Indochina Overland Tour Vietnam to Laos 17days
Travel Style: Indochina & Southeast Asia Caravan Tours
Itinerary: Saigon-Buon Ma Thuot – Pleiku – Danang – Hue – Dong Ha – Lao Bao – Savannakhet – Pakse – Khong Island – Vientiane – Luang Prabang
Arrival in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Saigon.
Full day sightseeing in Saigon and Cholon (Chinatown). Saigon is the largest of Vietnamese cities, with the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life visible everywhere. There are street markets, sidewalk cafes and sleek new bars. The city churns and bubbles. Yet within this teeming metropolis are 300 years of timeless traditions and the beauty of an ancient culture. To the west of the city is District 5, the huge Chinese neighborhood called Cholon, which means ‘Big Market’. Highlights: NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL: built between 1877 and 1883 and set in the heart of Saigon’s government quarter. It has a neo-Romanesque form and two high square towers, tipped with iron spires. In front of the cathedral is a statue of the Virgin Mary. CENTRAL POST OFFICE: a French-style building with a glass canopy and iron frame, situated next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The structure was built between 1886 and 1891 and is by far the largest post office in Vietnam. CITY HALL: completed in 1908, also known as â€œHotel de Villeâ€, and located at the northern end of Nguyen Hue Boulevard. With its ornate gingerbread faÃ§ade, it looks like the town hall of a French town. (May be viewed from the outside only). OPERA HOUSE: built around the turn of the century and first renovated in the 1940s, the building housed the lower division of the National Assembly. Today it is a Municipal Theatre and also known as the Saigon Concert Hall. (May be viewed from the outside only). JADE EMPEROR PAGODA: was a key meeting place for Chinese secret societies. It has very colorful and mysterious ambience. REUNIFICATION PALACE: this was the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president and was stormed by tanks on 30 April 1975, signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state. WAR REMNANTS MUSEUM: collections of weapons and photographs from two Indochina wars are exhibited along with the original French ‘Guillotine’ brought here in the early 20th century. BEN THANH MARKET: the central market of Saigon, its surrounding streets make up one of the city’s liveliest areas. Everything commonly eaten, worn or used by the average resident of Saigon is available here. GIAC LAM PAGODA: the oldest pagoda in Saigon, built at the end of the 17th century. Because the last reconstruction here was in 1900, the architecture, layout and ornamentation remain almost unaltered by the modernist renovations that have transformed so many other religious structures in Vietnam. Ten monks live in this pagoda, which also incorporates aspects of Taoism and Confucianism. BINH TAY MARKET: Cholon’s main marketplace, much of the business conducted here is wholesale. THIEN HAU PAGODA: built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century. The pagoda is one of the most active in Cholon and is dedicated to Thien Hau. It is said that she can travel over the oceans on a mat and ride the clouds to wherever she pleases. Overnight in Saigon. (B)
Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels and Tay Ninh. CU CHI TUNNELS: Cu Chi was an important base during the American War, because of its strategic location. The Vietcong built a 200km long network of tunnels connecting command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Dug out of hard laterite by hand tools without the use of cement, this amazing network was never discovered. TAY NINH: this town serves as the headquarters of one of Vietnam’s religions, Caodism. The Caodai Great Temple at the sect’s Holy See is one of the most striking structures in all of Asia and was built between 1933 and 1955. The area’s dominant geographic feature is Nui Ba Den (Black Lady Mountain), which towers 850m above the surrounding plains. Please note that shortly before and during the annual TET festival (Vietnamese New Year) the daily ceremony of the priests in Tay Ninh may be cancelled without prior notice. Overnight in Saigon. (B)
By vehicle from Saigon to Buon Ma Thuot. Journey along through the provinces of Song Be and Dac Lac via Chon Thanh and Dong Xoai. Sightseeing Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of Dac Lac Province and the largest town in the western highlands. The region’s main crop is coffee which is grown on plantations run by German managers. ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM:there are 31 distinct ethnic groups in Dac Lac Province and the museum is a good place to get an understanding of these disparate groups. Displays feature traditional Montagnard dress, as well as agricultural implemets, fishing gear and musical instruments.
REVOLUTION MUSEUM: this area saw a lot of fighting during the American War. VICTORY MUSEUM: located in the central square of town it commemorates the events of 10 March 1975, when VC and North Vietnamese troops ‘liberated’ the city. It was this battle that triggered the complete fall of South Vietnam. Overnight in Buon Ma Thuot. (B)
By vehicle from Buon Ma Thuot to Pleiku. Journey north along Highway 14 onto the Kontum Plateau and past Phu Nhon. Overnight in Pleiku. (B)
Sightseeing in Pleiku, a major market town in the western highlands, where many members of the Jarai minority reside. The Jarai are most famous for their unusual cemeteries, with carved wooden totems representing the deceased. Highlights: HO CHI MINH MUSEUM: a museum in the highlands honoring Ho Chi Minh. SEA LAKE: a deep mountain lake just north of Pleiku. It is believed to have been formed from a prehistoric volcanic crater. Both the lake and surrounding area boast beautiful scenery. YALY FALLS: once the largest waterfall in the central highlands, it looks its best during the heavy rains. Transfer to the airport. Flight from Pleiku to Danang. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Danang. (B)
By vehicle from Danang to Hue. Journey north along Highway 1 over the Hai Van Pass and past Phu Loc and Phu Bai. HAI VAN PASS: the pass crosses over a spur of the Truong Son Mountain Range that just into the South China Sea. It is an incredible mountainous stretch of highway with spectacular views. Sightseeing Old Imperial City located in the Citadel, it was built in the early 19th century and modeled after the Forbidden City in Peking. There are numerous palaces and temples within these walls, as well as towers, a library and a museum. Other Highlights: NGO MON GATE: the principal entrance to the Imperial Enclosure, facing the Flag Tower. The central passageway with its yellow doors was reserved for use by the emperor, as was the bridge across the lotus pond. THAI HOA PALACE: built in 1803 and moved to its present site in 1833, Thai Hoa Palace is a spacious hall with an ornate roof of huge timbers supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. HALLS OF THE MANDARINS: these buildings, in which the mandarins prepared for court ceremonies held in the Can Chanh Reception Hall, were restored in 1977. NINE DYNASTIC URNS: these were cast in 1835-36. Traditional ornamentation was then chiseled into the sides of the urns, each dedicated to a different Nguyen sovereign. FORBIDDEN PURPLE CITY: this was reserved for the personal use of the emperor. The only servants allowed into the compound were eunuchs, who would pose no threat to the royal concubines. (Today the site is in ruins). Overnight in Hue. (B)
Sightseeing Thien Mu Pagoda and Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang with boat trip. THIEN MU PAGODA: just outside of Hue, on the bank of the Perfume River, this was a hotbed of anti-government protest during the early 1960s. Behind the main sanctuary of the pagoda is the Austin motorcar which transported the monk Thich Quang Duc to the site of his 1963 self-immolation. TOMB OF EMPEROR MINH MANG: a complex built in 1840 by King Minh Mang, known for its magnificent architecture, military statuaries and elaborate decorations. It is perhaps the most beautiful of Hue’s pagodas and tombs.By vehicle from Hue to Dong Ha. Journey north west along Highway 1 past Huong Dien and Quang Tri. QUANG TRI: the town was once an important citadel city. During the war it was heavily bombed and not many of the original buildings of the time are left. Overnight in Dong Ha. (B)
By vehicle from Dong Ha to Lao Bao (Vietnam / Laos border). Journey west in Quang Tri Province towards the Lao border. KHE SANH: site of the most famous siege of the American War in Vietnam. Khe Sanh sits on a barren plateau surrounded by vegetation-covered hills often obscured by mist and fog. Arrival in Lao Bao (border Laos / Vietnam). By vehicle from Lao Bao to Savannakhet. Overnight in Savannakhet. (B)
Sightseeing in Savannakhet, the provincial capital, just across the Mekong River from Mukdahan, Thailand, it has become a major point of trade and a lumber centre. Savannakhet has a number of French colonial and Franco-Chinese buildings mainly in the small business district. Highlights: TALAAT SAVAN XAI: a new market area visited by a fascinating variety of people. WAT SAINYAPHUM: largest and oldest (1896) wat in Savannakhet with a large secondary school for monks on its grounds. WAT LATTANALANGSI: was built in 1951 and today houses the monksâ€™ primary school. The sim is unique as it has glass windows. There is also a shelter containing a 15m reclining Buddha backed by paintings telling Buddha’s life story. DINOSAUR MUSEUM: various exhibits from dinosaurs found in the region around Sepon. THAT ING HANG: built in the mid-16th century, the 25m high stupa is the second holiest religious edifice in southern Laos after Wat Phu Champasak. By vehicle from Savannakhet to Pakse. Journey south through Savannakhet and Salavan provinces passing Ban Nakala, Muang Khongxedon and Ban Nongphang. Overnight in Pakse. (B)
Excursion to the Bolaven Plateau located in the north-east of Champasak Province, this fertile plateau is today an important coffee growing area of both arabica and robusta coffee beans. The workers on the coffee plantations tend to come from the Laven tribe, one of the largest ethnic groups native to the plateau. KATU & ALAK VILLAGES: these upland Lao villages can be visited along the road between Pakse and Paksong on the western edge of the plateau. The Katu and the Alak are distinctive for the face tattoos of their women, a custom that is slowly dying out. Overnight in Pakse. (B)
By vehicle from Pakse via Wat Phu Temple to Khong Island. Journey south in Champasak Province along the east bank of the Mekong River through the villages of Ban Nongsim, Ban Hangdon and Kheo. CHAMPASAK DISTRICT: small district of 38,000 people on the western bank of the Mekong River. The Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phu Champasak lie 8km south of the town. SI PHAN DON (FOUR THOUSAND ISLANDS): during the rainy season this 50km-long section of the Mekong River just north of the Cambodian border reaches a width of 14km (the widest it ever reaches). During the dry months the river recedes and leaves behind thousands of islands and islets. WAT PHU CHAMPASAK: this Khmer temple site is spread over the lower slopes of Phu Pasak and its name means ‘Mountain Temple’. The surviving structures date from as early as the Chenla Kingdom (6th to 8th centuries). Overnight in Khong Island. (B)
Excursion to Don Khon and Khon Phapheng Waterfalls. DON DET ISLAND & DON KHON ISLAND: near the Cambodian border south of Don Khong Island â€“ the islands are connected by a former railway bridge (the railway stopped operating 1945). The larger island Don Det is famous throughout Laos for the cultivation of coconut, bamboo and kapok. BAN KHON VILLAGE: main village on Don Khon Island with several old French villas. TAAT SOMPHAMIT (LI PHI FALLS): raging set of rapids at the western end of Don Khon Island. IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS (Orcaella brevirostris): reach around 2.5m in length and swim in small pods of two to three individuals. Their bulging foreheads give them a resemblance to the much larger beluga whale. The dolphins are an endangered species found in this southern Mekong region and only about a hundred dolphins are thought to survive. The best times of day to see them are early morning and late afternoon. KHON PHAPHENG FALLS: south of Don Khong Island the Mekong River features a 13km stretch of powerful rapids with several sets of cascades. The largest, Khon Phapheng, flows close to the eastern shore of the Mekong River near the village of Ban Thakho. By vehicle from Khong Island to Pakse. Journey north through Champasak Province along the east bank of the Mekong River through the villages of Kheo, Ban Hangdon and Ban Nongsim. CHAMPASAK DISTRICT: small district of 38,000 people on the western bank of the Mekong River. The Angkor-period ruins of Wat Phou Champasak lie 8km south of the town. SI PHAN DON (FOUR THOUSAND ISLANDS): during the rainy season this 50km-long section of the Mekong River just north of the Cambodian border reaches a width of 14km (the widest it gets). During the dry months the river recedes and leaves behind thousands of islands and islets. Overnight in Pakse. (B)
Transfer to the airport. Flight from Pakse to Vientiane. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Vientiane. (B)
Transfer to the airport. Flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. Transfer to the hotel. Sightseeing in Luang Prabang, the ancient capital city of the Lan Xang Kingdom, is famous for its historic temples and beautiful setting surrounded by mountains. In 1995 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights: WAT XIENG THONG: built in 1560 and situated on the banks of the Mekong River, it is the most beautiful monastery in Luang Prabang and shows the typical Lao art style with old religious artifacts and some ancient masterpieces of Lao art. WAT WISUNALAT (Vat Visoun): built in 1513 during the reign of Chao Wisunalat, it is the oldest operating temple in Luang Prabang with a collection of gilded wooden Buddhas from the 15th and 16th centuries. WAT MAI: constructed in 1821 during the reign of King Manthatourath, it was once the residence of Phra Sangkharaj (the Patriarch of the Buddhist clergy). WAT THAT LUANG: the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are interred inside the large central stupa, which was erected in 1910. The inside of the huge sim dating back to 1820 contains a few Luang Prabang Buddhas and other artifacts. WAT SAEN: Thai style wat built in 1718 and restored in 1957. The abbot Ajannn Khamjan who was ordained here in 1940 is one of the most revered monks in Luang Prabang and perhaps in all of Laos. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B)
Excursion by boat from Luang Prabang to Pak Ou Caves, these are two caves (Tham Thing â€“ lower cave and Tham Phum) located in the steep rock cliff at the confluence of the Mekong River and Ou River. They are full of Buddha images of varying styles, ages and sizes. BAN XANG HAI: located near the Pak Ou Caves, this village was once a ‘Jar-Maker Village’ and nowadays the community fill the jars (which come from elsewhere) with lÃ¡o-lÃ¡o, the local rice whisky. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B)
Continue the sightseeing in Luang Prabang. NATIONAL MUSEUM: located on the banks of the Mekong River, it was constructed as Royal Palace between 1904 and 1909 and today houses the Royal throne of the Lan Xang Kingdom and many other pieces of regalia and religious treasures. PHU SI: the temples on the upper slopes of the 100m-high Phu Si were constructed recently, but it is likely that previously there were other temples on this important hill. From the top there is an excellent view of the town. Visit That Luang Market, tThe most interesting fresh food market. Transfer to the airport – End of services. (B)
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.
+ Accommodation: twin sharing room at mentioned hotels or similar one
+ English or French speaking guide
+ Entrance fee to indicated sights
+ Meals as indicated : B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
+ Water puppet show
+ Cyclo trip
+ Boat trip in mention in program.
+ Train ticket mention in program
+ Airport tax
+ Single room supplement
+ Personal expenses
+ Travel insurance
+ Flight in / out of Southeast Asia
+ Any optional additional tours
+ Activities during free time
+ Surcharge for peak season
+ Local holiday days and gala dinner.
+ Domestic flight in (Southeast Asia)mention in program
Note: Hotels are subject to change due to availability. In that case we will choose equivalent accommodation
Meals: if you have any specific food requirements ( vegetarian, vegan, food allergies) please inform us in advance so that we can provide notice to our restaurant, tour guide, our partners so that they can server you better. If you are a food lover, Travelo Vietnam can be your culinary guide and provide you opportunity to savor tempting local food and world famous – dishes.
We can tailor make a tour that will best match your budget – the guide below serves as a reference point for you to decide how much to spend on this trip.
LOWER BUDGET THAN THIS?
Budget lower than $(this price) in per person?
We surely can help
As our price is set according to the length of itinerary and the detailed program given, we can make changes in this tour to help you keep your budget.
Below are some possible changes to make your tour fit better in your budget
we can customize this tour with shorter duration
some activities and tours can be in a group and non-private.
We can look into lower budget hotel for you without compromising the quality.
We can change the itinerary that fits your expectation and budget requirement.
How our prices work:
ABOUT $(This Price) in PER PERSON
How our prices work:
HIGHER BUDGET THAN THIS?
Budget higher than $(This Price) in per person?
Vietnam and Indochina has the utmost luxury hotels and other tour facilities to cater to your budget. For a budget higher than the one stated, we can make some of the following modification to your program based on your request.
Flights in Business or First Class flight (compared with Economy flight).
More luxury hotels/cruises or more luxury rooms in the same hotel/cruise. Standards of accommodation.
Longer stay at certain city based on your request.
Extra service or extra meals.
If you want to stay longer…
There are so many ways to extend your time in Vietnam and Indochina. Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave!
Make extra trip to Phu Quoc or Con Dao, two of our most beautiful islands. Etc…
Stay longer on your cruise trip to Halong Bay. Etc…
Stay extra days and relax at beachside resort. Etc…
Spend more time visiting northern mountain province.
How our prices work:
Don’t see the date for this tour to suit your schedule? No problems, Create Your Own Date. Choose the dates that you want to travel and as long as you happy to open the tour to other people joining we will charge you the standard tour price – no markups!
- You must have booked and paid your deposit for travel dates that are at least 1 to 3 months in the future. This just gives us time to promote the trip and find other people to join you.
- Create Your Own Date for this tour applies for bookings of two or more people only. If you are a solo traveller we can do our best to get a group for the dates you choose but we cannot guarantee standard pricing until we achieve a minimum of 2 people.
- This offer is subject to availability. In peak season we may not have the capability to add tour dates to our already busy schedule..
Artfully Designed Set Departures
Our Small Group Trips to Asia are set departures that you join in. Our superb itineraries combine world-famous highlights with hidden jewels. If you enjoy the company of like-minded travelers, and a maximum of 15 travelers (usually fewer), we offer the definitive small group travel in Asia and the Pacific.
Our Small Group Trips to Asia Feature:
Join-in scheduled departures
A set itinerary, artfully conceived down to the finest detail
The best, most sought-after Tour Leaders in our region of the world—university-educated professionals and experts with local connections
Luxury and boutique hotels wherever possible
A maximum of 15 travelers—usually fewer—for an intimate experience
Single travelers warmly welcomed
Most meals, delicious cuisine
Comprehensive inclusions and insurance
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