Start in Hanoi, where you can explore its traditional charm and Old Quarter with before heading to Halong Bay to a junk boat adventure. From there, we fly you to Laos to discover the best of this sleepy, scenic country where life runs at a slower pace than its neighbouring countries, from Luang Prabang to the South.
DAY 1 - WELCOME TO HANOI!
Your private driver and English-speaking guide will give you a warm welcome when you land in Hanoi. They will then drive you through the bustling capital to your central hotel in the Old Quarter. where you can relax and enjoy the evening at your leisure. We adore Meracus 2 – it is everything a boutique hotel should be – quirky and charming! (Junior Suite).
DAY 2 - EXPLORE HANOI LIKE A LOCAL
Begin your day observing the locals at Hoan Kiem lake as they enjoy a spot of Tai Chi before going for a traditional Vietnamese coffee and walk of the Old Quarter that will take you into all the nooks and crannies of this fascination city. Plenty of food stops along the way before visiting the “Hilton Hanoi” (Hoa Lo Prison) and ancient Temple of Literature. The day finishes with a walk along the railway tracks and glass of local brewed beer.
DAY 3 - BEGIN YOUR HALONG BAY ADVENTURE
Today you will be driven out to Halong Bay (four hours east of Hanoi) with your cruise companions. Here you will board your traditional junk and enjoy a delicious as you cruise through the emerald bay surrounded by islets. You can kayak through a small fishing village or visit on a bamboo boat before returning on board for a cookery demonstration and a slap-up dinner. We love Indochina Sails’ traditional style junks. (Standard Cabin).
DAY 4 - ENJOY A FULL DAY IN THE BAY
Rise early for Tai Chi on the sundeck if you wish before transferring to the Indochina Sails Day Boat, which will cruise to a less crowded areas of the bay for swimming, kayaking and other activities. Lunch is served on board mid-day and you will return to the main boat later in the afternoon before dinner. You can even try your hand at squid fishing off the back of the boat tonight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
DAY 5 - TRAVEL TO LUANG PRABANG, LAOS
This morning you will visit an island, where you can climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay before returning to the boat for breakfast as you motor back to the mainland. You will return to Hanoi by shuttle bus and catch the short flight to Luang Prabang, Laos, where you will check into the lovely Maison Dalabua hotel. (Deluxe room)
DAY 6 - THE HIGHLIGHTS OF LUANG PRABANG
This morning we will show you the key sites that have made Luang Prabang the cultural capital of Laos including the quaint Royal Palace Museum, the picturesque temple of Wat Visoun and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roof sweeping low to the ground. We also visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre before you enjoy the afternoon at leisure to soak up this idyllic town.
DAY 7 - MONKS AT SUNRISE & A GOURMET WATERFALL BREAKFAST
Rise early this morning and partake in the daily morning ritual of ‘Tak Bat’ or giving alms to the monks. We then drive directly to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall arriving before anyone else arrives. A luxury gourmet picnic breakfast will be served overlooking the falls, which is next to the excellent Bear Rescue Centre (well worth a look). We return to Luang Prabang by car, with the option at stopping at some minority villages. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
DAY 8 - BEGIN YOUR SOUTHERN LAOS ADVENTURES
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Pakse, which is the gateway of southern Laos. From here your private driver and guide will take you to the hilltop Buddha at Phou Salao, which offers great views over the surrounding area. After, we then drive you 45 mins to Champasak, where you will check into the beautiful River Resort which boats splendid river views and two inviting swimming pools! (Riverfront Villa).
DAY 9 - EXPLORE THE BOLAVEN PLATEAU COFFEE REGION
Today you will be taken into the Bolaven Plateau, where Loas’ delightful, rich coffee grows. Your private guide will take you to a tea plantation, followed by a visit to the nearby Tad Fane Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall as well as a stop at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colourful ethnic minority food market. Next we explore a couple of fascinating minority villages before visiting the beautiful Tad Lo Waterfall in the late afternoon sun. Overnight at River Resort.
DAY 10 - TOUR OF THE 4,000 ISLANDS
After an early morning breakfast, we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the 4,000 Islands. We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone by lunchtime, and in the afternoon explore the island by motorbike and sidecar, tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings, and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. Visit the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls before driving back to the River Resort for the night.
DAY 11 - FREE DAY
We have left today completely free so you can enjoy the beauty of your riverside hotel in South Laos and reflect on the last 10 days of culture and activity. The resort has two riverside pools so it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. We really recommend you signing up to the River Resort’s sunset cruise tonight with nibbles and wine, it will make the last night one to remember!
DAY 12 - BON VOYAGE!
Following breakfast we will drive you about one hour, to Pakse, where you can board your flight home – there are regular flights to Bangkok from Pakse. Check-out is at 12 noon so you can spend the morning relaxing at the River Resort if you have a later flight booked. Safe Travels!