Day 1: Arrival Ho Chi Minh city.
On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Ho Chi Minh City is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. This bustling metropolis ,contradiction of its northern counterpart, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping area and sidewalk cafés. (If time permits) we stroll around the down town to explore the different local ways of life.
Day 2: Mekong Delta Excursion.
Heading out of the town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's largest rice bowl. On arrival in My Tho we embark on a boat navigating around the intricate small canals in the delta region, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up. The thrilling excursion will pass the lush green vegetation before arriving on an island. Here we have opportunities to visit some fascinating local industries, stroll around an orchard and taste many seasonal fruits. After feasting on a huge lunch we return to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off along the way to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown, which is crammed with fascinating temples and mysterious, narrow lanes.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City - Danang - Hoian.
The sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh commences with the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. After seeing the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnant Museum we board a short flight to Danang. On arrival we are greeted and driven a short distance to Hoian which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. A tour of this delightful town introduces us to the lively market , the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the old houses, the many temples and pagodas of Chinese appearance.
Day 4: Hoian - Hue.
Upon leaving Hoian we set off on a scenic drive north to Hue, the last imperial capital of Vietnam. Along the way we explore the sensational Marble Mountains and the My Khe Beach before continuing to the interesting Cham Museum in Danang City. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van Pass. At the top of the pass we will stop to admire a fantastic view north to Lang Co and south to Danang. Arriving in Hue we enjoy a boat trip on the Perfume River with stopover at the bustling Dong Ba Market and the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda. After our boat trip we will visit the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins.
Day 5: Hue - Hanoi.
The beautiful pagoda of Thien Mu which now becomes the symbol of Hue, and the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc are not to be missed. We include these in a guided cruise on the Perfume River which also gives us a taste of the scenic countryside. After the river trip we take a short flight north. Ha Noi, Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia ‘s most striking colonial architecture. On arrival we visit the beautiful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple and the vibrant Dong Xuan Market, which boasts Hanoi's oldest and largest market. A perfect way to finish the day is to enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the many bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sales at these places.
Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay.
After breakfast, we enjoy a half day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of Hanoi. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university, and the History Museum which displays an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history. In the afternoon we travel by roads through the charming countryside to Ha Long Bay with stop over at Dong Trieu pottery village.
Day 7: Halong Bay - Hanoi.
The legendary Ha Long Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Today we embark on a sailing boat for an exploration of this wondrous bay, which is dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we make our way back to Ha Noi, arriving in time to see an evening performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets.
Day 8: Hanoi - Vientiane.
An impressive way to commence the day is a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake at dawn, where hundreds of people come to do their morning exercise (optional). After breakfast we have free time until transferring to airport for a flight to Vientiane. The charming and fascinating capital of Laos, Vientiane is located on the banks of the Mekong River. This small city conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. A city tour includes Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. The following sight is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the imposing Patouxai Monument well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe on our way to the great sacred structure of That Luang Stupa.
Day 9: Vientiane - Luang Prabang.
The royal capital of the former Lane Xang Kingdom, Luang Prabang with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop retains an unique charm rarely found in all Asia. This morning we take a short flight to Luang Prabang. There is plenty to see in this delightful town, some of which are the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham and Wat Mai with five tiered roofs. We include these sights in a half day guided tour which ends with a climb to Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunset view of the town and the Mekong River. There are 329 steps leading us on zigzag way past various temples to the sacred, gilded stupa of Wat Phousi at the summit.
Day 10: Pakou Excursion.
Today we continue seeing this town with the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. The temple structures are decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes and doorways while the main sim has a marvellous 'tree life' mosaic pattern on an outer wall. We board a boat for a leisurely trip on the Mekong River, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai to visit the distillation of local rice wine. Upon leaving this village we wave our wave through the stunning mountain landscape to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. They are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devout villagers. After the river trip we drive towards Ban Phanom and visit the hand weaving.
Day 11: Luang Prabang - Vientiane.
The exploration of Luang Prabang would not be complete without a visit to the national museum at the former Royal Palace. This interesting structure displays a lovely collection of treasures and artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. We then spend our time wandering through the charming streets until transferring to the airport for a short flight back to Vientiane. On arrival we head out to see the impressive Friendship Bridge which links Laos and Thailand, and the Buddha Park. This landmark represents a blend of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures created by mystical monk on a parkland located by the Mekong River. A perfect way to round off the day is to watch the spectacular sunset over the Mekong River from one of riverside bars.
Day 12: Vientiane - Phnom Penh.
The following destination of our trip is Phnom Penh which was once considered the loveliest city of Indochina. Despite its recent turbulent history, it still maintains considerable charm. After a short flight we arrive in Phnom Penh and enjoy our city tour. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are now home to the royal family and are therefore very close to the public. At the northern area of the palace grounds is Silver Pagoda, well known for its 5000 silver tiled floor. We visit both structures as well as the National Museum for an appreciation of the splendour of Khmer history. Heading out of this area we explore the legendary temple of Wat Phnom, which provides an interesting view over the surroundings.
Day 13: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap.
An early morning transfer to airport for flight to Siem Reap. This town is our base for exploring the world famous temples of the ancient city Angkor, which was the capital of the powerful Khmer Empire from 802 AD to 1350 AD. After checking into hotel, we drive to the archeological area to visit 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 and the Terrace of Leper King. The largest as well as most complete structure of Angkor Wat is not to be missed. We stroll around this massive monument, exploring the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple.
Day 14: Siem Reap.
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. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. The grand circuit with Preah Khan, Kravan, Neak Pean, Krol Ko, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup Temples, is also visited this afternoon before we walk up to Phnom Bakheng Hill for a view of the spectacular sunset over these sandstone monuments.
Day 15: Siem Reap Departure.
This morning we take a short cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia’s biggest natural lake. Along the way we stop to visit a floating village and catch a glimpse of fishermen at work. This excursion is all depending on your departure time . The trip ends after your transfer to Siem Reap Airport for departure.