Vietnam & Laos Explorer

Description

This 15-day tour gives you a unique insight into the people, history and traditions of these two beautiful countries. You'll explore magnificent Buddhist temples, admire breathtaking natural landscapes and sample delicious local food, but also have plenty of opportunities to meet local people, from Buddhist monks to factory workers, and learn more about their lives and work.

Day 1
Arrive Saigon

Today you'll arrive in Saigon, where you'll be met at the airport and transfer to your hotel. In the evening, you'll join your tour leader and the rest of your group for welcome drinks and a tour briefing.

Day 2
Saigon

This morning you'll enjoy a walking tour of Saigon, taking in landmarks including Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) and the War Remnants Museum. After a delicious lunch of Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, you'll head for the Cu Chi Tunnels. This amazing network of tunnels extends over 155 miles, and was developed as a means of waging guerrilla war against French and American forces.

Day 3
Saigon

This morning you'll head south out of Saigon, to the Mekong Delta. This fertile area is known as Vietnam's "rice bowl". On the way, you'll stop at an unusual Cao Dai pagoda. At the Mekong River, you'll board a boat to begin a tour with the aim of gaining a real insight into the lives of local people. You'll visit a traditional brick factory, a coconut-processing factory and a local family home. After a lunch of local specialties, including elephant ear fish, you'll return to Saigon.

Day 4
Saigon to Hue

This morning you'll transfer to the airport for the flight to Hue, the former Vietnamese capital on the banks of the Perfume River. Here you'll visit the magnificent Citadel, home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors, and the tranquil Thien Mu Pagoda. The day ends with a visit to the Spiral Foundation, where the deaf and mute workers will help you make your own unique souvenir from recycled materials.

Day 5
Hue to Hoi An

This morning you'll visit the impressive tomb of the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Tu Duc, before driving south along the spectacular Hai Van Pass, taking in some of Vietnam's most beautiful rural and coastal scenery, to the World Heritage listed old town of Hoi An. Here you'll admire the architecture, a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British influences, and learn about local produce when you meet the students at Streets cafe. In the afternoon you'll visit an old merchant house, a Chinese assembly hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge.

Day 6
Hoi An

Today you're at leisure to explore the town. It's a chance to pick up some souvenirs, visit the colourful fish market, head to the beach or just relax by the pool at your hotel.

Day 7
Hoi An to Halong Bay

This morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight north to and your journey to Halong Bay. A stunning World Heritage listed attraction; Halong Bay is best viewed on board your boat. You'll spend the afternoon drifting by the islands and relaxing amidst the beautiful scenery.

Day 8
Halong Bay to Hanoi

This morning you'll continue cruising Halong Bay, famous as the location of the Catherine Deneuve movie Indochine. This spectacular bay has more than 3,000 islands that rise dramatically out of the sea. After a seafood lunch, you'll head to Hanoi, and this evening you'll enjoy a performance of the city's famous water puppets.

Day 9
Hanoi

Today you'll begin your exploration of this vibrant city with a walking tour through the bustling markets of the Old Quarter, before heading to the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, starting at Ba Dinh Square, site of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and where Ho Chi Minh first declared independence from French rule in 1945. You'll also take in the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, before a drive across the city to Hanoi’s first university, the Temple of Literature, founded in 1070. Finally you will visit the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison. This evening you'll join the rest of your group for a farewell to Vietnam dinner.

Day 10
Hanoi to Vientiane

Today you'll fly to Vientiane, Laos, where you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Once you've settled in, you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers for a welcome drink and tour briefing.

Day 11
Vientiane

Today you'll tour Laos’ capital, which retains an "old world" feel despite the many modern developments. You'll visit the exquisite Wat Sisaket, Vientiane’s oldest temple and the only one to survive the Thai invasion of 1828. You'll also explore Haw Pha Kaew, the former royal temple of the Lao Monarchy and now a museum, Pha That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos, and the grand Patuxai Monument, before lunch in one of the city’s many charming cafes. This afternoon you'll head just outside the city to tour Mai Savanh, a fair-trade silk-weaving workshop, and taste the specialty Lao green tea grown on the southern Bolaven plateau. On the way back to Vientiane, you'll stop at COPE, an organisation which provides prosthetic limbs to victims of unexploded ordinance from the Vietnam and Indochina conflicts. You'll end the day with a traditional Baci welcome ceremony in a local home, to honour your arrival and wish you safe travels.

Day 12
Vientiane to Luang Prabang

Today you'll fly to Luang Prabang. This beautiful city is surrounded by mountainous forests and situated at the confluence of the Khan and Mekong Rivers. You'll enjoy a short walking tour to admire the city's blend of French architecture and gilded Buddhist temples, and will have the chance to meet a Buddhist monk and learn more about his faith. In the early evening you will transfer by tuk-tuk to Bamboo cooking school, where you'll prepare your own traditional Lao-style dinner!

Day 13
Luang Prabang

This morning you'll visit the Royal Palace Museum, to admire its Lao art and furniture, then head to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, before a short boat trip along the Mekong to the mysterious "cave of a thousand Buddhas" at Pak Ou. You'll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch on board. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the local markets or just relax with a drink.

Day 14
Luang Prabang

An early start this morning to see the Buddhist monks collecting alms. After breakfast, you'll travel to Kuang Si Falls, one of the many beautiful waterfalls near Luang Prabang, with a stop en route at one of the local markets. At the waterfall, you'll have time to swim and relax, amid turquoise waters and lush jungle. Afterwards, you'll visit a sanctuary for Asiatic Black bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, before a visit to Wat Pha Bhat Tai temple. Here you'll have the chance to play petanque with some local people, and enjoy refreshing local juices and snacks. Then you'll head back to Luang Prabang for a final dinner with your group.

Day 15
Depart Luang Prabang

This morning your tour comes to an end as you transfer to the airport.

Tour details 15 days

Classic fr £2106pp
Valid between: 01/07/2017 - 30/09/2017

Tour Highlights

  • Saigon
  • Hue
  • Hoi An
  • Halong City
  • Hanoi
  • Vientiane
  • Luang Prabang

Included:

  • 13 nights accommodation including breakfast
  • 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Western tour leader based on a minimum of 7 pax
  • Sightseeing as specified
  • 3 domestic flights & 1 international flight

Not included:

  • Flights from Europe or the UK

TRUSTED REVIEWS
See what 183 customers thought of Saigon

Very nice, patient and helpful staff, good communication. I can recommend DialAFlight with all my heart.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

I have used DialAFlight for a few years now and have always had good support and friendly service. Kate has always gone out of her way to find me the best deals available. Been very helpful and friendly and dealt with any issues or questions I might have, very quickly and efficiently.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Great customer service from Amy (as usual)

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

I was very pleased with everything DialAFlight did. My flight to Vietnam went to plan and you kept me up to date as it got near my travel date. I am a very seasoned traveller and DialAFlight opened my eyes to a company who care about the customers

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Helpful - you go the extra mile. Professional - you really know your stuff. Human - and realise I am too - so make sure I have all the information I need to make our trips as hassle free as possible

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Michael was very helpful. He made the journey run smoothly and kept in touch to make sure all was OK.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

I was really impressed with service received, follow up and advice given on phone. Thank you very much for your great customer care.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

You guys are just awesome in what you do. I have no hesitation in using you for all my travel needs

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Definitely would use and recommend DialAFlight. Harley was so helpful and gave us a lot of information and made our experience so easy. I have already given out your praise and hopefully will use you in the future

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

A special thank you for Cody's excellent service. The hotels he chose were superb and all journeys went like clockwork.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Fantastic trip. Logan's suggestions for flights and hotels were perfect.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

This was a holiday outside the norm for us. It was fantastic, well organised, great guides, great people, great country. We never felt uncomfortable or out of our comfort zone. I just wish we had a few more days to do things we missed. I guess we will have to go back

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

The last hotel in Hanoi, although in a good situation the rooms were basic. Other than that the trip was very good.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Will be requiring same flight destination again and will be in contact soon. You are as good as ever!

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Another seamless trip. Thank you!

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Tristan, who managed our booking, was excellent.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Dubai airport was comfortable and efficient but the security checks were a bit OTT, possibly to demonstrate statistics of activity.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Everything went like clockwork. The tour company in Vietnam was 5 star for all aspects of their service. Hotels all good with Renaissance Riverside in Ho Chi Minh City being excellent. We needed a triple room however in 2 of the 4 hotels we were allocated a king room with an extra bed - not ideal for 3 adults.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Chris could not have done any more to help. We mark him 100 percent for efficiency

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

The buisness Class flight With Qatar Airways from Edinburgh to Vietnam was everything as described and more! Will travel again in this way. Thanks DialAFlight for a 5 star service.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Manager Colin in Manchester as helpful as ever. Would I go anywhere else for flights? No!

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

I had a great customer experience and won't book a holiday without consulting with DialAFlight first. The app is great too and I used it a lot, very clear and simple

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Gareth was brilliant once again.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Another exceptional trip organised by the fantastic DialAFlight team. Brilliant flights, fabulous hotels and customer service which is second to none

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Perfect holiday

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Can always rely on Billy

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Felix was increadibly helpful and I found him very polite and courteous throughout the entire booking process

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Very impressed with pre-flight phone call from Martin to check that I had received all confirmations.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

All the flights were timely and it all worked well.

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City

Congratulations to Nicky. The Vietnam trip was fantastic

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Flew to Ho Chi Minh City