Indochina culture trip 16 days

Indochina culture trip 16 days

16 days | 15 nights

Travel Style

Culture - History

Destinations

Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Hue, Ninh Binh, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, Mai Chau

Highlights Itinerary Accommodation Inclusions/Exclusions

Highlights


Fascinating journey of 16-day tours of Vietnam Cambodia and Laos showcases colorful brocade of Indochina cultures. You shall land on most highlighted cities of three countries to explore the fascinating natural landscape, taste local cuisine, intermingle with locals and especially learn of the indigenous culture. Vietnam is a multicultural country showcasing variant regional cultures which developing along with country's history. While traveling in Vietnam, you shall find the cultural relics of Confucius temple, the minority groups' weaving villages and traditional dances in Mai Chau, ancient and handicraft villages in Hue; old town of Hoi An and so on. Your Cambodia holiday reveals jaw-dropping giant and sophisticated Angkor Temples whose bas reliefs and architectures telling vivid stories of their culture; Phare Circus show performed by dedicated and talented Cambodian. The Vietnam Cambodia and Laos itinerary also present laidback and tranquil ambience in Laos where religious rituals of Tak Bath and Baci Ceremony taking places almost daily all over the country. 

Itinerary

Welcome to Hanoi, the first destination of your trip to Laos Cambodia and Vietnam! Hanoi is the second largest city of Vietnam with the population of 5 millions in 2022. The culture and tradition in Hanoi is fostered along Red River Delta; also show French colonial influences in architectures with yellow painted buildings, roads 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. Thereupon, 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. Last but not least, you will stroll around Hanoi Old Quarter, a unique place where gathered 36 guilds of business.

Head out 160km (99 miles) to Mai Chau this morning, you will pass by meandering road setting by charming mountain background. Mai Chau is a northern province of Vietnam where residing some of ethic tribles such as Thai, Muong, H'mong and Dao. Granted with pleasant climate and picturesque scenes of houses on stilts resting nearby the idylic mountains, Mai Chau is a charming destination offering pleasant stays, hikes, cycling and have an insight of Vietnamese minority groups' culture.  Arriving in Mai Chau, you will have lunch at a local family in a Thai stilt house.

In the afternoon, have a pleasant hike and visit the neighboring villages where residing the White Thai tribe group. Make stops on the way to admire the landscape, visit local houses and learn about the local weaving technique as well as their 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.

This morning, 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. Rest of the day will be on your own leisure in Ninh Binh.

After breakfast at hotel, you’ll travel from Ninh Binh to Halong Bay in around 3-hour drive. Then, board the overnight cruise venturing 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 and enjoy the picturesque scenes over the bay. 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 Halong Bay Cave, do kayaking, etc. After cosy dinner on boat, have free chilling time and overnight on Halong Bay cruise. 

Early in the morning, it’s optional to wake up early for the sunrise on Halong bay or practice Tai Chi exercise on the top deck with the instructor. You then will take furthre touring on Halong Bay before sailing back to the shore. Disembark the cruise at noon, you will head back to Hanoi airport, with a lunch break in Hanoi, and catch the flight to Hue. 

Be the former capital of Vietnam where present the last feudal dynasty of the country before the start of French colonial protector, Hue showcase significantly on Vietnamese culture. 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.

You will have a full day explore highlights of Hue today. Begin with a 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.

You will take excursion to less touristic places of Hue Thanh Tien paper flower village and the Sinh religious painting Village to interact with locals and have the indepth of Vietnamese culture. 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 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 from Hue 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, then became an international marine port since 16th century receiving regular arrivals of Chinese, Japanese and Westerners traders. Coming in Hoi An so often that they made their own properties. The town was then under the division into some corners for different guilds that the architectures have been influenced to the houses 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 find 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.

There upon, head to Tra Que Village in Hoi An 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 renown with 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 unique and impressive architectures in which some have water canals and reservoirs surround. Angkor temples were constructed in between the 9th and 14th centuries. Visit the largest and iconic Angkor Wat which cover almost one square mile. Walking from the aisle, passing moats and enclosure walls, you will find the shape of main towers with the most central is highest ones at 65m (213 feet) high. Angkor Wat temple shows gorgeous historical and religious sculptures and get to know more about the Ancient Khmer culture. Not so far from Angkor Wat is the Angkor Thom, means big city, the capital of a complex with intriguing temples. Entering Angkor Thom, you will have a tour to some temples including the Bayon Temple with emerging giant 54 towers of 4 facets mysterious smiling faces. You then find 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 shadow of jungle to reach Ta Prohm Temple with the embrace of giant tree roots. 

Your culture tour pacakges of Vietnam Cambodia Laos will introduce an insight on Cambodia culture today. You will traverse to Bong Thom Village passing the countryside of Siem Reap of lush palm gardens and fields. Upon arriving, you will intermingle with the villagers learn more about their daily life, customs and cultures. Observe 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 the dish. Next, stop at some sugar palm stores and learn 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.

Back to your property for resting 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. Kompong Khleang is the farthest and least touristic offering authentic experiences. 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 the next part of your Cambodia Laos Vietnam itinerary - Luang Prabang, the ancient capital in the Northern Laos sitting at the junction of Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. This 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 best things in Luang Prabang and attend traditional Baci ceremony late afternoon to learn more about Laos culture. Start off the day with Vat Mai, a tranquil 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 by bricks. Move on to the most impressive temple Wat Xieng Thong complex with holy shrines showing the finest of Laos traditional art. Strolling around, you will find nice architecture, symbols as well as the stunning mosaics tree of life.

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, finally you will reach the Kuang Si waterfalls of terraces with crystal emerald water. Then go back to Luang Prabang town. Make a lovely 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.

Inclusions / Exclusions

Inclusions:

  • 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

Exclusions:

  • International and domestic flights

  • Visa and stamping fees

  • Tips and gratuities for guide, driver, etc.

  • Personal expenses and services not mentioned

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16 days
From: 3000 $

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