16 Day Gems of Southeast Asia - Thursday Departure

16 Day Gems of Southeast Asia - Thursday Departure


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Overview

Dates & Prices

*Please Note: This vacation includes an internal air component which will not be discounted from the listed price below.
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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for Cambodia
Depart for Cambodia

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Phnom Penh
Arrive in Phnom Penh on the banks of the fabled Mekong River, one of the loveliest cities built by the French in Indochina. This capital of Cambodia is a beautiful blend of glittering temples and graceful colonial buildings. Arrive at your hotel with time to rest after your journey and acclimate to the new time zone
Overnight: Phnom Penh

DAY 3, Saturday - Explore Royal Palace Complex & National Museum
Today, begin your exploration of Phnom Penh at the Royal Palace complex, a compound of Khmer-style structures with gilded spires. These ornate buildings have served as the royal residence of the kings of Cambodia since the 1860s. Within these walls, see the glittering Silver Pagoda with its floor of over 5,000 silver tiles. Next, visit the National Museum, a masterpiece of Khmer architectural glory, home to over 14,000 historical items, including Khmer art, ceramics, and archaeological treasures. End the tour at the sobering site of the Killing Fields. The memorial here is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the late 1970s during the vicious Khmer Rouge regime. Early in the afternoon, meet a local cultural historian for an informative discussion about the country's heritage and its very resilient population. Afterward, enjoy a Welcome Drink and orientation meeting with your Tour Manager on the exciting journey that lies ahead, followed by dinner together at a traditional Cambodian restaurant
Overnight: Phnom Penh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Sunday - Fly to Siem Reap and Enjoy Dinner & Cultural Performance
Today fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor temples. Arrive at your hotel and get ready for lunch at a local restaurant. This evening, savor dinner while being entertained by female dancers performing the ancient art of Apsara dancing, a classical style of dance dating back to Angkorian era - their superb dancing has been known to mesmerize and transfix
Overnight: Siem Reap
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Monday - Discover Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom
Today, you'll understand why the architectural masterpieces of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat are designated as one of the "Seven Wonders of the World." This sprawling city, built by Khmer Kings, was once home to more than one million people at the height of the empire. On the tour to the fortified city of Angkor Thom, visit the Elephants Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King, all adorned with dramatic bas-reliefs. Continue to the mysterious Bayon Temple, a highlight of Angkor Thom, replete with beautifully preserved bas-reliefs and more than 172 giant smiling stone faces. On to the monuments of Ta Keo, Prasat Kravan, and Srah Srang before arriving at Ta Prohm, where the jungle was left untouched, as it appeared to European explorers. The highpoint of the day is the visit to stunning Angkor Wat, a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. World-famous for its beauty and splendor, Angkor Wat has the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the entire outer gallery walls, narrating stories from Hindu mythology. Return to the hotel for the rest of the day at leisure
Overnight: Siem Reap
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6, Tuesday - Ox Cart Ride With Tonle Sap Cruise, Fly to Bangkok
Morning drive along the rolling hills, stopping for a ride on an ox-cart, a vehicle still being used today by local farmers. Arrive at Tonle Sap Lake in the heart of Cambodia, with its rich and diverse ecosystem. Embark on a serene boat excursion - observe the local life unfolding and the floating fishing villages that dot the shoreline. After lunch, on to the Les Artisan d'Angkor, a school for training students in local handicrafts such as silk painting, wood carving, and lacquering. Continue to the airport for the flight to Bangkok, Thailand's bustling capital
Overnight: Bangkok
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Wednesday - Visit Flower Market, Grand Palace & Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Awake this morning in exotic Bangkok, a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. Stop at a fragrant and colorful flower market to see the magnificent array of fresh flowers and learn about the important local flower trade. Onward to the elaborate Grand Palace, the glittering centerpiece of the city, a sprawling complex of temples, halls, and pavilions built around immaculate lawns and gardens. Its main attraction is Wat Phra Kaew, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Visit a gem factory to watch while the gem stones are cut and set before lunch at a local restaurant. Continue on a visit to serene Wat Po, the oldest and largest temple in the city, with its astonishing giant Reclining Buddha, over 150 feet long and almost 49 feet high. Tonight, an optional Thai Dinner, Classical Dance & Cabaret Show, featuring some of Bangkok's most famous "lady-boys"
Optional: Thai Dinner & Cabaret Show
Overnight: Bangkok
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Thursday - Explore Ayutthaya and Visit Royal Summer Palace
Morning cruise on the Chao Phraya River, the lifeblood of Bangkok. Disembark in Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai for over 400 years. Start with a visit to Bang Pa-In Palace, a collection of beautiful buildings in various architectural styles, surrounded by a lake, once the Royal Summer Palace for the Thai Kings. Ample time to explore its preserved ruins, including the impressive Ayutthaya Historical Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Wat Mahathat, in the center of the city. Here, you can see the ruins of the former capital and its remaining palaces, Phra Srisanphet, Wat Mongkolbopit, monasteries, and towers - one can envision the grandeur and splendor that was once the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Continue to the Chai Wattanaram Temple, conceived as a replica of the Angkor Temple - at this serene place one can reflect and enjoy the tranquility. Return to Bangkok for dinner and overnight
Overnight: Bangkok
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9, Friday - Fly to Luang Prabang, Laos, Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Royal Palace Museum
Morning flight from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the heart of the mountainous region of northern Laos. According to legend, Buddha smiled when he rested here during his travels and prophesized that it would one day be the site of a rich and powerful capital city. Arrive and get ready for a great adventure! Afternoon visit to the most beautiful temple Wat Xieng Thong, built by the Lao King Setthathirath in 1559-1560, located on the banks of the Mekong river. Continue to the Royal Palace Museum to learn about the monarchy that once ruled the country. End the day with an ascent to the top of Phousi Mountain to see the extraordinary panoramic views of the city. Afterward, transfer to your hotel in Luang Prabang with time to relax. This evening, participate in a special Baci Ceremony, practiced for hundreds of years, offering prayers that bestows good fortune upon you. Dinner is at the hotel
Overnight: Luang Prabang
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10, Saturday - Explore Luang Prabang, Mekong River Cruise
Luang Prabang seems totally untouched by the modern world. In the morning, take part in the sacred ancient ritual of Almsgiving. Stroll through hushed streets and offer the Alms to a meditative procession of orange-robed monks. The daily ceremony is both peaceful and spiritual and gives you a wonderful opportunity to experience this ancient Lao tradition. Then, walk through the local morning market where people are shopping for their day's food. Return to the hotel for breakfast. After, visit the handicraft village of Ban Xang Khong where the inhabitants are skilled in the arts & crafts, especially in making Saa paper made from mulberry trees. Next, take a cruise upstream to visit the Pak Ou Caves ( Buddha cave ). From these cavernous altars, you'll see hundreds of Buddha images overlooking the two rivers Mekong and Ou. Afterward, cruise down on the Mekong River while enjoying lunch. After that a unique experience – stop at a local village to learn how the local people live. At the pottery making center, watch a demonstration and try your hand at making pottery. The evening is at leisure
Overnight: Luang Prabang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Sunday - Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam
After breakfast visit one of the most impressive waterfalls - Kuangsi waterfall, where farmers get the water for their crops. Continue the drive to Ban Xang Hai, known as the "Whiskey Village", where they make rice wine from their abundant crop. During the visit, meet with villagers and sample some of their wonderful elixirs. After lunch, head to the airport for your flight to Hanoi, the cultural center of Vietnam. As soon as you arrive in this lovely city, you'll notice evidence of the French influence in the design and architecture; its history is tied to French colonialism. The remainder of the day is at leisure
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12, Monday - Travel to Halong Bay, Cruise & Visit Caves
Incredible views await you today! Drive to Halong Bay, considered one of the most breathtaking places on the planet, added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and declared recently as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World”. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, this area has over 2,000 limestone islands rising dramatically out of the emerald sea. The islands assume intriguing formations and local legends abound inspired by their shapes which have been likened to dragons, sails, or human heads. Upon arrival, board a boat and cruise on the tranquil bay. After a seafood lunch on board, visit some of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay and see amazingly varied karst formations. Return to the quay. Overnight is at your hotel in Halong Bay
Overnight: Halong Bay
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13, Tuesday - Return to Hanoi, Water Puppet Performance & Enjoy Home Hosted Dinner
Morning return drive to Hanoi. Visit the Museum of Ethnology, founded in 1997, one of the most popular museums in the country. Here, you can find a rich collection of artifacts, documents, and films depicting daily life, rituals and customs of 64 ethnic groups of Vietnam. Afterward, attend a performance of the world-famous Water Puppet Show, accompanied by a traditional Vietnamese orchestra and Cheo (a form of opera). The show depicts a series of ancient Vietnamese folktales, acted out by puppets over a pool of water. In the evening, you'll be dinner guests of a local family in their home - a wonderful opportunity to talk to Hanoians about their daily lives
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 14, Wednesday - Explore Hanoi, Private Cooking Class
The day begins at the Ho Chi Minh historic complex, which includes the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (where the late president's embalmed body is displayed), historic Ba Dinh Square, the exterior of the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts and the famous One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterward, learn the craft of Vietnamese cooking! Visit the local market with a Chef, followed by a private cooking class. You'll learn how to make popular Vietnamese dishes such as spring rolls (Nem), chicken salad, beef in banana leaves, and more. Sample and savor your personally cooked lunch. Then, it's time to try a "cyclo" ride through the busy streets of the Old Quarter. Visit one of the city's Tube Houses, a tall dwelling with narrow frontage, to see first-hand how residents once lived. Rest of the day is at leisure to discover Hanoi on your own. Tonight, perhaps try one of Hanoi's famous gourmet French restaurants
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 15, Thursday - Full Day in Hanoi
Today is at leisure in Hanoi with opportunity for sightseeing and shopping on your own. Or, join the optional tour to the Red River Delta to experience a "day in the life" of typical northern villages. Located to the west of Hanoi, the first village you visit has a history dating back over 2,000 years. Before 1945, this was once the wealthiest village in the north with many successful businesses. Today, you can still see many of the old houses and villas, over 100 years old, built before and during the colonial period. A walk through the village, followed by a visit to a local home will enrich your experience with examples of daily life and the typical structure of a village in North Vietnam. Then, on to Chuong Village, the center of conical hats, or "non la", worn by most Vietnamese. With most of the residents involved in this business, a visit to the village will be enlightening and give you an opportunity to learn about this very interesting labor intensive job. The tour includes lunch in Hanoi. Spend the rest of the day independently in Hanoi, with time to revisit some of the beautiful sights, or just walk leisurely around the lake area
Optional: Red River Delta - Typical Northern Villages
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16, Friday - Depart Vietnam
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights San Francisco-Phnom Penh, Hanoi-San Francisco
    Other departure cities available.
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • All intra-flights: Phnom Penh-Siem Reap, Siem Reap-Bangkok, Bangkok-Luang Prabang & Luang Prabang-Hanoi
  • 14 nights First Class accommodations
  • 2 nights Phnom Penh
  • 2 nights Siem Reap
  • 3 nights Bangkok
  • 2 nights Luang Prabang
  • 4 nights Hanoi
  • 1 night Halong Bay
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 31 meals: 14 breakfasts, 10 lunches & 7 dinners (including a home hosted dinner, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals. Beer included with welcome, farewell and home hosted dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Services of local guides in Cambodia & Vietnam
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

  • Tour HighlightsThanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.

  • View the impressive Silver Pagoda on the grounds of the Royal Palace complex in Phnom Penh with its floor of over 5000 shimmering silver tiles and its crystal Emerald Buddha.
  • Meet a cultural historian for a discussion on Cambodia's heritage and resilient population.
  • Stand in awe at the architectural masterpieces of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, designated as one of the "Seven Wonders of the World".
  • See the mysterious Bayon Temple, replete with over 172 giant smiling stone faces.
  • Boat excursion on Tonle Sap Lake in the heart of Cambodia.
  • Ride an ox-cart in the lush farmlands of Siem Reap.
  • Tour Bangkok's elaborate and glittering Grand Palace complex and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
  • Visit serene Wat Po, home of the astonishing giant Reclining Buddha, over 150 feet long.
  • Cruise on the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital.
  • Visit to impressive Ayutthaya Historical Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Participate in a special Baci Ceremony in Luang Prabang, with prayers to bestow good fortune.
  • Take part in the sacred ancient tradition of Alms-giving to Buddhist monks.
  • Sail on Halong Bay, one of the most breathtaking places on the planet, designated as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World".
  • In Hanoi, attend the world-famous Water Puppet Show, accompanied by a Vietnamese orchestra.
  • Ride a "cyclo" through the busy streets of the Old Quarter.
  • †Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

    *Not Included:
    Optional tours and gratuities.


    Additional Information:
    Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers, but does include intra-flights Phnom Penh-Siem Reap, Siem Reap-Bangkok, Bangkok-Luang Prabang & Luang Prabang-Hanoi.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Accommodations

    Sunway Hotel
    This first class hotel is situated nearby the 14th-century Wat Phnom Pagoda.

    Tara Angkor Hotel
    This first class hotel is situated nearby the Angkor National Museum.

    Aetas Lumpini Hotel
    This first class hotel is an eight minute walk from Lumphini Park.

    Le Palais Juliana
    This superior first class hotel is a short ride away from the Luang Prabang city center.

    The Lapis Hotel
    This first class hotel is situated in the heart of Hanoi.

    Novotel Halong Bay
    This first class hotel has magnificent views of Halong Bay.

    The Lapis Hotel
    This first class hotel is situated in the heart of Hanoi.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Questions & Answers

    Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

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    Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

    Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.


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