If you want to visit the highlights on Viet Nam, this tour is definitely for you! We will start with Ha Noi, the eternal capital with more than 1000 years of history, followed the impressive Ha Long Bay, a 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 picturesque ancient port town, probably the best example of traditional Vietnamese architecture in the whole country. We will finish the tour in the South by visiting Ho Chi Minh City, the former colonial Sai Gon and is nowadays 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.
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi full day sightseeing (BL)
Blending the modern with the mystery and charm of the past centuries, Ha Noi offers an air of elegance that harmonizes with nature.
Your sightseeing tour in the morning begins with a visit to Van Mieu (or also known as 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, you will continue the tour by going to Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex1 – containing a museum and Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House – a simple two-room dwelling where he lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. You can also see One Pillar Pagoda, or Chua Mot Cot nearby, which was made from a single large tree trunk and originally constructed in 1040, then later rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Afterwards drive to West Lake in the center of the city, to see the beautiful 6th century’s Tran Quoc Temple.At midday, take a break to enjoy a famous Ha Noi’s savory specialty – “Pho”.
In the afternoon, we will pay a visit to the infamous Hoa Lo prison, built by the French colonists to house Vietnamese political prisoners. During the Viet Nam War, it was used by northern Viet Nam, and dubbed “Ha Noi Hilton” by American prisoners of war. Today, only part of the prison still exists as a history museum. Next, we will have a tour through Ha Noi’s Old Quarter – the oldest inhabited area of Viet Nam featuring 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 peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines. Each street was named to reflect a specialized trade in the old time such as silk, jewelry, etc. Take a break at a local coffee shop to experience Ha Noi in the past time while sipping your coffee and watching life in the neighborhood. Your tour ends with a visit to the charming Buddhist NgocSon Temple, or Temple of the Jade Mountain. Walk across the red-painted wood bridge to explore this peaceful area.
Attend a delightful water puppet show in the evening and enjoy watching it with local children.
Overnight in Ha Noi.
1 This site is closed on Mondays
Day 3: Hanoi to Haiphong & Halong (B)
In the morning, experience the local lifestyle as you take the train from Long Bien to Hai Duong. Upon arrival, drive to the harbor city of Hai Phong. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a short tour through this city to see the large fish market, colorful flower market, city theatre and the Grand Catholic Cathedral. Then continue the drive towards Ha Long and arrive in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Ha Long.
Day 4: Halong Bay (BL)
Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO Heritage Site, located in the Gulf of Tonkin and covers an area of 1500 square km. With more than a thousand limestone peaks soaring from its crystalline emerald water, this area is one of the natural wonders of Viet Nam and now one of four World Heritage sites in Viet Nam. The tiny islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and the waves that make an excellent backdrop for swimming or just lazing about on the boat deck. Start the day by enjoying a relaxing full-day private boat excursion aboard a traditional Chinese-style wooden junk. Sail by rock islets such as Stone Dog and Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), and stop to explore Thien Cung or Sung Sot Caves to view the beauty of the surreal and subterranean world of stalagmites and stalactites. Anchor at Titop Beach and relax in the sun or enjoy a swim. A wonderful seafood lunch is included and will be served during your trip in this mystical bay.
Overnight in Ha Long.
Day 5: Halong to Hue (B)
In the morning, drive to Ha Noi for your flight to Hue. In the afternoon, tour around Hue’s Old Imperial City (close to Perfume River). Visit the Imperial Citadel, a vast 1,000-acre complex built in the 1800’s. It was modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, with a 6-mile wall and surrounding moat. Although it was destroyed during wars, today you still can see the monuments of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. Then visit Flag Tower and the wonderful Ngo Mon Gate, one of the ten entrances to the complex. In the spacious courtyard area, we can see Dien Tho Palace (the Palace of Supreme Harmony), Thai Hoa Palace(throne hall) where the Emperor would meet foreign rulers and other high-ranking dignitaries and Hall of Mandarins, where you can see the original Nine Dynastic Urns. This day’s sightseeing tour ends in the afternoon with a visit to the large and popular Dong Ba market, where local dishes and the symbolic Vietnamese bamboo Phu Cam conic hats, called Non, are sold.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue (BL)
Cruise down Perfume River in the morning to explore Dinh Market, where they make paper mache, and then visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda (Pagoda of the Celestial Lady). This elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower is one of the oldest pagodas. Built in 1601, it is Hue’s most widely recognizable monument and one of the prettiest religious buildings in the country.
After the cruise trip, we will visit a local family and enjoy some of the local dishes with them for lunch. Next, explore some small villages where they produce the trademark Vietnamese coco hats and incense.We will also pay a visit to “Phuong Duc” where bronze products are made. Although nowadays the place is not as active as in the past, it is still a wonderful example of a traditional Hue handicraft village.
Later in the afternoon, pay a visit to the Tomb of Tu Duc. Being the longest-reigning Vietnamese emperor, Tu Duc designed and built this elegant tomb to 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.
Day 7: Hue via Danang to Hoian (B)
Drive to Hoi An in the morning. On the way we will stop at a fishing village near Lang Co Beach, and at the dramatic Hai Van Pass to contemplate the spectacular views. Hai Van is the highest pass in the country and considered the dividing line between the climate zones of the north and the south of Viet Nam.
Before reaching Hoi An, we will explore Da Nang by visiting Cham Museum, with the largest collection of Champa artworks and sculptures in the world, spanning from the 7th to the 15th century. Visit Marble Mountains, which its peaks named after the five elements of the universe. Passing the curving beaches and clear blue lagoons of the South China Sea, we will arrive in the picturesque riverside town of Hoi An by late afternoon.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 8: Tra Que & Hoian
In the morning enjoy a countryside tour to Tra Que village and learn about its history and the cultivation of the vegetables as well as the ways in which they are used to make traditional Vietnamese medicines. You will also have a chance to join farmers and help them garden. We will pass several rice fields and beautiful local fishing villages on the way out.
Previously known as Faifo, Hoi An was an ancient port town and is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will spend this day to relax or explore the village on your own. Hoi An is one of the best places to discover genuine Vietnamese architecture. Visit the riverfront area and stop at a traditional Vietnamese coffee shop. The rest of the day you’re free to relax or explore the village on your own.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoian via Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta (BLD)
Drive to Da Nang airport in the morning for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Sai Gon). We will meet you upon arrival and drive you to Can Tho.*
Board your comfortable wooden river cruise vessel in Can Tho and enjoy a refreshing welcome drink. Your cruise begins after lunch on board – it is time for you to relax and watch the fantastic scenery as well Mekong people’s daily life.
In the afternoon, disembark for a guided stroll through a small village to see fruit orchards and rice fields. Meet the friendly locals and enjoy the charm of the Upper Mekong Delta. We will stop on the way to watch how the residents make their traditional treats such as dried longans, rice pancakes, puffed rice candies, natural honey and honey wine, and their famous Ben Tre coconut candies. You will also have a chance to sample those tasty local delicacies.
Go back on board and relax on deck as the sun sets over the magnificent river landscape. Enjoy dinner on board afterward.
Overnight on Mekong Eyes Cruise (or similar).
*Mekong Delta Cruise may run in reverse and visit similar floating markets, depending on departure date.
Day 10: Cai Be Floating Market (BL)
As the sun rises in the early morning, you will see 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. We will disembark after lunch on board and driven to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City afterward.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnels (B)
In the morning, we will visit Tay Ninh, home of Caodaism, a monotheistic religion officially established in the city of Tây Ninh in southern Viet Nam in 1926. Attend a Noon ceremony and listen to a traditional Vietnamese orchestra singing hymns. The hymns here are very unusual with their unique blend of Western and Vietnamese music.
In the afternoon, you will depart for Cu Chi and tour through underground tunnels of Cu Chi, explore part of the 245 km underground network that zigzagged from the southern tip of the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Cambodia to the Sai Gon 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 crisscrossing 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.
Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Transfer to Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight.
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