An Extraordinary Cultural Journey to Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia

Overview

Gold-leafed pagodas glinting in the sun, women carrying goods to market by yoke basket, young monks in saffron robes—the visual images of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia are striking in Luang Prabang, Laos’ charming temple town, we boat along the Mekong and meet Hmong and Khamu hill villagers. In Vietnam, we take a bike-rickshaw through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, overnight on our own private boat in Bai Tu Long Bay, stroll the lantern-lit lanes of Hoi An, and marvel at the palaces of the Nguyen emperors in Hue. Our final treat is Angkor, Cambodia’s surreal “lost city” rising out of an enveloping forest, where we explore the soaring stone towers of a medieval metropolis.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Luang Prabang, Laos

Laos’ royal capital until 1975, Luang Prabang is a tranquil oasis of colonial architecture and hundred-yearold frangipani trees along the Mekong. We visit its 15th century pagodas, climb up to Buddhist cave-grottos, and visit Hmong and Khamu hill tribe people. At sunrise one morning, we’ll “make merit” by giving alms to the monks. The town’s night market is a great place to see hill tribe crafts.

Maison Souvannaphoum
Luang Prabang, Laos
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights)
Melia Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam
Days 4 to 6 (3 nights)
Days 5-12
Hanoi, Vietnam / Bai Tu Long Bay / Hoi An / Hue / Saigon

Taking in Hanoi’s Old Quarter by rickshaw and on foot, we stop for a delicious lunch of cha ca, Hanoi’s famous fish and noodle dish, and visit the studio of a local artist. In Bai Tu Long Bay, less crowded than nearby Halong Bay, we overnight aboard our private traditional “junk” (boat) in this stunning karst landscape. We walk the riverside lanes of Hoi An, and in Hue, see the royal legacy of the 19th century Nguyen rulers. Our last stop in Vietnam is Saigon, with its French colonial architecture and compelling museums.

Melia Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam
Days 4 to 6 (3 nights)
Hotel Royal Hoi An
Hoi An, Vietnam
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights)
Azerai La Residence, Hue
Hue, Vietnam
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)
Caravelle Hotel
Saigon, Vietnam
Day 12 (1 night)
Days 13-16
Siem Reap, Cambodia / Temples of Angkor

With intricate bas-reliefs, pavilions, and reflecting ponds in a park-like landscape, Angkor is a breathtaking expression of the glory of the Khmer Empire. Timing the order of our visits for the least crowded times, we explore many of these massive stone temples, including Ta Prohm, where huge fig, banyan, and kapok trees have grown through the temple’s walls. Depart on Day 16 via Siem Reap.

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Days 13 to 15 (3 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Explore Luang Prabang’s lively markets and gold-leafed temples, meet hill tribe people in their villages
Discover Hanoi’s famous Old Quarter by bicycle rickshaw and on foot
Savor the karst landscapes of World Heritage-listed Bai Tu Long Bay on an overnight cruise
Enjoy Hoi An’s lantern-lit riverside setting and historic architecture
Sample the famous cuisine of Hue, Vietnam’s royal city
Experience the majesty of the temple-city of Angkor, one of the wonders of the world
Get an insider’s introduction to three ancient cultures

Details

Length: 16 days
Cost From: $6795  
Arrive: Luang Prabang, Laos
Depart: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Lodging: 14 nights delightful hotels, 1 night aboard private traditional junk
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural explorations and walking tours