Day 1: Arrival-Luang Prabang. On arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. This tranquil town with its gleaming temple roofs, colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop retains an unique charm rarely found in all Asia. There is plenty to see in Luang Prabang, some of which are the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham, and the Wat Mai with five tiered roofs. We include these sights in a half day guided tour which also gives us a chance to climb Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunset view of the town and the Mekong River. There are 329 steps leading us on zigzag way past various temples to the sacred, gilded stupa of Wat Phousi at the summit. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B).
Day 2: Luang Prabang-Pakou-Luang Prabang. Today we continue seeing the town with the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. The temple structures are decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes and doorways while the main sim has a marvelous 'tree life' mosaic pattern on an outer wall. We then board a boat cruising upstream on the Mekong River with stopover at Ban Xang Hai where villagers make potent local rice wine. The cruise will pass the stunning mountain landscape, also giving us an enjoyable visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, which are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes. After the river trip we transfer to the famous hand weaving village of Ban Phanom where shoppers can try their hand at bargaining. Overnight in Luang Brabang. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Luang Prabang-Vientiane. The former Royal Palace has been turned into a national museum, which displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. We visit this landmark and take a flight to Vientiane. On arrival we enjoy a half day city tour, seeing Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. The following sight is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the imposing Patouxai Monument well known as Vientiane's own Arc de Triomphe on our way to the great sacred structure and symbol of Laos, That Luang Stupa. Overnight in Vientiane. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Vientiane-Hanoi. After breakfast, we visit the weaving village of Ban Nong Bouathong and the bustling famous morning market that is full of local treasures. In the early afternoon we board a short flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Hanoi is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia 's most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks also make for relaxing atmosphere. After checking into hotel we visit the beautiful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple and the vibrant Dong Xuan Market, which boasts Hanoi's oldest and largest market. A perfect way to finish the day is to enjoy a short cycle excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Overnight in Ha Noi. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Hanoi-Ha Long. This morning we enjoy a half day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. Close to this famous site is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of Hanoi. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam's first university, and the History Museum which displays an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history. Upon leaving the town we travel by roads through the charming countryside to Halong Bay with stop over at Dong Trieu pottery village. Overnight in Ha Long. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Ha Long-Hanoi. The legendary Ha Long Bay is truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. Today we embark on a sailing boat for a five hour cruise around this wondrous bay, dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we make our way back to Ha Noi, arriving in time to see an evening performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets. Overnight in Ha Noi. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 7: Hanoi-Danang-Hoian. An early morning flight to Da Nang. On arrival we are greeted and driven a short distance to Hoian Town, which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. There are plenty to see in this tranquil and delightful town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tamky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda and the bustling market. We visit these sights on an exciting walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. Overnight in Hoi An. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Hoian-Hue. Upon leaving Hoian we set off on a scenic drive north to Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam. Along the way we explore the sensational Marble Mountains and the China Beach before continuing to the interesting Cham Museum in Danang City. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van Pass. At the top of the pass we will stop to admire a fantastic view north to Lang Co and south to Danang. Arriving in Hue we enjoy a boat trip on the Perfume River with stopover at the bustling Dong Ba Market and the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda. After our boat trip we will visit the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins. Overnight in Hue. Includes: (B).
Day 9: Hue-Ho Chi Minh. The sightseeing tour of Hue would not be complete without a visit to the elaborate tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. After seeing this sight we board a flight south. Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping area and sidewalk cafe. An afternoon city tour takes us in the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some beautiful French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. We also visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnant before we continue to the bustling Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh-Mekong Delta-Ho Chi Minh. Heading out of the town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's largest rice bowl. On arrival in My Tho we embark on a boat navigating around the intricate small canals in the delta region, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up. This thrilling excursion will pass the lush green vegetation before arriving on an island. Here we have opportunities to visit some fascinating local industries, stroll around an orchard and taste many seasonal fruits. After feasting on a huge lunch we return to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off along the way to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Cho Lon, Saigon's Chinatown, which is crammed with fascinating temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh-Siem Reap. Today we travel by air to Siem Reap in Cambodia. This town of Siem Reap is our base for visiting the world famous temples of the ancient city Angkor, which was the capital of the powerful Khmer Empire from 802 AD to 1350 AD. After checking into hotel, we drive to the archaeological area to visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King. Te largest as well as most complete structure of Angkor Wat is not to be missed. We stroll around this massive monument, exploring the many galleries with columns , libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Siem Reap-Angkor Temples. The jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm is an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embrace themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. The grand circuit with Preah Khan, Kravan, Neak Pean, Krol Ko, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup Temples, is also visited this afternoon before we walk up to Phnom Bakheng Hill for a view of the spectacular sunset over these sandstone monuments. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B).
Day 13: Siem Reap-Departure. This morning we embark on a boat for a short cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia's biggest natural lake. The experience is wonderful as we pass by floating village, friendly children in small boats and fishermen pulling in morning catch. This excursion is all depending on your departure time. The trip ends after your transfer to Siem Reap Airport for departure. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Vietnam Laos Cambodia Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History
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