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Treasures of Indochine

Trip Length 15 days

From $5,595

  • Join MTS on an exclusive, comprehensive itinerary through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam!
  • Explore fascinating temples and ruins, including the magnficent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, the largest religious edifice in the world
  • Take an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, where towering limestone peaks rise from emerald-green water
  • Discover the untouched 4,000 Islands region of the Mekong River and catch sight of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin

indochine galleryThis unique journey through Southeast Asia encompasses our favorite places in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in one comprehensive itinerary. As you skip across the Indochina Peninsula, you'll have the chance to visit all of the major UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the mystical ruins of Angkor Wat, the Buddhist temples of Luang Prabang, and the dragon-like islands of Halong Bay. You'll discover lost cities enveloped by creeping vines, explore steep limestone hills, lush river valleys, and mysterious caves, and enjoy genuine encounters with locals in remote, tribal villages—all accompanied by your expert MTS guide Sylvain Curtil. Our one-of-a-kind Treasures of Indochine itinerary offers an unforgettable experience in spectacular Southeast Asia!

Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok! Since most flights arrive in the evening, we encourage you fly in at least one day ahead of schedule to help overcome jet lag before the tour actually starts. You may even choose to fly in a few days early to explore this fascinating city, which has many sightseeing possibilities.

From the airport, you can catch a complimentary shuttle to the hotel or take the five-minute walk via an air-conditioned underground walkway. Your trip leader will leave instructions at the hotel for your rendezvous the following day.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet elevation.

  • Accommodation:Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel

Day 2: Fly to UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang

We’ll meet this morning in the hotel lobby and take the shuttle to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, capital of the first Lao kingdom and now under UNESCO protection as a World Heritage Site. Located on the Mekong River in a lovely mountain-encircled setting, Luang Prabang is renowned for its historic Buddhist temples, with about 32 original temples dating from the 14th century still standing.

Luang Prabang is probably the most unhurried, relaxed city in Asia, with few cars, no pollution or traffic jams, and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll through ancient lanes and alleyways, and to absorb the timelessness of this still relatively undiscovered part of the world.

Upon arrival, we'll transfer to the hotel and have the day free to relax, then we'll meet up in the evening for an early welcome dinner at 3 Nagas Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Burasari Heritage

Day 3: Explore the temples of Luang Prabang and take a scenic cruise up the Mekong River

After breakfast at the hotel we'll explore the city on foot, starting at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. We'll visit Wat Mai, with its unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs, and Wat Sene, with its beautiful golden façade.

In the afternoon, we'll venture to the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers merge, to see the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong. After exploring the temple with its golden gates, ornaments, and colorful murals, we'll board a private longtail boat for a scenic two-hour ride up the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves, locally called Tam Ting. Here you'll see thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues—ranging in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human—crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The caves also provide sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers.  Lunch will be on board. After returning to Luang Prabang, climb the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside.

We'll finish the day with a stop at the evening hill tribe market.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Burasari Heritage

Day 4: Fly to Champasak and visit the ancient ruins of Wat Phou

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Pakse, in Southern Laos. From there, we'll drive to Champasak and check into our hotel before setting off on a visit to the ancient ruins of Wat Phou. This Khmer Hindu temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site was the most important economic and political center in the region when it was built more than a thousand years ago. Today, its unique architecture makes it a fascinating place to explore. Dinner at the resort.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:The River Resort

Day 5: Take a Mekong River journey to the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khon

After breakfast, we'll drive to Khong Island, and take a two-hour boat ride along the Mekong River to the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khon, located in the southern part of Laos near the Cambodian border. These laid-back islands, linked by an old railroad bridge are very quiet, thanks to the absence of cars and electricity, which is provided only in the evening.

While here, we'll stroll through palm-fringed villages and visit Tat Somphamit, also known as Li Phi Waterfalls. The name Li Phi means "spirit trap," and locals say the raging rapids act as traps for bad spirits, which are washed down the river. We'll take a boat excursion where we might see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. We'll then continue to the southernmost part of Laos and the imposing Khong Phapheng Waterfalls, close to the Cambodian border.

Dinner at the resort.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:The River Resort

Day 6: Fly to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor region

We'll enjoy a leisurely morning before taking an early-afternoon flight to Siem Reap. This former capital of the Khmer empire—which ruled vast areas of Indochina between the ninth and thirteenth centuries—is now the gateway to the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia: the Angkor region and the temples of the Angkor complex, which we'll spend the next couple of days exploring.

Today, we'll visit one of the area’s most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm, which has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its original mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the way most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them.

Dinner at Chantrey Tree Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Angkor Village Resort

Day 7: Majestic Angkor Wat

Today we'll get up early for one of the highlights of our tour: Visiting the temple complex of Angkor Wat. Nothing prepares you for your first view of Angkor Wat, and you can't help but feel moved as you watch the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world. After taking in this awe-inspiring sight, we'll have breakfast, before returning to explore the temple in depth.

A source of national pride for the Cambodian people, Angkor Wat symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people and is the main figure on the Cambodian flag. It was built in the early 12th century during the reign of King Suryavarman II as a representation of Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of the Hindu faith. Construction is thought to have taken around 30 years of intensive labor, and the result is a magnificent achievement of architecture and artistry. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with a stunning array of stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting mythological and historical events. In addition, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple.

Lunch at Angkor Cafe.  Then, in the afternoon, visit the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, once a city of a million inhabitants and the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire.  After walking along an entrance path lined with statues of 54 demons and 54 guardian gods pulling the sacred Naga snake in opposite directions, we'll enter through the South Gate, which is made of stone and carved with elephants and four giant faces.

In the center of the city is the Bayon Temple, where massive stone faces adorn 54 towers representing the 54 provinces of the then Great Khmer Empire.  We'll also visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, both of which are known for their intricate bas-reliefs, and the pyramid-shaped temple of Baphuon.  In a small contemporary pagoda in the vicinity of these famous monuments, orange-robed Buddhist monks will perform a private blessing ceremony for us, wishing us health and a safe journey--a very special experience!

Cruise on Angkor Thom moat at sunset.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Angkor Village Resort

Day 8: Banteay Srei and fly to Saigon

Today we'll visit the “precious gem” of the Angkor area, the temple of Banteay Srey, or Citadel of the Women. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries of pink sandstone that's seen nowhere else in Angkor, this temple is the best preserved in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art and is noted for its intricately carved bas-reliefs depicting the Hindu god Shiva.  We'll stop at a local pagoda for a private blessing ceremony with Buddhist monks.

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City in the early afternoon.  Upon arrival, we'll take a half-day tour by foot of vibrant Saigon, including the landmark Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace.  This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many.  Your tour also includes the red-brick Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame and the nearby 19th-century Empire-style Post Office. 

This evening, we'll have dinner in Saigon, then set off on an exciting scooter ride around Saigon by night.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Renaissance Riverside Hotel

Day 9: Fly to Hue and explore the city's ancient sites

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport and fly to the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue. As Kyoto is to Japan, Hue is to Vietnam. This intellectual center situated along the Perfume River has twelve educational academies and is home to fascinating, 19th-century Imperial ruins, many of which remain damaged and serve as reminders of the Tet Offensive of 1968.

Today, we'll visit the ruins of the Imperial Palace (the Citadel) and the unusual royal tombs of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, monarchs during the last dynasty of Vietnam.  We'll then explore Thien Mu pagoda and have lunch at Les Jardins de la Carambole.

Continue by cyclo through the old city to Tinh Tam Lake.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:La Residence Spa

Day 10: Drive to Hoi An

This morning leave Hue for Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.  The scenic route passes through the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds.  We'll stop at the Cham Museum in Danang before arriving in Hoi An.

In the afternoon, set off on a walking tour of the old city.  We'll visit the former merchants' homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and a colorful local market.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Royal M Gallery

Day 11: Visit My Son

We'll start our day with a trip to the capital and religious center of the former Champa kingdom, My Son.  Situated in a lush green valley, the red brick towers and sanctuaries date from the 7th to the 13th centuries.  On the way back to Hoi An, visit Tra Kieu, the Lion Citadel, where some of the finest sculptures in the Cham Museum originated.

Enjoy a free afternoon to relax, shop or explore on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Royal M Gallery

Day 12: Visit the highlights of Hanoi

This morning we transfer to Danang Airport for our flight to Hanoi.  Upon arrival, we'll be immersed in this great governmental center of almost three million people. Founded in 1010 A.D. as Thang Long, Hanoi's narrow tree-shaded streets are filled with lovely examples of French colonial architecture. Lunch at Koto Restaurant.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit Ho Chi Minh's tomb and the One Pillar Pagoda, an iconic Buddhist temple built on a single stone pillar in the middle of a lotus pond. We’ll also see the Lake of the Restored Sword and the "Hanoi Hilton" Prison. We'll continue to the Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum, where we can see displays of classical temple sculptures and statues of Vietnam, plus some modern art paintings. We'll spend some time exploring the old town on foot, visiting streets that specialize in hardware, funerary items, carpentry, and textiles. If you wish, you can enjoy a folk performance with traditional water puppets, a tradition that dates back to the 11th century.

 

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 13: Embark on an overnight cruise in Halong Bay

After breakfast, we'll take a three-hour drive to Halong Bay, where we'll board a boat for an overnight cruise on a junk, a wooden Chinese sailing ship. From the water, we'll enjoy spectacular views of this UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its emerald-green waters and its mystical landscape of 3,000 towering limestone islands.

We’ll take a short hike to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay dotted with deluxe golden sails. You can also choose to go swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. Late in the afternoon, we’ll visit a fishing village and experience the daily life of local people. In the evening, there is time to enjoy the spa services or relax at leisure.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Jasmine Cruise Junk

Day 14: Cruise Halong Bay and return to Hanoi

After awakening on board the boat, we'll greet the day with a morning tai chi exercise and an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, we'll visit a beautiful limestone grotto, and return to the boat for a final glimpse of Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. We'll then return to Hanoi and enjoy a farewell dinner with the group as well as a water puppet show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 15: Depart for home

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast

Nov 07 - 21, 2016

Dec 19, 2016 - Jan 02, 2017

Feb 19, 2017 - Mar 05, 2017

Nov 13 - 27, 2017

Dec 18, 2017 - Jan 01, 2018

pricing

2016 Prices

$5,595 (11-15 members)

$6,295 (7-10 members)

$6,595 (5-6 members)

$1,250 internal airfare – Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Pakse/Siem Reap/Ho Chi Minh City/Hue/Hanoi
$1,800 single supplement

2017 Prices

$5,995 (6-15 members)

$1,250 internal airfare – Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Pakse/Siem Reap/Ho Chi Minh City/Hue/Hanoi

$1,800 single supplement

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Angkor Village Resort — Siem Reap

Classic Khmer architecture, a lush garden setting, a 250 meter river-style swimming pool and a welcoming staff make Angkor Village Resort a tropical paradise. Tastefully decorated rooms are in keeping with the Cambodian feel of the property, with rich wood furniture and fresh white linens. Suites are spacious and boast separate living rooms, luxurious bathrooms and private terraces overlooking the pool area. Your visit wouldn't be complete without indulging in massages and other treatments at the spa village.

Burasari Heritage — Luang Prabang

Elegant rooms decorated with unique touches such as vintage travel trunks, antique-inspired furniture and rich wood paneling create a charming atmosphere that is at once modern and colonial. In fact, this traditional Laotian house leaves no detail unattended to and brims with the romance of adventure travel. Indulge in luxury spa treatments, enjoy breakfast on the riverfront terrace, take one of the hotel bikes out for a spin, or just absorb the warm way of life in delightful Luang Prabang.

Jasmine Cruise Junk — Halong Bay


La Residence Spa — Hue

This elegant boutique hotel is perched on the banks of the Perfume River overlooking the former Imperial Citadel – once home to Emperors and now preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formerly the residence of the French Colonial Governor, this beautiful example of Art Deco architecture was fully restored in 2005 and reimagined as a luxury hotel. Rooms are modern yet retain an air of their Deco past, with dark hardwood and French colonial touches throughout. Le Parfum restaurant serves first class French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, while Bar Le Gouverneur evokes 1920s elegance.

Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel — Bangkok

The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a four-star hotel located a short walk from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers two bars and four restaurants, a beautiful pool, a fitness room, and a spa! With a 24-hour airport shuttle running every 10 minutes and plenty of parking available, accommodations here couldn't be more convenient.

Renaissance Riverside Hotel — Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Part of the Marriott family of hotels, the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon is one of the leading hotel properties in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the midst of the vibrant business and tourist hub of HCMC, the hotel boasts panoramic views of the Saigon River. 336 comfortable guestrooms make up this property, which also features two dining venues – Riverside Café and Kabins, which serve international and Cantonese cuisines. The Atrium Lounge is an ideal place to unwind with a glass of wine, and the Liquid Sky Bar transforms into a trendy rooftop lounge at night, complete with international DJs.

Royal M Gallery — Hoi An

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi — Hanoi

The luxurious Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a colonial landmark dating from 1901. Just steps from the Opera House located in the French Quarter, the stately architecture and handsome courtyard are a testament to this hotel's storied past. Opulent guest rooms are decorated in a New Classical style, with rich wood floors, plush beds and high-end amenities such as flat screen TVs, soaking tubs and Wi-Fi. Three excellent restaurants and rooms service offer guests several dining options, as well as three bars that provide a stylish setting to meet friends for a cocktail. A lovely swimming pool and full-service spa round out the offerings.

The River Resort — Champasak

This eco-friendly resort offers deluxe accommodations on an escarpment along the edge of the Mekong River. Spacious, modern rooms offer either views of the river or the pond and garden and are stylishly and consciously decorated with bamboo furniture and silk tapestries. The open-air Main Sala features a restaurant that serves Western, Lao and Thai cuisine, and guests can also enjoy poolside cocktails, where the infinity pool seems to blend with the mighty Mekong.

"Great trip. Great guide. Second time for us on MTS and loved both trips." Ron Rosenfeld  

  • Join MTS on an exclusive, comprehensive itinerary through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam!
  • Explore fascinating temples and ruins, including the magnficent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, the largest religious edifice in the world
  • Take an overnight cruise on Halong Bay, where towering limestone peaks rise from emerald-green water
  • Discover the untouched 4,000 Islands region of the Mekong River and catch sight of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin

indochine galleryThis unique journey through Southeast Asia encompasses our favorite places in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in one comprehensive itinerary. As you skip across the Indochina Peninsula, you'll have the chance to visit all of the major UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the mystical ruins of Angkor Wat, the Buddhist temples of Luang Prabang, and the dragon-like islands of Halong Bay. You'll discover lost cities enveloped by creeping vines, explore steep limestone hills, lush river valleys, and mysterious caves, and enjoy genuine encounters with locals in remote, tribal villages—all accompanied by your expert MTS guide Sylvain Curtil. Our one-of-a-kind Treasures of Indochine itinerary offers an unforgettable experience in spectacular Southeast Asia!

review

"Great trip. Great guide. Second time for us on MTS and loved both trips." Ron Rosenfeld  

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok! Since most flights arrive in the evening, we encourage you fly in at least one day ahead of schedule to help overcome jet lag before the tour actually starts. You may even choose to fly in a few days early to explore this fascinating city, which has many sightseeing possibilities.

From the airport, you can catch a complimentary shuttle to the hotel or take the five-minute walk via an air-conditioned underground walkway. Your trip leader will leave instructions at the hotel for your rendezvous the following day.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,000 feet elevation.

  • Accommodation:Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel

Day 2: Fly to UNESCO-listed Luang Prabang

We’ll meet this morning in the hotel lobby and take the shuttle to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, capital of the first Lao kingdom and now under UNESCO protection as a World Heritage Site. Located on the Mekong River in a lovely mountain-encircled setting, Luang Prabang is renowned for its historic Buddhist temples, with about 32 original temples dating from the 14th century still standing.

Luang Prabang is probably the most unhurried, relaxed city in Asia, with few cars, no pollution or traffic jams, and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet anywhere. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll through ancient lanes and alleyways, and to absorb the timelessness of this still relatively undiscovered part of the world.

Upon arrival, we'll transfer to the hotel and have the day free to relax, then we'll meet up in the evening for an early welcome dinner at 3 Nagas Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Burasari Heritage

Day 3: Explore the temples of Luang Prabang and take a scenic cruise up the Mekong River

After breakfast at the hotel we'll explore the city on foot, starting at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. We'll visit Wat Mai, with its unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs, and Wat Sene, with its beautiful golden façade.

In the afternoon, we'll venture to the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers merge, to see the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong. After exploring the temple with its golden gates, ornaments, and colorful murals, we'll board a private longtail boat for a scenic two-hour ride up the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves, locally called Tam Ting. Here you'll see thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues—ranging in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human—crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The caves also provide sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers.  Lunch will be on board. After returning to Luang Prabang, climb the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside.

We'll finish the day with a stop at the evening hill tribe market.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Burasari Heritage

Day 4: Fly to Champasak and visit the ancient ruins of Wat Phou

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Pakse, in Southern Laos. From there, we'll drive to Champasak and check into our hotel before setting off on a visit to the ancient ruins of Wat Phou. This Khmer Hindu temple complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site was the most important economic and political center in the region when it was built more than a thousand years ago. Today, its unique architecture makes it a fascinating place to explore. Dinner at the resort.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:The River Resort

Day 5: Take a Mekong River journey to the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khon

After breakfast, we'll drive to Khong Island, and take a two-hour boat ride along the Mekong River to the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khon, located in the southern part of Laos near the Cambodian border. These laid-back islands, linked by an old railroad bridge are very quiet, thanks to the absence of cars and electricity, which is provided only in the evening.

While here, we'll stroll through palm-fringed villages and visit Tat Somphamit, also known as Li Phi Waterfalls. The name Li Phi means "spirit trap," and locals say the raging rapids act as traps for bad spirits, which are washed down the river. We'll take a boat excursion where we might see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. We'll then continue to the southernmost part of Laos and the imposing Khong Phapheng Waterfalls, close to the Cambodian border.

Dinner at the resort.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:The River Resort

Day 6: Fly to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor region

We'll enjoy a leisurely morning before taking an early-afternoon flight to Siem Reap. This former capital of the Khmer empire—which ruled vast areas of Indochina between the ninth and thirteenth centuries—is now the gateway to the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia: the Angkor region and the temples of the Angkor complex, which we'll spend the next couple of days exploring.

Today, we'll visit one of the area’s most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm, which has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its original mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the way most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them.

Dinner at Chantrey Tree Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Angkor Village Resort

Day 7: Majestic Angkor Wat

Today we'll get up early for one of the highlights of our tour: Visiting the temple complex of Angkor Wat. Nothing prepares you for your first view of Angkor Wat, and you can't help but feel moved as you watch the first sunbeams glow over the largest religious edifice in the world. After taking in this awe-inspiring sight, we'll have breakfast, before returning to explore the temple in depth.

A source of national pride for the Cambodian people, Angkor Wat symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people and is the main figure on the Cambodian flag. It was built in the early 12th century during the reign of King Suryavarman II as a representation of Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of the Hindu faith. Construction is thought to have taken around 30 years of intensive labor, and the result is a magnificent achievement of architecture and artistry. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with a stunning array of stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting mythological and historical events. In addition, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple.

Lunch at Angkor Cafe.  Then, in the afternoon, visit the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, once a city of a million inhabitants and the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire.  After walking along an entrance path lined with statues of 54 demons and 54 guardian gods pulling the sacred Naga snake in opposite directions, we'll enter through the South Gate, which is made of stone and carved with elephants and four giant faces.

In the center of the city is the Bayon Temple, where massive stone faces adorn 54 towers representing the 54 provinces of the then Great Khmer Empire.  We'll also visit the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, both of which are known for their intricate bas-reliefs, and the pyramid-shaped temple of Baphuon.  In a small contemporary pagoda in the vicinity of these famous monuments, orange-robed Buddhist monks will perform a private blessing ceremony for us, wishing us health and a safe journey--a very special experience!

Cruise on Angkor Thom moat at sunset.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Angkor Village Resort

Day 8: Banteay Srei and fly to Saigon

Today we'll visit the “precious gem” of the Angkor area, the temple of Banteay Srey, or Citadel of the Women. Built between the 11th and 13th centuries of pink sandstone that's seen nowhere else in Angkor, this temple is the best preserved in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art and is noted for its intricately carved bas-reliefs depicting the Hindu god Shiva.  We'll stop at a local pagoda for a private blessing ceremony with Buddhist monks.

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City in the early afternoon.  Upon arrival, we'll take a half-day tour by foot of vibrant Saigon, including the landmark Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace.  This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many.  Your tour also includes the red-brick Catholic cathedral of Notre-Dame and the nearby 19th-century Empire-style Post Office. 

This evening, we'll have dinner in Saigon, then set off on an exciting scooter ride around Saigon by night.

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Renaissance Riverside Hotel

Day 9: Fly to Hue and explore the city's ancient sites

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport and fly to the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue. As Kyoto is to Japan, Hue is to Vietnam. This intellectual center situated along the Perfume River has twelve educational academies and is home to fascinating, 19th-century Imperial ruins, many of which remain damaged and serve as reminders of the Tet Offensive of 1968.

Today, we'll visit the ruins of the Imperial Palace (the Citadel) and the unusual royal tombs of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, monarchs during the last dynasty of Vietnam.  We'll then explore Thien Mu pagoda and have lunch at Les Jardins de la Carambole.

Continue by cyclo through the old city to Tinh Tam Lake.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:La Residence Spa

Day 10: Drive to Hoi An

This morning leave Hue for Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.  The scenic route passes through the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds.  We'll stop at the Cham Museum in Danang before arriving in Hoi An.

In the afternoon, set off on a walking tour of the old city.  We'll visit the former merchants' homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and a colorful local market.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Royal M Gallery

Day 11: Visit My Son

We'll start our day with a trip to the capital and religious center of the former Champa kingdom, My Son.  Situated in a lush green valley, the red brick towers and sanctuaries date from the 7th to the 13th centuries.  On the way back to Hoi An, visit Tra Kieu, the Lion Citadel, where some of the finest sculptures in the Cham Museum originated.

Enjoy a free afternoon to relax, shop or explore on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Royal M Gallery

Day 12: Visit the highlights of Hanoi

This morning we transfer to Danang Airport for our flight to Hanoi.  Upon arrival, we'll be immersed in this great governmental center of almost three million people. Founded in 1010 A.D. as Thang Long, Hanoi's narrow tree-shaded streets are filled with lovely examples of French colonial architecture. Lunch at Koto Restaurant.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit Ho Chi Minh's tomb and the One Pillar Pagoda, an iconic Buddhist temple built on a single stone pillar in the middle of a lotus pond. We’ll also see the Lake of the Restored Sword and the "Hanoi Hilton" Prison. We'll continue to the Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum, where we can see displays of classical temple sculptures and statues of Vietnam, plus some modern art paintings. We'll spend some time exploring the old town on foot, visiting streets that specialize in hardware, funerary items, carpentry, and textiles. If you wish, you can enjoy a folk performance with traditional water puppets, a tradition that dates back to the 11th century.

 

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 13: Embark on an overnight cruise in Halong Bay

After breakfast, we'll take a three-hour drive to Halong Bay, where we'll board a boat for an overnight cruise on a junk, a wooden Chinese sailing ship. From the water, we'll enjoy spectacular views of this UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its emerald-green waters and its mystical landscape of 3,000 towering limestone islands.

We’ll take a short hike to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay dotted with deluxe golden sails. You can also choose to go swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. Late in the afternoon, we’ll visit a fishing village and experience the daily life of local people. In the evening, there is time to enjoy the spa services or relax at leisure.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Jasmine Cruise Junk

Day 14: Cruise Halong Bay and return to Hanoi

After awakening on board the boat, we'll greet the day with a morning tai chi exercise and an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, we'll visit a beautiful limestone grotto, and return to the boat for a final glimpse of Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. We'll then return to Hanoi and enjoy a farewell dinner with the group as well as a water puppet show.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Day 15: Depart for home

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your homeward-bound flights.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Angkor Village Resort — Siem Reap

Classic Khmer architecture, a lush garden setting, a 250 meter river-style swimming pool and a welcoming staff make Angkor Village Resort a tropical paradise. Tastefully decorated rooms are in keeping with the Cambodian feel of the property, with rich wood furniture and fresh white linens. Suites are spacious and boast separate living rooms, luxurious bathrooms and private terraces overlooking the pool area. Your visit wouldn't be complete without indulging in massages and other treatments at the spa village.

Burasari Heritage — Luang Prabang

Elegant rooms decorated with unique touches such as vintage travel trunks, antique-inspired furniture and rich wood paneling create a charming atmosphere that is at once modern and colonial. In fact, this traditional Laotian house leaves no detail unattended to and brims with the romance of adventure travel. Indulge in luxury spa treatments, enjoy breakfast on the riverfront terrace, take one of the hotel bikes out for a spin, or just absorb the warm way of life in delightful Luang Prabang.

Jasmine Cruise Junk — Halong Bay


La Residence Spa — Hue

This elegant boutique hotel is perched on the banks of the Perfume River overlooking the former Imperial Citadel – once home to Emperors and now preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formerly the residence of the French Colonial Governor, this beautiful example of Art Deco architecture was fully restored in 2005 and reimagined as a luxury hotel. Rooms are modern yet retain an air of their Deco past, with dark hardwood and French colonial touches throughout. Le Parfum restaurant serves first class French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, while Bar Le Gouverneur evokes 1920s elegance.

Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel — Bangkok

The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a four-star hotel located a short walk from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers two bars and four restaurants, a beautiful pool, a fitness room, and a spa! With a 24-hour airport shuttle running every 10 minutes and plenty of parking available, accommodations here couldn't be more convenient.

Renaissance Riverside Hotel — Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Part of the Marriott family of hotels, the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon is one of the leading hotel properties in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the midst of the vibrant business and tourist hub of HCMC, the hotel boasts panoramic views of the Saigon River. 336 comfortable guestrooms make up this property, which also features two dining venues – Riverside Café and Kabins, which serve international and Cantonese cuisines. The Atrium Lounge is an ideal place to unwind with a glass of wine, and the Liquid Sky Bar transforms into a trendy rooftop lounge at night, complete with international DJs.

Royal M Gallery — Hoi An

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi — Hanoi

The luxurious Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a colonial landmark dating from 1901. Just steps from the Opera House located in the French Quarter, the stately architecture and handsome courtyard are a testament to this hotel's storied past. Opulent guest rooms are decorated in a New Classical style, with rich wood floors, plush beds and high-end amenities such as flat screen TVs, soaking tubs and Wi-Fi. Three excellent restaurants and rooms service offer guests several dining options, as well as three bars that provide a stylish setting to meet friends for a cocktail. A lovely swimming pool and full-service spa round out the offerings.

The River Resort — Champasak

This eco-friendly resort offers deluxe accommodations on an escarpment along the edge of the Mekong River. Spacious, modern rooms offer either views of the river or the pond and garden and are stylishly and consciously decorated with bamboo furniture and silk tapestries. The open-air Main Sala features a restaurant that serves Western, Lao and Thai cuisine, and guests can also enjoy poolside cocktails, where the infinity pool seems to blend with the mighty Mekong.

Dates and Pricing

Nov 07 - 21, 2016

Dec 19, 2016 - Jan 02, 2017

Feb 19, 2017 - Mar 05, 2017

Nov 13 - 27, 2017

Dec 18, 2017 - Jan 01, 2018

pricing

2016 Prices

$5,595 (11-15 members)

$6,295 (7-10 members)

$6,595 (5-6 members)

$1,250 internal airfare – Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Pakse/Siem Reap/Ho Chi Minh City/Hue/Hanoi
$1,800 single supplement

2017 Prices

$5,995 (6-15 members)

$1,250 internal airfare – Bangkok/Luang Prabang/Pakse/Siem Reap/Ho Chi Minh City/Hue/Hanoi

$1,800 single supplement

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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure