Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City and arrival
Upon arrival at Tan San Nhat airport, you will be met by your local guide and driver. Transfer to your hotel. Get to know Ho Chi Minh City on an afternoon tour (if time allows). Enjoy a scrumptious dinner cruise on the beautiful Saigon river. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Ho Chi Minh city.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City tour
After breakfast at your hotel, commence your sightseeing tour with a visit to the Reunification Palace, the former residence of South Vietnam’s President until the end of the war in April 1975. Explore French colonial architecture including Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Central Post Office. Visit Cho Lon (town) and see Thien Hau and Quan Am pagodas. When finished at the Emperor Jade Pagoda and the War Remnants Museum our tour will conclude with a visit to Ben Thanh market where you can find practically everything for sale. Enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Tay Ninh – Cu Chi tunnels
Breakfast at your hotel. Set off to Tay Ninh province, the headquarters of Caodaism. When we arrive at the Holy See, observe an extraordinary mid-day temple service. The followers fill the temple hall dressed in their multi-colored worship robes to worship and chant. Cao dai sm is a combination of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. After lunch we will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network of tunnels constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the struggle for independence. They were used as a military base for the Vietcong during the American war. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation, kitchens, etc. Head back to HCMC. Enjoy dinner in a nice restaurant. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Ho Chi Minh city
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho
Eat breakfast at your hotel. Depart for My Tho. Enjoy a relaxed boat ride through a natural canal in Bao Dinh. The canal is lined with traditional stilt houses and fruit plantations. Visit the My Tho wholesale fruit market. Proceed to Tortoise island where lunch will be served in the heart of an orchard. In the afternoon take a tranquil boat trip through Tan Thach natural canal in Ben Tre, cruising in the shadows of water coconut trees. Visit a family business which typifies the idyllic rural lifestyle. Take a relaxing walk through a fruit plantation on Thoi Son island then take a rowing boat ride along the waterways before returning to My Tho by motor boat. Transfer to Can Tho city and make your way to a small rural village in Cai Rang district. Check into your riverside bungalow. In the afternoon, go cycling or trekking around the village to explore the rural lifestyle of the Mekong Delta people. Get together with a family as they prepare a traditional dinner, then share the meal with them. Enjoy an evening of traditional folk music with your neighbors. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Can Tho city.
Day 5: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, take a boat trip to explore the picturesque tributaries of the Lower Mekong River (Bassac River), then visit the Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets, the best in the Mekong Delta. You will probably have tried Vietnamese vermicelli soup, so now go and see how the noodles are made. Then wander around the village and talk with the local people. Learn how to cross a “monkey bridge” which is built from a single bamboo branch. Break for lunch. Drive back to HCMC. Finish dinner and have some free time to explore the area. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Ho Chi Minh city.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City – Vientiane
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to Tan San Nhat airport for your flight to Vientiane VN 920 (15:50-18:50 on Vietnam airlines) On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Take some free time to explore the local area. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Vientiane.
Day 7: Vientiane – Luang Prabang
Following breakfast in your hotel, explore Vientiane by visiting the major sights of the capital. These include the oldest temple, Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha. See 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. After lunch we continue visiting more of Vientiane with a walking tour, including Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok. We pass by the major shopping area continuing to Vientiane Central Market consisting 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 then transfer to the airport for your late afternoon flight to Luang Prabang (QV103) (16.30pm -17.10pm). Here you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where you have the rest of the day at your leisure to explore the area. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Luang Prabang
Day 8: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou caves
The day starts with breakfast followed by a visit to Big Brother Mouse shop where you can buy books to distribute when you visit villages in the area. We then head north by car along Route 13, before taking a unpaved road to Ban Khia Luang village. Spend some quality time in a school, play with local kids and watch their faces as they enjoy their new books. Afterwards, explore the rest of the village, including a weaving workshop and visit a local temple. We will stop for lunch at a village. Enjoy either a western picnic lunch or try out some traditional Laotian food including sticky rice, lap (the national dish of Laos) and fresh vegetables cooked by the villagers. After lunch depart the village and drive to Ban Khoklin, passing through stunning scenery including mountains and paddy fields. At Ban Khoklin, board a private boat and cruise down the Nam Ou river for about 30 minutes to Pak Ou Caves. These are two inter-linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Continue along the Mekong River back to Luang Prabang, arriving in the late afternoon. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Luang Prabang.
Day 9: Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfalls and Ban Chan
After breakfast, we will cross the Mekong River by boat heading to the picturesque pottery village of Ban Chan. We then visit the Phousi morning Market, where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local varieties of tea, saltpeter, chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is well 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, a Lao Loum village and Ban Thapene, a Khmu village. The tour then takes you to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. Return to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Luang Prabang.
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Ha Noi
Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy free leisure time before you are transferred to the airport for your departing flight VN 2904 (16:45-17:45 on VN Air) . You will be met by your local tour guide and driver to be transferred to your hotel in the city center. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hanoi city.
Day 11: Ha Noi
Following breakfast, go to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts and the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue on to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university which is almost 1,000 years old. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Ethnology, Hoan Kiem lake, Ngoc Son temple and enjoy a 1 hour ride in a cyclo (rickshaw) around the old quarter of Hanoi and its busy streets filled with fascinating shops. Dinner at your own expense. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hanoi city.
Day 12: Ha Noi – Ha Long
Breakfast at your hotel. Depart for Ha Long Bay. Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay you will board a junk. Enjoy lunch onboard as you cruise Ha Long Bay’s limestone wonders such as Thien Cung cave, Dau Go cave, Tuan Chau island, Dog island, Sail island and Ti Top Beach. Enjoy a scrumptious dinner on the junk. Enjoy a drink as you watch the sunset. Stay overnight on junk. (Optional: Kayaking).
Day 13: Ha Long – Ha Noi – Hue
Have breakfast and visit Man’s Head island, Tortoise island, Toad island and Bai Tho mountain. Upon return have lunch on the junk. Back to Ha Long wharf and head back to Hanoi and transfer to Noi Bai airport to board flight: VN (1543 13:20-14:30) or VN (1545 20:10-21:20).Pick up and transfer to your hotel. Dinner at your own expense. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hue city.
Day 14: Hue
Following breakfast, take a morning cruise on the Perfume River to visit the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, Thien Mu pagoda and the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, set among beautiful lakes and gardens. In the afternoon, visit Dong Ba market, the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945, and the ruins of the Purple Forbidden City. Enjoy a night boat trip on the Perfume River as you are entertained by a performance of Hue folk songs and music. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hue city
Day 15: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An
After breakfast we depart for Hoi An
, stopping along the way for photos and sightseeing at Hai Van pass, Lang Co beach and Marble mountain. After lunch, take a stroll around town. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Pottery Museum, Tan Ky old house, the Cantonese congregation, the silk street of Hoi An, and Danang-style temples and pagodas. Dinner on guest’s account. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hoi An.
Day 16: Hoi An – My Son – Hoi An
Breakfast at your hotel. A late morning departure for My Son to visit the Cham Holy Land (World Heritage listed). Return to Hoi An. In the afternoon, Go bargain-hunting around Hoi An’s ancient streets. Dinner at your leisure. Stay overnight at your hotel of choice in Hoi An.
Day 17: Hoi An – Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh – Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Danang airport to board your flight back to Ho Chi Minh City (VN 1309) (08.30am – 09.40am) or VN 1317 (13.50pm – 15.00pm) to connect with your flight home. End of services . Finish your 17 day tour to Vietnam Laos
Tour price includes :
• A/c private car/van/minibus for pick up, transfer & sightseeing as per itinerary.
• English speaking tour guide
• International flight: Ho Chi Minh City – Vientiane (economy class)
• Domestic flight: Vientiane – Luang Prabang (economy class)
• International flight: Luang Prabang – Hanoi (economy class)
• Domestic flights: Hanoi – Hue : Da Nang – HCMC (economy class)
• Shared cruise on Ha Long Bay
• Private boat trips in the Mekong Delta and Hue.
• All entrance fees
• Hotel accommodation based on 2 guests sharing a Twin or Double room
• Half board package meals as indicated (B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
• Approved letter of arrival for Vietnamese visa
Tour price excludes :
• Travel insurance
• Drinks & other meals not mentioned in the program
• Personal expenses
• Vietnamese & Laotian entry visas