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Hoi An, Vietnam

Highlights of Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

23-day tailor-made journey from £6,965 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

23-day private journey from Vientiane to Siem Reap, taking in the very best of Indochina

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Highlights

  • Rise early to see monks wandering barefoot each dawn through the quiet streets of Luang Prabang, collecting alms.
  • Sail among the dramatic limestone peaks that rise from the waters of Halong Bay.
  • Muse over the intricate bas-reliefs on the walls of Angkor Wat.

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Vientiane
  • 3 Nights Luang Prabang
  • 2 Nights Hanoi
  • 1 Night Halong Bay
  • 3 Nights Hội An
  • 2 Nights Huế
  • 3 Nights Hồ Chí Minh
  • 2 Nights Phnom Penh
  • 2 Nights Siem Reap

Itinerary

Recommended for:
Beach | History & culture | Honeymoon | Natural world | Spa

This 23-day tailor-made adventure covers the main highlights of these three very different but equally special destinations while enjoying accommodation at some of Indochina's most luxurious properties along the way, creating an unforgettable private journey, utilising the services of our experienced local guides.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
London - Vientiane

Fly from the UK to Vientiane and transfer to your chosen hotel. 

Day 2
Vientiane

Upon arrival, you'll be met by your local guide and driver at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore one of Asia's most relaxed capital cities.

Stay: Green Park Boutique Hotel (Superior) or Settha Palace (Deluxe)

Day 3
Vientiane

This morning you'll enjoy a private tour of Vientiane taking in the main highlights of the capital, including the lively morning market, or Talat Sao, where vendors sell all manner of products including silk and cotton textiles, gold and silver jewellery, and ornate wooden carvings. From there you'll head to Wat Sisaket, Vientiane's oldest original temple, built in 1818. Across the street, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy Haw Pha Kaew, has now been converted into a fascinating museum.

Next you'll head to the most frequented temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Muang. With a bit of luck, you may see local temple-goers praying for good fortune. From here you'll continue on to the COPE Visitor's Centre, an outstanding organisation providing prosthetic limbs to victims of UXOs (unexploded ordnance) and vehicle accidents in Laos. This centre gives you both an informative and interactive experience into some of the issues still plaguing Laos from the days of the Indochina war.

Your journey continues with a stop at Phra That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos that is symbolic of both the monarchy and the Buddhist religion. Finally, you'll visit the Patuxai Monument that bears a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and is yet another reminder of the country's French ties. 

Stay: Green Park Boutique Hotel, Vientiane (Superior) or Settha Palace, Vientiane (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 4
Vientiane - Luang Prabang

Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang, the charming former imperial capital of Laos. Spend the afternoon relaxing before heading out in the evening to a traditional Baci ceremony and dance performance, during which you'll be offered tidings of good luck for your travels through Indochina. Animism has always played an integral part in the religious lives of the Lao people and the Baci is performed as a welcome or farewell, to bring good luck or to ward off bad spirits. After the Baci Ceremony, you'll head to dinner at a local restaurant. 

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 5
Luang Prabang

Today you'll explore Luang Prabang's temples and nearby Kuang Si Waterfalls. Begin your day at Wat Mai, a temple that was spared sacking by the Chinese in the late nineteenth century because of its beauty and design. From here, you'll head to the serene Wat Xieng Thong before heading out of Luang Prabang for a unique, hands-on learning experience where you'll participate in the 14 steps of the rice cycle on the Living Lands Community Farm.  On the tour you will take on the role of a rice farmer for the day, from planting the seeds to ploughing the fields with the help of the farm’s resident water Buffalo, before getting the chance to sample the rice!

After lunch, you will go to the Kuang Si Falls, one of the most beautiful falls in Laos. There, you'll have the opportunity to swim and relax amidst the stunning and verdant jungle surrounds and turquoise pools at the base of the falls. You'll then have the chance to get up close and personal with some Asiatic Black Bears which are cared for in a bear sanctuary nearby, many of whom have been saved from the illegal wildlife trade or have been placed there as a result of habitat degradation. Following your visit to the falls, you'll return to your hotel in Luang Prabang.

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 6
Luang Prabang

Today begins with an early start as you witness one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang - 'Tak Bat'. At dawn hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). Your guide will explain the background behind this ritual, which is still very much a part of everyday life in Laos. It's an early start but well worth the wake-up call! Afterwards, take a stroll through the colourful open-air market, which is located in the town centre along the banks of the Mekong River, where local people from Luang Prabang buy and sell their produce, before returning to your hotel for breakfast. 

After breakfast, depart with your local guide and head down to the river to take a leisurely boat journey along the Mekong to the Pak Ou caves. Along the way, admire the Mekong riverside scenery, as you pass rural villages, local fishermen and mountains carpeted with thick green forest. At the caves, you will witness a centuries-old tradition, as local people add Buddha statues to the base of the small cave. The boat journey to the cave will take around one and a half hours. 

After gliding back into town, transfer to your private vehicle, and visit an Ock Pop Tock in a village on the outskirts of Luang Prabang, where you will learn about traditional Lao weaving. In the late afternoon, Laotian refreshments and cocktails will be served in the garden on the banks of the Mekong before you return to Luang Prabang and spend the evening at leisure. 

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 7
Luang Prabang - Hanoi

Enjoy a relaxing morning at your hotel before you transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for a late afternoon flight to Hanoi in the north of Vietnam. On arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel.

Stay: Hotel De l’Opera, Hanoi (Superior) or Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 8
Hanoi

Today you'll enjoy a city tour of Hanoi with your expert local guide. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam, Uncle Ho, to see his mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, his 'house on stilts', the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue your tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, which is now dedicated to Confucian worship. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit the Hanoi Hilton, the ironic name given to the place that U.S pilots shot down over North Vietnam were imprisoned during the Vietnam War, which has now ben converted into a museum. Next, you'll experience a cyclo ride through the bustling streets of the city's old quarter, before taking a walk around its narrow alleyways and the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake. Then, take a tour of the French quarter with its faded colonial buildings and wide tree-lined avenues. Also visit Tran Quoc and Ngoc Son Temples, before finishing your day with a relaxing walk around Hanoi's famous Hoan Kiem Lake. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon, or continue exploring the city at your leisure. 

Stay: Hotel De l’Opera, Hanoi (Superior) or Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 9
Hanoi - Halong Bay

Depart Hanoi this morning for a 3.5-hour scenic journey by road to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam's greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. En route enjoy the captivating rural scenery and see fields of busy workers farming their rice crops using traditional methods of cultivation.

Superior / Deluxe option: arrive at the Cua Van floating fishing village, where you will then transfer to the Tien Ong cave - the most famous of all the caves in Halong Bay. Afterwards, you will board and take a trip to explore a local village, before anchoring in Luon Bo overnight and enjoying a cooking demonstration from the ship's chef as well as dinner. 

Stay: Halong Violet Cruise

Deluxe / Ultra option: you will arrive on Tuan Chau Island and check-in at Paradise Welcome Lounge at around 12:00, before embarking at approximately 12:30. Whilst on your cruise, you will have the opportunity to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes, learn about local fishermen's everyday lives in floating villages, or try your hand at kayaking or swimming among many other options. 

Stay: Paradise Peak Cruise 

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang/Hoi An

Superior / Deluxe option: enjoy Tai Chi in the morning, before arriving at Soi Sim Island where there's a beach for swimming, as well as excellent hiking opportunities. Upon your return to the boat, you'll have about one hour to freshen up, before you finish packing and depart for the Tuan Chau Marina. 

Deluxe / Ultra option: choose from a selection of morning activities, including Tai Chi, and watching the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast that can be served in your cabin or enjoy on deck, there are a range of activities to keep you occupied, including biking along a peaceful sea view lane, enjoying squid fishing, or relaxing on the ship enjoying its spa facilities, library and selection of 200 movies. 

Next, take the journey back by road to Hanoi which will take 3.5 hours, then head to the airport for a flight to Danang. On arrival, you will be met by a local guide and transferred by road to the historic Hoi An town, which is just a short distance away. 

Stay: Anantara Hoi An (Deluxe) or Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Hoi An (Ultra)

Meals: B

Day 11
Hoi An

This morning you will enhance your culinary skills with a cookery class at Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An's old town, before enjoying the fruits of your labour for lunch.

This afternoon you'll enjoy a walking tour of the picturesque old town of Hoi An with your local guide. Hoi An is a town that truly reflects Vietnam's rich culture and history. During the walking tour you'll stop by the home of a local craftsman for a silk lantern making workshop. After a brief introduction to the history, shape and colour of the lanterns, as well as the many stages of making them, you'll have the chance to make your own lantern to take home as a souvenir.

Stay: Anantara Hoi An (Deluxe) or Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Hoi An (Ultra)

Meals: B L

Day 12
Hoi An

Today is at leisure to explore the region or just relax at your hotel.

Stay: Anantara Hoi An (Deluxe) or Four Seasons The Nam Hai, Hoi An (Ultra)

Meals: B

Day 13
Hoi An/Danang - Hue

Depart Hoi An this morning and journey overland to the ancient town of Hue. Your first stop is the Marble Mountains - an important religious site with a number of impressive caves, temples and viewpoints. After visiting the area you'll drive the short distance to the old US R&R site formerly known to westerners as 'China Beach' with a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim (if weather permits). Continue the short distance to Danang City to visit the Cham Museum, enjoying lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch the drive from Danang to Hue takes you over the spectacular Hai Van Pass and offers superb views along the coast on clear days. Arrive in Hue and check in to your resort. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.

Stay: Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, Hue (Superior) or La Residence Hotel and Spa, Hue (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 14
Hue

Today you'll visit the impressive home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors - Hue's imposing Citadel. Much of the Citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, but is gradually being restored. You'll also visit the tombs of the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Tu Duc and the second last emperor, Khai Dinh. This afternoon you'll travel by Dragon Boat along the Perfume River to the much-revered Thien Mu Pagoda, the oldest and most beautiful in Hue. You'll also have the chance to visit Dong Ba market before returning to your hotel at the end of today's adventures.

Stay: Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, Hue (Superior) or La Residence Hotel and Spa, Hue (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 15
Hue - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Early this morning you'll transfer to Hue Airport for your flight to Saigon, the largest city in southern Vietnam. When you arrive, you'll be met by your local guide and transferred from the airport to the city centre. When you're there, you will visit the site of the former US Embassy before a walking tour will take you through the heart of some of Saigon's famous and historic city landmarks including the Rex Hotel, the Municipal Theatre, the Hotel de Ville and the Notre Dame Cathedral. You'll then head to a local restaurant for lunch before going back to your hotel for check-in. 

In the afternoon, visit the impressive Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum, before taking a late afternoon stroll with your guide along the famous Dong Khoi Street, which was formerly Rye Catinat. 

Stay: Intercontinental Asiana Hotel (Deluxe) or 

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 16
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

This morning, beat the crowds and arrive hours before the large bus tours to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels via a speedboat tour. During the tour, enjoy a stunning river cruise, and listen to your English-speaking guide introducing life along the banks of the Saigon River. On arrival, your guide will take you on a tour through the famous tunnels used by the communist guerrillas during the Vietnam War. The tunnel network stretches over 250km and extends to three levels underground providing you with a remarkable insight into the hardships, courage, determination and terror of a guerrilla war. A traditional Vietnamese lunch will be served after your visit to the tunnels.

Return to Saigon this afternoon and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before travelling to Cholon, Saigon's Chinese district where you'll visit the huge Binh Tay wholesale market and the temple dedicated to the Sea Goddess, Thien Hau.

Stay: Intercontinental Asiana Hotel (Deluxe) or 

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 17
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Mekong Delta Day Trip (Cai Lay)

This morning, depart early from Saigon and drive for approximately two hours to the Mekong Delta area of Cai Lay. Along the way, you'll pass lush rice paddies and fruit farms alongside the highway. Upon arrival, board a charming wooden boat to enjoy the spectacular Mekong countryside and bustling river life. Then hop on a bicycle for a short ride of about seven kilometres over level terrain, travelling along narrow village lanes, past fruit orchards and local cottage industries. Arrive at the home of a tropical fruit farmer and have a walk around his orchard, enjoying the opportunity to taste fresh fruits. Then relax while enjoying the view from a small sampan boat as you make your way slowly along tropical canals. Disembark and continue your ride through a small Mekong village to a local home for a home-hosted lunch of Mekong Delta specialties.

After lunch enjoy a short walk before returning to Saigon late afternoon.   Alternatively, you could choose to spend a few nights in the Mekong region to  learn more about this fascinating way of life on the river and continue onto Cambodia by speedboat – speak to one of our consultants for more details if this is a preferred route. The evening is at leisure.

Stay: Intercontinental Asiana Hotel (Deluxe) 

Stay: Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 18
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Phnom Penh

Your last morning in Vietnam is at leisure, allowing you a few more hours to explore the city at your own pace. Return to your hotel to check-out by noon before transferring to the airport for the short flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Upon arrival in Phnom Penh you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Tonight, venture out to one of Phnom Penh's many fine restaurants for dinner.

Stay: White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh (Superior) or Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 19
Phnom Penh

Today you'll explore Cambodia's charismatic capital, visiting the National Museum for a glimpse of the splendour of Khmer history and its amazing collection of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artefacts. You'll also spend time at the Royal Palace and the beautiful Silver Pagoda, famous for its 5000 silver tiled floor set within its grounds. In the afternoon, visit the chilling Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and the Killing Fields of Choeng Ek. Both sites are a testament to the insanity of the Pol Pot era and whilst they can be challenging places to visit, these sites give an important insight into recent Cambodian history.

Stay: White Mansion Hotel, Phnom Penh (Superior) or Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 20
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

This morning you'll transfer to Phnom Penh Airport for your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, you'll be met by your guide and transferred to a local restaurant for lunch. After lunch take some time to check into your hotel and freshen-up.

Mid-afternoon sees you head out with your guide to begin exploring the huge temple complex of Angkor Wat, one of the most impressive temple complexes in the world. Explore the interior of the great temple and spend a couple of hours discovering the corridors, central chambers and upper terraces as your guide explains the myriad of stories behind the bas-relief carvings, giving you an insight into life during the Khmer empire. Afterwards, weather permitting, enjoy sunset at a prime vantage spot at one of the temple ruins.

Stay: Shinta Mani Angkor, Siem Reap (Superior) or Park Hyatt Siem Reap (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 21
Siem Reap

Set off early today to view sunrise outside Angkor Wat. Enter the great temple in darkness from the little-visited eastern side, creeping along cloistered corridors past the longest stretch of bas-relief carvings in the world. Soak up the atmosphere of dawn at Angkor, from the edge of one of the ancient library pools. After sunrise at Angkor enjoy a breakfast packed by your hotel outside the temple.

Continue the morning by driving through Angkor Thom city and visit the temple of Bayon, known for its myriad of huge carved stone faces, before moving on to Preah Khan temple, a ruined but highly atmospheric mélange of tree roots and crumbling stone structures. Construction of this site was commissioned by the great 'temple builder' Jayavarman VII in honour of his father and a visit to this smaller site makes for an interesting contrast with the more imposing Angkor Wat. Preah Khan is currently being restored by the World Monument Fund and in places is in remarkably good condition. At the end of the morning return to your hotel for lunch and a swim.

This afternoon you'll drive to Banteay Kdei temple, a setting for the movie 'Lord Jim' and currently under restoration by a Japanese university. End the afternoon with a visit to jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor and sister site of Preah Khan. Once home to 2,740 monks, Ta Prohm today looks much as it did in the early 1850s, when French explorer Henri Mouhot 'rediscovered' this crumbling site. Please note that Ta Prohm is currently under a five-year restoration, but is still well worth a visit.  

Stay: Shinta Mani Angkor, Siem Reap (Superior) or Park Hyatt Siem Reap (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 22
Departure

Today is at leisure, before transferring to Siem Reap airport for your onward flight to the UK. 

Breakfast included

Meals: B

Day 23
Arrive in London

Arrive in London and continue your onward journey home. 

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

23-day tailor-made journey from £6,965 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £6,965 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £8,100 pp. incl. flights

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Hanoi, Danang , Hue, Saigon, Phnom Penh & Siem Reap
  • Private transfers throughout
  • 19 nights 4* (Superior) accommodation including a mix of breakfast, lunch and dinner, as per itinerary
  • Overnight Halong Bay cruise on a full-board basis
  • Private touring with local guides, highlights include;
  • Walking & temple tours of Vientiane
  • Traditional Baci ceremony, rice farmer for a day, Kuang Si Falls and Tak Bat monk ritual in Luang Prabang
  • Museums of Hanoi
  • Cookery class and walking tour of Hoi An
  • Citadel tour of Hue
  • Museums & Cuc Chi Tunnels of Ho Chi Minh
  • Day trip to the Mekong Delta
  • Historical tour of Phnom Penh
  • Angkor Wat temple complex of Siem Reap


Guide price from: (Superior/Deluxe) low season from £5,899, high season from £6,345 per person &  (Deluxe/Ultra) low season from £7,125, high season from £8,265 per person.

Valid for travel: until 30 Sept 2017

Package includes: International and domestic flights, transfers, 19 nights accommodation & overnight cruise, touring and meals as per itinerary

Terms & Conditions: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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