This unique journey through Southeast Asia encompasses our favorite places in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in one comprehensive itinerary. Cover the Indochina Peninsula, visiting all 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 Lan Ha/Halong Bay. Explore lost vine-covered cities, steep limestone hills, lush river valleys, mysterious caves, and enjoy genuine encounters with locals in remote, tribal villages - all accompanied by your expert MT Sobek guide. This one-of-a-kind Southeast Asia itinerary offers an unforgettable experience!
Join MT Sobek on an exclusive, comprehensive itinerary through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam!
Explore fascinating temples and ruins, including the magnificent UNESCO-listed Angkor Wat and Wat Phou
Cruise overnight on Lan Ha/Halong Bay, where towering limestone peaks rise from emerald-green waters
Welcome to Southeast Asia! Since most flights arrive in Bangkok in the evening, we encourage you fly in at least one day ahead of schedule to help overcome jet lag before the tour begins. You may even choose to fly in a few days early to explore this fascinating city, which has many sightseeing possibilities. From the airport, catch a complimentary hotel shuttle or take the five-minute walk via an air-conditioned underground walkway.
Meet your MT Sobek representative this morning and transfer to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang, capital of the first Lao kingdom and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located on the Mekong River in a lovely mountain-encircled setting, Luang Prabang is renowned for its historic Buddhist temples, about 32 of which date from the 14th century. Luang Prabang is unhurried, relaxed, and perfect for strolling its ancient lanes and alleyways. Upon arrival, meet your local guide, transfer to the hotel, enjoy a city walking tour, then meet for a welcome dinner.
Begin today at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. Visit Wat Mai, with its unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs, and admire Wat Sene's beautiful golden facade. Venture to stunning Wat Xieng Thong, rich with golden gates, ornaments, and colorful murals. Then board a private longtail boat for a scenic two-hour ride up the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves, filled with thousands of Buddha statues. Back in Luang Prabang, climb Mount Phousi for a panoramic view of the city and countryside before visiting a hill-tribe market.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Pakse, in southern Laos. From there, drive to Champasak and check into the 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. Have dinner at the resort.
Drive to Khong Island and take a two-hour boat ride along the Mekong to the peaceful islands of Don Det and Don Khon, in the southern part of Laos near the Cambodian border. These laid-back islands are very quiet, thanks to the absence of cars and electricity, which is provided only in the evening. Stroll through palm-fringed villages and visit Tat Somphamit (aka Li Phi Waterfalls). Take a boat excursion and, if lucky, spot endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. Continue to the southernmost part of Laos and the imposing Khong Phapheng Waterfalls.
After a leisurely morning, fly to Siem Reap. This former Khmer Empire capital is now the gateway to Cambodia's most popular tourist attraction: the Angkor region and the Angkor temples complex, which you'll spend the next couple of days exploring. Today visit one of the area's most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm, which has been relatively untouched since its discovery. Unlike the other Angkor monuments, it was swallowed by the jungle, so today looks very much as most Angkor temples did when European explorers first stumbled upon them.
Nothing prepares you for your first view of Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious edifice, which you behold today in the morning light. Built in the 12th century, its labor-intensive construction is a magnificent achievement of architecture and artistry. The temple is decorated with more than 2,000 Apsara dancers, and its walls are covered with a stunning array of stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting mythological and historical events. After lunch, visit the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple, among other sights. Cruise on Angkor Thom moat at sunset. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Visit the "precious gem" of the Angkor area: Banteay Srei, or Citadel of the Women. The best-preserved temple in Cambodia is built of pink sandstone seen nowhere else in Angkor and displays some stellar examples of classical Khmer art. Stop at a local pagoda for a private blessing ceremony with Buddhist monks, then fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Upon arrival, take a walking tour of the vibrant city, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the 19th-century post office, the opera house, and town hall. After dinner, take an exciting scooter ride around Saigon.
Fly to Hue, the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam. Hue is to Vietnam as Kyoto is to Japan. This intellectual and cultural 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 visit the unusual royal tombs of monarchs from the last dynasty of Vietnam. Then explore Thien Mu pagoda and, after lunch, cyclo (three-wheel bicycle taxi) through the old city to the Imperial Palace (Citadel).
Depart 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. 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. Visit the former merchants' homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, and a colorful local market.
Start your 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 seventh to the 13th centuries. Return to Hoi An and enjoy a free afternoon to relax, shop, or explore on your own. Dinner tonight is at your leisure.
Fly to Hanoi, a governmental center of almost three million people. Founded in 1010 as Thang Long, Hanoi's narrow tree-shaded streets are filled with lovely examples of French colonial architecture. After lunch, see Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Lake of the Restored Sword, and "Hanoi Hilton" Prison. Spend some time exploring the old town by cyclo, visiting streets that specialize in hardware, funerary items, carpentry, and textiles. Continue to Hang Be Market and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Drive to Lan Ha/Halong Bay and board a boat for an overnight cruise on a junk, a wooden Chinese sailing ship. From the water, 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 continue to Ba Trai Dao beach in Lan Ha Bay- a separate section of Halong Bay. This is a quiet paradise known for its pristine beaches. Here you can kayak or simply enjoy a swim. Later you can catch the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin and then join a traditional cooking class on the junk.
After awakening aboard the boat, greet the day with a morning tai chi exercise and an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, visit a beautiful limestone grotto, and then return to the boat for a final glimpse of Lan Ha/Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Head back to Hanoi and enjoy a farewell dinner with the group as well as a water puppet show.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your homeward-bound flights.
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MT Sobek has been offering immersive cultural journeys in Asia for nearly 50 years. This popular itinerary is one of our most comprehensive.
Our team of local guides are true experts and have over 25 years' experience leading guests in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Carefully tailored over many years, this trip includes the right balance of iconic and classic aspects of three countries, plus hard to find, hidden gems.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Cultural touring of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam including temple visits, city exploration and cruising the Mekong River and Halong Bay.
Elegant lodges and luxury resorts in scenic locales - all carefully selected by our Asia experts - plus an overnight stay on a classic junk.
Temperatures vary, but range from 70's in the cooler areas to 90's in the warmer areas. Halong Bay can be 50's in November and December.
Your trip leader, Sylvain Curtil, will meet you on arrival at Luang Prabang Airport.
No, but it is very easy to take the free shuttle to the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Hotel, located just a few minutes from the terminal.
Yes, American citizens need visas for all three countries. You can get the Laos and Cambodian visas on arrival at the airports and Vietnam has a new, streamlined e-visa process.
The internal air includes flights from Bangkok - Luang Prabang - Pakse - Siem Reap - Saigon - Hue and Danang - Hanoi.
We use Vietnam Air, Lao Airlines, Thai Airlines and Bangkok Airways.
All activities are optional!
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"The itinerary was fantastic. The guide was experienced, knowledgeable and patient. Our group of 11 connected with each other and we all came away with great new friends."
MT Sobek Guest, Treasures of Indochine
"MT Sobek wowed us with a fantastic itinerary and enough events for a lifetime of memories."
MT Sobek Guest, Treasures of Indochine