Vietnam Explorer (21 days / 20 nights)

from 2793 USD/pax

Day 1 Yangon - Arrival (G)

Arriving 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.

Late afternoon 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 - 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 - 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 in Mandalay.

Day 4 Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake by flight (B, G)

After breakfast, depart the hotel for flight to Heho on the Shan plateau. Transfer by road to Inle Lake and transfer to our hotel by long tail boat across the lake. Upon arrival, check in at hotel.

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 on Inle Lake.

Day 5 Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon by flight (B, G)

We are heading back down country today to return to the airport at Heho for our flight to Yangon. 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 back to Yangon. Upon arrival, the car will take you to the hotel.

The rest of the day will be your own for strolling the city. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 6 Yangon - Bangkok - Hanoi (B, G)

In the morning, you will free for relaxing until transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok where transit 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 7 Hanoi city tour (B, L, G)

An all day city tour, possibly including the Temple of Literature, (the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th C), the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ethnology Museum and the centre of Hanoi, including the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son temple and the bustling Old Quarter with a complex of architecture – traditional tube houses, religious buildings and the colonial houses. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of Cheo (an traditional music typical for the northern Vietnam).

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 8 Hanoi - Bat Trang - Van Phuc (B, L, G)

You’ll arrive in Ha Noi in very early morning. You’ll be picked up to your hotel. After breakfast, visit to Van Phuc village which is famous for making silk and to Bat Trang ceramics village.

Free afternoon and overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 9 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 10 Ha Long - Hanoi - Lao Cai (B, L, G)

Morning cruising Ha Long Bay, followed by lunch and then return to Hanoi for refreshment at a local hotel before board a overnight train to Lao Cai.

Overnight on the train.

Day 11 Lao Cai - Sapa (B, L, G)

Overnight train from the previous night and arrive in the early morning. You”ll be picked at the station to travel to a remote ethnic market. Afternoon return to Sa Pa town for overnight stay.

The trips to ethnic markets are a fascinating experience but must be on Tuesday (Coc Ly Market), Saturday (Can Cau Market) or Sunday (Muong Hum and Bac Ha Markets).

Day 12 Sapa - Lao Cai (B, L, G)

Morning stroll to the town busy market and then easy trek to ethnic villages of H”mong in a scenic valley. After stream-side picnic lunch, you”ll be picked up to visit other ethnic villages of the H’mong, Day and Red Dao people.

Return to Sa Pa and then back to Lao Cai station for an overnight train to Hanoi.

Day 13 Hanoi - Luang Prabang (B, G)

Arrive in Hanoi, the car will take you to the local hotel for refreshment. You’ll be free until transfer to airport for your flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos.

After a short rest, 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 for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by the local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 14 Luang Prabang - Pakou - 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. You can also visit the morning Phosi Market where you can 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 handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. Time permitting you may also wish to drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can take a dip in the inviting pools or walk along the forest paths.

We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening to admire the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

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

After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (close Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign.

Today, we drive 306km uphill a mountain surrounded by wonderful natural scenery to Xiengkhouang. Upon arrival, we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over the plateau. If time permits, we see the old capital of Muang Khoun and the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe people. They have an interesting local culture and a colorful history.

Overnight in Phonsavanh.

Day 16 Xiengkhouang - Vientiane (Flight) (B, L, G)

Following breakfast, we visit the Central Market. You will have free time to explore the town further before catching our flight back to Vientiane.

After checking into the hotel, time permitting we continue our sightseeing tour of the surrounding areas of Vientiane; we visit the impressive Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. A spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 17 Vientiane (B, L, G)

AM: After breakfast, we continue to explore Vientiane capital by visiting the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.

PM: We continue visiting the rest of Vientiane by foot, including Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok. We pass by the major shopping area continuing to the Vientiane Central Market of Talad Sao and Talad Kouadin where various goods are displayed for sale; including fresh food, household goods, souvenirs, textiles, gold, silver and antiques. We return to the Mekong Riverside in the late afternoon for observing the sunset. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 18 Vientiane - Pakse - Don Khone Island (Flight) (B, L, G)

After breakfast, we catch an early flight to Pakse.

On arrival, we drive south to Champassak and tvisit the fascinating pre-angkorian ruins of Wat Phu, one of Southeast Asia’s most dramatically situated temples. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. We continue our journey by long tail boat to Don Khone, the largest island in the South Mekong river region known as the 4000 islands, one of the most scenic areas in Laos.

Overnight on Don Khone Island.

Day 19 Don Khone Island Surrounding (Boat) (B, L, G)

After an early morning breakfast, we begin by re-tracing the French colonial-past at Ban Khone, where some old colonial houses still stand and glimpse the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. We’ll continue our exploration of the area of the 4000 islands leisurely by boat and visit the most beautiful Liphi waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Lao and Cambodia. If we have luck, we may catch a glimpse of the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfall of Khone Phapeng – the largest waterfall in South East Asia, also known as the ‘Niagara of the east’.

Overnight on Don Khone Island.

Day 20 Don Khone Island - Tadlo - Pakse (B, L, G)

Upon leaving Done Khone Island, we journey towards Tadlo, through the Boloven plateau. The Boloven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Rivers run off this high plateau in all directions and then plunge out to lush forests along in a series of spectacular surging waterfalls. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that can be seen en route. This trip gives visitors the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region. Upon arrival at Tad Lo waterfall, we visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups. We return to Pakse by late evening.

Overnight in Pakse.

Day 21 Pakse - Departure (B, G)

After breakfast; there will be free time for your own exploration of Pakse Town before catching a flight to Siem Reap-Cambodia; or exiting Laos overland from the Chongmek International checkpoint to Ubon Ratchathani Thailand.

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.

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