Day 01: Arrival in Hanoi.
Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi via flight ???, you will be greeted by Lotussia local guide and driver then escorted to your hotel in town. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 02: Hanoi full day city tour.
Breakfast at hotel. Then we start the sightseeing tour of Hanoi capital with the most important city’s highlights including 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 city. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam and the impressive Ethnology Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. Free lunch in town. In the afternoon, we continue exploring the old town of Hanoi with the History Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history, the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem and Ngoc Son temple. Enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sales at these places. O/N in Ha Noi.
(*): Ho Chi Minh complex are closed on Monday, Friday and during 02 months per year for renovation.
Day 03: Hanoi – Halong Bay. Overnight on boat.
Breakfast at hotel. Then we will depart to Halong Bay. Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong around noon and board the Bai Tho traditional sailing junk (or similar junk). Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Take a kayaking trip to explore the Bay. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board junk.
Day 04: Halong bay – Hanoi.
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. En route the junk weaves through strange-shaped rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons. After another wonderful fresh seafood lunch (early) on board disembark at the dock at Halong City. Transfer back to Hanoi. In the evening, attend to the water puppet show, one of famous Vietnamese traditional art. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 05: Hanoi – Cuc Phuong National Park. Trekking.
Breakfast at hotel. Then we will make a pleasant drive to Ninh Binh, about 120km in the south of Hanoi. Upon arriving in Cuc Phuong National park, we start visiting the Rescue Center where we will see and learn about the park's biodiversity and variety of endangered species. Then, we begin our trekking journey through the life and songs of the local rain forests. A picnic lunch will be served en route. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at a village of the Muong minority people where we will spend our night in a local house. Dinner, then free time to talk with the host family and learn about the Muong people’s life and culture. Overnight at the stilt house.
Day 06: Cuc Phuong – Maichau village.
After breakfast, we will take a short walk of to get reach the main road where we will get picked up by our car and transferred to Trang An which can be called “Vietnam's Inland Halong Bay”. Trang An is wonderful for photo hunters. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin - China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes. Thus Trang An is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land. Along the way we will visit caves and ancient temples. After the pleasant boat trip, we disembark the sampan and take our car again for Mai Chau, a peaceful village of the Thai ethnic group. Arrive in Mai chau late afternoon. Overnight on stilts-house.
Day 07: Maichau full day hiking.
Breakfast at the Thai stilt house then we leave the village for a full day hiking around. We will pass many different Thai hamlets, through rice fields, hill sides…Stop sometimes to visit local houses and talk with local people. And one of the highlight on this walk is to experience the everyday life and culture white Thai people and stay in their traditional house on stilts as honored guests. We will return to the village around late afternoon. Have a short break before enjoying the Thai traditional Music and Dance show which is performed by the village young girls and boys. Although they are not professional artistes, they will give you an unique experience of their culture life.
Day 08: Maichau – Sonla.
After breakfast served by Thai people under their house-on-stilts, departing Mai Chau we make our way west to Son La. Arriving in Son La late in the afternoon we check into our local guesthouse where we spend the night. Son La is located in a scenic valley, inhabited by Thai, Muong and H'mong minority people. This area is historically important for its involvement in the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France during the first half the 20th century. Overnight in Sonla.
Day 09: Sonla – Dien Bien Phu.
Following breakfast we will visit the remains of former French prison and enjoy a dip in the local hot- springs. We then board our vehicle for the drive to Dien Bien Phu around 170 km away. It is a 7-hour journey on rough roads, but it is worth while as the scenery is dramatic. We will encounter many ethnic minority people along the way. In the late afternoon we arrive in Dien Bien town and check into our guesthouse for the night. Overnight in Dien Bien Phu.
Day 10: Dien Bien Phu – Muang Kua.
After breakfast, transfer to Tay Trang Vietnam - Laos border. End of Lotussia Vietnam service;
You will be met by Lotussia Laos local tour guide and driver, then excursion by car to Muang Kua. Over night at Muang Kua.
Day 11: Muang Kua – Muang Ngoi (boat trip, Trekking).
Breakfast, we take a traditional boat down the Nam Ou River to Muang Ngoi, explore ethnic minorities village that converge from the surrounding mountainsides traditional living style across river Phou Noi, Mhong and Khmu, arrival Muang Ngoi by late afternoon. We Today we will walk for about 4 hours trek through rain forest and rice field and cross stream to visit 3 villages and one cave.Tour Itinerary: Morning, begin trekking 2 hours to Ban Houay Boor (a Khmu and T’ai Deng ethnic village). After lunch at villager’s home in Ban Houay Boor, continue trekking 1 hour to Ban Na(a T’ai Deng village) and Ban Houaisene, where we stay overnight at home of the villagers.
Day 12: Muang Ngoi – Nhong Khiew - Luang Prabang (boat tip).
After breakfast we board a traditional boat downstream on the Nam Ou River, drifting along the peaceful river, stopping over to visit some timeless villages along the way and the weaving village of Khmu. Our journey takes us to Pak Ou, where Nam Ou River meets with Mekong River. We take a visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. We continue our trip down to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang. This former royal capital with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop retains a unique charm rarely found in all Asia. There is little traffic on the roads and monks in orange robes scurry in all directions carrying umbrellas shading themselves from the Sun. A visit to Luang Prabang would be incomplete without ascending 329 steps to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa and to enjoy a beautiful sunset view of the city and its glowing reflection on the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textile made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
Day 13: Luang Prabng – Lao Spirit Resort (rafting, elephant riding).
This is a full day trip combining a rafting tour out of town with some sightseeing and an exciting elephant ride to/from Tad Sae Waterfall (or alternative route in dry season). After pick up from your Hotel (8:30-9:00 a.m) we proceed to the Adventure and Elephant camp located 15 km out of town in the middle of unspoiled, natural green surroundings. After crossing the small river you are introduced to our Asian Elephants and venture on a 1hr - 1hr 30 mins scenic journey through forests, plantations and fields. This activity programe provides you with a breathtaking and unique experience as you make your way through the forests and along the Nam Khan River up to the waterfalls of Tad Sae. (In dry season we ride a village trail) After visiting the waterfall, lunch is served before a relaxing 30 minute rafting tour along the river back to the resort and then we return to Luang Prabang for civilization by sunset. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B, L).
Day 14: Luang Prabang – Xieng Khuang (by road).
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. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed. After visiting these sights. Today, we drive 306km uphill a mountain surrounded by wonderful natural scenery to Xiengkhouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. 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 (B)
Day 15: Xieng Khuang – Vientiane (flight).
Following breakfast, we visit the Central Market. After you will have free time to explore the town further before catching our flight back to Vientiane. After checking into the hotel, time permiting we continue our sightseeing tour of the surrounding areas of Vientiane; we visit the impressive Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and the Buddha Park, a a scattered 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 over the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day. Overnight in Vientiane (B)
Day 16: Vientiane - Departure.
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.
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. Finish tour transfer to the airport for departure. QV415 1630 – 1750 VTE - BKK. End tour.