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  • The UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • The Golden Pagoda at Wat Pha-That Luang, Laos
  • A floating market near Bangkok, Thailand
  • The Buddhist temple of Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Route:
Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
Days:
29
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: SEID
Price From:
US$2,510
Countries Visited:

An in-depth tour of Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, start by getting a taste of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City before crossing borders and immersing yourself in new cultures. Visit ancient, golden or modern temples, local communities and bustling cities.

What's Included

Excursions

  • Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields
  • Spider Market
  • Ride the Bamboo Railway
  • Khmer Wine Tasting
  • Guided Tour of Angkor Wat
  • Phitsanulok Orientation Walk
  • Bicycle tour of Sukhothai
  • Visit the Opium Museum & Golden Triangle
  • Visit the White Temple & Black Temple
  • Visit the Monks collecting alms
  • Countryside tuk-tuk trip in Vang Vieng
  • COPE Centre

Accommodation

27 night(s) in hotels, 1 night(s) in hotels, hostels & guesthouses

Transportation

Travel by 4 flight(s), Train, , Public Bus, Private Vehicle

Meals

25 breakfast

Staff & Experts

Tucan Travel tour leader

What's Not Included

  • Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.

Group Size

Maximum 16. Average 8-12.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Welcome to Vietnam! Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling and vibrant city that was previously the former capital of South Vietnam. It was formerly known as Saigon until the end of the Vietnam War (around 1975) and the infamous ‘Fall of Saigon” when the city was renamed after North Vietnam’s illustrious and revered leader Ho Chi Minh. Originally a small fishing village, it is now the most important economic centre in Vietnam and is the largest city in the country.

Traffic in the city is fairly hectic at the best of times but getting around is surprisingly easy by taxi although drivers may not always speak English. Bus is the only form of public transport and motorbikes rule the road; there are around 3 million motorbikes cruising around the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

If you're interested in the history of the Vietnam War make sure you visit the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Hall. If you're less of a history buff and more in the mood to haggle for a bargain, don't miss Ho Chi Minh's largest market, the Ben Thanh Market. You can buy everything from cosmetics to live ducks here. There are also numerous food stalls at this market, and at the popular night market nearby. The food in Ho Chi Minh is some of the best and most diverse in all of Vietnam so make sure you eat well during your stay. There are also many bars and clubs to spend your evening in.

Optional Excursions

War Remnants Museum – VND 15,000 • The Reunification Palace – VND 20,000

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 2 to 2 - Phu Quoc

A short flight takes us to the idyllic island of Phu Quoc. Vietnam’s largest island, located just off the coastal border of Vietnam and Cambodia, Phu Quoc offers not only some of the best seafood in the country but also kilometer upon kilometre of beautiful white sandy beaches. What better way to unwind after the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City? We also understand that not everyone wants to relax on idyllic beaches and snorkel in blue waters, so why not slip on the hiking boots and enjoy the Ganh Dau trail and listen out to the sounds of birds nearby or alternatively, take a walk through the forest to Suoi Tranh waterfalls where you can enjoy a dip to cool off.

You can also buy some pearls from the pearl farms on the western side of the island and visit a pepper farm and see the pepper plant hanging down from branches.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 3 to 4 - Sihanoukville

Today we cross into Cambodia. Before heading into Cambodia we first take the local ferry back to the Vietnam mainland a short distance from the land border and embark on our journey to Sihanoukville .Originally started in the 1950’s as an Cambodia’s first deep water port, Sihanoukvulle, named after the King of the time . Please note: When crossing into Sihanoukville from Phu Quoc, that e-visas will not be accepted. You will be able to easily obtain visas on arrival or use ones that have already been obtained from an embassy.

We spend two nights here and there is plenty of time to enjoy the many beaches and snorkel in the sparkling waters. Enjoy sunset views from Wat Leu, an ornate temple situated on the forested hills.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 5 to 6 - Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is Cambodia's bustling capital city with a turbulent past. Sitting on the juncture of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap river, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonised Cambodia during the 19th century. The city has grown from a small fishing village to what is now the industrial, commercial, cultural and historical centre of Cambodia.

During our time in Phnom Penh we visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which was transformed into one of the Khmer Rouge’s most feared prison and torture camps during the Pol Pot regime. The building is now a haunting tribute to the thousands who died here and at the other 150 similar camps throughout the country in the late 1970’s. Those who were detained at the camp were later taken and executed at the Choueng Ek extermination Centre, more commonly known as ‘The Killing Fields, a site we also visit to learn more of and try to understand this wonderful country’s turbulent past.

Whilst the aforementioned visits are included in the tour they are also entirely optional should anybody prefer not to visit and Phnom Penh has a lot more to offer including the Russian Market and National Museum. Or you could also take a stroll along the river's famous Sisowath Quay and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at one of the many cafes while observing the bustling river traffic. Our Tour Leaders particularly recommend the Foreign Correspondents Club or F.C.C. as it’s better known. You may wish to take a tuk-tuk ride around Phnom Penh (a tuk-tuk is a motorbike-taxi with an enclosed passenger cabin that can fit around 4 people).

Included Excursions

Entrance to the Genocide Museum & Killing Fields

Optional Excursions

Royal Palace – US$6.50 • National Museum – US$5 • The Silver Pagoda – US$3 • Wat Phnom – US$1

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 7 to 8 - Kratie

Heading away from the big city life, we head into the Khmer countryside to enjoy a couple of days in relaxing Kratie to enjoy some of the best Mekong River sunsets available. As well as being one of the very best locations to spot the fast becoming rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins, Kratie is home to a number of interesting temples from different era’s, a museum that hardly ever opens (ask your Tour Leader to try for you) and some marvelous countryside tours to see the other side of this wonderful country and its people. So, soak up the peaceful rural life, wander the central marketplace to pick up handmade souvenirs and admire the French colonial architecture, and the village homes built upon wooden stilts.

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 9 to 9 - Kompong Cham

Staying in close touch with the mighty Mekong River which so dominates Southeast Asia we travel slightly South to the riverside town of Kompong Cham and back into civilisation so to speak. Literally meaning “port of the Chams’ and referring to the local ethnic Cham people living in the province, Kompong Cham offers a chance to experience yet another different facet of the Cambodia that many miss when passing through.

Enjoy the colonial charms of the sleepy city, situated along the Mekong River. Watch traditional Apsara dances or visit Nokor Wat to admire the Angkor architecture.

You may also like to get a tuk-tuk or a boat down the river to Wat Maha Leap, one of the remaining wooden pagodas in Cambodia. Over 100 years old, it was one of the few pagodas not destroyed by the Khmer Rouge because they used it as a hospital. Monks since reformed it to it’s original beauty and you can see the gilded patterns on the black wooden pillars that support the stunning blue roof in total contrast to the nearby, impressive Kizuna Bridge which at 1.5 km long is still Cambodia’s 2nd longest and the first to cross the Mekong in Cambodia

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 10 to 11 - Battambang

Crossing from Eastern Cambodia to the Western side, our day’s journey allows a visit on route to Cambodia’ famous Spider Market where the more adventurous of you may can try the local delicacy, fried spider.

An important former trading city, Battambang is Cambodia’s second most populated city, and appeals to tourists due to its vibrant personality as well as its cultural highlights and many nearby temples.

Soak up the cultural atmosphere in Battambang with it’s blend of modern city and well preserved colonial architecture, admire the statues that pepper the streets, and the art deco buildings such as the Central Market and train station or visit Cambodia's most famous circus, Phare Ponleu Selpak.

Ride the bamboo railway for a unique experience, seeing the paddy fields along the way. We will also be able to taste traditional Khmer wine.

Included Excursions

Spider Market,Khmer Wine Tasting,Ride the Bamboo Railway

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 12 to 13 - Siem Reap

Siem Reap is our base for exploring the famous temples of the Angkor area. The name Siem Reap means 'Defeat of Siam' - today's Thailand - and refers to a century-old bloodbath which you can see commemorated in stone in the celebrated bas relief carvings of the monuments around the area.

Our first day we head out on our included excursion to the most famous temple, Angkor Wat, with a guide to give us an overview of the history and layout of the temple. Our remaining time in Siem Reap can be spent at our own leisure exploring this expansive site armed with our cameras and the knowledge from our guide.

There are over one thousand temples here which attract over one million visitors annually. The temples range from small ruins to the famous Angkor Wat, and the site is said to be the world's largest single religious monument.

Angkor Wat, a UNESCO world heritage site, pays homage to the Hindu god Vishnu and has a dazzling array of beautiful ornate carvings. The many ceremonial structures and temples here were built between the 9th and 13th centuries by the Khmer Empire that spanned a period of approximately 600 years. These temples are some of the most famous in the world and take up an area of approximately 160 square kilometres.

There are superb photographic opportunities here at most times of the day so make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and your memory card is ready to go! Tuk-tuks provide a convenient form of transport around the area here, and you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day if you wish. The Angkor area (in and around the Ta Prohm temple) was the site where the film Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie was filmed.

Included Excursions

Guided Tour of Angkor Wat

Optional Excursions

Tonle Sap Lake entrance including boat ride – from US$7 (depending on group size) • Landmine Museum entrance – US$3 (US$7 including transport) • Blood Donation to children's hospitals

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 14 to 15 - Bangkok

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is a crazy and chaotic city! Known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon pronounced or Krung Thep "city of angels" for short, Bangkok was a small trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Bangkok is now the gateway to South East Asia for most travellers and international backpackers come and go and the streets are always buzzing and full of life.

Bangkok boasts hundreds of Wats (temples), with Wat Arun being the main one visited by most travellers. The Grand Palace is also a popular attraction, and for something different you can cruise along the Chao Phraya River and through the canals. Bangkok once had an elaborate network of canals and was given the nickname, 'Venice of the East', and although some of them have been filled in and converted to streets, many still exist today. Travelling through these canals you will see how the locals live along the riverside - you almost forget you are in a large, bustling city.

Thailand's currency is the Thai Baht (BHT).

Optional Excursions

Thai Massage per hour from – THB 250 • Wat Phra Kaew – from THB 500 • Thai cookery course – from THB 1200 • Bangkok canal tour – from THB 750

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 16 to 16 - Phitsanulok

Today we take the train to Phitsanulok, one of Thailand's ancient capitals and a town of great importance. Although a bustling hub for travellers, our adventure to Phitsanulok takes us off the tourist trail to experience local life and see untouched Thailand

Discover the revered temple Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat which is home to one of the most important Buddha images. The bronze statue is the centrepiece of the temple and is the most copied.

Included Excursions

Phitsanulok Orientation Walk

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 17 to 17 - Sukhothai

Thailand’s ancient capital Sukhothai is home to the ancient ruins of the former city. A popular highlight of Thailand, it was the capital of the Thai empire for approximately 140 years and translates literally to “Dawn of Happiness”.

The temples and monuments have been since excavated and reconstructed in places, the restoration now naming the destination Sukhothai Historical Park.

The old city has many zones interspersed with lakes and bridges to island bound ruins, and covers roughly 70 square kilometers. We will take a bicycle tour around the World Heritage Site and explore the typical Thai architecture including the Wat Mahathat, one of the most spectacular Buddhas seated amongst the stone ruins .

Included Excursions

Bicycle tour of Sukhothai

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 18 to 19 - Chiang Mai

Our journey today culminates in Chiang Mai , the 'Rose of the North', where you can enjoy a Thai cooking course, relaxing massage, take in a night-time Thai kick-boxing bout (Muay Thai) or haggle the night away at Chiang Mai’s famous evening street market.

Optional Excursions

Thai cookery course – THB 800 per person (depending on class size) • Doi Suthep temple by Songthaew (type of Thai vehicle) – THB 300 • Bicycle tour – from THB 800 per day

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 20 to 20 - Golden Triangle

Leaving Chiang Mai we first stop at the Hmong Hilltribe road side market to pick up some snacks and souvenirs for the day. Continuing on we travel north around Si Lanna National Park stopping at Wat Thaton Chedi, a large temple complex situated on top of a hill. We visit Chedi Kaew, known as the Crystal Pagoda which boasts spectacular views over Thailand and Myanmar.

After stopping for lunch in the border town of Thaton, our next visit is a Akah Hilltribe village. Here you can learn how these indigenous people go about their daily lives. Entrances to all Akha villages have a wooden gate known as a “Spirit Gate”. Admire the fascinating carvings marked on the sides and keep your eyes peeled for similar markings on the roofs of the houses within the village!

All this exploring is thirsty work so our next stop is the Shwi Foung Tea Plantation! Admire the magnificent views and perhaps sample some of Thailand's wonderful jasmine or green teas. We travel on to our final destination, the small town of Sop Ruak, the centre of the Golden Triangle. Before checking into our hotel, we will visit the Golden Triangle viewpoint where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar all meet on the Mekong River.

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels, hostels & guesthouses. No single room upgrade available.

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 21 to 21 - Chiang Rai

The next day we discover the old Opium Museum where you can learn about Asia's past illicit opium production and the history of the Golden Triangle. Next we will see the giant Golden Buddha sitting on a boat by the riverside and the stone elephants there to protect him.

En route to Chiang Rai we will explore Wat Rong Khun, famously known as the White Temple. Many tour leaders have claimed that Rong Khun is the most fascinating temple they have visited and during your visit you’ll be amazed at the decorations both inside and out! We will also visit the Black Temple. Compare the two, and see the stark contrasts not only in colour but in architecture and design too! We end our day in Chiang Rai, and our hotel is situated near the popular Night Bazaar Market. Haggle for gifts or sample a freshly-cooked pad thai in this vibrant night spot.

Included Excursions

Visit the Opium Museum & Golden Triangle,Visit the White Temple & Black Temple

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 22 to 23 - Luang Prabang

Today we have a flight to Luang Prabang. On the way to the airport we will stop at the Cashew Nut shop to pick up snacks for the journey. Many say that Luang Prabang is the most memorable town in all of Laos. Renowned for a fascinating history and some of the friendliest people, Luang Prabang refers to the holy Pra Bang, Laos' most sacred image of the Buddha given to Fa Ngoum.

We have two days to enjoy this sleepy town, which is located 300 metres above sea level on the upper Mekong. As you explore you will see that Luang Prabang is dominated by Phousi - the marvellous hill-top temple that sits in the middle of the town. You'll notice a combination of Lao, French and Lao-French colonial influence as you admire the city's buildings and architectural highlights - all of which you can see discovering the town on foot. Here we will visit the monks at sunrise who collect alms that are donated by the locals.

There are many temples to visit in Luang Prabang - over 30 in fact, which is a large number for this small town.

Included Excursions

Visit the Monks collecting alms

Optional Excursions

Royal Theatre dance performances – US$20 • Royal Palace – LAK 30,000 • Wat Xieng Thong – LAK 20,000 • Wat Poa Phon Phoa – donation expected • Kuang Si Falls – LAK 20,000 (not including transport)

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 24 to 25 - Vang Vieng

As we make our way south from Luang Prabang we travel past stunning scenery to Vang Vieng. This peaceful town is situated on a plateau with stunning surroundings of limestone caves and waterfalls, and the area is inhabited by the Hmong and Yao tribes. The limestone caves are renowned in ancient mythology and have featured in the prose of many artists throughout time. Vang Vieng is an excellent place to try the local cuisine and there are markets to indulge in. Here we will take a tuk-tuk tour off the beaten track through some of Laos' most incredible scenery and see the local villages and paddy fields.

Included Excursions

Countryside tuk-tuk trip in Vang Vieng

Optional Excursions

Bamboo rafting/kayaking including visit to caves – US$20 • Caves – most entry fees are US$2

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 26 to 27 - Vientiane

The capital of Laos is extremely quiet - so quiet that, before 1970, there was only one set of traffic lights in the entire city (a far cry from Bangkok!). We have time to admire this tranquil city with its many murals and markets. Many buildings you will see when you wander the streets are of religious significance. You may wish to hire a bicycle and explore the local streets and markets which are excellent here.

Laos was a victim during the Vietnam War and is actually the most bombed country in the world. During the fighting 270 million submunitions were dropped on Laos between 1963 to 1974, and many of those failed to explode, still remaining live in the ground.

In Vientiane, we visit the COPE Centre and learn about the UXO problem in Laos and how the country is managing the situation. We learn about the work undertaken by COPE to provide disability services for people affected by the bombing. As part of the exhibition, you can also watch a number of excellent documentary films where you can learn more.

Included Excursions

COPE Centre

Optional Excursions

Temples – most entry fees are US$2 • Wat Pra Kaeo (Grand Palace and museum) – LAK 5000 • National Museum – LAK 20,000 • Buddha Park – LAK 8,000 entrance (plus transport starting from LAK 80,000)

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 28 to 28 - Bangkok

Today we fly to Bangkok where we can enjoy a final dinner and spend the night before the end of our tour tomorrow

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 29 to 29 - Depart Bangkok

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Meals

1 Breakfast

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