Vietnam Laos Tours

Essence of Vietnam and Laos

Number of days: 14

Price from: 1,499$

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: Daily

Start from: Ho Chi Minh or any other city

Highlights: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Hue, Hoian, Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda, Halong Bay, Vientiane, Luang Prabang

This trip is carefully is designed for those who are keen to explore the most interesting places of Vietnam and Laos. Travelling from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City to the delightful Luang Prabang Town you will have an forgettable experience including the colorful cultures of local people, scenic countryside of Mekong Delta, superb sceneries of Halong Bay and charm of Luang Prabang Town with various old age temples.

  • Overview
  • Trip Itinerary
  • Accommodations
  • Travel Info
  • Trip Map
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  • DESTINATIONS:

    * Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) - Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant city

    * Mekong Delta - ‘Rice basket of Vietnam’ and home to many living, working and travelling along the river 

    * Hue - The country’s former imperial capital 

    * Hoi An - Discover this charming UNESCO World Heritage listed site 

    * Hanoi - Exploration of this charming, historical centre and its French provincial influences 

    * Halong Bay - Vietnam’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’; the stunning beauty of the 3,000 islets of the Gulf of Tonkin

    * Vientiane - Capital of Laos: a charming city filled with villas and boulevards.

    * Luang Prabang - Entry point into Laos and UNESCO World Heritage listed town which retains original character


    ACTIVITIES: 

    Cultural Activities / Historical Sites / Local Food / Museums & Galleries / Caves / Cruising

    BRIEF ITINERARY:

    Day 01: Arrive Ho Chi Minh - Transfer to Hotel

    Day 02: Ho Chi Minh - Visit Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour

    Day 03: Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta Day Tour

    Day 04: Ho Chi Minh - Fly to Hue, visit Hue Citadel


    Day 05: Hue - Drive to Hoian


    Day 06: Hoian - Fly to Hanoi & Transfer to Halong Bay


    Day 07: Halong Cruise - Transfer to Hanoi 


    Day 08: Hanoi City Tour


    Day 09: Hanoi - Perfume Pagoda Day Tour

    Day 10: Hanoi - Fly to Vientiane

    Day 11: Vientiane - Fly to Luang Prabang


    Day 12: Luang Prabang - Pakou Caves Day Tour


    Day 13: Luang Prabang - Visit Khouang Si Waterfalls


    Day 14: Luang Prabang & Departure

    Include:
    +Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver

    + Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = dinner

    + Accommodation: twin sharing room at mentioned hotels or similar one

    + English or French speaking guide

    + Entrance fee to indicated sights

    + Boat trip in Mekong Delta, Hue, Halong Bay and Luang Prabang

    + Regional and domestic flight Ho Chi Minh - Dang , Hue - Hanoi - Vientiane - Luang Prabang 

    Exclude:
    Other meals, tip, drinks, airport tax, single room supplement, personal expenses, travel insurance, visa, flight in/ out of Indochina, any optional additional tours or activities during free time 


  • Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh - Transfer to Hotel

    On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you are met by our guide and transferred to hotel. The bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. This metropolis, contradiction of its northern counterpart, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping areas and sidewalk cafes. ( If time permits) we stroll around the down town to explore the different local ways of life. O/N in Ho Chi Minh. 
     


    Day 2 : Ho Chi Minh - Visit Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour 
    The incredible underground network in Cu Chi stretched over 200 kilometres and became legendary during the American war. The extensive tunnels have been specially constructed with living areas, storage facilities, weapon factories, filed hospitals, command centres, plus accommodation. Today we have an excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels to visit an exposition hall and a widened section of the tunnels to get a feel of the underground life. There are also possibilities to fire off rounds from an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range. The following programme is a sightseeing of major sights in Ho Chi Minh City. We drive past many lively streets on our way to the Reunification Palace. This mansion was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. We see these before going to the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War remnant exhibit. The final stop is Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale!. O/N in Ho Chi Minh. (B) 
     


    Day 3 : Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta Day Tour
    Heading out of town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta. This plain region boasts the largest rice bowl of Vietnam. On arrival in My Tho we board a boat navigating around the intricate small canals, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up and catch a view dotted by many islands. The exciting river trip will pass by the lush green vegetation towards the famous Unicorn Island where we have a chance to stroll around an orchard, taste many seasonal fruits and see farmers at work. We navigate some narrower canals using small rowing boats to Ben Tre Province for an interesting visit to some local industries. The extra enjoyment is a lunch at one of the famous local eating spots. We drive back to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off en route to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Saigon’s Chinatown, locally named Cho Lon. This bustling area is crammed with sacred temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. O/N in Ho Chi Minh. (B,L) 
     


    Day 4 : Ho Chi Minh - Fly to Hue 
    The northbound journey continues with a short flight to Hue. This ancient capital of Vietnam however has left its legacy in magnificent architecture, pagodas and royal tombs, which are laid in many small villages and surrounding hills. On arrival at Hue Airport you are greeted by our guide and driven to hotel. We spend this afternoon, seeing the massive citadel, containing the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins. The sightseeing also includes a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market that sells a wide variety of local goods and handicrafts. Along the way we pass many fantastic eating spots, all ideal for visitors to sample some local delicacies. O/N in Hue. (B) 
     


    Day 5: Hue - Drive to Hoian 
    The beautiful riverside Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious workship in Hue. We include this in a cruise on the Perfume River, giving us an enjoyable visit to the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. Upon leaving Hue we travel southwards to Hoian. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van pass. A view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam's most impressive panoramic scenes. Today we also catch a chance to visit the China Beach and the Marble Mountain, whose peaks represent the five elements of the universe on our way to Hoian. This tranquil town was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down the centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. O/N in Hoian. (B) 
     


    Day 6: Hoian - Fly to Hanoi & Transfer to Halong Bay
    The ancient architecture of Hoian is a fascinating combination of Vietnamese traditional characters with Chinese and Japanese influence. There are plenty to see in this delightful and tranquil town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tam Ky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda, the vibrant market. We visit these on our morning walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. We leave Hoian for Danang, stopping en route to visit the famous Cham Museum which boasts the largest collection of Cham treasure in Vietnam. The following destination is Hanoi via a short flight from Danang. On arrival at Hanoi airport we are met by our guide and driven to Halong Bay past the scenic countryside. O/N in Halong Bay. (B). 
     

    Day 7: Halong Bay Cruise - Hanoi 
    The legendary Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. We embark a traditional boat for a five hour trip around Halong Bay. The exciting cruise provides us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands, which rise amazingly from the clear and emerald water. These limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. We round off our excursion with a seafood lunch served on board and make our way back to Ha Noi. After checking into hotel we enjoy a short cyclo ride through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. O/N in Ha Noi. (B,L) 
     


    Day 8: Hanoi City Tour
    Today we enjoy a full day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex containing the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam and the impressive Ethnologic Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. The beautiful West Lake and the History Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history are also highlight of our trip . We visit these sights before continuing to the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem. In front of this lake is the famous water puppet theatre where we will see a fantastic performance. O/N in Ha Noi. (B) 
     


    Day 9: Ha Noi - Perfume Pagoda Day Tour
    The famous pilgrimage site in Vietnam is Perfume Pagoda. This complex is not just one pagoda but more Buddhist shrines and sanctuaries built into mountainsides. Heading out of town we make our way through the rich farming land of the Red River Delta to the Perfume Pagoda. The relaxing pace begins as we board a boat for an excursion along the Yen River past the spectacular landscape of flooded rice fields and undulating mountains. On arrival at Thien Tru pier we embark on a walk uphill to explore some of the many pagodas and the sacred grotto of Huong Tich. By mid afternoon we drive back to Hanoi, stopping en route at Ha Dong Silk village. Here is a chance for shoppers to tray their hand at bargaining. O/N in Ha Noi. (B) 
     

    Day 10: Hanoi - Fly to Vientiane 
    An early morning transfer to airport for flight to Vientiane. On arrival at Wattay Airport, you are met by our guide and transferred to our centrally located hotel. The charming and fascinating capital of Laos, Vientiane is a small city conjuring up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. We start our half day city tour with Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. Close to this masterwork is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Afterwards we continue driving to Patouxai. This imposing monument standing in Lane Xang Avenue, is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe and provides a stunning views of the city. We round off our day with a visit to the great sacred masterpiece and symbol of Laos, That Luang Stupa. O/N in Vientiane. (B) 
     

    Day 11: Vientiane - Fly to Luang Prabang 
    The vibrant central market in the heart of Vientiane, sells a wide away of local treasures. We include this famous trading center in a walking tour around the town center before we board a flight to Luang Prabang. The royal capital of the former Lane Xang Kingdom, Luang Prabang with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, retains an unique charm rarely found in all Asia. There are plenty to see in this delightful town, some of which are the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the Srilankalese styled temple of That Marko, the shrine of Wat Aham and the five tiered roof Wat Mai. We visit these sites in a half day guided tour and embark on a climb up to Phousi Hill for a beautiful panorama view from the town center to the mighty Mekong River. There are 329 steps leading us on zigzag way past various temples to the sacred, gilded stupa of Wat Phousi at the summit. O/N in Luang Prabang. (B) 
     

    Day 12: Luang Prabang - Pakou Caves - Luang Prabang 
    Today we continue seeing this charming town with the famous Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. The temple structures are decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes ,doorways and marvellous tree life mosaic pattern on an outer wall, representing the ancient temple architecture of Luang Prabang. We board a boat for a leisurely trip on the Mekong River, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai to visit the distillation of potent local rice wine. Upon leaving this riverside village we wave our way through the stunning mountain landscape to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. They are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devout villagers. We explore these famous grottos and cruise back to Luang Prabang Town. On arrival we catch a short drive to Ban Phanom , a well known weaving village of the Tai Lue people who used to make royal silk weaving textiles for the Lao former royal family. O/N in Luang Prabang. (B,L) 
     

    Day 13: Luang Prabang - Khouang Si Waterfall - Luang Prabang 
    The mountainous areas around Luang Prabang Town are also home of many ethnic groups and various stunning waterfalls dispersed in secluded jungle. Today we catch a drive southwards to Phosi Market that sells a wide array of local goods and handicrafts. Upon leaving this lively market we make our way through the verdant and rugged scenery to Ban Thapene, Ban Xom and Ban Namai which are conquered by the Lao Loum, Khmu and Hmong people. They are very poor but have interesting culture and colorful history. These tribal groups have originally settled in mountain side therefore it may involve some short walks to visit their villages. We arrives at Khouang Si Fall and spend the time relaxing in marvellous setting of waterfall and lush forest. The waterfall tumbles over multi tiered limestone formations into the cool and clear pools ideal for anyone seeking an enjoyable escape. O/N in Luang Prabang. (B) 
     

    Day 14: Luang Prabang - Departure 
    The former Royal Palace has been turned into a national museum. This interesting structure displays a lovely collection of the artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. We spend our time to see this museum and enjoy a walk around the nearby old quarter streets or simply relax at riverside bar. The trip ends after your transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for departure. (B) 

  • Categories of Accommodation


    Value:

    With basic hotels and simple accommodation, this is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel. We would normally accommodate your in these in remote areas.


    Standard:

    Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant. Sometimes these are a good affordable choice in cities where accommodation is very expensive, but where being centrally located is a prime consideration.


    Superior:

    Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre. This is the 'classic' hotel standard we use on most of our group based tours.


    Deluxe:

    Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care. India and Southeast Asia have a fabulous array of top notch 5-star properties.


    Luxury:

    Luxury accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!


  • VIETNAM:

    Visa and Passport
    Except for a number of ASEAN countries a visa is required to visit Vietnam. If your itinerary requires two
    entries into Vietnam then a double entry visa must be obtained. If your trip is postponed or delayed it may be necessary to obtain another visa if your original visa is not valid for your new dates of travel.

    Tourist Visa
    A Vietnam Tourist Visa is valid for the period of 30-days and for a single entry (unless endorsed for a double entry at additional cost). The cost charged by the Vietnamese embassy is $65 for a single entry visa and $130 for a double entry visa. Your passport must be sent to the embassy along with payment with prepaid shipping arrangements with Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, FedEx, etc., two completed visa applications and two passport photos. Allow five-business days for processing.

    Visa-on-Arrival
    A Visa-on-Arrival is available if you are pre-approved for the visa. In lieu of a stamped visa in your passport prior to departure a fax from the Department of Immigration is issued and used as your travel document for boarding your international flight to Vietnam. This system has been working for a number of years now and is extremely reliable. Visa-on-Arrival processing charges are normally $25 and a $45 fee is payable directly to Vietnamese Immigration upon arrival.

    Double Entry Visa
    A Double Entry Visa is a Tourist Visa endorsed for a double entry. If your itinerary requires a double entry be sure and obtain the Double Entry Visa.

    Re-Entry Visa
    Re-entry Visas, prior to departing Vietnam, are possible to obtain in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through authorized agencies for a fee of approximately $25, however it requires one-to-two days and the deposit of your passport. This is not advisable unless your itinerary allows ample time and you remain in the city where the application was filed until the visa is issued. It is strongly advised to obtain a Double Entry Visa prior entering Vietnam.

    Passport Validity Dates
    Your passport must have a validity date of at least six-months remaining after your visit to Vietnam is completed.

    Travel Document Companies
    Unless you live nearby a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or are experienced in dealing with embassies by mail or telephone, it is advised that you use a travel document company to obtain your visa.
    Notes: You can email us at info@privateasiatours.com for more advice on Vietnam Visa information. The service is free of charge. All the emails will be replied within 24h.

    Entry Procedures
    Arrival and Departure Cards are required to be completed upon entry into Vietnam; they will be provided by the airline or at the border gate. The yellow copy of the card will be returned to you and must be submitted when you depart Vietnam; keep it in a safe place. Making a photocopy of it is a good idea and keeping it with your other photocopies.
    If you have been pre-approved for a Visa-on-Arrival simply process though the Visa-on-Arrival lane at immigration.
    Once your visa formalities have been completed claim your baggage and process through customs.

    Duty Free
    One-carton of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor.

    Exit Procedures
    Complete the customs declaration and process through customs then complete the immigration processing where you will be required to return the yellow copy of your Arrival and Departure Card.

    Airport Departure Taxes
    Domestic Departure Taxes are included in the price of the airline ticket. International Airport Departure taxes are $14 (Hanoi) and $12 (Ho Chi Minh City). First check-in for your flight and then obtain the receipt for the payment of your departure tax to present upon clearing customs.

    Tendering Passports
    Vietnamese law requires that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening. This may appear odd to Western travelers but until the 1960's a number of European countries required that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening.

    Travel Insurance
    Traveler's Insurance is strongly recommended. A number of companies sell competing policies and it is a good idea to read the fine print and ask questions if you are in doubt. Note : some insurance companies cover travel insurance in their existing policies; check, you may already be covered. Policies have differing benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency medical transportation, lost baggage, missed connections, and accidents.
    Of special note is the emergency medical transportation. This is extremely costly; if you any health condition which may require medical evacuation you should check to see if you are currently covered and if not purchase the insurance. Medical treatment, if required, can be costly and the pay is usually in cash.

    Climate
    Vietnam is an elongated country which reaches from the sub-tropics in the north to the tropics in the south. The weather differs greatly in Vietnam from the north to the south, from four-mild seasons in northern Vietnam to sub-equatorial warmth in the Mekong Delta. 
    Geography also plays a role in Vietnam's weather: approximately one-third of the country is above 500-meters in elevation and those areas enjoy a sub-tropical climate; the areas above 2,000 enjoy a temperate climate. 
    Vietnam's climate is moderated by two-monsoons which create a lower than average temperature compared to other countries located in the equatorial regions: 

    Northeast Monsoon 
    The Northeast-Asian Monsoon, from late October and March, brings wet and chilly weather from the northeast to all areas from Nha Trang north, and dry and warm temperatures to all areas south of Nha Trang (Saigon and the Mekong Delta). 

    Southwest Monsoon 
    The South-Western Monsoon, from April/May through October, laden with moisture from its northeast movement across the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Siam, brings warm and humid weather to the entire country except for the Red River Delta (the greater Hanoi area) and Vietnam's Central Coastal Littoral. 

    The Northern Climate 
    The areas from Hue north experience a two-season a year: the winter and the summer. August through November is the rainy season in the north. Winter is usually from November through April and is cool during the day and crisp, and sometimes quite chilly, during the evenings. February and March are noticeable for their persistent drizzling rain ("crachin") while hot summers dominate months May through October. 

    The Central Climate 
    The Central Coastal Littoral does not receive the rainfall from the Southwest Monsoon rains which are stopped by the Central Highlands which are affected by these seasonal rains. Most of the rainfall received along the Central Coastal Littoral is during the Northeast Monsoon, from October and March, but especially in the months of October-December; overland travel during October-December can be interrupted by flooding. 

    The Southern Climate 
    The sub-equatorial climate of the south has two-seasons: the wet and dry seasons. The wet season lasts from May to November with June and August being the wettest months which bring heavy, albeit short lasting, downpours usually in the mid-afternoons. The dry season begins in November and ends in April with late February to May being hot and humid. The average temperatures in the south are relatively constant year-around: 25-35 Celsius (76-95 Fahrenheit). 

    Travel Tips:

    TET Travel (Vietnamese New Year) Considerations
    TET (the Vietnamese New Year) is not a good period to visit Vietnam for several reasons: the streets are near empty on the first day of TET and remain so for up to 4-days; Vietnamese want to be with their families, not working; airline tickets to and from Vietnam during the TET period are difficult to obtain and are offered at a premium price.
    While the days leading up to TET are joyous days, at midnight on the commencement of TET, the country goes silent. Only very gradually over the next week does it return to normal.
    Also taking into account the below tips before traveling to Vietnam

    Photocopies
    A photocopy of the information page of your passport along with a photocopy of your visa (or visas if you are traveling to more than one country) should be made and kept at a different place from your passport; it serves no purpose to loose your passport and the photocopies at the same time. In the event of loss these will speed the re-issuance of your passport and visas.

    Clothing
    One rarely needs a coat in Ho Chi Minh City but one nearly always needs a coat in Sapa in the winter. Vietnam reaches nearly from the Tropic of Cancer to the Equator and its climates range from tropical to temperate. Winter gets chilly in Hanoi and even moreso in the mountainous regions in the north and especially in the northern highlands. The Central Highlands in the center, as far down as Dalat, also get cold in the winter and chilly on summer evenings. The best strategy is "layering": a T-shirt, a long sleeved shirt along with a light coat will often suffice for chilly evenings. For colder climates and times of the year appropriate gloves, hats and even scarves are desirable. Hats, umbrellas and sunscreen work well to protect the skin.

    Food
    Three things to avoid: buffets where it is obvious the food has sat for a period of time; anything which has or could have a water residue on it (lettuce, tomatoes, unpeeled fruit); and mayonnaise which has a tendency to rapidly spoil in tropical climates and can cause food poisoning. Other than this Vietnamese food is a culinary delight: light, flavorful, delicate and filling but not "laden" as many Chinese dishes are. In the countryside, as well as in the cities, the many and varied soups of Vietnam are a delight with the ubiquitous "pho" being the national favorite.
    In the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City a rainbow of culinary delights from all corners of the world awaits the traveler.

    Bargaining
    Rarely is the first price or the posted price the real price: bargaining is expected, however unrealistic offers to purchase should be avoided as they are considered insulting.

    Tipping
    Tipping, until Vietnam opened its doors to the outside world, was never expected in Vietnam. With the advent of tourism the times have changed but still tipping is not nearly as routine as it is in some Western countries. For services, a 10% tip is gracious. For guides (for one or two people) for extraordinary service, $10 per day (or more depending on the service) tip is good; for adequate service $5; for so-so service: nothing. Driver's do not expect tips but welcome them.

    Laundry
    All good hotels provide laundry services. Laundries in Vietnam offer the quality at bargain prices.

    Maps
    A good map always places time and space in a far more understandable sphere. There are numerous maps available in Vietnam at bookstores and good city maps of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City available at good hotels (sometimes for free), but the best country maps as well as the best city maps are ITMB Maps from Vancouver, Canada. For years Jack Joyce, in conjunction with geographic institutes in Vietnam, has been making the best maps available. These maps can be purchased at most good map stores and online.

    Taxis
    Vietnam has perhaps the best taxi services in the world. Always take metered taxis which are plentiful in the major cities.


    LAOS: 

    Passports
    Passport with at least six months remaining validity required by all nationals.

    Visas
    (a) A 15-day visa on arrival is now available for nationals arriving at Vientiane International Airport, Luang Prabang International Airport or Friendship Bridge; visas are not extendable. 
    (b) A one-month visit visa is available from the Laos embassy provided the applicant has a guarantor in Laos; visas can be extended by up to a further two months. 
    (c) A one-month business visa is available from the Laos embassy; applicants require authorization from the organization they will be visiting in Laos before applying for a visa; visas can be extended until the completion of business. 
    (d) A five-day transit visa is available for nationals transiting through Vientiane International Airport; nationals require proof of onward journey within five days. 
    (e) Multiple-entry visas are only available from the ministry of foreign affairs in Laos.

    Climate: 
    Throughout most of the country, the climate is hot and tropical, with the rainy season between May and October when temperatures are at their highest. The dry season runs from November to April.

    Required Clothing
    Lightweights and rainwear, with warmer layers from October to March and upland areas.

    Travel Tips: 
    Most visits are trouble free.
    The threat from terrorism in Laos is low. However, travellers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including places frequented by foreigners.
    Travellers should be aware of and respect local conventions at all times.
    Unexploded ordnance in rural areas is an ongoing danger.
    Outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Laos have resulted in human fatalities, the last one of which was in 2007. As a precaution, travellers should avoid live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds is likely; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked. 
    The Lao government prohibits sexual relationships between foreign citizens and Lao nationals except when the two parties have been married in accordance with Lao family law. Penalties for breaking these regulations can range from fines to imprisonment.
    Penalties for illegal drug importation and use are severe and can include the death penalty.
    It is illegal not to carry an ID document, and fines for not having one for presentation are high.



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    Departure: from Saigon or Siem Reap

    Highlights: Saigon, CaiBe, VinhLong, CanTho, ChauDoc, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

    The majestic Jayavarman is considered the father in Heritage Line’s “family” of cruise ships. This vessel was named after Angkor’s most venerated king, who ruled from 1181 to 1218, and was a devout Buddhist. King Jayavarman oversaw the construction of some of the most famous temples in Angkor, including Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and the unforgettable Bayon. Inspired by the serenity and artistry associated with this great Khmer monarch, The Jayavarman’s design was also influenced by the French cruise liner Normandie, which launched in 1935. Traveling between Saigon and Phnom Penh, the Jayavarman marries the art deco charm of 1930’s France with the romance of Indochine. Measuring 57.8 meters from bow to stern, the Jayavarman holds 27 elegantly decorated cabins. Thanks to its intricate woodcarvings, Khmer bas-reliefs and Vietnamese lacquer paintings, this impressive cruise ship resembles a floating art gallery. Wherever they look, guests are reminded of the local arts and culture. With three-and-a-half decks the Jayavarman is as spacious as it is beautiful. Guests can admire Khmer artifacts in the Henry Mouhot Lounge, mingle in the Club 1930 Bar, dine in the elegant Indochine Dining Hall, and recharge with spa treatments in the Apsara Spa. A Jacuzzi is located on the top sundeck, which offers spectacular views of the passing delta. Along with its peaceful beauty, the Mekong Delta is known for its friendly locals. The crewmembers of The Jayavarman are no exception. From the moment they board, guests are made to feel at home. Offering exceptional service, comfort and style, The Jayavarman is a name to remember. This beautiful vessel is an unforgettable means of exploring some of the finest scenery in Asia.