19-Day Indochina Combination (Cambodia – Vietnam – Laos Tour)

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Tour type

Tour Level:

Tour Comfort:

Tour Period: 19 Days

tour highlights

  • Enjoy a Sunset Cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers
  • Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi Tunnels, an amazing complex of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War
  • Share a meal with a local Vietnamese family in their home
  • Attend one of Hanoi’s famous water puppet performances
  • Cruise through the striking Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most intriguing natural wonders
  • Discover historic Hue’s ancient palace complex
  • Stroll through charming Hoi An, with its unique colonial architecture, on a walking tour
  • Play a private game of petanque with locals in Luang Prabang
  • Spend time at The Bamboo Experience to learn more about bamboo work in Laos while soaking up the natural scenery

tour details

With 19 days spent exploring intriguing natural, historical and cultural sites of Indochina, this extensive journey takes curious travellers through the most enticing cities, sites and destinations in the region. Start in the vibrant Phnom Penh, a relatively quiet capital going through a cultural rebirth, before exploring the timeless splendours of Angkor in Siem Reap. Next, visit the bustling Ho Chi Minh City before escaping to the more historic towns of Hue and Hoi An, each with their own unique architecture, history, dishes and more. From Hoi An, head further north to experience Hanoi like a local and marvel at the striking karst cliffs in Halong Bay. Moving on, learn more about Laos’ history in the capital of Vientiane before ending the memorable journey in the charming colonial town of Luang Prabang, the cultural and spiritual heart of the country.

Arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport and transfer to the hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
After freshening up, visit the Independence Monument and Wat Langka, one of Phnom Penh’s five original wats (pagodas) founded in 1422. First established as a sanctuary for the Holy Writings and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks, Wat Langka was used as a storehouse by the Khmer Rouge, so escaped total destruction. Now fully renovated, this temple still plays an important place in Cambodian Buddhism.
Next, stop by the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the grounds of the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5,000 silver tiles. The treasures include a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90 kilogrammes and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha.
To finish your first evening in Phnom Penh, enjoy a joint Sunset Cruise on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: None
After breakfast at the hotel, hop in a tuk tuk for another city tour starting with the notorious Tuol Sleng Museum. In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). It soon became the largest such centre of detention and torture in the country. More than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp at Choeung Ek to be executed and detainees who died during torture were buried in mass graves in the prison ground. The museum displays include room after room of photographs of these men, women and children covering the walls from floor to ceiling.
Continue the tour to the nearby National Museum. Built in 1917, it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures. Hundreds of artefacts are housed here including both pre- and post-Angkorian pieces.
Next, visit the Central Market, another landmark of the city, and the Russian Market (Psah Tuol Thom Pong), a lively outdoor market where you will find antiquities, silver and gold jewellery, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.
End your visit of the charming capital with a stop at the city’s namesake, Wat Phnom. Founded in 1373, the pagoda was built to house Buddhist relics washed ashore by the river.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Phnom Penh International Airport and fly to Siem Reap. Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport and transfer to the hotel (rooms may not be ready until the afternoon).
The rest of your day is free to do as you wish. Soak up Siem Reap’s charming café scene, vibrant nightlife or colourful night markets. Though it may seem small at first, Siem Reap has a lot to offer!

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Rise early and head to the Angkor Archaeological Park to witness the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Take advantage of your early morning and continue to the temple of Ta Prohm to discover its beauty at dawn before the crowds come in. This temple has remained relatively untouched since it was discovered, still covered in tree roots and retaining much of its mystery to this day. Swallowed by the jungle, it still appears in much the same way other Angkor temples looked when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
Return to the hotel for breakfast before journeying out again through the typical Cambodian countryside to visit Banteay Srei temple (10th century), regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art.
In the afternoon, visit the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk), the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century) and the Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara).
Afterward, visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolise Meru’s five peaks, while the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world with the surrounding moat symbolising the ocean beyond.
Say good bye to Siem Reap in style with dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Dinner at local restaurant
In the morning, transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for a flight to Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat International Airport, transfer to the hotel in Ho Chi Minh City for check-in (check-in time is at 14:00 hrs; early check-in is available for a surcharge).
Spend the rest of the day at leisure discovering the city formerly known as Saigon.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
In the morning, drive out of the city to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an amazing complex of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War. There are more than 200 kilometres of tunnels, comprising a main axis system with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters and other tunnels, that you’ll have the chance to crawl through.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then visit Lam Son - Opera Square with its famous historic landmarks, such as the Opera House, the Continental Hotel (known from the movie “The Quiet American”) and the Caravelle Hotel before continuing to Notre Dame Cathedral. Inaugurated in 1880, the cathedral became the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient. End the city tour with some time spent at the War Remnants Museum.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at local restaurant
Your journey today takes you to My Tho – the heart of the Mekong Delta – famous for its vast rice fields and beautiful landscapes.
Enjoy a boat trip on the Mekong River to a local workshop that produces handicrafts and sweets from coconuts. Next, take a short ride on a horse carriage to one of the many orchards to taste some homemade honey-tea, savour fresh seasonal fruits and enjoy a traditional live music performance.
Proceed by sampan boats through the small canals and side arms of the river to observe the daily life along the riverbanks then return My Tho pier.
Lunch will be served at local restaurant before visiting the Vinh Trang pagoda in the afternoon and driving back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at local restaurant
After breakfast, transfer to Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat Airport for a morning flight to Hue.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in Hue for check-in (check-in time is at 14:00 hrs; early check-in is available for a surcharge).
In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious worship in Hue.
From there, visit the Hue Citadel. Situated on the northern bank of the Perfume River and built by Emperor Gia Long, the citadel was designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his household. The two-square-kilometre wall encompasses three walled enclosures; the Citadel, Kinh Thanh Hue, the Yellow Imperial City, Hoang Thanh and – in the centre – the Forbidden Purple City of Tu Cam Thanh where the Emperor lived. The Hue royal complex has been officially recognised by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at local restaurant
In the morning, transfer overland to Hoi An. During the 4-hour journey, enjoy a stop at Hai Van Pass.
Upon arrival in Hoi An, discover the ancient town through a leisurely walking tour with visits to some of the historic merchant and community houses, places of worship, the famous Japanese covered bridge and local market.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at local restaurant
Compulsory dinner at hotel (applied for group from 15 clients up)
Today is at your leisure – explore all the little delights of Hoi An!

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast, transfer to the Danang Airport for a morning flight to Hanoi.
Upon arrival, begin an orientation tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam built more than 1,000 years ago, and the historic Ba Dinh Square where one can see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the nearby One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterward, continue the city tour to Hoa Lo Prison Museum (note that museums are closed on Mondays).
After the tour, enjoy one of Vietnam’s famous water puppet performances. The Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry has roots dating back to the 10th century when it originated in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam where farmers in the region celebrated festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. The puppets are made of wood and usually stand 16 inches high, but can be as tall as three feet. Puppets are attached to a long bamboo pole and dipped in and out of the water by a person behind a rattan curtain. Learning to manipulate the puppets is usually a tradition that is passed on as a family secret and takes a great deal of skill with puppeteers standing in waist-deep water.
In the evening, take advantage of the unique opportunity of sharing a meal with a local Hanoi family in their home. Enjoy a personal tour of their home, including the family’s ancestor altar and room for worshipping, learning more about the family’s history before dining together. The generous host will introduce the evening’s cuisine, which will include traditional Vietnamese dishes such as stir-fried water morning glory, roasted sesame and peanuts, spring rolls and more delectable dishes.
Before you bid farewell, take a picture with your Vietnamese family then transfer back to the hotel.
* Timing is flexible and subject to change.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch at local restaurant
Dinner with a local family
Today you’ll experience the splendour of Halong Bay with Orchid Cruise. After breakfast, transfer to the port in Hai Phon and enjoy a special tea in the Orchid Cruise’s lounge before being welcomed aboard the boat and checking in.
After a welcome drink and safety briefing by the crew, get ready to sail through one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’. Unchanged for centuries, Halong Bay is steeped in striking vistas, beautiful seas and impressive islands.
Head first toward the Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse that was built by the French over 100 years ago and enjoy an on-board lunch before continuing the journey via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner and remain in an untouched area as not many cruise ships use this route.
Continue on to the Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay, a separate part of Halong Bay that is known for its pristine beaches and spectacular beauty with roughly 400 fascinating forested islands.
Next, witness how the local fishermen go about their trade, casting nets whilst navigating the waters in their tiny boats. Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim. In the winter months (December to March) guests may visit Viet Hai village with a guide where one can cycle along the village path through rainforests and tunnels and enjoy stunning its rice fields on the way before stopping at the village to relax. (An optional electric cart service is available at an extra cost.)
In the evening, watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Back on board, join a traditional cooking class where a chef will demonstrate how to prepare popular Vietnamese dishes or take part in Happy Hour on the deck. Enjoy a delicious dinner of local food in an intimate, romantic setting before relaxing on the top deck with a drink in hand. Additional activities, such as night squid fishing, watching a film or booking a massage treatment through the Cruise Manager, are also available.

Accommodation on Orchid Cruise, Suite balcony cabin.

Note: our tour guide will not be onboard.

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Lunch onboard
Dinner onboard
Rise early to witness the bay at its very best – at sunrise – whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck and breakfast. Upon finishing breakfast, head out in canoes to explore the bay around Toi Sang Cave.
Indulge in a delightful brunch while cruising to the mainland and transferring back to Hanoi. Enjoy an evening on your own with dinner at your leisure.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast onboard
Lunch onboard
In the morning, transfer to Hanoi / Noi Bai International Airport for a flight to Vientiane.
Meet upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay International Airport and transfer to the hotel for check in. Vientiane has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture with its major attractions being the serene Buddhist monasteries that dominate the centre of town.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, head out to explore the city starting with a visit to Vat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Built in 1818, Vat Sisaket is the sole survivor of an invasion in 1828 and features remarkable frescoes and 6,840 Buddha images.
Nearby is Ho Phra Keo, once the royal temple of Lao monarchy. Built in 1565, Ho Phra Keo has been used as a museum since 1970 and contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. The main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo. Next, visit one of the most photographed images of Vientiane, Patousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, its architecture is inspired by the Arc de Triomph in Paris.
Another famous Vientiane landmark is the That Luang Stupa. King Setthathirath built this great sacred stupa in 1566 and its 45-metre-tall central structure echoes the curving lines of an elongated lotus. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha.
Afterward, visit the surroundings of Vientiane including Buddha Park, located 24 kilometres south of the city, and the impressive Friendship Bridge. Return to Vientiane to taste Lao coffee at Sinouk Coffee Shop, then stroll along the banks of the Mekong River at sunset.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
In the morning after breakfast, visit the COPE Visitor Centre. Laos is still littered with a significant amount of UXOs (unexploded ordnance) from the war ending in 1975. Standing for Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, COPE provides prosthetics and mobility devices free of charge for people in need who cannot afford to pay for them. The visitor centre is a free museum and interactive exhibit educating guests about the UXO problem tells how UXO affect communities.
Afterward, transfer to the airport for a flight Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Meet upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, then transfer and check in at the hotel.
The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. Magical and charming, it has maintained its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.
Enjoy lunch at leisure before visiting Vat Xieng Thong, considered as the city’s beautiful temple. The sim of the temple represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911, and near the east gate stands the Royal Funeral Chapel. Inside are an impressive 12-metre-high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of each Royal Family member. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana.
Next, visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo, then walk to the nearby Vat Aham, which is one of the city’s major tutelary shrines dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors). Continue on to visit Vat Mai, built in 1796, famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim. To end the tour, climb Vat Phousi Hill for an outstanding view over the city.
Dinner is at your leisure.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Rise early to join the local people giving alms to the monks. The custom of alms gathering is an ancient monastic tradition where the monks or nuns walk quietly with their alms bowl visible, allowing interested people to offer food. Afterward, visit the local fresh morning market, where villagers from the remote areas offer their products, then return to hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, visit the National Museum (a former King’s Palace, closed on Tuesdays) displaying a collection of personal artifacts of the Royal Family, including photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries.
Next, depart by road to the Kuang Si Waterfalls with a stop at the Khmu minority village of Ban Thapaene along the way. Visit the rescued bears of the “Bear Lao” project on your walk along the pools up to the waterfall which tumbles over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. Return to Luang Prabang for lunch by own account.
In the afternoon, board a traditional riverboat for a trip up the Mekong River to visit the famous caves of Pak Ou housing thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha. After the caves, visit the winery village of Ban Xanghai along the river then start heading back to Luang Prabang with a stop at Ban Xang Khong village to see how traditional sa paper is made.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel
Start the day with breakfast at the hotel then drive to the Living Land Company, a community-run organic farm supplying fresh vegetables, herbs, salads and rice to hotels and restaurants in Luang Prabang.
Enjoy time spent at The Living Land trying your hand at traditional Lao rice farming methods. You’ll be taught about ancient rice harvesting and planting methods, as well as threshing and winnowing rice, before returning to Luang Prabang for lunch.
In the afternoon, enjoy a friendly game of petanque with locals then head to The Bamboo Experience located just outside the Luang Prabang town centre. Begin the evening at the centre meeting with the rest of the group for an explanation of the traditional and modern uses of bamboo and its significance within Lao culture.
Next, partake in a bamboo weaving class with an expert (but patient!) teacher. Try your hand at knife sharpening, bamboo cutting and weaving the bamboo for about one hour to complete your own mat to take home as a souvenir. Afterward, proceed to the bamboo cooking demonstration (you are free to assist) which will showcase such dishes as bamboo shoot soup, bamboo shoots steamed in banana leaves, fermented bamboo shoot dipping sauce, sticky rice and more. Savour your creations at the end of the session in a traditional, pavilion-style Lao house overlooking the scenic rice fields.
*Note: Thursday day and Friday evenings are not available, as the classes are booked exclusively by another partner.

Accommodation at hotel

Meals included:
Breakfast at hotel
Dinner at Bamboo
Enjoy a leisurely morning before being picked up and transferring to Luang Prabang International Airport for your onward flight.

Meals included: Breakfast at hotel

includes

  • Accommodation in shared twin room with air-condition (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
  • Transfers and tours with local stationed guide in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees, boat fees and / or cyclo fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles

excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Vietnam (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for night-time services, especially applied for transfers with arrivals after 23:00 hrs and arrivals or departures before 06:00 hrs.
  • Surcharges for Lunar New Year (TET) holiday
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • Visa application and visa stamp fees at Vietnamese embassies overseas and/ or upon arrival (Please note that a visa is compulsory for most nationalities.)
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

notes

  • Most Museums are closed on Mondays and partly on Fridays and some public holidays.
  • The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is closed every Monday and Friday and during the entire months of September and October. The Ho Chi Minh Residence in Hanoi is closed every Monday and Friday.
  • Please note that cyclo rides are subject to government approval.

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