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This Indochina tour is the best way to discover Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Luang Prabang makes a perfect start for the trip, where you will visit its iconic sites and participate in a private Baci ceremony with a local family, thus gaining a deep insight into the Lao culture. You will have the chance to see the morning almsgiving – the most sacred tradition in Laos, and cruise along the Mekong River to explore other landmarks. Next, satisfy your taste buds with delectable dishes in Hanoi and hop on the cruise to observe the breathtaking scenery of Halong Bay. Discover the different charm of central Vietnam cities with a few days spent in Hoi An and Danang. The last destination of this tour will be Cambodia, where your exploration will focus on the ancient sites of Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. On the last day of the tour, travel to Tonle Sap Lake to experience life in the villages along the shores.
- Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang
- Day 2: Luang Prabang – Full-day Heritage Tour
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Waterfall – Fly Hanoi
- Day 4: Hanoi – Fullday City Tour & Local food discovery
- Day 5: Hanoi – Halong Bay
- Day 6: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
- Day 7: Hoi An – Local Villages and Food tour
- Day 8: Hoi An – Day trip to Ba Na Hills & Golden Bridge
- Day 9: Danang – Fly Siem Reap
- Day 10: Siem Reap – Full-day Temple Exploration
- Day 11: Siem Reap – Tonle Sap Lake
- Day 12: Siem Reap – 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.
Arrival in Luang PrabangDay 1
Saibaidee! Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Luang Prabang. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, KhaiPhaen. It’s a social enterprise based restaurant that empowers disadvantaged youth with vocational training amongst other support.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Laos. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Full-day Heritage TourDay 2
Start your day with a visit to the Morning Market, a lively street where locals shop for everything from colorful vegetables and exotic fruits to live frogs.
From the energy of the market, you’ll step into the serene calm of one of the city’s most elaborate monasteries, Wat Mai, and then to the former King’s Palace, where you’ll discover the history and present life of Luang Prabang. Next, head to the ancient Wat Xieng Thong temple, which features a spectacular low sweeping roof. It’s Luang Prabang’s most distinctive and recognized monastery.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit the UXO Visitor’s Centre to get an incredible insight into the horrific bombings endured by the Lao people and the effect it still has today. The UXO centre is an amazing NGO that does fantastic work, yet just scratches the surface of this little known issue.
Continue to explore the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, best known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Pay a visit to the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)**, the only independent resource center in Laos dedicated to the country’s many and diverse ethnic groups. If time permits, you can visit the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center, set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics, offers free tours every half-hour.
Feeling suitably enlightened, end your day with a climb to the top of Mount Phousi, the city’s highest point where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city and the Mekong River below. After that transfer back to your resort where the rest of the evening will be at your leisure.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Waterfall – Fly HanoiDay 3
Rising early to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates back to the 14th century. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms.
After breakfast, meet your guide for a forty-minute drive to the Pak Ou Village where you will explore the many crafts that the locals make before crossing the mighty Mekong River by small boat to the base of a limestone cliff, the site of the Pak Ou Cave. The lower cave is impressive and filled with Buddhist statues and relics. Take your time to explore the reverent scene scented with burning incense and overlooking the impressive Mekong landscape. Up a winding series of stairs, grab a flashlight and you’ll find another fascinating and easily navigated cave to explore with its ancient Buddhist relics.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, you will cross the Mekong River again by boat and continue with a drive downriver for 1.5 hours to the famous Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most spectacular swimming holes on the continent. The jungle around the waterfall remains lush and beautiful year-round. The waterfall cycles between placid, turquoise waters during the dry season to the impressive, roaring falls during the rainy season.
Before taking a dip in the beautiful Kuangsi Falls, you will get a behind the scenes experience with the team from Free the Bears. This sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates sun, moon, and sloth bears from bile farms.
Transfer to an organic farm where you experience the new Lao Buffalo dairy that produces cheese and a range of delicious dairy products. The diary provides income and a sustainable future for the Lao people involved. Learn how to milk a Buffalo, cuddle a Buffalo for the perfect selfie and try some incredible ice cream.
You will end this full day with a return drive to Luang Prabang late afternoon and transfer back to the airport to board a short flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
On arrival at Hanoi Airport, a new private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter for check-in. The evening is yours to relax at your leisure.
Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Fullday City Tour & Local food discoveryDay 4
Today with the help of your private guide and driver, you will get to explore the city’s top attractions, sample Hanoi’s authentic local dishes away from the tourist trails, hunkering down with the locals on the street at a variety of atmospheric food stalls.
Begin with a tour of Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex where the Vietnamese people honour the country’s ‘Great Father’. Here you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh and his House on Stilts to observe how he lived and how his life unfolded to become one of modern history’s greatest names. Nearside his house is the miniature 11th-century One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple of historical and cultural significance.
From HCM Complex, you will take a leisurely walk through the small laneways toward Huu Tiep Lake. Explore the grounds of a 400-year-old temple, followed by a stroll through traditional local market streets to see the B52 crash site at the lake. This US bomber was shot down during the 1972 bombing raids of Ha Noi, a poignant reminder of Vietnam’s recent history.
Take a short drive to the outskirt of Hanoi to visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the 54 recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam. Some of them you will meet during your trip to Sapa.
Today you will have Pho for lunch, 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, continue to visit the millennia-old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a Confucius temple. Next is Hoa Lo (so-called Hanoi Hilton), a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War.
Embark on a fun cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi) ride through the French colonial architecture of the precinct known as the French Quater, past the French-style villas, the Vietnam History Museum, the heritage Metropole Legend Hotel and the Opera House, name to a few.
Enjoy a cup of unmissable Egg coffee at Pho Co Café with stunning views of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the surroundings.
Finish the day with a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter) to discover the street food scene in Hanoi where it feels like you are never further than a few metres from a street food stall. Your guide will talk you through the ingredients and the different herbs of each dish, while you are crouching on tiny plastic stools in a back alley. Sample delicious dishes like Nom Du Du (green papaya salad), Banh Mi Pa Te (a sandwich that reflects Vietnam’s culinary heritage), and the famous Hanoi dish Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodles).
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Halong BayDay 5
After breakfast and check out of your hotel, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay where you will board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk Boat that is your home for the evening. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters of the bay provide an ethereal backdrop for your leisurely cruise.
Upon arrival you’ll be welcomed aboard your Stylish Junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves.
After a delicious lunch on board, you will spend time to sunbathe on the sundeck and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the bay.
Later you will visit Sung Sot Cave “Grotte des Surprises” a hidden gem of mother nature. Float peacefully through magnificent limestone formations containing thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
Continue to cruise. As you weave your way through the islands, you’ll come across secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and floating villages.
There is plenty of leisure time to enjoy activities both onboard and around the fantastical scenery of the Bay. Pamper yourself at the cruise spa or swim in the emerald waters.
Toward the end of the day, you will sail to the overnight mooring area. During this time – the magical “blue hour” – Halong Bay reveals its true, magnificent beauty. You have a chance to attend the chef’s cooking demonstration or enjoy a mesmerising sunset on the top deck before a scrumptious dinner.
The rest of the evening will be at leisure. You can watch a movie or join the crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for a restful sleep.
Note: If your time permits, we would highly recommend an additional night on board which gives you a lot more time to relax and take in the amazing landscape. You’ll get to cruise deeper into the Bay where it’s more beautiful and less crowded.
Overnight on board in Halong Bay
Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi AnDay 6
The graceful practice of Tai Chi eases you into your day as is the local custom. Join a ‘Local Specialist’ on the deck of the Junk boat for a morning class in exquisite natural surrounds. You’ll have time for an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches and, if you’re feeling energetic, hop on a kayak and paddle through the Dark and Bright Caves admiring the glittering stone walls.
Back to the Junk boat. Check out of the cabin and then enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port. Disembark around midday for your return drive to Hanoi.
From Hanoi, you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to Da Nang, in the central of Vietnam.
Upon arrival at Da Nang airport, you will be picked up by your private guide & driver and taken to your resort in Hoi An, the UNESCO heritage town. Hoi An has a pick of two beaches just 5kms (3 miles) away with so many beautiful beach resorts so please advise us if you prefer to stay on the beach.
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Local Villages and Food tourDay 7
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel to visit a local fishing village by cycling on level ground to the Thu Bon River. For safety purposes, you will be given a short bicycle competency test. For those uncomfortable with riding a bicycle, a private car can be arranged.
Ride along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. Peddle your way through palm forests, across bridges, fields of water buffalo…
Take a short break in a local family at Cam Thanh Village before enjoying a 1.5 hours ride on Traditional Basket Boat (round boat) in the Water Coconut Palm Forest. Learn how to sail the basket boat and spend your time to catch fishes and “purple crabs” in the Canal.
Continue to ride your bike to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village where a large variety of vegetables is produced for the local community. At the village, you will be shown the environmentally sustainable practices which the local villagers have used for centuries and is still being used extensively today.
After some farming practices, head a local family to enjoy a foot massage and the traditional herbal foot dip. You will then ride back to the hotel to rest during the day. Get ready for the afternoon walking and food tour.
Your tour guide will pick you up and take you to the Ancient Quarter of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will embark on a walking tour visiting the major attractions such as Chua Ong Pagoda, Tan Ky Ancient House, Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Japanese Covered Bridge.
Continue to visit the Precious Heritage Museum, home to the permanent exhibition of Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Collection. While transporting you to the furthest reaches of Vietnam, the collection will unveil the rich cultural tapestry of the ethnic tribes
The highlight of the day is the visit to the Reaching Out Tea House, a welcome little oasis of calm in the busy, vibrant Old quarter, owned and operated by the mute and deaf people. Here you will be treated with delicious cakes and incredible tea in the Eastern style.
Now, it’s time for your Hoi An street food discovery tour. With your guide, you will weave in and out the tiny alleyways, get to chow down with the locals at stalls you’d never discover on your own. Every day at 4 pm, Hoi An’s streets filled with a myriad of street food carts, stalls, and vendors. The street food tour is a great introduction for you to enjoy a few of the Hoi An specialties cooked up by the locals, to introduce you to the faces behind the stock pots and to teach you how the Hoi An locals deal with those condiment trays!
Overnight in Hoi An
Hoi An – Day trip to Ba Na Hills & Golden BridgeDay 8
After breakfast your private guide and driver will pick you up and depart for Ba Na Hills, past the sea-shore on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, one of the most beautiful roads of Da Nang City and the Red Beach, where the French first landed in Da Nang.
After 1,5 hours driving, you will arrive at the cable car station at the foot of Ba Na Mountain. Enjoy the first leg Cable car, which achieved two Guinness World Records in 2009 for the longest non-stop cable car (5,042m) and the highest non-stop cable car (1,292m). Sitting in the cabin, in mid-air, 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.
At the end of the first leg, you will visit the Le Jardin, old wineries remain of French Villas and Linh Ung Pagoda with a 27m high Buddha statue. You will 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. Enjoy the beautiful view of the whole Da Nang City under the cluster of white clouds.
Leaving the Peak of Chua Mountain, you will visit the trail of Dreaming Stream, Rainbow Waterfall, Suspension Bridge, Golden Valley, and the ruined Opera House.
After having lunch at a local restaurant spend your time playing with the wild monkeys, take photos, and then return to the Cable car station at foot of Ba Na Mountain for a transfer back to your hotel in Hoi An.
Overnight in Hoi An
Danang – Fly Siem ReapDay 9
You are free at your leisure in Hoi An. Enjoy late breakfast and check out of your hotel around midday.
Your private driver will collect you from your resort and transfer you back to Da Nang Airport to catch a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Upon arrival at Siem Reap Airport, a new private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Siem Reap. If time permits, head out to visit the excellent Angkor National Museum. The visit serves as an excellent primer to the gems of Angkor before visiting the temples. The museum provides a potentially large collection of relics, texts and audiovisual presentations relating to the Angkorian era. With even a basic knowledge of the history and symbolism of the architecture, you will have a much richer and engaging experience visiting the temples.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Cambodia. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Cambodia. You can get a visa on arrival in Cambodia. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Full-day Temple ExplorationDay 10
Today you will have a full day of exploration in Siem Reap. You will experience the temple relics in a way that will really let you feel like you’ve escaped the 20th century and traveled a thousand years back to a time when life was simple and nature was surreal.
After an early breakfast, you’ll be you will be picked up by your private guide and driver. Start your discovery of the temple of the legendary city of Ta Prohm Temple, best known for its gigantic roots of vine that convent down the walls of a thousand years. 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.
Leaving the Ta Prohm, pick up your bike and paddle through the hidden rainforest trails, get closer to the greenery and hear the sound of nature along the way to the city of Angkor Thom via the grand South Gate. Here you’ll explore the last capital of the once great Khmer Empire, with the 216 enigmatic faces of The Bayon at its centre. Still, within the ancient city walls, you’ll marvel at the view from the summit of Baphuon, the enormous temple mountain, affording unspoiled views over the surrounding ruins. You’ll round off the morning poring over the intricate bas-relief of the Elephant Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King, before having a Royal Khmer lunch at the fine-dining restaurant Le Grand. The fabled Royal Khmer cuisine, handed down over the centuries by the chefs of the Royal Palaces, uses only the finest ingredients carefully blended to create a distinct epicurean experience.
Be prepared to enjoy one of the Wonders of the Ancient World: Angkor Wat. At this point, you most probably have gotten glimpses of the towers over treetops and the gates in front of passing. But now you’ll finally get to satiate that curiosity that’s grown in the last few days.
With your guide, you’ll 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 afternoon 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 that you remember for a very long time.
Finish the tour and transfer back to your hotel where the balance of the day is at your leisure. Chill out and relaxing at the hotel’s swimming pool.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – Tonle Sap LakeDay 11
Today you will explore the unique communities and traditional villages dot the rural countryside near Siem Reap and promise an escape to another world.
After breakfast, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver, and transferred southeast of Siem Reap to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. On the way, you will stop for hot sticky rice and then take a detour off the main highway into the countryside. You’ll wind through dirt roads and, in the rainy season, witness families working their rice paddies.
You will then continue to the Floating Village of Kompong Khleang with a population of about 10,000 people, all of whom make a living from the fishing industry. Upon arrival board a private motorized boat to visit the Kompong Khleang, the two other floating villages, and the Great lake. Explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers.
During the boat ride, you will make stops to see where Bridge of Lifeworks, visit a Cambodian pagoda and a stilted home in the village to learn a little more about local life. Cruise into the open water of the lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier.
You’ll end your tour with a boat ride back to the habour where your driver is waiting to take you back to your hotel.
Spend your time to relax and chill out at the resort. Later, meet your guide again and head out to enjoy Champagne and canapes on the 20-minute gondola boat ride through the moats of Angkor to Prasat Chrung Temple to watch the amazing sunset. This lesser-known temple is set on top of a hill in the Angkor complex offering excellent views and it is an ideal spot to watch the sun go down.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – DepartureDay 12
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Siem Reap International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
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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
Reviews on Our Service
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!