Welcome to Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, Asia!
ROUTE: Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Siem Reap, Vientiane, Luang Prabang
DURATION: 16 Days
- Visit to historical sites/monuments
- Excursion to Halong Bay with boat trip in a charming traditional wooden junk for a cruise through the bay
- Sightseeing in Hanoi with a cyclo ride
- Excursion to Mai Chau with light trek
- Sightseeing in the Old Imperial City
- Excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda and Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang with boat trip
- Sightseeing in Hoi An with a boat trip on the Thu Bon River
- Sightseeing in Cholon (Chinatown)
- Excursion to My Tho with a boat trip to Mekong River islands
- Visit Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
- Excursion to Phnom Kulen and Banteay Srei
- Sightseeing in Vientiane Vientiane
- Excursion by boat to Tham Pak Ou Caves
- Visit Mount Phousi for sunset
|AIRFARE:||International Airfare Upon Request|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Hotels used (or similar)|
Accommodations Per Person Sharing, including hotel taxes
Arrival & departure transfers where applicable
Local guides where applicable
Meals per itinerary
Park entrance fees and sightseeing fees where applicable
Airfare and air taxes
Cancellation, baggage, travel and medical insurance
Items of a personal nature such as baggage porterage, gratuities/tips, laundry, telephone calls, bottled water, etc.
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Optional sightseeing and activities
Meals, beverages and services not mentioned in itinerary
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Day 1 Hanoi
Upon arrival at airport in Cambodia, you will be warmly met by a representative, who will provide assistance and transfer to your accommodation to check-in.
Day 2 Hanoi
- Excursion to Halong Bay with boat trip including lunch (12 Hours). Depart from Hanoi in the morning for scenic Halong Bay. Arriving at the pier around noon, board the charming traditional wooden junk for a cruise through the bay.
- Lunch will be served while the boat sails on peacefully.
- The cruise passes by unique rock formations with names such as Stone Dog, Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), and Fighting Cock (Ga Choi).
- At the core of the islets, there is an unforgettable cave named Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto) which is the last site before returning to Halong pier.
- Disembark at Halong pier at approximately 16:30 and return to Hanoi by vehicle.
Overnight: Hanoi – (B, L)
Day 3 Hanoi
- Sightseeing in Hanoi with a cyclo ride (8 Hours). Although the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries.
- Begin with a walk around the Temple of Literature with its walled courtyards and graceful gateways. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university.
- Next visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh (closed Mondays, Fridays and during October and November). From there walk past the French Governor’s Palace to Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969.
- At the Museum of Ethnology (closed Mondays and during Vietnam New Year) see exhibits of art, traditional clothing and reconstructions of traditional longhouses from 54 different ethnic groups.
- Continue on to Hoan Kiem Lake to visit Ngoc Son Temple which contains an islet with the tiny Tortoise Pagoda.
- End the tour with a one-hour cyclo ride to see even more of this fascinating city. Visit a Water Puppet Show: a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Have a taste of Pho and Banh mi – two of the best street food items on the world.
Overnight: Hanoi – (B)
Day 4 Hanoi
- Excursion to Mai Chau with light trek. Travel to Hoa Binh, the start of the northwest highlands, an area populated by many different traditional ethnic groups, including Muong and White Thai.
- Taste the locally made rice wine and visit the Muong villages of Ban Dam and Giang Mo.
- Continue to Mai Chau, an authentic Montagnard village set in a quiet valley inhabited mainly by White Thai, an ethnic minority related to tribes in Thailand, Laos and China.
- Overnight in Hanoi Special note: Long day program
Overnight: Hanoi – (B, L)
Day 5 Hanoi - Hue
- Transfer (35 kms); Flight from Hanoi to Hue; Transfer (15 kms). Sightseeing in the Old Imperial City (3 Hours). Located in the heart of Hue is the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modelled after the Forbidden City of Peking. The original walls stretched for 10 km and were surrounded by a wide moat. Today, most of the buildings have been destroyed due to bombing during the Vietnam-American War, but the monuments that remain provide a fascinating glimpse into the court life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Approach the city past the striking Flag Tower, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing NGO MON Gate, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit Dien THO Residence (Dien THO Palace) where the Queen mother lived, visit Thai HOA Palace, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the Halls OF THE Mandarins, and the original Nine Dynastic Urns, among other sites.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Vietnam offers free WIFI almost everywhere you go! Make use of this service when in a local restaurant or café to catch up on some emails, check your social media or send some holiday snapshots to your friends and family back home!
Overnight: Hue – (B)
Day 6 Hue - Danang - Hoi An
- Excursion to Thien Mu Pagoda and Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang with boat trip (3.5 Hours). Enjoy a leisurely boat ride down the Perfume River, stopping first at the iconic Thien MU Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower which has become Hue’s most widely recognizable monument. Continue cruising into the countryside to the Imperial Tomb OF Minh Mang, a majestic complex of courtyards, pavilions and temples in a beautiful natural setting. By vehicle from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang (170 kms). Drive south from Hue along scenic mountain roads with spectacular views over the coastline. Highlights along the way include the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the high dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam; Lang Co, a lovely stretch of beach curving outwards between a clear blue lagoon and the East Vietnam Sea; and the large coastal city of Danang.
- After arriving in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, an elegant colonial building which houses the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world; and pass by Non Nuoc Beach, a famous spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam-American War.
- Continue south to Hoi An, stopping en route to visit the Marble Mountains, five stone hillocks, once islands, that rise sharply from the surrounding rice fields. Riddled with caves and shrines, they are said to each represent one of the five elements of the universe. Overnight in Hoi An.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Even though Hoi An has a reputation as a town that turns its lights off early, it’s still an attractive nightlife location. You can take a bike or walk everywhere and as it’s small enough for a night out without the need of wheels; have break at a riverside bar and savour tasty local dishes.
Overnight: Hoi An – (B)
Day 7 Hoi An - Danang - Saigon
- Sightseeing in Hoi An with a boat trip on the Thu Bon River (6 Hours). The exquisitely preserved merchant town of Hoi An was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1999. Its colourful shop houses and temples reflect a diverse heritage, dating back to the 16th and 17th century, when it was a major port for Western, Chinese and Japanese traders. Today it is a thriving centre of traditional crafts and a shopper’s paradise, best explored on foot. Wander through the cobbled streets, past low tile-roofed buildings, the bustling central Market and the small Harbour where colourfuly painted boats are moored. The walking tour will include visits to a Private House, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries in a traditional setting; to one of the Family Chapels built by prominent merchants and official families as centres for ancestor worship; and to a typical Chinese-Style Pagoda or Assembly Hall. Continue to Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, it contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An’s history. Visit a handicraft workshop in Hoi An where local products are being made by the industry itself. Finally, continue to the famous Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda, first constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream. In the afternoon, board a local boat and cruise down the THU BON River, enjoying the unspoiled countryside and stopping to visit a Pottery Village and a Woodcarving Village before returning to Hoi An harbour.
- Transfer to Danang airport (35 kms); Flight from Danang to Saigon Transfer (15 kms).
- TIP OF THE DAY: Head down to An Bang beach after sightseeing for a sunset drink and some live music in the beach bars along the beach.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 8 Saigon
- Sightseeing in Cholon (Chinatown) [Half day] (4 Hours): The sprawling, densely packed Cholon (Chinatown) constantly bustles with activity and retains a traditional feeling, unlike the more modern Saigon city centre. Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with the Chinese Medicine Market and Binh TAY Market, the vast wholesale market selling every kind of good from dried foods, T-shirts, to electronics.
- Continue to Thien HAU Pagoda, built by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess.
- Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels (5.5 Hours): Never discovered by American forces, the Cu Chi Tunnels were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapons factories. Today, walk through the area and learn about the day to day life of the Vietcong, bear witness to the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 9 Saigon
- Day at leisure.
Overnight: Saigon – (B)
Day 10 Saigon - Siem Reap
- Excursion to My Tho with a boat trip to Mekong River islands (Full day) (8 Hours): From Saigon, transfer to My Tho, a bustling town in the rich agricultural region of the Mekong Delta and visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, a beautiful temple which illustrates the splendid harmonious fusion of Asian and European architectural styles.
- Afterwards board a local boat to explore the Mekong River Islands, stopping at a fruit orchard to enjoy fruit and tea while listening to local music and Thoi SON islet. The trip also includes a brief sampan ride through the tiny waterways that thread the island.
- Transfer (15 kms); Flight from Saigon to Siem Reap. Arrival in Siem Reap. Transfer (6 kms).
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 11 Siem Reap
- Sightseeing in Angkor (70 kms): Visit Angkor Wat (2 Hours): The crown jewel of Khmer architecture, Angkor WAT is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings. To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. Upon entering the main structure, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside. On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface of the temple, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted from the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.
- Visit Angkor Thom (2.5 Hours): The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor’s most popular sights. Enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace OF THE Elephants and the Terrace OF THE Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle.
- Visit Preah Khan (1 Hours): Preah Khan: a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 metres.
- Visit a temple for sunset (90 Minutes): Watch the sun set over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Chill out at the famous Pub Street where there are restaurants, bars, street food, and souvenir shops or simply just sit and chill with a relaxing street foot massage and watch the world go by.
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 12 Siem Reap
- Excursion to Phnom Kulen and Banteay Srei (8 Hours): Visit Phnom Kulen, historically revered by all Cambodians as a sacred place of pilgrimage. This was the site, then known as Mount Mahendraparvata, that Jayavarman II chose in 802 to proclaim himself a divine universal ruler and marked the beginning of the Angkor period of Khmer history. Explore this spectacular site and see the riverbed rock carvings.
- Continue on to the 10th century Banteay Srei, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. This sandstone temple is square shaped with entrances on the east and west. Of main interest are the three central towers which are decorated with male and female divinities and beautiful filigree relief work.
Overnight: Siem Reap – (B)
Day 13 Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Vientiane
- Transfer (6 kms); Flight from Siem Reap to Vientiane; Arrival in Vientiane; Transfer.
Overnight: Vientiane – (B)
Day 14 Vientiane - Luang Prabang
- Sightseeing in Vientiane Vientiane, the capital of Laos, has a relaxed charm with tree-lined boulevards, interesting temples and colourful markets. Experience the city’s highlights, including the gleaming golden stupa, Pha That Luang, perhaps the most important national monument in Laos; Ho Pha Keo, the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture; the temple of Wat Si Saket; and Patuxai, a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs.
- Transfer Flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Try a unique Laos massage after spending the day exploring the city.
Overnight: Luang Prabang – (B)
Day 15 Luang Prabang
- Excursion by boat to Tham Pak Ou Caves (5-6 Hours): Travel up the Mekong River to the steep limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, home to the Tham PAK OU Caves. These extraordinary caves are filled with Buddha images, of every style and material imaginable. On the way to Pak Ou Cave, stop at BAN Xang HAI Village (If time permitted, open 06:00 – 15:00 and closed every major Buddhist holiday), a local village famous for the production of lao lao, the local rice wine whisky. Visit the weaving village of Ban Phanom: a Tai Lue village east of Luang Prabang, well known for its traditional hand-woven cotton and silk.
- Sightseeing in Luang Prabang (half day) (4 Hours): Set between the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1995. Begin your tour with WAT Visoun (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas. Visit the nearby WAT Aham before continuing to WAT Xieng Thong, the crown jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stencilled murals. From there, stroll down the main street (Wat Street) of Luang Prabang.
- Time permitting, stop at some of the many temples that line its sides, including WAT Sibounheuang, WAT SI Moungkhoun, WAT SOP and WAT Sene.
- Visit Mount Phousi for sunset: Climb 328 steps starting from the entrance on the opposite side of National Museum or 410 steps on the other side of Khan River to the small temples atop Phou SI, the 150m high hill which sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river.
- TIP OF THE DAY: Experience unforgettable sunsets at Mount Phou Si or for a more leisurely approach visit Wat Phabaht and bask in the afternoon glow.
Overnight: Luang Prabang – (B)
Day 16 Luang Prabang
- Sightseeing in Luang Prabang.
Departure: Transfer to the airport for your flight home. – (B)
Meals as per itinerary: (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)