Travel from the natural riches of Halong Bay in Vietnam to the preserved ruins of Angkor Wat and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang in Laos. Begin in Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, as you walk through Ba Dinh Square and then take a cyclo ride to discover the city’s bustling Old Quarter. Head to Halong Bay and cruise the emerald waters with one night among the dramatic limestone peaks rising from the sea. Greet the morning with views of the bay and a Tai Chi lesson before heading to Hue in Central Vietnam. Gain insight into the country’s Imperial past at the citadel & ancient royal tombs before you travel over the scenic Hai Van Pass to Hoi An where leisure & relaxation awaits. Take a walking tour of the old town and vibrant riverside market, and leisurely cycle through the countryside and help with planting trees. After some time at your leisure in Hoi An; head to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. Take a city tour, and learn of the Cu Chi Tunnels before heading to the lush Mekong Delta for visits to charming villages along narrow canals. Conclude your trip in Cambodia & Laos as you explore the Temples of Angkor, the colonial facades of Phnom Penh, and the charming town of Luang Prabang in Laos.
“Every aspect of the tour was professional, fun and executed seamlessly. The guides were fabulous - knowledgeable, flexible, and most importantly fun to be with.”
Brenda, British Columbia -
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Le Bel Air Boutique Resort will be used for the February 2017 departure in place of Villa Santi Resort in Luang Prabang. Accommodation rarely changes, but when and where this is required a similar alternative will be provided and advised before you depart on your tour.
Prices shown are per person based on a party of at least 2 adults traveling together. The Single Room Supplement cost is in addition to the twin sharing cost for those who would like a single room. This is a group tour where a minimum number of travelers on each departure date are required to guarantee the materialization of the tour.
Hotel with daily breakfast, 1 night on board well-appointed ship in Halong Bay, lunches & dinners as indicated, services of expert English speaking local guides, entrance fees to sites listed on the itinerary, group touring in A/C transportation with expert drivers, 4 on-tour flights, and airport transfers. International flights are not included, please enquire.
Interested in this itinerary but would like to travel privately and not with a group? Please contact us at email@example.com for a tailor-made tour quote just for you.
Upon arrival in Hanoi you will be met by your local guide in the arrivals area holding a name-board. After a brief introduction, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Stay two nights in Hanoi
We start this full day of activity by exploring Hanoi’s illustrious history, starting with a morning visit to the marble mausoleum housing the body of Ho Chi Minh. Then we’ll visit his wooden stilt house and the One Pillar Pagoda before moving on to the Temple of Literature. Later, we’ll visit Hoa Lo Prison, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple before taking an exciting one-hour cyclo tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
This morning we’ll depart Hanoi and drive to legendary Halong Bay, passing vibrant green rice fields along the way. You’ll then board a sailing junk for a cruise amongst the hundreds of islets of Halong Bay, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once on board, you’ll enjoy a seafood lunch before visiting a grotto of gigantic stalactites and stalagmites. Then we’ll drop anchor in the late evening for an overnight stay amongst the dramatic peaks.
Spend the morning cruising through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay before transferring to the airport in Hanoi for your flight to Danang where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the World Heritage Site, Hoi An town. Stay three nights in Hoi An.
This day begins with a cycling tour of a local Village, which also includes the planting of trees before you visit a local farm to sample traditional lifestyle and gardening methods. In the village, you’ll sample the local specialty “Tam Huu” spring rolls and indulge in a traditional herbal footbath. In the old town, take a guided walking tour to visit an ancient merchant house, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the vibrant riverside market.
This morning you will head out for a half-day tour to the My Son Temple Sanctuary, formerly known as the religious centre of the Cham Kingdom, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The afternoon is at your leisure.
Depart Hoi An and stop in Danang for a tour of the Cham Museum. Afterwards, drive to the old imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue, over stunning mountain scenery and passed local villages. Stay two nights in Hue.
Your day starts with the warmth and hospitality of your host on this half day excursion to gain further insight into the culture and daily life of the locals in Hue. Traditional customs, the way of life, cooking traditions, and Hue’s specialties are just some of the things you will experience. Enjoy a local lunch with your host's family. In the afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel, former Emperor Khai Dinh's tomb and then proceed to the elegant Thien Mu Pagoda to witness monks and their daily Buddhist prayer recital before a leisurely sunset cruise on the river.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then transfer to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel and then take a walk to visit the central Ben Thanh Market. Stay two nights in Ho Chi Minh City.
In the morning, visit the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels where Vietcong guerrillas built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels as hideouts during the war. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for a half-day city tour. Highlights include a photo-stop at the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Chinatown, the Binh Tay Market and either the Thien Hau Temple or the Quan Am Pagoda.
Drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta and take a boat cruise, where you’ll observe local merchants trading their produce from laden vessels. Then visit a village where you will see some family run businesses that produce rice cakes and rice paper before proceeding to an islet for a sampan ride to Vinh Long town where you will drive to the largest city in the Mekong Delta, Can Tho. Stay one night in Can Tho.
Enjoy a morning boat cruise to the Cai Rang floating market full of small boats and vessels that deliver goods from all parts of the Mekong Delta. Continue cruising to Ba Lang canal; stop at an orchard and enjoy seasonal fruit before proceeding to the town of Chau Doc. Stay one night in Chau Doc.
Take a thrilling speedboat to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. On your arrival in Phnom Penh, meet and transfer to your hotel. Later, enjoy a half-day tour of the city’s most impressive sites. Gain insight into Cambodia's cultural heritage with a visit to the Royal Palace, still the official residence of King Norodom Sihamoni, and the adjacent Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha. See the elegant National Museum, which contains a comprehensive collection of Khmer Art, and visit historic Wat Phnom, the city’s oldest shrine. This evening, you’ll enjoy a traditional Khmer foot massage. Stay two nights in Phnom Penh.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then head just outside Phnom Penh to a peaceful rural setting for a tour of the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, a stark reminder of the atrocities under the Pol Pot regime, and the Tuol Sleng (S-21) Museum to learn more about a chapter from Cambodia's more recent, tragic, past. Afterwards, enjoy lunch and then return to your hotel and have the afternoon at your leisure.
Meet at the hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap, home to the Temples of Angkor. On arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel for lunch and check-in. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Stay three nights in Siem Reap.
Step back in time with a visit to Angkor Thom and the ruins at the Bayon, Baphoun, Phimeanakas, Royal Palace, Elephant Terrace and the Leper King Terrace. Visit the impressive Ta Prohm temple enveloped by trees, and in the afternoon, visit magnificent Angkor Wat and explore its extraordinary architecture. This evening, watch the sun set over the spectacular monuments, and then enjoy dinner with a traditional Apsara performance at a local restaurant.
In the morning, visit the 11th Century Temple of Shive, Banteay Srei, followed by a visit to another notable temple nearby, Banteay Samre. Later, head into the countryside with your guide for an afternoon excursion. Just a short distance from the archaeological wonders of Angkor, there is a different, living history. Lifestyles in the countryside around Siem Reap have changed little since the temples were built over 1,000 years ago, but with new roads opening up the countryside this way of life may soon be gone forever. Today, you will explore this disappearing way of life, taking you to rice paddies, woodlands and gardens outside the city travelling on foot, by boat and ox-cart, enabling you to reach places where mass tourism has not yet encroached. Along the way you will be able to buy seasonal fruit, try sticky rice in bamboo tubes, and get a hands-on experience on the essential rural skills of the rice harvest, thatching, fishing, and cooking simple meals over an open fire. The afternoon will end in a quiet spot to watch local children wash their buffalo, playing and laughing as they jump from bridges into the stream. With a cold drink in hand you can relax and watch the sun set over the rice paddies, or walk a short distance to a scenic view point over a tranquil ancient reservoir. As the evening draws in you will be taken to visit the house of a local family for a home-cooked dinner. Enjoy the meal together with your host family and then return to your hotel.
Enjoy the morning at your leisure and then fly to Luang Prabang, Laos, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Stay three nights in Luang Prabang.
Your full day tour begins after breakfast with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. We then enjoy a short guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. Today, we also visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun. In the afternoon, visit Ock Pop Tok, a Laos based social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. Meaning “east meets west”, Ock Pop Tok brings the fascinating world of traditional Lao handicrafts alive for visitors. The beautiful Living Crafts Centre overlooking the Mekong is the heart of Ock Pop Tok. Set in a tropical Mekong garden it serves as a resource centre for learning about textiles, crafts and culture. Afterwards, return to the town and climb up Mt. Phousi for a spectacular panorama of the town of Luang Prabang during sunset. This evening, enjoy dinner with a traditional Baci ceremony.
Take a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River to explore local villages at Ban Xiengmene and Ban Chan. Continue with the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun, which once belonged to the royal family, and the nearby Sackarine Caves, before cruising to Pak Ou cave. Explore the cave and cross the Mekong River for lunch. Return by road to Luang Prabang, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai, where the residents create a unique rice wine called lao lao, and continue to the village of Ban Phanom, well known for hand-weaving. before returning to the hotel for the evening free at leisure.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and at the appointed time you will be met and transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
Marvel at Vietnam's natural scenery.
Days 11 to 13: Explore the Mekong Delta, including floating markets, rural villages, and historic temples.
This itinerary has been tried & tested and can be booked as-is. However, should you wish to customize your own private tour, you may contact us here.
VIETNAM ENCOUNTER & HOMESTAY