Day 1 Luang Prabang, Laos
Arrival Luang Prabang – one of the most beautiful places in Asia, which was the capital of Laos, and now is a mixture of preserved French colonial architecture and ancient Buddhist temples. After arriving at the hotel, you are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration.
Day 2 Excursion to Pak Ou Cave
An optional early start to see Monks on Alms giving ceremony, this tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there, we will take a short visit to the morning local market near the Royal Palace. At the market, you can find anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground, this is what the locals do every day. This is really the chance for you to get a real flavor of the local culture.
After, you will first visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. Afterwards, we will visit magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We then embark on the a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine.
On arrival back in the city, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we will transfer to visit Wat Siphouthabaht to admire the sunset; this is the really peaceful place to catch the last beauty of the day. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Day 3 Elephant camp – Mahout experience
After breakfast, we will transfer directly to the Elephant Village. On arrival at the Elephant Camp, welcome and greeting by camp manager and participate in short briefing about elephants. After that we will enjoy the impressive experience of a 30 minute elephant ride on the howdah (elephant seat) or on your elephant’s neck. We then receive basic mahout training on how to control an elephant.
Bathe Your Elephant: Take your own elephant down to the Nam Khan River for an exhilarating bathing experience! Boat trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall: Take a traditional Lao long boat to the Tad Sae Waterfall and relax in the clear water. We are free to stroll around the Elephant Village before transferring back to city center.
Day 4 Kuang Si waterfalls – Flight to Hanoi, Vietnam
After breakfast at the hotel, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we will take a stroll around the city to visit Big Brother Mouse, which is the most famous bookshop in Laos. The next stop is Ock Pop Tock, meaning East Meets West, where you can learn about the traditional weaving in Laos. We then visit Wat Visoun, dating back to 1513 during the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), this is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddha.
Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. We then drive to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. Before returning to Luang Prabang. After, transfer to the airport to take a flight to Hanoi, capital city of Vietnam
Day 5 Hanoi sightseeing
We visit fmous Ho Chi Minh complex comprising his Mausoleum, former residence, the impressive house on stilts and view the One Pillar Pagoda. Learn more about the historical and cultural events at the peaceful Temple of Literature, known as the Vietnam’s first university since the 11th century. In the afternoon, we visit Ethnographic Museum. To finish the day off, we take an hour by cycle around the old quarter and attend the performance of the unique water puppetry. This is a must and will provide the first not to be forgotten insight into Vietnam.
Day 6 Halong Bay cruise
This morning, we depart for Halong Bay. Passing through the rich farmland of the Red River Delta, we enjoy the lush scenery and photo opportunities. We arrive at Ha Long Pier, board a traditional wooden junk and cruise through the spectacular sights of islands rising from the tranquil emerald sea. Enjoy a sumptuous on-board lunch of special seafood and explore Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in the bay. Witness a splendid sunset.
Day 7 Flight to Hue
Start with a morning coffee and tea will be served on the sundeck followed by a Tai Chi class. We continue exploring the magnificent Ha Long Bay. Change to a small motor or rowing boat to discover the Luon Cave and pass through a pretty entrance which leads to a tranquil round lake, surrounded by luxuriant trees and high stone walls. Upon return to the junk, a sumptuous combining Vietnamese and Western cuisine will be served. After we leave the cruise, we transfer to Bac Ninh province to visit Do temple and enjoy traditional music show “Quan Ho” or called Quan Ho folk song. Drive to the airport for domestic flight to Hue.
Day 8 Hue
We visit the impressive tombs of King Minh Mang and Tu Duc together with Tu Hieu Pagoda, and then cruise on the Perfume River to see the Old Thien Mu Pagoda. In the afternoon, we visit the Forbidden Citadel and the crowded market of Dong Ba, where we can bargain for anything from souvenirs and bronze goods, to Hue sesame sweetmeat and conical poem hats.
Day 9 Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An
We will drive south to the famous My Khe beach, crossing the spectacular Hai Van pass to reach Hue. On the way, we will stop to see the Cham museum and Marble Mountain. Continuing on, we will arrive Hoi An, check in the hotel and free time.
Day 10 Hoi An
will start our Hoi An Discovery tour. Hoi An seems to appeal to everyone. This charming town still retains a variety of heritage houses making a stroll around the streets a fabulous option. Guided tour of Hoi An sites includes the Quan Cong Temple, the Quang Dong Pagoda, The Phuoc Kien Pagoda, the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Tran Family Chapel, Sa Huynh Museum, and Phung Hung House. Back to the hotel and free at your leisure.
Day 11 Flight to Ho Chi Minh city
Free at your leisure until transfer to the airport for fight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, meet then transfer to the hotel. Tonight, you enjoy street food tour on back of the motorbike
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh city
Today we have the opportunity to visit the controversial War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post office. In the afternoon, we will see Thien Hau Pagoda, Chinatown and its busy market of Cho Lon. This busy modern city on the Saigon River boasts some of the most ornate Pagodas in the country. Don’t miss Ho Chi Minh City’s atmosphere by night. This city lives up to its exciting and often mischievous reputation.
Day 13 Flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia
In the morning, we drive west to explore the underground tunnels in Cu Chi which were used by Vietnamese guerrillas during the war against the US and French forces then transfer to the airport for flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at airport, welcome by tour guide and transfer to hotel for check in and overnight stay
Day 14 Angkor Wat
Pick up and on a private guided tour we will visit to Ta Prohm, one of the area’s most beautiful temples. Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool (representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake), Kdei (surrounded by 4 concentric walls), Preah Khan temple, Built by the King Jayavarman VII. Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Visit to Banteay Srey temple, located 35 kms from Siem Reap, known as Citadel of Woman and Banteay Srei temples.
Day 15 Banteay Srei
We drive to Visit the antique capital of Angkor Thom (12 century): the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Phimeanakas, the Royal Enclosure, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
It is time to visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Enjoy wonderful sunset from the top of Phnom Bakheng Hills.
Day 16 Siem Reap – departure
End of the private Indochina tours, our driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for the departure flight.