An amazing adventure that explores the history, spirituality and diversity of this region.
Jan 17th - Feb 7th 2020
Begins Friday, Jan 17 in Vientiane, Laos and finishes Friday, Feb 7th in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
LAND TOUR: Cost $7,560 Canadian/per person
Single Supplement is $1,680 Can
Please note it is also possible to take sections of this tour:
Vietnam 14 Days: Begins Tuesday, Jan 21st in Hanoi and finishes Monday, Feb 3rd in Ho Chi Minh City. Price TBA.
Vietnam & Cambodia 18 Days: Begins Tuesday, Jan 21st in Hanoi, Vietnam and finishes Friday, Feb 7th in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Price TBA.
Laos & Vietnam 18 Days: Begins Friday, Jan 17th in Vientiane, Laos and finishes Monday, Feb 3rd in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Price TBA.
Our flights specialist estimates the cost of the airfare to be
approximately $1,500 Canadian departing Vancouver to Vientiane via Hong
Kong and Bangkok with Cathay Pacific & returning from Phnom Penh via
Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. This routing usually requires an
overnight in Bangkok and we highly recommend breaking your long
international flights with 2 or 3 nights in this fascinating city. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN ESTIMATE FROM VANCOUVER AND IS ONLY VALID AT THE TIME OF POSTING (April 2019)
Special Note: This tour is not suitable if you need walking assistance in the form of walking sticks or canes. You must be in reasonably good shape to enjoy this tour – there is walking over uneven surfaces as well as climbing in and out of boats and travelling by unusual means of transport such as elephants! Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes as some of our walking tours can take up to 3 hours.
Limited to 16 travellers + Norman & Julie Bruce( there are 10 space available on this tour)
(updated April 14 2019)
Vietnam is long, thin and mountainous so we fly some sections of our route so we can cover more areas of the country. However, we travel overland by our own air-conditioned coach on several sections. This allows us to see more of the countryside. Due to the poor road conditions in Laos and Cambodia, we fly to and between the sites in these countries. Where possible, we try to spend more than one night in an area. Most of our hotels on this tour are of an excellent, Western 4-star standard.
Our tour captures some of the highlights of this beautiful region of the world: we spend a night on a houseboat in Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the coast is dotted with limestone pinnacles rising vertically from the azure-blue sea. We board an overnight sleeper train from Lao Cai in the mountainous north-west of Vietnam where we learn about the local tribal peoples. No visit to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to Angkor Wat, one of the seven wonders of the world. This architectural masterpiece was built in the 12th Century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. Please visit our website www.royalheights.com to see our video about this tour.
Day 1 Friday, Jan 17th
ARRIVAL IN VIENTIANE (LAOS)
We arrive in Vientiane this morning.
This afternoon we visit the Carol Cassidy House to learn about traditional Lao textiles.
Overnight in Vientiane. Crown Plaza Hotel or similar. Dinner is included if arriving on time.
Day 2 Saturday, Jan 18th
MODERN CAPITAL + FLY TO OLD CAPITAL
Today we enjoy a guided tour of Laos’ laid-back capital city.
Hugging a bend in the Mekong River, Vientiane is a city of Buddhist temples, lively markets and French colonial mansions.
Built between 1819 and 1824, Wat Sisaket is believed to be Vientiane’s oldest temple to have survived the 1828 Siamese War. Inside are over 8,000 Buddha statues and more than 2,000 silver and ceramic pieces. Ho Prakeo is the former home-temple of the Emerald Buddha. Now it contains a collection of Buddha statues, antiquities and artefacts found in the area around Vientiane. The most important national monument in Laos, That Luang is a symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Laos’ independence. The original 3rd Century BC stupa was reputed to have enclosed a piece of the Buddha’s breastbone. Reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Patuxai is Vientiane’s most prominent monument and commemorates those who died in past wars. We have a wonderful view of the city from the top.
This afternoon we take a short flight from Vientiane (5:00 pm) - Luang Prabang (5:45 pm), the ancient capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom.
First of 3 nights in Luang Prabang. Maison Dalabua. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 3 Sunday, Jan 19th
VIENTIANE – LUANG PRABANG
Today we take a guided tour of the city, which is famous for its historic temples and beautiful mountain setting. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We explore Wat Xieng Thong, a peaceful monastery with a richly-decorated wooden interior on the banks of the Mekong River. We also visit Wat That Luang, which houses the ashes of King Sisavang and Wat Wisunalat – the oldest functioning temple in the city. We also visit the National Museum, which is housed in the former Royal Palace. This afternoon we visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre to learn about the diversity of ethnic groups in Laos. We climb up Mount Phousi for a wonderful view over the city.
Second of 3 nights in Luang Prabang. Maison Dalabua. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 4 Monday, Jan 20th
MEKONG RIVER CRUISE
This morning we drive to Ban Xanghai, known as “the village of the jar-makers”, where the locals sell special jars filled with local rice wine. We can also observe local weavers at work. At Pak Ou village we take long-tailed boats across the Mekong River to explore the lower Pak Ou Caves, carved into the steep rock cliffs where the Mekong and Ou rivers meet, where we admire the many Buddha images. Continuing south we visit the Kuang Si Waterfall, where crystal-clear water cascades 50 metres down through numerous turquoise blue pools. We visit the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, which was established in 2003 to care for mainly Moon Bears which have been confiscated from poachers. We take long-tailed boats for a sunset cruise along the Mekong back to Luang Prabang, along the way enjoying gorgeous views of the rice paddies, mountains and fishing villages.
Third of 3 nights in Luang Prabang. Maison Dalabua. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 5 Tuesday, Jan 21th
LUANG PRABANG – HANOI, VIETNAM
This morning we drive to Ban Xienglom and visit the Elephant Village on the banks of the Nam Khan River. Established in 2003, this is a sanctuary for elephants freed from hard and dangerous logging work. Not only do we get to meet these most gentle and intelligent of animals, but we get to ride on them through the local countryside. Today we include lunch instead of dinner due to our evening flight time. This evening we fly from Luang Prabang to the capital of Vietnam.
Those starting the tour in Vietnam join the tour in Hanoi today.
First of 2 nights in Hanoi. Mercure Hanoi Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Lunch.
Day 6 Wednesday, Jan 22th
Today we enjoy a full-day guided tour of this beautiful city of French colonial-style buildings, shaded boulevards, lakes and public parks. The downtown is laid-out on a grid pattern with leafy side avenues. We visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the house of the nation’s founder as well as the Presidential Palace. We visit the impressive Ethnology Museum which showcases Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. The One Pillar Pagoda dates back to the very founding of the city, while the Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first university. The History Museum tells the nation’s complex story. We will also explore the Old Quarter and see West Lake and Hoan Kiem Lake. This evening we have a chance to see one of the famous water puppet shows.
Second of 2 nights in Hanoi. Mercure Hanoi Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 7 Thursday, Jan 23th
HANOI – HALONG BAY CRUISE
We drive through the countryside northeast to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, where the coast is dotted with limestone pinnacles rising vertically from the azure-blue sea. This really is one of the Natural Wonders of the World! This afternoon we board our modern replica of a traditional “junk” (fishing boat) for a relaxed cruise among the 1,969 small islands where the wind and waves have carved out magnificent grottoes, where stalactites hang in wonderful patterns. Weather permitting we board small boats to visit the Sung Sot Caves
We spend tonight on a large, air-conditioned houseboat, enjoying wonderful hospitality and perfect peace – far from any town.
Overnight on Huong Hai houseboats or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 8 Friday, Jan 24th
HALONG BAY – SAPA
This morning we continue our cruise on the Gulf of Tonkin among islands with names such as Incense Urn Island, Sail Island and Fighting Cocks Island. After disembarking, we drive to the new highway to Lo Cai in mountainous north-west Vietnam, close to the Chinese border, and on to Sapa an area of stunning natural beauty and diverse ethnic minorities. Sapa was a former hill station built by the French in 1922 and sits regally overlooking a beautiful valley with lofty mountains towering over the town on all sides.
First of 2 nights in Sapa Chau Long II Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 9 Saturday, Jan 25th
SAPA + HILL TRIBES
The valleys and villages around Sapa are home to a host of hill-tribe people who wander into town to buy, sell and trade. Those who wish to can join us on a gentle 2-hour trek from Ta Van village among the rice terraces which spill down the mountainsides like a patchwork quilt to discover the lifestyles, tribal people. We meet the H’mong and Dzao people, the largest ethnic groups in the region. This afternoon we take a walk through the village of Cat Cat. This evening we can visit the Saturday night market in Sapa where ethnic people from villages all around come into town to bargain and socialize.
Second of 2 nights in Sapa Chau Long ll Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 10 Sunday, Jan 26th
HILL TRIBES – HANOI
This morning we drive to the weekly Sunday Bac Ha market and meet the ethnic groups in the region, among others This evening we return to Lo Cai and board the overnight sleeper train for our return to Hanoi.
Overnight on a sleeper train. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 11 Monday, Jan 27th
HANOI – HUE
After our early morning arrival at Hanoi railway station, we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Hue, the 19th Century Imperial city that was for a long time the cultural and intellectual centre of Vietnam. In Hue itself, we explore the Imperial Citadel, which is modelled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. We visit the 7-storey Thien Mu Pagoda and enjoy a boat ride on the Perfume River.
Overnight in Hue. Huong Giang Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 12 Tuesday, Jan 28th
HUE – HOI AN
The Khai Dinh tomb is the last monument of the Nguyen Dynasty, with a superb location on the slopes of Chau Mountain. We continue our exploration of this region to the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang. We drive south to Danang through the Hai Van Pass, which offers spectacular views of the Truong Son Mountain Range over the South China Sea. Over 100 years ago, this area was formerly the border between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. At the Cham Museum, we learn about the Hindu-influenced culture that reigned in this area from the 2nd to the 15th Centuries. We continue our drive to Hoi An, a picturesque riverside town that was one of Southeast Asia’s major international ports from the 17th to the 19th Centuries.
First of 2 nights in Hoi An. River Beach Resort or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 13 Wednesday, Jan 29th
Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This morning we enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as we visit sites such as the Quan Cong Temple, built in 1653 to honour an important Chinese officer. The Japanese Covered Bridge is over 400 years old and was constructed to link the Japanese community on one side of the river to the Chinese community on the other. Later today we have time to relax and Hoi An. Second of 2 nights in Hoi An. River Beach Resort or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 14 Thursday, Jan 30th
HO AN – NHA TRANG
Early this morning we return to Danang, Vietnam’s fourth largest city, seeing famous China Beach and the distinctive 5 humps of the Marble Mountains along the way before our flight to Nha Trang. Nha Trang’s location is beautiful, bordered by mountains with the beach tracing an impressive long sweep along a bay dotted with islands. Topiary and modern sculpture dot the immaculate foreshore. We begin our exploration of Nha Trang with a visit to The National Oceanographic Museum, founded in 1923 and features tanks of colourful live marine life as well as stuffed birds and sea mammals. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the town including the Cham Temples and the Lang Son Pagoda. At the top of the hill, behind the Long Son Pagoda, is a huge white Buddha seated on a lotus blossom and visible from all over the city. The platform around the 14 metre-high figure has great views of Nha Trang and nearby rural areas.
Overnight in Nha Trang. Muong Thanh Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 15 Friday, Jan 31th
NHA TRANG – DALAT
From the tropical coastal scenery of Nha Trang, we drive inland past lakes, waterfalls and coniferous forests to the cool mountainous area around Dalat. Known as “The City of Eternal Spring”, Dalat was a popular hill resort during French Colonial times, as can be seen from the chalets dotted across the hillsides. With its feeling of being in a town in the French Alps, Dalat today is the “honeymoon capital” of Vietnam. This afternoon we visit the Domaine de Marie Cathedral, Boa Dai’s Summer Palace and the Truc Lam Pagoda-a zen monastery. Nearby we stop for a photo of Datanla Lake.
Overnight in Dalat. Ngoc Lan Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 16 Saturday, Feb 1st
DALAT – HO CHI MINH CITY
Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest and most vibrant city. The contrast with leafy, refined Hanoi is everywhere to be seen. Upon arrival, we take a driving tour including Chinatown and French Colonial areas including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera House, City Hall, the Central Post Office and the War Remnants Museum.
First of 2 nights in Ho Chi Minh City. Grand Hotel Saigon or similar. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 17 Sunday, Feb 2th
Today we travel south into the huge delta of the Mekong River. Having seen the river over 4,000 Km north in Laos, it’s impressive to see the extent of its flood plain as it approaches the South China Sea. As we enter the “rice bowl” of Vietnam, we see fruit orchards, villages and floating markets as well as the dazzling green paddy fields. The area is also known for the wide variety of colourful, fresh fruits and flowers grown here. We take a boat ride through the canals and visit a traditional fishing village.
Second of 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh City. Grand Hotel Saigon or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 18 Monday, Feb 3rd
CU CHI TUNNELS
This morning we explore the network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong in their fight against first the French and then the Americans. Over 10,000 soldiers and civilian staff were able to live and operate here below ground during the war. Those finishing the tour in Vietnam fly home this evening, arriving the same evening.
Third of 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh City. Grand Hotel Saigon or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 19 Tuesday, Feb 4th
HO CHI MINH CITY – SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia.
First of 2 nights in Siem Reap. Somadevi Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 20 Wednesday, Feb 5th
Today we explore one of the seven wonders of the world – Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece was built in the 12th Century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. We explore galleries, libraries, pavilions and courtyards. Intricately carved bas-reliefs extend the full length of the pink sandstone outer construction. We also see the Ta Keo Temple with the roots of jungle trees enveloping and invading the buildings and carvings – the works of nature complimenting the works of man.
Second of 2 nights in Siem Reap. Somadevi Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 21 Thursday, Feb 6th
SIEM REAP – PHNOM PENH
This morning we take a guided tour of the “Great City” of Angkor Thom, which was probably more opulent than most European cities in the late 12th Century. We continue to the Royal city of Preah Khan, This afternoon we fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
Overnight in Phnom Penh. Teahouse Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 22 Friday, Feb 7th
PHNOM PENH – HOME
This morning we take a guided tour of Phnom Penh, including the Royal Palace, National Museum, Russian Market and the Silver Pagoda. The Land tour finishes in Phnom Penh this afternoon after our city tour. For those taking our international flights, we transfer this evening to Phnom Penh Airport and fly to Hong Kong where we connect to our flight to Vancouver, arriving the same day.
Breakfast if not leaving too early.
- Accommodation mainly in the equivalent of North American 4-Star hotels. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos use grading systems which do not directly correspond with North American standards. All our hotels have en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning and are of a very high standard. One overnight on an air-conditioned houseboat on Halong Bay + one overnight on train - Hanoi with berths for sleeping.
- Breakfast & dinner daily except on Jan 13th (when we include lunch together instead of dinner. This allows you to enjoy dinner at restaurants which are too small to accommodate groups.) Usually, we take dinner out at high-quality local restaurants in town.
- Land and water transport: by coach, taxi, motorboat, train, houseboat – and elephant!
- Domestic Flights: Vientiane-Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang-Hanoi, Hanoi-Hue, Danang-Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City-Siem Reap, and Siem Reap-Phnom Penh. - Sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Tips for drivers and local guides.
- Guiding by Norman and Julie with the assistance of expert local guides.
- Visa fees. Please note your Canadian passport must be valid until at least August 8th 2020. We shall obtain the visa for Laos on arrival in Vientiane. You will require 2 passport photos and US$45 cash. For Cambodia, you will require 1 passport photo. --Cost for Vietnam visa is US$25 cash. Please make sure your passport has at least 3 blank pages for the Visa stamps.
- Lunches [except on November 15.] (when we include lunch together.)
- Arrival & departure transfers. We can arrange individual or group transfers when you have confirmed the arrival & departure times of your flights. Please contact us for a quote.
- Porters We do NOT include porterage. Porters MAY be available to help you with your suitcase and you should be prepared to tip them if you use their services. Please only bring one piece of luggage per person and make sure your luggage has wheels so you can move your own luggage when necessary.
- Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.
- Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance. We offer insurance coverage with Manulife Insurance. Please contact us for a quote.
- Single Supplement charge, if requested ($1,680 Canadian)
Please note that the cost of the airfare and routing will be confirmed at the time of booking your flights. The land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. From Vancouver, our flight specialist suggests flights with Cathay Pacific Airlines via Hong Kong and Bangkok into Vientiane and returning from Phnom Penh via Hong Kong. You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join this tour. You are welcome to book your own flights or we can put you in touch with our flights specialist. Please let us know.
Our published price is based on 2 people sharing a room. If you would like to share, we will do our best to find you a roommate. If you wish to be GUARANTEED a single room, there is a Single Supplement charge of $1,680 Canadian. Those people traveling alone but wishing to share will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not currently available. At that point, you will be invoiced for the Single Supplement. If a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documentation.
The land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You can secure your place on the tour with a $400 per person non-refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, Visa, Mastercard or e-transfer for the $400 /person deposit. Your invoice for your Land tour will be e-mailed to you in the middle of October 2019. Payment will be due by November 17th 2019. Price quoted is for FINAL PAYMENT by cheque. Should you wish to pay the outstanding amount for the LAND tour by credit card there will be an administration fee of 3% on the outstanding amount.
-Our office staff are not medically qualified to advise you on which immunizations you require. Please consult your local travel health clinic. Please note that Proof of yellow fever immunization is required for those arriving from infected areas.
BC Travel Registration # 3379
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.