15 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS EXOTIC VIETNAM
VIETNAM HOLIDAY PACKAGES
(HANOI – HALONG BAY – HUE – MY SON – HOI AN – SAIGON & MEKONG DELTA)
DAY 1: HANOI / ARRIVAL (Daily Arrival)
Upon arrival you will be picked up by our local station guide who brings you to the hotel. The today’s sightseeing program depends on your arrival time. The guide will talk abt the history of Hanoi and their Hoan Keim Lake legend! If time permits you will visit Old quarter of Hanoi by cyclo – like a ‘little bit of Amsterdam’ – with its similar style houses… Overnight in Hanoi at Melia Hotel/dlx room
DAY 2: HANOI – FULL DAY TOUR (B)
After breakfast, mid morning, enjoy a stroll through the Temple of Literature to have more in-depth Vietnamese culture and history and of course to Uncle Ho’s former residence and the one pillar pagoda.Your sightseeing will also include the visit of the Museum of Ethnology (but closed on Mondays) to enhance your understanding of Vietnam’s diverse culture through its unique presentation of objects & dress from daily life. If time permits you can finish your sightseeing with the visit to Hanoi’s former Hoa Lo prison. This evening you will enjoy the colorful traditional water puppet performance (you may ask your guide to join the show and explain the story to you). Overnight at the hotel.
Please note: you may as well visit Uncle Ho in his museum (but again: Mondays and Fridaysclosed). AND: Uncle Hoe travels for abt 2 to 3 months yearly to Russia – for a new make over: it might be he won’t be residing when you are there… Overnight in Hanoi at Melia Hotel/dlx room
DAY 3: HANOI – BAT TRANG POTTERY VILLAGE – OVERNIGHT TO SAPA (B)
After breakfast drive to Bat Trang, the pottery village which is situated 15 km outside of Hanoi. Surrounded by fertile farmland, on the left bank of the Red River, it is said, that the village took its first name from Bach Thu guild (a guild of Kaolin potters) and then it became Bat Trang guild (a guild of bowls and kilns). There are various kinds of pottery: jade enamel (under the Ly – Tran Dynasties), brown flower or brown enamel (under the late Iran to early Le Dynasties), cracked enamel (under the late Le Dynasty) and royal blue enameled items (under the late Le to Nguyen Dynasties). Watch the artisans forming, painting and glazing their products, which are then baked for several days in huge kilns. Drive back to Hanoi – the afternoon is free for you! At 20:30, pick up at hotel, transfer to Hanoi Railways Station for the Orient Express Train to Lao Cai (2 person compartment sharing/Vip cabin) Overnight in the train/Vip Cabin.
There is no dining carriage but we can arrange you a ‘dinner – picnic-box’ for US$ 10,– per person. You may purchase before your departure some French wine: Don’t forget the wine opener though 🙂
DAY 4: CAI – SAPA – CAT VILLAGE (B)
Arrive at Lao Cai early morning. Upon arrival have a private transfer to Can Cau Market where hill tribes exchange their goods : buffaloes, horses, chickens, vegetable, rice , and their sundried products. Drive back to Bac Ha to have lunch before you drive to Sapa. Have a late afternoon walk in Sapa. Overnight at your hotel in Sapa.
DAY 5: SAPA – TA PHIN VILLAGE – LAO CAI (B)
After breakfast you will start your short car ride toward Muong Hoa valley from where you will hike into the valley – the largest rice paddy terraced among Sapa area. Learn about the cultivation of rice. If you visit the valley sometime in between May and October, you will be able to observe and experience the planting or harvesting, one of the most important activities in their daily life. Continue to Lao Chai village (Black Hmong minority) and the Ta Van village (Glay minority) Lunch time will be in Sapa. Leave Sapa with direction to Lao Cai, before taking a left turn into a small paved road leading to Taphin village. Here you experience the unmixed cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 largest ethnic groups in this area. Mingle with the locals! And then back to Lao Cai for the night night train to Ha Noi Overnight trip. Note again: No dinner on dinning carriage! The ‘dinner picnic box’ catered by the Victoria Hotel US$ 14, — per person. Did you only buy one bottle of wine? Well, then you don’t need the wine opener for the trip back… Overnight in the train/VIP cabin.
DAY 6: HANOI – HALONG BAY (B, L, D)
Arrive at Ha Noi in the early morning. Transfer to a 2 to 3 star hotel for getting you back to shape and have a 5 star breakfast at Sofitel Metropole. You will have a 3 hours transfer to Halong Bay. The Gulf of Tonkin was once the haunt of Vietnamese and Chinese pirates. With 3 limestone and dolomite islets sprinkled over an area of 1,500 square kilometers, Halong Bay offers a wonderland of karst topography. Arrive at Halong port and board the traditional wooden cruiser for your exciting tour of Halong Bay. Sea food lunch on board. Dinner and overnight on board.
Itinerary with Traditional Junk
8.30 am pick up you at your hotel in Hanoi. Travel to Ha Long city for about 3 hours drive. Upon arrival, transfer to a junk for a cruise around Ha Long Bay with a delicious local seafood lunch served on board. Passing Dog Island, Incense Urn Island, Ga Choi Island, Finger Island, Hoa Cuong Island, and visit Surprise cave and short swim at Titov beach (if weather permitted). Have dinner on board. In the evening, enjoy the night fishing and later overnight on board.
DAY 7: HALONG BAY – HANOI – HUE (B,L)
In the morning, cruising to Bai Tu long bay, Fire Island, Bo Nau Island, fishing village. Having lunch on boat and arrive at Ha long wharf about 12.00 noon. Return to Hanoi by private car, arrive in Hanoi about 16.00 pm then heading to airport for afternoon flight to Hue . Your guide for Central Vietnam will await you in Hue and transfer you to your hotel. Overnight at Morin Hotel/colonial dlx.
DAY 8: HUE (B)
Today you will spend a full day in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty of emperors from 1802 till 1945. After breakfast start a scenic boat trip upstream the Perfume River on board a dragon boat to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda , Hue’s most preserved religious monument standing on the riverbank with its seven-floor tower. Then visit to the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen emperors once ruled Vietnam. You will further visit King Tu Duc’s tomb and King Minh Mang tomb (typical formal oriental style designed). Overnight in Hue.
DAY 9: HUE – MY SON – HOI AN (B)
Early morning, after breakfast your journey will bring you to Hoi An via Danang. You first visit the Cham Museum in Danang. Built in 1915 this museum displays an intensive and diverse collection of Champa sculptures dating from the 7th to the 15th centuries. It now has nearly 2000 large and small sculptures. Of these, 288 are on display inside the museum, 187 objects in the garden and more than 1.200 objects are reserved in the storehouse. Most of the sculptures in the museum are original and mainly of three kinds of materials, including sandstone, terracotta and bronze. It is a good introduction before you visit the site of My Son – one of the most stunning sights in the Hoi An area, Vietnam’s most important Cham site, and as of 2000 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk a short distance for a short jeep ride up the mountain to the site. Then walk again, using several bamboo bridges (they call them monkey bridges, BUT EASY TO WALK ON – ALSO FOR SENIORS OK!) to get into the Cham site itself. Today, the temples and their towers are in ruin, vegetation is growing unimpeded, Sanskrit stelae are all about, and numerous lingam are visible. During the centuries when Tra Kieu (the known as Simhapura) served as the political capital of Champa, My Son was the site of the most important Cham intellectual and religious centre, and also may has served as burial place for Cham monarchs. My Son is considered to be Champa’s counterpart to the grand city of South-East Asia’s other Indian-influence civilisation: Angkor ( Cambodia), Bagan (Myanmar), Ayuthaya (Thailand) and Borobudur (Java).You continue your journey to Hoi An and have a late lunch snack. Enjoy a walking tour of the ancient town center and take in the former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colorful market with its stalls brimming with tropical specialties. Whoever is still fit can explore this charming small town on their own or with the guide. Just let the guide know! You can also order tailor made cloths which will be ready later at night (around 9 pm) for fitting and then will be ready next morning! Overnight at Golden Sand Resort/premium garden view
DAY 10: HOI AN – LEISURE TIME – FLY TO SAIGON (B)
Relax in Hoi An and wait for your transfer to Danang airport for the evening flight to Saigon where your guide form South Vietnam will pick you up and bring you to the hotel. Overnight at Majestic/colonial dlx
DAY 11: SAIGON – FULL DAY TOUR (B)
Saigon is not only sightseeing but about street markets, where bargains are struck and deals are done; the pavement cafes, where stereo speakers fill the surrounding streets with a melodious thumping beat; and the sleek new cafes and pubs, where tourists chat over beer, pretzels, coffee and croissants. Today you will have a sight seeing tour in Saigon which includes visits to
Cholon (China Town) with Thien Hau Pagoda, Cholon is in District 5 and is a maze of narrow streets, bustling with people. Most of Vietnam’s ethnic Chinese live here and they are the largest single ethnic minority group in the country. Merchants began to settle in Cholon in the 1770s, although many ethnic Chinese fled the country in 1975.
The Thien Hau Pagoda is one of Cholon’s must-sees. It is dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, protector of the sea. Photographers are spoilt for choice with the ornate decoration inside the pagoda and the statues of Thien Hau. It is popular with worshippers (the air is always heavy with the smell of incense) and there are regular festivals during the lunar calendar.
Notre Dame cathedral, The twin towers of Notre Dame Cathedral have been a familiar landmark in Ho Chi Minh City since the 1880s. In front of the cathedral in a small garden is a delicate statue of the Virgin Mary. The interior of the cathedral is rather plain, unlike most French cathedrals, with no stained glass but it is a cool escape from the heat outside.
Former post office, Across from the Notre Dame Cathedral, the vast Post Office was also built in the late 19th century in European style. The interior has hardly been touched since it was built and is dominated by a huge portrait of Ho Chi Minh. The building always seems busy but most people are just visitors rather than customers.
Former Presidential Palace, The Reunification Palace is beautiful in its ugliness, a 1960s monstrosity designed with the help of Soviet architects. Most people will remember the image of a North Vietnamese tank crashing through the gates on 30 April 1975 signifying the fall of Saigon. The tank still graces the front lawn. Rooms open to the public remain exactly as they were in 1975, showing where important meetings were held during the war, as well as some of the private quarters of the president and his family. Most fascinating are a series of underground tunnels housing a telecommunications centre.
Vien Bao Tang Lich Su Historical Museum, located just inside the entrance to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo, the Historical Museum houses a collection of artefacts covering the last 2000 years of Vietnamese history including items belonging to ancient cultures such as Dong Son, Oc Eo and Cham. The museum was built in 1929 and the collection assembled by the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient. If this is too much for you, you can skip some and just stroll one or two hours through this bustling city! Overnight at Majestic/colonial dlx
DAY 12: HCMC – CU CHI TUNNELS – HCMC OR VISIT NINH AND LEARN ABOUT CAO DAISM (B)
You start your day with a stroll through the popular Benthan market. Binh Tay Market’ throngs with people from early morning and the gloomy, narrow walkways are crammed with consumer items and exotic foodstuffs. The sound of bargaining, quite often in Chinese rather than Vietnamese, and the calls of the vendors constantly fill the air. This is one of the best places to see the locals going about their daily lives. Then continue to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. Vietnamese are proud of their resolve in their prolonged history of struggle against invading armies, and the story of the people of Cu Chi is indicative of that spirit. Just 65 km (40 miles) northwest of Saigon. the Cu Chi area lies at the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail and was the base from which Ho Chi Minh gorillas used to attack Saigon. As a result the area became a “free fire zone” and was carpet-bombed in one of many American “scorched-earth’ polices. But the residents of Cu Chi took their war underground, literally, developing a network of tunnels that stretched as far as Cambodia and included meeting rooms and kitchens and other areas. The sight supports a small museum of photos and artifacts, as well as an extensive outdoor exhibit of guerillas snares and reconstructions of the original tunnels and bunkers.
Wear your “play clothes” if you choose to get down in the temples. The experience is dirty and claustrophobic. Overnight at Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight at Majestic/colonial dlx
DAY 13: HO CHI MINH CITY – MEKONG DELTA (B/L/D)
Today discover the watery world of the Mekong delta which is home to many bustling floating markets and green rice paddy fields stretching towards the horizon… Lots of boat rides and contact to the villagers will make you understand the way of life in this rural area. After a 2 hour drive you arrive at the delta town of Cai Be. Upon arrival board your boat for your cruise in the Delta’s waterways. Start your journey by passing by Cai Be’s floating market, once a busy place to trade fruits and vegetables and nowadays a more quiet market. Then, continue to a cottage factory where rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat for the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island; along the way admire the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers. Lunch will be local Mekong style serving specialties of the area. Dinner and overnight on board your boat on the Mekong Delta.
DAY 14 – MEKONG DELTA – HO CHI MINH CITY (B)
Crossing the Mekong on the way to Cai Rang Floating Market, you’ll take in traditional sights such as rice barges, wooden ship building yards and even fruit drying along the Mekong’s banks. After paying a visit to the colorful floating market check-out and disembark before the return to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight at the Overnight at Majestic/colonial dlx
DAY 15: HO CHI MINH CITY – DEPARTURE (B)
Free time for shopping or just leisure before transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for departure
All prices in US$ per person, Validity: 01.10.17 to 31.03.18
Price incl. English, speaking Guide
PLEASE ASK FOR OUR SUMMER SPECIALS FROM APRIL 1 TO SEPTEMBER 30
- Domestic flight (Hanoi – Hue; Danang – Ho Chi Minh City)
- Hotel accommodation as specific or similar, base on twin sharing
- Private car, Orient Express Train/Vip 2 berth cabin
- Private junk/boat in Ha Long, Perfume River, Thu Bon River and Mekong Delta
- All entrance fees
- English speaking station guide
- Meals while on Junk cruises
- Drinks, except otherwise mentioned
- Insurance, personal expenses & tips
- Vietnam visa
- Personal expenses; tips, drinks and laundries, camera fees…
TOUR DURATION: 15 Days / 14 Nights
TOUR OPERATES: Year Round
TOUR PRICE: Available upon Request
As rates vary frequently, please contact us to get best price based upon your travel period and travel requirements