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Welcome to Laos

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17Days / 16Nights LVN 17/16

A wonder of Vietnam & Laos

Day 01: Hanoi (Dinner)
Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to the centrally located hotel.

Day 02: Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch)
This day tour is our first introduction to the history of Vietnam. We spend the morning visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and learn more about the historical and cultural events at the peaceful Temple of Literature. In the afternoon, we visit the Ethnologic museum, followed by an hour cyclo tour through the bustling Old Quarter. A walk through its exciting streets is a fascinating introduction to the different lifestyles of Vietnam, and an opportunity to shop for bargains. To finish off the day, we attend the performance of the unique water puppetry.

Day 03: Hanoi – Ha Long (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

We depart Hanoi for Ha Long Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. “Dragon descending to the sea“ as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Ha Long bay has more than 1.000 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing beautiful grottoes.Upon arrival at Ha Long Bay we embark on a boat trip to cruise discovering this magnificent UNESCO World Wonder. This is a great journey among surreal islands rising from a tranquil emerald sea.
In the late afternoon, we anchor for the night on the bay and enjoy a delicious seafood dinner on board.

Day 04: Ha Long – Hanoi – Hue (Breakfast, Lunch)

Early morning coffee and tea will be served on the sundeck followed by a Tai Chi class. After breakfast we take a Sampan boat to explore Luon Cave. We may have a chance to see the wild monkeys that gather around waiting for food from the tourists. After that we continue to cruise around the bay. Lunch is served on the boat on our way back to the docks then we transfer to Noi Bai airport for a short flight to Hue. On the way, stop over for Dinh Bang Village in Bac Ninh Province to visit Do temple, this temple was building during the Le Dynasty and has been altered several times since. The major reconstruction took place under the reign of Le Trung Hung in the 17th century. Then we enjoy traditional music show “Quan Ho” or called Quan Ho Folk song.

Day 05: Hue (Breakfast, Lunch)

We visit the impressive tombs of King Minh Mang and Tu Duc together with Tu Hieu Pagoda, and then cruise on the Perfume River to see the Old Thien Mu Pagoda. In the afternoon, we visit the Forbidden Citadel and the crowded market of Dong Ba, where we can bargain for anything from souvenirs and bronze goods, to Hue sesame sweetmeat and conical poem hats.

Day 06: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch)

We cross the spectacular Hai Van Pass to reach Da Nang city, where we see the best Cham Museum in Vietnam and take a short break at Marble Mountain, before continuing to Hoi An, an ancient town of meandering narrow streets dating back to the 16th century. An afternoon tour takes us to the Japanese Bridge, Phuoc Kien Pagoda, the ancient house Tran Phu and the Hoi an Museum (Sa Huynh museum or Ceramic museam). Enjoy shopping for tailor made clothing, lanterns, shoes and food, or simply relax on the beach.

Day 07: Hoi An – My Son (Breakfast, Lunch)

Today we visit My Son Holy land. Located 70 km southwest of Da Nang, My Son was the capital of the once mighty Champa Kingdom. It boasts a complex of ancient ruins that date back to 1,700 years ago, and is the most complete example of ancient Champa ruins in Vietnam.

Day 08: Hoi An – Nha Trang (Breakfast)

This morning we transfer from the Hoi An Ancient Town to Da Nang Airport for flight to Nha Trang. The remaining time is free to enjoy swimming at one of Asia’s most beautiful beaches.
Day 09: Nha Trang Island & snorkeling tour (Breakfast, Lunch)
Start from your hotel to Cau Da port. Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island is the first place to visit; many sea species of Nha Trang/Khanh Hoa province make a small ocean world there. Mun Island is the best island for snorkeling where you can see lots of lives colorful corals and fish. You will also be able to see caves in which the sea swallows make their nest. Then relaxing, swimming & doing water sports or other activities at Mot Island, Tranh Beach Island or on a small island calling “Mini beach”. Taking a fresh lunch at the island. On the way back you will visit a fishing village before going to the shore.

Day 10: Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Lunch)

This morning, we transfer to the airport for our onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City, with the opportunity to visit the controversial War Remnants Museum – Historically, the war museum as part of the Vietnam and World Peace museums system was born on Sep 4 1975 at 28 Vo Van Tan street, district 3, HCMC, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post office, built between 1877 and 1883, is an excellent example of classic French colonial architecture and bustling Ben Thanh Market.

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (Breakfast, Lunch)

8.30 we start the trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Vietnam’s rice basket, the Mekong Delta. We will pass through idyllic, rural scenes until we arrive at My Tho, a peaceful town on the bank of the Mekong River, where we will visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda. Next we will have a boat ride on the Mekong, visit local homes and orchards, a coconut candy workshop, a honeybee farm, take a sampan ride on palm-shaded creeks, try a taste of seasonal fruit and honey tea and enjoy a performance of traditional Southern singing. We return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) to Vientiane Capital (LAOS)- (Breakfast, Lunch)

Free time until we are transferred to the airport for our onward flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Vientiane is a fascinating capital, with a fusion of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. This charming and easygoing city will provide a smooth introduction to Laos.

Day 13: Vientiane (Breakfast, Lunch)

We start to visit the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. On the way to the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we will stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. From there, we visit the central market known as the ‘Morning Market’ which is a great place for browsing antiques, handmade textiles and gifts. Then, an orientation walk of Lao Capital is a pleasant way to spend the day, strolling around some of the city’s most historical sites and seeing some of the French colonial architecture. We observe the sunset by the Mekong Riverside until the late evening and experience the city lifestyle of the local Lao people.

Day 14: Vientiane – Luang Prabang (Breakfast, Lunch)

Transfer to airport for flight to Luang Prabang.
We spend the rest of this day touring the Lao capital, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai. We continue seeing Luang Prabang with the temple of Wat Xieng Thong, a magnificent piece of architecture, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. The temple structures are decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes as well as doorways and the main sim has a marvelous ‘tree life’ mosaic pattern on an outer wall. We then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as viewing a beautiful and panoramic sunset over the ancient and once royal city and the Mekong River. Then, we stroll around the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of textiles made by the local and the hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Day 15: Pak Ou Buddha Caves & Khouangsi Waterfall (Breakfast, Lunch)

After breakfast, we then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the small village of Ban Xanghai, where the local rice wine is distilled. We return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon.
We continue our excursion toward Khouangsi Waterfall, en route, we visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, Khmu Village, then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails. The Khouangsi Waterfall setting really illustrates paradise. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for silk hand weaving and for traditional Saa Paper making. We return to the city by late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Phabath.

Day 16: Full day expedition (Elephant ride + Soft Trekking) (Breakfast, Lunch)

Elephant and soft hiking tour to Khmu village
(Walking time total 3 hours) (Easy), in dry season Tad Sae waterfall is dry)
Arrival at the Elephant Village Camp: Welcome greeting by our camp manager and participate in short briefing about elephants. Ride the Elephant: From the Elephant Camp, cross the Nam Khan River and ride along local village gardens, tea plantations and natural forest to the Elephant jungle camp. Ride on elephant’s neck (no howdah). Short trekking along the Trail of Falls:  Enjoy a 3 km trek on foot through diverse landscape.  You will travel from our ‘old camp’ to our ‘jungle camp’ through teak forests, local village farms and lush primary jungle.
Lunch: Dine in the jungle surroundings with a picnic box lunch prepared just for you at our camp restaurant and served with drinking water (vegetarian options available)
Trail of Falls:  Enjoy another stunning 3 km jungle trek on foot along a natural, crystal clear stream flowing down from the mountains, which feeds the Tad Sae Waterfall.  We call it the “Trail of Falls”.  All along this stunning trail, the water cascades over multilevel limestone formations forming pools surrounded by unique tropical vegetation
Tad Sae Waterfall: Exiting the Trail of Falls you arrive at the stunning Tad Sae Waterfall, it is he perfect place to relax, dip your fee, or go for a swim before heading back to the Elephant Camp  (swim suit recommended!).
Short boat trip:  Traverse the Nam Khan river in a traditional Lao long boat from the waterfall back to the Elephant Camp
Depart: Transfer back to your Hotel in Luang Prabang between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Day 17: Luang Prabang – Departure (Breakfast)

After breakfast, there will be free for your own time to venture into town and stroll around the shopping area. The tour ends after your transfer to the airport for departure.