The Best of Vietnam and Laos 13Days/12Nights
Duration: 13 days / 12 nights
Start from: Hanoi
Finish: Luang Prabang
Highlight TourDay 1: Arrival Hanoi Vietnam
Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise & stay overnight on Board (B, L, D)
Day 3: Halong Bay Cruise - Hanoi. (Breakfast, Lunch included)
Day 4: Hanoi City Tour - Depart to Ho Chi Minh City (B, L)
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City Tour - Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
Day 6: Mekong Delta Cruise full day. (B, L)
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City Departure. Arrival - Pakse - Done Khone Island . (B, L)
Day 8: Done Khone - Phou Asia - Pakse .(B, L)
Day 9: Pakse - Saravanh - Boloven - Tadlo.(B, L)
Day 10: Tadlo - Pakse - Vientiane.(B, L)
Day 11: Vientiane - Luang Prabang.(B, L)
Day 12: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves .(B, L)
Day 13: Luang Prabang - Departure.(B)
Day 1: Arrival Hanoi Vietnam Today you’ll land in Hanoi. Warmly welcome by Tour Guide & Car Driver at airport then transfer to Hanoi Downtown, a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, public parks, and the capital of Vietnam. Check into your hotel. Stay overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise & stay overnight on Board (B, L, D) Early this morning, we’ll drive from Hanoi to one of the most magnificent scenic environments in the world, Halong Bay. Covering 577 square miles, this vast bay is filled with more than 3,000 limestone “peaks” or karsts that jut from the deep blue water as far as the eye can see. We’ll spend a day and a half, including an overnight with dinner and breakfast onboard, exploring this overwhelming seascape from the decks of a traditional Vietnamese boat. Comfortable and intimate, your boat features hand-crafted wooden interiors including a dining room and pleasant air-conditioned cabins with private baths. Since we’re overnight on the water, we’ll be able to explore Ha Long Bay’s most beautiful spots with time to swim and even visit some of the largest rock formations and caves. This promises to be one of your most memorable travel experiences in Asia. Stay overnight on Boat.
Day 3: Halong Bay Cruise - Hanoi. (B, L) Rising to the sound of lapping bay waters, we have time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Sitting on the upper deck, you can relax while taking in the breath-taking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the emerald water of the bay.
After breakfast, explore Sung Sot cave, swim and relax. Cruises back to the jetty while brunch is served while you are cruising through the bay, along the way seeing more of the fascinating formations. Cruise check-out. Rejoin car drive back to Hanoi for overnight. Arrive Hanoi at 3:00pm. Check in hotel & free time to go sightseeing in the Old Quarter. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi City Tour - Depart to Ho Chi Minh City (B, L) You have a full day of sightseeing ahead, including a visit to One Pillar Pagoda, which was built by Ly Thai Tong and the Temple of Literature, founded by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong. Stop in the heart of Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake, which contains an islet with a tiny Tortoise Pagoda. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Opera House and St. Joseph Cathedral. Conclude with a visit to Bao Tang Lich, once the museum of l'Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, which includes artifacts from Vietnam's turbulent history. Water Puppet Show, Cyclo visiting Old Quarter. Transfer to Airport for Ho Chi Minh City departure. Arrive Ho Chi Minh City in the evening. Pick up from airport then transfer to hotel for check in. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City Tour - Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L) Today you will visit the largest Vietnamese city. There are street markets, sidewalk cafes and sleek new bars. This teeming metropolis offers 300 years of timeless traditions and the beauty of an ancient culture. To the west of the city is the huge Chinese neighborhood called Cho lon, which means "Big Market." Notre Dame Cathedral, in the heart of Saigon's government quarter, is of neo- Romanesque architecture with two high square tower and iron spires. The Central Post Office is French-style and City Hall, known as "Hotel de Ville," is typical of the French architecture that would be seen in any village in France. Visit the War Remnants Museum, featuring collections of weapons and photographs from the two Indochina wars. Leave Saigon for Cu Chi Tunnels to learn about Vietnam history & Vietnam War. Return to hotel for free. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 6: Mekong Delta Cruise full day. (B, L) Today takes you to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang Province. Situated on the Mekong River, 75 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the city is surrounded by orchards and rice fields, which produce grain for the entire country. Visit one or two of the islands that produce traditional handcrafts, coconut candy and bee farms. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, the oldest one in the delta on your boat trip on the Mekong River. Return to Ho Chi Minh City. Check in hotel & stay overnight in Saigon.
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City Departure. Arrival - Pakse - Done Khone Island . (B) Today you are free for leisure & shopping until transfer to Airport for departure to Pakse.
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred directly onto a traditional boat for a 2-hour cruise to Champassak. Disembark at this accient town, known as Champa Kingdom; continue by car to Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site in Laos, which became recognized by UNESCO in 2002. Vat Phou is the site of ruins which were once part of a temple built some time before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. It contains some of the most ancient Khmer architectures which date back to between the 7-11th centuries. In the afternoon you will drive to Don Khone, an area of 4000 islands which is the widest point of the Mekong River during the rainy season, although during the dry months the river recedes, leaving behind thousands of islands and islets. This area of the river is also famous for being the home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. En route, we stop to visit the ruins of the Khmer temple of Oup Mong at Ban Houei Tomo and continue driving to Don Khone Island at Ban Nakasung pier to board a long tailed motor boat to the peaceful Don Khone Island.
Overnight on Don Khone Island
Day 8: Done Khone - Phou Asia - Pakse. (B) After an early morning breakfast, we begin by re-tracing the French colonial-past at Ban Khone, where some old colonial houses still stand and glimpse the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. We continue our exploration of the area of the 4000 islands leisurely by boat and visit the most beautiful Liphi waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Lao and Cambodia. If we have luck, we may catch a glimpse of the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfall of Khone Phapeng - the largest waterfall in South East Asia, also known as the 'Niagara of the east'. In the afternoon we drive to Pakse and on the way stop in Phou Asa to visit the vestiges of the temple dating back to the 18th century for elephant riding for 1h30hrs through forest paths. We reach Pakse before sunset; there you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 9: Pakse - Saravanh - Boloven - Tadlo. (B) After breakfast we make an excursion to Tadlo via the plateau of Boloven, where tea and coffee plantations produce the infamous Lao coffee. You wil have the chance to observe the traditional coffee and tea makers. En route we visit the ethnic villages of Ban Tateng to experience the traditional lifestyles of the Alack, Katu and Nge tribes. We continue to visit the charming village of Tadlo where you will be transferred to the Tadlo resort. You will enjoy swimming in the pool of the Tadlo waterfall which is situated close to the resort.
Day 10: Tadlo - Pakse - Vientiane. (B) In the early morning we drive to Pakse to board a flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. A city tour acquaints us with the major sights of the capital. We visit the sacred Wat Sisaket the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. On the way to the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. We enjoy a sunset by the Mekong Riverside.
Overnight in Vientiane
Day 11: Vientiane - Luang Prabang. (B) After breakfast you will have free time until your transfer to the airport for a short flight to Luang Prabang. Upon landing we check into our hotel and visit Wat Visoun, the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa. The rounded dome is more Sinhalese in style than Lao. Phou Sii hill stands right in the center of this small city. We climb its 350 steps to enjoy impressive views of the surrounding area, for many miles in each direction. Wat Phu Sii sits atop the mountain, alongside the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns! We then continue to visit Wat Mai. Built in 1796, this five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) emphasizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. We explore Street Night Market, where you will find a lovely collection of local handmade textiles of the hill tribes surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 12: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves . (B) Today, we enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its sweeping low roofs, which represents the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temple. We then embark on a boat journey upstream along the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local speciality of rice wine is produced. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, well known for its hand weaving.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 13: Luang Prabang - Departure. (B) After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (close Tuesday), which was once a king's palace. Displayed inside this museum is a collection of personal artifacts from the royal family, including photos, musical instruments, and many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. Transfer you to the airport.