ACTC TOURS SPECIAL FEATURES:
18 days visiting: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Laocai & Sapa (ethnic minorities), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Phnom Penh & Siem Reap.
Your Journey Begins:
Apr. 1, MON: ARRIVE HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON)
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City this morning, formerly Saigon the largest and busiest city in Vietnam. Modern high-rises dominate the city’s skyline but the Saigonese continues to live in their traditional life style, an interesting contrast of old and new. Meet & greet services and transfer to Hotel where rest of your day is free to adjust with time difference etc. Meet your fellow tour members and tour Manager this evening for a welcome dinner aboard Viet cruise on Saigon river. Enjoy the sunset view & photograph the endlessly interesting and always surprising Saigon River whilst dining on fresh, sumptuous and authentic Vietnamese and international cuisine and live entertainment.. LIBERTY CENTRAL SAIGON CITYVIEW HOTEL. D
Apr. 2, TUE: CITY TOUR & CU CHI TUNNELS
After Breakfast, start your tour with a visit to the former Presidential Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the bustling Chinese district of Cholon, Binh Tray market & Thien Hau temple. After breakfast travel to Cu Chi to visit the impressive underground tunnel network built by Vietnamese guerilla fighters during the long years of struggle for independence. LIBERTY CENTRAL SAIGON CITYVIEW HOTEL. BL
Apr. 3, WED: MEKONG DELTA & NIGHT MARKETS OF SAIGON
Depart for the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival in My Tho, enjoy a boat cruise along the river and take a short walk to a handicraft workshop where products are made from coconut trees. Experience an exciting horse-drawn cart ride to visit a local house where you will enjoy tea and taste home grown fruits. Board a sampan and drift along the narrow, tree-lined canals for further exploration of the Mekong Delta. After lunch, visit a family-run business making coconut candy before returning to My Tho. On the return trip to Ho Chi Minh City, time permitting we will visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda.. Rest at your Hotel before starting your evening walking market tour. Stop by a local park to see locals exercising in groups and alone, dancing aerobics etc. Next walk through the local residential area and night market. Discover the diversity watch & photograph locals as they go around bargaining and shopping for food, clothes and more. Try local cuisine at local restaurant/ cafes (direct payment). Your last stop is at a cafe for coffee with locals and to enjoy live music. Return back to Hotel. LIBERTY CENTRAL SAIGON CITYVIEW HOTEL. BL
Apr. 4, THU: HO CHI MINH CITY/ HANOI/ LAO CAI
Breakfast at Hotel and rest of your morning is free to explore city on own. Late this afternoon fly to Hanoi, Enjoy Dinner at local restaurant before transfer to the train station to board the overnight sleeper train to Lao Cai which is situated on the Vietnam-China border. KING EXPRESS SLEEPER TRAIN (Deluxe cabin). BD
Apr. 5, FRI: LAO CAI & SAPA
Arrive in Lao Cai early in the morning. Transfer to Hotel in Sapa. After breakfast you will be driven to the Cable car station. Take a 20 minute cable car ride up to the highest station. Enjoy panoramic views and coffee from an altitude of over 3000 meters above the sea. More energetic can climb up t 600 steps to the highest point of the peak for a panoramic view. Return back by cable and drive back to Hotel where rest of the morning is free, Sapa sits regally overlooking a beautiful valley, lofty mountains towering over the town on all sides. The spectacular scenery that surrounds Sapa includes cascading rice terraces that spill down the mountains like a patchwork quilt.The valleys and villages around Sapa are home to a host of hill-tribe people who wander in to town to buy, sell and trade. You may enjoy a stroll along dirt trails flanked by serene gardens and lush pine forests that provide interesting insight into the local lifestyle.
After lunch, you will be driven east of Sapa to Sa Seng and Sau Chua Villages, home to the Black Hmong peoples who have been living traditional way in spite modern developments and influx of tourism to Sapa. This trip will take you through a beautiful country road with many stops for seeing breathtaking scenery of high mountains, valleys and short walk to explore small and isolated hamlets of the Black Hmong people.VICTORIA SAPA HOTEL. BL
Apr. 6, SAT: SAPA TOURING
After breakfast, check out the hotel and drive to visit to Can Cau market where you will mingle with the lively gathering of the ethnic minorities of the Flower Hmong, the Tay, the Nung and the Thai minority groups. Next travel to Bac Ha, capital of the region of the Flower Hmong, one of the 54 minorities of Vietnam and of the six groups of Hmong people. Visit Hoang A Tuong
Palace was built by father and son Hoang Yen Chao and Hoang A Tuong team & they ruled the region. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant and walk through the village of Flower Hmong community. On return to the Lao Cai time free to have dinner on own before boarding the overnight train for your return journey to Hanoi. KING EXPRESS SLEEPER TRAIN (Deluxe cabin). BL
Apr. 7, SUN: ARRIVE HANOI
Arrive this morning at Hanoi, present day capital of Vietnam, formerly known as Thang Long (Ascending Dragon). Hanoi is a charming city with its famous lakes, the Old Quarter shaded boulevards and former French colonial constructions. After settling in and brief rest embark on a I hour cyclo tour of Hanoi. Your cyclo (a “bicycle taxi” pedaled by a driver behind you) gives you an unobstructed view, perfect for snapping photos during your tour. Ride at the perfect pace to enjoy some of the 36 tree-shaded streets of this historic district named after the commodity produced and sold at each street, such as sugar, bamboo, leather or silver etc. Even though some of streets had their name changed, many of them still keep that characteristic nowadays. Return back to hotel to freshen up and change for the dinner. This evening enjoy a Water Puppet Show- a remarkable Vietnamese art form that combines traditional music, fireworks, underwater puppeteers and elaborate puppets floating gracefully over water HOTEL. BD
Apr. 8, MON: HANOI
Embark on a full day tour to explore Hanoi’s illustrious history. In the morning, visit the imposing marble edifice housing the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum before moving onto his wooden stilt house and the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda. You will then explore the first university of Vietnam, the Temple of Literature, which is imbued with the profound philosophies of Confucianism. In the afternoon, visit the Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ngoc Son Temple. Rest of the evneing is free. BL
Apr. 9, TUE: HANOI / HALONG BAY
Travel by road through the rural countryside to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive at Cat Ba and board our Boat. Enjoy a refreshing welcome cocktail and briefing on the sun deck before check in. After the cruise commences, a lavish seafood buffet lunch is served at the restaurant. During lunch we cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay, cruising through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay. Next visit Cua Van Fishing Village, one of the largest fishing village on the Bay. You can choose between kayaking through the village or visiting on small bamboo boats (sampans) rowed by the villagers. Back on board after visiting the village enjoy a Vietnamese cuisine demonstration; complimentary canapés at the sun deck bar; a scrumptious international buffet dinner served at the restaurant; and an evening movie show at the sun deck. Overnight accommodation on board boat. PREMIUM BOAT. BLD
Apr. 10, WED: HALONG BAY / HANOI / LUANG PRABHANG – Laos
Start the morning with Tai Chi exercises on the sun deck. Take a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. Climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay (there is also another viewing deck half way up). After the climb there is time left to relax on the beach and have a swim. Enjoy a breakfast buffet (or brunch) served in the restaurant. Disembark and retrace your steps back to Hanoi, visiting Phu Lang Village en route. Connect with flight to Luang Prabang. The city has remained almost unchanged for the last century and boasts of a fascinating array of shimmering gold temples, historic monuments and French colonial houses becoming a World Heritage site in 1995. This evening you may want to visit the night market and browse through local handicrafts including handmade textilesThis evening HOTEL. BL
Apr. 11, THU: MEKONG RIVER, PAK OU CAVES & HANDICARFT VILLAGES EXCURSION
After Breakfast visit the magnificent Wat Xiengthong representing classical Laotian architecture & the most famous royal temple. Board our boat to cruise along the Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves which houses thousands of Buddha statues of varying sizes inside a towering limestone cliff. Explore the caves and cross the Mekong River at Ban Ou for lunch at a local restaurant. Return by road to Luang Prabang, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai, where the residents create a unique rice wine called “lao lao”. Also stop at the villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek, well known for their hand weaving and handmade Jute Sar paper. HOTEL. BL
Apr. 12, FRI: LUANG PRABANG
After breakfast, explore this charming city in an eco-friendly and fun manner aboard an electric Tuk Tuk. Start the day at a morning market, experiencing the daily lives of locals, and sampling tasty Lao dishes. This fresh food market is very colorful and lively and offers up great opportunities for photos. Discover the main sights of Luang Prabang and get an insider’s view of the religion and culture from a renowned photographer and author. Next travel to the center of the city to start your walking tour. Stroll through the winding streets to the most beautiful and oldest temple Wat Visoun and visit That Makmo also known as the Watermelon Stupa! Continue to Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang’s best known and most visited monastery. The three tiered roof sweeps low to the ground and the walls have been beautifully decorated in black lacquer and gold leaf. The back of the temple features an intricate glass mosaic of the tree of life set on a dark red background. Walk along Nam in art and educational projects in Laos. Enjoy a private tour of the museum to get a glimpse into the life of the royal family. Your final stop on this walking tour is the National Museum, which once served as the Royal Palace.
This evening enjoy sunset on top of Mount Phou Si, overlooking Luang Prabang. Followed by BACI CEREMONY: Baci is a ceremony to celebrate a special event, whether a marriage, a homecoming, a welcome, a birth, or one of the annual festivals. In our case it is celebrated to wish us safe travels. In Laos, white is the color of peace, good fortune, honesty and warmth. The white cotton thread is a lasting symbol of continuity and brotherhood in the community and permanence. The Baci threads will be tied by our hosts and should be worn for at least three days subsequently and should be untied rather than cut off. After the ceremony, enjoy beautiful classical and folk dances, and take part in Laos’ social dance “Lamvong” with the local people. You’re also invited to try some local Laotian food such as sticky rice, local canapés & tea. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant following the ceremony. HOTEL BD
Apr. 13, SAT: LUANG PRABANG/ VIENTIANE,
After Breakfast fly to Vientiane, capital of Laos, once the royal capital of Luang Prabang and Xien Khuang. Laos is a country that is just awakening from its long slumber and explore its rich cultural heritage and pristine landscapes. Tour the city today, visiting Wat Simuang, Vientiane’s most sacred site and the Religious Museum at Wat Sisaket, where thousands of statues of Buddha in wood, bronze and stone are displayed. The tour includes a stop at Wat Pra Keo, original home of the Emerald Buddha now residing at Bangkok, 16th century That Luang Golden Stupa, and Ratuxai Victory Gate also known as the Laos’ Arc de Triomphe. In the afternoon visit Buddha Park which houses an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures, dating back to 500 years. End the day’s tour with a sunset along the banks of the Mekong River. . HOTEL BL
Apr. 14, SUN: VIENTIANE/ PHNOM PENH
A short flight brings you to Phnom Penh, capitaI of Cambodia situated at the meeting point of three mighty rivers, the Mekong, the Tonle Sap and the Bassac. It is also home to the spectacular Khmer architecture and strong French colonial influence is evident from classical French villas and tree-lined boulevards. Afternoon, tour the Royal Palace, Golden and Silver Pagoda also Khmer art displayed at the National Museum. The hillside setting of Wat Phnom is the ancient site where the modern city’s name was derived. HOTEL BD
Apr. 15, MON: PHNOM PENH/ SIEM REAP
This morning, we start with a profound visit to the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide, a former high school in Phnom Penh used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975-79. Continue onto Choeung Ek, the site of a former orchard and execution field, to pay homage to the over one million people killed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Later fly to Siem Reap, base for visiting the fabulous sites of the Angkor region, unquestionably the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. The grandeur of this ancient civilization is truly astounding. HOTEL. BL
This evening we will witness the 2nd day celebrations of the Khmer New Year.
Apr. 16, TUE: ANGKOR THOM & NEW YEAR CELABRATIONS
Early this morning, visit the Angkor Temples (when it is less crowded), for a spectacular sunrise over the temples. Witness the varied shades blues and purples illuminate the Angkor Wat in the horizon. Enjoy a walk through the temples, one of the largest temple complexes in the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu from whom the king was considered a reincarnation. Essentially a three-layered pyramid, Angkor Wat has five distinctive towers, 64 meters high. On the outer wall are eight panels of bas-relief depicting scenes of Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Later visit Angkor National Museum, an archaeological museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of Angkorian artifacts, also to provides information and education about art and culture of Khmer civilization, with collections mainly dated from Khmer Empire’s Angkor period circa 9th to 14th-century. Most of the artifacts are discovered in and around the Angkor archaeological sites nearby. In the afternoon, visit Angkor Thom meaning Great City. Enjoy picnic lunch amongst the ruins and take time to walk around for pictures and more. Angkor Thom has more Buddhist influence with its three dimensional representation of Buddhist cosmology and sculpted images of Buddha-like images on its temples. Covering an area of four square miles was built by King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218AD). Visit the ruins at Bayon, Baphoun, Phimeanakas, Royal Palace, Elephant and Leper King Terrace.
In the evening we will witness the 3rd day celebrations of the Khmer New Year. HOTEL BL
Note: Apr. 14 to 17- Tour itinerary will be adjusted when more details of festivals activities are available. The tour itinerary plans/sights and festivals main attractions will be combined to give you maximum opportunity to enjoy the best of celebrations and sights.
Apr. 17, WED: TOUR & NEW YEAR CELABRATIONS
Start your tour visiting the 11th century Shiva Temple, Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre. Continue to the three-tiered temple hill of Pre Rup to view Banteay Kdei with its rarely seen sculpted female deities, Srah Srang Lake, Ta Phanom Temple, Ta Keo, Chau Say Tevada and Thommanon temples. Late afternoon witness the 3rd day New Year celebrations & time permitting enjoy a spectacular sunset from Phnom Bakheng. End your day with presentation of Khmer traditional Apsara dance show and dinner at local restaurant. BD
Apr. 18 THU: DEPART CAMBODIA
Time free to shop or further sight see on own before catching your flight homewards. B
LAND TOUR: $4,094.00 per person sharing
Single room- $5,190.00
Internal Indochina airfare- Approx. $ 940.00 per person in economy class
International Airfares : Discounted airfares from your home city are availbale in Economy, Premium economy, Business and First class. Check at time of booking.
Airfares are based on lowest available at time of publishing. Subject to change, availability.
CA CST # 2091259-40