Join veteran Asia Trip Leader Roger Williams for a journey into a world of gold-leafed pagodas, straw-roofed sampans drifting down tranquil rivers, and ornate royal capitals. Our exploration of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar brings us into a realm of stunning beauty and vibrant cultures. We get a glimpse of daily life as we meet a mosaic of intriguing peoples in their villages, schools, homes, and temples, and discover irresistible settings like Luang Prabang in the heart of the old Lao kingdom, glorious Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s jungle-shrouded city of temples lost in time, and magical Myanmar, with its shimmering lakes and hilltop shrines. Our adventure abounds with visual delights, from the bustling Old Quarter of Hanoi to sunset over the pagodas of Bagan, but it’s our encounters with its graceful and deeply spiritual people of Southeast Asia that linger in our minds long after journey’s end.
Taking the trip as a whole over the near month-long that it was, I unquestionably rate it as outstanding. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Southeast Asia.
— Greg W., Pittsburgh, PA
Luang Prabang, Laos / Vientiane
Explore Laos’ ancient royal capital, a delightful l town of gilded temples, palaces, and French colonial architecture, now a World Heritage Site, visit local hilltribes, and boat up the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist pilgrimage site. In Vientiane, Laos’s sleepy capital, visit traditional temples including Wat Si Saket, considered to be Vientiane's oldest surviving temple.
Hanoi, Vietnam / Hoi An
Discover ancient Hanoi, whose Old Quarter, which we explore by cyclo (bicycle rickshaw), still features magnificent French colonial architecture. In 17th century Hoi An, a picturesque riverside town with a real sense of history on its streets, we stroll around this charming town, a World Heritage Site, and visit houses, temples, and the old Japanese Covered Bridge. Visit Danang’s Marble Mountains en route to Hue.
Hue / Saigon
From Hue, Vietnam’s cultural and religious capital, venture into the countryside to visit two Royal Tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, then take a private “dragon boat” up the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the most famous structures in all Vietnam. On Day 12, fly to Saigon to tour Vietnam’s vibrant capital, including the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh and the Chu Chi Tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels constructed by the Viet Cong.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia / Siem Reap / Angkor Wat
After exploring Phnom Penh, fly to Siem Reap to experience Angkor, a lasting monument to the glory of a bygone Khmer civilization and one of the wonders of the world, all in a spectacular jungle setting. The city was built between the 9th and 13th centuries to glorify a succession of Khmer kings.
Mandalay, Myanmar / Bagan / Inle Lake / Yangon
Fly to Mandalay, Myanmar, where you'll visit the venerated Maha Muni Pagoda, a huge Buddha image that devotees have covered with countless layers of gold leaf, and hike up Mandalay Hill at sunset. A peaceful journey by local private boat brings you up the Irrawaddy River past Mingun and Sagaing, and you'll stroll across picturesque U Bein's Bridge. In Bagan, one of the most extraordinary sights in all of Southeast Asia, explore a valley filled with over 2,000 pagodas and temples, some huge and glorious, others small and graceful, all set in simple fields. Flying to Heho, visit shimmering Inle Lake, home to fascinating villages and “floating markets.” On Day 26, fly to Yangon (formerly Rangoon), and visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, fascinating Chinese street market, and the Sule Pagoda area, the heart of old Rangoon. Depart on Day 28.