INDOCHINA COLONIAL LUXURY 15 DAYS
This fifteen-day comprehensive tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is very popular as it includes the main highlights including World Heritage sites of three countries. As you’re travelling tailor-made, you can make as many changes to the itinerary as you wish. We’ll reorganise the programme accordingly to fit your arrangements.
Day 1: Hanoi arrival (D, GP)
Upon arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a welcome dinner at a good restaurant in a colonial building. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation (B, L, G)
You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked, and the museum dedicated to his memory. You’ll then drive to the excellent Ethnology Museum for an overview of Vietnam’s 54 distinct ethnic groups.
Then you’ll visit the Old Quarter by ‘cyclo’ (tricycle taxi), a magnet for visitors – it’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. The Old Quarter is a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture – traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices and stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ngoc Son Temple. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
We’ll arrange your programme to avoid the busy times at popular destinations, but if there’s anything you particularly want to see, let us know.
Day 3: ‘Secret Art Tour’ (B, L, G)
In the morning, you’ll visit Hanoi’s Fine Art Museum for an overview and historical perspective of Vietnamese art. Then you’ll call in on two or three of the better commercial galleries in the city. If there are any good exhibitions running at the time, they could replace one or more of the gallery visits according to your preference.
After lunch, you can tune yourself in with some traditional Vietnamese music. A local musician, Mr. Ba Pho, will guide you through his music studio displaying many rare and unique Vietnamese musical instruments. Ba Pho’s enthusiastic insight into the origins of these instruments is extraordinary: he’s also well-schooled in the geography and history of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities. The best way to experience his vast collection is by listening to them in concert. An exclusive hour-long performance by Ba Pho can be arranged for an extra fee. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Alternative for the morning or the afternoon: (B, G)
In the morning or in the afternoon, your car will take you to the famous Bat Trang village to visit handicraft workshops producing hand-decorated ceramics. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi free day (B)
A morning for relaxing in your hotel’s massage centre or be taken up with shopping in Silk Street, a busy thoroughfare with endless shops, galleries and stalls. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Alternative for the morning: (B, L)
You could choose to join a cookery demonstration by one of the hotel’s master chefs. You’ll sample all the different dishes prepared during the class during lunch.
Day 5: Hanoi/Dalat (B, DP in Hanoi, G in Dalat)
Your morning will be your own until your private car arrives to take you to the airport for a noon flight to Dalat where your tour guide will meet you and take you to an embroidery workshop in an attractive garden setting and stroll around Dalat Market. You’ll spend the night in Dalat.
Day 6: Dalat (B, L, G)
In the morning, you’ll ride a cable car to Truc Lam Pagoda and Tuyen Lam Lake. The pagoda is quite plain, but is surrounded by an attractive Flower Garden. There are good views of the lake, which lies below and can be reached by steps, and the thick forests on the far side. After lunch, you’ll visit Emperor Bao Dai’s Summer Palace, the Crazy House. You’ll spend the night in Dalat.
Bao Dai’s Summer Palace comes as a surprise, and perhaps a disappointment, for unprepared visitors expecting sumptuous luxury. The building is indicative of Bao Dai’s status as the puppet ruler of an occupied country. Both exterior and interior are modest, and the furniture, fittings and decoration are more akin to a suburban town house than the residence of an emperor.
The name ‘Crazy House’ invites curiosity, and deservingly so. It’s a bizarre guest house, the brainchild, and becoming the life’s work, of Ms. Nga, a highly qualified Vietnamese architect originally from Hanoi. She is very well-connected (the daughter of Ho Chi Minh’s successor) and thus escapes official wrath and the demolition that would otherwise be automatic. It’s either a masterpiece of surrealism, or a monstrous eyesore depending on your artistic viewpoint, but very few people are indifferent towards it.
Day 7: Dalat/Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)
After a morning visit to the Linh Phuoc Pagoda (interesting architecture with dragon statue made of La Rue beer bottles) and a brief look at Da Lat’s railway station, you’ll be picked up for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive, a private car will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the city centre. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Linh Phuoc is a large Buddhist pagoda with ornate architecture and a spacious interior dominated by a large seated Buddha. Adjacent to the building is a large coiled dragon with scales fashioned from old La Rue beer bottles.
Dalat railway station is an attractive curiosity. Once it was linked to the main line by a cog railway, but the track was destroyed by the Viet Cong during the war. Despite a fully maintained station with a full-time booking office, all that remains is 8km of track and one train that chugs backwards and forwards from time to time. Even the steam driven tank engine has now been retired – it sits forlornly on platform 1, no doubt reminiscing about its heydays when French officers and civil servants were regular travellers.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City orientation (B, L, G)
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to show you around Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of the 5th century ‘Oc Eo’ civilisation. (Alternatively, you’ll visit the Fito Museum (First Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine) is host to a large collection of relics, including traditional Vietnamese medicinal implements, and chronicles the history of medical practice in Vietnam from 2000 BC). The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market is located in China Town which is the biggest one in Ho Chi Minh City.
You’ll also call in at the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City/Cooking class (B, L)
You’ll join a cooking class in the morning held at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cookery Centre. You’ll learn how to cook five traditional Vietnamese dishes representative of the all three regions in Vietnam. The programme includes a visit to market to purchase ingredients, followed by a chat over a pot of Vietnamese tea about Vietnamese cuisine and traditional kitchen. You’ll be given demonstration and instruction by the chief to cook Vietnam’s popular dishes. The class ends after lunch and awarding of certificates.
After lunch, you’ll have free time for shopping in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City’s commercial hub. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City/Phnom Penh (B, DP in HCMC, G in Phnom Penh)
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel in good time for noon flight to Phnom Penh. When you arrive at Pochentong airport in Phnom Penh, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. After lunch, you’ll visit the National Museum and the Silver Pagoda, followed by a sunset cruise on the Chatomouk River. Your overnight accommodation will be in Phnom Penh.
Alternative for the afternoon of day 10: Phnom Penh/the ‘Killing Fields’ (B, G(am))
In the afternoon, you’ll be picked up and driven to the so-called ‘Killing Fields’. Your overnight accommodation will be in Phnom Penh.
The term is a misnomer because it implies a single location. In reality, the process of genocide under the Kh’mer Rouge involved a large network of interrogation prisons linked to extermination centres. The most infamous is Phnom Penh’s S-21 Prison and the Choeung Ek extermination centre.
S-21 Prison was originally the Tuol Svay Pray High School on the outskirts of the capital. It became an interrogation, torture and execution centre under the Kh’mer Rouge. Today it is the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide. The name means ‘poison hill’, an apt description.
Choeung Ek, the ‘killing fields’, was the final destination of nearly all the inmates of S-21. The helpless victims were slaughtered in their thousands and thrown into more than a hundred shallow burial pits dug by the prisoners. The total number of men, women and children buried at Choeung Ek is estimated to be around 15,000. It was one of many extermination centres spread across the entire country – and by no means the largest!
A visit to Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek presents a stark picture of Cambodia’s recent past. However, it’s also a profoundly harrowing experience and likely to distress anyone of a sensitive disposition.
Day 11: Phnom Penh/Siem Reap (B, L, G)
Your car will take you to the airport to board your flight to Siem Reap, where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. The day’s activities, and those of the next, will be devoted to the Angkor Temple complex, of which Angkor Wat is a key element. You’ll begin with a visit to Angkor Thom, starting with the Bayon, a bizarre structure of several architectural changes reflecting a switch from Hinduism (the foundations) to Buddhism (the superstructure).
Your next visit will be to the Elephant and Leper Emperor Terraces, followed by the Baphoun Temple, which is now nearing the end of an eight-year multi-million dollar restoration programme. In the afternoon, you’ll explore Angkor Wat itself, the largest, and for most people, the most impressive temple in the complex. As dusk nears, a walk to the summit of Phnom Bakheng Hill will afford a panorama of the whole complex lit by the rays of the setting sun, weather permitting of course, followed by traditional foot massage. Your overnight accommodation will be in Siem Reap.
Day 12: Siem Reap (B, L, G)
Your day will be taken up with visits to some of the outer sites including Preah Khan, a huge and highly explorable monastic complex, Neak Pean, a Himalayan-style lake and sanctuary, and East Mebon, a temple-mountain. After lunch, you’ll also see Ta Prohm, strangled by massive tree roots and typical of the condition of the whole complex when it was discovered in 1860 by French naturalist Henri Mouhot. Your guide will then show you the Prasat Kravan (also known as the Cardomom Sanctuary) and Srah Srang lake and landing terrace. The Srah Srang is less touristed and could be sunrise alternative to Angkor Wat.
Day 13: Siem Reap/Vientiane (B, G)
Your time will be free until the time going to the airport to board the morning flight to Vientiane, where you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. Your overnight stay will be in Vientiane.
Day 14: Vientiane (B, L, G)
The morning will be taken up with visits to Wat Si Saket, Vientiane’s oldest temple and easily the most impressive, Wat Pha Keo Museum, and the That Luang Stupa, Vientiane’s most sacred shrine. After lunch, you’ll visit Wat Ong Tu, the Temple of the Heavy Buddha and an important centre of learning, and stroll along the Mekong riverside to enjoy the sunset. Your overnight accommodation will be in Vientiane.
Day 15: Vientiane departure (B, GP)
Your time is your own until your car arrives to take you to the airport for your departure flight.
Alternative for your time in Laos: Luang Prabang option
Day 13: Siem Reap/Luang Prabang (B, L, G)
Your morning will be free until your car arrives to pick you up for your flight to Luang Prabang. Your afternoon city tour will include Wat Xieng Thong, a beautiful temple justifiably described as a scene from an oriental fairytale, and the dazzling Wat Mai temple. After a climb up the steps to the top of Mount Phousi, you’ll be able to enjoy an excellent panorama of Luang Prabang and the sunset.
In the evening, you’ll be free to stroll around to see the Street Night Market, where you can find the lovely collection and handmade textile by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Your overnight accommodation will be in Luang Prabang.
Day 14: Luang Prabang/Kuangsi Waterfall/Luang Prabang (B, L, G)
This is the morning when you need your alarm clock! Early in the morning after a sustaining beverage and a small snack, you’ll witness one of Laos’ unique ceremonies – the daily ‘alms giving’ ritual of saffron-clad monks walking in a long line holding black bowls to receive offerings from local people. The traditional gift is a handful of ‘sticky rice’, but nowadays money is equally acceptable.
You’ll then return to your hotel for a proper breakfast. Afterwards, you’ll be driven to the Kuangsi Waterfalls, a serene beauty spot where you can splash around in the pools or stroll the forest paths. From there, you’ll return to Luang Prabang and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village. It’s quite commercial, but if you look carefully you can pick up some authentic hand-woven material – they make good souvenirs. You should return to the city in time for your chosen dinner venue.
Day 15: Luang Prabang Departure (B, GP)
Your time is your own until your car arrives to take you to the airport for your departure flight.
Vietnam Tour Guide:
“An was the best Trip Leader we have ever had on all of our Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam. trips. He was caring, concerned, and his wonderful personality radiated. Every day was a new adventure, and he went above and beyond the itinerary to provide memorable experiences.”
Mr. Phuoc Happy
Vietnam Tour Guide:
“Phuoc Happy was warm, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and candid regarding his country, and he provided us with countless learning and discovery opportunities in addition to the ones on the itinerary. He even provided us with a personal copy of the excellent video of our trip which he made for Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam”
Mr. Thai Khin Po
Cambodia Tour Guide:
“Khin Po was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and fun to tour with. He made the best trip synopsis we’ve ever had—illustrated with his own artwork!”
Mr. Mana Phuang Boun
Laos Tour Guide:
“Mana Phuang Boun was wonderful. He was constantly striving to make sure we all got the most out of our trip. He is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, organized, and very professional. A wonderful Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam representative.”
“Despite having a much later arrival in Phnom Penh due to the change of a much later flight Ms Len managed to fit in all the site visits with ease even including a visit to the…”
“Mr Loc was great, having been a school teacher, he really knew his stuff & put it Across well, he had a fabulous sense of humor & had us laughing a lot. We loved Hoi An, & it being part…”
“We had a very good time. The Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam company was very accommodating and flexible in catering to our needs. The hotels they picked were…”
“I do not want to say that for the price of the tour we got the best of everything. I can say we got money worth on this trip. We were on time with everything. The guides took…”
“I am very pleased with how much effort the booking agents put into helping me customize my trip. They were receptive to my input and understanding when I wanted to make”
“It was excellent. I would definitely recommend this sort of tour for a first visit. We had never had a guide or arranged tour before so it really made the difference knowing that tours”
“Thanks very much for arranging a very enjoyable tour of Vietnam. We had a great time and all of the guides were very helpful and responsible. All went quite smoothly.”
“This trip was so well put together; you guys did a great job! We had no issues and our trip was awesome! I would definitely recommend your services again!”
“Overall trip was wonderful. You planned a great itinerary. Accommodations we fine. The best of the group where the Hyatt in Saigon, Metropole in Hanoi and Victory in Hoi An…”
“The organization of this entire trip was near perfection and the service first class. Our travel specialist created an itinerary that didn’t even require a lot of tweaking from my original description of what we were looking for”
“Best hotel: The Victoria Hotel in Chau Doc is perfect. Staff very kind and attentive, quality of room very good, food in restaurant very, very good and good location. The Golf Holte in Can Tho Smells like what it is, a government hotel and an…”
“The trip exceeded our expectations, and we attribute much of the success to Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam. I would not hesitate to use their services again and have already told my friends how pleased we were with the entire trip”
The prices for this sample tour are per person in US dollars:
These prices are valid until September 30, 2018. Please note that bank transfer fees are not included.
|Number in group||2||3-4||5-8||9-12||13-16||*Supplement for single occupancy|
*‘Single room occupancy’ refers to the accommodation element of the programme only, and applies to someone who is travelling with others but requires an additional room for him or herself. Single traveller prices are available on request.
Our prices include:
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
- Domestic flight tickets in Vietnam (economy class): Hanoi – Dalat and Dalat – Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes
- Domestic flight tickets in Cambodia (economy class): Phnom Penh – Siem Reap, including domestic airport taxes (some of our guests prefer to book international flights themselves – if you would like us to book either or both the Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh and Siem Reap – Vientiane (or Siem Reap – Luang Prabang) flights, please let us know and we’ll send you a quotation)
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants.
- Massage and Cookery class fees as mentioned in the programme.
- Vietnam visa service.
- VAT and other taxes
Our prices do not include:
- All international flight tickets and airport tax.
- Regional flights tickets: Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh and Siem Reap – Vientiane (or Siem Reap – Luang Prabang)
- Visa stamping fees.
- Dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Alternatives in blue
Hotel list for Luxury standard:
- Hanoi: Sofitel Metropole Hotel ( historic colonial building in a city centre location – Grand Luxury Room Historic Wing)
- Dalat: Dalat Palace Hotel ( a Sofitel luxury hotel, classic French Colonial architecture, on a small hill overlooking the Xuan Huong Lake near the town centre, good lake views – Luxury room
- Ho Chi Minh City: Park Hyatt Hotel ( excellent hotel next to Ho Chi Minh City’s Opera House in the heart of District 1, colonial-style architecture, very comfortable – Park room)
- Siem Reap: Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor ( a historical hotel with colonial architecture – State room)
- Phnom Penh: Raffles Hotel Le Royal ( a grand historic hotel in the heart of the city – State room)
- Vientiane: Settha Palace Hotel ( French Colonial architecture, restored to its former Cham – Deluxe room)
- Luang Prabang: La Residence (Pansea) Phou Vao Hotel ( on the hill of Kites in the confluence of the Mekong River – Mountain View Junior Suite)
“We had very good guides”
“Mr Phuoc was outstanding. His command of global events and being able to put Vietnam into international context was impressive. Very personable, knowledgable, flexible and enthusiastic. A real ambassador for his country while also recognising the shortcomings and opportunities facing Vietnam. He didn’t just repeat history about sights, but he actively sought our own views and then worked out what would be of interest and why. If we were to revisit Vietnam, or recommend a top guide, it would be Mr Phuoc”
“Thanks to Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam Team”
“I am very pleased with how much effort the booking agents put into helping me customize my trip. They were receptive to my input and understanding when I wanted to make changes. They also helped me put my itinerary together very quickly. I booked the trip less than two weeks before I travelled. Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam was successfully able to get me a visa in time for my trip with the strict time constraint we were working under.”
“I will come back Vietnam”
“I wish I had time to see Sa Pa. I am already trying to figure out when I can go back to Vietnam just so I can visit Sa Pa. Even though Ha Long Bay is incredibly beautiful and it was one of my favorite places, I wish I had opted to visit Bai Tu Long or a nearby area instead. Ha Long Bay was so overcrowded and touristy, it was disappointed to be stuck in such a limited area of the Bay when it is so vast. I would recommend that travelers explore their options and stay in nearby areas Cat Ba, Bai Tu Long, Lan Ha, etc and spend more time.”
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Address: Travel Agency Vietnam , Vietnam Travel Agency, 25 Hang Hanh Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
English contact: +84 (0) 989 668 116 - Or Whatsapp
Address: Travel Agency Cambodia, Cambodia Travel Agency, #Ring Road (From Build Bright Uni), Siem Reap, Cambodia
English contact: +84 (0) 989 668 116 - Or Whatsapp
Address: Travel Agency Laos, Laos Travel Agency, Ban Mano, Manomai RD, Luang Prabang, Laos
English contact: +84 (0) 989 668 116 - Or Whatsapp