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THE TREASURES OF INDOCHINA - LAOS 14 DAYS

Hanoi - Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai - Sa Pa - Ha Long - Luang Prabang – Pakse - Siphadone

Duration : 14 days
Type of trip : Combine
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Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Day 2: Hanoi- Muong Lo (Nghia Lo)
Day 3: Nghia Lo - Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai
Day 4: Mu Cang Chai – Sa Pa – Ta Van
Day 5: Tan Van – Giang Ta Chai – Hanoi
Day 6: Ha Noi - Ha Long bay
Day 7: Halong Bay – Tam Coc
Day 8: Tam Coc visit - Hanoi
Day 9 : Hanoi city tour - Luang Prabang
Day 10: Luang Prabang’s treasures
Day 11: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou - Kuang Si
Day 12: Luang Prabang - Pakse - Siphandone
Day 13: Siphandone
Day 14: Siphadone departure

On this journey, you will love

Meetings with several minority ethnic groups
•    The black Thais of Nghia Lo and Tu Le
•    The Red Dzao and the Giay de Sa Pa
•    The Hmong of Mu Cang Chai and Sa Pa

Sublime landscapes
•    The rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai and Sa Pa
•    The karst peaks of the essential Halong Bay
•    Thai villages with their stilt houses in the Nghia Lo region
•    Authentic villages on the banks of the Mekong
•    Life on the water at Siphadone

The discovery of cultural and architectural wealth
•    The busy streets of Hanoi
•    Homestay gastronomy in upper Tonkin
•    The ancient pagodas and colonial houses of Luang Prabang

Day 1: Hanoi arrival

Arrival in Noi Bai airport, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel in the city center. The check-in will be available at 2 pm. The rest of the day is free to rest or discover the city at your own pace.

Car: 20km Hotel
Day 2: Hanoi- Muong Lo (Nghia Lo)

Departing Hanoi at 8:30 am, we will follow road No. 32 along the Red River to Yen Bai Province. The scenery along the way is simply beautiful with orchards of bananas, papayas and lush rice fields. Local farmers set up stalls all along the road to sell their seasonal produce to bystanders. After lunch in a local restaurant in Thu Cuc, an area famous for its tea culture, you will meet Mr. Tung's family to discover several varieties of tea in Vietnam. Young tea leaves will be picked and dried in the traditional way by yourself. Crossing Yen Bai City, we enter the mountainous areas of hills covered with green tea terraces. Finally, we will reach Muong Lo Valley, the town of Nghia Lo, the second largest rice field in the Northwest Vietnam and also the homeland of Thai ethnic people. Thai people first came here around 700 years ago, they grew rice and built their traditional wooden houses of iron and bamboo. Take a 2-hour walk around the village to discover the Thai ethnic culture and daily life.

Car: 200km/5h Hiking: 2h B, D Homestay
Day 3: Nghia Lo - Tu Le – Mu Cang Chai

Depart from Nghia Lo to Mu Cang Chai, the road winds its way through Hoang Lien Son mountain chain, which has the highest peak of Indochina, Mount Fansipan. Stop at Tu Le for an easy hike. You walk through rice terraces to reach Thai and H’mong villages where people still dress in traditional costumes and H’mong women sit by their loom. Tu Le is a small hill tribe town surrounded by picturesque landscape and full of warmhearted people living in tiny wooden houses nestled at the foot of the mountains. Leaving Tu Le, you cross Khau Pha Pass (1550m). Dominating the entire area of La Pan Tan for a hundred years, the Mong still keep their morals and customs very well. Being always in traditional clothing, speaking their own language, refusing the invasion of modern life, they cultivate maize in plots of land embedded with rocks, they grow vegetables and especially rice in terraced rice fields. A new road will take you to the heart of the village where you can discover Mong culture and meet with villagers, a great opportunity for photo shoots.

Car: 100km/2h Hiking: 3h Up: 200m Down: 200m B, D Homestay
Day 4: Mu Cang Chai – Sa Pa – Ta Van

After a 2 hour drive, the road begins to climb up the Tram Ton Pass, the highest pass in Vietnam at 2047 meters of altitude. Stop for photos opportunities and enjoy the fresh air. From here, you can see  Mount Fansipan, “the Roof of Indochina” with its 3143m peak reaching the clouds. Arrive in Sapa at noon. Start your walk in the Muong Hoa River on your way to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai. Past the colorful rice terraces, you will reach the village of Ta Van Giay. As you continue your trek along the Muong Hoa River, you will cross a small suspension bridge, roughly 2km from the settlement. Here you can discover a fascinating collection of rock carvings. These engravings depict some beautiful images of man, stilt houses and decorative patterns. Overnight in homestay.

Car: 150km/4h Hiking: 2h Up: 200m Down: 200m B, D Homestay
Day 5: Tan Van – Giang Ta Chai – Hanoi

After having breakfast at your homestay, continue your walking through lush paddy fields and bamboo forests. You can admire a beautiful waterfall. Visit Giang Ta Chai village, inhabited by Red Dao and Black H’mong. Driving back to Hanoi.

Car: 350km/2h Hiking: ?h Up: 100m Down: 300m B Hotel
Day 6: Ha Noi - Ha Long bay

After breakfast, depart for Halong Bay, passing through the typical peaceful countryside of Red River Delta with endless rice fields and winding rivers. We will arrive at Halong’s tourist wharf around noon and embark on an elegant wooden junk. Lunch will be served while the boat gently cruises past numerous islands and limestone structures rising from the emerald water. A fresh seafood dinner will be prepared by an experienced chef and served on deck. A peaceful night indeed in your private cabin.

Please note the program may vary a little depending on the cruise you choose & weather conditions on that day.

Car: 160km/3h B, L, D Night on the boat
Day 7: Halong Bay – Tam Coc

Continuation of the cruise in Halong Bay in the middle of the countless islets. You will never tire of this magical landscape! Disembark and drive towards Ninh Binh. You will pass through the province of Nam Dinh, known for its pagodas and temples dedicated to the emperors of the Tran dynasty (1225 - 1400). The road will reveal a countryside landscape where rice cultivation predominates. Arrival in Ninh Binh in the late afternoon. Night at the hotel.

Car: 170km/3h B, L Hotel
Day 8: Tam Coc visit - Hanoi

After breakfast at the hotel, take a bicycle ride along winding roads passing lotus ponds, temples and cottages, typical of Vietnamese countryside, and stop at Bich Dong pagoda for a tour. After that, transfer to visit Hang Mua cave. Its name means “dancing cave” because this site was previously considered as the place where Tran king used to enjoy dancing & singing shows. At Hang Mua, walk around the park and explore the caves there, then we will challenge ourselves with 500 steps to the mountain top where we will be rewarded with the fresh air on the “rooftop of Ninh Binh” and a panoramic view.

In the afternoon, we will take the road to Tam Coc, where we will embark on a small rowing boat to discover the outstanding karst waterscape on Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc literally translates to « three caves» and is adorned with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes shaped like gemstones. While rowing, enjoy the peaceful scenery of rice paddies lining the river bank. Then visit Hoa Lu, the ancient Royal Capital of Vietnam, and two temples: Temple of King Dinh and of King Le, where you can admire this unique architecture from ancient times. Transfer by car to Hanoi.

Car: 100km/2h Biking: 1h Rowling boat: 2h B Hotel
Day 9 : Hanoi city tour -   Luang Prabang

You will be picked up at the hotel at 8:00 am, starting the day trip with a visit of the Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays, the alternative being the History Museum), which offers informative and well-documented displays on the country’s 54 ethnic groups cultures, including elaborate and colorful hill tribe costumes. The display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses of numerous minority groups, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. We will continue with the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius, which served as the first Royal National University in Vietnam. The site also honors 82 Vietnamese doctorates who passed a number of rigorous exams in the feudal ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in 82 headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring one luck. Its peaceful green compound and its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Transfert to Hanoi airport and flight to Luang Prabang.

Flight: 1h Car: 50km/1h B Hotel
Day 10: Luang Prabang’s treasures

This day is dedicated to the most important sites of Luang Prabang: venture into Wat Visoun, a temple from the 16th century rehabilitated into a small religious museum, then into Wat Aham, a temple from the early 19th century. Two guardians, laid at the foot of the staircase, represent two characters from the Ramayana (Hanuman, the monkey god and the ferocious Yaksa). Next, Wat Xiengthong, the most important temple of the city dating from the 16th century and embodying the elegance and grace of  Luang Prabang architecture. Climb up the 328 steps of Mount Phousi leading to the top of the sacred hill. This shady Mount dominates the sky of Luang Prabang and offers a splendid 360° panorama of the surrounding villages and the Mekong. At the end of the day, enjoy some free time to wander through the wide night market, where you can find a collection of beautiful textiles handmade by local tribes. Overnight at the hotel.

Hiking: 3h Up: 150m Down: 150m B Hotel
Day 11: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou  - Kuang Si

In the morning, embark on a narrow, fast local boat, for an excursion on the Mekong River to Pak Ou. Many wonders await you on this journey: lush landscapes, typical villages and authentic local life. Pak Ou sanctuaries consist of two large caves and thousands of Buddha representations ranging from a few centimeters to two meters in height. Typical Laotian villages in the area are barely visible behind this thick screen of foliage. You will pass by slender canoes sailing near the shore, floats and bamboo poles marking the location of nets and fish traps. Take a break in Ban Muang Keo, a village well known for distilling traditionally Lao Lao whiskey rice. A short drive along the Mekong will take you south to Kuang Si Waterfalls located in a protected national park. These famous low waterfalls offer a spectacular and beautiful sight in their green setting. You will have enough time on site to relax and take a dip in the cool water, before returning to Luang Prabang by late afternoon. Night at the hotel.

Car: 60km/2h Walking: 1h Sampan: 2h B Hotel
Day 12: Luang Prabang   Pakse - Siphandone

Flight to Pakse. Upon arrival, a small detour will allow you to discover ethnic minorities in authentic villages. Continue your journey to Wat Phu in the vicinity of Pakse. Wat Phu is a unique site in Laos where there are Khmer remains dating from the 9th to the 12th century. A 2-hour tour will take you to explore these Khmer ruins on top of a green hill, a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO in 2001. Get back on the road to Siphandone, where the Mekong stretches more than 14 km wide. The river flows through many uncharted islands, creating waterfalls and rapids. Transfer by local sampan to Khong Island, the largest of 4000 islands. Enjoy some free time to discover the daily life of the villagers.

Flight: 1h30 Car: 120km/3h Sampan: 1h B, L Hotel
Day 13: Siphandone, cruising in the wilderness

After breakfast, cruise in a huge area named "the four thousand islands", famous for its biodiversity and its picturesque karst peaks. Discover the falls of Lippi, whose name, "spirit trapper" in Lao, refers to the local beliefs that currents act as a trap for evil spirits. Stop to explore an old railway, built in 1897 by the French to bypass the powerful rapids preventing navigation. Return to Ban Nakasang and head south to visit Khone Phapheng, the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia. Overnight at Khone Island.

Sampan: 1h Walking: 1h B Hotel
Day 14: Siphadone departure

After breakfast, transfer to Pakse airport for departure flight. End of our services.

Car: 120km/3h B

IMPORTANT NOTES:

This trip is privately organized by iLOTUS TOURS. The price of the trip varies according to the size of the group, the level of services, the season and your reservation deadlines. The price published above is applied for a group of 6 participants, based on double/twin rooms in hotels. Click "Personalize this trip" to get the exact price for your group.

THE PRICE INCLUDES:
•    Accommodation and breakfasts in hotels on the accommodation list
•    Meals clearly mentioned in the program: B = breakfast; L = lunch; D = dinner
•    The entrance fee to the sites
•  Competent English-speaking guides throughout the trip except the free days when it is mentioned clearly: without a guide
•   Private air-conditioned car for all land transport except free days when it is mentioned clearly: without driver
•    One litre of drinking water per person per day
•    All logistic services necessary of the program.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
•    International flights and airport taxes from/to your country
•    Visa fees
•    Means of transport not mentioned in the program
•    Meals not mentioned in the program
•    Tipping for services: local guides, crew member, drivers, porters…
•    Drink, telephone, linen or all personal expenses not mentioned in the "price includes" section.

THE TREASURES OF INDOCHINA - LAOS 14 DAYS

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THE TREASURES OF INDOCHINA - LAOS 14 DAYS

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