Visit some of Southeast Asia’s most alluring sights on this highlights tour, which takes you from the temples and palaces of Thailand’s boisterous capital northwards to the Chiang Mai to explore the jungle—hiking, river rafting, and getting up-close to elephants. Fly to Cambodia to visit the legendary religious complex of Angkor Wat, and onwards to Vietnam to experience the historical port of Hoi An, the buzz of Hanoi, and the turquoise waters of Ha Long Bay.
Best time to visit: February-April, August-October
Ideal for: Couples, Families
Day 1 – Arrive in Thailand
Arrive in Bangkok in the evening and settle into your centrally located hotel. This sprawling city is abuzz with activity at all-hours, so if you’re up for it, head to the lively entertainment district of Khao San Road for a drink, dancing, or a stroll through a night market.
Day 2 – Bangkok City Tour
Get acquainted with the city on a guided tour of Bangkok’s historic quarters, a walk through the Flower Market, and visits to some of the city’s most important sites. Stop into Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—a gilded, 150-foot-long statue—and then continue on to the 18th-century Grand Palace, which encompasses over 100 buildings. Here you can visit the emerald buddha of Wat Phra Kaew, an equally significant statue, but this one stands only 23 inches tall.
Day 3 – Floating Market & Flight to Chiang Mai
Start the day early with an excursion outside of Bangkok to the Damnoen Saduak floating market—a bustling throng of vendors selling their produce and products from small boats every morning. Spend the afternoon shopping along Yaowarat Road, or relaxing in Lumpini Park, an inviting gathering place in the center of the city. In the early evening, catch a flight to the historic city of Chiang Mai.
Day 4 – Chiang Mai Elephant Park
Today, get up close to magnificent Asian elephants on a full-day excursion to Elephant Nature Park, where you’ll have the opportunity to help bathe the elephants in the Mae Taeng River, and offer them some of their favorite foods. Spend the day learning the about the plight of elephants in the region, and hearing their individual stories, as you explore the park. Enjoy a delicious lunch of traditional Thai cuisine on an outdoor viewing platform while elephants wander nearby.
Day 5 – Rafting & Jungle Walk
This morning, visit the local market at Mae Malai and learn about the local herbs and vegetables used in Thai cooking. Next, head to a nearby rafting camp and enjoy a relaxing trip down the river on a bamboo raft. Hop off the river and continue on foot through local villages and get acquainted with their traditional customs and crafts. End the day back in Chiang Mai.
Day 6 – Travel to Angkor Wat in Cambodia
This morning, fly from Chiang Mai to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and start exploring the temple complex of Angkor Wat, regarded as the world’s largest single religious monument. Imposing stone buildings decorated with ornate bas-reliefs depict origin stories and ancient history, and rise majestically above the jungle. End the day watching the sunset over the ruins from the top of one of the temples, before heading back to Siem Reap for the night.
Day 7 – Travel to Hoi An in Vietnam
Begin the day with a visit the Southern Gate of Angkor Thom, which contains some of the most impressive structures like the Bayon Temple, Baphuon, and the Terrace of Elephants and Leper King. Then head further afield to the thousand-year-old Banteay Srei, a prime example of Khmer classical architecture. In the evening, fly from Siem Reap to Da Nang, and then settle into the historic coastal town of Hoi An.
Day 8 – Explore Hoi An’s Maritime History
Meet your local guide and tour the ancient center Hoi An, a UNESCO-listed site where centuries of international maritime trade brought opulence and diverse architecture. Stroll along pedestrian-only streets and learn about the more than 800 historic structures, defined by Japanese and Chinese traditions. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach and exploring the town’s lively shopping and food scene.
Day 9 – Thanh Ha Pottery Village
Take a small boat up river to the pottery village of Thanh Ha, which has steadfastly maintained its traditions for generations. Stroll or cycle through the village center in what is truly a living museum of art and legacy. Leaving Hoi An in the afternoon, you’ll enjoy some of the country’s most dynamic landscapes through the Hai Van Pass to Hue, an ancient royal capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, where some of its battle-scarred walls still stand strong.
Day 10 – Hue River Cruise
Spend the morning drifting in a dragon boat on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, stopping to explore the magnificent tombs of Hue’s ancient royalty. Visit the traditional tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, overlooking peaceful lotus ponds, and the French-inspired tomb of Khai Dinh. After a full-day excursion, head to the airport for an evening flight to Hanoi, where you will spend the night.
Day 11 – Overnight Cruise in Ha Long Bay
Transfer to Halong Bay to embark around midday on an overnight cruise amidst thousands of limestone towers, cliffs, and coves. In a small, traditional Chinese-style junk, sail through this surreal seascape where you will climb in caves, kayak, swim, and relax in style—delicious, fresh meals are prepared on board.
Day 12 – Ha Long Bay to Hanoi
Disembark from the ship after breakfast on the bay, and arrive back in Hanoi in the afternoon. With a local guide to lead the way, explore the chaotic yet irresistibly charming Old Quarter of the city, centered on the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake. This evening, enjoy a Vietnamese water-puppet show, a tradition that dates back to the 11th century.
Day 13 – Hanoi & Heading Home
Continue exploring the French colonial architecture and tree-lined streets on a 3-hour tour of Hanoi away from the Old Quarter—this huge city quickly feels familiar, but always has something new to offer. Visit Ba Dinh Square and the marble and granite mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. Spend the afternoon relaxing around Hoan Kiem Lake or shopping the bustling markets of the Old Quarter before heading to the airport for your flight home.
Remarkable Journeys has partnered with Lost World Adventures to create this journey. We partnered with Lost World due to their well-mannered relationships with tour guides, hotellers, airlines, and ground management services in the region. In our opinion, they offer the best value and experience in the region.
Whether this itinerary is exactly what you are looking for or isn’t even close…
Meet with a Consultant
The first step is to call or email us with your desired travel dates, the number of people in your group, your price range, and whatever other information you want to share to get us started. One of our consultants will then reach out to you to set-up an in-person meeting or phone consultation.
Keep on Looking
Together we can discuss your travel options, customize your trip and narrow in on your ideal journey. Once we know exactly what you want, we will send you a detailed-itinerary with hotel options, activities, transportation logistics and a total trip price.
Get a Detailed Itinerary
With your seal of approval, we’ll book your Remarkable Journey. From there, you can sit back and relax while we arrange all of the services, prepare the final documents and present you your trip before you go.