*Bangkok/Hanoi, Hanoi/Hué, Danang/Saigon, Saigon/Siem Reap, Siem Reap/Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang/Myanmar, Yangon/Heho, Heho/Yangon, Yangon/Bangkok
Relax and enjoy the exemplary service aboard your chosen airline jetliner as you wing your way across the Pacific bound for the exciting city of Bangkok.
The innate friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people await your arrival. This storied city of brilliantly colored temples, jewel-bedecked dancers and joyous children splashing in canals will weave its sensuous magic about you. Your private escort who will greet and accompany you to your hotel meets your late evening arrival.
Golden-tiled roofs glowing in the morning sun draw you to riverside to join with your private guide aboard a motorized longboat that will whisk you to the klongs (canals) interlaced within the backwaters that surround the city. Stilted houses dot the banks of the shoreline, with children playing in the waters, passing sampans filled with produce en route to market make the journey a photographer’s delight. Disembark nearby the Thai Royal Palace to visit the exquisite temple of the emerald Buddha. Stroll the grounds comparing the unique and varied styles of architecture, distinguishing between the Thai, Burmese and Cambodian influences. Return to your hotel for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure, and to find pleasure in some of the offerings among a fine selection of amenities. (B)
Having enjoyed the beauty and glorious surroundings found in Bangkok, it is time to wing your way high above the jungle carpet to Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Founded some 4,000 years ago by the Hung Kings, it shares borders with Cambodia, China, and Laos and claims a magnificent shoreline stretching some 2,000 miles. Your private guide who will accompany you for lunch at a popular local restaurant meets your noontime arrival. Thereafter, visit the Temple of Literature; enjoy a cyclo ride through Old Town, a visit to Ngoc Son Temple, and the Hanoi Hilton, where captured Americans were held during the time of conflict. End your day with a performance of water puppets at the Thang Long Theatre. (B/L)
This morning, begin your tour with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his former private residence, the One-Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, all encased within the center of the city. Upon completing your visits, your private guide will accompany you for a leisurely lunch at one of the more popular restaurants within the city. Thereafter, drive across countryside to Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful settings in all of Vietnam. The Bay covers some 930 square miles and is dotted with a myriad of over 3,000 islands. Upon arrival, you will have the remainder of the evening at leisure; perhaps to walk along the sidewalks and pathways found aside the shoreline. (B/L/D)
Begin your day by private charter aside the hundreds of isles and monoliths that comprise one of the most beautiful settings within Vietnam. Shades of emerald from grass and vine, tethered to stately monoliths project their sunlit glow across the placid waters of this peaceful bay. Artists both young and old have tried to capture on canvas or in prose the dynamic and sensual beauty of this region. It will be for you to capture its beauty either in memory or photograph when you cruise the waters of this spectacular bay. Enjoy lunch aboard your vessel prior to joining with your private driver and guide for a return to Hanoi. (B/L)
A morning stroll among the local residents who enjoy their sidewalk exercise completes your visit to Hanoi. Fly to the city of Hué, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all cities within Vietnam. Upon arrival, enjoy a leisurely lunch at a popular local restaurant prior to a drive across the countryside to the Kai Dinh Tomb, one of the more elaborate tombs among Vietnam’s former emperors. Stop by villages, where conical hats, incense sticks and duck raising are their means of livelihood, and lastly, visit the open-air market, where one can find some rather unique and amazing choices. (B/L)
Board your private boat to cruise the Huong Giang (Perfume) River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, perhaps the most famous in all of Vietnam. Continue to the Ming Manh Tomb. Completed in 1843, its design has elaborate bridges that link the various ceremonial halls, each surrounded by the magnificence of a landscaped natural setting. Enjoy a relaxing lunch in the town and thereafter, visit the expansive Citadel, known as the Forbidden City of Vietnam. It is the site of the fierce battle during the TET offensive of 1968. Return to your accommodation to enjoy an evening at leisure. (B/L)
A morning drive takes you south along the coastal highway across three mountain passes as you view the South China Sea, making your way to the town of Da Nang, where you will visit Marble Mountains. Set along the South China Sea, they depict the harmony between mountain and sea, forming a splendid display of natural color. The staircase leading to the inner caves is your gateway to viewing a temple set within the center of the cave, with sunlight glowing downward from a natural skylight formed at the mountain top. Thereafter, visit the Champa Museum, where you will find an impressive display of statuary dedicated to the former Champa people who held vast territories within the Champa Kingdom. Enjoy lunch within the town followed by the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. (B/L)
Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast, followed by entry into the small town of Hoi An to enjoy a walking tour discovering its history as an international seaport generations ago. The town has become a popular tourist attraction with local artisans busy at work in their craft shops found along the narrow lanes that dot the landscape. Visit the Tan Ky old clan house, the 400-year-old Japanese bridge and the Fukien Assembly Hall. Your morning ends with lunch within the town, and thereafter a return to the hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure, perhaps to enjoy some of the fine amenities offered at the resort. (B/L)
Fly to Saigon, a city like no other, which welcomes you to partake in all of its offerings, be they a beautiful temple in Cholon, a stroll through the city or simply the purchase of a silk garment as a memento of your visit. Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxing lunch within the city before the start of your tour. Your exploration of the city begins with a visit to Reunification Palace, which was the accommodation for heads of State, a visit to the site of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the colonial-styled architecture of the inner plaza and dockside, where the never-ending movement of boats ply the waters of the Saigon River, moving both passenger and merchandise to market. Drive to Cholon for a visit to its enormous market prior to arrival at your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Join with your private boatman and guide as you embark on a daylong excursion to Ben Tre province, famous for its coconut plantations and peaceful waterways. Upon arrival, enjoy a “Xe Loi” (cyclo) ride through the local village of Huu Dinh, followed by a private boat cruise through the small canals of the delta waterway. En route, stop at a village brick kiln and thereafter, switch to a private sampan taking you through the narrow backwaters of the delta to the home of a private family. If you choose, you can bicycle from their home to another part of the village where handcrafted sampans are produced. Enjoy a five-course lunch at a specialty restaurant within the village before embarking on your private watercraft to return to Ben Tre city. There you will board your private vehicle and return back to Saigon. Your visit to the Mekong complete, enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and at mid-morning depart for the airport to join your noontime flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, site for the magnificence of Angkor. Upon arrival, your private driver and guide will accompany you to enjoy lunch within the town. Thereafter, join with your private driver and guide to begin your exploration of these spectacular ruins with a visit to the south gate at Angkor Thom, the site of Bayon, the Royal Enclosure, Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Return to your accommodation, perhaps to visit the town enjoying the night market and the colorful array of local kiosks and restaurants within the town. (B)
Begin your day with a private boat excursion along the waters of Tonle Sap Lake and the many floating villages that dot the waters landscape. It is a pleasurable journey to a very unique setting. Return for lunch within the town prior to a continuation of your touring of Angkor, beginning with a visit to the Bakan tower at Angkor Wat temple. Travel deeper into the forest for a visit to perhaps the most spectacular ruins at Ta Phrom, a photographer’s delight with much of the grounds encased in rooted Banyans, which have overgrown the many walls and foundations on site. It is a remarkable temple ruins, one not to be missed and surely not forgotten. Return to your accommodation to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B, L)
Complete your visit to Angkor with a visit to Les Les Artisans D’Angkor where master craftsmen teach the young the art of sculpting and craft design. Many of their creations are beautifully adorned and can make for excellent choices as a memento of your holiday. Thereafter, join your onward flight to Luang Prabang. (B)
Begin your tour with a visit to the colorful Royal Palace, built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Thereafter, board your private launch for a journey to the Buddha caves at Pak Ou. While traveling on the Mekong, you will have the opportunity to stop at a village to see a generations-old rice-making mill and stroll through the grounds to see how villagers live their lives along the banks of the Mekong. (B, L)
Your last morning in Luang Prabang offers a reward for the early riser who ventures to the river bank to witness lines of saffron clothed monks in stately procession as they walk along the narrow lanes of the town to receive daily offerings from the local residents who consider it their duty and their pleasure to present the monks with offerings of food. A visit to the silver market completes your stay at Luang Prabang. Board your flight to Yangon, capital city of Myanmar (Burma), “Land of Pagodas” and one of the world’s least traveled countries. The warm welcome given visiting tourists by the Burmese people adds to the charm and enjoyment of your stay. (B)
Following breakfast, join with your private guide and driver to visit the Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years. From there visits will be made to the reclining Buddha, Karaweik Hall, Royal Lake and Bogyoke market to find the greatest array of goods within Myanmar. A special treat is in store upon visiting one of the most sacred shrines within the country, the Shwedagon Pagoda, considered by many to be the most impressive pagoda in the world. Its main spire rises to a height of 396 feet and is adorned with thousands of semi-precious stones, all surrounded by multi-layers of gold leaf. (B/L)
A morning flight wings you to Heho in Upper-Burma to meet your waiting guide for transport across the pine-scented woodlands to reach what once was a favorite hill station retreat for British administrative officials, located on the rim of the Shan Plateau. En route, stop at a farming village where Pa-O and Shan people live working the soil as their livelihood. Nearby, visit a small cave where Buddhist devotees have placed numerous Buddhist statues. After lunch within the town, enjoy a walking tour through this peaceful setting with the atmosphere so very reminiscent of the colonial era. Nowadays the town is a market center for ethnic minorities that reach here from the hillsides to gather necessities. (B/L)
Completing an early breakfast, drive to the Magwe elephant camp. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the camp’s team who will inform you about the project of rescuing elephants from their former life of hauling timber within the forests. Within the camp, you will observe how the mahouts and their families live while caring for the elephants. You will have a chance to both feed and bathe the elephants by riverside. (B/L)
This morning’s drive takes you across the countryside to the embarkation point at Nyuang Shwe to board your private boat whisking you across the lake to the site of your accommodation. En route you will see the famous Inthar leg rowers, who wrap their lower leg around the paddle as they search the waters for their favorite fishing sites. Passing the floating gardens at Inle, you will visit the Phaungdaw OO Pagoda, dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery, and the weaving village of Inpawkhon (B/L)
Board your private launch taking you to the western shore of the lake where you will disembark and begin the stair path lined with hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens to the top of the hillside and the Indein Pagoda complex. Continue on foot to a nearby village where the residents continue to grow their crops in generations-old fashion. Walking past the many fields of rice and flowing creeks, arrive at the village of Sae Ma and onward to Tha Le. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants prior to returning to your resort. (B/L)
Return by boat to Nyuang Shwe for transport to Heho for you return flight to Yangon. You will have the use of your private vehicle; time permitting, for additional sightseeing prior to boarding your connecting flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival, enjoy an evening and overnight at the Novotel Bangkok Airport Hotel. (B)
All too soon you passage throughout Southeast Asia has come to an end and it is time to board your flight homeward carrying with you some marvelous memories that will be rekindled again and again over a lifetime.
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