BANGKOK – CHIANG MAI – CHIANG RAI – PAKBENG – LUANG PRABANG – VANGVIENG – VIENTIANE – PAKSE – STUNGSTRENG – SIEM REAP – KAMPONG THOM – KAMPONG CHAM – PHNOM PENH – CHAU DOC – CAN THO – HO CHI MINH CITY
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
Delve into the fascinating contrast of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam where your cultural and natural exploration will be spellbound by these four mystical countries. The package provides an ideal opportunity for those who want to discover deeply the hidden beauty of these enrich cultural countries by crossing the border without being rush. Feel the life experiences that the food, language and customs organically connect visitors to this region.
Upon arrival Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International airport, meet our guide and transfer to your hotel for check in.
Overnight stay in Bangkok.
Breakfast at the hotel. We depart to visit two of the most important sights of Bangkok: the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is a giant lying Buddha, covered in gold leaf. The Grand Palace is a “must see” for every visitor. Located close to the banks of the Chao Phraya River the Grand Palace is the perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Within the compound is the Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Pra Kaew).
Travel on the Chao Phraya River (The River of Kings) and on through the Klongs (canals) of Thonburi. You will have the chance to observe and photograph the serene family homes and temples along the waterways, which gave the city the name “Venice of the East”. You will also pay a visit to one of the most photographed sights in Bangkok, the Wat Arun. The majestic shrine has a pagoda of 76 m high. It is decorated with glazed ceramic pieces that reflect the rising sun and gave the temple its name.
Overnight stay in Bangkok.
Note: Please note that you are required to wear proper attire (no bare shoulder, bare knees or strapless-heel shoes). Shoes must be removed before entering all temple buildings
Breakfast at the hotel.
To discover the way Bangkok used to be, travel approx.100 km. outside of Bangkok to the Damnoen Saduak Floating market with its many colors, flavors and exotic fragrances. Arrive at the Floating Market, you will start with a scenic ride on a narrow longtail - speedboat, passing riverside villages and fruit plantations, before entering the vibrant market. There will be many photo-opportunities along the way and on the colorful market on the water. Afterwards visit the tiny unique temple Wat Bang Kung which appears almost like an jungle temple with it`s roots embracing the building. Then proceed to the Railway Market in Samut Songkhram. The market- stalls are literally on the railway tracks, so when a train approaches, vendors scramble to clear away their produces from the tracks. A truly unique experience. Afterwards return to Bangkok.
Overnight stay in Bangkok.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport for flight to Chiang Mai. Upon your arrival, meet and greet with our guide.
The city of Chiang Mai has many beautiful and historic Buddhist temples and this tour visits the most interesting, such as, the 600 years old temple of Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, near the summit of Doi Suthep.
After a drive up the mountain's winding road, the final climb to the site is via a magnificent Naga (dragon-headed serpent) staircase of 306 steps.
Inside is an intriguing copper plated chedi topped by a five-tier gold umbrella which contains partial relics of Lord Buddha. On a clear day, there are incomparable views over the city of Chiang Mai. Other temple visits on this tour include Wat Suan Dok whose large central stupa contains a Buddha relic and where the ashes of Chiang Mai’s Royal Family are interred; Wat Chedi Luang where the Emerald Buddha was once enshrined; Wat Phra Singh, housing a very sacred 1,500 years old Buddha image.
Evening, visit colorful Chiang Mai market and try local food on your own.
Overnight stay in Chiang Mai.
After breakfast, we will drive toward Chiang Rai to continue your tour in northern Thailand. On the way, we will pay a visit at Hot Spring Baan Pong Nam Ron, this is an opportunity to see Karen Pandang and the Wat Rong Khun or the "White Temple". This temple is unique from other temples in that it has been constructed entirely in a radiant white color with sparking reflections from mirrored glass mosaics embedded in the white plaster. In the afternoon arrive in Chiang Rai.
Transfer to hotel in town for checking in. Free at leisure or walking around Chiang Rai night market by your own arrangement.
Overnight stay in Chiang Rai.
Today, we drive to visit Mae Chan to visit the Yao village known for its spectacular traditional dress, which includes long blue jackets accented with red wool lapels and a turban-like head wrap, Akha village known for their colorful embroidery and Longneck hill tribe villages. Continue moving toward to the Golden Triangle area where the mighty Mae Khong River joining the Ruak River and forming the triangle with the borders of Thailand, Burma, and Laos convene. Visit tribe villages and overnight stay in Chiang Khong.
This morning, we travel from Chiang Khong to the Huay Xai border. On your arrival at the Chiang Khong – Huay Xay Immigration Check-Point, proceed with formalities and then take a slow boat trip down south along the Mekong River to Pakbeng, visit tribe villages on the way.
Overnight stay in Pakbeng.
Following breakfast, we continue on a boat trip to Luang Prabang. On the way we’ll visit several hill tribe villages, onwards to famous Pak Ou caves known as Tham Ting. Visit a rice wine distillation village at Ban Sanghai and arrive at sunset in Luang Prabang.
Overnight stay in Luang Prabang.
For early risers (05.45 a.m), there is a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting the alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents. It is a beautiful, serene ceremony that highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people. Visit the Morning Market where you can find all ingredients for local food. Return to your hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. Continue our city tour with the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represent the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temples.
In the afternoon, you will drive through the Luang Prabang countryside to Kuang Si Waterfalls. Along the way by the Mekong River you will see gorgeous landscapes of many rice fields, hills and villages. You will visit an ethnic minority at a village where their local culture has remained unchanged for centuries. Upon reaching Kuang Si Waterfalls, relax and enjoy the magnificent natural surroundings. Visit Bear Rescue Centre before going back to Luang Prabang for overnight.
We enjoy a boat cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the small village of Ban Xanghai, where the local rice wine is distilled. We return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon, on the way we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a small village well known for its hand weaving.
In the late afternoon, a visit to Mount Phousi, night market on the street which offers a spectacular sunset and a panoramic view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. Return to your hotel for overnight stay.
Morning departure for a scenic 4-hour drive to Vang Vieng, home to caves of all sizes and varieties just waiting to be explored. Stop along the way for photo opportunities to capture the stunning scenery and enjoy refreshments.
This afternoon, visit the famous cave of Tham Chang which owes its name to a remarkable limestone formation and lies on the banks of the Nam Song River.
The cave was remarkable for sheltering villagers during the Chinese Haw invasion in the 19th century, and again during Laos’ civil war
Embark on a private local long-tail boat, and set out on a relaxing and insightful cruise on Nam Song River. Have your camera ready to capture the beautiful landscape created by rivers and mountains when the sunlight fades.
Overnight in Vang Vieng.
This morning, hop on your bicycle set off for a leisure cycling trip around Vang Vieng town. Stop at a local morning market, where locals from the countryside around Vang Vieng gather to sell and purchase their goods. You will discover different meats, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Some of them might be unknown to you and your guide will explain how they are used in the Lao kitchen. Visit an organic farm where mulberry tea and a variety of fruit wines are produced. Meet with local farmers and have a chat with them to learn how they cultivate vegetables by the traditional method and without chemicals.
After lunchtime, drive to the capital of Vientiane, arriving at the end of the day.
We transfer to the airport for a short flight to Pakse. Arriving in Pakse, meet with your guide at the airport on arrival and transfer to downtown Pakse for hotel check-in and rest.
This late afternoon, visit the hilltop Vat Phou Salao to admire the panoramic sunset view across the Mekong River as well as the mountain range.
Overnight in Pakse.
Note: The temple is reachable by vehicle. You can also choose to hike up or down 4km
Formed by an ancient volcano and famed for some of Laos’ most spectacular waterfalls, tranquil hill tribe villages, lush coffee, and tea farms, the Bolaven Plateau is one of the little-known highlights of southern Laos. The cultural sights and stunning waterfalls make the journey extremely rewarding.
Depart from downtown Pakse for a scenic drive on a 40km to the Bolaven Plateau and be ready for a memorable exploration, starting with Tad Fane, located inside the Dong Hua Sao National Park that combines two rivers to form a stunning twin 120m high waterfall thundering down a spectacular cliff face. Advance onwards to marvel at the stunning 42m Tad Yeung Waterfall, beautifully set amongst coffee plantations, and sprinkled with wooden picnic huts.
During your hiking trip, stop at a tribal village where you will engage in friendly conversation with the local villagers still practicing rituals actions dating back to the Stone Age, including the use of extremely primitive agricultural tools and belief systems into nature.
Overnight in Pakse.
Depart early from your hotel to visit the pre-Angkorian Wat Phou Temple, nestled on the west bank of the Mekong River. Built between the late 10th and early 11th centuries, the temple was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2001, inscribed for being an outstanding example of the integration of symbolic landscape of great spiritual significance to its natural surroundings. Notice the most impressive carvings, cut deep into the stone.
Journey to Si Phan Don, which means ‘Four Thousand Islands’ in the Lao language, is a scenic stretch of about 50km along the Mekong River. Si Phan Don is characterized by numerous islands, half of which are submerged when the Mekong River is in flood. The principal islands of Si Phan Don are Don Khong (the largest), and Don Det and Don Khone. Board a small boat and cruise to Don Khone Island to check in to your accommodation. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Enjoy a 1-hour boat trip to Done Khone, zigzagging between the small islands of the Mekong Delta. Visit on arrival Li Phi Waterfall (or locally called Taat Somhamit), nicknamed the “Corridor of the Devil”, a natural border between Laos and Cambodia. Visit the remnants of the French colonial area, including an old pier, a railway station, a former French hospital building, and the maritime office. Check out the impressive 10km (6mi) long Khone Phapheng Waterfall (also known as the Mekong Falls), the largest in Southeast Asia. Here the Mekong Cascades across a wide fault line, which slopes in a curvilinear pattern and causes the river to pass through with awesome power. The majestic sight of the falls is a highlight of southern Laos.
Overnight in Done Khong.
This morning, head onwards to the nearby Lao-Cambodian border, where you will say farewell to Laos and be ready for another journey in Cambodia territory.
Meet with your guide at Dam Kralor border and drive to Stung Treng (70km driving per way). Stung Treng is a small and tranquil town in northeastern Cambodia. Check-into your hotel on arrival.
Overnight in Stung Treng.
- You are required to get a proper Cambodia Visa before crossing the border since Visa on Arrival has yet to be available at the border.
- The roads’ condition is quite bumpy and transfer times are approximate but road construction or heavy rainfall can cause slight delays along the way.
Today is to explore the fresh and green ecosystem by boat and kayak. Enjoy leisure moments by riding to remote islands and floating through the flooded jungle. Immerse yourself into the picturesque landscape, formed by mountains, rivers, and jungle.
After breakfast, check-out your room and drive to Siem Reap. Notice the road condition of this journey may vary according to the season and can be bumpy in the wet season.
Stop en route at a remote province of Cambodia, Preah Vihear which gave its name to the province in which it is now located.
Upon arrival, you will be transferred by the enclosed pickup truck up the steep track to the temple at the top. Start exploring the ‘sacred sanctuary’ while listening to your guide sharing a little bit more about the history of this incredibly inspiring temple. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008, Preah Vihear Temple is located on the heart of a plateau that dominates the plains of Cambodia. The complex is well-preserved adapted to the natural environment and the religious function. Notice a system of pavements and staircases on an 800-meter long axis which is an outstanding architecture, typical of Khmer architecture in terms of decoration, and the connection to surrounding landscapes.
After exploring the temple, head to Siem Reap, a gateway to ancient temple ruins of Angkor.
Check-into your hotel and be ready for exploring the Angkor complex in the next days.
After breakfast, you will start to explore Angkor complex with Banteay Srei: nearly everyone's favorite site, Banteay Samre: Its rose-colored sandstone walls are decorated with carvings and bas-reliefs, which are among the most accomplished Angkor has to offer, We continue to visit the fabulous Ta Prohm embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. The last stop today is Pre Rup temple was built in the 10th century during the reign of King Rajendravarman II.
Overnight stay in Siem Reap.
Optional Countryside Sunset Tour
In the late afternoon our guide and driver pick you up from hotel and transfer you to Krobei Riel village, 8km southwest of Siem Reap town. Upon arrival, enjoy an insightful stroll through the village and interact with the locals, learn about the village life and custom.
As you approach our eco home, you will be welcomed by a host family – whom is shy, but humble and excited to have you as their values guests. Enjoy the sunset view followed by the local snacks and free flow of drinks (local beer, soft drinks, and sodas) – House Wine & Champagne is available on request with supplement fee. At the end of the day, bid a farewell with the family and return to town.
Includes: Transfer, tour guide in your language, visiting fee, snacks & drinks as mention.
The day starts with visit to Angkor Thom, the ancient royal city of Khmer Empire with its center piece; the Bayon temple. As you approach, you will notice the enigmatic faces of former King Jayavarman VII looking into every direction. Angkor Wat, one of the modern wonders of the world. Be amazed by the sheer size of the temple and learn how the Khmer Empire prospered between the 9th and 13th century, around the time when Angkor Wat was built.
Me Chrey, one of the recently discovered villages on Tonle Sap, which is less touristy than the busy Chong Kneas village. A boating will take you there and find out how people live.
Optional Blessing Ceremony at Khmer Pagoda
Coming to Cambodia – the country of Buddhism and Temples, more than visit the famous temples of World Heritage Site, you have chance to deeply understand and feel the culture, historical, and spirit values of the country by coming to the pagoda and be offered by the monks.
Located in the heart of Siem Reap town, Wat Preah Prom Rath is one of the most beautiful pagodas in town with French colonial architecture reflecting its history and a large garden filled with statues. Participate in a private good luck blessing ceremony, performed by local monks that reside at the temple. Sit on carpets while the monks chant blessings and sprinkle holy water and flowers on you – a traditional way which is believed pass on the good luck of the gods. Afterwards, a sacred thread will be tied around your wrist. This will protect you from any evil spirits or accidents - then say goodbye to the monks and head for the next destination or back to hotel.
Best time to do: Early morning before main activity of the day or before flight time after 11.00am
Includes: Transfer, tour guide in your language, donation, offerings to the monks
Located along the Mekong River, both Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham are equally famed for their bucolic beauty and stunning temples and pagodas.
Morning departure for a scenic 3-hour drive to the South of Siem Reap, traversing the rural scenery of Cambodian villages. The first stop of this fascinating journey is Kampong Thom, the heart of agriculture of Cambodia, famed for its farming life and Sambor Prei Kuk temple, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on the Eastern bank of the Tonle Sap Lake, the central part of Sambor Prei Kuk temple is divided into three main areas. Each area contains a square layout surrounded by a brick wall. Visit the serene temples, atmospherically covered by ancient trees, enjoy the spectacular scenery of this ancient ruin before departing to Kampong Thom town.
Check-into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure in the town. If time permits, the guide will escort you to explore village markets to experience regional cuisine and local snacks (at your account).
Overnight in Kampong Thom.
After breakfast, continue your journey to Kampong Cham, home to many of Cambodia's most splendid cultural and natural heritage.
Drive through the peaceful outskirt of Kampong Cham to explore Wat Norkor temple, Cambodia’s oldest temple built in the 6th century which has been well-preserved until now.
Wind your way to Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei whose names are translated as the "mountain man" and the "woman from the hill”, that features a meaningful historical story about the relationship between legendary Cambodian men and women. Head to Phnom Penh after the visit.
Checking into your hotel in Phnom Penh upon arrival. Leisure and overnight in this capital city.
Once known as “The Pearl of Asia”, Phnom Penh used to be one of the finest cities in the region. Situated at the junction of Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been Cambodia’s capital for a majority of the last six centuries. Rich in history, the city offers several cultural and historical sites to discover.
Start your day with the visit to the Royal Palace, originally built in 1866s by the grandfather of the current Cambodian King. The palace is a complex of splendid regal buildings with its classic Khmer roofs, ornate gilding, and intricate layout of defensive walls, featuring a great mixture of Khmer architecture and slight French touch. It includes the official residence of the royal family with parts of the massive palace compound, partially opened to the public.
Wind your way to the nearby Silver Pagoda that houses many national treasures including many golden and jeweled Buddha statues. Perched within the Royal Palace compound, this is the most sacred temple in the country.
Visit the National Museum, which is designed in Khmer style by a French archaeologist and painter in 1917, dedicated exclusively to Khmer art and sculpture. Gain insight into Cambodian history from Cambodia's "Golden Age" of Angkor, with an excellent collection of Khmer art and sculpture from archaeological sites across Cambodia.
Take your time to learn about the turbulent Khmer Rouge years with the visit to Tuol Sleng, a high school turned interrogation prison known as S-21 during the Khmer Rouge era and now a genocide museum dedicated to showcasing the sad story of the thousands of innocent Cambodian people who were tortured on its grounds. Tour the museum, through the narrow corridors and former classrooms of the buildings for an overview of Cambodia’s turbulent past.
Transfer to the local boat pier in Phnom Penh, boarding a speedboat ride to Chau Doc.
Arrive into Chau Doc town by speed boat at the end of the day. Situated on the border with Cambodia, Chau Doc enjoys a unique cultural mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Cham, and Khmer ethnic groups.
Check-into your hotel and spend the rest of the day free at leisure.
Overnight in Chau Doc.
This morning, travel by motorboat, a common form of local transportation, along the Chau Doc River. Stop at one of the many floating fish farms, meet the fish farmers, and see the fish being feed. After leaving the fish farm, proceed to the Cham Village (Muslim Village), opportunities to contemplate Cham People’s Culture as well as visit Cham People’s weave fabric. Walk around the village to see a mosque and notice the differences in Cham-style stilt homes and their modest yet colorful style of dress.
Return to your hotel, check-out and depart for 3 hours to Can Tho. Visit on arrival Binh Thuy Ancient House, filled with features that represent rural areas in the Mekong Delta region during the 20th century. Built in 1870, the house combines Eastern and Western-style with the inner architecture belonging to traditional Eastern culture and the exterior representing Western architecture. Wind your way to the Can Tho Museum (closed on Monday, Friday, and weekend afternoon), which is home to more 5000 objects and historical relics. This is the largest museum in Mekong Delta, showcasing the agriculture and river life of the region as well as how the Vietnamese, Chinese, and Khmer ethnic groups came to peacefully stay together. Drive back to your hotel after the tour.
Travel to the outskirts of Can Tho where you visit a Cacao farm, meet the owner, and view the whole process of chocolate creation, from bean to bar. Sample the chocolate in all its different forms including a hot chocolate drink – afterward, you can take a short walk around the farm.
Check-into your hotel and spend this evening free at leisure.
Overnight in Can Tho.
Wake up early morning and board a local boat to visit Cai Rang floating market. The waterway becomes a maze of hundreds of boats, you will see an interesting trading activity by using a traditional “offering pole”-exchanging consumer goods hanging on the pole for Mekong fruit and vegetables with local sellers. Have your camera ready as this vibrant wholesale market on the water makes for excellent photo opportunities, especially from the unique vantage point of your boat. Drive 1.5 hours to Cai Be town. Situated in the heart of the Mekong Delta, Cai Be is famous for its tropical fruit gardens and traditional handicrafts.
Upon arrival, board your private wooden boat and start cruising on the Mekong River while sampling local tropical fruits on board. Disembark the boat and trade boat for bicycle for gently riding on off the beaten track path village. Take the opportunities to visit local families who make traditional products such as rice-net for spring-rolls, sewing coconut-leaves, local hats…
Lunch with Mekong Delta specialties is served at a local house before a sampan for a ride along the narrow canals of the Mekong. After a sad farewell to your crew, drive to Ho Chi Minh City. Check-into your hotel and spend the evening free.
Note: The cycling distance is around 4-5 km, depending on your physical ability and length you desire
After breakfast, visit Cu Chi Tunnels, which is 70km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, created since 1948 to assist the Viet Minh to combat the French. This is an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapon shops, field hospitals and command centers. Back to your hotel after 4 hours tour.
In the afternoon, visit the moving War Remnants Museum which presents a partial, but riveting, view of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam. Continue to the Reunification Palace, former residence of the Indochina Governor General and later President of the Republic of Southern Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in April 30, 1975. The day ends with quick view of Notre Dame Cathedral and the bustling Ben Thanh Market.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Breakfast at the hotel and leisure. At a good time, we transfer to the airport for your homebound flight.----------- End of service ----------