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18 Day Tour
Luxury Adventure Tour to the Exciting Hill Tribe Areas of Yunnan (South China) and North Vietnam

For only $3,955
per person twin share

This price includes airport taxes and levies of $420

Tour departs Australia July 17 & 18, and returns August 4, 2010

This wonderful tour is unique in that it goes well off the beaten track and yet you will be staying in mainly 4 to 5 star accommodation! The price includes: 

If you don't have a travel partner but wish to travel at twin share rates, we will try to match you up with someone else in the same position, but this is not guaranteed. For a single room there is an additional cost of $685. (Note: There are no single rooms at the Thai long-house).

Tour Itinerary

Terms and Conditions

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  Itinerary for Yunnan & North Vietnam Luxury Adventure Tour - July 2010  
Included meals are indicated as B = Breakfast, L =Lunch, D = Dinner
17.07.10 Depart Melbourne at 11.30pm on TG 462, arriving in Bangkok at 6.00am the next morning.
Depart Brisbane at 11.59pm on TG 472, arriving in Bangkok at 6.20am the next morning.
Depart Sydney at 10.00am on TG 476, arriving in Bangkok at 4.30pm.
All flights will be met at the airport and transferred to the Novotel Hotel in Siam Square (4 Star), situated in the middle of the great Siam Square shopping & entertainment area.
Tonight there will be a great Thai meal at one of Bangkok's most famous and historical restaurants across the road from our hotel.
Accommodation:  Novotel Hotel.
Bangkok - Kunming
Transfer back to Bangkok Airport, departing at 10.55am on TG 612, arriving in Kunming at 2.05pm. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Southwest Yunnan includes Xisuangbanna Prefecture, Pu'er City and Lincang City. Travelling this area people may appreciate the gorgeous landscape of tropical and subtropical virgin forest and learn the colourful culture and customs of Dai, Jino and Va people. It's also a journey to experience the tea culture. While in southeast Yunnan, Honghe prefecture, the natural scenery of Karst landforms are enjoyable and the Han people's culture in Jianshui is worth a visit.
Accommodation:  Golden Dragon Hotel.
Kunming - Pu'er
Today we have a full day excursion to the Stone Forest and Jiuxiang Karst Caves. The remarkable Stone Forest is 78 km southeast of Kunming. An extremely rare natural phenomenon, it is a vast area of limestone pillars, eroded over 270 million years into bizarre and fanciful shapes which resemble a forest. On the way back we visit Jiuxiang Caves. Stone Forest to Jiuxiang is 35km, 40 minutes drive. The Jiuxiang Caves are the largest Karst cave group system in China and characterized with large caves and various types. So that it is called "a home of karst caves" and 'The karst cave museum". After dinner we take an evening flight to Pu'er.
Accommodation:  Sheng An Di Hotel.
Pu'er - Jinghong (capital city of Xishaungbanna Prefecture)
We drive from Pu'er to Jinghong (110km expressway about 1 1/2 hours).
It is a scenic road where tropic plants can be seen on both sides of the road. En-route we visit Dadugang Tea Garden. With the long standing history of tea culture in Yunnan, represented by the high reputation of Pu'er tea, Yunnan typically in Xishuangbanna and Pu'er are the home town of Pu'er tea. Afterwards we visit the Wild Elephant Valley, Asian elephants are living here.
Accommodation:  Tai Garden Hotel.
Today we have a full day excursion to Menglun, where we drive 60km. First we visit Ganlanba market, then Dai's people's villages. Lastly we visit Menglun Tropical Botanical Gardens. The gardens are gorgeous, the 933 hectares of gardens are well laid out with over 2,000 species of tropical plants introduced since 1959.
Accommodation:  Tai Garden Hotel.
Jinghong - Kunming
Today we have a full day excursion to Menghai, where we drive 70km. First we visit Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, first built in 1701, the ornate decoration is impressive. We then visit Aini People's villages and lastly the Ancient Tea Garden and Menghai Market.  After dinner we take an evening flight to Kunming.
Accommodation:  Golden Dragon Hotel.
Kunming - Jianshui - Mengzi
We drive to Jianshui, 200km (62km of normal road, other parts are expressway, taking 3 hours. Jianshui used to be an important trading town and as a result offers many fascinating old buildings to explore. First we visit the Caoyang Tower, also referred to as small Tiananmen Tower because of its resemblance to the one in Beijing. There are also some fragments of the old historical city wall. We then proceed to the Zhu Family Compound situated right in the middle of the city. This extensive estate dates back to the Qing Dynasty. The Zhus were very successful merchants who owned mines and stores and it is strongly suspected that they were also successful criminals! Afterwards we visit the massive Confucious Temple. There is a very large pool and an 'inner sanctum' with its carefully tended garden and display of historical objects. Lastly we visit  Tuanshan village another historic family compound 13 kilometres west of Jianshui. This compound is famous for its fascinating collection of traditional Chinese architecture. The wooden carvings have to be seen to be believed. They are immensely thick, multiple layered and feature a tangle of creatures, figures and plants. Then we continue our drive to Mengzi 88 km (1 hour), the capital city of Honghe Prefecture. We visit the main sites of the city, including the beautiful Nanhu Lake and the former site of Mengzi Customs. Mengzi Customs was the first official customs set up in Yunnan. French Consulate and Gelushi Foreign Bank were built after Mengzi Customs was opened for trading during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty and most of the buildings are in French style.
Accommodation:  Honghe Guanfang Hotel.
Mengzi - Hekou - Lao Cai (Vietnam) - Sapa
We drive to Mengzi to Hekou (180km expressway - 2 hours). Then you depart for the Lao Cai border crossing gate between Vietnam and China, after procedures  with Vietnam Immigration and Customs you head off to Bac Ha Market, a regular market held every Sunday for ethnic minorities. There you'll see the gathering of thousands of people of H'Mong, Phu La, Dao, Tien and Tay ethnic minorities wearing their colourful traditional costumes. It is a riot of colour and fun and an opportunity to explore the colourful market and meet the local tribal people to appreciate their culture and their own tradition. Lunch in Bac Ha.  After lunch you drive to Sapa late afternoon. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Accommodation:  Chau Long Hotel (mountain view).
Sapa is a hill station built in 1922. The whole area is spectacular, as Sapa lies in a valley surrounded by paddy fields in a variety of shades of green and is overlooked by Vietnam's highest mountain Mount Fansipan. you will see the local minority groups, the H'Mong, Dzao and the Dzay people, the largest and the most colourful ethnic groups in the region. After breakfast take a 4km drive to the rim of a deep valley. Along the road you'll see H'Mong, Dzay and Dzao minority people dressed in their traditional costumes. There is a two hour walk around Ta Van and Lao Chai, home to all three minorities. Observe their daily lives for a rare glimpse into their culture and costumes. Lunch is at a local restaurant. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Accommodation:  Chau Long Hotel (mountain view).
Sapa - Dien Bien Phu
Depart Sapa for Dien Bien Phu, a long driving journey. Enjoy the most spectacular scenery along 4D and 12 highway passing ethnic villages of White Thai, Kho Mu, Red and White H'Mong minorities. On the way stop at Silver Waterfall, the Heaven Gate and a local market in Tam Duong. Lunch is on the way. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Accommodation:  The best available hotel in Dien Bien Phu.
Dien Bien Phu - Mai Chau
In the morning we'll see A1 Hill, the main battlefield in 1954 where the French were defeated by Viet Minh, Dien Bien Phu War Museum and the shelter of the French commanding general in Dien Bien Phu.
Leave Dien Bien Phu for Mai Chau. On the way we'll meet several groups of Thai, Tay, Nung ethnic minorities in their traditional clothes. A spectacular view along the way, arrive Mai Chau late afternoon, an area of white Thai ethnic group.
Tonight the group will stay overnight at a family's house (which is called the Long House) in the village, a basic accommodation. The family provides mattress, sheet, pillow and blanket, though some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Bottled water will be supplied for the journey in this part of Vietnam. Dinner at the house followed by a traditional Thai minority music show.
Accommodation:  Family Home Stay (Thai Long House).
Mai Chau - Cuc Phuong National Park - Ninh Binh
A short walk around the village before leaving Mai Chau for Ninh Binh. On the way we'll stop at Cuc Phuong, the oldest National Park in Vietnam for lunch  and  a 4 hour tour to visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation, breeding, research and conservation of endangered primates and to the protection of their habitats and trekking through the park for sightseeing and learning more of fauna and flora in this oldest forest of Vietnam. Arrive in Tam Coc early evening. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Accommodation:  Yen Nhi Hotel.
Ninh Binh - Tam Coc - Halong Bay
In the morning take a one hour bicycle ride around this beautiful countryside are of Tam Coc - Bich Dong, known as Dry Halong Bay. Enjoy a one hour boat ride in a sampan on the small stream winding between rice fields and limestone cliffs rising almost vertically out of the paddy fields. A spectacular sight! Leaving Tam Coc for Halong Bay, which is considered the eighth natural wonder of the world. You arrive in Halong city mid afternoon, enjoy the view of spectacular Halong Bay from the balcony of your room. Dinner is at the hotel.
Accommodation:  Saigon Halong (ocean view).
Halong Bay
A 7 hour cruise on Halong Bay with seafood lunch on board.
Halong Bay is listed as world heritage, the area of outstanding beauty. "Dragon descending on the sea", as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Halong Bay has around 1,969 limestones islets rising from the clear emerald water, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. A visit to a beautiful cave and an opportunity for a swim during the cruise. 
Accommodation: Saigon Halong Hotel (ocean view room)
Halong Bay - Hanoi
Leave Halong Bay for Hanoi, arriving early afternoon. Lunch is at a local restaurant. In the afternoon you take a one hour interesting  cyclo tour around the Old & French quarter of Hanoi. In the evening enjoy the Water Puppet Show, the unique traditional art of the Vietnamese from the 11th century before dinner at a nice local restaurant.
Accommodation: Intercontinental Hotel.
Hanoi city tour visiting Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Museum and Residence, One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature built in the 11th century known as Vietnam's first university. Lunch is at KOTO. Afternoon is at leisure. Farewell dinner at a nice local restaurant.
Accommodation:  Intercontinental Hotel.
Free day in Hanoi. Transfer to Hanoi International Airport departing at 8.45pm on
TG 565, arriving in Bangkok at 10.35pm.
Sydney passengers depart Bangkok at 11.59pm on TG 477, arriving in Sydney at 12.05pm (04.08.10)
Brisbane passengers depart Bangkok at 11.59pm on TG 473, arriving in Brisbane at 11.50am (04.08.10)
Melbourne passengers depart Bangkok at 12.15am on TG 465, arriving in Melbourne at 12.05pm.
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                                                Conditions for Macleay Valley Travel's  Yunnan & North Vietnam

Deposits and Payments - A non-refundable deposit of $200.00 per person is payable within 7 days of booking. This deposit is not refundable should you later cancel. The balance is payable in full 8 weeks prior to departure.

Refunds and Cancellations - Cancellations after final payment will result in a refund limited to whatever we can recoup from the airline.

Insurance - Adequate travel insurance is essential. We can arrange this for you if desired.

Passports - All travellers require a current passport with at least 6 months left on it at the end of the tour. Non-Australian passport holders require a re-entry visa for Australia.  Visas are required for all Australian passport holders to China. Visa fee for an Australian passport holder is $40.00 plus consulate processing fee of $55 and we charge $30.00 for processing.  Please note: Visa fees are subject to any increases imposed by the Chinese Consulate. Visas are required for all passport holders to Vietnam. Visa fee for an Australian passport holder is $72.00 and we charge $30.00 for processing.  Please note: Visa fees are subject to any increases imposed by the Vietnamese Consulate.

Basic Tour Price and Taxes - Air taxes and fuel levies are included in the basic tour price, and as air taxes and fuel levies change regularly  the exact amount will be advised at time of invoicing. At present air taxes and fuel levies come to $420 for the standard tour. Total tour cost may therefore change.

Not  Included in the Cost -  Travel insurance, visas and all items of a personal nature such as telephone calls, drinks, excess baggage, tips, meals (except those specified in the itinerary), etc. are not included in the cost.
Similarly, credit card payments can only be accepted if 2% is added to the price to help defray the heavy merchant fees charged to us by the credit card companies.

Breakaway Fee
All fully inclusive prices are based on group travel and any deviation from the set itinerary will incur a breakaway fee.

Booking through other Agents - As we keep the cost of our tours as low as possible, there is insufficient margin for us to be able to pay commission to other travel agents, so some bookings can only be accepted if the client pays the other agent's commission. 
Macleay Valley Travel is a fully licensed travel agent and as such any monies paid to us are fully insured by the Travel Compensation Fund. We are happy for any prospective traveller with us to check us out with your local Consumer Affairs (fair trading) department.

Health and Fitness -Macleay Valley Travel recommends that the passenger is reasonably healthy and/or fit to participate in this tour.  Persons with a disability requiring special assistance must be accompanied by a companion. Macleay Valley Travel and their representatives cannot provide this service.  Macleay Valley Travel reserves the right to accept/decline or terminate a passenger's participation in the tour under certain circumstances.

Limitation of Liability - As Macleay Valley Travel acts only as agent for the Airlines, Hotels, Coach Companies etc., providing accommodation, transportation and other services, Macleay Valley Travel shall not be liable or responsible for death or injury to any person or loss or damage to any property including baggage arising out of or connection with any transportation, accommodation or other services, or resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, fire, breakdown in machinery or equipment, acts of Government or other authorities, de jure or defacto wars, whether declared or not, hostilities, civil disturbances, strikes, riots, thefts, epidemics, quarantines, medical or customs regulations, delays or cancellations caused by changes in schedules or itinerary, or over bookings or defaults or for any causes beyond Macleay Valley Travel's control or any loss or damage resulting from improper or insufficient passports, visas or other documents and neither Macleay Valley Travel, and its servants or employees shall be or become liable or responsible for any additional expenses or liability sustained or incurred by the tour member as a result of the foregoing causes.
Macleay Valley Travel reserves the right to modify the itinerary or the accommodation if circumstances make this necessary, provided that the amended itinerary is of equal value or greater value than that of the original program.
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