Indochina

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With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, Indochina offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people

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Indochina

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Day 3: Siem Reap
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Day 9: Hoi An
Day 11: Hue
Day 13: Hanoi
Day 15: Halong Bay
Day 16: Hanoi
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Description

 

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Vietnam Airlines now offers a direct flight to Ho Chi Minh City from London Gatwick, making the region more easily accessible. Alternatively, there are plenty of flight options via other Far Eastern gateways – Bangkok being one of the most popular.

The region can be explored independently by the more adventurous traveller, or one can join a small-group tour if preferred. The below independent itinerary provides an example of a comprehensive holiday to the region, but is by no means the only option – there are almost endless possibilities to consider.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Arrive into Phnom Penh for a two-night stay. Take time to explore the Royal Palace, the majestic Silver Pagoda, and gain an insight into Khmer history at the National Museum. Visit Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, and learn about the Khmer Rouge regime and the legacy this has left.

Day 3: Siem Reap
This morning, depart for Siem Reap by road. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat and explore some of the many other temples, including the ruins of the tree-covered Ta Prohm. Take a river cruise on Tonle Sap Lake – the second largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the famous floating village, where you’ll see floating houses, a school and even a floating hospital.

Day 6: Luang Prabang
Fly to Luang Prabang for a two-night stay. Luang Prabang is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of Indochina’, and is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan rivers. Watch the ancient ritual of local monks collecting alms, take a boat trip to Pak Ou Caves, or visit stunning Kuang Si Falls. In the evening, visit the vibrant night market.

Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Today, begin a two-day adventure by elephant, providing the opportunity to explore the region and learn about these magnificent creatures.

Take an elephant ride through forests and over hills to the hidden valley of Huay Sae Valley. See the secluded waterfalls and swim in the natural pools. Continue by foot across bamboo bridges, passing waterfalls and dense jungle. Raft down the Nam Khan River, floating slowly downstream passing local farmers and fishermen going about traditional village life, and stopping en route at the Tad Sae waterfall. Stay overnight in a luxury tent

Day 9: Hoi An
Get up early with the magical sunrise atmosphere and trek to the jungle to collect the elephants from their forest home. Together with the Mahouts, the traditional elephant drivers, walk back down to the river for their daily morning bath. Ride bareback on the elephant’s neck, wash it, scrub it and guide it through the river to the camp – an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Return to Luang Prabang, fly to Danang and transfer to the charming town of Hoi An. Explore traditional houses and temples and see the Japanese Bridge. Relax on the beach, or take a boat trip through ‘Water Coconut Palm Canal’ – a tranquil area little visited by tourists, and learn about the likes of the local fishermen.

Day 11: Hue
Today, your destination is Hue but en route visit the Marble Mountains; an important religious site with a number of imressive caves, temples and viewpoints. Drive the short distance to China Beach with a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim in the South China Sea. Continue on to Danang City to visit the Cham Museum. The Cham people occupied this area of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 17th century and the museum houses the best examples of Cham sculpture anywhere in the world. Complete the drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass to Hue. Here, relax on the beach or take time to explore the old Citadel.

Day 13: Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital for a two-night stay. Explore the vibrant Old Quarter and visit the ancient Temple of Literature. Watch a water puppet show or visit the Hanoi Hilton prison.

Day 15: Halong Bay
This morning transfer to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 limestone islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. Take an overnight cruise on a wooden junk ship on the bay, exploring fishing villages, islets, and caves and with a chance to swim.

Day 16: Hanoi
Return to Hanoi today for the onward or homeward flight.

More time? Consider adding a cruise along the Mekong River – a great way to see small riverside villages and learn about the local’s traditional way of life. Explore Ho Chi Minh City, see the Cu Chi Tunnels, discover Vientiane – the capital of Laos, or add a beach stay in Thailand.

Photographs courtesy of Travel Indochina and Elephant Village Camp, Laos

Angkor Travel Indochina      elephant explorer camp experience ws      Halong Bay fishing boats ws

Halong Bay junk ws      Phnom Penh Royal Palace ws

 

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Malaysia

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Malaysia – the very word conjures images of Far Eastern magic, of a delightful mix of culture with stunning beaches, world-class diving and snorkeling, and exotic bird and wildlife.

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Malaysia

Malaysia – the very word conjures images of Far Eastern magic, of a delightful mix of culture with stunning beaches, world-class diving and snorkeling, and exotic bird and wildlife.

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur
Day 3: Cameron Highlands
Day 6: Taman Negara National Park
Day 9: East coast beach
Day 15: Depart Kuala Lumpur
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Unmistakably Malaysia

Malaysia – the very word conjures images of Far Eastern magic, of a delightful mix of culture with stunning beaches, world-class diving and snorkelling, and exotic bird and wildlife and using Malaysian Airlines daily direct service, this tropical paradise is closer than you think.

This itinerary concentrates on Peninsular Malaysia – a two week self drive holiday taking you on a journey through the colonial past, with a mixture of city, highlands, rain forest and beach.

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur
Arrive in Kuala Lumpur today – the swift and efficient rail link whisks you into the city centre avoiding the crowded roads. Two nights in the city – and time to explore the cultural mix that makes up this extraordinary city. Take a city tour and visit the royal palace, bird and orchid gardens, and the old station, built in colonial times with a roof carefully designed to withstand at least a metre of snow!!
Kuala Lumpur 2 nights

Day 3: Cameron Highlands
Return to the airport to collect your hire car, and drive north, skirting the city, and into the Cameron Highlands for a three night stay. Re-visit the colonial past in the delightfully cool climate of this hill station, and discover homes that would not be out of place in leafy Surrey, complete with cream teas. Visit tea plantations, and learn of the process’s involved in producing some of the world’s best tea.
Cameron Highlands 3 nights

Day 6: Taman Negara National Park
Driving west today using the new highway, to the river port of Kuala Tembeling. Take the river boat deep into the jungle for a three night stay at Taman Negara National Park. Explore the river and rainforest habitats here, swimming in deserted rock pools, and perhaps walking the treetop canopy walk.
Taman Negara 3 nights

Day 9: East coast beach
Return to civilisation, with a boat trip back to Kuala Tembeling, retrieve your hire car, and head east for a final 5 nights on the beach. The east coast has some of the best beaches in Malaysia – and is relatively undiscovered. If you are a diver, plan to spend some time exploring the underwater wonderland of the off-shore islands – or simply relax in tranquil surroundings enjoying the very best of Malaysian cuisine at your hide-away hotel. You’ll have your car to hand should you decide to explore further.
Beach stay 5 nights

Day 15: Depart Kuala Lumpur
Say farewell to the east coast today, and return across the peninsular to Kuala Lumpur. Skirt the city and head to the airport, dropping your car on arrival.

Cameron Highlands

Credit Jackie Appleton

 

Diving Tenggol Island

Credit YTL Hotels

Tanjong Jara Beach

Credit YTL Hotels

 

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Little Gems

Every once in a while, we come across a property or group of properties that truly exceed all our expectations, and the YTL group of properties are exactly that. With several properties in Malaysia, and an expanding portfolio in other parts of the world, these hotels deliver in every way, from comfortable rooms, to exquisite locations, exceptional staff and superb dining – we are confident that you won’t be disappointed here.

Tanjong Jara is located near the little town of Dungun on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. A small but delightful property, with an excellent spa, superb restaurant, beach front location and delightful staff. Rooms are spread across the property in three categories, and all are spacious, tastefully decorated with every amenity you possibly need. The property is open all year, but as the monsoon season hits from December through to the end of March, you may prefer to avoid this period.
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Client Feedback

‘What a delight – the seven nights spent here at the end of our Australian holiday was simply not enough and if we return, it will be for a holiday split between Tanjong Jara and Pangkor Laut’
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Thailand, Laos & Cambodia

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Picture courtesy of Travel Indochina. Indochina is growing in popularity, of that there is no doubt and whilst each country offers some wonderful experiences in their own right, this itinerary suggests a combination of three countries.

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Day 1: Bangkok
Day 4: Chiang Mai
Day 6: Golden Triangle
Day 7: Chiang Rai
Day 9: Pakbeng
Day 10: Luang Prabang
Day 13: Siem Reap
Day 16: Fly onwards

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Thailand is known to have many highlights and hidden gems but the culture and welcoming people is the jewel in its crown. Get a taste of the real Thailand on a journey from bustling Bangkok, through tranquil waterways and lush jungle hideaways, to the ancient beauty of historic Chiang Mai, where traditional culture blends seamlessly with a contemporary style, up to the Golden Triangle and the ancient city of Chiang Rai before boarding a long boat for a trip across the Laos border and on to Luang Prabang.

This itinerary is just one example of how a trip to these three fascinating countries can be combined to make a memorable holiday.

Day 1: Bangkok
Arrive into Bangkok for a three-night stay. Bangkok is a bustling metropolis, not to be missed despite the infamous pollution, with world class shopping and dining opportunities, stunning temples and much evidence of its amazing cultural heritage. Explore the Grand Palace, or enjoy a long-tailed speedboat ride through the floating markets of the Chao Phraya River. Take a day trip out to the former Siamese capital of Ayuthaya, or visit the JEATH War Museum and infamous Bridge over the River Kwai.

Three nights in Bangkok

Day 4: Chiang Mai
Fly to Chiang Mai today for a two-night stay. The ancient city of Chiang Mai has an interesting history with many temples to explore, including Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang. Consider an elephant experience in the jungle, explore the vibrant night market and experience a traditional Khantoke dinner and cultural evening.

Two nights in Chiang Mai

Day 6: Golden Triangle
Today, travel by road to the Golden Triangle. En route, visit a hot springs, stop at Chiang Saen and climb the steps to Wat Phra Dhat Jom Kitti for fantastic views over the Mekong River. Continue by long-tailed speedboat to the Golden Triangle – the point at which the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet.

One night in the Golden Triangle

Day 7: Chiang Rai
Travel to Chiang Rai, stopping en route at Mae Sae to visit a Jade factory, Fish and Monkey Cave and the colourful market. Continue to Doi Mae Salong, passing through beautiful mountain scenery. Visit local Akha, Yao and Lisu hilltribes before continuing to Chiang Rai for a two-night stay. Chiang Rai is a traveller’s paradise with magnificent mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historic sites, Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages – the province is also home to several hill tribes who maintain their fascinating lifestyles

Two nights in Chiang Rai

Day 9: Pakbeng
Today, cross the border into Laos and join a river cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Cruise to the trading post of Pakbeng. This is a stunning section of this river, with beautiful rural scenery and rustic villages to see en route. Stay overnight in a riverside lodge in Pakbeng.

One night at Pakbeng

Day 10: Luang Prabang
Continue on the cruise this morning, stopping at the Pak Ou caves, which house literally hundreds of Buddha statues, hidden from the looting Chinese Haw in times gone by. Complete the journey to Luang Prabang for a three-night stay here, with its wonderful UNESCO World Heritage old town. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. In the centre of the city is Mount Phousi, rewarding climbers of its 328 steps with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. Rise early and witness the thousands of saffron-robed monks walk the street of the town barefoot to receive alms.

Three nights at Luang Prabang

Day 13: Siem Reap
Fly to Siem Reap for a three-night stay. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat and explore some of the many other temples, including the ruins of the tree-covered Ta Prohm. Take a river cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the famous floating village, where you’ll see floating houses, a school and even a floating hospital.

Three nights at Siem Reap

Day 16: Fly onwards
Today, return to Siem Reap airport for the onward or homeward journey.

More time? Consider adding a trip to Phnom Penh by river cruise, or a stay in Vientiane – the capital of Laos. Complete the experience with a beach stay in Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia.

Angkor Travel Indochina  TIC Laos Vientiane

 

Far east page

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Sunrise at Angkor Wat is a must on this itinerary, but close behind is the sight of the saffron clad monks of Luang Prabang

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‘We loved every moment, but the highlight has to be the boat trip through Laos’

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The Far East

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For a value for money winter break, Thailand and Malaysia come top of the list every time. With both direct and in-direct flight options, for Gatwick, Heathrow and other regional airports, the sensory delights of the Far East beckon. From the frenetic hubbub of city life, to the warm waters of the ocean and idyllic sandy beaches – the Far East has something for everyone. Forget the winter days back home, and whether you are a culture vulture, or prefer a lazy beach/spa experience to relax and unwind, perhaps a touring holiday with time to relax at the end – you should be speaking to Experience Holidays.

  • Bangkok – Sprawling and busy, spend a couple of nights exploring the sights and sounds of Thailand’s capital city before heading north, or to the beach
  • Bridge over the River Kwai – take a journey back in time to learn more of the Death Railway – lest we should forget
  • Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle – head north and explore the hilltribes of the Golden Triangle
  • Spend the night on a converted rice barge
  • Visit the paradise resorts of Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi
  • Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – if ever there was a city with no plan, Kuala Lumpur is it. Look at a street map, and you could be looking at a plate of spaghetti!! But arrive at the efficient and friendly KLIA Airport, and you’ll soon be part of this bustling city. This is a melting pot or culture, with sights and sounds from all corners of the Orient
  • Visit the old town of Malacca to the south of Kuala Lumpur with its colonial past and interesting architecture
  • Head into the Cameron Highlands famous for its tea plantations
  • The islands and beaches of the west coast offer all standards of accommodation, with a good rail and ferry service to link them up for an independent option
  • Visit the lesser known resorts of the east coast for some excellent diving and the odd rather lovely spa hotel for a little added luxury

Photographs by David Bowden
davidbowden.travelwrite@gmail.com

Bangkok floating market          Langkawi

 

Japan Itinerary

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Amanda Skingle

 

Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with high-rise-filled cities, imperial palaces, mountainous national parks and thousands of shrines and temples. Tokyo is known for its neon skyscrapers and pop culture. In contrast, Kyoto offers Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, gardens and cherry blossoms. Sushi, the national dish, is served everywhere from casual pubs to gourmet restaurants.

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Summary

Day 1: Tokyo

Day 4: Mount Fuji & Hakone

Day 5: Kyoto

Day 8: Nara

Day 9: Hiroshima

Day 11: Nagasaki

Day 13: Kumamoto

Day 14: Osaka

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Day 1: Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers and anime shops to cherry trees and temples. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding forests. The Imperial Palace sits amid sprawling public gardens. The city is famed for its vibrant food scene, and its Shibuya and Harajuku districts are the heart of its trendy teen fashion scene. Tokyo 3 nights

Day 2: Tokyo Tour

You will visit TokyoTower, the Imperial Palace Plaza, Sensoji Temple and Nakamise shopping arcade. In the afternoon, you can enjoy a half day tour of Sumo with a visit to the Sumo Museum and watching a tournament.

Day 4: Mount Fuji & Hakone

Travel by coach to the foot of Mount Fuji via expressway. Then drive halfway up Japan’s highest mountain to enjoy a spectacular view from a height of 2,300 meters. Enjoy a Japanese style lunch, which is included. In the afternoon, proceed to Hakone for a cruise on Lake Ashi and Mount Komagatake Ropeway. This is a great place to stay at a traditional Ryokan and relax in a Japanese Hot Spring & Spa. Hakone 1 night

Day 5: Kyoto

Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is a refined city on the island of Honsh with thousands of classical Buddhist temples, as well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also known for formal traditions such as kaiseki dining, consisting of multiple courses of precise dishes, and geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district. Travel from Hakone to Kyoto on the iconic Bullet Train. Kyoto 3 nights

Day 6: Kyoto Tour

Enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Kyoto. In the morning you will visit Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Nijo Castle, which is noted for its gorgeous interiors and Kyoto Imperial Palace. There will be a stop for lunch at the Kyoto Handicraft Centre which is included. After lunch you will visit the Kiyomizu Temple, Sanjusangen-do Temple and Heian Shrine.

Day 8: Nara

Nara is the capital of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, in south-central Honshu. The city has significant temples and artwork dating to the 8th century, when it was Japan’s capital. Deer freely roam in Nara Park, site of Todai-ji Temple. At Todai-ji, Daibutsu, a 15m-high bronze Buddha, is displayed in a grand, wooden hall. The Shinto shrine Kasuga-taisha, founded in 768 C.E., has 3,000-plus lanterns. Nara 1 night

Day 9: Hiroshima

Hiroshima, a modern city on Japan’s Honshu Island, was largely destroyed by an atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park commemorates the 1945 event; on-site is Genbaku Dome, the surviving portion of a structure that crumbled in the explosion. Other prominent sites include Shukkei-en, a formal Chinese-style garden, and Hiroshima castle, a fortress surrounded by a moat and a park. Hiroshima 2 nights

Day 10: Hiroshima and Miyajima

Today you have a full day sightseeing tour of Hiroshima and Miyajima. This will be by coach and involves a short ferry ride to Miyajima Island to see the picturesque Itsukushima Jinja Shrine. Return to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park, Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome.

Day 11: Nagasaki

Nagasaki is a Japanese city on the northwest coast of the island of Kyushu. It’s set on a large natural harbor, with buildings on the terraces of surrounding hills. It is synonymous with a key moment during WWII, after suffering an Allied nuclear attack in August 1945. The event is memorialised at the city’s Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. Nagasaki 2 nights

Day 13: Kumamoto

The capital of Kumamoto Prefecture, Kumamoto is a major city on Kyushu’s west coast with a population of 650,000. The city is most famous for its castle, which is one of Japan’s largest and most complete. Kumamoto 1 night

Day 14: Osaka

Osaka, a large port city and commercial centre on the Japanese island of Honshu, is known for its modern architecture, boisterous night life and hearty street food. The 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle is its main historical landmark, surrounded by a moat and park with plum, peach and cherry trees. The Shinto Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine is among Japan’s oldest. You’ll have a final overnight stay before you return home. Osaka 1 night

Picture credit JNTO

Picture credit JNTO

Picture credit JNTO

Picture credit JNTO

 

Picture Credit JNTO

Picture Credit JNTO

Picture Credit JNTO

Picture Credit JNTO

 

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Little Gems

If you plan your trip during the months of March, April and May you will be able to see the beautiful cherry blossoms through out the country but a favourite place to see them is in the city of Kyoto.

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Client Feedback

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