Day 1: Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, meet the group and transfer to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure before join everyone for dinner at Apsara restaurant. Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao. Meals: D
Day 2: Luang Prabang: Cooking lesson; Royal Palace; temples. After breakfast, join the renowned chef Mr. Chandra at the Luang Prabang market for an introduction to local produce before returning to his boutique restaurant for a cooking lesson on traditional Laotian cuisine. After a delicious lunch, tour the sacred city of temples, the National Museum, and the former Royal Palace which houses an esteemed collection and the famous Prabang Buddha statue. Visit Wat Visoun, the 16th century temple served as a small museum for religious artifacts, Wat Aham, the early 19th century temple, whose two guardian figures at the foot of the steps represent two important characters from the Ramayana – Hanuman, the Monkey God and a fierce Yaksa. End the afternoon at Wat Xiengthong, the 16th century temple, which is the most known temple in Luang Prabang. Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao. Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: Pak Ou caves; Mekong River cruise; Ban Xangkhong. Cruise on a long-tailed boat along the Mekong River into the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, carved into limestone cliffs at the mouths of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The sanctuaries at Pak Ou consist of two large caves, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images, which range from mere centimeter to two metres in height. En route, see typical Lao villages, barely visible behind a screen of foliage. Visit Ban Xanghai, the village known for producing traditional Lao rice whisky and stop in for a tasting. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on the bank of the Mekong river, then return to Luang Prabang to visit Ban Xangkhong, the village famous for its wood paper making and Lao silk weavings, coloured vividly with natural dyes. Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao. Meals: B, L
Day 4: Luang Prang - Vientiane. After breakfast, wander through the local market before transferring to the airport for a late morning flight to Vientiane. This thriving, youthful city is one of the world's unique capitals; its tiny historic urban core is closely shrouded in staggering bucolic landscape. In the afternoon, drive to visit a Laos textile Gallery owned by Ms. Carol Cassidy, an American textile expert who has made great efforts to preserve traditional weaving methods. Spend the evening at leisure to explore and discover the many quaint thatched bars and gourmet restaurants the city has to offer. Hotel: Settha Palace. Meals: B, L
Day 5: Wat Sisaket; Vientiane - Hanoi. Explore the bustling centre of town, inhabited by chic young urbanites and pious monks, busy at work in the growing number of cyber-cafes. Visit the fascinating historic sites and landmarks, including Wat Sisaket with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, Wat Prakeo (the enshrined Emerald Buddha now in Bangkok), Wat Simuang, That Luang, the Patousai Monument, and the magnificent central market. We then fly to Hanoi and enjoy dinner out on the town. Hotel: Nikko Hotel. Meals: B, D
Day 6: Hanoi; cooking lesson; water puppets. After breakfast, Accompany the acclaimed chef from the Seasons of Hanoi Restaurant to a local market. Haggle with the vendors and choose from a vast variety of local ingredients to prepare for lunch, before returning to the Seasons of Hanoi Restaurant for a culinary lesson. After the delectable meal, enjoy a visit to the beautiful Museum of Ethnology which enhances our understanding of Vietnam's diverse cultures through its unique presentation of daily life objects and dress, and continue on to explore the Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum. This evening, delight in a special Water Puppets performance. Hotel: Nikko Hotel. Meals: B, L
Day 7: Hanoi - Saigon. After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Danang for morning flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, meet esteemed Saigonese chef, Mrs Cam Van at the central market of Ben Thanh to introduce Vietnamese food and produce, then journey to her home for a private cooking lesson and lunch. Spend the afternoon on your own, perhaps take a leisurely stroll to visit some highlights of the city, take its French colonial architecture, funky cafes and boutiques, and explore the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the former Presidential Palace. Hotel: Majestic Hotel. Meals: B, L
Day 8: My Tho. Venture out on an excursion to My Tho in the Mekong Delta, and enjoy a scenic drive passing the boundless flats of paddy fields and sinuous tributaries. Board your private motorized boat on a river cruise along the upper Mekong River for a taste of agriculture life on the mighty delta. Enjoy the chance to stroll around the colorful Mytho wholesale fruit market and engage with the bustle local daily life. Continue the journey upstream stopping en route at a family-run boat building factory and arrive at Thoi Son 5 Island, for a walk through the lush orchards of tropical fruits. Hotel: Majestic Hotel. Meals: B, L
Day 9: Siem Reap; Angkor Wat. This morning fly to Siem Reap, and spend the day exploring the intricately carved Khmer ruins at Angkor Wat. One of the world's most impressive historic sites, the four spires of this magical 12th Century temple have become the symbol of Cambodia. Examine the fine Apsara bas relief carvings from the Angkorian era that depict the Hindu legend of "The Churning of the Ocean of Milk". End the day with a climb up Phnom Bakheng, the first major temple to be constructed in the Angkor area. The Bakheng's stunning hilltop location makes it the most popular locale to watch the sunset, offering an awe-inspiring panoramic view of Angkor Wat and West Baray. Hotel: La Residence d'Angkor. Meals: B
Day 10: Ecole d’Hôtellerie cooking lesson. After a visit to Angkor Thom temple, enjoy a private cooking class at the French NGO or training restaurant, l' Ecole d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme Paul Dubrule. This educational kitchen is trying to revive the real Khmer cuisine that has been lost for years because of the wars in the country. Here discover more about daily food and diet of Cambodian people and about the style and etiquette upon which their rich culinary heritage is based. After a magnificent farewell feast, spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells on your final day in Cambodia. Hotel: La Residence d'Angkor Meals: B
Days 11 - 12: Siem Reap; Bangkok. Bid a fond farewell to fellow travellers and transfer to the airport for the flight to Bangkok and on to home. Hotel: Oriental Hotel Meals: B
Trip Format: Independent Trips are designed for independent-minded travelers who like to travel on their own (without a Horizon escort), but still want to experience our superbly designed itineraries at reasonable prices. The itinerary and prices are always fixed, and the departure dates may be flexible or fixed depending on the specific trip.
Guides: An English-speaking local guide & driver will accompany the trip throughout.
Level of Activity: Moderate - light biking, city strolling, sea kayaking, rickshaw riding, junk sailing and other amusing diversions. Suitable for most ages and abilities, with some opportunities for extended walks or other optional activities.
Level of Luxury: Indulgent - This trip is designed with a focus on indulgence and creature comforts. The accommodation is the best available, which usually means a combination of well-known luxury hotels (Relais & Chateaux, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Design Hotels, etc) and lesser known gems with plenty of regional character and charm (from wilderness lodges to converted 17th century monasteries). The food is always first rate, with a blend of haute cuisine and regional delicacies, the transportation is discrete and comfortable, the guides are knowledgeable and charming and the events are unique and memorable.
Start: Luang Prabang, Laos
Finish: Bangkok, Thailand
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Laos Vietnam Cambodia Local Culture Cultural Journey