Laos to Vietnam - 16 Days
Take an unforgettable journey through the beautiful landscapes and captivating cities of Laos and Vietnam. Discover the delights of Luang Prabang and Hoi An, visit revered Buddhist temples and ornate palaces, explore mystical caves and colourful markets, cruise Halong Bay and the Mekong and top off your adventure in Ho Chi Minh City!
Sunday. Welcome to Laos! On arrival we'll transfer you to our hotel. The rest of today is free for you to relax or explore at leisure.
Vientiane city tour
After breakfast we explore the charming capital of Laos on a city tour. Highlights include Wat Si Saket, the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaeo, the important Pha That Luang monument and Buddha Park with its incredible array of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. We also visit 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.
Overnight: Vientiane | Breakfast, Dinner
Vientiane – Vang Vieng. This morning we journey north through breathtaking scenery to Vang Vieng. Along the way we visit Ban Keun, famous for its salt extraction plant and a village of local rice wine whiskey distillation. The next stop is the busy and colourful market of Thalat. where local hill tribes come to trade. Continue to the
11th century archaeological site of Vang Xang. Upon arrival in picturesque Vang Vieng, spend the rest of the day at leisure or opt to explore the local caves, take a scenic bike ride or go tubing along the river.
Overnight: Vang Vieng | Breakfast, Dinner
Tham Jang Cave, Ban Huai Ngai village
Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang. We explore the famous caves of Tham Jang this morning and visit Ban Huai Ngai village before travelling north to the enchanting Luang Prabang.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast
Consider rising early this morning to watch the daily ritual of saffron-clad monks and their procession down the streets of Luang Prabang, collecting alms from the residents. Afterwards we hop on a vintage tuk-tuk to travel in style around the old quarter of Luang Prabang. Our first stop on this unique sightseeing tour is the bustling Morning Market where we'll learn about local products. Then we stop at the magnificent Wat Xiengthong temple to admire its classical Laotian architecture. We end our morning with a visit to the former Royal Palace, which is now a national museum.
This afternoon we visit ethnic minority villages en route to the beautiful Khouangsi waterfall. Meet the locals and gain a fascinating insight into the local culture. We then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails.
Overnight: Luang Prabang | Breakfast
Luang Prabang - Hanoi (Vietnam). On day 6 we head into the idyllic countryside to visit the Living Land Farm for a fun and hands on half day farming experience. Learn how rice is planted and cultivated in the rice paddy and have a go at ploughing the rice paddy with a water buffalo. Then we enjoy a tasty lunch of traditional Lao dishes at the farm's Rice House, while soaking up the spectacular views of rice terraces and mountains beyond.
The afternoon is free for you to independently explore more of Luang Prabang. Consider visiting the sobering UXO Centre to learn more about the Second Indochina War, take in more of the city's beautiful temples or head to the Ock Pop Tock weaving centre set in beautiful tropical gardens. In the evening we board a flight to Hanoi.
Day 7 is free for you to explore Vietnam's capital at leisure. Why not get off the beaten track and explore Hanoi on our optional Back Streets of Hanoi add-on? Discover the quaint districts of Cho Buoi, Hoang Hoa Tham and Vinh Phuc and ride pillion on taxi-motorbikes through a maze of narrow streets and along the shore of beautiful Ho Tay Lake.
Overnight: Hanoi | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Hanoi – Halong Bay. This morning a scenic drive will take us to the beautiful UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, where lush limestone islets are scattered in the emerald waters. On arrival, board our deluxe junk boat for a cruise in the bay.
Based on traditional designs, these wonderful vessels combine oriental style with modern luxury. Soak up the panoramic views from the sundeck before we visit the spectacular Tien Ong Cave and admire its stunning stalagmites and stalactites.
Later this evening, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck of our cruiser before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight: Halong Bay, Deluxe Junk Boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. Before heading back to port we'll explore the Floating Village of Cua Van by kayak. The village is home to generations of fishing families. Admire the traditional and colourful floating wooden houses and watch the locals going about their daily lives.
On arrival back into Hanoi mid-afternoon we’ll explore the maze of streets in the French Quarter on our very only cyclos (rickshaws), taking in highlights such as the Opera House and Ly Thai To Park. We then swap our wheels for a leisurely walk through the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop here. from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops.
Later this evening we board the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast
Arriving into Hue we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the former capital of the 19th-century Nguyen Empire. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city. The seven-tiered pagoda has become a well known symbol for Hue. Within the walled citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, moats and imperial palaces.
In the countryside lies the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings and here we’ll see the elaborate mausoleum of Emperor Tu Duc. As the sun sets take an optional cruise in a longboat along the Perfume River, beautifully illuminated at night. Alternatively, enjoy some retail therapy at Dong Ba Market.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Today we take a drive along 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 we continue our journey along the coast road to Hoi An.
The charming, old-world trading port of Hoi An with its cobbled streets, traditional homes and tiny shop houses is a perfect place to lose yourself in a bygone era. Boutique restaurants, hip cafes along the waterfront, delightful craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors (whose services come at a nominal price), can be found here.
On a short walking tour of the enchanting historical city, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the famous 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
During your stay in Hoi An, we offer a unique optional Hoi An Street Eats add-on, which explores the city’s most popular local haunts. Cruise the city the way the locals do, by vintage Vespa and enjoy lots of tasty Vietnamese Cuisine. Book early with your reservation consultant, as numbers are limited.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
A leisurely bicycle ride into the countryside leads us to Tra Que village this morning. Here we discover age old farming practices and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a fun, hands on experience, where we don conical hats and assist with tending the fields. Then we'll enjoy an entertaining cooking demonstration and help to cook a tasty lunch.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast, Lunch
Today is free for you to relax or further explore. You may wish to take a relaxing rowboat journey along the river or spend the day lazing by the beach. It’s also possible to take an optional excursion to the holiest and most evocative of Vietnam’s Cham sites, My Son or to Quang Ngai, the site of the infamous My Lai massacre and now, a memorial. The massacre was a significant turning point in the Vietnam War and the story is told through a photo presentation on a walk through the village.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City. We catch an early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City today and 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. Boarding our traditional sampan, we cruise along the maze of canals from Cai Be to Can Tho. Stop to visit local cottage industries as we go, then enjoy lunch in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island.
Overnight: Can Tho | Breakfast, Lunch
Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City. Early today we visit the colourful Cai Rang floating market and drive to Ho Chi Minh City. Once called the Pearl of the Orient, modern Ho Chi Minh City 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. On our walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City we'll see the Notre Dame Cathedral (exterior) and the Old Post office. We also visit the sobering War Remnants Museum before this evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City | Breakfast
Monday. Today offers free time in Ho Chi Minh City until your departure transfer to the airport. Perhaps opt to shop for souvenirs at Ben Thanh Market or visit the grand Independence Palace, with its secret bunker and military command centre beneath.
If extending your stay consider joining us on a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Here you can go underground to explore the vast network of tunnels and hideouts used by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters, see booby traps, trap doors or test your skill with an AK 47 at the firing range.
CU CHI TUNNELS
Cu Chi Tunnels - Viet Cong HQ
Discover the Cu Chi Tunnels - a vast underground network of tunnels and hideouts used by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters during the 1960’s. Often lead by a relative of a Viet Cong fighter in green fatigues you’ll walk the bush trails discovering grass covered trapdoors, ingenious, yet gruesome booby traps and hidden underwater entrances in rivers. There is also an opportunity to go underground and pop off a few rounds at the firing range.
Our Cu Chi Tunnels bolt-on includes return transportation to and from Cu Chi, guided tour and 1 night accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Mercure Hotel, Vientiane
Renowned for offering travellers superb business and leisure conveniences in a pleasant surrounding, the fashionable rooms of this modern hotel are spacious and contemporary in design. Impeccable service is combined with superb amenities including a range of sporting facilities, entertainment services and a fitness centre.
Elephant Crossing Hotel, Vang Vieng
Boasting breath-taking views of majestic limestone mountains, this boutique hotel creates a special Laotian ambience with a traditional open-air sala (pavilion) for relaxing, lounging and dining. The riverside restaurant and bar offers stunning views of the river and surrounding scenery whilst the beautifully furnished rooms each have a private balcony. The accommodation is situated on the banks of the Nam Song River, this hotel is perfectly located for stunning views of the unspoilt landscape of Vang Vieng.
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 I 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.
Syrena Junk Boat, Halong Bay
A tradition hand crafted boat, the Syrena Junk Boat offers superb en suite air conditioned cabins with comfortable interiors and balconies. The on board Lotus Restaurant serves up a delicious array of Vietnamese and International cuisine. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the public areas. Swimming, kayaking and tai chi are all offered on board and movie nights are also very popular.
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!
ÊMM Hotel, Hue
Situated in the heart of the former imperial capital, ÊMM Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore Hue’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed sights. Completely renovated in 2016, the guestrooms are generously-sized and complete with modern amenities. The imperial jade and royal purple colour scheme was inspired by ancient Hue itself and guests can take advantage of the mini-gym, pool-side bar and a spacious reading area. Enjoy delicious Vietnamese and international cuisine in the contemporary restaurant after a day of exploring.
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.
Thanh Binh Riverside hotel , Hoi An
Boasting a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, the Thanh Binh Riverside offers excellent accommodation in a great loacation. Guest rooms benefit from garden or river views and all come full air-conditioned, with stunning hardwood floors and all mod-cons. The onsite restaurant offers a great selection of Vietnamese and International dishes and the town centre is just a mere 200m walk away. Why not grab a cocktail and relax by the pool in the afternoon - a great way to refresh yourself from the Vietnam heat.
Iris Hotel, Can Tho
This elegant hotel is housed within a modern building in the city of Can Tho. Each guest room comes equipped with plush furnishings to ensure a good night's sleep and is decorated with a neutral palate and calming tones. Rooms look over the city and boast a range of modern amenities such as air conditioning and stylish ensuite facilities. Magnificent views of the city can be had from the hotel's skybar while a range of gourmet local and international dishes can be sampled at the onsite restaurant.
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.
Muong Thanh Centre, Ho Chi Minh City
Centrally located, yet on a peaceful, tree-lined street, you will find the Muong Thanh Centre. Only a ten-minute walk from top attractions such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House and Ben Thanh Market, this hotel is a great base for exploring the famous sights of the city. Its world-class rooms boast sophisticated designs and panoramic views. Warm and friendly, the Muong Thanh Centre also features a spa and swimming pool for you to relax and unwind after a long day of sight-seeing.
Northern Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
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.
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Very professional guide and driver - both went out of their way to help. Nice clean vehicle, safely driven and a guide who was both knowledgeable and possessed a sense of humour. Would happily tour with these guys again! Especially liked the Grand Hotel and the elephant crossing. ”