Vientiane Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 727

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome Marion, to Hanoi and the start of your epic South East Asian Adventure! Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel by one of our friendly local team.

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Day 2: Hanoi

Welcome Jim, to Hanoi and the start of your epic South East Asian Adventure!! Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel by one of our friendly local team.

The Huc Bridge

Day 3: Hanoi

Enjoy a day at leisure. The day can be spent exploring the wide, tree-lined streets of Hanoi, resplendent with French colonial architecture and the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake. This evening enjoy dinner before attending a traditional Vietnamese water puppet performance.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 4: Hanoi

This morning visit Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. After visit Ho Chi Minh humble house of stilts and the famous One Pillar Pagoda. Last stop will be the Temple of Literature. This afternoon is at your leisure, why not head out explore the Old Quarter in your own time.

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 5: 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 local child in Sapa

Day 6: Halong Bay - Hue

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. Around noon, we drive to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Hue. Arriving here, we transfer to the hotel where you can relax for the remainder of the afternoon.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 7: 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 8: Hue - Saigon

Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Da Nang. Today we take the scenic Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds), which offers magnificent views of beaches to one side and lush hills to the other. En route we stop for a walk along China beach, featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. Perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea before catching a flight from Da Nang to Saigon.

Ladies enjoying a bike ride in Mai Chau

Day 9: Saigon

This morning we take a morning excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, north west of the city. This immense network of connecting underground tunnels, were used by the Viet Cong and one of the famous battle grounds in the Vietnam War. Watch a short introductory video on the construction of the tunnels before exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by the guide. Returning to Saigon at around 2pm, stop for lunch before visiting some of the city's major attractions including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum.

Day 10: Saigon - The Mekong Delta

Bid farewell to the hustle and bustle of Saigon as we travel 70 kilometers south by land to My Tho to embark your boutique Ship. We will be served a refreshing welcome drink as the ship steadily glides along the Mekong. We will bathe in the fading sunset on the balcony followed by a briefing at the lounge. Later, a welcome dinner awaits us. When approaching Cai Be, the Ship drops anchor to moor midstream where the river is several kilometers wide. Including dinner. Overnight in Cai Be - Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

Day 11: The Mekong Delta

The day’s tour starts with a visit to Cai Be’s boisterous and colorful floating market on board a traditional sampan. In the afternoon, we cruise to Sa Dec. Upon arrival, we embark a traditional sampan to tour Binh Thanh Island and its manmade canals. We then board the Ship for a tranquil evening cruise towards Chau Doc. Including breakfast, lunch and dinner. The ship will moor midstream overnight near Chau Doc. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

Day 12: The Mekong Delta

After breakfast we have a short excursion in Chau Doc. By mid-afternoon, the cruise liner will make its way to the border for Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. It is an opportune time to relax on board. Overnight midstream near Phnom Penh. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

Day 13: The Mekong Delta

Sightseeing in the morning will include visiting the dazzling white and gold edifice of the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, and witnessing exceptionally beautiful Khmer craft at the National Museum. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the Genocide Museum and the Killing Field in town. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

A boat on the Mekong Delta

Day 14: The Mekong Delta

We will depart before the break of dawn from Phnom Penh with a stop at the little known Chong Koh silk weaving village. We will tour the rural Angkor Ban village, where we can can take part in the daily activities of the villagers to experience village life first hand. Then, we are back to the Ship to cruise towards Kampong Cham. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

A bustling floating market near Can Tho - by Adam Jones PHD

Day 15: The Mekong Delta

We will wake up in the small hours of the morning, truly energized to embark on a land journey to the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey. We will then cruise towards Kampong Cham to visit Wat Nokor, a wat built within the ruins of an ancient temple which holds a timeless story. On the way back to the Ship, we will visit an orphanage. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

Day 16: The Mekong Delta

Before the sun peeks over the horizon, the cruiser sets sail towards Kampong Chhnang on the Tonle River. IN Kampong Chhnang we have a motorboat excursion to the landing, followed by a short bus trip to see the Khmer-styled pottery at the Aundaung Russey village. We then return to the Ship for lunch whilst cruising the narrow and meandering Tonle River. Jayavarman cruise - Superior Cabin Confirmed

Children by a river in Mai Chau

Day 17: The Mekong Delta - Siem Reap

Your cruise comes to an end this morning at around 9AM. We will transfer you to your hotel. After time to freshen up we visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and is famed for the huge statue heads. We 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 we enjoy a walking tour of the old market.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 18: Siem Reap

Early this morning we see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later, we head out to Banteay Srei temple. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and 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.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 19: 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, with elaborate inscriptions in the ancient Hindu language of Sanskrit. Later we explore Beng Mealea Temple, a spectacular jungle temple around 60 Kms drive to the north east of Siem Reap. It is one of the "new" highlights of Cambodia; having only been cleared of mines at the end of 2003.

Day 20: Siem Reap - Vientiane

After breakfast we catch an early morning flight to Vientiane in Laos. Today we visit the COPE educational centre, a compelling centre that teaches us about Laos’ Hidden War. Afterwards we continue on to the unique Buddha Park, 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.

Day 21: Vientiane - Luang Prabang

This morning we journey north through breathtaking scenery to Luang Prabang. Along the way we visit Ban Keun, famous for its salt extraction plant and a village of local Lao rice wine whiskey distillation. A next stop is the busy and colourful market of Thalat market, where local hill tribes come to trade and shop and the 11th century archaeological site of Vang Xang.

Day 22: 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, taking in the highlights of Luang Prapang - 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.

Day 23: Luang Prabang

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 interact with the locals.

Day 24: Luang Prabang - Yangon

Morning we make our way to Yangon Burma by flight. Arriving in Yangon, meet our local guide who will take you to explore. We begin at the waterfront, the heart of the city and home to many impressive traditional and colonial buildings including the Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandoola Park with Independence Monument, the City Hall and the High Court. We also visit the gold, hollow Botahtaung Pagoda, originally built over 2500 years ago, and the giant 70 metre-long reclining Buddha of Chaukhtagyi Paya whose serene features are topped by a crown encrusted in diamonds and other precious stones.

Day 25: Yangon - Mandalay

This morning we fly to Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital. Arriving here, we have boat ride upriver to Mingun to visit the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda. We also visit the huge Mingun Bell and the beautiful white Myatheindan pagoda nearby. Returning by boat to Mandalay the afternoon is spent exploring the Royal Palace, the teak carvings of the historic Shwenandaw Monastery and the world’s largest book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Our day concludes with Mandalay Hill and depending on the time, a spectacular sunset with vistas across the city.

Day 26: Mandalay - Bagan

Transferring to the jetty this morning we board a boat for a scenic cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy River taking us to Bagan. Sit back and relax as the vessel plies its course past rolling fields of green. Arriving into Bagan later this evening we transfer to our hotel.

Day 27: Bagan

Nothing can quite prepare you for the spectacular sight of stupa-upon-stupa that fills the green, dusty plains of Bagan. Our sightseeing today begins with a visit to the town of Nyaung-U to see the local market and Bagan’s most important reliquary shrine, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and the simple Kyansittha Cave Temple with interesting 12th century frescoes. We continue to the Manuha Temple to see the gigantic Buddhas housed inside and the sandstone carvings of the nearby Nanpaya Temple, and on to the Ananda Temple, a whitewashed masterpiece of Mon architecture with four standing gold-leaf Buddhas.

Day 28: Bagan - Kalaw

Today we travel to the popular hill station of Kalaw with a stop en route at the extinct volcano of Mount Popa. The mountain is believed to be the abode of legendary Nats (spirit gods) and at the summit are numerous monasteries, pagodas and shrines in various architectural styles. Arriving into Kalaw late afternoon we visit Thein Taung Pay pagoda

Day 29: Kalaw - Pindaya

An early morning start allows us to enjoy trekking in the Palaung Hills through small ranges of rice paddies and tea plantations bringing us to Painaebin village, home to the indigenous Danu people. Walking back to Kalaw we drive to the quiet town of Pindaya set amidst beautiful countryside and famous for its extensive cave network. Highlights of our sightseeing tour today include the carved Buddha images of the Pindaya caves, the ancient Banyan tree and small local factories producing Mulberry paper and bamboo hats.

Day 30: Pindaya - Yangon

After breakfast we transfer to the Heho airport for our flight back to Yangon. Once back in the capital, the remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 31: Yangon

Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in Yangon in time for your flights onward.