Arrival in Vientiane. Your guide and private car will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore Vientiane, whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’.
You might choose to end your day along the banks of the Mekong River. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls. This area is very popular with locals who go to exercise in the park in the evenings and you can also browse the evening market for souvenirs. Overnight in Vientiane.
Today enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, which is one of the quietest capital cities in the world and far away from the hustle and bustle of other Asian capitals.
Your guide will pick you up at 0900 this morning. Your tour begins at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues.
Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo Museum. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace.
Stop at Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane, as it is considered the guardian of the spirit of the city. Upon its grounds, you will find an Angkorian-era pillar and it is a popular belief that if you circle it three times and make a wish, then that wish will come true.
Nestled near the original morning market is That Dam. Also called the ‘Black Stupa’, the structure was once covered with a layer of gold which was stolen by the Thais during their invasion in 1828. From here, travel on to nearby Pangkham Street, with its plethora of tailor shops, and Nam Phou Fountain. Here you can see how traditional areas of the city are embracing modernity.
Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at Makphet Restaurant. Established by Friends International (www.friends-international.org), Makphet is a charity-run restaurant aiming to train the area’s street children in the hospitality industry. Professional chefs from around the world have volunteered their time in developing the menus and training the staff. The food is excellent, and the staffs excel in bringing true Lao-hospitality in to their service.
Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.
Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines upon its towering golden spire. Continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof and finish your day with sweeping panoramic views of the city. Overnight in Vientiane.
This morning you will be driven out to Buddha Park. The drive takes around 45 minutes, along a road which serves as an important link between the Lao capital and Thailand. On the way, stop and take photos of the Friendship Bridge which was built by the Australian government in 1994 and links Laos and Thailand.
Arrive at Buddha Park and enjoy a stroll around the park. Also known as Xieng Khuan, this unusual park is filled with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. The quiet and tranquil setting along the Mekong River is a contrast to the slightly eccentric sculptures which were built in 1958 by a Laos shaman. The concrete sculptures are bizarre but intriguing, sitting majestically in the peaceful park.
After visiting Buddha Park, start the drive back to Vientiane. En route, stop at Mai Savanh to explore the traditional textiles of the Lao people. This shop specializes in high quality silk products and involves several families in their process, from the northern province of Luang Nam Tha Province and the southern provinces of Attapeu and Sekong. (Note: Mai Savanh is closed on Saturday & Sunday).
Another stop will be made at the Lao Disabled Women Development Center. This center aims to bring knowledge and skills to disabled women so that they can become self-sufficient, productive members of the community. The center focuses its efforts on helping people with disabilities gain independence and self-confidence. A visit to the center provides you with the opportunity to talk to these women and to observe their skill at creating handicrafts such as handmade paper. (Note: Subject to change without prior notice from the suppliers).
Afterward transfer directly to Luang Prabang International Airport for your onward flight to Hanoi.
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are warmly welcomed by our local guide and transfer to hotel in Hanoi for check in. Impressive Welcome Dinner will be served at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
Morning drive through the countryside from Hanoi to Halong Bay (165 km east of Hanoi) - a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty, you will experience a rural area dotted with villages, rice fields and farms providing the many parts of the nation with rice, fruits and vegetables. Short rest stop en route, you will reach Halong city after 3.5
12h00 – 12h30 Embark on Cruise followed by a short cruise briefing.
13h00 – 15h30 Savor a delectable lunch as Cruises among the limestone islands.
15h30 – 16h30 Kayak among the hidden areas of the bay, around the Luon Cave area. Back to the Cruise
16h30 – 17h30 Cruising to Titop island. Go swimming and relaxing at the beach of Titov or climb up to the top of the island for a panorama view of Halong Bay.
17h30 Cruise back to the main boat for a shower. Relax or snap photos as the sun starts to set.
19h00 Dinner is served. Socialize with other guests, fish for squid, or just laze around.
Overnight on board.
06h30 - 07h00 Start your day with Tai Chi exercises or a photo hunt.
07h30 - 08h30 Have breakfast at sunrise.
08h30 - 09h30 Explore the amazing Sung Sot Cave - the nicest cave in Halong Bay.
09h30 Return to the boat. Freshen up and check out of your cabin.
09h30 - 10h30 Continue your cruise exploring the Bay, passing Ba Hang fishing village, Dog Islet, and more.
10h30 - 11h30 While heading back to the habor, watch the cooking demonstration before enjoying a traditional Vietnamese lunch.
12h00 - 12h30 Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi, short rest at Dai Viet or Hong Ngoc or ABC shopping en route back. Arrival Hanoi, check in the hotel. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
- The above itinerary is for your reference only as each cruise will have its own different itinerary and will be slightly different.
- The cruise itinerary is subject to change due to weather, tide levels and operating conditions without prior notice.
This morning, you will explore the citya to visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
Then you will visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, next. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the Mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and The Former Presidents House on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov).
Tour continues to visit Hoa Lo prison, known by its American inmates as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ during the war years of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Whilst much of it has been torn down to make way for a modern office development a section of it remains open for visitors and provides a fascinating insight into the domination of the French during their colonial governance. Lunch will be served at local restaurant.
Afternoon you will visit the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Hoan Kiem Lake was already considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi when Ngoc Son Temple was built on an island in the 19th century. Initially, the temple was called Ngoc Son Pagoda and was later renamed Ngoc Son Temple, since temples are dedicated to saints. Saint Van Suong, considered to be one of the brightest stars in Vietnam's literary and intellectual circles, was worshipped there along with other National heroes.
Afterward enjoy a leisurely one-hour buggy tour through the streets of this fascinating city, you will come face to face with the daily lives and activities of Hanoi’s streets as you pass through the congested, but delightful, Old Quarter. Ride pass the fascinating streets, which still bear the names of the shops that could be found in them in the 15th to 18th centuries.
End the day you will attend a performance of the famous water puppet show. The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots that date back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam. The farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. Learning to manipulate the puppets is usually a tradition that is passed on as a family secret. It takes a great deal of skill and because the puppeteer’s hands are underwater, it is easy for them to hide their methods. The fascinating part is that the central stage is below the water line, and the puppeteers stand in the waist-deep water. A rattan curtain hides them, but they can see the stage and the audience through the bamboo slats. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
Optional Ionah Show @ surcharge of US$ 35/ pax
Ionah Show - a unique experience combining modern dance, theater, circus, and music, visual and light effects. It delivers novelty and originality in performances and stage effects. Ionah Show is only performing on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
This morning you will enjoy the cooking class. The course begins with a brief introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, highlighting the ingredients of traditional Vietnamese dishes. Afterwards, walk to the Chau Long Market and enjoy a market tour with the Hanoi Cooking Centre chefs who will highlight some of the daily produce sold, such fruits, vegetables, meat, silk worms, etc. Surely, this market visit will provide you with endless photo opportunities. Return to the Hanoi Cooking Centre and get started. The chefs will explain how to prepare the various dishes on the menu. Printed recipes as well as samples of some local fruits, green bean cake, quail eggs, etc. can be taken home after the class. Enjoy the meal you prepared and visit the Hanoi Cooking Centre shop where you may find useful cooking utensils, recipe books, spices, etc.
Note: Up to 9 guests, you will attend in a joining (shared) - cooking class. From 10 guests up, you will participate in a private class, maximum of 32 attendees for one class.
Afternoon you will be transferred to Noi Bai Airport for a domestic flight to Hue. Upon arrival Phu Bai Airport in Hue - the former Imperial City of the last dynasty of Vietnam. Located in Central Vietnam, Hue is the only place in the country where many historic, cultural, architectural as well as artistic values have been preserved. Tangible cultural heritage - the system of historic monuments - and intangible cultural heritage - the Imperial court music - have their own national and international values that were acknowledged as World Cultural Heritages. Hue is also the site where the northern and southern ecosystems meet, the area of river-hills, greenery and beautiful landscapes.
You are warmly welcomed by our local guide and transfer to check in the hotel for check in. Tonight you will be brought back to the splendid history of ancient Royal time in Vietnam, you will be charmed with the Royal style decoration of the Royal Dining room, the atmosphere of the diner that you are the King with royal wears., beside you are the Queen accompanied by the servants in traditional royal clothes, all wearing traditional royal clothes. All the food served is royal dishes symbolizing the dragon, phoenix, or peacock. Table is decorated by Hue’s colorful silk and flowers, large candle lights, colorful lantern with dragon pattern and spotlights … All meticulously prepared to the finest details for a sumptuous dinner that fits for royalty.
It will surely surprise you with its authentic cuisines of Hue’s royalty. You will discover how Royal life was by enjoying the "Royal meal" while listening to melodious music and having a feeling of being a real King. Overnight at hotel in Hue.
Morning you will meet with our guide and start the day to explore the Imperial City of Hue. The Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River and built by Emperor Gia Long it was designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his household. The Citadel is a square 2 km wall encompassing 3 walled enclosures; the Citadel, Kinh Thanh Hue, the Yellow Imperial city, Hoang Thanh and in the centre the Forbidden Purple city Tu Cam Thanh where the Emperor lived. The Hue royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The visit Museum of Royal Antiquities.
Tour continues to enjoy a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue. Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon, we start the spectacular drive over Hai Van Pass to Danang with a whole view of Pacific Ocean and famous Lang Co fishing village. Continuing to the charming historic city of Hoi An which lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Hoian was one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century and was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
En route, you will visit the Cham Museum - The world's foremost collection of the sculpture of the ancient King-dom of Champa, and the Marble Mountain, whose peaks represent the five elements of the universe. Continuing to the charming historic city of Hoi An which lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Hoian was one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century and was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Overnight at hotel in Hoian.
Morning you will discover Hoi An - known to early Western merchants, Hoi An was one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Hoi An has a mixed Chinese-Vietnamese atmosphere with low, tile-roof houses and narrow streets. Having been through many ups and downs in the past, the original structures, however, are still virtually intact. That was the reason to persuade the UNESCO to recognize Hoi An as a World Heritage in 1999. Besides, the surroundings of Hoi An, especially the countryside, are one of the most outstanding highlights that visitors should experience during their stay in Hoi An.
One of the best ways to discover Hoi An and its surroundings is by walking. During our 4-hour leisurely walk you will visit some of the historic merchant and community houses, places of worship and famous Japanese Covered Bridge, the daily life of the local people: green paddy fields, vegetable gardens, markets, temples, historic houses, fishermen and stunning countryside scenes will simply mesmerize you. This tour offers great photo opportunities and you may find yourself chatting with the locals and inhaling unforgettable memories. Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon proceed to Danang city - the fourth largest city in Vietnam, the gateway to the central provinces and a sea port with nice beaches and resort and transfer to Danang Airport for your flight to Saigon.
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport by our local guide then transfer to check in the hotel. Overnight at hotel in Hochiminh.
After breakfast at hotel, guide will meet in the lobby of your hotel and enjoy the journey to Tay Ninh, the scenery changes as you leave the city behind to views of rice paddies, villagers drying noodles by the side of the road and other scenes typical to southern Vietnam. Visit the Cao Dai great temple at Tay Ninh with its flamboyant architecture, where all the major faiths of the world blend together in a unique religious mosaic. You will have the opportunity to watch the worshippers in their white long tunics during noon mass.
Afterward transfer to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels (50km from Tay Ninh) to enjoy the lunch at local restaurant
After lunch you will explore Cu Chi Tunnels - an complex of an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters (Viet Cong) during both the French and American wars. There are more than 200 km of tunnels, comprising a main axis system with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters and other tunnels. You have the chance to crawl through this amazing system of tunnels. For a more “thrilling” experience, you can even test your shooting skills on original AK47s and other guns from past war times (subject to a surcharge). Journey back to Ho Chi Minh. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Morning meet our local guide in the lobby of your hotel and drive to My Tho the heart of the Mekong delta, famous for its coconut production and quiet, peaceful waterways and the most beautiful landscapes, the pristine natural beauty that is Ben Tre Province. Known as “Coconut Island,” many of its people still rely on tradition and centuries old methods of production. Our program focuses on the Giong Trom and Phong Nam districts, areas untouched by commercial tourism.
We showcase the amazing local people, the villages they call home and the peaceful Rivers they use as a part of their daily lives.
Upon arrival, take a Xe Loi ride through the local village of Huu Dinh to enjoy the green fields and gardens. Continue with a short walk to Huu Phuoc Bridge, where you will start your boat trip through small canals with beautiful tropical scenery. On board the boat, enjoy a welcome drink and tropical fruits while cruising.
The cruise will first stop at a Coconut processing family owned business. Here you will learn what Ben Tre is known for and the hundreds of uses of each single coconut. Return to your boat and cruise across the water to a brick making factory, where the locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand. Enjoy a casual cycling trip that will take you to visit a local rice noodle factory which produces Hu Tieu noodles, one of the most popular dishes in the region.
After your visit take a short walk to one of our friends, Mrs. Huong, who lives with her 3 children and grandson – they live on fishing, shrimp and fruit orchards. Enjoy fresh fruits and tea and then board a rowing sampan taking you through a lush narrow canal, displaying the tranquil nature of the region.
After our team rows you through the quiet canal, reconnect with your Day Cruiser and enjoy a cruise to a private riverside restaurant. It is time for you to relax and enjoy a 5-course lunch of local specialties. Relax and have a walk around the lush garden setting.
Then continue your cycling trip to My Long to visit Mr. Sau Tuong, a former Vietcong soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper which is the most famous specialty of My Long village. Have a chat with him and enjoy the crispy rice paper made by his wife, and see how it is made.
Then visit the nearby house of Mr. Hung, who is a famous sticky rice maker in the village. You can also feed his stock of catfish and walk through his fruit garden.
After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre city where your car will be ready to take you back to your hotel in Saigon. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Morning you will explore the city to visit the former Presidential Palace, renowned for its symbolic role in the fall of Saigon in 1975 and continue to visit the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral inaugurated in 1880 became the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient as was the Post office designed by Gustav Eiffel and resembling a grand railway station, the people’s Committee Hall, Old Saigon Post Office
Afterward transfer directly to Tan San Nhat International Airport for your onward flight to Phnom Penh.
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, you are warmly welcomed by our local guide then transfer to hotel for check in.
After a relaxing break, you will set out to discover the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a very fun way to explore this lively city. First, head to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and was the last palace built during the French colonial period. The same complex houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddha in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze.
Continue to the National Museum, which was built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. In addition, the roof space is home to a large bat colony!
Your sightseeing concludes with a visit to Wat Phnom Temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop and a great place to people watch as the locals come to pray for good luck. Impressive welcome dinner will be served at local restaurant. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. On arrival in Siem Reap, your local English speaking guide will greet you and accompany you to the hotel for check in.
This afternoon, start your visits to Angkor by visiting the ancient city of Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, with each side of the city being 4 km long, drawing a perfect square. You will enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake.
From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. The particularity of this monument is the 54 towers with four faces representing the 54 provinces of the then Great Khmer Empire. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
After breakfast this morning, explore the temples of the Small Circuit by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai ‘tuk tuk’). Start your tour with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. Your visit will also include Banteay Kdei, a Buddhist monastery from the late 12th Century, and Srah Srang, also known as the “pool of ablutions”. Return to the hotel for a relaxing break during the midday heat.
After a rest at your hotel, depart on a very special sightseeing tour of the famous Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing the Mount Meru, home of the gods. The divine residence of Vishnu, the King himself was to reside here after his death. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Breakfast at hotel, free at your own leisure until transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for your international flight home. We hope you had an exciting holiday with us. Making it an affair to remember!