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Dreaming of the Mekong

Dreaming of the Mekong.jpg

Highlights

  •  Visit the fantastic temples of Angkor Wat
  •  Walking tour of the charming streets of Hoi An
  •  Visit the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang
  •  Cruise among the islands of Halong Bay
see full itinerary
from £ 3695

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Overview

This tour is an odyssey which attempts to capture in a single journey the full canvas of Indochina, from the bustling markets of the former Saigon to the narrow lanes of Luang Prabang, from the shining palaces of Phnom Penh to the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta. Along the way we have found hotels, tours and destinations that contribute to an understanding of the place and its peoples. Inevitably it all leads to the highlight of our tour - the temples of Angkor Wat, one of the great architectural masterpieces of the world. A vast "lost city", wrapped in vines and creepers, it is, in the words of its French discoverer, "grander than anything of Greece or Rome".

  • Departures 2017

    Our tours are tailor-made to suit you, call us today to discuss possible departure dates.

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Price Includes

  • Economy class flights
  • Twin-shared accommodation with breakfast, meals, transfers, transportation and sightseeing as listed (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Services of English-speaking local tour guides
  • Most air taxes

Not Included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Single entry Vietnamese visa, single entry Lao visa US$35 (payable locally), single entry Cambodian visa US$30 (payable locally).
  • Laos international departure tax  US$10, Cambodia international tax US$25
  • Cambodia domestic departure tax US$6
  • Any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after brochure publication.

Business Class Upgrades

From £1225 one way, £1995 return

Extensions

Malaysia beach extension on request
Kuala Lumpur from £225 per person twin shared for 2 nights at the Traders Hotel including breakfast and transfers.

Extra nights in Siem Reap

From £58 per person twin shared including breakfast and transfers.

Optional Tours

Good Morning Saigon £50 pp
Half day tour to My Son (from Hoi An) £60pp
Half day tour to Tad Sae Waterfall with elephant trek (from Luang Prabang) £175pp
The above tours must be booked in advance through us

Evening water puppet show in Hanoi - Approx USD5 pp, bookable locally
 

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Dreaming of the Mekong

Dreaming of the Mekong

20 days from £3395 Exploring Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Day 1
London - Saigon 1 night

Depart London Heathrow at around 1050 with Malaysian Airlines to Saigon via Kuala Lumpur.

Day 2
Saigon 3 nights

Arrive at Saigon this morning and transfer to the elegant 4* Grand Hotel. Afternoon visit to the Reunification Palace (former Presidential Palace) where we explore the public and private rooms of South Vietnamese Presidents during the American War. Drive past the cavernous General Post Office, the City Hall and the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. Welcome dinner at a specially selected restaurant. (D)

Day 3
Mekong Delta

Today we venture into the Mekong Delta, a region formed by the various tributaries of the mighty Mekong River, which starts in Tibet and winds its way through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before entering Vietnam. From a small sampan we explore the river and small canals and experience river-life up close. Take a horse cart ride to a renowned garden for a honey tasting session. Drive back to Saigon. (BL)

Day 4
Saigon

Optional "Good Morning Saigon" tour. Rise early to see the city waking up and witness the locals practising Tai Chi, explore the local market and take breakfast alongside the locals. Afternoon visit to the Cu Chi tunnels at Ben Dinh, where former Viet Cong guerrillas now guide visitors through the remarkable underground labyrinth. Return to Saigon and afternoon at leisure. (B)

Day 5
Hoi An 2 nights

Morning visit to the War Remnants Museum. Fly to Danang, and drive to nearby Hoi An to stay at the medium grade Hoi An Trails Hotel. This afternoon we explore ancient Hoi An on foot, with its narrow beautifully preserved streets. We visit ancient family temples, the 16th Century Japanese Covered Bridge and the splendid Phung Hung House, home to an old merchant family for over two centuries. (B)

Day 6
Hoi An

Today is free to relax or to explore further Hoi An's exquisite architecture and lanes, or take an optional tour to the temples and ruins of My Son. (B)

Day 7
Hue 1 night

In the morning we drive to Danang over the spectacular Hai Van Pass, the Pass of the Ocean Clouds. Visit the Cham Museum which offers a glimpse of the ancient and artistic Kingdom of Champa that ruled Vietnam for a thousand years. Continue to the ancient royal capital of Hue and transfer to the Muong Thanh Hotel on the banks of the Perfume River. Afternoon visit to the Imperial Palace, modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the Celestial Lady Pagoda, constructed in 1601. Continue to the romantic tomb of the poet-king Tu Duc, and Dong Ba market. (B)

Day 8
Hanoi 2 nights

Fly to Hanoi and transfer to the 4* Lan Vien Hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. (B)

Day 9
Hanoi

From Ba Dinh Square, dominated by the imposing Mausoleum of Ho Chi, we visit Ho’s humble house in the grounds of the Presidential palace and the curious One Pillar Pagoda dating back to the 11th century. The morning is completed with a tour of the great Confucian Temple of Literature, founded a thousand years ago. Continue to the picturesque West Lake and 6th century Tran Quoc Pagoda. Visit the Ethnology Museum and Hanoi's Old Quarter. Stroll around the charming Hang Be Market and Hoan Kiem Lake. Optional evening water puppet show. (B)

Day 10
Halong Bay 1 night

Drive east to the coast to visit one of the most spectacular sights in Vietnam – Halong Bay. Here, thousands of limestone islands rise up from the shimmering water creating an extraordinary dramatic scene. Board a traditional sailing Junk and sail deep into the maze of islands and pass exotically shaped rock formations with evocative names. Enjoy a freshly-made seafood lunch and stay overnight on board. (BLD)

Day 11
Luang Prabang 3 nights

Enjoy breakfast aboard the junk, then drive back to Hanoi and fly to Luang Prabang, one of the most delightful towns in Indochina. Formerly the royal capital, it is still home to numerous Buddhist temples whose monks, drifting through the leafy streets, add to its sense of tranquillity. Stay 3 nights at Le Sen Boutique Hotel. (B)

Day 12
Luang Prabang

This morning watch the locals giving alms to the temple monks as they make their daily processions through the dawn streets. Take a boat trip down the Mekong to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves where thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into grottoes in the limestone cliffs above the river. Visit Mount Phousi for panoramic views over the town and the Mekong and experience a traditional Lao Baci ceremony. (BL)

Day 13
Luang Prabang

Morning at leisure or optional elephant ride and boat trip to Tad Sae Waterfall with lunch (price on request, bookable in advance). Tour the former Royal Palace with its sumptuous public rooms, and its touchingly modest private apartments. Visit the town’s most magnificent temple, Wat Xieng Thong, with its spectacular curved roofs and dark wood-lined interior. (B)

Day 14
Vientiane 1 night

Early morning flight to Vientiane, Laos’ sleepy capital, and stay 1 night at the comfortable Chantapanaya Hotel. Tour the city taking in Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese Invasion in 1828. Continue to Wat Phra Keo, a temple and a religious museum. After lunch visit That Luang, the Talat Sao market, and end the day at the Patuxai Monument where panoramic sights of the city can be enjoyed from its roof. (BL)

Day 15
Phnom Penh 1 night

Fly to Phnom Penh, the enigmatic capital of Cambodia, where we stay at the elegant 4* Sunway Hotel. Visit Wat Phnom, situated on the only hill in Phnom Penh, and continue to the Toul Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crime and the infamous ‘killing fields’. Our day ends with a sunset cruise on the river and dinner at a local restaurant. (BD)

Day 16
Siem Reap 3 nights

Tour Phnom Penh’s National Museum which houses an impressive collection of Buddhist art and relics, then visit the Royal Palace with its famous Silver Pagoda. Fly to Siem Reap. Transfer to the Tara Angkor Hotel. (B)

Day 17
Siem Reap

Before breakfast, sunrise visit to Ta Prohm Temple, left in the same condition it was discovered, overgrown by strangler fig and silk-cotton trees. After breakfast visit Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire. Arrive at the impressive South Gate and walk through to Bayon Temple, famous for its 54 towers each carved with 4 faces, and to Baphuon, Phimean Akas, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. In the afternoon, explore the magnificent Angkor Wat. In the evening we are guests at a special dinner and performance of Khmer classical folk dance. (BD)

Day 18
Siem Reap

After breakfast, visit the beautiful Banteay Srei temple with its exquisite, deep and complex carvings. Continue to Banteay Samre, one of the temples that is still in almost perfect condition. In the afternoon visit the Roluos Group of temples. (B)

Day 19
Flight 1 night

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kuala Lumpur and onwards to London Heathrow. (B)

Day 20
London

Arrive London Heathrow at around 0535.

Hotels

Le Sen Boutique Hotel Luang Prabang CTS Horiozns.jpg

Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Luang Prabang

The hotel is well located and is within easy walking distance of the town and within a short drive of the airport.  The decor is stylish and characterful and has a charming boutique feel.  Its 19 rooms are all comfortably furnished and come with modern amenities including flat-screen cable TV, minibar and safety deposit box.  There is a small outdoor swimming pool and the hotel’s restaurant serves Lao, Thai and western cuisine.

Chantapanaya Hotel, Vientiane.jpg

Chantapanaya Hotel, Vientiane

This hotel has been styled in a traditional Lao way, exuding traditional charm and elegance, with an emphasis on wood with a fine collection of exquisitely carved timber furniture.  There are 31 comfortable guest rooms and the restaurant serves a selection of Lao, Asian and western cuisine.  The hotel is centrally located and is within easy walking distance of the main sights of the city.

Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh.jpg

Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh

The Sunway Hotel is an international 4-star hotel that is located within walking distance, or within a short driving distance, of many of the attractions in Phnom Penh.  The hotel has 138 comfortable and spacious guest rooms with modern amenities including flat-screen TV, mini-bar, in-room electronic safe and tea/coffee facilities.  There is also a spa, restaurant, lobby bar and deli-shop.

Tara Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap.jpg

Tara Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap

Located only 6km from the heritage site of the Angkor temples, this 4-star luxury hotel offers modern comfort and conveniences.  There are 206 stylishly decorated guest rooms with mini-bar, in-room safe, cable TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.  The Tara Angkor also boasts 2 restaurants, a lobby bar and swimming pool with Jacuzzi and sauna.

Hoi An Trails Hotel.jpg

Hoi An Trails Hotel

The Hoi An Trails Hotel enjoys a good location on the edge of this charming UNESCO World Heritage town, surrounded by countryside.  All rooms include a private balcony and windows overlooking the tropical garden and swimming pool and are equipped with facilities such as hairdryer, in-room safe and satellite TV.  There is a spa and the outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by tropical gardens.  Guests can chose from 2 restaurants and 3 bars/cafés for drinks and meals.

Grand Hotel, Saigon

A charming colonial-style hotel with a central location in this bustling city.  There are a total of 230 rooms and suites with air conditioning, hairdryer, mini-bar, cable TV, in-room safe and tea/coffee making facilities.  The hotel boasts 3 restaurants, a roof-top lounge cafe and a bar offering a selection of both Asian and Western dishes.  Le Grand Spa offers sauna, Jacuzzi, spa treatments and an outdoor swimming pool.

Lan Vien Hotel, Hanoi

Centrally located, the Lan Vien Hotel opened in 2012 and offers a selection of guest rooms and suites, all with modern amenities including wifi, satellite TV, in-room safe, and tea/coffee making facilities.  There is a restaurant serving a selection of Vietnamese and Western dishes, a fitness centre and a delightful roof terrace offering the ideal place to relax.

Your Stories

We are pleased to share feedback that we received from some of our valued clients.

  • Hue CTS Horizons.jpg

    It is impossible to please all of the people all of the time - but CTS make a good job of what they do.

    - Mr & Mrs Vines, Dreaming of the Mekong

  • Visit Saigon with CTS Horizons.jpg

    Just a short note to thank you for all the arrangements for a magnificent trip which certainly surpassed our most optimistic expectations. The guides and itineraries were all excellent.

    - Mr Dowie, Dreaming of the Mekong

  • Mekong-Cruise-3.jpg

    This was an extremely enjoyable and unforgettable introduction to Indochina for us. An education as well as a holiday and executed with the excellent standards we have come to expect when travelling with CTS Horizons. Local guides were excellent, showing a deep knowledge and love for their respective countries and great care and support for their clients.

    - Mr & Mrs Bach, Dreaming of the Mekong

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