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Treasures of Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

  • Duration: 21 Days
  • Highlights: Hanoi - Mai Chau - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Saigon - Vinh Long - Can Tho - Siem Reap - Vientiane - Phnom Penh - Phonsavanh - Luang Prabang
  • Each of the Indochinese countries has its own unique attractions, diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes. Our Treasures of Indochina tour is specially designed for travelers who wish to discover the overall and the best of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

Guest name: Gloria McMillan, Gail Edwards, Beverley Hopkins and Judith Blackburn from Austrailian
No. of guest: 04
Travel date: From 5th to 26th of Aug 2013



Feedback

Hello Mrs Hai Yen,
I just wanted to let you know how delighted we all were with the tour we have just finished.  It was well timed, well executed and made life very easy for us all.  The only time anything didn’t happen was the pick up at Hue when the train arrived, but that was a tiny mistake in a wonderful journey which we will all treasure for the rest of our lives.
The mix which you put together for us was excellent and the course of the journey suited our needs.  The accommodation was first rate with the exception of the first hotel we stayed in in Laos (which was probably in keeping with the area, but a little less than desired).
The guides and drivers were all first rate and considered the older members of the party with their extra requirements.  The only driver we had an issue with was the driver who did the transfer from Hanoi to our hotel and the second to last night when we returned from Luang Probang.  He was very unfriendly and arrogant and we were a little disappointed after all the other wonderful obliging drivers we had had throughout the trip.  The driver on the last transfer was lovely and restored our trust.
I have already recommended you to some friends here in New Zealand who are thinking of travelling over your way and had no hesitation in doing so as I know that the quality and service you provide are excellent.
Keep up the good work.  This is the first time I have had the courage to book an entire trip through an agent in a foreign country and did so with some trepidation, but your expertise and friendliness of your emails reassured me and proved that this means of travel is the best way to enjoy the best of the country without the hassle of trying to book through an agency here who does not have the same knowledge.
Once again, a BIG THANK YOU.
Kindest regards,

Tour Program
Day 1 ( 5 Aug ): Hanoi Arrival – Private car transfer only

Up on arrival to Noi Bai airport, you are welcome and picked to your hotel for check in. Welcome dinner and enjoy water puppet show – unique traditional show. O/N in Hotel in Hanoi capital.
Hotel confirmed: CHALCEDONY HOTEL – Superior room

Day 2 ( 6 Aug ): Hanoi city tour (B, L) – group tour

HA NOI CITY TOUR WITH VIET NAM ETHNOLOGY MUSEUM
(OPTION 1: TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY)
Hanoi is one of Southeast Asia's most elegant cities blending elements of old Vietnam with strong currents of modernism. Whether it's strolling along the banks of Lake Hoan Kiem or pausing to reflect on a millennium-old pagoda, Hanoi is the typical city that encourages visitors to relax and enjoy their holiday.
- 7:45 – 8:30 Get picked up by our tour guide and bus then transfer to the center of Hanoi. Start the trip with a first place named Tran Quoc pagoda, Buddhist relics and national heritage which lies on the West Lake.
- 9:30 Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the final resting place of Viet Nam’s greatest father; President Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house where he lived and worked from 1958 to 1969.
-10:30 Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, the one modeled after a lotus flower and it is considered a symbol of Hanoi city.
- 11:00 Visit Temples of Literature can be found throughout Vietnam, the most prominent and famous is that situated in the city of Hanoi, which also functioned as Vietnam's first university. The temple was first constructed in 1070 under King Lý Nhân Tông and is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. It is a vast structure that has existed to present day.
- 12:00 Have lunch at a local restaurant.
-13:30 Visit the colorful features of the 54 ethnic groups of Viet Nam in the Ethnology museum.
- 15:00 Drive back to legendary Hoan Kiem lake to visit Ngoc Son Temple which worships Van Xuong saint and Tran Hung Dao former general commander. We also observe the beautiful Vietnamese and French architecture around the lake. Then we will bring you back to your hotel.
Important note: This day you should wear long clothes ( pass to knee due to you will visit some temple and Mausoleum )
Hotel confirmed: CHALCEDONY HOTEL – Superior room

Day 3 ( 7 Aug ): Hanoi –Hoa Lu – Tam Coc (B, L) – Group tour
Pick you up at hotel about 08.00 a.m - 08.30 am to depart to Hoa Lu – Tam Coc. These famous sites are located in the Ninh Binh province, 95 km south of Hanoi. Tam Coc is known as Halong Bay on the rice fields. Upon arrival, we will take a sampan ride through a karst landscape to visit Tam Coc grottos. The sampan rower will drive the boat through shallow rice paddies and three splendid long grottos. Leave the sampans and visit a small temple, built in 13th century, called Thai Vy. Next stop is Hoa Lu, which was the capital of the Dinh and Early Le dynasties in Vietnam in the 10th and 11th century. The sanctuaries were built in the 17th century. We will see the stone pedestal of a royal throne, bronze bells and statues of the Emperors. Head back to Hanoi at 18:00. O/N at hotel in Hanoi.
Hotel confirmed: CHALCEDONY HOTEL – Superior room

Day 4 ( 8 Aug ): Hanoi –Halong Bay (B, L, D) – group tour
08h00 – 08h30 Pick-up at hotel and start the scenic, 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay. Enjoy the landscape of the Red River Delta country side and have a short break on the way.
12h00 – 12h30 Embark on V’Spirit Classic Cruise followed by a short cruise briefing
13h00 – 15h30 Savor a delectable lunch as V’Spirit Classic cruises among the limestone islands…
15h30 – 16h30 Kayak among the hidden areas of the bay, around the Bo Nau Cave area.
16h30 Back to the V’Spirit Classic
16h30 – 17h30 Cruise to Soi Sim island. Go swimming and relaxing at the beach of Soi Sim or climp up to the top of the island for a panorama view of Halong Bay
17h30 Return to the main boat for a shower. Relax or snap photos as the sun starts to set
19h00 Dinner is served. Socialize with other guests, fish for squid, or just laze around
Overnight on board – V’Spirit cruise

Day 5 ( 9 Aug ): Halong Bay –Hanoi –Overnight train to Hue (B, L) – group tour
06h30 – 07h00 Start your day with Tai Chi exercises or a photo hunt
07h30 – 08h30 Have breakfast at sunrise.
08h30 – 09h30 Explore the amazing Sung Sot Cave – the nicest cave in Halong Bay.
09h30 Return to the boat. Freshen up and check out of your cabin.09h30 – 10h30 Continue your cruise exploring the Bay, passing Ba Hang fishing village, Dog Islet and more…
10h30 – 11h30 While heading back to the habor, watch the cooking demonstration before enjoying a traditional Vietnamese lunch.
12h00 Disembark V’Spirit Classic Cruise
12h30 Transfer back to your hotel in Hanoi city center.
16h30 – 17h00 Trip finishes at Hanoi Old Quarter.
18.00: Pick up from your hotel and transfer to Hanoi train station to get overnight train to Hue at 19.00.
O/N on soft sleeper with AC train – deluxe cabin 4-berth Livitran Express

Day 6 ( 10 Aug ): Arrive to Hue city/ Easy and free today – Private car transfer only
8.00AM: Arrive to Hue station and then you will be transferred to your hotel for breakfast ( arranged by yourself ) and some refreshment.
Discover Hue city by yourself.
Hue with splendid tombs of the Nguyen emperors, notable pagodas and the remains of the Citadel becomes one of Vietnam’s attractions to tourists from all over the world, who like to explore the traditional cultural values of Vietnam.
If your train arrive to Hue on time you can enjoy group Hue city tour one day. And our guide picks you up from the train station to your hotel to leave luggage and start the tour.
Tour will visit:
1. Minh Mạng Tomb
2. Khai Dinh Tomb
3. Traditional Martial Art Van An
4. Tu Duc Tomb
5. Conicat Hat & Incense Making Village
Afternoon: Continue by bus.
6. The Citadel
7. Thien Mu Pagoda
Then get on the boat for a sight -seeing along the Perfume River to see fishing village and sampan on the way back. Do not miss the Sunset on the Perfume River!
Back to town at 4:30 pm
Note: ( entrances fee is paid by your account, it is including car, guide, lunch & boat trip ).
This day you should wear long clothes ( pass to knee due to you will visit some temple and Mausoleum )
Hotel confirmed: ROMANCE HOTEL – Deluxe room

Day 7 ( 11 Aug ): Hue – Private car transfer to Danang - Hoi An (B)
8.30AM: Our driver and car will pick you up from your hotel and transfer to Danang and Hoi An.
Along the way we will travel over Lang Co beach & Hai Van pass , stopping at the top to take in the pictures.
Arriving in Hoi An in the early afternoon, check in hotel and then start a walking tour through the Ancient Town. Here you can see the vestige of the mix combination of Chinese and Japanese architecture as well as traditional cultural values. In December, 1999 Hoi An is declared a Unesco World Heritage site. We will discover by ourselves interesting proper character. Overnight in Hoi An.
Hotel confirmed: HOI AN LANTERN HOTEL – ROH of sup or deluxe room

Day 8 ( 12 Aug ): Hoi An cooking class half day tour (B/L)
RED BRIDGE CLASSIC HALF DAY TOUR (11.15am to 15.30)
Meeting Point: Hai Cafe - 98 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An @ 11.00am
Tel: 84 510 3863210 Mob: 0905 452 092
Visit Hoi An’s colourful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and learn about all the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later.
We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy.
On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – the Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat what we have cooked.
Bring your swimsuit and after the cooking tour has finished relax and enjoy free use of our 20 metre swimming pool - towels and showers provided.


Day 9 ( 13 Aug ): Danang - Hoi An –fly to Saigon at 13.00 – 14.10/VN 7315 (B) – Private car transfer only/no guide
11.00: Our driver pick up at your hotel and transfer to Danang Airport for a short flight to Saigon at 13.00. Up on arrival to Tan Son Nhat airport, you are picked up by our driver and transfer to your hotel for check in ( if room is available )
PM: Discover Saigon city by yourself to visit the highlights of Saigon including the Central Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace and the War Museum. After that, a visit to Haven Emperor Temple will be followed and you can join the religious atmosphere of the local people.
Rest of the time, you can have a look at bustling Ben Thanh Market for an appreciation of local life.
Overnight in Saigon.
Hotel confirmed: TAN HAI LONG HOTEL & SPA – deluxe room

Day 10 ( 14 Aug ): Cu Chi Tunnels half day tour (B) – group tour
( start 8.00 – return 14.00 )
Located 60km from HCMC, Cu Chi is now a popular spot for both Vietnamese & foreign tourists - the network of over 200km of tunnels became legendary when they played a vital role in the War. In their heyday, the tunnels were functioning underground cities including numerous trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers & kitchens.
Today, ducks and water buffalos happily co-exist in the rivers along the side of the road. However, the peaceful rural rice paddy scenery belies the area’s violent history. Visitors will find it hard to imagine the destruction, damage & defoliation over this whole area, caused by bombing and mines. There is plenty of evidence of the fierce battle that took place here during the 1960s when Cu Chi was a "Free Target Zone".
Start our tour in the morning, before entering the tunnels visitors can watch a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed. You will spend the next hour exploring the tunnels. Afterwards, enjoy tea, cassava (guerrilla’s food during the war). Return to Sai Gon.
Hotel confirmed: TAN HAI LONG HOTEL & SPA – deluxe room

Day 11 ( 15 Aug ): HCM – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho (B, L) – group tour
( start 8.00 – return 17.00 )
Leave Ho Chi Minh city, enjoy the scenic journey along the National Highway bordered by green rice fields. On arrived at My Tho, visit Vinh Trang pagoda, take a leisurely boat ride along the river, view stilt houses, fruit plantations and fishing villages along the river bank. Proceed to Tortoise islet, have lunch in the orchard garden. Then a boat ride to An Khanh – a less touristy attraction in Ben Tre, enjoy cruising on a hand-rowed sampan under the shade of the water coconut trees along natural canals, then enjoy seasonal fruit & honey tea to the sound of "Southern Vietnamese folk music", performed by the locals. Visit a family business which epitomizes the idyllic rural lifestyle, taste delicious coconut candy & observe the pastoral life as you roam through fruit plantations and villages. Proceed to Can Tho. Overnight in the hotel. Free time to visit bustling Can Tho market.
Hotel confirmed: Ninh Kieu 2 Hotel – Superior room

Day 12 ( 16 Aug ): Phong Dien – Cai Rang (B/L) – Group tour
Take a leisurely boat trip to explore the picturesque tributaries of the Lower Mekong river ( Bassac River), then proceed to visit Cai Răng floating market (& Phong Dien is optional), which are the liveliest in the whole religion.
Have you ever tasted Vietnamese vermicelli soup? Well, now go and see how it is made. Then wander around the village and meet the friendly local people and experience how to cross a "Monkey bridge" which is built by only o¬ne stem of bamboo. Visit the orchard garden. Stop for lunch. Back to HCM city.
Hotel confirmed: TAN HAI LONG HOTEL & SPA – deluxe room
Day 13 ( 17 Aug ): Saigon –fly to Siem Reap at 11.45 – 12.45/VN 3825 (B,D) – Private car transfer only
8.45AM: Our driver pick you up from your hotel and transfer to Tan Son Nhat airport for flight to Siemriep at 11.45.
12.45: Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Free. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap. Dinner at local restaurant & accommodation at hotel in Siem Reap.
Hotel confirmed: Angkor Home Hotel – Superior room

 

Day 14 ( 18 Aug ): Siem Reap (B,L) – private tour
The sightseeing tour of Angkor area we spend a full day exploring the wondrous ancient ruins with the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King and the largest as well as the most complete temple of Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. We stroll around this massive edifice, seeing the many galleries with colums, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. And we will continue to visit the jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm is an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embrace themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Hotel confirmed: Angkor Home Hotel – Superior room

Day 15 ( 19 Aug ): Siem Reap (BLD) – private tour
Breakfast at hotel. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. Afternoon, we will to visit the temple of Banteay Srei. Along the way we make stopover at the Preah Dark village and we follow these with a visit the Banteay Samre Temple adorned with impressive relief’s depicting scenes of Vishunu as well as Krishna legends. Overnight at hotel in Siem Reap
Hotel confirmed: Angkor Home Hotel – Superior room

Day 16 ( 20 Aug ): Siem Reap – fly to Phnom Penh at 1250 - 1335 K6 104 (BLD) – private tour
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. We take a boat trip in a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake, the "Great Lake" of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia. We spend the rest of time visiting the "Chantiers Ecoles - Les Artisans d'Angkor" which provides training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting, you will be transfer to Phnom Penh via a short flight. Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to the hotel check in. The same afternoon in Phnom Penh, we will visit Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh’s name sake and we will take one hour cruise before the sunset. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Hotel confirmed: King Grand Boutique hotel – deluxe room

Day 17 ( 21 Aug ): Phnom Penh – Fly to Vientiane at 1750 - 1920 QV 920 (B) – private tour
Breakfast at the hotel – we will start our visit to the Royal Palace. The Palace was opened in 1870 under King Norodom, and now contains the Royal Residence, the Throne Hall, the Silver Pagoda, and other buildings. The Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morokat) is one of the city's most visited sites and offers a display of priceless Buddhist and historical objects. The Pagoda draws its name with more than 5,000 silver tiles, which cover a floor in the temple. The building serves less as a functioning shrine, no monks currently reside here, than a repository of cultural treasures such as the famous Emerald Buddha and many other valuable statues. We will then visit to Toul Sleng museum (S-21) and the killing field of Choueng Ek, which is about 35kim away from the city. Transfer out to the airport for the flight the next destination – Vientiane.
19.20: Up on arrival, you are picked up and transfer to hotel for check –in. Have dinner by guest’s account and O/N in hotel.
Hotel confirmed: Orchid hotel – deluxe room
 
Day 18 ( 22 Aug ): Vientiane – Xiengkhoang 11.10 – 11.40/QV 401 - Phonsavanh at (B, L) – private tour
08.00 A.M After breakfast at hotel , we will visit the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
Today we set off to Phonesavanh, home to the mysterious Plain of Jars. The jars, over 250 in total are thought to be 2,000 years old although there is little proof to date them very accurately. Archaeologists have also struggled to find out the specific purpose of the jars, some of which weigh up to 1 ton.
Hotel confirmed: Chittavan Hotel – deluxe room

Day 19 ( 23 Aug ): Phonesavanh – Luang Prabang (B) – private tour
Rsing in the morning, we set off on our drive along a zigzag route through the rugged and verdant landscape to Luang Prabang. These back roads are great ways to explore the real Laos. By mid afternoon, we reach Luang Prabang and then explore this enthralling town including the 16th century Vat Xieng Thong, the Golden City monastery, considered to be the finest in Laos with its low-sweeping roofs as well as a rare bronze reclining Buddha.
Hotel confirmed: Luangprabang Inn – standard room

Day 20 ( 24 Aug ): Luang Prabang (B, L) – private tour
The exploration of this delightful town continued with the Royal Palace Museum. This interesting mansion displays a lovely collection of treasure and artifacts reflecting the richness of Laos culture dating from the days of earlier kings right through the last sovereign. In the afternoon we board a boat for a leisure trip on the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the holy caves of Pak Ou, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes. 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, well known for its hand weaving. Along the way we will have a picnic lunch before returning to Luang Prabang.
Hotel confirmed: Luangprabang Inn – standard room

Day 21 ( 25 Aug ): Luang Prabang – Fly to Hanoi at QV 315 /LPQHAN HK3 1420 1520 (B) – private car transfer only
Have breakfast at your hotel and free today until our car pick up and transfer to the airport for departure flight to Hanoi.
11.20: Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the airport for departure flight o Hanoi.
15.20: Arrival to Noi Bai airport, you are picked up and transfer to your hotel for check in. O/N at hotel in Hanoi.
Hotel confirmed: CHALCEDONY HOTEL – Superior room

Day 22 ( 26 Aug ): Departure from Hanoi ( B )
9.30AM: Ready at the lobby of hotel to be picked up by our car and driver to be transferred to Noi Bai airport for international flight at 12.35. End of services.

INCLUSIVE:
All transfers and transportation as per the itinerary
Local English speaking guides on day trips & excursions
All accommodation on twin sharing room with daily breakfast
Train ticket: Hanoi –Hue (tourist class )
Domestic flight tickets: Danang -Saigon; Siemriep – Phnom Penh; Vientiane – Xiengkhouang (economy class)
International flight tickets: Saigon –Siem Reap; Phnom Penh –Vientiane (economy class); Luang Phrabang - Hanoi
Meals as clearly mentioned (B: breakfast, L: lunch; D: dinner)
Boat cruises as per the itinerary
Sightseeing fees and permits during guided time
Airport taxes inside Vietnam
Mineral water in day tour
Approval of letter for Vietnam visa on arrival – one month multi entries

EXCLUSIVE:
Other airfare
Visas & visa fee: Vietnam is USD65/person; Laos: 35$/pax and Cambodia: USD25/person
Travel insurance (compulsory)
Other meals not clearly described in the program
Tips and Personal expenses such as drinks, bar bills, laundry
Optional tours on free days

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