12 days / 11 nights 
Duration
Vietnam
Destination
Cai Be, Da Nang, Ha Long, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue
City
VCL-RT2B
Tour Code

If you want to visit the Vietnam highlights, you can do it with this tour! Visit the most renowned destinations in this country with this 12-days tour, staying two nights in the main country places. We will start with Hanoi, the eternal capital with more than 1000 years of experience, and the second step will be the impressive Halong Bay, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Nature Wonders in Asia. Hue will be the third stop, a city with an Imperial heritage that affects the own city nature. Going through the breathtaking Ha Van pass, the next stop will be Hoi An, the pintoresque ancient port town, probably the best example of traditional Vietnamese architecture in the whole country. We will finish the tour in the South, visiting Ho Chi Minh City, the former colonial Saigon that is one of the biggest hubs in Southeast Asia, and the charming Ben Tre, where you will navigate the Mekong Delta channels embarked in a luxury cruise.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City
DEPARTURE TIME 8AM
RETURN TIME
WEAR
INCLUDED
Domestic flights as noted
11-night accommodation including breakfast
Meals as indicated in itinerary
Private tour with English Speaking Guide
All entrance fees, boat excursions as per itinerary
Land tour and transfers with A/C vehicle
NOT INCLUDED
International air ticket
Visa
Other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Drinks, tips and other personal expenses
Extra charge for Christmas, New Year or Public Holidays
1

Day 1: Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam

CHÀO MU’NG! Welcome to Vietnam and Hanoi! You are met on arrival at the Hanoi airport, and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon enjoy an hour ‘cyclo’ ride through the Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore this is a vibrant, teeming metropolis.

Overnight in Hanoi.

2

Day 2: Hanoi full day sightseeing (BL)

Blending the modern with the mystery and charm of past centuries, Hanoi offers an air of elegance and harmony with nature. This morning’s sightseeing begins with a visit to the Van Mieu or Temple of Literature. The temple dates back to 1070, and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius. Note the peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways; this is one of the best examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next, continue to the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, containing a museum and Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place. See the Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the simple two-room dwelling where he lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. Nearby, sitting in a lotus pond, view the miniature One Pillar Pagoda, or Chua Mot Cot. Made out of a single large tree trunk, it was originally constructed in 1040, and then rebuilt after destroyed by the French in 1954. Drive to West Lake in the center of the city, to see the beautiful 6th century Tran Quoc Temple. Midday, take a break for a light and local lunch featuring “Pho” (noodle soup) – a savory Hanoi specialty. In the afternoon, we pay a somber visit to the infamous Hoa Lo prison, built by the French colonists, to host Vietnamese political prisoners. During the Vietnamese War, it was used by the North Vietnam, and dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by American prisoners. Today, the only part of the prison still exists as a history museum. Next, enjoy a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter – the oldest continuously developed area of Vietnam, highlighting more than 1000 years of history. Explore the network of narrow alleyways known as ‘The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life and purchase items from fabrics to crafts, to exotic medicines. Each street was named to reflect the specialized trade of the merchants – such as silk traders, jewelry, etc. Take a break at a local coffee shop to experience the popular Hanoi pastime of sipping coffee and watching life in the neighborhood. Your tour ends with a visit to the charming Buddhist Ngoc Son Temple, or Temple of the Jade Mountain. Walk across the painted red wood bridge to explore this center of peace and harmony.

Overnight in Hanoi.

3

Day 3: Hanoi to Haiphong & Halong (B)

This morning, experience the local lifestyle as you take the train from Long Bien to Hai Duong. Upon arrival, depart for a leisurely drive to the harbor city of Haiphong. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a short tour of this city. See the large fish market, colorful flower market, city theatre and the Grand Catholic Cathedral. Then continue the drive to Halong, arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Halong.

4

Day 4: Halong Bay (BL)

Halong Bay is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site with 1500 km2 area of picturesque islands shrouded in mist, floating villages and pearl fisheries. Today, enjoy a relaxing full day private boat excursion aboard a traditional Chinese-style wooden junk – Cruise on the emerald waters between dolomite islets and some of the 3,000 craggy limestone cliffs dotted with breathtaking caves and grottos. Sail by rock formations with such names as Stone Dog and Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), and stop to explore the Thien Cung or Sungsot Cave to view the beauty of the surreal and subterranean world of stalagmites and stalactites. Anchor at Titop Beach to relax in the sun or enjoy a swim. A wonderful seafood lunch is included during your cruise of this mystical bay.

Overnight in Halong.

5

Day 5: Halong to Hue (B)

This morning, drive to Hanoi airport for your 1-hour flight to Hue.

This afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel, a vast 400-hectare complex built in 1800’s, it was modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, with a 9.6 km wall and surrounding moat. Though it was destroyed through war, today you can still see the monuments to life during the 19th century Nguyen Dynasty. View the Flag Tower and the imposing Ngo Mon Gate, one of the tenentrances to the complex. In the spacious courtyard area, see the Dien Tho Palace (the Palace of Supreme Harmony) and Thai Hoa Palace (throne hall) where the Emperor would meet foreign rulers and other high-ranking dignitaries. Explore the heart of the Imperial City, site of the ‘Tu Cam Thanh’ (Forbidden Purple City). Only members of the royal family, the Emperor’s concubines, and trusted senior mandarins were allowed inside to these various palaces and the Emperor’s private apartments. Then see the Thai Hoa Palace, Hall of Mandarins and see the original Nine Dynastic Urns. Your sightseeing tour ends with a visit to the large and popular local Dong Ba market, that sells local food dishes and the symbolic Vietnamese bamboo Phu Cam conic hats, called Non.

Overnight in Hue.

6

Day 6: Hue (BL)

This morning, cruise by boat down the Perfume River, visit the Dinh Market, where they make paper mache, and then to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda (Heavenly Lady Pagoda). This elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower is one of the oldest pagodas, built in 1601, and is Hue’s most widely recognizable monument.

After the cruise, visit a local home and enjoy a lunch repast of local dishes with the family, then explore some small country villages where they produce the trademark Vietnamese coco hats, and incense. Pass by the “Phuong Duc” where people produce bronze products, though not as active as the past, it is a wonderful example of a traditional Hue handicraft village. Late in the afternoon, visit the Tomb of Tu Duc. The longest reigning Vietnamese emperor, Tu Duc designed and built this elegant tomb for use as a retreat for meditation, reading and theater performances. It is one the most beautiful works of Nguyen Dynasty Royal architecture, and lies on a boundless pine forest with mounts and lakes. Return to Hue by late afternoon.

Overnight in Hue.

7

Day 7: Hue via Danang to Hoian (B)

This morning, drive to Hoian, stopping en route at a fishing village near Lang Co Beach, and at dramatic Hai Van Pass to admire the spectacular views. Hai Van is the high dividing line between the climate zones of north and south of Vietnam. Before reaching Hoian, explore Danang by visiting the Cham Museum, with the largest collection of Champa artwork and sculpture in the world, spanning from the 7th to the 15th century. See the Marble Mountains, adorned with the subtle, lyric and poetical ambience of pagodas, grottoes, and green trees, its peaks represent the five elements of the universe. Passing the curving beaches and clear blue lagoons of the South My Khe Beach, arrive in the picturesque riverside town of Hoian by late afternoon.

Overnight in Hoi An.

8

Day 8: Tra Que & Hoian

This morning enjoy a countryside tour visiting the Tra Que vegetable village. Learn thehistory of the village, and the cultivation of the vegetables and how they are used in traditional Vietnamese medicine. Join the farmers in preparing their gardens. Then drive back to Hoian passing rice fields dotted with water buffalo, and delightful local fishing villages.

Previously known as Faifo, Hoian was an ancient port town. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Hoian is one of the best places to discover the genuine Vietnamese architecture. Visit the riverfront area and stop at a typical Vietnamese coffee shop. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax or explore the village on your own. Stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Quarter, or spend time mingling with the local vendors at the Hoian Market.

Overnight in Hoi An.

9

Day 9: Hoian via Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta (BLD)

Take a short drive to Danang airport for your morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Upon arrival drive south into the Mekong Delta River region to Can Tho. Here board your comfortable wooden river cruise vessel, your home for the night. After lunch on board, your cruise begins and you can relax and watch the fantastic scenery and the daily life of the Mekong people.

In the afternoon, disembark for a guided stroll through a village and the surrounding fruit orchards or rice fields. Meet the friendly locals and enjoy the charm of the upper Mekong Delta. Taste the local produce and traditional treats such as dried longyans, rice pancakes, puffed rice candies, natural honey and honey wine, and their famed Ben Tre, coconut candy. Back on board, relax on the deck as the sun sets over the magnificent river. Your boat anchors for the night as you enjoy a delicious dinner on-board, and retire to your cozy cabin on your floating hotel.

Overnight on Mekong Eyes Cruise (or similar).

10

Day 10: Cai Be Floating Market (BL)

Awaken to the sound of the river as your boat cruises along and you ready for an exciting day of sightseeing in the Mekong Delta. As the sun rises, watch the locals begin their daily work drying exotic fruits, and building ships in the wooden yards.

After breakfast, take a sampan boat to the lively Cai Be floating market. Marvel at the sheer abundance of exotic fruits, vegetables and skillfully handcrafted regional products. Pull up next to these market boats for conversation and bargaining with the merchants. Visit the local candy and cake making factories, and boat through the green water landscape to see local houses and verdant orchards.

After lunch on board the boat, bid farewell and disembark in Cai Be. You are met and driven to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

11

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnels (B)

Today, explore outside city. In the morning, visit Tay Ninh, home of Cao Daism, and indigenous Vietnamese faith that incorporates the teachings of the world’s major religions. Attend the Noon ceremony with the traditional Vietnamese orchestra and choir who lead the congregation in prayers. The hymns are very unusual with their unique blend of Western and Vietnamese music.

In the afternoon, take an historic and emotional tour through the Cu Chi underground tunnels, explore part of the 245 km underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Cambodia, to the Saigon River. Visiting Cu Chi will give you an intimate understanding of the vital aspect of guerrilla warfare fought by the Vietnamese against both the French and the Americans. Developed in the late 1940s, these criss-crossing tunnels were constructed by local resistance fighters looking for a place to hide their weapons from the French. Discover secret trapdoors, field hospitals, command posts, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms.

Return to your hotel in the afternoon. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

12

Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City (B)

Your tour ends today with your transfer to the Saigon airport for your departing flight.

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