slide 01 slide 02 slide 03 slide 04 slide 05 slide 06 slide 07 slide 08 slide 09 slide 10 slide 11

Southeast Asia Grand Journey

(24 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Bangkok

Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khao Lak

 

Wake early and stroll out on to the deck of your overnight cruiser as the rising sun awakens the quaint floating villages of Halong Bay in calming shades of pink, blue and gold.

 

Halong Bay is Vietnam’s most stirring natural wonder and you’ll experience several of its 2000 idyllic islets aboard a luxury overnight cruise. Glide past deep caves, pristine beaches, traditional fishermen and abstract rock formations that rise from gentle emerald tides. Elsewhere, enjoy a Vietnamese water puppet show in Hanoi and cycle through colonial Hoi An. In incredible Thailand, you'll see the golden temples of Bangkok, explore the glistening rainforests of Chiang Mai and meet the region’s fascinating hill tribes. Take a traditional wooden boat to the cliff caves of Pak Ou in Laos. Inside the cave, there are more than one hundred Buddha images which have been brought by local people since the early 14th century. Marvel at the vast labyrinth of ancient temples at Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Wat; and recharge your batteries in the island paradise of Phuket.

 

** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **

 

 

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi

Fly to Hanoi, VIETNAM                                                                       

 

Welcome to Vietnam. Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, obtain your Vietnam visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Hanoi, originally named Thang Long or “City of the Ascending Dragon” was the first capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010. Situated in the Centre North of Vietnam, the city is known as one of the most attractive and interesting places for visitors. In addition, after the fusion in 2008, Hanoi ranks in the top 20 biggest cities in the world.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Hanoi

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, Silk Path Boutique, Apricot Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

 

Day 2: A palace, a prison, pagodas & water puppets in Hanoi

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day guide tour of Hanoi: Your guide will meet you at 8am at your hotel, you'll head out with your guide and begins with a visit Ba Dinh Square to see Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the museum to his life and the simple cottage where he lived and worked, along with his "house on stilts" and his final resting place; and take in Hanoi's famous One-Pillar Pagoda, constructed in 1049 to resemble a lotus blossom. Next, you’ll continue to the Temple of Literature, which dates back to 1070 and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius and visit the Museum of Ethnology, where we'll learn about the fascinating cultural diversity of this ancient land.

 

This afternoon, drive through Colonial Hanoi, seeing the Opera House and other local sights. Go inside infamous Hoa Lo Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”), where Senator John McCain and Douglas “Pete” Wilson were once imprisoned, and continue to the National History Museum of Vietnam. Take a cyclo ride through the Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses also known as “The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life, and peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet performance, a uniquely North Vietnamese art form celebrating rural life and folklore for over 1,000 years, this evening.

 

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

This morning, after breakfast transfer to Halong Bay to board an overnight cruise on Halong Bay. Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. “Dragon descending to the sea“ as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Halong Bay has more than 1,000 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. Welcome onboard and set sails boarding time is at 12:15 pm. Upon boarding guests are greeted with a welcome drink and gather in the dining room for a comprehensive safety and boat orientation briefing followed by itinerary details. After the briefing and check in we have a bit of free time till lunch is served at 1:00pm. Lunch is a multi-course Vietnamese and Western set menu. Any and all dietary needs will be catered to. During lunch we cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay, cruising through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village is one of the largest fishing villages on the Bay. Guests can choose between kayaking through the village or visiting on small bamboo boats (sampans) rowed by the villagers.

 

Back on board after visiting the village there will be free time of about one and a half hours before the Cooking Demonstration on board will be held by our Chef and all the passengers could attend to this. During that time the chef will conduct a Cooking Demonstration showing the guests how we decorate and make some Vietnamese food which is traditional food in Vietnam. In addition we will have the first of our double happy hours from 6:00 till 7:00 during which time one free drink will be received for each one ordered. The dinner is served at 7:30pm. Dinner is a sumptuous buffet featuring an array of salads, seafood, meat dishes, seasonal fresh fruits and deserts. After dinner guests can relax in the dining room and lounge or on the upper deck and enjoy the second happy hour from 9:00 till 10:00.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night onboard Cruise

 

First Class 4 Star Cruises: Indochina Sails Cruise, Bhaya Cruise, Indochina Junks

 

Luxury 5 Star Cruises: Paradise Luxury Cruise, Jasmine Cruise, Halong Violet Cruise

 

Day 4: Halong Bay to Danang, Hoi An via Hanoi

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

The next morning coffee, tea and breakfast pastries are on offer from 6:45. Tai Chi lessons are led by our tai chi master at 7:00 before we leave the boat at 7:45 for a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. About one hour is spent on the island allowing time for a climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay (there is also an expansive viewing deck half way up). After the climb there is time left to relax on the beach and have a swim. Back on board it’s time for final packing and freshening up before enjoying a full breakfast buffet, including traditional Vietnamese Noodles (Pho). After breakfast guests may relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last Bay views before disembarkation at 11:00am. Our guide and driver will be waiting for you at the pier and drive you back to Hanoi and transfer to Hanoi airport in time to catch your onward flight to Danang, Vietnam's most beautiful city, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the central coast of Vietnam.

 

Fly Hanoi to Danang on Vietnam Airlines VN 175, departing 18:10, arriving 19:25

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Danang. Upon arrival at Danang Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Hoi An, known to early Western merchants, was one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Hoi An has a distinctive Chinese atmosphere with low, tiled-roof houses and narrow streets; the original structure of some of these streets is still virtually intact. Many of the houses were constructed of rare timbers and decorated with lacquer panels engraved with Chinese characters and pillars carved with ornamental designs.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Hoi An

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Boutique Hoi An Resort, Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort, Hotel Royal Hoi An

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Fusion Maia Resort, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula, The Nam Hai Resort

 

Day 5: Hoi An

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today, discover how the traditions of the past are treasured in the present in Hoi An on the Thu Bon River, a key international trading port between the 15th and 19th centuries – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved, centuries-old streets, dwellings, temples and pagodas, touring Hoi An's historic highlights via cyclo with your guide. Highlights of your walking tour through its charming streets, visit Hoi An history Museum, Fukkien Assembly hall with Thien Hau temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, visit a typical ancient house of Tan Ky House and 17th century Japanese Covered Bridge. Enjoy a boat trip along the Thu Bon River seeing life along the river. Return back to hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day is free at leisure.

 

Hoi An, the cobblestone streets in the old French Quarter are a delight to roam with many cafes, art galleries and handicraft shops. Hoi An is especially well known for its local artists and tailor made clothing, with over sixty shops providing this service in town.

 

Day 6: Hoi An – Hue – Forbidden Purple City of Hue

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road journey from Hoi An to Hue: After breakfast, you’ll be driven north along highway 1 to Hue, a journey of approximately 3 hours. After passing through the port of Danang, the highway meets the Hai Van Pass (meaning Pass of the Ocean Clouds). There are some spectacular vista points and photo opportunities en-route as the Truong Son mountain range cuts across the narrow centre of the country. The mountain range has created a barrier to the cold airstreams from the north which often results in thick cloudbanks over the peaks. The pass has been a strategic military focal point during Vietnam's turbulent history and from the top there are views of the curve of Danang Bay. There will be a stop in Danang to visit the Cham Museum, which houses some magnificent examples of Cham art, China Beach, made famous during the American war and the Marble Mountains. Continue north to Hue where you will check-in to your lovely boutique hotel. Hué, Vietnam’s most beautiful city, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site housing fantastic artistic and architectural treasures. The Tombs of the Nguyen Emperors are the main attraction. The Ancient Citadel of Hué has not fared well and stands as a reminder of the infamous 1968 Tet Offensive. From Hué, the Nguyen dynasty merged the lands of Vietnam and ruled it for almost 150 years.

 

After settling in and enjoying a bit of free time, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City nearby. Modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing by the Nguyen emperors in the early 19th century, the city was badly damaged during the war but the imposing city walls surrounded by a large moat afford good views of Hué. The palace retains a feeling of its past scale and importance, with detailed stonework and pavilions and it is at the moment in the process of being restored to its former magnificence. Continue to Thien Mu Pagoda, sitting on the riverbank outside the city, this octagonal seven tier stupa has long been regarded as the symbol of Hué and was founded in 1601. It is still a site of Buddhist worship and its huge bell is said to be audible from the city. Enjoy a cruise downstream to watch sunset on the Perfume River, named after the tree resins and blossoms it carries on its way to the Pacific.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night in Hue

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Indochina Palace Hotel, Saigon Morin, Pilgrimage Village

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa

 

Day 7: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning, stroll around the hectic Dong Ba market with your guide. The market is best explored in the morning when a sea of conical hats, colorful fabrics, produce of every description and an array of vendors offer delights for the senses await you. Continue to explore Emperors Tombs Hue’s environment is dotted with tombs of past emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Construction of the tombs was meticulous carried out starting whilst the king was still alive in order to ensure his comfort in the next life. Most of the tombs have courtyards, a temple for worship, statues of elephants and figures and a pond, but the layout of each is different reflecting differing each king’s personality and style. They have a lovely peaceful atmosphere. Khai Dinh and the tomb of 19th-century emperor Tu Duc, considered the most beautiful mausoleums around Hue. Then, continue to visit the Minh Mang Royal tomb, set amidst a lush pine hill by the river and considered to be one of the most beautiful mausoleums. Each ruler of the Imperial City built his own tomb during his reign.

 

Later this afternoon, you'll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Fly Hue to Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Airlines VN 1373, departing 15:10, arriving 16:30

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Formerly known as Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling and vibrating economic centre of the South. Over the past few centuries, Saigon was called the “Pearl of the Far East” and was an important trading centre for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants who travelled along the Saigon River.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Grand Hotel, Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel, Villa Song Saigon

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Park Hyatt Saigon, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, The Reverie Saigon

 

Day 8: Discover Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning, enjoy scenic drive through the countryside as people work on their rice paddies and thatched hut villages scattered along the way. Visit a local village making rice paper, a well-known product used to make the delicious spring rolls. Arriving at the Cu Chi Tunnels to explore part of the 151-mile underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Cambodia to the Saigon River. Cu Chi is a must for anyone interested in understanding a vital aspect of guerrilla warfare fought by the Vietnamese against both the French and the Americans. These criss-crossing tunnels were begun in the late 1940s by local resistance fighters looking for a place to hide their weapons from the French. Discover secret trapdoors, field hospitals, command posts, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

 

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to discover Saigon's historic landmarks including the former Presidential Palace which was once headquarters for the Saigon Government during the "American War", and the War Remnants Museum, established in September 1975 in Ho Chi Minh City. It contains countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting some of the less heroic activities carried out by the US army in Vietnam. Planes, tanks, bombs and helicopters are also on display. Next visit the 1880's General Post Office and the late 19th century Notre Dame cathedral, located in a peaceful part of the city.

 

Day 9: Saigon – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Siem Reap

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Morning meet your private guide and driver and drive to overland to Cai Be, in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Upon embarkation on Cai Be Princess junk boat, clients are welcomed with fresh cotton towels. The tour will start with the visit of Cai Be colourfull floating market. We will proceed by the visit of some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice popcorn, coco candies, and longans drying processing. You will then return on board Cai Be Princess to proceed the excursion to Dong Hoa Hiep island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be during a 40 minutes cruise to discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong delta rural life. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photos making. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. Visit at an ancient mandarin house dating from the last century where the family descendants will welcome you with a cup a warm green tea. Back on board Cai Be Princess for a 20 minutes cruise to Phu An hamlet passing by Cai Be beautiful church.

 

Lunch will await you at Le Longanier restaurant, a superb Indochine style two stories villa decorated with several antiques and furnitures from the 1930’ period, located in a lush tropical garden by the river among pomelo, longan, mango, and coconut and banana trees. After a short walk along a beautiful canal, the excursion will end at approx. 3.30pm at Ba Bon Bridge where your own private transportation vehicle will await you and transfer back to Saigon and directly transfer to Saigon airport for flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

 

Fly Saigon to Siem Reap on Vietnam Airlines VN815, departing 19:10, arriving 20:10

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport, obtain your Cambodia visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs.  After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Siem Reap

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Shinta Mani Resort, Viroth’s Boutique Hotel, Pavillon d’Orient Boutique

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Belmond La Residence d’Angkor, Victoria Angkor Resort

 

Day 10: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

These temples were built from the 9th to 12th centuries by a Khmer empire that controlled not only Cambodia but large parts of what are now Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as well. With their grandeur of scale and extraordinary delicacy in detail, the temples rank among humankind's most supreme artistic expressions. Spend the early morning visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, visit Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King.

 

In the late afternoon and sunset hours, explore 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. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks – the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat.

 

After dusk, you'll be returned to your hotel with the evening free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 11: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

Today, meet your personal guide and driver. Rise early to travel to Ta Phrom. Built in 1186, Ta Phrom was dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. Its atmospheric dark gray sandstone towers and courtyards exude an aura of reverence and mystery. Unlike most of the other inner temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much as it must have when "discovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s. Navigating through its narrow passages, immense kapok trees and jungle-covered ruins is an unparalleled experience and one of the highlights of Angkor. Next, you’ll visit Preah Khan or 'Sacred Sword', built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. Look out for the curious two-storey structure that is almost Grecian in inspiration. This is one of the few temples originally dedicated to Buddhism and Hinduism. The original eastern entrance was for Mahayana Buddhists, while the other cardinal points represented the Hindu trinity of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Next, to Banteay Kdei This temple was the first great Buddhist monastery in Cambodia, constructed by Jayavarman VII during the 12th and 13th centuries. Its system of galleries and vestibules that were added after the construction of the main towers makes it look like a cloister. It was built in sandstone, which has deteriorated quite badly. However, there remain some very beautiful lintels and pediments. Although it is in a ruinous state. You’ll then visit Ta Keo King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century, but it was never completed so has no elaborate decoration like its contemporaries. It is a pyramid on 5 levels and is dedicated to Shiva. Some scholars contend this was due to an inauspicious lightning strike during construction. Others have suggested the high quality sandstone was simply too hard to carve in detail.

 

Later this afternoon, journey north to visit Banteay Srei. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings here are the finest found in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women', thanks to the intricate detail here, considered too fine for the hands of a man. Originally believed to date from the latter part of the Angkor period, inscriptions at the site suggest it was built by a Brahman in 967. However, some architectural historians have suggested that the inscriptions may date from an earlier structure on this site and the temple is in fact later, marking a high-water mark in Khmer sculpture. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Make a short stop at the Land Mine Museum, a rather humble look at the land mine problem, past and present, in Cambodia.

 

This evening, walk up Phnom Bakheng for a sunset view of Angkor Wat and the surrounding areas. This view provides a wonderful overview of the entire area. (Please note that this site becomes very crowded at sunset, so you may choose to walk up to Pre Rep instead.) 

 

Day 12: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

For a further glimpse into local life, this morning, depart Siem Reap for a tour of the surrounding countryside and take an ox-cart ride through the villages and the rice fields. At the end of your ride, have a fresh coconut drink with the family and do not hesitate to talk with the local people to get to know more about their lives. Then driver to boat pier and board a wooden boat for a ride on Tonle Sap often called the Great Lake. We will float by schools, markets and police stations all built within the lake and observe the typical local activities. We’ll visit a floating house to interact with a local family before returning to town. Next, visit Les Artisans dAngkor - Chantiers Ecoles, this centre is working with young artisans; the team creates, produce and market a unique collection of ornamental sculpture, lacquer ware, silk weaving and silk painting. The company promotes fair, sustainable development in order to provide benefits to the rural communities.

 

After leisurely afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Luang Prabang.

 

Fly Siem Reap to Luang Prabang on Vietnam Airlines VN930, departing 16:55, arriving 18:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Laos. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, obtain your Laos visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs.  After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang, is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Luang Prabang

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Burasari Heritage, Mekong Riverview Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 13: Luang Prabang & local rural life

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day tour of Luang Prabang: This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and stroll through the lively Central Market where the ethnic minorities of the surroundings come daily. Visit the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and visit to Luang Prabang’s most beautiful temple, Vat Xiang Thong. Once a royal temple where Laotian kings were crowned, it is still home to the royal funeral chapel with the 12-meter-high funeral chariot and funeral urns for each member of the royal family. Remodeled in the 1960s, the temple features a gilded entrance, walls covered in black lacquer and decorated with gold figures and symbols and the impressive “tree of life” mosaic of stained glass, which is one of the best-known images in Laos, visit the Wat Mai temple; and take an orientation tour of the city and visit the National Museum, preserved from its days as a royal residence at the turn of the 20th century and depicting day-to-day life for the rich and royal.

 

Spend the afternoon on a community based living rice farm situated in the idyllic countryside, surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. You’ll have an opportunity to experience the life of local rice farmers and try your hand at some of their daily activities, or view them from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony, surrounded by rice terraces and an organic vegetable farm. There will also be time to visit local handicraft workshops featuring crafts including bamboo weaving, blacksmithing, and sugar cane processing. And a tour of an organic garden offers insights on how natural herbs are used in traditional medicine.

 

Returning to your hotel in Luang Prabang for an evening spent at leisure.

 

Day 14: Alms in Luang Prabang & Life in the Laotian countryside

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Shortly after dawn in Luang Prabang, a gong announces the end of morning prayers and the beginning of a procession of monks emerging from the temples to seek alms; rise early this morning to experience this extraordinary ritual. After breakfast, enjoy a relaxing local style riverboat trip with your guide on the mighty Mekong River, to visit the sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. Pak Ou caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that have been placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirath found the caves and declared them a holy spot, and even today many people still pay respect to this tradition. Afterwards, walk around Ban Pak Ou Village, a small Laotian fishermen’s village on the Mekong River, and your long-tail boat for a scenic ride on the Mekong until you reach the small weaving village of Ban Phone Xay, where you’ll enjoy a weaving demonstration and have a chance to purchase handmade items directly from the source.

 

After lunch, a scenic drive through the countryside leads to the multi-tiered cascades of the Khouang Si waterfalls. The distance is about 30km and takes approximately 1 hour passing through very scenic Laotian countryside. The waterfalls tumble over multi – tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. On the way to the waterfalls, visit small villages of Ban Na Oune, Hmong village and Khmu minority village of Ban Thapane for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Continue to the waterfalls. Return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Ou, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production. Continue to see silk production at Ban Phanom, a weaving village that become famous as the ‘weavers of royalty’, producing items for the Royal Palace of the last King of Laos.

 

Later afternoon, you'll be returned to your hotel for free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 15: Luang Prabang – Bangkok

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Fly Luang Prabang to Bangkok on Bangkok Airways PG942, departing 12:20, arriving 14:20

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

                                                                                                                        

Welcome to Thailand. Upon arrival in Bangkok, obtain your Thailand visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs.  After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to the lovely boutique hotel. Bangkok Thailand’s capital city, known to Thais as “Krung Thep” (the City of Angels) is one of the world’s most exciting cities. It holds the essence of the Thai spirit, and is very much the heart of the country. Without doubt, this fast-growing metropolis of roughly 10 million people has something to offer to everyone. Its lively collection of nightlife venues, markets, shops, restaurants, magnificent “wats” (temples), museums, palaces and parks will assure that you never get bored. Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Bangkok

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Ariyasom Villa, Riva Surya Bangkok, Chatrium Hotel Riverside

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: The Peninsula Bangkok, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, The Siam Hotel

 

Day 16: The Klongs & Bangkok’s breathtaking Buddha’s and more

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Begin your full day tour of this city visiting three impressive temples. First drive through the morning flower markets to explore real Thai lifestyle. Visit Wat Traimit with its invaluable Golden Buddha (5 ½ tons of solid gold); Wat Pho, the largest temple in Bangkok, with the colossal Reclining Buddha and the Chedis of the Kings.

View the enormous Buddha covered in gold leaf and lying majestically on its side. Next, continue to the city's most important landmark, the Grand Palace, which is one of the most beautiful examples of ancient Siamese architecture and has been the residence of the Kings of Thailand for over two centuries. Here you will see palaces which were used for different occasions: the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House and Wat Phra Kaew, containing the most revered Buddha image in the country, the Emerald Buddha, made from one solid piece of translucent green jade.

 

After lunch at a Thai restaurant near the Chao Phraya River, embark on a water excursion on the river and its canals. Board a long-tailed boat to explore the klongs (canals) of Bangkok’s Thonburi, in the west of Bangkok, situated on the right side of the Chao Phraya River. Its many canals had originally given Bangkok the name "Venice of the East." Passing along the canals in the boat gives you a first-hand impression of the scenic life along Bangkok‘s waterways. You will also visit the majestic Royal Barges and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn, one of the most attractive temples in Thailand) and Santa Cruz Church before returning to your hotel.

 

Day 17: Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Bangkok

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8:00am and drive to Ayutthaya.  Among the "must see" attractions in Thailand is a visit to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand situated 76 kilometers north of Bangkok. The Thai capital for 417 years, Ayutthaya is one of Thailand's major tourist attractions. Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in the city, which was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong. 33 kings of 5 dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. During this day trip you will visit the principal sights: Wat Sri Sanphet - this important and outstanding monastery was used as a residential palace in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. Next, visit Wat Mahathad with its iconic Buddha head entwined in the roots of a tree is among the most photographed sites in Ayutthaya. Built during the 14th century, the temple was an important venue for Royal ceremonies and later destroyed during the Burmese invasion in 1767, who also vandalized many Buddha images by cutting off their heads. Wat Yai Chaimongkhol: The chedi at this monastery is among the largest in Ayutthaya and was built by King Naresuan (1590-1605). There are many Buddha images and a beautiful garden behind this chedi. We’ll have a chance to walk around the local market, browsing snacks and handcrafts. For a different side local life, we’ll stop at the Elephant Camp to visit with Thailand’s national animal. This afternoon enjoy lunch at typical Restaurant, included with the tour, and our excursion concludes with a boat trip to Bang-Pa-In, the former Royal Summer Residence, which represents a fine example of Thai architecture. As we coast, we’ll see villagers going about their daily routines at temples, schools, markets, and even churches and mosques near the river banks. Return transfer back to hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

 

Day 18: Bangkok to Chiang Mai "Rose of the North"

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Chiang Mai.

 

Fly Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Thai Airways TG106, departing 10:30, arriving 11:40

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival at Chiang Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Thailand’s second city and capital of the north, Chiang Mai has a great cultural heritage and is a charming place to spend a few days learning the art of Thai cooking, browsing through colourful markets or relaxing by the river after a trek. The city has a tradition for making handicrafts and the expertise here makes it a good place to pick up silk, silver, lacquer and wooden souvenirs. Chiang Mai is also famous as a religious centre and there are a number of interesting wats to visit as you wander around the city’s streets. Outside Chiang Mai lies a region of mountains, valleys and rivers where the hill tribes live and the city has long been a base from which to go trekking or start an exploration of the beautiful north of the country.

 

After getting settled, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon explore the local fresh market and visit four of the most important temples: Wat Phra Singh. This 14th century Lanna style temple has been one of Chiang Mai's most important sanctuaries. Opposite is Wat Prasat, one of the oldest unreconstructed temples in the city, and after looking around here you will visit Wat Chedi Luang which is one of Chiang Mai's most famous, and ancient, temples and houses a stupa that dates back to the 15th century. From here head to the city walls on to one of the most beautiful viewpoints for sunset – Wat Suan Dok where the ashes of former kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept. Here at this fourteenth century temple you will witness evening prayer as the monks and local people come together at the end of the day.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Chiang Mai

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: U Chiang Mai, Tamarind Village, Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, 137 Pillars House, The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

 

Day 19: Elephant owner for a day. Makes unforgettable stay.

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

After an early breakfast you will drive out to Patara Elephant Farm where you will ‘own' and elephant for a day. On arrival at the farm you will register and get changed into your training outfit. You will then be trained in the ways of elephant handling, elephant farm management and the farm's breeding program. The training includes: hiking to find elephants in the bush; learning about approaching elephants; observing elephant temperament and an introduction to each of the farm elephants. You will also learn about the morning feed and daily health care for elephants. Later you will unchain and walk your elephant to the river. Learn about elephant skin care and bath your elephant in the river. You will be instructed on how to get on the elephant neck, sitting on the elephant, basic riding skills and spoken commands. Practice getting on and off your new friend. After the training you will attempt bare-back riding. Practice on an easy ride within the farm and a short trip to visit local temple. During the morning you will also learn about elephant in Buddhism and the beliefs that Thais have about elephants. Mid-morning set off on a long uphill trip to visit a waterfall where you will have a picnic lunch and bathe in the water with your elephant. Later ride your elephant back to the farm for the evening feed. At the end of the day bid your elephant farewell and then set off back to your hotel. Please note this tour will be shared with other participants.

 

Day 20: Life in the hill tribe villages and scenic Doi Suthep

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8:00am and taken to the White Hmong tribal village of Khun Chang Kien is located in the vicinity of Doi (=mountain) Suthep. Here you see the Hmong in their colorful costumes selling their wide range of antiques, decorative ornaments and fabrics. The villagers now earn their living by planting vegetables and growing fruit, having replaced their traditional cash crop – the opium poppy. Afterwards you will be driven up a serpentine road to the magnificently situated Wat Doi Suthep. Perched on a forested mountain, this most sacred Chiang Mai temple (3,280ft above sea level) provides a superb view over the city, as well as a wealth of Buddha statues made of jade and bronze as well as some frescos.

 

This afternoon is at your leisure. Relax and enjoy the amenities at your hotel, or explore more of Chiang Mai.

 

Day 21: Chiang Mai – Phuket – Khao Lak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Phuket.

 

Fly Chiang Mai to Phuket on Thai Airways TG171, departing 09:40, arriving 11:35

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Phuket. Upon arrival at Phuket Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to the lovely boutique beach resort. Khao Lak, located some 90 kilometers north of Phuket on the mainland. Khao Lak National Park offers spectacular scenery, including splendid forested hills and valleys, sea cliffs, beaches, estuaries, and mangroves. Occasionally, wildlife such as barking deer, hornbills, gibbons, monkeys, and small bears can be seen in the park. For snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, the Similan and Surin Islands - acclaimed for their incredible coral and aquatic life - should not be missed. Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Khao Lak

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Bangsak Village, Manathai Khao Lak, Khao Lak Paradise Resort

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: The Sarojin Resort

 

Day 22: Khao Lak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Spend the day relaxing by the pool or take a stroll along the beach.

 

Day 23: Khao Lak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

At leisure to do exactly as you please. If your adventurous spirit is still running high, take a trip into the nearby Khao Sok National Park for more elephant riding, kayaking and jungle trekking.

 

Day 24: Khao Lak – Phuket – Bangkok

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Bid farewell to your island paradise today as you transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok and connect with your onward flight.

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $3,860*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.

 

*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.

 

Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Domestic flight tickets: Hanoi – Danang on Economy Class.

Domestic flight tickets: Hue – Saigon on Economy Class.

International flight tickets: Saigon – Siem Reap on Economy Class.

International flight tickets: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang on Economy Class.

International flight tickets: Luang Prabang – Bangkok on Economy Class.

Domestic flight tickets: Bangkok – Chiang Mai on Economy Class.

Domestic flight tickets: Chiang Mai - Phuket on Economy Class.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.

 

The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff

 

 

All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: info@globaltravel-asia.com