Culture - History
Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Mai Chau
Indochina is a region rich of culture and religious ceremony practicing. 16-day culture trip in Indochina showcases a colorful brocade of cultures for your enjoyment. The regional cultures in Vietnam are different which developing along with country’s history. There found the cultural relics like Confucius temple, the minority groups’ lifestyle and traditional dances on mountainous valleys in Mai Chau. You also find the peaceful and countryside ambience when visiting the ancient houses and handicraft villages preserving region’s traditional jobs in Hue; and the old town Hoi An. Cambodia seem less colorful but only jaw-dropping factors that make your trip exciting with the giant and sophisticated Angkor Temples and Phare Circus show performed by dedicated and talented Cambodian. Laos is more laidback where remaining religious rituals which taking places almost daily all over the country. You will have chance to discover the elaborate temples, attend the soul calling Baci ceremony and the holy Buddhist Tak Bath ceremony in Luang Prabang.
Welcome to Hanoi, the second largest city in Vietnam with the population of some 8 million. This capital city of Vietnam has developed its culture and tradition along Red River; also, a place with French colonial buildings stay somewhere near the road of huge trees, delectable gastronomy and vibrant life pace.
Upon your arrival, your driver and local tour guide will welcome and transfer from airport to Hanoi City. Check-in hotel and have relaxing time till rest of the day.
Start off the day with a visit to Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi since 6th century. Tran Quoc Pagoda has been repaired a few times, and relocated once making it a photogenic location on the West Lake. Carry on to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where resting the embalm of Ho Chi Minh President’s body; following with the One-Pillar Pagoda, Presidential Palace and the former accommodations of Ho Chi Minh.
This afternoon, explore the Temple of Literature renown as the first university of Vietnam dating back in 1070. Beside the ancient courtyards, you also find 82 stelae engraving doctorate’s names. Get on the cyclo to have a glimpse of Hanoi’s corners and admire the French corner of Hanoi, passing by iconic buildings like the Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hanoi Opera House, The State Bank, Saint Joseph Church and then finish at Hoan Kiem Lake. After hearing about the legend of this lake, you will enjoy Water Puppet Show whose invention was over a thousand year. Originating as a hobby for the peasants, later developed to the royal entertainment, the show depicts daily life and legends of Vietnamese farmers following with traditional and lively music.
Lastly, you will stroll around Hanoi Old Quarter, a unique place where gathered 36 guilds of business.
Head out to Mai Chau this morning, you will pass by meandering road setting by charming mountain background. Arriving in Mai Chau, have lunch at a local family in a Thai stilt house.
In the afternoon, have a pleasant hike and visit the neighboring village where residing the White Thai tribe group. Stop time to time at local house and admire the local crafts, learn about the customs and traditions. On the way walking back to the ecolodge, you also pass by the rice paddies nestling around the valleys.
After dinner at ecolodge, you can enjoy the traditional performances and participate in local dancing which take place in the premise of the ecolodge.
In the morning, do cycling and have the insight of Mai Chau valley. Crossing the minorities villages like Chieng Sai, Ban Nhot, Ban Ha, Na Loc and Mai Hich, you dulge into the intrinsic nature, see local stilt houses, the school and farm fields where the villagers working.
Today, you will leave Mai Chau for Ninh Binh, the province of former Hoa Lu Capital. Upon arriving in Ninh Binh, have a short visit at historical Hoa Lu Temples were the Dinh Kinh and Le King are worshipped by local people. Afterward, take a leisure boat trip in Tam Coc or Three Caves setting wonderfully along Hoang Long River with the surroundings of natural karst mountains for a picturesque view.
Today, you’ll travel from Ninh Binh to Halong Bay in around 3-hour drive. Then, board the overnight cruise venturing on the captivating bay of 1,969 islands and islets of giant rock forming. While the boat set sails toward Halong Bay center, you will have lunch. Thereupon, following with the cruise schedule, you can do outdoor expeditions to have an up-close exploration of Halong Bay like hiking to the spacious cave, do kayaking, etc.
Early in the morning, it’s optional to wake up and enjoy the sunrise on the bay or practice Tai Chi exercise on the top deck of the boat. You then will have some touring before sailing back to the shore with more chilling time on boat to enjoy the marine landscape. Disembark the cruise at noon, you will head back to Hanoi airport, with a lunch break in Hanoi, and catch the flight to Hue.
Upon arriving in Hue, you will see your local tour guide and have transfer from Phu Bai Airport to hotel in Hue City for check-in.
Have a short visit around Dong Ba Market, the oldest and largest market in Hue selling of all kinds of stuffs. Then pay a visit to The Imperial Citadel built in 1802 by Gia Long King who was the first Nguyen King deciding to move the country’s capital to the center of Vietnam. This UNESCO site is one of the must-see spots of Hue where preserving the remnants as well as Vietnamese royal etiquettes. Next, travel to Phu Mong Village and have a walk passing the luxuriant countryside to the garden house Xuan Vien Tieu Cung. Greeted by the local family, you will have a cup of hot tea, enjoy some local and seasonal fruits.
After lunch, carry on to Thien Mu Pagoda or so-call the Heavenly Lady Pagoda located on a hill facing to the still Perfume River. Lastly, you will visit the tomb of Tu Duc King, a peaceful resting place designed by the king himself with traditional Vietnamese art and architecture.
In the morning, embark on a local boat sailing 30 minutes to upstream of Perfume River to reach Tien Non floral village where you will hop on your bicyle traveling through the pristine countryside toward Thanh Tien Village. This some 400-year-old village is renowned for the traditional handicraft of making paper flower. Meet up with the host to learn more about their craft and hand on making the lotus paper flower with him. The cycling trails then lead to Sinh Village with the handicraft of religious painting on votive paper. The craftsman will show you around, share about their traditional job, the main meaning and techniques of creating those paintings. After trying with this traditional votive painting, you will travel back to hotel in Hue by vehicle for relaxation.
This afternoon, you will travel to Hoi An passing by the isolated Lang Co Beach and stunning Hai Van Pass offering spectacular panoramic view toward to ocean. Check in your hotel in Hoi An and have leisure time till rest of the day.
In the morning, stroll to the Hoi An ancient town, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO in 1999. This atmospheric old town originally was the port for spice trading and became an international marine port since 16th century with regular arrivals of Chinese, Japanese and Westerners traders. Coming in Hoi An so often that they made their own properties. The town is then under the division in some corners for different guilds that the architectures have been influenced by major nationalities lived in Hoi An. You will find the attached two-floor houses painted in yellow, Chinese shophouses, the Fujian Communal Houses, Japanese Bridge, etc.
Wandering for a while, you also can see the Hoi An Old Town market to observe the buying style as well as local products on display colorfully at the market; and catch a sight of Thu Bon River.
Head to Tra Que Village for lunch at a quiet setting place and enjoy local delicacies. Before the dishes are served, you will hand on making the exquisite local Banh Xeo or sizzling cake. After lunch, have some resting before walking around the host’s garden of diverse vegetable and herbs. From the garden, you can join the farming works and plant the vegetables. Farewell with the host, travel back to hotel for chilling out or you can stroll to the old town again and enjoy the street by night.
At leisure till good time transfer to Da Nang Airport for your flight to Siem Reap, the ancient capital of Cambodia also beguiling destination of mysterious Angkor Temples.
Upon landing, you will see your driver and local tour guide then have transfer from Siem Reap Airport to city center.
Start off today with a ride into Angkor Archeological park, a vast part of the jungle where sitting the jaw-dropping temples of some with water canals and reservoirs surround. All the temple was constructed in between the 9th and 14th centuries. Visit the largest and iconic one Angkor Wat which cover almost one square mile. Walking from the aisle, you will find the shape of main towers with the most central is highest ones. Walking around its walls, there coming out gorgeous historical and religious sculptures and get to know more about the Ancient Khmer culture. Not so far from there is Angkor Thom, means big city, the capital of a complex with intriguing temples. You can admire the Bayon Temple with emerging giant 54 towers of 4 facets mysterious smiling faces. Keep walking, you also can visit the ruin Baphuon Temple since 11th century, the Terraces of Elephants and Terraces of Leper Kings where hold the public occasions or royal announcements. Lastly, walk under the jungle shadow to the Ta Prohm Temple with the embrace of giant tree roots.
Depart this morning, you will travel passing the countryside of Siem Reap of lush palm gardens and fields. Reaching the Bong Thom Village, you will intermingle with the villagers learn more about their daily life, customs and cultures. Learn how to grind the rice and making rice noodle in manual way; then making a bowl of noodle soup. Carry on, the villager introduces their traditional sticky bamboo rice and how to prepare that dish. Next, stop at some sugar palm stores and observe local way processing the sugar palm as well as use palm leaf to make beautiful souvenirs. After lunch at the village, you will head toward Banteay Srei Temple and visit this unique red sandstone temple. Though be a pretty small miniature comparing to other Angkor Temples, Banteay Srei impresses the visitors by its elaborative carvings.
Rest at your property till late evening, you will enjoy the Phare Circus Show at the Ponleu Selpak, an NGO since 1994. Their performers are the young and talented Cambodian. The thrilling show introducing an insight into history, vibrancy and culture of Cambodia.
After breakfast, you will depart to Kompong Khleang Village among 5 main floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake in which Kompong Khleang is the farthest and most authentic one. Depending on the season, water level will be varied that you can see the floodplains, houses on stilts, local people and fisherman. The boat trip on the village will showcase more of the local life.
This afternoon, you’ll check out and take transfer to airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, the ancient capital in the Northern Laos sitting at the junction of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. The UNESCO atmospheric city is a patchwork of Laos wooden houses blending with French colonial architecture.
Upon your arrival, you will meet up with your local tour guide and travel to hotel in Luang Prabang for check-in. Rest of the day will be free and easy.
Spend this day to explore Luang Prabang and attend traditional Baci ceremony late afternoon to learn more about local ritual. Start off the day with Vat Mai, a 18th century shrine with special 4-tiered roof. Then, walk for a while you can find Royal Palace which is now the National Museum where display precious Royal artifacts. The original palace was mainly built with teak wood, then destroyed and looted, and reconstructed in 1904 in colonial style and with bricks. Move on to the most beautiful temple Wat Xieng Thong complex with holy shrines showing the finest of Laos traditional art.
Late afternoon, you will join with a local family in Luang Prabang and get blessing in the Baci Ceremony. Baci mean “calling the soul” is a ritual play important role for local people which call the spirit and get them away from sick, diseases. Each participant’s wrist are tied with white strings to preserve the luck.
In the morning, travel toward Kuang Si waterfalls, one of the most extraordinary places to visit in Luang Prabang. Before entering the waterfalls, you will have a hike through Hmong ethnic group at Ban Long Lao Kao. Surpassing the rice field, farming gardens and the forest, you will find the Kuang Si waterfalls of terraces with crystal emerald water. Then go back to Luang Prabang town. You will stop at Ock Pop Tok weaving center to discover the beauty of Laos traditional crafts. The guide at center will introduce different steps of making Laos silk from weaving, dyeing and so on. This afternoon will be on your own account to chill-out at the accommodation, take some massage or enjoying a coffee at local café on Mekong River bank.
Wake up early this morning and travel to the streets as well as local temple to observe the Tak Bath ceremony. The monks in saffron-orange robes will walk in line around Luang Prabang where the local people knee on the sidewalk and devote food. Then, you can stroll around local central market, a lively market where many goods of locally grown plants, the vegetables and animals from mountains and variable types of snacks.
At good time, your driver and local guide will transfer you to Luang Prabang Airport for your flight to next destination.
Accommodation in double/twin sharing basic
Daily breakfast at hotel and meals as indicated in the program
Private air-conditioned transfer
Excellent English-speaking guide (other language on request)
Entrance fee, boat trip, cycling for sightseeing as mentioned
Phare Circus show in Siem Reap
2 bottles of water per person per day
International and domestic flights
Visa and stamping fees
Tips and gratuities for guide, driver, etc.
Personal expenses and services not mentioned
11 days 10 nights
22 days 21 nights
8 days 7 nights
10 days 9 nights
13 days 12 nights