This fascinating 19 day tour takes in some of the highlights of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Learn about the culture, history, and local life and wonder at the natural beauty along the way. Visit temples and UNESCO-listed sites, see grand colonial architecture, spend the day on a rice farm and enjoy lunch with a local family. Watch the sunset on a cruise along the Mekong River, try squid fishing on an overnight cruise in Lan Ha Bay and experience a unique ‘floating market’ in the Mekong Delta.
Including international return flights with Thai Airways, internal flights, private transfers, the services of English–speaking representatives and guides, all accommodation on bed and breakfast basis and overnight cruise on full board basis.
In Cambodia climb the 358 steps to the 12th century Prasat Banan Temple for breathtaking views, rise early for a magical dawn journey along the Mekong River in Laos and glide gently through the seascape in tranquil Lan Ha Bay in Vietnam.
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Arrive early morning. Be met by our English-speaking representative at Siem Reap airport and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Stay at Heritage Suite Hotel, Siem Reap for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Discover some of Angkor’s peaceful and less known temples on a full day, grand tour, starting at Prasat Kravan, a temple dedicated to Vishnu and located west of Angkor Wat. Continue to the impressive Banteay Kdei and then drive across the jungle to the incomplete and huge, five-layered mountain temple Ta Keo, standing more than 22 metres in height. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant, before exploring some of the most tranquil temples in the Sra Srang area; 12th century Preah Khan is an impressive, 56 hectare complex; the small Neak Pean in the middle of a reservoir; Ta Som with its monumental strangler fig tree and at the end of the day, Pre Rup, to enjoy the sunset.
Depart for the three hour drive to Battambang, a peaceful provincial town established in the 11th century and located on the Sangkae River. Stop along the route to visit the National Silk Centre, before arriving in Battambang and an afternoon at leisure. In the evening venture out to explore independently, visiting the bustling food market or finding a local restaurant for dinner. Stay at Classy Hotel & Spa, Battambang for 2 nights with breakfast & lunch included.
Battambang is home to some of the grandest and best-preserved colonial architecture in Cambodia and is surrounded by scenic countryside. In the morning drive to Phnom Banan and climb the 358 steps to the 12th century Prasat Banan Temple for breathtaking views over the surrounding plains dotted with sugar palm trees, rice fields and small villages. Stop for wine tasting at Cambodia’s only vineyard and visit the surrounding villages for an insight into traditional Khmer life. Return to Battambang and enjoy exploring independently for the rest of the day.
Depart on the two and a half hour drive to Siem Reap airport, stopping en route in the Pouk District for a visit to the National Silk Centre, before catching your flight to Luang Prabang in Laos. On arrival at Luang Prabang airport you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Stay at The Grand Hotel Luang Prabang for 3 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Standing at the confluence of the Mekong River and Khan River, UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang, meaning ‘City of the Golden Buddha Phra Bang’, was Laos’ royal capital until 1975 and is renowned for its many ancient gilded temples, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and peaceful river scenery. A half day walking tour will take in the National Museum located in the royal palace and several temples including Wat That Luang and the city’s oldest, Wat Visoun, the beautiful Wat Mai and the enchanting, richly decorated Wat Xieng Thong from the 16th century. In the afternoon board a long-tail boat and cruise along the river to the famed Pak Ou Caves; two limestone grottoes crammed with thousands of sacred Buddhist statues and images. On the return, stop at the village of Ban Muang Keo, famous for its whisky distilling.
Discover daily life at a community-based rice farm in the idyllic countryside; try your hand at some farm activities, or if you prefer, watch life on the farm unfold from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony. Learn about bamboo weaving, blacksmith work and sugar cane processing and tour the organic garden with its natural herbs used in traditional medicine. Afternoon to explore independently or choose an optional tour* of one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque sights, the Kuang Si Waterfall with a stop at the vibrant Phou Si Market and a weaving centre en route before a leisurely walk to the waterfall, and later drive to Muang Khai village to board a local boat for a sunset cruise on the Mekong River.
Rise early for a magical dawn journey along the Mekong watching the river banks slowly come to life and locals prepare for the day ahead. On arrival at Ban Don Kao you will be greeted by your local host and taken to witness the daily ritual of morning alms giving as part of the Buddhist traditions in Laos. After, enjoy breakfast with your host and watch the sun rise before returning to Luang Prabang. Free time until the transfer to the airport for the flight to Hanoi. You will be met by our English-speaking representative at Hanoi airport. Settle in to your hotel. Stay at Silk Path Luxury Hanoi for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Explore Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, a charming and bustling city with colonial buildings and tree-line boulevards. The morning’s guided city tour starts at the UNESCO-listed Thang Long Citadel dating back to the 11th century, then on to the secret underground war bunker used during the Vietnam War. Continue to the 11th century Temple of Literature, the country’s first national university, then return to central Hanoi for a walk through the Old Quarter. An optional tour* in the afternoon of Chuyen My and Van Diem craft villages, or spend some time exploring Hanoi at your leisure.
Depart for Halong Bay to catch a speedboat to the more tranquil Lan Ha Bay, where you will board the luxurious Heritage Line Ginger boat for a unique journey exploring the spectacular Lan Ha Bay. Enjoy lunch and relax on the sun deck taking in the stunning seascape, cool off in the outdoor plunge pool, or treat yourself to a beauty treatment or massage in the Lady Ginger Spa. Disembark on Cat Ba Island and swap to bicycles for a tour along the small, paved roads to a peaceful village to meet the locals and gain an insight into daily life. Back on board join a cooking class, anchor up for the night and enjoy a delightful dinner. End the evening with a quiet drink at the bar, or alternatively watch a movie at the on board home cinema, or if you prefer, join the crew for squid fishing. Overnight onboard Heritage Line Ginger on full board basis.
Wake early for the sun rise and a gentle Tai Chi lesson on deck. Cruise along to secluded Frog Lake for a swim, or paddle along in the beautiful bay in a kayak, gently gliding through the dreamlike seascape. Back on board a hearty breakfast awaits whilst cruising back to shore. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Hue. Stay at Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, Hue for 2 nights on a bed & breakfast basis.
Begin today’s exploration of Hue with a visit to the iconic seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best preserved religious monument, overlooking the Perfume River. After, the option is to either explore the UNESCO-listed Imperial Citadel, or the grand Royal Tomb of Minh Mang in its picturesque forest setting. The afternoon is spent in the village of Duong No, where Vietnam’s 20th century communist leader Ho Chi Minh lived and studied. Take a walk along the river to the ornately decorated Thanh Toan Covered Bridge. Evening in Hue at your leisure.
Meet a local family in Hue and learn about traditional culture and lifestyle and visit the family ancestral temple. Should you wish you can accompany your host to the market to pick out the produce and then help to prepare the lunch. After the family-hosted lunch depart on a three hour drive to Hoi An. On arrival settle in to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure. Stay at La Residencia Hoi An, for 3 nights with breakfast and lunch.
Start your day with morning walking tour with the guide, taking in the narrow lanes and old merchants houses, the iconic 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge and the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation, famed for its intricate wood carvings. Finish up at the vibrant market with its colourful silk stalls and local specialities. In the afternoon there is an optional tour* to a local fishing village with a cruise down the Cua Dai River and the chance to learn the art of paddling the Vietnamese round basket boats through the tranquil waterways (not available October to January due to weather conditions).
An hour and a half’s drive from Hoi An is My Son, one of the original Hindu temple sites in South East Asia, and once an important religious site and place of worship for the Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century. You will visit this UNESCO-protected temple complex of 20 ancient monuments overlooked by the Cat Tooth Mountain and learn about the Cham civilization, culture and architecture from a local expert guide and join him for a traditional lunch at his nearby home.
Join a street food tour (excl. Sundays) with guests from other hotels. Meet up with a local guide who will take you to the market in Hoi An to experience the sights, smells and flavours of the local produce and on to meet the culinary expert Neville Dean at a local restaurant where you will taste some traditional dishes. Transfer to Danang airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City where you will be met and taken to your hotel. Stay at The Myst Dong Khoi, Ho Chi Minh City for 2 nights with breakfast and light snack included.
A day to relax and explore independently, or if you prefer, an optional tour* of the historical architecture of Ho Chi Minh City that can be combined with a vintage vespa ride, or a tour of the Viet Cong Cu Chi tunnels around a two hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City.
Depart Ho Chi Minh City for the five hour drive to Can Tho with lunch at a local restaurant along the route. On arrival in Can Tho settle in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Stay at Victoria Can Tho Resort for 1 night with breakfast and lunch included.
A very early morning motorboat trip to the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, the unique Cai Rang, where a myriad of boats laden with local produce jostle for space and custom, and ‘floating restaurants’ dish up delicious food. Return to shore for a city tour starting with a visit to the Can Tho Museum, and on to the unique Binh Thuy Ancient House with its French architecture, ornate, antique filled interiors and serene gardens. Return to your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Day 7 – Luang Prabang
Day 9 – Hanoi
Day 14 – Hanoi
Day 17 – Ho Chi Minh City
Add a beach stay to your tour and make the most of the enchanting beaches of Vietnam.