luxotica

Indochina Encompassed

29 Days Indochina Encompassed

So I woke up to 2" of snow on the ground yesterday and decided that's it - I'm outta here! Even if it's only in my imagination. 🙂

We are off to Southeast Asia for 29 whole days with G Adventures!

This is just such a great tour - everything is all sorted out for you from G and ready to go. No thinking required. Includes so many things check their full itinerary for all the details.
We can book air and extra hotel days pre/post tour with them too.

There will be lots of history, temples, shopping and eating!

Day 1 - Bangkok

As we step out of the airport, the warm and humid air of Bangkok greets us. We're finally here, at the start of our 29-day adventure in Southeast Asia. Bangkok is the capital and busiest city of Thailand, a country that's known for its rich culture, cuisine, and friendly people.
Day 1 of the itinerary gives us a chance to explore this bustling metropolis before we meet and join our group.
After checking into our hotel, let’s take a stroll along the streets of Bangkok and explore the city's unique blend of modern and traditional culture. We'll see towering skyscrapers and shopping malls competing for space with ancient temples and street food vendors.
When we get tired of walking, we’ll flag down a tuk-tuk, the best way to get around the city is by tuk-tuk! The small, motorized vehicles have become an iconic symbol of Thailand.
One of the best ways to experience Bangkok's vibrant street life is by taking a longboat tour through the klongs, or canals. The klongs are a network of waterways that run through the city, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the locals. As we cruise through the narrow canals, we'll see wooden houses on stilts, colorful boats, and locals going about their daily lives. The longboat tour usually lasts for about an hour and is a great way to see a different side of Bangkok.
As the sun sets, we can explore Bangkok's bustling night markets, which offer a wide range of local street foods, handcrafted souvenirs, and live performances. Some of the best night markets in Bangkok, such as the Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Rot Fai Market, are open only on weekends. But there are also plenty of night markets open every day of the week that offer a unique shopping and dining experience.
Overall, Bangkok is a city that's full of energy, vibrancy, and diversity. It's a great place to start our Southeast Asia adventure, as it offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. Don't miss the chance to explore the klongs, visit the Wat Po temple, and indulge in the city's delicious street food. The warm hospitality of the locals and the colorful atmosphere of Bangkok will make a warm welcome to the start of our tour.

Day 2 - Bangkok

Day 2 takes us on another exciting journey through Bangkok and then on an overnight train to Chiang Mai.
Our day begins with a visit to the Wat Po temple, an iconic temple located adjacent to the famous Grand Palace. Wat Po is home to the famous reclining Buddha statue, which is 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf! Truly a sight to behold. The temple is one of the oldest and largest in Bangkok and is home to numerous other smaller temples, intricate carvings, and statues of mythical creatures within the complex.
After visiting Wat Po temple, we can explore the famous Grand Palace and National Museum. The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings that was the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. The palace is an architectural masterpiece that blends traditional Thai and Western styles. We can see the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, which is considered the most sacred temple in Thailand.
The National Museum is another attraction that shouldn't be missed. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits, and artworks that spans over 5,000 years of Thai history. We'll see ancient pottery, sculptures, textiles, and other objects that offer a glimpse into the country's rich cultural heritage. In the evening, we'll board an overnight train to Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand.

Day 3 - Chiang Mai

Welcome to Chiang Mai! Known as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is the largest city in Northern Thailand and a cultural hub of the region. On our third day of our trip, we have some exciting activities planned for us.
First up, we will head to the Doi Suthep temple, one of the most sacred temples in Chiang Mai. The temple sits on top of a mountain, overlooking the city, and offers breathtaking views. To reach the temple, we will take a scenic 30-minute drive up the winding mountain road. Our knowledgeable guide will provide us with a brief history of the temple and the significance of its stunning golden pagoda. After learning about the temple, we will have some time to explore on our own. We may choose to walk around the temple grounds, take in the panoramic views, or make an offering to the monks.
Next, we have two exciting options to choose from. The first option is to attend a Thai cooking class. In the class, we will learn how to prepare some of Thailand’s most famous dishes, such as Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, or Green Curry. We will start the class with a visit to the local market, where we will have the opportunity to select fresh ingredients and learn about the different herbs and spices used in Thai cuisine. After the market visit, we will head to the cooking school, where we will receive hands-on instruction from experienced local chefs. The class will conclude with a delicious meal, which we will have prepared ourselves!
If cooking is not your thing, don’t worry. We can choose our second option - exploring the most famous night market in Chiang Mai. Located in the heart of the city, the market offers a unique shopping experience where we can find everything from handmade crafts to traditional Thai souvenirs.
In addition to shopping, the night market is a great place to sample local foods and snacks. We can try some of the region’s most famous dishes such as Khao Soi or indulge in some of the delicious Street food like Pad Thai or Mango Sticky Rice. We can also enjoy live music performances and cultural shows at the market.

Day 4 - Chiang Mai/Chiang Khong

Today, we will be exploring two of the most beautiful destinations in the region - Wat Rong Khun and Chiang Khong. This journey will take us through some of the most picturesque locations in Thailand while giving us an opportunity to learn more about the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Our adventure for the day will begin with a visit to the breathtakingly beautiful Wat Rong Khun. This iconic location is also known as the ‘White Temple’ and is one of the most renowned temples in the region. As we approach the temple, we will be struck by the pristine white exterior, which symbolizes purity. The temple's architecture is stunning, and we will be mesmerized by the intricate designs and details. The artist behind the temple's design, Chalermchai Kositpipat, has included a blend of traditional Thai architectural elements with modern-day art. As we explore the temple, we will notice that its walls are adorned with stunning murals that depict scenes from Buddhism and Hinduism.
After exploring the beauty of Wat Rong Khun, we will head to Chiang Khong, which is situated along the banks of the Mekong River. This charming small town is home to a vibrant local market where we can browse and shop for locally made handicrafts, clothes, and souvenirs. We can also enjoy local cuisine such as Khao Soi, a Northern Thai noodle dish that is famous for its spicy flavor.
One of the highlights of visiting Chiang Khong is a chance to witness the majestic Mekong River in all its glory. The river is an important source of livelihood for the local communities, and we can see the fishermen still using traditional methods to catch fish. We can also take a leisurely boat ride along the river, which will allow us to soak in all the beauty of the river and town.

Day 5 - Chiang Khong/Muang Pakbèng

Today, we will be heading across the Laos border and embarking on a scenic voyage down the Mekong River. We will get to witness some of the most magnificent views of the river and explore the charming town of Muang Pakbèng.
We will begin our journey by crossing the Laos border. This is an exciting experience that will give we a chance to see the differences in culture and lifestyle between Thailand and Laos. We will need to have all our travel documents in order, including our passport and visas. Once we cross the border, we will embark on a traditional boat ride down the Mekong River. This is a truly unique experience that will allow us to see the beauty of the river from a different perspective. As we cruise down the river, we will notice the lush green forests and the scenic mountains that surround us. The river is a vital source of livelihood for the local communities, and we will see fishermen using traditional methods to catch fish. It's a peaceful and relaxing journey that is sure to leave we feeling refreshed after the travel and border crossing.
Our voyage down the Mekong River will conclude in the charming town of Muang Pakbèng. This small town is situated along the river and is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Laos. We can explore the town on foot and visit the local temples and markets. One of the highlights of visiting Muang Pakbèng is a chance to witness the daily life of the local communities. We can take a stroll through the town and meet the friendly locals, who are always happy to share their stories and traditions with visitors. We can also sample local cuisine such as Laap, a spicy minced meat dish served with sticky rice.

Day 6 - Muang Pakbèng/Luang Prabang

Today, we will be continuing our journey down the Mekong River and exploring the mystical Pak Ou caves before arriving in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang.
We will begin our day by cruising down the Mekong River, which is the lifeline of Laos. We will have a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and soak in the peaceful ambiance. As we move further down the river, we will be surrounded by majestic mountains and lush green forests.
Our first stop for the day will be the mystical Pak Ou Caves, which are located along the Mekong River. The caves are a sacred site for the locals, and they are home to more than 4,000 Buddha statues of various sizes and shapes. As we explore the caves, we will notice that each statue has a unique expression and character. The Pak Ou Caves are divided into two sections - the lower cave and the upper cave. The lower cave is easily accessible and has a wide range of Buddha statues, while the upper cave is a bit more challenging to reach and has more elaborate and intricate statues. The caves are a photographer's dream, and we will be amazed by the beauty of the place.
After exploring the Pak Ou Caves, we will continue our journey down the Mekong River and arrive in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to ancient temples, stunning architecture, and a rich cultural heritage.
We can spend our time in Luang Prabang exploring the quaint streets and alleyways and visit some of the most famous temples such as Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Mai. We can also browse the bustling night market and sample some of the delicious local street food.

One of the highlights of visiting Luang Prabang is participating in the traditional almsgiving ceremony, which takes place every morning on the streets of the city. The ceremony involves offering food to the monks, it's a beautiful and serene experience that will leave us feeling humbled and grateful.

Day 7 - Luang Prabang

Today, we will be exploring the rich cultural heritage of Luang Prabang and marveling at the natural beauty of the Kuang Si waterfalls.
Our day will begin with a visit to the Ethnology Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the cultural diversity of Laos. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that highlight the traditions, customs, and beliefs of the different ethnic groups in Laos. We will be able to learn more about the fascinating history of Laos and the diverse cultures that have contributed to the country's rich heritage. The museum is a testament to the diversity of the Laotian people and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in anthropology.
After exploring the Ethnology Museum, our next stop will be the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre. This center is focused on promoting and preserving traditional Laotian crafts and textiles. We can take a tour of the facility and learn more about the different techniques used to create the beautiful textiles. We can also participate in workshops and learn how to make our own textiles, which can be a great souvenir to take back home. The center is a great way to learn more about the local culture and support the artisans who keep the traditional crafts alive.
After exploring the culture of Luang Prabang, it's time to enjoy some delicious local cuisine with a local family. This is a great way to experience the Laotian hospitality and learn more about the daily life of the locals. We can try some of the traditional dishes such as Laap or Tam Mak Houng, which are famous for their unique flavors.
Our last destination for the day is the Kuang Si Waterfalls, which is located about 30 km south of Luang Prabang. The waterfall is a breathtakingly beautiful natural wonder that is surrounded by lush green forests. We can take a dip in the turquoise blue water and relax in the serene ambiance. There are several tiered pools that we can explore, and each one has its own unique charm. We can also take a hike to the top of the waterfall and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

Day 8 - Luang Prabang

Today, we will be taking a break from the itinerary and enjoying a day of leisure in Luang Prabang. We can explore the city at our own pace and customize our itinerary to suit our interests. Whether it's cooking classes, temple visits, Thai massage, or shopping, Luang Prabang has something for everyone.
If we're interested in learning more about the Laotian cuisine, we can sign up for a cooking class. We will have an opportunity to learn how to prepare some of the most delicious Laotian dishes, such as Mok Pa, a steamed fish dish, or Khao Piak Sen, a noodle soup dish. We can also learn about the different herbs and spices used in the Laotian cuisine, which will help we appreciate the unique flavors of the dishes.
Luang Prabang is home to several temples, and we can spend our day exploring these beautiful and serene destinations. Some of the most famous temples include Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Mai, and Wat Visounnarath. We can learn more about the history and culture of Laos by visiting these temples and marveling at their stunning architecture.
At night, Luang Prabang comes alive with its bustling night market. We can spend our evening shopping for souvenirs such as handicrafts, clothes, jewelry, and textiles. The night market is also a great place to sample some of the delicious street food, such as grilled meat skewers, Lao sausage, and sticky rice.
As we come to the end of this exciting day, we will have had a chance to explore Luang Prabang at our own pace and indulge in activities that match our interests. Make sure to take advantage of this day of leisure and recharge your batteries before continuing with the rest of the itinerary, as we still have 21 days to go!

Day 9 - Luang Prabang/Vang Vieng

Today, we will be leaving Luang Prabang and heading to the stunning town of Vang Vieng. Along the way, we will make a stop at a local village and have an authentic experience by spending the night with a Laotian family.
Vang Vieng is situated about 150 km north of Luang Prabang. The drive is scenic and will take us through some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Laos. We will notice the majestic mountains and lush green forests that surround us as we make our way to the town.

Just before arriving in Vang Vieng, we will make a stop at a local village and spend the night with a Laotian family. This is a unique opportunity to experience the Laotian hospitality and learn more about the daily life of the locals. We can participate in some traditional activities such as rice planting and harvesting, weaving, and cooking.
One of the highlights of spending the night with a Laotian family is having dinner with them. We can try some of the most delicious Laotian dishes such as Lao Larb, a spicy minced meat dish, or Tam Mak Houng, a green papaya salad. We can also enjoy some local beer or rice wine, which is the most common alcoholic beverage in Laos.
After dinner, we will have a chance to relax and unwind in our own private room in the Laotian home. The rooms are simple but comfortable, and they provide an authentic experience that will give we a glimpse into the local culture. We can enjoy the peaceful ambiance and the sound of nature as we fall asleep.

Day 10 - Vang Vieng

Are we looking to explore the countryside of Laos? Then Vang Vieng is the perfect place for us! Today, we have the freedom to discover Vang Vieng by bike or kayak. Biking is one of the most popular activities in Vang Vieng, and is a great way to explore the countryside. We can rent a bike or take a guided tour. As we cycle, we will discover picturesque landscapes, towering cliffs, and the Nam Song River, which flows through the valley. We can also stop at one of the numerous caves and explore its peaceful interior.
One of the most popular cycling routes is through the rural area of Nam Lik. This route is approximately 10 km long, and we can expect to see traditional Laotian houses, rice fields, and a stunning view of the mountains.
If we prefer water sports, kayaking is a great option for us. The Nam Song River is an excellent spot for kayaking, with its calm waters and stunning scenery. We can rent a kayak and explore the river alone or with a guide. We’ll experience the beauty of Vang Vieng’s nature up close, while floating on the cool, clear water. Another popular kayaking route is from Vang Vieng to Tham Phu Kham cave. The route is approximately 2 km and takes around 45 minutes to float downstream. Once we reach the cave, we can get out and explore the enchanting landscape. The cave is one of the largest in Vang Vieng, and it's a popular spot for tourists.
Apart from the main activities of cycling and kayaking, there are other places of interest to visit in Vang Vieng. One of them is the Blue Lagoon, which is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing. It's a natural pool of water that has crystal clear turquoise blue water.
Another spot is the Organic Mulberry Farm, where we can see how silk is made from scratch, from the worms to the final silk product. We can also try some of the locally made mulberry jam and tea. After a day of exploring Vang Vieng’s countryside, it's time to retreat to our hotel room to relax and take in the peaceful atmosphere.

Day 11 - Vang Vieng/Vientiane

On Day 11 of our trip, we will be heading to the beautiful capital of Laos - Vientiane. Also known as the “city of the moon,” Vientiane is steeped in rich history and culture.
Here are a few things to do and see in Vientiane:
Vientiane is home to many stunning temples and wats, many of which are centuries old. The most popular temple in the city is the beautiful Wat Si Saket, which is known for its beautiful murals and frescoes. Another stunning temple is the Wat That Luang, which is one of the most important religious sites in Laos. The temple is considered a symbol of the country's sovereignty and its architecture is truly breathtaking.
If we're interested in the history and culture of Laos, we won't want to miss a visit to the Lao National Museum. The museum is located in a beautiful colonial building and houses a range of exhibits that showcase the country's history, culture and traditions. Another interesting museum to visit is the COPE Visitor Centre. This museum focuses on the people of Laos that were affected by the Vietnam War, particularly the people who were injured from bombs and landmines.
Vientiane is also home to many other sites that offer a glimpse into the city's culture. One of these is the Patuxai Monument, which is often referred to as the “Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane.” The monument is dedicated to those who fought for independence from France and is a beautiful example of Lao architecture. Another cultural spot in Vientiane is the Talat Sao Market, which is the largest market in the city. It's a great place to experience the local culture and shop for souvenirs.

Vientiane is a beautiful and historic city with beautiful temples, museums and cultural sites, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Let’s take our time to explore this charming city and immerse ourselves in the rich culture of Laos.

Day 12 - Vientiane/Hanoi

On Day 12 of our trip, we will be flying from Vientiane to Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is a fascinating city that boasts a mix of history, culture, and modernity.
Here are some of the things we can do and see in this vibrant city:
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a maze of narrow streets and alleys that date back over 1,000 years. It's the perfect place to get lost in and discover the bustling local life. Each street is named after the type of product that was traditionally sold there. We can find everything from traditional Vietnamese rice cakes to handmade silk clothes.
Hanoi is home to many historical sites that are worth a visit. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is one of the most iconic attractions of the city. The complex consists of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, the Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda. The complex is a tribute to Vietnam's founding father and a great place to learn about the country's history.
Another historical site to visit is the Temple of Literature. The Temple of Literature is a beautiful example of traditional Vietnamese architecture and is dedicated to the worship of Confucius. The temple was also Vietnam's first university and is home to many well-preserved statues and artifacts that showcase the country's deep respect for education and learning.

Vietnamese cuisine is among the best in the world, and Hanoi is no exception. The city has a vibrant street food scene that's worth exploring. Some of the must-try dishes in Hanoi are Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, and Bun Cha, a charcoal-grilled pork noodle dish. Another popular spot to try street food is in the Old Quarter, where we can find some of the most delicious, authentic Vietnamese food at affordable prices.

Hanoi is a thriving city that's full of life and energy. With its historical sites, bustling streets, and delicious food, it's a city that will capture our hearts.

Day 13 - Hanoi

Day 13 – we will spend our second day in Hanoi, the lively capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is rich in history and culture, with many attractions that showcase the country's fascinating past.
Here are some of the places we can visit in Hanoi: Hoa Lo Prison is a museum that chronicles the history of the prison, which was used by the French to imprison political prisoners during the colonial era. The museum also features artifacts related to the prison's use during the Vietnam War. Another museum to visit is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which is dedicated to the country's ethnic groups. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, photos, and videos that showcase the culture and traditions of Vietnam's diverse ethnic groups.
After the sombre museum settings, one of the unique cultural experiences we can have in Hanoi is watching a water puppet show. It's a traditional Vietnamese art form that dates back to the 11th century. The performances depict scenes from rural life and Vietnamese folklore, and the puppets are operated by puppeteers who stand waist-deep in water.

Day 14 - Hanoi/Ha Long

Day 14 of our trip will take us to Ha Long Bay, one of the most stunning natural wonders of Vietnam. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a collection of limestone islands and islets, caves, and grottoes. Here's what we can expect on our cruise in Ha Long Bay: Our Ha Long Bay adventure begins with a cruise on a traditional junk boat. We'll have the opportunity to take in the breathtaking beauty of the bay's limestone formations and discover some of the more hidden areas.
During our cruise, we'll also visit one of the many beautiful caves and grottoes in Ha Long Bay. One of the most popular caves to visit is the Thien Cung Cave, which is known for its colorful stalactites and stalagmites. Walking through the caverns is like entering a mystical world. After visiting the cave, we'll head to an island lookout for stunning views of the bay. The island is surrounded by steep cliffs, lush forests, and turquoise waters, making it a beautiful spot to take in the scenery and snap some photos.

We are overnighting on the junk boat, so we'll be treated to a delicious seafood lunch and dinner. The seafood in Ha Long Bay is some of the freshest in Vietnam, and we'll be able to taste the flavors of the region. We’ll take our time to explore the bay, savor the flavors of the region, and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.
The beauty of Ha Long Bay is truly unforgettable.

Day 15 - Ha Long/Hue

Day 15 of our trip will take us back to Hanoi from Ha Long Bay, where we'll have some time to explore the city before boarding an overnight train to Hue. We overnighted on the junk boat cruise, so we will enjoy breakfast on board as we sail back to Hanoi, saying goodbye to the stunning beauty of Ha Long Bay. The journey back is just as scenic as the journey there, and we'll have the opportunity to take in the views one last time.
Once we arrive back in Hanoi, we'll have some free time to explore the city. We can visit some of the attractions we may have missed on our previous visit, or simply relax and enjoy the local vibe.
In the evening, we'll board an overnight train to Hue, which is located in central Vietnam. The journey is approximately 13 hours, and the train is air-conditioned with comfortable sleeping berths. Our adventure continues for another 14 days, and we'll discover more of the rich history and culture of Vietnam along the way.

Day 16 - Hue

Day 16 of our trip will be spent in Hue, a city steeped in royal history and culture. Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty, and many of its attractions reflect the city's royal legacy.
The Imperial Citadel is the centerpiece of Hue's royal history, and a must-visit attraction on any trip to the city. The complex was once the residence of Emperors of Vietnam, and it covers a vast area of 520 hectares. The Imperial Citadel is also surrounded by a moat, and its walls are over 6 meters high. Within the citadel are several palaces, temples, and pavilions that reflect the grandeur of the Nguyen Dynasty.
Hue is also home to many royal tombs that are worth a visit. One of the most popular tombs is the Tomb of Tu Duc, which was built during the reign of Emperor Tu Duc. The tomb is a beautiful example of traditional Vietnamese architecture, and it's surrounded by peaceful gardens and tranquil lakes.
The Tien Mu Pagoda is one of the most famous landmarks in Hue, located on a hill overlooking the Perfume River. The pagoda is a stunning example of Buddhist architecture, and it is home to many treasures, including a 7-story tower, an enormous bell, and a bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy.
We'll gain a deeper understanding of the country's past and appreciate its rich cultural heritage. Hue is a city that will leave us with many unforgettable memories.

Day 17 - Hue/Hoi An

On day 17, get ready for a scenic drive along the Hai Van pass, one of the most picturesque routes in Vietnam as we travel from Hue to Hoi An. On the way, enjoy the stunning views of the green hills, pristine beaches, and sparkling ocean.
Our destination for the next 2.5 days is Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its well-preserved architecture, cultural traditions, and silk tailor shops.
Hoi An is famous for its street food scene and local delicacies, such as Cao Lau, Banh Mi, and Mi Quang. Take a cooking class, and learn how to cook these dishes from the local chefs who use fresh ingredients and traditional techniques. Not only will we have fun, but we'll also get to taste our delicious creations.
My Son, located about 40 km from Hoi An, is a complex of abandoned Hindu temples built by the Champa kingdom from the 4th to the 14th century. The temples are surrounded by lush greenery and a tranquil river, making it a perfect place for nature lovers and history buffs. We can take a guided tour, explore the ruins at our own pace, and learn about the ancient civilization who built these stunning structures.
Hoi An is also famous for its silk tailor shops, where we can get custom-made clothes at a fraction of the cost compared to the Western countries. Whether we need a new suit, dress, or shirt, the local tailors can make it for us in a matter of days. Choose from a vast array of fabrics, designs, and styles, and get a perfect fit that suits our taste and budget. We'll leave Hoi An with a unique souvenir and memories to cherish.

Day 18 - Hoi An

Today, we'll be exploring Hoi An, one of the most charming cities in Vietnam. Known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, colorful lanterns, and delicious local cuisine, Hoi An is a must-visit destination in Vietnam.
To make our experience even more special, we've organized a noodle-making demonstration and lunch at Oodles of Noodles, a G Adventures-supported project.
Our day in Hoi An will start with a walking tour of the ancient city. We'll explore the picturesque streets, cross the Japanese Covered Bridge, and visit some of the most important landmarks, such as the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and the Tan Ky ancestral house. Our local guide will share with us the history of the city, its importance as a trading port in the past, and its cultural significance.
After the walking tour, we'll head to Oodles of Noodles, a social enterprise that aims to empower disadvantaged youth in Hoi An through vocational training and job opportunities. Here, we'll have the chance to learn how to make some of the most iconic Vietnamese noodles, such as pho or bun bo Hue, under the guidance of local chefs. We'll also get to enjoy that delicious lunch featuring the noodles we've just made, as well as other local specialties. Not only will we have a great meal, but we'll also be supporting a good cause.
After lunch, we'll have some free time to explore Hoi An on our own. We can visit some of the local shops and markets, buy some souvenirs, or simply relax in one of the many cafes around town. Make sure to try some of the local delicacies, such as banh mi or cao lau, and don't forget to take some photos of the colorful lanterns that light up the streets at night.

Day 19 - Hoi An

Welcome to day 19 of our trip, where we'll spend another free day exploring the charming city of Hoi An. With so much to see and do in Hoi An, it can be hard to know where to start. One of the best ways to experience the local culture is by visiting the many markets in the city. From food markets to handicraft markets, Hoi An has something for everyone.
For foodies, a visit to the local markets is a must. The Central Market is a buzzing food market where we can find a variety of fresh produce, spices, and local delicacies. Be sure to try some of the street food, such as banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with a variety of fillings, or the famous cao lau, a pork and noodle dish only found in Hoi An. Another popular food market in Hoi An is the Night Market, which opens every evening and is a lively place to try different street foods and local specialties.
If we're interested in shopping for souvenirs and handicrafts, Hoi An has many markets to choose from. The Hoi An Silk Village is a great place to learn about the traditional art of silk weaving and buy some unique silk items, such as scarves or dresses. The Hoi An Central Market also has a handicraft section, where we can find everything from lacquerware to pottery, to hand-embroidered clothes.
If we prefer sightseeing, there are many options to choose from in Hoi An. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of well-preserved ancient architecture, including temples, assembly halls, and historic houses. We can also visit the Quan Cong Temple, one of the most important temples in Hoi An, dedicated to a legendary Chinese general. Another popular sightseeing spot is the Japanese Covered Bridge, dating back to the 1600s and featuring intricate carvings and a unique architectural style.
If we've been on the go for a while, we may want to use our free day in Hoi An to relax and recharge. There are many spas offering a range of treatments, from traditional Vietnamese massage to hot stone therapy. We can also spend some time at one of the nearby beaches, like An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach, and soak up the sun.

Day 20 - Hoi An/Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to day 20 of our trip, where we'll be traveling from Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. We'll be taking a flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, which will take approximately two hours. Once we arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, we'll have some free time to explore the city and get a taste of its vibrant culture and history.
Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture. One of the most iconic sights in the city is the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a French colonial-era church with beautiful stained-glass windows and towering spires. Another must-see attraction is the War Remnants Museum, which offers a sobering look at the Vietnam War and its impact on the people of Vietnam. If we're interested in Vietnamese history, we can also visit the Reunification Palace, the former home of the South Vietnamese president during the war.
Ho Chi Minh City is also known for its delicious food and drink scene. Make sure to try some of the local specialties, such as banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich filled with meat and vegetables; pho, a fragrant noodle soup; or bo la lot, beef wrapped in betel leaves. We can also sample some of the famous Vietnamese coffee, which is typically served hot or iced with condensed milk. If we're feeling adventurous, we can try some of the street food stalls that line the sidewalks of the city, serving up everything from grilled meats to fresh fruit smoothies.
If we're looking for souvenirs or gifts to take back home, Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of options. The Ben Thanh Market is one of the most popular markets in the city, offering a wide range of goods, from clothing to handicrafts to souvenirs. We can also visit the Saigon Square shopping center, which has a mix of local and international brands.
Ho Chi Minh City is a city that never sleeps, and its nightlife scene is one of the most vibrant in Southeast Asia. For a night out, head to the Bui Vien Walking Street, a pedestrian-only street lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants. We can also visit the rooftop bars in the city center, such as the Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar or the Chill Skybar, which offer stunning views of the city skyline.

Day 21 - Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to day 21 of our trip, where we'll be exploring the Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the most important historic sites in Vietnam. Used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, the Cu Chi Tunnels offer a glimpse into the guerrilla tactics and resilience of the Vietnamese people during the war.
In the morning, we'll have a guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels, which are located about 40 kilometers northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. The tunnels are a vast network of underground tunnels, which were used by the Viet Cong during the war to evade the American forces, transport supplies, and launch surprise attacks. The tour will take us through some of the tunnels and show us the various traps, bunkers, and weapon caches used by the Viet Cong fighters. We'll also have the chance to see some of the weapons and equipment used during the war.
After the tour, we'll have lunch at the Cu Chi Tunnels, where we can sample some of the local cuisine and take a break from the heat. We can also browse the souvenirs and handicrafts sold by the local vendors.
In the afternoon, we'll have some free time to explore Ho Chi Minh City on our own. We can visit some of the local museums and art galleries, such as the Museum of Vietnamese History or the Fine Arts Museum, which offer a fascinating insight into Vietnamese culture and art. We can also take a stroll around the city center and admire the colonial-era architecture, or visit some of the local markets and try some of the street food.
If we're interested in learning more about Vietnamese culture and history, we recommend some optional activities that we can add to our itinerary. We can visit the Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station, which is home to many endangered species, such as gibbons and sun bears, and learn about the conservation efforts in Vietnam. We can also take a cyclo tour, a traditional mode of transport in Vietnam, and explore the city from a different perspective.

Day 22 - Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to day 22 of our trip, where we'll explore the Mekong Delta, also known as the "rice bowl" of Vietnam. The Mekong Delta is a vast network of rivers, canals, and islands, which is home to over 17 million people and produces a large portion of Vietnam's agricultural exports.
Today, we'll take a boat cruise through the villages, islands, and markets of the Mekong Delta and visit traditional candy factories. In the morning, we'll travel by bus to the Mekong Delta and board a boat for a cruise along the river. The boat will take we through the lush vegetation of the delta, past floating markets, fishing villages, and stilt houses. We'll have the chance to see the locals going about their daily activities, such as harvesting rice or fishing, and learn about their way of life.
One of the highlights of the boat cruise is a visit to the traditional candy factories on the delta. The factories produce a variety of candy and other sweets, using local ingredients such as coconut, peanut, and sesame. We'll have the chance to see the candy being made by hand and try some of the delicious treats. We can also buy some of the candy as a souvenir or gift for our loved ones back home.
After our visit to the candy factories, we'll have lunch on the boat. We'll be served a delicious meal featuring local specialties, such as seafood or rice dishes. We can enjoy our meal while taking in the beautiful scenery of the river and the surrounding islands.
In the afternoon, we'll have some free time to explore the Mekong Delta on our own. We can take a walk around the villages and observe the daily life of the locals, or rent a bicycle and explore the surrounding countryside. We can also visit some of the local markets and buy some souvenirs, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the delta.
If we're interested in learning more about the culture and history of the Mekong Delta, we recommend some optional activities that we can add to our itinerary. We can visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in the 19th century, which features a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Khmer architectural styles. Or, we can visit some of the fruit orchards or rice paddy fields, and see firsthand how the locals cultivate their crops.

Day 23 - Ho Chi Minh City/Phnom Penh

Welcome to day 23 of our trip, where we'll be traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. This will be a long day of travel, as we'll be crossing the border from Vietnam to Cambodia, but it will be an adventure that we'll never forget. To cross the border, we'll travel by bus from Ho Chi Minh City to the border checkpoint. We'll need to have our passport and visa ready, as well as any other required documentation. Once we've cleared customs and immigration, we'll continue on to Phnom Penh. The journey will take approximately six hours, but the scenery along the way is stunning.
Once we arrive in Phnom Penh, we'll have a cyclo tour of the city. A cyclo is a traditional mode of transport in Cambodia, similar to a bicycle rickshaw, and is a great way to explore the city. Our tour will take us through the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, past historic landmarks and local markets. We'll have the chance to see the city from a different perspective and experience the local culture.
In the evening, we'll have some free time to explore Phnom Penh on our own. We can visit some of the local restaurants and try some of the delicious Khmer cuisine, such as fish amok or Khmer curry. We can also visit some of the local markets and buy some souvenirs or handicrafts. Or, we can simply relax and take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant city.

Day 24 - Phnom Penh

On day 24 of our trip, we'll be taking a guided tour of Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 Prison) and Choeung Ek (Killing Fields), learning about Cambodia's tragic history. After that, we'll have the option to visit the Royal Palace, the National Museum, or the Central Market.
First on our list is Tuol Sleng Museum, once a high school turned into a prison by the Khmer Rouge during their reign of terror in the late 1970s. The museum serves as a reminder of the atrocities that the Cambodian people suffered during the Khmer Rouge regime. We'll be able to see the cells where prisoners were kept, photographs of victims, and even instruments of torture. The museum is both chilling and emotional, but it is essential to visit if we want to learn about the country's history.
Next, we'll be taken to Choeung Ek, also known as the Killing Fields. It is the site where thousands of people were tortured and killed. The tour guide will provide a somber and sobering tour of the site, explaining the dark history and the brutal acts that occurred here. The site has a memorial stupa where the skulls and bones of those killed are kept, commemorating the thousands of lives lost at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Visiting the Killing Fields is not just a visit to a tourist site, but a visit to a place of remembrance for the Cambodian people.
After the tours, we'll have the option to visit other popular and hopefully happier, sites in the city. The Royal Palace is a beautiful and grandiose building that was once the residence of the King of Cambodia. We'll be able to see intricate Khmer Empire architecture and exquisite gold and silver pieces. The National Museum is a must-visit for history and artifacts lovers. It houses the largest collection of Khmer art in the world, displaying everything from pottery to stone sculptures. If we're looking for a more local experience, the Central Market is the perfect place to get a taste of Cambodian food and culture. We can try traditional street food or shop for souvenirs and clothes.
Phnom Penh is a city that serves as a reminder of the dark history that Cambodia has experienced. The Tuol Sleng Museum and Choeung Ek are essential historical sites for any traveler visiting Cambodia. The Royal Palace, National Museum, and Central Market are not just tourist sites, but places to experience the vibrant culture and rich history of the city. A visit to Phnom Penh is not complete without taking the time to learn about Cambodia's past and present.

Day 25 - Phnom Penh/Siem Reap

On day 25 of our trip, we'll be leaving Phnom Penh and driving to Siem Reap to explore the incredible Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is a charming town that serves as the gateway to the ancient temples and ruins of Angkor. The drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap takes approximately six hours, but the scenic journey is worth it.
On arrival in Siem Reap, we'll have time to explore the town. Siem Reap is famous for its vibrant night markets, where we can find everything from street food to souvenirs. If we're looking for a more cultural experience, the town also has a range of art galleries and museums that showcase Cambodian art and history.
The highlight of our visit to Siem Reap is undoubtedly the Angkor Wat complex. Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments in the world, and it is a spectacular example of Khmer art and architecture. The complex consists of numerous temples and ruins spread over an area of over 400 square kilometers. Angkor Wat itself is the main temple and the most iconic structure of the complex. The temple was built in the early 12th century in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple's intricate carvings and architectural design showcase the Khmer Empire's artistic and engineering prowess.
The Bayon temple is another must-visit structure within the Angkor Wat complex. The temple is famous for its stone faces, which are carved into the temple's towers. The Bayon temple is a stunning example of Khmer architecture and is rich in symbolism and history.
Other notable structures within the Angkor Wat complex include the Ta Prohm temple, known for being the filming location for the movie Tomb Raider, and the Banteay Srei temple, renowned for its intricate carvings and pink-hued sandstone.
A visit to Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat complex is a journey back in time, exploring the ancient temples and ruins of the Khmer Empire. The complex is a testament to the Khmer people's ingenuity, artistry, and spirituality. The drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap may be long, but it is worth the journey to experience one of the world's most spectacular examples of religious architecture.

Day 26 - Siem Reap/Angkor Wat

Day 26 of our trip takes us to Siem Reap, the home of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. The day begins with a breathtaking sunrise over the temple complex, followed by a guided tour of the structures. We'll also have a chance to explore the Tonlé Sap floating village, visit the Angkor National Museum, and enjoy a traditional Khmer meal at a G Adventures for Good-supported project.
Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat is an unforgettable experience. The temple's silhouette against the backdrop of a spectacular sunrise is a photographer's dream come true. Our guide will take us to the best viewing spot for the sunrise and provide us with historical and cultural information about the complex.
After watching the sunrise, we'll explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat with our guide, learning about the history and significance of the various temples and structures.
The Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and it is home to numerous floating villages. We can take a boat tour from Siem Reap to explore one of these villages, seeing how the residents live and work on the water. The Tonlé Sap floating village is a unique and fascinating experience, providing insights into a way of life that is entirely different from what most travelers are used to.
The Angkor National Museum is an excellent place to learn more about the history and culture of Angkor. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits, showcasing the Khmer Empire's art, traditions, and beliefs. It is an excellent place to visit after exploring the temples, providing a more in-depth understanding of the history and significance of the structures.
In the evening, we'll have a chance to enjoy a traditional Khmer meal at a G Adventures for Good-supported project. The project supports local communities by providing training and employment opportunities. The meal is a perfect way to experience authentic Cambodian cuisine while supporting a local cause.

Day 27 - Siem Reap

Day 27 is day two in Siem Reap, a city overflowing with ancient history and stunning temples. After exploring the world-renowned Angkor Wat yesterday, we might think that we've seen all that Siem Reap has to offer. But there's still so much more to discover in this beautiful city.
Today, let's dive deeper into Siem Reap's hidden gems and explore the temples and beyond. The temples around Siem Reap are truly remarkable feats of architecture and engineering. Besides the iconic Angkor Wat, there are a few more temples that are worth visiting.
Bayon Temple: This temple is famous for its 216 towering stone faces, carved into the walls of the temple. Bayon Temple is located in the centre of Angkor Thom and is known as the "smiling temple".
Ta Prohm: This temple has been left to the mercy of nature, with trees growing through the ruins, creating a scene that is straight out of a movie. It's widely known as the 'Tomb Raider' temple because it was featured in the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie.
Banteay Srei: Known as the 'Jewel of Khmer Art', Banteay Srei is a smaller temple but with intricate carvings made of pink sandstone. It's located about 25 km from Siem Reap, but it’s worth the trip if we want to see stunning detail.
Each temple has its own unique story and beauty that makes them worth visiting. They will give we a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia.
After so much cultural exposure, let’s lighten up a little and experience the Cambodian Circus: Phare Circus is a performing arts troupe that showcases inventive storytelling, theatre, and circus performances. It's a great way to relax and spend an evening.

Day 28 - Siem Reap/Bangkok

As we near the end of our 28-day Southeast Asia adventure, we'll leave the quaint and charming town of Siem Reap and head back to the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. The journey takes us across the border from Cambodia into Thailand, and with each passing mile, we'll step closer to the end of our journey.
Our journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok will take we through the Poipet border crossing, which is the main land crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. While the process can be a bit daunting and time-consuming, especially during peak tourist season, it's an experience that will add to the adventure of our trip. Make sure we have all the necessary documents, including our passport, visa, and departure card, to avoid any delays or issues at the border. Once we've completed the immigration procedures, we'll be able to continue our journey towards Bangkok.
The drive from the border to Bangkok will take around six hours, but don't worry, it's a scenic drive, and there are plenty of sights to see along the way. As we travel through Thailand, we'll notice the landscape change from rural countryside to bustling cities. We'll also notice the influence of Buddhism in the culture and architecture of the country.
Here are some of the highlights of the journey:
Khao Yai National Park: This park is located just a few hours outside of Bangkok and is a must-visit for nature lovers. It’s the third-largest national park in Thailand and is home to wild elephants, tigers, and bears. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some spectacular waterfalls.
Ayutthaya was once the capital of Thailand and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. We can see the ruins of the old city, including the iconic Buddha head that is entwined in the roots of a tree.
Along the way, we'll have the opportunity to stop at some local markets and try some authentic Thai cuisine. Don't be afraid to try new dishes, and make sure to sample some of the country's famous street food. Wats (Temples): Thailand is a Buddhist country, and we'll see plenty of temples as we travel through the country. Some of the most famous temples include Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).

Day 29 - Bangkok

The perfect ending to our Southeast Asia adventure!
After 28 days of exploring various cities, towns, and villages across Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, it's time to wrap up our trip with the grand finale in Bangkok.
As we explore Bangkok, take the time to soak in the sights and sounds of the city, and immerse ourselves in the unique culture and traditions of Thailand.
One of the most relaxing ways to do that is by taking a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. The Chao Phraya River is the lifeline of Bangkok, and a boat ride along the river is a great way to see the city from a different perspective. We can choose between the tourist boats that provide audio-guided tours or the local ferry boats that are cheaper and more authentic. As we cruise along the river, we'll pass by some of Bangkok's most iconic landmarks, such as the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), the Royal Barges Museum, and the Rama VIII Bridge. The riverbank is also lined with beautiful temples, historic buildings, and traditional houses, providing a glimpse into the city's rich history and culture.

And so we conclude our amazing 29 day Southeast Asia adventure, we can have a great nap on the plane ride home! We’ve certainly earned it.

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