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Southeast Asia: A Journey of Discovery

Join psychologist, educator, and award-winning travel writer Don Mankin on a sensory, seductive, and spiritual journey through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

October 19—30, 2019 | From $4,985/pp


Program Overview

Southeast Asia is one of the most sensual, seductive, and exotic regions on earth. Add “magical,” “mysterious,” and “sultry” and you are still barely skimming the surface in describing the allure. Join award-winning travel writer, psychologist, and former academic Don Mankin for an adventure-filled 12-day journey exploring lush tropical landscapes, bustling cities, serene villages, and ancient architectural wonders unlike anything in the Western world. The poignant histories, unique cultures, and spiritual traditions of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia will spark your curiosity and open your eyes to a world vastly different from our own. In the words of world-renowned writer, Pico Iyer, “We travel to slip through the curtain of the ordinary … to be carried off into a sense of strangeness, and into the expanded sense of possibility that strangeness sometimes brings.” No place on this planet better evokes this “sense of strangeness” than SE Asia. Join Explorer X and Don Mankin on this immersive journey of self-exploration, discovery, and transformation.


Your Travel Mentor


Don Mankin, Ph.D.

Don has filled many different roles in his professional and personal life – psychologist, educator, futurist, writer, consultant, and world traveler. What they all have in common is his commitment to innovation, in the form of new ideas, new programs, new places to visit, and new ways to look at how we live and work. After earning a B.S. in electrical engineering from Drexel University and a Ph.D. in psychology from The Johns Hopkins University, Don worked for 35 years as a psychology professor and dean at various universities throughout the US and has consulted for many organizations, large and small. He authored four books on management and organizational psychology, including Teams and Technology from Harvard Business School Press and Business Without Boundaries from Jossey-Bass.

Don has also made it his personal mission to explore the far reaches of the planet. His adventures have taken him to Africa, Asia, Antarctica, North and South America, Europe, and almost everywhere in between. Several of his trips are described in his most recent book, Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to 50 Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler. Don has learned a great deal from his travels, about the world, himself, and human nature. This, plus his many years as a professional psychologist and educator, has led him to a deep understanding of how adventure travel and experiences can transform our lives, work, relationships, and organizations. This is the current focus of his work and the writing, speaking, consulting and coaching services he offers.

Read more about Don's life-changing adventures in Southeast Asia.

The Itinerary

October 19

Fly into Hanoi
Group orientation with Don Mankin
Welcome dinner at Cau Go Restaurant with one of the most beautiful views of the city

October 20

Guided stroll through Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter
Walk around peaceful Truc Bach Lake and visit the site where Senator John McCain crashed after he was shot down during the Vietnam War
Meet with Nguyen Qui Duc, acclaimed Vietnamese-American author and journalist with NPR & the New York Times

October 21

Tai Chi with the locals on Hoan Kiem Lake
Guided street food tour in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Boat ride along serene waterways through rice paddies, lilies, and reeds
Picnic on a small islet at the Tam Coc Garden Retreat overlooking rice fields, ponds, and limestone peaks

October 22

Wander through the village and markets of Yen Mac with a local family
Meditation healing workshop with a Malay expat living in Hanoi
Musical performance from local women’s group

October 23

Cruise among the dramatic limestone karsts of Halong Bay
Explore the hidden lagoons and floating villages of Lan Ha Bay, the most scenic and remote section of Halong Bay
Enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood from the Bay and spend a peaceful night on board the boat

October 24

Early morning Tai Chi on the sundeck
Visit historic pagoda at Nom village, a masterpiece of Vietnamese sculpture from the 10th—13th century
Fly to Luang Prabang, Laos


October 25

Morning guided walk through the village of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site wedged between the scenic Mekong and Nam Khan rivers
Visit the National Museum, the former Royal Palace, and explore the hidden lanes of the city and Wat Xieng Thong
Meet with monks at Wat Mano followed by a Baci Ceremony led by Prince David Tiao at one of the most beautiful royal mansions of the city

October 26

Watch orange-robed monks collect alms in their daily procession
Visit Khouang Sy Waterfalls and swim in the clear, natural pools
Take a private lunch cruise up the Mekong to Luang Prabang.
Tour the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, led by ethnomusicologist Dr. Marie-Pierre Lissior, the Curator of the Center
Stroll the stalls at the town’s famous Night Market

October 27

Morning at leisure to shop, relax, or explore
Afternoon flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia
Attend a contemporary circus performance by young local artists telling uniquely Cambodian stories

October 28

Early morning tuk tuk ride to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat with a former Buddhist monk, getting away from the main crowds of tourists
Explore Bayon, the second most important temple in the Angkor complex, featuring gigantic stone faces of unknown meaning smiling mysteriously
Hands-on cooking class and market visit with Chef Mork of POU, a famous local restaurant

October 29

Morning hike up to Phnom Bakheng temple at the crest of a hill to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat
Visit Ta Phrom, one of Angkor Wat’s most iconic temples wrapped in vines
Ride a vintage military jeep through the Cambodian countryside to Banteay Srey
Lunch at the home of the leader of a local project for women entrepreneurs

October 30

Free time to explore, relax, or pack
Airport transfer for international flights

Tonle Sap.jpg

October 31—November 2 | Optional Extension

Tonle Sap floating villages
Kampong Thom village on the Stung Sen River
Visit UNESCO Site of Sambor Prei Kuk, an impressive group of pre-Angkorian monuments and some of the oldest structures in the country
Tour the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh

Learn More!

Interesting in learning more about this Adventure? Send us a note and we’ll connect you with a Travel Mentor who will be able to answer any of your questions!




Hanoi @ La Siesta Trendy | October 19—21

La Siesta Trendy is located in the desirable Old Town, in the heart of one of the most vibrant historical districts in Asia. The vision of La Siesta Trendy captures the present day, the edgy and buzzy feel of the city. Contemporary in design and stylishly modern in character, the incorporation of metal, glass and wood with modern steel greys and blue colors gives it a sleek contemporary dynamic feel.


Tam Coc Garden | October 21—23

Amidst the soothing gardens and tropical aromas of Tam Coc Gardens are nestled 8 independent bungalows, each of which is divided into two luxurious bedrooms. The spacious bungalows each have a private terrace and overlook a panorama of rice fields or limestone peaks. The tastefully decorated rooms marry material with furnishings to give them a refined charm. Stone, wood, traditional tiles, ceramic and bamboo are natural integrated for the ultimate charm.


Lan Ha Bay: Orchid Cruise | October 23—24

Orchid Cruise combines the bay's magnificent scenery with a taste of Vietnam's rich traditional culture, while ensuring all the amenities and services discerning travelers expect. Orchid Cruise stands among the most reputable cruise operators, providing authentic cruises in Halong and Lan Ha Bays. The boats interiors were completely refurbished three years ago, giving the cabins a classical feel.


Luang Prabang @ Maision Dalabua | October 24—27

Maison Dalabua stands on one of the most serene locations in Luang Prabang away from the hustle and bustle of the main town, but just a three-minute walk from the historical center with easy access to the night market, royal palace and historical temples & buildings. The hotel is built around the UNESCO protected natural wetlands of Luang Prabang in an oasis of calm in this world heritage city.


Siem Reap @ Won Residence & Spa | October 27—30

Located centrally in downtown Siem Reap just a short walk away from the town’s bustling shopping and restaurants, the Won Residence features an on-site spa and restaurant as well as an inviting swimming pool. The rooms feature a work area, king size bed, and a well-equipped bathroom with walk-in shower. Classic elegance unites with modern amenities in the spacious rooms. All our rooms enjoy 24-hour room service and free wifi.


Pricing & Inclusions


  • $4,985/pp (based on double occupancy)

  • Single Supplement: $950 (may be available upon request)

What’s Included:

  • All accommodations listed above (11N)

  • Breakfast and Lunch every day; 9 dinners

  • All experiences and activities

  • All transfers and transportation

  • All cruises and boat trips

  • All Domestic Flights: Hanoi > Luang Prabang > Siem Reap

What’s Not Included:

  • All International Flights > We Can Help Book Flights!

  • Travel Insurance > We Can Help!

  • Items of a Personal Nature

  • Souvenirs


Apply Now!

Ready for your Journey of Discovery to Southeast Asia? GREAT! We ask that all prospective Muddy Shoe Adventurers submit a brief application for their desired program. This gives you a chance to connect with your Program Leader to make sure that this is a good match … and ensures that you know what to expect (and what not to expect) on your Adventures. Click the button below to learn more about the application process and to submit your application for this Adventure!