Vientiane Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 367

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Day 1: Vientiane

Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Vientiane is a fascinating capital, with a fusion of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. This charming and easy going city will provide a smooth introduction to Laos. After a short rest, enjoy free time with an orientation walk of Lao Capital, it's a pleasant way to spend the day, strolling around some of the city’s most historical sites and seeing some of the French colonial architecture. Observe the sunset by the Mekong Riverside until the late evening and experience the city lifestyle of the local Lao people. Overnight - Lao Plaza Hotel (Superior)

Day 2: 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 on the way to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop enroute to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. In the afternoon we transfer out to see the Buddha Park, a scattered enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow.

Day 3: Vientiane - Vang Vieng

We will see some breathtaking scenery en route as we pass through spectacular countryside towards the mountainous region. Along the way we visit the busy and colorful market of Thalat where various hill tribes come to trade goods and buy previsions. A next stop of our trip is Vang Xang, famous for the archeological site dating back 11th century. We reach our final destination, the small and tranquil village of Vang Vieng, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops remains unspoiled. After checking into your hotel we take a wander to catch our first glimpse of this peaceful hill town.

Day 4: Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang

Heading 2km out of Vang Vieng town we explore the famous caves of Tham Jang. We also cross the river to Ban Huai Ngai, a very pleasant village where we can explore the different lifestyles of the locals. Upon leaving Vang Vieng, the roads begin to deteriorate; however the stunning mountain scenery makes for an interesting journey. We wind our way through Kasi and Phoukhoune to Luang Prabang. This town with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop has been claimed by UNESCO to be the best preserved traditional city in South East Asia. Overnight Luang Prabang - La Residence Phouvao (Garden View Junior Suite)

Day 5: Luang Prabang

This morning we will visit Khouangsi Waterfall, en route, we visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, Khmu Village, then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails. The Khouangsi Waterfall setting really illustrates paradise. We return to Luang Prabang by lunch time (lunch paid by your own on spot) We explore, Wat Visoun, Wat Aham and Ock Pop Tock (Weaving centre) and some At sunset we climb the nearby temple-topped hill of Mount Phousi where you'll catch a lovely view over the town and the Mekong River.

Day 6: Luang Prabang - Hanoi

We are having nearly whole day free fro shopping until takingthe afternoon fligth to Hanoi. Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to hotel and check in. Free for the rest of the day.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 7: Hanoi

Today, we commence our exploration of Hanoi by visiting the Ho Chi Minh complex, starting at the President’s Mausoleum. We continue to his humble “house on stilts”, see the French colonial Presidential Palace and the 11th century One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterwards we visit the Temple of Literature, the first Vietnam University dating to 1070. We go to the Museum of Ethnology, which is an excellent museum containing the ethnic costumes of the various minorities of VN, as well as relics, tools and even full size replicas of their homes and buildings. We then take a Cyclo tour through the Old Quarter, walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake before attending a famous Water Puppet show.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 8: Hanoi

Whole day free at leisure to discover the city on your own.

The Huc Bridge

Day 9: Hanoi - Halong Bay

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. ater 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.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 10: Halong Bay - Hue

Start the day with Tai Chi on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs we return to Hanoi. Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the labyrinth of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’. Each of the narrow lanes are named after various guilds of the city’s artisan who established themselves here centuries ago. A day use room has been booked for your to freshen up before we board our overnight sleeper train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic stanard) operating on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 11: Hue

Arrive Hue by mid morning, we arrive hotel to store the luggage. Check-in time is 14:00pm but if the room is available, they will let you in. Enjoy a guided tour the Ancient Walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace, This afternoon drive into the countryside to see the impressive Royal Tombs and the boat trip on the Perfume Reiver then onto visit Thien Mu Pagoda.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 12: Hue - Hoi An

This morning we drive to Hoi An – the Pass of the Ocean Clouds with stops along the way (approx 5 hours). We stop at Lang Co Beach for lunch (lunch on your own account). Arrive Hoi An, we check-in and late afternoon we have a quick walking tour of Hoi An: 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 13: 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. The rest of the day is yours at leisure.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 14: Hoi An

Whole day free to discover the town on your own.

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

Day 15: Hoi An - Can Tho

Early morning flight to Saigon. Drive to the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, 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 that produce popcorn, coco candies and paper 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 16: Can Tho - Saigon

In the morning, we will visit Cai Rang floating market, one of the most colorful floating markets in the Mekong Delta region. Afterwards, drive to Ho Chi Minh City to visit The Reunification Palace, The War Remnants Museum, The Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 17: Saigon - Phnom Penh

In the morning, we visit to Cu Chi Tunnels, where we learn the first hand how the Viet Cong survived in the extraordinary underground existence during the Vietnam war. After our visit of the Tunnels, we drive back to town for the flight to Phnom Penh.

Day 18: Phnom Penh

We visit the National Museum of Fine Arts, it is the museum we gather and keep the statue since Angkorian period. Just cross the road, we will visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda facing the Mekong River, and its adjoining Silver Pagoda built in 1962 famous for its lavish decorations of silver paved floor and several Buddha statues made from precious metals & stones. Afternoon is free at leisure. Optional excursions to Kiiling Field is available upon request - please request a cost if you would like to included this.

Day 19: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

You will be transferred to airport for a short flight to Siem Reap. Meet another local guide and driver, we depart to visit Angkor Thom, a walled and moated royal city which was the last capital of the Angkorian empire. Angkor Thom contains, Bayon temple, Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace and the Terrace of the Leper King. We visit Preah Khan, a huge and highly explorable monastic complex. Full of carvings, passages and photo opportunities. This afternoon, we visit Angkor Wat, the centerpiece of any visit to the temples of Angkor. Evening is free walking tour of the Old market. Overnight Siem Reap - Grand Soluxe hotel & Spa (Deluxe)

Day 20: Siem Reap

We drive out off Siem Reap for around 36 Km heading to Banteay Srei temple Built at a time when the Khmer Empire was gaining significant power and territory, the temple was constructed by a Brahmin counselor under a powerful king, Rajendravarman and later under Jayavarman V. On the way back, visit Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup and Ta Prohm similar design to the later Jayavarman VII temples of Preah Khan and Banteay Kdei, this quiet, sprawling monastic complex is only partially cleared of jungle overgrowth. Intentionally left partially unrestored, massive fig and silk-cotton trees grow from the towers and corridors offering some of the best ‘tree-in-temple’ photo opportunities at Angkor.

Day 21: Siem Reap

Whole day free at leisure for you to explore and shop.

Day 22: Siem Reap

Free at leisure till your departure to the airport.