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Welcome to Laos! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure.
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. 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.
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. The remander of the afternoon offers free time, perhaps opt to explore the local caves, take a scenic bike ride or go tubing along the river.
We explore the famous caves of Tham Jang this morning and visit Ban Huai Ngai village before travelling north to the enchanting Luang Prabang.
This mornings tour, takes in the highlights of Luang Prapang - the fabulous UNESCO Listed former royal capital. Sightseeing includes the ancient temples of Wat Visoun and Wat Aham, 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.
Early morning Christmas day we take our flight to Hanoi. We transfer to the hotel and have the rest of your day to enjoy the festivities.
This morning a scenic drive leads us to the stunningly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Boarding our traditional wooden junk boat we cruise the emerald waters soaking up the panoramic vista of the thousand or so karst limestone islands that stud the bay.
Start the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs, we return to port. Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the quixotic web of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’ by cyclo (rickshaw). After time to freshen up we board our overnight train on the railway line to Hue.
Arriving into Hue we have a hotel breakfast before embarking on a sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.
Early morning flight to Saigon. Drive to the Mekong Delta. Taking our sampan from Vinh Long we’ll cruise Cai Be’s colourful and lively floating markets and continue downstream through the maze of waterways visiting local cottage industries that produce popcorn, coco candies and paper along the way. Lunch is served today in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island.
Early today we visit Cai Rang floating market and drive to Saigon. Modern Saigon is a thriving metropolis on the move. Our walking tour of Saigon includes visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure.
This morning we visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling underground network of tunnels and living quarters used by the Viet Cong during the war. Then we take our flight to Siem Reap. After our transfer to the hotel we take time to freshen up and we visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom.
Early this morning opt to see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later, we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the best stone carvings in the world. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains highly decorated libraries and intricate reliefs of divinities.
Today marks the end of our holiday. Lap up the hotel facilities this morning before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.