Ancient Kingdoms: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

Highlights & InclusionsItineraryPricing Information Terms & Conditions
Departure Date: December 28, 2018
February 5, 2019
April 3, 2019
December 28, 2019
Duration: 18 Days / 17 Nights
Price from: $3,595
Single Room Supplement: Waived
Request Booking

This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is opened up to OAT clients & is co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.


Highlights & Inclusions

  • Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!
  • Airport transfers are included when you purchase our operator's International air to coincide with trip's day by day agenda.
  • All land transportation and 5 internal flights
  • Accommodations for 18 nights
  • 40 meals—daily breakfast, 13 lunches, and 9 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Dinner and 1 community lunch)
  • 34 small group activities
  • Services of a resident, English-speaking OAT Trip Leader
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit toward your next adventure
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
Miriam Beard, Author


Itinerary

Small Groups: Never more than 10-16 travelers—guaranteed!

Veer off Southeast Asia’s trodden paths to uncover the glory days of lost empires—and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultures that have emerged in their wakes. As you travel through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, you’ll encounter temples and shrines devoted to Buddhist, Hindu, and animist worship; romantic remnants of French Colonial architecture; and gilded palaces where royals still reside. Along the way, you’ll meet locals in their markets and schools, and learn about traditional crafts like silk-weaving and paper-making from artisans who have practiced their trades for generations. From the grandeur of Angkor Wat’s temples to the simplicity of life along the Mekong River, it’s an Asian adventure like none other.

DAY 1 - Depart U.S.

Fly overnight from the U.S. to Bangkok, losing one day en route as you cross the International Date Line over the Pacific.

DAY 2 - Arrive Bangkok, Thailand

You will be met by your OAT Trip Leader and transferred to our hotel to begin our travel in Thailand. Here, you'll be joined by travelers who took our optional Burma & the Irrawaddy River pre-trip extension.
OVERNIGHT: At Ease Saladaeng Hotel or similar

DAY 3 - Explore Bangkok

Discover the Old Kingdom of Siam on a tour of Bangkok
After breakfast at our hotel, step into the Old Kingdom of Siam at the Grand Palace of Thailand, a sprawling compound of ceremonial halls, gilded spires, and ornate buildings. The ancient city's defining landmark since 1782, the palace became the centerpiece of a new Thai capital called Krung Thep ("City of Angels"), known outside of Thailand as Bangkok. It was King Mongkut (or Rama IV) who ruled from this palace, expanded trade with the West, and was romanticized in the musical The King and I. Amid the grandeur of the palace, a surprisingly simple sculpture captures the attention of most Thai visitors: the 26-inch Emerald Buddha in the temple of Wat Phra Kaew. Carved out of jade, the figurine is so beloved by the Thais that the king himself changes its robes for each hot, rainy, and cool season.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to our hotel and take a brief orientation walk.

This evening, we board a traditional wooden rice barge for a memorable Welcome Dinner. We'll cruise past the Temple of the Dawn and the Grand Palace, both of which are spectacular by moonlight.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: At Ease Saladaeng Hotel or similar

DAY 4 - Explore Ayutthaya & Ancient Siam

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ayutthaya and Ancient Siam
After breakfast, we visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya, located about 50 miles north of Bangkok. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was home to 33 kings from many different dynasties. The capital of Siam from 1353 to 1767, the city was once a place of such fabulous wealth that early travelers described its “2,000 spires clad in gold.” A coach ride brings us to Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (wat is Thai for temple), flanked by a row of saffron-draped Buddha statues. Although its stones were laid centuries ago in 1357, the site still functions as a meditation center today. We also explore the ruins at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, a temple complex situated within the former Royal Palace grounds which served as a model for Bangkok's Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll then board a motorized long-tail boat—so named for its long, thin design—for an afternoon cruise, with a stop a Muslim village to learn about their lives. As we coast, we'll see villagers going about their daily routines at temples, schools, markets, and even churches and mosques near the river banks. We return to Bangkok by late-afternoon.

We'll have dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: At Ease Saladaeng Hotel or similar

DAY 5 - Bangkok • Optional Floating Market & Mangrove Adventure tour OPTIONAL TOUR

Enjoy a day in Bangkok for independent discoveries or join our optional Floating Market & Mangrove Adventure excursion, which begins in Ratchaburi at the colorful Damnoen Saduak floating market, where we enjoy a paddle-boat ride along the canal and a walking tour of the floating market. Then, we stop at a palm sugar workshop and coconut farm, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we journey by bus to Khlong Khon district of Samutsongkram province, where we board a fisherman's boat to explore the mangrove forest area, feed the wild monkeys, and visit a local fisherman’s home. We return to Bangkok by bus in the late afternoon.

Dinner is on your own this evening.
MEALS: B
OVERNIGHT: At Ease Saladaeng Hotel or similar

DAY 6 - Bangkok • Fly to Luang Prabang, Laos

After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for the airport for our flight to Luang Prabang, Laos. The ancient, royal capital of Laos, Luang Prabang is located on a peninsula between the Mekong and Khan rivers with green mountains all around. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the quaintest towns in Southeast Asia.

Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, we'll take a short bus ride and since large coaches aren't allowed in the inner city, we'll then use tuk-tuks, the local mode of transport, and enjoy an included lunch along the peaceful banks of the Khan River. After lunch, we'll check into our hotel and have an orientation walk around the neighborhood. Set in spectacular scenery, Luang Prabang is famous for the more than 30 active temples and hundreds of architectural treasures that reside here. It will be like a journey into the distant past as we mingle with monks and local people heading to market and going about their daily business. Notice the many 19th-century French Colonial villas mixed in with the more traditional Lao-style homes. Next, we'll hop aboard local transport to visit the royal temple Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest in the city. Originally built of wood in 1560, it was reconstructed in brick and stucco following a fire in the late 19th century. Then we head to Phousi Hill, in the center of the old town. Here you may wish to climb the 328 steps and at the top, overlook most of Luang Prabang. You'll enjoy views of the Khan and Mekong rivers, and if the weather obliges, enjoy a colorful sunset. We'll continue on to a night market, and then we'll have dinner at a local restaurant.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Ang Thong Hotel or similar

DAY 7 - Alms-giving ceremony • A Day in the Life of a local village • Home-Hosted Lunch FOUNDATION VISIT

Get a window into the lives of members of a Hmong community in their village.

Today we rise very early to participate in an ancient Buddhist tradition: alms-giving to local monks. In the quiet of early morning (around 6am), we watch as hundreds of monks parade solemnly and single-file through the streets of Luang Prabang, collecting food offerings from the citizens who, in turn, receive prayers for their families and friends. Dressed in traditional Lao orange robes, the monks provide a sense of calm and solemnity to the inhabitants of the city each morning. We'll walk to a nearby temple with the monks and have a few minutes to ask them about their way of life before they sit down to their breakfast. Next, we'll visit a nearby market where we'll have typical Laotian breakfast foods for our own morning meal. We'll also purchase ingredients to bring to our Home-Hosted Lunch.

Then we set out to experience A Day in the Life of a local village, where we'll get to meet young students at a local elementary school, supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation—part of the World Classroom initiative. We'll then walk to a nearby village of the Hmong hill tribe, an indigenous people of Laos' northern highlands. Here, we'll be welcomed inside the home of a local shaman. After a lively discussion with village leaders, we'll enjoy a Home-Hosted Lunch which we help to prepare.

We return to Luang Prabang for some free time to explore before dinner at a local restaurant.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Ang Thong Hotel or similar

DAY 8 - Cruise the Mekong River • Explore Pak Ou Cave

We start our day in a local village, Baan Xang Kong, to learn about their paper traditions. From there, we'll embark on an excursion along one of the longest rivers in the world. The Mekong River, or “mother of all rivers,” supports some 90 million people who produce 54,000 square miles of rice every year. Also home to more species of giant fish than any other river, this majestic waterway is said to produce balls of light along its surface, which the locals attribute to the Phaya Naga, or Mekong Dragons. Our Mekong cruise takes us to a rural village known for producing a local rice "whiskey,” and to Pak Ou Cave, filled with thousands of Buddha icons.

Three-wheeled tuk-tuks bring us back to Luang Prabang for some leisure time. Dinner will be on your own this evening.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Ang Thong Hotel or similar

DAY 9 - Fly to Vientiane • Home-Hosted Dinner

We spend our final morning in Luang Prabang exploring the Royal Palace Museum, which was built from 1904-1909 during the reign of King Sisavang Vong and served as his palace. Today it is a museum where you can see the royal throne and other artifacts. The building itself is a fine example of the French beaux-arts style and traditional Lao artwork. The ground floor of the museum is divided into several halls and rooms displaying gifts from other countries to the Lao kings and collections of swords and Buddha images.

Then enjoy lunch on your own before we take a short flight to Vientiane, Laos' easy-going capital. Despite its growing population, the city still retains a small-town feel: Laundry dries in the sun on French-style balconies, and street vendors spread out their wares on blankets and banana leaves. When we arrive in the capital this afternoon, we'll take a brief orientation walk, perhaps witnessing group aerobics at King Anouvong Park. We'll experience life in Vientiane this evening as the guests of a local family for a Home-Hosted Dinner.
MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Sabaidee@Lao Hotel or similar

DAY 10 - Vientiane landmarks tour

See the Cu Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War
We have breakfast at our hotel and then set out to explore some of the famous city landmarks of Vientiane. Pronounced “Vieng Chan,” the capital of Laos is a slow-paced, friendly city of some 600,000 people. We'll visit the golden-domed Phra That Luang (Great Sacred Stupa), a national symbol of Laos built in the 16th century, and the imposing Patuxay Victory Gate Monument.

We'll have lunch together at a local restaurant, and then you are free to spend the afternoon exploring Vientiane at your own pace. Perhaps you'll visit the Haw Phra Kaew (House of the Emerald Buddha), which contains some of the best Buddhist sculptures in Laos. Nearby stands Wat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, which dates back to 1818. The temple contains a total of 6,840 Buddha statues in varying sizes and positions.

Dinner is on your own this evening.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Sabaidee@Lao Hotel or similar

DAY 11 - Vientiane • Fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia • Royal Palace

After breakfast at the hotel, we head to the airport for our flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. After lunch on our own, we'll visit the Royal Palace, home of the present King Norodom Sihamoni. The palace was opened in 1870 and now contains the Royal Residence, the Throne Hall, and the Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morokat), which draws its name from the more than 5,000 silver tiles that cover its floor. We check in to our hotel afterwards. Later this evening, we'll have dinner at a local restaurant.
MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Almond Hotel or similar

DAY 12 - Phnom Penh • Visit Tuol Sleng Prison Museum & Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

After breakfast, we visit the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek—both grim reminders of Cambodia's bloody past under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. It is almost inconceivable to confront the nature of true evil here in this gentle land, but the Buddhist memorial at Choeung Ek commemorates the 1.7 million victims of the 1975-79 Pol Pot genocide. This execution site is one of many throughout Cambodia. After lunch at a local restaurant and some time to relax, we'll witness a dance performance by some children at the Champey Academy of Arts, an organization that preserves Khmer culture. We'll then enjoy a ride in a remok (the Cambodian version of a tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled motor rickshaw). Please note: The Champey Academy of Arts is closed Sundays and public holidays. If our visit falls on one of these days, we will visit the academy on Day 11 instead; and our visit to the Royal Palace will take place on Day 12. Dinner is on your own this evening.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Almond Hotel or similar

DAY 13 - Phnom Penh • Fly to Siem Reap • Cruise on Tonle Sap Lake

Discover a local floating market in Siem Reap
This morning, we depart to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap. We'll arrive in Siem Reap in time for an included lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we'll take a cruise on Tonle Sap ("Great Lake" in the Khmer language) and arrive at an agricultural village. Here, we'll take a ride in a water buffalo cart to learn more about the local way of life. Afterwards, we'll have some time to relax at our hotel before gathering for dinner at a local restaurant.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Regency Angkor Hotel or similar

DAY 14 - Explore Siem Reap • Optional Banteay Srei tour OPTIONAL TOUR

Discover one of the oldest and most preserved temple sites in Cambodia
This morning, we'll visit the Angkor National Museum, where we will view its impressive collections relating to the history of Khmer civilization and the story behind the Angkor temples. Then we'll stroll through the Royal Independence Gardens and take an orientation walk in Siem Reap. In the afternoon, join our optional tour to visit Banteay Srei, one of the oldest and most beautifully preserved temple sites in Cambodia. Built in AD 967, Banteay Srei means “Citadel of Women,” and is recognized as a tribute to female beauty. This tour includes dinner and also offers a glimpse into the daily life of rural Cambodia, as we stop to visit basket weavers, a Khmer noodle maker, and the local fair of Angkor Pyungyu. Or enjoy free time to explore the charming shops and cafes of Siem Reap, with dinner on your own.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Regency Angkor Hotel or similar

DAY 15 - Siem Reap • Explore Angkor Wat temples

Explore Angkor Wat temples
Today we'll venture into the heart of ancient Angkor, a holy city that took centuries to build and whose scale is still breathtaking today—it sprawls across an area of roughly 96 square miles. The Khmer Empire aristocrats who built the temples and monuments here between AD 800-1200 were motivated by their Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. We'll begin at Angkor Wat, a masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Angkor Wat is a large pyramid temple, built between 1113 and 1150, surrounded by a great moat 570 feet wide. Note the bas-relief carvings throughout the temple, and take a moment to stand in the courtyard of this temple whose towers represent Mount Meru, the center of all physical and spiritual universes and the home to many gods in Hindu and Buddhist mythologies. After we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to the hotel to rest for a bit. In the afternoon, we pass through the South Gate of Angkor Thom, the capital city of Khmer rulers. We'll see the Bayon, and make brief stops at Baphuon and the Elephants Terrace, where amazing bas-reliefs depict the huge beasts almost life-sized. At the nearby Terrace of the Leper King, equally intricate wall carvings depict rank after rank of court attendants and mystical rulers. We conclude our explorations of Angkor's most notable features with a visit to Ta Prohm. Unlike Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm has been left the way it was found, covered by a dense jungle of trees and roots and allowing you to discover this archaeological treasure just as it was found by the French in the mid-1800s. Dinner is on your own this evening.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Regency Angkor Hotel or similar

DAY 16 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

After breakfast at the hotel, we head to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the country's largest city.

While many locals still call the city Saigon, the city was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976. We embark on an included city tour this afternoon, passing the French Quarter and the Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame. Dressed in beautiful stained glass, the church was completed in 1880 and is said to stand on the site of an old pagoda. We also see the architecture of the majestic Post Office, built during the same time period and featuring two enormous murals depicting maps of Vietnam as it was many decades ago. Later, we explore the landmark Ben Thanh Market, where local merchants peddle everything from carved wooden animals and coffee beans to delicately painted cookware.

Dinner is at a local restaurant this evening.
MEALS: B D
OVERNIGHT: Nhat Ha 3 Hotel or similar

DAY 17 - Ho Chi Minh City • City tour • Optional cyclo-rickshaw ride, traditional water puppet show & dinner OPTIONAL TOUR

See the Cu Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War
This morning we'll set off on a tour of Ho Chi Minh City, getting the chance to explore sites like the Vietnam History Museum, which holds excellent collections of ceramics, weaponry, and Cham sculpture.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you can spend the balance of your day at leisure.

Or you may wish to join our optional tour, which starts with a cyclo-rickshaw ride through the city, followed by a traditional puppet show and dinner at a local street kitchen.
MEALS: B L
OVERNIGHT: Nhat Ha 3 Hotel or similar

DAY 18 - Ho Chi Minh City • Mekong Delta discovery

After breakfast, we journey outside of Ho Chi Minh City to discover Vietnam's famous Mekong Delta. We'll drive to the picturesque province of Ben Tre, where we'll enjoy a brief walk through Ben Tre village—famous for its coconut plantations—and take a sampan ride along one of the town's scenic and peaceful canals. We'll also visit a coconut candy workshop to learn about making the sweet keo dua the region is known for, and cruise to nearby Phoenix Island, where we'll learn about the local belief started by Ong Dao Dua, known as the "Coconut Monk." Then, after lunch at a local restaurant, we'll drive back to Ho Chi Minh City, where we have some time at leisure before regrouping for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Nhat Ha 3 Hotel or similar

DAY 19 - Ho Chi Minh City • Visit Cu Chi Tunnels

See the Cu Chi Tunnels used in the Vietnam War
After breakfast at our hotel, we visit the Cu Chi Tunnels—a 125-mile-long underground maze where thousands of fighters and villagers hid and fought during the Vietnam War, referred to by locals as the “American War.” The South Vietnamese Communists, or Viet Cong, built this vast network of tunnels in and around the district of Cu Chi and worked continually over 25 years to expand the multi-level network. The tunnels—which include mess halls, meeting rooms, an operating theater, a tiny cinema, small factories, and vast ammunition stores—allowed the Viet Cong to control large areas near Saigon. Today, the Cu Chi Tunnels provide invaluable insight into the war era.

We return to Ho Chi Minh City in time for lunch at a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. The remainder of the afternoon will be yours to make your own discoveries.

Tonight, we'll gather for a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
MEALS: B L D
OVERNIGHT: Nhat Ha 3 Hotel

DAY 20 - Ho Chi Minh City • Return to U.S.

We rise before daybreak for an early morning flight back to the U.S.
MEALS: B

Accommodations

Pricing Information

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Arrival DateSingleSharedDouble
Apr 3, 2019 $3,595 $3,595 $3,595
Your Savings* Past GWT Traveler?
For further information call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
24/7 booking capability is available via this via the "Request to Book" button listed above.

Be sure to mention booking code G9-25972 to receive all the Gutsy benefits!

*Discount and savings are subject to change, please call reservations (866.464.8879 for the actual price. The discount is not valid on all itineraries and will be verified at time of booking. The discount is valid for guests who’ve traveled with Gutsy Women Travel within the last five years. Other conditions apply. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change.

In order to qualify for the GWT Past Traveler Discount of 5% on the land portion of the trip, you must advise the reservation specialist at time of depositing on your 2019 trip which GWT trip you traveled on (date/name of departure and year) over the past 5 years.

We limit our trips to small groups so we suggest you deposit early to guarantee your spot. View information regarding Air Travel & Transfers here.

Please note this departure is not exclusive to women but will be comprised of Gutsy Women Travel participants co-sharing the overall trip capacity with members of OAT resulting in a larger group size compared to the traditional Gutsy Women Travel trips designed exclusively for women.

This trip will be operated on behalf of Gutsy Women Travel (GWT) clients by award winning Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). There are 5 Twin bedded rooms and 6 single accommodations rooms with no single supplement blocked on this trip. Once single rooms are sold out, women can secure a guaranteed share in a twin room accommodation. This trip is designed for GWT clients however if room block is not sold by 120 days prior to departure date, the trip can be opened up to OAT clients and will be co-ed. However the group size will always be capped at no more than 16 participants. There will be a dedicated OAT licensed, local travel director assigned to this GWT group block departure.

Single Room - one person, traveling solo in single accommodation
Double Room - two people, traveling together in same accommodation
Shared Room - one person, traveling solo who would like to share with another passenger and pay the per person "Double" price

Air travel arrangements for Gutsy Women's trip participants are made independently as most women are traveling from various gateway cities within or outside North America. Gutsy Women Travel includes a group transfer (if travelers purchase airfare from our operator) or individuals can book private transportation if desired.

For further information and reservations call (866) IM GUTSY (464 8879) or
email reservations@gutsywomentravel.com.
For online 24/7 booking capability is available via this website.

Please note: Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.