In Luang Prabang, experience the unique almsgiving ritual in the morning and cruise on Mekong river to visit Pak Ou Caves and the dazzling Kuang Si waterfall. Learn about the stories of Hanoi and enhance the experience with an amazing food tour. Get on board to cruise around the spectacular limestone karsts of Halong Bay. Enjoy the serene atmosphere of Hoi An Ancient Town and take hundreds of photos from the Golden Bridge in Danang – one of the rising destinations in Southeast Asia. Step back in time when navigating your way between the centuries-old walls of the legendary Angkor Wat and exploring the extensive ground of Angkor Thom.
- Day 1: Arrive in Luang Prabang – Half-day City Tour
- Day 2: Cruise Mekong to Pak Ou Caves
- Day 3: KuangSi Waterfalls – Fly Hanoi
- Day 4: Hanoi City – Street Food Tour
- Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on board
- Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Danang – Hoi An
- Day 7: Hoi An – Walking Tour of the Ancient Town
- Day 8: Hoi An – Golden Bridge (Ba Na Hill)
- Day 9: Danang – Fly to Siem Reap
- Day 10: Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm & Angkor Wat
- Day 11: Siem Reap Floating Villages – Departure
- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.
Arrive in Luang Prabang – Half-day City TourDay 1
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
After a short break, you will begin with a visit to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, a superb piece of Lao temple architecture, which presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life ‘glass montage on the rear temple wall.
If time permits, we will take a short walk around the small streets of the city center, watching the life of local people. After that, you will visit the Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family.
Late afternoon, we’ll climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, join a private Baci ceremony at a local family. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.
Dinner will be served after that for you to share with the host family. This is the best chance for you to have the first experience of local life and culture.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Cruise Mekong to Pak Ou CavesDay 2
Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets.
From there, we will visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice to vegetable, to fish, or chicken. This is the best chance to experience the taste of local life
Breakfast at the hotel, we will first visit the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene. After that, we’ll embark on the leisurely cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, a 16th century cave monastery filled with thousands of Buddha images, which locates 25 Kilometers North of Luang Prabang in the limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong river. En route, you will stop at Ban Muang Keo, a well–known village for its traditional Lao rice whiskey distilling. You will arrive back in Luang Prabang.
On arrival back in the city, we’ll visit Wat Mai, which is one of the most beautiful temples of Luang Prabang. We’ll then continue to Wat Visoun, dating back to 1513 during the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), this is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas. Our last stop today will be the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (closed on Monday) to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
KuangSi Waterfalls – Fly HanoiDay 3
After breakfast, we’ll transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls which is the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50–metre drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals
We will also take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers.
Transfer back to the airport for flight to Hanoi. Pick up and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi City – Street Food TourDay 4
After breakfast, we’ll dive into the sights, sounds and smells of Hanoi. Your guide and driver will collect you from the hotel lobby to start your trip with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh complex on the site where he declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945 and see the reverence with which Vietnamese people treat their “Uncle Ho”. Other sites that we will visit with our local guide include House 54, Stilt House, Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda.
Continue on our journey through Hanoi, we’ll drive to the Museum of Ethnology, to learn more about the cultural diversity of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Established by the Vietnamese government in 1997, the museum provides us with a fascinating insight into the diverse cultures, customs, and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam.
After the visit to the Museum, we will have Pho for lunch at Pho Huyen, a Vietnamese Noodle shop. Some of the local people call this world-famous Noodle soup “Mac–Noodles” since it is as popular here as MacDonalds is in other parts of the world! At the restaurant, your tour guide will explain the routine during Vietnamese meal times, and also tell you which special ingredients are needed for you.
After lunch, we’ll visit the Temple of Literature. Originally built in honor of Confucius by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070, a university was added to the grounds six years later. The university provided education to the royal family and children of the aristocracy or “mandarins”. The University remained here until Emperor Gia Long moved the countries administrative capital from Hanoi to Hue in the 18th century.
Return to your hotel for some rest before starting the evening local food discovery.
17:00 – 20:30
We will start our walking tour at Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan. Along the perimeter of the market, dozens of street hawkers sell a staggering variety of produce from live seafood to exotic fruits and spices. Your expert English–speaking local guide will give you an insight into the intricacies and traditions of Vietnamese food culture including details on ingredients and historical backgrounds of popular northern dishes.
Walking through the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter, we will tempt our taste buds with the famed Hanoi dish Banh Cuon at a local eatery. Watch in awe as the skilled chefs demonstrate for you how this tasty dish is put together. Continue into the atmospheric heart of the Old Quarter, we will wander past street stalls and quiet residential lanes where you can observe local life that has changed little since Hanoi was founded over 1000 years ago.
Our next stop will be Banh My 25 shop “French Baguette”, a little food stall with a few typical tiny Vietnamese chairs on the sidewalk where we enjoy the delicious and fresh baguettes while observing the neighborhood.
Move on to Hanoi Food Culture at Phat Loc Street, where we can sample some Bun Cha consisting of vermicelli, herbs and grilled pork. At this Hanoi’s best-kept secrets, a hidden café we will watch the demonstration and then try some egg coffee, a scrumptious local delicacy.
Continue to other food stalls in Hang Bo and Ho Hoan Kiem Street where we’ll try some dishes such Che “Vietnamese style pudding” and Nom “papaya salad with beef”.
It’s the time for dessert as we will venture down a small alley to join in the local tradition of feasting on fresh fruit served in a cup and smothered with crushed iced – this specialty is one not to be missed!
Note: The city tour program is flexible. Our guide would be more than happy to adjust the tour itinerary at your needs. You can skip one site or add another if you so wish.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on boardDay 5
(No tour guide for Halong Bay cruise, there is a Cruise Manager to assist all clients on the boat)
Halong Bay will be your destination today. Your private driver will collect you from the hotel and take you on a 4.5 hours journey on a scenic road with plenty to see along the way. You may even have some photo opportunities on the way.
Around midday, you’ll arrive at Halong Bay. Board your boat in Halong Bay. Then enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while soaking up the magnificence of the UNESCO Heritage area.
After lunch, you will visit Sung Sot Cave (Amazing Cave) – one of the largest caves in Halong Bay, before climbing Titop Mountain for some panoramic views of the stunning sunset over Halong Bay. You will have dinner back on your boat and settle in for a relaxing sleep onboard your junk boat.
Note: Each junk operates a different itinerary and onboard facilities may vary. Your consultant will be very happy to discuss each option with you.
Overnight on board
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Danang – Hoi AnDay 6
Wake up with the sunrise, join a Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck. You will then enjoy a buffet brunch on board while continuing to cruise and head back to the shore. Disembark, meet your driver again, you will drive back to the airport for short flight to Danang, then take a short ride to the “once visited, never forgotten” town – Hoi An.
Pick up and transfer to hotel
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Walking Tour of the Ancient TownDay 7
This walking and lantern-making tour will give you a quick but consistent insight of Hoi An Ancient Town and allow you to get in touch with your creative side, as well as provides you with the opportunity to take part in an important aspect of the Vietnamese culture.
After breakfast, your tour guide will pick you up at the lobby of the hotel to go to the center of Hoi An city, where you will visit the town’s major attractions such as Hoi An Museum, Ancient Houses, Assembly Hall with Chinese influence, handicraft workshops, and the Japanese Bridge.
Move on to the house of a lantern craftsman. There, you can observe the lantern craftsman’s technique before hands-on work through each stage of lantern-making under the guidance of the enthusiastic craftsmen: from bending it into the frame, cutting cloth, gluing, to completing lanterns. Before this trip concludes, you will have your own lantern created by your own hands. This is the perfect souvenir for you to show off your craftsmanship upon your return home.
The rest of the day will be yours to explore at your leisure. Hoi An has an abundance of tailors who can produce a custom suit in 24 hours or less, at very reasonable prices.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Golden Bridge (Ba Na Hill)Day 8
Morning, your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Da Nang (or Hoi An) then depart to Ba Na Hills, pass the seashore on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, one of the most beautiful roads of Da Nang City and Red Beach, where the French first landed in Da Nang.
Arrive at the Cable car station at the foot of Ba Na Mountain. Enjoy the first leg Cable car, which achieves two Guinness World Records in 2009, longest non–stop cable car (5,042m) and highest non–stop cable car (1,292m). Sitting in the cabin, in midair, looking upon the endless tree line of the forests, bring you with spectacular views of the lush jungle and fairly waterfalls along the way.
Experience pristine ecological systems of the Ba Na Mountains will leave you the sense of unforeseeable discovery. Visit the Le Jardin, old wineries remains of French Villas and Ling Ung Pagoda with 27m high Buddha statue. We’ll then leave the Le Jardin for the second cable car station to visit the top of the mountain and see the remains of old villas. Conquer the Peak of Chua Mountain at the height of 1,487m.
View the whole Da Nang city under the cluster of white clouds. Leave Peak of Chua Mountain, visit the trail of Dreaming Stream, Rainbow Waterfall, Suspension Bridge, Golden Valley, and ruined Opera House. Lunch at the local restaurant. you can play with wild monkeys and take photos, freely then we return to the Cable car station at foot of Ba Na Mountain then transfer back to Hoi An City.
Overnight in Hoi An
Danang – Fly to Siem ReapDay 9
Enjoy your free time until transfer to the airport for short flight to Siem Reap. Pick up and transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm & Angkor WatDay 10
After breakfast, you’ll begin your explorations of the remains of an ancient civilization that once ruled much of Southeast Asia.
Today, you’ll be visiting the ancient capital city of Angkor Thom. On your way to Angkor Thom, you’ll catch a glimpse of the front of Angkor Wat as you pass by, which will leave you with a tingling feeling on the back of your neck as you take your first glance of the enormity and wonder of the largest religious complex to ever exist. However, we’ll be saving the best for last as you go on today to see some other equally impressive structures of Ta Prohm Temple, Bayon Temple, Banteay Kdei, Baphoun, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace, and the Royal Palace.
First on the agenda will be Ta Prohm. Worn by time, rain, and overpowered by the jungle, this immaculate structure is hidden under the canopy will leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into the movie set of a treasure hunt adventure. Your private tour guide will give you the history and stories passed through oral tradition.
Have lunch next to Srah Srang Ancient Pool. Your exploration will continue as you visit Banteay Kdei (“Citadel of Chambers”). You’ll also visit Victory Gate, Terrace of the Leper King, the Royal Palace, Baphuon and Bayon. Bayon sets itself apart with its almost 200 smiling faces, sure to make you feel welcome on your second day to the Kingdom of Wonders. With its winding tunnels, chambers, and daring climbs, Bayon will give you many picturesque moments to keep your camera busy.
Finally, you will head to the Masterpiece, one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Angkor Wat. At this point, you’ll most probably have gotten glimpses of the towers over treetops and the gates in front in passing. But now you’ll finally get to satiate that curiosity that’s grown in the last few days. Enter Angkor Wat and learn about the stories and amazing architecture that has stunned archeologists leaving more questions than answers. Angkor Wat possesses some of the most intricate and longest stone carvings in the world. This complex is four times the size of the Vatican City making it the largest religious site in the world. Spend the morning adventuring through the many passages, levels, and exploring chambers that once housed one of many treasures of the ancient world. It will be an experience you won’t forget.
As the sun approaches the horizon, you’ll enjoy a sunset from the top of the pyramid-shaped temple of Pre Rup. After sunset, you’ll be taken back to your hotel for the evening.
Note: During any visit to the Angkor temples, we ensure your day(s) remain both flexible and personal. Having met with your guide, you will be able to discuss in detail what you are looking to achieve from your time at the temples. Whilst some wish to explore as many temples as they can during their stay, others like to travel at a slower, more relaxed pace.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap Floating Villages – DepartureDay 11
After breakfast at the hotel, you will travel through the countryside to Tonle Sap Lake. The Tonle Sap is one of the world’s most productive bodies of freshwater. In the wet season, the Tonle Sap Lake swells to 12,000 km². During the dry half of the year, the lake shrinks to as small as 2,500 km², draining into the Tonle Sap River. Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting a myriad of water birds as well as people, who have settled in villages along the shores and who live with the rhythm of the water.
Transfer to the airport for departure
Inquire this trip
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License No: 01-327/2014/TCDL-GPLHQT
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suit your requirements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Domestic flights within Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos
- Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
"A Foodie & Adventure Trip to Vietnam with Friends"
I took a trip to Vietnam with 3 girlfriends in September and we had an absolute blast. Although we only went for 10 days we filled every moment with adventures and experiences across 5 different destinations in Vietnam. Where this could have been an exhausting nightmare, it wasn’t due to the expert travel arrangements done for us my Kata at Indochina Pioneer.
Our English speaking guides were incredible, the arrangements flawless and the hotels chosen and experiences suggested by Kata were spot on. Thank you Indochina Pioneer
"Wonderful family holiday – exceptional customer service"
Our family of four (myself, husband and two boys) just returned to Australia from a wonderful 16 day trip to Vietnam. Kata organised and tailored a trip in line with the places we wanted to see and organised transport, private tour guides, drivers and excellent accommodation for each place. It was our great pleasure to see beautiful Vietnam from the north to the south and we came back with many fond memories of the sights and the people, including our wonderful, knowledgeable, English speaking tour guides. Kata was always available to help and assist with any queries before and during our trip. Her fantastic organising, advice and outstanding service helped ensure we had an amazing trip. We highly recommend Indochina Pioneer. Highlights were the enchanting Halong Bay, Sapa and Mekong Delta (Can Tho). Thank you, Kata!
"Professional & Excellent Customer Service"
I have had the pleasure of working with Ryan for the last few weeks to get an itinerary down for a trip to Vietnam. Due to unforeseen circumstances we had to postpone the trip, but I was extremely impressed with the amount of time and detail Ryan put into making our itinerary. Fingers crossed we are able to make a trip work in the future!
"Fun family vacation in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos"
We had a great experience with Indochina Pioneer. Elly was our travel consultant and helped us plan a family-friendly trip. She tailored our itinerary and made numerous modifications based on our questions and suggestions. Our family of six, with kids ages 5-13 all enjoyed activities that included basket boat, foot massages, lantern making in Hoi An; Cu Chi tunnels and Mekong Riverboat ride near Saigon; elephant riding, waterfall, bear sanctuary in Laos; Angkor Wat, waterfall and floating houses in Cambodia. Hotels were great. The guides all spoke English well and were accommodating for any itinerary changes based on kids preferences. And the price was very reasonable for what we received. I highly recommend them.
"Great Experience in Vietnam and Cambodia"
Our family of five just got back from a wonderful experience exploring Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Saigon, the Mekong Delta, and the Angkor temples. Kata Tran customized a tour based on our interests (and not only kept in touch with us via WhatsApp during our visit but also took the time to meet us in Hanoi), the local guides were knowledgeable and spoke excellent English, and the drivers delivered us safely to our destinations (no small feat given the often challenging traffic patterns) and kept us hydrated. Highlights were the Hanoi street food tour with Trang, visiting the Ba Na Hills Golden Bridge with Snow, biking through rice fields with Toan and a cooking class at the Kumquat Hoi An restaurant, crawling through Cu Chi tunnels and exploring Saigon and the Can Tho floating markets with Hiep, and ascending to the “Heaven” level of Angkor Wat with the assistance of Mister Pasquale.
We wanted a trip for 2 of us, somewhat last minute, and didn’t feel like putting in all the effort to plan it. Hien skyped with us and put together a trip that was AMAZING. We loved Cambodia, but suggest 2 half-day tours of the temples instead of one or two all-day tours. You will get templed-out. Everything will blur together. Definitely try The Bug Cafe. It’s definitely something to talk about later. Our favorite city in Vietnam was Hoi An and we wouldn’t have thought of it if it wasn’t for Hien. Bring your favorite dress and they will remake it for you in 48 hours, buy leather, and try all the delicious food. We highly suggest adding on a cooking class or a lantern class. Hien even came and met up with us at the end of our trip to meet with us personally.
All excellent. Fantastic travel agent. Elena was fantastic and very kind. A great professional. No doubt highly recommended.
"Very enjoyable tour by Indochina Pioneer!"
Used agent Lizzie who looked after us very well from start to finish. We wanted boutique hotels with pools as like to steer clear of large multinationals and each one selected was superb. We had done our research prior so knew where we wanted to stay so Indochina Pioneer was flexible. Coming from NZ, we found Halong Bay disappointing – polluted water and too many boats. But loved Luang Prabang, Laos just a 45 min flight from Hanoi. It was the highlight for us. No large tour groups & lovely colonial French architecture. Quieter than Viet’s hot spots. Buddhist culture, elephant conservation, serene waterfalls.
Lizzie kept in touch the whole way & adapted our itinerary as requested. Our guides in Hanoi and Laos were excellent. Use a Vietnam based agent like Indochina Pioneer to plan your land content. Nothing beats the local knowledge and back up if things go wrong. Thanks Lizzie & Indochina Pioneer for a great trip.
"Fulfilled Promises – Use Indochina Pioneer when traveling to Asia"
For about a month, I solo traveled through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and enjoyed the most beautiful trips of my life. Although nervous about doing this trip alone, Mr. Lam Duong promised my safety came first. Each guide in each city took care of me like I was family. Everywhere I went throughout SE Asia, the guides and the locals make you feel at home. The sights are one thing, but the culture is true beauty. I had a blast every single day knowing I was safe, and knowing that I had a full itinerary every day. Each guide was flexible to the itinerary as well. If you are ever planning on traveling to Asia, I 100% recommend using Indochina Pioneer. My itinerary was fantastic, my guides took care of me, and the hotels were beautiful. Thank you again for all of your help Lam!
Must See Destinations: Hoi An, Sapa, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang.
Simon TeevanSaudi Arabia
"10 out of 10!"
Just back from a fantastic 2 weeks in Cambodia & Vietnam, all organised by the fantastic Kata Tran in Indochina Pioneer. Cannot recommend them highly enough. They gave us great options from which to choose in terms of places to visit, hotels to stay in, tours to take, etc. And, they were very flexible regarding any changes we wanted to make. All guides were great – all locals with great English and very knowledgeable. 10 out of 10!