South East Asia Uncovered

South East Asia Uncovered

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22 Days From

$3870

$3575

South East Asia Uncovered

22 Days Starting in Bangkok and ending in Ho Chi Minh City

Visiting: Bangkok, Bangkok - Overnight train, Chiang Mai, Chiang Khong, Mekong River - Pak Beng, Mekong River - Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hanoi – Overnight train, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

TLSXC

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 16

Physical rating:

Low, Low

Age range:

15-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

From:
$3870
$3575 Operator discount: -$194 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$101

NB: Prices correct on 22-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

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, go 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 Ha Long 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.

Highlights

  • This combination trip includes a section in Vietnam that is one of the most popular in the entire Intrepid range.

  • Travel by boat, train, plane, private bus, taxi and even on the back of a motorbike!

  • Settle in for the night and experience overnight train journeys in both Thailand and Vietnam, set off from Bangkok and Hanoi and wake up ready to explore Chiang Mai and Hue.

  • The two day boat journey down the iconic Mekong River passes incredible rural scenery and is one of the must-dos to truly experience South East Asia

  • Sample local food wherever you go, from a seafood dinner on Halong Bay, street snacks at markets, a meal at a buddhist nunnery, coconut candy and tropical fruits in the Mekong Delta, and a final dinner at KOTO restaurant.

  • There are many chances to do good while you travel, like visiting the organisation COPE, dedicated to helping those injured by unexploded ordinance.

  • The perfect blend of included sights and free time to make your own discoveries in some of our favourite destinations, like Hoi An and Luang Prabang.

  • Have expert advice on hand the whole way with an experienced local leader to help you get the best out of your time in each country.

  • Discover the mysterious beauty of the Lao jungle as you walk side by side with recently rescued elephants on stroll through their natural habitat.

  • Rise with the sun and watch saffron-robed monks shuffle between houses, where the faithful wait with offerings as part of an alms giving ritual.

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Itinerary

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Day 1: Bangkok

Location: Bangkok

Accommodation: Hotel

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok, is famous for its tuk-tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious local food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you arrive earlier, why not venture out into this enigmatic city. Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore, so perhaps arrive a day or so early to uncover the Chinatown area, visit the magnificent (but very crowded) Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, indulge in a Thai massage or see the backstreets of Bangkok by bike on an Urban Adventure. Find out more at urbanadventures.com. After the meeting tonight, gather your fellow travellers together and tuck into some into world famous street food for our first optional dinner.

Optional Activities:
-Bangkok - Grand Palace

Day 2: Bangkok - Overnight Train

Location: Bangkok - Overnight train

Accommodation: Overnight train

Meals Included: breaksfast

Begin the day with a 1-hour river cruise down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous ‘khlongs’ (canals). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Pay a visit to Wat Pho, one of the Bangkok temples, with a 46-metre long gold-plated Buddha reclining inside. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. This evening you’ll head north to Chiang Mai on an overnight train journey, accommodated in a sleeper carriage (approximately 13 hours). The carriages are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; clean sheets, blanket and pillow are provided. Your baggage travels in the carriage with you. There is a food and drink service available on board. Sometimes the air conditioning can make the carriage quite cold so you may want to bring a warm layer of clothing.

Included Activities:
-Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour
-Bangkok - Wat Pho

Optional Activities:
-Bangkok - Thai Massage
-Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House

Day 3: Chiang Mai

Location: Chiang Mai

Accommodation: Hotel

The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for its lively cafe scene and extremely welcoming locals, this place captivates many travellers. First, embark on a scenic, winding drive up a mountain (around 45 minutes) to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a most memorable experience. After making our way back down from the temple, check in to the hotel and plan the rest of your time here. In the evening you can choose to wander through the enormous, colourful Night Bazaar or perhaps relax at a fine restaurant along the riverfront. Make sure to sample some delicious traditional northern Thai food – the signature dish is kao soy, yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth, traditionally served with chicken or beef.

Included Activities:
-Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep Temple Complex (Entrance)

Day 4: Chiang Mai

Location: Chiang Mai

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is free for you to explore and there are plenty of optional activities available. Perhaps join a local cooking class today and discover the secrets of real Thai cuisine, you'll learn the key ingredients, how to use them, and what to use in their place if you can’t get them at home. As well as taking your own comprehensive recipe book with you after the class, you'll feast on the fruits of your labour for lunch. Get active with a bicycle tour to discover the city and surrounding countryside from a different perspective, or be spirited away on an early morning Chiang Mai tour that puts you at the epicentre of Buddhist rituals. Learn to meditate, offer alms to monks, and make an offering at a temple. Also popular is the lovely Elephant Sanctuary at Chang Chill.

Optional Activities:
-Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course
-Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour

Day 5: Chiang Khong

Location: Chiang Khong

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Take a journey through rural countryside to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong (approximately 5.5 hours). On the way visit privately owned Wat Rong Khun, more commonly known as the White Temple – a must visit in Chiang Rai. This contemporary temple is constantly being updated, and its strange design features references to Buddhist mythology, human sin and pop culture icons such as Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and Superman. Formerly known as 'Juon', peaceful riverside Chiang Khong remains an important market town for the surrounding hill tribes and for trade with Laos. Stretch your legs with a stroll around town, and if you find yourself with time, then Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Luang are both well worth a visit while you’re here. Tonight, why not enjoy a final Thai drink and dinner, while Laos beckons from across the mighty Mekong.

Included Activities:
-Chiang Rai - Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)

Day 6: Mekong River - Pak Beng

Location: Mekong River - Pak Beng

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Meals Included: breaksfast

After crossing into Laos and for the duration of our time in the country we will be joined by additional Laos guides – a government requirement. Board a slow boat for the 2-day journey down the mighty Mekong River to Luang Prabang. The journey is relaxed, so you can experience the slow pace of village life and the breathtaking scenery along the river up close. The river boat is basic in nature, with a toilet, covered roof, and open sides to take in the fresh air. There are seats in the front of the boat and a small open area in the back where you can have a nap on the mat, play cards, read or have lunch. Dock at the small town of Pak Beng (after about 6 hours) to spend the night. Hmong and tribal Thai people are frequently seen on the main streets, where vendors sell local textiles and handicrafts.

Included Activities:
-Mekong River - 2 day boat trip

Day 7: Mekong River - Luang Prabang

Location: Mekong River - Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Reboard the boat and cruise to the Pak Ou Caves. An important religious site overlooking the river at the junction of the Mekong and Ou Rivers, the revered Pak Ou Caves consist of two sacred limestone caverns filled with Buddha images of all styles and sizes, brought by devoted villagers over the centuries. The lower cave, known as Tham Ting, is entered from the river by a series of steps and can easily be seen in daylight. The higher cave, Tham Phum, is deeper and requires a torch for viewing. Continue on to the former royal capital of Luang Prabang (approximately 7 hours total journey time). This atmospheric World Heritage-listed city is a favourite of many travellers. Nestled in the hills of northern Laos on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, the city is claimed to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’ by UNESCO. The city and its people retain a refined, yet relaxed, air and it’s a wonderful place to wander the streets into boutiques, cafes and small shops. Stay in a hotel tonight and if you are feeling energetic, climb Mt Phousi for some sunset views – the large hill that dominates Luang Prabang's skyline, topped by a glittering golden stupa. You can climb the 328 zigzag steps up to the sacred gilded stupa and big drum of the Phu Si Temple for a panoramic view of Luang Prabang and its surrounds.

Included Activities:
-Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves

Optional Activities:
-Luang Prabang - Mt Phu Si

Day 8: Luang Prabang

Location: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Once the heart and soul of the ancient Lao Kingdom (Lan Xang) and designated a World Heritage site in 1995, Luang Prabang is endowed with a legacy of historic red-roofed temples and French-Indochinese architecture, not to mention some of the country's most refined cuisine, a multi-ethnic population and rich culture. Rise with the sun this morning and witness a traditional alms giving ceremony. View the procession of saffron-robed monks on their daily outing collecting food offered by devotees, a practice that dates back centuries. The offerings must be collected early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk, it is believed you ‘het bon’ (make merit) which will be carried over into the next life. Your leader will guide you through the do’s and don’ts and help you to take part in this alms giving tradition. Return back to your hotel for breakfast and a free morning. In the afternoon, head south of town and stop for a sweet (socially responsible) treat at Laos Buffalo Dairy, an enterprise that works with the surrounding villagers by renting their buffalo, in order to produce delicious products including yoghurt, cheese and ice cream. The Dairy ensures a regular income for locals while ensuring the buffalo and their calves are well looked after. Why not contribute to this local business by purchasing an ice cream! Continue on to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, a picturesque, multi-level cascade that offers fantastically blue pools that are perfect for a mid-afternoon dip. Back in Luang Prabang this evening you’ll have free time to make further discoveries, including visiting the popular night market.

Included Activities:
-Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
-Luang Prabang - Alms giving ceremony
-Luang Prabang - Laos Buffalo Dairy social enterprise visit

Optional Activities:
-Luang Prabang - Night Market - Free

Day 9: Luang Prabang

Location: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

This morning, experience a wonderful local elephant project in nearby Mandalao that will give you a new perspective and profound understanding of these magnificent beasts. Discover the mysterious beauty of the Lao jungle as you walk side by side with recently rescued elephants on stroll through their natural habitat – a perfect way for these happy creatures to enjoy their freedom after decades of hard labour in logging camps. Begin by leaving Luang Prabang for the village of Xieng Lom (approximately 30 minutes) before taking a quick boat ride across the Nam Khan River where you’ll be introduced to your new gigantic companions. Feed them some special treats (a sure way to win their friendship) followed by a gentle, therapeutic walk, that offers you the opportunity to absorb their calming energy as you wander along a small dirt path through the surrounding flora and fauna, past traditional farms and the Huay Nok stream – where you may be able to spot elephants splashing around in the water as they cool off from the hot Lao sun! As you prepare to start your walk back to Mandalao, say goodbye to your new friends. Return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Included Activities:
-Luang Prabang - MandaLao Elephant Conservation trek
-Luang Prabang - Lunch at Manda Lao Elephant Conservation

Optional Activities:
-Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre
-Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong
-Luang Prabang - National Museum

Day 10: Vang Vieng

Location: Vang Vieng

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Take a high-speed train today to Vang Vieng (approximately 1 hour). Situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng is surrounded by towering limestone karsts and is a great place to enjoy being out in and surrounded by nature. After checking in to the hotel, use tonight to plan out your next few days with your group and leader.

Day 11: Vang Vieng

Location: Vang Vieng

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

There’s plenty to do in and around Vang Vieng, known as an adventure town thanks to its unique and varied surrounding country. The area is renowned for its caves, many of which are easily accessible from the town. Perhaps the most famous is the cave of Tham Chang, a beautiful cavern fed by a natural spring making it a perfect spot for a refreshing swim. Hire bicycles to explore further afield, hike the trails to nearby lookout points, join a day trip to go kayaking on the river, or you can visit an organic mulberry farm just outside town and enjoy a meal there.

Optional Activities:
-Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire
-Vang Vieng - Wat Si Vieng Song - Free
-Vang Vieng - Kayaking
-Vang Vieng - Tham Phu Kham Cave

Day 12: Vientiane

Location: Vientiane

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Continue by private minibus to the country's capital, Vientiane (approximately 3.5 hours). Possibly Asia's most laidback capital, even here everything seems to be conducted at a relaxed pace. Vientiane has a wealth of cultural delights to discover on foot, or for the less energetic, by jumbo (tuk-tuk). Faded colonial mansions, tree-lined boulevards and old temples create an atmosphere of timelessness, particularly in the older part of town along the Mekong River. Pay a visit to Wat Si Saket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane and home to almost 7000 Buddha images. Visit COPE vistors centre, an organisation dedicated to assistance those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordinance across the country. This is an excellent cause and a chance to educate yourself about Laos' devastating war history as well as buy a snack or drink from their Karma Cafe. This evening, maybe join your fellow travellers for dinner tonight.

Included Activities:
-Vientiane - COPE visit
-Vientiane - Wat Si Saket

Day 13: Hanoi

Location: Hanoi

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: dinner

Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at the hotel and is followed by a group dinner at KOTO restaurant. This organisation is dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of disadvantaged youth. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to see and do. Consider booking the Hanoi Street Food Experience at 9 am (see urbanadventures.com/en for details). You'll get to sample delicious Vietnamese cuisine like a true local, stroll through the hidden alleyways and bustling markets and take in a spectacular view of Hoan Kiem lake from a secret café. Or maybe take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter to admire the city’s French-colonial architecture.

Included Activities:
-Hanoi - KOTO dinner

Optional Activities:
-Hanoi - Women's Museum
-Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology
-Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex
-Hanoi - Hanoi Street Food Experience Urban Adventure

Day 14: Halong Bay

Location: Halong Bay

Accommodation: Overnight boat

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

Travel by private minibus to World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay, which is dotted with sandy coves, grottoes and 1600 limestone islands formed over millennia by wind and water erosion. Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring Surprise Cave and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases. Once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery. To end the day, spend an evening aboard the boat beneath the night sky. What better way to get to know your fellow travellers than an old school sleepover in an unforgettable location?

Included Activities:
-Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
-Halong Bay - Cave entry

Optional Activities:
-Halong Bay - Kayaking Tour

Day 15: Hanoi – Overnight Train

Location: Hanoi – Overnight train

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train

Meals Included: breaksfast

Wake up on the waters of Ha Long Bay, and before you leave the memorable scenery behind, it’s time for one last stop. The Green Life Centre is committed to turning Halong Bay’s trash into treasure by collecting discarded items and skillfully turning them into beautiful handicrafts. Meet the team behind this important cause and learn how to transform rubbish into a useful and reusable bag. After your visit, return by bus to Hanoi. Arrive late this afternoon and enjoy free time until tonight’s train voyage. Be sure to grab a bowl of pho while you’re in town and slurp down this local specialty made from broth, noodles and meat. Maybe chill by Hoan Kiem Lake until you board an overnight train to Hue this evening.

Included Activities:
-Halong Bay - The Green Life Visit

Day 16: Hue

Location: Hue

Accommodation: Hotel

Arrive in Hue this morning and transfer to the hotel. Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country’s royal past. Enjoy free time in the morning to rest or explore. If you choose the latter (and who can blame you) the bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the specialties that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables like banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Imperial Citadel, a sprawling city-within-a-city which contains the remains of temples, state houses and the emperor’s palace.

Included Activities:
-Hue - Imperial City entrance and guided visit

Day 17: Hue

Location: Hue

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

See Hue like a local – from the back of a motorbike! Straddle the saddle and whiz around town with a local guide, taking in historic and contemporary sights along the way. Stop at Thanh Toan to see the 18th-century covered bridge and villagers shopping at their local market. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda and see the car that belonged to Thich Quang Duc, the monk who self-immolated in 1963 in protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. For lunch, savour a vegetarian feast in a nunnery. Finish at the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to town.

Included Activities:
-Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
-Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike
-Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
-Hue - Motorbike Tour Lunch

Day 18: Hoi An

Location: Hoi An

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass. After a photo stop on the way, 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. When you arrive, your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town to visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You’ll also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure.

Included Activities:
-Hoi An - Old Town walking tour

Optional Activities:
-Hoi An - Food Adventure Urban Adventure

Day 19: Hoi An

Location: Hoi An

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Maybe browse the cobbled streets and art galleries or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Maybe browse for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town’s markets and preserved Chinese shophouses. If you’re craving a new look, you could pay a visit to one of the hundreds of tailors and 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.

Optional Activities:
-Hoi An - Private Hoi An: My Son Discovery

Day 20: Ho Chi Minh City

Location: Ho Chi Minh City

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

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, take a sightseeing tour around the city by bus. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, then stop in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the 20-year-long Vietnam/American War.

Included Activities:
-Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
-Ho Chi Minh City - City tour

Optional Activities:
-Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
-Ho Chi Minh City - A O show
-Ho Chi Minh City - Saigon Street Food by Night Urban Adventure

Day 21: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

Location: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch

This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a private boat to Ben Tre to visit the coconut gardens and stop at a local home to sample tropical fruits and coconut jams. After, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past coconut trees along the Mekong Delta. Take a tuk-tuk tour around the villages and learn about rural life and the industry created around coconut products like brooms and coconut fibre mats. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the Delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous elephant ear fish. Cruise the major waterways to Ben Tre boat pier, then return by bus to Ho Chi Minh City. This evening, perhaps head out to sample some local specialties as a final farewell with your fellow travellers and leader.

Included Activities:
-Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta Day Trip & Village Tuk-Tuk Tour
-Mekong Delta - Lunch

Day 22: Ho Chi Minh City

Location: Ho Chi Minh City

Meals Included: breaksfast

There are no activities included and you’re free to depart your accommodation at any time as long as you comply with check out time. If you would like to spend some more time in Ho Chi Minh City, just speak to your booking agent.

Optional Activities:
-Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnel Experience Urban Adventure

What's Included

  • Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta Day Trip & Village Tuk-Tuk Tour

  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple complex

  • Bangkok - Wat Pho

  • Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour

  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves

  • Mekong River - 2 day boat trip

  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls

  • Luang Prabang - Laos Buffalo Dairy social enterprise visit

  • Luang Prabang - Alms giving ceremony

  • Luang Prabang - MandaLao Elephant Conservation trek

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Transport

  • OVERNIGHT TRAINS
  • Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned and have sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, with are curtains that close over the beds. A sleeping sheet and a pillow are provided, and our luggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a western and Asian-style toilet located at the end of the carriage, but no showers. Carriage lights staying on during the night, so an eye mask is a good thing to bring with you, as is warm clothes as the air conditioning can be cold. For more on overnight trains in Thailand and around the world: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-the-world/
  • VIETNAM FLIGHTS:
  • Please provide your exact name (including middle name) as per passport 45 days prior to your trip's departure date for flight tickets to be issued. Internal flights will be on the following safety audited airlines: Pacific Airlines, Vietjet or Vietnam Airlines.
  • UNACCOMPANIED FLIGHTS:
  • During peak travel times your group may be required to travel on different flights at different times of the day, and you may be unaccompanied on the internal flight. In this case you will be assisted by additional tour escorts on departure and arrival.
  • OVERNIGHT SLEEPER TRAINS IN VIETNAM:
  • Compartments will be 4 berth to 6 berth depending on seasonal variations and the group configuration. We aim to secure 4 berth compartments where possible. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Passengers of different genders may be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group. On occasion the group may be split between several carriages, however your leader will coordinate and give further information on the trip.

Accommodation

  • OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
  • TWIN SHARE
  • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin basis.
  • CHECK-IN TIME
  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
  • PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
  • If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
  • HOTELS:
  • Most of the accommodation on this trip is in hotels (mostly 2 to 3-star). Facilities are often basic, with some properties not having a continuous supply of hot water on occasion. All rooms are either fan cooled or with air conditioning and twin share with private facilities unless stated otherwise in the daily itinerary. Double beds are not widely available in South East Asia.
  • WINDOWLESS ROOMS:
  • Some hotels in South East Asia have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also do not require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however they aren't always available.
  • DAY ROOMS & EARLY CHECK IN:
  • Please note in some destinations we will provide use of day rooms. These rooms are provided for shared group use before or after overnight train journeys. We have some days where we arrive at our destination before check in time and a day room is not included. If you have booked a Single Supplement for your trip, it will not apply to these day rooms. Your leader may be able to assist you in booking a room for your sole use (depending on availability) until our regular trip rooms become available for an additional charge. Please talk to your leader at the Welcome Meeting if this is a service you would like to request.

Included Activities

  • Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple complex
  • Mekong River - 2 day boat trip
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Luang Prabang - Alms giving ceremony
  • Luang Prabang - Laos Buffalo Dairy social enterprise visit
  • Luang Prabang - MandaLao Elephant Conservation trek
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Vientiane - Wat Si Saket
  • Hanoi - KOTO dinner
  • Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
  • Halong Bay - Cave entry
  • Hue - Imperial City Full Day Tour Urban Adventure
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike (lunch included)
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
  • Mekong Delta - Mekong Delta Day Trip & Village Tuk-Tuk Tour

Important Information

  • 1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 2,15 (Sleeper Train), Day 5,6 (Guesthouse) and Day 14 (Overnight boat)( where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.Rooms booked only for day use are also excluded. Please note that some room configurations have two single beds, although a double bed will always be requested.
  • 2. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for train and flight tickets. Fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
  • 3. This trip includes a domestic flight. Checked luggage allowance is a maximum of 20 kilograms, plus up to 7 kilograms carry on luggage. Any excess luggage charges will need to be paid directly to the airline at check-in.
  • 4. As this is a combination trip made up of some of our most popular itineraries the composition of your group as well as your leader may change.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes, except optional activities

  • Are internal flights included in this tour?

    Yes

  • Is this trip right for you

    You'll cover a lot of distance on this trip, including overnight trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Hanoi to Hue (about 12 hours). Compartments are on a mixed gender basis and you may be sharing with locals or travellers from other groups. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog posts here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight-train-in-vietnam/

    The sightseeing tour by motorbike in Hue is great fun with bikes driven safely by professionals (and helmets provided), but alternative transport can be arranged for those who would prefer not to travel by motorbike.

    Depending on where you come from, the weather on this trip might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to.

    Smoke Haze can be common for Northern Thailand into Laos between March and April due to burning off season of crops. You may wish to take a quality mask with you if you are particularly sensitive to smoke.

    Laos is less developed than many other Southeast Asian countries. The roads can be bumpy, delays are common, and accommodation can be basic but always clean and comfortable. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful country!

    Due to dam construction upstream, water levels aren't as reliable as in previous years. When the Mekong River is at its lowest from February to April, part of the journey may occasionally need to be made by land.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes if aged 15+ and accompanied by an adult

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

Reviews of this operator

Nicole  

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12-Oct-2021

This was my first international solo trip, but I never felt “alone” - there was always someone to go shopping, hike, or grab a quick bite with. The itinerary was a great balance between organized activities, while still allowing free time for exploring. Each location was unique and charming in its own way. Spending the night in the holy city of Moulay Idriss and wandering the winding streets of Chefchaouen were especially memorable. Thank you Mustapha and Intrepid for an incredible adventure!

Henry Guy Robinson   United Kingdom

Cambodia Discovery

22-Jan-2024

The overall experience was fantastic. V good tour leader. All places visited had something special to do or see. I would book a tour with this company again. Only one negative tour hub is not I repeat not available to contact direct by phone.

Merouane Harkat   Uk

Explore Southern Africa

08-Mar-2024

Best trip ever was, 2 things I didn't like the black mamba stop was wasting day and village ,so 2 night I think was just wasting, I could do 2 days in Kruger, and one more night in delta

Ann  

Amazing Guatemala and beyond tour with Intrepid

13-Dec-2022

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RICHARD ALAN RODDY   England

Central American Journey

08-Feb-2024

Very enjoyable, good paced Tour. Tour Leader, Choko was helpful, knowledgeable and extremely informative.

Joanne W  

Wonderful Croatian tour

02-Dec-2022

Our tour guide,Tamara, was the highlight of our Explore Croatia tour. She was knowledgeable, organized, and so kind and fun. Croatia is a beautiful country. I loved the people, the scenery, the food, the history. I hope to go back one day. Intrepid was perfect for me. There was group time and there was plenty of free time. It wasn’t a luxury tour but all of our accommodations were clean and safe. The dinner in Hvar was SO special!

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Miguel Angel Araujo   Usa

One Week In Costa Rica

27-Feb-2024

The trip was amazing, everything was well planned out & there wasn't any issues. The tour guide was very friendly and made the experience fun. During the trip I didn't have to worry about safety as we were never put in harms way. I would definitely recommend & do again.

Kelly  

North Morocco Adventure

25-Oct-2021

Touring the beautiful North of Morocco I learned far more than I’d anticipated in this 9 day tour. Interesting sights to see, with knowledgeable local guides, this tour provides a great balance of exposure to a different culture with ample time for relaxation. Chefchaouen is an absolute highlight, & not a place many Morocco trips of this kind go to. Loved it!

Sharik  

Essential Morocca

21-Oct-2021

Essential Morocco was an absolute dream. Every single day had such informative walking tours and tours of local facilities. Whether it was dinner with a local family or visiting a pottery factory, I learned so much about Moroccan culture. The accommodations were safe and I felt secure the entire 11 days. This trip wouldn’t have been the same without one person. That person is Youssef. If you are coming to Morocco with Intrepid and you don’t request Youssef, you’re doing it wrong. Words cannot describe how incredible of a guide he is. There were 3 of us on our trip of 18-29 year olds and he made us all feel so welcome and safe all the time. Whether that is cracking jokes on long drives or giving us the itinerary for the next day, Youssef ensured we felt respected and seen.

Barbara Ruth Roback   Canada

Cambodia Adventure

15-Jan-2024

Absolutely superb leader - knowledgeable. fun, safety conscious. Group of 15 travellers from 5 countries who bonded into a solid team. In addition to a fantastic itinerary, our leader’s love of karaoke made the trip unforgettable. It even inspired a song written as a tribute to him.

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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