SECRETS OF RURAL INDOCHINA

Laos & Vietnam Off the Beaten Path

Hanoi, Halong Bay & Northern Vietnam, Luang Prabang

Duration: 14 nights

Price: From £4,000 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, cruise, experiences as stated and taxes

Get off the beaten track to explore the hidden gems of Laos and Vietnam on this intrepid multi-country adventure, which takes in the beautiful, historic cities of Hanoi and Luang Prabang, the rainforest-clad hills and rice paddies of the northern Laos countryside and a luxury cruise on the spectacular waterways of Bai Tu Long Bay, lesser known than Halong Bay but equally worth seeing. Visit remote villages and hill tribes, go trekking and biking around rivers and valleys, and experience the local way of life. Get under the skin of two countries on one spectacular holiday.
Perfect forThose who want to get off the beaten track and really explore and discover local culture– and who don’t want to stop at just one country…
In the knowIn Mai Chau, don’t miss the chance to watch a traditional dance performance - and you can also try out the steps yourself!

Best for

  • Cultural Immersion
  • Off the Beaten Track
  • Adventure
  • Landscapes & Scenery

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This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

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2 nightsLUANG PRABANG

Your holiday begins in Laos, and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage-listed Luang Prabang on the banks of the Mekong, which is home to ancient temples and historic villas, against a lush green backdrop of mountains, valleys and waterfalls. Explore the temples and landmarks on a half-day city tour, and watch the monks receive their alms in the streets at dawn, before the city springs to life.   Stay at Satri House, a former royal home surrounded by serene gardens yet still close to the sights of Luang Prabang – take one of the hotel’s bikes to explore the city or cycle along the river, or enjoy a trip in a traditional longtail boat.
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3 nightsMUANG LA

Get off the beaten track into the mountainous countryside of northern Laos with a visit to Muang La, which sits on the Nam Pak River at the junction of Burma, China, Thailand and Vietnam. Visit the village to learn about silk weaving, extracting salt from the river, harvesting rice from the fields and building houses out of bamboo, and meet the ethnic tribes of northern Laos to find out about their way of life and their animist beliefs. Enjoy a scenic trek through the valley, through rice fields, villages and over bamboo bridges, to the serene temple of Wat Hoytinphabath, which is home to a giant 35m-long reclining statue of Buddha. Stay at Muang La Lodge, which sits in a secluded valley on the riverfront, where you can feast on Lao/Thai specialities created from fresh homegrown ingredients and bathe in natural hot springs.
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2 nightsNONG KHIAW

Nong Khiaw is an Instagram-worthy spot by the Nam Ou River, surrounded by dramatic limestone crags, rainforest valleys and gushing waterfalls. Walk through the rice paddies to Patok Cave, with its impressive cathedral dome opening out to the mountains, and trek up mountain slopes for 360-degree views over the village of Nong Khiaw below, the mountains and the Nam Ou valley, towards the pretty riverside village of Muang Ngoi Neua (which is also well worth a visit).   The Mandala Ou resort sits high on the banks of the river, with beautiful sunset views over the rainforest and limestone peaks – take a dip in the infinity pool while enjoying the scenery.
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1 nightLUANG PRABANG

Spend another night at Satri House in Luang Prabang, with a chance to go back to the places you loved on your first visit, before embarking on the next leg of your adventure. You’ll also enjoy a special Lao evening of traditional storytelling tonight, accompanied by live music performed on the khene, a Lao folk instrument. This is followed by a feast of delicious local cuisine, such as a buffet of local specialities, in one of the best restaurants in the country.
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2 nightsHANOI

Another day, another country – today you’ll head to Vietnam and its capital, Hanoi, where you’ll enjoy a morning tour by cyclo and a half-day tour of the city’s highlights, from the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh to the vibrant life-filled streets of the historic Old Quarter, brimming with quirky shopfronts and colourful markets where you’ll find some unique souvenirs of your trip. Hanoi also has a thriving arts scene, with an iconic opera house that puts on performances of classics such as The Nutcracker. Stay in the heart of the Old Quarter at the Hotel de l’Opera, where you’ll be near the opera house as well as several temples, galleries and restaurants. It’s also not far from the pagoda-fringed Hoan Kiem Lake, where you can watch the locals practise tai chi as dawn breaks.
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2 nightsMAI CHAU

Mai Chau is nestled in a verdant valley, surrounded by hills and rice fields that beg to be explored on a hike or bike ride, while this is also an idyllic spot for some relaxation. The landscape is dotted with villages whose inhabitants farm the land and weave colourful textiles. Mai Chau Ecolodge is a charming retreat, with characterful and spacious accommodation modelled on the local thatched-roof stilt houses, where as well as exploring the surroundings, you can further immerse yourself in local life by helping out on the farm, or enjoying a cookery class, making local dishes using freshly picked herbs (and you should try the local rice wine too).
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2 nightsBAI TU LONG BAY

On the fringes of Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay offers a more off-the-beaten-track cruise, without stinting on the area’s signature pristine landscapes of vast waters studded with limestone karsts, islands with beautiful, unspoilt beaches and floating villages. Venture into caves, kayak around the limestone peaks, see bustling fishing villages and relax on secluded stretches of sand. Explore it all in style onboard the luxurious Au Co, where you can take in the ever-changing views from the deck.
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