Vietnam & Laos on a Shoestring

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Ho Chi Minh City to Chiang Mai

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Explore some of Southeast Asia’s greatest highlights on this 20-day tour. Start your adventure in Ho Chi Minh City and spend some time getting to know your CEO and group. Make your way from city to city, exploring local markets, relaxing on the beach, or visiting historical sites (or all of it if you’re really ambitious). You’ll get the chance to hike in Vang Vieng, cruise the Mekong, visit the Doi Suthep temple, or catch a Thai boxing match before you go home. We promise you’ll find time to sleep.

What’s included

  • G Adventures for Good: Oodles of Noodles Demonstration and Lunch, Hoi An G Adventures for Good: Mekong River Homestay, Muang Pakbèng Carte Blanche: Ho Chi Minh City Carte Blanche: Luang Prabang
  • Halong Bay boat cruise with lunch
  • Street food crawl (Hoi An)
  • Orientation walk around Hanoi's Old Quarter
  • Slow boat on the Mekong
  • Temples of Luang Prabang
  • Witness the giving of alms (Luang Prabang)
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Explore vibrant cities
  • Snorkel colourful reefs
  • Shop in quaint hoi an
  • Float among the karsts of halong bay
  • Discover sleepy laos
  • Cruise the mighty mekong river
  • Learn how to make noodles at a g adventures-supported enterprise
  • Spend the night at a local village homestay
  • Visit the stunning temples of luang prabang
  • Sample local fare on a street food crawl through hanoi

Itinerary

Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City. Once the capital of South Vietnam, this sprawling metropolis is now the country’s commercial centre. Today is arrival day, so there are no activities planned. Relax, explore the city, and adjust to the frenetic pace and humid heat of Ho Chi Minh City. Additional Notes: Most nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam. Please check with your travel agent or local Vietnamese Embassy regarding requirements. Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City/Nha Trang (1B) Discover the energy of Vietnam's biggest city on a CEO-led orientation walk and continue exploring with free time. Overnight train to Nha Trang. Additional Notes: During January/February, Tết (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year) sees millions of Vietnamese commute to be with their families and celebrate. While this is a fascinating time to travel through Vietnam, availability of transport may mean that we will replace the overnight train with an overnight bus. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (10.00-11.00 hours)
Day 3 Nha Trang Optional activities in Nha Trang include a boat trip to nearby islands for some snorkelling or, perhaps, a fun-filled all-day beach party.
Day 4 Nha Trang/Da Nang (1B) In the evening, take an overnight train to Da Nang, then transfer to Hoi An. Additional Notes: During January/February, Tết (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year) sees millions of Vietnamese commute to be with their families and celebrate. While this is a fascinating time to travel through Vietnam, availability of transport may mean that we will replace the overnight train with an overnight bus. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (9.00-10.00 hours)
Day 5 Da Nang/Hoi An From Danang, it is only a short drive to the picturesque port town of Hoi An. Once known as Faifo, it was an important trading town with strong south Chinese influence and connections. Included Activities: Hoi An Orientation Walk Street Food Crawl Transport: Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s), 28km)
Day 6 Hoi An (1B, 1L) Enjoy a noodle-making demonstration and local lunch at the G Adventures-supported Oodles of Noodles Project. Later, opt to take a cooking class, cycle to the beach, visit a tailor, or explore the old town with free time. Included Activities: Oodles of Noodles Demonstration and Lunch
Day 7 Hoi An/Huế (1B) Continue the journey north to the city of Hue. Opt to visit the Royal Citadel and tombs, take a Perfume River cruise or tour the countryside by motorbike. Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 137km)
Day 8 Huế/Hanoi (1B) Free time in Hue. Overnight train to Hanoi. Transport: Basic overnight train (beds) (14.00-15.00 hours, 673km)
Day 9 Hanoi/Ha Long (1L) Arrive early morning to bustling Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Transfer to a private bus and head to the beautiful and famous Halong Bay. Included Activities: Hạ Long Bay Junk Boat Trip Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Day 10 Ha Long/Hanoi (1B) Get to know Hanoi with an orientation walk through the Old Quarter. Opt to see Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the Hoa Lo Prison, or shop in the Old Quarter. Included Activities: Old Quarter Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Day 11 Hanoi Spend time exploring Hanoi.
Day 12 Hanoi/Vientiane (1B) Explore a bit of Hanoi in the morning before an afternoon flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. There is a wealth of cultural delights to discover - on foot, by bicycle or, for the less energetic, by tuk-tuk. Visit Laos' most important national monument, Phat That Luang, or meander down the dusty riverside tracks to find villages full of friendly children, dogs and chickens. A visit to Vientiane's vibrant, colourful morning market (which incidentally is open all day!) is worthwhile, to find plenty of local treasures. A great way to round off the day is to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Mekong. Transport: Plane (1.25 hour(s))
Day 13 Vientiane/Vang Vieng (1B) A picturesque drive north takes us to beautiful Vang Vieng. This quiet town is set along the Nam Song river amidst rice fields and limestone karsts. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 14 Vang Vieng (1B) Why not explore some of the caves by bicycle or take an invigorating walk. In the evening, soak in the natural beauty of Vang Vieng as the sun sets over the river.
Day 15 Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang (1B) This morning travel from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s))
Day 16 Luang Prabang (1B) Traditional Laotian culture is to give daily alms to monks. Monks are only allowed to eat food which has been donated to them before noon. On one of your mornings here, you may decide to rise with the sun, and watch one of the most important religious ceremonies in Laos. This is simply an unforgettable Southeast Asian experience.
Day 17 Luang Prabang/Muang Pakbèng (1B, 1D) We board our boat for the two-day journey up the mighty Mekong River making our way to Chiang Khong. Included Activities: Mekong River Slow Boat Mekong River Homestay
Day 18 Muang Pakbèng/Chiang Khong (1B, 1L) This morning we re-board our boat and continue our leisurely cruise along the river before arriving at the Laos/Thai border and crossing to Chiang Khong in the late afternoon. Included Activities: Mekong River Slow Boat Border Crossing (Laos - Thailand)
Day 19 Chiang Khong/Chiang Mai Departing Chiang Khong after breakfast, we drive to Chiang Mai where you have the afternoon free to explore this fascinating city, once the capital of the Kingdom of Lan. Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
Day 20 Chiang Mai Depart at any time.
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