Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam Inside – 16 Days
Starts : Phnom Penh City , ends : Ho Chi Minh City
Trip code: LCVI16D
Ages: Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
Accommodation: Hotel 4 & 5 stars
Transport: Boat, Private Van /Car, Plane
Tour Type: Private (min 2 persons)
Day 1 : Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh
Our tour commences today in the “Pearl of the Orient”, Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
At the height of the colonial era, Phnom Penh was considered the most beautiful city in Southeast Asia, earning it the nickname “Pearl of the Orient”. Sadly, during the 1970s, it became the site of devastation as the Khmer Rouge forcibly evicted the city’s entire population and sent them to labour in the fields. Today, the remnants of Phnom Penh’s history survive in the shape of colonial buildings and war museums, but the city itself has cast off the spectres of its troubled past to become a place of life and vitality.
On arrival at Phnom Penh airport you will be met by your guide or tour leader and accompanied to our accommodation. Tonight, once all members of the group have arrived, we will venture out into the city to indulge in an included welcome dinner at a restaurant of your tour leader’s choice.
Day 2-4: Phnom Penh city tour > Siem Reap
Explore ancient and modern history in Phnom Penh before flying on to Siem Reap, home of Angkor Wat.
This morning we explore both the sombre aspects of modern history and the more ancient history of the city. The day will begin with a visit to the Royal Palace and National Museum – the latter being home to the world’s foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artefacts. After a break continue to the Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek, Cambodia’s most infamous killing field.
Later this afternoon we fly on from Phnom Penh to low-rise, laid-back Siem Reap, gateway to the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor. After clearing customs and checking in to our centrally-located hotel, the remainder of the day will be at leisure.
On day 3 we will start early to beat the crowds and savour the magical atmosphere of sunrise at Pre Rup Temple. Though much less famous than sunrise at Angkor Wat, this promises to be no less beautiful – and certainly much less crowded.
We then set out like the early explorers to visit the "Tomb Raider Temple", Ta Prohm, before moving on to the magnificent temples of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire. We enter through the East Gate of the towering city wall, beneath the gaze of the great stone faces, and continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, known for their intricate bas-reliefs.
We finish our morning at the Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur; 54 towers with huge, impassive faces staring out over the engulfing jungle.
The afternoon is yours to explore further or relax at the hotel before a late afternoon visit to the king of temples, Angkor Wat, built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The largest and best-preserved of all the Angkorian ruins, Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s most famous attraction – and justly so. Visiting in the late afternoon will give us a chance to enjoy the temple after the bulk of the tourist crowds have dispersed, as the sun casts its golden light on the miles of beautiful bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
Day four is a free day for personal exploration. You may like to hire a bike or jump in a tuk tuk to explore further under your own steam, or join your tour leader on an adventure to some outlying and less-visited temples. You’ll round off your time in Siem Reap with a visit to the Phare Circus, a fantastic spectacle that gives disadvantaged Cambodian youths the chance to make a living as performers. This is an excellent social enterprise, and the show is guaranteed not to disappoint!
Day 5-6 : Luang Prabang
Visit the vast lake of Tonlé Sap before moving on from Cambodia to Laos and the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang.
On the morning of day 5 we head out of Siem Reap to visit the vast Tonlé Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. We take a local boat out to Kampong Phluck, a village where you will see stilt houses whose supports are submerged when Tonlé Sap Lake extends during the rainy season. On the way, we will pass floating houses and impressive flooded forests, giving you an insight into life on the water.
We will return to town for a final souvenir-hunting opportunity in Cambodia before heading to the airport for our flight over the border to the enchanting town of Luang Prabang in northern Laos. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site – truly a museum without walls.
On day 6 we will commence our exploration of the town at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family, and is now home to exhibits of art and jewels as well as the residence itself.
From here, we continue on foot to visit Wat Mai, with its unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs. During Pimai, the Lao New Year, the small Buddha statue normally housed in the Royal Palace Museum is brought and put on public display in this temple. Our last stop before lunch is Wat Visoun (dating back to 1513), which contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas.
After lunch, we will continue to the Traditional Art & Ethnology Centre. The centre is dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Traditional costumes, tools, and artefacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories, providing a great insight in to the Lao people. We finish our day on a high by climbing the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
Day 7: Luang Prabang > discovery Nam Ou River
Visit the beautiful riverside village of the local Khmu people and paddle back to Nong Khiaw by kayak.
This morning we’ll wake up bright and early and head into Luang Prabang to watch the morning alms, a peaceful ceremony during which the monks of the city file through the streets collecting offerings in silence.
After breakfast we head out of town and drive north through glorious mountain scenery toward Nong Khiaw, passing the villages of local minority groups along the route. We check in and have lunch at our accommodation before embarking on a fabulous afternoon boating and kayaking on the Nam Ou River.
We set off upstream by boat, travelling for 40 minutes to the beautiful riverside village of the local Khmu people. After exploring the village and meeting the locals we return to the river, receive an introduction and instruction from our river guide, and paddle back downstream by kayak, getting back to Nong Khiaw by late afternoon. For those not keen to kayak, the option of travelling by boat is available.
Overnight: Mandala Ou Resort
Day 8 : Luang Prabang.
Cruise along the Nam Ou River from Nong Khiaw back to Luang Prabang.
Today is a day for relaxing and exploring as you and your guide head down the river to visit the Pak Ou Caves. The journey starts with a two hour drive by car, after passing the dam on the river, we will board a private long boat and cruise down the Nam Ou River through the magnificent scenery of northern Laos, back toward Luang Prabang. We will stop for lunch along the way, and pay a visit to the sacred Pak Ou Caves, where thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff overlooking the river. We reach Luang Prabang in the late afternoon and enjoy a final evening in lovely Laos.
Day 9-10: Hanoi city
Our final morning in Luang Prabang is at leisure for further exploration, before a mid-afternoon flight takes us on to the third of our Indochina countries, Vietnam.
Our first stop in Vietnam is Hanoi, where our base will be in the heart of the city’s old town, within a few minutes’ walk of Hoan Kiem Lake. This evening your group will enjoy a delicious included dinner at the home of a local family, giving you an insight into the everyday lives of Vietnamese people in the capital.
On day ten you will have a full day to explore the city with your tour leader. Beginning at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, voted the “sixth most ugly building in the world” by CNN International in 2012, your tour will give you an overview of both ancient and modern history. After seeing Uncle Ho’s preserved body on display at the mausoleum, you can move on to visit the former leader’s former residence, a modest wooden stilt house, and admire the much grander prospect of the neighbouring Presidential Palace.
Your dose of ancient history comes at the Temple of Literature, a fine example of traditional Vietnamese architecture built in 1070. The morning ends at Tran Quoc, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi and the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh.
In the afternoon you are free to head off under your own steam, or see what your tour leader has planned, but we’ll reconvene later on to take in a performance of the traditional northern Vietnamese Water Puppets.
Day 11: Halong Bay cruise overnight on boat
Explore the spectacular karst pinnacles of Halong Bay aboard a Chinese-style junk.
Today we will leave Hanoi early in the morning and drive east to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam’s most impressive landscapes. We will board a traditional Chinese-style junk boat in the late morning and set sail into the wonderful scenery of the bay whilst a lovely fresh seafood lunch is served.
We will have plenty of time to relax, as well as having opportunities to disembark for swimming, kayaking, and a visit to one of the area’s brightly coloured floating villages.
Day 12-14: Hoi An old town
Fly south to Danang and journey on to Hoi An, a beautiful and ancient port town.
A leisurely morning of cruising through the bay brings us back to the harbour in late morning. We return by coach to Hanoi, where we will arrive in time for our flight south to Danang. On arrival, a coach will be waiting to transfer us down the coast to Hoi An, an ancient trading port whose streets are packed with the influence of centuries of foreign trade. The rest of the day will be at leisure, giving you time to begin exploring the Old Town.
If your departure of Indochina Encompassed is timed to coincide with the Hoi An Lantern Festival, you’ll have the chance to admire the town as its residents evoke the atmosphere of ancient Vietnam by switching off electric lights, closing the streets to traffic, and decorating the town with coloured paper lanterns. Whether or not you are able to catch the festival, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic evening.
On day 13, a morning walking tour of the Old Town helps you get your bearings sufficiently to make the most of your afternoon at leisure. You may wish to simply relax by the hotel pool, or you might prefer to take part in a cooking lesson at one of the local restaurants. If this is something that interests you, your tour leader will be happy to book you in.
Day 14 will be a free day, allowing you to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this wonderful port town. If you like, you can join your tour group at an optional cookery class this morning, during which you’ll visit the market to buy the fresh ingredients before heading to the kitchen to get stuck in.
If you are itching to get some exercise, we suggest renting bicycles and heading out into the beautiful countryside surrounding the town. There are also some fantastic Cham Dynasty ruins at My Son, around an hour’s drive from the Hoi An, for those who fancy a little history.
Day 15-16 : Ho chi Minh city
A short flight today will bring us to Ho Chi Minh City, our final destination.
We will finish the tour in style, staying in a fantastic location just by the Opera House in District One. Bustling streets filled with restaurants, shops and cafés are right on your doorstep, with many of the city’s most impressive colonial sights within walking distance of your hotel.
This afternoon your tour leader will take you on a walking tour of the city’s famous sights, including Benh Thanh Market – perfect for a bit of last-minute souvenir shopping. A final group meal will round off our expedition, with a last chance to reminisce on the highlights of the trip and exchange addresses before parting ways the following day.
Sadly our tour comes to a close on day 16, and we must all go our separate ways. Unless you have chosen to extend your trip with a few days to explore the Mekong Delta or on one of Vietnam’s excellent beaches, you will be taken to Ho Chi Minh International Airport by your guide and waved off on your return flight home.
All accommodations (with Twin/Double rooms) while on tour
The tour price includes all hotel accommodations with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available accommodations without sacrificing value. Although the quality may vary slightly from one hotel to another, our commitment to your comfort is unwavering. Two-bedded rooms and One-beded with Queen size rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are accommodated in two-bedded rooms plus a rollaway cot where available, and are not recommended for comfort.
All transfers and road transport in modern, air-conditioned vehicles
– For a private smaller groups (2pax -10pax), modern sedan cars and minibuses are used.
– For tour groups of 11pax or more travelers, air-conditioned Hyundai with 19- 25-35 seats are used on all road journeys. These vehicles are designed with excellent viewing windows and a high roof. All our vehicles are modern, spacious, comfortable, well-maintained, and safe
•Complimentary airport transfer on arrival and on departure days
All Breakfasts & Lunches on tour
• Breakfast – Is always included on all Vietnam Royal Tourism – European Continental breakfasts are supplied at the hotels where you stay. The Continental style usually consists of rolls, butter, jams, tea or coffee and juices.
• Lunch – Your Lunch meals are included and generally served at a local restaurant
• Dinner – is not included and is always up to you – allows you the freedom to eat what you want and enjoy the local flavors.
Please note: If you have special dietary requirements (eg Vegetarian), let us know so we can notify restaurants and prepare appropriate food for you.
Experienced, friendly and knowledgeable guides.
Your tour guide is a professional, fully trained employee of Vietnam Royal Tourism
All sightseeing as specified including entrance fees
Airfare While on Tour
– All on-tour flights must be purchased through Vietnam Royal Tourism as part of your tour package . From the moment you land in the starting city to the moment you are transferred to the airport in the end city, all transport arrangements are taken care of by us.
– The cost of international flights from your country to Asia (starting city) is not included in our prices. We believe we are giving all our customers, wherever you live, the flexibility to travel from regional airports, in any class of travel and include a stopover en route if you so wish. It also allows you the opportunity to use your frequent flyer points if you so wish
Visa Approval Code or Visa on Arrival
– After approval, we will fax or email you a copy of the Approval letter as an attachment
– Our Service do not include the Stamping Fee of about US$25-165/ 1pax to be submitted directly to the Embassy or Consulate (the stamping fee vary from Embassy to Embassy) or pay at Airport for Stamping Fee with Visa on Arrival
+ International airfare& airport taxes
+ Travel insurance
+ Surcharges for compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges (which will be advised at time of booking) ,
+ Personal expenses
+ Tips & gratuities