INDOCHINA FRONTIER AND BEYOND

16 DAY(S) TOP SELLING TOURS

Saigon - Mekong Delta - Cu Chi - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap - Angkor temples - Sra’aem - Pakse - 4000 Islands - Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang

Tracing through prominent landmarks of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, touching the historical and cultural lines of the three Indochina countries

Highlights

  • Experiencing the metropolitan pulse of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the colorful mighty Mekong Delta.
  • Exploring the world famous temples of the ancient city Angkor with its splendid beauty.
  • Getting off the beaten track through the jungle to visit the forgotten temples as we cross the border between Cambodia and Laos.
  • Wandering through the enchanting Laos, with its natural beauty, traditional architecture, urban cultures and remarkable townscape.

Itinerary in Brief

  • Day 1 – Day 3
    Experience the life in the fascinating city of Saigon, on the water of Mekong Delta and under Cu Chi tunnels.
  • Day 4 
    Visit Phnom Penh – capital city of Cambodia, the city retains its traditional Khmer and colonial styles with French villas and large tree-line sidewalk.
  • Day 5 – Day 6
    Contemplate the marvelous Angkor temples and enjoy a quick visit of Siem Reap.
  • Day 7 – Day 8
    Travel off the beaten track through the jungle to visit the forgotten temples as we cross the border to Laos.
  • Day 9 – Day 10
    Uncover the mighty 4000 Islands area, with the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins.
  • Day 11 – Day 12
    Visit the historical sites of Vientiane Capital and the Buddha Park where hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures.
  • Day 13 – Day 14
    Immerse in the dreaming landscape of Vang Vieng, a great harmony of mountains, rivers, blue and clear sky, and the greenery. 
  • Day 15 – Day 16
    Visit the tranquil Luang Prabang, mysterious Pak Ou Caves and beautiful Khoangsi waterfall.
INDOCHINA FRONTIER AND BEYOND

Inclusion

  • English-speaking tour guides
  • Land transportation by air-con vehicles
  • Accommodation based on Twin-shared room with breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program (no drinks)
  • Boat trips and admissions as mentioned in the program
  • Drinking water during the touring day (2 bottles/person/day)

Exclusion

  • Airfare (international and domestic) and airport tax
  • Visa services (Visa approval letter/Visa stamp fee/ Visa fast track)
  • Early check-in/late check-out/ room upgrade surcharge
  • Other meals, Drinks, and personal expenses (phone call, laundry, tipping etc.)
  • Any services not mentioned in the program
  • Optional Tours.

Xin Chao! Welcome to Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) – the most hectic and business city of Vietnam. Upon arrival at the airport, welcomed by the local tour guide and transfer to the city center to check in hotel.
This afternoon, begin our city tour at the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style 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. Pass 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 Notredame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. End your tour at the central Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste. Overnight in Saigon.

After breakfast, we head to My Tho, the homeland of coconut and family factories with local products like coconut candy, rice paper,… Upon arrival, embark on the boat cruising on the mighty Mekong River viewing the life to the local people live along the banks. We stop at one of 4 islands in the area for sightseeing. Enjoy the fresh tropical fruits served in the heart of the garden accompanied by traditional southern Vietnamese folk music at the plantation. Embark on the small boats rowed the local people thru the small cannels with water coconut tree to visit the local factories. There you will taste the honey tea and see the local people produce the coconut candy milk and of course you also can try it or stroll in the garden where the locals feed honeybee. This afternoon, we return to Saigon, with stop to visit the beautiful Vinh Trang pagoda on the way. Overnight in Saigon. 

After breakfast and check out hotel, we visit to Cu Chi tunnels. Located 60km from Saigon, Cu Chi is now a popular spot for both Vietnamese & foreign tourists – the network of over 200km of tunnels became legendary when they played a vital role in the War. In their heyday, the tunnels were functioning underground cities including numerous trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers & kitchens. After a short introduction video showing how the tunnels were constructed, you will have a chance to crawl into a short section of the tunnels to feel the oppressive narrowness and heat inside. After the visit, we transfer to the border and cross the border to Cambodia. Pickup by our local guide and driver and transfer to Phnom Penh. On arrival, check in the hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Phnom Penh.

After breakfast, we visit the impressive colorful Khmer-style royal palace complex build in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom. Nearby is Silver pagoda (the emerald Buddha temple), where contain plenty of Buddha Statues decorated and made by gold, diamond, gemstone and silver. We stop at Independence monument and explore the National museum; a beautiful Khmer architecture building contains more than 5000 art antiques made by bronze, wood, gold, silver, copper, sandstone and others. We pass through the river-front park where 4 rivers met at a junction include mystical Mekong. Walk up to sacred hill Phnom Daun Penh – also the name of a pagoda and name of the capital nowadays. Last visit Central Market, a large market constructed in 1937 in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into vast hallways with countless stalls of goods. Initial design and layouts are from French architect Louis Chauchon.
This afternoon, we visit Choeung Ek museum, where between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women, children and infants detained and tortured at S-21 were transported for the extermination. We continue to Tuol Sleng prison now is Genocide Museum, the most secret part of the Khmer Rouge regime. It’s also called S-21 (abbreviated for Security Office 21), a Khmer Rouge's premier security camp, specifically designed for the interrogation and extermination of anti-Angkor elements. Leave the relics of the bad history of Cambodia we will visit Russian market, enjoy the bustling daily activities of the locals. 
Later this afternoon, we take a cruise to see the sunset on the Mekong and Tonle Sap River in the “Four Arms” section where the Mekong meets the Tonle Sap River before splitting into two branches. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
 

After breakfast and check out hotel, we transfer to Siem Reap with stop on the way at Skuon town to see (or even try) sautéed spiders, a local unique food. Lunch at Prek Pros restaurant (on your own account) then continue our drive to through villages and rice fields dotted with palm sugar and Khmer houses. Our last stop on the way is at Kampong Kdei to visit a beautiful ancient archaeological bridge of Angkor period “Naga Bridge”. On arrival in Siem Reap, check in hotel and relax. 
This afternoon, we visit Wat Thmei (Killing Field) contains a unique glass-walled stupa containing the bones of victims of the Khmer Rouge. Some of the bones were recovered from a nearby well while others are the remains of soldiers who died on a nearby battlefield. Continue to visit the "Les Artisans d'Angkor – Chantiers Ecole" the Finest Authentic Khmer Arts and Crafts. End our visit at one of the city’s lively open markets, Psar Chars, also called the “Old Market”, where anything and everything is for sale. Overnight in Siem Reap.  
 

After breakfast, we explore South Gate of Angkor Thom known as Big Angkor, 3km2 walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire, The famous Bayon Temple was an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century. Terrace of the Elephants is an impressive, two and a half meter tall, 300 meter long terrace wall adorned with carved elephants and gradual that spans the heart of Angkor Thom in front of Baphuon - huge temple mountain in the heart of Angkor Thom, Royal Palace Area and Phimeanakas - impressive rite and sandstone pyramid. Terrace of the Leper King is at the north end of the Terrace of the Elephants, a double terrace wall with deeply carved nag as, demons and other mythological beings. Last visit Ta Prohm temple which is a wonderful combination of human genius and natural beauty! Giant trees have grown here for centuries! Lunch at local restaurant. This afternoon we visit Angkor Wat temple, the Cambodia's ancient temple is one of the wonders of the oriental world. Masterpieces of decorative details as well as of architectural style, its awe-inspiring ruins survive as testament to the spectacular achievements of Southeast Asia's greatest civilization. It is a replica of the universe according to the Hindu mythology. It is composed by the Mount Meru, surrounded by the continents and the oceans. Its extraordinary bas-reliefs, describe some Khmer epics and myths. Angkor Wat's five famous towers rise into the sky, a geometrical arrangement of numerous galleries, adorned with beliefs and the stone images of celestial Apsara dancers, as well as portals, chambers and courtyards.
This evening, we enjoy buffet dinner at a local restaurant with Apsara dance show – a taste of classical Khmer culture. Overnight in Seam Reap.

After breakfast and check out hotel, we transfer to visit the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor’s lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II in the 12th century, the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument’s shape amid the daunting ruins. Continue to visit Koh Ker – the capital of the Angkorian empire from AD 928 to AD 944. We visit Prasat Thom, a seven-storey step pyramid, more Mayan than Khmer, with commanding views over the surrounding forest, nearby Prasat Krahom or Red Temple and other temples including Prasat Pram, Prasat Balang, Prasat Krachap, Prasat Damrei Krap, the five towers of Prasat Ling, each enclosing a giant Lingas or fertility symbol, the biggest and best found in situ anywhere in Cambodia. Continue our drive to Sra’aem where we will stay overnight. On arrival, check in hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Sra’aem.

After breakfast and check out hotel, we transfer to visit Preah Vihear, the Temple Mountain, a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva built in the beginning of the 10th century. The temple had further works added to it by the following three kings. The temple today is still a Hindu site, but Buddhist Monks pray at the temple to the Gods. The temple area consists of three stories surrounded by two galleries. Your guide will lead you through the temple area explaining the sites ancient and recent history. The temple was declared a Word Heritage UNESCO site in 2008. Leaving Preah Vihear, we transfer to the border and cross the border to Laos. Pickup by our local guide and driver and transfer to visit Khone Pha Peng waterfall – Southeast Asia's biggest waterfall, where the tranquil Mekong River give way to the seething, rapid surges as it fans out into the delta. The waterfalls are split into a series of channels and falls by the numerous islands that break up the 10 km span of the river. Continue our drive to Khong Island. On arrival, check in the hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Khong Island.
 

After breakfast, we explore Khong island by Tuk Tuk. We then take the boat to visit the small islands until we reach Done Khone Island and Done Det Island. From here, take a short boat trip that will give us the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins. We then visit the impressive Lippi falls on the west of Don Khone, very close to the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits. Return to Khong Island after the visit and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Khong Island.
 

After breakfast and check out hotel, we transfer to visit the Bolaven Plateau area. The Bolevean Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. The place offers many sites for visitors to check out, including waterfalls, coffee and tea plantations, and ethnic villages, banana junction. Here we visit Phaxuam cliff, Tad Fane waterfall, Tad Yuang waterfall and then transfer to Pakse. On arrival in Pakse, check in the hotel and relax. This afternoon, visit Wat Phou, a site of ancient religious significance in one of the most spectacular regions of Laos. Return to Pakse after the visit and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Pakse.
 

After breakfast and check out hotel, we transfer to the airport for flight to Vientiane. On arrival, pick up by our local tour guide and transfer to check in hotel. This afternoon, we start the city tour from Wat Sisaket, the city's oldest temple. Dates back to 1818, Wat Sisaket is the most important heritage temple now standing in Laos. It houses thousands of Buddha images from many countries, long lost architectural styles, sculptures and paintings. Continue to visit Wat Prakeo, former royal temple of the Lao monarchy and originally built in 1565, and home to the Emerald Buddha image. Buddhist sculptures are displayed along the perimeter wall, including a 6th to 9th century Dvaravati-style stone Buddha and several standing and sitting Buddhas. On the way to the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, Vientiane's own Arc de Triumph. We then enjoy sunset by a boat trip on the Mekong River. Overnight in Vientiane.
 

After breakfast and check out hotel, visit the Buddha Park where hundreds of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures brought from India are displayed. From here, we depart to Vang Vieng, with stop on the way to visit KM52 Hmong market and Ban Tha Heu (dried fish) village. On arrival in Vang Vieng, we check in hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Vang Vieng.
 

After breakfast, we visit local market before continuing to Tham Phoukham Cave, and enjoy swimming at the Blue Lagoon. This afternoon, we take a long tail boat riding on Nam Song River for sightseeing and stop at Organic farm for tasting mulberry tea. Return to the hotel after the visit. Overnight in Vang Vieng.

After breakfast and check out hotel, we drive to visit Tham Jang Cave before heading up hill to Luang Prabang. On the way, we will make a few stops to visit local hill tribe villages and take photos of beautiful landscape. On arrival in Luang Prabang, we check in hotel and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
 

An optional early start will give us the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. Continue to visit the Morning Market, where we will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings.
We then return to the hotel for breakfast and a short rest before discovering Luang Prabang from the National Museum at the former Royal Palace. The museum displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. Take a walk from here crossing by many beautiful temples and traditional houses until we reach the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Laotian architecture. 
This afternoon, we board a cruise trip to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Enjoy the panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as we cruise upstream the Mekong River. Along the way, we stop to visit Ban Xang Hai village where rice wine is distilled. On arrival, we visit two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. On the cruise trip back to Luang Prabang, we visit Ban Xang Khong, a village well known for silk hand-weaving and traditional Saa paper-making. We end the day by walking up Phousi Hill - the 328 steps lead to the summit and provides the finest panoramic sunset view. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
 

After breakfast, at leisure until check out hotel and transfer to the airport for the departure flight. Standard hotel check-out time is 12h00 (late check out upon availability). 

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