Wonders of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Tour for Families

A 12 day trip to Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam 
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The magic of Southeast Asia drifts out of ancient temples and gilded towers. Detailed structures tell tales of Hindu gods. A procession of monks parades down the street in search of alms. An old merchant city sits on the banks of a historic river, displaying the richness of the region. Elephants carry you through the jungle trees in search of more vibrant history and dramatic stories to tell accompanied by your family with every step. Your custom tailored Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia tour for families highlights the wonders of these timeless countries, steeped in culture and offering a truly unique experience.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, Luang Prabang, Kuang Si Falls, Siem Reap, Angkor Archaeological Park  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Culture Combination

Ho Chi Minh City is a boundless convergence of lights and energy, a swirl of contemporary culture, as Vietnam’s City of Commerce. There is an embracing sense of vitality in the movement of the locals, whether by motorbike or walking. In the whirlwind of modernity, pockets of heritage shine through. Timeless alleys erupt with the aroma of incense emanating from hidden temples. High-rises cast shade over houses with tiled roofs. The rows of Ben Thanh Market teem with vendors selling everything from vegetables to dried fruit, clothing to jewelry. The Jade Emperor Pagoda provides an atmospheric glimpse into the elaborate dedication to Ngoc Hoang, the Jade Emperor. 

Your private transfer meets the family at the airport and escorts you to a fabulous hotel located near the heart of the bustling city. The aromas of chilies and coconut oil drift down the streets. Food stalls on the roadside have small tables and chairs set up for passersby, with people lining up to order soup or barbecued chicken skewers. The family has entered a beautiful world, where the past and present cultures of Vietnam seamlessly blend.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Calls of the Mekong

In the morning, the streets of the city come to vibrant life. The faint sounds of bells ring near the temples and the stalls around the city sell iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk. After breakfast, your private transfer meets the family at the hotel and escorts you through the city and onto the banks of the Mekong River, a system that travels more than 2,700 miles from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. You board your wooden craft and settle into the shade of the roofed vessel.

The current sweeps against the riverbanks and brushes the long grass. The aroma of palm fronds emanates from the Mekong. The kids are excited to travel on a boat. The historical culture of the city is centered on the waterway. The boat unmoors from the bank and you begin to float down the Mekong, passing floating markets that brim with colorful chilies and bright bananas, along with radiant flowers. The Cia Be Market is the largest wholesale floating market on the Mekong Delta.

You pass small and large boats brimming with oranges. Some women have woks on their boat, cooking fresh fish, eggs, and noodles for passersby along the water. Small villages constructed of wooden planks stand on upper banks. Locals skim past your boat, wearing conical hats and urging their shallow vessels forward with long sticks made from bamboo. Palm fronds rise over the banks, creating a jungle-like atmosphere. The charm of the river captivates you and the kids, turning a simple exploration of the delta into an enchanting experience.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Inside an Underground City 

In the morning, the streets fill with city life. The aroma of Vietnamese coffee overflows from the cafes and stalls along the street. The sweet flavor and cold temperature bring a new light to the city and its flavors. The bells of the Notre Dame Cathedral peel across the city. The red stone and elegant towers are a reminder of the French colonial powers. After your guided tour of the War Remnants Museum, the kids are eager to know more about the Cu Chi Tunnels. Construction on the tunnels began during the 1940s and ran through the terrain of South Vietnam. By the 1960s, the tunnels expanded to a larger network traveling more than 155 miles underneath the jungle landscape, becoming the base of operations during the Vietnam War.

The kids step inside the narrow passageways with ease. The earthen walls are cool to the touch, with much lower temperatures than the tropical climate above. Trap doors open to the world above, camouflaged by the dirt and leaves of the landscape. The tunnels widen at the command center, preserved to show visitors the conditions of the past. A long table stands as the centerpiece of the room used for meals, with maps marking the position of foreign troops. The sense of history is astonishing. The network of tunnels is tremendous. The kids gain an understanding of contemporary history through engaging with their surroundings.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: True Culture of Hoi An

The historical city of Hoi An has a natural flair around the Thu Bon River. The historic city grew from the merchant class, trading along the river with cultures from China to India, to bring exceptional spices and sophisticated culture to the ancient city as far back as 15th-century. The Japanese Covered Bridge arches over the waterway, emblematic of the culture and charisma of the city, and was erected in the 16th-century. Paper lanterns line old town and bring a soft light to the streets in the evening. During the day, the kids marvel at the Dragon fountain located in the back of the Cantonese Assembly Hall, one of the city’s ancient pagodas.

The colorful mosaic depicts a traditional eastern dragon, with its tail curling underneath its serpentine body. A coy fish with orange scales leaps from the pond, the emerald water shimmering below. The tranquil riverfront brings a touch of Colonial countryside to the ancient center. Girls in school uniforms ride their bicycles to school along the narrow streets of the city. The architecture glows with yellow, pink, and red hues. Your guide leads you through the ancient streets, and to the simmering aromas of Cao Lau, a local dish of bean sprouts, green vegetables, croutons, and juicy pork, that the kids are sure to love.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 5: More than Hoi An

The morning light washes over the river and brings the colorful buildings of the city back to life. After breakfast, the day is yours to enjoy Hoi An and the surrounding beauty of the countryside, being able to delight in whatever the family prefers. Outside of Hoi An, in the city of Da Nang, you can find the towering summits of the Marble Mountains. The mountains are a cluster of limestone filled caves, tunnels, and Buddhist shrines, sure to delight and surprise the entire family. Thuy Son is the Mountain of Water and the highest of the Marble Mountains. Many of the caves weaving through the rock were carved in the 17th-century.

It’s 150 steps to climb from the foot of the mountain to an observatory on the Riverview Tower. Emperor Minh Mang erected the tower in the 18th-century, and it offers an exquisite view of the coast. A mosaic dragon wraps around pillars decorating one of the temples with blue and green coloration. At the Pagoda Linh Ong, an opulent Buddha figure watches over the reflective pond. The image of the temple and mountain is serene. The climb keeps the kids focused. When rays of light shine through the open limestone into the pagoda, the atmosphere is ethereal.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, accommodation

Day 6: Connecting the Cultures

In the morning, your private transfer escorts you from your hotel to the airport in Da Nang for your flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The city has a measured combination of contemporary high-rises and lush parks, for a unique ambiance of heritage and modern movement. Trees decorate the lakes and wide boulevards sweep through the city. Ancient pagodas bask in the shade of both vibrant brushes and skyscrapers.

The energetic atmosphere ranges from continuous movement to a countryside stroll along the red bridge of Hoan Kiem Lake. The aromas of fresh noodles and slow drip coffee drift across the boulevards. Local vendors offer a mixture of modern fashion and traditional clothing. Wander down the historic streets with a blend of Parisian elegance and consistent enthralling pace. After you settle in the city and tour the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, the family takes a journey to one of the most popular and interesting forms of storytelling, at the Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre.

Once inside, the kids can’t help but gasp at the uproarious, jovial energy. A stage at the center of the stadium adds to the allure. The storytelling form originated in the countryside as a way to share tales during monsoon seasons back in the 11th-century. Music accompanies the performance and a type of ballet ensues, moving the puppets around the water with ease and grace, telling stories known to locals and somewhat new to the family.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Endless Charm of Hanoi 

In the morning, locals move quietly and slowly to the rhythms of the breeze sweeping across Hoam Kiem Lake, practicing their daily Tai Chi. After breakfast, the family meets with a Tai Chi master to learn the basic forms of the historic art. Tai Chi developed from the Chinese art form of Tai Chi Chuan, developing over thousands of years. The city has yet to have woken up, and you find the tranquil ambiance around the lake relaxing. School children in pressed white uniforms venture to school. The lush greenery of the lake area overtakes the cityscape. Your Tai Chi master encourages you to move slowly, synching your breath with each action, allowing the energy to flow freely through you, emphasizing concentration and relaxation.

After your lesson, the scent of slow drip coffee entices you, fitting into the theme of slow movement. You meet your guide after breakfast and venture through the bustling Old Quarter of Hanoi. You notice a woman with a pole draped across her shoulders, with a basket at either end carrying delicious looking bananas. Bicycles with large woven baskets on the back have mounds of limes and ginger. When you reach Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, the family comes ever closer to the intriguing culture of Vietnam.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Letting Loose in Laos

After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your brief flight to Luang Prabang in Laos. The kids point to the banks of trees with blossoming scarlet flowers and the frangipanis emanating a semi-sweet fragrance. Monks stroll through the city with burnt sienna robes. Temples, known as wats, are colored gold and dark red. The Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers brush against the cityscape and the mountains roll across the horizon clad in jade vegetation. The aroma of fresh coffee and spicy food mingles with the floral atmosphere.

A lingering ambiance of French colonialism stems from the remaining provincial architecture. Your guide meets you at your hotel and leads you on a private tour of the gem-like city, with golden temple rooftops poking through the treetops. When you reach the Royal Palace, the kids ask if a real king lived there. Your guide explains that the palace was erected in the early 20th-century for King Sisavang Vong and the royal family. Palmyra palms frame the avenue leading to the former main palace, decorated with Italian marble steps leading to the gilded dais. Although the royal family no longer resides in the palace, a sense of grandeur remains, especially in the Pha Bang, a 32 inch tall gold-alloy Buddha cast in the 1st-century, arriving in the city in the 16th-century.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation  

Day 9: Endless Surprises of Luang Prabang

A layer of morning mist spreads across the streets. In the early hours of the day, you can hear a bell ringing. The mist begins to dissipate with the sunlight. The family steps out of the hotel and into the streets, to see locals sitting on cushions or kneeling on the sidewalk. The cool mountain air touches your cheeks. You take a seat on a cushion with your family next to you. A procession of monks dressed in sienna colored robes parades down the street. They ring a bell to signify their approach. The orange robes glow in the morning light. Locals hand rice and cookies to the monks in a daily ritual.

After the monks pass, the crowd disperses, and the aroma of coffee returns to the air. The family journeys up Mount Phousi, known as the “Holy Mountain,” situated in the center of the city. The mountain is more than 328 feet high, crowned with a golden Wat standing another 91 feet tall. There are 329 steps leading from the summit. At the temple of Pa Huak, the kids point out a wooden Buddha riding a three-headed elephant, known from Hindu mythology as Airavata. The carved doors are gilded and house an interior of 19th-century murals bursting with color and depicting life along the Mekong River. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Traditions of Cambodia

In the morning, the bells of the daily alms ritual linger in the air. The aroma of fresh pastries is another memory of the French colonial past. The cityscape illuminates in the sunlight, with the golden wats creating a shimmering skyline. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at your hotel and escorts you to Luang Prabang International Airport for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. When you arrive in Siem Reap, you find a city on the cusp of revitalization, basking in the glow of Angkor Archeological Park. The city feels more like an atmospheric boomtown on the banks of the Siem Reap River.

The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy the eclectic energy of the city. The kids notice the large pools filled with small fish. People dip their feet in for a natural pedicure. In the central market, vendors sell everything from local clothing to international watches. The city is at the heart of revitalizing Cambodian tradition and culture, still reeling from the effects of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. At the Les Chantier Écoles, you find a school specializing in teaching wood and stone carving techniques, along with traditional silk painting to impoverished youth. The artisan works are displayed with elegance, showcasing the technique and skill of the youths and their teachers. Images of warriors and paintings of Cambodian mythologies are as popular as elephant images.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: Family at the Temples of Angkor

The temple complex known as Angkor Archaeological Park encompasses 154 square miles of land inside the tropical jungle. Your private guide meets you in the morning after breakfast and escorts you through the city, venturing into the trees. The jungle brush opens to the fascinating complex of Angkor Wat, the namesake of the entire archeological park. The kids say it’s like stepping into an Indiana Jones movie. The temple is an expression of Khmer brilliance, providing an earthen image of Mount Meru, the equivalent of Mount Olympus for the Hindu faith. Your guide explains that by imitating the image of the home of the gods, the Khmer have built a heaven on earth.

You pass the stone bridge flanked by two large lions. Enter through the large gate and into the forecourt where lily pads float on a reflective pond. The five spires of the temple rise to a height of 699 feet. The artistry of the complex is unique and enchanting, decorated with large relief sculptures spanning walls and pillars, with over 1,796 separate depictions of the gods. The walls are made of stone and cool against your skin. Sunlight breaks through the open doors and small fissures in the walls. When you reach the southern section of the east gallery, you find a bas-relief sculpture depicting The Churning of the Ocean of Milk. The scene represents a conflict between demons and gods, with the former attempting to extract the elixir of immortality from the latter.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 12: Continuing Timelessness

In the morning, you find a similar sweet aroma emanating from fresh baked pastries, and harkening back to the French colonial era in the region. You have the option of extending your stay throughout the day to explore more of the temples around Angkor before your flight departs later in the day. If you choose to return to the archaeological park, you will find continued splendor, from the Angkor Thom to Pre Rep on the temple-mountain. Soon your private transfer will meet the family at the hotel and escort you to the Siem Reap International Airport for your flight home, but there is always more time for culture, for temples, and for family.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$2,155
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.