PRIVATE TOUR – CODE: VIM13

Lasting for 21 days, this route is the best way to step into the authentic Indochina with a kaleidoscopic fusion of cultures, cuisines, landscapes and religions in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. From the rich but tragic of Cambodia to the amazing colors and culture of Vietnam, from the rugged terrain and archaeological treasures of Laos to the serenity of Thailand’s north, ends up with the Golden Land of Myanmar. Most of the tranfer between countries will be flights.

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Travel route: Bangkok – Luang Prabang – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hoi An – Da Nang –   Ho Chi Minh – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Yangon – Departure

BRIEF ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Bangkok – Arrival (no meals)
  • Day 2: Bangkok – Flight to Luang Prabang (B)
  • Day 3: Luang Prabang – PAK OU CAVES (NAVA MEKONG) (B,L)
  • Day 4: Luang Prabang – Khouang Si Waterfalls & Ban Chan (B,L)
  • Day 5: Luang Prabang – Hanoi (B)
  • Day 6: Hanoi – Fullday city tour (B,L)
  • Day 7: Hanoi – Halong – Overnight on cruise (B,L,D) Group tour
  • Day 8: Halong – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang city – Hoi An (B,L) Group tour
  • Day 9: Hoi An  – Cua Dai beach leisure (B)
  • Day 10: Hoi An – Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh city – Dinner on Saigon river (B,D)
  • Day 11: Cu Chi tunnels – City tour (B,L)
  • Day 12: Ho Chi Minh city – Tourist shuttle bus to Phnom Penh (B)
  • Day 13: Phnom Penh city tour (B,L)
  • Day 14: Phnom Penh – Flight to Siem Reap – Tonle Sap lake (B)
  • Day 15: Fullday Angkor Thom – Angkor Wat (B,L)
  • Day 16: Siem Reap – Flight to Yangon (B)
  • Day 17: Yangon – Bagan  (B)
  • Day 18: Bagan (B)
  • Day 19: Bagan (B)
  • Day 20: Inle Lake – Indein –Yangon (B)
  • Day 21: Yangon – Departure (B)

DETAIL ITINERARY

Day 1: Bangkok – Arrival (no meals)

Welcome to Bangkok, transfer to your hotel for check in and have a short time to rest.

Afternoon, transfer to visit the Royal Grand Palace – the nation’s landmark and most praised royal monument in Thailand, dazzling Wat Phra Keo, the Golden Chedi, the Pantheon of the Chakri Kings, and the Eight Colored Towers. Wat Po is also considered to be the first center of public education and is sometimes called ‘Thailand’s first university’. They use Mural paintings, inscriptions, and statues in the temple to educate people on subjects such as literature, warfare, archaeology, astronomy, geology, and meditation and it also is   regarded as the home of Thai traditional massage.

You can take photography in the Royal Palace Grounds and in the compounds of the Emerald Buddha Temple, but not inside the buildings. Please dress respectfully (no bare shoulders, knees or strapless-heel shoes). Shoes must be put outside before entering the temple buildings as a matter of respect. The Palace may be closed without prior notice during Royal ceremonies and when officials or head of state visit.

Day 2: Bangkok – Flight to Luang Prabang (B)

Today you catch a local flight to Luang Prabang.

Late afternoon, you are free to explore Street Night Bazaar, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribes. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 3: Luang Prabang – PAK OU CAVES (NAVA MEKONG) (B,L)

Today, you will first visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. Afterwards, we will visit magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.  We then embark on the Nava Mekong cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.  Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine. The authentic Lao lunch will be served on the leisurely cruise back to Luang Prabang

On arrival back in the city, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we will transfer to visit Wat Siphouthabaht to admire the sunset; this is the really peaceful place to catch the last beauty of the day. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 4: Luang Prabang – Khouang Si Waterfalls & Ban Chan (B,L)

Today you coss the Mekong River by a boat to reach the picturesque village of Ban Chan – a pottery village. You’ll visit the morning Phousi Market, where you will find many things sold as local tea, dried buffalo skin, saltpeter along the chickens, vegetables and hild-tribe weavings. Continue to visit local villages of Laos ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay-a Hmong village, Ban Ou – a Laoloum village and Ban Thapene-a Khmu village Laos to watch they make their famous traditional crafts. End of day go to beautiful Khouangsi Waterfalls where you can swim in a refreshing pools or just walk along the forest trails.

Day 5: Luang Prabang – Hanoi (B)

Free at leisure until check-out, transfer to the Airport for your flight to Hanoi.

Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport, welcome by our guide and transfer to your hotel. Hanoi or “River-bound City” as its name literally means is Vietnam’s capital with a thousand-year-old history dating back to 1010. The city’s fascinating beauty which is characterized by unique cultural relics, ancient streets of antique houses, elegant French colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and romantic lakes has made it one of the most charming cities of Asia. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.

Day 6: Hanoi – Fullday city tour (B,L)

Morning, start a city tour beginning with Ho Chi Minh Complex which features the life of Ho Chi Minh, the nation’s founder. At the complex, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the nation’s founder’s body is preserved (looking from outside because it’s closed on Friday), the colonial Presidential Palace, originally the French Governor Office and a fine example of French architecture in Hanoi, and the rural style Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Stop by one of Hanoi’s icons, the One Pillar Pagoda, built in the 11th Century in dedication to Avalokiteshvara or Buddha of Compassion and reminiscent of a lotus blossom rising from a pond. Continue to the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam built in 1070 by the Ly Dynasty to honor Confucius, sages and outstanding Vietnamese scholars. Lunch at La Vong Restaurant (The Angler) with its famous signature dish “Cha Ca” made from river catfish fillets fried with herbs and onion, and is served with roasted peanuts and rice noodles. You will experience one of the best dishes in Hanoi and taste Hanoi local wine.

Afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long with its ruins and reconstruction, a UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage Site whose history dates back to 1010 and ranging over four dynasties of Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen. Proceed to the city’s central area to visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple located on an islet in the lake. Hoan Kiem Lake is the center point of Hanoi and home to a rare endangered giant turtle species. Its name “Returned Sword” comes from a legend of a sacred sword being lent to an ancient Vietnamese King by a holy turtle from the lake and later returned to the turtle. Discover special Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry as well as Vietnamese folklore through a compelling puppet show at Thang Long Theatre. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 7: Hanoi – Halong – Overnight on cruise (B,L,D) Group tour

After breakfast, the cruise tour guide meets you at the hotel lobby and shuttle bus transfer to Halong Bay, which is about 160 km or 3.5-hour drive away. On the way, you will see some rural areas of the Red River Delta. Arrive in Halong City at 12:00noon time.

Check in Halong cruise (Seaview lunch). Cruising around thousands of limestone islets. Kayak among the hidden areas of the bay, around the Luon Cave area. Cruise to Soi Sim island. Go swimming and relaxing at the beach of Soi Sim or climb up to the top of the island for a panorama view of Halong Bay 17h30 Return to the main boat for a shower. Relax or snap photos as the sun starts to set 19h00 Dinner is served. Socialize with other guests, fish for squid, or just laze around Overnight on board.

Day 8: Halong – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang city – Hoi An (B,L) Group tour

Start your day with Tai Chi exercises or a photo hunt 07h30 – 08h30 Have breakfast at sunrise. 08h30 – 09h30 Explore the amazing Sung Sot Cave – the nicest cave in Halong Bay. 09h30 Return to the boat. Freshen up and check out of your cabin. 09h30 – 10h30 Continue your cruise exploring the Bay, passing Ba Hang fishing village, Dog Islet and more… 10h30 – 11h30 While heading back to the habor, watch the cooking demonstration before enjoying a traditional Vietnamese lunch. 12h00 Disembark the Cruise 12h30 Transfer back to your hotel in Hanoi city center by shuttle bus. 16h30 – 17h00 See you off at the hotel in Hanoi.

You meet our driver then private transfer from hotel to Hanoi airport for your onwards flight to Da Nang city. After 1 hour flight, you’re welcomed by our local tour guide then private transfer to your hotel in Hoi An Old quarter. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 9: Hoi An  – Cua Dai beach leisure (B)

Morning, start touring Hoi An to discover the ancient charm of a renowned World Heritage Site. Once a bustling maritime commercial port of Asia between 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An is now a peaceful town of exceptionally well-preserved architecture, lifestyles and traditions. The town exemplifies a fascinating fusion of cultures between Vietnam and the outside world including China, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. Highlights for sightseeing include the town’s iconic 400-year-old Covered Bridge with a small temple attached to one side as a prominent example of Japanese architecture, the Museum of Trade Ceramics which is an elegant Vietnamese style wooden house built in 1858 showcasing antique ceramic artifacts, the 200-year-old Tan Ky House typifying an ancient Chinese merchant residence, the Ong Temple built in 1653 by Chinese settlers to worship Guan Yu, an ancient Chinese general whose character stands for loyalty, bravery and justice. Last but not least, stroll through some villages and the vibrant local market to observe the local daily life still carrying an old-fashioned touch from the past.

Afternoon, free time to enjoy Cua Dai beach (free shuttle bus to the beach is provided by the resort).

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 10: Hoi An – Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh city – Dinner on Saigon river (B,D)

Morning, transfer to airport for flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Formerly named Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is the largest city and economic center of Vietnam always bustled with activities of modern life. It is where businesses converge and shoppers indulge themselves into unlimited choices. However the city also carries with it a rich historical legacy in contrast with its dazzling glamor.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide. At 6:00pm you will be picked up at your hotel to start the cyclo tour where you can experience the busy life of local people. Around 7:00pm, dinner will be served by Vietnam cuisine style at the Indochina junk on Saigon river. After dinner, your guide will accompany you to the Ben Thanh market for a walking tour to see the bustle of the night market. The tour will finish at your hotel at 9:00pm. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.

Day 11: Cu Chi tunnels – City tour (B,L)

Morning, transfer to Cu Chi District about 75 km Northwest of downtown Saigon (max 08 pax). Discover the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which were once a major underground hideout and resistance base of Viet Cong forces during the two wars against the French and later on Americans. The tunnels, entirely hand-dug, form a highly intricate network of interlinked multilevel passageways at times stretched as far as the Cambodian border and totaling over 120 km in length. Its complexity was beyond imagination containing meeting rooms, kitchens, wells, clinics, schools, depots, trenches and emergency exits all aimed for guerrilla warfare. The tunnels were deep and strong enough to withstand destructive bombings and self-contained enough to outlast prolonged sieges.

Afternoon, take a sightseeing tour of Saigon that includes the War Remnants Museum, which features a comprehensive collection of the machinery, weapons, photos, and documentation of Vietnam War with the both the French and Americans, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, a neo-Roman cathedral as a French-built neo-Roman cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, former Presidential Palace. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh city – Tourist shuttle bus to Phnom Penh (B)

Free at leisure until transfer to bus station to take the bus to Phnom Penh (Approximately 6hours driving). You will have an apportunity to view the quite landscape through the way from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh.

Arrival Moc Bai border, check in then continue to transfer to Phnom Penh city.  Arrival Phnom Penh, check in your hotel for refesh. Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 13: Phnom Penh city tour (B,L)

Morning visit to the Apsara Arts Association, a local non-governmental organization whose aim is to see Cambodian arts and culture become more valued and popular in Cambodia after having been destroyed by the ravages of war.  The Royal Palace, which was built in 1866 and is comprised of numerous structures, one of which is the popular Silver Pagoda. Constructed with over 5,000 silver tiles, this building also houses a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha that is decorated with 9584 diamonds and is one of Cambodia’s national treasures. Continue to visit the National Museum, A Khmer temple inspired building that houses the world’s largest collection of Khmer art sculptures, ceramics and bronzes. Although the emphasis is on Angkorian artifacts, there is also a good collection of pieces from later periods, including a special exhibition on post-Angkorian Buddha figures.

Afternoon, continue to visit the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, which is essential for first time visitors to Cambodia. During the Pol Pot regime, ToulSleng, formerly a high school, was converted to a detention center known for interrogation and torture of prisoners before being transferred to the “Killing Fields.” Enjoy a bit of local shopping at the Toul Tom Pong Market, before visiting the fields at Cheung Ek. Today, the site is a memorial for Cambodians and visitors to pay their respect for those lost. A memorial stupa has been erected and displays over 5,000 human skulls, bones and clothes of the victims. The visit is a profoundly moving, but depressing experience.

Day 14: Phnom Penh – Flight to Siem Reap – Tonle Sap lake (B)

Breakfast then private transfer to Phnom Penh airport with our driver for your onwards flight to Siem Reap (1-hour flight).  Arrival Siem reap, our guide and car pick you up at Siem Reap airport then transfer to hotel for check in.

Afternoon, take a half day tour to visit Tonle Sap Lake which is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. It is the heart of the Cambodian fishing industry and the lifeblood for millions of Khmers living on and around it. You will board a comfortable boat to see the true way of life in one of the floating villages of the Tonle Sap. Here you can see how Khmers and Vietnamese live and work side by side years later. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 15: Fullday Angkor Thom – Angkor Wat (B,L)

Morning visit to Angkor Wat with your private guide. It is unlike all the other Khmer temples in that it faces west and is inspired by 12th Century Hinduism. Its symmetrical towers are stylized on the modern Cambodian flag. Intricate bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides, each telling a story, but the most celebrated of these is the Churning of the Sea Milk, which is located on the east wing – your guide will explain the mystical tale behind it.

Afternoon, the Angkor Thom with your private guide. You will visit the sprawling Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the enchanting Bayon. This 12th century masterpiece lies at the very center of Angkor Thom City and is an archaeological wonder of symmetry and grandeur. The exterior gallery walls have extensive bas-reliefs, but the main features are the towers each with 3 or 4 gently smiling faces, over 200 in total. Dinner at local restaurant with Apsara dance show.

Day 16: Siem Reap – Flight to Yangon (B)

Free at leisure until transfer to airport for departure flight. Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

Fly from Siem Reap to Yangon, Myanmar. Transit in Bangkok. Flight time is approximately 1 hour. (Siem Reap to Bangkok) and 1hour (Bangkok to Yangon)

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle. On arrival at the Yangon international airport, welcomed by our guide and transferred to your hotel for check in and has a rest (Check in time is 14:00 and early check in is subject to availability). The former capital Yangon is the largest city and the most important commercial center in Myanmar.

Afterwards, visit the 2,600 years old Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese can be seen from almost anywhere in Yangon. You will start at the eastern staircase where you will find the shops selling various religious items and other unique objects. Upon reaching at the main platform, witness the colors transform on the 100-meter pagoda which is literally covered with over 60 tons of gold leaf. Then return to the hotel. Dinner will be on own account. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 17: Yangon – Bagan  (B)

After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Nyaung U (Bagan). Featuring more than 2000 red brick temples scattered across an area of 41 square kilometers in the central region of Myanmar, Bagan is known to be one of the greatest architectural sites in Asia.

Upon arrival, start your sightseeing in Bagan with a visit to the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda considered to be the prototype of later Myanmar stupas; constructed by King Anarahta in the early 11th century. Continue your visit to Kyansittha U Min, Htilominlo Temple and Gubyaukgyi Temple which has an exquisite mural painting of 13th century. Also visit to Manuha Temple built in 1059, and Nan Phaya which has been built in the 11th century by the Mon King Manuha. Then move on to some workshops of lacquer wares and wood crafts to learn about local production. Transfer back to your hotel for refreshment.

In the afternoon, drive to the jetty and board on a private boat along the majestic Ayarwaddy River towards Kyaukgu U Min. Enjoy the fabulous scenes of local lives on the water while cruising. Stop to explore a riverside village and observe the lives of the residents there before reaching Kyaukgu U Min, built during the 13th century for the locals to hide from the invading Mongols according to the legend. After your exploration, a combination of a relaxing cruise and car will take you back to the hotel. Lunch and dinner will be on your own account.

Day 18: Bagan (B)

Today, you will explore the settlement of Nyaung U and neighboring villages. Start with a visit to the vibrant Nyaung U Market the busy market in New Bagan with great opportunities of photographing and mingling with the locals, watch how they earn their daily lives. Explore a local village nearby, and if you wish, continue to the lesser-known temples and monuments in the area for the remainder of the morning.

In the afternoon, you will visit to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece constructed in “Mon” style, one of Bagan’s most wonderful temples. From here, you will continue by a horse cart for an excursion to Oak Kyaung Monastery decorated with multi-colour mural paintings, ThatbyinnyuTemple, Bagan’s tallest temple, gigantic Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork and, Sulamani Temple. Proceed to Shwesantaw Pagoda to enjoy the breath-taking sunset over the Ayarwaddy River and the various temples from the upper terrace of the temple. Transfer back to your hotel for overnight. Lunch and dinner will be on own account.

Day 19: Bagan (B)

After breakfast, transfer by car about an hour to the airport for your domestic flight to Heho. Upon arrival at Heho airport, welcome by our guide and drive to NyaungShwe town located adjacent to Inle Lake through the scenic Shan hills. En route, stop to visit to the rural workshops that produce traditional Shan paper and handcrafted umbrellas. On arrival, take a short tour around this charming Shan town including visit to one of the tomato warehouse where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sales and some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town. Then aboard on a private motorboat to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most fascinating sights.

In the afternoon, observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and their floating gardens. Visit NgahpeChaung Monastery with the decoration of gold gilded wooden Buddha images and numerous teak pillars.  This temple was famous for its jumping cats in the past. Proceed to the PhaungDawOo Pagoda, the most famous pagoda in the lake containing five sacred images of Buddha covered in gold leaf. Move on to some of the workshops making inconceivable woven items from lotus silk, cigar, blacksmiths or silver smiths. Return to hotel by boat. Lunch and dinner will be on your own account.

Day 20: Inle Lake – Indein –Yangon (B)

After breakfast at hotel, visit the colorful floating market which rotates its location between the villages in a 5-day schedule (the market is closed on dark moon and full moon days). Then, take one-hour boat ride to the Indein Pagoda Complex, where you will walk through the bamboo forests and enjoy an exciting view of over a thousand of pagodas and stupa ruins.

In the afternoon, transfer back to your hotel and check out. Enjoy your last boat ride on the way back to NyaungShwe. Then, proceed by car to the Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, picked up by our guide and transferred to the downtown of Yangon to visit Bogyoke Market also known as  Scott Market, where you can find the extensive collection of traditional crafts and souvenirs (the market is closed on Mondays and public holidays). After sunset, head to China town to visit the colorful Khen Hock Keong Chinese Temple and the lively night market. Then, you will return to the hotel for overnight. Lunch and dinner will be on own account.

Day 21: Yangon – Departure (B)

After breakfast, free at leisure until transfer with guide to the airport for your departure flight onward.

INCLUSION

  • Complimentary Vietnam visa approval letter
  • 19 nights accommodation in hotel in city center
  • 1 night accommodation on Halong bay cruise
  • Tours, sightseeing, and boat rides according to itinerary with local English speaking guides
  • Private car transfer except for Hanoi – Halong – Hanoi and Saigon – Phnom Penh using shuttle bus
  • Private boat trip on Mekong river in Luang Prabang and Bagan and Inle lake
  • Water puppet show tickets in Hanoi
  • Kayaking, swimming, cooking class in Halong bay
  • Private temple excursions in Siem Reap and Bagan
  • Meals according to itinerary: B = Breakfast; L = Lunch ; D = Dinner including 1 special dinner on Saigon river
  • Mineral water during transfer

EXCLUSION

  • International flights to Bangkok and out of Yangon
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary ;
  • Drinks, gratuities and expenses of a personal nature
  • Tipping for tour guides and drivers