Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia: Trails of Indochina tour

Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia: Trails of Indochina

Country Walkers
4.2 . Great
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
11 days
From: $ 5,488 $ 499 / day
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  • With your knowledgeable guides, explore the royal city of Angkor Thom, a complex of towering temples and intricately carved terraces created by the “god-king” Jayavarman around AD 800.
  • Delight in the humorous, musical, and magical performance of the Thang Long Water Puppets, an art whose origins date back to the 11th century.
  • Participate in a joyful Lao Baci ceremony, a transcendent ritual meant to “call the soul” and used to mark important occasions in a person’s life.

Short Description

Discover rich diversity as you trek through the heart of Southeast Asia. You’ll find it in the people, with their distinct indigenous cultures. You’ll see it in the architectural mix: traditional Khmer, French-colonial and Chinese style. You’ll savor it in local cuisines, which present a succulent balance of delicate and intense flavors at every meal. Fill your senses with exotic sights: Angkor Wat at sunrise, open-air markets brimming with colorful goods, jungle paths that open to cascading waterfalls. All around you are ancient temples, lost cities, and saffron-robed monks. Visit tribal villages steeped in ancient custom; meet local weavers and craftspeople; watch a magical water-puppet performance. One moment you’re in a cavernous coastal grotto, the next you’re walking through rice paddies en route to visit a rural school. From the joyful Lao Baci welcoming ceremony to the farewell celebration featuring Cambodian musicians, it’s a deeply rich lifetime experience.               

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Internal airfare and ground transport
Start City Luang Prabang
End City Siem Reap

Travel Theme



Vietnam Cambodia Laos

Cities & Attractions

Angkor Wat Hanoi

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Trip Includes

  • Experienced, friendly and knowledgeable guides. On this tour there will be Laotian CW guide(s) with you on Days 1-3,
  • Vietnamese CW guide(s) with you on Days 3-9 and Cambodian CW guides with you on Days 9-11.
  • At Ho Chi Minh City Airport there will be a local representative to assist you during the flight transfer.
  • All meals included, except one lunch; wine and local beer included with dinner
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Complimentary airport transfer to the first hotel on arrival in Luang Prabang and on departure in Siem Reap
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff

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Day 1: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Villa Maly

There is no better place to begin a tour of Southeast Asia than in the Laotian town of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. This ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and was founded at the sacred confluence of the Mekong River and its tributary, the Khan River. Here in Luang Prabang, time seems to stand still. The quiet streets lined with whitewashed French colonial buildings lead to magnificent Buddhist temples with their fantastically sculpted roofs, painted in gold and vibrant colors, and their tranquil grounds. As part of the UNESCO plan, new buildings have been limited and development must be in keeping with the timelessness of these surroundings.

After meeting your guide(s), you set out for a short walk to the base of Phousi Hill, Luang Prabang’s most prominent landmark, set at the junction of the two rivers and considered a very sacred place. Climb the 328 steps leading to the summit for rewarding views over the entire town, and then continue on to Wat Visoun, a 16th-century temple housing a small museum of religious artifacts; and finally to Wat Xiengthong, another 16th-century temple, which epitomizes the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang’s Buddhist architecture. After lunch in a local restaurant, there is free time either to relax at the hotel, or to further explore this beautiful, ancient town.

Before dinner you are welcomed with a traditional Lao Baci (pronounced “bah-see”) ceremony, a lovely custom—both holy and joyful—to bless you and wish the group a lucky walking trip. By the end of the ceremony, as the pace of life in Laos takes hold, you will likely understand the Lao refrain “bo pen nyang,” loosely translated by the combined sentiments of “don’t worry, be happy” and “mañana.” Your traditional dinner this evening is in a wonderful local restaurant that provides a great introduction to the delicate flavors of Laotian cuisine.

Day 2: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Villa Maly

Early risers may wish to join townspeople on the hushed streets giving morning offerings to monks en route to their temples. The orange-robed monks are participating in the Buddhist ritual of receiving alms, and locals lining the way fill their baskets with fruit, rice, and other small gifts as the monks walk past.

Later, after breakfast, from your hotel, a short drive ascends a mountain dirt road to the village of Ban Long Lao. Laos is one of Southeast Asia’s most diverse countries, with literally dozens of ethnic groups, each with their own language and customs. This small village is home to two distinct ethnic groups: Ban Long Loa 1 is Khmer—an agricultural society that also hunts, fishes, and traps. Ban Long Lao 2 is home to a Hmong community, known especially for their colorful weavings and elaborate jewelry. You walk through both centers, a low-key cultural exchange, before making your way into the countryside. Starting out along the green valley floor of open farmland, the trail then leads up a lush hillside with some steep and rocky sections. The trail levels out and you descend to the Kuangsi waterfall where you enjoy a picnic lunch and may be tempted to swim in its refreshing pools. Returning to your vehicle, you transfer back to Luang Prabang in the later afternoon.

Dinner this evening is at the hotel, and afterward you may wish to venture out on your own for a walk through the night market, a colorful and diverse Luang Prabang highlight, replete with local handicrafts.

Day 3: Hanoi

Accommodation: Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel

After rising early and enjoying a wonderful buffet breakfast of muesli, traditional noodle soup, fresh fruits, eggs, and pastries, you walk from the hotel to the morning market, already bustling with activity as produce from the surrounding hills and small farms is set out. You continue down to the Mekong River, where you are ferried by a local boat to the opposite bank. The walk traces country paths that wind through rice paddies, villages, and up many steps to the ancient pagodas of Wat Chomphet and Wat Xieng Mene. Small children from the villages may escort you along the trail.

After this morning’s walk there are two optional activities. You have the chance to visit the wonderful textile co-op of Ock Pop Tok (Laotian for “East meets West”). This business provides sustainable employment to rural residents through the production and marketing of high-quality textiles. Meet the weavers and learn about these amazing contemporary and traditional designs. Alternatively, you can visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center. This is Laos’s first exhibition space and fair-trade store dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of traditional Laotian art and culture.

Later, you return to the hotel, where you may freshen up and pack for your transfer to Hanoi. Lunch is at JoMa Cafe, situated in an historical restored French building. There is an opportunity to have a guided tour of the National Museum, which is the former Royal Palace, before transferring to the airport.

Upon arrival in bustling Hanoi, you are met by private coach and driven to your sophisticated five-star hotel situated in extensive gardens and manicured grounds on Hanoi’s West Lake. Dinner at the hotel is an enticing fusion of Asian and continental cuisine.

Day 4: Hanoi

Accommodation: Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel

Your first full day in Vietnam is devoted to exploring the capital city of Hanoi. While smaller than Ho Chi Minh City, it is a fascinating blend of centuries of Vietnamese, Chinese, and French history. In addition to numerous museums and government buildings, Hanoi also houses many of Vietnam’s universities.

Early risers may opt to transfer to Hoan Kiem Lake, regarded as the heart of the city. You will be able to see thousands of locals practicing Tai Chi and calisthenics, or playing badminton and ping pong. From here, walk to Hang Be Market, where you can see local residents shopping for their daily supplies. A transfer is provided back to the hotel in time for a delicious buffet breakfast.

The rest of the day will be spent in and around Hanoi’s Old Quarter, which showcases traditional Vietnamese and colonial architecture in narrow streets that open up into newer districts, and onto green parks surrounding small lakes.

After lunch in a building that was once a colonial home, you may opt to relax back at the hotel, walk with the guide to the B52 Lake and explore this neighborhood, or take a walk through the French Quarter.

Later this afternoon you experience the wonderful Thang Long Water Puppet Show. This amazing art form originated more than 1,000 years ago in the Red River Delta. The performers who operate the puppets spend more than an hour in the water, and the result is an intriguing show full of local tales about ancient legends, romance, farming, fishing, and children playing.

After freshening up, dinner tonight is in a restaurant famous for its delicious local specialties.

Day 5: Halong Bay

Accommodation: Bhaya Cruise Private Junk

The destination for the next two nights is fantastical Halong Bay, 600 square miles studded with almost 2,000 jutting, lushly forested limestone islands, or karsts. Halong translates as “where the dragon descends into the sea.” As legend tells it, Halong Bay was created by a great dragon who lived in the mountains. As it ran towards the coast with its tail flailing, it gouged out valleys and crevasses in the landscape. This journey provides unequaled access to the bay’s beauty. Traveling roughly four hours east of Hanoi, you arrive in the bay around noon and board a private junk. Lunch is served on board, after which you visit to the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng. You will have the chance to experience the villagers’ daily life as well as the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen. Later there are opportunities for swimming and kayaking.

This evening, enjoy your first dinner aboard the boat. The setting sun gives way to the quiet lapping of water and a night sky full of stars.

Day 6: Halong Bay

Accommodation: Bhaya Cruise Private Junk

Enjoy breakfast as the junk sets sail to Cat Ba Island. Your walk starts at the entrance to Cat Ba National Park and continues on along a forest trail up to a Ranger Station, where you eat a boxed lunch of fresh, local produce. On this walk the views are hidden by the lush vegetation, but it feels good to stretch your legs after being on the junk, and at times you will also spot beautiful blossoms high in the trees.

Once you reach the Ranger Station, you may choose to either head back down to the junk, or continue walking up the trail, which ends at a small but lovely pond. Those who do not wish to walk today may enjoy more time on the junk, swimming or kayaking.

A sunset cocktail is followed by a dinner of freshly caught seafood delicately seasoned and served in the junk’s dining room. The lights from the other boats anchored in the area reflect in the calm waters and provide a unique, intimate atmosphere.

Day 7: Hoi An

Accommodation: Anantara Hoi An Resort

After a light breakfast on board, the junk makes its way to Sung Sot Cave, or “the Cave of Surprises,” the largest grotto in Halong Bay. It consists of two chambers, one being similar to a wide theater hall, where many stalactites hang from the high ceiling, and a second chamber that is so immense it could hold thousands of people at one time. At the deepest point of the grotto, a “royal garden” appears, with a clear pond and a fascinating landscape of mountains. Many birds and plants (benjamin figs, cycads, and centenary banyan trees) live here. After this visit, head back to the junk and enjoy a delicious brunch. After disembarking at Halong Pier, transfer back to Hanoi, where you board your flight to Danang. From here, drive to Hoi An, where you have a chance to check in at the hotel and freshen up before enjoying dinner at Morning Glory, a local restaurant where you can experience the delights of Vietnamese cuisine.

Day 8: Hoi An

Accommodation: Anantara Hoi An Resort

Begin your day with a winding walk through the villages of Cam Thanh and Cam Chau, where there may be a chance to stop at a local school and visit with the children. Continue on to the wonderful old part of Hoi An, where your guide shares amazing insights into the history of this area.

Hoi An was an international trading center from the 17th to the 19th century, frequented by merchants from China, Japan, India, and Holland. The winding narrow streets and old Chinese-style buildings of its historical center are remarkably intact and have earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Particularly fascinating is the Japanese covered bridge, built by the 17th-century Japanese colonists and unique, with its Buddhist temple on one side. Go inside a former merchant’s house as well as shops, courtyards, and temples, eventually reaching Hoi An’s colorful central market, its stalls brimming over with tropical produce. Nearby visit the cloth market, where fabric can be purchased and made into a garment in one day.

Later, gather for a delicious dinner at Brother’s Café overlooking the Hoi An River.

Day 9: Siem Reap

Accommodation: Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa

An early morning departure from Danang takes you to Siem Reap, Cambodia, the “Great Gate to Angkor.” On arrival in Siem Reap, you will be met at the airport by your local Cambodian guide and then transferred to your hotel. After time to check in and freshen up, enjoy lunch at the hotel’s poolside restaurant.

After lunch take a tuk-tuk to the gate at Bayon, where you begin your walk to explore the mysterious royal city of Angkor Thom. Stroll along the trail to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. Wander through the narrow alleyways and see its awe-inspiring 50-tower temple. The enormous stone sculptures reveal enigmatic faces from a remote era. Continue on to Takeo Temple, a towering but plainly decorated structure dedicated to Shiva. Known in its time as the “mountain with golden peaks,” it was the first temple to be constructed wholly of sandstone. Dinner tonight is in a local restaurant, your first chance to enjoy Cambodia’s delicious cuisine.

Day 10: Siem Reap

Accommodation: Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa

This morning, you depart early from the hotel and transfer to K’bal Spean, which is situated on the southwestern slopes of the Kulen Hills and within Phnom Kulen National Park. It was here, in 802 AD, that King Jayavarman declared himself the god-king and broke away from the Java kingdom. This is the birthplace of the Angkor kingdom and modern Cambodia. You follow a trail through a pretty forest, where at the top you find the K’bal Spean site and riverbed, which is covered with sculptures of lingas, the symbol of the god Shiva’s supreme essence. This amazing Hindu site, referred to as the “River of a Thousand Linguas,” predates Angkor Wat by roughly 200 years, making it one of the most ancient sites in the region. Along your route, you will find a lovely waterfall and great views of the valley below.

Lunch today is in a local restaurant at the foot of K’Bal Spean, which features great views over the area. Later this afternoon, you visit Ta Prohm, a site nearly lost due to the deep jungle growing around it. The overgrown vegetation combined with the remains provides a somewhat haunted and exotic landscape. Enormous tree roots, pushing between the stone blocks of the temple in a sort of embrace, emphasize the legend of a “lost city.” Intentionally left partially unrestored, the towers and alleyways are overgrown with massive fig and silk-cotton trees, offering ample photo opportunities of temple ruins juxtaposed with lush vegetation. Time permitting, you visit a center for local artisans to learn about how traditional practices are being passed on to the next generation. Dinner tonight is at the hotel, which serves some of the best Cambodian food in the area. Later, spectacular surroundings provide the backdrop for a performance by traditional musicians, dancers, and singers, who bring ancient Khmer culture to life before your eyes.

Day 11: Siem Reap

This morning you rise very early in order to beat the crowds for an exploration of Angkor Wat—the enormous and intricately carved Khmer ruins—one of the world’s architectural wonders. A product of the Khmer civilization, the temple was constructed between the 9th and 13th centuries. Strolling its extensive alleys and courtyards, you see many small shrines still in use by the local residents living near the ancient site. Housed in the main temple are hundreds of fine carvings of Apsaras, depicted from Hindu mythology.

After this remarkable visit to Angkor Wat, you bid farewell to your newfound friends after a final lunch at the Paul De Brule Tourism School, which trains future chefs. A complimentary transfer to the airport is included for your onward travel.


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Price From $ 5,488
Price Per Day: $ 499 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 350
  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 998

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Flights & Transport

Internal airfare and ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations must be made in writing and fees are applied as noted. Cancellation refunds will be calculated as of the date we receive your written cancellation. All payments for travel services not provided to the guest will be refunded in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and in accordance with Country Walkers’ cancellation policy. Exceptions to this cancellation policy cannot be made for any reason, including personal emergencies, illness, or weather.

Additional Information:

Itinerary Changes

Please bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary, since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance and unforeseen circumstances may arise that mandate change. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience.

Responsible Travel

Country Walkers is a leader in active travel with responsible tourism an integral part of our core values. Our tours reflect our dedication to best travel practices—and to the preservation of indigenous cultures and the environment. Country Walkers has made a donation on behalf of every traveler to the CW Travelers Fund, which supports designated projects in the communities and habitats in which we travel. We invite you to learn more about our efforts and initiatives for giving back. Here’s just one example that highlights our sustainable practices:

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Trip Excludes

  • International flights
  • Passport and visa charges
  • Any kind of insurance
  • Personal Expenses

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