable people. Our trip is a Bryn Mawr only experience in a small group. We encounter rewards aplenty on this comprehensive journey featuring all the highlights of Vietnam plus the beautiful, remote Mekong Delta, where we spend two days and anoptional extension to Ankor Wat.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)


DAYS 1-2: Depart U.S. for Hanoi, Vietnam

On Day 1 you’ll depart the U.S. for Vietnam, spending Day 2 in transit.

DAY 3: Arrive Hanoi

Mid-morning today we arrive in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure; dinner tonight is on your own.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

DAY 4: Hanoi

After an informative briefing about the journey ahead, this morning we set off on a walking tour of Ba Dinh Square, a popular complex of cultural and historic sites, including the marble and granite mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Ironically, Ho Chi Minh wished to be cremated, but the nation so mourned him that it chose to construct this massive edifice of natural materials collected from across Vietnam. Inside Ho Chi Minh rests in a glass sarcophagus, visible to onlookers (his corpse is sent to Russia annually during October and November for “upkeep;” during this time we will not be able to pay an inside visit). For this visit, please dress respectfully and do not bring your camera inside – photos are strictly prohibited (your tour director will hold all cameras and cell phones outside the mausoleum). We also see the bright-mustard French colonial Presidential Palace, and 1,000-year-old One Pillar Pagoda, built on a single stone pillar to resemble a lotus blossom.

Following lunch on your own we embark on an orientation tour of this French-accented city with broad tree-lined boulevards and colonial architecture. We pass Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of the city, where legend has it that in the mid-15th century Heaven gave Emperor Ly Thai To a sword to drive the Chinese out of Vietnam. We also see the marvelous Temple of Literature, founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius – it later became Vietnam’s first university and today remains an active place of worship. Our next stop brings us to Hao Lo Prison, also known as “Hanoi Hilton.” Throughout the Vietnam War, and for many years thereafter, the North Vietnamese Army controlled the prison and held American soldiers captive in order to torture and interrogate them. After this sobering visit, we walk through the narrow streets of the Ancient Quarter (more commonly called the “36 Streets District”), where goods of all types are bought and sold, alongside houses and temples. There are so many shops, in fact, that each has its own separate street – Shoe Street, Sugar Street, Paper Street – to help direct customers to their desired product. This is also one of the city’s most popular gastronomic areas, with dozens of excellent restaurants. Before dining here tonight, we enjoy a traditional cyclo ride followed by a water puppet performance.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 5: Hanoi/Ha Long Bay

We depart early this morning for a full-day excursion by coach to Ha Long Bay (“Bay of the Descending Dragon”), Vietnam’s legendary and beautiful waterway sprinkled with some 3,000 islands and islets, and surrounded by a fairytale landscape of limestone cliffs, secret grottoes, and hidden caves. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Ha Long Bay was the home of ancient cultures dating back 25,000 years. Our tour here includes a boat ride on the placid waters and a lunch of local seafood specialties. We return to our hotel in Hanoi early this evening; dinner tonight is on your own.

Accommodations: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6: Hanoi/Da Nang

We fly this morning to Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city situated on the south central coast. We tour the acclaimed Cham Museum, which celebrates the Cham peoples’ Hindu legacy with a fine collection of sculptures and artifacts dating from the 7th to 15th centuries. Built in 1915, the museum is constructed, like the art inside, in Cham style, with simple lines, smooth corners, and windows open to the sea air. After arriving mid-morning at our beachfront hotel, the remainder of the day and evening is at leisure. Dinner tonight is at our hotel.

Accommodations: Furama Resort Da Nang
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 7: Da Nang/Hoi An

Early today we travel to the nearby town of Hoi An, where a succession of Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese traders all contributed to the building of an architecturally diverse and colorful village (and now a UNESCO World Heritage site) where many ancient traditions still hold sway. Because no cars are allowed here, the streets belong to pedestrians (and bicyclists), making it perfect for exploring. We take a walking tour past the low, tile-roofed houses lining narrow streets; the Japanese covered bridge, and the Chinese communal house. The rest of the day is at leisure to either remain in Hoi An and explore on your own (the town boasts numerous art galleries, shops, and tailors), or to return to our beachside resort for a relaxing afternoon. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Accommodations: Furama Resort Da Nang
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 8: Da Nang

This morning we visit a neighboring village, nestled amidst seemingly endless rice paddies. Here we gain a special insight into the everyday life of a local farming community as we walk through the village past modest homes, gardens of vegetables and fruit, the village temple, and husking mill. We see into the living rooms of homes open to the street, many with their pictures of Ho Chi Minh, shrines, and television sets connoting a certain level of prosperity. Depending on the season, we may see the villagers engaged in threshing and harvesting. Next we enjoy a cooking lesson and lunch in Hoi An. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure; dinner tonight is on your own.

Accommodations: Furama Resort Da Nang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: Da Nang/Hue

We depart this morning by coach for the ancient imperial capital of Hue, whose temples and attractions evoke its past grandeur as home to emperors and mandarins. After checking in at our hotel, this afternoon we tour the Imperial Citadel, housing the Forbidden Purple City where the emperors once lived with their families. A vast complex of palaces, residences, temples, courtyards, and gates, the Imperial Citadel was built in 1804; today it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We also visit the Dong Ba central market where locals buy their produce, fish, meat, and sundry items such as Vietnam’s ubiquitous conical hats, ironware, jewelry, and tea. Tonight we enjoy a special Hue buffet outdoors at our hotel (weather permitting), accompanied by a performance of traditional music.

Accommodations: Saigon Morin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10: Hue

This morning we cruise by sampan along Hue’s Perfume River to peaceful Thien Mu Pagoda, a Buddhist monastery that ranks among the city’s oldest and most important monuments. After admiring the seven-story octagonal tower, we visit the palatial Tomb of Minh Mang (c. 1840), with its pavilions, reception hall, summerhouse, lakes, gardens, and courtyards modeled after the Ming Tombs of China. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then visit two other tombs: Tu Duc, sitting in a narrow valley in a pine forest and considered one of the most beautiful works of royal architecture from the Nguyen dynasty; and Khai Dinh, an elaborate architectural mélange of European and Asian, ancient and modern styles. Dinner tonight is on your own.

Accommodations: Saigon Morin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: Hue/Mekong Delta (Can Tho)

Today is a travel day that begins with an early morning departure for the airport, where we board the one-hour flight to Saigon. Upon arrival we transfer to a motorcoach for the three-hour drive south to the Mekong River town of Cai Be. From there we travel by coach to the busy river port of Can Tho, the provincial capital where the various waterways that comprise the Mekong Delta converge – and where we spend the next two nights at a riverside hotel. There’s time to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities before we meet for dinner here tonight.

Accommodations: Victoria Can Tho Hotel
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12: Can Tho/Mekong Delta

We rise early for a tour highlight: today’s excursion by boat to the bustling floating vegetable market at Cai Rang, one of many such markets on the Mekong’s lower reaches. Lifeblood of southern Vietnam, the Mekong region counts as one of the country’s two “rice bowls,” as well as a major producer of vegetables and tropical fruit. It is along the river that locals conduct the business of everyday life, as we see farmers lined up cheek to jowl displaying and selling their goods from bamboo poles suspended over their boats as a form of advertising. After this scenic outing, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to our hotel late afternoon. The remainder of the day is at leisure, and dinner tonight is on your own.

Accommodations: Victoria Can Tho Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: Mekong Delta/Saigon

An hour-long coach ride this morning brings us to the upper reaches of the Mekong. Here we board motorized sampans for an up-close look at river life as we explore the maze of tributaries and inlets that lead to tiny settlements and villages populated by fishermen and farmers. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant then continue on by coach to Saigon (the name Ho Chi Minh City is used interchangeably). We reach our hotel late this afternoon; dinner tonight is on your own in this vibrant city.

Accommodations: InterContinental Asiana Saigon
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14: Saigon

Once the proud capital of South Vietnam, Saigon was renamed in 1976 by the war’s Communist victors as Ho Chi Minh City and virtually closed to the outside world. Since the institution of economic and political reforms in the mid-1980s and the reentry of a peaceful and united Vietnam into the community of nations several years ago, however, Saigon has once again reclaimed its more cosmopolitan outlook – and its former name, which is used interchangeably with Ho Chi Minh City. We get our first real taste of Saigon on this morning’s tour that includes such highlights as the former Presidential Palace (now called Reunification Palace), the former wartime headquarters that remains preserved just as it was on April 30, 1975, when Communist tanks entered the city; the Historical Museum, housing a fine collection of art and artifacts of Vietnam’s indigenous peoples; the stunning Central Post Office; and Notre Dame Cathedral, built in 1880 with bricks from Marseilles and stained glass windows crafted by artisans from Chartres, France. Lunch today is on your own; this afternoon is free for independent exploration. We dine together tonight at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: InterContinental Asiana Saigon
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 15: Saigon/Cu Chi Tunnels

On this morning’s tour we visit a place of infamy: the Cu Chi Tunnels. Built over a period of 25 years beginning in the 1940s to sabotage the French occupiers, the tunnels are marvels of engineering, stretching from Saigon to the Cambodian border. Parts of the tunnels descend several stories deep, and include living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, and kitchens. Americans will be most familiar with the tunnels because of the role they played during the war, when these tunnels allowed the North Vietnamese to engage in combat in an area completely surrounded by Americans and South Vietnamese. Those who choose to will have a chance to descend into one of the tunnels. And those who choose to remain outside will have ample opportunities to tour the excavations above. Our guide will tell us about each tunnel’s length and level of difficulty before we enter. If you choose to go underground, you’ll want to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty (you’ll also need a pair of sturdy walking shoes). We return to our hotel in time for lunch on your own then the remainder of the day is free to explore as you wish. Saigon boasts virtually hundreds of pagodas and places of worship worthy of your time, including the Giac Lam Pagoda, the city’s oldest; and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, considered the most colorful temple in Saigon. Or you can just take a walk and enjoy the sight of thousands of bicycles and small motorbikes winding their way through the city streets, shop for fine silks or locally made crafts, or visit one of the city’s colorful free markets. Tonight we gather for a farewell dinner.

Accommodations: InterContinental Asiana Saigon
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16: Saigon/Depart for U.S.

This afternoon we depart for the airport and our connecting flight to the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

Optional Post-Tour Extension:
Cambodia: Angkor Wat & Phnom Penh
Preliminary Itinerary
November 4 - 7, 2013

DAY 15 (Nov. 3, 2013): Saigon/Siem Reap, Cambodia

We fly today to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where we meet our Odysseys Unlimited representative at the airport and transfer to our hotel. After checking in, we have time to freshen up before lunch on our own. Then we transfer to the Angkor Wat complex of temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the three great Buddhist sites of the Eastern world (the others are Borobudur in Java, Indonesia, and Bagan in Myanmar). For many years, Angkor Wat was rumored to be a lost city, hidden from the world until its discovery by French explorer Henri Moughot in the mid-19th century. In fact, however, it was very much a living city until 1431, when the Thais forced the Khmer court to move southeast. Studies reveal that Angkor Wat was inhabited until recently, a contention proven by the fact that one of its main temples contained Buddhist statuary from every century between the 15th and the 19th. Today the site contains magnificent temples and statuary from the Angkorian Empire, which in its heyday rivaled those of Greece and Egypt; as well as various Hindu and Buddhist imagery. It took more than 500,000 artisans, workers, and slaves some 37 years to complete and comprises five towers, each reaching more than 180 feet high.

As the sun sets later today, we enter Angkor Wat Temple, the world’s largest religious building. Here we witness the intricate detail of the bas reliefs and artwork depicting mythological battles and scenes of everyday life. After watching the sun set over the walls of the temple while listening to the sounds of the surrounding jungle, we return to the hotel and enjoy dinner together, followed by a cultural dance show.

Accommodations: Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16 (Nov. 4, 2013): Angkor Wat

This morning we visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers. Sites here include the Elephants Terrace, Terrace of Leper King, and the stunning Bayon Temple, an imposing stone edifice of 54 towers each carved with four enigmatic faces and decorated with bas reliefs detailing events of the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1202). We also visit the temple of Preah Khan, a complex of halls and pavilions, causeways and moats, and sculpted garudas and serpents built by King Jayavarman VII in memory of his father and currently being restored by the World Monuments Fund. After returning to the hotel for lunch on your own, this afternoon we visit the 12th-century temple of Ta Prohm, a mystical, decaying Buddhist shrine dedicated to the encroaching jungle. Built in memory of King Jayavarman VII’s mother, the ruins here have not been touched – they are exactly as they were when first discovered, with massive tree roots virtually strangling parts of the stone façades. More than 100 temples stand here, struggling to keep the jungle at bay. This evening we gather for dinner together at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 17 (Nov. 5, 2013): Siem Reap/Depart for U.S.

Our day begins with a visit to tiny Banteay Srei, a temple built for the Hindu god Shiva in the 10th century with exceptional carvings in its red sandstone walls. Banteay Srei’s artistry on a miniature scale distinguishes it from other Angkorian temples, and has earned it the epithet “the jewel of Khmer art.” We continue on to Banteay Samre, an elaborate 12th-century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Banteay Samre is one of Angkor’s most complete complexes, thanks to restoration efforts using original materials. This afternoon, we return to our hotel for lunch on your own and an afternoon at leisure. We are free to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities, including spa with massage treatments and sauna and outdoor pool. For those who wish, this afternoon we can visit Les Artisans d’Angkor, a development project where young adults learn traditional crafts such as stone and wood carving and lacquer application. Our rooms have been reserved for our late check-out. Late this evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to the United States.

Accommodations: Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 18 (Nov. 6, 2013): Arrive U.S.

We arrive in the United States and connect with our flights home.

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Price and Program Inclusions:

  San Francisco/LA Land Only
Main Tour Program $3,495* $2,995
Single Supplement: $1,495
Business Class Upgrade: To be announced
Airline Taxes and departure fees an additional $552

Included Features:

  • Exclusive departure for the Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Association
  • Small group size limited to 24 guests
  • ROUND-TRIP AIR TRANSPORTATION; all flights within itinerary
  • 13 nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 24 meals: 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described in day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a dedicated Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides (if applicable), dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Not Included: Airline taxes and departure fees (listed as separate item on invoice) Gratuities for the Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director (left to individual discretion)

Optional Post- Tour Extension:
(4 days/3 nights) includes

Air transportation Ho Chi Minh City/Siem Riep; Siem Reap/Phnom Penh; 3 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Siem Reap at Sofitel Royal Angkor (Deluxe); 1 night in Phnom Penh at Sofitel Phnom Penh (Deluxe); 6 meals (3 breakfasts, 3 dinners); Two days sightseeing of Angkor complex (UNESCO World Heritage Site), including all entrance fees; Cruise along waterway of Tonle Sap Lake; Phnom Penh city tour; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited representative; Private motorcoach transportation; Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers.

Extension Price: $995 Single Supplement: $295

Notes: Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Prices from all U.S. cities available upon request.


We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally though, unexpected obstacles, and opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. Vietnam Airlines, which we use within the itinerary, occasionally has schedule changes that may cause us to make some alterations to the order of the tour. Rest assured that you will still see all included sights, and enjoy all included meals and features as promised.

In addition, please note that domestic U.S. and international airline schedules are also subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

For Business Class Guests

A reminder that your Business Class seating applies to your Trans-Pacific flights only; it does not apply to any flights in the U.S. or to internal flights included on the tour.

For Land Only Guests

When you purchase Journey through Vietnam as “land only,” airport transfers and luggage handling at the arrival and departure airports at the beginning and end of the tour are not included. However, should you be at the arrival airport concurrent with the group of arriving Odysseys Unlimited travelers and see the signs for our motorcoach transfer, you are welcome to transfer with the group at no charge, providing additional seating is available. However, please note that the motorcoach cannot wait for you; you must be aboard when the coach is leaving. Similarly, when departing from the last hotel for your flight home, you are also welcome to take advantage of the group transfer, provided there is room and you are on board when the coach is leaving.

It is important to note, however, that a motorcoach may not be used for transfers in all cases. Depending upon the number of guests arriving or departing, we may utilize taxis or smaller vans. At such times, space restrictions will preclude your joining the group transfer and you will be responsible for your own transportation to or from the airport.

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Faculty Study Leader

Sharon Ullman, Professor of History at Bryn Mawr College

Leading our trip will be Sharon Ullman, Professor of History at Bryn Mawr College. Professor Ullman received her PhD from the University of California Berkley. Ullman specializes in 20th-century America with an emphasis on popular culture and gender. She is the author of Sex Seen: The Emergence of Modern Sexuality in America and Sexual Borderlands: Constructing an American Sexual Past (with Kathleen Kennedy). Her current research project, Brainwashing: The Anxious Mind of Cold War America is under contract to NYU Press. Her courses include such topics as the history of sexuality, the culture of the cold war, and film and national identity.

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Hilton Los Angeles Airport

(for guests choosing this option pre- and/or post-tour)

5711 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: (310) 410-4000
Fax: (310) 410-6250

Adjacent to the Los Angeles airport with complimentary 24-hour shuttle service, the Hilton offers several restaurants, bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, swimming pool, and four whirlpool spas. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee maker, TV, and phone.

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho
00000 Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: 011-84-4-6270-8888
Fax: 011-84-4-6270-9999

Overlooking West Lake, the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake offers a tranquil resort atmosphere conveniently located just 15 minutes from the city center. The 359-room hotel, decorated with contemporary Vietnamese styles, includes three restaurants, two bars, and a lounge; convenience store; Internet access; fitness center with sauna and spa; laundry and dry cleaning services; and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have a private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Furama Resort Da Nang

68 Ho Xuan Huong Street
Da Nang, Vietnam
Phone: 011-84-511-3847-333
Fax: 011-84-511-3847-666

With an ideal location overlooking famed China Beach, this resort hotel offers a host of amenities including two restaurants, two bars, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, ocean terrace, fitness center, library, multi-terraced swimming pools, beauty salon, tennis courts, massage, sauna/steam room, and water sports. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Saigon Morin Hotel

30 Le Loi Street
Hue City, Vietnam
Phone: 011-84-54-3823-526
Fax: 011-84-54-3825-155

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, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center with sauna and massage, outdoor pool, beauty salon, and crafts shop. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Victoria Can Tho Hotel

Cai Khe Ward
Can Tho City, Vietnam
Phone: 011-84-710-3810-111
Fax: 011-84-710-3829-259

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; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; 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, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

InterContinental Asiana Saigon

Corner Hai Ba Trung Street & Le Duan Blvd.
7000 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Phone: 011-84-8-3520-9999
Fax: 011-84-8-3520-9955

Centerpiece of the modern Kumho Asiana retail and commercial complex in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the InterContinental Asiana Saigon is close to the colonial Notre Dame Basilica and the Old Saigon Post Office, and a short walk from such historic landmarks as Reunification Palace, City Hall, and the Opera House. Hotel amenities include two restaurants, bar, lounge, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fully equipped health and fitness center, Spa Intercontinental, and outdoor pool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.



Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort

Vithei Charles de Gaulle
Khum Svay Dang Kum, Angkor
1010 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phone: 011-855-63-964600
Fax: 011-855-63-964610

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, laundry and dry cleaning services, 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.

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