Experience History & Nature in Southeast Asia | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

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Experience History & Nature in Southeast Asia



FROM $2916+

Private Tour Highlights

  • Visit the famous Bridge over the River Kwai
  • Riverbank views are a photographer’s delight
  • Experience the modern, yet intensely historic Saigon
  • See the process of Elephant rehabilitation at the world’s first elephant hospital
  • Delve into the region’s natural history in relation to WWII
  • Experience the world from an Elephant’s point of view
  • Watch the world go by from a sidewalk café
  • Get more information on how the Vietnam War was waged
  • Enjoy a delicious Thai dinner while floating along the Chao Phrya River
  • Float through the canals to buy fresh produce, the traditional way of buying goods in Thailand
  • Learn the role of rice plantations in the Thai farming culture
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

With a deep history pertaining to WWII and an inherent natural beauty, Kanchanaburi will impress history buffs and nature lovers alike. Under Japanese rule, prisoners of war from the U.S., Australia, Thailand and Holland were subject to forced labor that created some of today’s historical landmarks in the area, including the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, the Death Railway and Hellfire Pass. On the other hand, the scenery of the lush jungles, rolling hills, and riverbank vistas will be a photographer’s delight. Also enjoy Elephant’s World, an organization that cares for domesticated elephants that are unable to survive on their own will. With the charming mountains, rivers, and serene lake, you will also enjoy Sankhaburi, an idyllic place near the Burmese border that is worth visiting and well off the beaten path.

Bustling, booming, crowded, and noisy – all words that barely scratch the surface of the addictive and often mesmerizing chaos that is Saigon. And yet there are the elegant colonial French boulevards and buildings, the Cathedral, the riverfront, the quiet moments at a sidewalk cafe watching the world literally go by you at breakneck speed. Journey out of the city centre to the Cu Chi region, where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defence against the French, and later expanded during the American War. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

Price Includes:
Domestic airfare from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City, Hotel accommodation including continental or buffet breakfast, Private transfers between airports and hotels with assistance and baggage handling, Private guided tours in English including all entrance fees, Meals where specified (food only), Bottled water and cool towels provided for transfers and sightseeing, Vietnam and Thailand government tax and service charges, Local airport taxes that are payable in the country of destination are not included. Taxes and security fees that can be paid at time of ticketing are already included in the quote (if airfare has been included in the quote)

* Additional supplements may apply between 19 December – 8 January with a set minimum of consecutive nights required for bookings between 23 – 25 December. Special conditions apply between 28 – 31 December.

* Additional supplements may apply during the weeks immediately preceding and following the Lunar (Chinese) New Year. The dates vary each year, but fall sometime between January 21st and February 20th:
2016 – Monday, February 8th
2017 – Saturday, January 28th
2018 – Friday, February 16th
Best Time to Travel

Best Good Consult

Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double £$2916 £$3293 £$3717 £$4715
Single £$4689 £$5415 £$6376 £$8370

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary


International flight to Bangkok

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.


Arrival in Bangkok

Upon arrival in Bangkok, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. Depending on the arrival time, spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. Depending on the arrival time, spend the remainder of the day at leisure.


Exploring Wat Pho, Vimanmek Mansion & the Thompson Silk Museum

After breakfast, drive to Wat Pho in time to experience the monks' morning chanting ritual. One of the oldest and most extensive temples in Bangkok, Wat Pho is home to the famous 45m Reclining Buddha. It is also the original school of traditional Thai massage. Next, visit the Grand Palace, the most important and spectacular royal palace in Thailand. The palace is an architectural wonder of golden stupas, walls and pillars encrusted in shining and colorful mosaics. Previously the residence of the Kings of Thailand, there are multiple palaces within the complex which were used for different occasions; including the beautiful Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the most revered Buddha image in Thailand: The Emerald Buddha. Continue with a walk to the public ferry pier for a short boat ride to Wat Arun, once the grand royal temple to King Rama II. After exploring, eat lunch (not included).

Then proceed with a visit to Vimanmek Mansion, the largest teakwood mansion in the world. Also referred to as Teakwood Palace, it was built in 1900 by King Rama V as part of the Dusit Palace Complex. In 1982, Queen Sirikit was granted permission from King Rama IX to renovate the building for use as a museum. Today, the museum holds an impressive collection of photographs, personal art, and handicrafts that were all personally collected by King Rama V.

Continue with a visit to the Thai-style house of Jim Thompson, the legendary American businessman who came to Thailand at the end of World War II and rediscovered the Thai silk industry. His house is now a museum filled with fascinating Asian antiques and historical memorabilia. The house consists of six separate Thai teakwood houses from the Ayutthaya period put together as one. Jim Thompson's mysterious disappearance in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia remains a mystery to this day. After the tour, return to the hotel for the evening.

Note: Wat Arun Temple will be under renovation until further notice. Visitors will still able to visit the temple and walk around it, but the construction is ongoing and will not be able to climb up the stupa. Ladies should wear a short-sleeved top with full-length pants or a knee-length skirt and gentlemen should wear pants and a short-sleeved shirt for religious reasons. Sandals and flip flops are not allowed. If this tour falls on a Monday, the Vimanmek Mansion part of the tour will be replaced with a tour of Suan Pakkad Palace Museum.
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Exploring Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Nakorn Pathorn

Depart early morning for the two-hour drive to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This vibrant market features numerous small boats laden with colorful fruits and vegetables, paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats. Almost always crowded with hundreds of vendors, purchasers and tourists, the best way to experience the atmosphere of the market is to board a rowing boat and make way through the small canals to buy fresh produce from the vendors. This is the only place to see the traditional way of selling and buying goods in Thailand.

Afterwards, visit the Nakorn Pathom; the site of the highest Chedi in Thailand called "Phra Pathom Chedi", which is the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia. Enjoy an excellent buffet lunch at the picturesque Rose Garden. After lunch, there will be Thai cultural performances, including the colorful Buddhist ordination procession, an elegant fingernail dance, a Thai boxing demonstration, Hill Tribe dance performances, sword fighting, elephants, charming folk dances, a traditional Thai wedding ceremony and more.

This evening, be picked up from the hotel and transferred to Manohra Pier (or Saphan Taksin Pier), where travelers will board a boat for an evening cruise. Learn more about Bangkok and the Chao Phrya River, a truly magnificent waterway and one of the great rivers in Asia. The river has been a principal factor in the development of Thai heritage, culture, and economy, and is considered the nation's life and soul.

Cruise down the Chao Phrya River and enjoy a delicious Thai dinner while watching the views change to reveal fantastic treasures from the country's rich past, as well as fascinating modern architectural creations. The Manohra Luxury Cruise will take travelers to the King Rama VIII Bridge, where the boat will turn around and head back to the pier. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.
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Arrival in Kanchanaburi Province

Early this morning, transfer to Kanchanaburi Province. Upon arrival, visit the cemetery of allied prisoners of World War II. Then visit the JEATH (Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland) War Museum that commemorates the prisoners of war that were held captive here by the Japanese. Continue to the famous bridge on the River Kwai before experiencing a ride on the infamous Death Railway across the bridge, through local farmland and limestone mountains, and finally to Tam Krasae Station where you will depart for lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, head north to the uniquely scenic borderland of Sangkhlaburi, the westernmost district adjacent to Myanmar. Enjoy a coffee break at the Groeng Grawia Waterfall before continuing to Three Pagodas Pass - the mainland route into Thailand since ancient times that holds both Buddhist and historical significance from the Burmese-Siamese War of 1548. The pass is named for three small, crumbling pagodas which were built as symbols of peace. Transfer to the guesthouse in Sangkhlaburi for the evening and enjoy a traditional Thai dinner.
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Exploring the Mon Temple and Hellfire Pass Memorial

This morning visit Mon Temple or Wat Wangwiwekaram, which was built by the people of the Mon Hill Tribe and is highly revered by Mon, Burmese, and Thai ethnicities from both sides of the border. Then enjoy a nice walk along the Wooden Bridge on Khao Laem Lake that provides a terrific view of Sangkhlaburi and the surrounding landscape. The bridge is over 850 meters (2,788 feet) long and considered to be Thailand's longest wooden bridge. Afterwards, enjoy a boat trip on the magnificent Khao Laem Lake to a floating village. On the way, make a brief stop at a sunken temple.

Return to Kanchanaburi for lunch at a local restaurant and then continue to Hellfire Pass Memorial, the renowned site at which prisoners of the Second World War were forced to create a pass for the Death Railway. Visit the informative museum and walk along the trail to the site of the pass. In the early evening, depart for a night jungle safari. Upon arrival at the camp, one can play with the resident elephants and bathe them in the river. Afterwards, embark on a night safari by elephant back through the camp and into the woodlands along the River Kwai. Conclude the night with a barbeque dinner on the riverbank before transferring to the hotel for the night.
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Elephant’s World & Nong Kao Village

After breakfast, head to Elephant's World, an organization that was created to improve elephant welfare and increase the experience of those taking care of domesticated elephants. Elephant's World is also a sanctuary for sick, old, disabled, abused, illegal and street elephants who receive the rest and care that they deserve. Situated just 32 kilometers (20 miles) outside of town, the camp is near the river and surrounded by mountains, creating an oasis of tranquility and peace. Upon arrival, meet the staff and prepare food for the elephants. Make sticky rice and cut bana grass, sugarcane and banana plants for them.

Later in the afternoon, continue to Nong Kao Village for a tour by bicycle or local truck. Visit the village shrine, a palm orchard, and the rice paddies. Then take some time to try delicious local fruits before receiving a demonstration of a ritual to the Rice Goddess. This performance is meant to strengthen and comfort the spirit of the Goddess and will enhance one’s understanding of the role of rice plantations in the Thai farming culture.
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Kanchanaburi – Bangkok – Saigon

Depart Kanchanaburi for your return to Bangkok for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Depart Kanchanaburi for your return to Bangkok for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, airport reception and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.


Highlights of Saigon

Morning

Morning city tour with your private guide. In this essential highlight tour, visit the former Presidential Palace, which is now preserved as a museum, including the underground communications bunkers, headquarters for the Saigon Government during the American War. Continue to the History Museum, which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese. Take the opportunity to see a delightful performance of water puppetry in the grounds. Then visit the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the center of city, the "wedding cake" styled Hotel De Ville, and Dong Khoi street, formerly the center of haute couture in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) when it was known as Rue Catinat.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by a privately guided half day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This vast underground network of tunnels was first built as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the American War. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare. Marvel at their ingenuity and resilience as you see secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

The more adventurous travelers may explore the deeper second, and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground, there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering. Some are easily accessed by stairs. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty! Return to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the late afternoon and enjoy the evening at leisure.
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International flight home via Saigon

Private transfer to the airport for the return flight home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on of choice.

Private transfer to the airport for the return flight home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on of choice.

Bangkok Thailand

Kanchanaburi Thailand

Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Places You'll See

  • Bangkok_Temple


    Dubbed the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure, Bangkok is home to a plethora of attractions, and activities. Enjoy a variety of shopping and dining experiences, or the city’s bustling night life. Or immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture by visiting the Grand Palace, any of the several Buddhist temples, or the Bangkok National Museum.

  • kanchanaburi--thailand


    With a deep history of WWII and an inherent natural beauty, Kanchanaburi will impress history buffs and nature lovers alike. Under Japanese rule, prisoners of were subject to forced labor that created some of today’s historical landmarks in the area. Take in the lush jungles, rolling hills, and riverbank vistas and enjoy Elephant’s World, an organization that cares for elephants in need.

  • ho-chi-minh-city-Saigon

    Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

    The metropolitan Ho Chi Minh City is always bustling with activity, and full of historical attractions. Visit the beautiful French-built Catholic Notre Dame Cathedral in the city center. For a look at the Vietnam War through the eyes of the Vietnamese, take a tour of the War Remnants Museum. And for unbelievable views of the city, visit the Saigon Skydeck in the Bitexco Financial Tower.

Hotel Options

3 Star Properties

Bangkok : Adelphi Suites

Bangkok : Chatrium Residence Sathon Bangkok

Bangkok : Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

Bangkok : U Sathorn Bangkok

Kanchanaburi : Boutique Raft Resort

Kanchanaburi : River Kwai Jungle Rafts (Raft House)

Kanchanaburi : River Kwai Resotel

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Aquari Hotel

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Asian Ruby Luxury Hotel

4 Star Properties

Bangkok : Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa

Bangkok : Ariyasomvilla

Bangkok : Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan

Bangkok : Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Kanchanaburi : Hintok River Camp

Kanchanaburi : U Inchantree Kanchanaburi Hotel

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Liberty Central Riverside Hotel

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Hotel Majestic Saigon

5 Star Properties

Bangkok : The Okura Prestige

Bangkok : Shangri-La Hotel

Bangkok : Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok

Bangkok : Sofitel So Bangkok

Kanchanaburi : Dheva Mantra Resort & Spa

Kanchanaburi : The Floathouse (Floating Villa)

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : InterContinental Asiana Saigon

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Caravelle Hotel

Luxury Properties

Bangkok : Mandarin Oriental

Bangkok : The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

Bangkok : The Siam Hotel

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Park Hyatt Hotel


Emily K.

Traveled January, 2015

I had such a great time with Yampu

I had such a great time with Yampu, and I would love to travel with them again. My boyfriend and I booked a customized private tour to Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Laos (Luang Prabang), Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh), and Vietnam (Saigon, Hanoi, and Halong Bay.) We both enjoyed every minute of the trip. The guides were all friendly and knowledgeable, the drivers were always punctual, the accommodations were lovely, and the food was delicious. I would highly recommend Yampu to anyone who wants to have a good time on their vacation.

Eric and Karen W. Canada

Traveled March, 2013

Dealing with Yampu makes me feel like I’m dealing with friends and that’s special

I want to send the attached to you with our heartfelt thanks for all you both did to make our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia the incredible adventure that it was. We have dealt with Yampu (Kontiki) since 2005 and in three trips have not had a moment that has not been wonderful. Jose you have built a company that is second to none in travel and that now appears to be just about anywhere in the world. Your coordination and expertise is unrivaled. The letter I have attached is a quick overview of our thoughts on our Vietnam trip. Feel free to use any or all of it on your website. I have also included a few photos. You continue to amaze and please me. If we can swing anyone your way, we certainly will. Dealing with Yampu makes me feel like I’m dealing with friends and that’s special. Vermont is not that far from Ontario. Karen and I may take a road trip there sometime. If we do we’ll let you know. We’d love to visit you. Warmest Wishes

Traveled To


Traveled December, 2015

We had a wonderful trip to Vietnam

We had a wonderful trip to Vietnam.The guides both in Hanoi and Saigon were very nice and helpful and made the trip very successful. The wonderful sights in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Cu Chi Tunnel and all the museums was very interesting. The relax days at Phu Quoc was beautiful. Once again you and Yampu made our holiday a great experience with a lot of good memories.

Traveled To

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