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Welcome to Laos! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Spend the afternoon on a tour of this beautiful city.
This morning journey north through breathtaking scenery to Luang Prabang, stopping en route at the vibrant Thalat market where local hill tribes come to trade and shop. A stop is also made at 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.
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 Prabang, 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.
Discover more of Luang Prabang’s holy sites with a morning visit to Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong. Then 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. Later this evening we take a flight to Hanoi.
Today offers free time for you to explore Vietnam’s gracious capital. Lively markets, beautiful lakes, ancient pagoda’s and the thriving, historic old city, are all easily navigated on foot.
A scenic drive early this morning leads us to the stunningly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Boarding a traditional wooden junk boat 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 in one of the many sheltered coves 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.
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 the overnight ‘Reunification. Return back to Hanoi for a flight to HCM and checked into your hotel.
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.
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.
Today enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh starting at the National Museum of Fine Arts, a graceful terracotta building of traditional design housing the world’s finest collection of Khmer sculpture. Continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decorations – the floors are paved with silver tiles and statues of Buddha are encrusted with thousands of diamonds. 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 visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed.
Hotel check out and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Siem Reap. After time to freshen up visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and famed for the huge statue heads that glare down from every angle. Continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to the mother of all temples – Angkor Wat. This breathtaking monument of man’s devotion to his gods is believed to be the largest religious building in the world and contains thousands of wall carvings and extensive bas-reliefs. In the evening enjoy a walking tour of the old market in Siem Reap.
Early this morning opt to see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the finest stone carvings in the world. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple contains lavishly decorated libraries and stunning reliefs of divinities. The temple expedition continues with visits to Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei and the atmospheric Ta Prohm. Swallowed by the jungle, vast muscular roots envelop the crumbling towers and walls whilst the trees’ foliage dapples the temple in shadow.
This morning 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, with elaborate inscriptions in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit. 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.
Today marks the end of our memorable journey. Lap up the hotel facilities this morning before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.