An Indochina tour that takes in the key cities of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia means it is possible to soak up the authentic charm of this region of SE Asia.
Starting in Vietnam, travellers get to appreciate the countries heavenly cuisine, delightful hospitality, and its all-round beauty. It is possible to travel the old and authentic parts of Hanoi, Hoi An, and Hue to the modern metropolis like Ho Chi Minh City, while also seeing the traditions like the water buffalo timelessly working the lush paddy fields. Cambodia is a further country that hasn't seen much change in relation to rural life, while the markets and floating villages are well worth exploring. Also, Cambodia has the majestic complex of the Angkor Wat temples, which are a major reason for visiting this country. Conclude your stay in Indochina with a stay in Laos and visit the city of Luang Prabang, which is UNESCO Heritage-listed and blends French provincial architecture and gleaming temple roofs.
Here are some of the best places to visit on the Laos tour packages that incorporate neighbouring countries (Vietnam and Cambodia):
Start the day in Hanoi by organising a city tour that takes in the most popular attractions such as the Mausoleum for Ho Chi Minh. Also, the former home of Ho Chi Minh is possible to visit and located relatively close to the One Pillar Pagoda which is a striking and historic Buddhist Temple and one of the most iconic in Vietnam. Other sights to see include the former Hoa Lo Prison, which is now a museum, and the day is brought to a close with a visit to a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show. Street food tour in Hanoi is also a great experience to taste the world's best dishes in Vietnam like Pho - rice noodle soup, or spring roll, grilled fish, etc.
One of the most famous attractions in the north of Vietnam is Halong Bay which is easily reached from Hanoi by road which includes plenty of wonderful views of the countryside on the journey. Halong Bay is best explored on a traditional junk-style boat that will cruise amongst the 2000 plus limestone islands that stand up from the emerald waters of the bay. Also, an overnight stay on the bay gives the best all-round experience.
Hoi An is an ancient city and former trading port and appreciated for its great architecture that helps to give an idea of a bygone era. A cyclo tour (3-wheeled vehicle) is a great way to get around town and witness the many interesting and exciting historic highlights. Also, a typical activity in Vietnam is signing up for a cooking lesson which can include buying the ingredients from a traditional market or picking from a garden and preparing a few of the country's most famous dishes.
Ho Chi Minh City
On arrival in the lively city of Ho Chi Minh City, there are plenty of sights to explore on a local tour which can include the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was built by the French colonists in the 1800s, as well as the Old Saigon Post Office and Reunification Hall.
Cu Chi Tunnels
A short distance from Ho Chi Minh City is the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which give the opportunity to see first hand the complex tunnel system used by the Viet Cong at the time of the Vietnam War. This vast network of tunnels stretches out hundreds of miles and has certain sections that have been open for visitors to see and explore.
While in the south of the country, it is worth travelling to the Mekong River and taking a traditional sampan out to one of the many floating market towns such as Cai Be and Chau Doc. Beyond seeing the markets in action, you can also cruise along the river to see the local people go about the daily business. Also, there are local workshops to visit such as those involved in the rice paper production, floating fish farms, and traditional Cham villages.
The next stage of the Indochina tour includes travelling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia which is possible to reach by air or by speedboat along the Mekong River for the more adventurous travel experience.
Phnom Penh is a great place to explore for a day or two. A few of the worthwhile attractions include the National Museum to see some of the ancient Khmer art and learn more about the history of this country, as well as the Royal Palace complex to navigate. A further highlight is the Silver Pagoda with its famous silver tiled floor and its solid gold Buddha.
Siem Reap is a must-visit destination on the tour of Cambodia because this town is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor Temples. The Angkor Wat complex is huge and is best experienced with a guided tour that takes in the most fascinating temples and other structures. Beyond the main Angkor Wat temple, there are several others that are worth a look such as the impressive Bayon and Angkor Thom temples.
The final part of your trip is flying to Luang Prabang, Laos, where it is possible to stay in the quite luxurious accommodation. For travellers on the Laos tours willing to rise early in the morning there is the option to watch the local monks as they collect their daily alms. Nearby attractions include the Wat Mai temple, Wat Xiang Thong temple and the National Museum, while a short drive through the countryside will have you arriving at the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls.
For the adventurous travellers on the Laos holiday, a boat cruise along the Mekong can take you to the Pak Ou Caves, which has a journey time of nearly 2 hours and presents stunning scenery along the way that includes local fishermen at work and small villages.