Vientiane Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 206

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Day 1: Vientiane

Welcome to Laos and the start of your honeymoon. Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 2: 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 3: Vientiane - Luang Prabang

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. Arriving at Vang Vieng, nestled on the banks of the Nam Song River is our delightfully rustic and rural hotel. The remainder of the afternoon offers free time, perhaps opt to explore the local caves, take a scenic bike ride or go tubing along the river.

Day 4: 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 takes in the highlights of Luang Prabang including 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.

Day 5: Luang Prabang - Hanoi

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.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay

This morning a scenic drive leads us to the stunningly beautiful 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. Later opt for a refreshing swim before taking row boats to the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng. Tonight, there's a Vientnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 7: Halong Bay - Hoi An

Start the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto we return to port. Arriving to Hanoi an hour or so is spent exploring the quixotic web of streets by rickshaw. We explore the maze of rambling streets and may have a chance to sample the exotic snacks being offered by the pavement vendors. After time to freshen up at a local hotel we board our overnight train on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hoi Ann.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 8: Hoi An

Arrival into the station and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy time to freshen up before you take 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.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 9: Hoi An - Can Tho

A free day for you relax or further sightsee. You may wish to take a relaxing rowboat journey along the river or spend the day lazing by the beach or hotel pool. It’s also possible to take an optional excursion to the most holiest and evocative of Vietnam’s Cham sites, My Son or to Quang Ngai, the site of the My Lai massacre memorial. The massacre was a significant turning point in the Vietnam War and the story is told through photo presentation on a walk through the village. Late flight to Saigon.

A local man in front of an ancient building in Hoi An

Day 10: Can Tho

Drive to the Mekong Delta. The fertile Mekong Delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits, flowers and rice, as well as it fantastic views while boating along the canals. 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 along the way. Lunch is served today in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island.

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 11: Can Tho - Saigon

Early today we visit Cai Rang floating market and drive to Saigon. Once called the Pearl of the Orient, modern Saigon is a thriving metropolis on the move. Sleek sky scrapers, gourmet restaurants, designer malls and swanky bars and spas are scattered between ancient pagodas, colonial era landmarks and lively street markets. Our walking tour of Saigon includes visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 12: Saigon - Phnom Penh

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 drive to the Cambodian border (crossing at Moc Bai/Bavet) and continue on to the capital of Phnom Penh. Today the nation’s capital offers a bustling mix of Asia’s past and present, a city quickly taking its place amongst the trendy capitals of the region with superb restaurants and a number of attractions.

Day 13: Phnom Penh

Today we’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh. The National Museum of Fine Arts houses the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. We continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decoration. We later come face to face with the horrors of the Pol Pot regime as we visit Toul Sleng (Security Prison - S21), a school that was gruesomely transformed into a torture chamber under the Khmer Rouge, and the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed.

Day 14: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Transfer to the airport for flight to Siem Reap. After time to freshen up we visit Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and is famed for the huge statue heads that glare down from every angle. We continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to Angkor Wat. This breathtaking monument is one of the largest religious building in the world and contains thousands of wall carvings and extensive bas-reliefs. In the evening we enjoy a walking tour of the old market.

Day 15: Siem Reap

Today we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains highly decorated libraries and intricate reliefs of divinities. The temple expedition continues with visits to Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei, Pre Rup and the atmospheric Ta Prohm. Swallowed by the jungle, vast muscular roots envelop the crumbling towers and walls.

Day 16: Siem Reap

This morning we visit the Roluos group of temples (Bakong, Lolei and Preak Ko), the earliest large and permanent temples built by the Khmers. The monuments mark the dawn of Khmer classical art, dating from the late 9th century. Later visit the floating village of Kompong Pluk. Houses built on soaring stilts hover over the Tonle Sap Lake whilst nearby, the petrified trees of a flooded forest are revealed whenever the water level drops. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 17: Siem Reap

Today marks the end of our holiday with On the Go Tours. After breakfast we transfer you to the airport in Phnom Penh for your Air Asia flight to Bangkok and bid you a fond farewell.

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