The Mysteries of Historic Southeast Asia | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998

- , ,

The Mysteries of Historic Southeast Asia


FROM £$ 6279

Private Tour Highlights

  • See the impressive 5½ ton, solid gold Buddha housed within the Wat Trimitr Temple
  • Experience a ride on the infamous Death Railway
  • Enjoy a boat trip on the beautiful Khao Laem Lake to a floating village and see a sunken temple
  • View the impressive collection of personal artifacts of the royal family at the National Museum
  • Observe the highly revered Wat Wang Wiwekaram Temple
  • Meet the resident elephants at Elephant World, and bathe them in the river
  • See the early morning ritual of the Tak Bat, where monks silently collect food offerings
  • Visit the Plain of Jars to see the mysterious giant monoliths
  • See the display that traces the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese at the History Museum
  • Take a guided tour through the underground network of the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Witness the car that transported the monk Thich Quag Duc to the site of his self-immolation
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

Historic Southeast Asia Tour

Much of the culture and land in South-East Asia has been shaped and changed drastically by the many military conflicts that have occurred there in the 20th century. From the colonial era to the modern, this tour stops at all the sites on the Peninsula that have occupied important roles throughout.

With a deep history pertaining to WWII and an inherent natural beauty, Kanchanaburi will impress history buffs and nature lovers alike. Under the rule of the Imperial Japanese Army, 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.

The Xieng Khouang Province is located in a mountainous region just north of Vientiane, near the Vietnamese border, and used to be an area of strategic trading and military importance. The area hosts a collection of archeological riches, including the mysterious Plain of Jars, whose purpose remains a mystery even today, despite the myths and legends surrounding it. These plains feature over 500 ancient, stone jar-like structures that vary from three to nine feet in height.

Today, Danag’s rich cultural history, its proximity to the extraordinary ruins of My Son, its atmospheric riverfront promenade and its world famous Chasm Museum all continue to draw visitors. Unwelcome visitors have made their mark here too – Danang was the first landing point for the invading French troops and again decades later for the US Marines.Nearby Hoi An, is also worth a brief stop. As you wander the completely traffic free streets of this ancient seaport, it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th century, when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia.

Price Includes:
Regional and domestic airfare from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang to Saigon, Saigon to Danang and Hue to Saigon, 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, Cambodia and Laos government tax and service charge 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

* Additional supplements may apply between 19 December – 8 January.

* The Hue airport is closed for renovations through November 2013. During this time, flights will depart from Danang.

* 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

* Additional supplements may apply for mandatory Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners.
Best Time to Travel

Best Good Consult

Pricing Details
  3-Star 4-Star 5-Star Luxury
Double £$5552 £$6279 £$6915 £$8121
Single £$8589 £$9815 £$11279 £$13724

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.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

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


Flight to Bangkok

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.


Arrive 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.


Tour of Bangkok City

In the morning, start a private, full day tour of Bangkok city. First, visit three of the most important temples. Wat Trimitr, the temple of Golden Buddha, houses an impressive 5½ tons, solid gold Buddha sculpted in the graceful Sukhothai style. Next, visit Wat Po, the temple of the Reclining Buddha, which is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. The next stop will be at AWat Phra Kaew, Thailand’s most sacred and revered temple. Adjoining it is the Grand Palace, a building that gracefully combines European and Thai architecture.

After a sumptuous lunch in a local restaurant, board a long-tailed speedboat for a thrilling ride through the klongs (canals) of outer Bangkok to get a closer look at the rural lifestyle. Then board a converted Rice Barge for a cruise on the bigger canals. These boats offer a very different perspective of Bangkok and provide a spectacular opportunity to observe the scenery and the simple life of the friendly canal residents. After the tour, transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the evening at leisure. less


Kanchanburi Province

Early morning pick up in Bangkok for ground transfer to Kanchanburi Province. Upon arrival, visit the cemetery of the allied prisoners of World War II. Then journey to visit the JEATH War Museum that commemorates the prisoners of war that were held captive here by Japanese. Late morning transfer to the Bridge on the River Kwai, which is regarded as the heart of Kanchanburi, in regards to the history of WWII. Experience a ride on the infamous Death Railway across the bridge, through local farmland, limestone mountains and finally to Tam Krasae station, to get off for lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue further north to the uniquely scenic borderland of Sangklaburi, the western most district adjacent to Myanmar. Enjoy a coffee break at the Groeng Grawia Waterfall, before continuing to the Three Pagodas Pass – the mainland route into Thailand since ancient times, that holds Buddhist significance as well as a deal of history from the Burmese-Siamese War of 1548. The pass is named for three small, crumbling pagodas which were built as a symbol of peace. Transfer to the guesthouse four the evening and enjoy a traditional Thai dinner. less


Khao Laem Lake

Morning

Morning visit to Mon Temple or Wat Wang Wiwekaram, which was built by the Mon Hill Tribe people and is highly revered by both Mon, Burmese and Thai people on both sides of the border. Then enjoy a nice walk along the Wooden Bridge on Khao Laem Lake that provides a terrific view of Sangklaburi town and its landscape. The bridge is over 850 meters (2788 feet) long and considered as Thailand’s longest wooden bridge, stretching over the Song Galia River. 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 town with lunch at a local restaurant on the way. Then continue to the Hellfire Pass Memorial, the renowned site at which WWII prisoners of war were forced into labor 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, be introduced to the resident elephants by playing with them and bathing them on the river. Then embark on a night safari by elephant back through the camp and into the woodlands along the River Kwai. Conclude the night by relaxing during a barbeque dinner on the riverbank before transferring to the hotel for the night. less


Elephant’s World and Nong Kao Village

Morning

Morning transfer to Elephant’s World, an organization that is designed for those with genuine interest in elephant welfare and want to have the experience of 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 joy that they deserve. Situated just 32 kilometers (20 miles) outside of town, the camp is surrounded by mountains and along the river, creating an oasis of tranquility and peace. Upon arrival, meet the staff and feed the elephants by making sticky rice, cutting bana-grass, sugarcane or banana plants.

Late afternoon, continue to Nong Kao Village for a village tour (either by bicycle or local truck), visiting the village shrine, a palm orchard, and the rice paddies to observe the local livelihoods. Take some time to try some of the delicious local fruits, before receiving a demonstration of a ritual to the Rice Goddess. This performance that is meant to strengthen and comfort the spirit of the Goddess enhances one’s understanding of the role of rice plantations in the Thai farming society. less


Kanchanaburi – Bangkok

Depart Kanchanaburi for the return to Bangkok airport for the flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. After lunch take a tour around Luang Prabang with the private guide. First visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo. The next stop is Luang Prabang’s National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace (not open on Tuesdays). Displayed inside is an impressive collection of personal artifacts of the royal family.

Continue on to visit Wat Mai - built in 1796, the five-tiered roof of the wooden sim epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. Phou Sii Hill stands right in the center of this small city; climb its 350 steps to enjoy panoramic views for many miles in each direction. Sunset can be enjoyed at Vat Siphouthabath or with a cold drink at one of the cafes located along the Mekong River. Enjoy the evening at leisure before returning to the hotel for the night. less


Luang Prabang

Start the day early with one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang – ‘Tak Bat’. At dawn hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). The guide will explain the background behind this ritual which is still very much a part of everyday life in Laos and travelers will have the chance to make ‘merit’. It’s early but well worth the wake up call!

After breakfast head off with the guide to visit Wat Xieng Thong - often said to be Luang Prabang’s most beautiful. Then head to the river to begin a relaxing riverboat trip with the guide on the mighty Mekong to visit Pak Ou Buddha Caves. En route it is possible to stopover at Ban Xanghai where local people produce Lao rice wine. Pak Ou caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many people still pay respect to this tradition.

After exploring the caves and enjoying lunch at a local restaurant return to the boat and journey back to Luang Prabang. Once returned, transfer to a private vehicle and take a drive out of town to the nearby village of Ban Phanom, a weaving village populated by Lu minority people that originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China. Lao textiles are still woven here in the traditional manner on ancient wooden looms. This village was once famed for producing silks for the Royal Palace. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. less



Transfer

Transfer to Phonesavanh with a local guide by a mountainous and windy road with breathtaking views. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. After lunch continue the drive through the mountains, passing many small H’mong villages. Along the way it is possible to stop to visit a local market and a couple of these villages. The mountains give way to small hills and peaceful countryside. Arrive late in the afternoon in Phonesavanh town and transfer to the hotel. Diner and accommodation is included at the hotel.

Note: As an alternative to driving to Phonesavanh, one may choose to fly directly from Vientiane at an added cost. less


Explore Phonesavanh

Breakfast

Breakfast is included at the hotel. This morning visit the local market then take a walking tour (approx. 2 hours) to the Plain of Jars Site One which is the largest site, with stops on the hills surrounding the city (travel can be made by vehicle instead of walking if preferred). After exploring Jars site 1 return to the city for lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch drive to Muang Khun, the former Xieng Khouang city destroyed by the war (approximately 30 kilometers/18 miles from the city center). Continue for approximately 3 kilometers/2 miles after the city to Ban Phai to visit a small and mainly unknown site of Jars. Return to Muang Khun and visit the ruins of the old city including the Wat, then take a short walk to a Tai Dam village. Tai Dam are well accustomed to Lao life but still keep their distinctive cultural customs such as weaved headdress. Return to Phonesavanh late in the afternoon and enjoy dinner out before returning to the hotel for the night. Overnight in Phonesavanh. less

Plain of Jars - Field

Plain of Jars, Vientiane – Saigon

This morning drive for about 45 minutes to visit Site Three, which is surrounded by rice fields, then continue to nearby Site Two which has the biggest jar (2.7 m long). Along the way stop at a Pou An minority village with traditional houses. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. After lunch if time permits it may be possible to visit a silk center (usually closed on Sundays) located outside the city, where one can view the silk making process - from mulberry tree plantation to wonderful silk products.

Mid-afternoon transfer to Vientiane for the flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, airport reception and transfer to the hotel in a private vehicle. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. less


Highlight Tour of Saigon

Morning

Morning city tour with the 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. Visit Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the center of city, the “wedding cake” styled Hotel d'Ville and Dong Khoi street, formerly the center of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat.

Lunch at local restaurant followed by a privately guided half day tour to Cu Chi tunnels. Journey out of the city center to the Cu Chi region, to visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first 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. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

The more adventurous 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. The guide will advise travelers of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering - some are easily accessed by stairs. Yampu recommends good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advises guests that they may get a little dirty! Return to Saigon in late afternoon and enjoy the evening at leisure. less


Saigon – Danang

Private

Private transfer to the airport for the flight to Danang. Upon arrival, airport reception and private transfer to the city for a visit to the Chasm Museum, then continue to visit Hoi An. Close by Danang is China Beach, immortalized for many by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Also nearby are the Marble Mountains; a climb inside through the hundreds of the natural caves and grottoes is a must.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Hoi An before taking a walking tour with the private guide of this small town. Wander the completely traffic free streets and discover the historic old town center before transferring to the hotel. Enjoy the evening at leisure. less


Danang - Hue

Morning

Morning transfer to Hue in a private vehicle. The overland journey travels through the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam while traversing the Hai Van, or “Cloudy Pass”. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and stops at beaches en route. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Private afternoon guided tour of the Imperial Citadel. In the early 19th century, when the Nguyen Dynasty administered Vietnam from Hue, the Emperor constructed a mighty citadel from where he could both live and rule. The resulting Imperial Citadel was modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing, but suffered much damage during years of war. Many of the pavilions, bridges, libraries and great halls are now being carefully restored with help from UNESCO. Marvel at the legends of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors who built the fortress and lived with in its moated walls for nearly 150 years. less


Explore Hue

Morning

Morning visit to the Thein Mu Pagoda with a private boat and guide. Built in 1601 between a river and a pine forest, the “Heavenly Lady Pagoda” is one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. Among the many interesting artifacts housed at the complex is the car that took the monk Thich Quag Duc to the site of his self-immolation in 1963 Saigon. Then, continue by boat to the less visited, yet most majestic, of all of Hue’s tombs – the tomb of Minh Mang. Built around 1840, this tomb is well known for its harmonious blend of architecture and natural landscape. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and the remainder of the day at leisure. less


Hue – Saigon – Home

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon and connection home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on choice.

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon and connection home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on choice.

Bangkok Thailand

Kanchanaburi Thailand

Luang Prabang, Laos

Plain of Jars, Xiangkhouang, Laos

Saigon, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Danang, Vietnam

Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Huế, Thua Thien Hue, 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.

  • luang-prabang-Laos

    Luang Prabang

    Luang Prabang is a city filled with history and culture that will fit anyone’s interests. Rise early and witness the Alms Ceremony, where local Monks line the streets accepting alms, or respects and charities, from locals as well as sincere tourists. Visit the local elephant sanctuary, mountain bike through the area, and take in the history of the city through the many art and cultural centers nearby.

  • Plain-of-Jars

    Plain of Jars

    The Megalithic Landscape of the Plain of Jars is located in central Laos. The Plain of Jars consists of thousands of large Jars arranged in clusters. It is believed they were built to collect rainwaters along well-traveled paths for when water became scarce during drier seasons.

  • 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.

  • Danang_Sunset


    There is much to do in the busy city of Danang. View the artistic quality of the sandstone sculptures in the Cham Museum. Hike the trails of the Marble Mountains and explore the Buddhist temples built into the caves and grottoes. Take a Da Nang Food Tour and experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city, then spend time relaxing on one of the beaches.

  • Hoi_An_Vietnam

    Hoi An

    Once a trading port in the 15th century, this beautifully preserved city is a prime example of Southeast Asian culture. The architecture showcases a fascinating blend of local and foreign influences. Enjoy exploring the old town by motorbike, kayak, motorboat, and more. Visit the Museum of Folk Culture and learn about traditional Vietnamese dress and culture.

  • Royal_Palace_benches_Hue_Vietnam


    Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue is a city rich in history and culture. During the Vietnam war, much of the city was destroyed, but the buildings and ruins that are left are worth visiting. Much of the Imperial Citadel still stands and houses interesting shops, museums, and galleries. See the Tombs of the Emperors along the pristine Perfume River.

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

Luang Prabang : Le Bel Air Boutique Resort

Luang Prabang : Sala Prabang

Luang Prabang : Santi Resort & Spa

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Aquari Hotel

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

Hue : Mondial 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

Luang Prabang : 3 Nagas Boutique Hotel

Luang Prabang : Le Palais Juliana

Luang Prabang : Villa Santi Hotel

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

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Hotel Majestic Saigon

Hue : Saigon Morin

Hue : Eldora Hotel

Hue : Imperial Hue Hotel

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)

Luang Prabang : Kiridara

Luang Prabang : Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel

Luang Prabang : Victoria Xiengthong Palace

Luang Prabang : Villa Maly

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : InterContinental Asiana Saigon

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Caravelle Hotel

Hue : La Residence Hotel & Spa

Hue : Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa

Luxury Properties

Bangkok : Mandarin Oriental

Bangkok : The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

Bangkok : The Siam Hotel

Luang Prabang : Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Luang Prabang : Hotel De La Paix

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) : Park Hyatt Hotel

Hue : Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa (Aqua Bungalow)


Fritz M

Traveled February, 2013

All in all, this was a great trip

All in all, this was a great trip. I am reminded of something I read in a travel book some years ago which said Here’s what I love about travel; strangers get a chance to amaze you. In Myanmar, I found myself constantly amazed. I would love to go back and pick up the areas of the country that I missed on this trip and spend more time in the sites that I found to be particularly interesting and which required more time than I had on this trip to do them justice. I think things will begin to change rapidly in Myanmar now that liberalization has begun. I appreciate all the work Yampu staff put into developing this custom itinerary for me, and I wish all of you great success in building your business in Myanmar.

Traveled To

David I.

Traveled March, 2013

I really wanted to thank you for the amazing experience we had.

I really wanted to thank you for the amazing experience we had. The logistics were perfect , everything went like clockwork. The guide and driver were excellent. The Movenpick Hotel and the Halong Bay accommodations were perfect. I could not have had a better experience than the one I’ve had with you and your company.You can count on it that I will and have already told my friends and colleagues about Yampu and your terrific staff. Thanks for a wonderful experience.

Traveled To


Traveled April, 2016

Thank you for making our stay fun and memorable!

We had a wonderful trip! Yampu was wonderful in giving us different options to make our trip more customized to suit our needs. Our guide was also very knowledgeable and helped make our stay in Singapore fun and effortless. We all enjoyed the itinerary- not too packed with activities and everyone enjoyed the gardens, the animal safari, and city tour. The bus and vans we rode in were comfortable and the air conditioner was much welcomed in the tropic heat!

Traveled To

Let Us Customize This Trip For You

Our World Experts offer full support and dedication to customizing this tour to fit your wishlist - We can mix and match experiences, hotels and highlights to fit your budget and taste.

Similar Tours