(22D/21N) UNCOVER INDOCHINA

This tour is designed for travelers who have time on their hands to explore the 5 fascinating countries that were all influenced by French Colonialism. 

Highlights

  • Vietnam: Get lost in Ho Chi Minh, see the spectacular karsts of Ha Long Bay, a history trip in Hanoi and fall in love with Hoi An
  • Cambodia: Eat a local curry in Phnom Penh, experience man-made genius architecture in Angkor
  • Laos: Admire the Patuxai Arch a re-imagined “Arc de Triomphe” in Vientiane, cruise down the Mekong from Laos to Thailand, bathe under the Kuang Si Waterfalls  
  • Thailand: Experience a different kind of Thailand in Chiang Rai with the Golden Triangle
  • Myanmar: Step back in time in Yangon and witness what the past used to be

Start your journey today!

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  • Duration

    22D/21N

  • Destinations

    Hanoi - Halong - Hoi An - HCMC - Siem Reap - Vientiane - Luang Prabang - Mekong River - Chiang Rai - Yangon

Our Services Include:
  • Hotels accommodation in double or twin sharing with breakfast
  • Ground operation with vehicle (with Air-con), horse cart & boats
  • Activities and sightseeing mentioned in the program
  • English speaking station guide (not throughout guide)
  • Entrance fee in all destination
  • Porter fee at the airport only
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Water and fresh tissues on tour
Our Services Exclude:
  • Personal expenses (i.e. certain food and drink arrangements)
  • Visa Fee for all the countries (Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia & Thailand) 
  • Gratuities generally guides, driver and other suppliers
  • Any other services/items not mentioned in inclusions
  • Domestic and International air ticket and airport taxes 
  • Luggage handling
icon-schedule

ITINERARY/SCHEDULE

Upon arrival in Hanoi, the cultural heart and capital of Vietnam, you will be met by our representative and be transferred to the hotel for a one night stay. 

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

In the morning, make a visit to the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is preserved body of the beloved revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. Continue by walking to Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house and the one Pillar pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in the 11th century in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar.

Later, make a visit to the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first national university and the most significant temple complex in the city then drive to Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam.

End of the day, return to Hanoi center and conclude your day with a 1 hour cyclo through the Old Quarter where craftsmen make and offer their wares on streets, bearing the name of the items they are selling.

Overnight in Hanoi.

After breakfast, check out your hotel and head to Halong Bay. Halong Bay was declared as A UNESCO Natural Heritage Site, Halong bay covers an area of 43,400 ha and including over 1600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and unaffected by humans, it forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and is an ideal model of a mature Karst landscape developed during a warm and wet tropical climate.

Arrive at Tuan Chau International Passenger Port, embark on the traditional wooden boat followed by a welcome drink while the cruise manager briefs about the itinerary and safety information. A tasty lunch will be served on board when our cruise starts sailing towards the southeast portion of Halong Bay, passing by Chicken Rock, Finger Islet and Frog Islet. Arrive to Dark and Bright Lagoon and visit the area by rowboat or kayak (Kayaks can be booked in advance at the reception with extra cost(s)). Return to our cruise and rest of the day is at your leisure.

Later, take part in a cooking demonstration with traditional Vietnamese food on the sundeck (or in the restaurant if weather does not permit it). Cruises back through the bay on cruise, until an overnight anchorage in Ho Dong Tien area. 

Dinner & overnight on board.

In the early morning, start your day with a Tai Chi lesson while hot tea and coffee are being served on the sundeck then enjoy a light breakfast on board before exploring the Surprise Cave. One of the biggest caves in Halong Bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

Back to our main boat, brunch or lunch will be served in the restaurant while the boat heads back to harbour. Check out and disembark at Tuan Chau port and transfer to Hanoi Airport (Noi Bai Airport) to fly to Danang.

Once arriving in Danang, transfer to Hoi An to check-in at the hotel and overnight stay in Hoi An.

Breakfast at the hotel and spend the morning exploring the charming colonial port city of Hoi An for centuries, Hoi An was Vietnam’s most active trading center and the unique buildings have, for the most part, been carefully preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders that passed through during its years as a trading hub. 

Hoi An is also the town where French missionary Alexandre de Rhodes introduced Catholicism to Vietnam, as well as the Romanized script that has become the standard religious manuscript in Vietnam. 

The walking tour of this enchanting town includes a visit to an old merchant house, the Hoi An museum, a Chinese assembly hall and the Japanese covered bridge. Also explore the town’s many clothing shops, its colorful fish markets, and bustling river life.

Then board a simple boat for a cruise on the Thu Bon River. Hoi An was an ancient port city primarily because the Thu Bon River flows into the East China Sea, making it a convenient stop for merchant vessels bound for China and surrounding countries.

Free the whole day, leisure time and exploration of the city.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Check out of your hotel and meet your guide in the lobby for your private transfer to the airport. Depart Danang for Saigon on a morning flight. Upon arrival, independently collect your luggage and head to the arrivals hall where your local guide will be holding a signboard with your name. Private transfer to your selected hotel. Official check in time is at 14:00. If your room is unavailable, leave your bags at the bell desk and have lunch before stepping out for touring.

Today’s Scheduled Activities: Afternoon touring.

  • Reunification Palace: Visit the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential Palace, which became world famous when tanks crashed through its gates in 1975, ending the Vietnam Civil War. As storm clouds gathered and the Vietnam War intensified, in 1962 former President Diem commissioned a 100‐room official residence from a French trained architect, a disciple of the American master Edward Durrell Stone. Due to multiple coups and his ultimate assassination, Diem never lived in his palace, though this did not impede the crumbling government’s plans to continue building this exorbitant project, which was completed in 1966. Often associated with the infamous Madame Nhu, the so called “Dragon Lady”of South Vietnam and the silent power behind the corrupt government, the palace was lambasted as an incredible folly. Madame Nhu, who died in exile in 2011, was dubbed “the most devious beauty east of the Suez.” All of the palace’s costly modernist furnishings and finishes were handpicked by her to emphasize the strength of the American‐powered puppet regime.
  • War Remnants Museum: Visit the War Remnants Museum, which displays very moving, controversial, and sometimes quite graphic photographs from the “American War.” The museum’s exhibits present a large collection of photographs depicting atrocities against the Vietnamese people and effects of chemical weapons, unexploded ordnance, and United States military equipment, including aircraft and artillery.
  • Saigon Central Post Office: See the nearby Saigon Central Post Office, which boasts a remarkable neoclassical design style. The building was constructed in the late 19th century, during the French rule of the region.

Free day at your leisure

Overnight in Saigon.

Saigon – city tour & Cu Chi tunnels

  • Cu Chi Tunnels: we drive to visit Cu Chi Tunnels, an interconnecting network of subterranean passageways used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War to evade American forces. Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to climb into the tunnels yourself, entering through a secret hatch in the ground and crawling through enlarged tunnels, experiencing first‐hand what life was like for their inhabitants. Viet Cong guerrillas would spend days at a time living in the tunnels, emerging only to gather supplies or to mount an attack. As a result, the tunnels became a miniature base of operation for the war, housing medical wards, food, ammunition stockpiles and barracks, as well as providing secret infrastructure for communication between forces. The presence of the tunnels was a contributing factor in drawing out the war and ultimately the withdrawal of American forces. Many efforts were made to discover and destroy the tunnels, but their extensive nature and well‐guarded, boobytrapped entrances made this nearly impossible. For a more visceral taste of the wartime experience, head to the nearby firing range, where AK‐47, M16, M60, M40 and Magnum 44’s are available with live rounds. Please note: The firing range charges $1 USD per bullet.

Return Saigon and continue with the city tour.

  • Cholon: Visit Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown (and the largest Chinatown in Vietnam). While in Cholon, visit Giac Lam Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Saigon. Originally built in 1744, the Buddhist temple houses many tombs of long deceased monks and stewards of the temple and a rare bodhi tree, the type of tree that Buddha found enlightenment under. Don’t miss the large outbuilding just to the right of the entrance – inside are aisles of shelves with colorful urns of ashes, Chinese pots with red lights, candles and offerings.

Rest of the late afternoon and evening is at your own leisure and/or free time.

Overnight in Saigon.

Morning breakfast at the hotel, leisure time throughout the rest of the morning, before transferring to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap. 

Upon your arrival at Siem Reap Airport, our representative will warmly welcome and transfer to your selected hotel for check in. 

Free for the rest of the day at  your own leisure.

Early start from the hotel to enjoy amazing sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple. Afterwards, return to the hotel for breakfast. Then we’re heading out by Tuk Tuk to the South gate of Angkor Thom, the capital of Jayavarman VII. We visit Bayon temple consisting of more than 200 smiling faces within the walls.

Continue to visit other interesting temples such as the terrace of elephants, the terrace of the leper King, Baphuon and Phimeanakas. Continue to unlock the famous Ta Prohm jungle temple while the crowds are gathering at Angkor Wat temple. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples for visitors.

Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon, we will visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the legendary Angkor Wat Temple.

This incredible complex was built by Suryavarman II in the middle of the 12th century and considered to be the spiritual, political and geographical heart of the Great Khmer Empire. In addition, the exterior walls of the lower level display the most extraordinary bas-reliefs, depicting stories and characters from Hindu mythology, and the historical wars of Suryavarman II.

Breakfast is at the hotel, we drive to visit Kompong Phluk Village. The village is home to approximately 3,000 predominantly Khmer fishing people, where, depending on the time of year, you will either sail on through the main street of the village (when the water is high the roads become a river), or walk along it in the low water level season. Whichever way, it's a great opportunity to see how the rural fishing villages work and see how people live and go about their daily tasks. You will see a few schools, a large pagoda and many stilted homes, some towering as much as 10 meters high, built this way to adapt to the changing water levels. It is a lovely and peaceful place to visit anytime of the year. This tour will give you the opportunity to see how a vast majority of Cambodians live as fishermen or farmers and give you an insight into their way of life.

After that we will drive to Angkor complex to continue with a visit at the Rolous Group of temples. The monuments of Roluos, which served as the capital of Indravarman I (reigned 877-89), are among the earliest large, permanent temples built by the Khmers and mark the beginning of Khmer classical art Preah Ko erected by Indravarman I in the late 9th century dedicated by the King to his ancestors in 880.

Continuing to Bakong, it is the largest and most interesting of the Rolous group temples, with its active Buddhist monastery just to the north of the east entrance and LoLei temple.

Later we resume our journey to reveal the exquisite pink sandstone temple of Banteay Srey – considered to be a Jewel of Khmer art which features elaborate decorations and fine detail. Banteay Srey is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and when translated it means “Citadel of the Women”, or “Citadel of Beauty”. On our way back, we’ll stop to visit a local village that specializes in making palm sugar, palm leaf products, and other various local handicraft souvenirs before having a visit at Banteay Samre. The Banteay Samre was built in the mid 12th century by using the anastylosic method similar to Angkor Wat style, it's still well preserved and in  good condition with its serene infrastructure.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Morning breakfast at the hotel and then free at your leisure until transfer to the airport for departing to Vientiane.

Once we arrive in Vientiane your guide will take you to your hotel in the city of Vientiane.

Enjoy a stroll around the city at your own leisure, discover the river bank while enjoying a sunset.

Start this morning with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines upon its towering golden spire.

Then, enjoy a panoramic view over the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane’s own “Arc de Triomphe”.

Continue down Lane Xang Avenue the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues. 

Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo.  Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art.

Lunch at Makphet Restaurant on your own budget. Established by “Friends International”, Makphet is a charity-run restaurant aiming to train the area’s street children in the hospitality industry.  Professional chefs from around the world have volunteered their time in developing the menus and training the staff. The food is excellent, and the staff excel, bringing true Lao-hospitality with the service.  

The afternoon is free for you to enjoy shopping, sightseeing, or a spa treatment. Pamper yourself after a day out by a stop at a local Spa where professionally trained masseuses will take care of you by using different kinds of techniques and natural products to relieve your tensions accumulated during the day.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Morning breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang. 

Once we arrive meet the local guide and he will bring you to your hotel. Check-in and once you are done. Start your tour with a visit to Wat Visoun, the holiest temple of the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. Continue past Wat Aham, which was first built in the 1500s, and on to Wat That where the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are kept inside the large central stupa.

In the afternoon, start at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos (closed on Tuesdays). Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. 

Pursue your discovery of the town with a visit at the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center where you will learn more about local hill tribes in Laos. Learn more about Laos culture and locally made products by visiting The ‘Stay Another Day’ exhibit. You will also enjoy a Lao tea tasting ceremony.

As today comes to a close, climb the stairs of Mount Phousi and watch the sunset over the city and surrounding hills.  Transfer back to your hotel, stopping along the way at the hill tribe evening market for some shopping.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

For early-risers (05:30am) there is a very special dawn visit to witness the long lines of orange-robed monks leaving their pagodas to receive offerings of food from Luang Prabang residents. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

In the morning, visit the refreshing waters of the Kuangsi Waterfalls. Located 32 km from Luang Prabang these waterfalls cascade down a multi-level limestone formation creating a series of turquoise blue pools perfect for swimming in on a hot day.  The jungle and dense woods surrounding the falls are filled with wildlife and pleasant walks can be taken along the natural footpaths. (Note: when bathing, please wear a sarong, no bare body parts). Once at the waterfalls, a visit at the Bear Rescue Center will increase your awareness on the preservation program for these endangered mammals.

Return to Luang Prabang for your lunch (at your discretion).

The remainder of the day is free at leisure.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Flight 1h10m Luang Prabang - Chiang Rai or drive 11hrs

Morning breakfast if time permits, check out and depart to the airport for a flight to Chiang Rai.

Once we arrive, the day is free at your leisure.

Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Breakfast in the hotel, then head to visit “Opium House” on the crux of the Mekong River, the scenery has views of three of the Indochina countries (Laos, Myanmar, Thailand). Later, another visit to an ancient city called Chiang Saen, numerous dated artifacts and mossy green ruins exist at this site. Buddhist imagery, temples, stupas and archaeological findings are among the exhibited relics.

Lunch at a local restaurant and then head back to the hotel in Chiang Rai. 

The afternoon is at your leisure and we will stay overnight in Chiang Rai.

Have breakfast at the hotel and enjoy some relaxation before your guide and driver pick you up for a 2.5 hours drive to Chiang Mai.

On the way to Chiang Mai we will stop at the White Temple “Wat Rong Khun”, which is a privately owned art exhibit, stylized as a Buddhist temple.

Once again, we will head towards Chiang Mai, but on the way we will stop to visit a charity-based school (School For Life), co-founded by Berlin Free University. This school provides free education, accommodation  and medical aid to children who are in need.

At the school, you will have a cooking lesson with some of the children and learn how to cook local Thai food, cooked by you and your little helpers will be your lunch! After lunch, enjoy the countryside and head back on the road.

Arrive in Chiang Mai, check-in and overnight stay in Chiang Mai.

Morning breakfast and explore a bit of the city. 

In the afternoon, we will transfer to the airport and take a flight to Yangon. 

Once we arrive in Yangon, the guide and driver will pick you up and drive you to the hotel for check-in. 

Free to relax or explore at your own leisure until the evening. 

At dinner, we will enjoy a Royal-style Myanmese dinner on a marble boat sitting on the river. 

Overnight in Yangon.

Rise early in the morning to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, the largest pagoda with painted real gold in Yangon. Enjoy a tour of the pagoda early in the morning and later on a quiet and peaceful atmospheric area where you can watch locals and monks pray in front of the Pagoda.

Transfer back to the hotel for a late breakfast, right after that, we will go visit the Reclining Buddha and Mahabandoola Park. 

Lunch at a local eatery there and head back to the city of Yangon in the afternoon. Wander around the Bogyoke Market in Yangon’s ChinaTown and finish off the day with a riverside walking tour of all the impressive colonial-style buildings. 

Overnight in Yangon.

Breakfast and relax in the morning, transferring you to the airport based on your next arrangements. 

Departure from Yangon to your next destination, either home or onwards!