Two Pearls Of Southeast Asia Viet Nam - Laos
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  Duration: 14 DAYS/13 NIGHTS STYLE: Classic Travel

Two Pearls Of Southeast Asia Viet Nam - Laos

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This tour takes you to two very different SE Asian countries. Enjoy the excitement and magnificence of Vietnam and the extraordinary splendor of gentle Laos. You will visit cities, ancient towns, unique natural landscapes, spectacular historical and spiritual architectures and the natural friendliness of the peoples of both countries. 

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WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK THIS TOUR WITH US?
  • Personal attention to detail by all HGH from the time of your initial enquiry through to the end of your tour
  • 24 hour support available during the tour
  • Enjoy the degree of historical and cultural information throughout your tour from our local and knowledgeable tour hosts to the degree that you and your group are interested.
  • We focus on sustainable tourism by creating the very best experience for you as the tourist while supporting our local environment and local people
Itinerary Highlights
Day 1: Arrival Ho Chi Minh City

On your arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be picked up and transferred to check into your hotel (early check-in is subject to the hotel’s availability). Ho Chi Minh is the heart and soul of the south of Vietnam and is a bustling, dynamic and industrious city. It is not only the largest city but also the economic capital and trendsetter of Vietnam. Yet within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture. The city streets of Ho Chi Minh come to life as you experience a myriad of street markets, shops, pavements, cafes, stands-on-wheels and vendors all with their wares spread out on the sidewalks.

Your tour will start at the Reunification Palace, a tribute to the Vietnamese/American war when the gates came crashing down in Saigon to the North Vietnamese. In the same area is the Notre Dame Cathedral with the twin bell towers that form the most famous landmark in Ho Chi Minh as they aer visible for miles.

Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Day 2: HCM City – Vinh Long – HCM City

This morning takes out of the city for a beautiful scenic drive through the Mekong River Delta, home to the richest agricultural lands in Vietnam. Enjoy a boat trip to an island with orchard gardens and visit the beautiful Cai Be floating market- a famous place in the Mekong Delta. The Cai Be floating market is a magnificent site to see as hundreds of small merchant boats anchor alongside the banks of the river, trading their commodities to locals and tourists alike. We continue with our cruise through the maze of canals that crisscross around An Binh island.

Lunch at Mr. Muoi Huong’s old house. We can continue to enjoy the delicious fresh tropical fruits of the Delta as we continue to cruise through islands and cross the Mekong River to Vinh Long (2km), where we transfer back to our road transport and head back to Ho Chi Minh City. En route, we visit the bonsai garden. Enjoy dinner with typically delicious dishes and elegant music.

Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

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Day 3: HCM City – Hue

After breakfast, there is a half-day tour around the city and a visit to the Thien Hau Temple. Thien Hau is a 16th century Chinese temple in Cho Lon and dedicated to Thien Hau or the ‘goddess of the sea’ who is said to protect fishermen and sailors. The War Remnants Museum is a tribute to the Vietnam War and displays aspects of culture and history relating to that period. Especially touching are the examples of damage caused by agent orange and pictures taken by war correspondents of many nationationalies, who risked their lives (and some lost their lives) telling the story of the war.

Lunch at Chateau One Restaurant.

In the early afternoon, you will transfer to Tan Son NhatAirport to catch the flight to Hue in the Central region of Vietnam. Hue was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945) and was the home of past emperors.

After a short drive from the airport to the centre of town, the tour of Hue starts at the beautiful Imperial Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage Site since 1993. The 4 square kilometer site of the Citadel encloses the luxurious and secluded home of previous Emperors and includes the Imperial City and Forbidden City with various palaces, ornate halls, libraries, residences, colleges, Flag Tower and Noon Gate.

We then visit the traditional Dong Ba Market, a typical market that has existed in this way for centuries. Vendors sprawl their goods out for you. It's place where you can walk and select the items you want. Dinner at  ‘Y’ Thao Garden Restaurant.

Hotel in Hue.

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Day 4: Hue

Today starts with a boat trip down the romantic Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda,one of the oldest and most beautiful pagodas in Hue after which we go to see the Minh Mang Tomb. Ming Mang was emperor of Vietnam from 1820 to 1841. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch and take the chance to chat with the nuns to learn more about Buddhism or gain insight into their daily lives and their calligraphy art.

The afternoon takes us to the outskirts of Hue to explore the peaceful surroundings of the Tu Duc Tomb. On the way back we will stop at a traditional village where they make conical hats and incense. Enjoy dinner and relax to traditional folk music on the mystic dragon boat as it glides down the beautiful Perfume River.

Hotel in Hue.

Day 5: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

Leaving Hue, we head south to the more modern setting of Da Nang then onto the exotic Hoi An. Along the way, take the opportunity for panoramic photographs at the Hai Van Pass of Lang Co Beach. We will also stop to visit the Cham Museum located in Da Nang City. The museum offers the most extensive collection of Cham art sculptures found throughout the world. The sculptures date from the 7th to the 15th century.

Finally, you arrive in the charming World Cultural Heritage Site Hoi An. Dinner at Sakura Restaurant, a popular Japanese – Vietnamese restaurant on the banks of the Thu Bon River.

Hotel in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An

Enjoy a walking tour through the narrow and ancient streets of this charming town. Perhaps more than any other places in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years, merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religions and architecture. The town has the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, listed for having the ‘most unique’ architecture in Southeast Asia.It has been restored and protected by both the UNESCO funding and proud locals ever since. The tour takes in the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 400-year-oldJapanese Covered Bridge and old family houses.

Lunch at the Cargo Restaurant.

Hoi An is a very comfortable place to be for tourists who are well catered for with the many restaurants, Café’s and bars and shops that not only sell clothes and shoes, they will also make something to order within a 24 hour period. And everything is within easy walking distance.

The evenings are charming when the many lanterns light the riverside and the bridge.

You can then take the afternoon to relax and be lazy on the beach or be more adventurous by setting out to explore the surroundings of Hoi An by cycle… the choice is yours

Hotel in Hoi An

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Day 7: Hoi An – Da Nang – Ha Noi – Hoa Lu – Ha Noi

After breakfast, you leave Hoi An and head back to Da Nang to catch the flight to Ha Noi. From the airport, we travel 80 km south to the Ninh Binh Province. This is an area of outstanding beauty, unrivaled historical and religious sites. Often known as the ‘Ha Long Bay on Land’, the area has large rock structures jutting out of the water and the land that are reminiscent of the Bay.

A bord d'une barque traditionnelle, promenade en direction de Tam Coc, sur la rivière qui serpente entre collines karstiques et rizières. Balade à vélo de 4km le long d'une belle route de campagne au milieu de rizières et de rochers jusqu'à Bich Dong (grotte de jade), puis visite de la grotte. Les participants ne souhaitant pas faire de vélo seront transférés par bus à la grotte. Dîner en ville. Nuit à Ninh Binh.

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Day 8: Ha Noi – Ha Long

After breakfast, we drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful and mystical places in Southeast Asia. The day starts with a leisurely boat ride through the breathtaking Ha Long Bay where you will see unique mountainous rock formations (karsts) reaching majestically out of the water. We can enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh seafood cooked in a characteristically Vietnamese style while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay, Teapot Islet, Blockhouse Islet, and Goat Head Islet.

After lunch, explore the mystery of Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay. This is en route to the beach where you can enjoy swimming & kayaking in the bay. We return to the boat in time to settle in and enjoy a spectacular sunset while cruising to the Hang Trong area to anchor at Ho Dong Tien. During the evening, relax in the casual and comfortable atmosphere on the luxury boat and enjoy an elegant dining experience.

To complete a perfect day, relax on deck under the clear, starry sky, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Bay before retiring to your cabin.

Overnight on Board

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Day 9: Ha Long – Ha Noi

The cruise continues explore karsts. Some of which display fantastic shapes, many of which have ancient stories connected to them. We also pass Hoa Cuong and Ga Choi Islands on the way to visit the Luon Cave. Back onboard, we have an early lunch before saying goodbye to the boat and to the crew. On the way back to Ha Noi, we have a short stop at the Bat Trang ceramics and pottery village where they make and sell all kinds of ceramics, embroidery and marble statues.

We will enjoy dinner at the “Rung” Restaurant before going to see the unique and intriguing Water Puppet Show, a traditional folk performance held on the Red River Delta.

Hotel in Ha Noi.

Day 10: Ha Noi – Luang Prabang

A city tour of Hanoi starts with a visit to the Hoan Kiem Lake where you will see the Ngoc Son Temple. The temple worships Saint Van Xuong and Tran Hung Dao, a former general commander. We will then take a short drive to visit the Temple of Literature. Built in October 1073 to worship Confucius, it is the first known university in Vietnam.

 

Hanoi is one of the few places found in this part of the world that has such elegance. Walk down the tree lined boulevards where we see many French influences such as Hanoi Opera House, the State Bank, the former Governor's palace, and the Hanoi Cathedral (Saint Joseph’s built in the late 19th century). You can then relax and enjoy a completely different part of this diverse city on a 1-hour cyclo ride around the 36 streets in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. It is then time for lunch ata local restaurant.

In the early afternoon, you go to the airport to catch the flight to Luang Prabang in Laos. A short drive takes you to your hotel after which you are free to venture out on your own or relax in your hotel room.

Hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Day 11: Luang Prabang

The former king’s Palace is now the National Museum and is the first stop of the day on our tour of Luang Prabang. French architects used existing Palace foundations to create the current building in 1909. At the museum, you will see a blend of French's and Lao's art such as the paintings and murals of the royal family. In the reception area, you can see busts of all the past Lao's kings.

After the museum, we visit the peaceful Wat Visoun, a 16th century temple that served as a small museum for religious artifacts. Following the Wat Visoun, you see Wat Aham, built in the 19th century. This temple houses two guardian figures at the foot of the steps. The figures represent two characters from the Ramayana – Hanuman, the Monkey god and a fierce Yaksa.

Wat Mai is the largest and most richly decorated of the temples in Luang Prabang.

As a total change of energy, you can enjoy a casual stroll around the Darat market to observe the locals buying and selling goods and to take the opportunity to pick up some bargains for yourself of course. We then climb the 328 steps to the summit of Phousi Hill. The hill dominates the skyline of Luang Prabang and provides the finest panoramic view in the city. For the remainder of the day, you are free to do whatever you wish.

Hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Day 12: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang

After breakfast, we visit the 450-year-old World Heritage Site of Wat Xieng Thong, which has survived Chinese sieges as well the wear and tear of time. It is a great place to visit to experience and gain insights into the Buddhist religion. After Wat Zieng Thong, we take a 2-hour riverboat cruise up the Mekong River towards the Pak Ou, at the confluence of the Nam Ou, and Mekong Rivers. Here you will visit the sacred caves of Tham Ting and Tham Phum, home to hundreds of Buddha Statues.

 

You will have lunch at a local restaurant near one of the caves before heading back to Luang Prabang. On the way, we will stop at the Ban Xang Hai village where they distill sticky rice wine. We also visit the weaving village of the Ban Xang Khong where the traditional Sa paper is made.

Hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Day 13: Luang Prabang – Vientiane

After breakfast, you go to the airport to catch the flight to the capital city of Vientiane. Our guide is waiting to welcome you and take you to your hotel. (Early check-in is NOT included and is subject to hotels availability).

The city tour will take you to the city’s major historic sites including, Wat Si Saket - the oldest standing temple in Vientiane and among the most atmospheric. Built in 1818 by Chao Anou Wat Saket, it is in the Bangkok style. Within the cloister walls are hundreds of niches housing Buddha images large and small, made of wood, stone, silver and bronze. Wat Haw Pha Kaew (opposite Wat Si Saket) is King Setthathirat's former royal temple and housed the magical Emerald Buddha (Pha Kaew) after it was taken from Lanna (Chiang Mai). The interior is now a small jumbled museum housing Buddha images. Look out for the beautiful tall, lithe, long-armed Buddha in the hands-down "calling for rain" pose. 

 

That Luang Stupa is the national symbol and most important religious monument in Laos. It is a three-layered gilded stupa. The current version dates from 1566, although it has been damaged and renovated numerous many times. Patuxai (Victory Gate), is a local version of Parisian Arc de Triomphe. Aside from the monument itself, the palm tree lined park with its fountains is a beautiful place to relax.

Vietianne is a friendly cosmopolitan town that has the feel of a small town more than a capital city. It is a delightful place to wander around. The riverside is especially lovely. You can also climb up the 7th layers (by stairs only) for a beautiful view of downtown Vientiane. Afterwards, enjoy a casual stroll around the Morning Central market to observe the locals buying and selling goods and taking advantage of the interesting craft products.

Hotel in Vientiane

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Day 14: Vientiane – Departure

After breakfast, you are free to go shopping or sightseeing while you wait for your ride to the airport for your departure flight.

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