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Tailored from £4,450 per person excl. flights

21 Days Bangkok, Vientiane, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong Bay

This spectacular adventure holiday takes in four very different countries in Southeast Asia. You spend the first few days in Thailand, the gateway to the region, where you will explore Bangkok and the Golden Triangle with your local guide. From northern Thailand, make your way into Laos and follow the Mekong River into the land where time stands still. In Laos you explore sleepy Luang Prabang and Vientiane as well as the mysterious Plain of Jars. Flying on to Siem Reap the next half of your adventure will take you from ancient Khmer temples in Cambodia to the exotic tropical beaches in dynamic Vietnam. A stylish cruise around Halong Bay will be the perfect ending to an extraordinary experience.

What’s included:

  • Activities & transport as in full itinerary
  • All activity entrance fees
  • Services of private vehicle & driver
  • Professional local staff with fair salaries
  • Your choice of accommodation styles
  • Local English speaking guide

Call us on 0203 143 4293 to start planning your holiday, we’re
looking forward to hearing from you.

or

Your Holiday at a Glance

Day 1

Arrive Bangkok

Day 2

Bangkok -> Chiang Rai

Day 3

Mekong River Cruise -> Pakbeng

Day 4

Cruise continues to Luang Prabang

Day 5

Luang Prabang City Tour

Day 6

Explore Phonsavan

Day 7

Plain of Jars -> Vientiane

Day 8

Vientiane City Tour

Day 9

Fly to Siem Reap

Day 10

Exploring the temples of Angkor wat

Day 11

Banteay Srei, Kampong Phluk

Day 12

Fly to Phnom Penh

Day 13

Phnom Penh City Tour

Day 14

Fly to Saigon

Day 15

Cu Chi Tunnels and Saigon

Day 16

Fly to Da Nang -> Hoi An

Day 17

Explore Hoi An

Day 18

Fly to Hanoi

Day 19

Halong Bay Cruise

Day 20

Hanoi City Tour

Day 21

Return home

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

Day 1 - Arrive Bangkok
Day 1 - Arrive Bangkok Listing Image

We will meet you on arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) airport, look out for the Wayfairer welcome sign, and transfer to Bangkok for the night on a B&B basis. Depending on your arrival time your local guide will meet you at the hotel tonight to brief you about your tour, take you around the city and recommend some great dinning options. Your unforgettable journey starts here!

Day 2: Chiang Rai

Day 2 - Bangkok -> Chiang Rai
Day 2 - Bangkok -> Chiang Rai Listing Image

We will meet you on arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) airport, look out for the Wayfairer welcome sign, and transfer to Bangkok for the night on a B&B basis. Depending on your arrival time your local guide will meet you at the hotel tonight to brief you about your tour, take you around the city and recommend some great dinning options. Your unforgettable journey starts here!

Day 3: Pakbeng

Day 3 - Mekong River Cruise -> Pakbeng
Day 3 - Mekong River Cruise -> Pakbeng Listing Image

We start early today with a two-hour trip to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong. We then cross the border by boat to Huay Xai in Laos where your guide can help you get your Laos entry visas on arrival. We board a private boat for a two-day personalised cruise down the river at a serene pace past beautiful jungle scenery and small traditional-style villages. We will stop at Pakbeng, a friendly town where the Mekong meets the Beng River. The town has regular tribal visitors and vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicrafts, designed to brighten up a house located anywhere in the world.

Days 4-5: Luang Prabang

Day 4 - Cruise continues to Luang Prabang
Day 4 - Cruise continues to Luang Prabang Listing Image

We continue cruising south along the Mekong River and stop to stretch our legs and explore the amazing Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues, before arriving in Luang Prabang late afternoon. Luang Prabang has been claimed by UNESCO to be ‘the best preserved city in Southeast Asia’ and is the perfect place to wander the streets and back alleys and discover why so many people fall in love with this beautiful town with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop.

Day 5 - Luang Prabang City Tour

If you rise early, you will be rewarded with the ages-old sight of locals making merit by giving alms to a parade of saffron-robed monks from the city’s temples. Mist covered, with rays of the rising sun breaking through, you will feel as if you are in another world. After breakfast, you take a guided walking tour that takes in the stately Wat Xieng Thong with its sweeping roof and rare reclining Buddha. We also visit the hemispherical Wat Wisunalat, representing the earliest style of Laos architecture and Luang Prubang’s oldest operating temple. We then go to Phu Si Hill to take in panoramic views of the city and deep gulps of fresh Laos air. After lunch we visit the lovely, multilevel Kuang Si Falls, where you can wash away the day’s exertions in a series of turquoise clear pools. In the evening your guide will point you towards the street in Luang Prubang,which has a run of intimate, mostly French restaurants, with food and atmosphere which would not be out of place in the small rues of Paris.

Day 6: Phonsavan

Day 6 - Explore Phonsavan
Day 6 - Explore Phonsavan Listing Image

Today we travel to Phonsavan in the remote Xieng Khuoang Province, an area dominated by pine forests and green hills that is peppered with craters from the massive bombing campaign during America’s secret war with Laos, against the Red Hmong tribal people. You will see local villages consisting of colourful wooden houses and soon spot the neighbourhood cowboys raising their cattle in violently coloured cowboy hats. The weather is cool and fresh here due to its high altitude. You spend the night in a simple hotel in Phonsavan.

Days 7-8: Vientiane

Day 7 - Plain of Jars -> Vientiane
Day 7 - Plain of Jars -> Vientiane Listing Image

After breakfast we make our way to the Plain of Jars, an ancient site where there are hundreds of large stone jars scattered across the plateau. Little is known about the age or purpose of these vessels, though they are estimated to be about 2,000 years old and were burial urns or possibly for distilling alcohol. Your imagination will run riot as you approach the clusters. In the afternoon, we fly to Vientiane. Probably the world’s sleepiest and unlikeliest capital city, Vientiane has grown considerably in the last couple of decades and is home to the country’s largest and most majestic temples. It is a very relaxed place populated by friendly and easy-going people and your guide can point you to some great dining options in town or by the river.

Day 8 - Vientiane City Tour

Today we explore Vientiane starting with the oldest remaining temple in the city, Wat Si Saket, built in the early 19th century. We then visit Haw Pha Kaew, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy and home to some of the best examples of Buddhist sculptures to be found in Laos. We also visit Pha That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos and symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty. The morning concludes with a visit to Patuxai Monument – Vientiane’s answer to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris – where you can ascend the stairs for a wonderful view of the city. In the afternoon you are free to explore the Talat Sao Morning Market, which is confusingly open in the afternoon. Tonight why not try a lively, local music venue where tourists rub shoulders with locals, in a vibrant setting? Your guide will be happy to suggest some different venues depending on your personal taste.

Days 9-11: Siem Reap

Day 9 - Fly to Siem Reap
Day 9 - Fly to Siem Reap Listing Image

Departing Vientiane by plane for the fabled town of Siem Reap you will arrive in the evening. Siem Reap, the former capital of the great Khmer Empire and now a burgeoning city full of sauntering lanes and stalls proffering local artisan ware. You will meet with your local guide, who will brief you on everything you would like to know about the area. In the evening, your guide will offer to show you around the town itself, and will suggest the most edifying dining options available, from international restaurants to hidden Cambodian culinary gems.

Day 10 - Exploring the temples of Angkor wat

Today has been designed to make sure you discover the best of the Angkor temples. Travelling by private transport, you will avoid the crowds and have the chance to truly realize the sheer magnificence of the individual archaeological sites that make up the Holy City. Built over the course of 600 years, the Angkor Kingdom ran an empire, which extended from the Bay of Bengal in the west to the South China Sea in the east and from southern China in the north down to the tip of continental Southeast Asia. Your guide will provide detailed information on how these temples were built, and what purpose each one had within the complex. Angkor Wat itself, erected in the 12th century, stands as a powerful symbol of Cambodia, and, built in the remarkable high classical style of Khmer architecture, will perhaps form the centrepiece of your memories, long after you have returned home.

Day 11 - Banteay Srei, Kampong Phluk

After breakfast, we will travel to Banteay Srei, a temple famed for its intricate carvings depicting battles, scenes of conquest and Khmer daily life: it is often referred to as the ‘jewel of Khmer art.’ Built in the 10th century and dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva, this red sandstone temple will capture some of your most memorable photos. In the afternoon we journey to Tonlé Sap River and the floating village of Kompong Phluk .The river is the home to many Cham and Vietnamese communities living on floating villages around the lake and is a much quieter area than where most of the tourists visit. The Kompong Phluk community welcomes curious tourists and the local people benefit financially from this community tourism initiative. Having said that we urge all travellers to be respectful and conscientious of people at work and children at play as we meander around the school, hospital and family dwellings, all floating on the water.

Days 12-13: Phnom Penh

Day 12 - Fly to Phnom Penh
Day 12 - Fly to Phnom Penh Listing Image

After some free time in the morning to have one last look around Siem Reap we will transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Phnom Penh. Cambodia’s capital has really come into its own in recent years. Repopulated after Vietnam ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979, the rebuilding and development of this vibrant city continues to pick up pace. It is now a great place to explore and day and nightlife are flourishing, as is the local arts scene. The evening can be spent relaxing at your own pace. We like to recommend the Foreign Correspondent’s Club - situated on the waterfront; it is a famous and historical location, with three floors of cane furniture a fantastic international menu and mouth-watering cocktail creations.

Day 13 - Phnom Penh City Tour

Today you take a tour of the capital, beginning at the Royal Palace, which is the home of the current Cambodian Monarch, King Sihamoni. Next there is the option to go around the Tuol Sleng Prison where prisoners of the Khmer regime were held and killed. Although disturbing, it is an incredible historic account of comparably recent events in the country and highlights the changes that have taken place since it was closed. We stop for lunch at Pour un Sourire d’Enfant. This is a fantastic project that has rescued thousands of children from scavenging on the rubbish dumps around Phnom Penh. Another important landmark of Cambodia’s tragic past are the Choeung Ek Killing Fields just outside the city and it is a very emotional place to visit and learn about Cambodian history during the time of the Khmer Rouge regime.

Days 14-15: Ho Chi Minh City

Day 14 - Fly to Saigon
Day 14 - Fly to Saigon Listing Image

Have a final meander around Phnom Penh this morning before we travel to exciting Vietnam; first stop, Saigon. Once a small fishing village, it is now a sophisticated and energetic modern city with a huge variety of things to see and do. Once you have checked in to your hotel you will have the afternoon and evening to explore, and as usual your experienced local guide will be happy to nudge you in any direction you like - traditional Vietnamese dances or shadow-puppet shows can be enjoyed at different venues around the city and are a great way to dive straight in to Vietnamese culture.

Day 15 - Cu Chi Tunnels and Saigon

In the morning we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong conducted guerrilla attacks on American and South Vietnamese positions, then suddenly disappeared out of sight. You can crawl through the tunnels, which contained hospitals, kitchens and meeting rooms and even watch a short film, which shows their construction and living conditions at the time. Returning to Saigon your guide will take you on a tour of the city including a visit to the Reunification Palace, the site of the end of the war during the ‘Fall of Saigon’ on April 30th 1975, the War Remnants Museum and the 19th century French-built Notre Dame Cathedral. This evening would be a great chance to ask your guide to direct you to one of the outstanding Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Saigon is home to culinary excellence from all around the country, with an array of diverse specialties, and it can be an appealing way to visit the other provinces in the country through your taste buds.

Days 16-17: Hoi An

Day 16 - Fly to Da Nang -> Hoi An
Day 16 - Fly to Da Nang -> Hoi An Listing Image

This morning we fly to Da Nang and we then travel by private car the short journey to wonderful Hoi An. This charming and busy town will immediately take your breath away and your local guide will be happy to show you all its secrets. With a history of trading the treasures of the Orient, it is no wonder that it continues to be the hub of the silk and ceramic industry in Vietnam. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it has narrow streets filled with architecture from several countries including the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. The evening can be given over to the pleasures of finding a charming local restaurant, which your guide will be happy to escort you to, with fresh, local seafood being a Hoi An specialty.

Day 17- Explore Hoi An

Today you can take the time to ramble through Hoi An’s maze of streets, appreciating why it is now Vietnam’s premier tourist destination. With some of the best tailors in the country located here working in nearly 100 silk shops, many visitors take this time to have various clothes made with Vietnamese flair - the speed at which the tailors work is astonishing! Moments between fittings or sightseeing can be punctuated by coffee and tea stops at the various small establishments found around every corner, each with a charm of its own. If you want to head out of town you can go further afield and explore the countryside by bicycle, appreciating the green terraces and rice paddies that characterise rural Vietnam.

Day 18: Hanoi

Day 18 - Fly to Hanoi
Day 18 - Fly to Hanoi Listing Image

This morning we fly into Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city and one of most charming cities in Southeast Asia. This afternoon we enjoy a city tour, showcasing some of Hanoi’s most interesting attractions. We start with the One Pillar Pagoda, which dates back to 1049 and is one of Hanoi’s oldest structures, and then explore the Temple of Literature, also from the 11th century, which was the country’s first institute of learning. We then visit Hoa Lo Prison, which was once used as incarceration for political enemies of the French, and later for American pilots. The afternoon is the perfect time to saunter around the Old Quarter with its thousands of specialty shops, proffering silk, lacquer ware, spices and anything else you can imagine.

Day 19: Halong Bay

Day 19 - Halong Bay Cruise
Day 19 - Halong Bay Cruise Listing Image

Today you will board a stylish boat and enjoy a luxurious cruise around Halong Bay: one of the world’s natural wonders. The red sailed junks navigating through the limestone islands of the bay are nothing short of spectacular. On board, you will be served an authentic seafood lunch and afterwards have the opportunity to visit a secret grotto, enjoy a swim if the weather permits, and maybe even do some kayaking. The waters of Halong Bay are host to an immense diversity of ecosystems, including mangrove forests, freshwater lakes and offshore coral reefs. After we have moored up in the bay for the night your crew will prepare a sumptuous dinner while you watch out across the water for the spectacular setting sun.

Day 20: Hanoi

Day 20 - Hanoi City Tour

In the morning we cruise back to Halong port, where we disembark and drive back to Hanoi. The afternoon is free for you to see more of Hanoi at your own leisure. As evening draws in, it is time to plan the final dinner of your trip. Hanoi has a wonderful variety of restaurants, some of them in old French colonial houses or tucked away in the old part of town, and your guide will knowledgeably direct you to the best the city has to offer.

Day 21: Fly home

Day 21 - Return home

Your complete Indochina experience finishes today after breakfast and we will transfer you to Hanoi (HAN) airport in plenty of time for your onward journey. An extraordinary experience of discovery in these four wonderfully different countries will you leave with memories that last a lifetime!

Accommodation

Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on 0203 143 4293

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Why Wayfairer

Talk to one of our tailor-made specialists and ask us about Packing for a Purpose. This initiative allows you to use some of your luggage space to take supplies to Pakbeng Lodge.  Here even the most basic supplies will help to support the great work of the associated free community health clinic. Read more about our Charity Partners. 

Why Wayfairer Grand Indochina Explorer

Call us on 0203 143 4293 to start planning your holiday, we’re
looking forward to hearing from you.

or