- Off The Beaten Path
Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi – Day trip to Tho Ha Village
Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau
Day 4: Mai Chau – Son La
Day 5: Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien Phu
Day 6: Dien Bien Phu – Laos border crossing – Muangkua
Day 7: Muangkua – Muang Ngoi – Nong Khiaw
Day 8: Nong Khiaw – Drive to Luang Prabang
Day 9: Luang Prabang – Full-day City Tour
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Elephant Ride – Kuang Si Waterfall
Day 11: Luang Prabang – Flight to Siem Reap
Day 12: Siem Reap Exploration
Day 13: Siem Reap – Battambang
Day 14: Battambang – Kampong Chnang - Phnom Penh
Day 15: Phnom Penh – Kratie
Day 16: Kratie – Rattanakiri
Day 17: Rattanakiri Exploration
Day 18: Rattanakiri Exploration
Day 19: Rattanakiri – Kampong Cham
Day 20: Kampong Cham – Phnom Penh – Departure
You may have been to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, but this tour will let you experience an untouched Indochina with off-the-beaten-path destinations. In Vietnam, travel around the northern region (Mai Chau – Son La – Dien Bien Phu), popular for its breathtaking mountainous scenery, and see how the locals live in tune with nature. Cross the Laos border and see the small villages of Muang Ngoi and Nong Khiaw. Later, you will reach Luang Prabang by boat and enjoy a full-day city tour, followed by an excursion to explore its untouched nature. After exploring Siem Repa and the World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, you will arrive at Ratanakiri – the hidden gem of Cambodia. This is the highlight of this tour and will be the perfect closure for your adventure as you immerse in nature as you discover its lush forest, trek along the mountain rail and swim in the fresh water of Yak Lom Crater Lake.
Your private tour guide will meet you at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and will escort you by private car to your selected hotel in Hanoi. Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions along the way about your Vietnam private tour package and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
After checking in, if you are interested, your guide will take you on a cyclo tour through the alleys of the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter or the “36 Streets” and a traditional water puppetry performance. This is a great way to watch local daily life and culture.
Dinner will be on your own, but your guide will recommend excellent options for your preferred cuisine – we highly recommend trying Hanoi cuisine for a true immersion experience.
Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passport sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.
Overnight in Hanoi
Your private guide and driver will take you out of Hanoi in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads before reaching Tho Ha village in Bac Ninh Province. (About 2 hours)
Drive pass Duong Bridge to Bac Ninh Province, with one or two photo stops en route for photos. You will also spend some time visiting one of the local Matyre Cemetery to learn about how war martyrs from the French and American War, and “Vietnam Heroic Mothers” are buried, respected and remembered.
You may make another stop to visit a family who makes earth bricks and tiles on the roadside (if they are working) and try your hands on making one or two tiles. You’ll be amazed by how difficult to make those simple tiles!
Arrive at Tho Ha village, you will visit one family who makes ritual votive paper products. Those products mostly imitate real products in life but will only be burned for the dead people.
You will then cross the Cau River on a concrete-made boat. Spend time visiting the village market and then come to Mr. Viet’s home. Mr. Viet’s wife will teach you how to make rice paper (which is used for Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls). You will socialize with Mr. Viet & Mrs Tuyet family before walking around the village to learn about the village life, history and culture.
Walk back to Mr. Viet’s home for your home-hosted lunch then bid goodbye to the family and drive back to Hanoi. The trip will end at around 16:00 at the hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
You will be collected by your private guide and driven in a private vehicle to the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and mountains in the distance to the town of Mai Chau; home of the Thai minority.
Upon arrival, you will check in at the boutique Mai Chau Lodge, a unique hotel of the area. Enjoy a home-hosted lunch at a local family, followed by a walking tour of Pom Coong and Lac villages. These villages are where communities of the White Thai live and you have an opportunity to learn about their way of life, the stilted-house architecture, and their embroidery art.
You will then return to your hotel, with the rest of the day free at your leisure. You may even chill out at the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon. Tonight, there is an opportunity to attend a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai (optional).
Overnight in Mai Chau
Upon leaving Mai Chau, you see many villages dotting the hillsides and the undulating terrain, which makes for an interesting journey. Along the way we stop for a short trek near Xa Linh, visiting the Hmong and the Muong people. Traveling across the Moc Chau Plateau we pass many tea plantations en route to Son La, which is your overnight stop.
Arrive and check in your hotel in Son La. The remainder of the day will be free to explore the area.
Overnight in Son La
After breakfast and check out, you will pay a visit to the old Son La Prison, which the French used to imprison Vietnamese revolutionaries in the latter years of the colonial era.
Leaving Son La for Dien Bien, you’ll stop at a market in Thuan Chau, which is populated by many hill tribes. Crossing over the Pha Din Pass you continue to travel to Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence from the French in 1954. The Lao border is not very far away from this town.
Arrive in Dien Bien, check in to your hotel room. The rest of the day will be free.
Overnight in Dien Bien
After breakfast and check out of the hotel, you will visit the former French battlefields including the war museum, Muong Thanh airbase. On display are relics from the battle including old French tanks and artillery pieces. Of special interest is the reconstruction of the bunker where the French commander, Colonel de Castries, surrendered to Viet Minh forces.
Leaving Dien Bien Phu, you will be transferred to Laos border. After clearing all the custom you will take a two-hour drive (80 Km) to Muang Khua.
You will arrive in Muang Khua a small trading town. Check into the local guesthouse and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Muongkua
You will continue by boat cruise to Muong Ngoi 4-5 hours by boat. Muong Ngoi is one hour north of Nong Khiaw. The village is small with narrow footpaths lined with coconut palms and a common site is a fisherfolk mending their nets creating a South Sea ambiance. A true Lao style of life is abundant here and time seems to stand still.
Stop for lunch served with local food along the river bank. Then transfer to check in to the local hotel. The rest of the day will be free at leisure.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Breakfast at hotel, depart Nong Khiaw, you will drive towards Luang Prabang through stunning karstic landscapes.
En route, you will stop and embark on the boat trip on the Mekong River. Enjoy a picnic lunch on board. Then you arrive will arrive at Pak Ou where the Nam Ou River meets the mighty Mekong River. You will cross the Mekong River to Pak ou Cave and visit the sacred caves housing thousands of statues of Buddha.
Continue your drive to Luang Prabang and arrive before sunset.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
With the help of your private guide, driver and private vehicle, you will get to explore the town’s major attractions. Your full-day city tour will begin after breakfast, with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. You will then enjoy a short guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.
Wrap up your morning activities by visiting the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham.
Following lunch, you will visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures before you head out of town to see the weaving villages of Ban Xiengkhong and Ban Xienglek. You’ll then return to the city for a visit to Wat Mai.
Climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city at sunset and the Mekong River. The tour will end after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you out of town 20km to Ban An Elephant camp, where you can enjoy elephant trek for about one hour.
Upon arrival, your guide will give a brief about those elephants where they come from and their daily living condition. Enjoy the impressive experience of approx. 1.5 hours elephant ride on the Howdah (Elephant seat) to the Elephant Jungle Camp. You continue to walk (1,5 hour) through a unique natural jungle valley with limestone cascades. Lunch will be provided at the Elephant Jungle Camp (Picnic lunchbox and drinking water).
Drive back to town and continue to the beautiful Kuangsi Fall, where you can swim, relax, soft trek to the top of the fall. On return, you’ll make a short stop at Black Hmong Village, where hill tribe handmade handicraft as souvenirs for visitors passes by.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast and check out, transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival, you’ll meet the tour guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel and check into our room.
Lunch will be on your own.
Your guide will take you on a guided tour of the city with the following sites;
– Eastern Mebon used to be in the middle the waters of the large Oriental Baray that is presently filled with rice-fields
– Neak Poan was supposed to be a symbol of the Universe
– Preah Khan, built in 1191, according to the tradition on a spot where the king fought a crucial battle against the Cham.
The rest of the evening will be free.
Overnight in Siem Reap
You will start on our bike and cycle (45 mins for cycling) to world heritage areas on the roads less traveled. Ride among the jungle passing local village and local shop. It’s a very special and acting day as you will explore some of Angkor’s most beautiful temples. You will visit:
– The ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century)
– See the South Gate, Bayon Temple- unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara
– The Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas
– The Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
After lunch at a local Cambodian restaurant, your tour continues with the famous temple: Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a World Heritage Site since 1992, famous for its beauty and splendor. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology.
End your day by visiting Bakheng Temple and then enjoy a romantic sunset view form Bakheng hill.
Overnight in Siem Reap
After breakfast, you’ll depart Siem Reap and wind your way to Battambang. Not so far from Siem Reap, you’ll reach the village of Puok which is home to the Artisans d’Angkor Silk Farm. Here you will witness the entire silk production process, from the silkworm munching on the Mulberry leaves to spinning their cocoons, the cocoons being harvested and turned into silk thread, women weaving, and of course the beautiful finished silk products, which you can purchase at the on-site boutique, a wonderful souvenir of Cambodia. Arrive in Battambang, transfer to your hotel for refreshing yourself before continuing the trip.
Continue to visit a local family graph farm, Cambodia’s first vineyard – Prasat Phnom Banan Vineyard – you can pop in if you like, learn about producing wine in the tropics and of course enjoy a spot of wine tasting! A few kilometers further south you arrive at the well preserved 11th-century mountaintop Angkorian temple of Phnom Banan. After climbing the 350+ steps, you will be treated to a wonderfully peaceful setting with superb views across the surrounding countryside, with small villages dotting the endless rice paddies, punctuated with the characteristic sugar palm trees – a wonderful sunset location.
Overnight in Siem Reap
After breakfast, you will depart for Phnom Penh. Upon arrival, you will visit the Royal Palace compound build in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom, is the most conspicuous feature and also one of the impressive colorful Khmer-style Palaces. Nearside the Royal Palace is Silver Pagoda (The Emerald Buddha temple), displays plenty of Buddha Statues that were decorated and made by diamond, emerald, gold, and silver.
Continue to visit Independence Monument, which was constructed in 1954 after Cambodian took their country back from the French colony. Proceed to the National Museum, the distinctive red building with a beautiful Khmer architecture was build since 1917 and contains more than 5000 art objects made of sandstone, bronze, silver, copper, wood, and others.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue your tour to visit Wat Phnom Daun Penh – the name of a pagoda, was built by lady Daun Penh in 1372 on a little hill, Legend has it that after a particularly heavy flood, a wealthy Khmer woman named Daun Penh found a tree on the banks of the Mekong with four statues of Buddha hidden inside.
Visit the Russian market for some shopping spree before you return to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Depart Phnom Penh at 08:00 am for an interesting drive to Kratie, stopping off at Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros in Kampong Cham before winding your way to Kratie.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will take a ferry to Koh Trong Island, which is a small island in the middle of the Mekong just opposite Kratie town. Here you will get your bicycle for an easy and peaceful 9km ride to explore the islands traditional wooden Khmer houses and pagoda’s stopping off several times to taste the delicious and famous island fruits. Then back to Kratie for a stroll along the riverside for a magnificent sunset.
Overnight in Kratie
After breakfast, you’ll leave Kratie and drive to Ban Lung. On the way, you will make a stop at O’ Russey Kandal. A small community-based ecotourism site with rapids, and the opportunity to have a swim. Continue your journey to Banlung in the Ratanakiri province.
After lunch, you will enjoy an elephant ride through the forest to the fabulous Katieng Waterfall. You’ll have the opportunity to wash and feed the elephants and also have time for a swim before returning to town.
Overnight in Rattanakiri
Start your day by spending some time at the beautiful Yaek Lom Lake, a natural lake formed in a volcanic crater. After that, you will drive to the tribal villages north of Ban Lung. On the way, you will pass the ancient lava fields and visit the tribal village of La Ork, Kala and Kress, where you can explore and learn from the local hill tribe people.
Return to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Ban Lung
The trekking will start from the lodge on the west hiking trail up the hillside of Phnom Korl. The paths walked are the ones frequented by Tampuan hill tribe villagers (of Phumes Sil, Lapo, Lon, and Phnom) in Yaklom commune to their farms. (Phume is a Khmer word, and means “village”.) The walk goes through a hilly and beautiful landscape, some points at which you may need to exercise your energy a little bit more.
The trek will give you a picture of how people in Yaklom commune (Tampuan hill tribe) practice their slash and burn (or Sweden) farming. The walk goes through a hilly and beautiful landscape, some points at which you may need to exercise your energy a little bit more.
You will pass a number of Sweden farms where you will see and (when possible and suitable) join farm activities according to the cropping calendar or cropping pattern of the season. There are more and more Khmer people inhabiting the areas around Yaklom Lake and you may notice some changes: plantations, flower gardens, forest clearance, etc.)
You will spend time to swim at the volcanic lake of giant Loam – Yeak Loam, superb places surrounded by pristine rainforest. Take your time for swimming or take a walk around the lake.
Overnight in Ban Lung
After breakfast, you will depart for Kampong Cham. Arrive and check in to the hotel around midday.
After lunch at a restaurant on the riverside, you will continue our journey to Kampong Cham and on the way if time permits you will visit the 8th-century hillside pagoda of Wat Hanchey and the 11th-century temple of Wat Nokor.
Overnight in Kampong Cham
After breakfast, you will return to Phnom Penh by private vehicle. The driver will take you straight to the airport for your departure flight back home.
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 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 suite your requirements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Domestic flights within Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
- Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.