Vietnam has much to offer in itself but if you have the time then visiting its near neighbours, Cambodia and Laos on the same trip allows tourists to observe the similarities as well as the differences while the memories of each are still fresh. Indochina travel packages are designed to introduce tourists to these three countries. There are many highlights ranging from the temples, the people themselves, a great coastline, lovely cuisine and natural environment. A comprehensive Indochina travel itinerary can be designed to cover the specific interests of clients. The starting point is usually either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City which have the two main international airports in Vietnam. Indeed, the travel infrastructure of Vietnam is one of the reasons why it is possible to cover Vietnam and its two direct neighbours in something like three weeks. Domestic flights will be part of the Vietnam leg of an Indochina tour package.
The climate of South East Asia is a result of different monsoons. There is no one time when it is dry everywhere yet it would be wrong to think that monsoon means hour after hour of rain. In some cases, it will be a shower each afternoon which will hardly spoil a holiday. There are some months more popular than others but there are advantages in travelling during perceived low season; there are fewer people though sometimes, especially in Laos and Cambodia, rain does slow down travelling time. A good Indochina travel agency that understand the region will have all the arrangements in hand and ensure that an inconvenience is minimised.
• The SaPa Terraces are stunning. Hillsides that vary in colour with the season; glistening water where rice is sown, increasing green terraces as the rice grows and golden when harvest time comes in the autumn. The hill tribes also grow vegetables for subsistence. The region is mountainous up near the Chinese border, with ethnic hill tribes inhabiting a great natural environment which is well-worth exploration.
• Hanoi is the capital of unified Vietnam. The reminders of French colonial times can be seen both in architecture and wide boulevards. The old town is fascinating, narrow streets, traders and general bustle. The traditional houses are intermingled with numerous temples while one of the City’s highlights is the Hoan Kiem Lake which is a popular relaxation area for locals.
• Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site four hours east of Hanoi. The setting has been photographed numerous times and a cruise in the Bay is a ‘’must do’’ on any Vietnam travel plans. You can stay on a boat overnight or even on Cat Ba, the largest of the Bay’s islands.
• Huewas the capital during the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th and 20th Century. It was little more than a ‘’puppet regime’’ because this was a period of French colonial mastery. Danang, Vietnam’s third city, has an airport with links to Hanoi, Ho Chi Ming City and several international destinations. There is plenty to see in Hue that will give visitors on a Vietnam tour further insight into the Country’s past.
• Hoi An was an earlier capital; in the 7th Century it was an important trading port during the Champa Kingdom and its important continued for a few centuries. It is another place close to Danang so it is easy to cater for seeing the important parts of Central Vietnam in an Indochina tour package.
• Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. Is the largest city in Vietnam and the country’s commercial hub. There are plenty of skyscrapers yet it retains plenty of historical, cultural and religious attractions. There is the city itself and day trips to such as the Viet Cong’s Cu Chi Tunnels to the north.
• The Mekong Delta is west of Ho Chi Minh City. It is a fertile region earmarked for extra development. Today’s Delta has a series of channels, main and backwaters with villages that farm and fish. The whole region is fascinating and well worth devoting some time on within an Indochina holiday.
Before the Mekong River arrives in Vietnam it has flowed through Cambodia and indeed, it is possible to take a cruise all the way from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, down into Vietnam and on to the South China Sea.
• Phnom Penh is an interesting city though some of its ‘’attractions’’ tell the awful history of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge that inflicted major pain on the Cambodian people for a few years in the late 70s. ‘’The Killing Fields’’ and the Museum that was once a prison where many were tortured are two reminders of a grim past. There are other more pleasant things to see; temples and the Royal Palace will be on any tour of the City.
• Siem Reap & Angkorare included in every trip to Cambodia. Few structures in Asia are photographed as frequently as Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the best example of Khmer architecture in the world today.
A flight from Cambodia up to Luang Prabang is the best way to get a flavour of Laos. Vientiane is Laos’ capital but with limited time, Luang Prabang would be the first place to consider in Laos.
• Luang Prabangis the ancient capital and today is still a real gem; temples and ancient wooden houses in traditional Laos style while French colonial architecture provides a great contrast. There are orange-robed monks everywhere in the city. One of the interesting museums is actually the old royal palace.
These three countries of Indochina make a great holiday experience. There is plenty to absorb when planning such a holiday and there are good Indochina tour operators who will advise clients on when to travel and what to see. All the planning, travel and accommodation will be arranged beforehand. The experience is likely to be so good that clients are likely to want to return a second time.