Highlights of Vietnam and Laos

Highlights of Vietnam and Laos

Starts
Ho Chi Minh City
Destinations
+ 8
Ends
Khong Island
Ho Chi Minh City → Hoi An → Hue → Hanoi → Halong Bay → Luang Prabang → Vientiane → Pakse

Highlights

  • Crawling through the Cu Chi war tunnels.
  • Take boat trip through narrow canals in Mekong Delta.
  • Experience Eco tour in Hoi An.
  • Learn about Nguyen's Dynasty on the trip to Hue.
  • Enjoy Water Puppet Show in Hanoi.
  • Experience a scenic cruise to legendary Halong Bay.
  • Visit vibrant temples of Luang Prabang, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Cruise a long tail boat to mysterious Pak Ou caves.
  • Soak into crystal water of Kuang Si waterfall.
Age range
Under 87 year olds
Accommodation
3 / 4 / 5
Transportation

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Itinerary

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  1. Day 1: Saigon Arrival.

    Welcome to Vietnam’s financial hub: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Arrive in the late morning and enjoy an orientation tour through Saigon’s bustling streets en route to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure to recover from jet lag and explore the city on your own.
    Meals: N/A.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon.

  2. Day 2: Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels – City Tour.

    After breakfast at hotel, you travel outside of Saigon to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an underground labyrinth of passageways, used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War (or “American War” as it’s referred to here) as protection against American air raids. Those inclined are invited to crawl through selections of the tunnels to better understand what life was like for the Vietnamese soldiers during wartime.
    In the afternoon you will visit such sites as the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office and Ben Thanh Market. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon.

  3. Day 3: Saigon – Mekong Delta – Saigon.

    Today you spend a day away from the busy city of Saigon and drive to Ben Tre Province. Visit Vinh Trang Pagoda, an ancient southern architectural gem in Tien Giang en route. On arrival at Hung Vuong Pier, board on your private boat for a glimpse at the delta scenery while enjoying coconut juice. Experience the unique lifestyle of the Mekong Delta as you visit fruit orchards, coconut groves, brick workshops, and home-made products such as coconut candies, rice cakes, handicrafts, etc. After a short walk to visit a local family to learn how they make sedge mat and enjoy tea, tropical fruits, take ‘Xe Loi’, a kind of motorized rickshaw or you can hop onto your bicycle and peddle through picturesque villages (about 20 minutes). Stop at a riverside restaurant for a delicious and filling lunch. Then board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals. The boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre where your car will take you back to Saigon.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon.

  4. Day 4: Saigon – Fly to Danang – Hoi An – Half Day Walking Tour.

    We take a flight to Danang and transfer to Hoian. Enjoy time for relaxation as you immerse yourself in the tranquility and charm of this sleepy riverside town. From the 16th to 18th centuries Hoian was a thriving international port frequented by Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab traders, who came to trade in the high quality silk still produced in the region. Today, Hoian is a relaxing resort popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, skilled tailors and numerous cafes. Take a half-day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the ancient quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Hall, the 200-year-old Tan Ky ancestral house and the famous Japanese Bridge. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to shop, explore the town or relax on the beach.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian.

  5. Day 5: Hoi An – Eco Tour.

    Our farm and fishing life provides you with a close-up and intimate exposure to both the local farming and fishing communities. Accompanied by your tour guide, you commence the day leisurely cycling along country roads witnessing local Vietnamese rural life first hand, discovering all manner of photo opportunities - coming and visiting a beautiful organic vegetable village, watering and planting vegetable, hoeing a soil with local farmer, riding a water buffalo in a rice paddy field; seeing ducks swimming along the rice farm or farmers tending their crops. The photo opportunities are endless. As well you will experience the friendliness of the local people greeting you along the way. Later you will board our Jack Tran’s boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fishermen and enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. You will also experience paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while the waterways of coconut palm paradise. This tour provides you with a cultural window into the ways of life of both our farming and fishing communities.
    Meals: Breakfast and Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoian.

  6. Day 6: Hoi An – Drive to Hue.

    Depart Hoian for the scenic mountainous drive to Hue. Stop at the fishing village of Lang Co for a drink and at the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the high dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam, to admire the spectacular views. Upon arrival, check in your hotel.
    In the afternoon we visit Tu Duc tomb (a replica of the king’s palace built for the next reincarnation of the king), before exploring vibrant Dong Ba Market.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue.

  7. Day 7: Hue – City Tour – Fly to Hanoi.

    Begin your day with a gentle activity. Board the local traditional boat cruising along the peaceful Perfume River toward Thien Mu pagoda, the symbol of Hue city. Continue to the Imperial Citadel for the walking tour within its inner area where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945 including Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace, and Forbidden Purple City.
    The today highlight is a visit to Dong Thuyen Pagoda. Located on top of a hill, the pagoda is very green, peaceful and quiet with a great view. On arrival, take a walk around and visit the main hall of the pagoda with its beautiful collection of Buddha statues. Visit the kitchen and say “hi” to the nuns who will prepare your lunch on a wood burning stove. Then, sit down and experience this special vegetarian meal in the atmosphere of peace where the time seems to be much slower. After lunch, you can enjoy some dessert and interact with the nuns to know more about their lives in the pagoda, the practice of Buddhism, and how they became nuns.
    Drive to airport for flight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Your guide and driver will meet you outside the baggage claim of Noi Bai Airport and take you to your hotel in the city center.
    Meals: Breakfast & Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

  8. Day 8: Hanoi City Tour.

    Today you have a full day to explore Vietnam’s charming capital. With its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas; Hanoi is an eclectic mix that offers something for everyone. Your city tour will take you to Hanoi’s key sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and stilt house), the nearby One Pillar Pagoda; the Presidential Palace; the Temple of Literature; the Quan Thanh Temple, the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda & West Lake; and one of the city's museums (a choice between the History Museum and the Ethnology Museum). Later in the afternoon, enjoy a traditional Water Puppet Performance – a unique Vietnamese art form hailing from Southeast Asia’s wet-rice culture.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

  9. Day 9: Hanoi – Halong Bay.

    (The itinerary is a sample, depends on weather and it will be different between cruises. Our travel consultants will provide the exact schedule and program if you book other cruise such as Hera Cruise, Halong President Cruise, Emperor Cruise, Halong Violet, Halong Jasmine, Paradise Luxury Cruises, Orchid Cruise, Indochina Sails, Au Co Cruise, Starlight Cruise etc.)
    Halong Bay is one of the most loved spots in Vietnam for a reason - it's gorgeous. On this Halong Bay tour, we take you away from the hectic pace of life in Hanoi and introduce you to the tranquil, beautiful Halong Bay...
    Following breakfast, journey east through the rich farmland of the Red River Delta to Halong Bay, truly one of Vietnam's most scenic impressive sights. On arrival you are welcomed on board a traditional junk. Settle into a private comfortable cabin and unpack for a two-day cruise around Halong Bay. Along the way, enjoy a huge lunch served on board and admire the picturesque scenery of islands. These limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. You will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to Sung Sot cave, one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. The remainder of day is for your own pleasure; observing the bay, lazing around the deck or simply soaking up the sunshine.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
    Accommodation: on cruise.

  10. Day 10: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Luang Prabang.

    Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Bai Tu Long Bay as you navigate back to Halong City. Have brunch on board the boat before returning to Halong pier. Your driver will meet you at the dock and take you to airport for flight to Luang Prabang. Profoundly influenced by the French, unquestionably earns the title of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this exquisite town in Laos is not to be missed under any circumstances. Situated on the peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang is a perfect spot to unwind, eat good food and enjoy the scenery. This relatively small, palm fringed place is packed with fabulous colonial villas, top class restaurants, coffee shops and stunning Buddhist temples. Your guide will welcome and take you to hotel for check in.
    Meals: Brunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.

  11. Day 11: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – City Tour.

    Take a morning cruise along the Mekong River, about two hours upstream from the centre of Luang Prabang, and discover the numerous Buddha images at Pak Ou Caves. Pak Ou (mouth of the Ou river) includes the Tham Ting (lower cave) and the Tham Theung (upper cave) are caves overlooking the founder name Mekong River. They are a group of caves on the right side of the Mekong River. It is then only a short distance from the caves to the village of Ban Xang Hai to learn about LauLao (Lao whisky) and LauHai (Lao wine). Before returning the old town we stop to visit Ban Xangkhong where the Lue peoples of this village are noted in particular for their arts and crafts.
    Continue our trip to Wat Mai, the largest and most richly decorated of the temples in Luang Prabang. Then head to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong - representative of classic Laotian architecture. Later that day, we adjourn to the Phousi hill to enjoy the marvelous panoramic views of the town at sunset.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.

  12. Day 12: Luang Prabang – Alms Giving – Royal Palace Museum – Kuang Si Waterfall.

    This morning you will wake up early (05:30 AM) and take participate in the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls being given offerings from the local people, including the ubiquitous sticky rice. Back to hotel for breakfast.
    In the morning, we visit Royal Palace Museum, was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Then we explore Ock Pop Tok craft living center overlooking the Mekong river, set in a tropical Mekong garden. Meaning “east meets west”, Ock Pop Tok brings the fascinating world of traditional Lao handicrafts alive for visitors. Continue our trip to the morning Phosi Market where you will see exotic things as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings.
    Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will take a walk to visit the Ban Ouay, Hmong Hill tribe and Ban Ou, Lowland Lao. Continue driving to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can splash around in the pools or walk along the forest paths. You are free to visit the Bear Rescue Centre which relies solely on partners, corporate sponsors and donations from the public. Buying T shirt or other merchandise is highly recommended to fund this preservation. Back to the old town to relax.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.

  13. Day 13: Luang Prabang – Drive to Vang Vieng.

    After breakfast and refreshment, we check out and take a drive to Vang Vieng (6 hours), a little charming town settle on the bank of Nam Song river with karst mountain backdrop. Arrive, check in and head to organic farm to get knowledge of natural materials & traditional methods for growing crops & raising animals, without using chemicals or artificial fertilizers. Back to hotel to relax.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vang Vieng.

  14. Day 14: Vang Vieng – Drive to Vientiane.

    After breakfast, we drive to visit Tham Phoukham cave, the country’s beautiful and famous limestone caverns surrounded by forest. Along the way, you will meet local villagers and learn about their daily lifestyle. There is a small natural pool called Blue Lagoon in front of the caves where you can swim and refresh yourself from the heat.
    Next we head to Tham Jang cave, the home for migrating people, who settled near the town’s southern Meuang Xong Village to rise vegetables. The locals stumbled into the cavern during the civil war, while seeking refuge deep in the forest.
    Lunch then head to Vientiane (4 hours), capital of Laos, arrive and check in.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane.

  15. Day 15: Vientiane City Tour.

    Transfer to airport for flight to Vientiane, we have a day to explore Vientiane- the charming and fascinating capital of Laos, one of the classic Indo Chinese cities which conjure up exotic images, with its intriguing mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, American and Soviet influences. Our visit will take you to the key sites: National Museum, Wat Sisaket the city ‘s oldest surviving temple with thousands of silver and porcelain images in the gloriously authentic temple compound that offers you a glimpse into the Vientiane of the past, the next stop is Haw Phra Kaeo. This large temple is beautiful both interior and exterior, it was built to house the famed Emerald Buddha in courtyards filled with frangipani trees. Next is the visit Pha That Luang, the giant golden stupa is a sight to see as the bright gold holds a sharp contrast to the pure blue sky. Then you will go to climb the Arc De Triomphe of Laos, Patuxai. The massive arch has a beautiful mosaic tiled ceiling and once at the top you can see for miles around Vientiane. In the afternoon we visit Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan (as well as other variations of the spelling), is a sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane.

  16. Day 16: Vientiane – Fly to Pakse – Wat Phou Ruins – Bolaven Plateau – Pakse.

    We take a morning flight to Southern Laos - Pakse. If you wander around a little, you’ll soon discover old French Colonial Buildings, a Vietnamese quarter, Buddhist and Chinese temples and an old Catholic church, or you can sit and have a freshly brewed Bolaven Coffee or Lao tea while watching people and life go by. On arrival, meet our guide and we have lunch. In the afternoon we visit unique Wat Phou temple of Khmer of Wat Phou ruin the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th century temple complex. You have time to take a look at the museum at the ruins site, walk up to the highest temple and take as many photos as you would like.
    After lunch we head to Bolaven Plateau, a mountainous region home to dozens of hill
    tribes, waterfalls and coffee and tea plantations. Our first destination is Tad Fane is a set of twin 120-meter high waterfalls formed by the merging waters of the Champy and Pak
    Koot rivers. These impressive falls are situated on the edge of Dong Hua Sao protected
    area, 38 km from Paksé. Next is Tad Yaung with narrow concrete stairs lead all the way to the edge of the water where the cool spray of the pounding water mists everything around. Our last stop is tad Phasuam, shaped like a U, the fall is distinct in that the water doesn’t dry up in the dry season, although the flow can be reduced significant. Back to Pakse for overnight.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Pakse.

  17. Day 17: Pakse – 4000 Island – Don Khong.

    We drive further to the South (around 4 hours) to explore the backwater life of Siphandone. During the rainy season, the Mekong River reaches a breadth of 14 kms, the river’s widest reach along its 4,350 km journey from the Tibetan Plateau towards the East Sea (Bien Dong); when the river recedes, it leaves behind thousands of islands and islets.
    At Ban Nakasang pier we take a short boat trip to visit the surrounding islands of Done Det and Done Som for a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the fishermen. Continue to Done Khone Island and hike along its ancient railway built by the French in 1897 in order to bypass the powerful rapids when transporting goods from Cambodia. Continue to the Sumphamith Waterfall (Liphi Waterfall). Continue by car to visit the magnificent Khone Phapheng Waterfall, the largest cascade along the Mekong River. A fault line caused the cascade, which is 6 km wide at this point, and the astonishing force of the water has cut dramatic gorges through the brittle bedrock.
    Drive to Don Khong for overnight.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Don Khong.

  18. Day 18: Don Khong – Pakse.

    Spend the morning at leisure, from the restaurant you can admire the mighty Mekong river. Check out then we drive back to Pakse, on the way we stop at Ban Nong Bueng woodcarving village. The traditional wood carving techniques used here originate from the Ta Oy ethnic group that used to live in the highlands of Southern Laos. Then admire overview of Pakse town at Phou Salao view point.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Pakse.

  19. Day 19: Pakse – Departure.

    Depart from the hotel to the airport to catch your departure flight home.
    Meal: Breakfast.
    Have a good journey & See you again!

Detailed services

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  • Accommodation

    Rated Excellent by past passengers

      Note:
      All the hotels/ cruise are subject to availability and can be changed. In case any of the listed hotels are fully booked, alternatives of equivalence will be taken.
    1. Guide

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      English Speaking Tour Guide (other language on request).

    2. Meals

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.

    3. Transport

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      Private transportation with A/C.

    • Flights

      Saigon - Danang by Vietnam Airline.
      Hue - Hanoi by Vietnam Airline.
      Hanoi - Luang Prabang by Vietnam Airline or Laos Airline.
      Vientiane - Pakse by Laos Airline.


      Note:
      Please note that airfares are subject to availability and to change without notice

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    Price Includes

    • Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels.
    • Domestic flight: Saigon - Danang & Hue - Hanoi - Luang Prabang & Vientiane - Pakse.
    • Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary.
    • Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles.
    • Service of English speaking guides in every location.
    • Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited.
    • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary.

    Price Excludes

    • International flights.
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    • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels.
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