On arriving at Noi Bai Airport, you will be picked up and transferred to the hotel in the city centre. Hotel check-in is available at 2 pm. Freetime to discover the old quarter.
Starting the day trip with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays) & his former stilt-house residence. We will then visit the Temple of Literature, constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius, which also served as the first Royal National University in Vietnam. There are 82 stone steles, carried by tortoises, engraved with names, birthdates, and birthplaces of honoured doctorates from 1442 to 1779. Local people believed that touching the head of these tortoises would bring luck. The green and neatly maintained gardens and lotus ponds make this place a peaceful hideaway from the city’s hustle and heat.
Our afternoon exploration begins with the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays, the alternative on this day being the History Museum). The museum offers a wide range of informative and well-documented displays of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam, including colourful hill tribe costumes. The outdoor display is an impressive collection of traditional houses of various minorities from the north to the central Highlands.
Drive back to the Old Quarter for a 1.5-hour walking tour, specially designed for a deeper insight into Hanoian daily life. We will also visit the Ngọc Son temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) which sits on a green islet in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, connected to the lakeside by a graceful scarlet bridge named The Huc (meaning the early sunlight welcoming place). The temple is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao - the General who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century and Van Xuong De Quan - the patron of literature and examinations. Ngoc Son temple and Hoan Kiem lake are frequently visited by tourists and locals.
Our car and guide will pick you up in the morning for the two-hour drive to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh province - the former feudal capital of Vietnam at the end of the 10th century. You will visit two ancient temples dedicated to Dinh Tien Hoang - the founder of the Dinh Dynasty (968-980) and Le Dai Hanh - the founder of Early Le Dynasty (980 - 1009).
In the afternoon, you will board a rowing boat in Tam Coc (three grottoes) for a peaceful navigation along Ngo Dong River, cruising among limestone mountains, between rice fields and through three beautiful limestone caves. We will spend the rest of the day riding bicycles, getting lost on winding roads passing lotus ponds, temples, and cottages, typical of Vietnamese countryside. We will visit the Bich Dong pagoda complex, which dates back to the 15th century, hiding among the jungle on a lush hillside. There are three humble, yet interesting pagodas connected by stone steps. The reward for reaching the highest pagoda is the precious panoramic view of the valley below. Overnight at the hotel.
Today you have breakfast at the hotel, and we depart early for Ha Long Bay. We take the way via Thai Binh and Nam Dinh, passing a typical countryside of the Red River Delta with endless rice fields and meandering rivers. Arriving at Halong tourist harbour around noon, you will board an elegant wooden junk. A delicious lunch is served on board while the boat gently navigates through countless islands and limestone structures arising from the turquoise water. In the evening, a fresh seafood dinner prepared by a skillful chef awaits you. Enjoy a peaceful night on board in the middle of the quiet sea.
Please note that the itinerary is subject to change according to the cruise and weather conditions.
Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay you have time for an early morning dip while the sun rises, followed by breakfast on board. We will continue to sail through the bay during the morning to explore more secluded areas. The junk will stay close at all times serving as a backup vessel for those that require it. Around midday we will return to the main harbor & drive back to Hanoi airport. Flight to Luang Prabang.
Arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, welcome by the local guide and transfer to your hotel. This peaceful city, world heritage, is located in the heart of a mountainous region in the north of the country.
This day is dedicated to the most important sites of Luang Prabang: venture into Wat Visoun, a temple from the 16th century rehabilitated into a small religious museum, then into Wat Aham, a temple from the early 19th century. Two guardians, laid at the foot of the staircase, represent two characters from the Ramayana (Hanuman, the monkey god and the ferocious Yaksa). Next, Wat Xiengthong, the most important temple of the city dating from the 16th century and embodying the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture. Climb up the 328 steps of Mount Phousi leading to the top of the sacred hill. This shady Mount dominates the sky of Luang Prabang and offers a splendid 360° panorama of the surrounding villages and the Mekong. At the end of the day, enjoy some free time to wander through the wide night market, where you can find a collection of beautiful textiles handmade by local tribes. Overnight at the hotel.
In the morning, embark on a narrow, fast local boat, for an excursion on the Mekong River to Pak Ou cave. Many wonders await you on this journey: lush landscapes, typical villages and authentic local life. Pak Ou sanctuaries consist of two large caves and thousands of Buddha representations ranging from a few centimeters to two meters in height. Typical Laotian villages in the area are barely visible behind this thick screen of foliage. You will pass by slender canoes sailing near the shore, floats and bamboo poles marking the location of nets and fish traps. Take a break in Ban Muang Keo, a village well known for distilling traditionally Lao Lao whiskey rice. A short drive along the Mekong will take you south to Kuang Si Waterfalls located in a protected national park. These famous low waterfalls offer a spectacular and beautiful sight in their green setting. You will have enough time on site to relax and take a dip in the cool water, before returning to Luang Prabang by late afternoon. Night at the hotel.
Flight to Pakse. Upon arrival, a small detour will allow you to discover ethnic minorities in authentic villages. Continue your journey to Wat Phu in the vicinity of Pakse. Wat Phu is a unique site in Laos where there are Khmer remains dating from the 9th to the 12th century. A 2-hour tour will take you to explore these Khmer ruins on top of a green hill, a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO in 2001. Get back on the road to Siphandone, where the Mekong stretches more than 14 km wide. The river flows through many uncharted islands, creating waterfalls and rapids. Transfer by local sampan to Khong Island, the largest of 4000 islands. Enjoy some free time to discover the daily life of the villagers.
After breakfast, cruise in a huge area named "the four thousand islands", famous for its biodiversity and its picturesque karst peaks. Discover the falls of Lippi, whose name, "spirit trapper" in Lao, refers to the local beliefs that currents act as a trap for evil spirits. Stop to explore an old railway, built in 1897 by the French to bypass the powerful rapids preventing navigation. Return to Ban Nakasang and head south to visit Khone Phapheng, the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. Overnight at Khone Island.
After breakfast, hop on a boat in Ban Nakasung to cross the Mekong River.Head towards the Cambodian border and drive on a departmental road to reach the capital of Stung Treng province. This friendly rural town located at the confluence of the Se San and Mekong River will offer you peace and quiet and a pleasant local life. Upon arrival, check out the local market before settling in your hotel room.
After breakfast, let’s head to Kampong Thom, a pleasant stage on one’s journey. This area is not yet touristy but still welcomes a steady number of visitors. There, hundreds of hectares stretch as far as the eye can see, covered by deep green rubber trees, pepper crops and several kinds of vegetables. This extremely fertile region holds an important place for agriculture and for the country's economy. Night at the hotel.
After breakfast, discover Sambor Prei Kuk, former capital of the Chenla Empire, built in the early 7th century. This site has the most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments in Cambodia, with over 100 temples scattered in a lush forest. Next, head to Siem Reap city and its famous temples of Angkor. Along the way, make a few stops to visit traditional Cambodian villages and the Naga Bridge, an ancient Angkorian bridge still used today. At Siem Reap, check-in and stay overnight at the hotel.
Today, venture into the two main temples of Angkor Complex: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. In the morning, head to the temple of Angkor Thom (Great City). Entering the southern gate, admire the famous Bayon dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the 11th century Baphuon, dedicated to Brahmanism (ancient Hinduism). Continue your visit with the Elephant Terrace or the Leper King Terrace. Your journey goes on with the wonderful temple of Angkor Wat, a World Heritage Site, and will come to a breathtaking end with Phnom Bakheng (the mountain temple) where you shouldn’t miss out on the beautiful sunset. Back to the hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Beng Mealea Temple. Along the way, discover villages, lively local markets and wooden houses on stilts. It will take two hours to explore this beautiful forgotten temple, a miniature Angkor Wat. It's time to start an unprecedented treasure hunt in the maze of Suryavarman, among arcades, galleries and gopura, engulfed by the roots of cheese trees. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer via the foot of Mount Phnom Kulen (lychee tree mountain). There, like Khmer pilgrims, climb the staircase and follow a lush path to reach the summit of this sacred mountain. At the top, explore the River of a Thousand Lingas, the main pagoda and its huge stone statue. Seize the opportunity to swim in the river next to a beautiful waterfall. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, a short transfer will show you the surroundings of Siem Reap along a beautiful country road. Venture into Roulos, the oldest temple complex in Angkor, called "Roluos Group", located 12km east of Siem Reap. These temples are the remains of Hariharalaya, which was for 70 years (and under four successive kings) the first Khmer capital.
- The Preah Kô is dedicated to Jayavarman II, first king and founder of the kingdom of Angkor
- Bakong is by far the largest temple of the Roluos group and the first "state temple" supposed to mark the center of the capital
- The remains of Lolei, four dilapidated brick towers laid on a two-level basement
Continue your journey to Kampong Khleang, a lakeside village. After lunch at a local’s home, hop on a traditional wooden boat. Cruise gently on the river and the great Tonle Sap Lake, discover the lakeside Khmer life: everybody’s fishing, 70-year-old women and 6-year-olds included! Return to Siem Reap in the late afternoon.
Free time to discover Siem Reap then transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of our services.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia: three countries, three stories, three wonders! The trip starts with the picturesque landscapes in Halong bay, followed by the lush limestone peaks in Ninh Binh and the architectural sites in Luang Prabang. End your journey in Indochina with the temples of Angkor - architectural and cultural wonder of Cambodia. All in a fabulous setting.
- Sugar loaves of Ninh Binh (aka. Halong bay on land)
- Limestone mountains on Ha Long bay
- Admire the most brilliant temples in Luang Prabang
- Authentic nature and local life on the islands in Siphadone
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