Vietnam Laos Tours

Discover the North of Laos and Vietnam

Number of days: 13

Price from: 00$

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: Daily

Start from: Vientiane or any other city

Highlights: Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Sapa, Hanoi, Halong Bay

This 13-day tour is designed for an impressive route to the most attractions in Northern Laos and Vietnam. Linking the capitals of both Laos and Vietnam, Halong Bay – the Vietnam’s World Natural Heritage and Luang Prabang – the Laos’ World Cultural Heritage together, the itinerary is a perfect getaway for both nature and sports lovers who appreciate spectacular Karst scenery, beautiful landscapes, pristine environments and enjoy a laid-back life style as well.

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


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


    * Vang Vieng - Idyllic natural scenery.

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

    * 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

    * Sapa – A French Hill Station nestled within the mountains high above Hanoi and is home to colorful ethnic groups.


    ACTIVITIES: 

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


    TRIP AT A GLANCE: 



    Day 01: Arrive Vientiane – Transfer to hotel

    Day 02: Vientiane Tour

    Day 03: Drive to Vang Vieng – Explore Vang Vieng & Surroundings

    Day 04: Drive to Luang Prabang – Discover World Heritage & Temple Sites

    Day 05: 1 Day Trek Kuang-Si Waterfall with White Elephant Adventures

    Day 06: Luang Prabang Tour

    Day 07: Flight to Hanoi, Night train to Sapa with Oriental Express Train

    Day 08: Sapa Tours

    Day 09: Sapa Tours & Night train back to Hanoi

    Day 10: Arrive Hanoi & Hanoi City tour

    Day 11: Hanoi – Overnight Halong Bay Cruise

    Day 12: Halong Bay – Return to Hanoi

    Day 13: Hanoi & Departure


    Tour includes:

    - 9 night hotel accommodation with daily breakfast based on twin/double sharing

    - 2 nights on the Oriental Express train in the soft berth cabin

    - 1 night on the overnight boat cruise in Halong Bay

    - Boat trips as per programs

    - Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

    - Land transportation by private car with A/C

    - 1 flight: Luang Prabang to Hanoi (Economic class)

    - Private local English speaking tour guides

    - All entrance fees and permits where applicable

    - Dayuse hotel for shower on Day 10


    Tour excludes:

    - Meals that not mentioned in the program

    - Travel insurance

    - Vietnam Visa and Lao visa

    - International flight and departure tax

    - Tipping, drinks and other personal expenses 

  • Day 01: Arrive Vientiane – Transfer to Hotel

    Welcome to Vientiane! With a population of almost 1 million this is the biggest city in Laos. After arrival in Vientiane airport, and completion of customs & immigration formalities, meet our guide at the arrival hall and take or private transfer to your hotel.

    Spend the rest of the day at leisure to rest. Overnight in Vientiane.

    Meal inclusion: None

     


    Day 02: Vientiane Tour

    Today, enjoy a city tour to visit Morning Market, Wat Sisaket with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Then visit Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo, which was the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha, which today resides in Bangkok. Admire the huge, golden That Luang monument, which all Lao citizens respect as holy pagoda. Visit Vientiane’s own Victory Monument, which looks like the Arc de Triumphe. This was built at the end of the Indochina wars with money rumoured to be American, and earmarked for the airport’s new runway. Thus the departing Americans dubbed this monument the vertical runway! Have a look at the lovely arches inside the monument. There are many excellent restaurants in Vientiane and you will easily find something to suit your taste. Overnight in Vientiane.

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

    Day 03: Drive to Vang Vieng – Explore Vang Vieng & Surroundings

    We depart from Vientiane by following the Road 13 toward North. Our first stop will be made at the archaeological site of Vang Xang which dates from the Mon-Khmer period of the 8  11th century. En route, we will stop at Hmong village and you arrive in Vang Vieng at noon. We are transferred to hotel for check-in.

    In the afternoon, we visit the Tham Chang Cave and then take a long tail boat on Nam Song River to Organic Farm that produces mulberry tea, sericulture and wine, which you can taste. We return to Vang Vieng by long tail boat by sunset. Overnight in Vang Vieng.

    Meals included: breakfast

     


    Day 04: Drive to Luang Prabang – Discover World Heritage & Temple Sites

    After Breakfast, we take a drive to the former Royal capital, Luang Prabang. It takes around 4 hours to arrive. En route, we stop to talk with local ethnic people who have built their houses and settle down along the road. Also enjoy the very beautiful landscape that will make you temporary forget your hometown. Upon arrival check in your hotel.

    Afternoon, visit Wat Xieng Thong further emphasizes the uniqueness of Luang Prabang, its several roofs sweeping low to the ground. See also the impressive “tree of life” mosaic here. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts semi-erotic episodes from the Ramayana. Climb up Phou Sii hill stands right in the center of this small city. Climb its 350 steps to enjoy commanding views for many miles in each direction. Wat Phu Sii sits atop the mountain, along side the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns!

    Overnight in Luang Prabang.

    Meals included: breakfast

     


    Day 05: 1 Day Trek Kuang-Si Waterfall with White Elephant Adventures

    Stunning jungle trekking, wildlife, rope swings, and luxurious swimming in the mineral-rich waters of the Kuang-Si waterfall

    This is a trekking tour through some of the most lush and varied jungle that concludes at one of Luang Prabang’s most beautiful destinations, the Kuang-Si waterfall, where you’ll swim in and explore the numerous refreshing and beautiful pools.

     

    Itinerary

    - 8:30 am meeting, introduction to group and guides, briefing on tour before departure

    - Start a scenic fifty minute drive out of the city, up mountains, and through mountainous jungle and farmland passing Hmong and Khmu hill-tribes along the way.

    - We will visit and tour first a Khmu and then Hmong traditional hill-tribe village before we begin our trek.  Our experienced guides will share cultural and historical information about the Hmong and Khmu people indigenous to this area and will answer your questions.

    - Begin our 3 hour hike taking us through rich jungle, to a natural spring which is the source of the Kuang-Si waterfall (and is the reason this waterfall runs all year round), to the top of the falls with a fantastic view, and ultimately down to the waterfall itself.

    - We’ll enjoy lunch, have ample time for photographs, and take a good long swim in the many pools running from the falls, and take a plunge off the rope swing at its biggest pool. Don’t forget to visit the bear sanctuary before you go.

    - We’ll get back on the truck for transport back to the city by about 4:30 p.m.

    During the rainy season, roughly from July to October, the Kuang Si waterfall is swollen with rainwater.  The quantity of water will impress and you can bask in the spray and take in the scene and sound from the vantage point of a newly constructed and attractive bridge traversing the river.  Swimming may be inadvisable due to the strong currents.  But what you’ll miss about swimming, you will gain in the sheer awe of the scene.

    During the dry season, roughly from January to May, the Kuang Si waterfall is largely void of rainwater.  What is left is a significant and beautiful flow of mineral-rich water flowing from a natural spring deep in the jungle (this source is present during the rainy season as well, but goes unnoticed due to the volume of rainwater).  The water is a stunning turquoise and green color, slightly opaque from the quantity of minerals enriching the water.

    Experience during any season, the Kuang Si waterfall is sure to be a favorite spot in your time in Luang Prabang.

    Overnight in Luang Prabang.

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast & Lunch

     


    Day 06: Luang Prabang Tour

    After breakfast enjoy the visit Wat Visoun, the site of impressive Thad Makmo stupa. The rounded dome is stylistically more Sinhalese than Lao. Continue to visit Wat Mai. Built in 1796, the five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style.

    Visit the National Museum (closed Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture throughout the ages. 

    Afternoon, we then board an upstream cruise on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. We’ll make sure to stop at the Pak Ou Caves, sanctuaries consisting of two large caverns, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images. We will also stop at a few villages during the day, including Ban Xanghai where the local rice wine is produced. On our way back, we pass by a few more local villages. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast

     

    Day 07: Flight to Hanoi, Night train to Sapa with Oriental Express Train

    Morning, free at leisure.

    Check out hotel at 12:00pm and leave your luggage at hotel.

    14:30pm: Our driver will pick you up at the hotel and transfer to Luang Prabang airport for the flight to Hanoi QV313 @ 17:10-18:10.

    On arrival in Hanoi at 18:10, meet our guide at the airport and transfer to the city center. Our guide will take you to the local restaurant for dinner before transferring to the train station for the night train to Sapa leaving at 21:00pm. Overnight on the train in the private 2 berth cabin. 

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast & Dinner

     

    Day 08: Sapa Tours

    The train arrives around 6am. We will pick you up at Lao Cai railway station and take you up to the town of Sapa which takes approx one hour.

    Enjoy buffet breakfast in hotel and ralax for a while, then we will start walking to Cat Cat & Sin Chai villages in the bottom of Muong Hoa valley. Enjoy the spectacular views of the beautiful valley towards Fansipan – highest peak in Viet Nam and Indochina. Go through the village of Black H’mong ethnic minority, see people weaving and embroidering their clothes, keep going down enjoy colourful rice terraces and the interesting waterfall. Come back to Sapa by car at noon.  Afternoon will be free time for you to explore Sapa market and town. Overnight at the hotel in Sapa.

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast


    Day 09: Sapa Tours & Night train back to Hanoi

    Enjoy your breakfast then check out of the room around 10am. Then we will walk from Sapa towards Muong Hoa valley where we can admire magnificent landscapes and trek on a small trails going to Y Linh Ho village (with Black H’mong tribe).
    Trek through lush rice – terraces towards Lao Chai village, enjoy delicious lunch in the local house near by Muong Hoa River, experiencing Black H’mong people’s daily life and traditional culture. Next cross suspension bridges as you walk through Lao Chai village to Ta Van village inhabited by Zay minorities. Returns to Sapa by car and heading to Lao Cai train station for the night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast & Lunch

     


    Day 10: Arrive Hanoi & City Tour

    The train will arrive in Hanoi early in the morning next day (around 4:30-5am), check out the train and get to a dayuse hotel near the train station that we have arranged for you for few hours resting, having breakfast until 8:30am.

    8:30am: Our guide and driver will come to the dayuse for the Hanoi city tour.

    Today, we will take the sightseeing of the most city's outstanding historical and cultural sites. The visit includes:

    - The complex of Ho Chi Minh historical sites, also called the political center of Vietnam including Ba Dinh SquareHo Chi Minh Mausoleum (outside visit), Ho Chi Minh's House on StiltOne Pilla Pagoda.

    - The Temple of Literature for the brief understanding about the two most popular religions in Vietnam (Buddhism and Confucianism).

    - Visit one of the museums in Hanoi (Museum of History, Museum of Ethnology, Museum of Fine Art, Hoa Lo Prison, etc). 

    - Enjoy our welcome show of northern rural of Vietnam – Water Puppet show.

    Late afternoon, transfer you to the main hotel for overnight.

    Meal inclusion: Breakfast. 

     


    Day 11: Hanoi – Overnight Halong Bay Cruise

    07:30 – 08:00: Your transfer vehicle will collect you from your hotel in Hanoi and convey you to Halong City.

    12:30: You will be taken on our tender from the wharf and make your way out onto the bay to board our luxurious craft, Signature Cruise. You will be welcome aboard and greeted with a complimentary drink. Our Crew will conduct a compulsory safety procedures session and then you are free to check into your cabin and freshen up. Take some time to have a look around the vessel or watch the magical landscape go by.

    13:15: As we begin to cruise through the bay a special lunch of fresh seafood and an assortment    of appetizing favorites will be served. Dining on a luxury junk with fine food and drinks doesn’t come much better than this.

    15:00: After lunch we set sail for Bai Tu Long Bay passing the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, extraordinary limestone karst landscapes. Explore Vung Vieng fishing village by local rowing boats to discover the interesting daily lives of its inhabitants.

    16:30: Back onboard Signature Cruise Halong Bay’s main craft we will drop anchor for our overnight stay surrounded by incredible landscape.

    17:30 – 18:30:  Happy hour with special drink menu (Buy one get another one for free).

    17:30: Our Vietnamese cooking demonstration is a great way to learn how to prepare delicious appetizers and we will guide you through the process.

    19:15: Relish special Signature Dinner in restaurant.

    20:45 – 12:00: Your free time to relax with an exotic cocktail or whatever takes your fancy. Our bar has a wide range or wines, beers and liquors and is always a welcome sight for guests after a day on Halong Bay. Order a specialized massage in room. Choosing with other activities boat cruise such as watch documentary movies, squid fishing or simply relax on our roof top deck under the cover of a star filled sky.

    Stay overnight on Boat.

    Meal included: Lunch & Dinner



    Day 12: Halong Bay – Return to Hanoi

    06:30: The nicest time of the day on Halong Bay is the morning. Head to the upper deck to participate in our daily Tai Chi sessions. Relax with an early morning cup of tea, coffee or juice anywhere you wish on the boat and watch the never ending miraculous scenery unfold before you.

    07:00: Light breakfast will be served in our restaurant (pastries, tea, coffee).

    7:30 – 8:30: Enjoy the last stage of your trip in Thien Canh Son cave and islets which is a wild and mysterious beauty in the middle of the World Heritage. Back to our main board afterwards.

    09:30: check out of your cabin as we draw closer to the mainland. After a final early brunch and a last goodbye from our crew at 11:15, you will board our tender and head back to the wharf.

    12:00-12:30: Get on shuttle mini bus and get back to Hanoi.

    17:00: Arrive to Hanoi and trip finishes at the hotel around 16h30. Overnight in Hanoi

    Meal included: Brunch

    Day 13: Hanoi & Departure

    At leisure until we transfer you to Hanoi airport for your departure flight. End of the trip. 

    Meal included: Breakfast. 

  • 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!

  • 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.

    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). 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.

    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, and 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.

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