Explore the essence of three incomparable wonderlands in Indochina. Visit a World Heritage Site in Myanmar with innumerable pagodas and temples and learn more about this mysterious Buddhist country. Relax on a cruise in Halong Bay and try different Vietnamese delicacies. Escape from the metropolis and experience an Asian-style slow pace of life in Laos. There are so many interesting things waiting for you to discover them in Indochina.
Nov. to Apr.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
Welcome to Mandalay, the second-largest city and the ancient capital of Myanmar. Upon arrival, your private guide and driver will greet you at the airport's exit, holding a sign with your name on it. Then they will escort you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day on your own to adjust to the jet lag or wander around your hotel.
The city is connected with China (Guangzhou and Kunming), Thailand (Chiang Mai and Bangkok), and Singapore.
An e-visa for Myanmar is included.
Travelers – except for those from ASEAN countries – are required to apply for a visa to enter Myanmar.
We can help you apply for an e-visa for Myanmar and the tour price is already included in the Myanmar visa fee.
Please kindly provide your passport and flight information to your travel advisor at least 1 month in advance of the travel date.
Shwenandaw Monastery will be your first stop. This monastery was once the king's living quarters and part of the imperial palace but it was moved out of the palace after the king's death. The monastery has numerous exquisite wood carvings and valuable Buddhist manuscripts.
Soak up Mahagandayon Monastery's pious atmosphere by witnessing thousands of pious monks standing solemnly to receive their food provided by local villagers.
Then take a local ferryboat across the river and have lunch at a riverside restaurant.
After lunch, head to the ancient city of Inwa to see Inwa Palace and the Bagaya Monastery. The ancient city of Inwa is relatively remote so most of its remains are intact. Hop in a cart on the country road to visit Inwa Palace, the Bagaya Monastery, and local villages.
You will spend about 2 hours in Inwa, then go to U Bein Bridge. This bridge is made of wood and has existed for over 150 years. It is also called the Bridge of Love by the locals.
In the rainy season, when the water level is high, the bridge's walkway isn't far out of the water. You will sit in a canoe at the bridge, hold your breath, and be amazed by the sight of the sunset over the surface of the water.
During your stay in a city of deities, why not join in with a holy ceremony? Get up early and follow the local believers — you will see them take various offerings to Mahamuni Buddha Temple and start a 1-hour face-washing ritual that starts at 4am. This is a daily event. The temple abbot will wash and clean the Buddha statue from top to toe, removing dust and smearing the statue with sandalwood oil before finally sprinkling it with holy water to maintain its holiness. According to local customs, females are forbidden to enter the main hall so should wait in the side room and watch a video of this.
You will return to your hotel for breakfast and then fly to Bagan.
Bagan's airport is 40 minutes away from your hotel. Your guide will help you with the check-in process and you will have time for a rest.
Continue your adventure in the afternoon. Visit Nyuang U Market and experience the dynamic atmosphere in the afternoon peak time.
Then visit the Shwezigon Pagoda. It was constructed in 1060 and is the antecedent of Burmese-style pagodas, being the most recognized shrine in Nyuang U.
Take Off Your Footwear
Please take off your shoes and socks before entering a religious place, such as temples and pagodas. Your guide will help you store your footwear in a bag and will offer you wet tissues so you can clean your feet when you come out.
The stunning UNESCO site Bagan Archaeological Zone is an ideal destination for every traveler. Hundreds and thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas sprawl out solemnly and magnificently in the morning sunlight. As they continue for 25 square kilometers, you will visit typical sites, such as the Ananda Temple, the Mahabodhi Temple, and Dhammayangyi Temple.
Return to your hotel for a break and have lunch, then return to the site in the late afternoon.
Perfect the day's journey by taking an ox cart ride to see Bagan's splendor in the dusk.
There is an optional activity for you to make the tour more unique, as detailed below.
Overlooking Bagan from a Hot-Air Balloon
In this 1-hour hot-air balloon ride, you will fly high and enjoy the view, scanning the horizon filled with silhouettes of pagodas. This will give you unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
Get up early and catch the morning flight to Yangon, the old capital of Myanmar.
Head to your hotel in Yangon and store your luggage, then start your tour in the afternoon.
Bogyoke Aung San Market is in memory of General Aung San. You can buy a variety of jewelry, carved wooden utensils, and specialties there, and then walk around in the formal colonial district in Yangon. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest place for local devotees and is also the landmark of Yangon. This gilded pagoda is studded with nearly 5,000 diamonds and other gems. When the sun is setting, the pagoda glitters in the dusk. A picturesque, sacred, and particularly soul-touching picture is presented.
Jump onto a train at the Yangon Circular Railway for an overview of this city. The journey takes about 3 hours even though it's only 45 kilometers long. Seated among different commuters on their way to schools, offices, and marketplaces will give you a better idea about the local people's daily lives and you can learn why Yangon is more laid-back compared with other capital cities in Southeast Asia. Hop off at the local market in the suburbs then transfer to the airport.
You will take the flight to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and transfer to Can Tho.
To provide you with an authentic experience of local daily life, we will arrange a trip on an old train with wooden cabins and seats. There will be no air-conditioning and doors will stay open during the journey. However, if you prefer, we can change it to a modern train with air-conditioning, just like metro trains in big cities.
Be an early bird and get up at 6am to visit the market on water: Cai Rang Floating Market. Boats are a very important means of transportation and living places for residents in the Mekong Delta. Your guide will give you a brief introduction to the lifestyle and culture of this region. Morning is the busiest time of day and you will see many boats with goods getting together and becoming a market. Have a boat trip along the river and go back to Ho Chi Minh City after lunch.
In the morning, your guide will arrange a rickshaw and show you around the city. You will visit an opera theater, Reunification Palace, and Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. You can experience the local customs and daily life when traveling this way and, because of the cyclo's small size, you can get to many spots that your private car can't.
Stop the rickshaw tour at the War Remnants Museum. This was the former site of the US Intelligence Agency. See some old weapons and equipment, such as fighter jets and helicopters, and understand the history of the Vietnam War.
After lunch, your guide will escort you to the airport and you will catch the flight to Da Nang. After you land, your guide will transfer you to Hoi An.
Visit the "Angkor Wat" of Vietnam in My Son valley. My Son is the major site in Vietnam from the ancient Champa Kingdom, which flourished between the 2nd and 15th centuries. Descendants of the Champa civilization still live along the coast although they are now fully integrated with Vietnamese society. In 1999, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After lunch, walking around Hoi An Ancient Town, your guide will lead you to some key scenic spots, such as the Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall, and Old House of Tan Ky. Then you will take a break at a teahouse and have a cup of tea. It is a warm and lovely teahouse run by local young people with hearing issues.
Have a free day on your own. Take the flight from Da Nang to Hanoi, transfer to your hotel in Hanoi, and check in. You can spend the rest of the day as you please.
Hanoi has an abundant history and culture. In this trip, you will have a better understanding of Hanoi. In the morning, you will be led to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. It has regular cultural programs with many exciting and educational activities, which attract a lot of locals and foreign tourists to the museum. You can also learn some historical stories at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. After a short rest, you can start a food hunt in the Old Quarter and walk around the lake to experience authentic Hanoi life. Hanoi's best egg coffee, weird-looking fruits, and ice creams are all highlights there.
Things to Do at Night
Music is the essence of a culture. Attend the evening music show at Thang Long Ca Tru Guild in the Old Quarter. Local artists will perform traditional Vietnamese music two or three times a week. You will have the chance to learn how to play local instruments.
As a World Heritage Site, you can see the amazing landscape views in Halong Bay and you can enjoy your time with your loved one in the romantic atmosphere.
During your cruise, you will see villages, caves, and islets. If you are interested in a cooking class or a tai chi lesson, you can check out the cruise schedule and choose your favorite activity.
About the Cruise
1. You can take a nap on the way to Halong Bay during the 3-hour journey by road.
2. Don't worry if you are traveling with a baby. We can arrange a crib in your cabin. Please let us know in advance.
3. All meals are included during the cruise trip but you have to pay for drinks. Your guide will take you shopping for some drinks and snacks.
The cruise will dock at about 11am. Head to the airport to catch the flight to Luang Prabang.
Wake up early to join in with an important activity: morning almsgiving. Every morning, as part of the local culture, the monks walk a long way barefoot from the temple to the town. People offer them their first pot of rice on that day. This is the monks' food and this activity can help you understand how holy the monks are in people's minds.
Visit the morning market and city after the ritual — your guide will lead you to Wat Xieng Thong, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, and the Royal Palace Museum. Enjoy yourself in the scenic spots and try some delicious dishes.
In the morning, you will leave Luang Prabang to go to the Kuang Si Falls and you can enjoy countryside views from the car. You will meet some friendly ethnic minority people in the village — chat with them and they will tell you some interesting facts about their culture. Afterward, you can jump into the water and feel the coolness of nature. Enjoy yourself surrounded by trees and flowers.
After a delicious breakfast in your hotel, head to the airport and say goodbye to your guide and driver. We, at Asia Highlights, wish you a pleasant journey.
Price from: $5,188 (Tour code: gh-ah-14)
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