Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour
Bangkok Cai Be Thai Indochina Grand Tour Trip
Hanoi Hoi An Thai Indochina Grand Tour Trip

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

Exodus Travels Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
99%
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: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
30 days
From: $ 4,499 $ 150 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Explore the ancient Angkor complex in Cambodia
  • Take a boat trip Vietnam's stunning Halong Bay and discover the Mekong Delta
  • Adjust to the relaxed pace of life in Laos
  • Visit Bangkok's Royal Palace complex and Wat Po 
  • In Phnom Penh visit the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng and the Royal Palace
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Visit the historic trading town of Hoi An in Vietnam

Short Description

Long lines of saffron robed monks on their alms round at dawn, the luscious green of Vietnam's paddy fields, the shy smile of school children in Luang Prabang: it's the small day-to-day things that make this an unforgettable trip. Not that the bigger things won't wow too - Angkor Wat, Bangkok's Grand Palace, the stunning limestone seascape of Halong Bay or the frenetic pace of Saigon. There's a lot to see in South East Asia, so as they say in Thailand, 'why hurry, why worry'?The ultimate discovery of South East Asia 

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
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Bangkok
End City Siem Reap

Destinations

Thailand Vietnam Cambodia Laos

Activities

Culture History Nature

Age Requirement

16

No Single Supplement
See more

Trip Includes

  • 26 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

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Itinerary

Flight Inclusive

Day 1 Depart London

Depart London

Day 2 Arrive Bangkok

This evening there will be a welcome briefing with your leader followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant. *Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*

Day 3 City tour; free afternoon

This morning we travel to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Please be advised there may be a possibility of larger groups being accommodated in a bigger boat.  Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river.  We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex, followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. This afternoon is then free for personal exploration. *Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*

Day 4 Fly to Chiang Rai; to Chiang Khong

This morning we fly to Chiang Rai and then visit the Golden Triangle, an area so named after the fact that the opium that moved through was worth more than gold pound for pound. We stand at a view point overlooking Burma (Myanmar), the mighty Mekong and Laos. The area's chequered past is covered in the Opium Museum where we learn about the dark history of this beautiful and rich region of Northern Thailand, and we pause to visit the impressive red brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang. We then transfer to the town of Chiang Khong (2 hours) where we stay overnight. *Chiang Khong Teak Garden Resort or similar*

Day 5 Into Laos; travel by slow boat down Mekong to Pak Beng

An early morning transfer takes us to the Thai / Laos border where we pass through immigration formalities. We say hello to our Laos Tour Leader. We will pass through Laos Immigration, followed by a tuk tuk ride to the river port where we board our private slow boat for the journey to Pak Beng. *BKC Villa Pak Beng or similar*

Day 6 Visit Pak Ou Caves; to Luang Prabang; early evening visit to Mt. Phu Si Hill

Boarding our private boat again, we head further down river with Luang Prabang as our final destination. En route we will visit the famous Tam Ting Caves, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. If there is time we will also stop at a number of minority villages on the way but this will depend on the water level, which affects the speed of travel on the river. Mid to late afternoon we arrive in the enchanting town of Luang Prabang, nestled in a narrow valley cut by the Mekong and Khan Rivers. This beautiful town was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. In the early evening we will visit Phu Si Hill for stunning views over the city and the Mekong River below. The climb includes 329 steps and the path zigzags its way to the gilded stupa at the summit past various temples. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 7 Na San village visit and lunch; afternoon at Kuang Si waterfalls

This morning we journey to Na San village, a small village approximately 1.5 hours from Luang Prabang. Our time here will provide us with an insight into village life as we learn about everyday life but also have the chance to get involved with some of the village activities. Dependent on the season these could include watching traditional garment weaving, sowing or reaping rice in paddy fields or helping plant vegetables. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Laotian cooking and enjoy a lunch prepared by some of the villagers during our visit. Na San village is a village that Exodus has recently started visiting as part of a process to bring rural villages more independence and self-sufficiency through the provision of key infrastructure. You will also be introduced to the basics of the work that is being conducted and planned for the future. In the afternoon, from Na San village, we transfer approximately 30 minutes to Kuang Si Waterfall,  where we have the chance to swim and relax in the pools before returning to Luang Prabang. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 8 Free day in Luang Prabang

Today is free for individual sightseeing or to seize the opportunity to sit back and relax in this pleasant town or stroll amongst the ancient red roofed temples and French colonial architecture. There are a number of interesting temples to visit including Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunalat. Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items. For those up at dawn there is the chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms! Your leader of course will also be able to advise on the ground with suggestions on how to make the most of your free day. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 9 To Vang Vieng

An early morning departure from Luang Prabang as we drive to the township of Vang Vieng, passing through numerous Hmong villages. Surrounded by lime karsts and set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), it is a beautiful location. The stunning drive will take approximately 6 hours to complete on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above the flat river valleys. Watching the sun set on the banks of the Nam Song is ample reward for the day's journey. *Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*

Day 10 Visit Jang Cave; afternoon free

In the morning we climb the 136 steps to the Tham Jang caves, used as a hideout by the local community during periods of war. The rest of the day is free to explore. Optional excursions and activities can be arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, day visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery, or for kayaking down the Song river. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached on a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view. *Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*

Day 11 Drive to Vientiane; afternoon tour

We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane (translates as Sandalwood City) located near the banks of the Mekong River. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this relaxed low-rise city, including Wat Sisaket the oldest temple in the city, and Haw Pha Kaew, a temple which originally housed the Emerald Bhudda now on display in Thailand. The temples themselves are noticeably different in style and character from those found in Thailand and there are certainly fewer tourists! In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River. *Sabaidee at Laos Hotel or similar*

Day 12 Free time in Vientiane; fly to Hanoi

Today is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (flight times often vary at short notice between the afternoon/evening). *Lenid Hotel or similar*

Day 13 To Halong Bay for cruise; overnight on boat

We make an early start for the approximate 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities. *Overnight Boat*

Day 14 Cruise in Halong Bay; return to Hanoi

We cruise back to port in the morning and transfer back to Hanoi where the rest of the day is at leisure to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy a coffee and a baguette in a lakeside café or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period with its faded colonial charm. One of the more enjoyable ways to get around is by cyclo and this can easily be arranged on the street. *Lenid Hotel or similar*

Day 15 City tour of Hanoi; sleeper train to Hue

We spend the morning sightseeing in Hanoi including a visit to the Temple of Literature; the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates, Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'tourist souvenir street'. In the afternoon we board the Reunification Express for the overnight journey to Hue, 688km to the south. *Overnight Train*

Day 16 Arrive Hue; sightseeing

Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length. Inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor, his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. The Forbidden Purple City was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960's and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself in protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. *Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 17 Visit historic Tu Duc tomb; drive across Hai Van Pass to Hoi An

This morning we continue sightseeing and visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945. Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass ('Pass of the Ocean Clouds'). In Da Nang, we climb the Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to our next destination, Hoi An. *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar*

Day 18 Sightseeing in Hoi An

This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. This afternoon is free to explore Hoi An on foot as cars are banned from this world heritage site. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk clothes shopping. *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *

Day 19 Free day

Today is a free day to carry on enjoying this historic town. Optionals include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. It is also possible to visit My Lai the site of the 1968 massacre that changed public opinion on the Vietnam War, or jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km). *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *

Day 20 Transfer to Da Nang for flight to Saigon; afternoon city tour

Today we transfer to Da Nang for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. This afternoon's walking city tour includes a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic. *Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 21 Visit Cu Chi Tunnels; free afternoon

Today we leave the city behind us and head north to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration. *Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 22 To Mekong Delta; visit riverside village and floating market

We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The author Graham Greene toyed with the idea of converting to Caodism. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside. We will board a boat in Cai Be and visit and some small cottage industries. Recently, Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. We then take a relaxing sampan cruise along quiet water coconut channels in the afternoon before arriving at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided. *Mekong Homestay Guesthouse*

Day 23 To Chau Doc

After a morning walk through the village we board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta and the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, the evening is free to wander the town, which is situated on the banks of the Mekong River. *Chau Pho Hotel or similar*

Day 24 Transfer into Cambodia and on to Phnom Penh

After driving approximately 1 hour to the Tinh Bien / Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. We continue by road to Phnom Penh (approx 3.5 hours). *Ohana Hotel or similar*

Day 25 City tour including the Royal Palace and the 'Killing Fields'

Phnom Penh still retains a frontier atmosphere and today we have a full day of sightseeing in Cambodia's capital city. The day of sightseeing will include the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge rule. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings. There is also time today to shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise! We visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1976 and 1979. It is a sobering and disturbing place to visit. Please be aware that the images at the museum are very graphic. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the 'killing fields' of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed. *Ohana Hotel or similar*

Day 26 To Siem Reap

Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approx. 7 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy - fried spiders. We will also stop off at Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia's most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments and some of the oldest structures in the country. We'll pause for a traditional Khmer lunch at a community restaurant before continuing our journey to Siem Reap. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 27 First day exploring Angkor temple complex

We spend two days exploring the temple complex at Angkor. We visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which is comprised of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, still covered in jungle, just as it was when it first came to light. Discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. Angkor is a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise, one of the real highlights of our trip. We will also see other less-visited outlying temples including Banteay Srei, a temple complex devoted to Brahma. One evening we will make our way to the temple complex and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 28 Second day exploring Angkor temple complex

Today we have a second day exploring the magnificent temples at the Angkor complex. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 29 Depart Siem Reap

Depart Siem Reap

Day 30 Arrive London

Arrive London



Land Only

Day 1 Start Bangkok

There will be a welcome briefing with your leader this evening followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant. *Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*

Day 2 City tour; free afternoon

This morning we travel to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Please be advised there may be a possibility of larger groups being accommodated in a bigger boat.  Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river.  We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex, followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. This afternoon is then free for personal exploration. *Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*

Day 3 Fly to Chiang Rai; to Chiang Khong

This morning we fly to Chiang Rai and then visit the Golden Triangle, an area so named after the fact that the opium that moved through was worth more than gold pound for pound. We stand at a view point overlooking Burma (Myanmar), the mighty Mekong and Laos. The area's chequered past is covered in the Opium Museum where we learn about the dark history of this beautiful and rich region of Northern Thailand, and we pause to visit the impressive red brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang. We then transfer to the town of Chiang Khong (2 hours) where we stay overnight. *Chiang Khong Teak Garden Resort or similar*

Day 4 Into Laos; travel by slow boat down Mekong to Pak Beng

An early morning transfer takes us to the Thai / Laos border where we pass through immigration formalities. We say hello to our Laos Tour Leader. We will pass through Laos Immigration, followed by a tuk tuk ride to the river port where we board our private slow boat for the journey to Pak Beng. *BKC Villa Pak Beng or similar*

Day 5 Visit Pak Ou Caves; to Luang Prabang; early evening visit to Mt. Phu Si Hill

Boarding our private boat again, we head further down river with Luang Prabang as our final destination. En route we will visit the famous Tam Ting Caves, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. If there is time we will also stop at a number of minority villages on the way but this will depend on the water level, which affects the speed of travel on the river. Mid to late afternoon we arrive in the enchanting town of Luang Prabang, nestled in a narrow valley cut by the Mekong and Khan Rivers. This beautiful town was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. In the early evening we will visit Phu Si Hill for stunning views over the city and the Mekong River below. The climb includes 329 steps and the path zigzags its way to the gilded stupa at the summit past various temples. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 6 Na San village visit and lunch; afternoon at Kuang Si waterfalls

This morning we journey to Na San village, a small village approximately 1.5 hours from Luang Prabang. Our time here will provide us with an insight into village life as we learn about everyday life but also have the chance to get involved with some of the village activities. Dependent on the season these could include watching traditional garment weaving, sowing or reaping rice in paddy fields or helping plant vegetables. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Laotian cooking and enjoy a lunch prepared by some of the villagers during our visit. Na San village is a village that Exodus has recently started visiting as part of a process to bring rural villages more independence and self-sufficiency through the provision of key infrastructure. You will also be introduced to the basics of the work that is being conducted and planned for the future. In the afternoon, from Na San village, we transfer approximately 30 minutes to Kuang Si Waterfall,  where we have the chance to swim and relax in the pools before returning to Luang Prabang. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 7 Free day in Luang Prabang

Today is free for individual sightseeing or to seize the opportunity to sit back and relax in this pleasant town or stroll amongst the ancient red roofed temples and French colonial architecture. There are a number of interesting temples to visit including Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunalat. Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items. For those up at dawn there is the chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms! Your leader of course will also be able to advise on the ground with suggestions on how to make the most of your free day. *Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*

Day 8 To Vang Vieng

An early morning departure from Luang Prabang as we drive to the township of Vang Vieng, passing through numerous Hmong villages. Surrounded by lime karsts and set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), it is a beautiful location. The stunning drive will take approximately 6 hours to complete on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above the flat river valleys. Watching the sun set on the banks of the Nam Song is ample reward for the day's journey. *Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*

Day 9 Visit Jang Cave; afternoon free

In the morning we climb the 136 steps to the Tham Jang caves, used as a hideout by the local community during periods of war. The rest of the day is free to explore. Optional excursions and activities can be arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, day visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery, or for kayaking down the Song river. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached on a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view. *Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*

Day 10 Drive to Vientiane; afternoon tour

We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane (translates as Sandalwood City) located near the banks of the Mekong River. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this relaxed low-rise city, including Wat Sisaket the oldest temple in the city, and Haw Pha Kaew, a temple which originally housed the Emerald Bhudda now on display in Thailand. The temples themselves are noticeably different in style and character from those found in Thailand and there are certainly fewer tourists! In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River. *Sabaidee at Laos Hotel or similar*

Day 11 Free time in Vientiane; fly to Hanoi

Today is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (flight times often vary at short notice between the afternoon/evening). *Lenid Hotel or similar*

Day 12 To Halong Bay for cruise; overnight on boat

We make an early start for the approximate 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities. *Overnight Boat*

Day 13 Cruise in Halong Bay; return to Hanoi

We cruise back to port in the morning and transfer back to Hanoi where the rest of the day is at leisure to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy a coffee and a baguette in a lakeside café or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period with its faded colonial charm. One of the more enjoyable ways to get around is by cyclo and this can easily be arranged on the street. *Lenid Hotel or similar*

Day 14 City tour of Hanoi; sleeper train to Hue

We spend the morning sightseeing in Hanoi including a visit to the Temple of Literature; the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates, Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'tourist souvenir street'. In the afternoon we board the Reunification Express for the overnight journey to Hue, 688km to the south. *Overnight Train*

Day 15 Arrive Hue; sightseeing

Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length. Inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor, his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. The Forbidden Purple City was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960's and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself in protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. *Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 16 Visit historic Tu Duc tomb; drive across Hai Van Pass to Hoi An

This morning we continue sightseeing and visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945. Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass ('Pass of the Ocean Clouds'). In Da Nang, we climb the Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to our next destination, Hoi An. *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar*

Day 17 Sightseeing in Hoi An

This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences. This afternoon is free to explore Hoi An on foot as cars are banned from this world heritage site. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk clothes shopping. *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *

Day 18 Free day

Today is a free day to carry on enjoying this historic town. Optionals include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. It is also possible to visit My Lai the site of the 1968 massacre that changed public opinion on the Vietnam War, or jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km). *Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *

Day 19 Transfer to Da Nang for flight to Saigon; afternoon city tour

Today we transfer to Da Nang for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. This afternoon's walking city tour includes a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic. *Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 20 Visit Cu Chi Tunnels; free afternoon

Today we leave the city behind us and head north to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration. *Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*

Day 21 To Mekong Delta; visit riverside village and floating market

We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The author Graham Greene toyed with the idea of converting to Caodism. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside. We will board a boat in Cai Be and visit and some small cottage industries. Recently, Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale. We then take a relaxing sampan cruise along quiet water coconut channels in the afternoon before arriving at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided. *Mekong Homestay Guesthouse*

Day 22 To Chau Doc

After a morning walk through the village we board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta and the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, the evening is free to wander the town, which is situated on the banks of the Mekong River. *Chau Pho Hotel or similar*

Day 23 Transfer into Cambodia and on to Phnom Penh

After driving approximately 1 hour to the Tinh Bien / Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. We continue by road to Phnom Penh (approx 3.5 hours). *Ohana Hotel or similar*

Day 24 City tour including the Royal Palace and the 'Killing Fields'

Phnom Penh still retains a frontier atmosphere and today we have a full day of sightseeing in Cambodia's capital city. The day of sightseeing will include the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge rule. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings. There is also time today to shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise! We visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1976 and 1979. It is a sobering and disturbing place to visit. Please be aware that the images at the museum are very graphic. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the 'killing fields' of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed. *Ohana Hotel or similar*

Day 25 To Siem Reap

Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approx. 7 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy - fried spiders. We will also stop off at Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia's most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments and some of the oldest structures in the country. We'll pause for a traditional Khmer lunch at a community restaurant before continuing our journey to Siem Reap. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 26 First day exploring Angkor temple complex

We spend two days exploring the temple complex at Angkor. We visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which is comprised of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, still covered in jungle, just as it was when it first came to light. Discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. Angkor is a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise, one of the real highlights of our trip. We will also see other less-visited outlying temples including Banteay Srei, a temple complex devoted to Brahma. One evening we will make our way to the temple complex and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 27 Second day exploring Angkor temple complex

Today we have a second day exploring the magnificent temples at the Angkor complex. *Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*

Day 28 End Siem Reap

For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Siem Reap after breakfast.

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Stride Featured in

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12,869 Exodus Travels Travel Reviews & Ratings

99%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 9,048
Great 3,136
Average 526
Disappointing 111
Terrible 48
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

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Thai Indochina Tour

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It was amazing, I did things, saw places and ate food I never thought I
would. It was probably the best adventure I’ve ever had and I did it with
a fabulous group of people.
I think it was seeing Angkor Wat, although we didn’t manage to see the
sunrise, it was overcast. The temple was something else.


We had three group leaders during the trip. They were all very good. The
tour leader we had for Cambodia was brilliant, she really went the extra mile
for us and was so pleasant and amusing.


Pack a lot lighter than I did, be prepared for more cold weather than you
expect, we had it pretty cool for best part of two weeks. Especially when you
are on the water. There’s lots of laundry opportunities.


The money can be confusing because of the amount of notes, usually about
eleven different ones, most places are more than happy with dollars. No
coins.


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Fantastic trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Brilliant trip, great balance between cycling and cultural. Our leader "Is"
was wonderful - she stops traffic with a wave of her hand and big smile! We
were really well looked after.
The hotels vary a bit with most being very comfortable, one or two in out of
the way places are just OK. All were clean, en-suite and had air-con.
We visited markets, got top try a range of "food" - I'm veggie, so skiped the
meat bit (some it had 6 or even 8 legs). As a veggie, Is always made sure I
had a suitable meal.
The bikes were heavy mountain bikes, in excellent condition in Thailand, less
so in Cambodia and Vietnam. The cycling is all flat, there are couple of long
days, but we all managed.
My advice, book it. Its a great trip.
So many. I love the cycling, with 3 guides we were able to push teh pace a
little while no leaving anyone behind. Siem Reap and the temples were great,
but so was everywhere else. The killing fields was the most moving. While
upsetting, it I do feel it was the right thing to include it in the trip.

Weaving through traffic in Siem Reap, its utter chaos, but everyone gives way
to each other and somehow it just works.

I think the abiding memory will be the huge and warm welcome we got from the
locals, the kids hi-fiving us as we rode past, lunch at one of the cycle
guide's mum's house (best meal of the trip).


Is, our leader, was tireless, hard working, great fun, and made sure we all
had a great time. We owe her a massive thank you, she really made the trip.


I read a lot of other reviews and lot of them mentioned the bike seats. I
dismissed them at the time,a mistake. I don't know why, they look OK, but oh
my bum!

Take Thai Bart, US dollars for Cambodia. In Vietnam there is a good exchange
near the hotel that takes £ $ and I guess a lot more.


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Thai Indochina Grand Tour

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
If you want to get a taste of the 4 countries, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and
Cambodia, this is the tour for you.
The accommodation was brilliant throughout, with a variety from riverside
hotels to overnight boat on Halong Bay to homestay and lastly, the most
restful of all, the overnight Reunification Express from Hanoi to Hue.
The tour leaders were very professional and, in particular in Cambodia,
Vanthe was both passionate and knowledgeable about his country. in fact, in
many ways Cambodia was the highlight as the scenery, people and places we
visited were beyond our expectations.
This trip provides an excellent taster of what Indochina has to offer and we
are considering revisiting Laos and Cambodia at some time in the future.
The most inspirational moment was undoubtedly Cambodia and the way the people
have bounced back and proved so resilient from all the recent devastation,
both in terms of population and habitat.
In addition the passion with which Vanthe spoke about the history and people
was both refreshing and eye opening.


We had 3 different group leaders. All were excellent, in their own way.
They were backed up by individual guides in the various places visited, who
were prepared to open up their hearts and souls to inform us of their
countries and knowledge of the places visited.


Do not hesitate. Book the trip immediately.


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Great Thai Indochina trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Excellent trip for those wanting to see and do as bike rides and kayaking
included with the sightseeing.
Ha Long Bay stunning.
Angkor complex amazing.


Different group leader for each country though Boom covered both Thailand and
Laos and was great.


Angkor though the highlight of the trip comes right at the very end when you
may be tired and "all templed out".


I was the only one from our group who did the optional activity at Ock Pop
Tok of a day learning about natural dyeing and weaving. It was a great day
and perhaps this option should be pushed more.


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Super Sample of Indochina

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This trip does exactly what it say on the tin.
Fantastic 30 day tour through the Golden Triangle and parts of Laos,Vietnam
and Cambodia. Well honed programme covering many of the top spots in the
region with great guides,food,transport and hotels. I went in the wet season
but din't get too damp. Was it humid, hot at times and were there insects?
'Course! That's expected in the tropics. Did I get bitten? Hardly. Have
stomach issue? No. was the scooter traffic manic? Sure, but you get used to
it. When in Rome cross through the traffic at a stready pace.
Did I get a great insight into this part of Asia? Certainly!
For me, it was the local market at the end of a local cycle ride. The
produce, the people and the way they interact are fascinating.


Each of the 3 leaders, one in every country was top notch. Knew his stuff,
always helpful, patient and attended to requests immediately.


If you want to get a taste of SE Asia in a relatively leisurely way, this is
the tour for you. Bring plenty of deet, slap and drink plenty of water. Eat
local food but don't go extreme unless the guide eats it. Don't denigrate
local customs, this is Asia not Ascot.


Get out there soon. The whole area is changing rapidly and the current
popular spots like Halang bay and Ankor Wat will be probably be Disneyfied
and overrun with tourists once new airports,train links etc are finished in
the next couple of years. These countries need the money, but are in danger
of killing the golden geese sites they hold.


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A wonderful adventure through former Indochina - exceptionally well managed.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fascinating and compelling trip through a region with a long,
complex and at times dark history.
It's a fast moving holiday, with sustained levels of interest.
Astonishingly, absolutely nothing went wrong with the planned itinerary,
despite the numerous planes, boats, minivans and of course the overnight
train from Hanoi to Hue. Amazing value for money, and first class
administration throughout - very well done to Exodus and its local agents.
A trip of this nature will always be more successful with a cohesive group -
we were lucky to be a well balanced, agreeable and fairly easy going group of
nine, which I think we would regard as an ideal number. The days are long
and the weather very warm, so a sense of humour and an easy going nature is
helpful!! We thought the hotels were fantastic in terms of value for money
and location and (in contrast to one reviewer) we thought that all the
breakfasts were really good - there were always freshly cooked eggs, fruit,
good strong coffee and an array of interesting local dishes. I'm curious as
to exactly what that reviewer was expecting!!
Difficult to pick just one! We loved the slow boat down the Mekong, adored
the craziness and vibrant culture of Hanoi - but for me, Cambodia is a
stand-out destination. The gruesome, haunting history of the Khmer Rouge
era is comparable to the holocaust in its inexplicable raw and senseless
brutality (this part of the trip is strong stuff, and definitely not for the
squeamish). That said, the ongoing recovery of the Khmer spirit is a
shining example to all who go through terrible hardships and war
(incidentally, we recommend the circus performance in Siem Riep). And the
finale of the trip is the truly world class temples of Angkor Wat - a
staggering engineering achievement for an advanced civilisation over a
thousand years ago.


The three main leaders (Nat, "Bak" and "Bun") were all excellent, as were the
subsidiary guides hired for parts of the trip. The administration of the
trip - eg liaison with hotels, restaurants, temples etc - was quite superb.
We should just add (not as a criticism, just an observation) that whilst the
leaders spoke good English, it was in each case quite heavily accented and
at times (especially when describing the history of temples, monuments, etc)
rather difficult to follow. Our recommendation is that travellers do their
own homework with good quality guide books rather than relying on very
detailed explanations from the leaders. Overall, though first class
leaders who are a credit to Exodus.


Don't take too many clothes - in fact one strategy would be to take no
clothes at all and buy them locally at extremely cheap prices (if you bargain
hard!!). You can start at the Bangkok night market... I bought a superb
suit and a blazer in Hoi An at a fraction of UK prices - made to measure.
It's fun, it aids the local economy and you get a bargain! Take a massive
memory card for your camera - its a photographers paradise (wi fi is
everywhere on this trip - Asia puts BT to shame). It's stating the obvious
I guess but you need to have an interest in Asian food - which is delicious
and very different. There are "creepy crawlies" in various places, so be
prepared - but nothing that we saw that could be harmful. Health wise,
there are plenty of pharmacies for minor ailments, but some areas are remote
so more serious medical conditions would necessitate a flight to Bangkok or
Saigon. Tummy upsets are to be expected, but these were generally mild and
did not last. We did not take anti malarials as we judged the risk to be
slight - but you should take a good spray. Money wise, I strongly recommend
the new pre-pay credit cards such as Revolut or Monzo who have no FX charges.
There are plentiful ATM's. Take dollars for Cambodia. Food/drink is
cheap everywhere but you do need to budget for a month of eating out for
dinner. Everywhere feels totally safe, with just a caveat that Phnom Penh
has a bag snatching problem at present (which I witnessed first hand on a
tourist in front of me on a pavement). You can easily safeguard against it
and it should't spoil your enjoyment or restrict your freedom.


It's clear that the region is developing rapidly, and attracting very large
numbers of tourists. Inevitably this means that some places that might once
have been "sleepy", or off the normal tourist beat, are now much busier and
perhaps less authentic for the discerning traveller. Opinions of people who
take this trip may vary, but in our view the itinerary might benefit from
some revision. Our personal preference would be to slightly reduce the time
spent in Laos and Vietnam and to expand the Cambodian itinerary into regions
that are less touristy, yet extremely interesting. One other reviewer
questioned the Halong Bay trip - we too thought this had become extremely
"trippy" even though the quality of the boat that we had was high. We would
have preferred a more leisurely two night trip with more opportunity to swim
and move into areas with fewer tourists. If this were not possible, we
think this part of the itinerary might be sacrificed to allow more time in
Cambodia (and the Mekong delta homestay and river market trip could just as
easily have been done in Cambodia). That is a personal view - others might
not agree. In similar vein, we were not particularly impressed with Vang
Vieng in Laos which is a favourite of backpackers. Again, we would have
sacrificed this for more Cambodia. I should stress that these are
relatively marginal considerations in the context of a long and hugely
enjoyable jaunt around Asia!!


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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accomodations

21 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights standard hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night guesthouse to experience some Mekong Delta hospitality, all en suite, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
Travel by train, minibus, bike, boat and 3 flights
Some activity in humid conditions
Variety of cities and countryside

Age Notes

Min. Age: 16

Additional Information:

  • 24 nights hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night homestay guesthouse to experience Mekong Delta hospitality, and 1 night sleeper train (soft-bed berths)
  • Travel by train, private minibus, bicycle, boat and 3 flights
  • Some activity in humid conditions
  • Discover a variety of cities and countryside on this itinerary

Trip ID#:

exodus-AOG

Trip Excludes

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Meals Included:

Dinner: 26 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners are included. The food on this trip is a real highlight for many. Southeast Asian cuisine is known for its abundance of freshly prepared dishes with strong aromatic flavours. There is a focus on herbs and citrus to ensure each dish packs a punch; chilli does feature highly too but is easily avoided if desired. Typically most dishes will come with rice and many are often served in a banana leaf with a variety of dips and herbs served separately. The four countries visited ensure a different culinary experience every time you cross the border; ensure you try the freshly made Pad Thai noodles from the street stalls of Bangkok, the fish amok curry in Cambodia for a creamy coconut-based fragrant curry and the Banh Xeo (huge sizzling pancakes) found in Vietnam cannot be missed!   Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta. Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be fairly similar in most places within each country. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.

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