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Kingdoms & Cultures: Viet Nam & Laos

In a Nutshell

This itinerary combines two of Indochina’s most popular destinations: a comprehensive cultural exploration of Viet Nam from South to North, plus a few fascinating days in Luang Prabang, Laos. Learn about the Champa Kingdom, one of the greatest maritime empires of Southeast Asia; join a hands on cooking class in Hoi An; cruise the Perfume River passing pagodas and imperial tombs; float amidst the limestone formations of Halong Bay. Take in the heritage sites of Luang Prabang and rest in the stillness that seems to permeate the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town. 
Trip highlights

- Experience the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City

- Stroll around the Ancient Town of Hoi An (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

- Discover the Imperial City of Hue (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

- Explore the Old Quarter in Ha Noi

- UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang

- Experience authentic moments & local life

- and more...

  • Start/Finish

    Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam) / Luang Prabang (Laos)

  • Duration

    14 days - 13 nights

  • Price from

    US$4,412

  • Places visited

    Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Hoi An, Hue, Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay (Viet Nam), Luang Prabang (Laos)

  • Send your Inquiry Now

Day by day

DAY
01
Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is Viet Nam's largest city. Upon arrive you'll be met by your local guide and transferred downtown. The first thing you'll become aware of is the sheer number of motorcyclists in seemingly constant motion around town. About 92% of commuters travel by shared motorbike, sometimes carrying three of more people. Always keep your camera on hand as the traffic mayhem tends to offer fantastic photo opportunities!

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City (Viet Nam)
DAY
02
Ho Chi Minh City

This morning your guide will present the historic overview of the city as you take in the main points of interest. It's an energetic city and the architectural disorder gives you some idea of the rapid growth over the past decade. The past and present may be found on the same block; French colonial heritage buildings flanked by a flashy Louis Vuitton boutique. Architectural highlights include the Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883. The stone used to create it was exported in its entirety from France. Next to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in 1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Viet Nam's largest post office. Continue to the Reunification Palace, the former residence of the President of South Viet Nam until April 30, 1975. We end the architectural highlights with a stroll through the bustling Ben Thanh Market.

OR ~ Take an Art Tour: Join a passionate art specialist on a journey that takes a closer look at the major shifts in 20th and 21st century Viet Nam through the eyes of artists. From the grand halls of the HCMC Fine Art Museum to the fresh white spaces of leading contemporary art galleries. The tour is based on the personal experiences of artists who studied, fought, witnessed and documented major changes in twentieth century Viet Nam. This themed tour is not just for art lovers but for all those who want to gain a deeper understanding of Viet Nam’s modern and contemporary history.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
DAY
03
Ho Chi Minh City/Da Nang/Hoi An

Transfer to the Saigon airport for your flight north to Da Nang. Upon arrival it’s a short drive to the Cham Museum of Da Nang city. The museum houses the largest and most impressive collection of Cham sculpture and artifacts, dating from the 4th to the 14th centuries. We continue past the striking Marble Mountains for photo opportunities and on to Non Nuoc Beach, immortalized for many by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Our end destination is Hoi An. In a country ravaged by war, Hoi An managed to remain untouched, and as you wander the relatively traffic-free streets of this ancient seaport it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th Century, when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. And don’t forget that this is the town famed for its great tailors; so if you brought anything with you to be replicated—or want to have traditional Viet Namese dresses tailored —this is the spot.

Overnight in Hoi An
DAY
04
Hoi An

Today your guide will lead you through Hoi An’s historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The picturesque riverside town was a major trading port between the 15th to 19th centuries. Mansions built by prosperous Japanese, Chinese, and European merchants characterize the enchanting Old Quarter. Appreciate the vivid sense of history as you walk the narrow streets visiting temples, houses, artisan workshops and the bustling fish market along the quay. Late morning, get involved in a hands-on cooking class with a local chef. The chef offers us an introductory cooking class that leads into lunch together (not to worry, you won’t be obliged to cook your own lunch). After your market visit this morning, you will have gained a good understanding of local ingredients and the basic techniques of Viet Namese cuisine. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own or spend a few hours with the tailors of Hoi An.

Overnight in Hoi An
DAY
05
Hoi An/Hue

Say good-bye to Hoi An as we drive northwards - direction Hue. Between 1802 and 1945, Hue was Viet Nam’s Imperial City and thus the seat of 13 Nguyen Emperors. Today, the city has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Tour the Imperial city of Hue, the Thien Mu (Heavenly Lady) pagoda – the most beautiful pagoda located atop a hill with magnificent views. Then sit back on a scenic cruise along the Perfume River.

Overnight in Hue
DAY
06
Hue/Ha Noi

Our explorations of the Imperial capital continue as we tour around Hue through shady, scenic landscapes to arrive at the majestic, serene tomb of Nguyen Emperor Tu Duc, set amidst fragrant frangipani trees. We also pass by the mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh before heading to the airport for the flight to the modern day capital of Ha Noi. Upon arrival, private transfer with guide to your hotel downtown.

Overnight in Ha Noi
DAY
07
Ha Noi/Ha Long Bay

This morning we have a 3.5-hour drive to reach one of the newly declared 7 New Wonders of the World - Ha Long Bay. Journey through the impressive countryside of the North, by now you’ll have a sense of how distinctly different each region of Viet Nam is. Arrive at the pier by noon; board your luxury junk (flat-bottomed sailing vessel), your accommodation for the night. Cruise through the magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the water. Lunch is served on board. Drop anchor in a bay, disembark to visit spectacular limestone caves or trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the evocative bay. Choose to swim near a secluded beach, or simply lounge on deck soaking up the atmosphere. Visit a floating fishing village and meet third-generation fishermen to learn about their traditional way of life at sea. The day rounds off at sunset with sundowners before feasting on fresh seafood for dinner.

Overnight on board
DAY
08
Ha Long Bay/Ha Noi

Catch an early sunrise this morning from the deck with a traditional Viet Namese coffee in hand. Breakfast will be served on board. Continue cruising through the Bay with its limestone formations and small islands. Small, uninhabited beaches and grottoes carved out by wind and water action provide an ever changing backdrop for photography. Not to mention the images of distant junks, or round basket boats floating on shimmering waters. Drop off at the pier at around mid-day and transfer back to your hotel in Ha Noi. In the late afternoon, we’ll enjoy a performance of water puppetry, an art form that developed in the rice paddies of northern Viet Nam.

Overnight in Ha Noi
DAY
09
Ha Noi by foot and cyclo

(All museums in Ha Noi are closed on Monday & Friday) This morning, we travel by rickshaw cyclo (traditional bike-propelled cart) and by foot along tree-lined boulevards and through the 1000-year-old “Old Quarter”. Other stops on your visit include Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda, the hallowed “Temple of Literature”- Van Mieu as it is known in Viet Namese - the country’s most renowned temple complex. A Confucian sanctuary and academy, the centre once housed the country’s first university, founded in 1076. Take time to wander through the stone tablets and soak up a thousand years of learning with your local guide. After lunch at another of our favorite local spots, we leave you to enjoy the afternoon as you see fit. Depending on your interests, your tour guide will be happy to lead you to some of the city’s more interesting art galleries, or take you on a shopping tour for silks and linens (this is perhaps the best place in Viet Nam to pick up gifts for people back home). There are numerous historic sites to recommend or even a visit to the Museum of Ethnology to enhance your understanding of Viet Nam's diverse culture.

Overnight in Ha Noi
DAY
10
Ha Noi/Luang Prabang, Laos

We bid Ha Noi farewell and head for Luang Prabang in Laos today. Upon arrival in Laos you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to rest or explore at will.

Overnight in Luang Prabang, Laos
DAY
11
Luang Prabang

A highlight of any visit to Luang Prabang is to wake before the dawn and bear witness to an ancient morning ritual - the alms offering to the Buddhist monks. Hundreds of saffron-robed monks take to the streets in search of their daily food offered by the lay community. You are welcome to make an offering or simply be a witness to the humbled procession. This early morning ritual dates back generations in Laos and originated with the Buddha’s own ritual 2,500 years ago. Watch the town come to life and then return to your hotel for breakfast.

Note: With the Morning Alms Giving, if you do not wish to make an offering, please keep an appropriate distance and observe the ritual in silence. Dress appropriately – shoulder, chest and legs should be covered. After breakfast we will visit this sacred town of many temples.

We’ll include a visit to the National Museum (closed on Tue), the former Royal Palace housing a collection of valuables including the famous Prabang Buddha statue and numerous gifts from foreign dignitaries. Other must-see places include Wat Visoun, the 16th century temple that served as a small museum for religious artifacts; Wat Xiengthong, the 16th century temple said to be the most beautiful temple in town, epitomizing the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang’s architecture. Late afternoon, visit Phousi Hill climbing up 328 steps to the summit that provides a superb panoramic view of the whole town.

Overnight in Luang Prabang, Laos
DAY
12
Luang Prabang

This morning we take to the river after breakfast. We cruise the Mekong River by long-tailed boat to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. The site is strategically positioned in a lime stone cliff overlooking the Mekong. The sanctuaries at Pak Ou consist of two large caves, serving as repositories for thousands of Buddhist icons, which range from mere centimeters to two meters in height. En route, typical Laotian villages are barely visible behind thick screens of riverbank foliage. Slender canoes bob by the shoreline and bamboo poles with floats mark the location of nets and fish traps. Lunch is at a local restaurant on the bank of the Mekong River. Return to Luang Prabang by boat; continue by car to visit Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for its wood paper making and Laotian silk weavings with natural dyes. Transfer back to town in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Luang Prabang, Laos
DAY
13
Luang Prabang Departure

Your morning is at leisure and defined only by your flight details home. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your onward connections. Safe travels homeward.

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Maggie and I would like to thank you and congratulate you on the organisation behind and quality of our recently completed trip.  We both agree it was one of the best we have ever done, and we have been to a few places!  All three hotels (and junk) were superb... read more

Chris & Maggie Whymark - UK
What Ansova loves:

Hoi An

Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port. It is the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact in this way. Most of the buildings are in the traditional architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are aligned along narrow lanes of traditional type. They include many religious buildings, such as pagodas, temples, meeting houses, etc., which relate to the development of a port community. The traditional lifestyles, religion, customs and cooking have been preserved and many festivals still take place annually. UNESCO Inscription, 1999.

Hotel & Price Guide

Our selection of Deluxe hotels offer a more competitive price point,
without compromising on comfort or amenities.

Anantara Hoi An Resort
Idyllically situated on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort is a boutique retreat steps away from the Old Town of Hoi An. Designed with French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences that reveal Hoi An’s fascinating cultural diversity, split level rooms and suites open onto porches with comfortable daybeds, overlooking the river or a garden courtyard. Watch the fishing boats glide...
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel is exudes heritage and elegance. The 1901 hotel has hosted guests for over a century. The wood panelling and green shutters evoke the opulence of Old Indochine and the age of colonial grandeur. Our favourite rooms grace the Historic Metropole Wing. Need some downtime? Sit back to the sultry jazz sounds of Le Club bar or absorb the street life...
Indochina Sails
Sit back and relax in one of the cruise's 14 guestrooms, all designed with guests' comfort in mind. Featured in each room, among other amenities, are bathtub, desk, television LCD/plasma screen. Guests will enjoy the cruise's excellent facilities and services including restaurant, 24hr room service, bar/pub. Those looking for first-rate sporting and leisure facilities will find jacuzzi, spa, private beach, massage. Guests will find this...
La Residence Hotel & Spa Hue
Celebrate the charms of art deco’s golden age. This former residence of the French Colonial governor has been painstakingly restored and refashioned into an exceptional design hotel. The hotel’s distinctive bowed façade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the 1930’s Streamline Modern School of art deco architecture.
InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel
The newest InterContinental in the city, in the heart of the city's commercial center is also close to several points of interest. Nearby attractions include the Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and General Post Office.
La Résidence Phou Vao Hotel
With three acres of tropical garden and expansive views across to jungle covered mountains and hills, La Residence imbues a quiet, retreat-like atmosphere. Sit mesmerised by the vistas from the infinity pool, or watch the reflection of clouds drift across the pool’s water. Ranked amongst the Top 50 of the World’s Best Hotels by Travel & Leisure.

Our suggested hotels go beyond the expected amenities of deluxe hotels. They are inspirational properties defined by exceptional service, stunning design and offer an experience that sets them apart.

The Nam Hai Resort
The Nam Hai makes the bold claim of “reinventing luxury” in Viet Nam. They have certainly succeeded in redesigning luxury on the edge of the East Sea. The abundant elements of wind and water inspire the stunning architectural design. The resort is a destination in itself as the countless awards and accolades attest to.
Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel
This hotel experience is encapsulated through service excellence. The property stands majestically on Lam Son Square, a superb central location. Classic colonial style meets with elegant modern decor throughout the hotel. Dinner at Square One is a must, consistently ranked as one of Vietnam’s top restaurants.
Halong Violet Junk
One of the latest additions to the collection of the Halong cruises, Heritage Line - Halong Violet Junk began its journey in the stunning bay since November 2009. Experience the first class expedition in the World Heritage Site aboard the luxurious ship exquisitely appointed in an early 19th century Indochinese theme.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel is exudes heritage and elegance. The 1901 hotel has hosted guests for over a century. The wood panelling and green shutters evoke the opulence of Old Indochine and the age of colonial grandeur. Our favourite rooms grace the Historic Metropole Wing. Need some downtime? Sit back to the sultry jazz sounds of Le Club bar or absorb the street life...
La Residence Hotel & Spa Hue
Celebrate the charms of art deco’s golden age. This former residence of the French Colonial governor has been painstakingly restored and refashioned into an exceptional design hotel. The hotel’s distinctive bowed façade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the 1930’s Streamline Modern School of art deco architecture.
Amantaka Resort
Amantaka derives its name from the word 'aman', the Sanskrit word for ‘peace’, and from Tipitaka, meaning ‘the teaching of the Buddha’ in Theravada scholastic literature. The resort is located just south of Mount Phousi in the centre of the picturesque Luang Prabang peninsula. Within walking distance of the many boutiques, bakeries and restaurants along the main street, Amantaka is also close to the banks...

Luxury travel to fit your pocket? Send through your tailor-made request.


Send Your Tailor-made Request Now

Pricing Notes

Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. 

At Ansova Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.

 

Prices include the following:

. All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast 

. Internal economy flights with airport taxes

. All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle

. Private services of local guides

. All special events & private tours, guest experts

. All entrance fees into historical sights & museums 

. Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring

. 24/7 support from the Ansova Team

 

*Notes: 

Peak Season supplements may be applied at some hotels (typically over the Christmas and New Year period).

There are a number of factors which will influence the price; these include the standard of accommodation, the season, the class of flights, the airline used and the level of private guiding versus shared excursions.

A single supplement may appply

 

This tour was carefully designed by our Trip-Planner.  However, a designated Trip Planner can assist you with identifying your travel needs so as to match and hopefully exceed your expectations. Our Trip Planner will review your inquiry and respond via email within 24 business hours, with an itinerary proposal aligned to your requirements and budget.

SEND YOUR
Tailor-made Request
NOW!

Tailor made travel to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indochina

This tour was carefully designed by our Trip-Planner.  However, a designated Trip Planner can assist you with identifying your travel needs so as to match and hopefully exceed your expectations. 

Our Trip Planner will review your inquiry and respond via email within 24 business hours, with an itinerary proposal aligned to your requirements and budget.

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