Vietnam Highlights 12 days
ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY:
Ha Noi on Arrival
Welcome to Hanoi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to Ha Noi City center to check in your hotel Take a rest of the day until 6:00 pm for welcomed dinner at one of the well-known restaurants in town, follow by briefing tour.
Ha Noi Discovery
Start a full day sightseeing tour of Ha Noi. The city is a significant landmark of colonial-influenced architecture. Your city tour includes a visit to the First University in Vietnam built in 1070 - the Temple of Literature, Hoa Lao Prison and the Ha Noi Othe Quarter with 36 narrow streets Hoa Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple. In the afternoon, continue travel to Ethnology Museum and another stop at simple traditional Vietnamese stilt house of Ho Chi Minh. Afterwards, return to the hotel and free to relax for the following days' travels.
Ha Long Bay Overnight Boat
You'll travel to Ha Long Bay, the World Heritage site, one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders. It's approximately a 4-hour drive to the bay where your boat cruises the emerald green waters surrounded by limestone islands, mountains with fascinating landscapes. Have delicious food lunch as the boat begin to move onto the bay. Arrive in famous Bai Tu Long Bay to contemplate limestone mountains and then stop at Vong Vieng fishing village to visit floating houses, fishing farms, floating schools, and chatting with local fishermen. Watch the sunset, and have diner out on the desk. This is the perfect way to enjoy fabulous surroundings with endless photos of your journey.
Ha Long Bay – Ninh Binh
The boat continues to cruise around Halong Bay this morning, and it will return to the harbour at 11:30 am. You wake up early to enjoy the fresh atmosphere and great dawn. Then enjoy morning tea, Vietnamese coffee and fruits and breakfast. The last visit is Surprising Cave, the most famous and beautiful cave in Halong bay. Then return to the cruise to have lunch while cruising to the harbour. Take a private car for a 4-hours drive on the scenic roads to Ninh Binh. Check in the beautiful resort in Tam Coc.
Ninh Binh – by Bike & Boat – Train to Hue
The highlights you travel to visit is not far from your hotel, and these are fascinating places. Begin to explore the network of rivers and beautiful Tam Coc Caves and its rustic countryside by sampan rowed boat and bike. You board on rowed boats to admire mysterious caves. The 1.5 hours rowing boat paddle is fantastic as it is non-return. Each sampan carries two people, and they move slowly on calm water, pass rice paddies and deserted grass fields amongst uprising limestone cliffs, karst and mountains. It is an excellent chance for nature and photography lovers. After you discover all three caves, you disembark the sampans for a coffee break and be ready to see the charming countryside of Tam Coc and Bich Dong by bicycle. The ride is about an hour, and it takes you on the rural lance, pass rice paddy fields and lush country farmlands. Visit the ancient Bich Dong Pagoda before travelling to Hoa Lu, the ancient Capital of Vietnam, formally Dai Co Viet National. You'll enjoy lunch at a famous restaurant before returning to the hotel. Today you have a hotel late check out after dinner. Sleep a night on the train to Hue.
Explore Forbidden City & Royal Tombs - Hoi An
Get up in the early morning as the trains arrive at the railway's station in Hue. Meet your guide and driver for a full day in Hue before travelling to Hoi An in the last afternoon. Hue was the centre of Vietnam Feudal Nation, formerly Capital City and ended in 1945. Today, the city offers many past royal historical relics, the modern history of French colonial architecture and charming countryside with traditional villages. After you are picked up, transfer to the city center to have breakfast, taste tea and coffee at a selected restaurant in town before the tour starts. Forbidden City is the highlight spot on your visit to Hue, where Nguyen Lords could not live without hundreds of concubines and eunuchs. After you explore the citadel's inside, continue travel by car to Thien Mu Pagoda. At Pagoda, you can see the vehicle of Thich Quang Duc monk who burned himself to death in 1963 to protest the policies of Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnamese Army. The next is Khai Dinh Mausoleum that is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture. The last visit is Minh Mang Mausoleum with ancient traditional design. You can distinguish the old from the modern—lunch en route before a 3 hours vehicle transfer To Hoi An.
Hoi An – Cooking Class at Red Bridge Restaurant
After breakfast, be picked up at your hotel for a short drive to Hai Cafe for a brief introduction to your half-day cooking class. Then take a walk to the colourful central market with your chef cook, and experience the fantastic sights, sounds and aromas. You will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and select fresh produce and ingredients essential for Vietnamese cuisine. We board the Red Bridge boat for a 25-minute leisurely cruise along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to local river life, and your camera should be ready for endless photos along the river bank. On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb garden before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – the Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before preparing the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). Take a seat, enjoy the lunch that you have cooked. Finally, return to your hotel by car, spend your time exploring, go shopping, or perhaps visit a local tailor to get a custom suit or dress made.
Hoi An - Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh
Enjoy breakfast and check out for a leisurely transfer to Da Nang to board an internal flight to Ho Chi Minh. Your guide and diver will take you to Saigon city center to check in the hotel. After lunch, spend the rest of the day and evening is your own time to explore bustle Saigon.
Mekong Delta Explorer
Start to travel to the heart of Mekong Delta, stay a night in the Mekong Delta Capital, experience the lively floating market the following day. Upon arrival in the rural village of Cay Lay, we cycle 12km through rustic farmlands, villages along rivers, cross small rivers in the countryside by small ferry boats, experience people live along the Mekong River. There will be many stops on the way, visit local families, workshops producing local snacks, sweets and handicrafts. Have delicious lunch in Cai Be township. Afterwards, you board the Cai Be Princess boat to cruise through the small Cai Be floating market and cross the Mekong River to An Binh island. This is a chance you experience local life along Dong Phu Canals until your boat left the Island behind and reached Vinh Town, where we have an hour vehicle drives to Can Tho.
Can Tho - Floating Market - Saigon
You'll have an early start for a boat trip along the Can Tho River towards Cai Rang, the largest liveliest floating market in the Delta. Can Tho is a city in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. Set on the south bank of the Bassac River, it’s known for its floating markets. Cai Rang is just about 45 minutes by the river in the urban district. You can observe locals sell and buy various products catering to their daily lives. The market is a famous location to find farms and other products priced quite reasonably compared to others. There are wide ranges of fresh tropical fruits, vegetables harvested from farms nearby. The rest are tiny sampans that are mainly focused on selling light breakfast, coffee, and soft drinks. The sampans are more motivated than the longer boats with long-tailed engines when the bigger boats are anchored with farm products and specialties, such as vegetables, grapefruit, coconut, banana, watermelon, and dragon fruit rambutan. Then you disembark the boat for a beautiful ride in 12 km. The routes are smooth concrete paths through the backwaters of Phong Dien. Ride along small rivers, pass kindergarten, primary, a small village with rustic farmlands. Return to Can Tho city for lunch, and lastly, relax on vehicle driving back to Ho Chi Minh.
Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels
Start the day with a visit to Ben Duoc original tunnels located a couple of hours vehicle drive to Tay Minh Province. Arrive around 11:30 am, and this is a perfect time to learn about Cao Daism, its history and have time for endless photos before you watch the followers attending noon mass. Cao Daism is a unique religion combined with Catholicism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Islam. Then have lunch in the famous restaurant, continue travelling to Cu Chi tunnels, and visit the Ben Duoc original tunnels. Viet Minh dug the tunnels in 1948 when the French were here, then Viet Cong built the tunnels longer and more complicated than when US Army was in South Vietnam until 1975. It is an impressive underground constructed base. You explore these tunnels with your leader and also accompanied by a Viet Cong guide with local knowledge. Then return to Saigon in the late afternoon.
Ho Chi Minh - Departure
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the country's largest city. The name Saigon has indicated the city centre by locals today. What to do and see by your way in Saigon? Reunification Palace, General Post Office, War Museum and shopping on Dong Khoi St, and Ben Thanh Market. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then spend time shopping and relaxing until the pick up for transfer to the International Airport to fly home. Tour End!