Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.You are greeted by your guide and driver at Noi Bai International airport for your transfer to the hotel.
You will have time to relax at your hotel and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. This beautiful city is bustling with energy and will soon dispel even the slightest feeling of jetlag.
At night you are invited by a Hanoian family for a warm welcome dinner. Around the dining table, she will tell you more about Vietnamese cuisine which is always in serving fresh food, using a lot of vegetables, herbs and spices and teach you some basic Vietnamese phrases. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi city’s Highlights
Option: Wake up early, grab your cameras and head out to Hanoi’s biggest flower market in Quang Ba. Enter Quang Ba Flower Market to see and smell many beautiful and exotic flowers. This is a fantastic spot for photographers to catch some exceptional and colourful scenes. On your way back to the old centre you visit the banks of Truc Bach Lake. Every morning, the local people gather at Truc Bach Lake to practice Tai Chi, do their daily fitness exercises or play badminton. It is the perfect opportunity to encounter real life in Hanoi. You can join in or simply observe this oasis of peace and serenity in the middle of the city centre. Skip breakfast at the hotel this morning and join the locals in the streets for a bowl of Pho.This aromatic beef noodle soup is without a doubt Vietnam’s most famous dish.
Start with a visit to The Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilt and nearby One Pillar Pagoda.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi is a relic of a succession of dynasties. Dating back over a thousand years to the Chinese Tang dynasty, Hanoi’s ancient citadel was the home of Vietnamese sovereigns going back to Dai Viet, when Hanoi was known as Thang Long. You will visit the ruins of royal palaces, a revolutionary bunker and the archeological site.
Afternoon visit to the Temple of Literature – dedicated to Confucius, was built in the 11th century. It was the first university in Vietnam and students still come here to burn incense. You will find a peaceful atmosphere tinged with incense smoke, and sunken lotus ponds populated by fish and turtles.
Visit the home of a water puppet artist, the descendant of a family of water puppet performers. This Vietnamese traditional performance art has roots dating back to the 10th century. You will have a chance totalk with the artist, participate in the process of making the puppets, and enjoy a private water puppet show.
From here, drive to city center for Old Quarter Walking tour. This Hanoi walk provide us chance to witness Hanoi’s rich cultural and artistic history.
Spend the rest of your day at Sword Lake. Located at the heart of the city, Sword Lake or Hoan Kiem is a historical site and one of the symbols of Hanoi, with Tortoise Tower and Ngoc Son Temple on the lake’s two islands. Take a rest and watch the local life goes by. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Breakfast at hotel before heading out to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Ha Long you board one of our luxury Vietnamese sampans for an overnight boat cruise amongst themore than 3,000 limestone islands and rocks rising majestically out of the turquoize bay. Pass grand rock formations and quaint fishing towns, and sample a delicious buffet made up of freshly caught fish and seafood.
In the afternoon you are offered a choice of other interesting activities: sunabthing, a refreshing swim, or an optional traditional massage on board.
For those who want to go fishing (extra charges apply), a sampan boat will take you to join local fishermen in a nearby area. You will be supplied equipment as the locals use, and can test your skills. You will return to your cruise vessel in time to be ready for dinner.
End the day with a spectacular set-menu gastronomic dinner; steamed crab in tamarind sauce, fresh squid, and delicious mussels are just a few of the many possibilities. Overnight on board.
Day 4: Da Nang – Hoi An Ancient Town
Start your day with calming Tai Chi, often accompanied by an amazing sunrise and the quiet breath-taking beauty of Bay’s landscape.
Pass beautiful spots such as Trong, Trinh Nu and the Me Cung Caves, and get a chance to explore theSurprise Cave ourselves before our buffet brunch on board.
Back at Ha Long harbour around noon where your waiting vehicle will transfer you back to Noi Bai Airport for your short flight to Da Nang, a busy seaport in Central Vietnam
You are met at Da Nang airport by our local guide and learn a bit about this fascinating country on the way to Hoi An, a World Heritage site designated by UNESCO in 1999. Overnight in Hoi An
Day 5: Hoi An
Your day fills up with very interesting activities. Fantastic experience of local farming and fishingcommunities. Jump on your bicycles and take a beautiful scenic route through the rice paddies of outside Hoi An.
Share in the daily work of local farmers – maybe hoeing in the fields, harvesting the crops, or even riding a water buffalo.
A boating along calming river leads us to a peaceful fishing village and encounter you fun hands-on experience of fishing net making and particularly paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while exploring coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war and hear of the extreme conditions endured by soldiers on both sides
Continue your visit to the ancient streets of Hoi An, lined with Chinese traders’ homes and wooden houses reincarnated as restaurants, cafés, and outlets for local artists, craftsmen and tailors. Explore the beautiful 16th century Japanese Bridge. Hoi An’s unique fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture is well displayed here, in what is arguably Vietnam’s most tourist-friendly town. Overnight in Hoi An
Day 6: Hue Imperial Citadel
Leaving Hoi An in the morning, you head out to Hue, the Vietnam’s last feudal capital. Hue is widely known for its magnificent architecture, mystical pagodas and royal tombs spread around many small villages and the surrounding hills.
En-route, stop at Cham Museum – houses a collection of stone scultures from the Hindu-practing Cham Civilization. It’s the artistic quality of the figures: Shiva, garudas, nagas, lions, monkeys, elephants and some examples of the ancient Hindu icons of fertility: lingam altars make this museum is a worth to visit.
Keep driving to colorful interesting Incense, Conical hat making Village. You will see how they do it and also can try making some.
Continue to Tu Duc Tomb. Tu Duc began planning his tomb long before his death in 1883. The major portions of the tomb complex were completed from 1864-67, along with future temple buildings that served as a palatial retreat for Tu Duc and his many wives during his lifetime.
The rest of the day is free at leisure: you might want to explore Dong Ba Market, or board on a cyclo or simple have a rest at the hotel. Overnight in Hue
Day 7: Hue Imperial Citadel
Today is your insider day trip to Hue Imperial Citadel, recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Explore the Imperial Citadel, closely modeled along the lines of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Passing Ngo Mon Gate, you enter to the Purple Forbidden City, reserved for the Nguyen royal family from the 18th century until the mid-1900s.
In the afternoon, you visit an over 100-year-old An Hien house, a house of an descendant of a great mandarin under the time of Gia Long King. The housekeeper will provide you more information about the house and local culture
Then head out to Thien Mu Pagoda, a nicely located pagoda overlooking the Perfume River and the beautiful landscape beyond. If you are lucky, you could observe the Pagoda’s praying ceremony and experience local religious life. Also, do not miss the stunning sunset on Perfume River.
Take the evening flight to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon – the most dynamic city of Vietnam where modern high-rise buildings sit next to ancient temples. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City
Today you will have an informative day by visiting Giac Lam Pagoda – Saigon’s oldest pagoda. Dates back to 1744 and its architecture, layout, and ornamentation remain largely unaltered. The elderly and infirm flock here as the pagoda houses a bronze bell that pilgrims ring after posting their prayers, said to ensure an answer to prayer.
Next is visit to FITO Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine. Its collection of 3,000 items, including traditional tools and ancient documents, traces the development of traditional medicine in Vietnam.
In the afternoon, a walking tour following the Graham Greene’s Trail takes you on a journey from colonial to modern Saigon. The Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883, most materials for Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral were imported from France. Neo-Romanesque in form, it is a major centre of Catholicism in modern Vietnam, and one of the city’s major landmarks. Next to the cathedral stands theSaigon Post Office, a classic French colonial structure, is still a functioning post office today and features huge ceilings, a giant portrait of Uncle Ho, and many beautiful details. Continue along the former Rue Catinat to the Hotel Continental – famous from the ‘Quiet American’ novel and film. Your final stop is atCaravelle Hotel. This hotel and its bar were home to many foreign reporters and secret agents during the Vietnam War. Head up to its rooftop bar to try one of Saigon’s many local beers and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Overnight in Saigon
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
After transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta, explore the colourful Cai Thia rural market.
Cycle small routes through orchards, past traditional wood and thatch houses, and chat with local farmers and fishermen.
Board a boat to a nearby garden where you’ll enjoy lunch, the freshest of fruits, homemade rice wine and traditional music. Overnight at homestay in Vinh Long.
Day 10: Vinh Long – Ben Tre
After breakfast take a boat to Cai Be floating market and cruise through a maze of merchants and traders. Continue to Ben Tre, famous for coconuts, and take a cycle rickshaw (xe loi) tour through villages, fields and gardens.
On a small boat, tour the area’s narrow canals, stopping to visit a small workshop producing hand-made bricks, a typical fishing and fruit growing household, and a rice noodle factory making the area’s famous Hu Tieu.
Back on a bicycle, you’ll ride village paths and stop to learn about local production of sticky rice and rice paper, as well as visiting a former Viet Cong soldier.
Lunch is a full meal of local specialties, after which you can go fishing, and later join a cooking demonstration with your homestay host. Homestay in Ben Tre.
Day 11: Ben Tre – Ho Chi Minh City
Take a boat trip to visit a coconut processing workshop, then you’ll cycle to visit the busy My Long Market, Phuoc Long Tu Temple and war memorial. After reaching Phong Nam Village on your bicycle, you’ll be transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City.
The rest of the afternoon is free at your leisure for shopping at Ben Thanh market, an icon of the city, stands in the center of District 1. Packed to the rafters with everything from fruits to nuts, from tourist kitsch to true bargains. Or take in panoramic views of Ho Chi Minh City from its highest building, the 68 floorBitexco Building which rises 262 meters. The view from the Skydeck gives you a broad view of the vibrant city you have been explored. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Saigon departure
This morning is free at your leisure in Saigon till your driver pick you up to the airport for your flight
END OF TOUR
• AROUNDVIETNAM – VN0024 (17 Days)
• AROUNDVIETNAM – VN0023 (14 Days)
• HIGHLIGHTS OF VIETNAM – VN0021 (10 Days)
• HIGHLIGHTS OF VIETNAM – VN0020 (8 Days)
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• HIGHLIGHT OF VIETNAM – VN0018 (18 Days)
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