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Indochina Explorer (21-days)

21 day tour of the 'must-see' sights of Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam

Day 1. Arr.Phnom Penh (L)
Arriving at Phnom Penh, our Cambodia guide will be at the airport to welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. Today's city tour includes the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and the Independence monument. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Toul Sleng Museum of Genocide.

Day 2. Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (Angkor) (B/L/D)
This morning we visit the Central & Russian Markets before transferring to the airport for the short flight to Siem Reap where our local guide will meet you. After lunch at a local restaurant, we take a boat trip to enjoy the wonderful views of Tonlesap Great Lake, then visit the beautiful Phnom Krom temple by the Lake. Later, dinner will be at a local restaurant with a traditional Cambodian dance performance on stage.

Day 3: Siem Reap (Angkor) (B/L)
The antiquites of Angkor are on the agenda today, starting with the ancient royal capital of Angkor Thom: Bayon, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda, the Terrace of Elephants and Leper King and Taprohm temples. After lunch we visit the world heritage temple of Angkor Wat, followed by the Ta Som, Ta Keo and Pre Rup temples. Return to town.

Day 4: Siem Reap - Phnom Kulen - Siem Reap (B/L)
This morning we drive to Phnom Kulen where the 'River of 1000 Lingas' features thousands of symbols carved into the sandstone rocks under the water. We also visit the Rock temple, with its large reclining Buddha, and take a picnic lunch by the waterfall. On the return trip, we visit the oldest temple in Angkor, the 10th century Banteay Srei. This temple has the best engravings among all the ruins and was used in the film 'Lara Croft Tomb Raider'.

Day 5: Siem Reap - Vientiane (Laos) (B/L)
Today after breakfast we transfer to the airport for the flight to Laos. On arrival at the capital, Vientiane, our Laos representative will be at the airport to welcome you and transfer to your hotel. After lunch at a local restaurant today's city tour of Vientiane includes Wat Hoprakeo, built in 1566 by King Setthathirat to house the Emerald Buddha, Wat Sisaket, the only temple in Vientiane that survived the destruction of the city by the Siamese (Thai) in 1828; ThatLuang Stupa Museum shrine (great Sacred Stupa), the most important national monument in Vientiane, with a golden stupa believed to contain a relic of Lord Buddha and the Pratuxay Monument situated in the centre of Vientiane prefecture, its architecture inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and incorporating typical Lao motifs. Finally see the sunset at Mekong riverside.

Day 6: Vientiane - Luang Prabang (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, where our local guide will mmet you and transfer you to your hotel. Today's city tour of the former Royal capital, Luang Prabang, include a visit to Wat Visoun, the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa and Phou Sii hill which stands right in the centre of the small city, where you can climb its 350 steps to enjoy commanding views over the Mekong. Wat Phu Sii sits atop the mountain, alongside the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns. Then we continue, visiting Wat Mai (1796) with its five-tiered roof, and Wat Xieng Thong which is considered to characterize the uniqueness of Luang Prabang's local style, its several roofs sweeping low to the ground. We see also the impressive "tree of life" mosaic here. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts semi-erotic episodes from the Ramayana. Later we visit the National Museum, which was once the king's palace. Displayed inside is a collection of personal artifacts of the former royal family. Dinner at a local restaurant and evening walk of the night market.

Day 7: Luang Prabang (B/L)
After breakfast, we board a cruise heading upstream on the Mekong River, giving a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. Our first stop is the village of Ban Muangkeo where we start a short trek (45 mins) to reach the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local specialty of rice wine is produced. On the way, we also visit Ban Xangkhong, Ban Xienglek and Ban Nong Xai, small villages well known for silk weavings and for Saa (jute) Papermaking. Once back in Luang Prabang city we visit a traditional silversmith's workshop.

Day 8: Luang Prabang (B/L)
Today we visit the Tad Khuang Sii waterfall, on the way visiting a Hmong village and Ban Ouh village where Lao and Lu hill people live. The falls cascade over many calcified tiers and down several hundred feet into a series of cool, turquoise pools. The water here has a clear blue-green tint due to the high mineral content. You can climb the stairs and look down from various viewpoints on the way to the top. We take a picnic lunch by the waterfall then return to Luang Prabang and take the afternoon at leisure.

Day 9: Luang Prabang - Hanoi (Vietnam) (B/D)
In the early morning, hundreds of monks line the street in Luang Prabang and are given rice and other foods by the local people. If you like, we can take you into the centre of Luang Prabang to watch and give rice to the monks - your guide will provide sticky rice for you. (This dawn tour is optional - a very early start!) Afterwards we take a stroll though the morning market before returning to the hotel for breakfast. After hreakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Hanoi, Vietnam. Our Hanoi guide will be at the airport to welcome you & transfer you to your hotel. In the evening, see the famous Vietnamese Water Puppet show, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 10: Hanoi (B/L)
Our full day tour of Hanoi today includes Ho Chi Minhís Mausoleum (closed on Monday, Friday and the whole October-November) and Residence, the One-Pillar Pagoda and the Army Museum. After lunch at a local restaurant we visit the Temple of Literature, built in the 11th century as Vietnamís first university, followed by the Fine Art Museum, the Quan Thanh Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

Day 11: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay (B/D)
After a morning at leisure in Hanoi, we take the 4-5 hour drive to Ha Long Bay. Upon arrival, we check-in at hotel and take dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 12. Halong Bay - Hanoi - Lao Cai (B/L)
A morning cruise in a private junk on the emerald green waters of Halong Bay, among the 3,000 spectacular limestone islands, is followed by a fresh seafood lunch on board. After lunch, we return to Hanoi by road in the afternoon, then in the evening transfer to the railway station for your overnight train to Lao Cai.

Day 13: Lao Cai - Sapa (B/L/D)
Upon arrival in Lao Cai, we drive the 40km to Sapa, through picturesque mountain scenery. Sapa is a mountainous area of stunning natural beauty and diverse ethnic minorities. After checking in at the hotel and breakfast, we take a walking tour of the Saturday 'mountain market', followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, we drive to Ta Van village, about 8 km of twisty road from Sapa town, probably seeing along the way many HíMong, Dzay and Dzao people dressed in their traditional colourful costumes, then take a two-hour trekking tour through terraced paddy fields to discover the lifestyle of the Dzay minority.

Day 14: Sapa - Bac Ha - Lao Cai (B/L/D)
From Sapa, we drive to Bac Ha for the Sunday 'mountain market' full of montagnards from surrounding villages. They dress in their most colourful costumes and head to the market to exchange goods or sell self-made crafts. After lunch, we take a walking tour at Ban Pho village, then return to Lao Cai for dinner and to take the overnight train back to Hanoi.

Day 15: Hanoi - Hue (B/L)
Arriving back in Hanoi in the early morning, we go straight to the airport for your flight to Hue. Arriving in Hue, our local guide will as usual be there to greet you. Today our tour of Hue includes the mausoleum of the former emperor Minh Mang, in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. After lunch we visit the elaborate mausoleums of emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945.

Day 16: Hue - Hoi An (B/L)
This morning we take a boat trip on the romantically named Perfume River to visit Hue's best-known religious site, Thien Mu Pagoda. Afterwards we start our drive to Hoi An via Danang. The scenic route climbs over the Pass of Ocean Clouds before dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. On the road from Danang to Hoi An we visit the five sacred hills known as the Marble Mountains containing dozens of Buddhist shrines. We arrive in Hoi An in the late afternoon and check in at hotel.

Day 17: Hoi An (B/L)
Hoi An was a major Asian trading port in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and its picturesque architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants' houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. After lunch, we take a trip to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom at My Son. Here, 40km southwest of Hoi An, in a lush green valley, are dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the seventh and thirteenth centuries. Return to Hoi An.

Day 18: Hoi An - HCMC (B/L/D)
Today we drive to Danang to the airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Our guide in HCMC will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. After lunch, our afternoon city tour includes The Reunification Palace (the former Presidential Palace), the Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Lam Son Square, Ben Thanh Market, Thien Hau pagoda, The Museum of HCM Campaign and other sights of HCMC. Evening dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 19: HCMC - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi - HCMC (B/L)
A morning drive through typical southern Vietnamese countryside takes us to Tay Ninh Province in the west of Vietnam to visit the incredible Cao Dai Great Temple. With architecture that could have come straight from a Walt Disney fantasy, here all the major faiths of the world blend together in a unique religious cocktail. After lunch, we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters during the long struggle for independence. Return to HCMC.

Day 20: HCMC - Mekong Delta - HCMC (B/L)
Today we take a full day trip to the watery world of the Mekong Delta, just a couple of hours by road from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City's streets. Depart for Vinh Long, 150km southwest of Ho Chi Minh city then a motor-boat takes us along the Mekong river and follows small canals flowing sluggishly between banks of luxuriant vegetation to Cai Be floating market, one of the most typical floating markets of the Mekong Delta. Experience the exotic sights, sounds and smells. Lunch at a bonsai garden with speciality food - "Elephant's Ear" fish is followed by a visit to a ceramic tile factory, a tofu and fish sauce factory, a blacksmith's, a roof thatcher's and a rice husking factory. Return to HCMC.

Day 21: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure (B)
Free at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Please note: In order to arrive in Sapa for the Saturday mountain market, your departure date for this tour must fall on a Sunday.
Whilst every effort will be made to carry out the programme shown above, small changes may sometimes be necessary.

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Tour Price Guide

All the sights and sounds of Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos!

Please note that this itinerary is our suggestion only- all our tours are custom made to your requirements!

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Tour Price Guide
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Tad Khuang Sii Waterfall
Tad Khuang Sii Waterfall
Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Halong Bay
Halong Bay
Sapa Market
Sapa Market
The Citadel, Hue
Hoi An
Hoi An
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
Your quoted price will normally include:
International flights
Meals as shown in the programme (B/L/D)
Transfers, tours with English speaking guide.
All entrance fees and boat fees.
Service charges, rooms tax and handling fee.
Domestic flights.
Departure taxes (Vietnam & Laos)
Water puppet show ticket.

Your tour price will not include:
Visa fees
Airport departure taxes (Cambodia) Drinks with provided meals
Tips, personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.