From intriguing temples swallowed by encroaching jungle to the chaotic streets of Saigon, International Expeditions invites you to be immersed in the eclectic culture and color of Southeast Asia. Our fully customizable Laos & Vietnam expeditions delve into the captivating dynasties, colonial history and religions of Laos and Vietnam — all set against startling natural beauty. Be enveloped in the silence and ceremony of tak bat. Explore the Bolaven Plateau and learn about modern conservation issues. Touch the lives of young people eager to learn as you distribute school supplies. Discover Wat Phou, a temple older than famed Angkor Wat. To begin planning your custom Laos & Vietnam tour, call 800-234-9620.
Explore Isolated Villages
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic can trace its history back to the 14th century, when it was known as Lan Xang — “Land of a Million Elephants,” and this isolated country has been open to tourism for only a decade! So it’s no wonder that as you take-in daily life in both the cities and in remote Southern Lao villages, you’ll encounter people who have been so isolated they do not even speak the national language.
Sample Local Cuisine
From sampling local favorites at a restaurant teaching skills to at-risk youth to savoring rich Italian meals in the jungle — IE’s custom Laos & Vietnam expedition itineraries are a “must” for foodies. Our Custom Travel Planners can arrange meals at Vietnam’s Anh Tuyet, featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations series. The restaurant is famous for all kinds of local delicacies but most famous for their roast chicken.
Authentic Adventure in Asia
Your custom Laos & Vietnam adventure can feature elephant rides, hikes to ancient temples, village visits, cyclo-rickshaw rides, a water puppet show, sightseeing by tuk-tuk, an overnight cruise aboard a traditional junk on Halong Bay and so much more!
U.S. / Luang Prabang, Laos
Fly independently to Luang Prabang, the beguiling ancient capital of Laos, where we begin our Laos and Vietnam tour itinerary. Transfer to the Chang Heritage Hotel, our home for the next three nights, before dinner on your own. With its ideal location, all the history and romance of Luang Prabang are at your doorstep from this boutique hotel on the banks of the Nam Khan River. (Meals Aloft)
In a country that has been open to tourism for less than a decade, the town of Luang Prabang is widely regarded as the most authentic and peaceful city in Southeast Asia, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its combination of traditional, colonial and urban architecture. We’ll explore a variety of traditional wats (monasteries), including Wat Vsoun, Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Xieng Muan, where monks are learning skills to maintain their temples. Also visit the Royal Palace Museum and Phu Si Hill before a Baci ceremony welcoming us as “most honored guests.” (B,L,D)
Delve into the diverse cultures of Laos during a visit to an ethnic minority village, where you’ll distribute school supplies purchased through our local partnership with Big Brother Mouse. Big Brother Mouse, a Lao-owned project in Luang Prabang, is striving to bring the fun of reading to the children of Laos by publishing books in their language. In many villages, children have little to read except textbooks; however, in 2008, more than 30,000 rural Lao children got the first book they had ever owned through a Big Brother Mouse book party. We’ll also explore the Pak Ou Caves before an evening at leisure. The center of Luang Prabang is a pedestrian-friendly area, inviting locals and travelers alike to stroll its charming lanes. Explore the sprawling and eclectic night market this evening. (B,L)
Luang Prabang / Khiet Ngong / Xe Pian National Protected Area
Arise early to be enveloped in the silence and ceremony of tak bat, the sacred practice of giving rice to the over 1,000 orange-robed monks as they make their way through the city streets. From Luang Prabang, fly south to Pakse. Spend the next three nights at Kingfisher Ecolodge in Xe Pian NPA, near the village of Khiet Ngong. Tonight enjoy a discussion on Laos' NPA system with a local expert. (B,L,D)
Khiet Ngong / Xe Pian National Protected Area
Our Laos and Vietnam adventure begins with an elephant ride to the ancient temple ruins of Pho Asa Mountain and the village of Khiet Ngong, where mahouts (elephant drivers) are trained. Visit Wat Phou Champassak, an UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed to express the Hindu vision of the relationship between nature and humanity. (B,L,D)
Khiet Ngong / Bolaven Plateau
For the next part of your Laos and Vietnam adventure, travel to the lush highlands of the Bolaven Plateau. Spend the day strolling through coffee and tea plantations and discovering the plunging Tadfan, Tad Yeung and Phasuean waterfalls. Stop for a visit with the Katou people of Ban Houeihoun, learning about traditional crafting techniques and this tribe’s colorful lore before returning to the Kingfisher Ecolodge. (B,L,D)
Khiet Ngong / Vientiane
Our Laos and Vietnam expedition itinerary takes us into the heart of French-colonial Indochina as we travel to Vientiane, the country’s capital. After a tasty lunch of Loa cuisine at Makphet Restaurant, a project started to teach skills to the city’s at risk youth, tour the city, seeing Wat Sisaket, Ho Phra Keo, Patousay and That Luang Stupa. Spend tonight at the Green Park Boutique Hotel. (B,L,D)
Vientiane / Hanoi, Vietnam
Rise early today to visit the city’s lively morning market and visit Ban Nong Bouathong school before we fly to Hanoi, Vietnam and transfer to the five-star Melia Hanoi, our home for the next two nights. (B,L)
Every dynasty of Vietnam has left their mark on Hanoi, a city inhabited since 3000 B.C. Begin our survey of the city by touring the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature. After lunch at Anh Tuyet, a restaurant operated by a well-known local artist and chef, enjoy a cyclo-rickshaw ride through the Old Quarter. Tonight enjoy the Thang Long Water Puppet show. (B,L,D)
Hanoi / Halong Bay Cruise
Drive past the rice paddies of Vietnam’s countryside en route to Halong Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin. Embark our junk – a traditional wooden sailboat – for a cruise among this spectacular seascape of 1,600 limestone islands and islets. Stop to explore the Cave of Surprises on Bo Hon Island before returning to the boat to watch sunset paint the limestone pillars. (B,L,D)
Halong Bay Cruise / Hanoi
Watch the sunrise and take in the astounding natural setting of romantic Halong Bay as we sail through the turquoise blue lagoon waters aboard excursion boats. After disembarking after lunch, our Laos and Vietnam adventure travels back toward Hanoi, stopping for a ceramics demonstration en route. Return to the Melia Hanoi, with an evening free to explore. (B,L)
Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Fly south to modern Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. Before checking into the Sheraton Saigon, tour this historic city, seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, Presidential Palace — where we tour the war rooms used by U.S. and South Vietnamese officers to coordinate war efforts, China Town, Binh Tay market and Thien Hau pagoda. Spend time strolling the motorbike filled streets. Then enjoy our a farewell dinner before sailing on the scenic Mekong. (B,L,D)
Saigon / Mekong Delta
After driving through the lush, fertile countryside of the Mekong Delta, board a boat in My Tho heading into the bustling waterways that wind through the Mekong Islands. Spend a full day exploring the quaint villages on the islands, tasting honey and coconut candy before a lunch of the local delicacy — elephant fish. Return to the Sheraton for the night. (B,L)
Saigon / En Route
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)
|Length||Double Occupancy||Single Occupancy||In-Country Airfare (subject to change)|
|3-Day Siem Reap Tour||$798||$1,098||$255|
Begin your journey into the villages, culture and daily lives of Southeast Asia in Siem Reap, Cambodia — the epicenter of the region’s spiritual and artistic character. Along with your native guides, explore opulent 12th-century temples swallowed by the forces of nature and towers decorated with the smiling face of Avolokitesvara, the Buddhist embodiment of compassion. Wander through the vast Angkor Wat complex, so grand in scale it took three decades to complete.
Please Note: The Siem Reap travel package will be escorted by local guides only.
Days 1-3 • Wednesday-Friday
U.S. / Siem Reap, Cambodia
Fly from the U.S. to Siem Reap, Cambodia and transfer to the Victoria Angkor Resort. (Meals Aloft)
Days 4 & 5 • Saturday & Sunday
The massive Angkor Wat temple, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is thought to have been the funerary temple for King Suryavarman II and is oriented to the west to conform to Hindu symbolism between the setting sun and death. After 1432 when the capital moved to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat was cared for by Buddhist monks. After a guided morning tour, you can return at your leisure this afternoon to wander the grounds of the complex or perhaps explore the gallery of bas reliefs. Our Siem Reap tour also includes the South Gate, with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean; the 12th-century capital of Angkor Thom, last capital of the Khmer Empire; and the often-photographed Bayon, with 54 towers decorated with the smiling face of the Buddhist god Avolokitesvara. We’ll also visit the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant’s Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. We journey to Ta Prohm. One of the area’s most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm has been left largely untouched since it was discovered. Unlike other monuments near Angkor, Ta Prohm was abandoned and swallowed by the dense, surrounding jungle. Only narrow paths have been cleared to allow for visits, so the monuments of Ta Prohm, with tree roots wrapping around towers, look much the way the Angkor temples did when Europeans first explored the area. (Day 4: B,D; Day 5:B,L)
Day 6 • Monday
Siem Reap / Luang Prabang, Laos
Visit Artisans d’Angkor, a school and shop where the vanishing Khmer arts are being taught to the young people of Cambodia. Vast numbers of artists and craftsmen were lost during the genocide of the Khmer Rouge, so Artisans d'Angkor was founded as a professional school to help young Cambodians rediscover traditional handicrafts and to give them the opportunity to take part in the rebuilding of the country and in the revitalization of a priceless art form. Watch the young artists at work and shop for amazing lacquer, silk, and stone pieces treasures. Fly to Luang Prabang, meeting the rest of the group, and overnight at the Chang Heritage Hotel. (B,L Aloft)
Embark on an authentic looks at the most sacred wats and compelling villages in Southeast Asia, while learning about daily life from the locals during our Laos and Vietnam expeditions. For a detailed listing of daily activities and excursions during the Laos and Vietnam expedition, please visit the itinerary or order a FREE brochure.