Vientiane Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 718

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Day 1: Phnom Penh

Welcome to the Cambodia! Upon arrival, you will be met by your tour guide and driver before being transferred to your hotel. A sight seeing tour of the city will take in the Royal Palace, the incredible solid silver-floored Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, a treasure chest of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artifacts before ending our city tour with a visit to Wat Phnom pagoda and shopping at the Russian market.

Day 2: Phnom Penh

After breakfast we travel southwest of Phnom Penh to Choeung Ek. The memorial just outside Phnom Penh was an orchard and a Chinese cemetery prior to 1975. During the Khmer Rouge regime, it became one of the killing fields, the site of the brutal executions of more than 17,000 individuals, most of who first suffered through torture and deprivation in Toul Sleng Prison. Choeung Ek is now a group of mass graves and a memorial stupa containing thousands of skulls. This evening, enjoy a boat cruise on the Mekong River and take in the local night life.

Day 3: Phnom Penh - Kompong Thom

After breakfast we leave Phnom Penh and travel to Kompong Thom province. The province is large in size with some 13,814 km2 making it the second biggest province of Cambodia. It is one of the most popular historical and cultural sites to explore due to its pre Angkorian temples. Later visit Sambor Prei Kuk, the most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments in Cambodia.

A pre Ankorian Sambor Prei Kruk

Day 4: Kompong Thom - Siem Reap

Today we continue to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat Temple. This architectural master piece was built in the 12th century, took 30 years to complete and represents the Khmer civilization at its grandest. Covering 81 hectares, it is one of the largest religious monuments ever built. Angkor Wat (the biggest Hindu temple in the world and one of the largest religious monuments in the world, was built between the 9th – 13th century. In the early evening climb to Bakheng Hill to enjoy the superb view as the sun sets over Angkor Wat.

Day 5: Siem Reap

Today is spent further exploring the Angkor Wat complex, entering the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple marvel at the wonders of the eerie Bayon, the terrace of Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King. Afterwards, we continue to visit Ta Prohm temple, shrouded in jungle and left just it was founded by French explorers in 1850s. This afternoon we set out for a cruise on the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake passing a typical floating village observing the locals in their daily life .

Day 6: Siem Reap

This morning we catch a flight to Saigon. Arriving here, a transfer to your hotel awaits. Later we visit the Reunification Palace (also known as Independence Palace), one of the most fascinating sights in Saigon and once the symbol of the South Vietnamese government. Nearby is the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum, where we can learn more about the "American" War as it is referred to in Vietnam. Our next stop is Ben Thanh market, typical of local markets markets in Vietnam.

Day 7: Siem Reap - Hue

In the morning, we depart for Cu Chi Tunnel, an underground maze, which became legendary during the 1960s for its role in the Vietnam War. Located about 75 km northwest of Saigon, the tunnels were part of an underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh trail near the Cambodian border to the Saigon River. We return to Saigon and fly to Hue.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 8: Hue

We embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, whose 21m high tower has become something of a symbol for Hue and the citadel. 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. In the countryside lies the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, here we’ll view the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. As the sun sets opt for a cruise in a long boat along the gentle Perfume River, beautifully illuminated at night.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 9: Hue - Hanoi

Morning flight to Hanoi. Arriving here, check into your hotel. Spend the day exploring at your leisure.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 10: 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. 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 Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 11: Halong Bay - Vientiane

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 sail back to port. Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon we catch a flight to Vientiane.

Day 12: Vientiane

Today we visit the COPE educational centre, a compelling centre that teaches us about Laos’ Hidden War and the aid that is being given to help civilian victims of conflict. Afterwards we continue on to the unique Buddha Park or Xiang Khouan as it’s known locally, the park is filled with hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu statues creating a peaceful atmosphere. On our way back to town we visit the Vientiane Orchid Centre which hosts one of the largest orchid collections in the world. Later, take a tuk-tuk tour of Vientiane visiting - Wat Sisaket, one of the oldest temples and home to thousands of miniature Buddha statues

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 13: Vientiane - Luang Prabang

This morning we take to the sky and fly to Luang Prabang. Arriving here, transfer to your hotel. Later, our guide will take you out to explore the temples of Wat Visun, Wat Aham and the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong, famed for its intricate mosaics and painted figurines. Visits to local villages where silk and Saa (Mulberry) Paper are made and from Phou Sy Mountain, witness Luang Prabang's stunning temple tops fade as the sun sets.

The Huc Bridge

Day 14: Luang Prabang

Today discover the incredible Pak Ou Caves on a Mekong boat trip. Here, hundreds of tiny gilded statues of Buddha, worshipped for centuries teeter on stone shelves in the cave walls. Visits are also made to the local villages of Ban Xanghai and Ban Muangkeo.

Day 15: Luang Prabang

Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.