Gain an in-depth understanding of the cultures and arts of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam as you meet the people and go hiking, bicycling, and kayaking in both urban and rural areas.

Starting at: $6,295 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Kayaking in mystical Ha Long Bay  Bicycling in Laos  Looking at Angkor Wat  Temple at the Royal Palace, Luang Prabang  Buddha at Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Luang Prabang  The relaxing waters of Tad Sae Waterfall, near Luang Prabang  View of the Nam Khan River, Laos  Pagoda on Hanoi's West Lake  Kayaking in Ha Long Bay  The ethereal Ha Long Bay, Vietnam  Pavilion in Hue  Gate at the Imperial City, Hue  The Hai Van Pass near Da Nang  The canals of Hoi An  The Japanese Bridge at Hoi An  My Son Sanctuary, near Hoi An  Monks at Angkor Wat  View of Angkor Wat  View of Angkor Wat  Terrace of the Leper King, Angkor Thom  Elephant Terrace at Angkor Thom  Close up of sculpture at Bayon, Angkor Thom  Monk at Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat  The iconic site of Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat  Monk at Angkor Wat. Credit: Chris Palmer

Southeast Asia on Foot and Bike

Featuring Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam

16 days from $6,295

Gain an in-depth understanding of the cultures and arts of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam as you meet the people and go hiking, bicycling, and kayaking in both urban and rural areas.

or Call 833-254-6678

CONTACT OUR ACTIVE JOURNEYS SPECIALISTS

Call Our Active Journeys Specialists at 833-254-6678 (M-F 10 am - 8 pm ET) or Register Your Interest Online. For calls outside of the U.S., please call 510-852-8350.

Overview

Travelers seeking an in-depth understanding of the culture and arts of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos—but from an active perspective—will love this exhilarating journey. You’ll get an intimate perspective of World Heritage sites, towns, cities, and the countryside while bicycling, walking, and kayaking. This active journey features layers of rich immersive cultural experiences to bring you into the world of its people. (Cycling of 7 to 24 miles, hikes of 4 to 8 miles)

Highlights Include

  • Laos: Spend three days in the ancient royal city of Luang Prabang, a World Heritage site where time has stood still. Become part of the city’s landscape as you bike to historic sites in the city center and cross the Nam Khan River to ride along the Mekong. Hike past rice paddies and meet residents of a Hmong village, take boat rides, and observe and participate in traditional Lao cultural ceremonies.
  • Vietnam: During a week in Vietnam, take cycling tours of Hanoi’s West Lake area, Hué, and My Son, and a walking tour of Hoi An. Enjoy a two-night cruise on Ha Long Bay, where you’ll go kayaking amid the towering limestone peaks rising from emerald-green water.
  • Cambodia: Experience Angkor Wat very differently than most visitors. Spend a morning cycling amid the incomparable Khmer temples of this World Heritage site. During your two days in Siem Reap you’ll also hike to local villages and archaeological sites, attend a theater performance, and meet a well-known Cambodian artist in his studio.  
  • Lodgings: Stay at top boutique hotels, historic properties, a polished resort, and on a traditional wooden boat on Ha Long Bay, all with upscale cultural amenities.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Day 2 — Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand

Upon arrival in Bangkok, check in to your conveniently located airport hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to rest from your long flight. 

Day 3 — Luang Prabang, Laos

This morning, check in for your flight to the World Heritage Town of Luang Prabang where your guide will be waiting to welcome you at the airport. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy the balance of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. (B,D)

Day 4 — Luang Prabang by Bike

Luang Prabang is a provincial city where time seems to stand still. As the city never experiences heavy traffic, it is easy to bicycle around, so can easily enjoy the surroundings and discover the daily life of its local people. As part of the UNESCO reconstruction plan, new buildings have been limited and old houses and streets are reconstructed to keep Luang Prabang as magical as it has always been. The ancient royal city is surrounded by misty mountains at the junction of the Mekong and the smaller Nam Khan River.

Set off today to visit the city by bicycle, riding on an easy path. The center of the town is located on a peninsula (at 900 feet elevation). There you will find ancient buildings, including the Royal Palace, monasteries, and temples. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, a vast collection of sacred buildings, one of the jewels of Laotian art, and the most beautiful temple of the city. Continue to Wat Visoun temple, the oldest temple of the city, with its wooden windows inspired by the Khmer temple of Vat Phou. Continue cycling to the Royal Palace, which is today the National Museum. Enjoy lunch at a lovely local restaurant in the town center. 

Continue your visit outside the city, crossing the Nam Khan River and riding along the Mekong River at your own pace to reach Ban Xieng Lek and Ban Xang Khong. Here you will discover weavers who work on making traditional Sa paper. In the late afternoon, enjoy a cocktail reception with Francis Engleman—a UNESCO Expert living in Luang Prabang—where you will have the opportunity to discuss heritage, culture, and traditions, as well as Buddhism (and even botany) of the area. The rest of the evening is at your leisure. Cycling 7-9 miles, 3-4 hours. (B,L)

Day 5 — Hiking the Lao Countryside

Start with a morning transfer to the starting point of the day’s hike. Cross the Nam Khan River by boat to the trailhead and begin your day hiking through rice paddies and middle canopy. The first stop will be a Khmu village named Ban Houay Fai where children are likely to greet you with curiosity and smiles and your guide will introduce you to the local life and customs. Continue along ridges, limestone grottos, and rocky slopes as the mountains and valleys offer a variety of flora and fauna. Stop for lunch at a Hmong village known as Ban Tinpha where you can chat with villagers and ask questions about life in Laos. End at the riverside village of Ban Houay Yen. A local boat will be waiting to take you down a beautiful stretch of the Nam Khan River with a stop at the Tad Sae Waterfall. Enjoy some time to relax and soak in these waters after a day of hiking, then return to Luang Prabang.

In the late afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the very special ceremony of Baci—“the calling of the soul.” The Baci, or soukhouan, is the Laotian popular ceremony of souls, practiced by Lao people in all important circumstances of daily life: weddings, funerals, birth or return from a trip, illness, commemorating the anniversary of an ancestor. It is intended to attract beneficial influences on its recipients by returning them to one or more of the 32 souls, or khouan, possessed by every human being according to the traditional Lao. Enjoy dinner at the local home. Hiking 7-8 miles, 4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Laotian Cultural Traditions

In the early morning, join others at the Vat Nong temple to witness the Tak Bat ceremony, the procession of monks. During the ceremony, devoted locals stand on the sidewalk bearing food in their arms which they offer to the monks as they walk by in a procession of orange robes. After this humbling experience, head off to experience an animated daily market, where the sights, sounds, and smells are sure to awaken all your senses. While walking through the market, you’ll have a chance to taste some of the traditional snacks. Continue to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center—home to an internationally significant collection of over 400 objects representing more than 30 distinct ethnic groups. The collection is comprised of traditional clothing and domestic textiles, jewelry, household items, handicraft tools, baskets, religious and ritual objects, and other items. Here, you will have the chance to meet one of the TAEC Co-Directors and join in a seminar, either “Ethnic Diversity and Culture Change” or “Guide to Ethnic Handicrafts in Luang Prabang.” Afterwards, board a traditional wooden longtail boat for a cruise on the Mekong River while a delicious Lao lunch is served.

Spend the balance of the day at leisure until boarding your evening flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will be warmly welcomed by your local guide and transferred to the hotel. (B,L)

Day 7 — Hanoi by Bike

Start off in the morning with a bike ride around the West Lake of Hanoi. Following the ride, enjoy lunch at a restaurant that offers great views of the lake. This afternoon, attend the exclusive Sophie’s Art Tour, which allows you to get a closer look at Vietnam through the eyes of artists. From the grand halls of the Fine Arts Museum to the capital’s leading contemporary art galleries, this fascinating journey takes you through Vietnam’s extraordinary recent history. The excursion is based on the personal experiences of artists who studied, fought, witnessed, and documented major changes in Vietnam’s history. This excursion is not just for art lovers but also for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam. Discover Vietnamese cuisine this evening at one of finest restaurants in Hanoi. Cycling 10 miles, 3 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, drive to Ha Long Bay, a stunning World Heritage site with its 3,000 islands of towering limestone dotting the bay and Gulf of Tonkin. Arriving at Ha Long harbor, board your beautiful private boat, a traditional wooden boat fashioned for overnight cruising. Set off on your cruise on the magnificent Ha Long Bay staffed with your own captain, chef, and waiter. Enjoy an excellent menu of fresh seafood on deck this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Kayaking Ha Long Bay

After a kayak lesson, venture out into one of the most scenic areas of the bay. You'll visit spectacular beaches sheltered by imposing limestone towers. You'll also encounter the remains of a “floating village,” where true boat people spent their lives in the narrow confines of their small vessels. There will be time for other activities such as swimming or enjoying the beach. Kayaking 4-5 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Ha Long Bay to Hue

After breakfast on board the boat, bid farewell to your Vietnamese crew and return to Hanoi. On the way back from Ha Long, stop at Yen Duc Village—one of the typical villages in the Red River Delta that still retains its authentic lifestyle—to watch an amazing water puppet show presented by village artists. Enjoy lunch at the village.

After lunch, transfer directly to Noi Bai Airport for the brief flight to Hue—another World Heritage site. Transfer to your hotel for check-in and enjoy a late dinner at the hotel restaurant. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Exploring Hue by Bike

Hue, the former Royal Capital of Vietnam, represents an outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire, with its complex of ancient houses, monuments, tomb,s and pagodas that attract visitors from all over the world.

After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel for your cycling tour of Hue, heading first to Bao Vinh Pier. Formerly a crowded and vital commercial area since the 17th century, the ancient street of Bao Vinh still bears its charming characteristics and peaceful beauty. Visit a typical ancient house where you are welcomed by the host, who reflects the spirit of the house through his warm stories and cup of green tea and fresh local fruit.

Following lunch at a local restaurant in Hue, transfer to the impressive Imperial City and the nearby Hue Museum of Royal Antiques, where the collection of ornaments from dynastic times is kept. Return to the hotel for refreshment before enjoying sunset cocktails on a traditional boat. As a reward after a long day, enjoy a foot massage on board your boat. Dinner is on your own this evening. Cycling 18-20 miles, 3-4 hours. (B,L)

Day 12 — Hoi An

After breakfast, depart for Hoi An via the scenic Hai Van Pass and enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas in Vietnam as you look out over the central coastline. Make a short stop en route to visit the Cham Museum in Da Nang, home of the largest collection of sculptures and relics from the Cham civilization.

Upon arrival at Hoi An this afternoon, walk the small streets of the Old Town, which are ideal to meander by foot or bike, especially since cars and motorbikes are forbidden in the entire area. Enjoy some time to discover Hoi An’s Chinese temples, traditional houses, Japanese bridge, and daily life of the local people.

Round out your day with a cup of coffee or tea at Reaching Out—a special teashop where all the waiters and waitresses are deaf staff who build a self–reliant life and integrate into the community through professional development. Walking 2-3 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — My Son Sanctuary and Siem Reap

Today, pedal westward toward the foothills of the mountain spine of Indochina to My Son, the holy land of the Champa culture in Vietnam. Dating back to the 4th century, My Son was the holiest site of the Champa kingdom, where for more than 900 years, 68 significant Hindu temples were built, most dedicated to Shiva. The towers are built of a combination of perfectly fitted, mortarless, fired brick and elaborately carved sandstone bas-relief panels. Only 25 survived the centuries of pillaging by Chinese and Khmer invaders as well as U.S. bombings.

Following a late lunch, transfer to the airport for your late afternoon flight to Siem Reap. You will be warmly welcomed by your local guide on arrival and transferred to your hotel for check-in and dinner. Cycling 24 miles, 4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Begin your day with a trip to Kbal Spean, commonly known as the "Valley of a 1000 Lingas," an archaeological site northeast of Angkor and a 30-minute walk through a steamy forest. Here, you'll see an interesting series of stone carvings carved in the riverbed and banks, along with various Hindu motifs, including depictions of various gods. Later visit Banteay Srei, whose name means “Citadel of Women," a small pink sandstone temple with breathtakingly fine sculptures. Afterward, take a brief hike (1.5 miles) to visit local villages near Siem Reap and have a glimpse into the daily lives of villagers.

In the afternoon, visit the mysterious Ta Prohm. Built in the mid-12th century, the Royal Temple, as it was then known, was one of Jayavarman VII’s great projects (he also built Angkor Thom). The temple of Ta Prohm is famous for its silk-cotton tree roots intertwining amid the stone walls and the luxuriant vegetation surrounding the temple, giving it an air of “mystical jungle.”

In the evening, enjoy a performance of  “Phare, The Cambodian Circus,” which blends remarkable theater with folk music and distinctly Cambodian lore. Hiking/walking 4-5 miles, 3-4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 15 — Siem Reap and Angkor Wat by Bike

Spend the morning touring the incomparable Khmer temples of Angkor Wat, a World Heritage site, by bicycle. Follow a small trail that winds through the forest, pass a small village, and arrive at Angkor Thom South Gate. Riding on the wall of Angkor Thom to Victory Gate is one of the most charming rides in the Angkor complex. Continue a short distance to Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace, and Bayon. Finish your biking adventure by visiting the impressive and beautiful Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, capital of the Khmer empire, and now symbol of Cambodia.

This afternoon, visit Theam House, a unique artist’s studio, workshop, and gallery, for insight into contemporary Cambodian culture and aesthetic. The artistic work of this well-known Cambodian artist captures nature in transformation, impassioned with the Khmer culture and the revival of Cambodian life after decades of war and silence. Enjoy a cocktail in the studio's lush tropical garden and later enjoy a farewell dinner at one of the fine restaurants in town. Cycling 15 miles, 4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 16 — Departure

After breakfast, spend the day at your own pace or relax by the pool. Those wishing a final visit to Angkor National Musem can take a tuk tuk to enjoy further discovery of this amazing site. This evening, transfer to the airport for your departure flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)