Kingdoms of Southeast Asia Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia 2019-2020 (Explorations)
14 days with Collette Vacations Rating:
Day 1 Overnight Flight
Board your overnight flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Day 2 Hanoi, Vietnam - Tour Begins
Welcome to Hanoi. Known for its French colonial architecture, tree-lined streets, and vibrant street food scene, Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and second most populous city. Transfer from the airport to your hotel, located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Day 3 Hanoi
Rise early to walk to the “Lake of the Restored Sword,” Hoam Kiem Lake. Become mesmerized by Tai Chi practitioners moving along the waterfront in this peaceful respite as the city comes to life for the day. Later this morning, take a step back to Imperial times on a walking tour through the Old Quarter. Follow the meandering streets, decorated with temples and pagodas, and feast on the history before you. After working up an appetite, enjoy a walking food tour which includes some of Vietnam’s most famous dishes like banh mi and pho. At the end of the food tour, enjoy a Vietnamese coffee and views of Hoam Kiem at a hidden rooftop café. Admire the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Take in the well preserved traditional architecture at the Temple of Literature. Tonight, gather with new friends at one of Hanoi’s best restaurants in a restored French Colonial-style mansion, followed by a traditional water puppet show that welcomes you to Vietnam with its incredible display of artistry and folklore. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Hanoi
Travel through Vietnam’s striking countryside to the province of Ninh Binh, the picturesque setting of northern Vietnam’s Red River Delta. In the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, visit the Temple of King Le and learn about the history of his ancient empire. Then, it’s your choice! Venture to the centuries-old temples of Bich Dong Pagoda on a leisurely bike ride -OR- travel by coach to the Thung Nham Bird Garden, a stunning sanctuary boasting more than 40 species of birds. Board a local boat this afternoon and cruise along landscapes bordered by terraced rice paddies and small villages. (B)
Day 5 Hanoi - Luang Prabang, Laos
Enjoy your morning at leisure. Transfer to the airport for your flight to the spiritual capital of Laos, Luang Prabang. When you arrive, embark on an architectural walking tour of the city’s old quarter where you’ll discover a convergence of heritage and Colonial influences. See the Buddhist temple Wat Xieng and its Tree of Life mosaic that makes this temple one of the city’s most beautiful. You’ll also visit Wat Visoun, the city’s oldest temple. Dine and share stories with new friends in a traditional Laotian village this evening, where a home-hosted dinner introduces you to the best of authentic Lao cuisine. (B,D)
Day 6 Luang Prabang
Enter the spiritual heart of Laos this morning via a local tuk-tuk. Visit Luang Prabang’s National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace, and marvel at the museum’s collection of personal artifacts from the Laotian Royal Family. Chat with young English students at Luang Prabang Library before visiting a Buddhist temple, where you’ll take part in an exclusive private blessing ceremony, delivered by one of the monks. Next you’ll head to the “Whiskey Village” of Ban Xang Hai, and Ban Thing Thong, a riverside weaving and fishing village where you’ll learn about life – and art – in rural Laos. Be welcomed to the village with a special Baci ceremony – a Laotian tradition that brings good luck and vanquishes bad spirits. After visiting Pak Ou Buddha Cave, home to thousands of Buddha statues, you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Conclude your afternoon with a relaxing cruise down the Mekong in a private boat. (B,L)
Day 7 Luang Prabang
Today, journey out of Luang Prabang through the idyllic Laoatian countryside to a traditional Hmong hill tribe village in Ban Long Lao. Spend time exploring the village and get to know the tribe and their daily way of life. Then, set out on an easy hike* through lush jungle and panoramic mountain scenery to the incredible Kuang Si Waterfall. When you arrive, visit the Bear Rescue Center and discover how the center is making strides to conserve the black bear population in northern Laos. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure back in Luang Prabang. (B)
Day 8 Luang Prabang - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Enjoy free time on your own this morning before your flight to northwest Cambodia and Siem Reap, gateway to the wonders of Angkor. In this ancient city you’ll discover a world where colonial and Chinese architecture combines with a sophisticated urban and culinary scene. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant while enjoying a traditional Apsara show. (B,D)
Day 9 Siem Reap - Angkor Wat - Siem Reap
Depart by tuk-tuk for Angkor Wat this morning just in time to see a magnificent sunrise moving over it. A perfect example of classic Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat is the Kingdom of Cambodia's most-heralded treasure. Enter its eastern gate and exit at its west to watch the light of the sun play on its magnificent stones. Have breakfast back at the hotel before returning to Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world. This afternoon, visit Ta Prohm, a sprawling monastic complex that is partially overgrown with jungle debris. At Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers, begin your visit at the Terrace of the Leper King, followed by the temples of Baphuon and Bayon, the former a 12th century masterpiece at the very center of Angkor Thom. (B)
Day 10 Siem Reap
This morning we visit Kampong Khleang, a permanent community built on the floodplain of Tonle Sap Lake. Meet local residents and learn about their fishing-based economy and daily lives. After lunch, continue to Les Artisan d’Angkor Workshop, a development project that teaches the Kmer arts, like stone and wood carving, to young adults. (B,L)
Day 11 Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Start your day at the JWOC Community Center** and make new friends with the local school children. Next, board a flight to historic Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. For centuries, the city has been the commercial hub of the region, creating a cultural melting pot. This afternoon you’ll get acquainted with the city’s colonial landmarks on a tour that features the Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral*** and the Reunification Palace. (B)
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City
Today we take to the waters of the famous Mekong Delta. As you sail along, your guide will delve into the history and culture of the region. Lush tropical gardens and islands, floating markets, and the bustling energy of these expansive waterways give an intriguing peek into everyday life. Travel by sampan deeper into the delta and stop for a lunch of regional cuisine in a lush tropical garden. (B,L)
Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, head to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a maze of underground passageways used as hideouts by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Conclude your day with a farewell dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants. (B,D)
Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City - Tour Ends
Return home with a wealth of spectacular memories of your journey through the kingdoms of Southeast Asia. (B)
All This Included
Delve into an ancient and mysterious world. Begin in Vietnam and explore its complex relationship with the West. From there, a colorful mosaic unfolds. Immerse yourself in a private traditional blessing ceremony. Explore the hundreds of Buddhas found in the Pak Ou caves. Visit a Hmong hill tribe village in Laos. Find inspiration at Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple, the world’s largest religious structure. Come to know this region through interactions with local villagers and a journey on the Mekong River. From contemplating the Fall of Saigon to exploring a once forgotten temple deep in the jungle, each day paints a new picture of the rich cultures of Southeast Asia.
Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel (days 2 - 4)
Luang Prabang: Sanctuary Hotel (days 5 - 7)
Siem Reap: Memoire D'Angkor (days 8 - 10)
Ho Chi Minh City: Grand Hotel Saigon (days 11 - 13)
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.