Experience historic temples, buzzing cities and stunning scenery at a comfortable pace on this 15 day journey unveiling the best Indochina has to offer. In Vietnam start in bustling Ho Chi Minh City before cruising through the palm fringed canals of the Mekong Delta. Travel north to the traditional town of Hoi An where you will have a chance to practise your cooking skills and learn about Vietnamese cuisine. Discover the French-inspired architecture of Hanoi on a cyclo tour before admiring the spectacular vistas of Halong Bay. Across the border in landlocked Laos soak in the atmosphere and wander the temple-lined streets of Luang Prabang the best-preserved traditional town in Southeast Asia. The grand finale will be the captivating Angkor Temples in Cambodia. Explore the jungle-submerged Ta Phrom and the majestic Angkor Wat. An exclusive picnic and foot massage in a remote temple will top up your experience and provide a fantastic conclusion to this journey of a lifetime.
- Witness daily life at close quarters as you cruise on the Mekong Delta
- Take a cooking class to master the art of Vietnamese cuisine in traditional Hoi An
- Sail through the limestone peaks of Halong on an overnight cruise
- Explore the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter on a cyclo ride
- Attend the fascinating spectacle of the offering of alms to saffron-robed monks in Luang Prabang
- Stare in awe at the mother of all temples Angkor Wat
- Relax with a picnic and enjoy a foot massage in a secret temple in Angkor
Private Holiday Meals and sightseeing as per itinerary Domestic flights included (prices subject to change)
Select & Mix: your choice of 3 experiences included
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive Ho Chi Minh City International Airport. On arrival please clear customs and immigration. In arrivals area you will be met by a representative of our local operator and transferred to your tour hotel. Remainder of day at leisure.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels (B)
In the morning depart to Cu Chi where you will visit the amazing tunnel network built by Vietnamese fighters during the Vietnam War with the US. Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon and set out on a city tour of the former capital of French Indochina once known as Saigon. Historic landmarks include the Old Saigon post office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera House, and bustling China Town with its famous Thien Hau Pagoda and Cho Lon Market.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre - Phong Nam - Cai Be (B L)
Today depart from Ho Chi Minh City to explore Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta (130km: 2.5 - 3 hour driving). After being picked up at the Phong Nam pier you will get on boat and cruise along the Chet Say river (a branch of the Mekong) stopping off at various local workplaces to get a picture of how the local economy works. Visit the brick kilns; coconut activated charcoal factory where coconut shell is put into high heat kiln to produce coconut charcoal; a coconut processing workshop where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every single part of this versatile nut is turned into food and other products.
After cruising through a small canal the boat will stop at a quiet village where you can have a short walk to experience real Delta village life. You will visit a mat weaving house where straw mats are woven using a hand loom, you can even have a go at weaving yourself before boarding your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) or biking into the village to experience the rural charm of life by the Mekong. Later stop at a local house for a delicious and filling lunch featuring such local specialties as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp washed down with some cold drinks or beers.
It’s time to board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals as you return to the pier. Next it’s back to the main road for transferring to Cai Be (75km - 2 hours driving) where you will check into your hotel at the end of the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh - Danang - Hoi An (B)
Embark on a local boat to discover the lively colourful Cai Rang Floating Market. You will be surprised by the huge variety of products sold at the market from the well-known fruits like mangos and bananas to the most exotic ones like mangosteens, star apples, or the sweetened longans, and the very odorous durians. David Attenborough once described eating a durian as like “eating a delicious ice cream in a public lavatory.”
Once satisfied with the fruity flavours of the market return to Can Tho. Disembarkation and transfer to Ho Chi Minh City Airport for your flight to Danang. On arrival there you will be transferred to your hotel in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Today discover Hoi An, a town recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Take a half day to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites include the Japanese Bridge the Chinese Temple and Phung Hung Chinese-style trading house.
Day 6: Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi (B)
Morning at leisure to further explore Hoi An or relax at the beach. Then transfer to Danang Airport for your flight to Hanoi. On arrival transfer to your hotel. After a short rest climb into a traditional cyclo for a tour of the city’s traditional 36 streets in the Old Quarter and the Hoan Kiem Lake vicinity with ancient Ngoc Son Temple.
Day 7: Hanoi (B)
Full day tour of Vietnam’s capital city including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday and Friday) the traditional stilt house and the One-Pillar Pagoda. Then visit to Vietnam’s first university, the thousand-year-old Temple of literature.
In the afternoon visit the Ethnology Museum (closed on Monday) and one of the most typical pagoda of Hanoi. In the evening attend a traditional water puppet show.
Note: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is closed from 08 September to 08 November for annual maintenance.
Day 8: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B L D)
Morning drive to Halong harbour through the beautiful scenery of the Red River Delta. On arrival board your junk and depart for your overnight cruise. Sail amongst the thousands of karst limestone islands and islets of Halong Bay. Fresh seafood lunch and dinner will be served on board.
Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Luang Prabang (B)
Wake up early in the morning to admire the Bay at sunrise. After breakfast cruise back to the harbour. Disembarkation and transfer to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Luang Prabang.
Welcome to Laos, one of Asia’s hidden gems and best kept secrets. Laos is an enchanting country that remains largely unspoilt; a testament to a way of life untouched by time remnant of Asia as it has been for centuries. Laos is not a place you simply visit, it is a country you feel and experience.
On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is set aside for time to relax and wander the streets of this beautiful World Heritage town.
Day 10: Pak Ou Cave - Luang Prabang (B)
After breakfast visit the splendid town with its French colonial villas and gilded temples. See Vat Xieng Thong – the Temple of the Royal City Vat May – a capped sanctuary featuring a five sided roof surmounted by three parasols and the Royal Palace which is today the National Museum.
In the afternoon cruise along the Mekong River on a traditional boat to visit the sacred caves of Pak Ou which shelters hundreds of Buddha statuettes. Return to town with sunset views over the Mekong River.
Day 11: Kuang Si - Luang Prabang (B)
This morning visit Vat Aham and Vat Visoun the oldest temple in the city before driving to Khuang Sy waterfall along a scenic road bordered by quaint villages and rice fields. On arrival at the waterfall admire the majestic fall a 60m drop for the main fall which scatters into many basins most of which are open for swimmers. Return to Luang Prabang at the end of the afternoon making a stop en-route to visit the H’mong Night Market.
Day 12: Luang Prabang - Siem Reap (Angkor Temples) (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Siem Reap. On arrival transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 13: Siem Reap (Angkor Temples) (B L)
In the morning leave for Kompong Khleang a village as yet bypassed by mass tourism located on Lake Tonle Sap. This floating village is composed of hundreds of stilted houses resting up to 10 meters off the ground a necessary adaptation to the seasonal water level fluctuations. Meet a local family who breeds crocodiles and explore the numerous canals by boat to have a glimpse at the daily life of the village.
After a picnic lunch in a villager’s home return to Siem Reap and visit the incredible temple of Angkor Wat, one of the most amazing man-made monuments with its soaring towers and extraordinary bas reliefs. Erected in the 12th century (1112-1152) in honour of Vishnu this giant temple complex covers over 400 square kilometres.
Day 14: Siem Reap (Angkor Temples) (B)
This morning visit Banteay Srei one of Khmer art's most impressive jewels. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple known as the Citadel of Women maintains some remarkable sculptured lintels. Continue with the ancient jungle-submerged Ta Prohm Monastery where roots seem to grow out the temple. Paramount Pictures paid USD $10,000 per day to film a part of the movie "Tomb Raider" here. Later visit Angkor Thom beginning by the famous Bayon composed of 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then visit the Elephant Terrace and the raised Leper King Terrace built in the 12th century.
Day 15: Siem Reap (B)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- Vietnam domestic flights & international flights Hanoi-Luang, Prabang-Siem Reap (price subject to change)
- Private return airport transfers
- Air-conditioned private transportation as per itinerary
- 14 nights accommodation in selected hotel category
- Overnight junk cruise in Halong Bay (non-private)
- Private sightseeing as per itinerary (except on cruise)
- Assistance of professional qualified English-speaking local guides
- Activities and entrance fees as per itinerary
- 3 Select & Mix experiences
- Daily breakfast 3 lunches 1 dinner
- Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel
- International Airfares
- Personal Expenses
- Optional tours
- Extra Select & Mix experiences
- Tipping/gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Extra hotel charges (minibar or any other services)
- Meals not specified
- Early check-in/late check-out
- Camera/photography fees
- Departure taxes
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Your choice of 3 Select & Mix experiences
No extra cost 3 experiences already included in the price of your holiday. Choose your three custom experiences from the list below:
A. Ho Chi Minh City: Attend the beautiful A O Show at Saigon Opera House (day 2 evening)
“À Ố” is the name given to the show which is a new kind of art performance commonly acknowledged globally as “new circus”.
The main visuals of the show are bamboo basket boats and their use in the daily life of many Vietnamese. During 60 minutes of the show you are gently introduced to many different tones of emotion. After the show our guide will take you back to hotel.
B. Ho Chi Minh City: Explore Saigon at night by scooter – part night discovery tour part street food adventure (day 2 evening)
Take an evening drive through this hectic but beautiful city to discover how Saigon nightlife unfolds. From the chaotic traffic of the city centre to totally hidden corners; from famous tourist stops to the trendiest hang-out places for Saigonese people; you will travel through 4 central districts of Ho Chi Minh City. You’re your driver so scooter your way through the very small and typical alleys of District 4 until stopping at a popular local seafood streetside restaurant. Here taste trendy Vietnamese favourites such as fried pincers or steamed clams with lemongrass. Continue to a riverside park for a short walk to admire the views of this now modern city by night. The tour continues in a place frequented by locals and where you’ll have the chance to try the traditional Vietnamese pancakes called Banh Xeo. After the meal the driver will take you to a local coffee shop with live music and a cosy atmosphere. To finish the evening travel to a popular meeting point located on the rooftop of a building for views of vibrant Saigon by night and music.
C. Hoi An: Take a short cycling tour to a rural village followed by a cooking class (day 5 morning)
From Hoi An embark on a bike ride, or cyclo is also an option, to the market to learn about local produce and witness daily local life. After buying some necessary ingredients for your cooking class today, cycle to Tra Que village which is famous for its vegetable production. It offers unique herb, spice, and vegetable gardens. The chef will teach you to cook some traditional dishes and some combinations of tastes that you can use on your return home. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, the cooking class will teach you not only how to make delicious dishes but also how to create flavoursome harmony. Lunch will be the opportunity to taste the dishes prepared by you in a peaceful place overlooking to the vegetable garden. After lunch you will be transferred back to Hoi An or your hotel.
D. Hoi An: Explore My Son Sanctuary by Jeep (day 5 afternoon)
This adventure off the beaten track will take you along a narrow and beautiful lane that normal tour buses cannot access. On the way you will have a chance to witness the fascinating lives of the local people: farmers who work in the rice fields, fishermen returning home from their boat trip, and merchants bringing their products to sell at vibrant and colourful markets. You can also chat with some locals when taking a break at a local coffee shop and see just how charming and friendly they are. The beautiful scenery of the region is another highlight of this activity with luxuriant green forests lush fields of rice and corn and slow flowing canals to see along the road. Eventually you will arrive at My Son, the holy land of Champa culture in Vietnam. The complex was the religious and cultural centre of this ancient Kingdom for many centuries with the oldest temples constructed in the 4th century. Partially ruined, My Son still has numerous exquisitely decorated and detailed temples and shrines and has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
E. Hoi An: Street food tour of Hoi An (day 5 afternoon)
Today explore the best street-food spots of Hoi An: Com Ga Ba Buoi (Ba Buoi’s Chicken Rice), Banh Mi Phuong (Phuong’s Baguette) - American Chef Anthony Bourdain sang his praises about this dish on his TV Serie “No Reservations”, and Cao Lau. Then have a cup of tea or coffee at Reaching Out Tea House - a very special and unique ancient house.
F. Hanoi: learn the ancient art of calligraphy (day 7 afternoon)
As in many other Asian countries, the art of calligraphy has been practised for hundreds of years in Vietnam. When it begins to express more than words, writing becomes an art and we are offering you the chance to meet one of these artists. He will tell you the history of calligraphy and will then demonstrate his talent. We invite you to interact with him; he will be delighted to answer all of your questions.
G. Hanoi: Join the locals and take part in a Tai Chi session in a park (day 7 or 8 morning)
This traditional art from China resembles dance as much as martial arts where the decelerated movements are derived from Kung Fu. Practised on a daily basis by Vietnamese people of all ages it is widely believed to bring beneficial health effects.
Don’t be worried about getting up early, to the contrary your Tai Chi class will be all the more enjoyable: the soft light and pleasant temperature at the start of the day are to be savoured. Moreover it is at this time of the day that most of the Vietnamese practise their sport (Tai Chi but also badminton aerobics or ballroom dancing) in the streets, a picturesque and motivating sight not to be missed!
H. Luang Prabang: Take a cooking class at a local house (day 10 morning)
The cooking school of Mrs. Vandara is just a few hundred meters from the Kuang Sy Waterfall. The place itself is wonderful, overlooking a small blue-water fall which provides a soothing sound of flowing water. The lush green area where the class takes place provides a relaxed atmosphere. As Mrs. Vandara grows all the ingredients herself there is no need to take a trip to the market beforehand. The table in the open air kitchen will be filled with unusual ingredients all selected to help you discover the best of Lao food such as banana flowers, mini-eggplants, sticky rice, exotic flowers, and more. After the preparation of four different dishes you will have lunch together. The cooking class and lunch ends at around 2.00pm.
I. Luang Prabang: Attend a Baci Ceremony (day 10 afternoon)
Late afternoon attend a Baci ceremony one of the most popular traditions in Laos. Baci or Sou Khouan is a pre-Buddhist ceremony performed for significant events such as weddings and home comings. The Lao believe that each person inherits 32 souls which act as guardians over various parts of the body. Led by a respected village elder the Baci commences with everyone chanting around a sacred silver receptacle known as Pa Khouan adorned with folded banana leaves and fragrant flowers. A white cotton thread originating at the Pa Khouan encircles all participants. Candles are lit and all touch the silver receptacle while the Khouans are summoned and charmed to stay with sweet words and traditional offerings. A few Buddhist verses are chanted to reinforce the benefits of the ceremony. A white cotton thread is then cut into short lengths and tied around each family member’s wrists – a gesture that symbolically connects the souls.
J. Luang Prabang: Explore the city by bike (day 10 full day)
Hop on your bike and ride around the town to explore in the most eco-friendly way. The riding can be made in 1 full day or half day as per your request.
K. Siem Reap: Explore Angkor Temples by bike or E-bike (day 13 half or full day)
Please provide height & weight of travellers to select the Bike Size- 3 options are available:
· Option A: West Baray and secret temples (43kms by bike – medium level)
This full-day tour is without any doubt one of the most amazing cycling experiences you could have in Cambodia. You will see beautiful landscapes including typical villages and other hidden gems along the way. Depart from Siem Reap in the direction of the temples and leave the road to take a tiny trail. Here starts a beautiful ride passing small houses green fields and herds of water buffalos. Maybe your feet are even going to get wet passing through the middle of some flowing streams. Along the way you'll explore the countryside see local people living in remote areas and discover places where no one is going to disturb your sense of escape. The landscapes are incredible and change a lot along the way from rice fields forests to some wide open spaces before arriving at West Baray. Located just west of the walled city of Angkor Thom, it is the largest Baray at Angkor rectangular in shape and measuring approximately 7.8 by 2.1 kilometres. Its construction began in the 11th century during the reign of King Suryavarman and its waters are contained by tall earthen dykes. Afterwards you will take a trail which brings you straight into the forest where you can discover some very charming and hidden small villages. Then you'll visit a succession of small temples Kok Po Prasat Cha and the last one a very charming place called Ta Uon temple. You then ride until Angkor Thom North Gate and go up the wall for an amazing ride in Angkor Park. Watch the sunset at Prasat Chrung, a little tower temple located at one of the corners of the wall before heading back to Siem Reap by transfer.
· Option B: Rice & Lotus Fields (36kms by bike or E-bike – medium level)
Today set away from Siem Reap following a hidden trail. Houses become rare and you pedal between the fields before arriving to the little forgotten Angkor temple of Wat Athvea. You will probably be the only people visiting this place. Continue on a beautiful red soil track. On each side you will see a succession of beautiful rice fields and lotus fields. You discover the beauty of the Cambodian countryside, its farm life, and elegant sugar palms that characterize it. Arrival at Phnom Krom mount. The ascent can be done by foot with direct stairs reaching the top or by bike for the more sportive. At the top you discover a small temple but also a splendid panoramic view. Admire the landscapes and Sap Lake. This is a beautiful retreat from the bustle of the city and Angkor Site. On the way back we recommend you to stop for lunch in a Hammock restaurant. A 100% local experience! You will arrive at Siem Reap City in the afternoon.
· Option C: Angkor complex “Petit Tour” (25kms by bike – easy level)
This tour is commonly referred to as the Angkor Petit Tour and is designed to provide access to the most famous Angkor temples. Passing through the wild forest areas the small villages and around the historical sites, you will get to know Cambodia's most beautiful attributes. Leave your hotel in the morning and start your trip by travelling along the riverside then pass through a little village before going deep into the forested area. Eventually you arrive at Angkor Thom South Gate for one of the most charming rides within the Angkor complex; then continue via Victory Gate. Afterwards you will visit a succession of historical sites located within Angkor Thom including the Elephant Terrace Royal Palace Baphuon and the unique architectural wonder of the Bayon temple. You have plenty of time to enjoy the countryside and look at the houses and the architecture along the way. To cap off the tour you will leave from Bayon to the main road and finish your biking adventure by visiting the impressive and beautiful Angkor Wat the largest religious monument in the world capital of the Khmer empire and now an iconic symbol of Cambodia.
· Option D: Half day Angkor by E-bike
The E-bike is a new eco-friendly way to explore the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia. These electric bikes run on batteries and allow you to travel independently anywhere without effort pollution or noise. The e-bike can run about 40 kilometres per charge (if you ride an average of 20km /hour) and there are many places in town Angkor temples or in the countryside where you can recharge the e-bikes
L. Siem Reap: Have a picnic lunch in a remote temple followed by a foot massage (day 14)
At noon time have picnic lunch in a less known small temple with a special set up. After lunch have a relaxing foot massage.
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.