Savoring Southeast Asia

Stimulate the senses in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam
Overview

overview

This is a comprehensive overview of Southeast Asia packed full with a wide variety of cultural, historical, and recreational activities. Savoring Southeast Asia is perfect for the traveler who is interested in "sampling" every aspect of each country. From touring temples to cruising the Mekong River to attending a traditional puppet show, the varied array of experiences will keep you constantly engaged and satisfy all your curiosities.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Bangkok
    Arrive in vibrant and bustling Bangkok

    Welcome to Bangkok! Upon your arrival, meet your guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Rembrandt Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Bangkok/Chiang Mai
    Tour Bangkok's Grand Palace and other city sights

    First, visit Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a must-see for first-time travelers to Bangkok. Next see the Royal Grand Palace, which is dedicated to the Thai Royal Family. Continue on to Wat Pho, home of the famous Reclining Buddha. This gold-plated statue is over 150 feet long and 50 feet high, and the eyes and feet are engraved with mother-of-pearl decorations. Late this afternoon, transfer to the airport and fly to the northern city of Chiang Mai. Here, you'll be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Ratilanna Riverside Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Chiang Mai/Doi Suthep/Handicraft Villages
    Ahka Hilltribes

    Today you visit a Meo hill tribe village set in an attractive hillside spot. You'll see the Meo tribes people dressed in their colorful traditional costumes. Next, visit  Wat Phratat Doi Suthep, which contains a holy relic of the Lord Buddha. The view of the city from 3,500 feet above sea level can be quiet breathtaking. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to a handicraft village. Many different craftspeople are gather here and you will experience the works of umbrella makers, wood carvers, silversmiths, silk weavers and jewelry makers. This is a good place to purchase souvenirs.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Ratilanna Riverside Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Chiang Mai

    Today is yours to do what you like. Wander the charming streets of Chiang Mai, meet locals, sample various traditional Thai dishes, or rest at your hotel. Your guide will be available if you are interested in more guided sightseeing in and around the city for an additional cost.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ratilanna Riverside Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Doi Tung & Golden Triangle
    Wat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai

    On the drive to Chiang Rai, stop to visit the Royal Palace and Botanic Garden at Doi Tung, known as "Flag Mountain." Meander through the incredible gardens before visiting Wat Rong Kung, an unconventional Buddhist/Hindu temple and hot spring.  After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to the famous Golden Triangle, the conjunction of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Overnight in Chiang Rai.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Dusit Island Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Chiang Khong/Houe Say/Pakbeng
    Visit local villages

    Early in the morning, around 6:00 am, drive to Chiang Khong where you cross the Thai border and enter into Laos. You'll board a boat at Houe Say and begin the slow boat ride down the Mekong River toward Luang Say Lodge in Pakbeng. Observe rural life along the Mekong River and stop at Ban Houy Phalam, a Kamu village. A buffet lunch is served on the boat. Arrive at Luang Say Lodge before sunset. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Luang Say Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Pak Ou/Luang Prabang
    The mighty Mekong River

    After breakfast, continue on the river to Ban Baw to learn about the processing of traditional rice alcohol. Lunch is served on board the boat. Afterward, the boat heads to the mouth of the Nam Ou River to visit Pak Ou Caves, referred to as "Tham Ting" and "Tham Phoum." Here you will see thousands of Buddha images and statues! The boat arrives in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before sunset. Here you'll meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Luang Prabang
    Wat Sen in Luang Prabang

    Today you will embark on a city tour of Luang Prabang. Visit various temples that boast unique Buddha statues and carvings, including Wat Visun, Wat Sene, and Wat Xieng Thong. Wat Xieng Thong is considered one of the most important of Lao monasteries and is a symbol of religion, royalty, and art. Visit the Former King Palace (now the National Museum), visit Photisak Silvershop, and Ock Pop Top, a live weaving center. Learn different styles of Lao textile-making on traditional looms. Later, climb the steps of Mount Phousi for a gorgeous view of the town.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Waterfalls and Hilltribe Villages
    Visit a Hmong ethnic village

    Drive by minivan to Kuang Si waterfall, located 18 miles south of Luang Prabang. The water begins in a shallow pool on a steep hillside and falls approximately 200 feet. There are areas for swimming or you can trek around the waterfall. Continue on to Ban Tha Pen, the Hmong village. Then go on a short excursion to Sa Paper weaving village where you will learn  how locals make paper from the Sa tree. Finally, end the day with a heart-stopping view at Wat Phon Pao, which sits on a mountain overlooking the city.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Siem Reap
    Angkor Wat is just outside of Siem Reap

    After breakfast, head to the airport and fly to Siem Reap. Your local guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Siem Reap: Angkor Ruins
    Explore Preah Khan and other temple ruins

    In the morning, drive to Angkor Wat, the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. Angkor Wat was commissioned to be built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century and decided it would be dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. Admire the thousands of detailed carvings and statues upon entering the magnificent Victory Gate. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue exploring in Angkor Thom, known as the "Great City." Angkor Thom was built in the 12th century, and it was believed that it housed approximately 150,000 people at one time. Stand in awe of the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King before proceeding through the forest to Preah Palilay, a small, 13th century temple guarded by a large Buddha. You then visit Phimeanakas, a 10th century, pyramid temple that affords incredible views of the grounds. Check out Baphuon, a 165 foot tall temple dedicated to Shiva and has one of the world's largest reclinging Buddhas. End the day at Bayon, said to be the most beautiful of all the Angkor temples. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Angkor Temples and Lake Villages
    Investigate village life on Tonle Sap Lake

    Head to Banteay Srei, a unique temple made from sandstone located about 20 miles from Siem Reap. The carvings on this temple are more detailed than any other in Angkor. Next, see Banteay Samre or "Citadel of the Samre," a smaller temple situated in the jungles of Angkor Wat. You will also see Srah Srang, a huge, man-made lake where the Royals of Angkor Wat would bathe. Later, continue on to Ta Prohm, made famous by the movie "Tomb Raider". After lunch, you'll board a boat and sail through mangroves to the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. As you sail past the floating villages, you'll experience a very different and very traditional way of life. At the height of the wet season, the lake has an area of 9,920 square miles and is home to many rare species of wildlife. On the cruise back, stop at the temple of Wat Artvea, to learn about the lives of the monks who live here. After the boat tour, visit Chantier Ecole-Artisan d'Angkor, both a museum and vocational center intent on reviving Khmer art. Watch locals conduct metalwork, stonework, and work with silk.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Tara Angkor Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Saigon
    Arrive in Saigon

    Transfer to the airport and fly to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) where you will meet your guide and head to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Royal Loutus Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Saigon City Tour
    See the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon

    Enjoy a full-day guided tour of Saigon's historic landmarks, including the infamous Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Drive by the presidential palace, which used to be headquarters for the Saigon government during the American-Vietnamese War. Then, you may either visit the Historical Museum or the War Remnant Museum. In the afternoon, enjoy the busy shopping areas of the city, check out the 18th century Thien Hau Temple, and stop at the ancient, ornately carved Giac Vien Pagoda.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Royal Lotus Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: Cu Chi Tunnels
    Crouch down to explore the (widened and heightened!) tunnels of Cu Chi

    Drive to Tay Ninh, The Great Temple of Caodaism. Caodaism is a local religion that combines elements from many other religions, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, etc. The temple was built on nine levels and hosts prayer sessions throughout the day. You will witness a session around noon, and listen to the beautiful prayer and folk instrument music. You then stop at a local restaurant for a quick lunch before before visiting the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels served as an underground city for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. They contained makeshift hospitals, weapon caches, and of course, living quarters. Approximately 10,000 people called these cramped tunnels home for many years. You will watch a short video introduction before exploring the tunnel system.  It is a haunting and eye-opening learning experience. Afterwards, return to Saigon for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Royal Lotus Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: Flight to Hanoi

    Transfer to the airport early in the morning and fly to Hanoi. Your local guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your centrally located hotel. You'll have the rest of the day free to relax or explore.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Maison Hanova Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 17: Hanoi City Tour
    Take in a performance of the unique Water Puppets while in Hanoi

    Today you will tour Hanoi, one of Asia's most enchanting cities. Its relaxed ambience is a joy, with exploration best accomplished on foot or bicycle. The shopping is fun, and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes. Your guided tour begins at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the building that contains the preserved body of "Uncle Ho." After leaving the mausoleum, check out the One Pillar Pagoda, shaped like a lotus flower emerging from the water. Inside the pagoda is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy because some Buddhists believe that when they die she places them in the center of a lotus flower to go to the "Land of Bliss." Next, visit the Temple of Literature to learn about Hanoi culture and history and the Museum of Ethnology to learn about Vietnam's diverse culture (54 ethnic groups in all). In the evening, attend a traditional water puppet show, a northern Vietnamese art form used to portray historical events.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Maison Hanova Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 18: Halong Bay
    Explore Halong Bay and stay overnight on a boat

    You can leave luggage behind at your hotel in Hanoi and pack an overnight bag for a three-hour drive to the famous Halong  Bay, one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's quite a sight to see a great number of sailing junks ("junk" is the term for an ancient Chinese water vessel) traversing the limestone island-spotted bay. Board your private junk for a four-hour cruise through Halong. Along the way, we will stop to explore limestone caves and to relax and swim. Lunch and dinner will be served during the cruise. Overnight on the boat.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bhaya Cruise Junk (non-private) or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 19: Return to Hanoi
    Explore in Hanoi

    For those interested in capturing the beautiful sunrise on the bay, you will need to rise early. Following breakfast, you'll explore and cruise around the bay for great photo opportunities. Sail back to the port and drive back to Hanoi. You'll stop along the way at a ceramic-making village called Phu Lang to observe traditional ceramic production. When you arrive back in Hanoi for your final night, the rest of the evening is free to relax or wander the city, or perhaps do some last minute shopping.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Maison Hanova Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 20: Onward

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
     

     

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Oct 26-Nov 14, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$5,295
- $5,895
Group size 2-3 cost: $5,895 Local Asia flights add $875 (estimate)
Single Supplement:
$1400
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
20 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
3
Best available to Superior 4* hotels & junk boat
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
Best available to Superior 4* hotels & junk boat

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

Vietnam: Sapa

Duration: 4 days

Extend your visit to Vietnam with this delightful visit to Sapa, for a unique cultural interaction with the local tribes.

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