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Northwest Vietnam & Northern Laos

A fascinating journey in the North and Northwest of Vietnam, crossing the border into Laos and travelling down the Nam Ou to Luang Prabang.

Day 1. Arr.Hanoi (L/D)
Arriving at Hanoi, our guide will be at the airport to welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. After a break to freshen up, we will a city tour of Hanoi including Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Temple of Literature, built in the 11th century as Vietnam’s first university, the Fine Art Museum and the Quan Thanh Temple. In the evening, we see the world-famous Vietnamese Water Puppet show in the theatre followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2. Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
This morning we will see Ho Chi Minh’s 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 make the 3-4 hour drive to Ha Long Bay and transfer to hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast you start with a transfer out to the internationally famous and stunningly beautiful Halong Bay, made world famous by James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. Arriving just before lunch, you’ll embark on a traditional Vietnamese junk. Take lunch on board and enjoy the afternoon and overnight cruise as it provides you with fantastic views of the fabulous scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands which amazingly rise from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves, some of which you’ll visit. Overnight on board in Halong Bay.

Day 3: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B/Brunch)
The tour continues with a morning spent cruising on to the Man’s Head, Tortoise islands and then Luon Cave by small bamboo boat. After a brunch check out and continue to travel though Bai Tu Long to Bai Chay for disembarkation, meet your driver and guide and drive back to Hanoi.

Day 4: Hanoi - Mai Chau (B/L/D)
Getting away from the busy city we head today to the North West of Vietnam, about 4 hours drive through new development to the mountains of Hoa Binh province, where we visit the biggest hydro power station in Vietnam. Our trip continues onward to Mai Chau, the home of the 'White Thai' minority people. In Mai Chau our guide will take you to visit some traditional homes and activities of local people like fishing, raising silkworms (depending on the season), weaving, planting etc. In the evening enjoy a traditional performance of Thai people, dancing and tasting local jar wine.

Day 5: Mai Chau - Son La (B/L)
In the morning, we cross the fields to visit the local market then return to home stay for breakfast. Afterwards. we continue the journey to Son La, where we stop at a nice Thai village and Hmong village (This village you can take a walk for about two hours if you like) as well as photo-stops along the way. Arriving at Son La, if time permits we visit the French prison where prisoners were brought to isolate them from the main cities.

Day 6: Son La - Dien Bien Phu (B/L)
After breakfast we continue the trip to Dien Bien Phu. Along the way you will meet Black Thai people and Hmong people. On arrival we take a tour to some of the historic sites of the town such as the Dien Bien Museum and A1 Hill. The latter was the shelter of the French General De Castries. We also visit memorials to the Vietnamese and French soldiers who died during the fierce, historically important Dien Bien Phu battle in 1954. Later, check in at hotel and overnight in Dien Bien Phu.

Day 7: Dien Bien Phu - Tay Trang - Muang Khoua (B/D)
Today we say farewell to Vietnam as we drive for two-three hours to the border with Laos at Tay Trang. After completing border formalities we meet our local guide then transfer by car through stunning mountain scenery with plenty of opportunities to stop off at the various tribal minority villages along the way, reaching, after about two hours, the village of Muang Khua on the banks of the Nam Ou. Check in at local hotel and overnight.

Day 8: Muang Khua – Muang Ngoy – Nong Khiow (B/L/D)
This morning we board a traditional boat for the trip down the Nam Ou (River Ou). The scenery along this part of the Nam Ou is most beautiful. During the journey downriver we will stop at some tribal minority villages such as the Lao Loum Hmong and Khmu, and make a short stop at Muong Ngoy, located on the bank of the river to experience the daily lifestyle of the local people. Afterwards we continue down river to Nong Khiow, a small town located between Luang Prabang and Xieng Khuang (Plain of Jars). Overnight at Nong Khiow (B/L/D)

Day 9: Nong Khiaw - Luang Prabang (B/L/D)
Today we continue our boat adventure down the Nam Ou, enjoying the lush green forests and landscape. We will be able to stop off at a few villages and admire the breathtaking limestone karst scenery. Along the way, at the junction of the Nam Ou and the mighty Mekong, we stop to visit the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by devoted pilgrims. Finally we continue our trip along the Mekong to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang, which we shall reach by late afternoon. After a transfer to your hotel you have the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 10: Luang Prabang City Tour (B/L)
Today we explore Wat Visoun, Wat Khili and Wat Xieng Thong, the most important Buddhist monastery in the country. Later, we visit the former Royal Palace, now a National Museum where you will find ornate, gilded and brocaded reception rooms, as well as artifacts including the Prabang, a large holy image, which was given in the 14th century by the Khmers to King Fa Ngum. Following lunch, we visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures and then we head out of town to see the weaving and Sa paper product villages at Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xiengleck. At sunset we climb the nearby temple-topped hill of Mount Phousi where you'll catch a lovely view over the town and the Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 11: Luang Prabang - Khuang Si Waterfalls (B/L)
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the ritual. From there you will visit the morning Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts. Return to the hotel for breakfast and then depart to the Khuang Si waterfalls, on the way visiting various local sights and villages. At the beautiful Khuang Si Waterfall you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. Here also we take a picnic lunch. Later we return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon.

Day 12: Luang Prabang - Vientiane (B/L/D)
A prominent Luang Prabang silversmith’s and the Central Market are of interest to many people and we can visit these sights prior to bidding farewell to Luang Prabang and catching the flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, we see the major temples including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, a temple of thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit Laos’s national icon, That Luang Stupa, and we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. We enjoy our final evening by watching sunset by the Mekong Riverside and taking in the city atmosphere at night. Dinner followed by traditional folklore performance at Kualao restaurant. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 13: Vientiane - Departure (B)
After breakfast, we visit the Morning Shopping Mall to get souvenirs back your home (if time permits). The tour ends after your transfer to the airport for departure.

Whilst every effort will be made to carry out the programme shown above, small changes may sometimes be necessary.

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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
Ho Chi Minh Mausolem, Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Mausolem, Hanoi
Halong Bay
Halong Bay
Mai Chau
Mai Chau
Old Prison at Son La
Old French Prison at Son La
Dien Bien Phu
War remnants at Dien Bien Phu
Lao Village
Lao Village
Nam Ou River
Nam Ou River
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Tad Khuang Si Waterfalls
Tad Khuang Si Waterfalls
Pratuxhay Monument
Pratuxhay Monument
Your quoted price includes:
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.
Departure taxes

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