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The vibrant region of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (once collectively known as Indochina because of their early Hindu and Chinese cultural and artistic influences) is a feast of emerald mountains, lively waterways, and enduring legacies. We delve into them on this comprehensive journey, getting to the heart of the area through unusual insider experiences.
In addition to exploring the most noteworthy sites alongside experts, we venture off the tourist track to see everyday life like locals. We wander through hidden neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) as they awake and zip through bustling nighttime streets by Vespa. In Hoi An, a graceful old port town with humpbacked bridges and lacquerware shops, we’re introduced to markets, street food, and Vietnamese cooking techniques, as well as the enchanting glow of the Full Moon Lantern Festival.
While in the Nguyen Dynasty capital of Hue, we dine in a lovely old private residence and travel along the Perfume River by cyclo. And after strolling among beautiful French colonial architecture in Hanoi, we savor a blissful day and night cruising among the majestic limestone karsts of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Flying to Luang Prabang, Laos, we join residents and monks in the tranquil, temple-dotted streets for the almsgiving ritual, then dye scarves with artisans and follow the Mekong to caves filled with gilded Buddhas. We cap off the journey among the incredible ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where Conservation d’Angkor (closed to the public) welcomes us for a private visit.
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1:
arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
- Day 2:
guided walks in local neighborhoods; city sights
- Day 3:
fly to Danang; drive to Hoi An
- Day 4:
culinary tour; My Son temples
- Day 5:
drive to Hue; explore
- Day 6:
- Day 7:
fly to Hanoi; walking tour
- Day 8:
Hanoi sights; Ngoc Ha guided walk
- Day 9:
Halong Bay luxury cruise
- Day 10:
fly to Luang Prabang, Laos
- Day 11:
farm experience; old town visit
- Day 12:
Tak Bat ritual; Pak Ou caves; textile workshop
- Day 13:
fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia; discover temples
- Days 14 & 15:
Angkor complex; private vistit to Conservation d’Angkor; blessing ceremony
- Day 16:
depart Siem Reap.