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Best of Vietnam & Laos

Code: ICH243

Duration: 16 Days

Travel Route: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel - Mekong Delta - Hoi An - Hanoi - Sapa - Halong Bay - Luang Prabang (Laos) - Phonsavan (Plain of Jars) - Vientiane

Private Tour | Operate all year around  |  Can be tailored to suite your requirements

       Tour Highlights

  • Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon, is a dynamic blend of old and new, east and west, commerce and culture. Amazing underground tunnel network in Cu Chi.

  • Private motorboat trip on Mekong River, ride a small sampan boat through a lush creek of the Mekong and witness the traditional workshops of cottage industries

  • Go back in time at the ancient trading port of Hoi An. Experience the blend of influences from the West and East, nice beach, peaceful countryside & interesting markets

  • The bustling markets, tree-lined boulevards and peaceful lakes of Hanoi are a great introduction to modern Vietnam.

  • Trek the stunning valley of terraced fields; meeting hill tribe ethnic minorities and conquering the top ofIndochina - Mt. Fansipan by cable car.

  • Cruise around the mystical landscape of Halong Bay and kayaking around toweing islands of the bay. Overnight on board in between thounsands of karst islands.

  • Observe the morning alms giving ceremony and charmed by the friendly atmosphere of the ancient town of Luang Prabang - UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Visit the enigmatic plain of hundreds of enormous limestone jars in Phonsavan

  • Vientiane, Laos' laid-back capital, mixes French colonial architecture with Buddhist temples

 

    Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN HO CHI MINH CITY (HCMC)

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival to Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, your driver and guide will meet you and they will transfer you to your hotel. Check-in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Included meals: N/A

 

DAY 2: HO CHI MINH CITY & CU CHI TUNNELS

This morning you will meet your tour guide again and head out of the city early to nearby Cu Chi tunnels. Cu Chi is the name of the district that is famous with the extensive network of underground tunnels (Approx. 250km), dug by Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong, used by both fighters and villagers during 'Vietnam War'. A part of the tunnels has been widened to allow visitors to enter and get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty, and claustrophobic for some). After lunch at a local restaurant, you will return to the city for the afternoon city tour. You’ll have the option of visiting the War Remnants Museum or History Museum before a visit to the Presidential Palace and some of the other major sights such as the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral. The evening is free - perhaps explore the food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market.

Overnight in Ho Chi MInh City

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 3: MEKONG DELTA & FLIGHT TO HOI AN

At 8:30 AM head south of the city for the morning drive to the delta town of Ben Tre, nestled deep within the rice bowl of Vietnam – the Mekong Delta. Ben Tre is seen as a peaceful retreat offers enchanting scenery. Upon arrival, you will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Ham Luong River (a branch of the Mekong) and stop off at various local workplaces to give you a picture of how the local economy works, including a brickworks, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand; a coconut processing workshop, where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every single part of this versatile nut is turned into food and other products; and a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom – if you want, you can even have a go at weaving yourself! The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can have a short walk to experience real delta village life, before boarding your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) and traveling into the village where you can visit fruit orchards before stopping at a riverside restaurant for a delicious and filling lunch, featuring such local specialties as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp, washed down with some cold drinks or beers. Followed by a sampan for a relaxing ride along narrow creeks. You will then return to the dock by another motorized boat cruise. The afternoon drive takes you to the airport for an-hour-evening flight to Danang City for Hoi An. Get picked up at Danang airport and transferred to your hotel in Hoi An.

Overnight in Hoi An

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: HOI AN HALF-A-DAY CITY TOUR

This morning you will take a walking tour of the old town which is influenced over the years by myriad traders from various cultures. The walk will take you down the streets of old tiled houses, taking in a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. Lunch is at a restaurant. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy more of delightful Hoi An and the surrounding area. Perhaps browse the market for silk and other materials that can be tailored into fine garments on the same day, or hire a bicycle and ride along the lanes and out to a nice nearby beach.

Overnight in Hoi An

Included meals: Breakfast

 

DAY 5: BUCKET BOAT RIDE & FLYING TO HANOI

After the breakfast at your hotel, you will head out the water on traditional bucket boats to experience the everyday life of the Vietnamese fisherman. Explore local fishing communities before trying your hand at catching your own. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch afterward. In the afternoon, you will transfer (Approx. 40 minutes) to Danang Airport for the short flight (VN168 at 15:50) to capital Hanoi. Get picked up and transferred to the downtown for the hotel check-in. The evening is yours.

Overnight in Hanoi

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 6: HANOI CITY TOUR

As usual, you will have breakfast at the hotel to start your day. At 8:30 AM, you will set out with your private tour guide and driver for the full-day tour of the capital city. Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. The first place is the Temple of Literature, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and one of the best serving examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university. Next we visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum, which are both a research center and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. A Vietnamese lunch is served at a restaurant by the museum garden. In the afternoon, continue to Ba Dinh Square where you will view the Mausoleum (outside) and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. On walking here, you will call at the famous One Pillar Pagoda, dating from the 11th century, this monument was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Followed by a short transfer to Hoan Kiem Lake for you to cross a wooden red bridge to give a look at a Taoist temple, situated on a small island. End the day with 30-minute cyclo ride (a kind of local rickshaw) to view the narrow lanes and traditional shops houses in the Old Quarter.

Overnight in Hanoi

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7: HANOI – SAPA

This morning, you will start a bit early and travel to Sapa on the HW Noi Bai – Lao Cai. This is the longest highway in Vietnam. The scenic drive, from the Red River Delta through the midland to Lao Cai province, will be a good start for your trip. Arrive in Sapa by noon. Have lunch at a restaurant in town. After that, we will transfer to a trekking point in Ma Tra Village, The first trek we are doing today is on a small concrete path winding along the Ta Phin Valley in between rice terraced fields and throug villages. Get picked up at Ta Phin Village and make our way back to Sapa town, check in a hotel for the night.  

Overnight in Sapa

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Approx. 6km/3 hour trekking

 

DAY 8: MUONG HOA VALLEY TREK & FANSIPAN MT. CABLE CAR RIDE  

 

After your breakfast at the hotel, at 8:30, you get picked and transferred by the car to a trekking point to Y Ling Ho Village, Muong Hoa Valley. Muong Hoa is the biggest valley in Sapa region and bottomed by a rocky river. This is a less-traveled path if you start earlier than other visitors. For the beginning, you trek downhill the valley on a small path, the scenery of the rice terraces along your way is very beautiful and could be the highlight of the day. Cross the river on a small suspension bridge and continue the trek uphill. This is rather challenging when it is wet but definitely offers you spectacular view over the valley. Finish your morning scenic trek at Lao Chai Village where your private vehicle awaits you. Get on your car and drive back to Sapa town for lunch. After lunch, we will conquer the roof of Vietnam by cable car. Get transferred to the station and enjoy the incredible view of mountains, forest and cloud during the ride. This is the world's longest 3-rope cable car, stretching 6.3 kilometers. After the summit, we get back to the town for your free evening.  

Overnight in Sapa

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Approx. 6km/3 hour trekking

 

DAY 9: SAPA - HILLTRIBE MARKET - HANOI  

The drive to the hill tribe market in Bac Ha takes you about 3,5 hours so you will check out the hotel at 7:30 AM and head to Back Ha District. Upon arrival, your tour guide will walk you around the market. Here, you will see some ethnic minority groups such as Flower Hmong, Phu La, Yao, Tay, Nung…etc. They are from different valleys, gather around for the trading. It is an awesome experience of seeing colors, understanding traditions and feeling the atmosphere. The market offers a variety of local products includes colorful embroidery, handicrafts and all types of daily necessary stuffs. Here also available animal market where people sell and buy or barter animal such as dogs, pot-bellied pigs, cows, buffalos and so on. After lunch at a local food store,  you will spend the whole afternoon driving back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi early in the evening.  (Notes: There are three featured hill-tribe markets that you can take advantage of the trip schedule to visit one of them based on these fixed days of a week: Tuesday: Coc Ly Market; Saturday: Can Cau market; Sunday: Bac Ha Market)  

Overnight in Hanoi

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: HANOI - HALONG BAY

Today you will leave Hanoi and drive North-east (approx. 4hours) to the well-known Halong Bay. You can leave your heavy cases behind at your hotel in Hanoi and pack an overnight backpack for staying on the boat. Halong Bay is one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders and listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Upon arrival at the pier, you will board a boat for exploring the bay, the views that you get while navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops are incredible. Lunch and dinner are served on board. The activities of today include a swim in the bay in warmer months. You may have chance to do some kayaking (Optional and extra cost involved, depends on different boats) as well.

Overnight on board

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 11: HALONG BAY – LUANG PRABANG (LAOS)

This morning get up early this morning for some fresh-air on the open deck and join the Tai-chi class for some gentle moves if you wish. Otherwise, you are able to remain in your cabin until breakfast time. After breakfast, the crew will pull up the anchor, start the engine again for more cruising to other part of the bay. After visiting a big limestone cave, the boat is gently heading back to the pier. The early lunch (Brunch) will be served aboard. Around noon, you are ferried in and take the return drive toward Hanoi and continue on to the airport for the early evening flight to Luang Prabang (Northern Laos). Getting picked up and Hotel check-in after your arrival.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12: LUANG PRABANG VISIT

Situated at the join of the Nam Khan River and the Mekong, Luang Prabang - the former capital of Laos has been recognized by UNESCO as the World Heritage site. With its lantern lit streets lined with a mix of faded colonial mansions and sparking mosaic temples; this city is known to enchant its visitors. After breakfast in the hotel you will take a Mekong River boat trip with your guide to visit the famous & sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. These caves, overlooking the confluence of the Mekong & Nam Ou Rivers from on high, have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Upon return, visit Por Sa Paper Handicraft & textile area at Ban Xang Khong. We will enjoy lunch in town with an afternoon visit to magnificent Wat Xiengthong—representative of classic Laotian architecture, before seeing the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai. The rest of the day is spent at your leisure, relaxing in one of the city’s many quirky cafés or strolling along the beautiful riverbank. 

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

DAY 13: LUANG PRABANG – XIENG KHOUANG (PLAIN OF JARS) - PHONSAVAN 

We take the road trip overland through beautiful natural scenery to Xiengkhouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. On the way we have some stops at villages of hill tribe people.  Upon arrival at Phonsavanh we continue to the famous mulberry plantation and Plain of Jars (site 2), an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. 

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 14: THE PLAIN OF JARS 

In the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th century, Xieng Khouang was the center of a kingdom of the Hmong (Meo). In 1832, it was conquered by the Vietnamese, annexing the entire region. The town of Xieng Khouang was badly destroyed by US air force during the Vietnam War. Even though it has been rebuilt in 1975, the name Xieng Khouang is now primarily used in reference to the province of the same name. The highlight of our visit here is the "Plain of Jars." Scattered over the plain are hundreds of enormous limestone jars, each about 1 to 2.5 meters high, with a diameter of about 1 meter. There is still no explanation as how the clay jars found their way onto the plain, nor what purpose they served. Archaeologists have come up with the wildest theories, among them a claim declaring them brewery cauldrons. More likely, the jars are enormous urns. We explore another plain of jars on site 1 then travel by road to toward Muang Kham to visit Tham Piew cave and hot springs; along the way visit villages of Hmong, Tai Dam and Khmu minorities.

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

DAY 15: PHONSAVAN – FLIGHT TO VIENTIANE

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel and be ready for the flight to Vientiane - Laos’ capital, visiting all the city’s key attractions. Start the tour with a stop at Vientiane’s oldest temple, Wat Si Saket, filled with over 2000 Buddha images. Next we visit Haw Pha Kaew—the royal temple that once housed the famous Emerald Buddha—, before continuing on to Laos’ most significant national monument: Pha That Luang. We conclude our tour at Patuxai, known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.

Overnight in Vientiane

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 16: DEPARTURE FROM VIENTIANE

Today you are free at leisure until taking the transfer to the airport for  your departure flight. End of service.

Included meals: Breakfast

------------*&*--------------

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Private A/c transportation per itinerary

  • All airport transfers

  • Regional English speaking tour guides

  • Accommodation with daily breakfast during the trip

  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

  • Sightseeing tickets/ Entrance fee and permits

  • Motorized boat trip and rowing sampan ride in Mekong Delta

  • Motorized boat trip in Mekong River in Vietnam & Laos, on Perfume River, Hue

  • Sampan boat ride in Ninh Binh/ Bucket boat row in Hoi An

  • Boat Cruise in Halong Bay

  • Bottled water on the vehicle

  • Government taxes

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

  • Travel insurance (Compulsory)

  • International flights to Vietnam and out from Laos

  • Domestic flights (quoted separately)

  • Visa arrangements

  • Drinks and other meals

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Personal expenditures and others not mentioned clearly above.

pak ou cave
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VIETNAM & NORTHERN LAOS TOUR

Code: ICH242

Duration: 14 Days

Operation: All Year Around

Location: Vietnam & Northen Laos

Route: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Mekong Delta - Hue - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Luang Prabang (Laos)

INSIGHT INTO LAOS & VIETNAM

Code: ICT244

Duration: 20 Days

Operation: All Year Around

Location: Vietnam & Laos

Route: Vientiane - Vang Veng - Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Silkworm Village - Sapa - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta

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