War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Image courtesy of Mike Aquino.
A 12-day, 11-night exploration of six of Southeast Asia's most vibrant cities: Yangon in Myanmar; Chiang Mai in Thailand; Luang Prabang in Laos Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia; and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Viet Nam.
In the span of 12 days, you'll explore six cities in Southeast Asia that exemplify the best of the region's history and culture.
Yangon in Myanmar has the largest number of well-preserved colonial buildings in all of Southeast Asia, all accessible in the city centre courtesy of a tour curated by the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT). The tour covers a side trip to Bogyoke Aung San market, where you can purchase traditional Myanmar handicrafts or gem stones like rubies, sapphires and jade.
Outshining them all is the Shwedagon Pagoda, a massive gold-plated stupa that dominates the Yangon skyline. The stupa reputedly contains relics from the four past Buddhas, commanding the devotion of Buddhist Myanmar citizens from all over.
Chiang Mai in Thailand combines the best of Thai architecture and hands-on culture: the magnificent Doi Suthep Temple (Mountain Top Pagoda) with its panoramic view of the city; Sankampaeng district's shopping and sightseeing opportunities; and handicraft villages creating and selling fine Thai products like silk, celadon ceramics, lacquer ware, jewelry, teakwood ware, and silver.
Luang Prabang in Laos is the country's cultural capital and launching pad to a number of nature- and culture-based adventures.
Explore Luang Prabang's most notable landmarks, among them Wat Xieng Thong and the magnificent Royal Palace turned National Museum. Buy traditional handmade fabric at the famous Night Market. Have a close encounter with pachyderms at the Elephant Village. And participate in a Tak Bat, or morning almsgiving to the local monks.
Siem Reap in Cambodia is renowned for its Angkor temple complex – a tour of Bayon, Phimeanakas, Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat is a highlight of your stay here. Its cultural attractions are also worth seeing: you'll visit Artisan D’ Angkor, a sculpture handicraft center specializing in Angkor-style works.
Phnom Penh is Cambodia's present capital, and features a mix of ancient and modern attractions: the Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda (with a floor composed of over 5,000 silver tiles); the Independence Monument; the sorrowful Toul Sleng genocide museum; and lastly, the Naga World Casino Resort, where you can test you relationship with Lady Luck!
Finally, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Viet Nam hallows several turning points in it's nation's history: a former French colonial entrepot, a Cold War capital, and the site where the Vietnam War ended.
Its past is recalled through sites scattered around Ho Chi Minh City: the Cu Chi Tunnels, built by the Viet Minh fighting against the French; colonial heritage structures like the Independence Palace, Notre Dame Church, the Post Office, and City Hall; and markets like Binh Tay wholesale market, An Dong market, and Ben Thanh night market.
Tak bat almsgiving in Luang Prabang, Laos. Image courtesy of Tourism Laos.
Strand Road in Yangon, Myanmar. Image courtesy of Mike Aquino.
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