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CULTURAL OF INDOCHINA 15 DAYS

Quick Reference Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Arrive in Hanoi
  • Day 2 - Hanoi - Ha Long bay
  • Day 3 - Ha Long bay - Hanoi - Train to Sa Pa
  • Day 4 - Sa Pa
  • Day 5 - Sa Pa - Train to Hanoi
  • Day 6 - Hanoi - Fly to Luang Phrabang
  • Day 7 - Luang Phrabang - Pak Ou Caves
  • Day 8 - Luang Phrabang - Fly to Siem Reap
  • Day 9 - Siem Reap.
  • Day 10 - Siem Reap
  • Day 11 - Siem Reap - Fly to Saigon.
  • Day 12 - Saigon - Mekong Delta
  • Day 13 - Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Day 14 - Saigon departure
View full itinerary

Trip Highlight

Explore Hanoi’s crowded Old Quarter in a cyclo.

Observing rhythms of the peaceful life on Halong Bay.

Marvel at the stunning scenery and gain an insight into the life of local ethnic in Sapa.

Soak up the Buddhist flavour of Luang Phrabang.

Take a boat trip to the sacred Pak Ou caves.

Explore the magnificent temple complexes of Angkor.

Visit Tonle Sap Lake to witness how life is lived on the water in villages built on stilts - homes.

Experience the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Experiencing the wonder of the Mekong River.

 

     
  • Arrive in Hanoi

    Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

    Arrive in Hanoi. After clearing all the custom procedures, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


  • Hanoi - Ha Long bay

    Day 2: Hanoi - Ha Long bay

    Breakfast at hotel. We depart for Ha Long city (170 km), approximately three hours away to visit Halong bay (a World Natural Heritage site and a New World’s wonder). Halong bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes with 1969 islets. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen. You have chance of observing scenic country side of Vietnam dominated by enormous lush rice field.

    Upon arrival. Check-in between 11:30 - 12:00 at the boat port. Enjoy a refreshing “Welcome cocktail” upon check-in on the sun deck. Enjoy your lunch as the vessel sails to Halong Bay passing the Fighting cocks islet, the Elephant leg islet, the Castle islet, the Soi Sim Island. Arrive at Surprise grotto - one of the most famous grotto in the entire Halong, we will visit the cave by Tender. After taking a lot of photos and admire the beauty of the cave we will visit the fishing village by local rowing boat (1 hour) with the opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations then we return to the vessel for free time at your leisure. You can swim in the clear emerald waters, soak up the sun over a cool beer on the top deck sun lounge or try your hand at some kayaking (your account) amongst the huge limestone outcrops that surround us. We retire to the junk and relax on the top deck and enjoy a refreshing drink from the bar. Enjoy and learn the Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck. Your delicious seafood dinner will be served at the restaurant. Stay overnight on cruise for a more in-depth experience.

    (The itinerary above may be changed depending on the cruise we choose and weather permitting).

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B,L,D
  • Ha Long bay - Hanoi - Train to Sa Pa

    Day 3: Ha Long bay - Hanoi - Train to Sa Pa

    Start the day with relaxing Tai Chi on deck this morning prior to breakfast and we will be disembarking at 10.00am. Once ashore, we re-join our coach for the return journey to Hanoi and our hotel where we have arranged day - use rooms up until our evening departure to join our train - the Victoria Express.

    We will visit the Temple of Literature. Originally built as a temple to Confucius, this is the site of Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070, and highlights the importance influence that Vietnamese society has placed on education. Enjoy a cyclo tour through the Old Quarter, also known as the 36 streets. Cyclo is the Vietnamese version of a cycle rickshaw, originally used as the main form of transportation in Vietnam. It has now been overtaken by the use of motorbikes, but still remains very much at the heart of Vietnamese culture. Sit back and relax as you witness the hustle and bustle of this charming town and its maze of streets – a fantastic experience and something you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.

    You may like to visit the vast Dong Xuan markets, here you can be part of the bustling throng in this thriving three-story complex. The markets have a colourful history and once witnessed fierce battles between the Vietnamese resistance units and the French when the French required local merchants to bring their goods inside the fenced boundary of the market in order to facilitate tax collections. When the number of merchants increased, the market was enlarged. Then,in 1889 a new structure was built and in 1992, the market was renovated and a new facade erected.

    This evening, at approximately 8.30 pm we transfer to Tran Quy Cap rail station to board our overnight train for our journey north to the mountain region of Lao Cai. Reaching Sapa has never been more appealing as we travel in style on board the Victoria Express.


    Meals:  B,L
  • Sa Pa

    Day 4: Sa Pa

    6:30 a.m. Upon arrival in Lao Cai station. Our driver will pick you up and transfer to Sapa town (35 km). Enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way leading towards Sapa, a mountainous area of stunning natural beauty and diverse ethnic minorities. You will be taken to a local restaurant for a morning shower & breakfast.

    We transfer to Lao Chai, a Black H’mong ethnic minority village and we then walk to Ta Van village where the Giay ethnic minority hill tribe lives. Here we will be able to rest and enjoy our lunch in a local restaurant. After your lunch our walk continues on a hilly trail through a bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai, a Red Dao ethnic minority village. On the way, we make a stop at a waterfall for a rest and to take in the beautiful surroundings and then descend to a suspension bridge before reaching the main road where our vehicle is awaiting for our drive back to Sapa. Free your time at leisure and overnight in Sapa (Excluding early check in). 

    Depend on your time, you can enjoy one of interesting local markets (optional tour will be surcharged):

    Bac Ha market on Sundays only - The largest and most colorful market in the area. Muong Hum market on Sundays only - This hidden Sunday market  will allow you to meet a large variety of ethnic minorities.  Coc Ly market on Tuesdays only - Coc Ly market is a small market which takes place every Tuesday. Can Cau market on Saturdays only - very colorful market. Xin Cheng market on Wednesday only - With many local minorities. Muong Khuong market on Sundays only - Which is 50 km Northeast of Lao Cai.


    Meals:  B
  • Sa Pa - Train to Hanoi

    Day 5: Sa Pa - Train to Hanoi

    Breakfast at hotel. Today we leave Sapa behind and take a short transfer to the small village of Sin Chai, inhabited by Black H’mong people. Sin Chai is located at the foot of Fansipan mountain in an area covered by rain forest and under the protection of Hoang Lien National park.

    Upon arrival at the village, we experience the daily life of the villagers who still maintain their ancestor’s way of life. Departing the village, we take in the spectacular scenery as we follow a dirt trail running through rice paddies and along a narrow river where we also visit a local house of the few Black H’mong families living here. Have your lunch at local restaurant. 

    We will visit Ham Rong mountain with a stop at a garden of orchids. Here you can observe more than 300 species of orchids blooming profusely. Keep on following the path leading to the mountain covered with plum, peach and apricot trees, you will get into European Garden with many kinds of beautiful flowers.

    Continue discovering the charming and imposing scenery of Ham Rong mountain by dropping in Four Season Flower garden, culture village of ethnic minorities in Sapa, Heaven gate, and Cloud yard on the top of Ham Rong mountain is an ideal stop for a full overview of a fanciful Sapa in mist. Have your lunch at Cha Pa Garden restaurant. 

    Free your time at leisure until the time our guide and driver takes you to Lao Cai for sightseeing tour and short visit to the Ha Khau border gate of Vietnam - China on the bank of the Red river which serves here as a natural border line. Afterwards transfer to the train station for night train to Ha Noi. Overnight on train (soft sleeper 4-berth shared cabin).


    Meals:  B,L
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Hanoi - Fly to Luang Phrabang

    Day 6: Hanoi - Fly to Luang Phrabang

    Our train arrives at approximately 5.30 am. We are met at the station and transferred to the airport where we join our flight to Laos and mystical Luang Prabang, the Laotian Royal capital.

    Upon arrival, you are welcome by our guide and transfer to your hotel for check in.

    We end the day by climbing up Mount Phousi to explore the sacred gilded stupa and to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the sun setting over the Mekong River.  Descenting the mountain your will find yourself in the midst of the famous Luang Prabang Night Market,where you can find a unique selection of handmade textiles and handicrafts locally made by both ethnic Lao and hill tribe people surrounding city. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Luang Phrabang - Pak Ou Caves

    Day 7: Luang Phrabang - Pak Ou Caves

    After breakfast, transfer to pier for a cruise up along the Mekong. Before cruising, start your morning a visit to the most photographed temple, Wat Xieng Thong. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat, the library was added in 1828. 

    Cruise up the Mekong River to the famous Pak Ou Caves. Locally called Tam Ting, the caves are filled with thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues. The statues range in size from a few centimeters tall to the height of a human and are crammed into the cave which is nestled in a limestone cliff. The caves are also a destination for local pilgrimages. 

    On the boat journey admire the several waterways that have traditionally been used as the local form of transportation. These waterways continue to be used in that manner today in many parts of the country and a local boat is probably one of the most rewarding ways to discover life along the rivers. As you cruise along, observe the daily activities of fishermen, how they throw their nets in with elegant arm gestures and rely on the water for their livelihood. For the villages settled along the Mekong, the river plays an important role in their daily life and usually represents the only means of transportation and commerce. 

    After visiting the caves cruise back to Luang Prabang. If time permits, stop on the way back at Ban Xang Hay, a village that specializes in making rice wine.

    The city tour begins in the afternoon with your guide who will teach you more about the enchanting World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang. The tour starts at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. Continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief. Continue to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities.  Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people (note: closed on Monday). 

    Tonight we enjoy dinner at Indochina Spirit restaurant with Lao Traditional dance show.


    Meals:  B,L,D
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Luang Phrabang - Fly to Siem Reap

    Day 8: Luang Phrabang - Fly to Siem Reap

    Worth getting up early in the holy city: early in the morning the monks move into your striking orange robes through the streets and are supplied by the citizens of rice and other food donations. Return to the hotel for breakfast. 

    After breakfast visit Wat Visoun, the holiest temple of the city, entirely rebuilt after being destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit it takes its name from. You will continue by Wat Aham and then Wat That where the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are interred inside the large central stupa. 

    Free time at leisure until we transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Cambodia, Siem Reap. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your local guide who will accompany you to your hotel for check in. 

    End of the day we climb to the hilltop temple of Phnom Bakheng for a truly memorable sunset.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Siem Reap.

    Day 9: Siem Reap.

    Get up early today and experience the break of dawn behind Angkor Wat. Watch as the first sunrise slowly climb over the towers of this magnificent building and paint the sky in beautiful colors. A delicious breakfast will be prepared for you at the restaurant Chez Sophea, just in front of the temple.

    We visit the largest and most impressive temple - Angkor Wat - one of the most beautiful and fascinating places on the planet. Angkor Wat was built between 1112 and 1152 by King Suryavarman II. Angkor Wat with its five towers, perfect symmetry and exquisite bas-reliefs is one of the most inspired religious monuments ever built. The five towers that dominate the scene are said to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru, the mythical home of the omnipotent Hindu deity Shiva. Beautiful bas beliefs and carvings adorn the inner sanctuaries depicting various Hindu mythological epics, including the longest continuous bas relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls.

    Towards the sunset, drive out to Tonlé Sap Lake, where a handcrafted riverboat will take you on a champagne cruise along the lake during the most beautiful time of the day (dependant on water levels, between March and July this cruise may not operate). Enjoy the quiet atmosphere on the water while sipping a good glass of Champagne and lounging in the comfortable sitting and relax areas. A truly romantic and private experience.

    Tonight, a special Khmer dinner will be served for you to accompany a traditional Khmer Apsara dance. The Apsaras are legendary characters from the ancient Khmer tale of Reamker, which is closely related to the Hindu Ramayana. It takes years for the dancers to master the the fine and elaborate gestures of the Apsara.

    Free your time at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.


    Meals:  B,D
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Siem Reap

    Day 10: Siem Reap

    Breakfast at hotel. We visit the fortified Royal city of Angkor Thom, constructed by King Jayavarman II at the end of the 12th century, not long after the completion of Angkor Wat. It is surrounded by a massive perimeter wall and a moat with five monumental gates and covers an area of more than ten square kilometers, indeed Angkor Thom means ‘Great city’. The most important monuments are located in the center of the city, namely the BayonBaphoun and the Terrace of Elephants. The Bayon in particular is a fascinating piece of architecture and one of the most photographed. It is a bizarre structure, with a total of 54 towers elaborately decorated with over 200 enigmatic smiling faces.

    In the afternoon, look around the ‘Small Circuit’ of temples. Start with Ta Phrom. This iconic temple is twined with incredible tree-roots as nature has slowly reclaimed it over the centuries. Originally constructed as a Mahayana Buddhist temple in the late 12th century by Jayavarman VII, it apparently took 80,000 people to look after it, and has been left as it was found in the 19th century. Though well-known, it can still make the visitor feel like an explorer of old; the crumbling masonry and overgrowth of vines, trees and roots conveying the romance of a true lost civilization.

    Transfer back to the city. Overnight in Siem Reap.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Siem Reap - Fly to Saigon.

    Day 11: Siem Reap - Fly to Saigon.

    Breakfast at your hotel. You are free at leisure until your transfer to the airport to take a flight to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). You are welcomed by our guide and driver at Tan Son Nhat airport and then be transferred to the center of Saigon. Check in hotel. Free your time at leisure. Overnight in Saigon.

     

    We suggest 03 options for accommodation:


    Meals:  B
  • Saigon - Mekong Delta

    Day 12: Saigon - Mekong Delta

    Breakfast at hotel. Journey south to the Mekong delta, known as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’, and spend a full day exploring one of Vietnam’s most fertile regions and the main cultivation area of rice and tropical fruits. 
    We transfer to My Tho city (02 hour). It‘s famous for its extensive orchards and immense rice fields. On arrival, take a leisurely boat trip around the four beautiful islands known as Dragon, Unicorn, Phoenix and Tortoise islands (04 sacred animals of Buddhism). Enjoy a rowing boat ride in the shadows of the water-coconut palms along the tiny canals. Enjoy fresh coconut juice on boat. We will visit the picturesque orchards and sample the freshly picked fruit at the invitation of friendly local farmers. Spend some time in the villages to learn about the daily lives of the inhabitants, enjoying some kinds of tropical fruits while listening Southern traditional music.
    We continue to “Coconuts homeland”, Ben Tre - Where you can learn how to make coconut candy. You can try some candies, visit the honey bee farm and try the honey, banana wine, ginger jams, soy beans… made by the villagers. Enjoy a horse-cart around the village to have a look at the orchards and visit local people’s house. Enjoy a relaxing cup of honey tea before returning to My Tho via a natural canal, cruising under the shadows of water coconut palms. You will have a chance to enjoy the famous dish “Fried Mekong Elephant Ear Fish” at local restaurant. Drive back to Saigon. 

    Enjoy your special dinner on Bon Sai Cruise, cruise along Saigon river, enjoy your dishes and listening to traditional folk music, sing and dance. You will have relaxation-time to catch the over view of the city, people working at Saigon port. Along both sides of the river are mansions, life of the civilians…Overnight in Saigon.


    Meals:  B,L,D
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels

    Day 13: Saigon - Cu Chi Tunnels

    Breakfast at hotel. We drive to Cu Chi district, 50 km to the northwest of Saigon city. The incredible underground network in Cu Chi stretched over 200 kilometers and became legendary during the American war. The extensive tunnels have been specially constructed with living areas, storage facilities, weapon factories, filed hospitals, command center, plus accommodation.

    Upon arrival to the Cu Chi tunnels, watch a short introductory video showing how they were constructed, then spend the next hour exploring the maze of tunnels, you will even have a chance to crawl through the tunnels. Also on display are various mantraps, the remains of an American tank and numerous bomb craters made by 500 pound bombs dropped by B52 bombers. For those interested there's even the opportunity to fire off rounds from an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range.

    The following program is a sightseeing of major sights in Ho Chi Minh city. First stop is Notre Dame Catholic cathedral and short visit to French built post office nearby and then we will visit the War Remnants museum, which primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam war. We continue to visit the Reunification palace. Discover the history and fascinating street life of Saigon on a walking tour along Dong Khoi street, known as Rue Catinat in French-colonial times.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above
  • Saigon departure

    Day 14: Saigon departure

    Breakfast at hotel. Free your time to discover Saigon streets or shopping at Ben Thanh market - the symbol of Ho Chi Minh city until you are transferred to the Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight.


    Meals:  B
    Hotel:
      As Above

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