Indochina Discovery Tour
Day 1: Arrive in Luang Prabang – Half-day City Tour
Day 2: Cruise Mekong to Pak Ou Caves
Day 3: KuangSi Waterfalls – Fly Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi City – Street Food Tour
Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board
Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Danang – Hoi An
Day 7: Hoi An – Walking Tour of the Ancient Town
Day 8: Hoi An – Golden Bridge (Ba Na Hill)
Day 9: Danang – Fly to Siem Reap
Day 10: Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm & Angkor Wat
Day 11: Siem Reap Floating Villages – Departure
This tour will take you to see the highlights of the Indochina region, which consists of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In Luang Prabang, experience the unique almsgiving ritual in the morning and cruise on the Mekong River to visit Pak Ou Caves and the dazzling Kuang Si waterfall. Learn about the stories of Hanoi and enhance the experience with an amazing food tour. Get on board to cruise around the spectacular limestone karsts of Halong Bay. Enjoy the serene atmosphere of Hoi An Ancient Town and take hundreds of photos from the Golden Bridge in Danang – one of the rising destinations in Southeast Asia. Step back in time when navigating your way between the centuries-old walls of the legendary Angkor Wat and exploring the extensive ground of Angkor Thom.
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
After a short break, you will begin with a visit to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, a superb piece of Lao temple architecture, which presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life ‘glass montage on the rear temple wall.
If time permits, we will take a short walk around the small streets of the city center, watching the life of local people. After that, you will visit the Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family.
Late afternoon, we’ll climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, join a private Baci ceremony at a local family. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.
Dinner will be served after that for you to share with the host family. This is the best chance for you to have the first experience of local life and culture.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets.
From there, we will visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice to vegetable, to fish, or chicken. This is the best chance to experience the taste of local life
Breakfast at the hotel, we will first visit the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene. After that, we’ll embark on the leisurely cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, a 16th century cave monastery filled with thousands of Buddha images, which locates 25 Kilometers North of Luang Prabang in the limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong river. En route, you will stop at Ban Muang Keo, a well–known village for its traditional Lao rice whiskey distilling. You will arrive back in Luang Prabang.
On arrival back in the city, we’ll visit Wat Mai, which is one of the most beautiful temples of Luang Prabang. We’ll then continue to Wat Visoun, dating back to 1513 during the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), this is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas. Our last stop today will be the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (closed on Monday) to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, we’ll transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls which is the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50–metre drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals
We will also take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers.
Transfer back to the airport for flight to Hanoi. Pick up and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
After breakfast, we’ll dive into the sights, sounds and smells of Hanoi. Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby to start your trip with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex on the site where he declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945 and see the reverence with which Vietnamese people treat their “Uncle Ho”. Other sites that we will visit with our local guide include House 54, Stilt House, Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda.
Continue on our journey through Hanoi, we’ll drive to the Museum of Ethnology, to learn more about the cultural diversity of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Established by the Vietnamese government in 1997, the museum provides us with a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures, customs, and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam.
After the visit to the Museum, we will have Pho for lunch at Pho Huyen, a Vietnamese Noodle shop. Some of the local people call this world-famous Noodle soup “Mac–Noodles” since it is as popular here as MacDonalds is in other parts of the world! At the restaurant, your tour guide will explain the routine during Vietnamese meal times, and also tell you which special ingredients are needed for you.
After lunch, we’ll visit the Temple of Literature. Originally built in honor of Confucius by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070, a university was added to the grounds six years later. The university provided education to the royal family and children of the aristocracy or “mandarins”. The University remained here until Emperor Gia Long moved the countries administrative capital from Hanoi to Hue in the 18th century.
Return to your hotel for some rest before starting the evening local food discovery.
17:00 – 20:30
We will start our walking tour at Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan. Along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of produce from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices. Your expert English–speaking local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes.
Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we will tempt our taste buds with the famed Hanoi dish Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continue into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we will wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
Our next stop will be Banh My 25 shop “French Baguette”, a little food stall with a few typical tiny Vietnamese chairs on the sidewalk where we enjoy the delicious and fresh baguettes while observing the neighborhood.
Move on to Hanoi Food Culture at Phat Loc Street, where we can sample some Bun Cha consisting of vermicelli, herbs and grilled pork. At this Hanoi’s best-kept secrets, a hidden café we will watch the demonstration and then try some egg coffee, a scrumptious local delicacy.
Continue to other food stalls in Hang Bo and Ho Hoan Kiem Street where we’ll try some dishes such Che “Vietnamese style pudding” and Nom “papaya salad with beef”.
It’s the time for dessert as we will venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced – this specialty is one not to be missed!
Note: The city tour program is flexible. Our guide would be more than happy to adjust the tour itinerary at your needs. You can skip one site or add another if you so wish.
Overnight in Hanoi
(No tour guide for Halong Bay cruise, there is a Cruise Manager to assist all clients on the boat)
Halong Bay will be your destination today. Your private driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 4.5 hours journey on a scenic road with plenty to see along the way. You may even have some photo opportunities on the way.
Around midday, you’ll arrive at Halong Bay. Board your boat in Halong Bay. Then enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while soaking up the magnificence of the UNESCO Heritage area.
After lunch, you will visit Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) – one of the largest caves in Halong Bay, before climbing Titop Mountain for some panoramic views of the stunning sunset over Halong Bay. You will have dinner back on your boat and settle in for a relaxing sleep onboard your junk boat.
Note: Each junk operates a different itinerary and onboard facilities may vary. Your consultant will be very happy to discuss each option with you.
Overnight on board
Wake up with the sunrise, join a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck. You will then enjoy a buffet brunch on board while continuing to cruise and head back to the shore. Disembark, meet your driver again, you will drive back to the airport for short flight to Danang, then take a short ride to the “once visited, never forgotten” town – Hoi An.
Pick up and transfer to hotel
Overnight in Hoi An
This walking and lantern-making tour will give you a quick but consistent insight of Hoi An Ancient Town and allow you to get in touch with your creative side, as well as provides you with the opportunity to take part in an important aspect of the Vietnamese culture.
After breakfast, your tour guide will pick you up at the lobby of the hotel to go to the center of Hoi An city, where you will visit the town’s major attractions such as Hoi An Museum, Ancient Houses, Assembly Hall with Chinese influence, handicraft workshops, and the Japanese Bridge.
Move on to the house of a lantern craftsman. There, you can observe the lantern craftsman’s technique before hands-on work through each stage of lantern-making under the guidance of the enthusiastic craftsmen: from bending it into the frame, cutting cloth, gluing, to completing lanterns. Before this trip concludes, you will have your own lantern created by your own hands. This is the perfect souvenir for you to show off your craftsmanship upon your return home.
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Hoi An has an abundance of tailors who can produce a custom suit in 24 hours or less, at very reasonable prices.
Overnight in Hoi An
Morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Da Nang (or Hoi An) then depart to Ba Na Hills, pass the seashore on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, one of the most beautiful roads of Da Nang City and Red Beach, where the French first landed in Da Nang.
Arrive at the Cable car station at the foot of Ba Na Mountain. Enjoy the first leg Cable car, which achieves two Guinness World Records in 2009, longest non–stop cable car (5,042m) and highest non–stop cable car (1,292m). Sitting in the cabin, in midair, looking upon the endless tree line of the forests, bring you with spectacular views of the lush jungle and fairly waterfalls along the way.
Experience pristine ecological systems of the Ba Na Mountains will leave you the sense of unforeseeable discovery. Visit the Le Jardin, old wineries remains of French Villas and Ling Ung Pagoda with 27m high Buddha statue. We’ll then leave the Le Jardin for the second cable car station to visit the top of the mountain and see the remains of old villas. Conquer the Peak of Chua Mountain at the height of 1,487m.
View the whole Da Nang city under the cluster of white clouds. Leave Peak of Chua Mountain, visit the trail of Dreaming Stream, Rainbow Waterfall, Suspension Bridge, Golden Valley, and ruined Opera House. Lunch at the local restaurant. you can play with wild monkeys and take photos, freely then we return to the Cable car station at foot of Ba Na Mountain then transfer back to Hoi An City.
Overnight in Hoi An
Enjoy your free time until transfer to the airport for short flight to Siem Reap. Pick up and transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Siem Reap
After breakfast, you’ll begin your explorations of the remains of an ancient civilization that once ruled much of Southeast Asia.
Today, you’ll be visiting the ancient capital city of Angkor Thom. On your way to Angkor Thom, you’ll catch a glimpse of the front of Angkor Wat as you pass by, which will leave you with a tingling feeling on the back of your neck as you take your first glance of the enormity and wonder of the largest religious complex to ever exist. However, we’ll be saving the best for last as you go on today to see some other equally impressive structures of Ta Prohm Temple, Bayon Temple, Banteay Kdei, Baphoun, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace, and the Royal Palace.
First on the agenda will be Ta Prohm. Worn by time, rain, and overpowered by the jungle, this immaculate structure is hidden under the canopy will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into the movie set of a treasure hunt adventure. Your private tour guide will give you the history and stories passed through oral tradition.
Have lunch next to Srah Srang Ancient Pool. Your exploration will continue as you visit Banteay Kdei (“Citadel of Chambers”). You’ll also visit Victory Gate, Terrace of the Leper King, the Royal Palace, Baphuon and Bayon. Bayon sets itself apart with its almost 200 smiling faces, sure to make you feel welcome on your second day to the Kingdom of Wonders. With its winding tunnels, chambers, and daring climbs, Bayon will give you many picturesque moments to keep your camera busy.
Finally, you will head to the Masterpiece, one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Angkor Wat. At this point, you’ll most probably have gotten glimpses of the towers over treetops and the gates in front in passing. But now you’ll finally get to satiate that curiosity that’s grown in the last few days. Enter Angkor Wat and learn about the stories and amazing architecture that has stunned archeologists leaving more questions than answers. Angkor Wat possesses some of the most intricate and longest stone carvings in the world. This complex is four times the size of the Vatican City making it the largest religious site in the world. Spend the morning adventuring through the many passages, levels, and exploring chambers that once housed one of many treasures of the ancient world. It will be an experience you won’t forget.
As the sun approaches the horizon, you’ll enjoy a sunset from the top of the pyramid-shaped temple of Pre Rup. After sunset, you’ll be taken back to your hotel for the evening.
Note: During any visit to the Angkor temples, we ensure your day(s) remain both flexible and personal. Having met with your guide, you will be able to discuss in detail what you are looking to achieve from your time at the temples. Whilst some wish to explore as many temples as they can during their stay, others like to travel at a slower, more relaxed pace.
Overnight in Siem Reap
After breakfast at the hotel, you will travel through the countryside to Tonle Sap Lake. The Tonle Sap is one of the world’s most productive bodies of freshwater. In the wet season, the Tonle Sap Lake swells to 12,000 km². During the dry half of the year, the lake shrinks to as small as 2,500 km², draining into the Tonle Sap River. Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting a myriad of water birds as well as people, who have settled in villages along the shores and who live with the rhythm of the water.
Transfer to the airport for departure
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
- Joining the Baci Ceremony and sharing the dinner with the host family
- Visit various temple and museum in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- Cruising along the might Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Discover Hanoi’s best-known landmarks, enjoy authentic local food
- Sail the Emerald waters of Halong Bay on an overnight cruise
- Take a walking and food tour of Hoi An Ancient town, Try out traditional lantern making
- Enjoy one day of fully guided Angkor complex tours in Siem Reap, with in-depth insights into the history of these extraordinary structures and plenty of time to see the spectacular Angkor Wat
- Visit the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake with a guided boat tour through the biodiverse and aquatic heart of Cambodia.
- 10 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 7 lunches, 2 dinners and at well-selected restaurants
- 1 street food tour
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights to Laos and from Cambodia, entry visas, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
Incredible Vietnam experience with Tony
Great company, great service
Excellent customer service from Elly Do and Asia Pioneer Travel from start to finish. Elly took the time to come to meet us in our hotel in Hanoi and it was lovely to meet her. We changed our itinerary a couple of times before booking and Elly was always happy to discuss and accommodate. All the guides we had and all of the hotels were great. When you only have a couple of days in each city it was great to have a guide and a driver to whisk you through the traffic. Thanks Elly!
Amazing People and Great Service
We travelled for 7 weeks so the tour that we structured gave us a great mix of guided and free time. We were able to see the normal tourist sites, as well as spend some in-depth time in the villages and communities. This gave us a much greater insight into life in Vietnam and Cambodia. All I can say is that they are amazing and incredible people!
Our guides were great. Our drivers were safe and looked after us very well. I would not recommend anyone try driving on thier own if you are coming from a country where people obey the traffic laws. We learned over time that is is actully very organized chaos!
If you are looking for a great agency, we can assure you that Asia Pioneer cares about you and will look after you with every detail!
Thank you to Mr. Lam and the entire staff.
Maria & Tom – BC, Canada