HA NOI ARRIVAL
Arrive in Hanoi and be welcomed by the guide and transfer to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
This morning at 08:30 depart the hotel for the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
Continue to picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.
Then visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. As an alternative to the Ethnology Museum, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.
Visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, next. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (Viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Jun - Aug)
At the end of the afternoon visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter also known as the ‘36 streets’. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities.
Finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.
Overnight in Hanoi.
HA NOI – NINH BINH – HA NOI
Depart the hotel this morning at 08:30 for a 2.5 hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to Ninh
Binh Province — one of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam with its dramatic scenery and historical
temples. The rice fields here are beautiful and the area has earned the nickname of ‘Dry Halong
Bay’, a moniker borne out by the limestone karsts which dominate the landscape.
Upon arrival, begin a leisure 5 to 15 km (according to preference) biking trip around Tho Ha village
passing by peaceful villages and enjoying the rustic countryside landscapes. Continue to Dong Tam
Hamlet to join in some engaging agricultural activities such as catching crabs, fishing and
transplanting, watering vegetables and more. Enjoy lunch before boarding the sampan for a 1.5
hour boat trip cruising over a small canal among the paddy fields for 1km, then stroll along the
winding rocky path of the foot for 200m and go up 20 steps to reach the Galaxy Cave gate. Get
inside the cave and admire the spectacular stalactites above the cave ceiling. Continue to discover But Hien cave and be attracted by many natural sparkling stalactites with shapes and figures before returning on the same route
Drive back to Hanoi in the late afternoon
Overnight in Hanoi.
HA NOI – HA LONG BAY
The scenery of Halong Bay where thousands of limestone islands jut out of the emerald sea, sculpted into bizarre shapes is truly an iconic image for Vietnam. An overnight boat trip is the best way to enjoy this Vietnamese must-see. After breakfast leave Hanoi for a 4hour drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way .
Arrive at the jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board.
Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Overnight on Halong Bay.
HA LONG BAY – NOI BAI AIRPORT – DA NANG – HOI AN
The sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (also brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly back towards port. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi.
After the short flight, arrive at the central port city of Danang. On arrival in Danang transfer 40-minutes to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Be enchanted by the historic wonders and sleepy charm of UNESCO-heritage Hoi An. Spend a half day with a local guide, exploring the ancient town. Explore former merchants’ homes, colorful communal halls, narrow lanes lined with traditional houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Leave the crowded venue behind and discover some untouched stories in the beautiful old town.
Meander down the small alley to discover an ancient house where the art of healing through martial art down generations. This healing method is the master’s invention, combined between Qigong, Tai Chi, and traditional vietnames martial art. Have a chance to learn some basic steps under the guidance of the master.
Last but not least, visit a cozy home to taste a typical dessert of locals and relax before heading back to the hotel.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An.
HOI AN – HUE
Enjoy this morning at leisure before leaving Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient Citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
Overnight in Hue.
This morning at 08:30 depart the hotel in Hue. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ visit Tran Dinh Son private museum with a collection of everyday items that past Kings have used, and learn how royal descendants are keeping the family’s traditions alive today. Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River; constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous when in 1963, a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime, the photo of his self immortalization was captured and was one of the most well known images of the war.
Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds, inspired by the Chinese Confucianism, a harmonious design of balance and symmetry for the emperor’s resting place.
Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Overnight in Hue.
HUE – HO CHI MINH CITY
Transfer to Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals.
Meet with a local guide and set off on a half day tour in Ho Chi Minh City. Start with a visit to the city’s most iconic building: Reunification Hall. Formerly called the Presidential Palace, images of the building were seen around the world on 30 April 1975 when tanks stormed the gates as Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Hear the echoes of time while walking through this historic downtown site.
Then take a stroll to Ho Chi Minh City’s colonial quarter, walking past scenes of everyday life on the way. Admire the beautiful architecture of the Opera House, City Hall, the old Saigon Post Office, Hear about the glory days of French Indochina and how that era continues to influence aspects of modern Vietnamese culture. Step inside the War Remnants Museum for an insightful, yet sombre, look into Vietnam’s military history. See exhibitions displaying imagery from the French and American wars, learning more about the country’s struggle for independence.
Then step off the tourist trail for one last visit on this Ho Chi Minh City tour at a Vietnamese coffee shop, sit down and taste the coffee like locals. After this insightful visit, return to the hotel.
HO CHI MINH CITY – BEN TRE
This tour begins at 08:30. Arrive at Ben Tre city to get on a boat in Phong Nam bright and early to start exploring coconut’s homeland. Follow the flow of water down Chet Say River. Observe life on the river like how locals transfer goods and agriculture products by boat along the Mekong Delta.
Visit a coconut workshop where guests enjoy how sweet coconut candy is. Stop at the other places to learn how many handicraft products can be made from coconut. Interact with locals to see how bricks are handmade from clay and mats are woven from sedge.
Conclude the tour with a cycle (or moto cart ride upon availability) to a local restaurant for a local style lunch. After lunch, hop on a sampan and row along a coconut palm canal to cruise back to Hung Vuong Jetty.
Be transferred via an air-con vehicle to Mekong Home, located about 30 minutes drive from Ben Tre Town.
Take a rest for a while then depart with a member of the family for an introduction to the local fishing villages.
Try to cook pancakes with rice milk, coconut milk and some other local ingredients for dinner. Indulge in a lemongrass and ginger foot bath, a local therapeutic method to relieve the pain and fatigue of the legs.
Overnight at Ben Tre riverside resort.
BEN TRE - HO CHI MINH CITY
Enjoy breakfast while breathing in the fresh air of rural surroundings.
Then, transfer by ferry to take a short cycle around the small village to experience a tailor-made countryside loop to Oc Islet.
Travel along quiet roads and rural laneways, passing fields and farms with lush green coconut forest in the backdrop. Stop often for photos or to observe scenes of daily life.
During the ride, visit small local handicraft village where guests learn all about coconut specialty. Watch as skilled workers make coconut stemmed baskets and coconut coated buttons.
Have the chance to interact with a workshop owner on different braiding techniques. Stop at a fish farm, to learn more about two species of catfish raised in freshwater ponds. These catfish are the two main species of fish production in Vietnam.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City and arrive around the late afternoon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
HO CHI MINH DEPARTURE
Spend the morning at leisure before the transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the onward flight to the next destination.
Note that usual check-out time is 12 noon and check-in time for international flights is usually a minimum two hours prior to departure.
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