Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, VBT's driver will pick you up and transfer to hotel for check in. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour - Lao Cai (B, L) - by night train
You are met at 08:30 in the hotel lobby. There is a morning and afternoon schedule, as well as an organised lunch. Morning you visit: Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum; The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070; A local Vietnamese lunch. Afternoon you visit: Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples; Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake - the Ngoc Son Temple is set on a tiny island on Hoan KiemLake, its history dating back to the 13th century; A one-hour cyclo tour through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - a must for any visitor to Hanoi; A traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets. Transfer to the station for the night train to Lao Cai. Overnight on train.
Day 3: Lao Cai - Bac Ha Market - Sapa (B, L)
After meeting a guide at the Lao Cai railway station we have breakfast there and go to the Bac Ha market for two hours by a van (A/C). This is the largest market in the region, a place where many ethnic groups gather to buy and sell, eat and drink together. There are 10 minority groups in the Bac Ha region. You can buy homemade handicrafts and clothes. In the afternoon we will have a 2 hour trek to Ban Pho village (Flower H’Mong people). In the village we can have a look in their house and understand little more about their lifestyle and traditional customs. Especially, we can try homemade wine from corn. And then we drive back to Sapa for 3 hours. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa - Cat Cat - Sin Chai (B, L)
Have breakfast then walk around Sapa until noon, check in hotel. After lunch trek to Cat Cat and Sin Chai villages of Black H'mong tribe. Enjoy the waterfall in Cat Cat and beautiful scenery along the way. Back to hotel to enjoy the night in Sapa town.
Day 5: Sapa - Lao Chai - Ta Van - Lao Cai - Hanoi (B, L) - by night train
After breakfast you check out and leave your luggage in the hotel, get ready for the trip. Trek down to Lao Chai village to visit the Tay and Dzay tribes then keep going along the bottom of the Sapa valley to get to Ta Van village, which is supposed to be the most beautiful one in the area. Have a picnic lunch on the way. You go back to Sapa by motorbike/jeep. Get yourself fresh with a shower in the hotel's day room before transfer down to Lao Cai Station for the night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on train.
Day 6: Hanoi - Cuc Phuong National Park (B, L, D)
05:00 Arrive in Hanoi. We will pick you up at the station to have breakfast. Then drive to Ninh Binh.
11:00 Arrival in Cuc Phuong National Park and visit the park's Primate RescueCenter, followed by lunch.
13:00 After lunch, begin your trek in the National Park
17:00 Return to the park's centre and check-in at the park's bungalow, followed by dinner.
Day 7: Cuc Phuong - Van Long - Hanoi (B, L)
08:00 Breakfast at a restaurant near the bungalow
10:00 Depart for the park's botanical garden to learn more about the fauna and flora of one of Vietnam's oldest forest. Depart for Van Long.
11:00 Lunch, followed by a trip on a row boat, paddling along a small stream and the rice paddies through some limestone caves.
13:00 Rest at a local restaurant next to Van Long pier to have lunch. Depart for Hanoi.
17:00 Arrive in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc (B, L)
08:00: VBT's guide will pick you up at hotel and leave Hanoi Capital for Ninh Binh, enjoy the beautiful sceneries of the rural areas on the way. About 10:00 arrive Hoa Lu, visit the the two temples of King Dinh and King Le in the 10th century, finding out the heroic histories of this two Kings in Chinese Wars. After that, we go to Tam Coc (10 km far from Hoa Lu). Have lunch at local restaurant.
After lunch you will get on bamboo boat - rowed by the local people - in Hoang Long river to visit Tam Coc (three caves) on the way, you also have chance to see the paddy field if you visit Tam Coc in April or September.
15:30: Back to the Harbour for the transfer to Hanoi.
17:45: Arrive in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
08:00 Pick up from your hotel in Hanoi. Drive to Halong City through the paddy fields in the Red River Delta.
10:00 Stopover on the way for a refreshment break
12:00 Arrive at Tuan Chau wharf - Break and photography time
12:30 Board Cruise for departure. Welcome drink will be served
13:00 Lunch is served while cruising through the bay
15:30 Visit exciting Cua Van fishing village. The village is free of busy roads and streets, electric lights, houses and high rise buildings. Instead, there are only herds of little boats and rafts. You will have the chance to discover the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen.
16:30 Enjoy kayaking or swimming (if the weather permits).
17:00 Back on board and continue cruising to Drum Cave (Hang Trong) to dock.
19:00 Dinner is served.
21:00 Take some leisure time to enjoy chatting at the bar or enjoy some night fishing. Relax and spend a romantic night on Cruise.
Day 10: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B, L)
07:00 Coffee and tea will be served
08:00 Continue cruising
08:15 Visit splendid Sung Sot Cave
09:00 Check out and enjoy a fantastic cruise on the bay, passing Dinh Huong Island, fishing villages, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island and Sail Island.
09:30 Buffet brunch (breakfast/lunch) while cruising back through Halong Bay to the pier.
11:30 Arrive at the pier. Time to say goodbye to the crew.
12:00 Return from Halong bay to Hanoi.
14:00 Stop over in Dong Trieu town to visit a ceramics workshop.
16:00 Arrive in Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 11: Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City (B) - by flight
After breakfast at hotel, relax until transferred to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City at 08:40 (VN 215). Pick you up at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City and take you to hotel. Relax in the afternoon. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City - My Tho - Ben Tre - Can Tho (B, L)
08:00 Pick up at your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Depart for My Tho. Take a leisurely boat ride through Bao Dinh natural canal, which is lined with stilt houses and fruit plantations. Proceed to the Tortoise island and have lunch in the heart of the orchard. Enjoy a boat ride through Tan Thach natural canal in Ben Tre, cruising under the shadows of the water coconut trees. Visit a family business which epitomizes the idyllic rural lifestyle. After trekking through the fruit plantations on Thoi Son island, enjoy a rowing boat ride along the creeks before returning to My Tho by motor boat. Proceed to Can Tho via Vinh Long, and visit the snake market. Check in on arrival. Overnight in Can Tho.
Day 13: Can Tho - Long Xuyen - Chau Doc (B, L)
After breakfast, visitors first take the boat trip to explore the picturesque tributaries of the Lower Mekong river (the Bassac river). The boat trip later takes you to the Cai Rang floating market, which are the most original ones and bustling places of the region. Visitors will have the most probably tried the Vietnamese vermicelli soup? So, they will now go and see how it is made. Visitors then roam into the village to get in touch with the local people. Here, they have a chance to experience how to pass a "Monkey bridge" which is built by only one bamboo. Check in on arriving in Chau Doc. take a rowing boat trip through the floating village to visit a fish farm and see how the Mekong Delta people raise fish from their floating houses. Visit the Cham minority in their traditional weaving village. Overnight in Chau Doc.
Day 14: Chau Doc - Phnom Penh (B) - by boat
Leave Chau Doc to Phnom Penh in the morning by speed boat. Visa issued at the border. Arrive at Sisowath tourist dock in Phnom Penh at around 12pm. Pick up to hotel. Relax and overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 15: Phnom Penh city tour (B, L)
After breakfast, city tour to visit National Museum of Khmer Art, Silver Pagoda, on the same ground of the Royal Palace and renowned Wat Phnom. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon visit Toul Sleng Museum and the renowned Central Market. Overnight in Phnom Penh.
Day 16: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B, L) - by flight
After breakfat, transfer to the airport for the flight at 09:45 (VN 9851). Upon arriving in Siem Reap, you will be picked up and drive to hotel. Afternoon, visit to Barray Lake then view sunset at Pnom Bakheng. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 17: Siem Reap - Angkor Temples (B, L)
08:00 we will pick you up at hotel and visit temples including Prasat Kravan - with its unique brick sculptures, Srah Srang, The Royal Baths was once used for ritual bathing, and Banteay Kdei, surrounded by four concentric walls, Eastern Mebon, guarded at its corner by stone figures of harnessed elephants, some of which are still in a reasonable state of preservation, and the Mountain Temple of Pre Rup. In the afternoon, transfer to the archaeological site and continue to the temple tour. Visit Ta Prum, one of the most beautiful temples in the area. Ta Prum has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery, then visit Takeo. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 18: Siem Reap - Angkor Temples (B, L)
After an enjoy sunrise time at Angkor Wat in early morning, then start the tour to South Gate of Angkor Thom, then go to Angkor Thom (the temple) which was built by Angkor’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII. The major attraction of Angkor Thom is the Bayon, whose exact function and symbolism is still unknown until now. Then we go to Baphoun, which is one of the most spectacular of Angkor’s temples in its heyday; to Terrace of the Elephants that was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall; to Terrace of the Leper King, another of Angkor’s mysteries. In the afternoon, we visit the World Seventh Wonder -better known as Angkor Wat- that stands as the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Angkor wat stretch over some 400 sq. km, including forested area, AngkorArchaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 19: Siem Reap - Banteay Srei - Roluos group (B, L)
Heading out of the town, we drive on a newly paved road to the intricately carved and well preserved temple of Banteay Srei. On the way, we make stover at the Preah Dark village and the River of 1000 Lingas, locally named Kbal Spean. We follow these with a visit the Banteay Samre Temple adorned with impressive reliefs depicting scenes of Vishunu as well as Krishna legends. We also have time today, exploring the ancient Khmer civilization site of Hariharalaya which flourished in the late 9th and earlier 10th centuries. These are the earliest temples in the Angkor area and are referred to the Rolous group. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 20: Siem Riep - Vientiane (B, L) - by flight
Breakfast at the hotel. We board on boat in Tonle Sap Lake. Here, enjoy a brief cruise past floating villages complete with schools, restaurants, hospitals, and Les Artisan D'angkor. Rolling at local market for shopping until transfer to Siem Reap International airport to Vientiane. Free at leisure and overnight in Vientiane.
Day 21: Vientiane city tour (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel. Free time for relaxing until transfer to the airport for flight to Vientiane. On arrival at the Vientiane Capital, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Vientiane is a charming and fascinating capital, with an interesting mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. After a short rest, we start visiting the major sights of the capital; including the Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 22: Vientiane - Luang Prabang (B, L) - by flight
After breakfast, we will pay a visit to the studio of Carol Cassidy, an American who has done much to advance the Lao weaving tradition and then visiting the rest of Vientiane by foot, including Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok. We pass by the major shopping area continuing to the Vientiane Central Market of Talad Sao and Talad Kouadin where various goods are displayed for sale; including fresh food, household goods, souvenirs, textiles, gold, silver and antiques. The rest of the afternoon will be spent visiting the National Museum (close Tuesday), former Revolutionary Museum, which boasts a collection of antique items and the history of Laos’s fighters and leaders who were displaced from the ancient times through to the new revolution period. We then board a short flight to Luang Prabang, which is perhaps the best - preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. UNESCO registered Luang Prabang as a World CulturalHeritage City in 1995. The tranquility and charm of this city, with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Asia. On arrival, we transfer you to your hotel. After a short rest, we will stroll around the Night Market, where you will find a lovely selection of local handmade textiles. We then hike to the top of Mount Phousi for an exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa and the exasperating, beautiful panorama views of the sun setting over this once royal ancient city and the Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 23: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves - Xiengmene (B, L)
After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple, Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai, Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang. We then embark on a boat journey upstream along the MekongRiver, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local specialty of rice wine is produced. On our return, we stop at the local villages of Ban Xiengmene and Ban Chan then continue to see the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun, which once belonged to the royal family near the Sackarine Caves. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, well known for its hand weaving. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 24: Luang Prabang - Khouangsi Waterfalls (B, L)
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. You will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will find dried buffalo skins, local teas and saltpeter among the many chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will have the opportunity to visit the local village of the Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village, Ban Thapene and Khmu Village. After visiting the villages, we then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfalls where you may wish cool off by splashing around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We continue to Ban Phanom, another well-known weaving village and return to Luang Prabang by the late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 25: Luang Prabang - Departure (B)
After having nice breakfast at the hotel, free at leisure and transfer to airport for flight departure. End of service!