Angkor Wat
Caption: Angkor Wat
Caption: Halong Bay
Caption: Hanoi
Caption: Luang Prabang city in Laos (The Royal Palace Museum)

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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 2 Requires moderate physical activity. You need to be able to participate in physical activities such as longer walking tours, walking over uneven terrain, climbing steps and be comfortable with some periods of standing. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: Highlights of Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia
Duration: 15 days, 14 nights
Flight information: Flights depart London Heathrow [LHR] the day before the start of the tour to arrive at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam [SG] on Day 1 and to depart from Siem Reap International Airport, Cambodia [REP] on Day 15.
Pickup location: Tan Son Nhat International Airport , Vietnam [SGN]

Overview

Choose your own departure date for your group.

This wonderfully varied tour of Indochina takes in the very best of the scenery, history and culture of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

On this Indochina tour, you will explore the fascinating history of Vietnam, from its ancient history as a trading nation to more recent times of Communism and War. Cruise the spectacular scenery of Halong Bay and ride through ancient city streets before travelling on to Laos.

Laos must be the most relaxed country in South East Asia and everything is fresh and unhurried here; the food, the people and the country itself. Famed for its lush, green scenery and the friendliness of its people, spend some time experiencing the fascinating and proud cultural heritage of Laos. Next on this jam-packed itinerary is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor, just outside Siem Reap in Cambodia. This ancient city and its temple complexes have rightly earned their reputation as the 7th Wonder of the World. All of this accompanied by excellent food, interesting company and expert guides makes this Indochinese tour an experience not to be missed.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to Vietnam
DAY 2 - Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City Tour & Evening River Cruise
DAY 3 - The Mekong Delta, Danang & Hoi An
DAY 4 - Hoi An & My Son
DAY 5 - Hue & The Tombs of the Emperors
DAY 6 - Dragon Boat on the Perfume River, Hue’s Royal Citadel & Hanoi
DAY 7 - Hanoi City Tour and Water Puppet Show
DAY 8 - Halong Bay Cruise
DAY 9 - Halong Bay Cruise & Laos
DAY 10 - Luang Prabang Tour & River Boat Cruise
DAY 11 - Tak Bat and National Museum, Arrive Cambodia
DAY 12 - Sunrise Over Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & Apsara Dance Show
DAY 13 - Siem Reap, Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm
DAY 14 - Temple Tours and Farewell Dinner
DAY 15 - Goodbye to Cambodia and Home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to Vietnam

Upon arrival, you will be met at Tan Son Nhat airport and transferred to the hotel for check in and refreshment. There will be the opportunity this evening to meet your Big Journey Company Tour Director and the rest of the group at a Welcome dinner in the hotel.

Included meals: DInner 

DAY 2 - Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City Tour & Evening River Cruise

Today we will visit the Cu Chi tunnels. This is the infamous site where Viet Cong guerrillas built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels during the Vietnam War. Ere the local people were be able to hide during bombings. The labyrinth also enabled them to stage surprise attacks. The determination, ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese people is evident here. The site visit includes a short talk and video about the history of the area, a tour of the tunnels and the opportunity to go underground yourself.
After lunch, we explore Ho Chi Minh City’s major sights with a half-day city tour, which includes the French-inspired and aptly named Notre Dame Cathedral, City Hall and the War Remnants Museum. The War Remnants Museum houses some large exhibits in its outside courtyard, including US armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, bombs and infantry weapons. You will spend time quietly contemplating the history represented here, in the Propaganda and Photography galleries. You will find a stark representation of the history of the Vietnam War.
Dinner this evening will be as part of an evening river cruise on Saigon River, giving us a great view of the city by night.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 3 - The Mekong Delta, Danang & Hoi An

Today, we depart Ho Chi Minh City by luxury speedboat, cruising through canals and along the Saigon River to the Mekong Delta. Enjoy a light breakfast on board, taking in the fresh air and observing the daily life of local citizens living along the riverbanks.
When we arrive at My Tho, we will enjoy a short concert of the traditional music of Southwest Vietnam before riding to the Cong Doan dock by horse cart. We will experience the peaceful atmosphere of this water region by taking a small boat through nipa canals, stopping off along the way to call in at a coconut candy factory and the local bee farm.
We return to the mainland to Diem Phuong restaurant and enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch with delicious 7-courses, including the local delicacy of Elephant-Ear fish served in rice-paper with fish sauce.
After lunch, we head back to Ho Chi Minh City for an evening flight to Danang. After check in at the hotel in Hoi An, you will enjoy an evening at leisure to explore this ancient and most beautiful World Heritage Site. Exploring and experiencing this town is often cited as one of the highlights of the tour. Take a cyclo taxi or ask your Big Journey Company Tour Director to point you in the right direction to find somewhere to enjoy a cool drink at the side of the river in the old town. There is no better place to while away the evening.

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch 

DAY 4 - Hoi An & My Son

Today we will enjoy a fascinating walking tour, discovering the beautiful and well-preserved ancient town of Hoi An. Hoi An is a historical port and trading town on the Silk Route. It has been frequented by merchants from China, to Portugal and Holland and these influences are evident as you explore. In the 16th century, Hoi An was one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia. It’s distinctive Chinese atmosphere with low, tiled-roof houses and narrow streets comes from this time. The original structure of some of these streets is still virtually intact and we will explore them today. Many of the houses were constructed of rare timbers and decorated with lacquer panels engraved with Chinese characters and pillars carved with ornamental design. We visit a traditional house, the famous and much-photographed Japanese covered bridge and the Hoi An central market.
After lunch, we depart to My Son. We visit the former capital of the Kingdom of Champa and the site of Vietnam’s most important Cham ruins. The towers here date from the 9th to the 13th century. Most of the temples in My Son were dedicated to Cham Kings and also served as a burial place for Cham monarchs.
Dinner this evening will be together at a local restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 5 - Hue & The Tombs of the Emperors

We say a fond farewell to the town of Hoi An today and head north along one of the most scenic hillside roads in Vietnam, to the city of Hue. We wind our way up the spectacular Hai Van Pass where we will see some of the military installations left from times of war, now almost hidden in amongst the lush forest. On the way, we also stop at the Marble Mountain and the Cham Museum.
In Hue we visit the tomb of Khai Dinh, one of the last emperors of Vietnam who died in 1925. The spectacular entryway with dragon pillars is the highlight of the Tomb. Then we continue on to explore the imperial architecture and atmosphere of Tu Duc’s Tomb; a peaceful resting place featuring pine woods and a lakeside pavilion with lotus blossoms. The tomb was more of a pleasure garden during the Emperor’s lifetime than a final resting place. Here he once fished, listened to music, and wrote poetry. He also indulged in extravagant 50-course meals of incredible delicacies. This evening you're free to explore Hue and seek out some of the local delicacies for yourself - and as many courses as you'd like to enjoy...

Included meals: Breakfast & Lunch 

DAY 6 - Dragon Boat on the Perfume River, Hue’s Royal Citadel & Hanoi

After breakfast, we board a Dragon Boat to Thien Mu Pagoda on the banks of the Perfume River. This Buddhist temple is the oldest monastery in Hue, dating back to the 17th century. We also take a guided tour to learn more about the Royal Citadel and the Imperial City, where Emperor Gia Long modelled this Royal Citadel on the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.
This afternoon we fly to Hanoi. We will be met upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport and transferred to our hotel where we will enjoy dinner this evening.
The rest of this evening will be spent at leisure, giving you the opportunity to step out into the 40 streets of Hanoi’s central district and explore for yourself.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 7 - Hanoi City Tour and Water Puppet Show

First stop on this morning’s city tour will be to view the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The final resting place of Ho Chi Minh is a place of pilgrimage for Vietnamese people. We will also explore Ho Chi Minh’s official residences, walking through the beautiful botanical garden of the Presidential Palace and on to visit Uncle Ho’s humble house. This modest dwelling was built based on a rural Vietnamese stilt house and is where Ho Chi Minh lived for the last years of his life.
We also visit the famous One Pillar Pagoda, built of wood on a single stone pillar and designed to resemble a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity. The final stop on the tour will be at the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam founded in 1070. This temple constitutes a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is still a bustling place today.
After lunch at local restaurant and then we have a truly Vietnamese experience in store, exploring the small streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter by cyclo rickshaw.
This evening, we will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 8 - Halong Bay Cruise

Today we drive through spectacular scenery to Halong Bay. Enjoy the seemingly endless green paddy fields where women in conical hats work in the rice fields with their water buffalo. We pass through farmland, local villages and busy markets, giving you plenty of opportunity to observe how Vietnamese people go about their daily lives.
Halong Bay, or 'The Bay of the Descending Dragon' in Vietnamese, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. With 3,000 islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, it is one of the natural marvels of Vietnam. We experience the beauty of this area for ourselves with an overnight cruise through the islands. We will be welcomed aboard and cruise whilst lunch is served.
After lunch, there will be opportunities to take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, to swim or stroll on a quiet beach or for sunbathing on the sundeck. Enjoy evening cocktails on board while watching the sun set and unwind in time for our evening dinner together this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 9 - Halong Bay Cruise & Laos

Wake up onboard and greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise, where you can view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, we go ashore on one of the islands to explore a beautiful limestone cave. Enjoy a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock.
Disembark the boat and we transfer straight to the airport for our flights to Luang Prabang, Laos. You will have time to eat dinner at the airport before take-off.
On arrival in Laos, we will be met at the airport for transfers to our hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast 

DAY 10 - Luang Prabang Tour & River Boat Cruise

This morning, we wake up to the distinctly different culture of Laos and enjoy a local tour to gain an understanding of this area. We visit Vat Xieng Thong, considered to be the most beautiful temple of Luang Prabang with roofs that sweep low to the ground. Then we will take a traditional riverboat cruise up the Mekong River and towards Pak Ou. Where the two rivers meet, we will visit the sacred caves of Tham Ting and Tham Phum, home to hundreds of Buddha statues. There will be a stop at Ban Xang Hai village and sticky rice wine distillation can be witnessed. This potent local spirit is not for the faint hearted! Lao Bong Ya, as this potion is actually named, is traditionally reputed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and cure the sick and it often comes with a snake or scorpion added to the bottle for good measure.
Later in the afternoon, we visit Phou Si Hill. From the top, there are magnificent views over the town, the Mekong River and surrounding mountain ranges. There will also be the opportunity to stroll through the market of the local indigenous people, the H’Mong, for shopping. The Hmong story cloths, which tell creation stories, myths and folk tales, in particular, are pretty special.
Dinner will be at the hotel this evening.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 11 - Tak Bat and National Museum, Arrive Cambodia

Tak Bat and City Tour, Arrive Cambodia

We will rise before dawn today to visit Tak Bat by Tuk-Tuk, the three-wheeled transport seen everywhere in South East Asia. The early-morning serenity of Tak Bat, the ritual of Buddhist monks collecting offerings of food made to them by the devout, is full of gentle beauty and not to be missed. Try to remain unobtrusive as you observe with your camera and soak in the spirituality of the scene as it unfolds before you. We will also visit the Heritage House at Vat Xieng Muane and the open air fresh food market before returning to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we visit the National Museum. The museum is housed in the former royal palaces of King Sisavang Vong and his family, which were built during the French colonial era. After the revolution in 1975 the building was taken over by the government and converted into a national museum. We also visit the nearby shrine of Wat Mai and the impressive stupas of Wat Visoun, That Makmo, and Vat Aham.
After lunch we will transfer to the airport for our flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We will be met at the airport in the arrivals lounge and transferred to our hotel. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel, allowing you a little time in the evening to head out and explore by yourself. Or you may just wish to relax by the pool or at the cocktail bar after a busy day.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 12 - Sunrise Over Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom & Apsara Dance Show

Today dress in very comfortable shoes, a sun hat and cover your arms and knees. We head out very early indeed to experience the spectacular sunrise over Angkor Wat. Angkor Thom is the largest religious site in the world and Angkor Wat is perhaps its most famous temple. We will also spend sometime after sunrise exploring the Angkor Wat temple and eating breakfast in the grounds.
We travel through the South Gate of Angkor Thom and begin to imagine the manpower and ingenuity required to construct this city in the late 12th century. At Bayon Temple we will explore the 54 towers and the 200 enigmatic smiling faces, hearing some of the history and legends behind them from our local guide. We will walk along the Terrace of the Leper Kings with its exceptionally well conserved early carvings and see the Terrace of Elephants. This terrace served as the giant viewing platform for royal ceremonies. Here the royal family were usually accompanied by parasol holders as it does get very hot here. You will be glad of your long sleeves as protection from the sun and you may want to think about bringing along your own umbrella to provide some shade.
After lunch we will return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure to recover from our very early morning start in time for excellent entertainment this evening. We will enjoy dinner together at a traditional Apsara Dance Show at the Angkor Theatre.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 13 - Siem Reap, Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm

This morning we visit the Artisan D’Angkor; a training centre set up to preserve and develop traditional Khmer crafts and to train the local people in traditional Cambodian skills to alleviate rural poverty. This is the place to see master craftsmen at work, producing local lacquerware, silks, silver items and much more.
Next on the itinerary is Banteay Srei, a 10th century temple located outside the main Angkor Thom city. Unique to Banteay Srei is the rare pink sandstone which is exquisite ornamental carvings of gods, demons, coiling serpents and floral garlands. Most of the bas-reliefs found on the walls depict scenes of Hindu episodes of the Ramayana.
Next stop will be Ta Prohm where the jungle once reclaimed the monuments. Although the site has been restored, giant tree trunks still reach through the ancient stone. Here you can get a feeling of how the first European Explorers would have found the ruins of Angkor Thom. This temple is dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII. T was constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was enormously wealthy in its heyday.
After lunch we will return to the hoel for an afternon at leisure to follow your own interestes in Siem Reap or to enjoy the hotel facilities. Dinner this evening is at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 14 - Temple Tours and Farewell Dinner

Today we continue to visit the temples of the Siem Reap region. The itinerary includes several stops-

  • Prasat Kravan's unique brick towers contain large wall sculptures of Vishnu and Laksmi.
  • East Mebon is located on an islet in the centre of the Eastern Baray. The base of the temple is guarded at its corners by stone figures of harnessed elephants.
  • Pre-Rup is an architecturally and artistically superior temple-mountain.
  • Neak Pean is a small temple was located in the middle of a reservoir, reachable only by boat.
  • Preah Khan means “sacred sword”. Preah Khan is a huge, complex full of carvings, passages and photo pportunities.

After an afternoon spent at leisure to recover from the heat, our farewell dinner together this evening will be at the hotel. Make sure to return from your independent  afternoon explorations in time to meet us all in the bar for pre-dinner drinks.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 15 - Goodbye to Cambodia and Home

Today we will say farewell to Indochina and the friends we've made along the way. You will be transferred back to Siem Reap International Airport for flights home.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: none 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • International flights from London Heathrow [LHR] arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam [SGN] on Day 1 and departing from Siem Reap International Airport, Cambodia [REP] on Day 15. Flights departing from regional airports available subject to a supplement and availabilty. 
  • Domestic flights as detailed in the itinerary; Ho Chi Minh City to Danang, Hue to Hanoi, Hanoi (Vietnam) to Luang Prabang (Laos), Luang Prabang (Laos) to Siem Reap (Cambodia)
  • Meet & Greet at Airport on arrival
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • Transportation in air-conditioned vehicle
  • All activities, visits and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Experienced English speaking tour guides
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guide (subject to minimum group size of 20 being reached)

What's not included

  • Transfers on arrival or departure, to/from the airports, outside of the journey dates.
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities to drivers, guides etc. Our local travel service providers are paid well and fairly for their work. However, it is usual for groups to tip guides and drivers and it would be reasonable for each group member to factor in a contribution of around USD10 per day.
  • Visas, travel or medical insurance
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Any optional activities offered

Important information

  • International flights depart London Heathrow the day before the start of the tour to arrive at Tan Son Nhat International Airport [SGN] Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Day 1 and departing from Siem Reap International Airport [REP], Cambodia on Day 15. 
  • Vaccinations are recommended for this tour. Please consult your doctor for advice.
  • British and US Passport holders require a Visa to visit these locations.
  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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