VI05 Indochina at glimpse ( 12 days / 11 nights )

Luang Prabang – Vientiane – Hanoi - Ha Long – Saigon - Mekong - Siem Reap

Day 1 Luang Prabang – Arrival

Arrive at Luang Prabang and transfer to hotel. After check in, take a brief city tour to the former Royal Palace (currently the National Museum); Wat Xieng Thong; Wat Sen; and Wat Visun. End the day by enjoying a sunset view from the top of Mount Phou Si. Afterwards, visit the Night Market to observe local hill tribe people selling their wares.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 2 Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves

Take a full-day boat trip on the mighty Mekong River to explore local villages at Ban Xiengmene and Ban Chan. Continue onto the Royal Temple at Wat Longkhoun, which once housed the royal family; visit the nearby Sackarine Caves and continue cruising to Pak Ou Caves. Explore the caves and cross the Mekong River at Ban Ou for lunch at a local restaurant. Return by road to Luang Prabang stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai (where the locals create a unique rice wine called “lao lao”) and at the Lao villages Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek (well known for its handmade Jute Sar paper).

Overnight in Luang Prabang [Breakfast]

Day 3 Luang Prabang – Vientiane

After breakfast, visit the Luang Prabang Market where a number of shops sell antiques and silver jewellery made by mountain tribes. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Vientiane. Arrive in Vientiane and transfer to hotel. Enjoy an afternoon city tour including Wat Simuang, Vientiane's most sacred site, and the religious museum at Wat Sisaket. The tour includes a stop at Wat Pra Keo, the original home of the Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok, the 16th century That Luang Golden Stupa and the Patuxai Victory Gate. The day ends watching the sunset on the banks of the Mekong River.

Overnight in Vientiane [Breakfast]

Day 4 Vientiane – Hanoi

In the morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi [Breakfast]

Day 5 Hanoi – Sightseeing

You will have a full day to explore Hanoi’s illustrious history. In the morning, visit the imposing marble edifice housing the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum (CLOSED ON MONDAYS and FRIDAYS) before moving onto his wooden stilt house and the One Pillar Pagoda. You will then explore the first university of Vietnam, the Temple of Literature, which is imbued with the profound philosophies of Confucianism. In the afternoon, visit Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ngoc Son Temple. A one-hour cyclo tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter allows you to catch a glimpse of ancient Hanoi and learn about traditional Vietnamese architecture. The tour includes a stop at an ancient Vietnamese "long house."

Overnight in Hanoi [Breakfast]

Day 6 Hanoi – Ha Long Bay

Drive through rice paddy fields to Ha Long Bay. Board a junk for a cruise among hundreds of islets of Ha Long Bay. Enjoy a seafood lunch and a swim (if weather permits). Drop anchor in the late evening for an overnight stay among the dramatic limestone peaks rising out of the sea.

Overnight on a Junk [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]

Day 7 Ha Long Bay – Boat Cruise – Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City

Spend the morning cruising through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay before returning to the wharf area. Transfer to Noi Bai Airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City [Breakfast]

Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre - Boat Cruise

Depart for the Mekong Delta.  Upon arrival in My Tho, enjoy a boat cruise along the river and take a short walk to a handicraft workshop where goods are made from coconut trees. You will experience an exciting horse-drawn cart ride to visit a local house where you will enjoy tea and taste home grown fruits. Board a sampan and drift along the narrow, tree-lined canals for further exploration of the Mekong Delta. After lunch, visit a family-run business making coconut candies before returning to the mainland at My Tho. On the return trip to Ho Chi Minh City, visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda if time permits. Return to Ho Chi Minh City by the late afternoon.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City [Breakfast, Lunch]

Day 9 Ho Chi Minh City - Sightseeing

Your sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, includes a photo stop at the Reunification Palace and visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, Chinatown, the Binh Tay Market, and the Thien Hau Temple.  See a Cao Dai mass at noon. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City [Breakfast]

Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City – Siem Reap - Angkor Complex

Transfer to the airport for a flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for check in. Enter Angkor Thom via the Southern Gate and explore the ancient city, then proceed to visit the ruins at Bayon, Baphoun, Phimeanakas, the Royal Palace, the Elephant Terrace and the Leper King Terrace. In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Angkor Wat where its extraordinary architecture offers an opportunity to experience a spectacular sunset over the monuments.

Overnight in Siem Reap. [Breakfast]

Day 11 Siem Reap – Banteay Srei – Banteay Samre – Ta Prohm – Visit Local Monastery for Blessing Ceremony

After breakfast, visit the graceful 11th century Temple of Shiva – Banteay Srei – and the Banteay Samre Temple. On the way back, swing by the Ta Prohm Temple which is mystically enveloped in the jungle.  In the afternoon, we drive to a local monastery and meet the resident monks and participate in a private good luck blessing ceremony and wishing you good health and a safe journey, performed by local monks. Sit on the mat while the monks chant blessings and sprinkle holy water on you – a traditional way which is believed pass on the good luck of the gods. Afterwards, a sacred thread will be tied around your wrist. This will protect you from any evil spirits or accidents – a memorable experience! Ending the tour by relaxing after a long day of climbing around temple ruins as you get pampered with a rejuvenating traditional an-hour Khmer or foot massage.

Overnight in Siem Reap. [Breakfast]

Day 12 Siem Reap - Departure

Free until transfer to the airport for departure flight.

[Breakfast]

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