Tour Route: Hanoi – Sapa – Vientiane – Cruising – Chiang Saen
Duration: 15 Days
Start/ End: Hanoi/ Chiang Saen
River Cruise Name: Champa Pandaw
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival – ½ City Tour
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam!
Upon arrival, you will be picked by local guide and driver, we will then transfer to hotel. Relax in the rest of the day and relish in the welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant.
In the morning, we will have half-day visiting some of the must-see sites in Hanoi. We first drive to the Ho Chi Minh complex where we will spend time at Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (Outside visit only if visit in the afternoon), visit the former stilt-house of Uncle Ho, Presidential Palace, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, and then visit One Pillar Pagoda. Next, we visit the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam, originally built as a temple to Confucius.
After that, we visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum – one of the most interesting museums in Hanoi and voted among ’10 Must-see sites in Hanoi’ by the Tripadvisor. The museum has three main galleries and three main themes: Women in Family, Women in History and Women’s Fashion. With more than 1000 materials, photos and objects displayed in the museum show the role the Vietnamese women in History and Family life. We finish the tour at late afternoon and drop-off at hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Night train to Sapa
Pick up at the hotel in Hanoi after breakfast, it will take 180 KM to Halong Bay – which also known as the bay of descending dragon. The bay is located in the Northeast of Vietnam and it has been recognized by UNESCO as the World Natural Heritage thanks to its universal values of landscape, geology and geo-morphology, respectively in 1994 and 2000 and is one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
On arrival in Tuan Chau Pier at around noon, we will get on boat with welcome of the crew team. Lunch will be served onboard with seafood mainly while our cruise sets toward to the Islet of Rocky Dog (Hon Cho Da), Incense Burner (Hon Dinh Huong) and Fighting Cock (Hon Ga Choi). Our cruise then docks at Amazing Cave (Hang Sung Sot), can say, the most amazing cave in Halong at this stage with hundreds of splendid stalactites. After one-hour visiting the cave, we continue cruising to Titov Island where we will have free time for swimming. Back to the cruise at around 4 PM, continue exploring further in the bay before ending the trip at 6 PM at Tuan Chau Wharf. We will find our car is waiting and take us back to Hanoi.
After getting back to Hanoi, you will be drop in a restaurant for a dinner before moving to Hanoi train station for a night train to Sapa
Day 3: Sapa – Cat Cat – Y Linh Ho – Ta Van
Met up at station in Sapa by local guide, then sneak through the market, and leave the busy town behind. Then, we will follow a road going down the hill to get village of Cat Cat. We will stop at the waterfall and a hydroelectric station for a while before trekking on a dirt trail through the stunning rice paddy terraces. Also, we enjoy spectacular scenery whilst walking along a narrow river. Eventually, we arrive in Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where we can take a rest while lunch is served nearby the river.
In the afternoon, head to seductive Muong Hoa valley. Then pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong before visit Ta Van village of Giay minority by following a popular trekking route. We will spend a night in local house of Giay minority. Take a walk to enjoy the stunning valley view or swim as well in the river nearby.
Free at night in here.
Day 4: Fansipan – Hanoi (by bus)
After breakfast at local house, we take 4-minute Mountain Train through the valleys, viaducts and tunnels offering stunning views of villages surrounding as well as nature. Reaching the Cable Car station, get off the train and enjoy another 20-minutes in cable car ride up to the peak. It takes at least two or three days to reach the Fansipan Mountain peaking on foot. However, with the newly three-rope cable car system, we can see the peak and spectacular surrounding from the peak within a half day.
After 20-minute ride, start challenging yourself with 636 high steps up to Fansipan Summit – ‘The Roof of Indochina’ with the height of 3,143-meter. Relish in the spectacular scenery of Hoang Lien Mountain and lush forest, then walk down to the cable car station and ride back. Take the Mountain Train back to town and have lunch in a restaurant.
After lunch, turn back to Hanoi by shuttle bus.
Day 5: Hanoi – Vientiane – Half day City Tour
After breakfast, we will be free until your driver arrives to take you to Noi Bai international airport for your departure flight to Vientiane.
After check-in we head for the city tour. We will witness the major temples of Vientiane consisting of the oldest one – Wat Sisaket. It’s thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of WatPrakeo, housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Also, visit the national icon of Laos, That Luang Stupa, have a stop along the way to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument. It is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
Heading for the waterfront your evening is free to savor a few drinks watching the sunset over the Mekong River, explore the Night Market and take in some of the city’s nightlife.
Day 6: Cruising Mekong
Cruise upstream on the Mekong River, passing lush jungle scenery and a plenty of tiny riverside villages. Your morning presentation on the Lao language. In the afternoon, there has a cooking demonstration on the upper deck, join it and learn more about Laos cuisine. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.
Day 7: Pak Lai
In the afternoon, take a visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with a lot of colonial buildings & a bustling local market. This town is so proud of place where has the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually hold in February.
Day 8: Ban Park Bor Village
In the morning, we visit and have a nice walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon, we go through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.
Day 9: Ban Muoang Khai Village & Luang Prabang
In the morning, we visit a Hmong village and then continue upstream to Ban Mouang Khai village. Your afternoon sightseeing by minibus to visit the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of Luang Prabang where takes place a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.
Day 10: Luang Prabang
In the morning, jump into a tuktuk to explore this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with the myriad of Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang by yourself. Revel in traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck in the late afternoon. The river cruise will moor overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 11: Pak Ou Caves
In the early morning, you will have a short walking tour to see the alms which offers by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Cruise passengers are also invited to join in with offerings that we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing right in the local boat to explore the unique Pak Ou Caves, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Enjoy the evening cocktails on a sandbank and the sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo
Day 12: Pak Beng
Morning activity is visiting a local Khamo village. Continue to sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.
Day 13: Ban Houayxay
Early morning walking tour in a village of Khamo then cruise through splendid scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.
Day 14: Chiang Saen
Cruising upriver to the Chiang Sean Town for border crossing at the Golden Triangle. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board made your last evening.
Day 15: Chiang Saen – Chiang Rai International Airport
Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean and group transfer to hotel/ airport (Up to your request). Explore the Golden Triangle en route including a visit to the opium museum. After that we head to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).