DAY 1: HO CHI MINH CITY- ARRIVAL [--/ L/ --]
On your arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be welcomed by our guide and driver who will bring you to the center. The HCM tour starts with a visit to the imposing Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat). Next we will go to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Vietnam as the twin bell towers can be seen from a long distance. In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the largest functioning post office in Vietnam. What makes this Post Office so extraordinary is that it was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel who also designed and built the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. It is a building not to be missed.
In the afternoon, we will visit to the Thien Hau Temple. Thien Hau is a 16th century Chinese temple in Cholon, which is dedicated to Thien Hau or the goddess of the sea who is said to protect fishermen and sailors. A trip to the War Remnants Museum will introduce some culture but some history as you experience this tribute to the Vietnam War.
The rest of the night is yours to venture out on your own or take it easy and relax in your hotel room.
DAY 2: HO CHI MINH CITY – DANANG - HOIAN [B/ L/ --]
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Da Nang city in the central region of Vietnam. On your arrival at Da Nang Airport, you will be welcomed by our guide and driver who will take you to Hoi An, another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. We enjoy a walking tour through the narrow and ancient streets of this charming town. Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years, merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religions and architecture. In 1999, the town was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site listed for having the most unique architecture in Southeast Asia. It has been restored and protected by both the UNESCO funding and proud locals ever since. You will spend the night in Hoi An.
DAY 3: HOIAN – HUE [B/ L/ --]
You will depart from Hoian and travel to Hue City. During the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), Hue was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to visit the Cham Museum located in Danang City and stop en route to take pictures at the summit of Lang Co Beach, Hai Van Pass. The museum offers the most extensive collection of Cham art sculptures throughout the world. The sculptures date from the 7th to the 15th century.
Our tour of Hue starts at the beautiful Imperial Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993. Here we will see the Imperial City and Forbidden City, the home of previous Emperors. Enjoy the various palaces, ornate halls, libraries, residences, colleges, Flag Tower and Noon Gate. After the Citadel, we go to the Truong Tien Bridge and traditional Dong Ba Market which is rarely seen anywhere in the world. The Dong Ba Market is a typical market of centuries ago where vendors sprawl their goods out for you where you can walk and select the items you want. You will stay the rest of the night in Hue.
DAY 4: HUE - HANOI [B/ L/ --]
We spend the entire day exploring ancient Hue and finding its beauties and marvels. We first start off by taking a boat trip down the romantic Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest and most beautiful pagodas in Hue. After that we move on to see the Minh Mang Tomb who was emperor of Vietnam from 1820 to 1841. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch and take the chance to chat with the nuns to learn more about Buddhism.
In the afternoon, we drive to the airport to catch the flight to Hanoi. Hanoi is over 1000 years old and is currently the capital of Vietnam as well the commercial, political, and cultural heart of the country. Later in the afternoon, you will get a chance to enjoy a 1-hour cyclo ride around the 36 streets in the Old Quarter of Hanoi followed by a welcome dinner at one of the many local restaurants. After that, you will go to see the unique and intriguing Water Puppet Show, a traditional folk performance held on the Red River Delta. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 5: HANOI – HALONG BAY. NIGHT ON JUNK [B/ L/ D]
We leave Hanoi in morning and travel to the astonishing and mystical Ha Long Bay which is described by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and is one of the most beautiful places in the region. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, it is an spectacular collection of 2,000 islands covering an area in excess of 1,500km. This forms a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and cliff faces. Our crew will welcome you on board with drinks and a fresh seafood lunch. You will check into your cabins and start cruising around the bay to see the amazing rock formations (karsts). You will cruise towards Bai Tu Long Bay, passing the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets and Vung Vieng fishing village.
We will explore the mystery of Sung Sot Cave which is one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay. Later on, you will have plenty of time for swimming and kayaking to the Tunnel Cave. During the evening, relax to the casual and comfortable atmosphere held on the boat where you will have an elegant dining experience. If we are in the right season, we can see fresh squid being caught the traditional way. Get your cameras ready for a spectacular sunset, lounge under the clear, star filled sky and retire to your cabin at your leisure where you will spend the night on board near a remote island. Overnight on board.
DAY 6: HALONG BAY – HANOI [B/ L/ --]
After breakfast, we will continue to cruise through the karsts some of which display fantastic and mystical shapes before getting into a small boat to visit the Luon Cave. Back on board for an early lunch before saying good bye to our boat and crew and heading back on the road to Hanoi.
A city tour of Hanoi starts with a visit to the One-Pillar Pagoda. We will then take a drive to visit the Temple of Literature. The temple was built in October 1073 to worship Confucius and is considered to be the first university in Vietnam. We will then drive to Hoan Kiem Lake where you will see Ngoc Son Temple which worships Van Xuong saint and Tran Hung Dao, a former general commander. Hanoi is one of the few places found in this part of the world that has such elegance. Walk down the tree lined boulevards where we see many French influences such as Hanoi Opera House, the State Bank, the former Governor's palace, and the Hanoi Cathedral (Saint Joseph’s built in the late 19th century).
DAY 7: HANOI - LUANG PRABANG [B/ L/--]
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to take your flight to Luang Prabang. Meet upon arrival at the airport, transfer and check-in at your hotel. In the afternoon, visit the National Museum (former King’s Palace) displaying a collection of personal artifacts of the Royal Family. Continue to visit the nearby Vat Mai temple, which was the residence of a Buddhist patriarch before 1975. And then enjoy sunset along the Mekong River at Phousi Temple. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
DAY 8: LUANG PRABANG - PAK OU - LUANG PRABANG [B/ L/--]
After breakfast, visit Vat Xieng Thong, considered as the most beautiful temple of Luang Prabang with roofs that sweep low to the ground. Then take a traditional riverboat for a 2-hour cruise upstream the Mekong River towards Pak Ou, at the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong Rivers, to visit the sacred caves of Tham Ting and Tham Phum, home to hundreds of Buddha statues. On the way, stop at Ban Xang Hai village where sticky rice wine distillation can be seen. Return to Luang Prabang and continue by car to visit the weaving village of Ban Xang Khong where traditional Sa paper is also produced. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
DAY 9: LUANG PRABANG - KHOUANG SY - LUANG PRABANG [B/ L/--]
After breakfast, excursion by car to the beautiful waterfalls of Khouang Sy nestled in the lush tropical vegetation. On the way, visit some hill tribes’ villages such as the H’Mong village of Ban Thinkeo, the Khmu village of Ban Thapaene and the Lao Loum village of Ban Xom, known for its cotton production. Return to Luang Prabang and stroll through the H’Mong Market. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
DAY 10: LUANG PRABANG - SIEM REAP [B/ L/--]
After breakfast, visit Vat Visoun temple with its Singhalese-style stupa, That Makmo, and Vat Aham, one of the city’s major tutelary shrines housing the puppets of Lao ancestors. Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport to take your flight to Siem Reap. Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport welcomed by your local experienced guide and transfer to hotel for check in.Overnight in Siem Reap
DAY 11: SIEM REAP [B/--/D]
Breakfast at hotel, Visit South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphoun, Royal Palace, Terrace of Elephant and Terrace of Leper King. Discover Angkor Thom, the capital of Angkor till the 15th century served as the religious and administrative center of the vast and powerful Khmer empire. It is a microcosm of the universe embracing the Bayon with its giant stone faces – one of the most recognizable connected to classic Khmer art.
Afternoon, visit the world heritage of Angkor Wat the Cambodia’s ancient temple city is one of the wonders of the oriental world. Masterpieces of decorative details as well as of architectural style, its awe-inspiring ruins surviveas testament to the spectacular achievements of Southeast Asia’s greatest civilization. It is a replica of the universe according to the Hindu mythology. It is composed by the Mount Meru, surrounded by the continents and the oceans. Its extraordinary bas-reliefs, describe some Khmer epics and myths. Angkor Wat’s five famous towers rise into the sky, a geometrical arrangement of numerous galleries, adorned with relieves and the stone images of celestial Apsara Dancers, as well as portals, chambers and courtyards. Overnight in Siem Reap
Dinner at local house
IDEAINDOCHINA TRAVEL designs an unforgettable tailored-made program for our value clients to understand the way of the local people living and eating is to prepare a Local family dinner at local house which is cooked, served, enjoyed, and sharing information relating to beyond and today’s life.
DAY 12: SIEM REAP [B/L/--]
Breakfast at hotel, visit Banteay Srei and Pre Rup temples. Returning visit Khmer Typical Village. Banteay Srei is the fabled pink temple of the women, so called because it is made of pink sandstone and considered a tribute to the beauty of the women. Its small size, delicate carvings and remarkable state of preservation make Banteay Srei one of everyone’s favorite temples. Its apsara, male and female divinities represent the most skilled craftsmanship of the sandstone carvings. Banteay Srei is located about 25 Kilometer north of Angkor. It was built in 967, making it one of the oldest temples in the region, though it was not rediscovered until the 1900s.
Afternoon, visit Ta Prohm–Jungle temple, Preah Khan, and Neak Pean temples. Ta Prohm is one of the most beautiful and famous temples in the area, as it have been almost untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. For all would be Mouhots and closet Indiana Jones, Ta Prohm is the perfect lost-temple in the jungle: Strangler figs and kapok trees entwine themselves around the ruins of Ta Prohm. Their roots burst apart even the thickest of walls, yet their clinging embrace prevents the walls’ collapse. Overnight in Siem Reap
DAY 13: SIEM REAP [B/L/--]
Breakfast at hotel, excursion to the great lake of Tonle Sap, Boat cruise and visit the Khmer fishing & floating villages. Tonle Sap Lake, Embark on a traditional wooden boat and depart from Chong Kneas to visit floating village on the great lake of Tonle Sap. You will go through the floating houses with small private boats. The natural wonder of Tonle Sap offers an insight into the old tradition of riparian life and the natural splendors of the countryside.
In the afternoon, visit Les Artisans d’ Angkor and local market. Les Artisans D’ Angkor a complete visit of the arts and crafts school will take you through the various training and production workshops of the les Artisans D’ Angkor. Discover the traditional techniques used for wood sculpting, stone carving, lacquer work, polychrome and stone patina work with the explanation of a guide. Overnight in Siem Reap
DAY 14: SIEM REAP-DEPARTURE [B/--/--]
Breakfast at hotel, free at leisure until transfer to airport for departure.