Royal Palace

12 day escorted tour itinerary

Classic Vietnam and Laos tour

A journey through cultures and two countries of the Far East

Experience the unique culture and exquisite charm of Vietnam and Laos on this 12 day adventure.

Combine the laid back life of sleepy Luang Prabang and Hoi An with the bustling metropolis of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Take a journey along the scenic Mekong River and enjoy an overnight cruise on picturesque Halong Bay gliding among thousands of limestone islands.

This spectacular tour through two of Indochina's most interesting countries offers the perfect opportunity to experience cultures rich in heritage sites and natural beauty, add the genuine smiles of the people and delicious food for an unforgettable trip like no other. 

Group Tour Departs every Saturday 

Private Tour Departs Daily

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Overnight cruise on Halong Bay
  • Night Bazaars of Laos
  • Historical sites and museums
  • Visit notorious landmarks such as the Opera House and Notre Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
12 days
Guide Price
£2,589 per person
Price based on
Based on 14 June 19 departure from London Heathrow flying with Thai Airways, private tour- meal basis as per itinerary.
Our guide price gives you an idea of pricing which will vary depending on exchange rates, accommodation, duration, dates, airline and cabin class.
Destination Breakdown
Options
Private or Group basis, Escorted
Included
  • International and internal flights as detailed.
  • Air conditioned transfers in all resorts.
  • Accommodation or similar as detailed with private facilities.
  • Meals included as stated, mainly taken in local restaurants.
  • Services of an English-speaking local driver/guide.
  • All entrance fees.
  • If you have chosen the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue, a private four-berth cabin will be booked, however bathroom facilities are shared.
  • Drinking water and cold towels available in vehicles during the day.
Not included
  • Visa fees.
  • Optional excursions.
  • Compulsory Gala dinners during festive seasons and peak seasons, surcharges will be advised at time of booking.
  • Tips for the guide or driver, bellboys and maids.
  • Drinks during meals.

Itinerary Breakdown

Meet upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport by your local Lao tour guide and transfer to your hotel for check in.

The rest of your day is at leisure. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Maison Dalabua Hotel or similar

Take an early morning stroll through the morning market before returning to your hotel for breakfast.

Visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo which is sylistically more Srilankalese than Lao, before taking a walk to nearby Vat Aham, one of Luang Prabang's major tutelary shrines.

Climb up Vat Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city before heading to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC). A museum dedicated to the ethnic arts of Laos, the TAEC is housed in a heritage building and exhibits ethnic clothing, household objects, religious artefacts and handicrafts. 

In the afternoon visit the National Museum which is housed in the former King's Palace and displays a collection of personal artefacts belonging to the royal family.

Then visit the Ock Pop Tock weaving centre, a Loas based social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. Set in a tropical Mekong garden, it serves as a resource centre for learning about textiles, crafts and culture. 

Enjoy sunset at Vat Phrabat Tai.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Maison Dalabua Hotel or similar

Embark on a traditional Lao riverboat cruise from Neva Mekong boat pier. While enjoying refreshments and marvel at the thousands of gold Buddha statues placed in the sacred Pak Ou Caves.

Continue cruising upstream, visit the Ban Xang Hai Village, famous for the distillation of traditional rice alcohol.

Enjoy lunch on board in front of Pha Enn Cliff before returning to Luang Prabang around 2:30 pm.

The rest of your day is free for you to explore the old town of Luang Prabang.

Points of Interest

  • Lunch surrounded by rice paddy fields

Overnight Accommodation

  • Kamu Lodge (Tent) or similar

Departure by road to the Kuang Si Waterfalls (30 km, approx. 1 hour drive).
The waterfalls tumble over multi tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing.

On the way to the waterfalls, visit the Khmu minority village of Ban Thapaene for a glimpse into their lifestyle.
Picnic lunch near to the waterfalls and enjoy some time relaxing and exploring the area by foot.

Return by road (approximately one hours drive) to Luang Prabang, on the way visit Lao Buffalo Diary Farm.

Then continue to visit Ban Phanom weaving village, with the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the Night Bazaar.

Points of Interest

  • Cruise back to Luang Prabang along the Mekong

Overnight Accommodation

  • Maison Dalabua Hotel or similar

Breakfast is at the hotel and you have time at leisure until your pick up time for your transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi.

Located in the centre of the Northern Delta with a population of 6.2 million people and an area of 3,398 square km Hanoi is an ancient city which had been established and developed for over 1,000 years since 1010.

Even though some relics have not survived through wars and time, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments for visitors and residents alike. Historians liken the life-giving Red River with its banks crowded with green rice paddies and farms to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; a cradle of civilisation.

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Depending on your arrival time, you may want to venture out to explore the city on your own or join one of our wonderful optional excursions in and around Hanoi.

Optional tours (payable locally):

One hour cyclo tour

Walking tour through

Old Quarter Dinner with a Hanoi Family

Points of Interest

  • West Lake

Overnight Accommodation

  • Thien Thai Hotel or similar

After an early breakfast, depart your hotel for Halong Bay and your overnight cruise.

After boarding the boat you will start a relaxing cruise passing bizarre rock formations. Itineraries vary depending on the boats programme.

After lunch enjoy a guided excursion to Sung Sot Caves, the floating village, or enjoy swimming in the bay.

Once the sun has set your boat will drop anchor for the night. A cooking demonstration may take place before dinner is served.

After dinner, you may choose to enjoy the fresh air on the sundeck, or play board games or simply retire to your cabin for a comfortable night in the bay after a long day.

Note: our tour guide will not accompany you on-board, however each boat has their own knowledgeable guides.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Emeraude Classic Cruise or similar

You are welcome to join in an early morning Tai Chi session on the sundeck (depending on your boats programme) and watch the sunrise in the bay. Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking the boat and heading back to Hanoi. Here you will enjoy an orientation tour visiting the old quarter which is known as the city’s historical centre.

You have the choice to stay in Hanoi for another night or experience the Vietnam rail tracks overnight aboard the SE3 Reunification Express from Hanoi to Hue. The overnight train is based in a private four-berth compartment (two upper and two lower berths) with air-conditioning and shared restrooms.

If you are taking the overnight train dinner will be enjoyed at a restaurant before transferring to Hanoi railway station, if you are staying another night in Hanoi dinner is not included.

Notes when taking the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue:

Tour guide will not accompany those taking the overnight train option

Train schedule is subject to change (ETD: 22:00 hrs).

Shared restrooms only available at either end of the carriages

Points of Interest

  • Visit the narrow streets and see daily life of the Old Quarter
  • Morning Tai Chi while the sun rises

Overnight Accommodation

  • Thien Thai Hotel or similar

Spend the morning at leisure before checking out of your hotel and transferring to the airport for your flight to Hue. Those that have taken the overnight train option will arrive in Hue around 10.35 am and be picked up from the train station to join the rest of the group for lunch before continuing with a half day tour of Hue.

You will visit the Imperial Citadel, this royal complex has been officially recognised by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Continue by road to visit Thien Mu Pagoda or Heavenly Lady pagoda an active Buddhist monastery originating from 1601, and afterwards take a scenic boat trip on the Perfume River to the city pier.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Moonlight Hotel or similar

In the morning, visit Tu Duc Royal Tomb. Construction of the tomb was meticulously carried out, starting whilst the king was still alive in order to ensure his comfort in the next life.

Your journey continues southbound to Danang over the famous Hai Van Pass with a view of the Truong Son mountain range on one side and a spectacular sea view on the other followed by lunch in a local restaurant.

This afternoon visit Cham Museum and en route take a photo stop at the Marble Mountains before driving the short distance south past the famous Non Nuoc Beach onto the enchanting town of Hoi An listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Upon arrival in Hoi An, check in at the hotel and rest of the day will be at leisure.

Be sure to make your way down to the river edge this evening to witness this magical area of Vietnam. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hoi An Trails Resort or similar

In the morning, your guide will take you on a stroll through the exceptionally well-preserved ancient town of Hoi An.

Most of the buildings still have their original wooden frames, including historical monuments and the fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures.

Hoi An Silk Village is just one kilometre away from the centre of Hoi An. This ancient town is your next stop and where you will enjoy lunch.

Drive to Danang airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling and vibrant economic centre of the south. Check in at your hotel and have free time in the evening to explore the city.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Aristo Hotel or similar

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Cu Chi tunnels to visit the amazing complex of underground tunnels, see and learn how Vietnamese in the area lived during the Vietnam War.

In the afternoon a walking tour will take you from the Saigon River past the Opera House, Town Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office.

Spend some time shopping for souvenirs at the famous Ben Thanh Market before indulging in a well-earned foot massage.

The evening is at leisure or an optional dinner cruise on the Saigon River is available charged locally.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Aristo Hotel or similar

Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City airport for your onward journey, or alternatively extend your stay in Vietnam.

Optional excursion:

Good Morning Saigon Tour (payable locally)

  • Luang Prabang

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Stunning Temples
    • The sacred Phousy Mountain
    • Kuangsi Waterfalls
    • Experience traditional Kamu lifestyle
    • Explore the dark Pak Ou Caves
  • Hanoi

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Wander around the Old Quarter
    • City orientation tour
    • Centuries old architecture with Chinese and French influence
    • Home to over seven million Vietnamese
    • Spending the evening around West Lake
  • Halong Bay

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Panoramic views like no other
    • Turquoise waters
    • Thousands of limestone islets
    • Quaint cabins on board a traditional junk boat
    • Activities included such as Tai Chi
  • Hue

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Thien Mu Pagoda also known as Heavenly Lady pagoda
    • Boat trip on the Perfume River
    • Impressive Imperial Citadel complex
    • Tu Duc Royal Tomb
    • Active Buddhist monastery
  • Hoi An

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Japanese covered bridge
    • Narrow streets of an ancient Vietnamese town
    • Colourful lanterns line the streets
    • Hoi An Silk Village
    • A relaxed atmosphere to sit and watch the world go by
  • Ho Chi Minh City

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Vibrant economic centre of the south of Vietnam
    • Amazing Cu Chi tunnel complex
    • Walking tour of the city
    • Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City
    • Foot massage after a long day on your feet