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Bangkok to Saigon (18 Days)
Days 1-2: Bangkok Arrival Day
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 in Bangkok.
Day 3: Bangkok –Chiang Mai
Bangkok – Chiang Mai. This morning we fly to Chiang Mai. After lunch visit the Doi Suthep temple and the Hilltribe Museum to learn more about the diversity of this region. In the evening we visit the night market.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 4: Chiang Mai- Chiang Rai- Chiang Khong
Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong. Today we set out for Chiang Rai, passing through spectacular mountain scenery and hill tribe markets along the way. We make a stop at the unconventional White Temple, known locally as Wat Rhon Khung, which displays scenes from modern day movies. We then visit a hill tribe community site where you have the chance to learn more about how five of the most prominent tribes in the area live, including their traditional costumes and homes. We continue our journey to the Thailand’s ‘Golden Triangle’ for a trip to the Opium Museum. We then follow the Mekong River to Chiang Khong – our base for the night before crossing the border into Laos tomorrow morning.
Overnight in Chiang Khong.
Day 5: Chiang Khong – Laos
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 in Pakbeng.
Days 6-7: Pakbeng –Luang Prabang
Pakbeng – Luang Prabang. We continue our cruise arriving to the golden city of Laung Prabang mid afternoon. Tomorrow, opt for an early start early to see 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 in Luamg Prabang.
Days 8-9: Luang prabang –Hanoi
Luang Prabang – Hanoi . On the morning of day 8 we head out of town to a local farm to learn about the production of rice. After lunch we cruise up the Mekong River to visit the incredible Pak Ou caves crammed with Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, stopping Ban Xanghai village en route to sample local rice wine. Later we return to Luang Prabang stopping along the way at Ban Phanom village – known for its hand weaving, before boarding our evening flight to Hanoi. The following day offers free time for you to explore Vietnam’s gracious capital. Lively markets, beautiful lakes, ancient pagodas and the thriving, historic city are all easily navigable by foot.
Overnight in Hanoi .
Day 10: Hanoi –Halong Bay
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 in Halong Bay.
Day 11: Halong Bay-Hanoi-Hue
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 in Sleeper Train.
Day 12: Hue
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 in Hue.
Days 13-15: Hue-Hanoi
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 in Hanoi.
Day 16: Hnaoi –Can Tho
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 in Can Tho
Day 17: Can Tho –Saigon
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 in Saigon.
Day 18: Saigon –Cu Chi Tunnel
Today offers free time for you to independently explore Saigon your way, before included departure transfer to the airport. You may wish to extend you stay another day and opt to visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels.
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- Bangkok Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Original Thai Massage School, 24hr Flower Market & Khao San Road Wat Rhon Khung - the modern and unusual ‘White Temple’
- Chiang Khong Thai/Laos border town
- Luang Prabang Wat Visoun, Wat Aham, Ock Pop Tok weaving centre, former Royal Palace, Khouangsi waterfall, Wat Sene, Wat Xieng Thong and Pak Ou caves
- Halong Bay UNESCO Listed World Heritage Site
- Hoi An UNESCO Listed ancient town Cai Be waterways, cottage industries, mansion home and Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Cai Rang floating market
- Chiang Mai Doi Suthep and the summit temple, Hilltribe Museum and the night market
- Chiang Rai night market, Cabbages & Condoms restaurant, hill tribe villages of the Karen tribe, Mae Sai, Chiang Saen and the Opium Museum
- Mekong River cruising from Chiang Khong to Lao town of Pak Beng
- Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake and Ancient Quarter
- Hue Imperial Citadel, Royal Tombs & Thien Mu Pagoda
- Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office and War Remnants Museum
- 17 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners
- Economy class flights Bangkok - Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang - Hanoi, Danang - Saigon
- Halong Bay Junk boat cruise - opt to swim, kayak or explore caves
- Airport arrival transfer day 1 and departure transfer day 18
- Escorted by an English speaking Thai, Loa and Vietnamese tour guides
- Visa approval letter (excl. stamping fee required upon arrival)
- 15 nights 3 - 4 star & special class hotels, 1 night deluxe junk boat and 1 overnight sleeper train (Junk boat: private cabin, Sleeper train: basic, 4 berth cabin)
- Longtail boat ride in Bangkok, on the River Kok and from Thailand to Laos. Sampan boat trips in the Mekong Delta
- Bicycle ride to Tra Que village and cooking demonstration
- Guided sightseeing - Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Mekong Delta, Saigon
- All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
- International flights and visa. Vietnam visa letter included - stamping fee required upon arrival