Scenic World Takes in World Heritage Sites

Through October, tour operator Scenic World is offering a seven-night group or FIT package that visits World Heritage sites in four Asian countries: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

By: David Peterkofsky

Through October, tour operator Scenic World is offering a seven-night group or FIT package that visits World Heritage sites in four Asian countries: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The World Heritage Sites Discovery package, sold by the San Francisco-based operator in conjunction with Bangkok Airways, showcases Asian sites designated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Committee as being of “outstanding universal value” and worthy of preservation.

Though Scenic World has been in business for 20 years, this is the first time it has sold these World Heritage sites on a single set itinerary, said Pannir Murugesu, the company’s general manager.

Murugesu noted that Bangkok Airways recently launched its Mekong World Heritage Network of air service, which connects the cities on the tour and which Scenic World uses for all intra-Asia air in the package.

The airline also helped create this itinerary in response to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s efforts to boost tourism to the Mekong Delta region as a whole.

The World Heritage Sites Discovery package departs Mondays through the end of October and costs $999 per person, double.

The trip begins with a flight from Bangkok to Sukhothai, a town considered to be the cradle of Thai civilization; today, the entire town is a World Heritage site. Travelers visit Sukhothai’s restored ancient sites, as well as its ruins, then move on the next day to Luang Prabang, Laos, a World Heritage site not frequently included in tour packages to the region.

Travelers spend two nights In Luang Prabang, a city perched on the Mekong River that was once the capital of the Laos’ Lan Xang kingdom. They visit temples, royal buildings and caves filled with thousands of Buddhas. Also featured is a visit to nearby hill tribes.

From Luang Prabang, travelers go to Da Nang, Vietnam, and are driven to the nearby town of Hoi An, once the capital of the ancient Cham Empire, for a bicycle tour of the city.

The following day, travelers ride through the Marble Mountains, via the famous Hai Van Pass, to Hue, a World Heritage city on the banks of the Perfume River. Attractions in Hue, at one time the capital of Vietnam, include its complex of monuments from the Nguyen Dynasty.

Following Hue, travelers fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, once home to the Khmer Empire and still home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Angkor Wat temple complex. From Cambodia, travelers fly back to Bangkok before heading home.

Scenic World’s package includes accommodations in three-star hotels, all meals, flights within Asia, and entrance fees, taxes and service charges. International air is not included, nor are airport taxes and visa fees.

Scenic World does not include air from North America in the package price, Murugesu said, because many travelers choose to redeem frequent-flier miles for the trans-Pacific portion of the trip. But Scenic World can arrange trans-Pacific air for clients through a consolidator if they want it.

Call 800-952-0226. Web site: www.scenicworldtour.com.

For more details on Bangkok Airways’ Mekong World Heritage Network and a detailed description of the itinerary, visit www.mekongworldheritage.com.

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