Day 1, 2 Nov: You will leave for Bangkok. The adventure begins! Meals on the plane.
Day 2, 3 Nov: In-Flight. Due to the international dateline, you will lose a day. You will regain this on the return trip.
Day 3, 4 Nov: You arrive in Bangkok, where your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free.
Day 4, 5 Nov: Bangkok
Your guide will pick you up and take you to the Golden Buddha Temple and The Reclining Buddha Temple, which features a giant Buddha statue that is over 90 feet in length. After lunch you will go to the incredible Grand Palace with Wat Pra Kaeo. This historic set of governmental and religious buildings displays the incredible sense of designing buildings like precious stones and jewelry. Several unique buildings stand side by side, from the Golden Stuppa to the glittering Wat and the governmental buildings with the English architecture and Thai roofs. Evening option: Traditional Thai dinner with classical dances and traditional performances (and beautiful costumes). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7, 6 Nov: Bangkok
You will leave early in the morning to visit the Floating Market. Here you will ride on the canals through an older Thai river neighborhood and onto the actual Floating Market area. We will take you to lunch at the Rose Garden, where you can enjoy the grounds. Possibly go to the cobra show. Then, we will take you on your late afternoon flight to Chiang Rai. There your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8, 7 Nov: Chiang Rai
Today you will visit the Queen Mother's Home and Garden, Doi Tung. The sprawling gardens are spectacular with many incredible flowers including unique orchids. After lunch, you can visit the historic Golden Triangle where three countries share a border, Thailand, Laos and Burma (Myanmar). You will see the new state-of-the-art Opium Museum and where two rivers join the three nations. Then you will take a ride on a small river boat to the Burmese side and stop on a small island owned by Laos. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9, 8 Nov: Chiang Mai
After breakfast, you will go on an excursion to visit the hill tribe villages where you will meet the Aca, the Yao and the Karen. Many of the natives have stands with handicrafts, hats, weavings, embroideries, etc. Lunch will be at local restaurants along the way. Then you will visit the Elephant Camp, see the elephant and the cultural show and, if you want, take a one hour elephant ride, go on a bamboo raft and learn about the noble Asian elephant and the worker monkeys. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Orchid Farm. Then you continue onto Chiang Mai, where you will check into your hotel. Evening: Khantoke dinner with hill tribe dances (spectacular show, dance, music and costumes). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10, 9 Nov: Chiang Mai
The day begins with a visit to the Doi Suthep, the ancient temple sight. This is one of the areas where the dress needs to be conservative. After lunch we will take you to the Handicraft villages which are actually the various factories of the many things which the Thais make very well: silk, silver crafting, umbrellas, cloissonne, furniture and leather. Visit the Chiang Mai and Tribal Research Center with guide. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11, 10 Nov: Luang Prabang
Today you will have a tour of Vat Xieng Thong, the Golden City monastery and the fine temples of Vat May, Vat Vixoun and Vat That Luang. Later we adjourn to Phousi Holy Hill to enjoy the excellent views of the town and a great sunset. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12, 11 Nov: Luang Prabang
Visit the Royal Palace Museum followed by the morning market and Ban Phanom weaving village. Later we have a boat trip on the Mekong River to the holy caves of Pak Ou, visit a small village and a picnic lunch before returning to Luang Prabang. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 13, 12 Nov: Siem Reap
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. There your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. (Note: You need a visa to enter Cambodia. However, you can obtain this at the airport.). The rest of the day is free. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 14, 13 Nov: Siem Reap
The tour begins with Angkor Thom, the ancient capital city. After lunch you will be taken to Angkor Wat, the main temple area. The early afternoon is free. In the late afternoon you will meet the directors of the Cambodian Cultural Show and have the opportunity to see their costumes. Evening: Dinner and Cambodian cultural show. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 15, 14 Nov: Siem Reap
Today you will go to Bantay Srei, which is the pink stone temple area. After lunch you will see the Ta Prohm, which is the remarkable site where the trees and the monastery intertwine in many intriguing ways. Then you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hanoi, where your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 16, 15 Nov: Hanoi
Your tour will begin with a Cyclo Rickshaw Tour through the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This is a very interesting area in which the various goods were sold all together in very specific areas, which gave rise to the streets and blocks being named after the products: paper street, tin street, basket street, etc etc (in Vietnamese, of course). Afterwords you will visit the Confucius Temple of Literature. In addition to the interesting grounds and buildings of the temple, they also have a concert of traditional Vietnamese music (complete with traditional ethnic costumes). The rest of the day is free for independent exploration. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 17, 16 Nov: Hanoi
You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Masoleum and the surrounding grounds. After lunch you will be taken to the Museum of Ethnology, which is an excellent museum containing the ethnic costumes of the various minorities of VN, as well as relics, tools and even full size replicas of their homes and buildings. Afterwords, you will be taken to the Hoan Kien Temple by the lake. Evening Options: Water Puppets Theatre. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 18, 17 Nov: Halong Bay
Today you are going to one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth, Halong Bay! You will be driven north out of Hanoi, through the Hanoi Delta and along the Halong harbor. There you will board a private ship to cruise through the spectacular islands, eat lunch in the midst of the beautiful areas and visit the caves (possibly swim in bay). Stay overnight on the boat. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Note: The ship has small but clean and comfortable rooms with private bathrooms.
Day 19, 18 Nov: Hue
You can go kayaking in this gorgeous area or you can ride a motorboat. Then you will cruise back to the harbor and then drive back to the Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue, where your guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 20, 19 Nov: Hue
Your tour can be your preference of motor vehicle or by bicycle to visit the Imperial Citadel - first built by king Gia Long in 1805. Here you will visit Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, The Mieu Temple, and the Nine Dynastic Urns. There is a cultural show here which is itself a World Heritage Cultural experience! After lunch, you will visit the Royal Tombs (King Khai Dinh's and King Tu Duc's tombs). Then, you will go to the Thien Mu Pagoda, Trang Tien Bridge and shopping at Dong Ba Market.
Evening Option: You can board a traditional Chinese boat and hear traditional VN music (including musical cups) while cruising along Perfume River. This includes a ceremony where you release Chinese lanterns with candles on the water. You will continue in Hue. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 21, 20 Nov: Danang
Today you will drive through the countryside and see some beautiful rural countryside, then pass through the tunnel as you head south. When you arrive in Danang, you can stop and visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture to see a fine collection of some 300 sandstone sculptures of gods, beasts & celestial dancing girls of exquisite beauty. After you are done with the tour, if you want, we will take you to meet a family in Danang. They will give you a brief tour of their apartment, answer questions and then make a delicious home-made dinner for you. After you have enjoyed this, you will be driven to Hoi An and will be checked into your hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 22, 21 Nov: Hoi An
Today you can tour and enjoy the ancient town of Hoi An. You can walk around the old neighborhood and picture what life here must have been like centuries ago - on the old harbor city with houses, bridge temple, pagoda, handicraft workshops and the lantern shops. Dinner with Hoi An special dishes. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 23, 22 Nov: Hoi An. Free Time to explore, shop, or have customized clothes made. This can be a good rest as well as a very pleasant place to chill. If you would rather keep a more active pace, we can eliminate this day.
Day 24, 23 Nov: Hoi An
Today you will drive out and visit My Son Holy Land. These are the 7th-12th Century ruins for the Cham kingdom. Then you will be returned to your hotel. The old town area has a delightful nightlife with the beautiful atmosphere generated by dim-lit locally made lanterns. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 25, 24 Nov: Return USA. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and then continue on your international flight back to the USA with a lifetime of wonderful memories!
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Asia Thailand Vietnam Cambodia Local Culture Cultural Journey