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This tour is designed to highlight two of Indochina’s most exceptional destinations in Vietnam’s incredible diversity and the enchanting land of Laos. This breathtaking and inspiring journey through Indochina is sure to astound you at every turn.
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh Arrival (-/-/-)
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh Sightseeing (B/L/-)
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh - Cu Chi Tunnels - Cao Dai Temple (B/L/-)
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta (B/L/-)
Day 6: Hoi An Tour (B/L/-)
Day 7: Hoi An – My Son Holy Land (B/L/-)
Day 8: Hoi An – Hue (B/L/-)
Day 9: Hue – Hanoi (B/L/-)
Day 10: Hanoi City Tour - Lao Cai (B/L/-)
Day 11: Sa Pa - Hill Tribe Village (B/L/-)
Day 12: Sa Pa – Hanoi (B/L/-)
Day 13: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay (B/L/D)
Day 14: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi - Luang Prabang (B/L/-)
Day 15: Luang Prabang - Khuangsi Waterfall (B/L/-)
Day 16: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave (B/L/-)
Day 17: Luang Prabang Elephant Tour (B/L/-)
Day 18: Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng (B/L/-)
Day 19: Vang Vieng - Tham Phoutham (B/L/-)
Day 20: Vang Vieng – Vientiane (B/L/-)
Day 21: Vientiane – Departure (B/-/-)
Upon your arrival at the Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Nhat international airport, you will be met by your private guide and driver then transferred to hotel in downtown.
Ho Chi Minh, formally called Saigon is an electrifying cosmopolitan city. It is an exciting and exotic city where the pace of the life never dims and which is now looking forward with great optimism after its tumultuous 20th century. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax and overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Following breakfast, today’s excursion begins to explore the city’s major attractions with a first visit to Central Post Office and the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883. Neo-Romanesque in form, the Notre Dame is the major seat of the Catholic religion in modern. Continue our tour to visit the moving War Remnants Museum, a poignant display of the futility of war. We pass by the Reunification Palace. Here on April 30th 1975 the war officially ended when tank 843 of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was, at the time, the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.
In the afternoon, discover Cholon, the city’s historic Chinatown, with its narrow streets lined with delis and homes of prestigious local businessmen. Then stop at the Thien Hau Pagoda, the most important pagoda in the city. Return to the hotel in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Today starts with a visit to Cao Dai Temple located in Tay Ninh. After a two or 3-hour drive, we arrive at the Holy Temple. Then, attend the fantastic mid-day service together with the followers. Later, have lunch in a local Vietnamese restaurant.
After lunch, we continue our day with another 2-hour drive to visit Cu Chi Tunnels, a key Vietcong resource during the Vietnam War. They span hundreds of miles underground and accommodated the Vietcong for up to two weeks at a time. After visit, get back Ho Chi Minh City, take a rest and overnight in the lovely hotel.
Morning depart Ho Chi Minh, we drive through the lush gardens and green fields to Mekong Delta. Upon arrival at Vinh Long Town, we will embark on a private boat trip on the Co Chien River, some of the largest Mekong’s arm. We will cruise under the spectacular My Thuan Cable-stayed Bridge. A stop will be made at Dinh Tan Hoa, an ancient provincial house built some hundred fifty years ago
We will proceed the cruise up-stream on the Tien river, another large arm of the Mekong. On the banks, some dark smokes in the sky will lead us to one of the biggest bricks and tiles factory where we will have an interesting visit. Back on board, we will continue to cruise towards Sa Dec. On both sides of the river, locals are revolting water water-hyacinth, another famous Mekong delta product used for furniture and baskets.
Sa Dec town is appearing like a little “Venice” with numerous narrow canals, with various kind of activities on the banks. We will disembark at Sa Dec local market, one of the biggest ones of the delta. Walk along its narrow streets and beautiful old houses dating from the last century, some old Chinese temples, including the primary school of Marguerite Duras famous writer. (See Marguerite Duras novel turned into a famous movie, “The Lover”).
Depart Sa Dec we wind our way to Can Tho. Arrive and check in your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Can Tho.
After breakfast, take a two-hour boat trip to visit the Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets. Wander into the villages to visit the rice paper mill and the rice noodle making factory. Learn how to cross the “Monkey Bridge” which is made from a single bamboo. We also enjoy a bicycle ride through the villages to enjoy the beautiful rural scenery.
Depart Can Tho we drive straight back to Tan Son Nhat airport to catch a short afternoon flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival in Da Nang airport, we will be met and welcomed by your local tour guide and driver. Transfer to hotel in Hoi An. Free at leisure after hotel check in.
After breakfast at hotel, we kick off for an interesting bike (pushbike) ride to visit Hoi An’s major attractions: which includes Japanese Bridge, Old Merchant House, China Assembly Halls and some other interesting shops.
Hoi An was once a flourishing port under the Nguyen lords. Today, the charming town retains the spirit of a bygone era, with tile-roofed wooden buildings and ancient winding streets. Riding through this pedestrianized town, losing ourselves in the potpourri of vendors selling colorful handmade lanterns (a Hoi An specialty), tailor shops with local fashions on display and the intoxicating aroma of Vietnam’s undeniable cuisine.
In the afternoon, a fisherman will greet us at the shore and help us to step on Hoi An’s special boat: Basket Boat. The basket-shaped transportation is widely used in Southern Vietnam; sitting in one would be one of the precious fun moments in your Vietnam holiday. Just as other fishermen, you will be back to shore with a boat-load of fish when sunset. What a harvest!
Depart Hoi An, your private guide and driver takes you to My Son Holy Land (about one hour), considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham structures in Vietnam.
My Son is a former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled central Vietnam between the second and thirteenth centuries. The complex is comprised of seventy Hindu-like towers and temples dating from the second century.
After visit the temple complex and take plenty photos, we return to Hoi An by boat. Arrive back in town at around mid-day. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town, visit the local markets or simply enjoy the last shopping. Overnight in Hoi An.
Depart Hoi An, drive towards Hue which is about 120km from Hoi An town. Passing Danang, a stop will be made at Cham Museum which has an open air collection of Cham sculptures. Many of the sandstone carving are breathtaking. Visit the marble mountain. We also stop at the famed My Khe Beach for some quick photos. Then travel through Hai Van pass, and Lang Co beach – one of the most beautiful beaches of Vietnam. Arrive in Hue and check into your hotel.
After lunch, visit the Imperial Citadel, a 19th-century walled fortress taken by North Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, shocking South Vietnamese and U.S. forces. Later we embark in a boat cruise along Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda and admire sunset on boat. Stay overnight in Hue.
This morning, continue your exploration of Hue, visit Emperor Tu Duc’s tomb, a complex of terraces and pagodas. Then set off to discover Emperor Khai Dinh’s mausoleum — though smaller than Tu Duc’s, it is far more elaborate. Stop at Vong Canh – Bird’s eyed view point to admire the wonderful scenery of the perfume River. Stop at the local workshop to see people making joss sticks and conical hats.
After lunch, we drive straight to Hue airport for a short flight to Hanoi. You will be met on arrivals by your private guide and driven to your hotel of choice here. Stay overnight in Hanoi.
An opt for you to set out at around 6:00 am and head off to the Hoan Kiem Lake where you will catch a glimpse of Hanoi residents performing their morning exercise routines, perhaps you can join in a random Tai Chi or Aerobics class to stretch your tired limbs.
After breakfast, start to visit the Soviet-style Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh read out the declaration of the nation’s independence in 1945. We visit the museum dedicated to Ho Chi Minh before passing through his Mausoleum; escorted by the soldiers in full regalia (you will be asked to remove hats if entering, and no shorts or vests are allowed either). As you leave, you will be able to walk through the gardens of the Presidential Palace before seeing “Uncle Ho’s” house; the humble dwelling he built (based on a traditional Vietnamese stilt house) and where he lived for the last ten years of his life.
We will then continue to the One Pillar Pagoda and the 900-year old Temple of Literature, the principal Vietnamese Confucian sanctuary, and its historical center of learning. Made up of five courtyards, this is one of the few remnants of the original city. Lunch will be at a local Hanoi restaurant, where you will be served a delicious Vietnamese style lunch.
In the afternoon, we visit the Hoa Lo Prison, the highest security prison of Indochina during the French colony. It was where the Vietnamese patriotic soldiers were detained by the colonialists and was later known as the “Hanoi Hilton” for American pilots during the American War.
Afterward, wind through the narrow alleyways of the Old Quarter and discover many other streets selling Hanoi specialties, and sample some of the local Vietnamese treats such as Omai, Nom, Banh Cuon…. etc.
Tonight we are transferred to Hanoi Railway station to catch the night train journey to Lao Cai City.
Morning arrive at Lao Cai, we take a short transfer on a private van ascending to the former hill-station town of Sapa.
At an elevation of 1,500 meters, Sapa was once a hill resort of French administrators when the summer heat became unbearable. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of ethnic minority people are a highlight of Sa Pa although conditions are basic.
Freshen up and enjoy a breakfast and then take a leisure walk to visit Sapa town, Sapa market. Afternoon you will take a walking tour to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, home to the H’mong minority peoples. As you walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, you will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. Here you have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families that live in the area. Overnight in Sapa.
Following breakfast, you explore the Sapa local market and then set out on our 3-4 hour trek that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van, home to H’mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. After lunch, continue to visit Ta Van village. After the visit, we are transferred back to Lao Cai station for our night train journey back to Hanoi. Overnight on the air conditioned train.
Upon arrival at the station, your private local guide in Hanoi picks you up and take you to the mini hotel for rest and shower. After that you are taken to a local restaurant for breakfast.
Depart Hanoi with a small backpack with all necessity for the overnight trip (the main luggage is stored in the hotel and we collect upon our return). We drive about 3 hours through rustic Vietnamese countryside to Halong Bay, one of the 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites. With hundreds of giant limestone peaks jutting out of the water at the Bay of Tonkin – it is indeed an impressive sight.
Board our cruise and after a delicious seafood lunch was served, we take a short trek to a nearby summit to enjoy the panorama view of the bay. As the day wanes, slip into a swim in the cool water before enjoying a sumptuous dinner under the moonlit sky.
(Note: Program may differ slightly base on cruise ships)
Rising to the sound of the bay, we enjoy an elegant breakfast before we visit a beautiful limestone grotto to admire its many unique rock formations. Then it’s back to the boat to form your final lasting impression of Halong Bay’s awe-inspiring beauty as we cruise back to the dock and, drive directly to the airport which takes about 4 hours, then take a short flight to Luang Prabang. On arrival in Luang Prabang, we are met at the airport by your private guide and river then transferred to hotel. Free time for you. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
An optional early start gives us the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there we will visit the morning Phousi Market, where we will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. After that, back to the hotel for breakfast then continue touring the ancient own of Luang Prabang with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. Then head to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We also have time to visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai.
Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today we will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, a Hmong village, Ban Ou a Laoloum village and Ban Thapene, a Khmu village. This then takes us to the beautiful Khuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. Get back Luang Prabang for overnight.
The day starts head north by a private car along route 13, before taking an unpaved road to Ban Khia Luang village. We then have ample time to visit the school, play with the kids. We also take some time to explore the rest of the village, where you can see weaving and visit the local temple. We stop for lunch at the village, which can either be a western picnic lunch, or traditional Lao food such as sticky rice, laap and fresh vegetables cooked by the villagers.
After lunch, drive to Ban Khoklin, which takes us through some beautiful scenery of mountains and paddy fields. At Ban Khoklin we then board a private boat down the Nam Ou River for 30 minutes to Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims and continue down the Mekong River back to Luang Prabang. Overnight at the lovely hotel in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast we take a short drive to the Spirit Resort where we will experience the protected Elephants at the “Elephant Park Project” along the Nam Khan riverbanks. From here we can enjoy the one-hour elephant ride on the back of a protected Asian Elephant. It is then followed by a short and easy hiking tour will lead us out into the Fair Trek project area where villages profit directly from our visit. A small Khmu community lives below a high rising mountain range. After lunch, return to Tad Sae waterfall, boat ride back to Lao Spirit Resort. Then we are taken back to Luang Prabang for overnight.
After breakfast, start to visit The National Museum (close Tuesday) and the Central market. Then we travel by roads to mountainous town of Vang Vieng. Today our intrepid journey will be strenuous as we drive along one of the most scenic but also one of the roughest routes in Asia. In the afternoon, arrive in Vang Vieng, a small and tranquil town, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, despite recent developments with the advent of tourism. After check into our hotel room, embark on a boat for a well-paced trip along the Nam Song River, exploring the breathtaking mountain landscape.
Overnight in Vang Vieng.
After breakfast, we start our board on a local tractor through paddy field areas heading to Tham Phoukham caves, where our breath will be taken away seeing the most beautiful and famous limestone cavern, surrounded by natural forests. Along the way, we will have chance to explore the local cultures by greeting the local villagers and learning about their daily lifestyle. There is a small natural pool in front of the caves where we can take a swim to refresh ourselves from the hot climate or explore the nearby area. After spending the day at the caves and its surrounding areas, we make our way returning Vang Vieng town, using local transportation or tractor. En route, we visit the ethnic minority villages of Hmong, Souay and Taidam villages meeting the warm and friendly hill tribe people and observing their traditional tribal costumes. In the afternoon optional to kayaking down Song River for 3 hours visiting temples and local caves. Return to our hotel after an exciting day. Stay overnight in Vang Vieng.
Early morning, drive out of town to Vientiane. Along the way, make a stop to visit Vang Xang, a famous archeological site dating back 11th century. After about 2-hour drive we will get to Vientiane, the charming and fascinating capital of Laos. This small town conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. This afternoon, take time to explore the town; with Wat Sisaket which is the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha images. We continue sightseeing by visiting Haw Prakeo, the former royal temple of Laos monarchy, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Statue. Then visit the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph before continuing to the famous That Luang Stupa. Return to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and overnight in Vientiane.
Today free at leisure before transferring to the airport to take a departure flight coming back home town. It is time to say goodbye, we thank you very much for your travelling with us and warmly welcome you to come back again.
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