Vietnam Explorer (29 days / 28 nights)

from 3857 USD/pax

Day 1 Yangon - Arrival (G)

Yangon is economic and political, also the former capital of Myanmar. The city match its green lakes and shady roads well with its exotic life of local Burmese. First explore to the downtown of Yangon where the British colonial architecture influences remains. Your walking morning start from Sule pagoda to city hall, Emmanuel church, Inland water Transport and Strand hotel, you will have a great chance to see food stall and some local markets.

Afterwards, continue your walk to China Town and Chinese temple. Lunch will be served with authentic Burmese food.

After lunch, visit Chaukhtatgyi Reclining Buddha pagoda, said to be the biggest of its kind in Myanmar. Proceed to Kandawgyi lake for a relaxing stroll and enjoy the sunset by Shwedagon pagoda.

Day 2 Yangon - Bagan by flight (B, G)

This morning we head for the airport to get the early morning flight to Bagan. Check into the hotel and depart for a sightseeing excursion around the Bagan Archaeological Zone World Heritage Area. A comprehensive exploration of Bagan includes Nyaung Oo market; Shwezigon Pagoda, the prototype of later Myanmar stupas; Kyansittha Umin; Wet-kyi-inn Gubyaukgyi Temple with exquisite mural painting of 13th century and Htilominlo Temple.

In the afternoon, after a visit to lacquer ware workshops; continue to Manuha Temple built by exile King Manuha; Nanphaya, said to have been the residence of King Manuha; Ananda Temple, architectural masterpiece and Oak-Kyaung monastery decorated with multi colour mural paintings. Enjoy the breathtaking sunset from one of the temple of Bagan.

Overnight at the hotel in Bagan.

Day 3 Bagan - Mt. Popa - Bagan (B, G)

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 4 Bagan - Mandalay by flight (B, G)

After breakfast at hotel, transfer to Nyaun U airport for flight to Mandalay. When you arrive at Mandalay airport, drive to ancient capital of Amarapura, the city of Immortality for a visit to Bagaya Monastery with a famous collection of Buddha images; weaving industries, two-century old U-Bein teak bridge on the Taungtaman Lake and observe the lunch process of thousand of monks who take their last meal of the day at 10:00 am in total silence. Proceed to Mandalay and check in at the hotel.

After refreshment, you will take a sightseeing tour of Mandalay which includes Mahanumi, 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. Continue 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.

Day 5 Mandalay - Mingun - Inwa (Ava) - Mandalay (B, L, G)

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.

After lunch, drive to Ava, 30-minute to the south of Mandalay, was known in the west as the Kingdom of Ava. Stop by a tributary and cross it with a ferry. Travel by pony-cart around Ava to Nanmyint leaning tower which gives a birds’ eye view of the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River; Bagaya wooden monastery; Aungmyaybonza Monastery made of brick and stucco. Though the Royal Palace has gone, the Pagodas, Temples and Monasteries still remain. Return drive to Mandalay and see the silversmith work place on our way back to hotel.

Overnight at the hotel in Mandalay.

Day 6 Mandalay - Heho - Pindaya by flight & car (B, G)

After breakfast, depart the hotel for flight to Heho on the Shan plateau. Upon arrival, transfer by road to Pindaya (60km) about 90 minutes drive.

After check in at hotel, make an excursion to the caves which houses over 8,000 Buddha Images of various sizes, made from teak, lacquer, marble, alabaster and cement.

In the afternoon, explore the district for it’s famous traditional paper & umbrella making home base cottage industry.

Overnight at the hotel in Pindaya.

Day 7 Pindaya - Inle Lake (B, L, G)

After breakfast at hotel, we are transferring by road to Inle Lake. We have a leisurely morning to make our way down into the Inle basin and by “long-tail” boat out across the lake to our Hotel right on the Inle Lake.

In the afternoon, 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 in Inle Lake.

Day 8 Inle Lake boat excursions (B, L, G)

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. Continue our excursion by motorized boat to Indein pagoda complex, in the south-west of the lake. The boat leaves the lake and enters a narrow canal with a beautiful natural environment to continue to a small Pa O tribe village.

From the village, follow an old covered path to a 13th century monastery and the very impressive ruins of hundreds of ancient pagodas, some hidden in the vegetation. The main stupa-area on the top of the hill offers breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains and down to the valley and the lake in the far distance.

Return to your hotel and overnight at the hotel.

Day 9 Inle - Heho - Thandwe (B, G)

We are heading back down country today to return to the airport at Heho for our flight to Thandwe. Our route takes us back to Heho and down the escarpment to Nyaung-Shwe for a busy local market. Check in at airport and fly to Thandwe.

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel at Ngapali Beach. Enjoy and day at leisure.

Overnight at your hotel at Ngapali Beach.

Day 10 Ngapali Beach (B)

Your time will be your own.

Day 11 Ngapali Beach - Yangon (B, G)

In the afternoon, transfer to Thandwe airport for flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at your hotel in Yangon.

Day 12 Yangon - Bangkok - Vientiane (B, G)

After breakfast, you’ll be free until transfer to airport for your flight to Bangkok where transits to Vientiane. On arrival, you will have a short Bangkok city tour or relaxing at a local hotel before catching your flight to Vientiane.

Arriving at Vientiane, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 13 Vientiane (B, G)

In the morning, we see the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket, the 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 Lao’s national icon, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop enroute to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph The Mekong river side is the perfect place to end the day and admire the sunset.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 14 Vientiane - Luang Prabang (B, G)

Today, we transfer to the airport for the short flight to Luang Prabang, which is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia.

After checking into your hotel, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai, we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred, gilded stupa as well as have a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can browse a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by the local people and hill tribes surrounding Luang Prabang.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 15 Luang Prabang - Pakou - Luang Prabang (B, L, G)

Today, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We then embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside as well time to explore the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.

Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine. On return, we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a small village known for its hand weaving.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 16 Luang Prabang - Khouangsi Waterfalls (B, L, G)

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the ritual. From there you will visit the morning Phousi Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings.

Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, a Hmong village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, all Khmu villages. This then takes us to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails.

After returning to Luang Prabang by late afternoon, we continue to Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for its silk weavings and for its Saa (jute) Papermaking. We return to the city by late evening to admire the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 17 Luang Prabang - Hanoi (B, G)

Today we visit the National Museum (closed Tuesdays) at the former Royal Palace. It displays a collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign. There will also be time for us to look around the Central Market.

After visiting these sights in the morning, there may be free time until your transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi.

Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a welcome dinner at a colonial building.

In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture).

Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.

Day 18 Tam Coc - Van Long (1 day) (B, L, G)

In the morning you’ll be picked up to travel to Van Long. On arrival you’ll ride an ox cart to visit the Old House and the Old Pagoda and then board a boat to visit the Van Long Natural Reserve.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll visit Tam Coc – being rowed through paddies and into three caves in a peaceful valley.

In the afternoon you’ll return to Hanoi.

Day 19 Hanoi - Ha Long (B, L, D, G)

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 20 Ha Long - Hanoi (B, L, G)

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

Day 21 Hanoi - Hue (B, L, G)

Take an afternoon flight to Hue, check-in, then travel to the Thien Mu Pagoda (beside the Perfume River – very tranquil), boat cruise to King Minh Mang’s Tomb (the most majestic of the Royal Tombs) and drive to visit the Dong Ba market.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 22 Hue (1 day) (B, L, G)

Morning visit to the Imperial Citadel of Hue and the Antiquity Museum.

Take an afternoon drive to visit King Tu Duc’s Tomb (the poet King, the simplest Royal tomb set in a beautiful garden) and visit to Garden Houses – (a cultural characteristic in Hue).

In the evening you’ll be picked up to enjoy a Hue musical show on a boat in the Perfume River for about one hour.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 23 Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B, L, G)

Morning drive to Danang (excellent views from high mountain pass). On arrival in Danang, you’ll have a brief visit to Cham Museum, then continue to travel to Hoi An. The rest of day will be your own.

Overnight stay in Hoi An. The town is an ancient trading port, once the largest in Indochina and a meeting point for many cultures that left their mark in the different architectural features of its wooden buildings.

Day 24 Hoi An (freeday) (B)

A whole free in Hoi An for relaxation and shopping.

Overnight stay in Hoi An. Hoi An is a good place for shopping silk. You can have your clothes tailor-made within a day or two with reasonable costs.

Day 25 Hoi An - Danang - Ho Chi Minh City (B, G)

After breakfast, the car will take you to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

On arrival, you will be picked up to transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day will be your own.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 26 Ho Chi Minh City city tour (1 day) (B, L, G)

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.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 27 Ho Chi Minh City - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi (B, L, G)

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 Vietnam with around a million followers. After that you’ll travel to 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 28 Ho Chi Minh City (freeday) (B)

Your time will be your own.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 29 Ho Chi Minh City - Departure (B, G)

After breakfast, your will be 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

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VNM01: Experience of Vietnam

VNM02: Vietnam – North and South

VNM03: Know about Vietnam

VNM04: Understand Vietnam

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