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Thai Indochina Grand Tour

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days 28 US$ 3,749
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highlights
  • Explore the ancient Angkor complex in Cambodia
  • Take a boat trip Vietnam's stunning Halong Bay and discover the Mekong Delta
  • Adjust to the relaxed pace of life in Laos
  • Visit Bangkok's Royal Palace complex and Wat Po 
The Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour starts and ends in Bangkok. The Thai Indochina Grand Tour is a Trekking tour that takes 28 days taking you through Bangkok, Thailand and other destinations in Thailand.

Long lines of saffron robed monks on their alms round at dawn, the luscious green of Vietnam's paddy fields, the shy smile of school children in Luang Prabang: it's the small day-to-day things that make this an unforgettable trip. Not that the bigger things won't wow too - Angkor Wat, Bangkok's Grand Palace, the stunning limestone seascape of Halong Bay or the frenetic pace of Saigon. There's a lot to see in South East Asia, so as they say in Thailand, 'why hurry, why worry'?
customer reviews
4.8 - Excellent Based on 16 reviews
Grand Indochina Tour
5 - Excellent
“An excellent trip. Well organised and all the guides were very helpful”
Thai Indochina Grand Tour
4 - Very Good
“A full-on exploration of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with a couple of days in Thailand thrown in. Be prepared for some early mornings (3 @ 5.30 in first week I seem to remember but it got easier) and lots of long days travelling by various modes of transport. Trip centres mostly on cities so don't really get an in-depth feel of the countryside but with only 4 weeks to see everything the trip certainly covers all the main sites.”
Thai Indichina Grand Tour
5 - Excellent
“Interesting and varied trip through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The contrast of countries, rural and urban environments was excellent. Stayed in mainly good hotels, many with swimming pools, one basic but in a lovely village, Pak Beng, one homestay in the Mekong Delta, one over night train journey.”
Indochina Grand Tour
4 - Very Good
“This is a very good introduction to the four countries of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The group size of 16 worked well and we were fortunate to be part of an amenable group of like minded travellers. Particular highlights included the boat trip along the Mekong, Luang Prabang, Hanoi (crossing the road, the Hanoi Hilton, and 5C - the coldest there in twenty years), Hoi An, Saigon (War Remnants museum and Cu Chi tunnels), the Mekong Delta Homestay, Phnom Penh (Killing Fields, Museum of Genocide) and Angkor temple complex.”
There will be a welcome briefing with your leader this evening followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.

*Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*
This morning we travel to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Please be advised there may be a possibility of larger groups being accommodated in a bigger boat.  Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. 

We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex, followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. This afternoon is then free for personal exploration.

*Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok or similar*
This morning we fly to Chiang Rai and then visit the Golden Triangle, an area so named after the fact that the opium that moved through was worth more than gold pound for pound. We stand at a view point overlooking Burma (Myanmar), the mighty Mekong and Laos. The area's chequered past is covered in the Opium Museum where we learn about the dark history of this beautiful and rich region of Northern Thailand, and we pause to visit the impressive red brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang. We then transfer to the town of Chiang Khong (2 hours) where we stay overnight.

*Chiang Khong Teak Garden Resort or similar*
An early morning transfer takes us to the Thai / Laos border where we pass through immigration formalities. We say hello to our Laos Tour Leader. We will pass through Laos Immigration, followed by a tuk tuk ride to the river port where we board our private slow boat for the journey to Pak Beng.

*BKC Villa Pak Beng or similar*
Boarding our private boat again, we head further down river with Luang Prabang as our final destination. En route we will visit the famous Tam Ting Caves, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. If there is time we will also stop at a number of minority villages on the way but this will depend on the water level, which affects the speed of travel on the river.

Mid to late afternoon we arrive in the enchanting town of Luang Prabang, nestled in a narrow valley cut by the Mekong and Khan Rivers. This beautiful town was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and stroll amongst the ancient red roofed temples and French colonial architecture. There are also a number of interesting temples to visit including Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunalat.

*Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*
After an early breakfast we will visit Phu Si Hill for stunning views over the city and the Mekong River below. The climb includes 329 steps and the path zigzags its way to the gilded stupa at the summit past various temples. We will also head out to the Kuang Si Waterfall, where we have the chance to swim in the pools.

Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items. For those up at dawn there is the chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms.

*Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*
Today we will journey to Vang Lei, a small village approximately 1 hour from Luang Prabang. Our time here will provide us with an insight into village life as we learn about everyday life but also have the chance to get involved with some of the village activities. Dependent on the season these could include accompanying a fisherman on the banks of the Mekong, sowing or reaping rice in paddy fields or learning how to weave traditional baskets. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Laotian cooking and will assist a local family in preparing our lunch.

Vang Lei is a village that Exodus has worked with for a few years as part of a process to bring rural villages more independence and self-sufficiency through the provision of key infrastructure. You will be introduced to the basics of the work that has been conducted. Late afternoon is free for individual sightseeing or to seize the opportunity to sit back and relax in this pleasant town. 

*Luang Prabang Legend Hotel or similar*
An early morning departure from Luang Prabang as we drive to the township of Vang Vieng, passing through numerous Hmong villages. Surrounded by lime karsts and set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), it is a beautiful location. The stunning drive will take approximately 6 hours to complete on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above the flat river valleys. Watching the sun set on the banks of the Nam Song is ample reward for the day's journey.

*Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*
In the morning we climb the 136 steps to the Tham Jang caves, used as a hideout by the local community during periods of war. The rest of the day is free to explore. Optional excursions and activities can be arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, day visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery, or for kayaking down the Song river. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached on a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view.

*Amari Vang Vieng Hotel or similar*
We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane (translates as Sandalwood City) located near the banks of the Mekong River. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this relaxed low-rise city, including Wat Sisaket the oldest temple in the city, and Haw Pha Kaew, a temple which originally housed the Emerald Bhudda now on display in Thailand. The temples themselves are noticeably different in style and character from those found in Thailand and there are certainly fewer tourists!

In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River.

*Sabaidee at Laos Hotel or similar*
Today is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (flight times often vary at short notice between the afternoon/evening).

*Lenid Hotel or similar*
We make an early start for the approximate 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery and enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en suite facilities.

*Overnight Boat*
We cruise back to port in the morning and transfer back to Hanoi where the rest of the day is at leisure to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy a coffee and a baguette in a lakeside café or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period with its faded colonial charm. One of the more enjoyable ways to get around is by cyclo and this can easily be arranged on the street.

*Lenid Hotel or similar*
We spend the morning sightseeing in Hanoi including a visit to the Temple of Literature; the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates, Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'tourist souvenir street'.

In the afternoon we board the Reunification Express for the overnight journey to Hue, 500km to the south.

*Overnight Train*
Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length. Inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor, his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. The Forbidden Purple City was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war.

This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960's and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself in protest against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. We continue our journey to visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945.

*Park View Hotel or similar*
This morning we will take a cycle ride out to the Thanh Toan bridge and a nearby local market. Travelling as the locals do, we discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Riding past rice paddies and small villages we arrive at Thanh Toan, a small village that is home to a legendary market. There will be time to explore the market stalls before heading back to Hue for our journey to Hoi An. There is the option to get local transport to the village for a small extra cost if you would rather not cycle (approx. 15km cycling).

Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass ('Pass of the Ocean Clouds'). In Da Nang, we climb the Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to our next destination, Hoi An.

*Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar*
This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences.

This afternoon is free to explore Hoi An on foot as cars are banned from this world heritage site. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk clothes shopping.

*Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *
Today is a free day to carry on enjoying this historic town.

Optionals include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. It is also possible to visit My Lai the site of the 1968 massacre that changed public opinion on the Vietnam War, or jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km).

*Hoi An River Green Boutique or similar *
Today we transfer to Da Nang for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. This afternoon's walking city tour includes a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.

*Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*
Today we leave the city behind us and head north to visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration.

*Cititel Park View Hotel or similar*
We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The author Graham Greene toyed with the idea of converting to Caodism. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside. We will board a boat in Cai Be and visit and some small cottage industries. Recently, Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale.

We then take a relaxing sampan cruise along quiet water coconut channels in the afternoon before arriving at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

*Mekong Homestay Guesthouse*
After a morning walk through the village we board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta and the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, the evening is free to wander the town, which is situated on the banks of the Mekong River.

*Chau Pho Hotel or similar*
After driving approximately 1 hour to the Tinh Bien / Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. We continue by road to Phnom Penh (approx 3.5 hours).

*Ohana Hotel or similar*
Phnom Penh still retains a frontier atmosphere and today we have a full day of sightseeing in Cambodia's capital city.

The day of sightseeing will include the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge rule. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings. There is also time today to shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise!

We visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1976 and 1979. It is a sobering and disturbing place to visit. Please be aware that the images at the museum are very graphic. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the 'killing fields' of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed.

*Ohana Hotel or similar*
Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approx. 7 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy - fried spiders.

We will also stop off at Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia's most impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments and some of the oldest structures in the country. We'll pause for a traditional Khmer lunch at a community restaurant before continuing our journey to Siem Riep.

*Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*
We spend two days exploring the temple complex at Angkor. We visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which is comprised of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.'

We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, still covered in jungle, just as it was when it first came to light. Discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites.

Angkor is a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise, one of the real highlights of our trip. We will also see other less-visited outlying temples including Banteay Srei, a temple complex devoted to Brahma. One evening we will make our way to the temple complex and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene.

*Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*
Today we have a second day exploring the magnificent temples at the Angkor complex.

*Angkor Holiday Hotel or similar*
For land only clients, the tour ends this morning in Siem Reap after breakfast.
what’s included
Accommodation
  • 24 nights hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night homestay guesthouse to experience Mekong Delta hospitality, and 1 night sleeper train (soft-bed berths) , All accommodation
Meals
  • 26 breakfasts, 2 lunch and 2 dinners
Transport
  • Travel by train, private minibus, bicycle, boat and 3 flights
  • All transport and listed activities
Others
  • Some activity in humid conditions
  • Discover a variety of cities and countryside on this itinerary
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival & departure transfers
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to/from Bangkok are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 28 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Bangkok, Thailand/ Bangkok, Thailand
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Thai Indochina Grand Tour
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Payment

A deposit of 375 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 56 days before departure. For any departures within 12 August 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Thai Indochina Grand Tour tour. You can cancel the tour up to 57 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 56 days of departure.
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How our Travel Expert Service Works
  • 1 We connect you with a hand-picked and qualified travel expert who can match your trip requirements. The advantage of working directly through a travel expert is that you get the best and unfiltered advice from the very beginning.
  • 2 The travel expert will help you with creating and customising a trip for you. If you have any questions or concerns relating to the trip, the travel expert will also be able to help you with those.
  • 3 When you feel that your trip is exactly per your wish, you'll be able to book the entire trip here on Bookmundi.
The Advantages of Bookmundi
  • Selected Local Travel Experts All our local travel experts have been chosen based on rigorous selection criteria. In fact, we reject 98 out of 100 local travel agencies, and thereby giving you access to the top 1-2% local travel experts.
  • Secure Online Payment and Financial Guarantee Each and every trip is required to go through Bookmundi's secure payment platform, powered by Stripe and supported by SSL. All payments are therefore carried out in secure manners. We are furthermore member of the Danish Travel Fund which gives you a 100% financial guarantee for any money you pay on Bookmundi, even if we went bankrupt (which we we will not!).
  • Trip Replacement or 100% Reimbursement Bookmundi has hand-picked your local travel expert. Our role, as your trusted third party, is therefore to make sure that your entire experience runs as seamless and secure as possible. We guarantee to you that in the unlikely event where a local travel expert cancels your trip after your deposit or full payment has been made, we commit to replacing these services with another equally qualified agency so that your trip can go ahead as planned, or failing to replace it, we will give you a 100% reimbursement.
New customised trip enquiry by {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}:
  • Title: {{myRequest.title}}
  • Country: {{!!tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation?tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].geoLocation:myRequest.country}}
  • Destination: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].destinations.join(', ')}}
  • Activity: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].activity.join(', ')}}
  • Custom Destination: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].destination}}
  • Custom Activity: {{tripPlannerCustom[myRequest.id].activity}}
  • Group Size: {{myRequest.no_of_adults > 0 && myRequest.no_of_children > 0?',':''}} {{myRequest.group_type=='Single'?'1 Person':myRequest.group_type=='Couple'?'2 People':''}}
  • {{myRequest.departure_month || myRequest.duration?'Approx. Dates':'Travel Dates'}}: {{myRequest.start_date | readableDate}} to {{myRequest.end_date | readableDate}} {{myRequest.departure_month}}, {{myRequest.duration}} Not decided yet
  • Tour Type: {{myRequest.tourtype | tourtypefullName}}
  • Age Group: {{myRequest.age_group}} yrs
  • Type of Tour: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].type_of_tour}}
  • Accommodation Option: {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].accommodation_option}}
  • Budget Per Person: USD {{myRequest.approx_budget_amount}}
  • Budget Flexibility {{tripPlannerKeysNames[myRequest.id].budget_flexibility}}
  • Trip Planning Stage {{myRequest.trip_planning_stage}}
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Can you handle {{getFirstName(activeuser)}}'s enquiry? Rejection Reason
{{myRequest.reject_reason?myRequest.reject_reason:'Sorry, Your trip request has been rejected.'}}
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