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Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

(18 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang

 

Explore the three countries, each with its own unique culture, history and traditions, that share the Indochinese Peninsula between China and India on the most comprehensive of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam tours. The French influence is still felt in the cities while life in the countryside, a world of rice paddies, small villages and floating markets along the banks of the Mekong River, continues on much as it did before the French arrived. Multiple-night stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and historic Hoi An plus an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay and explorations in the Mekong Delta complete the portrait of Vietnam, then and now. From your arrival in Phnom Penh to days spent exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor and its treasures, Cambodia casts its own spell.  In Laos, only welcoming tourists since the late 1990s, 49 ethnic groups put their own spin on life and living, providing a cultural richness as seen in the cuisine, the customs, the temples and the markets. These 18 days in Indochina will expand your horizons, deepen your insights and transform your view of the world.

 

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

 

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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.

 

Lodging: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

 

Day 2: History in Hanoi

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Hanoi La Siesta Hotel, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

 

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Lodging: Aboard Indochina Sails Cruise, Indochina Junk, Paradise Luxury Cruise

 

Day 4: Halong Bay to Hue via Hanoi

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 Hue. No Vietnam tour would be complete without a visit to Hue, Vietnam’s most beautiful city, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

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

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Hue. Upon arrival at Hue 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. 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. Settle in and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Moonlight Hotel, Indochine Palace Hotel, La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa

 

Day 5: Hue

Take a morning cruise on the Perfume River, named after the tree resins and blossoms it carries on its way to the Pacific. Visit the 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. Continue to the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City. 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.

 

After lunch at local restaurant, you’ll 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Lodging: Moonlight Hotel, Indochine Palace Hotel, La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa

 

Day 6: Hue – Danang – Hoi An

After breakfast depart south along highway 1, to Hoi An, a journey of approximately 3 hours. Soon 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 on to arrive in Hoi An in the late afternoon where you will check-in 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Essence Hoi An Hotel, Hotel Royal Hoi An, Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort

 

Day 7: Hoi An

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. Explore its shop-lined streets via cyclo, view the red-painted Japanese Covered Bridge - the three Chinese characters over the door mean "bridge for passers-by from afar" and tour the 200-year-old "Phung Hung" house, noted for its unique architecture. What you'll see there will reveal much about the lives of Hoi An merchants long ago. Visit the workshop of a traditional lantern maker for a demonstration of this time-honored craft; meet the artisans and try your skills as you create your own lantern to take home. Enjoy a boat trip along the Thu Bon River seeing life along the river. 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Essence Hoi An Hotel, Hotel Royal Hoi An, Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort

 

Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Fly Danang to Ho Chi Minh City on Vietnam Airlines VN117, departing 14:20, arriving 15:35

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel, Villa Song Saigon, InterContinental Asiana Saigon

 

Day 9: Discover Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch

 

Lodging: Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel, Villa Song Saigon, InterContinental Asiana Saigon

 

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City – Riverside Life in Mekong Delta– Phnom Penh

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 Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 

Fly Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh on Vietnam Airlines VN3853, departing 18:20, arriving 19:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Cambodia. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh 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. This city was once considered one of the most beautiful in Orient, and despite its recent turbulent history it still retains a colonial charm.

 

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

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: The Pavilion, La Rose Suites, Raffles Hotel Le Royal

 

Day 11: Phnom Penh

Today, meet your personal guide and driver and drive to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek (16 km south of Phnom Penh). Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants (including nine westerners) detained and tortured at S-21 prison were transported to the extermination camp of Choeung Ek. They were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Fragments of human bone and bits of cloth are scattered around the disinterred pits. Over 8,000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels of the Memorial Stupa, which was erected in 1988. You'll then continue to visit the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot's security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such center of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed; detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. Room after room the museum displays photographs of men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling; virtually all the people pictured were later killed.

 

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to discover the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom. See the different structures of this pagoda-style compound and stroll in its beautiful garden. Visit the Silver Pagoda so named because of its floor that is comprised of 5,000 silver tiles. A gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha are also housed here. Next, visit the National Museum. Built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of pieces are housed here including both pre-and post-Angkorian pieces. Finish your tour at the city's namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river. Later this afternoon enjoy one-hour sunset cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. The boat will pass past floating villages, providing great views of the city’s rapidly changing skyline.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: The Pavilion, La Rose Suites, Raffles Hotel Le Royal

 

Day 12: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap

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

 

Fly Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on Cambodia Angkor Air K6 103, departing 10:30, arriving 11:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at Siem Reap 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. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

 

After settling in and enjoying a bit of free time, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon 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.

 

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.)

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 13: Siem Reap

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.

 

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 14: Siem Reap

Meals Provided:  Breakfast

 

This morning you will be met at your hotel at 8.00am and travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins. Here it is possible to enjoy an Indiana Jones experience clambering about the vast ruin. For those who want a more gentle adventure, there is also a sturdy wooden walkway running right into the heart of the temple. It is also possible to visit a nearby Angkor-era quarry from where stone was cut to build these massive monuments.

 

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. You'll then continue to visit Banteay Samre, built in the third quarter of the 12th century. It consists of a central temple with four wings preceded by a hall and accompanied by two libraries, the southern example remarkably well preserved. Two concentric walls enclose the ensemble.

 

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

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Pavillon d’Orient Boutique, Shinta Mani Resort, Park Hyatt Siem Reap

 

Day 15: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang

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 drive to the fishing village of Kompong Pluk near Siem Reap and board a private boat. Visit Kompong Pluk village with its houses standing on stilts and board a pirogue to discover the seasonally flooded forest. Enjoy the natural splendor of the country during a cruise across the Tonle Sap Lake to the village of Chhong Kneas. Visit the floating village and discover the centuries-old lifestyle of the inhabitants of the lake.

 

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Mekong Riverview Hotel, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 16: Luang Prabang & local rural life

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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Mekong Riverview Hotel, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 17: 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, drive to visit to Elephant Village for delightful morning spent learning about Laotian elephants: Welcome greeting by our camp manager and participate in a short briefing about elephants. Enjoy the impressive experience of a 3 km elephant ride on the howdah (elephant seat) or on your elephant’s neck. From here enjoy boat trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall: Ride in a traditional Lao long boat to the Tad Sae Waterfall. 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.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Lodging: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Mekong Riverview Hotel, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 18: Depart Luang Prabang

Today free at leisure until your guide and driver transfer to the Luang Prabang airport in time for your flight to next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $3,335*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 – Hue on Economy Class

Domestic flight tickets: Danang – Saigon on Economy Class

International flight tickets: Saigon – Phnom Penh on Economy Class

Domestic flight tickets: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap on Economy Class

International flight tickets: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang 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