Wednesday. Welcome to Thailand! Airport arrival transfer to hotel. Evening Welcome Meeting. The following day enjoy a city tour of Bangkok taking in the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Flower Market. Enjoy a longtail boat ride on the canals before exploring pulsating Khao San Road.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast x 1
Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai. Taking private longtail boats we journey through spectacular karst scenery along the River Kok. Arriving at a small village and take an enjoyable elephant ride through some of the surrounding countryside. From our arrival point we continue to Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) - a beautiful complex of newly built white and golden temples that are still a work in progress and arrive into Chiang Rai. Once checked in we head to the night market for the evening.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Hill tribes & Opium Museum
Chiang Rai - Chiang Khong. The city of Chiang Rai is a great base for visiting local hill tribes and this morning we visit a Karen village where we may encounter the famous Long Neck tribe, so known for the neck rings that the women wear to elongate their necks. Continuing to the border frontier town of Mae Sai, we may have the chance to cross briefly into Myanmar and enter the Burmese town of Tachilek (optional). At Chiang Saen we stand at a viewpoint that lets us see both Myanmar and Laos. We take time to visit the Opium Museum before following the banks of the Mekong to Chiang Khong.
Overnight: Chiang Khong | Breakfast
Cruising the Mekong
Monday. Chiang Khong - Pakbeng. Bright and early we head to the immigration & customs office to exit Thailand. Bidding farewell to our Thai guide we cross the river by longtail boat. Meeting up with our Lao guide we attend to immigration formalities before we're back on the water, cruising by traditional long boat down the Mekong River. Serene and timeless Laos is often overlooked by travellers. A peaceful nation of people offering legendary hospitality, resilience and friendliness, Laos is old Asia preserved. As we travel downstream we stop off at a number of minority villages such as the Hmong, Yao and Khmu to get an understanding of their culture and way of life. Upon arrival in Pakbeng, we visit the local market to watch the colorful hill tribe trade their wares before retiring for the night.
Overnight: Pakbeng | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Temples of Luang Prabang
Pakbeng - Luang Prabang. We continue our cruise arriving to the golden city of Laung Prabang mid afternoon. Tomorrow you can choose to get up early to watch 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.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Wat Sene & Wat Xieng Thong
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.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast
Fly Luang Prabang - Hanoi
Friday. Luang Prabang - Hanoi. A free morning to relax and explore Luang Prabang. Cycling, kayaking and other activities can be arranged locally. Late afternoon we fly to Hanoi in Vietnam. Day 11 is a day at leisure for you to explore Vietnam’s capital. Lively markets, beautiful lakes, ancient pagodas and the historic city are all easily navigated on foot.
Overnight: Hanoi | Breakfast x 2
Hanoi – Halong Bay. This morning we travel east to spectacular Halong Bay and board a traditional wooden junk boat to cruise around the beautiful limestone peaked islands. Opt for a swim before we take row boats to the picturesque 'Dark & Bright Lagoon'. Tonight, there's a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served.
Overnight: Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Halong Bay - Hanoi - 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.
Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon we take a cyclo (rickshaw ride) exploring the labyrinth of streets. The motorbike swarming narrow lanes are each named after various guilds of the city’s artisan who established themselves here centuries ago. There is Silver Street, Silk Street, Comb Street, Paper Street and more. After time to freshen up we board our overnight train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast
Today discover the delights of Hue visiting 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.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. En route to Hoi An we stop for a stroll along China Beach. Enjoy a short afternoon walking tour of the historic Hoi An old town with its cobbled streets. On day 16 we take a bicycle ride to the rural village of Tra Que where we’ll assist with tending the fields and cooking lunch. Spend the following day at leisure.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 1
Hoi An - Can Tho. Fly to Saigon and drive to the mighty Mekong Delta. Onboard a sampan we cruise to Cai Be passing colourful trading boats, house boats and children swimming we stop to visit some of the 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.
Overnight: Can Tho | Breakfast, Lunch
Can Tho - Saigon. Early taking longboats we cruise by the colourful and lively Cai Rang floating markets before driving back to Saigon. 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.
Overnight: Saigon | Breakfast
Prices & Dates
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Royal Benja Hotel, Bangkok
The Royal Benja Hotel provides homely accommodation in the heart of Bangkok city with a large outdoor pool to enjoy after a long, hot day sightseeing. Benjamas Restaurant serves a wide selection of local and international cuisine whilst drinks and live music are offered at the Buddy Pub.
Centara Duangtawan Hotel, Chiang Mai
This impressive high rise hotel offers comfortable accommodation and a host of facilities. The hotel’s extensive all day dining venue plays host to sumptuous buffets, themed evening and a extensive a la carte option bringing together the best of Italian, Japanese, International, Thai and Asian Cuisine. Perched atop of the hotel is the Sunflower Chinese Restaurant affording spectacular views of Chiang Mai and some of the best Chinese Cuisine this city has to offer. The hotel also features a spacious pool with its own bar, a state of the art gym and spa.
Rimkok Hotel , Chiang Rai
Enjoying a pretty location by the Maekok River, the Rimkok Hotel provides attractive grounds and comfortable rooms with a large outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi in public areas. Garden views can be enjoyed from the private balconies of the guestrooms. The hotel's restaurants serve a selection of Thai, Chinese and International dishes.
Teak Garden Hotel, Chiang Khong
On the banks of the Mekong River, the Chaing Khong Teak House offers comfortable accommodation. Guest rooms are spacious with comfortable facilities and private balconies. Complimentary wi-fi is available throughout and the onsite restaurant offers a selection of cuisine in an al fresco setting right on the river. If staying here in the winter be sure to ask for an extra blanket or too – it can get quite nippy! Well located in Chiang Khong just a 5 minute drive to the border with the Laos.
Santi Resort and Spa, Luang Prabang
Set just outside the main town of Luang Prabang, the Santi Resort and Spa is a modern property set in manicured gardens. Guest rooms are set on two levels and are spacious with excellent amenities. Meals are served in the main restaurant and the outdoor pool is perfect for a cooling afternoon dip. If you need to get into town then take advantage of the free shuttle service that runs nearly every hour. Located on the outskirts of Luang Prabang.
Sunway Hotel, Hanoi
This ambient, boutique hotel combines traditional appeal with modern pleasures. Rooms are furnished in a contemporary fashion with an array of amenities for added comfort. Its restaurant provides a great variety of Vietnamese cuisine and you are welcome to enjoy cocktails and live music in the Jazz Bar or relax in the hotel's health spa.
Bhaya Classic Junk Boat, Halong Bay
This premier cruise boat offers 18 well appointed cabins with en suite amenities. Cabins are contemporary in design, whilst the finer touches have a distinct oriental influence. All cabins feature large windows creating a bright and airy atmosphere as well as scenic views. Facilities and services onboard include a dining room and bar, a sunbathing area on-deck, masseur and small library. This boat departs from the port of Halong City and plies its route through the karst peaks of Halong Bay during their journey and overnight stay on the water.
Mondial Hotel, Hue
Just a 5 minute walk from the Ho Chi Minh museum, the Mondial Hotel is a contemporary hotel with excellent amenities. Guest rooms benefit from spacious interiors, comfortable beds and lots of mod-cons. There is complimentary Wi-Fi for guests, an outdoor pool and onsite spa - perfect for a re laxing massage. As well as the delicious Huong Xuan Restaurant there is also the Lobby Lounge - great for cocktails before dinner!
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, Hoi An
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort offers luxury and gracious hospitality in a traditional Vietnamese environment right on the banks of the Thu Bon river with top notch facilities.
Victoria Hotel Can Tho, Can Tho
This attractive, colonial-style resort is tastefully decorated with well-appointed rooms and a wide range of facilities including a spa, tennis courts, open-air bar, restaurant and a gym. The hotel also offers sunrise and sunset cruises to the floating markets aboard the Lady Hau junk.
Northern Hotel, Saigon
Located in Saigon's central business district, the Northern Hotel offers comfortable and stylish accommodation. Guest rooms are contemporary in style and are decorated with warming tones and excellent en suite facilities. The onsite restaurant offers a variety of European and Asian dishes set on the mezzanine floor. The hotel also offers complimentary use of computers in the lobby and a fully equipped gym for those who wish keep fit whilst staying in the city.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Thailand, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.