The allure of Southeast Asia is in the unexpected blend of stunning pagodas and romantic colonial architecture; the colorful cacophony of market streets where silks and silver are sold next to cilantro and roasted fish; and the terraced rice fields and timeless villages.
Experience Indochina on a unique adventure that adapts the activity to best fit each location – 16 days / 15 nights.
Day 01: Hanoi arrival
Our driver and guide welcome you at Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of your time is at leisure before starting your trip the next day.
Day 02: Hanoi city tour – night train to Sapa (B,L)
Today, we have full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital. You will visit the house on stilts of Ho Chi Minh (this is where our uncle Ho spent the rest of his life) and the One Pillar Pagoda (it was constructed in 1049), the Literature Temple (a habitual symbol of Hanoi) and the Museum of Ethnology. After lunch, pay a visit to the Hoan Kiem Lake with its Ngoc Son temple. Enjoy a water puppet show.
Tonight we will take the train to Lao Cai Station (310km northwest of Hanoi) Note : A/C soft – sleeper cabin with wooden wall is used for night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai and vice – versa, one of the best trains to Sapa at the present.
Day 03: Sapa tribal villages (B, L)
Arrive at Lao Cai Station at 06.00. Have a breakfast of local foods before departing to Sapa (about 40 km from Lao Cai). Arrive in Sapa and leave your luggage at the hotel. We embark on a lovely walk to Cat Cat stream and waterfall, visit Cat Cat village of the Black H’Mong to explore their routine life, walk around the village to enjoy the scenery of forests and continue to Sinchai village where we enjoy folk music by local people. Return to Sapa, overnight at your hotel in Sapa.
Day 04: Sapa tribal villages – night train back Hanoi (B, L)
After breakfast we will take a jeep along the valley to Rose Garden. From here we will trek into the verdant villages and rice fields to Lao Cai and Tavan villages. Ta Van is the village in northern Vietnam inhabited by the colorfully-dressed Dzay ethnic minority. Opportunity to learn and see H’mong people working with natural weaving and dying . This village is considered to be one of the most beautiful in this region. Your car will pick you up at Tavan and take you back to Sapa.
This late afternoon, transfer to to Lao Cai station for night train back to at 21.15, overnight on soft sleeper train.
Day 05: Hanoi – Halong (B, L,D)
Depart Hanoi to Ha Long Bay by road through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields (harvest time: 5th month and 10th month of Lunar New Year), water buffalos and everyday Vietnamese village life on both sides of the highway No.18.
8:00am: Pick up at hotel and transfer to Halong
12.15 pm: Arrive in Ha Long city, board our traditional wooden junk boat, for an overnight journey. Sip on a refreshing welcome drink upon check in before you begin your cruise through the bay. Feast on a delicious lunch as you cruise among hundreds of islets (Dinh Huong islet, Ga Choi – Fighting Cock islet, Dog islet, Finger islet, etc.) to discover unspoilt pockets of Halong Bay and visit Sung Sot cave, one of the most imposing grottos of the Bay. Swim at Soi Sim beach or Titov beach or a short trek to the top of Titov Mountain for a magnificent panorama scenery.
7.30pm: Enjoy your dinner with fresh seafood on board.
9.00pm: Squid fishing or relax and chatting with your partner, friends, family.
Overnight on cruise
Day 06: Halong – Hanoi (B)
7.00am: For early riser’s complimentary tea, coffee, fruit and cake are served.
8.00am: Visit Luon cave on small bamboo boat paddled by our crew staff and enjoy the quiet atmosphere enclosed by high islets and mountains. Then back to our boat. Sail past rock formations such as Man’s Head islet, Tortoise islet, Butterfly cave, Lion islet, Bai Tho Mountain, enjoy the tranquil scenery as the boat meanders its way through the bay on the way back to Ha Long city. Arrange your luggage and check out onboard at around 9.00 am. Enjoy a wholesome brunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations.
11.45am: Arrive back at Ha Long city for disembarkation where your driver waits to take you back to Hanoi. Trip ends.
Transfer option by private car: Arrive Hanoi city at around 4.00pm, overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 07: Hanoi – Hue city tour (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel, you ar free until our driver transfers you to the airport for flight to Hue.
Today we will have half day tour in Hue. Our city tour includes: Ancient Citadel, Dong Ba Market, Thien Mu pagoda (by car), Tu Duc tomb, overnight at hotel in Hue.
Day 08: Hue – Hoian, (B,L)
This morning we head out on a lovely journey southbound to Hoian via Hai Van Pass to view the scenery. Afternoon, we visit Cham Museum in Danang and a display of the finest Cham artefacts, statues in sandstone, marble stone in the world. We have a look at a craft village before arriving in Hoi An.
Hoi An is a charming little township. Between the 17th and 19th centuries Hoi An was a thriving international trading port. You can spend your time walking around the historic town, exploring the many Chinese assembly halls and fascinating ancestral homes, some of which have been occupied by the same family for fifteen generations. The riverside market is always a hive of activity, especially in the early morning when the day’s catch arrives. One thing for sure, there is no shortage of things to do in this town! overnight Hoi An.
Day 09: Hoian Tour (B,L)
Breakfast at hotel, then our guide and driver will come to pick you up for your tour.
This morning you will join a cooking class and enjoin food made by yourself.
Afternoon, set out on a walking tour of this World Heritage Site. Along the way visit the Japanese Covered Bridge which features a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side and the town’s most famous landmark, a beautiful Chinese Assembly Hall built in 1740 as a meeting place for all Chinese residents of the town. The hall is lavishly decorated with murals and a replica of a Chinese ship, and the Phuoc Kien Pagoda, also called Kim Son Pagoda, built in 1697 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants at Hoi An.
Conclude your tour at the Central Market, where you will find everything from fruit and flowers to tailor-made clothes and silk lanterns, whose flexible bamboo frames are designed to collapse, so they’re easily transported home as a souvenir. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoian – Hochiminh (B)
Transfer to airport for the flight to Saigon. On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 11: Hochiminh city tour – Cuchi tunnels (B,L)
In the morning, we have a city tour around Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling metropolis, contradiction of its northern counterpart, excited by numerous shopping areas and sidewalk cafés. A half day tour of dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, takes in the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Saigon Post Office, a lacquer ware factory.
This afternoon, we drive to visit Cuchi tunnels, overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 12: Hochiminh – Siem Reap (B, D)
Free at leisure until our driver picks you up at hotel and transfers to airport for flight to Siem Reap.
Pick up from the airport and transfer to the hotel check in. The same afternoon, we will visit the jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm – an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embed themselves in the stone foundations of the structure, giving the impression of man’s creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
Day 13: Siem Reap (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Sightseeing tour of Angkor area. We spend a full day exploring the wondrous ancient ruins with the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is 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 and the largest as well as the most complete temple of Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. We stroll around this massive edifice, seeing the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. The same afternoon, we will take Tuk Tuk (the most common taxi in Cambodia) to cruise around the suburb of Siem Reap. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.
Day 14: Siemreap – Luang prabang (B)
Breakfast at the hotel – drive to Choueng Kneas village, where you will take the boat to visit the way of life of Cambodian poor people, seeing schools, restaurants, hospitals and much more floating on the great lake of Tonle sap. Transfer to the airport for the flight departure.
Afternoon, we visit Ta Prohm, one of the most beautiful temples in the area. Ta Prohm has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Visit also Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departure flight to the next destination.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport, meet and transfer to hotel. After rest, we climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as viewing a beautiful and panoramic sunset over the ancient and once royal city and the Mekong River. We stroll around the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of textiles made by the locals and the hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Accommodation at hotel.
Day 15: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave – Kuangsi Waterfall (B)
Breakfast at hotel. We visit magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local specialty of rice wine is produced. Once back in Luang Prabang city, we then drive to visit the local village of Lao, ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. Time permitting you may also wish to drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening for observing the sunset at Wat Phabath.
Day 16: Luang Prabang – Departure (B)
An optional early start gives you 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 you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter amongst the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. We then visit the National Museum (closed Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. And the Central Market is not to be missed. We then transfer to airport for your departure.