Vietnam Explorer ( 23 days / 22 nights )

Day 1 Yangon - Arrival

Arrive in Yangon where you will be welcomed by your local tour guide and transferred to your hotel to drop off you luggage. If you arrived by mid day flight, we may proceed for lunch. After lunch, a walk through “downtown” Yangon, a diverse mix of faded colonial architecture from the British times, and high-rises built by more recent investors; Sule Pagoda, built in the early 3rd century is a landmark in the city centre.

In the late afternoon, you’ll visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda of Rudyard Kipling fame and one of Myanmar’s most sacred places. The massive bell shaped stupa is plated with gold and the tip of the stupa is set with diamonds and rubies, sapphires and topaz – a stunning sight as the sun sets and a most fitting place to begin our trip in this “Golden Land”.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2 Yangon - Heho - Pindaya - Inle Lake

After breakfast, depart the hotel for flight to Heho on the Shan plateau.

Transfer by road to Pindaya (60km), a quiet town about 90 minutes drive. Pindaya is the site of the historic thousand Buddha image caves. We can make an excursion to the caves and exploring the district for it’s famous traditional paper & umbrella making home base cottage industry.

Late afternoon, drive to Inle Lake and transfer by sailor tailor  boat out across the lake to our Hotel right on the Inle Lake.

Overnight at the hotel on Inle Lake.

Day 3 Inle Lake boat excursions

After breakfast at the hotel, visit floating market which is a 5-day rotation market most fascinating to watch the daily life of the minorities and their activities. We plan to spend the day visiting villages and sampling the spectacular array of traditional handicrafts. You will see the unique method locals use to row their boats, fishermen with their own style of fishing, floating farms and gardens and a handloom weaving cottage with its own showroom. You will visit Phaungdawoo Pagoda which houses the five most revered Buddha Images in the southern Shan State.

Overnight at the hotel on Inle Lake.

Day 4 Inle Lake - Heho - Mandalay

After breakfast, we are heading back down country today to return to the airport at Heho for our flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival, proceed to Mandalay and check in at hotel.

In the afternoon, visit the Old Palace grounds; Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book for its 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Buddha’s Doctrine; Golden Palace Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings and enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Mandalay Hill.

Overnight at the hotel in Mandalay.

Day 5 Mandalay - Mingun - Mandalay

After breakfast, you will be transferred for Jetty for a private boat across the river Ayeywarwaddy to visit Mingun. The dedications of King Bodawpaya such as the unfinished Pathodawgyi Pagoda a brick counterpart of pyramid in Egypt and the Mingun Bell, the second largest bell in the world are the most prominent religious heritages. Then visiting the Myatheintan Pagoda, the best representation of the Universe, will refresh your tiredness and fatigue. Return to Mandalay.

In the afternoon, you will be taken a sightseeing tour of Mandalay which includes Mahamuni, a life like Buddha image. Mandalay is the last capital of Myanmar and that make her to be the best place to see all the traditional arts and crafts. Start visiting gold leaf making work-place and see how the gold leaf is being made by hand in a traditional way. Drive along to the south and see more industries such as bronze casting artisans, wood carvers, tapestry making ladies, and stone carvers, etc.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 Mandalay – on board RV Pandaw

Mid morning, you will be transfer to jetty to board on RV Pandaw for your one night cruise down to ancient Bagan. At 12:00, depart Mandalay and lunch on board.

Cruise all day and overnight on board.

Day 7 Bagan - Arrival

After breakfast, explore Thein Gone village.

Thein Gone is a typical river community in which all people are cared for within the community. There is a pleasant Buddhist monastery with 5 monks and over 25 monastery boys, borders from the outlying areas receiving free education and care from the monks. In addition there is a state-run village school with 4 teachers, but they commute from nearby Pakokku. The Thein Gone people are very friendly and welcoming. Mid morning, arrive Bagan and transfer to Hotel in Bagan.

In the afternoon, we will visit the most impressive temples of Bagan browsing among the lot.

Overnight at the hotel in Bagan.

Day 8 Bagan - Mt. Popa - Bagan

This morning, we will be watching sunrise over Bagan (optional) and back to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast at hotel, we head to Mt. Popa about 48 km south east of Bagan. Mt. Popa, known as the abode of Nats (spirits) – a collection of 37 magical spirits both feared and honoured by some Myanmar people and the nat museum, which houses 37 life-size nat statues sculpted from teak. It’s time to climb for 777 steps to the summit. Proceed to Popa Mountain Resort (1hr drive) for our lunch. The restaurant offer a great view to the Popa summit that stands straight from the central plain.

After lunch, return drive back to Bagan. On the way back, enroute stop at village cottage industry to learn the regional product as well as to watch the collection of juice from the palm trees, and its conversion to brown sugar.

Overnight at the hotel in Bagan.

Day 9 Bagan - Yangon

After breakfast at hotel, transfer to Nyaung U airport for your flight to Yangon. Upon arrival check in to your hotel to drop off your luggage. We will continue by car to Karaweik, a royal barge for fantastic photo shot along the “pilgrims” causeway across the Royal Lake with stunning views of Schwedagon Pagoda and Chaukhtutgyi pagoda, a huge reclining Buddha image.

After lunch, we plan to visit the Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) for souvenir shopping.

Overnight at the hotel in Yangon.

Day 10 Yangon - Bangkok - Hanoi

After breakfast at hotel, you will be transferred to Yangon International airport for your flight to Bangkok where transits to Hanoi. Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel.

Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.

Day 11 Hanoi - Ha Long

A morning drive to Ha Long Bay, (one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas – the world’s largest marine “karst” landscape). Travel by traditional-style boat to some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Includes swimming, fishing, hill (not mountain) climbing for Bay overviews, exploring sea level caves in a small sampan, etc.

All meals will be provided on board and your accommodation will be on the boat in a twin room with en suite toilet and shower.

Day 12 Ha Long - Hanoi

Morning cruising Ha Long Bay, followed by lunch and then return to Hanoi for an overnight stay.

Day 13 Hanoi - Nha Trang

Take an afternoon flight to Nha Trang. On arrival, you’ll be picked up to visit Cham Ponaga Tower.

Overnight in Nha Trang in a hotel which overlooks the sea.

Day 14 Nha Trang

A whole day boat cruise to the Mun Island for snorkeling. Seafood lunch on boat, wine and fruit party at the Mot Island. Rowing bamboo-basket at a fishing village on the Mieu Island. Overnight in Nha Trang.

The boat trip is a “fun” event. You’ll join a boat party of tourists, with a Vietnamese crew who act as guides, cooks, and musicians. Plenty of wine is included (Vietnamese – very good after the first few glasses), and you’ll be offered the local delicacy of “sea-urchin soup” – definitely an acquired taste. The coral around Mun Island is good, provided you swim away from the area where the boats tie up.

You should get back to the land in time for a visit to the hot spring spa near the Cham tower in the town – you can wallow in mud, shower in spring water, and bathe in a large hot mineral water swimming pool set in beautiful gardens for just over $3 – amazing value! Please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send a quotation for this arrangement.

Day 15 Nha Trang (freeday)

Free day in Nha Trang for a beach break.

Nha Trang offers a sufficient variety of activities for a short break in the beach resort. You can have a boat trip to the islands for snorkeling, swimming, “water bar” with Vietnamese wine, water sport. Diving facilities and service here is supposed to be the best in Vietnam. There are many restaurants along the beach offering good Vietnamese and international food. A ten minutes drive takes you to the hot spring spa – you can wallow in mud, shower in spring water, and bathe in a large hot mineral water swimming pool set in beautiful gardens for just over $3 – cheap at ten times the price!

Day 16 Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, you are free for relaxing until transferring to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel.

The rest of day will be your own.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 17 Ho Chi Minh City - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi

Drive to Tay Ninh to visit the Cao Dai Holy See (in time to watch the mid-day ceremony). Cao Dai is a “new” religion unique to Viet Nam with around a million followers. Cu Chi (intricate network of underground passages and bunkers that became legendary during the 1960′s for their role in the war of liberation). Both its creed and its architecture are remarkable and exotic.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 18 Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh

After breakfast, you’ll start your city tour including the History Museum (special exhibition of the 5thC “Oc Eo” civilisation), the Museum of War Remnants (very partial, but riveting, recollections of the “American War”: not for the squeamish), the huge Ben Thanh market (one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City), the Jade Emperor Temple (superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries) and a lacquer workshop.

Then, the car will take you to the airport for your flight to Phnom Penh. On arrival, the car will take you to the hotel.

Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Day 19 Phnom Penh

Arrival at the Phnom Penh Airport by the morning flight, meet with your guide and transfer to the hotel. Start your tour in the same morning to Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum of Khmer Arts.

In the afternoon, visit Choeung Ek Killing Field, Toul Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crime and renowned Wat Phnom.

Overnight at hotel in Phnom Penh.

Day 20 Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

After breakfast, take the 7:00 a.m. speed-boat trip to Siem Reap which takes about 5 hours ride. While on board, you will see the scenic scenery of the Cambodian rural life-style along the riverbank (optional by air). Upon arrival, transfer to hotel.

After a short relaxation, carry on to tour the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple and see an impressive sunset at Phnom Bakheng.

Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 21 Siem Reap

Early morning, see the picturesque sunrise at Angkor Wat, before returning to the hotel for breakfast. In the same morning, tour to South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, Terrace of Elephants and Leper King.

In the afternoon, visit the Small Circuit to see Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang, Ta Prohm, Ta Keo, Thommanon, and Chausay Tevoda.

Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 22 Siem Reap

After breakfast at hotel, continue your sightseeing to the Grand Circuit to see Prasat Kravan, East Mebon, Pre Rup and Preah Kan.

In the afternoon, visit an ethnic local village and take a scenic boat cruise on the Tonle Sap Lake to see the Floating Village.

Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap.

Day 23 Siem Reap - Departure

After breakfast, you are free until transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

The package includes:

– Private transportation.

– English speaking guide

– Hotel accommodation: Three-star hotel (Twin sharing)

– Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

– Entrance tickets as the itinerary

– Fresh water (2 bottles/pax/day)

The package excludes:

– Domestic air ticket

– Drinks, tips, personal expenses

– Unmentioned meals

– Travel insurance

– International bank fee for transferring money

– Credit card payment: 3% will be added in total amount

– Single Supplement charge

– Others not mentioned above

We are maintaining the map.


VNM01: Experience of Vietnam

VNM02: Vietnam – North and South

VNM03: Know about Vietnam

VNM04: Understand Vietnam

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