Arrive in Vientiane, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, visit Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire. Impressive Welcome Dinner will be served at local restaurant. Overnight in Vientiane.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’. Vientiane is one of the quietest capitals in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals and far from the real-estate frenzy of the regional megalopolis.
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.
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 staff excels 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.
Your guide and private car will then transfer you to the airport for your departure flight QV103 departing at 17:10 to Luang Prabang.
Arrive in Luang Prabang on flight QV103 at 17:50, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the heart of the spiritual capital of Laos. You will then be dropped off at your hotel to check in and relax. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After your breakfast, your guide will pick you up at your hotel. Your city tour begins with a visit to the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Finish this morning with a visit to the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong, one of the most important temples in Laos.
Then transfer back to your hotel/restaurant (lunch at your convenience by your own account). Your guide will pick you up at 02:00pm from your hotel/ restaurant in Luang Prabang for a short transfer by tuk tuk to our electric powered bike station.
After a short briefing to explain you the use of your new vehicle, it will be time to start your discovery of our “responsible Luang Prabang” in a quiet way! These electric bikes are an emissions-free mode of transportation and allow the user to either pedal the bike by their own power or to coast along using the bike’s battery-powered, rechargeable motor.
Begin with a short ride to the Traditional Art & Ethnology Center, your first stop of the day. The Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre is dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people (note: closed on Monday).
Continue to the Phousi Market where you can join the locals and support vendors by buying fresh products or fruit. Your guide will be here to encourage you to taste some of the exotic flavors of the local fruits, helping to identify new items not found in your grocery store back home!
Then, it will be time to return the bike to the station and transfer to a stunning country side location for your evening cooking course.
Lao cuisine relies heavily on the freshest produce and incorporates a range of intriguing flavors, many unfamiliar to the western palate. A cooking class at ‘Tamarind’ restaurant starts with an introduction to these main ingredients and how they are used in Lao cuisine. Then you will start preparing and cooking an assortment of dishes under supervision- a cheerful chef who will teach you the traditional techniques as well as information about Lao culture. A cooking class is an ideal way to experience a culture from inside as Lao people take pride in sharing their love for their cuisine with some introduction to distinctive Lao dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. Recipes are provided for you to take back home. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
For early risers, there is a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting the alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents. It is a beautiful, serene ceremony that highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
You will then board a traditional wooden boat, Nava Mekong, for a relaxing cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Enjoy stunning mountain scenery and witness the simple rural lifestyles which rely on the river as you make your way upstream for 1.5 – 2 hours. You will reach Pak Ou caves at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers. In these 2 caves are displayed hundreds of sacred centuries-old Buddha images which are the object of pilgrimages during the Lao New Year festivities around mid April. The boat then keeps cruising in the vicinity of the caves and will moor during lunch time at the foot of beautiful limestone cliffs. A selection of typical Lao dishes will be served onboard. Cruise back to Luang Prabang and return in the early afternoon and 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.
08:00 Guide pick up guest at the hotel, ride bicycles to Tra Que Village.
08:30 Take around the vegetable village and join in the daily activities with local farmer there.
09:30 Continue to take bicycles along De Vong River to Hoi An Beach wharf.
10:00 Embark on the boat to Cua Dai sand dune , enjoy casting net show and learn how to cast net by local fisher man.
11:00 Continue to Cam Thanh Water coconut village have a brief introduce to the history there.
11:20 Take on the basket boat along the water coconut river, Fisherman will teach you how to catch the crabs (02 paxs/ boat).
Divide group into 2 teams for basket boat racing and catching crabs. There will be a lovely present for winner.
12:20 Embark on the boat, enjoy the folk songs show by local people there.
12:30 Enjoy special local food such as pancake, Tam Huu spring roll, fried fish …After lunch, learn how to make funny tools by water coconut leaf.
14:00 Continue to the ancient town, experience the daily life of fisher man along Thu Bon River.
15:00 Get on Bach Dang wharf, take a bicycle back to Hotel.
15:30 Local guide bids farewell to guests and transferred back to the hotel for your own activities. Rest of day at leisure for your own activities or visit the renowned Hoi An tailors if you would like to have some clothing made. 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 enjoy 3 hour drive to Cai Be, deep in the Mekong Delta. Enjoy the lush green view of the paddy fields along the road. Upon arrival in Cai Be, embark on a motorized boat that takes you to the floating market and spend an hour there for a unique interaction.
Continue your tour on row boat zigzagging through a maze of canals shadowed by coconut trees to a great orchard where you can freely taste many seasonal fruits of Vietnam and observe daily life of the local folks. Visit a family workshop to see how coconut candy, crispy rice cake and ceramic are made.
You will then enrich your experience by taking a bicycle ride roaming through a village to check out several rural shops or just relax on a hammock for a short rest before moving on to a marketplace where you are encouraged to interact with the vendors and see how friendly and respectful they are.
After lunch, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to the harbour city where your car will be ready to take you back to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Discover District 5, also known as Cholon, Saigon’s former Chinatown. Visit Nguyen Dinh Chieu school where blind and visually impaired children are taught. Nguyen Dinh Chieu was a patriotic writer, himself a visually impaired man, who fought French colonials with his words. Try a foot massage given by the students and experience how these children can see with their hands. Our next stop is the museum of Vietnamese traditional medicine (FITO), the only museum of its kind in Vietnam. The FITO has more than 3,000 items including traditional tools and medicine books as well as miniatures of typical northern and southern medicine houses on display. The museum building and its interior reflect the skilfulness of local artisans. Continue to visit Binh Tay Market, the central market of Cholon, trading daily goods coming from all directions of Southern Vietnam, Thien Hau Pagoda and a stop at a local medicine vendor to learn more about the traditional way of healing. Lucnh at local restaurant.
In the afternoon, return to Saigon and tour continues 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. End the day at the famous Ben Thanh Market, where you can purchase souvenirs for your beloved ones and shopping before transfer back to your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Free at your own leicusre until transfer to Tan San Nhat International Aiport 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!