Overview

The land of the ascending dragon of Vietnam and million elephants of Laos calls out to the adventurer in you to experience this memorable 15-day trip across the 2 countries hosting several well-known cities and natural wonders.

Right from the mornings spent experiencing the surreal rituals of monks at Luang Prabang to saving your breath while slithering through the narrow cavities of Cu Chi Tunnels in Saigon and finding the simple joy of sharing a traditional Vietnamese meal with locals in Hanoi, these two weeks tailored by our experienced travellers and guides are bound to leave you astonished, enlightened and craving for more by the end of the journey. Come and be a part of this takeaway of a trove of lasting memories, from two of Southeast Asia’s most pleasant countries.

Notes:

Museums remain shut twice a week. Monday and Friday
The Mausoleum in Hanoi are open throughout the year apart from September and October
Hiring cycles and two wheelers are subject to government permits and availability of vehicles
14 Nights 15 Days 18 Nov, 19 Nov, 20 Nov, and more
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

Shared accommodation in twin rooms, with air conditioning and individual restrooms

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as per mentioned in the itinerary

Road travel with local guides in private AC 4 wheelers

Entrance/admit fees to all destinations mentioned in the itinerary

What is NOT included in the tour

Personal travel insurance and other expenses

International airfare to/from Vietnam and Laos

Night-time ferrying services (after 23:00 hrs and before 06:00 hrs)

Request for guides speaking languages of your preference

Expenses for visa application in your country of origin or visa on arrival, as applicable

Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Enjoy performances/shows at the world famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi.
  • Relax onboard a leisurely cruise to a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Halong Bay.
  • Visit the complex underground network of the “Cu Chi” Tunnels in Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City) and its shared history during the 20 years of the Vietnam War.
  • Enjoy the hospitality of Vietnamese locals and explore the many cuisines and staple diets of Vietnamese citizens in their homes.
  • Explore the history of the city of Hue which was Vietnam’s national capital from 1802 to 1945, and the seat of the kingdoms of emperors from the Nguyen Dynasty.
  • Be a part of excursions held through the historic city of Hoi An, exploring its rich architectural history and culture.
  • A quick tutorial and introduction to the widely popular game of petanque which also doubles up as a light exercise, at Luang Prabang.
  • Take lessons in archery, stilt-walking, bamboo weaving, and cooking meals using bamboo among many other games and activities at the scenic Bamboo Experience in Laos.
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh city
  • Begin by meeting your designated tour operator as you land at Saigon's Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
  • Soon afterwards be driven to your hotel where you spend the remainder of your day at your own leisure, or choose to take part in our daily excursions held in and around Ho Chi Minh City.
  • There are no meals included on the first day.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City- Cu Chi Tunnels
  • First thing in the morning, drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels; an intricate complex of underground routes of travel used during the Vietnam War.
  • It is speculated that the tunnels run up to a total distance, which lies in excess of 200 kilometres, consisting of many points leading to secret hideouts, etc.
  • As soon as you make your way out of the complex system of underground tunnels, move on ahead to savour lunch at a local restaurant. Soon after, head on to explore the city, during the tour that covers many places, including the Thien Hau Pagoda, the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum and a local lacquerware workshop.Meals include breakfast at your hotel and lunch at a restaurant.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City- My Tho
  • On the third day of the journey, the trip continues to My Tho - famous for its vast rice fields and scenic landscape.
  • Hop on aboard a boat to the Mekong River with a local coconut candy workshop situated close to the bank that produces handicrafts, and dessert items made from coconuts. Trot on a short ride thereafter in a horse driven carriage to enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and live music shows held at the orchards nearby.
  • You will then be led through canals and river passageways by flat bottomed Chinese wooden boats to witness and experience the everyday lives of the generations of people who have been living along the the riverbanks before setting back for My Tho Pier.
  • Pay homage at the Vinh Trang Pagoda in the afternoon after lunch at a local eatery, and end your day with the drive back to Ho Chi Minh City to spend the evening as per your leisure.
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City- Hue
  • Pick up to the airport from your hotel, and board a flight to Hue.
  • Travel to the hotel in the city of Hue as you land, and head out on an exploration of the city that was once the national capital of Vietnam between 1802 to 1945; it also served as the kingdom of the emperors from the Nguyen dynasties.
  • Arrive at Hue Citadel, built by Emperor Gia Long, being exclusively reserved for use by him and his family. The Citadel is situated on the northern bank of the Perfume River.
  • The citadel is built within a two-square-kilometre wall, encompassing three additional walled enclosures. One of them includes the Forbidden Purple City. The citadel is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
  • End the day long excursion at “Healing the Wounded Heart” shop displaying products made by local disabled and disadvantaged artisans. It is an eco-friendly fair trade shop.
  • Meals include, breakfast served at the hotel and lunch organised at the Ancient Hue Restaurant.
Day 5: Hue - Hoi An
  • Take a morning flight and arrive at the historic city of Hoi An.
  • The city of Hoi An was once one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia during the 16th century and still retains its distinctive Vietnamese and Chinese atmosphere with low, tiled-roof houses and narrow streets with the original structure of some streets still virtually intact. Many of the town’s houses are constructed from rare timbers and decorated with lacquer panels engraved with Chinese characters and carved pillars. One of the best ways to discover Hoi An and its surroundings is by walking so enjoy a relaxed walk to discover the daily life of the local people – green paddy fields, vegetable gardens, markets, temples, historic houses, fishermen and stunning countryside scenes will simply mesmerise you. This tour offers great photo opportunities!
  • Accommodation at hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch at local restaurant, Dinner at hotel (applied for group from 15 clients up)
DAY 6: Sightseeing in Hoi An
  • Spend the day as you please, exploring all of Hoi An!
  • Accommodation at hotel.
  • Meals included: Breakfast at hotel and lunch at local restaurant.
Day 7: Hoi An- Danang- Hanoi
  • In the morning, leave for Danang Airport and fly to Hanoi.
  • Short rest at the hotel on arrival to Hanoi, and post that a roundsome city tour, stopping off at places like the Temple of Literature, which is said to be a 1,000 year old structure and is also known as the first university in Vietnam; other stops also include the nototrious Hoa Lo Prison, etc.
  • Enjoy a performance at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre among the many theatres displaying Vietnam’s traditional art of water puppetry. The unique art-form dates back to the tenth century. It originated in northern Vietnam were farmers in the region used this method to celebrate festivals and harvests by performing this unique art form. The puppets are carved and/or built of wood, and usually stand between 16 inches to 3 feet in height/length. Using the puppets in water, by manipulating its movements is usually part of a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation within families. The technique used is kept confidential which makes it that unique to the country of Vietnam, and takes immense amounts of practice and skill.
  • Spend evening time sharing a meal/supper of staple Vietnamese dishes such as stir-fried water morning glory, roasted sesame and peanuts, spring rolls, etc. with a local family in the confines of their residence, where you will be given a personal tour of their home and lifestyle, and be shown the traditional vietnamese ancestral altar and place of worship, giving you an idea about the family’s history.
  • Meals include, breakfast. And later, dinner with a local family.
Day 8: Overnight in Cruise
  • Travel from the Old Quarter district of Hanoi to Dinh Vu Port, Haiphong.
  • A night time cruise through one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ on Halong Bay which remains untouched and unchanged over centuries, organised by Orchid Cruise, where you will be served a welcome drink onboard and be briefed on the various safety measures by the crew before you set sail.
  • Once the cruise ship heads out, you will be taken towards the Da Chong islet, where you can see a 100 year old lighthouse that was built by the French while lunch is served, while the ship routes ahead via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. You will also be able to witness breathtaking sights as you sail right before the amazing natural phenomena of the limestone karst formations that rise up out of the sea.
  • Also, see how the local fishermen function and go about their everyday lives, casting nets etc. while you are navigated on to the Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay, a separate part of Halong Bay.
  • Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim. In the winter months (December to March) guests may visit Viet Hai village with a guide where one can cycle along the village path through rainforests and tunnels and enjoy stunning its rice fields on the way before stopping at the village to relax. (An optional electric cart service is available at an extra cost.) While the evenings are spent, watching sunsets over the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • You may even choose to spend your time taking a traditional Vietnamese cooking class where the onboard chef will display how to prepare popular Vietnamese dishes; or take part in Happy Hour on deck.
  • Dinner will be served, consisting of local food in an intimate setting after which you can relax on the top deck with a drink in hand.
  • You can also opt for separate activities, such as squid fishing at night, watching a film or booking a massage treatment.
  • Accommodation on Orchid Cruise (Suite Balcony cabin)
  • Meals include: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch on board and dinner on board.

Note: Our tour guide will not be on board.

Day 9: Halong Bay- Hanoi
  • From Hanoi’s Old Quarter, transfer to Dinh Vu Port, Haiphong for the next adventure – an overnight journey on Halong Bay with Orchid Cruise. Enjoy a special tea in the Orchid Cruise’s lounge before being welcomed aboard the boat and checking in.
  • After a welcome drink and safety briefing by the crew, get ready to sail through one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’. Unchanged for centuries, Halong Bay is steeped in striking vistas, beautiful seas and impressive islands.
  • Head first toward the Da Chong islet, where you can see a lighthouse that was built by the French over 100 years ago and enjoy an on-board lunch before continuing the journey via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner and remain in an untouched area as not many cruise ships use this route.
  • Continue on to the Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay, a separate part of Halong Bay that is known for its pristine beaches and spectacular beauty with roughly 400 fascinating forested islands. Next, witness how the local fishermen go about their trade, casting nets whilst navigating the waters in their tiny boats. Alternatively, you may prefer to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim. In the winter months (December to March) guests may visit Viet Hai village with a guide where one can cycle along the village path through rainforests and tunnels and enjoy stunning its rice fields on the way before stopping at the village to relax. (An optional electric cart service is available at an extra cost.)
  • In the evening, watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Back on board, join a traditional cooking class where a chef will demonstrate how to prepare popular Vietnamese dishes or take part in Happy Hour on the deck. Enjoy a delicious dinner of local food in an intimate, romantic setting before relaxing on the top deck with a drink in hand. Additional activities, such as night squid fishing, watching a film or booking a massage treatment through the Cruise Manager, are also available.
  • Accommodation on Orchid Cruise (Suite Balcony cabin)
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch on board, Dinner on board

Note: Our tour guide will not be on board.

Day 10: Hanoi- Vientiane
  • Morning time, reach Hanoi/Noi Bai International Airport for a flight to Vientiane, Laos. Upon reaching the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane meet the tour guide present at Laos, and begin with a city tour starting by visiting Vat Sisaket, which happens to be the oldest temple in the city.
  • After which you continue onto the morning market (Talaat Sao), known for its silk weaving, metal and wood carving handiworks.
  • Later, visit the COPE Visitor Centre. Standing for the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, which helps  provides prosthetics and other assistive services free of charge for people who are unable to afford them. Most of  the people benefitting from the services were the ones affected from the Vietnam War which ended in 1975.
  • The excursion comes to an end with a tasting session of local Lao coffee at the Sinouk Coffee Shop.
  • Meals include, breakfast at hotel.
Day 11: Vientiane- That Luang
  • Breakfast at the hotel after which you are taken to Haw Phra Kaew - which was the former location which housed the famous Emerald Buddha.
  • Moving on, visit one of the most photographed images of Vientiane, Patousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari.
  • After a leisurely lunch, drive towards the outskirts of the city to discover the unique Buddha Park, Friendship Bridge, amongst other attractions. End the day with a stroll along the banks of the Mekong River at sunset.
Day 12: Vientiane- Luang Prabang
  • After breakfast you are driven to Wattay International Airport for a flight to Luang Prabang. On landing at Luang Prabang Airport, you will be checked into the hotel where you will spend time relaxing before the tour guide for the city arrives.
  • The city of Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved colonial city in Southeast Asia, brimming with culture and history for which the city was awarded the title of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
  • A visit to Vat Visoun, and That Makmo. Next, on the list holds a visit to the most important Buddhist monastery in the country Vat Xieng Thong.
  • End the day by stopping at the former Royal Palace, now a National Museum.
Day 13: Luang Prabang- Pak Ou Cave
  • As dawn breaks, you have the option of witnessing a flurry of monks appearing throughout the streets of Luang Prabang. They walk in a trance like state in a single file, while the city folk come out to offer food to the monks. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
  • Soon after a visit to Vat Mai, built in 1796 and famous for its five-tiered roof.
  • A short trip on a traditional riverboat up the Mekong River, visiting the caves of Pak Ou which house thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha.
  • Next is a village named Ban Xang Hai, famous for distilling traditional rice alcohol for the last 2,000 years and storing it in large jars.
  • Later while back in Luang Prabang continue by car to visit Ban Xang Khong, another weaving village where traditional sa paper is produced.
  • Lastly, learn how to play a game of petanque with locals before heading back to your hotel.
Day 14: Bamboo Experience
  • Journey to The Bamboo Experience to learn the importance of bamboo and the work it is used in Laos, and its significance within Lao culture with the natural scenic views around for company. Be acquainted with the many bamboo products such as baskets, fishing tools, musical instruments. Take part in a bamboo weaving class or learn how to sharpen knives meant for bamboo cutting. Proceed to the class where they teach you cooking with bambooto see how dishes are prepared, such as bamboo shoot soup, bamboo shoots steamed in banana leaves, fermented bamboo shoot dipping and sticky rice, etc.
  • Proceed the day with a trip to the surreal waterfalls of Kuang Si that tumble over a untouched and unchanged centuries old limestone formations.
  • Dinner at the Manda De Laos in the evening. A very popular restaurant in Luang Prabang  – where you have the option of choosing from a variety of savoury Asian or Lao menu before returning to the hotel.
  • Meals include: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Day 15: Departure
  • Last day of the journey begins with morning breakfast at the hotel, before leaving to Luang Prabang Airport for your flight back home.