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27 Day Laos Tour, Vietnam & Cambodia
TOURCODE: LA3
Duration: 27 Days Countries Visited: 3 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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27 Day Laos Tour, Vietnam & Cambodia

Treasures of Indochine
27 Days
TOURCODE: LA3

Colonial, Imperial Luang Prabang; Mysterious Plain of Jars; Lan Ha Bay overnight cruise; Charming, historic Hoi An; Mekong Delta boat trip; Superlative Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
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Countries Visited: 3 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

Our Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia tour starts at Luang Prabang, Laos, which has a vast array of colonial era buildings that are interspersed with many interesting shops and cafes.

Stand face-to-face with the famous Golden Buddha while visiting the Royal Palace.

A trip down the Mekong River will give you a chance to discover the 4,000 images along the Pak Ou Cave walls.

Empathize with baffled archeologists as we see hundreds of large jars strewn across Xieng Khouang's Plain of Jars.

Then it's off to Vietnam where all the sights will surely overwhelm the senses; from Hanoi's breathtaking architecture to the historical richness of Ho Chi Minh City.

An excursion to Cambodia's Angkor Wat is an opportunity that will not be passed-up.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

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The above prices are subject to an additional $95 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.

Optional Single Supplement: $1290 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
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Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Luang Prabang
Arrive in Luang Prabang - Welcome to Laos!

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Luang Prabang: Town Touring
In the 14th century, this city was established as the royal capital by Fa Ngoum, the first monarch of Lan Xang, the "Land of a Million Elephants" (a charming and evocative nickname from times gone by. Latest figures indicate that Loas's population of wild elephants is in the range of 781- 1,202). By this time, the city had already been the seat of local kingdoms for 600 years. According to legend, the site of the town was chosen by two resident hermits and was originally known as Xieng Thong --"Copper Tree City".

We have an orientation of this charming town, with its one main street lined with colonial era buildings housing shops and cafes. We have a chance to explore the town on foot and to climb to the top of Phu Si Hill. Looking directly downwards you can see that the former royal palace has a cruciform ground plan.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Luang Prabang Area
An early departure today takes to the Mekong River for a boat journey to visit the Pak Ou Caves. The boat is long and quite large, covered, with comfortable seat cushions, life jackets and a WC.

The Pak Ou Caves are two clefts in the side of a mountain stuffed with thousands of old Buddha images. The site has long been sacred for the Lao, even prior to Buddhism, when they worshipped spirits. The lower cave has over 4,000 images, ranging from 3 inches to 9 feet tall, stuck into nooks and crannies. The upper cave's Buddha images are placed far back into the cliff, so it's handy to have a flashlight. A real highlight of a trip to the caves is the breathtaking view of the mountains, villages, and fishermen during the 2-hour boat ride.

We return to Luang Prabang and visit the Royal Palace, a museum containing a collection of 15th-17th century Buddha statues including the significant Golden Buddha. The last member of the Lao royalty to live here was Sisavang Vong's son, Crown Prince Sisavang Vatthana. The private chapel is one of the most interesting wings of the palace. Here you will see the priceless gold Phra Bang Buddha in Abhayamudra (dispelling fear). It is made from 90% pure gold and is said to weigh 50 kg (110 lb).

We finish with a tour of the 16th-century Wat Xieng Thong with its richly decorated wooden interior. Wat Mai is another old temple of classic Luang Prabang design with gracefully curved roofs. We see many 400 year old wooden Buddha statues at Wat Wisunalat.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Luang Prabang - Xieng Khouang (Plain of Jars) - Phonsavan
Today we travel by road to Xieng Khouang and the Plain of Jars.

Overnight in Phonsavan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 The Plain of Jars
In the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th century, Xieng Khouang was the center of a kingdom of the Hmong (Meo). In 1832, it was conquered by the Vietnamese, annexing the entire region. The town of Xieng Khouang was totally destroyed during the Vietnam War. Even though it has been rebuilt in 1975, the name Xieng Khouang is now primarily used in reference to the province of the same name.

The highlight of our visit here is the "Plain of Jars." Scattered over the plain are hundreds of enormous limestone jars, each about 1 to 2.5 metres high, with a diameter of about 1 meter. There is still no explanation as to how the clay jars found their way onto the plain, nor what purpose they served. Archaeologists have come up with the wildest theories, among them a claim declaring them brewery cauldrons. More likely, the jars are enormous urns. Many jars were destroyed or damaged during the Vietnam War, when American planes bombed positions of the communist Pathet Lao.

Overnight in Phonsavan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Phonsavan - Vang Vieng
Today we travel by road to Vang Vieng, a small village nestled in a scenic bend in the Nam Song River and surrounded by breathtaking limestone scenery. This is rapidly becoming Laos's premier destination for eco-tourism. The outcrops have inspired many Lao legends and stories in Lao literature and are known as "Phou Suan Mon Nang Eua", meaning "Silk Tree Garden Mountains of the Princess". The area also contains an extensive network of caves some of which are outlets for underground streams.

The latter part of our drive is truly spectacular -- limestone cliffs and sheer drops. About 20 kms before Vang Vieng, we'll stop at a bridge with a lovely view of karsts. There's also an attractive wat immediately before the bridge.

Overnight in Vang Vieng.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Vang Vieng - Viangchan
Today we travel by road to Viangchan (Vientiane), the capital of Laos. Time-permitting we may be able to see a bit of Viangchan today upon arrival.

Overnight in Viangchan.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Viangchan, Laos - Hanoi, Vietnam
Today we fly from Viangchan to Hanoi. Flight time-permitting, we may have some time to see more of Viangchan before our flight.

Hanoi is a lovely city with lakes, fine boulevards and flourishing parks, as well as having a public centre that is an architectural museum piece. Hanoi is situated on the right bank of the Red River (Song Hong) which is spanned by two bridges, the old Long Bien Bridge and the new Chuong Duong bridge.

In the centre of downtown Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake (also called the Lake of the Restored Sword or the Small Lake.) Emperor Le Thai To (1428-1433), following a momentous victory against an army of invading Ming Chinese, was sailing on the lake when a golden turtle snapped at (and broke off) the tip of his sword, so signifying that its work was done. There is a modest tower (the Tortoise Tower) commemorating the event on an islet in the southern part of the lake. In fact, the lake does contain large turtles; one captured in 1968 was reputed to have weighed 250 kg (552 pounds). The park that surrounds the lake is used by the residents of the city every morning for jogging and tai chi (Chinese shadow boxing) and is regarded by locals as one of the city's beauty spots. When the French arrived in Hanoi at the end of the 19th century, the lake was an unhealthy lagoon surrounded by so many huts that it was impossible to see the shore.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 9 Hanoi: City Exploration
Today we enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Hanoi, and as we visit the historic highlights you will witness a capital city packed with tree-lined boulevards, lakes and parks, belle époque villas and beautiful temples.

We will start at the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, a site of pilgrimage and the final resting place of the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam. The building was constructed from materials gathered from all over Vietnam and is modelled closely on Lenin's Mausoleum. (*From time to time the building is closed to visitors; possibly an outside viewing only).

We continue on to the Ho Chi Minh stilt house. For most of his tenure as President of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh lived in this modest stilt house behind the grandiose Presidential Palace. Its construction and decor illustrates the importance of simplicity and modesty to this Vietnamese revolutionary. The building is elegantly crafted with lacquered and polished wood, following the model of a traditional communal house on stilts.

We will also admire the elegance of the One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Originally built in 1049, the temple is lotus-shaped and is situated in the middle of a water-lily pond.

Our visit to the Ethnology Museum (one of Vietnam's finest) provides us with an insight to the lives of the peoples found primarily in the high country. Dedicated to the 54 ethnic minorities of Vietnam the museum is packed full of information detailing traditional Vietnamese ways of life. Next is the Temple of Literature, the site of the first national university dating back to 1076 and one of Hanoi's best-preserved ancient sites.

Today we finish with the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, known to American prisoners of war as the Hanoi Hilton. This museum was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners of war during the American/Vietnam War.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Hanoi - Red River Delta & Tam Coc
This morning we will drive to Ninh Binh Province through the rural Red River Delta region. This part of Vietnam is often referred to as “Halong Bay on Land”. Song Hong, the Red River, is northern Vietnam’s largest river. The river rises in China’s Yunnan province and flows 1175 km southeast through deep, narrow gorges to enter Vietnam and discharge into the Gulf of Tonkin via a great delta. The silt it carries is rich in iron oxide, making its water red and giving it its name.

After lunch we will enjoy a short drive to Yen Mac. Here we will meet with a local family and learn about the local village activities such as gardening, rice cultivation and production, and local handicraft work. People of the Red River Delta villages are self-sufficient and they grow an abundance of vegetables and fruit in private gardens, overflowing with a variety of crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, herbs, papaya, longan and jackfruit. We will walk along the narrow village streets to see the local pagoda and the communal house; the relaxed atmosphere here lends well to interaction with local villagers.

We then drive to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital during the Dinh and Le dynasties. We'll visit the local temples and then drive across the Trang An Eco-tourism complex in order to reach the Hang Mua Cave. Here we can climb up the 450 steps to reach the summit for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Overnight in Tam Coc.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 11 Tam Coc - Lan Ha Bay Overnight Cruise
In the morning embark on a journey to Lan Ha Bay (an extension of Ha Long Bay); all the while absorbing the incredible beauty of The Red River Delta and colourful rice fields throughout the journey. Lying south and east of Cat Ba Town, Lan Ha Bay is made up of approximately 300 or so karst islands and limestone outcrops. Due to being a fair distance from Halong City, fewer tourist boats venture here, meaning Lan Ha Bay has a more isolated appeal.

We will receive a warm welcome as we arrive at the Dinh Vu port around noon. Here we will board our overnight boat. A mouth-watering lunch will be served as we cruise to Lan Ha Bay.

During our afternoon cruising we will witness the phenomenal and awe-inspiring scenery around Lan Ha Bay. We will explore hidden lagoons and floating villages, and you will have the chance to swim or kayak at the foot of the verdant giant stones. We later drop anchor in an isolated area for the evening and enjoy the peaceful ambience of the bay. Under clear skies, the upper deck offers a great vista from which you can admire the beauty of the Lan Ha sunset.

Overnight on board.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner



Day 12 Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi
Before enjoying breakfast, those who wish to can participate in a Tai Chi class on deck under the rise of the Southeast Asian sun. This morning we will explore an impressive cave engulfed with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. We slowly cruise back through the majestic karst peeks heading back to the pier.

Around noon we will disembark at Dinh Vu port and drive back to Hanoi. We will arrive in the mid-afternoon and will transfer to our hotel. Later this afternoon we will enjoy a walking tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter, also known as the 'Quarter of 36 Streets'.

This evening we will enjoy a (+/- one hour) water puppet show. This fantastic art form is unique to Vietnam and originates in the Red River Delta area.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 13 Hanoi - Da Nang - Hoi An
Today we fly to Da Nang and continue by road to Hoi An. Da Nang is situated on a peninsula at the point where the Han River flows into the South China Sea. Our route takes us through the nearby Marble Mountains; a cluster of five limestone peaks with marble outcrops known for their beauty and their caves. At the foot of Marble Mountain one finds an important religious site for the Chams as well as many artisans crafting fine marble objects.

Our destination today is perhaps one of the most charming and atmospheric towns in Vietnam - Hoi An. The ancient town of Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. The town centre here is small enough to get around easily on foot. On arrival, flight times permitting, we'll have an informal orientation tour of this charming town.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 14 Hoi An: Walking Tour & Boat Trip
Today we will venture out on foot and discover many of the highlights of this UNESCO protected town – including the old-town architecture, Buddhist shrines, French colonial houses, art galleries and old canals. This was once a prominent Vietnamese trading port for porcelain, pepper, silk and cinnamon, and the city offers a true mix of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and French architectural feats.

The oldest parts of town are teeming with beautifully-restored houses, shops, and temples, offering sightseeing opportunities you won’t find in other cities in Vietnam. One of Vietnam's most iconic attractions, Hoi An's Japanese covered bridge dates back to the 18th century and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. On its north side there is a pagoda, Japanese in style, which serves as protection for sailors. The Tran Family Temple has survived for 15 generations, and here we will see the fusion between both the Chinese and Japanese styles.

During our time here today we will visit the Chinese Assembly Hall, the Central Market and we will enjoy a boat trip on the Thu Bon River. This river is still essential to the region more than 500 years after it was first navigated, and it remains essential to local food production and transport.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 15 From Hoi An: My Son Cham Dynasty Complex
This morning we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son ("mee-sohn"), a large complex of religious relics that comprises more than 70 architectural works from the obscure Cham Dynasty (2nd-15th century). The Chams were "Indianised" during commercial trading relations and adopted Hinduism (which can clearly be seen in the Temple designs). My Son served as an intellectual and religious centre and is a ‘must visit’ as one of Vietnam's most extensive and most important Cham Sites. The forested and lush setting, and general peacefulness of this little visited site make this an excellent excursion.

We later return to Hoi An in time for a late lunch and the balance of the day is free for you to explore at leisure. The Hoi An riverside was a prominent stop amongst foreign traders between the 16th and 18th centuries due to its location on the banks of Thu Bon River, and today this part of the old town is still the most popular gathering spot day and night.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 16 Hoi An - Da Nang - Hue
Today we travel to Hue. Our route to Hue takes us via Da Nang where we visit the Cham Museum - housing the largest display of Cham art anywhere in the world. Many of the exhibits are considered masterpieces of their field, and at present the museum houses over 250 stone and terracotta sculptural works.

Shortly after our departure from Da Nang we will pass through the Truong Son Mountains, the former border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Hai Van Pass, or literally "Pass of the Ocean Clouds," offers spectacular scenery as it weaves through breathtaking mountains overlooking a stunning coastline.

The riverfront town of Hue was the capital of the old Nguyen Dynasty, and traditionally one of Vietnam's cultural, religious and educational centers. Here there are splendid tombs of the emperors, several stunning pagodas and the citadel that houses the forbidden Purple City, situated on the banks of the Perfume River.

During our time in Hue we will enjoy a "cyclo" ride through the old city and market. These three-wheel bicycle taxis first appeared in Vietnam during the French colonial period.

Overnight in Hue.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 17 Hue: Area Tour/Citadel Visit
There is no better way to start the day than with a motorized boat journey down the Perfume River to visit the delightful Thien Mu Pagoda, considered to be the finest pagoda in Hue. It was built in 1601 after an old woman appeared to Nguyen Hoang, the governor of Hue, and said that the site had supernatural significance.

This part of Vietnam has a long and illustrious history as it used to be one of the main royal capitals of the country. This afternoon we tour the Hue Citadel, a fortress surrounded by a moat that has a six-mile perimeter. At the Forbidden Purple City we can see the remains of the former home of the emperors. The Imperial City is built on the same principles as the Forbidden City in Beijing. It is enclosed by thick outer walls (Kinh Thanh), along with moats, canals and towers. There are ten gates, which pierce the four walls of the citadel, although many are in poor condition. The city has not only been damaged by war, but also by natural disasters such as floods, which inundated the city in the mid-nineteenth century to a depth of several feet. The complex has undergone partial restoration with the aid of UNESCO.

This evening we will enjoy a special, private dinner in a beautiful, restored royal home in Hue. The home is now owned by descendants of the Hue royal family.

Overnight in Hue.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 18 Hue - Ho Chi Minh City
Today we fly from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the captivating city of culture and commerce. This cosmopolitan metropolis vibrates with energy and innovation. The old blends with the new in Ho Chi Minh City, defining it as one of the most diverse locations on the winding course of the great Mekong River.

This afternoon we visit some of the city's highlights, including the Reunification Palace, formerly the site of Norodom Palace, the residence of the French governor-general of Indochina. A visit here provides a fascinating glimpse into the turbulent times of the Vietnam War as well as a look at the architectural influences which inspired some of Vietnam’s revered architecture – from French and English, to Japanese and Chinese.

We then proceed to Cholon, or Chinatown, an area inhabited by Vietnamese of Chinese origin and one of the most vibrant parts of the city today.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 19 Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnels & War Remnants Museum
This morning we travel outside of Saigon to the Cu Chi Tunnels - easily one of the most recognizable symbols of the Vietnam War. The tunnels were dug with simple tools and bare hands during the French occupation in the 1940s, and further expanded during the Vietnam War in the 1960s to provide refuge and a defensive advantage over the American soldiers. Despite all the bombings in their town, the Cu Chi people were able to continue their lives beneath the soil, where they slept, ate, planned attacks, healed their sick, and taught their young. The site has over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armoury, hospitals, and command centres. Today there are sections of the tunnels which visitors can crawl through (not recommended for the claustrophobic).

From here we will continue back to the city and head to the War Remnants Museum - the most comprehensive wartime documentation centre in Vietnam. The exhibits and descriptions here may be one-sided, with many exhibits containing a heavy dose of anti-American propaganda, but they do graphically portray the horrors of the war.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 20 Ho Chi Minh City - Cao Dai Temple - Mekong Delta
Our destination today is the Mekong Delta, where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of tributaries.*

On our way to the Mekong Delta, we will stop at one of the many Cao Dai temples. This hybrid religion took root in southern Vietnam during the 1920's after Ngo Van Chieu, a civil servant, was visited by 'Cao Dai' or the 'Supreme Being'. The Cao Dai later told Ngo in a seance that he was to be symbolized by a giant eye. Being a humanist religion, it quickly gained support of a large following of dispossessed peasants. Today there is thought to be about 2,000,000 adherents and 1,000 Cao Dai temples.

A four-hour drive south takes us to the fertile delta of the meandering Mekong River, the southernmost region of Vietnam. Often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam, producing three crops of rice per year, the fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruits and flowers. The Delta area is the end of a 4500 km / 2,812 mi journey the Mekong River makes after travelling through six countries. Traditional transportation in the Delta is by boat, via a vast network of canals and channels. Boating along these canals and visiting the floating markets is a fascinating experience.

* Please pack an overnight for the trip to the Mekong Delta. Large baggage will be securely stored in Ho Chi Minh City.

Overnight in hotel in Cantho region (Mekong Delta).

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 21 Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City / Colonial Quarter
Early this morning we will have a covered boat ride on the Delta - an ideal way to explore the attractions of the magic waterways of the Mekong region. Here we can have a candid glimpse into the lives of the local people selling, buying, and exchanging goods from their boats. Due to its mostly flat terrain and few forested areas, almost two-thirds of the region's land can be used for agriculture. The Mekong Delta is also Vietnam's most important fishing region.

After our morning exploration we connect again with our bus for our drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. This afternoon we will complete any city sightseeing that was not accomplished earlier. At some point during out tour we will visit the city’s charming Colonial Quarter. Here we find the Notre Dame Cathedral and adjacent Post Office. Both of these buildings were constructed by the French in the 1880s and display architectural characteristics typical of that time period. The Cathedral, situated in the aptly-named Paris Square, is among the largest Catholic vestiges in Vietnam, and is still frequented by many locals despite much of the country now practising the Buddhist faith.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 22 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Today we fly from HCM City to Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city in Cambodia.

Engineered by the French, Phnom Penh was once filled with beautiful tree-lined streets and colonial mansions. Today many of the old buildings exist, although they are in a severe state of disrepair.

Depending on the time of our arrival, we may accomplish some of the sightseeing as described tomorrow, today upon arrival.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 23 Phnom Penh: Tuol Sleng Prison & City Tour
Today we tour Phnom Penh and its surroundings.

We begin with a visit to the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison, now a museum illustrating the atrocities committed by Pol Pot during the 1970s, and the nearby Choeung Ek, aka the "Killing Fields." The buildings at Tuol Sleng are preserved as they were left when the Khmer Rouge were driven out in 1979. The regime kept extensive records, including thousands of photographs. Several rooms of the museum are now lined, floor to ceiling, with black and white photographs of some of the estimated 20,000 prisoners who passed through the prison.

Back in town, we visit the National Museum, which houses one of the world's largest collections of Khmer art, including sculpture, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The museum's collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924.

We then walk the short distance to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. We also stop in at Wat Phnom, a magnificent temple overlooking the town, said to be the spot whereupon the city was originally founded.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 24 Phnom Penh - Siem Reap & Angkor Wat
Today we fly to Siem Reap, gateway for Angkor Wat/Angkor Thom.

Later we wander the magnificent grounds of the splendidly preserved 12th Century temple of Angkor Wat.* Considered the best example of ancient Khmer architecture, it is the largest and most impressive of all Cambodian monuments and generally regarded as one of the finest religious structures in the world. We will also be visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple, Baphuon, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.

* NOTE: The order of Siem Reap sightseeing may vary at the discretion of your Tour Leader.

Ovgernight in Siem Reap.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 25 Siem Reap: Angkor Thom
Today is dedicated to seeing the remaining highlights of the Petit Circuit -- Angkor Thom (Bayon), with its haunting images of the God-like Avalokitesvara and its magnificent murals, and Sras Srang (Pool of Ablutions), Ta Keo (the first Khmer temple built entirely of sandstone), and Ta Prohm, in its natural overgrown setting.

We will also see much of the Grand Circuit, including the great temple of Preah Khan and the brick sanctuaries of Pre Rup. It is not hard to imagine how this vast complex, covering several square kilometers, with carefully engineered canals and reservoirs to control flood waters and survive droughts, was once (by some estimates), the largest city in the world, housing as many as one million inhabitants.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 26 Siem Reap: Banteay Srei
Today we visit some temples a little farther afield, including the exquisitely carved Banteay Srei.

Banteay Srei is something of an anomaly. It wasn't built by a king, but rather a spiritual teacher, Yajnavaraha, the Brahman of King Jayavarman V, in AD 967. At that time it was called Tribhuvana Mahesvara, and stood in a town called Isvarapura. The name Banteay Srei means the "Citadel of Women", and is one of the first temples to be restored by the French.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 27 Departure
Departure from Siem Reap.

BON VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner daily, some lunches(see detailed itinerary for daily meal plan). All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, cruise crew, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving/late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.ook their extra hotel nights through us.


Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, most lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas and locally paid departure taxes.


Seasonality and Weather
Our October departure is just outside of the coolest time of year and the end of rainy season in Laos and Northern Vietnam; it still rains now and then, but not too much to seriously affect our trip. The scenery is green and lush, and the weather is generally pleasant at this time of year. We will likely still experience some heat, but our October visit avoids the possibility of being caught in cold weather outbreaks that tend to descend from the north Nov-Jan, which can uncomfortably chilly.

Our March date also skips the cool and cloudy winter period and the heat of summer, which begins in May. March may be somewhat less green overall as things begin to dry out; that said, it's an interesting time as it coincides with the harvest of various crops.

Coastal regions, ie Central Vietnam, are cooled by sea breezes. Down south in Cambodia, we will definitely experience some serious heat as this region known for hot and humid conditions throughout the year.

Overall you should prepare for warm-hot, sometimes sticky weather with the possibility of rain and some chilly nights/mornings in a few locales.


Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout will be by private air-conditioned bus. Most of the driving days are not long, but progress can be slow due to the nature of the roads and traffic. Internal flights via scheduled regional carriers.

The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and some long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Our level "2" rating for this tour refers to the ambitious itinerary, full travel days, early starts, walking tours, uneven surfaces, and the possibility of heat in some locales.

Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation
Hotels used on tour are modern, comfortable, well-located, air-conditioned, 3-4 star properties with en suite bath/toilet. Some are resort-style boutique properties with plenty of charm and atmosphere. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Laundry facilities are available at most hotels for a reasonable price.

Click on "Map & Hotels" tab elsewhere on this page for more info, including details about our cruise vessel.


Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.


Group Size
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Southeast Asia
Countries visited: Laos; Vietnam and Cambodia


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Mouang Luang Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Luang Prabang
Country: Laos
A 10-minute walk from town on a quiet street, the Mouang Loung is adorned with traditional Lao temple-style roofs. The rooms are clean, with parquet floors and marble-tiled bathrooms (all ... tubs). Street-side rooms have balconies. There's an open-air Lao restaurant in the back, and just above it is an enormous balcony reserved for Baci ceremonies. Mouang Luang has the distinction of being one of the only hotels in town with a pool.

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Hotel Mercure La Gare
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Ha Noi
Country: Vietnam
Located opposite Hanoi Central Railway Station, Mercure Hanoi La Gare is an inviting oasis in the heart of the bustling city centre. Situated close to the Old Quarter, this ... features modern design and facilities, a French brasserie, internal courtyard and gym.
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Tam Coc Garden Resort
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Tam Coc
Country: Vietnam
Set in the Red River Delta, this upscale resort framed by rice fields is 12 km from both Hoa Lư and Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex.

Spread among 8
... the exotic rooms with bamboo and stone accents have free Wi-Fi, minifridges and garden-view terraces, as well as in-room safes, separate living areas, and tea and coffee making equipment. Upgraded rooms offer countryside or mountain views.
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Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Tam Coc
Country: Vietnam
Located on the edge of the Van Long Nature Reserve, Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort offers spacious, villa-style rooms with free internet access. Surrounded by landscaped gardens, it features a spa, ... swimming pools and 2 restaurants. Furnished with natural materials including wooden furniture, rooms have large windows and a balcony overlooking the resort’s gardens or swimming pool. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels, mini-bar and tea/coffee making facilities are included in each room.
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V'Spirit Premier Cruise
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Lan Ha Bay
Country: Vietnam
Newly-built wooden junks are designed in the time-honoured traditional style, but with contemporary, deluxe cabins and facilities, including sea-view windows in each cabin, private, modern bathrooms, and a comfortable sun-deck ... Our cooks will serve you the tastiest traditional Vietnamese foods, and our staff will help you learn about our current lives as well as our ancient history.
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Hoi An Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Hoi An
Country: Vietnam
The Hoi An Hotel offers 160 international-standard rooms, restaurant, bar, garden café, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, jacuzzi pool, sauna, steam bath, beauty salon, laundry service, mail services, money exchange, ... shop and art gallery. All rooms feature: telephone, air-conditioning, bathroom with bathtub and shower, mini bar, satellite TV, hair dryer, bathroom amenities, in room safety box.
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Festival Hue Hotel
Location: Hue
Country: Vietnam
Festival Hotel is rightly situated in the very heart of of Hue city, in close reach to to the relics of the Old Charming citadel with easy access to the ... Citadel, Antique museum, and other beautiful landscapes and tourist attractions.

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Duxton Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Saigon
Country: Vietnam
Located right in the heart of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City, the Duxton Saigon is a luxury 4* boutique hotel offering a refined and relaxing environment. As well as a ... of deluxe rooms, executive rooms and suites, the hotel also has a restaurant, bar, gaming centre, gymnasium, swimming pool, spa and business centre.
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Holiday Villa Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Phnom Penh
Country: Cambodia
Holiday Villa Hotel is a 3-star international hotel, built to reflect the best of French colonial design and style. The hotel has 74 well-appointed guestrooms and suites. Holiday Villa is ... located on the main business street, within the vicinity of shopping area and just minutes’ walk to famous Central Market (Psah Thmei). Phnom Penh International Airport can be reached within fifteen minutes drive.
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Somadevi Angkor Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Siem Reap
Country: Cambodia
This Siem Reap Hotel has 150 elegantly designed and well-furnished guest rooms, each with balcony, provide an atmosphere of tranquil elegance. You will enjoy the panoramic view of Siem Reap ... />
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Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 60-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Doris B.
Arlington, MA - US
I enjoyed almost all the excursions very much. Standouts are Ha Long Bay, of course, Plain of Jars, Vang Vien, the cyclo ride in Hanoi,My Son, Cham Art Museum in Danang, all the sites in the three countries that explored the history of the American War in SE Asia. All of the local guides were great, all knowledgeable, friendly, energetic and left us with a positive impression of their countries. All transportation was good. Food was better than I expected. Erin, our tour leader, was ingenious in planning interesting menus with the restaurants. I must add a word about the venues though. Erin is joyful, energetic, friendly, tolerant, and full of patience. We all loved her. Erin has made it her business to know as much as possible about the local cultures. I felt that her commentaries meshed beautifully with the information given to us by the local guides.
Erica P.
Chicago, IL - US
Boat trips were the best part of the trip - a good way to see the country and a nice refreshing ride on the river. Liked Ha Long Bay excursion, Mekong Delta tour, other shorter boat rides in Hue, Mekong R in Laos, Floating Village, even boat trips on the way to dinner.
Donna W.
Vancouver, BC - CA
I absolutely loved the tour in Luang Prabang to the temple for the annual celebration with the monks. It was a highlight.I particulary enjoyed the excrusion to Dien Bien Phu and the experience of the dinner and evening with the Black Thai family.
Marilyn S.
Dunrobin, ON - CA
I like the Adventures Abroad itineraries, costs (including evening meals, admission fees, tips for local guides and drivers etc.) and knowledgable tour leaders. I know, up front, what to expect re: costs and there are no surprises. I also value the limit on the number of participants on a tour. The level of physical ability required is clearly identified and useful. I would definitely recommend Adventures Abroad to my friends and know that I will take another tour through your company.
Linda S.
Calgary, AB - CA
This was a very interesting trip. I enjoyed every day of it and learned a lot.
Marilyn S.
Dunrobin, ON - CA
Her [Laura]knowledge about culture and different religions was factual and open with no hesitation or bias. I liked her style very much. I would happily doanother tour with her as the Leader!
Susan A.
Vancouver, BC - CA
As an overall guiding principle: I prefer interaction with locals in as authentic a way as possible. For that reason the evening with the Black Thai outside Dien Bien Phu was my favourite excursion.
Bonnie H.
Princeton, NJ - US
They [The Hotels] were all way beyond my expectation. Internet available in most, great breakfasts, helpful staff, comfortable beds, and hot showers.
Lynne F.
Hillsborough, Ca - US
Our guide ,Mien, for middle Vietnam was outstanding. She was a charming young woman who told us very moving human interest stories about life in her country. Her English was very understandable.
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