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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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

 

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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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