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This whistle-stop tour of Asia’s highlights will have you in a spin with the sheer volume of incredible sights it packs in. Explore the best bits of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam by land, sea and air, soaking up the local culture as you go. Prepare for a delicious mix of landscapes, cuisines and people on this once-in-a-lifetime Journey.
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Your Example Itinerary
Check into your hotel, meet your group and embark on a night of entertainment in this frenetic city. Get your first taste of delicious Thai cuisine and explore the sights by tuk-tuk.
or 4-star hotel
After exploring the best bits of Bangkok – from the Reclining Buddha to the shimmering Grand Palace – head north to Chiang Mai, and experience a considerably calmer side to Thailand. This is the beating heart of the country, where you’ll be able to meet the locals, explore temples and sample great street food. Speaking of food, you can even opt to take in a cultural show with dinner, or test your skills in a Thai cooking class.
a train & standard hotels
This city may be small, but it’s pretty delightful too. Breathe in the dramatic mountain scenery, and soak up the relaxed Thai atmosphere before switching countries. From here you’ll begin your cruise along the Mekong River, after crossing the Friendship Bridge between Thailand and Vietnam.
Pak Beng, Laos
This sleepy riverside town boasts a great market. Explore the stalls for local treasures before heading back down the Mekong, stopping at the whiskey village and drifting past the Pak Ou Caves before reaching Luang Prabang.
A confection of Buddhist temples and mighty rivers, the ancient city of Luang Prabang serves up a slice of Asia at its most authentic. Explore the Old Quarter on foot, led by a local guide, and immerse yourself in traditional foodie and market experiences.
Participate in the daily almsgiving of the monks in Luang Prabang before heading to Vang Vieng. Here you’ll have the chance to get really active: perhaps go kayaking in the Nam Song River, take on some rock climbing, or go underground and explore some caves. If you’d rather a more sedentary experience, this is the perfect place to just laze on the beach with a good book too…
Laos’ capital is a peaceful yet captivating spot, best explored on foot. A half-day guided tour will take you to Wat Si Saket and Wat Ho Phra Keo – just a couple of the notable temples that dominate the streets. The French-colonial influence in Vientiane will quickly become apparent too, particularly when you visit Patuxai, a war monument in the heart of the city.
This is the bucket-list item you’ll no doubt be waiting for. Upon arrival in Siem Reap you’ll head for the UNESCO listed Angkor Archaeological Park, known for its exquisite temples and being the largest religious monument in the world. Here you can explore the jungle-claimed Ta Promh – Tomb Raider style – and gaze upon the faces of the Bayon Temple, before soaking up the crowning glory: Angkor Wat itself. And your time in the city doesn’t stop there – you can sample some Cambodian cuisine, experience the nightlife and even opt to visit a local community.
Located at the spot where the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers converge, Cambodia’s bustling capital city is well worth a visit. During your time in Phnom Penh you can choose to visit the Royal Palace, take in the sobering Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum or enhance your Cambodian culinary skills with a cookery class.
Ho Chi Minh City
Heady freneticism awaits in Ho Chi Minh City, but that’s part of its charm. Amid the busy streets you’ll find a plethora of fantastic food, charming people and a fascinating culture. Be sure to slurp pho, lemongrass tofu and perhaps some wilder snacks. Don’t worry about knowing where to go and what to eat – your guide will give you plenty of advice. You’ll also get the chance to learn more about the war when you visit the underground network of the Cu Chi Tunnels, where the Viet Cong would bunk down.
Settle into life on the water in Vinh Long, a historic settlement on the Mekong Delta. From here you’ll explore the iconic Cai Be Floating Market and really soak up the chaotic atmosphere of the buying and selling trade here. You’ll stop for lunch at a bonsai gardener’s home and finish the night in a comfortable homestay.
Time to top up that tan. Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most renowned beach resort – you can opt to go diving, exploring its offshore islands, or simply unwind on the sands. A guided tour of this coastal city will introduce you to its shimmering high rises and jungle-clad hills.
Fly north to the World Heritage city of Hoi An, renowned for its cosmopolitan architecture and rich culture. A guided tour will take you through the iconic Old Town and, if you’re tempted by Vietnamese cuisine, an optional Street Eats tour will introduce you to some pho-nomenal dishes. Perhaps spend your second day getting hands on: visit a vegetable village, enrol in a cookery class, stroll over the Japanese Covered Bridge or visit the Cam Nam Village.
Hue is a spot for the history buffs. Beauty abounds here too – perhaps thanks to the city’s desirable location on the Perfume River; what better place for such an imperial metropolis? A tour of the Citadel, Forbidden City and Royal Tomb will give you an insight into the Nguyen dynasty.
End your journey on a real high. The delights of Hanoi are plentiful: the One Pillar Pagoda in the Old Quarter; the Temple of Literature; delicious street food; Cat Ba National Park. And of course there’s nearby Halong Bay. With its iconic limestone karts, soaring up from the water like jagged giant’s teeth, kayaking in this mystical spot and venturing into the magnificent Surprise Caves will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your trip.
a junkboat & standard hotel
Depart Hanoi and return to the UK.
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