Vang Vieng Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 369

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Good morning Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your city centre hotel. Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Hanoi is the charming capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - Sapa

REnjoy a guided city tour of Hanoi. Having celebrated its 1000 year anniversary in 2010, the city has a rich and fascinating history. Sightseeing includes the Museum of Ethnology (closed Mondays), widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples and the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070. This evening at approx 9pm, board an overnight express sleeper train from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai (soft sleeper berth cabin).

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 3: Sapa

The train pulls into Lao Cai at approximately 06:00am this morning, transfer to Sapa for breakfast. Enjoy walking to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, you meet some of the local ethnic minority people on their way to and from Sapa. These minority people, including the Red Zao, Hmong and Tay people, walk to Sapa to trade at the markets.

A local child in Sapa

Day 4: Sapa

Enjoy a day hiking to visit remote ethnic villages in the region and learning about their customs.

Villagers in Sapa

Day 5: Sapa - Hanoi

Start your morning with a hike on beautiful trails to Ham Rong Mountain. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Sapa before returning to Lao Cai to board the overnight train back to Hanoi. Overnight

The Huc Bridge

Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Upon arrival in Hanoi, freshen up before driving to Halong City (approx 4 hours), stopping for refreshments en route. At UNESCO Listed Halong Bay limestone peaks and forest clad islets, hidden coves and beautiful beaches await discovery! Board your Junk boat and cruise to the famous islands of Halong Bay and onto Bai Tu Long Bay, stopping to visit a cave and swim in the warm waters. There is a chance to explore more this stunning area by sea kayak. Return to the Junk boat for a tasty dinner and a memorable night in beautiful surrounds.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 7: Halong Bay - Hue

Wake up to see a spectacular sunrise over the bay! This morning cruise through Bai Tu Long and visit the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng - where you'll gain a fascinating insight into local life. Cruising back to the dock arrive into Halong City around noon then transfer back to Hanoi station for your sleeper train to Hue.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 8: Hue

Upon arrival in Hue, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Your tour begins after breakfast with the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. Spend the morning wandering through the enclosure before lunch and a trip into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors at two of the most impressive Royal Tombs. This evening, take a scenic boat cruise along the Perfume River.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 9: Hue - Hoi An

This morning, continue south to the riverside town of Hoi An. The five hour trip hugs the coastline along the South China Sea with breathtaking views particularly as the road winds its way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). In the afternoon, enjoy a guided walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 10: Hoi An

A bicycle ride into the countryside, leads us to Tra Que village. Here,we discover age old farming practises and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a hands on experience today where we’ll assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch. In the afternoon a visit to the fascinating My Son Temples sure to be a major highlight of your trip so far.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 11: Hoi An - Saigon

In the morning, we transfer to the airport and fly to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Later, an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, north west of the city. Watch a short introductory video on the construction of the tunnels before exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by the guide. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500-pound bombs from B52 bombers. Returning to Saigon at around 3pm, stop for lunch before visiting some of the city's major attractions including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 12: Saigon - Can Tho

Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong Delta today! Sightseeing begins with a visit to Cai Be's colourful floating market and a visit to some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn etc. Known as the 'Rice Bowl' of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a beautiful fertile region with lush rice paddy fields and fruit plantations. Soak up the riverside views as you cruise along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Discover beautiful landscapes, observe typical Mekong delta rural life on the remote islands and enjoy a tasty lunch at a superb Indochine style resort. Spend the night in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 13: Can Tho - Chau Doc

Rise early for a morning boat trip to the extraordinary floating market at Cai Rang. Observe boats jostling for position as the locals engage in frenetic trading and be sure to have your camera ready for some great photo opportunities. Return to Can Tho before driving to Chau Doc.

Day 14: Chau Doc - Phnom Penh

After breakfast, take a speed boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, arriving at midday. See the highlights of this bustling, vibrant city on a guided tour this afternoon, including the fascinating Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. You can climb the hill to Wat Phnom, the city’s main temple, where you’ll find throngs of worshippers and troops of monkeys.

Day 15: Phnom Penh

Today we come face to face with the horrors of the Pol Pot regime as we visit the Genocide Museum, Toul Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was gruesomely transformed into a torture chamber under the Khmer Rouge, and also visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed. This evening we have arranged a tranquil boat ride on the river to take in the city views.

Day 16: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

This morning we fly to Siem Reap. After hotel check in, we take a Tuk Tuk to the edge of Siem Reap and enjoy a fun buffalo cart ride through the countryside until you reach the Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake; the Tonle Sap. Board a boat and spend the rest of the morning at one of the largest floating villages on the lake which is called Kompong Phluk. In the village you will witness the fascinating daily lives of the local people who live on the water. The boat service is provided by local people, and the profit goes directly back to the community.

Day 17: Siem Reap

In the morning we ride a Tuk Tuk to visit 12th century Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Also here, we visit the Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace and the Terrace of the Leper King. This afternoon it is time to explore more of the Angkor Temple Complex, undoubtedly one of the world's greatest archaeological sites!

Day 18: Siem Reap

Today with a visit to the temple of Banteay Srei or ‘Citadel of the Women’ which includes the temples of Ta Prhom, Banteay Samre and Banteay Kdei. On your way back to Siem Reap, enjoy the sunset from the top of the pyramid-shaped temple of Pre Rup

Day 19: Siem Reap - Vientiane

This morning after breakfast we head to the airport for your flight to Vientiane. Arriving here, a transfer to your hotel awaits. Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.

Day 20: Vientiane

After breakfast, we see the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket, the temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We then continue to visit the COPE centre. After that, Lao’s national precious heritage, the sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, and we stop to take pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. In the afternoon we head to Buddha Park, a scattered collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. A spectacular view of over the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day.

Day 21: Vientiane

After breakfast we explore the charming capital on a city tour. Highlights include Wat Si Saket - the oldest Buddhist monastery temple in the country, the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaeo, Pha That Luang monument and the Buddha Park with its incredible array of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. We also visit to the COPE Centre, a charity working with victims of unexploded bombs and mines. End the day with a spectacular sunset dinner besides the Mekong River.

Day 22: Vientiane - Vang Vieng

This morning we journey north through breathtaking scenery to Vang Vieng. Stopping en route at the vibrant Thalat market, where local hill tribes come to trade and shop and the 11th century archaeological site of Vang Xang. Upon arrival in picturesque Vang Vieng, spend the remains of the day at leisure or opt to explore the local caves, take a scenic bike ride or go tubing along the river.

Day 23: Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang

We explore the famous caves of Tham Jang this morning and visit Ban Huai Ngai village before travelling north to the enchanting Luang Prabang.

Day 24: Luang Prabang

Consider rising early this morning to view the daily ritual of saffron-clad monks and their procession down the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms from the residents. Then a morning tour, taking in the highlights of Luang Prapang - the fabulous UNESCO Listed former royal capital. Sightseeing includes the ancient temples of Wat Visoun and Wat Aham, the Ock Pop Tok weaving centre and the beautifully ornate former Royal Palace. In the afternoon we stop at ethnic minority villages before arriving at the beautiful Khouangsi waterfall.

Day 25: Luang Prabang

Discover more of Luang Prabang’s holy sites with a morning visit to Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong. Then we set sail on a scenic cruise up the Mekong River to visit the incredible Pak Ou caves, which are crammed with Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, stopping at villages en route to sample local rice wine and shop for local handicrafts.

Day 26: Luang Prabang

Sadly your journey comes to an end today, we will be sure to transfer you to the airport in time for your flight to Hong Kong.