Inspiring Indochina – Summer 2021
from $11050
Duration: 16 Days
Experience the ultimate in luxury travel, as you journey through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, the three crown jewels of Southeast Asia. Get an insider's perspective on some of the world's most important religious monuments such as Angkor Wat and watch the sun go down over the mighty Mekong River.
Day 1
Arrive Siem Reap.
Transfer to your elegant hotel, which was once the home of royalty. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Stroll through the manicured hotel gardens, relax under the frangipani trees beside the magnificent architect-designed pool or perhaps enjoy a massage to ease your way into your holiday. At 19:00 meet your Travelling Concierge and fellow travel companions for your Welcome Dinner at Mahob, set in a traditional Khmer wooden house you will enjoy delicacies created from locally produced ingredients.(Dinner with Wine)
Day 2
Angkor Wat in Style.
Explore Angkor Archaeological Park accompanied by a renowned archaeologist. Begin with Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm, the temple is a perfect example of how nature crept in and reclaimed its land after the fall of the Angkorian empires. Finishing the day with the sunset over Angkor Wat, it is easy to see why it has become the symbol of Cambodia and took 30 years to build. Step outside for sunset and admire the views as the last light of day shines on the temple. This evening, attend a performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Set up in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps who learned about using art as a means of coping with trauma. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. Enjoy diner at local restaurant Malis. Malis was born out of a desire and passion to restore Cambodian cuisine to its former glory and put Cambodia back on the map as a culinary destination. Renowned for its fresh seasonal product, delicate flavours, and generous hospitality, this flagship restaurant of Master Chef Luu Meng and his team offer cuisine from the past that has been adapted to the present.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 3
Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.
Fly to Ho Chi Min City to start the next part of your journey. Once you have checked in to your central hotel you will meet up with your fellow travellers. This evening enjoy dinner in one of the busy rooftop restaurants of Saigon and watch the lights of the city from a perfect vantage point.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 4
Marvels of Saigon.
See the best of Saigon as you travel from the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy fields scattered along the Saigon River by speedboat. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were like. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Office. Over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for local street-side cafe culture.(Breakfast / Lunch)
Day 5
Cruise the Mekong Delta.
Travel to the Mekong Delta and board a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of the freshest juice possible. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you'll enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper.(Breakfast / Lunch)
Day 6
Royal Refinement in Hue.
Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cyclo's ride to Phu Mong village, take in a traditional garden house and craft houses, enjoy a serene life here. You will be impressed by green sceneries on the journey. This evening, take a visit to a special venue where is not only a dining place but also a culture exchange experience - Ben Xuan Garden House Theatre. It is set in a magnificent structure built in Hue royal architectural style — located by the Perfume River between Thien Mu pagoda and the Temple of Literature Van Thanh.You are invited to meet with the owner Ms. Camille Huyen - a celebrated painter, singer and all-around renaissance woman with royal ancestry and her husband, a former Swiss banker. Combined, the two put on an intimate and welcoming hosted meal which includes a stroll of their own designed traditional house and a small concert that features Huyen on vocals, accompanied by local musicians playing traditional instruments, a scrumptious meal. Chat with the family about their career and life in the Western world and how the nostalgia brings them back to their hometown to nourish their dream and passion.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 7
Highlights of Hue.
Rise early for a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant on the perfume river with views of the Thien Mu Pagoda. After lunch you will meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)
Day 8
Romantic Hoi An.
Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be enchanted by the historic wonders and sleepy charm of UNESCO-heritage Hoi An. Spend a half day with a local guide, exploring the ancient town. Explore former merchants’ homes, colourful communal halls, narrow lanes lined with traditional houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Leave the crowded venue behind and discover some untouched stories in the beautiful old town.Meander down the small alley to discover an ancient house where the art of healing through martial art is passed down through generations. This healing method is the master’s invention, combined between Qigong and traditional Vietnamese martial art. Have a chance to learn some basic steps under the guidance of the master. For a Your Choice Evening, take your pick of one of three hand-selected, local restaurants, each specialising in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 9
The locals in Hoi An.
Visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you'll learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese folk games and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef. Savour your creations for your Highlight Lunch.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)
Day 10
Hanoi street-food tasting tour.
Board a morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi’s robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city’s very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travelling Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby.(Breakfast / Dinner)
Day 11
Cruise along Ha Long Bay.
Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you'll have the choice to participate in a hands-on cooking class with the on-board chef, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine / Dinner with Wine)
Day 12
Ha Long to Hanoi.
Start the day with a session of Tai Chi on the upper deck, or enjoy an early morning swim, or perhaps venture to a white sandy beach and climb the hilltop for views over Halong Bay? Return to the boat for breakfast as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. Journey back to Hanoi where the evening is at leisure.(Breakfast)
Day 13
The Temple of Literature.
Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the first university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast to your travels during your Celebration Dinner.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 14
Welcome to Laos.
Start the day with a flight to Luang Prabang, known as the centre of Lao culture and once the royal seat of the Lane Xang Kingdom. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sleepy town nestled in a mountain valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. On arrival at the airport, you'll be welcomed and transferred to your hilltop luxury hotel, where there is free time to relax. In the evening, enjoy dinner at your beautiful resort.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
Day 15
UNESCO Heritage Discovery and Sunset Cruise.
In the morning, you may wish to rise early and participate in offering alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks, a living Buddhist tradition going back generations. Then watch as the town comes to life at the morning market. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before walking to the top of Mount Phousi to admire spectacular views of the Mekong and Khan rivers and surrounding mountain ranges. Experience a delectable family style lunch at local restaurant, Khai Phaen, named after a popular Laotian snack that is unique to Luang Prabang. The restaurant focuses on vocational training with all profits re-invested in the trainees and their supporting social programs, enabling them to become skilled, productive professionals with a more secure future. During your free time, discover the secret alleyways and hidden gems as you explore Luang Prabang at will. Hear stories of the rural lifestyle of the local people as you travel to visit Wat Xiengthong. Known as the the Temple of the Golden City, it remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art for the locals. Your adventure culminates with a private sunset cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Witness the vibrancy of daily life along its banks and enjoy a cool drink as you toast your newfound friends.(Breakfast / Lunch with Wine)
Day 16
Depart Luang Prabang.
Your journey draws to a close after breakfast, with private airport transfers timed to meet your onward flight.(Breakfast)
  • Siem Reap: Join your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers for your Welcome Dinner at Mahob, set in a traditional Khmer wooden house you will enjoy delicacies created from locally produced ingredients.
  • Ho Chi Minh: Learn about local street-side cafe culture and gain an appreciation as you enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
  • Mekong Delta: Enjoy freshly-made Mekong delta specialties for lunch.
  • Hue: Join your fellow travellers and sit down to a delicious meal, accompanied with wine, at a local restaurant.
  • Hoi An: For a Your Choice Evening, choose from one of three hand-selected restaurants, each specialising in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion.
  • Hoi An: Meet a local chef who will lead a hands-on cooking class and teach you how to create some of the local specialities that you will enjoy for your Highlight Lunch.
  • Hanoi: Join a passionate foodie on a walking tour to some of the city’s most interesting areas and experience the vibrancy of Hanoi's street-food culture. Taste local treats, such as rice paper rolls, pho bo which is beef noodle soup and com cake.
  • Luang Prabang: Join your fellow travellers at Khai Phaen for a family style lunch. This is a local vocational training restaurant that reinvests all profits back into the trainees and their supporting social programs, to assist them in becoming skilled, productive professionals with a more secure future.
  • Dining Summary: 15 Breakfasts (B), 5 Lunches (L), 1 Lunch with Wine (LW), 3 Dinners (D) and 6 Dinners with Wine (DW).
  • Siem Reap: More than just a circus, the Phare Circus is transforming the lives of disadvantaged young Cambodian performers through theatre, music, dance and modern circus acts. See them in action, as they tell unique stories of Cambodia on a dazzling stage. After the show, meet one of the performers to hear how their lives have changed since joining the circus.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Experience the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, as you visit its most iconic attractions including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Office.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Join a Viet Cong veteran to visit the underground Củ Chi tunnels and learn about their experience.
  • Mekong Delta: Enjoy a private Mekong River Cruise and learn about coconut processing.
  • Mekong Delta: Enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle through tropical surroundings and learn about how rice noodles are produced.
  • Hue: Cycle through rice fields to Phu Mong village and see traditional garden houses.
  • Hue: Visit the Imperial tomb of Emperor Minh Mang.
  • Hoi An: Explore the traditional old town see the Japanese covered bridge, fruit and vegetable market and look out for the coloured lanterns.
  • Hoi An: Ride a traditional bamboo basket boat to Thanh Dong village and learn about the village's traditional way of life.
  • Hanoi: Ride an electric cart and see the main sights of Hanoi including the Opera House.
  • Halong Bay: Enjoy an overnight cruise in the famous Halong Bay with amazing views from your boutique luxury junk boat.
  • Halong Bay: Visit the spectacular Tien Ong cave and explore the Cua Van area.
  • Luang Prabang: Participate in an age-old Buddhist tradition, by offering alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks.
  • Luang Prabang: Uncover the highlights and secret gems of Luang Prabang with your Local Expert during a walk through this UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the fusion of traditional architecture with the colonial styles of the 19th and 20th centuries, as you wander through the alleyways to witness local life. Also learn about the treasures and traditions of the area.
  • Luang Prabang: Take a walk to the top of Mount Phousi for the most spectacular views over the Meekong and Khan rivers.
  • Luang Prabang: Join a sunset cruise on the Mekong, observing rural life along the tree-lined banks of the river. Enjoy a chilled drink and take brilliant photos of the sunset over the river.
  • Angkor Wat: Explore Angkor Archaeological Park accompanied by a renowned archaeologist. Begin with Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm, the temple is a perfect example of how nature crept in and reclaimed its land after the fall of the Angkorian empires. Enjoy sunset over Angkor Wat, it is easy to see why it has become the symbol of Cambodia and took 30 years to build.
  • Mekong Delta: Meet Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who survived four years fighting the deadly Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, at his home and see how he and his wife earn a living making rice paper.
  • Hue: Enjoy a private, VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to other travellers. Learn about its traditional architecture and history from a renowned historian.
  • Hue: Meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy and learn what it takes to become a practitioner of this standard. See a performance showcasing different martial arts techniques.
  • Hanoi: Meet a renowned scholar at the Temple of Literature and learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture, before touring the temple grounds.
Start Date: 2021-10-08
End Date: 2021-10-23
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