- Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi – Day trip to Tho Ha Village
- Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau
- Day 4: Mai Chau – Son La
- Day 5: Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien Phu
- Day 6: Dien Bien Phu – Laos border crossing – Muangkua
- Day 7: Muangkua – Muang Ngoi – Nong Khiaw
- Day 8: Nong Khiaw – Drive to Luang Prabang
- Day 9: Luang Prabang – Full-day City Tour
- Day 10: Luang Prabang – Elephant Ride – Kuang Si Waterfall
- Day 11: Luang Prabang – Flight to Siem Reap
- Day 12: Siem Reap Exploration
- Day 13: Siem Reap – Battambang
- Day 14: Battambang – Kampong Chnang - Phnom Penh
- Day 15: Phnom Penh – Kratie
- Day 16: Kratie – Rattanakiri
- Day 17: Rattanakiri Exploration
- Day 18: Rattanakiri Exploration
- Day 19: Rattanakiri – Kampong Cham
- Day 20: Kampong Cham – Phnom Penh – 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.
Hanoi – ArrivalDay 1
Your private tour guide will meet you at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and will escort you by private car to your selected hotel in Hanoi. Your knowledgeable guide will be happy to answer any questions along the way about your Vietnam private tour package, and will assist you with check-in and registration at the hotel.
After checking in, if you are interested, your guide will take you on a cyclo tour through the alleys of the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter or the “36 Streets” and a traditional water puppetry performance. This is a great way to watch the local daily life and culture.
Dinner will be on your own, but your guide will recommend excellent options for your preferred cuisine – we highly recommend trying Hanoi cuisine for a true immersion experience.
Note: For the Vietnamese Visa on Arrival, please make sure you have 2 passport sized 4 cm x 6 cm photos and $25 for the stamping fee.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Day trip to Tho Ha VillageDay 2
Your private guide and driver will take you out of Hanoi in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads before reaching Tho Ha village in Bac Ninh Province. (About 2 hours)
Drive pass Duong Bridge to Bac Ninh Province, with one or two photo stops en route for photos. You also spend some time visiting one of the local Matyre Cemetery to learn about how war matyres from the French and American War, and “Vietnam Heroic Mothers” are buried, respected and remembered.
You MAY make another stop to visit a family who make earth bricks and tiles on the roadside (if they are working) and try your hands on making one or two tiles. You’ll be amazed how difficult to make those simple tiles!
Arrive at Tho Ha village, you will visit one family who make ritual votive paper products. Those products mostly immitate real products in life but will only be burned for the dead people.
You then cross the Cau River on a concrete-made boat. Spend time visiting the village market and then come to Mr. Viet’s home. Mr. Viet’s wife will teach you how to make rice paper (which is used for Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls). You will socialize with Mr. Viet & Mrs Tuyet family before walking around the village to learn about the village life, history and culture.
Walk back to Mr. Viet’s home for your home-hosted lunch then bid goodbye to the family and drive back to Hanoi. Trip ends at around 16:00 at the hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi
Hanoi – Mai ChauDay 3
You will be collected by your private guide and driven in a private vehicle to the picturesque countryside of green paddy fields and mountains in the distance to the town of Mai Chau; home of the Thai minority.
Upon arrival, you check in at the boutique Mai Chau Lodge, a unique hotel of the area. Enjoy a home-hosted lunch at a local family, followed by a walking tour of Pom Coong and Lac villages. These villages are where communities of the White Thai live and you have an opportunity to learn about their way of life, the stilted-house architecture, and their embroidery art.
You will then return to your hotel, with the rest of the day free at your leisure. You may even chill out at hotel’s outdoor swimming pool for the rest of the afternoon. Tonight, there is an opportunity to attend a traditional dance show performed by the White Thai (optional).
Overnight in Mai Chau
Mai Chau – Son LaDay 4
Upon leaving Mai Chau you see many villages dotting the hillsides and the undulating terrain, which makes for an interesting journey. Along the way we stop for a short trek near Xa Linh, visiting the Hmong and the Muong people. Traveling across the Moc Chau Plateau we pass many tea plantations en route to Son La, which is your overnight stop.
Arrive and check in your hotel in Son La. The remainder of the day is free to explore the area.
Overnight in Son La
Son La – Tuan Giao – Dien Bien PhuDay 5
After breakfast and check out, you will pay a visit the old Son La Prison, which the French used to imprison Vietnamese revolutionaries in the latter years of the colonial era.
Leaving Son La for Dien Bien, you stop at a market in Thuan Chau, which is populated by many hill tribes. Crossing over the Pha Din Pass you continue to travel to Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam’s struggle for independence from the French in 1954. The Lao border is not very far away from this town.
Arrive in Dien Bien, check in to your hotel room. The rest of the day is free.
Overnight in Dien Bien
Dien Bien Phu – Laos border crossing – MuangkuaDay 6
After breakfast and check out of the hotel you will visit the former French battlefields including the war museum, Muong Thanh airbase. On display are relics from the battle including old French tanks and artillery pieces. Of special interest is the reconstruction of the bunker where the French commander, Colonel de Castries, surrendered to Viet Minh forces.
Leaving Dien Bien Phu you are transferred to Laos border. After clearing all the custom you will take a two hour drive (80 Km) to Muang Khua.
You will arrive in Muang Khua a small trading town. Check into the local guests house and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Muongkua
Muangkua – Muang Ngoi – Nong KhiawDay 7
You continue by boat cruise to Muong Ngoi 4-5 hours by boat. Muong Ngoi is one hour north of Nong Khiaw. The village is small with narrow footpaths lined with coconut palms and a common site is fisher folk mending their nets creating a South Sea ambience. A true Lao style of life is abundant here and time seems to stand still.
Stop for lunch served with local food along the river bank. Then transfer to check in to the local hotel. The rest of the day will be free at leisure.
Overnight in Nong Khiaw
Nong Khiaw – Drive to Luang PrabangDay 8
Breakfast at hotel, depart Nong Khiaw you drive towards Luang Prabang through stunning karstic landscapes.
En route you will stop and embark on the boat trip on the Mekong River. Enjoy a picnic lunch on board. Then you arrive will arrive at Pak Ou where the Nam Ou River meets the mighty Mekong River. You cross the Mekong River to Pak ou Cave and visit the sacred caves housing thousands of statues of Buddha.
Continue your drive to Luang Prabang and arrive before sunset.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Hue – Full-day City TourDay 9
With the help of your private guide, driver and private vehicle you will get to explore the town’s major attractions. Your full day city tour begins after breakfast, with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. You then enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.
End up your morning activities by visiting the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham.
Following lunch, you visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures before you head out of town to see the weaving villages of Ban Xiengkhong and Ban Xienglek. You then return to the city for a visit to Wat Mai.
Climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city at sunset and the Mekong River. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Elephant Ride – Kuang Si WaterfallDay 10
After breakfast your guide and driver will take you out of town 20km to Ban An Elephant camp, where you can enjoy elephant trek about one hour.
Upon arrival, your guide brief about those elephant where they come from and their daily living condition. Enjoy the impressive experience of approx. 1.5 hours elephant ride on the Howdah (Elephant seat) to the Elephant Jungle Camp. You continue to walk (1,5 hour) through a unique natural jungle valley with limestone cascades. Lunch will be provided at the Elephant Jungle Camp (Picnic lunchbox and drinking water).
Drive back to town and continue to the beautiful Kuangsi Fall, where you can swim, relax, soft trek to the top of the fall. On return you make a short stop at Black Hmong Village, where hill tribe handmade handicraft as souvenirs for visitors passes by.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Flight to Siem ReapDay 11
After breakfast and check out transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival meet the tour guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel and check into our room.
Lunch will be on your own.
Your guide will take you on a guided tour of the city with the following sites;
– Eastern Mebon used to be in the middle the waters of the large Oriental Baray that is presently filled with rice-fields
– Neak Poan was supposed to be a symbol of the Universe
– Preah Khan built in 1191 according to the tradition on a spot where the king fought a crucial battle against the Cham.
The rest of the evening is free.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap ExplorationDay 12
You start on our bike and cycle (45 mins for cycling) to word heritage areas on the roads less traveled. Ride among the jungle passing local village and local shop. It’s very special and acting day as you will explore some of Angkor’s most beautiful temples. You will visit:
– The ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century)
– See the South Gate, Bayon Temple- unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara
– The Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas
– The Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King.
After lunch at a local Cambodian restaurant, your tour continues with the famous temple: Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a World Heritage Site since 1992, famous for its beauty and splendor. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology.
End up your day by visiting Bakheng Temple and then enjoy a romantic sun set view form Bakheng hill.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Siem Reap – BattambangDay 13
After breakfast you depart Siem Reap and wind your way to Battambang. Not so far from Siem Reap you reach the village of Puok which is home to the Artisans d’Angkor Silk Farm. Here you will witness the entire silk production process, from the silk worm munching on the Mulberry leaves, to spinning their cocoons, the cocoons being harvested and turned into silk thread, women weaving, and of course the beautiful finished silk products, which you can purchase at the on-site boutique, a wonderful souvenir of Cambodia. Arrive in Battambang, transfer to your hotel for refreshing yourself before continue the trip.
Continue to visit a local family graph farm, Cambodia’s first vineyard – Prasat Phnom Banan Vineyard – you can pop in if you like, learn about producing wine in the tropics and of course enjoy a spot of wine tasting! A few kilometers further south you arrive at the well preserved 11th century mountaintop Angkorian temple of Phnom Banan. After climbing the 350+ steps you are treated to a wonderfully peaceful setting with superb views across the surrounding countryside, with small villages dotting the endless rice paddies, punctuated with the characteristic sugar palm trees – a wonderful sunset location.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Battambang – Kampong Chnang - Phnom PenhDay 14
After breakfast you will depart for Phnom Penh. Upon arrival you visit to the Royal Palace compound build in 1866 by the Predecessors of King Norodom, is the most conspicuous feature and also one of impressive colorful Khmer-style Palaces. Nearside the Royal Palace is Silver Pagoda (The Emerald Buddha temple), displays plenty of Buddha Statues that were decorated and made by diamond, emerald, gold and silver.
Continue to visit Independence Monument which was constructed in 1954 after Cambodian took their country back from French colony. Proceed to the National Museum, the distinctive red building with a beautiful Khmer architecture was build since 1917 and contains more than 5000 art objects made of sandstone, bronze, silver, copper, wood and others.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue your tour to visit Wat Phnom Daun Penh – the name of a pagoda, was built by lady Daun Penh in 1372 on a little hill, Legend has it that after a particularly heavy flood, a wealthy Khmer woman named Daun Penh found a tree on the banks of the Mekong with four statues of Buddha hidden inside.
Visit the Russian market for some shopping spree before you return to rour hotel. The rest of the day is free.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh – KratieDay 15
Depart Phnom Penh at 08:00am for an interesting drive to Kratie, stopping off at Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros in Kampong Cham before winding your way to Kratie.
After lunch at a local restaurant you will take a ferry to Koh Trong Island, which is a small island in the middle of the Mekong just opposite Kratie town. Here you will get your bicycle for an easy and peaceful 9km ride to explore the islands traditional wooden Khmer houses and pagoda’s stopping off several times to taste the delicious and famous island fruits. Then back to Kratie for a stroll along the riverside for a magnificent sunset.
Overnight in Kratie
Kratie – RattanakiriDay 16
After breakfast, you leave Kratie and drive to Ban Lung. On the way you will make a stop at O’ Russey Kandal. A small community based ecotourism site with rapids, and the opportunity to have a swim. Continue your journey to Banlung in the Ratanakiri province.
After lunch you will enjoy an elephant ride through the forest to the fabulous Katieng Waterfall. You have the opportunity to wash and feed the elephants and also have time for a swim before returning to town.
Overnight in Rattanakiri
Rattanakiri ExplorationDay 17
Start your day day by spending sometime at the beautiful Yaek Lom Lake, a natural lake formed in a volcanic crater. After that, you will drive to the tribal villages north of Ban Lung. On the way you pass the ancient lava fields and visit the tribal village of La Ork, Kala and Kress, where you can explore and learn from the local hill tribe people.
Return to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Ban Lung
Rattanakiri ExplorationDay 18
The trekking starts from the lodge on the west hiking trail up the hill side of Phnom Korl. The paths walked are the ones frequented by Tampuan hill tribe villagers (of Phumes Sil, Lapo, Lon, and Phnom) in Yaklom commune to their farms. (Phume is a Khmer word, and means “village”.) The walk goes through hilly and beautiful landscape, some points at which you may need to exercise your energy a little bit more.
The trekking will give you a picture of how people in Yaklom commune (Tampuan hill tribe) practice their slash and burn (or Sweden) farming. The walk goes through hilly and beautiful landscape, some points at which you may need to exercise your energy a little bit more.
You will pass a number of Sweden farms where you will see and (when possible and suitable) join farm activities according to the cropping calendar or cropping pattern of the season. There are more and more Khmer people inhabiting the areas around Yaklom Lake and you may notice some changes: plantations, flower gardens, forest clearance, etc.)
You will spend time to swim at the volcanic lake of giant Loam – Yeak Loam, superb places surrounded by pristine rainforest. Take your time for swimming or take a walk around the lake.
Overnight in Ban Lung
Rattanakiri – Kampong ChamDay 19
After breakfast you depart for Kampong Cham. Arrive and check in to the hotel around midday.
After lunch at a restaurant on the riverside, you continue our journey to Kampong Cham and on the way if time permits you will visit the 8th century hillside pagoda of Wat Hanchey and the 11th century temple of Wat Nokor.
Overnight in Kampong Cham
Kampong Cham – Phnom Penh – DepartureDay 20
After breakfast, you will return to Phnom Penh by private vehicle. The driver will take you straight to the airport for your departure flight back home.
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 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 suite 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
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
"First trip to Vietnam"
As this was our first trip to Vietnam we decided to us Indochina Pioneer-and Mr Lam provided us with a 17 day itinerary. Thank you for arranging a most relaxing holiday, and we enjoyed every minute with our guides, Mr Dong (Hanoi), Mr Thoung and driver Mr Hai (Hoi An-Hue) Mrs Yen from Ho Chi Minh City and Mr Tom from the Dragon Peal No 1. Their warmth, friendliness and good humour has made our trip most memorable. The guides all did an excellent job with their knowledge on places visited as well as the history of Vietnam. Our visit to Halong Bay was unfortunately very cold, but was still made enjoyable, and guests still participated in canoeing and visiting the floating fishing village. Although there were many highlights with the sounds, smells and overall busy day to day life especially in the markets, my favourite highlight was in Ho Chi Minh City with a park becoming one enormous flower market and the boats on the river covered in flowers ready to sell, all for the Tet festival. We wished we stayed a few extra nights to enjoy the Tet festivities. Yes I would definitely recommend Indochina Pioneer to anyone wishing to travel to Vietnam, and will use this company again.
It was great to have a relaxing vacation and indochina took
Care of everything. Loved Hanoi and Halong Bay!
keith mUnited Kingdom
"Cycling Mekong Delta and sight seeing in Saigon"
Perhaps the best way to explore the Mekong Delta area. Can Tho is a lively overnight stop with well situated lovely hotel. All hotels selected by Indo China Pioneer are well situated but don’t expect western standards in hotels beyond Can Tho. Good combination of cycling and site seeing including boat and ferry trips, workshop visits with good choice of restaurant and roadside stops for fresh fruit.
However the route rarely left normal roads and didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Some quiet rural roads followed but others were quite busy, particularly in the vicinity of the small towns we cycled through.
We were concerned that we were not measured for our bikes on the first day which just arrived in the back of the minibus that collected us from our hotel. The frame size for my partner’s bike was much too large for her and it was fitted with a male shaped saddle which caused her considerable discomfort on the first day. The saddle was changed on Day 2 after she refused to continue the holiday with that particular bike at the end of day 1.
The guide did not appear to be completely clear of the route at times and we needed to complete an ‘about turn’ 3 times during the trek which may be why our route didn’t appear to be as described in the brochure. Indo China guides are very knowledgeable and helpful and know many local secret gems to visit but their spoken english can be difficult to follow at times even for me as a native English speaker. Indo China Pioneer specialise in providing tailor made tours for small groups down to 2 in number and flexibility in preparing a holiday programe to suit individual customers requests including the selection of the most suitable hotel using their wealth of local knowledge. Moderately priced boutique hotels are typically chosen.
"An amazing trip"
In my younger years I spent months backpacking on the cheap around Asia. I now have more money, less time and a family. I found Indochina Pioneer on-line and contacted Mr Lam for our recent trip to Cambodia. He was full of information, answered all of my many questions, suggested great ideas, incorporated my changes and organised all smoothly.
I wanted airport transfers and to organise hotels before we left. Mr Lam suggested a range of hotels to choose from all of which were good. Internal transfers and flights were also organised. We only wanted tours for Angkor Wat and The Killing Fields which Mr Lam arranged. Our other days were left free for us to choose what we wanted. The tour consisted of myself, my husband and twin sons which was perfect. The tour guides were knowledgeable and helpful, as were the drivers.
Mr Lam suggested we get a speed boat from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Phnom Penh up the Mekong River which was a great way to travel. The crocodile farm on the way was well worth the lunch stop.
I would recommend Indochina Pioneer as a great tour company for families. My in-laws are travelling with them later in the year. I am currently planning another trip to Laos using Indochina Pioneer again.
For someone who doesn’t like or do package tours having a private tour for my family was just perfect.
"Fantastic trip amazing service"
Fantastic trip from start to finish. All our expectations were met and exceeded from the moment we booked the trip with Mr Lam to our last day.
We had one minor problem during our stay and it was sorted immediately with profession
And made our trip the most memorable holiday ever.
Mr Lam customised our trip to suit us and we loved all of our guides and drivers.
We were even lucky enough to be invited to the companies end of year party and got to meet everyone who made our holiday so special. I can’t recommend this company enough and that’s something coming from someone in the tourist industry. Well done indoctrination pioneer.