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: Arrive in Luang Prabang – Half-day City Tour
- Day 2: Cruise Mekong to Pak Ou Caves
- Day 3: KuangSi Water Falls – 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 Siem Reap
- Day 10: Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Byon, 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 will embark on the leisurely cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which will also give 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 will visit Wat Mai, which is one of the most beautiful temples of Luang Prabang. We will 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 Water Falls – Fly HanoiDay 3
After breakfast, we will transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls, the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-meter 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 hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi City – Street Food tourDay 4
After breakfast, we will 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 will 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 will provide 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 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 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 will 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 as 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 will 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 our 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 Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City).
Pick up and transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
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 will be 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 sea-shore 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 achieved two Guinness World Records in 2009 for longest non-stop cable car (5,042m) and 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. We will then visit the Le Jardin, old wineries remain of French Villas and Ling Ung Pagoda with 27m high Buddha statue. We 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 view of the whole Da Nang city under the cluster of white clouds. After leaving Peak of Chua Mountain, we will visit the trail of Dreaming Stream, Rainbow Waterfall, Suspension Bridge, Golden Valley, and ruined Opera House. We will have lunch at a local restaurant. You can play with wild monkeys and take photos, freely then we’ll 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 Siem ReapDay 9
Enjoy your free time until transfer to the airport for a short flight to Siem Reap.
Pick up and transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Byon, 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 exploits 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 will 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 many treasures of the ancient world. It will be an experience you won’t ever forget.
As the sun approaches the horizon, you’ll enjoy the 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 relaxing 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 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
We are a member of:
We are a fully licensed company:
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
"Laos, Cambodia, Thailand"
We needed a 2-week break after a freezing and miserable Melbourne winter and visit Asia – but not VN, Bali, etc. Laos was suggested by Helen at Indochina (found her in an ad) and we had 12 nights through the region in excellent hotels, with great guides. Nothing went wrong really – one minor glitch was fixed with a Whatsapp message. So good planning and great real-time support available.
"Help with the Vietnam trip planning"
I am visiting Vietnam in the first week of Jan 2020. I reached out to Indochina Pioneer for help planning my trip. Though I did not eventually engage them due to my shortened vacation plan, Indochina Pioneer was very helpful and professional in providing all the insights into the trip. Especially Ms. Phuong who has been very patient with all my questions. I even offered to pay them a token amount for all their help which Indochina Pioneer politely denied. I wish to engage them in my next trip to Vietnam.
Kerri SMaryland, USA
My visit to Thailand and Vietnam was a trip of a lifetime! Lizzie diligently worked with me to create a trip that included everything that I wanted to see and do—-learn about the country, culture and foods. Everything about the trip was perfect. Hotels, tours and most especially the tour guides! The tour guides were so knowledgeable and flexible and I feel so blessed to consider them my friends now. They really made the trip for me!
Lizzie Pham, I can’t sing your praises enough for your attention to detail! You and everyone I met along my adventure have a special place in my heart. You opened my eyes to amazing places and people. I can’t wait to explore more countries with you!
This is the second time we used Indochina Pioneer. Earlier this year we used them for a great tour of Thailand and this time for another great tour in Vietnam. We are very lucky to of worked with Kata Tran, and she spent much time in helping us customize a tour based on the amount of time we wanted to spend in Vietnam. We really feel spoiled that we can arrange a private tour and customize the tour further throughout the tour. We have been so happy to have private tours as tours are the most efficient but we were always turned off by large tours and everyone following someone carrying a flag. With a private tour, we can call the shots as there will be a place that we want to spend more time and places we want to spend less time. The tour guides and driver coordinate perfectly so as we finish one place, our van would be waiting for us with the air condition on and cold water. I actually asked one of the tour guides that were subcontracted by Indochina Pioneer and was very pleased when they said that really enjoyed working with Indochina Pioneer because they can see that Indochina Pioneer really wants the best for their customers and that to ensure that, they hire the best subcontractors and take care of them also so everyone is happy. I hope Indochina Pioneer and Kata Tran prosper and grow larger and there are other places that we want to travel and would like to use Indochina Pioneer again and again.
Trish WBig White, Canada
"Superb Travel Agency and Consultant Kata Tran"
We have just returned from a 17-day excursion in Southern Vietnam, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Kata Tran was EXCELLENT to deal with. She listened to what we wanted to do for our tour and she delivered! The guides and drivers were great. The guide’s knowledge of the sites and English was very good and the drivers were timely and caring. They always had a cold bottle of water and a cleansing towel ready for us when we returned from visiting a site. The whole tour unfolded on time and without a hitch. The highlight of our trip was visiting the Patara Elephant Park outside of Chaing Mai, Thailand, where we spent a full day with the elephants: learning about them and being taught how to communicate with them; feeding them; watering them; riding them in the jungle for 45 minutes; then bathing them. It was WONDERFUL. Kata recommended this particular Farm for an elephant experience and we were so happy because we had heard from others about their disappointment at some other elephant sanctuaries/excursions. Patara Farm is associated with the Veterinary Department of Chiang Mai University so you know the animals are well cared for and it shows.
We were disappointed with our hotel in Bangkok and Kata and the guide did everything they could to ensure our happiness and they definitely accomplished their goal.
I would HIGHLY recommend Indochina Pioneer and Patara Elephant Farm
John MMelbourne, Australia
"BRILLIANT TRAVEL AGENCY AND CONSULTANT (MS HIEN PHAM)!"
In 21018 we visited the southern half of Vietnam and loved it so much that we decided to do a 16-day tour of the north in March 2019.
We had a fairly good idea of where we wanted to go and stay (eg. A few days in Ha Noi, an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay, stay in a mountain village, visit Hoi An, etc, etc), but we had no specific hotels or tours in mind.
Enter Indochina Pioneer and Ms. Hien Pham who was assigned to us. I found the company on the internet and after checking a few Trip Advisor recommendations I contacted them and began putting the details of our tour together (based largely on Hien’s recommendations).
She was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!! So patient, understanding and she left nothing to chance!!! And all at a very reasonable price (better quality – but cheaper than Australian package deals!!!) Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) went as she planned it. The great accommodation (eg. The Apricot Hotel in Ha Noi was outstanding – see my separate review), the tours, the local city guides, the transfers, etc, etc, all went well).
I can’t recommend Ms. Hien Pham and Indochina Pioneer highly enough. Book your tour with them – you won’t regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Best Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam trip"
We chose Indochina Pioneer and they put together the best-customized tour for us. The timings were well planned and it became one of the memorable tours for us. Hien from Indochina was very helpful in planning. We were very particular about places, and she helped us to plan what we want. We started from Cambodia (Siem Reap, Tonle Sap Lake), then Laos (Luang Prabang), and then to Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Thien Duong Cave, Ba Be, Cao Bang, Ban Gioc Waterfalls). Every day we had a blast. The service was really good. And I’m booking through them again to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. And that tells how good they are. Thanks to Indochina Pioneer and special thanks to Hien for planning the best trip for us.
"Best Myanmar trip"
We decided to choose Indochina Pioneer to plan a trip to Myanmar with our family. It was 17 days length trip only in Myanmar. This was an amazing experience and an excellent country to visit. Ms. Hien was very helpful to plan our itinerary, ad hoc to our needs. Tour guides have mostly good knowledge and good English. Especially Mr. Cho and Ms. Thin were really good tour guides, we liked them a lot.
"Splendid personalised tour of Vietnam and Cambodia"
Following a recommendation we chose Indochina Pioneer to put together our bespoke tour. Sales Manager Kata Tran took on board our requirements and offered a proposal which we then fine-tuned into an excellent itinerary. We had a really splendid holiday. Different guides at different locations were all good and three were outstanding. Our boutique hotels were mostly very good and we found the service offered was always delightful – the same for restaurants. The high spots of our holiday were the gentle trekking in Sapa, the wonderful Ha Long Bay cruise (outstanding food on our boat), Hanoi city and the street food, Hoi An so charming, exciting Saigon, the high-speed boat ride up the Mekong and the fantastic Angkor temples in Cambodia. We built two relaxation breaks into our tour, primarily to meet up with friends and family but this was also useful to catch breath in the middle of the tour. We were very pleased with the arrangements made by Indochina Pioneer although it would probably have been best to travel from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap by air rather than by bus. Cambodia was very, very hot at this time of year.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Indochina Pioneer for similar tours in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Jerry Ray BowlingUSA
"Worry-free Vietnam travel!"
Reliable and caring. You name it and Ryan has the know-how to plan it. From a hassle-free airport taxi to your place of relaxation, day trekking in Nhin Binh and rowing a Sampan in a National park and of course the 2-night Halong Bay Junk Boat. The quality of communication during planning, the freedom to ask questions, make changes and make even more changes were without pressure. Our day tour guide Cuong was simply wonderful in conversation and culture and share a few recipes with my wife!
This was my 1st experience using a tour service and I will honestly say… its the only way to travel Vietnam, see what you want to see, have reliable timely transportation, professional safe drivers and a plan. These agents and supporting cast are sincere in the duties to the customer and your experience in Vietnam.
On another note, I had forgotten an item. Contacted them, and both went out of there way to ensure my item was returned. So grateful
Next tour Sapa, Lao Cai, Hai Phong