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Cruise the Mekong - Thailand & Discover Indochina

24 Days - 2014

luang say cruiseOur tour begins in bustling Bangkok where the golden temples and palaces will enthrall you. Later fly to the cooler climes of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to board your wooden cruise boat and float down the Mekong to Pakbeng. Later cruise to Luang Prabang and continue your visit to Vientiane, from there fly to Hanoi to begin your discovery of Vietnam. Visit the most important sites and some of the off-the-beaten path ones too. Then fly to Siem Reap to view the Angkor Temples and you will return home with amazing memories of an once-in-alifetime vacation!

Tour Itinerary | Quotation | Booking Information

Land Tour Itinerary


Arrive in Bangkok. Meet and greet our English speaking guide and transfer to your hotel. Rest of day at leisure to get over jet-lag.

Overnight in Bangkok

Breakfast and we drive you to visit the Grand Palace Complex, which includes the Temple of The Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand’s Holiest treasures. The Palace is said to be one of the wonders of the modern World and has within its grounds an exotic Buddhist temple housing a fabulous solid Jade Buddha.  This Palace, built in 1782, was formerly, the official home of the Kings of Siam and is built in traditional Thai architecture mixed with some European designs. You will also visit the Royal Funeral Hall and The Royal Coronation Hall. Passing through Chinatown your next stop is Wat Po (‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’), which is the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok

Afternoon free at leisure.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Day 3        Bangkok - Floating Market - Bangkok (Breakfast, Lunch)

Early morning we take you to the un-spoilt rural floating market of Damnern Saduak, situated 110 km west of Bangkok. Your journey commences with a leisurely drive past rice paddies and salt fields. Arriving at the jetty, you board long-tailed boats and cruise through the many small canals that make up the market at Damnern Saduak. Here, you will be fascinated by boats of various shapes and sizes used by local merchants to ferry their goods.  Your tour includes a visit to Nakorn Pathom where the world’s tallest Buddha monument is located. Lunch is at the Rose Garden Resort, in a restaurant overlooking the river.

thai villageAfter lunch you will be treated to a Thai village show, which includes cultural activities and displays of Thai dancing; Thai wedding ceremony; Thai boxing; sword fighting and a host of other activities.


Return to Bangkok and overnight in Bangkok.

Day 4         Bangkok - Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Breakfast and transfer to Suvannabhumi Airport for flight to Chiang Mai.
Arrive in Chiang Mai, meet and transfer to your hotel. Day at leisure for your own activities
In the evening enjoy night market in Chiang Mai.     

Overnight in Chiang Mai

Day 5          Chiang Mai  (Breakfast, Lunch)
tribal womanAfter breakfast, leave from your hotel and we drive to Mae Rim District for Mae Sa Elephant Camp, see an Elephant shows. Optional: You can also ride on an Elephant (at an Extra charge). Visit a newly discovered, Meo hill tribe village and see Meo tribal men and women living in authentic natural conditions. And later visit an Orchid Nursery & Butterfly farm.  Lunch at local restaurant will be provided.    

Overnight in Chiang Mai

Day 6          Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai (Breakfast, Lunch)
Breakfast and drive to Chiang Rai via Wiang Papao.  First stop at Mae Kachan Hot Spring.  Continue drive to Chiang Rai with visit City tour in Chiang Rai. Then, transfer to drop off at the hotel in Chiang Rai.   

Overnight in Chiang Rai

Breakfast and transfer to Chiang Khong Border to board Luansay Cruise.

** END OF THAILAND SERVICES **

ITINERARY FOR LAOS, VIETNAM & CAMBODIA (SIEM REAP)

* No local guide

Arrival in Huay Xai (Laos/Thai border)

On board the Luangsay Cruise from Huay Xai to Pakbeng (Downstream), Day 1 of 2

luang say cruiseFirst thing in the morning the Pak Ou boat leaves the pier for a leisurely cruise down the Mekong for Pakbeng. Several stops along the way offer the opportunity to sample rural life first hand and marvel at just how little has changed over the centuries.

Overnight in Pakbeng

Day 8         Pakbeng - Luang Prabang (Breakfast / Lunch: Meal on board Luangsay Cruise)

On board the Luangsay Cruise from Pakbeng to Luang Prabang (Downstream), Day 2 of 2

pak ou cavesThe boat leaves in the morning for the second leg of the cruise to Luang Prabang. Lunch on board and on to Pak Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River to visit the famous PAK OU CAVES. Stop off at the village of BAN XANG HAI for a lesson in how rice whisky is made. Arrival in Luang Prabang is in the late afternoon.

Transfer to your hotel

Overnight in Luang Prabang


Day 9          Luang Prabang (Breakfast)
Sightseeing in Luang Prabang

national museum - royal palaceSet between the Nam Khan and Nam Ou rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Start the day at the NATIONAL MUSEUM (ROYAL PALACE), a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos.

wat maiAfterwards, visit WAT MAI and WAT VISOUN (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddha’s. Visit the nearby WAT AHAM before continuing to WAT XIENG THONG, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stenciled murals. From there, stroll down the main street of Luang Prabang, stopping at some of the many temples that line its sides, including WAT SIBOUNHEUANG, WAT SI MOUNGKHOUN, WAT SOP and WAT SENE.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 10          Luang Prabang (Breakfast)
Excursion to Ban Phanom and the tomb of Henri Mouhot

BAN PHANOM: Tai Lue village east of Luang Prabang, well known for hand weaving cotton and silk.

henry mouhot tombMOUHOT’S TOMB: located near Ban Phanom is the tomb of the French explorer Henri Mouhot – known as the man who discovered Angkor Wat. Mouhot perished of malaria in Luang Prabang on 10 November 1861.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 11          Luang Prabang - Vientiane (Breakfast)
AM: Excursion by boat to Tham Pak Ou Caves
Travel up the Mekong River to the steep limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, home to the THAM PAK OU CAVES. These extraordinary caves are filled with Buddha images, of every style and material imaginable.

ban xang hai villageOn the way to Pak Ou Cave, stop at BAN XANG HAI VILLAGE (If time permitted, open 6:00 am - 3:00 pm and closed on every Buddha day), a local village famous for the production of lao lao, the local rice wine whisky.

PM: Transfer Flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane.
Transfer

Overnight in Vientiane

Day 12          Vientiane (Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Vientiane
wat that luangThe capital city of Laos, Vientiane still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, interesting wats and colorful markets. Tour the different highlights of the city, including THAT LUANG, a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps most important national monument in Laos; HO PHA KEO, the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture; WAT SI SAKET; WAT SI MUANG, and PATUXAI, a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs. End your day at the TALAAT SAO, or the "morning market" (actually open all day), the best place to buy traditional Lao fabrics.

Overnight in Vientiane

Day 13          Vientiane - Hanoi (Breakfast)
Transfer - Flight from Vientiane to Hanoi.
Arrival in Hanoi
Transfer

water puppet showVisit a Water Puppet Show
WATER PUPPET SHOW: a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi. The Municipal Water Puppet Theater is located on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake.


Overnight in Hanoi

Day 14          Hanoi (Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Hanoi with a visit by cyclo to the Old Quarter

temple of literatureAlthough it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, HANOI still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite exploration by cyclo, while it’s many beautiful public spaces - lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments - give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals. Begin your day visiting the TEMPLE OF LITERATURE, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and one of the best serving examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam's first university.

Continue to the miniature ONE PILLAR PAGODA. Also dating from the 11th century, this monument was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Today it stands near the vast HO CHI MINH MEMORIAL COMPLEX, a lovely park setting which is home to Ho Chi Minh's final resting place, as well as a museum and other memorials.

ho chi minh mausoleumBegin at the HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM, where visitors can pay respects to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. The Mausoleum is closed in the afternoons, on Mondays and Fridays, and closes annually in October and November for restoration. Continue through the park to HO CHI MINH'S STILT HOUSE, the simple two-room dwelling where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1948 until his final days. Preserved in the same condition as during his life, it may be viewed through the windows.

tortoise pagodaAfterwards head to HOAN KIEM LAKE, located in heart of Hanoi, which contains an islet with the tiny TORTOISE PAGODA. Enroute, pass other colonial landmarks such as the magnificent OPERA HOUSE (may be seen from the outside only) and ST JOSEPH'S CATHEDRAL. From the lake, begin exploring the OLD QUARTER by CYCLO This fascinating network of narrow alleys and shop houses is also known as 'The 36 Streets,' each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there, ranging from fabrics to crafts to medicines to tombstones. A handicraft-lover's paradise and an endlessly interesting place to explore local life. The cyclo ride lasts approximately one hour.

In the afternoon, visit one of Hanoi's famous museums, either the HISTORY MUSEUM or the MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY. Once the museum of the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient, the HISTORY MUSEUM (BAO TANG LICH) is housed in an elegant building from the 1930s, and include exhibits spanning the entirety of Vietnam's history including prehistory, proto-Vietnamese civilizations, the Dong Son culture, the Oc-Eo culture and the Khmer Kingdoms.

museum of ethnologyThe MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artifacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings, and other distinctive ethnic buildings.

Overnight in Hanoi

Day 15          Hanoi - Overnight  Train (Breakfast)  (to Lao Cai - Sa Pa) Hill Tribes
All day at leisure.
Transfer to/from train station.
By train from Hanoi to Lao Cai aboard the Victoria Express Train (does not operate on Saturday)

victoria express restaurantBoard the Victoria Express, an elegant train made up of two deluxe carriages with well appointed, wood-paneled interiors. Departs from Hanoi every day except Saturdays; dining car available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only.

Overnight in Train

Day 16          Lao Cai - Sa Pa (Breakfast)
Arrive in the morning. Drive from Lao Cai Station to Sa Pa with a visit to Can Cau Market

can cau marketCan Cau Market: A fascinating open-air market situated near the Chinese border. The Flower Hmong minority with their colorful dresses is the most common here.

Overnight in Sa Pa

Day 17          Sa Pa - Lao Cai - Train (Breakfast)
Excursion to Bac Ha Market (Sundays only)

can cau marketVisit the colorful market at Bac Ha, where ethnic minorities from around the region gather to trade water buffalo, livestock and handicrafts. The people inhabiting the area are mainly Flower H'mong, but there are also Dzao, Nung, Xa Fang, Phu La, Thai and many more ethnicities as well.

Late check-out at hotel.
Transfer to Lao Cai train station.

By train from Lao Cai to Hanoi aboard the Victoria Express Train (does not operate on Saturday)

victoria expressBoard the Victoria Express, an elegant train made up of two deluxe carriages with well-appointed, wood-paneled interiors. Departs from Lao Cai every day except Saturdays; dining car available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays only.

Overnight in Train

Day 18          Hanoi - Halong - cabin / onboard (Breakfast at a local restaurant upon arrival from Lao Cai / Lunch & Dinner: Classic Junk Cruise Boat)
Pick up from Hanoi train station.
By vehicle from Hanoi to Halong Bay.
Journey east along Highway 5 across Hai Hung Province and around Halong Bay.

Emeraude Cruise on Halong Bay, Day 1 of 2

emeraude cruiseTransfer from Saigon Tourist Pier and embark on the Emeraude, a colonial-style paddle steamer. Check-in is from 12:15pm; the ship departs at 1:00pm, shortly thereafter lunch is served on board. In the afternoon, cruise among the dramatic limestone islands and green waters of Halong Bay. Dinner and overnight on board, moored in Halong Bay.

Overnight in cabin / onboard

Day 19          Cabin / onboard - Halong - Hanoi - Saigon (Breakfast)

<Cruise on Halong Bay, Day 2 of 2

emeraude cruiseGuests enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board and continue cruising through Halong Bay before returning to pier at around 09:30 am in the morning.

By vehicle from Halong to Hanoi Airport.
Flight from Hanoi to Saigon.
Transfer

Overnight in Saigon

Day 20          Saigon (Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Saigon
 A vibrant metropolis, SAIGON teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life. The emerging modern skyline stands cheek by jowl with colonial buildings and traditional temples. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on motorcycles, chatting on cell phones; inside the quiet temple courtyards, worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense. Begin your tour of this exciting city with a tour of the historic center, strolling along DONG KHOI STREET, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon.

city hallPass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate CITY HALL (HOTEL DE VILLE), the old OPERA HOUSE (both may only be viewed from the outside), and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and the CENTRAL POST OFFICE.

reunification palaceAfterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the REUNIFICATION PALACE. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates.

Continue to the harrowing WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam- American War. Inside are detailed photographic exhibitions; outside is a collection of tanks, planes and weapons. A powerful experience, this museum is guaranteed to provoke strong emotions. Finally, end up at the central BEN THANH MARKET, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.

Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels

cu chi tunnelsNever discovered by American forces, the CU CHI TUNNELS were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Today, you can walk through the area and learn about the day-to-day life of the VC, see the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists.

Overnight in Saigon

Day 21          Saigon - Siem Reap (Breakfast)

Sightseeing in Cholon (Chinatown)
binh tay marketThe sprawling, densely packed CHOLON (CHINATOWN) constantly bustles with activity and retains a traditional feeling, unlike the more modern Saigon city center. Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with BINH TAY MARKET, the vast wholesale market selling every kind of good from dried foods to T shirts to electronics. Continue to THIEN HAU PAGODA, build by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess, the NGHIA AN HOI PAGODA, built by the Chaozhou Chinese congregation, and the TAM SON HOI QUAN PAGODA, built by the Fujian Congregation and dedicated to Me San, the Goddess of Fertility.

Transfer
Flight from Saigon to Siem Reap.
Arrival in Siem Reap
Transfer

Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 22          Siem Reap (Breakfast)
Sightseeing in Angkor Temples

Visit Banteay Srei Temple

banteay srei templeSeemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, BANTEAY SREI is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Built in pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite with visitors.

preah khan templeVisit Preah Khan
PREAH KHAN: a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 meters.

Visit a temple for sunset
Watch the sun set over the Cambodian countryside from the upper terraces of an ancient Angkorian temple.

Overnight in Siem Reap


Day 23          Siem Reap (Breakfast)
Sightseeing in Angkor
angkor watThe crowning jewel of Khmer architecture, ANGKOR WAT is the national symbol and the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The largest, best preserved, and most religiously significant of the Angkor temples, Angkor impresses visitors both by its sheer scale and beautifully proportioned layout, as well as the delicate artistry of its carvings.

To approach the temple, first cross the vast moat, continuing along a broad causeway lined with naga balustrades. As you enter the main building, ascend through a series of galleries and courtyard before reaching the central sanctuary, which offers beautiful views back over the causeway and across the surrounding countryside.

On the way, stop to enjoy the intricate stone carvings that adorn nearly every surface, with some 1,700 Apsaras, or celestial dancers, sculpted into the walls. Along the outer gallery walls run the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which narrates stories from Hindu mythology, including the famous Churning of the Ocean of Milk. Angkor Wat is stunning at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to watch the play of light on the stones.

Excursion to the Tonle Sap Lake with boat trip
tonle sap lakeTONLE SAP (Great Lake). Located in the heart of Cambodia, this extraordinary lake swells up to seven times its original size during the monsoon season. Its ecosystem is one of the richest and most diverse in the region. This boat trip will explore the floating fishing villages that live at the edges of the lake, passing submerged forests and fishing farms.

Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 24          Siem Reap (Breakfast ) / Departure
Transfer to airport for your flight to Bangkok, with connection to USA.

* Itinerary may be revised in the event of such changes or any circumstance beyond our control.

Quotation Per Itinerary 

Tour Duration: 24 Days / 23 Nights
Tour Operates: Year Round / On Demand
Tour Price: Available upon Request. Call for Rates 714-964-6896 / 800-423-9566
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.

  • English-speaking guide
  • Meals according to itinerary / Breakfast box in lieu of full b’fast when early morning flights occur.
  • Flight tickets as mentioned in the itinerary. (Economy Class)
    • Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
    • Flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane
    • Flight from Vientiane to Hanoi
    • Flight from Hanoi to Saigon
    • Flight from Saigon to Siem Reap(tour ends in Siem Reap)
  • Train ticket(s) according to itinerary
  • Boat ticket(s) according to itinerary
  • Ground transportation in private Air con vehicle
  • Complimentary cold towels and drinking water in vehicle
  • Sightseeing includes admissions fees according to itinerary
  • Accommodation in hotels as mentioned above or equivalent
  • VIP meet and greet services at all airports/boat docks/train stations

Charges for services of a personal nature, such as personal tipping, telephone, Laundry, room service, airport taxes, trip/baggage insurance, visa/passport fees, Camera/video fees, extra meals and beverages and any items not specifically mentioned.

Visa - The visa for Vietnam is easily obtained upon arrival at a cost of $25 per person, with our invitation letter. The visa for Laos costs $20 and the visa for Cambodia costs $30 per person. These visas can be obtained upon arrival with a valid passport, visa fee and an extra photo for each country. A visa is not required for Thailand for a stay of up to 30 days.

NOTE TO TRAVELERS:
Our goal is to create unique and unusual tour experiences that will leave lasting memories!
We work with our local partners to explore and research the most unusual and client friendly services such as the unique boat rides, train trips to the tribal hills to name just a few. With decades of experience we know our product and can assure the traveler of a hassle free and educational experience.

We are only a telephone call away to consult with you to plan and custom design a multi-country program to suit your interests, budget and schedule.

Booking Details 


  • Signed copy of reservation & bookings form (below)
  • Deposit of $500 per person to hold space on the tour
  • Trip Protection Insurance is recommended (or waiver required)
  • Clear copy of your passport (photo page)

Click here to download our Booking Form / Credit Card Authorization Form / Terms & Conditions.

We offer low cost add-on airfares from your home city. Call 714-964-6896 / 800-423-9566 for more details.

Please contact us for bookings and information.