The Mekong Delta Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 213

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Day 1: Vientiane

Welcome to Laos! Airport arrival transfer and hotel check in. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure. (Overnight at your hotel Settha Palace -- Executive Suite)

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

Today we enjoy a full day tour of Phu Khao Khouay National Park which is located just over an hour away from the city it is the closest National Park to Vientiane, offering some great scenery, magnificent waterfalls, river, and trekking trails through evergreens and deciduous forests your guide will take you to see many if the wonders in the park.

Day 4: Vientiane - Luang Prabang

Morning flight to Luang Prabang - Arrival transfer to your hotel. Afternoon at your leisure to explore. (Overnight at your hotel Amantaka - Standard room)

Day 5: 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 Prapang - the fabulous UNESCO Listed former royal capital. Sightseeing includes 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 6: 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 shop for local handicrafts.

Day 7: Luang Prabang - Hanoi

A free day to relax or further explore Luang Prabang. Elephant rides, cycling and kayaking can be arranged locally. Late this afternoon we fly from Luang Prabang to Hanoi in Vietnam on arrival we will transfer you to your hotel. (Overnight Sofitel Legend Metropole - Standard room)

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 8: 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 and Temple of Literature. A short drive into the countryside leads us to Van Giang village, where we'll attend a cooking demonstration hosted by a local family. After a delicous lunch we return to Hanoi and embark on a cyclo (rickshaw) tour of the winding alleys that make up the atmospheric Ancient Quarter, otherwise known as the 36 Streets of Hanoi.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

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. 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. (Overnight on Bhaya Cruise with Royal Suite Room)

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 10: 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 return to port. From here we transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang - Arrival transfer to your hotel in Hue. (Overnight stay at Pilgramge Village Resort and Spa - Room - Honeymoon Pool Hut)

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 11: Hue

Enjoy a 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.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 12: Hue - Hoi An

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. We will make stops along the way at various scenic and Buddhist sites. Arrival into Hoi An and check into your hotel. On a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. (Overnight at the Nam Hai Hotel - Standard room)

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.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 14: Hoi An

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.

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

Day 15: Hoi An - Saigon

Early morning flight to Saigon. Later we visit the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and more thereafter go to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling underground network of tunnels and living quarters used by the Viet Cong during the war. (Overnight at the Park Hyatt Hotel - Park Room)

Day 16: Saigon - The Mekong Delta

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. Here we transfer to Can Tho embark your luxury cruise for one night on the Mekong. (Overnight - Song Xanh Sampan Luxury Cruise)

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 17: The Mekong Delta - Phnom Penh

Early today we visit Cai Rang floating market and then we drive to the airport for your flight to Phnom Penh. Arrival transfer to your hotel. 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. (Overnight stay at the Ruffles Hotel Le Royal -- Standard room)

Day 18: Phnom Penh

Today we’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Phnom Penh. The National Museum of Fine Arts we continue with the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, famed for its lavish decorations. 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 visit the Killing Fields where over 10,000 people were executed.

Day 19: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Hotel check out and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Siem Reap. 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 that glare down from every angle. We continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to the mother of all temples – Angkor Wat. n the evening we enjoy a walking tour of the old market. (Overnight stay at the Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor -- Standard room)

Day 20: Siem Reap

Today we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the best stone carvings in the world. 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 whilst the trees’ foliage dapples the temple in shadow.

Day 21: 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 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 22: Siem Reap

Today marks the end of our holiday. Lap up the hotel facilities this morning before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.


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