The Best Luxury Small Group Tour of Southeast Asia

Annual End of Summer Sale. From 9.10.22 to 9.25.22


Private Tours

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam. Your arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour. We strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier, as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag, and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations.

Sunset in Hanoi

Sunset in Hanoi

An additional night’s lodging at your gorgeous historic hotel can be added as part of the process as you reserve your tour.

If you are arriving a day earlier, your airport to hotel transfer will be provided a day earlier. Our services begin with your greeting as you exit the customs area at Hanoi airport. You are then driven to your boutique luxury hotel and assisted with your check-in if it is after 3pm. If it is much before 3pm, an earlier check-in can be arranged at an additional charge. The Sofitel Legend Metropole is one of a few internationally revered historic hotels which first opened its doors in 1901. Scores of heads of state, business tycoons, and celebrities have stayed here, including celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin and Joan Baez.

Your lodging has an enviable location in the iconic Old Quarter of Hanoi, and major attractions such as the Hanoi Opera, great restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the vibrant street scene, are just a few steps away, but not in any way intrusive. Hanoi is one of the world’s most fascinating cities to explore on foot, with an exceptional street food scene, and its Old Quarter is always abuzz with activity and has an amazing energy that is near impossible to resist. Located on the banks of the Red River, Vietnam's capital is a stylish and gracious city that retains a unique old-world charm and has some of Asia’s most striking colonial architecture.
(Overnight – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi)

Day 2: Hanoi. (Breakfast and Welcome Orientation Dinner) Start your exploration of Vietnam’s capital with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 as a Confucian temple and school, this complex became Vietnam’s first university six years later. Multiple courtyards, water tanks, temples, and unique architecture are what you will notice first. A unique sight here is 82 large stone slabs (with large tortoise shaped bases of stone) that have the names and other details of doctoral laureates of the university from 1442 to 1779. It is common to see local students at the temple in school groups throughout the year, and large groups of them are here dressed in their finest during graduation periods. Walk around the complex and its gardens and explore several temples housing beautiful statues of the university’s founders and greatest scholars.

Next up is the impressive Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex. This site is highly revered by the North Vietnamese, and consists of several structures, including Uncle Ho’s (Ho Chi Minh) modest house on stilts, and of course the iconic mausoleum itself. This granite structure stands prominently above the parade area and grandstand at a height of 70 feet and is surrounded by meticulously maintained lawns and gardens. Please note that we do not include a viewing of the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, housed inside, as this requires a 45 minute (minimum) wait in line, and no photos are allowed.

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Next to the mausoleum is the beautiful Presidential Palace, built between 1900 and 1906 as the French Governor General of Indochina’s residence.

The Palace is not open to the public, but you can stop here for a photo opportunity of the front left profile of the structure, as well as its beautiful gardens. Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the palace and had a simple home on stilts built in the gardens, which you will walk through to experience its simplicity and austerity.

Return to your beautiful hotel in the old quarter and you are at leisure for a short while during which you can enjoy lunch. In the early afternoon you will experience a guided walk through the fascinating old quarter. When Hanoi was much smaller, this area was the residential, commercial, and manufacturing hub. Each street was dedicated to locals practicing a particular trade, and this practice has continued until today, except the fact that there are far more street food outlets and cafes, adding even more color to an already fascinating sight. Your Country Connoisseur Guide will walk you through streets such as Hand Dong street (copper wares street) Hang Tre street (bamboo wares street), and so on. Some streets have names referring to trades no longer practiced, such as Hang Buom street (sails street), and are now focused solely on Vietnamese candy and cakes. There are streets full of flower decorators and sellers, and many of the streets still have temples, pagodas, and communal structures from old times.

Your walk will end at the Dong Xuan market and next you will enjoy a roughly 40-minute cyclo (pedicab) ride around the Old Quarter. These ancient narrow streets are bustling with people and shops. Your ride ends at Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center. The small urban lake is also known as The Lake of the Restored Sword, and the area surrounding it is Hanoi’s cultural center.

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

Visit Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a small island in the photogenic lake, and observe the fascinating rituals that take place here - the devout visit it for blessings throughout the day.

Welcome Dinner with Vietnam Orientation and Cocktails Event: This evening you will enjoy a short walk through a different part of the fascinating Old Quarter to one of Hanoi’s top-ranked boutique hotels. The elevators will take you to the rooftop bar area from where there is a charming view of Hani and Hoan Kiem Lake. While you enjoy a cocktail, your expert Vietnam Connoisseur Guide will give you an orientation of Vietnam and its culture, and things that you will experience during your exploration. Next you will be escorted to the excellent restaurant on the floor below you (also with a great view) and here you will enjoy a delicious dinner. As with most of your meals while you are in Southeast Asia with us, delicious options between local specialties and western cuisine will be available during this dinner.
(Overnight – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi)

Day 3: Hanoi. (Breakfast and Lunch) Start your day with a visit to a residential Hanoi district seldom experienced by foreigners. You will feel like you have traveled back in time into the 1960’s when Hanoi was a quaint capital populated mostly by modest workers. Wander around these narrow alleys covered in colorful market stalls, observe the locals as they go about their daily lives – you will experience Hanoi as only the locals do. Return to the Old Quarter and break for lunch at the famous Sadhu restaurant, a charming upscale establishment serving innovative fusion vegetarian cuisine.

In the afternoon, continue with about a 40-minute drive to the fascinating village of Dao Thuc. You will cross both the Red River and its tributary, the River Duong, on this journey, and drive through suburban communities and farmland. Dao Thuc is famous because many of the villagers here are craftsmen who make water puppets, and the art of this puppetry is also taught and practiced here. You will meet the craftsmen and observe the many intricate processes they go through to create their puppets, and you will see and learn how the puppeteers orchestrate the performances (from behind the scenes) that are so popular in Northern Vietnam. You will have the option to communicate with the villagers and get interesting insights into North Vietnamese daily life while observing the simple lifestyles of the villagers and their culture.

Return to the Old Quarter for a short break and in the late afternoon comes a fascinating performance of Water Puppetry, where Easy Tours guests will enjoy preferred seating. Knowing the details behind this elaborate and stylized performance will further enhance your viewing pleasure. The Thang Long Puppet Theatre is Hanoi’s most famous because of the quality of the performers, and it is located on the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, across from Ngoc Son Temple. This art form, which is unique to North Vietnam, originated in the 11th century. The combination of indigenous music, small fireworks, and the colorful wooden performers, as well as the accomplished musicians visible in the gallery, makes this spectacle a great introduction to North Vietnamese cultural entertainment.

After the performance, you will enjoy a short walk to your hotel by the charming lake, walking past the locals as they dine on street food, an activity that is omnipresent at night all over the Old Quarter. By now you will start realizing that the Vietnamese take street food to a whole new level, even by Southeast Asia standards – people eating are everywhere, occupying sections of the pedestrian walkways, parks, sometimes taking over parts of the roads after sunset, enjoying the wares from scores of small street stalls.
(Overnight – Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi)

Day 4: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) ) Check-out from your hotel in the morning, and then you are driven to an island off the coast of Ha Long. A new highway has now cut the driving time from about 3:45 minutes each way to about 2 hours 15 minutes. Upon your arrival you will join your fellow cruise travelers in a reception area where refreshments will be served. After a while you will be assisted in boarding your top-ranked luxury vessel. This is one of the newest cruisers on the bay and you will be in a beautiful balcony cabin on the upper deck which offers wonderful views.

Halong Bay Arial View

Halong Bay Arial View

The entire bay on this coast of Vietnam is one of the world’s most spectacular seascapes, resulting in it being listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The water is very calm on the bay, and the scenic beauty is characterized by a vast area that is full of lush limestone (karst) hills jutting out of the ocean. Your cruise will cover parts of Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay and you will visit some of the main attractions, but you will also spend quite a bit of time where most other cruises don’t go, in stunning locations that are a little off the beaten track. You will have various excursions available during your cruise, including options to kayak, swim, visit floating villages, and a lot more, and there will also be a full schedule of activities on the ship that you can participate in. Excellent Vietnamese and western cuisine options will be served throughout your cruise.
Lunch is served shortly after the cruise begins.
(Paradise Grand Cruise)

Day 5: Ha Long Bay – Hue. (Breakfast and Lunch) Wake up a little early to stunning views and then enjoy breakfast, after which you have the option to experience this morning’s scheduled excursion. Return after the scheduled morning excursion, and a full brunch will be waiting for you. The boat now begins its leisurely cruise to the dock, giving you plenty of time for more relaxation and photography. Check out of your cabin and you are met by your Country Connoisseur Guide and chauffeur at the dock. You are then driven to Hanoi airport to board your flight to Hue, The City of Mist.

You are greeted at Hue airport and you are driven to your art deco historic riverfront resort for check-in. By far Hue’s best lodging option, it was the residence of the French Resident Superieure (Governor) in times past. Time Magazine listed this hotel in its best hotels in the world in 2019, and the resort has received countless other awards. We use the larger Deluxe Rooms as the standard Superior Rooms are a little small.

Hue is known for its magnificent monuments built under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945), and also famous for its amazing food, as well as its unique conical hats. Unlike Hanoi and Saigon, the city has a relaxed vibe, and evening walks by the Perfume River, and the delightful cafes that are found here, are highly recommended. The monuments that you will visit here make up one of Vietnam’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This honor was bestowed on the city in 1993 since it is such a fine example of an eastern feudal capital.
(Overnight – Azerai La Residence)

Day 6: Hue. (Breakfast, Lunch and Cocktail Cruise) Your day will start in the morning with a visit to the impressive mausoleum of King Tu Duc (ruled 1848 - 1883). Close by is the next attraction, the unique mausoleum of King Khai Dinh (ruled 1916 - 1925).

Mausoleum of King Tu Duc's

A Courtyard at King Tu Duc's Mausoleum

These ornate and colorful monuments, designed by the kings themselves, were also used as holiday retreats during their lifetimes.

Next you will enjoy a guided walk-through older part of Hue, including a busy market located next to the river.

A short drive will bring you very near your next experience, and you will break for lunch at wonderful Fine Dining French Vietnamese restaurant, Les Jardins de la Carambole. After lunch you will continue your exploration with a visit to the Royal Citadel. The sprawling complex of palaces, fortifications and pagodas was, in its day, virtually impenetrable. The tour of this Imperial City features monuments such as the Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace (Palace of Supreme Harmony), and the Forbidden Purple City. Return to your beautiful colonial resort and take a short break to freshen up.

Private Sunset Cocktail Cruise: Board your boutique lodge’s upscale boat for a private one-and-a-half-hour sunset cocktail cruise on the Perfume River. The river gets its name from that fact that, during fall, orchids growing upriver of Hue fall into the waters creating a wonderful smell on the waters. The cruise lets you experience the enchanting ancient city of Hue from a different perspective as you watch the sun set on the river and the city. Delicious cocktails and canapes are served during the cruise.
(Overnight – Azerai La Residence)

Day 7: Hue – Hoi An. (Breakfast and Lunch) You will be assisted with your check-out in the morning. Embark on a scenic 3.5-hour (approximately) drive to Hoi An. Some of this drive is through coastal fishing villages, and some of it is on one of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular roads, where you straddle the Pacific Ocean with amazing views on one side, and lush green hills on the other. At the highest point of the journey, you will have a breathtaking view of the Pacific, and on the other side a view of the modern city of Da Nang and its bay. You will drive through the outskirts of Da Nang as you head towards Hoi An, and a brief photo opportunity stop will be at the beach zone that was a favorite for American soldiers during the Vietnam war, immortalized in the television series China Beach.

Arrive near historic and charming Hoi An in the early afternoon, in time for a slightly late lunch at a very nice beachfront restaurant. After lunch, you will be driven inland for about 15 minutes and assisted with your check-in at your top-ranked boutique resort. Although the Heritage town of Hoi An is an ancient seaport, it is now about 3 miles from the coastline as the crow flies. Easy Tours uses the highest rated and top-ranked lodging in Hoi An, and the boutique lodge is located within Hoi An and is a very short walk or drive from the UNESCO Site.

You will be staying in a beautiful Verandah Suite in the more exclusive and relatively new Club Section of the lodge, and the services and cuisine are among the best you will experience anywhere in Southeast Asia. A leisurely 10-to-15-minute walk, 3-minute taxi ride, or a 5-minute bike ride (complimentary at your resort) can bring you to the ancient town in case you want to return there at any time during your stay. Although the food at your lodge is excellent, we also recommend the extremely charming French inspired riverfront restaurants and cafes in the ancient town for dinner this evening.

Hoi An

Hoi An

Hoi An is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the best-preserved ancient seaport in Southeast Asia.

Easy Tours prefers not to take our guests to the ancient town during the late morning and early afternoon as, during those hours, it gets really crowded and noisy due to a large influx of tourist bus groups from the large Da Nang casino resorts. We begin your discovery of the ancient seaport in the late afternoon with a guided walk through the Japanese and Chinese Quarters of the tiny ancient town. One of the highlights is the beautifully crafted and much-photographed Japanese Bridge. You will also visit a number of temples, pagodas, communal houses, traditional shops, and other places of interest in the small town.
(Overnight – La Siesta Resort & Spa)

Day 8: Hoi An. Fisherman and Farmer for a Half Day. (Breakfast and Special Dinner) Rural Farming & Fishing Life Experience. Join your Tour Director Guide for a drive into the rural region away from modern civilization, along the Thu Bon River and its gorgeous Nipa Mangroves, passing lush farms and jungles. Soon you will arrive at the home and workshop of a local bamboo craftsman.

Bamboo Weaving

Bamboo Weaving

Bamboo is widely used for a myriad of purposes in central coastal Vietnam, and there are a few expert craftsmen who sculpt and create with this amazing natural resource.

Your host this morning is one of the very best of these craftsmen. You will be shown the steps of the creative process, and you are encouraged to make a souvenir for yourself.

You will now proceed to visit a local fisherman’s family. We recommend that you use bicycles for this part of the excursion, although for those group members who would rather not, your vehicle will be headed to the same destination. The approximately 5-mile ride is on flat country roads with no traffic, and the scenery is extremely charming. At the end of the ride, you will meet the friendly family and learn about their simple lifestyles, followed by a lesson in Vietnamese net fishing!

A very short drive after this will end at an organic farm, where again you will learn from the farmers on how they cultivate their crops. Enjoy some of their herbal tea and snacks, and then, if you so desire, participate in their daily activities for a little while. From here you are driven back to your gorgeous lodging and you are at leisure for a couple of hours for relaxation at your lodge, until your bamboo platform dining experience.

Bamboo Platform Dining Experience: At 4:30 PM your Country Connoisseur Guide will escort you to the banks of the river. You will be assisted in boarding one of the Hoi An regions iconic basket boats for a short cruise. After a few minutes you will arrive at your destination – large floating bamboo rafts, situated on a beautiful secluded part of the river, surrounded by tropical nature. Butlers and other staff will feed you unique local cuisine and fresh vegetables. At the end of the evening, at about 8 PM, you will be driven back to your resort.
(Overnight – La Siesta Resort & Spa)

Day 9: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon. (Breakfast and Lunch) Check-out of your resort in the morning and you are driven to Da Nang airport, crossing the charming Dragon Bridge on the way, where you will board the noon flight to Saigon. From the airport area you will be driven to District 1 in Saigon. There will be a break for lunch at a top-rated contemporary fusion restaurant, the Quan Bui.

After lunch you are assisted with check-in at Vietnam’s most luxurious city hotel, the Reverie, also ranked as Saigon’s top hotel. The opulence of the hotel and your room cannot be described in words – it has to be experienced! You are in the heart of Saigon’s downtown (District 1), and restaurants, cafes, bars, and shopping are right at your doorstep, as are historical structures such as the Opera House. You are a couple of minutes’ away from the scenic Saigon River. Dinner and/or a drink is recommended at the Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar at the nearby (5-minute walk) upscale Caravelle Hotel – this is the spot where American correspondents such as Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings received their daily war briefing and it was their favorite watering hole during that time. Both the food and the drinks are very good.

Located near the mouth of the Mekong, this city was once nothing more than swampland inhabited by a few Khmer people. Today it is Vietnam’s largest and most metropolitan city, now known as Ho Chi Minh City.

Nursery on Canal

Nursery on Canal

The city of over 9 million people is a prototypical large Asian city with an impressive modern skyline overlooking busy streets overflowing with, for western visitors, chaotic scooter, motorcycle and other traffic.

You will start your exploration of Saigon in the midafternoon with a visit to the Reunification Palace. This was the headquarters of the United States supported South Vietnamese government and has been left largely as it appeared on the day the Viet Cong’s tanks crashed through the gate and claimed victory for the North. The original furniture, equipment rooms, and war rooms remain untouched, all the way down to the rotary phones on the desks and strategic maps on the walls. In the middle of the crowded city, this large structure and its vast grounds are a fascinating time warp taking you back to the early 1970’s. Next, enjoy a visit to the beautiful colonial building housing the Central Post Office, with its amazing collection of century old western telegraphs and other machines. This is an active place of business, and the gorgeous antique interior includes wooden phone booths and counters that the locals will be standing at while buying services.
(Overnight – The Reverie Saigon)

Day 10: Saigon. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) A short walk from your gorgeous hotel this morning will bring you to a pier on the Saigon River where you will be assisted in boarding an upscale speedboat. You will proceed on a very scenic ride to the Cu Chi Tunnels, located in the countryside north of Saigon. This speedboat ride gives you an opportunity to experience the lush farming and rural areas on the banks of the river and cuts the travel time to almost half when compared to driving.

The Cu Chi area is famed for its elaborate network of over 125 miles (200 kilometers) of three-story underground tunnels hand-dug during the Vietnam War. As you tour this extremely popular attraction, you have the option to experience climbing down into a tunnel and crawling around to get a taste of how the North Vietnamese soldiers (Vietcong) lived during the latter part of the war. There are displays of weaponry that was used, as well as life-sized clay likenesses of the North Vietnamese soldiers depicting the lives they lived.

You will enjoy lunch at a riverfront restaurant and then you will be assisted in boarding the speedboat back to Saigon. Enjoy another picturesque and exciting journey on the way back to District 1 in Saigon. Return to your gorgeous hotel and there is a short break for you to freshen up. After this you will enjoy a walk-through Saigon, including the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

The walk starts at Notre Dame Cathedral and leads you to the Municipal Theater, after which you are driven to your spectacular hotel to enjoy the amazing facilities for a little while.

Saigon River Cruise Dinner: In the evening you will join your Country Connoisseur Guide for a short drive to another pier on the Saigon River where you will be assisted in boarding your river cruising vessel. Enjoy Saigon city lights and the multiple entertainment acts as you dine on a large and fresh selection of Vietnamese and some western cuisine. There are local dancers, musicians, a magician, and you are encouraged to join the performances.
(Overnight – The Reverie Saigon)

Day 11: Saigon - Siem Reap, Cambodia. (Breakfast and Lunch) This morning you have the option to experience an exploration of the War Remnants Museum. We do not recommend this museum to guests who don’t want to experience gruesome war photos, written descriptions, and exhibits. Also, please bear in mind that the atrocities exhibited are those attributed to American and French soldiers, during what Vietnamese call the American War and the earlier Anti-French Resistance War. For those who want to forego the museum, you can enjoy your spectacular hotel until the late morning or explore surrounding District 1 on your own. Those who visit the museum will return to your hotel to freshen up.

You are assisted with your check-out at noon and your bags are loaded into your vehicle. Enjoy a 3 to 4-minute walk through the affluent shopping area of District 1 and you will reach your destination for lunch, which will be at a wonderful upscale Vietnamese restaurant, Vietnam House. After lunch you are driven to the airport where your Vietnamese Country Connoisseur Guide will bid you farewell after assisting you with your check-in for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Arrive in Siem Reap and you are greeted at the airport by your Cambodia Country Connoisseur Guide and then you are driven to your beautiful upscale hotel and assisted with your check-in.
(Overnight – Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort)

Day 12: Siem Reap. (Breakfast and Lunch) Rising well before dawn, proceed for your exploration of the most famous temple in Southeast Asia, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this 12th century temple is a perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Arrive at the monuments entrance before the sun rises and walk to a location near the temple, where your sunrise view of Angkor Wat is across lotus ponds. This is the best time to visit Angkor Wat because it is the least crowded during the early morning, and watching the sunrise over the awe-inspiring complex is an experience not to be missed.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

After admiring the sunrise, you will proceed into the massive complex to discover its incredible structures and plethora of intricacies, which will be highlighted by your Country Connoisseur Guide.

After exploring Angkor Wat you are driven back to your resort for some time to freshen up and to have breakfast. In the late morning you will explore the immense walled city of Angkor Thom and its multiple awe-inspiring monuments built at a scale that is simply amazing. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the Devas (gods) and Asuras (devils) are engaged in tug of war with a Naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality. Begin your visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death.

You will continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances, and sporting events. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing. Next up is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact center of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia’s most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara (Buddha of Compassion), all of which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself.

Lunch will be at a lakeside restaurant located amidst Angkor’s masterpieces. Their main dining hall is in a charming old renovated wooden home and very good food is served here. After lunch a very short drive will bring you to the mystical Ta Prohm, which has been abandoned to the elements for centuries. Left as it was discovered by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. This was one of the settings for the original Tomb Raider movie.

Complete your exploration of this section of Angkor’s wealth of monuments with a visit to another temple that makes you feel like you have traveled back in time - Preah Khan. This large temple has also been left unrestored for the most part and is a fascinating maze of narrow passageways and windows that each offers their own unique view into the past. From here you will be driven back to your gorgeous resort where you can enjoy the extensive facilities this late afternoon and evening. You are a little more than half a mile from Siem Reap’s popular Pub Street, and for those who are interested, you can either walk or take one of the easily available tuk-tuks.
(Overnight – Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort)

Day 13: Siem Reap. (Breakfast, Lunch and Special Dinner) Join your Cambodia Connoisseur Guide for a very scenic 75 to 90-minute drive through the Cambodian countryside to the amazing temple complex of Beng Mealea. Arrive and start your exploration of this massive early 12th century complex.

Beng Maelea Tree

Beng Mealea Tree

Although partially in ruins, much of the complex is still in good condition, and some of the trees and vegetation have intermingled with the structure to create a sight that is unmatched by other similar monuments in Southeast Asia.

Due to its distance from Siem Reap, this surreal complex attracts significantly fewer tourists than Angkor Wat and the temples in the city of Angkor Thom.

From Beng Mealea you will head towards Tonle Sap Lake. Upon arrival you will break for lunch at a charming floating house that has been specially prepared for our guests this afternoon. Your excellent food choices will be catered by Easy Tours and lunch today will be one of the most memorable dining experiences of your Southeast Asia exploration.

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and the lake is connected to a river of the same name. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the lake region is one of the most biodiverse in the world, and its waters were what sustained the magnificent Angkor civilization, and others before and afterward. The lake loses much of its water during winter, and when the rains come in the late spring/early summer, the lake fills up and rises over 30 feet.

You will board your boat and your first stop will be at a floating explore the lakeside fishing community of Kampong Khleang, the largest town on the lake. You will be fascinated by the network of houses on up to 30-foot-tall stilts, lush farmlands, and small fishing communities on the lake, and you will have the opportunity to observe how the locals live and work in this unique environment. Unlike the very touristy and hawker-filled village of Chong Kneas, where almost all other tours go, Kampong Khleang offers a more authentic experience.

Special Dinner Experience: A very short drive across the Siem Reap River will bring you to the top-ranked restaurant, Embassy Khmer Gastronomy. This Fine Dining boutique restaurant is owned and operated by twin sisters who are both excellent chefs as well as gracious hosts. Only the freshest of local ingredients are used here and the delicious food and its impressive presentation are arguably the best you will experience anywhere. On the way back to your lodging guests who want to experience Siem Reap’s most popular night market will be dropped off along with your Cambodia Connoisseur Guide for a fascinating walk through the local night market to shop for all sorts of souvenirs and locally made apparel. Those who are not interested will be driven back to your nearby resort and your vehicle will then return to the market area and wait for those exploring the market. This is a very large and colorful market with scores of stalls and haggling is expected.
(Overnight – Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort)

Day 14: Siem Reap – Bangkok. (Breakfast and Lunch) After an assisted check-out you will head to the Banteay Srei Temple Complex. Although it attracts more visitors than Beng Mealea, it is less crowded than the main complexes in the Siem Reap Region. Banteay Srei is another Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, and, at more than a thousand years of age, it is older than almost all of the other major temple complexes in the Siem Reap Region.

Constructed from hard red sandstone, this temple is a study in detail. It is small when compared to the other structures you will have visited in Siem Reap, or even the Beng Mealea Complex.

Apsara's

Apsara's at Banteay Srei

However, the intricacy of its original sculptures, especially the detailed figures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, and the voluptuous and beautiful Apsaras, is unsurpassed among all the wonders found in the Angkor region.

Some parts of this temple, more so than in other Angkor Region monuments, are replicas due to theft (before adequate protections were added) over the last few decades.

From Banteay Srei you will head back to Siem Reap where you will break for lunch at a very charming upscale and boutique lodge. The atmospheric Chanrey Tree Restaurant serves excellent cuisine in a wonderful restaurant that is a favorite among luxury travelers in Siem Reap. After lunch you will be driven to the nearby airport and assisted in boarding your flight to Bangkok. Bid farewell to your Cambodia Country Connoisseur Guide at the airport after you are assisted with your check-in.

Arrive in Bangkok and you are greeted at the airport by your Thailand Connoisseur Guide and then you are driven to your wonderful riverfront hotel for assisted check-in to your upgraded river view room. The giant metropolis of Bangkok is a fascinating blend of modern skyscrapers, congested traffic, beautiful and ornate Wats (temples), incredible street food, and a lot more. The colorful Thai culture and the easygoing local lifestyle make this unique city even more interesting.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 15: Bangkok. (Breakfast and Lunch) Your day will start in the mid-morning so as to give you time to relax after a long day of sightseeing and travel. Enjoy a river cruise to your first destination this morning.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Your will stop at the spectacular Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), which is by far the most striking structure in Bangkok, and is the city’s iconic riverside monument.

This is the most unique historic temple in Thailand, very different from anything else you will experience. We do not include the opportunity to climb the monument as the steps are very steep (12 to 15 inches in height) and there are inadequate or nonexistent support structures for hands. As with other Thai places of worship, bare legs and shoulders are not acceptable.

After the temple, you will board longtail boats and head to the opposite bank of the river. Proceed to a very nice riverfront restaurant where you will enjoy lunch. Besides the great food, you will have excellent views of the busy river and the spectacular Wat Arun on the opposite riverbank. An interesting 7-to-8-minute walk will bring you to Thailand’s largest flower market, where millions of amazing flowers are spread across hundreds of stalls. Flowers are an integral part of Thai society, and the plethora of fragrant colors amidst the extremely busy shops and stalls are a delight to experience.

A very short walk will bring you to Wat Pho, known also as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The famous statue of the Buddha is 50 feet (15 meters) high and 140 feet (43 meters) long and is covered in gold leaf. The bottoms of the feet are inlaid with mother of pearl, divided into 108 panels depicting the 108 auspicious symbols used by the Buddha.

Another very short walk will bring you to the Grand Palace complex, which has been the state residence of Thai royalty since 1782 and parts of which are still used for official events. Your Thailand Connoisseur Guide will show you some of the more interesting highlights of the complex. The collection of buildings serves as a nice introduction to Thai architecture and provides many great photo opportunities. Just one of the several stops you will make within the complex is Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in all of Thailand. Except for the Thai King, no other person is allowed to touch this statue. The King changes the statue’s cloak three times each year to correspond to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons. After exploring Bangkok’s most famous attractions, you will be escorted back to your hotel.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 16: Bangkok. (Breakfast and Lunch) As of 2022 Easy Tours no longer includes a floating market on our Bangkok itineraries. Over the last couple of decades, we have watched as these wonderful local experiences got progressively more touristy, to the point that now no actual locals do any shopping in the large and popular markets.

Tourists at Damnoen Saduak

Tourists at Damnoen Saduak

Busloads of aggressive tourists start arriving in the early morning, and the feel of the market is loud, crowded, and, to those of us who have experienced earlier times, depressing.

What exists now is solely for tourists, and the only Thai people you will see buying or eating around the markets are people who are working in the market There are lots of small charming non-touristy markets that people will refer to as a ‘floating market’. All this means is that the market is located next to a canal, and a couple of the intrepid stall owners are offering their wares from a boat parked next to the market. So as to offer our guests a genuine local market instead, you will visit the most interesting weekend street market on our planet on this day.

Your morning will start with a drive to Jim Thompson’s House & Museum, a great introduction to amazing Asian art, and Bangkok before it became the major city it is today. Before his disappearance in Malaysia over a half century ago, the silk magnate collected an incredible plethora of Southeast Asian art, from Thailand and many other surrounding nations. He had a beautiful home constructed to showcase part of his collection, and also had the museum constructed to house the rest of the collection. The museum buildings themselves are fascinating as they include ancient wooden homes that were brought in from all around Thailand, as well as new wooden construction. You will experience a well-designed tour of the facilities conducted by an expert from the museum.

From here you will head to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Spread over 30 acres with more than 10,000 stalls, this market originated in 1942 and is the oldest, largest, and most diverse weekend market on our planet. Literally anything a local or a visitor could possibly want is available here, and we need to mention that group members are not going to be able to stop at multiple stalls and haggle. The colors, activity and general feel are a joy to experience on a walk through an interesting section of the market.

From here you will proceed to the banks of the River of Kings and enjoy lunch at another great restaurant with a river view. After lunch you will enjoy an urban excursion by long-tailed boats to discover the canals of Thonburi. The people of Thailand, including the residents of Bangkok, have always lived a lifestyle that is primarily dependent on their rivers. You will explore the intricate network of canals, or Khlongs, as you cruise past colorful homes and other structures.

This adventure will offer great insights into how the locals live. In some parts you will see women washing clothes and utensils in the water, children swimming, locals throwing food to teeming schools of fish (considered a religious offering), and a lot more. Stop for a brief visit at Baan Silapin (Artists House), a charmingly decorated centuries-old structure on a residential part of the canal, this succession of small canal front structures is a whimsical art gallery showcasing local creative talents. You will end you experience at your hotel’s jetty.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 17: Bangkok – Chiang Mai. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are assisted with your check-out in the slightly early morning and driven to the airport to board your flight to Chiang Mai, capital of the fascinating Lanna Kingdom. Arrive at Chiang Mai and begin your exploration with the historic walled city, one of the most charming ancient cities in Southeast Asia. This tour demonstrates the architectural diversity and blending of styles that the Lanna people were famous for. It is also a great way to get familiar with the city, should you decide to go out during the evenings to explore on your own.

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai

Included are visits to some of the iconic old temples of ancient Chiang Mai, including Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man.

The Lanna Kingdom flourished in northern Thailand between the 12th - 15th centuries, and Chiang Mai was the longtime capital of the kingdom after it was moved from Chiang Rai. The city is the second largest city in Thailand, and the cultural capital of the north. Possessing great natural beauty and a host of outdoor activities and parks on its outskirts, the city itself is a fascinating combination of unique architecture, ancient history with its associated rituals, and a modern metropolis. Chiang Mai is one of Asia’s best cities to explore on foot, with a bustling street food scene.

There is a break for lunch at a highly rated restaurant in the Old City. After lunch you will be assisted with your check-in at your beautiful boutique riverfront resort, which happens to be the top-ranked upscale lodging in Chiang Mai. The resort is extremely charming, serves great food, and has an excellent spa. There is a spectacular century plus old Rain Tree that graces the resort at the river’s bank, adding even more to the natural charm of your surroundings. Your boutique resort is an easy walk (or an easily available tuk-tuk ride) to downtown Chiang Mai where there are scores of cafés, restaurants, and bars, as well as the night markets.

In the mid-afternoon you will proceed on the short drive up to Doi Suthep, the hill on the edge of the city that dominates the Chiang Mai skyline. Once at the top, you will find the 309 stairs up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which are flanked on each side by beautiful Nagas running the entire length of the stairs. You also have the option of taking a large elevator (which does usually have a short waiting line) up to the Wat. Once at the top, enjoy the spiritual ambience of one of Thailand’s most holy places, as well as some superb sunset views of the city. You will see devout Thai’s circling the main stupa in a ritualistic manner, and many others on their knees in deep prayer.

Chiang Mai has a great street market every night, with the largest market occurring on Sunday nights. Join your Country Connoisseur Guide this evening for an excursion to Chiang Mai’s most exciting and extensive night market. it is a fascinating street food scene with its crowds and activity making it another one of Southeast Asia’s amazing photo opportunities.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 18: Chiang Mai - Doi Inthanon Excursion. (Breakfast and Lunch) Head to spectacular Doi Inthanon mountain and national park, which includes a visit to the most photographed attractions in Northern Thailand, Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphaphonphumisiri. These massive and gorgeous Chedis are the subject of the most popular photos that travel journals and websites use for the Chiang Mai region, and are not situated in Chiang Mai, but close to the peak of Doi Inthanon. You will also enjoy other experiences inside Doi Inthanon National Park, which is a protected area that is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.

This is a full day excursion and you will get back to your resort in the evening. Doi Inthanon is a superb national park full of majestic waterfalls, lush green valleys, terraced paddy fields, fruit, flower and vegetables crops, and ethnic communities living happily and comfortably in their natural environment. Once at the peak you will admire the views and then enjoy an easy trek through the mist laden virgin forest and be fascinated with the unique flora that is found here.

After this adventure you will be driven downhill and lunch will be at the Royal Project Kitchen (with fresh natural and organic ingredients from project farmers), while admiring the beautiful surroundings and views. After lunch there will be two more not-to-be-missed experiences on your way back to Chiang Mai.

First you will stop at the two afore-mentioned spectacular Chedis, which are dedicated to the Beloved Late King and the Revered Queen and are located in a magical spot with lush undulating hills and spectacular views.

Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

The immaculate terraced gardens with a plethora of colorful exotic flowerbeds that surround the Chedis make for a breathtaking locale and a fantastic photo opportunity.

The second short and fascinating stop as you head down the mountain is the Royal Projects Highway Market run by the Hill Tribes of the Doi Inthanon region. You will stop and walk around the outdoor stalls selling fruits, produce, nuts and other items organically grown by the simple and now well-to-do tribal locals, some of whom will be dressed in their unique clothing. This market, its wares, and the tribal people that grow and sell here are a growing testament of the success of the Late King’s vision and efforts. The Royal Projects granted the Hill Tribes their own land to cultivate, free seeds, tools, and all other resources needed to make them succeed in becoming successful natural farmers. Now, over half a century later, the results of the Late King’s vision have brought happiness to everyone involved.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 19: Chiang Mai – Elephant Sanctuary (No Elephant Riding). (Breakfast and Lunch) After an early breakfast this morning you will head out with your Thailand Connoisseur Guide and drive out to the mountains to enjoy some time with Thailand’s iconic animal – the elephant. You will be spending the day at one of the finest elephant camps in Northern Thailand and taking part in a hands-on experience that will allow you to truly interact with these majestic animals.

Baan Chang Camp stopped offering Elephant Riding a while back, and even when they did offer that activity, they never used cages for riding. The “Elephant Day Care” is an interactive and personalized program that aims to spread knowledge about elephant conservation efforts while creating a unique and special experience for everyone who joins.
The current schedule, as per the camp operator, is as follows:

Arrive at Baan Chang Elephant Park, change into traditional clothing.

Prepare fruits for the elephants and meet the elephants. Feeding, roaming, touching, and playing with elephants.

12:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Prepare and cook sticky rice in order to be mixed with herbal stuff for the elephants. Learn about the background, health care and behavior of elephants.

2:00 pm Enjoy more time roaming, feeding and taking the elephants for a walk to a clean water pond where they will cool themselves off and you will have a chance to observe and join them in bathing as well. Feed sticky rice balls and fruits to the elephants.

Tusker

Tusker

This part is focused on taking your time and allowing the elephants to enjoy each moment of their freedom, scratching, rubbing, and throwing dirt on their backs, an activity that is good for their skin.

** Tea and coffee break.

Visit and play with the baby elephants in the Nursery Zone.

At about 3 PM you will join your Guide and be driven back to your Chiang Mai resort, arriving at about 4 PM.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 20: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are assisted with your checkout in the morning and you will now proceed on the scenic drive through the hills as you head to Chiang Rai. The mountainous region of the north has been significantly influenced by Burmese and Chinese culture due to its proximity to those nations. The culture, language, and food, even the physical appearance of the local Lanna descendants, all stand in subtle contrast to the rest of Thailand.

This is Thailand’s northernmost city and was the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Today it is the commercial center of the once infamous Golden Triangle Region. Chiang Rai is tiny compared to Chiang Mai, and this northern outpost has an even slower pace and a markedly laid-back feel. Its rural surroundings are showcased by the fact that, during your exploration of the city, you may come across a number of visitors from regional ethnic tribes, in town to buy and sell goods.

Arrive at Chiang Rai there is a break for lunch at a top-rated restaurant. After lunch you are driven to a monument that is nothing like anything you have ever seen before, Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. This recent striking creation of a famous local architect is extremely ornate and beautiful in its design and houses an impressive array of intricate sculptures. This is the attraction that gets the most visitors in the Chiang Rai region and for good reason – it is completely different from any other monument in Southeast Asia.

Next you will visit the original Wat Phra Kaew, which was home to the precious Emerald Buddha statue before it was moved to Bangkok. With a known history going back about 700 years, this is one of Northern Thailand’s most revered Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The beautiful temple complex is housed in gorgeous gardens with orchids and other blooming flora and is far less crowded when compared to Bangkok and Chiang Mai’s main temples.

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

Photography of the replica Emerald Buddha is permitted, unlike in Bangkok, and the architecture of the temple, and the quality of the craftsmanship of the statues inside, especially the massive 7 century old brass and copper statue of Lord Buddha in the main chapel, is outstanding.

From the wat you will be driven to your riverfront resort, Chiang Rai’s top-ranked upscale lodging. Your beautiful suite has an enviable view of the lush and hilly Chiang Rai region, including the beautiful river than runs right next to your resort. Unlike Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai city itself does not offer a lot of attractions. It is what is around it that is most charming. The Peak Wine & Grill at your resort is the highest restaurant in Chiang Rai and offers spectacular views of the river, mountains, and countryside, with a sunset that has to be experienced to be believed.
(Overnight – The Riverie by Kathathani)

Day 21: Chiang Rai. (Breakfast and Lunch) Continue your exploration of Northern Thailand with a drive to the ancient region of Chiang Saen. Located along the banks of the Mekong River, the once great city here was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom during the 12th and early 13th centuries, before Chiang Rai took its place. Now all that remains is a sleepy riverside town with some well-preserved remnants amongst beautiful teak and banyan trees.

Here you will be assisted in boarding your boat for a cruise along the upper Mekong River toward Sop Ruak and the exact coordinates of the Golden Triangle. This spectacular region was once the infamous location for the production of most of the world’s opium. This is the spot where the countries of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet and you will view the lush countryside of each nation as you cruise. Disembark from the boat and you are driven to a hilltop viewing site where you can clearly see the spot where the three nations meet at the confluence of two rivers.

Buddha Statue at Golden Triangle

Buddha Statue at Golden Triangle

There is also a large golden Buddha image which gazes out over the Mekong.

You will break for lunch at the only upscale restaurant in this area and after lunch you will proceed for a scenic drive to a group of rural villages in the hills near Chiang Rai.

Hill Tribes and today’s reality – many travel companies continue to paint a picture of the unique traditional clothing, jewelry and lifestyles of Southeast Asia’s hill tribes as if these have remained unchanged over the last few decades. The truth is quite the opposite. The hill tribes were an integral part of poppy farming for a long time, and supported themselves and their unique lifestyles through its cultivation. As mentioned during your Doi Inthanon excursion in Chiang Mai, about five decades ago the revered late King of Thailand decided to end the drug trade in this region issuing a series of Royal Proclamations and Royal Projects to uplift and empower the tribal people. His goal was to provide them with alternative livelihoods and education for their children so that they could assimilate into the rest of Thailand’s population. Although some still live in their villages and farm, their lifestyles have changed; they dress like other Thai people do, practice modern cultivation methods, live in brick and mortar houses, speak the Thai dialect that is local to their region, ride motorbikes and drive pickup trucks as part of their daily routine.

There are a handful of locales where the tribal communities have been somewhat preserved in their original form with support from government funded agencies whose goal is to provide the few who do not want to change a place to live, while also making them self-sufficient. Easy Tours guests visit one of the better such villages, located near Chiang Rai.

Long Neck Women in Chiang Rai

Long Neck Tribals

During this excursion, you will pay a visit to the Kiran (longneck), Akka, Lahu, and Yao tribes. Your Tour Director will introduce you to some of the villagers and explain the origins and customs of these unique tribal peoples.

These villagers still honor their heritage by dressing in the vibrant and colorful garments unique to their people. The entry fees to this set of villages supports the hill tribe residents of the village, and the tribal residents also offer hand crafted items for sale, although they are not the least bit aggressive in pushing their wares. A few reviews condemn these village tours as being degrading to the tribal people, but the reality is that this is still the best way for them to earn a living, without completely changing their lifestyles. You are driven back to your resort in Chiang Rai after walking through the villages.
(Overnight – The Riverie by Kathathani)

Day 22: Chiang Rai – Bangkok – International Flight. (Breakfast) You are assisted with your check-out and driven to the Chiang Rai airport where you are assisted in boarding your flight to Bangkok. Arrive at Bangkok and your Thailand Connoisseur Guide will escort you to the check-in counter for your international flight and bid you farewell.

Please note that almost all international flights depart from Thailand’s airports either very late at night or early in the morning.

Your assigned Easy Tours’ Guest Relations Manager will make further recommendations based on your international flight details, once you provide us with that information. Any additional services, such as a one-night hotel stay, will be suggested based on those details.



 

Lodging

Hanoi Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi – Premium Room
HaLong Bay Paradise Grand Cruise – Executive Grand Balcony Cabin
Hue Azerai La Residence – Superior River View
Hoi An La Siesta Resort & Spa HoiAn – Verandah Suite Club Wing
Saigon The Reverie Saigon – Deluxe Room
Siem Reap Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort - Superior Room
Bangkok Shangri La Bangkok – Deluxe Balcony River View Room
Chiang Mai Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort – Romantic Laana Deluxe
Chiang Rai The Riverie by Kathathani – Riverie Suite with River View

Inclusions

Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guide for Airport Assistance on all in-country flights
Breakfast and Lunch Daily
All meals on HaLong Bay
Ground transportation via upscale private vehicles
Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
Services of the best English-speaking Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guides
Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
Bottled water during sightseeing
Hotel accommodation as listed above
All Boat Fees/Fares per the itinerary

Not Included

International travel except countries on your Easy Tours Journey
Any expenses of a personal nature, such as tips, laundry, phone calls, drinks etc.
Meals other than those specified on itinerary
Travel insurance, visas, etc.

Dates & Prices

Tour ID: ET-1331

Annual End of Summer Sale. From 9.10.22 to 9.25.22

Arrival Date Double or Single
Occupancy Price
On Tour
Flight Cost
Total Cost
Per Person
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Tour
Oct 14, 2022
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Nov 04, 2022
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Dec 02, 2022
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Jan 06, 2023
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Feb 03, 2023
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Feb 17, 2023
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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Mar 17, 2023
$10400 $9400
$962 DBL - $10362
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