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Unspoiled Vietnam and Laos - 13 Days
Bangkok, Vietnam & Laos
 

 

 

Departure on January 23, 2013; Return on February 15, 2013

 
   
$3965 per person Land and Air from West Coast
$2535 per person Land Only including internal air/land transportations
$635 per person single supplement (not available onboard Victoria Express Train)
 
       
Prices include Government Taxes and Fees.
 
Highlights: Journey to world explorers' last frontier Laos and to the unspoiled mountainous region in North Vietnam. This unique tour program brings you to Vientiane's most sacred site, Wat Simuand and the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang, where you cruise along the mighty Mekong River and explore the famous Buddhist Pak Ou Caves. Fly to Vietnams capital Hanoi . After visiting the major sites in Hanoi, take deluxe Victoria Express train to Sapa in Vietnam's northern mountainous area. Mingle with the locals in villages and markets. Trek through the beautiful mountain scenery and experience the diverse culture. In Saigon - Hochiminh City, tour the historic sites and local markets and travel overland to the Mekong Delta for an unforgettable boat ride of exotic and timeless scenery and culture.  
 
 

Day 1, January 23, Wednesday - USA/Bangkok
Depart the USA gateway city via Cathay Pacific Airways for Beijing. En route, cross the International Dateline.

Day 2, January 24, Thursday - Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to your hotel. (Amari Atrium Hotel)

Day 3, January 25, Friday - Bangkok/Vientiane
Fly to Vientiane, capital of Laos and city of Samdalwood on the Mekong River. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, experience a half-day city tour beginning with Wat Simuang, Vientianes most sacred site, famed for bringing good luck and fortune, especially to those trying to have children. Visit the religious museum at Wat Sisaket, the oldest standing temple in Vientiane. Stop at Wat Pra Keo, the original home of the Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok. In the late afternoon, see the 16th Century That Luang Golden Stupa, and watch as the sunset creates beautiful colors on the structure. Also see Patuxai Victory Gate, their version of the French Arc de Triomphe. End the evening by watching the sunset on the banks of the Mekong River. (Lao Plaza Hotel) (B/L)

 

Day 4, January 26, Saturday - Vientaine/Luang Prabang
Fly inland to World Heritage city of Luang Prabang and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a half-day city tour and explore history through artifacts at the former Royal Palace, currently the National Museum. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, located in a beautiful garden setting on the bank of the Mekong River. Also see Wat Sen and Wat Visun. Drive to Khuang Si Falls, where the waters tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. Stop at Ban Phanom Village, renowned for its hand weaving, and experience its night market. End the day with another dazzling sunset atop Mount Phou Si. (Villa Santi Hotel) (B/L)

 

 
 

Day 5, January 27, Sunday - Luang Prabang
Take a full-day boat trip and cruise the mighty Mekong River to explore the local villages at Ban Xiengmene and the pottery of Ban Chan. Continue with a visit to the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun, which once belonged to the royal family. It is the Monastery of the Happy or Blessed Song and has served as a retreat center for spiritual revitalization. From there, see the nearby Sackarine Caves and the famous Pak Ou Caves or Buddha Caves. Explore the caves and their miniature wooden Buddha statues and cross Mekong River at Ban Ou for lunch at a local restaurant. Drive to Ban Xang Hai, where the residents create a unique rice wine called lao lao, and then continue to villages Ban Xangkhong, known for its wood paper making and silk weavings with natural dyes and Ban Xienglek, well known for its hand made Jute Sar paper or Posa paper made from mulberry bark. (B/L)

Day 6, January 28, Monday - Luang Prabang/Hanoi
You have the opportunity to wake up early and participate like a local in the daily early morning ritual of giving offerings to saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls. Some of these offerings include the ubiquitous sticky rice. After breakfast, visit Luang Prabang market and a number of shops selling antiques and silver jewelry made by the mountain tribes. Transfer to the airport for flight to Ha Noi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. (Sunway Hotel) (B/L)

 

Day 7, January 29, Tuesday - Hanoi
For the full day, explore Hanois illustrious history. In the morning, visit the imposing marble edifice housing Ho Chi Minhs Mausoleum before moving onto his wooden stilt house and the One Pillar Pagoda. Explore the first university of Vietnam, the Temple of Literature, which is imbued with the profound philosophies of Confucianism. In the afternoon, visit the Hoan Kiem Lake, which means returned sword for the myth that King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used against the invading Chinese. This sword was then taken by a giant turtle into the waters to be delivered back to the gods. Visit Ngoc Son Temple, which extends out into the lake and displays Vietnamese history as well as the giant turtles. Take a cyclo tour of Hanois Old Quarter and catch a glimpse of ancient Hanoi, while learning about Vietnamese traditional architecture and stop at an ancient Vietnamese long house. (B/L)

Day 8, January 30, Wednesday - Hanoi/Sapa
In the morning, drive to Bat Trang Village, which is renowned for its ceramics. On arrival, take a stroll through narrow lanes of the ancient village to discover the art of ceramic making. Under the guidance of skilled artisans, learn how to shape ceramic art. Visit the local market to shop the variety of ceramics. Continue to Dong Ho Village and practice making the Dong Ho block printing. From there, return to Hanoi and explore the city at your leisure. In the evening, transfer to the station for a comfortable overnight train - Victoria Express to Sapa, four people sharing a berth. (B/L)

 

 
 

Day 9, January 31, Thursday - Sapa
On arrival in the early morning, transfer to the picturesque mountain town in this unspoiled region of North Vietnam bordering China, visit the local market and explore Sapa's rugged scenery and rich cultural diversity. (Victoria Sapa Hotel) (B/L)

Day 10, February 1, Friday - Sapa/Hanoi
Drive to Y Linh Ho in the morning and enjoy a scenic trek down to the Muong Hoa Valley adorned with lush terraced paddy fields and between two high ranges of mountains. Trek along the Hoang Lien Mountain Range, as well. Enjoy a panoramic view of Muong Hoa Valley from Lao Chai Junction, before driving back to Sapa. Stroll along the dirt trails of Sapa in the afternoon, full of serene gardens and verdant pine forests, providing interesting insight into the local lifestyle. Continue to the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a very small and isolated tribal village. Hike through the rice paddy fields and spectacular natural scenery. Visit a local school or proceed to the church of Taphin. Take the overnight train back to Hanoi, 4 people sharing. (B/L)

 

Day 11, February 2, Saturday - Hanoi/Saigon
On arrival in Hanoi transfer to airport. Fly to Saigon, and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, tour the city, beginning with the Reunification Palace to see the recreation room full of random vintage items like radios and then see the photo gallery. Also, explore the Notre Dame Cathedral, a Catholic Cathedral built by the French, as well as the Central Post Office and Chinatown. Also walk through the Binh Tay Market, a beautiful famous market with a peaceful courtyard centered on a memorial stone surrounded by four bronze lions and four bronze dragons. Then either see Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to Lady Thien Hau or the Quan Am Pagoda, which is the oldest pagoda in Saigon. (Duxton Hotel) (B/L)

 

 
 

Day 12, February 3, Sunday - Mekong
Travel to Mekong Delta, and enjoy a boat cruise along the river, Take a short walk to a handicraft workshop where goods are made from coconut trees. Experience an exciting horse-cart ride to visit a local house and enjoy tea and homegrown fruits. Drift along the narrow, tree-lined canals to experience more of Mekong Delta. Enjoy lunch and then learn about making coconut candies from a local family-run business. Then return to Saigon. (B/L)

Day 13, February 4, Monday - Saigon/USA
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight for the US. And arrive the same day. Or, you may take an extension to Hong Kong.

 
Hong Kong Extension - 3 Days
 

 

 

February 4 - 6, 2013

 
   
$360 per person Land Only
$220 per person Single Supplement
 
       

Day 13, February 4, Monday - Shanghai/Hong Kong
Transfer to the airport for your departure via Cathay Pacific Airways and arrive in Hong Kong. Transfer to your hotel. (B) (Grand Harbor Hotel)

Day 14, February 5, Tuesday - Hong Kong
A morning sightseeing tour introduces you to the highlights of this bustling city including Stanley Market, Aberdeen's floating restaurants and sampan dwellers, and a panoramic view of city and harbor from atop Victoria Peak. Afternoon free. (B)

Day 15, February 6, Wednesday - Hong Kong/USA
Transfer to the airport for your departure via Cathay Pacific Airways and arrive the States the same day. (B)

 

 
   
 
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