Thai Indochina Grand Tour

30 days
from
£3,349
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 40 reviews >
Trip code: 
AOG
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

The ultimate discovery of South East Asia

Long lines of saffron robed monks on their alms round at dawn, the luscious green of Vietnam's paddy fields, the shy smile of school children in Luang Prabang: it's the small day-to-day things that make this an unforgettable trip. Not that the bigger things won't wow too - Angkor Wat, Bangkok's Grand Palace, the stunning limestone seascape of Halong Bay or the frenetic pace of Saigon. There's a lot to see in South East Asia, so as they say in Thailand, 'why hurry, why worry'?

Highlights

  • Explore ancient Angkor complex in Cambodia
  • Take a boat trip around stunning Halong Bay in Vietnam, and explore the Mekong Delta
  • Adjust to the relaxed pace of life in Laos
  • Vist the Royal Palace complex and Wat Po in Bangkok
  • In Phnom Penh vist the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng and the Royal Palace
  • Crawl through the Cu Chi war tunnels
  • Visit the historic trading town of Hoi An

Key information

  • 21 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights standard hotels, 1 night boat with twin share cabins, 1 night guesthouse to experience some Mekong Delta hospitality, all en suite, 1 night sleeper train, soft-bed berths
  • Travel by train, minibus, bike, boat and 3 flights
  • Some activity in humid conditions
  • Variety of cities and countryside

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What's included

  • 26 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Bangkok.

    There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    City tour; free afternoon.

    This morning we take a short walk to the Chao Praya River where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex, followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. We then head back to our hotel. This afternoon is free for personal exploration.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Fly to Chiang Rai; to Chiang Khong.

    This morning we fly to Chiang Rai and then visit the Golden Triangle, an area so named after the fact that the opium that moved through was worth more than gold pound for pound. We stand at a view point overlooking Burma (Myanmar), the mighty Mekong and Laos. The area's chequered past is covered in the Opium Museum where we learn about the dark history of this beautiful and rich region of Northern Thailand, and we pause to visit the impressive red brick stupa of Wat Chedi Luang. We then transfer to the town of Chiang Khong (2 hours) where we stay overnight.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Travel by slow boat into Laos and Pak Beng.

    An early morning transfer takes us to the Thai / Laos border where we pass through immigration formalities. We say hello to our Laos Tour Leader. We will pass through Laos Immigration, followed by a tuk tuk ride to the river port where we board our private slow boat for the journey to Pak Beng.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Pak Ou Caves; to Luang Prabang.

    Boarding our private boat again, we head further down river with Luang Prabang as our final destination. En route we will visit the famous Tam Ting Caves, cut out of the limestone banks which line the river at Pak Ou. These caves are filled with thousands of Buddha images brought by the surrounding villagers as a sign of their devotion. If there is time we will also stop at a number of minority villages on the way but this will depend on the water level, which affects the speed of travel on the river. Mid to late afternoon we arrive in the enchanting town of Luang Prabang, nestled in a narrow valley cut by the Mekong and Khan Rivers. This beautiful town was designated a World Heritage site in 1995. The rest of the day is free to explore the town and stroll amongst the ancient red roofed temples and French colonial architecture. There are also a number of interesting temples to visit including Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Wisunalat.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Luang Prabang; Phu Si Hill and visit Kwang Si waterfalls.

    After an early breakfast we will visit Phu Si Hill for stunning views over the city and the Mekong River below. The climb includes 329 steps and the path zigzags its way to the gilded stupa at the summit past various temples. We will also head out to the Kwang Si Waterfall, where we have the chance to swim in the pools. Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items. For those up at dawn there is chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Luang Prabang and Vang Lei.

    Today we will journey to Vang Lei, a small village approximately 1 hour from Luang Prabang. Our time here will provide us with an insight into village life as we learn about everyday life but also have the chance to get stuck in with some of the village activities. Dependent on the season these could be accompanying a fisherman on the banks of the Mekong, sowing or reaping rice in paddy fields or learning how to weave traditional baskets. We’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Laotian cooking and will assist a local family in preparing our lunch. Vang Lei is a village that Exodus has worked with for a few years as part of a process to bring rural villages more independence and self-sufficiency through the provision of key infrastructure. You will be introduced to the basics of the work that has been conducted. For more information please read the ‘Responsible Tourism’ section of these Trip Notes. Late afternoon is free for individual sightseeing or to seize the opportunity to sit back and relax in this pleasant town. Luang Prabang is a centre for markets in the region and there are many opportunities for the souvenir hunter to gather a few special items.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Vang Vieng.

    An early morning departure from Luang Prabang as we drive to the township of Vang Vieng, passing through numerous Hmong villages. Surrounded by lime karsts and set on the banks of the Nam Song (Song River), it is a beautiful location. The stunning drive will take approximately 6 hours to complete on roads that wind their way through the surrounding hills and limestone mountains jutting sharply above the flat river valleys. Watching the sun set on the banks of the Nam Song is ample reward for the day's journey.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit Jang Cave; afternoon free.

    In the morning we climb the 136 steps to the Tham Jang caves, used as a hideout by the local community during periods of war. The rest of the day is free to explore. Optional excursions and activities are easily arranged and there are plenty of opportunities for walks in the surrounding hills, day visits to the numerous caves that punctuate the limestone scenery, or for kayaking down the Song river. There are a number of Lao and minority tribe villages in the area, which can also be easily reached in a day trip. Bicycles can also be hired for those who wish to tour the beautiful countryside on two wheels. Alternatively just sit back, relax and soak up the beautiful view.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Drive to Vientiane; afternoon tour.

    We leave Vang Vieng in the morning and descend from the hills to the capital Vientiane and our hotel located near the banks of the Mekong River, the name of the city translates as Sandalwood City. We take an afternoon sightseeing tour of this relaxed low-rise city, including Wat Sisaket the oldest temple in the city, and Haw Pha Kaew a temple which originally housed the Emerald Bhudda now on display in Thailand. The temples themselves are noticeably different in style and character from those found in Thailand and there are certainly fewer tourists! In the evening the perfect option is to retire for a refreshing beverage and watch the sunset over the Mekong River.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Free day in Vientiane; fly to Hanoi.

    Today is free to shop or explore Vientiane before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam (flight times often vary at short notice between the afternoon/evening).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    To Halong Bay for cruise; overnight on boat.

    Today we make an early start for the 4-hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunning sights in South East Asia with 3,000 limestone peaks rising vertically from the emerald sea. We cruise and kayak amongst this amazing karst scenery, stopping to enjoy a seafood lunch on board. We spend the night onboard our boat in cabins with en suite facilities.
    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Cruise in Halong Bay; return to Hanoi.

    We cruise back to port in the morning. We then transfer back to Hanoi where the rest of the day is at leisure to wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and perhaps enjoy a coffee and a baguette in a lakeside café or stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period with its faded colonial charm. One of the more enjoyable ways to get around is by cyclo and this can easily be arranged on the street.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    City tour of Hanoi; sleeper train to Hue.

    We spend the morning sightseeing in Hanoi including visits to the Temple of Literature, the site of the oldest university in Vietnam with over 2000 graduates; Hoa Lo Prison & the Old Quarter of the city with its '36 Streets' where each street is home to shops selling particular products - e.g. 'silk street', 'gold street', 'paper street' and 'naff souvenir street'. In the afternoon we board the Reunification Express for the overnight journey to Hue, 500km to the south.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Arrive Hue; sightseeing

    Arriving mid-morning in Hue we transfer to our hotel. Hue claims to be the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam, and there is plenty to see. The most outstanding sight is the Imperial Citadel with walls six miles in length; inside are the palaces and halls of the Mandarins, and the remains of the Forbidden Purple City, where only the emperor his eunuchs and concubines were allowed. This afternoon we visit the citadel and the famous Thien Mu Pagoda. The pagoda was a centre for anti-government protest in the early 1960's and it houses the Austin car that transported a monk, Thich Quang Duc, to Saigon in 1963 where he burned himself as a protests against the president. The photograph of his self-immolation was printed in newspapers all around the world. We continue our journey to visit the mausoleum of Tu Duc, one of the most extravagant mausoleums of the great Nguyen emperors who ruled Vietnam from Hue between 1802 and 1945.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 17

    Bike ride to local market; drive across Hai Van Pass to Hoi An.

    This morning we will take a cycle ride out to the Thanh Toan bridge and a nearby local market. Travelling as the locals do on we discover the sights, sounds and smells of the villages surrounding Hue. Riding past rice paddies and small villages we arrive at Thanh Toan, a small village that is home to a legendary market. There will be time to explore the market stalls before heading back to Hue for our journey to Hoi An. There is the option to get local transport to the village for a small extra cost if you would rather not cycle. Leaving Hue, our 130km journey drives through the beautiful peninsula of Lang Co between the crystal waters of a lagoon and the Eastern Sea, and then passes over the spectacular Hai Van pass ('Pass of the Ocean Clouds'). In Danang, we climb the Marble Mountain where we explore the large caves which were used by the Viet Cong as a hospital base during the war. From the mountain peak, there are fantastic views over My Khe Beach and the surrounding countryside leading on to Hoi An. Ride approx 15km.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Sightseeing in Hoi An.

    This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-sixteenth century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences.This afternoon is free to explore Hoi An on foot as cars are banned from this world heritage site. It is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk / clothes shopping. If you have anything you want made up in mind, you should consider taking a picture of it along with you.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 19

    Free day.

    Today is a free day to carry on enjoying this historic town. Optionals include a trip to My Son, the Cham civilisation's spiritual home, where Cham kings were buried as early as the fourth century. Although wartime bombing has destroyed much of the site, there are a number of interesting stone towers and sanctuaries. It is also possible to visit My Lai the site of the 1968 massacre that changed public opinion on the Vietnam War, or jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 20

    Transfer to Da Nang for flight to Saigon; afternoon city tour.

    Today we transfer to Danang for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. Our hotel is in the heart of this incredible city. We include a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 21

    Visit Cu Chi tunnels; afternoon free.

    Today we leave the city behind us and head north and visit the infamous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine! In the afternoon we return to Saigon and the rest of the day is free for individual exploration.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 22

    To Mekong Delta; visit riverside village and floating market.

    We drive to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta via a Cao Dai temple used by devotees of this strange indigenous religion that fuses all the great religions of the east and west. The author Graham Greene toyed with the idea of converting to Caodism. The Mekong is locally known as the rice bowl of Vietnam and produces much of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. En route we pass magnificent countryside and stop at some small cottage industries. We take a relaxing sampan cruise in the afternoon before arriving at our accommodation. The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.
    Homestay

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 23

    To Chau Doc.

    After a morning walk through the village we board our boats once again and cross the main channel to Vinh Long where we re-join our vehicle for the drive further into the Mekong Delta and the small border town of Chau Doc. After checking into the hotel, the evening is free to wander the town, which is situated on the banks of the Mekong River.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 24

    Transfer into Cambodia and on to Phnom Penh.

    After driving approximately 1 hour to Tinh Bien / Phnom Den land border we will bid farewell to Vietnam and cross into Cambodia. We continue by road to Phnom Penh (approx 3.5 hours).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 25

    City tour including the Royal Palace and the 'Killing Fields'.

    The town still retains a frontier atmosphere and today we have a full day of sightseeing in the capital city. The day will include the beautiful Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, so named for the solid silver tiles that make up the floor. Thankfully the complex escaped the worst excess of the Khmer Rouge rule. Similar in style and scale to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Royal Palace has significantly fewer visitors and there is plenty of time to wander among the traditional buildings. There is also time today to shop at either the impressive Central Market or the sprawling Russian Market, a souvenir hunter's paradise! We visit Tuol Sleng museum or S21 (Museum of Genocide), which graphically displays the horrors of the 4 years when Pol Pot systematically ordered the murder of between 2 and 3 million Cambodians. Tuol Sleng was originally a school but was used as a torture and interrogation centre between 1976 and 1979. It is a sobering and disturbing place to visit. Please be aware that the images at the museum are very graphic. We complete our day with a moving late afternoon visit to the 'killing fields' of Choeung Ek. A football-field-sized area surrounded by farmland, the killing fields contain mass graves for perhaps 20,000 Cambodians, many of whom were tortured before being killed.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 26

    To Siem Reap.

    Today we have a long drive to Siem Reap (approximately 7 hours). En route we stop at the town of Skuon, famous for its local delicacy - fried spiders.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 27

    First day exploring Angkor temple complex

    We spend two days exploring the temple complex at Angkor. We visit the incredible Angkor Wat, the many temples inside the Royal City of Angkor Thom, including the magnificent Bayon, which is comprised of 54 intricately carved towers in one single temple. The Bayon certainly left an impression on an early traveller in 1925 who stated 'we stand before it stunned. It is like nothing else in the land.' We will also see other less-visited outlying temples. Particularly impressive are Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, still covered in jungle, just as it was when it first came to light. Discovered in the 1870s and famously described as being 'grander than anything of Greece or Rome' by the French explorer Henri Mouchot, this world heritage site stands alongside the Pyramids and Machu Picchu as one of the world's most spectacular archaeological sites. Angkor is a truly magical experience and a photographer's paradise, one of the real highlights of our trip. We will also see other less-visited outlying temples including Banteay Srei, a temple complex devoted to Brahma. One evening we will make our way to the temple complex and watch the sunset over this magnificent scene.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 28

    Second day exploring Angkor temple complex

    Second day exploring the temples at the Angkor complex.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 29

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 30

Essential Info

Visas

Cambodia

Arriving By Flight: An electronic visa (e-Visa) facility is available via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation website at the cost of $37. A tourist visa can be obtained on arrival for British nationals at most border crossings. Two passport photos are required. The cost is US$30, although an additional express fee of US$5-6 may be incurred at the border. For further information see the FCO site and check under Cambodia / 'Entry Requirements'.

Arriving Overland: A tourist visa can be obtained on arrival for British nationals at most border crossings. Two passport photos are required. The cost is US$30, although an additional express fee of US$5-6 may be incurred at the border. For further information see the FCO site and check under Cambodia / 'Entry Requirements'.

Laos

A visa can be obtained on arrival for most nationalities. The cost depends on nationality - it is currently US$35 for UK passport holders, and you will require 1 passport photo. For further information see the FCO website and look under 'Entry Requirements'. When you enter Laos, make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport. Not having a legitimate entry stamp could lead to arrest or a large fine.

Thailand

A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.

Vietnam

A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2018. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure. For further information see http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Vietnam.pdf or the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'.

Vaccinations

Cambodia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Laos

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Thailand

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Vietnam

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria.
The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

26 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included.

The food on this trip is a real highlight for many. Southeast Asian cuisine is known for its abundance of freshly prepared dishes with strong aromatic flavours. There is a focus on herbs and citrus to ensure each dish packs a punch; chilli does feature highly too but is easily avoided if desired. Typically most dishes will come with rice and many are often served in a banana leaf with a variety of dips and herbs served separately. The three countries visited ensure a different culinary experience every time you cross the border; ensure you try the freshly made Pad Thai noodles from the street stalls of Bangkok, the fish amok curry in Cambodia for a creamy coconut-based fragrant curry and the Banh Xeo (huge sizzling pancakes) found in Vietnam cannot be missed!  Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta.

Weather

Bangkok and the surrounding region are hot year round. The rainy season is between May and October when rainfall is abundant but not excessive. This time of year is characterised by more cloudy days and slightly higher humidity. Downpours are usually short and sharp and can be dramatic to watch! November to April is the dry season with rainfall only on a few days per month. April and May tend to be the hottest months before the monsoon. Northern Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. The rainy season in the north is also between May and October. November to April sees cooler temperatures.

In Laos the weather will usaully be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day between about 28ºC and 34ºC. It is a little cooler at nights and can even be slightly chilly from November to January when a light jacket is useful in the evenings as very occassionaly temparatures can drop to as low as 15ºC. The region is mostly dry between October to April and then a rainy season from May to September when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between.

In Vietnam, the weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day usually between 28ºC and 34ºC. It is only a little cooler at nights. There is quite a range of seasons between the north and the south: the south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and gets chilly between November and February (with a drizzly rain) between 10 - 20ºC. There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; it is quite pleasant at any time of year, though due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will ever be perfect for the entire duration of any trip.

In Cambodia the weather will be hot and humid all year round. The dry season runs from November to April with the monsoon between May and October. April and October are transition months. The dry season is characterised by hot days and generally clear skies, though you can expect the odd shower. The monsoon is characterised by short, sharp bursts of rain. The monsoon can be a very atmospheric time to travel in Cambodia, but an umbrella may be useful!

Hanoi

Vientiane

Bangkok

Phnom Penh

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of SE Asia using a mixture of private buses, trains and flights. There is a lot to see in the time you are there, but it is paced so that it doesn't feel too rushed. Travel time is kept to a minimum although there are a few longer drives. There is plenty of time for sightseeing and the trip has numerous stops where we spend 2 or more nights. Whilst choosing this trip please note that some of the accommodation will be basic but is clean and tidy.

Accommodation

Hotels, Boat, Guesthouse & Sleeper Train

You will spend 21 nights in comfortable hotels, 3 nights in standard hotels, 1 night sleeping on a boat with twin share cabins, 1 night in guesthouse and 1 night on a sleeper train. The accommodation is generally good quality, but you should also be prepared for a couple of basic nights.

Single rooms are available for a supplement for 24 hotel nights only, please enquire for prices. Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you require a single. Please note that the single supplement will not cover the night in Pak Beng due to limited accommodation options.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Douglas Barlow
    Four very different countries full of extremely nice people. Unbelievable scenery, incredible adventures.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along Nguyen Thai Hoc street in Hoi An one evening. We walked under thousands of Chinese lanterns of all shapes and colours while fantastic food was being prepared and served along each side of the road. Breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our first tour leader, Gung, was with us through Thailand and Laos. She is an amazing leader, very professional and extremely knowledgeable. She led and cared for her group. Our second tour leader, Jay, was with us throughout Vietnam. Again, professional and knowledgeable. Both Jay and Gung were very approachable and helpful when deciding where and what to eat. Our third and final tour leader, Dino, was with us for the Cambodia leg. A friendly chap.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour leaders always directed us to reasonably priced, quick turnaround laundry services wherever we stopped. No need to pack so many clothes. Good walking shoes was excellent advice. We always found a shopping mart for basic necessities. Mosquitoes were not a problem in January/February.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will see some unusual edible items on display in the markets. Spiders, frogs, rats and grubs. The Ladies selling their wares are doing the best they can to support and sustain their families. Some members of our tour were verbally very disrespectful whilst thrusting a camera in the faces of these Ladies. Taking such people to the market is not a good idea, certainly not responsible tourism.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    John Orchard
    Over one month we visited four countries. During this time we caught seven flights, took countless coaches/minibuses, four different river boats, one ferry, stayed in twelve hotels and participated in many excursions. During this time we suffered not one problem, delay or misadventure. Can you imagine how much focus and organisation this must have taken? There are many organisations that should take lessons from Exodus. Oh and we enjoyed every minute of the trip which was both exhilarating and intellectually stimulating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list including the general goodwill and hospitality we found in each of the countries and the depth of history and culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three group leaders, two were excellent and one every good. Not only did they organise everything excellently but they took the time to explain in depth the culture and thinking behind each of the nations and tribal groups we were travelling through. We learnt geography, history, religion, culture and regional relationships in each of the countries we visited. The group leaders were strongly committed to the Exodus philosophy towards responsible travel and giving back to the communities we visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Four weeks in a tight group of travellers requires everyone to commit to making the tour a success. If you do so you will have an enriching experience to look back on with great pleasure.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Mary Gallagher
    An excellent trip. Well organised and all the guides were very helpful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Feeding the monks in Luang Probang

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a different group leader for each country that we visited. Boom was our leader in Thailand and Laos. She was very explicit with all her arrangements and passing on. information. She was supported by two local guides, Tui & Key. Cong was our leader throughout Vietnam. He was unbiased and very good at giving factual information about the Vietnam war. He was knowledgeable and informative about all aspects of Vietnamese culture, the country and its people. He waited with us for over an hour at the Vietnam/Cambodia border until our Cambodian guide, who had been delayed, turned up. In Cambodia our guide was Dino and he like Boom, was supported by two local guides. One on the Homestay and our visit to the Mekong Delta and another while we were in Phnom Penh and visited the prison and the Killing Fields. Dino was very helpful and supportive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of scams in Bangkok which are perpetrated by random strangers around the vicinity of the Grand Palace/tourist areas, tuk tuk drivers and even taxi drivers! s! One variation is that taxi drivers or tuk tuk drivers will tell you that the grand palace is closed today for some special/Buddhist ceremony while you are still on the cab/tuk tuk. They will then advise you an alternative location such as the Sitting Buddha/Lucky Buddha/Marble Temple and claim that it’s only open once a year which happens to be today !!!! Listen to them and you will end up at some jewellery or tailor shops where you might be coerced into buying overpriced crap. Some of them might lock you in the shop until you start buying.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I did two days in Bangkok before the tour actually started but we were given no information about a meeting with our local guide etc even though I asked at Reception. I overheard another receptionist telling someone who had just checked in that there was an information Board on the First Floor of the Hotel and that she would get information there about Exodus and a group meeting.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Judy Ransley
    A full-on exploration of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with a couple of days in Thailand thrown in. Be prepared for some early mornings (3 @ 5.30 in first week I seem to remember but it got easier) and lots of long days travelling by various modes of transport. Trip centres mostly on cities so don't really get an in-depth feel of the countryside but with only 4 weeks to see everything the trip certainly covers all the main sites.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyone's different of course but for me, spending a morning helping a young Lao monk at a literacy project in Luang Prabang. I knew very little about Laos before the trip but I loved it. I also enjoyed giving alms of sticky rice to the monks early in the morning, it made you feel a bit connected to their traditional way of life. As regards trip highlights I would list the 2 days drifting down the Mekong in Laos, The Mekong Delta with homestay, the Cu Chi tunnels and, in general, learning about the different conflicts that have affected the area and its people over the last few decades.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 3 main leaders - Thailand/Laos; Vietnam; Cambodia as well as various other local guides for a day or two each. All were great especially Boom from Thailand and Dino in Cambodia. A couple of the local guides were superb. All did everything in their power to provide the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too much luggage. Virtually everybody bought clothes of some description and laundry is available at several places en-route. Almost all hotels provided toiletries/hair dryer so don't bother with those. We were advised to take a towel for the homestay but, again, it was provided. We didn't find it necessary to use a sleeping bag liner on the train which was very basic but clean. Lightweight trainers or sandals are all that is necessary for any walking - this is essentially a fairly sedentary trip. An umbrella is very useful for showers/sun. Ladies need to cover their shoulders (shawl not acceptable) and knees for temple visits. Men can wear shorts as long as they nearly touch the knee. If you are interesting in helping/getting involved in charitable projects ask your local guide in Laos as there is a publication listing a lot of options in Luang Prabang. Take school supplies and pass them on in Laos. This is a really good whistlestop introduction to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The time spent in Thailand is very limited and doesn't add that much to the overall trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect "adventure tourism". This is essentially a city-based tour using large, generic hotels with little local feel about them (with a couple of exceptions). However, in order to cover the distance in the time given it works as well as can be expected. Although I enjoyed the majesty of the limestone karsts in Halong Bay I was dismayed at how many boats there are in a very small area. Don't expect seclusion - although we were on the boat for 20+ hours we actually only motored out of port for a couple of hours and then anchored in sight of 40 other boats. The boat was lovely but, for me, this was a bit of a disappointment - I know others think differently.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Catherine Pickering
    Interesting and varied trip through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The contrast of countries, rural and urban environments was excellent. Stayed in mainly good hotels, many with swimming pools, one basic but in a lovely village, Pak Beng, one homestay in the Mekong Delta, one over night train journey.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is difficult! Highlights were a boat down the Mekong in Laos for 2 days, giving alms (sticky rice) to monks in Luang Prabang, Laos, Halong Bay, and Hoi Ann, Vietnam and Angkor Wat and the temples in Cambodia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 3 main leaders, all were very good - Ness in Thailand and Laos, Vuong Truong or V In Vietnam and Kinal in Cambodia. V was a brilliant guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow. In some places hotels may not be up to western standards but that is to be expected in unspoilt places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    T he break provided the right amount of group activities and time alone, and a 3 night stay in a lovely hotel in Hoi Ann, at Hoi Ann Silk Village after an overnight train journey was lovely!
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Nigel Pickles
    This is a very good introduction to the four countries of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The group size of 16 worked well and we were fortunate to be part of an amenable group of like minded travellers. Particular highlights included the boat trip along the Mekong, Luang Prabang, Hanoi (crossing the road, the Hanoi Hilton, and 5C - the coldest there in twenty years), Hoi An, Saigon (War Remnants museum and Cu Chi tunnels), the Mekong Delta Homestay, Phnom Penh (Killing Fields, Museum of Genocide) and Angkor temple complex.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was good to see that even though Vietnam and Cambodia have been involved in terrible wars within living memory they had both recovered and moved forward supporting vulnerable members of their communities. One example of this was provided by the tree-alliance movement which trains disadvantaged young adults in the catering/hospitality area and we managed to visit five of their restaurants in Laos and Cambodia. Minority groups are also well supported and their handicrafts are promoted in most tourist centres.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three group leaders throughout the trip. We felt that although very good as an administrator our first leader in Thailand and Laos just accompanied the group and didn't have much input on the sites we visited. We can't praise the guide in Vietnam highly enough. He was knowledgeable, caring and humorous. I think all the group felt they were leaving a friend behind when we said goodbye at the Cambodian border. The Cambodia guide was very personable and knowledgeable (especially about Siem Reap/Angkor temples) but unfortunately had to leave us to our own devices on a number of occasions to attend to her own travel plans.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We thought there was a good balance between the travelling, visits and free time. There are some long days and steepish climbs and there was a large variation in temperatures from 5 degrees to thirty-five degrees. Appropriate clothes and an umbrella are required. We found that being well organised was essential to live out of a suitcase for a month! Most of the guides organised a cheap laundry service which was useful for stops of two nights or more. The most challenging part of the trip was the night on the Re-unification Express from Hanoi to Hue. The cabins were cramped for four people and the bathroom facilities left a lot to be desired and we didn't have our wellies with us!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotels varied from luxurious to very basic but the irony was that we shouldn't have been staying in the best hotel in Halong City but only found ourselves there due to the bad weather in Halong Bay when we couldn't stay on our boat. Breakfasts on the whole we found disappointing. Most hotels catered more for Asian tastes with omelette and toast often the only hot option. We were unfortunately moved from the designated hotel in Siem Reap, and the breakfast there was almost inedible. There were two optional visits that we thought would have benefitted from being part of the inclusive itinerary. The trip to Kompong Luong village on Tonle Sap Lake was one of the most interesting locations on the trip, and to a lesser extent the Rural Life Museum near Hue was well presented with demonstrations by a local villager. This was part of the cycle tour but so easily could have been missed. There are plenty of ATMs although we did have trouble getting money at the airport in Hanoi. It would be advisable to take a large amount of dollars to change if necessary and small bills to pay for local goods.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Lorraine Quinn
    This tour is a great way to get to grips with the wonders of SE Asia, great food, magnificent rivers and mountain scenery, some great cities and a million paddy fields, their multitudinous but, oh-so-tolerant, religious ways, the horrors of the last 30 years versus life today ….. did I mention the food? Oh I nearly forget, plenty of temples – some rather impressive! 30 days may sound a lot but it is not long in each country so while there is some free time it is also a pretty full itinerary, especially in the heat and humidity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tough! In 30 days there were plenty, Hanoi – you will love it. Travelling down the Mekong – stunning. The Vietcong tunnels – amazing. The killing fields and S21 – very, very sobering. Hearing from our guides, both the Exodus guides and some of the additional government guides what they and their families had been through and how they cope today was a real privilege, we realise how lucky we are; for me the guides were one of the major highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I think I have just said it – inspirational. We had 3 Exodus guides, one for Thailand and Laos, one for Vietnam and one for Cambodia, all were hugely good value. We also had 4 government guides at different stages. All 4 were OK but 2 of them were quite outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a folding brolly for the rain and sun – it is way better than sun hats and rain jackets and largely avoids the need for sun screen on your face. No need to take cycle helmets.. November December pleased to report very few mossies, very few bites Chill – almost everything is in English and you are rarely far from an ATM Smile – and everyone will smile back, smile when you bargain, smile instead of being cross – showing temper is considered very bad form This is not a very active holiday – the 2 short canoe trips and cycle ride were very welcome. If you are active people like us you may hanker for more – but it is worth it for all the other value you get from the trip.
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Nuala Wilson
    This is a long but thoroughly enjoyable trip. The itinerary is very well planned to allow visitors to gain a great insight into this part of the world. The history and culture are fascinating in each country and although interlinked, have some very distinct differences. There are some very busy and tiring days, however, these are interspersed with days with free time or a more relaxing itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cambodia. The way in which the Cambodian people are remembering but moving forward from the recent atrocities in their country is inspirational. The visit to the Killing Fields and the prison S-21 were very moving. The Angkor Complex was stunning. There were so many more wonderful places including, The White Pagoda in Laos, Halong Bay, the Citadel in Hue, Hoi An, the Cu Chi Tunnels and so the list goes on. I nearly forgot crazy crazy Hanoi ad its traffic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There were 3 leaders, 2 were excellent and one wasn't.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's hot hot hot! Take plenty of sun cream and insect spray but not too many clothes. Drink loads of water and use anti-bacterial gel before eating . . . always. Try to learn something about the recent history of the countries before you go, you'll learn plenty more while you're there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you have the money, the time and an open mind, GO!!!
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Dave Rawnsley
    A great introduction to Indo China, this fast moving journey around the region is a lot of fun and there's a lot to discover. As the history and culture of these four countries is intertwined, it makes sense to cover them all. Despite the length and complexity of the trip, it ran like clockwork, owing to great planning and the quality of the leaders.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Laos was lovely and relatively relaxing. Arriving in Hanoi, the pace dramatically quickened. We spent an entertaining hour one evening in a rooftop bar, watching the traffic on a roundabout below us - it's hard to describe, you just have to be there to understand! There were inspirational moments and breath-taking sights most days: the fast boats on Bangkok canals, the stunning scenery in Vang Vieng, the Ha Long bay cruise, arriving in the evening in Hoi An, floating markets and fish farms in the Mekong delta and, of course, the temples of Angkor.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three group leaders across the four weeks of the trip and each of them was excellent. It's a real boon and they really were a step ahead. I was surprised at how good the leaders were and have nominated one of them for an Exodus award.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't pack too much. A coat and a jumper weren't necessary and just added weight. Lightweight linen or cotton things are best and you can buy more clothes, if needed, cheaply, from markets across the region. The one time when you need dollars (37) is at the border into Cambodia, where there is no ATM. The rest of the time you can pull out cash from ATMs quite easily, if you warn your bank about your itinerary. In retrospect, I would have booked an extra night in Bangkok and arrived a day early, for acclimatisation.
  • Reviewed May 2015
    Susan Gordon
    An excellent trip that followed the itinerary to the tee. The trip was full of adventure, excitement, variety and culture and gave a true reflection of South East Asia. The people were warm and their faith is evident in their every day lives.We certainly enjoyed every aspect of the trip and will certainly consider returning to this part of the world.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are too many to mention but Halong Bay for is beautiful karst scenery and tranquility but also the opportunity to kayak in the caves and experience the golden monkeys clambering the rocks. The Killing Fields and S21 experiencing the horrible atrcocities during the Khmer Rouge. A special moment was having the opportunity to meet 2 of the survivors from the prison which was very emotional. Angkor Wat for its numerous temples and the Buddist faith which is evident in the lives of the people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Overall very good and they considered the needs of individuals in the party and obviously enjoyed their job.However, the guide in Vietnam was not of the same standard and did not have the warm, caring rapport as the others.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the specs carefully and ensure that you are fit enough to walk and climb the number of steps in various attractions

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Possibly remove some of the lunch breaks e.g. in the palace of Bangkok we spent over 1 hour in a coffee shop and had less time to visit the palace and when we arrived it was extremely hot and busy. Also we were limited in time at S21 and had a similar time span to eat lunch. The bus was air conditioned but the suspension needed a lot to be desired. After 6 hours feeling every bump many of us were in need of back massages!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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