30 Days Epic East Asia

30 Days Epic East Asia

A balance between natural wonders and man made structures, sample the sensational as well as the cerebral as you chart a course through the main cities and regions of the country while looking introspectively at a culture that has shaped the attitudes of modern Vietnam . Then take a bite sized chunk into the cultural miasma that is Cambodia, drifting fleetingly at first but then growing clearer and firmly cementing its place your heart. From scenes of a country that derives both pain and pride from its history, Cambodia is particularly like two sides of a coin flipping between the horrific Killing Fields and Genocidal Museums and the sublime Angkor Wat complex that mesmerizes with its colossal presence. Food that makes your salivary glands double its work allocation, snaking rivers, quaint villages and exotic treasures envelop the senses every step of the way, until you get to Thailand where you finish with a flourish in the thriving, multifaceted capital Bangkok. As languid as the Mekong gliding alongside the jungle clad mountains– sometimes clear, sometimes muddy. Laos constructs and reconstructs itself like a changing scenery, all at an unhurried pace. Transitioning from the many Wats and saffron clad monks that epitomizes its religious culture to the colonial buildings that mark its cities French character -Laos has just about all to make for a dreamy escape. From adrenaline inducing adventure activities to secret waterfalls, breathtaking sunsets and rice fields that sweep across the earth everyday is an exercise in delight.

  • Start Location : Hanoi Vietnam
  • Finish Location : Vientiane Laos
  • Trip Style : Comfort, Long Haul,
  • Country : Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Group Size : 2 to 16

Map

Inclusions


Accommodations

26 Night twin share hotel 2 Overnight Trains 1 Night Boat Cruise

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Activities

Boat Cruise, Imperial Citadel, Hue Bicycle tour, Thanh Toan Covered Bridge, Tu Duc Tomb, Hoi An Orientation Walk,Fishing Nets and BBQ Lunch, Ho Chi Minh City Orientation Walk, Street Food on Scooter, Cu Chi Tunnels, Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, City Tour, Street Food Walking Tour, S-21 School, Choeung Ek Centre, Skun Spider Market, Phom Santuk, 11th Century Bridge, Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Guided Tour, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom Thom, Sunset Quad Bike Tour, Grand Palace, Old Quarter Walk Tour, Street Food Tour, Chiang Mai Orientation Walk and Thai Boxing Class, Cycling through rural Chiang Mai, Wat Rung Khun, Pak Ou Caves, Kuang Si Falls, Orientation Walk To all Major City's

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Airport Transfer

Arrival & Departure transfer included

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Local Tipping

Tipping for accommodation, activities and transport

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Meals

29 Breakfasts 7 Lunches 8 Dinners

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Transportation

Private bus, Train, Auto rickshaw, Slow Boat, Private vehicle, Cycle rickshaw, Cruise Boat, Internal Flights

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Itinerary

Day 1
Hanoi
Day 2
Ha Long
Day 3
Hanoi-Hue
Day 4
Hue
Day 5
Hue
Day 6
Hoi An
Day 7
Hoi An
Day 8
Ho Chi Minh
Day 9
Ho Chi Minh
Day 10
Ho Chi Minh
Day 11
Ho Chi Minh
Day 12
Phnom Penh
Day 13
Phnom Penh
Day 14
Siem Reap
Day 15
Siem Reap
Day 16
Siem Reap
Day 17
Bangkok
Day 18
Bangkok
Day 19
Bangkok - Chiang Mai
Day 20
Chiang Mai
Day 21
Chiang Mai
Day 22
Houay Xai
Day 23
Pakbeng
Day 24
Luang Prabang
Day 25
Luang Prabang
Day 26
Luang Prabang
Day 27
Vang Vieng
Day 28
Vientiane
Day 29
Vientiane
Day 30
Vientiane

Day 01 Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi! Our representative will be at the airport to make sure you’re headed for the right direction! Check in at your hotel and get your bearings before you meet your tour leader at 6 pm. Get the inside scoop on the tour during the meeting and then get to know your travel companions, over a welcome dinner.

Day 02 Ha Long

Don’t trip over yourself at breakfast this morning in anticipation of the drive to Halong Bay complex, one of Vietnam’s most enduring natural attractions. Step on board your cruiser once you’re done with your drive and get an eyeful of the thousands of towering limestone pillars that rise imperiously from an emerald sea. Depending on the weather, take a plunge in the gentle waters or kayak through some of the hollowed out Karsts Mountain. Hunker down for some delicious food on board and let the day take its gentle course as you hit the beaches, caves and perhaps a secret treat from the floating market.

Day 03 Hanoi-Hue

Wake up to the buoyant rhythms of the sea this morning and open your eyes to the giant like Karst Mountains that still keep sentinel over the sampans and junks that float with increasing ardour as they go about making their first catch of the day. Plunge and indeed soak yourself brain deep in these idyllic locales until the clock urges you to head back to Hanoi. Browse through the streets of Noi, sampling the food as you do so before catching the overnight train to Hue.

Day 04 Hue

Dust yourself off on arrival at Hue in the morning. Leave your bags at the hotel and immediately attend to your stomach over a local breakfast. Make your way to the Imperial Citadel where further exploration takes you to the threshold of the Forbidden Purple City, so called because, no one apart from the royals were allowed to enter its precincts. Walk through some of the ruins here that were razed to the ground during the American War, since renovated – and deconstruct the life of the emperors and their entourage that housed them during the 1800s. Visit the Dong Ba Market if you’re up to it after the tour and sample some locally made goods, fresh produce and some good old lip smacking street food.

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Day 05 Hue

Ride out on cycles to the 18th century Thanh Toan Bridge that straddles a canal midst the lush green Vietnamese countryside and then walk through a local market nearby. Get a sense of Vietnam’s history as you walk along the vast grounds of Tu Duc Tomb that houses among other things a temple where the emperor and empress were worshiped, the oldest theatre in Vietnam and a lake fringed with a reception area. All harking back to a time of excesses practiced by the ruler, as his country stepped unaware into an impending storm with the approach of the French at Da Nang in the south.

Day 06 Hoi An

Follow the scenic coastal route to Hoi An (approximately 5 hours) halting briefly at the Lang Co fishing village and then going over the dramatic Hai Van pass. Breeze through the old town with your tour leader in the afternoon, slack jawed, eye in the sky and not worrying about having to fling yourself to the sidewalk to dodge a wayward vehicle-because none are allowed entry here! Plenty of time then to discover the makings of this 16th century port town that stopped being one when the river silted. Yet, despite running out of favour with the merchants, Hoi An is one of the most loved destinations of Vietnam with its weathered yellow buildings that use to be shop houses in the past but have now transitioned comfortably in their contemporary role of cafes and coffee shops. Submit to the amalgam of European, Chinese and Japanese architecture that defines the buildings and temples here along with a street grid system that hasn’t changed even with the encroachment of modernity. Communal houses, assembly halls, trading centres each wait patiently -waiting for their stories to be heard . Once you’re done with this cultural scene, perhaps head out to the beach for some R&R. 

Day 07 Hoi An

You’ve got a free day at your disposal to take time out and wander off on your own through the Old Quarter. Between strolling through the street corners, consider approaching some of the tailoring shops that are a quintessential part of the Old Quarter scenery. Get some advice on the cut of a suit or the nuances of different fabrics and have it ready to don your back in just a couple of hours. Alternatively, swing up and on that saddle and bike your way to An Bang beach or wind your way through the rural areas of Hoi An, making way for the occasional buffalo or reaching out to some school kids ready to practice their language skills on you. Later in the afternoon, float down the Thu Bon River on board a local boat and make the most of a barbecue on its lazy banks.

Day 08 Ho Chi Minh

We take a short flight to Saigon early this afternoon to avoid the hectic morning commute. Head off for an orientation walk around the vicinity with your tour leader and if you’ve got time, flip a coin between a visit to the War Remnants Museum or the Reunification Palace. Later in the evening, morph into the skin of a true Vietnamese as you swing by the Saigon nightlife on board a scooter and join its inhabitants on a street food tour.

Day 09 Ho Chi Minh

Travel approximately 40 km northwest this morning to discover the Cu Chi Tunnels, a living reminder of the country’s fractious relation with France and later, America. Lower yourself under the surface and get a first hand experience of how the Viet Cong personnel flitted in and out of these warren like passages, building an underground city and working out ingenious ways and means to paralyze an enemy that was far more well equipped. Drive back to Saigon and wander around the city centre to get a last sense of the city and as the evening closes in, gather along with your travel companions for a final dinner together.

Day 10 Ho Chi Minh

Today's a free day, so wake up at your leisure and say goodbye to some of your new friends and tour leader. Some people leave and new travel companions and your tour leader will join us. At your leisure explore more of the city, enjoy the markets and stores, before starting this section of the tour with a group meeting at 6 pm. Begin by familiarizing yourself with some authentic Vietnamese fare over an included dinner.

Day 11 Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City’s pulse and character reflects the bewildering mix of cultural influence and class that has brushed its history through the ages. Trade relations with the Chinese, French, Malay, Thai and Indians enriched its own Khmer customs and thus sprouted a cultural crucible that’s immediately noticeable as you step out for a tour of the city this morning. Start from the General Post Office that’s tinged with a Gothic and renaissance flavor. Walk through some of the elegant colonial buildings past the Paris Square and then enter the Reunification Palace that seems eerily like a slice of history arrested in time with its tunnels, war rooms, radio transmitters and card tables sitting mutely as if waiting for the clock to start ticking again. Follow this up with a visit to the War Remnants Museum to get a more personal understanding of the Vietnam War as well as the First Indo China War through exhibits, photographs, documents and so much more. Later in the evening, strike out for a street food tour where a variety of local dishes sizzle, pop, crackle and make as much noise as the vendors trying to vie for your attention.

Day 12 Phnom Penh

Buckle up for a 6 hours journey by public bus to Phnom Penh as we leave Vietnam to enter Cambodia’s capital. If you’ve got some time on your hands this evening and you’re itching to get a taste of the city, hop on board the eco-friendly cyclo – a remnant of a colonial past – as it gently negotiates Phnom Pehn’s roads and allows you to breeze through some of the city’s most popular landmarks.

Day 13 Phnom Penh

Today is a day for remembrance and reflection.  After breakfast we will be cycling to S-21 and thereafter, to Choeung Ek, two sites that chronicle a grim past. Yet as grim as it is, these are stories that need to be told, heard and preserved for generations to come because, they serve as a reminder and a testament to Cambodia’s brutal past. Tuol Sleng, code named S-21, was originally a school that was converted to an interrogation centre where not less than 12,000 people were tortured and murdered on the orders of Pol Pot when his Khmer Rouge movement took control of Cambodia in April 1975. Sometimes graphic and almost always heart breaking the museum hosts photos, accounts and tools that were used to torture the detainees here. Much of that dark history follows you as you head for the Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre or the Killing Fields where prisoners from S-21 and elsewhere were taken to be exterminated.  Rows of bones and human skulls feature in this surprisingly well kept field underscoring the irony of all human intentions.

Day 14 Siem Reap

We board a private vehicle to bridge the journey between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap this morning. Although the journey is typically 6 hours, we’ll be making several pit stops in between to get a wide variety of experiences just to keep things interesting. Stop by the Skun Spider Market, plonked right in the intersection of two highways playing host to local delicacies that includes locusts, tarantulas and other creepy crawlies! Make a bet or two with your travel companions by testing your squeamish quotient and then wheeze your way up the 809 steps to Phnom Santuk where images of reclining Buddhas, pagodas and recalcitrant monkeys survey a kingdom of exposed boulders and a green forest cover. Kick some dust as you walk across the Dragon Bridge that hangs over a muddy Kampong Kdei River, your next and last stop before reaching Siem Reap. Marvel at the 12th century engineering that still keeps it standing over rough wars and weather.

Day 15 Siem Reap

If ever there is a single memory that lodges itself on the mind of people travelling through Cambodia, it is the one of the sun crawling cat-like upon the ancient stones of Angkor Wat, breathing life yet again upon it just as it has done centuries and centuries ago. Rise in the early hours of the morning to catch this brilliant spectacle and then sink deeper into the historical, religious and cultural associations of this monument that has come to define Cambodia more than anything else. Though gigantic in aspect, walk through this fascinating complex taking in the little details as well that warrant a pride of place in the Cambodian heart.  Finish the tour with a picnic lunch and then return to the city centre to do as you please for the rest of the day.

Day 16 Siem Reap

As impressive as the Angkor Wat is, the other sites around the Angkor complex are equally as impressive. Weave your way through the giant silk cotton trees that wrap themselves around the Ta Phrom temple like constrictors reluctant to let go of their prey as well as the Angkor Thom lined with busts of Gods, bas beliefs and a stone tower. Discovering as you do so, their own independent architectural details and history. Later during the day take a guided quad bike tour just outside of Siem Reap and snatch impressions of daily life that resides out of the cities.

Day 17 Bangkok

We leave Cambodia today and catch a flight to Bangkok. Before you’ve got time to settle your hair in its place you’ll be sitting in the super efficient sky train and heading straight to the Bangkok Grand Palace, the number one site to visit while you’re in the country’s capital. A stunning amalgam of Thai and European architecture, the palace dazzles with its beautiful grounds, gilded buildings, detailed murals and its crowning glory-the Wat Phra Kaew or the Emerald Temple. Take time to soak in the palace complex and after you’re done head for your hotel. For the latter half of the day, follow your tour leader around the riverside enclave of Rattanakosin district or the old quarter where the side streets lined by weathered buildings and 16th century temples still recall a time when the first monarch of Thailand’s present ruling dynasty, founded the kingdom in 1782. Flit through the ghosts of colonial buildings and open your senses to the smell of flowers, fruits and incense as street vendors sell their wares through holes in the wall cubicles. Later in the evening, raise your glasses and settle in for one final meal with your tour leader and other travel companions as some will leave the tour tomorrow.

Day 18 Bangkok

Today's a free day so wake at your own leisure and say goodbye to some of your new friends and tour leader that leave us today. Enjoy more of the city or try your hand a cooking class. Join your new travel companions and tour leader with a group meeting at 6pm and then proceed to familiarize yourself with some authentic Thai over an included dinner.

Day 19 Over night train

Make use of the morning to explore Bangkok. A good starting point would be the Royal Palace, Bangkok’s biggest attraction-with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha as its centerpiece. Just 10 minutes walk from the Palace is the Wat Po that houses the famous reclining Buddha. Alternatively, take a quick spin on a bike to see what the city has to offer or try the longboats that glide through the man made canals, its waters washing the walls of houses queuing up along their banks. Get a taste of an alternative lifestyle here – a complete antithesis to the noise and neon often associated with Bangkok. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’ve worked up an appetite because we’ll regroup in the afternoon and go all out on a street food tour. Round off the day by boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Day 20 Chiang Mai

We arrive early in the morning at Chiang Mai. Dust off the remnants of last nights travel and freshen up at the hotel. Follow your tour leader to the old city to get your bearings and to appease your stomach with some local breakfast. There’s much in Chiang Mai that’ll get your heart rate shifting up a gear or two. Primary among these is the Muay Thai experience. Find out what the fuss is all about -these boxing tournaments draw thousands to the ring… and don’t say we didn’t warn you about shouting yourself hoarse along with the locals! Space out the rest of your day between zip lining, abseiling, or white water rafting while keeping an eye out for the Elephant Nature Park or checking in to a cooking class to keep things a bit more steady and sedate. Alternatively, you can explore the ancient walled city, dropping in to have a look at the 19th Century wall paintings at Wat Phra Singh or wander through some of the typically Thai open markets that spring especially alive in the evening. Feel free to rack your tour leader’s brain so that you get the best out of Chiang Mai!

Day 21 Chiang Mai

Saddle up for some rural experiences as you peddle out of town and into the swaying field of rice paddies, orchards and gurgling streams that adorn the backdrop of local villages. Lift you hands in greeting and stretch your lips into a smile as the locals accost and engage with you as well. Drop by a local restaurant for lunch and then hit your stride again as you wander through the grounds of an old temple and discover the ruins of an old city. Head back for town after this and as the day wears out, strike out for the 14th century Phra That Doi Suthep Temple that keeps a watchful eye on the city from its elevated height.

Day 22 Houay Xai

Although we leave for Laos today, we’re not quite done with Thailand as we make a pit stop at Wat Rung Khun, a temple that’s as visually startling as the contemporary twist its maker gives to an ancient philosophy. Although, not very old- the temple is remarkable in terms of its design and concept and increasingly makes it to the list of any architectural wonder worth its salt in Thailand. Following the visit to the temple we arrive at the Laos border –linked to Thailand by a bridge over the Mekong River – around mid-afternoon. After we’re done with all the paper work we make our way to Houay Xai where we spend the night. While Houay Xai is a small town and the nightlife is something that needs a little imagination, it might be a good idea to trudge down to some of the restaurants down by the waterfront to get your first taste of Beer Lao and watch the sun leave its mark on the river as it too settles in for the night.

Day 23 Pakbeng

Step onto your slow boat after breakfast and drift down the Mekong, as the mountains recede and the breeze gently worries your hair like a constant companion. Snuggle back in your seat, fish out that book you’ve been lugging around and relax because the journey to Pakbeng is going to take approximately 7 hours.

Day 24 Luang Prabang

Continue your journey down the Mekong as we head for Luang Prabang this morning. Keep an eye out for the tiny villages that dot the riverbanks as you pass by, as well as the landscape that changes with every bend in the river. Stop by the Pak Ou Caves, it’s entrance marked by steps that look like a giant white tongues from afar, lolling out from the yawning limestone cliffs. Explore the thousand statues of the Buddha with their minor imperfections that call these caves their home and take away with you the feeling of reverence that the locals have for the place.

Day 25 Luang Prabang

Make for the Kuang Si Falls this morning and fall head first into this idyll, with turquoise waters gently slipping over tiers of terraced outcrops carved over centuries. With the constant gurgle of a watery conversation to keep you company, it’s quite easy to spend hours and minutes here. Slip into your bathers and lower yourself into the clear pool at the base of the fall or go higher up where the upper falls reveals itself in different dimensions to the faithful. Try and tear yourself away from this piece of heaven and when you’ve succeeded, visit a local organic farm on your way back for some lunch and perhaps chug a cold refreshing Beer Lao while you’re at it.

Day 26 Luang Prabang

Although there aren’t any activities planned for the day, you’ve got a choice as varied as the lines on your palm. Try your hand at being a rice farmer for a few hours as you share the paddy fields with water buffalo or just enjoy the settings of terraced fields cradled by mountains and lush forests on all sides. Go biking, visit some of the temples around the city and learn about the stories associated with it. Hit the waters on a kayak or just relax by the pool.  And in the evening, test your cardio as you trace your way up more than 300 steps to Mount Phousi where a spectacular sunset lurks over the Luang Prabang skyline. End your stay in this laid-back town by ducking under the overhanging canopies that drape the shops of its night market. Browse through its varied offerings and gorge on the food watching tourists and locals alike mirroring your motions.

Day 27 Vang Vieng

It’s time to leave Luang Prabang early in the morning and journey onwards to Vang Vieng through snaking roads, past rugged mountains which stand as custodians of the little villages that reside in its lap. Take a moment to fish out your camera and keep your finger locked on the shoot button because there will be more than one photo you’ll want to frame on this route. Vang Vieng is a small town that’s as laid back as any but what makes it different from the others is the spectacular scenery and the number of adventure activities that’s designed to make the eye open wider. Consult your tour leader on what’s available and the logistics of going about doing it because you’ve got only until the next afternoon to indulge your options.

Day 28 Vientiane

Before we make our way to Vientiane, make the most of your morning by kayaking down the Nam Song River and skimming though the waters as it parts the jungle clad landscape in half. If you’ve still got some time on your hands, lug it across vistas of rice fields or among the many trekking routes that cut through the karst landscape. Alternatively, combine some zip lining, chase some waterfalls or swim in the Blue Lagoon. While it may not be possible to do all of these, never say never. Catch a short ride out to Vientiane during the latter half of the day.

Day 29 Vientiane

It’s the last day of the tour so you’ve got just enough time to get your head around the country’s capital. Although the typical noise and bustle of a “truly Asian” city is markedly absent in Vientiane, the city is not without its charms. Start by ascending the viewing platform of Patuxai, a war memorial that’s influenced by French architecture but with a distinctly Laotian twist in its details. Drop in at the COPE Centre to learn about the “Secret War” whose devastating effects still play a part in modern Lao. Bear witness to the alms giving ceremony at the 200 years old Wat Si Saket and later in the evening hunker down at the Chao Anouvong Park to people watch and enjoy the shades of pink and orange as the sun sets over distant Thailand. Gather round for a last dinner with your fellow travellers and after the last farewells have been said, amble down along the riverfront to the inevitable Night Market to make your journey last just that bit longer.

Day 30 Vientiane

It’s time now to bid farewell to your tour leader and new friends but not without a backpack full of memories. Departure transfers are included on the day. Please consult with your tour leader or the hotel desk to confirm the check out time.

Our Hotels


La Sante Hotel

La Sante Hotel & Spa is located close to the Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. It offers comfortable rooms with modern Stylish decor, conveniently located just a short 10-minute drive from Hoan Kiem Lake, The Huc Bridge and Ngoc Son Temple. Noi Bai International Airport is approximately a 45-minute drive away.

New Siam Palace Ville Hotel

Located in Bangkok's Bangkok City Centre neighbourhood, New Siam Palace Ville is in the entertainment district. Khaosan Road and Siam Center are worth checking out if shopping is on the agenda, while those wishing to experience the area's natural beauty can explore Bangkok Riverside and Sanamluang. Looking to enjoy an event or a game? See what's going on at Rajamangala Stadium, or consider Central Embassy for a night out. Guests appreciate the hotel's location for the sightseeing.

Vayakorn Inn

Set back in a quiet street, just a brief stroll from the centre of the culturally rich city of Vientiane, the Vayakorn Inn places guests at the core of the city, in the very old district of Ban Haysoke, making it the perfect base for checking out the sites and scenes whilst providing an ideal sanctuary when it comes time to unwind.

Dates


Start
Finish
Friday
23 Sep 2022
Saturday
22 Oct 2022
Available
$4,230
+$805
Book Now
Friday
21 Oct 2022
Saturday
19 Nov 2022
Available
$4,230
+$805
Book Now
Friday
18 Nov 2022
Saturday
17 Dec 2022
Available
$4,230
+$805
Book Now
Friday
23 Dec 2022
Saturday
21 Jan 2023
Available Christmas and New Year
$4,230
+$805
Book Now
Friday
30 Dec 2022
Saturday
28 Jan 2023
Available New Year
$4,230
+$805
Book Now

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