Uncover the delights of Indochina on this South-East Asian adventure

Travel from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City, experiencing the delights of northern Thailand, the laidback river lifestyle of Laos and the cultural richness of Vietnam. From the bright lights of Bangkok to the age-old charms of Luang Prabang and the buzz of Hanoi, join us on a voyage of discovery and relaxation. Travel down the mighty Mekong and become acquainted with the tranquillity of remote villages and friendly locals along the way. Sip coffee by the lake in Hanoi, stroll the pristine shoreline around Halong Bay, take in the charming old-world ambiance of Hue and marvel at the hectic pace of life in Ho Chi Minh City. This is an adventure full of beauty and contrast that will introduce you to the delicious cuisine, friendly people, beautiful landscape and cosmopolitan cities of these fascinating countries.

Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Countries
Laos,
Thailand,
Vietnam
Themes
Explorer
Code
TLSXC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
650kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Meander down the Mekong
  • Discover the thousands of Buddha statues at the Pak Ou Caves
  • Experience colourful Vientiane

Itinerary

Set the scene for this Thai adventure by cruising down the Chao Phraya River and visiting the country’s largest reclining Buddha. Afterwards, hunt down some tasty street food (not a difficult mission) and maybe indulge in an invigorating Thai massage.
Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. Climb up to one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand, discover ethereal panoramic vistas and be hypnotised by the chanting of resident Buddhist monks. In the evening, head on down to the Night Bazaar and tuck into some delicious local dishes.
Formerly known as ‘Juon’, the tranquil riverside town of Chiang Khong has long been an important marketplace for nearby hill tribes. Explore the quaint streets and hear Laos call from across the magnificent Mekong.
Feel time slow down during a cruise down the Mekong. Sit back and relax, admire lush scenery and soak up the serene atmosphere.
Visit the spiritual Pak Ou Caves, a traditional place of pilgrimage for many Buddhists en route to the World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang. Dotted with ornate temples and French colonial architecture, the atmospheric town is a delight to explore. Enjoy a guided tour around the Traditional Art & Ethnology centre, visit the stunning Kuang Si Falls and maybe stroll through the stalls of the delightful Dara Market. Those feeling energetic may want to make the trek up to Mt Phousi.
Join the locals on a public bus out to picturesque Vang Vieng, where there is ample opportunity to explore the local surrounds. Creep through caves, swim in natural springs, hire bikes and peddle along quiet paths or pick berries at a local organic mulberry farm.
Whether it’s by foot or by tuk-tuk, you’ll soon discover the delights of exploring Laos’s charismatic capital. Follow dusty tracks to friendly villages bustling with chickens, dogs and children, hunt for treasures at the local market, admire the oldest Buddhist temple in Vientiane and visit COPE, an Intrepid Foundation-sponsored organisation changing lives for the better.
Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.

If you arrive early into the capital of Hanoi, there’s plenty to see and do. Admire the city’s French-colonial architecture, wander the Old Quarter or head to the Temple of Literature. Relax in a park or enjoy some street food by Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by modern office buildings and ancient Buddhist temples.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception.
Travel by private minibus to the spectacular World Heritage site of Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin (approximately four hours). The bay is dotted with sandy coves, grottos and 1,600 limestone islands, which have been formed over millennia by wind and water erosion. Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring island caves and even enjoying a swim in the South China Sea. To end the day, spend a peaceful night aboard the boat beneath the night sky.

The sailing junk has twin share cabins with air-conditioning and private facilities. There's also a dining room and bar to enjoy lunch, dinner and breakfast.

Notes: Due to recent unforeseen changes by local authorities in Halong Bay, a large proportion of boats are no longer permitted to stay in the bay overnight, resulting in a shortage of boats. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, we’re occasionally using a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) or splitting groups across different vessels. An Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
This morning take a bus back to Hanoi, and use free time in the afternoon to shop, explore the sights or just relax. At 11 pm board an overnight train to Hue. Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six berths depending on the season), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided (although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but you may like to stock up on some food supplies before departure.
Arrive into Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel. Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. You’ll have free time in the morning to rest or explore. The bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the foods that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables, such as banh khoai (royal rice cake). After lunch, reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Hue Imperial Citadel complex, which once contained temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace.
Today, tour the sights of Hue on the back of a motorbike driven by a local guide. Explore the ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, once reserved for the personal use of the Emperor and his concubines, but almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam/American War. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda. During the visit you’ll see the car of a former monk who drove to Saigon in 1963 to set himself alight to protest the poor treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime.

Enjoy a short boat cruise down the Perfume River before eating lunch inside a nunnery. Finally, visit the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to Hue.

Notes: Please note that a car will be provided for those who don’t wish to ride on a motorbike. Also, boats for the Perfume River trip may not be available if you’re travelling during festival periods. During these times you’ll travel by land to reach the activities instead.
This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass. After a brief visit to My Khe Beach (China Beach), arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on an orientation walk, and you’ll be given a sightseeing pass so you can visit the city's major attractions at your leisure.
Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Browse the town’s cobbled streets and art galleries, or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Shop for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town’s markets and preserved Chinese shop houses. Perhaps visit one of the hundreds of tailors in the city to get something special made. Hoi An is also known for its delicious regional food, so be sure to enjoy a meal at a riverside restaurant or perhaps partake in a cooking class.
Today take a short early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam’s capital of commerce and culture. After landing, check in to your hotel and then take a sightseeing bus tour around the city. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, stopping in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the Vietnam/American War.

You also have the option today to take an Urban Adventures tour to the Cu Chi tunnels outside the city. This underground tunnel network in the middle of the jungle was used by the Viet Cong during the war.
This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a boat to Ben Tre to visit a coconut candy factory and sample their sweet products. On a tuk-tuk tour around the remote village, learn about local rural life and stop to sample tropical fruits. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous Elephant Ear fish. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past water coconut trees along the Mekong, and then board a private boat to cruise the delta’s major waterways to My Tho. After the cruise return via bus to Ho Chi Minh City.

Enjoy a final group dinner at KOTO restaurant, an organisation dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of street kids.
Your trip ends after breakfast today. There are no activities included and you’re free to depart your accommodation at any time. For those who are staying on and want to explore Ho Chi Minh City further, check out our Urban Adventure day trips.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
12 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport
Boat, Longtail boat, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private Bus, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Taxi
Accommodation
Guesthouse (4 nights), Hotel (14 nights), Overnight boat (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights)
Included activities
  • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
  • HCMC - KOTO dinner
  • HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip including Coconut Candy Factory and Village Tuk Tuk tour
  • HCMC - War Remnants Museum
  • Hoi An - Ancient town orientation walk and entrance
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
  • Hue - Perfume river cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Royal tomb
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
  • Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts and Ethnology Museum
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket

Dates

There are currently no departures for this trip.

{{departure_day.departure_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}} {{departure_day.arrival_date | date:'EEE d MMMM yyyy'}}

Style: {{departure.style}}

Boat/Ship: {{departure.vehicle_name}}
On sale Hot deal Departure guaranteed On request
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.base_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
{{product.currency_code}} {{room.discount_price | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}
Fully booked Bookings closed

Total price per person {{room.room_type | lowercase}}
Includes {{departure.kitty_currency_code}} {{departure.kitty | noFractionCurrency:departure.kitty_currency_symbol}} kitty
Includes {{extra.extras_code}} {{extra.extras_symbol}}{{extra.extras_value}} in local payments Single supplement available from {{product.currency_code}} {{departure.single_supp | noFractionCurrency:product.currency_symbol}}

Contact us to arrange an alternative departure for you

Book {{departure.places_left}} spaces left! space left!


Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Indochina Uncovered trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Indochina Uncovered , June 2015

Indochina Uncovered , May 2015