DAY-01 ARRIVE HANOI
Arrive at the Hanoi Airport, where our guide will welcome you and will assist to your hotel. Time permitting you can walk along the streets of the old French Quarter to see this busy and exotic part of town. Overnight in Hanoi.
DAY-02 HALONG BAY
After breakfast you will join our exciting overnight adventure to the famous Halong Bay. At Halong pier we will board our cruise to head east towards the Gulf of Tonkin. Here in the heart of the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay (where dragons descend into the sea) are its hundreds of limestone islands, together they create one of nature’s most breathtaking vistas. The bay and its mystical islets are all part of UNESCO’s world heritage site as a natural wonder. Our boat will slowly cruise around its many islands till it finally arrives at a pristine spot, where we anchor for the night. Later this afternoon we will visit the mysterious yet intriguing Sung Sot Caves. These caves hold the secret of their natural formation that has been going on for thousands of years. Thirty-meter cave walls show many dramatic formations that tease the imagination. On board, before dinner, you can take part in a short cooking course on making Vietnamese spring rolls. Enjoy watching the sunset and later the star-filled night. Lunch and dinner are both served on board the cruise. Evening activities like night squid finishing, karaoke and dancing are all possible. Overnight on board the Cruise.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 03 HALONG BAY – HANOI
You could start your morning with an early morning session of Tai Chi. After a sumptuous breakfast you have the option to climb up the top of the Titop Island to enjoy a panoramic view of the bay or take your kayaks to paddle in the bay to discover its beauty. After your morning activities the cruise will start heading back to the port. Enjoy your final views from the deck. After you arrive back to the port, your guide will assist you in transferring back to Hanoi. You arrive late in the afternoon. If you are up to it, there are some interesting activities to choose from. As an option we strongly suggest that you visit Hanoi’s French Quarters at night and watch the water puppet show. The tradition of this puppet show goes back to Vietnam’s rice farmers. Standing knee deep, the farmers and their puppets transformed the flooded rice paddies into a stage for this unique form of entertainment. Overnight in Hanoi.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 04 HANOI
Today we embark on an exciting tour of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and a truly exotic city. Today’s Hanoi is an infusion of old and new, with a touch of its Parisian past and its modern day Viet-Chinese influences, unique is the best word to describe this city. The narrow streets of its old quarter are swarmed with people and almost as many motorbikes with an assortment of other traffic. The streets are lined with a variety of vendors from fruit sellers to chic brand name outlets. We start our tour with its most revered landmark the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam and the Chairman of the Communist Party from 1951 till 1969. The mausoleum is inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow. Nearby is the Presidential Palace, with its typical colonial style architecture, constructed in the early nineteen hundreds for the French Governor General of Indo-China. Ho Chi Minh built a stilt house within the Palace gardens where he lived until his final days.
Next we visit the One Pillar Pagoda, built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong in 1028. The temple resembles a Lotus flower bloom and is a symbol of purity and peace. Unfortunately, the original was destroyed by French forces before they left Vietnam. Luckily it was rebuilt by the Vietnamese people after their independence. Our next stop is The Temple of Literature. Built in the eleventh century AD and dedicated to Confucius, the Temple of Literature is probably the oldest university of this part of the world. Next we visit the Tran Quoc Pagoda, originally built in the sixth century AD, considered to be the oldest in Hanoi. Nearby is the Quan Thanh, a Taoist Temple, dedicated to the Xuan Wu, the mysterious warrior and a high ranking Taoist Deity. Later this afternoon you have the option to take a Cyclo (cycle rickshaw) tour of Old Hanoi. Once you are done your tour you can take a walk around the Hoan Kiem lake and visit the Jade Mountain Temple – Ngoc Son Temple. There are lots of places to dine here around the lake. The lake is lit up at night giving Hanoi’s best views of the night. Overnight in Hanoi.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 05 HANOI – HUE – HOI AN
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your fight to Hue. Arrive and head out to visit the imperial city. Enjoy a boat ride down the Perfume River and visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, probably the most mentioned monument in Vietnamese literature. Next, pay a visit to the Imperial Citadel. After our visit we will head to Danang to continue our drive towards Hoi An. Enjoy your scenic drive via the Hai Van Pass. Have your camera ready for the view from the top of the pass. Lang Co’s immaculate beaches give us an opportunity to stretch our legs and take in some sea air before we continue to Hue, the ancient capital of the Nguyen Dynasty..
Hoi An, is one of the most impressive cities in Vietnam. Surround by lush green sugar loaf ranges, this is where the rice padies meet the oacean. The core of the city is preserved as a World Haritage Site. You can stroll down its narrow streets that are lined with colourful stalls and shops that sell anything from unique local souvenirs to tailor made suits. Yes, they can stich one for you in 24 hours. Overnight in Hoi An.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 06 HOI AN
Free Day. Take time to explore the city and its surroundings. In the afternoon, step back in time in Hoi An, where the ancient streets and buildings of this Cham city are preserved for you today as a World Heritage site. Visit the Covered Japanese Bridge, which marked ethnic divisions in this multicultural city. Cross the bridge to enter the path to the past. Here merchants once thrived from the spice trade and left their hallmarks like the Chinese Temple and the Tan Ky Chinese-style trading house. Overnight in Hoi An
OPTIONAL EXCURSION – FARM VISIT:
Join us to visit a local community farm. Here you can dress like a Vietnamese farmer and hoe down the soil to learn the ancient farming techniques. As you collect various herbs from the garden and pick up the vegetables you need, its time to meet your chef in the kitchen. Before you change in to your cooking attire, its time to relax with a soothing and refreshing message. When you are ready, the chef will show you to cook some traditional Vietnamese dishes. Of course, the best part is that you can eat the food that you cooked and some interesting side dishes your chef has prepared.
OPTIONAL EXCURSION – MY SON
40 km outside of Hoi An is a place of architectural gems left to us by the Cham people. You will see why My Son earned its World Cultural Heritage status. The Towers are a marvel of Cham design and ingenuity. This sacred temple to Shiva emerged from the clutches of the jungle to amaze tourists who marvel at the engineering of the people of long-forgotten Champa.
DAY 07 ARRIVE AT SAIGON (HO CHI MINH CITY)
Arrive at Saigon International airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Saigon (Ho Chi Min City).
DAY 08 SAIGON CITY TOUR
Welcome to the largest, busiest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City. Often still called Saigon, the once humble fishing village is now a metropolis of around nine million people. Look for the place where a tank stormed the gates at the Reunification Palace. This spot has served as a palace to Kings, French colonists and presidents. The War Remnants Museum displays the remains of machinery and munitions from the Vietnam War. It is a sobering experience to see the effects of war on average citizens. For more peaceful contemplation, see the Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, built with materials imported from France in the 19th century, including glass from Chartres. Across from the Basilica we can see the Central Post Office, exquisitely designed by none other than Gustav Eiffel. After lunch at a local restaurant we will continue on to Giac Lam Pagoda. Enjoy the relative calm and tranquility on the grounds of this place of worship within the bustling city. The walls protect the eighteenth-century pagoda, a modern stupa, and a distant relative of the Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha experienced enlightenment. Explore the Chinese-influenced area of Saigon, called “Cholon” (“Big Market”). This is where you will find the Thien Hau Pagoda. Dedicated to a Chinese goddess that early settlers thanked for safe passage to Saigon, the Pagoda draws people in for its beauty and the scent of its incense. Since the early 17th century, vendors have been meeting at the site of the Ben Thanh Market to entice customers with their goods. Transfer back to your hotel. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 09 CU CHI TUNNELS – CAN THO
After breakfast, we will depart for Cu Chi tunnels. By 1965, 250 km of tunnels crisscrossed Cu Chi and surrounding areas -just across the Saigon River was the notorious guerrilla power base known as the IRON TRIANGLE. The Cu Chi tunnels played a vital part in the American war in that they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area only 30 to 40 km from Saigon. At its height, the tunnel system stretched from Saigon to the Cambodian border. The network, parts of which were several levels deep, included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and feel of what underground life in the American War must have been like. The tunnels have been widened for our benefit (otherwise we would not be able to enter them!) For those interested there’s the opportunity to fire off rounds from an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range. After your visit, head to the Mekong Delta and stay overnight in Can Tho
Overnight Saigon. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
DAY 10 CAN THO – VINH LONG (MEKONG DELTA)
Early morning visit one of the largest floating market in the region – Cai Rang. Discover how this traditional Mekong Delta floating market operates. Your boat trip will take you past a variety of boat shops that sell fresh fruits, vegetables and a variety of other goods. Each boat has a long pole and on the tip of this pole hangs what the boat sells. After your trip return to your hotel for a fresh warm breakfast.After breakfast head to Vinh Long in the heart of the Mekong Delta. We start with a visit to the Cai Be floating Market. Compared to Cai Rang this is a much smaller market, but has its own charm. Then it’s time to explore the mighty Mekong River. We board our boat and cruise along the many canals and tributaries of the Mekong, stopping to visit Tien Chau Pagoda, brick and pottery workshops, and to see a fish-raft village. After eating “Elephant Ear Fish” from the Delta, we continue to explore the waterways. On An Binh Island, visit the biggest nursery garden. Tonight you have the unique opportunity of staying at a traditional guest house run by a local farming family. After you arrive at their home, you may wish to take in your surroundings, explore the gardens and discover a variety of local pants and flowers. A great way to explore this island is to take a bike ride. Your host family will prepare freshly cooked meals for you. Dinner and overnight family homestay.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 11 VINH LONG – SAIGON
We set off early this morning on foot, so we can listen closely to the sounds of the delta and witness local farmers beginning their day. Your boat will take you to the home of a former landlord, Mr. Cai Cuong. Here you will have the chance to taste the fruits of the delta, while enjoying a performance of traditional South Vietnamese music. In the Nursery Garden, you can see where the Delta fruit trees begin life. Time permitting you can visit the Vinh Long Market. Finally we will meet our driver and head back to Saigon.
Overnight in Saigon
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
DAY 12 SAIGON – DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for your flight to onwards destination.
- Accommodation: Our unique select hotels/guest houses with clean rooms, reliable service and safe for foreign travellers.Meals: Meals as mentioned in the program outline, are included
- Meals: As mentioned with the program.
- All entrance fees for sites are included in the tour with the exception of those that are mentioned otherwise.
- Air-conditioned transport throughout the tour (as per sightseeing program and hotel transfers).
- Experienced and professional chauffeurs.
- Sightseeing as mentioned with the tour details.
- English speaking guide and/or trip leaders.
Services do not include:
- Entry visas (if applicable).
- If you book your flights yourself, you may be required to pay an additional cost for the airport transfers. Please contact our office to confirm.
- International Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
- Domestic Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, drinks, use of mini-bar at the hotels, laundry or personal medications.
- Any expenses that may arise due to unforeseen natural or political situation.
- Insurance: We strongly recommend that all clients consider buying Trip Cancellation/Interruption + Medical Travel Insurance. Contact our office for a quote.
- Tips and gratuities to porters, guides, drivers and trip leaders.
- This trip may only operate with a minimum number of participants.
- Sudden changes in the foreign currency rates can impact the prices. We can only protect our prices as long as they do not change over 5%.