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Vietnam is a country of contrasts. A rich colonial history dominates its cities, sitting side-by-side with scenes that characterise the spirit of Southeast Asia. The countryside is a stunning portrait of varied landscapes, from the waterways leading to the East Sea to terraced green paddy fields with the hilly central highlands in between.
To fully appreciate the region, this tour has been designed to accommodate everything that makes Vietnam special, giving you time to stay in the country's finest accommodation, both on land and water, whilst admiring the wealth of unique and vibrant sites on offer.
You will be introduced to the country in Ho Chi Minh City, the dynamic heart of Vietnam, where French colonial buildings line wide and elegant boulevards with a wealth of items on sale. Continuing to the Mekong Delta, see the vibrant lifestyle of the region's people where arroyos, islands, fish farms, and tropical fruit are abundant.
My Son, Tra Kieu and the remains of the Cham Kingdom, which, centuries ago, stretched over what is now Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are also included. From here take a scenic drive over the Pass of Ocean Clouds to the former capital Hue, home to imperial dynasties, tombs, pagodas and temples.
Fly to the country's cultural capital, Hanoi, with its many charming lakes and surrounding traditional handicraft villages, before discovering Hoa Lu, the "Halong on Land". The charm of Sapa - next to China's border - is the finest place to explore Vietnam's beautiful mountainous countryside and is also home to numerous traditional ethnic groups.
End your tour with a cruise on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed area of Halong Bay, where limestone cliffs and islands rise from the emerald blue water, making it the perfect place to finish your memorable journey with us.
Arrive International airport in Ho Chi Minh city, meet your guide then we will transfer you by private car through the city to your hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Beakfast at your hotel then start your full day Ho Chi Minh City tour. Drive to Cho Lon , discover the local markets, visit Thien Hau Pagoda - dedicated to the goddess of the Sea then come to FITO Museum, Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum where an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine displayed. Implements for preparing indigenous herbs and objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies were showcased in the galleries. You can also find here the ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine.
Drive back to the city center to explore Ben Thanh Market where you experience the wide array of local products with the very vibrant atmosphere. Then enjoy the foodcourt where you can taste almost the authentic local flavour of Vietnam.
In the afternoon visit the former Presidential Palace and the War Remnants Museum or History Museum and explore the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. Back to your hotel for relax and dress for dinner.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Note: History Museum is closed on Mondays.
In the morning, start the tour to the Cao Dai Temples in Tay Ninh. Ca Dai religion is an odd mix of Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianism and Christianity. See the Cao Dai noontime ceremony where hundreds of worshipers attired in lively red, yellow blue and white, chant religious hymns.
After Lunch in local restaurant, drive to Cu Chi for exploring the amazing undergroudn tunnels. The tunnels consist of more than 200kilometers. This main axis system has many branches connecting to underground hideouts, shelters, and entrancesto other tunnels. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life was like during the U.S.-Vietnam War.
You will have free time in the afternoon and you will stay one final night in HCMC.
Today is a day for the river exploring in Mekong Delta. Early start to leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2 hour drive to Cai Be. The colorful floating market with local traditional wooden boats, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways are the things that make Cai Be such a desired destination. Arrive Cai Be, get on thelocal boats then cruise on the floating market , where you can witness the unique way of advertising: product for sale is hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers and make it easier for people to see from afar what is on offer.
After visiting the floating market continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Then cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island, admiring the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers along the way. Lunch is typical Mekong style serving specialties of the area. After lunch, drive back to Ho Chi Minh city.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
This day is another exciting journey to the highland city. Transfer to domestic airport for the 40-minute flight to Dalat city which located 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City.
Airport transfer to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, start your highlight tour of Dalat city: Bao Dai's King Summer Palace that sits on a hill.The Palace has been well preserved exactly as he left it in 1954. Continue the tour with the former railway station which is remarkable with its architecture and its old steam locomotive. Next is the visit to Xuan Huong Lake and Lam Ty Ni Pagoda where the folkloric a Buddhist monk, Vien Thuc, produces his abstract paintings and writes poetry. End the tour at the bustling Da Lat central market, famous for its fresh vegetables and fruit that is rarely found in a tropical country.
Overnight in Dalat.
After breakfast, drive to the coastal city Nha Trang. Go through the panoramic route down a lush mountain pass to the coastal plains of Central Vietnam. The highland crops of coffee, tea and vegetables are replaced with that of tobacco, grapes and rice as the road descends into a dry climate. Along the coast, you will see several salt fields as well as the green rice fields.
Thanks to its mild temperatures, white sand and clear waters, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s most important tourist destinations and voted as one of the 29 most beautiful beaches of the world by Travel and Leisure. Hard and soft coral reefs along with wall and cave diving make the area popular for scuba diving enthusiasts. Also, the coast is dotted with many islands each with their own distinct character. Arrive Nhatrang, check-in hotel then take a city tour of Nha Trang to visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers, the Alexander Yersin Museum, the ‘XQ’ workshop where exquisite hand made embroideries can be seen, Long Son Pagoda, with its enormous white Buddha statue and the lively and highly colorful Dam Market.
Overnight in Nha Trang.
After breakfast, have a morning island trip on Nha Trang Bay. First stop is Hon Mun island, where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the most beautiful coral reefs in Vietnam. Snorkeling equipment is provided for free. Continue to Hon Mot , have lunch on board . Share entertainment, and activities with the guides and ship staff. Then you will jump in the water to participate in the floating bar with some drinks provided. Next destination is Hon Tam whereyou stop to swim, sunbathe or shopping before we heading to the floating fishing village to see the daily activities of the local fishermen.
Your afternoon is at leisure to explore Nha Trang at your own pace. Overnight in Nha Trang.
Today you will go to Central of Viet Nam.
Tranfer to airport for a 50-minute flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, drive 40-minutes to Hoi An ancient town, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port, is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre.
Hoi An also homes the world class beach resorts with white sand and blue crystal water. Walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter, visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200 year old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the 400 years old Japanese Bridge. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An.
In the morning, Visit the My Son Sanctuary which is one of the most famous Champa architectural and sculptural monuments in Viet Nam. While the religious significance of My Son was important, its location in a small valley surrounded by high mountains gave it strategic significance as an easily defensible stronghold. Successive kings in the 6th to 8th centuries favoured My Son and endowed it with fine temples. In the later 10th century, most of the finest surviving architectural monuments were built there.
After My son, drive to visit Tra Kieu, formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel, the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. Some of the finest sculptures in Danang’s Cham Museum originated from here.
Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.
After btreakfast, at leisure for exploring Hoi An on your own. After Lunch , leave HoiAn for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Drive through Danang, stop at Cham Sculpture Museum where you canfind the best collection in the world of Cham Sculpture .From Danang, drive up to the Pass of Ocean Clouds and descend to the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. Arrive Hue in the late afternoon , check-in hotel and at leisure. Overnight in Hue.
After breakfast, visit the Imperial Museum where exhibit the antique collections of bronze, pottery, chinaware, Phap Lam enamel, court robes, head-gear and the personal belongings of former Vietnamese emperors. Continue by a tour to visit Hue Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Imperial Museum. Have a nice lunch in the local restaurant with the Hue food . From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. It is full of lotus flowers in summer and there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.
In the afternoon, continue for Thien Mu Pagoda locates on the Perfume River bank . Built in 1601, the 21-meter tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. At the ground of Pagoda, you find the famous Austin carof a resident monk drove to Saigon in 1963 to protest against the southern regime. The photo of his self immortalization is one of the most well known images of the war.
Then visit former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb with its a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
Next visit is to Khai Dinh’s tom constructed in traditional Vietnamese with European influence making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Before return to your hotel take time to explore the local daily life with your tour guide around Dong Ba Market, a must see of Hue.
Overnight in Hue.
Take a morning flight to Hanoi Vietnam’s capital then have full day city tour .
First visit is to the Temple of Literature built in1076 and considered as Vietnam's first university. It was established to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university operated for 700 years while its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer an interesting view into Vietnam’s history
Next Visit is The One Pillar Pagoda, founded in 1049 by King Ly Thai To. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the great father 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 Oct-Nov)
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.
In the afternoon visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), a valuable centre for the exhibition and the preservation of cultural heritages of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam with 15,000 artefacts including clothing, jewellery, of agricultural tools, fishing instruments, weapons, household utensils and musical instruments 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 (closed on Mondays). 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. At the end of the afternoon, explore the fascinating Old Quarter and its hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquer ware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo, cooking utensils, ceremonial objects and more. It's a great place to experience with plenty of photo opportunities surrounding you.
Complete your day the Water Puppet show , a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history. Overnight in Hanoi.
Early morning departure from your hotel for the 2-hour drive through the rural villages to Hoa Lu, Vietnam's first capital. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-80) and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). After this visit, Have lunch and optional tours :
- Tam Coc : board your private sampan , rowing through the river with stunning landscape where the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields
It's an option for you to climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda built in 1428 and comprised of three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Return by sampan to Tam Coc town before returning to Hanoi.
Note: Please be noticed that there're some women on boats may try to sell local products to tourists. You should refer to your guide if you feel uncomfortable in this situation
- Thung Nang valley : Similar landscape of Tam Coc with the river passes through the green paddy fields where limestone karst jutting out. However , while Tam Coc is flanked by rice fields and has more activities, Thung Nang is a pristine and untouched area. There's not much human activities here, only a few people fishing in the wild area.
Then you drive back to Hanoi for the rest of the day at leisure . Overnight in Hanoi.
Today 's excursion to Duong Lam will send you to the place of ancient Vietnamese culture. Duong Lam is one of the country’s few remaining ancient villages where several hundred-year-old houses preserved . Wander the village narrow alley, visit houses over 400 years old, local temples,meet friendly local people and explore the very traditional life style. Come to Mong Phu hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact, visit Mong Phu temple then have lunch in a local house of 100 years old
After lunch, visit Mia Pagoda constructed in the 15th century with 287 statues of all sizes, then visit Ngo Quyen temple and Phung Hung temple, places dedicated to two national heroes. In the afternoon return to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Have an enjoyable cooking class in the morning. Go with your chef to a local market,learn about vietnamese ingredients and cuisine. While watching the cooking demonstration, you can take part in practise. After the class, lunch is served then you can taste all the different samples prepared during the demonstration.
Rest of the day is at leisure. In the evening, transfer to Hanoi railways station for the overnight train to Lao Cai. Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.
(be awared that inside of the compartment ,there is NO TOILET - all the TOILETS are at the end of each carriage)
Early arrives at Lao Cai station at approximately 6:00 am. The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours. On they way to Sapa, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the terraced hills and mountains
Once at Sapa, we will check-in hotel (Early check-in subject to availability). Breakfast and refresh at the hotel or take a stroll around the town nearby your hotel. It is here you will see local people - hands stained by color from fabric dyes , jackets, waistcoats, pants, skirts, caps, purses and leggings are embroidered by red, blue and many other colourfull pattern. At 10 a.m. Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Following take a light trek to discover Sapa's quaint hill tribe villages set against the stunning Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Indochina's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan. A picnic lunch will be served en-route. Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be changed accordingly. Overnight in Sapa.
Have breakfast before driving to visit a local market (Ban Cam on Tuesday/ Cao Son on Wednesday/ Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday / Can Cau on Saturday/ Bac Ha on Sunday. Note: The market visit may be on your arrival day depending on the market day). Here you’ll see mostly Flower Hmong, however Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, and Nung hill tribe groups also gather here. The market offers a variety of local products not be found in others areas such as an interesting animal market where pot-bellied pigs, cows and buffalos can be seen.
Continue your tour with a short walk to a hill-tribe village. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit some local homes to understand more about the daily life of these tribes as well as their culture and traditions. In the late afternoon transfer back to Lao Cai before taking the night train back to Hanoi. In Lao Cai you’ll have use of a hotel room so you can freshen up before the overnight train trip. Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.
Arrive early in Hanoi then check-in a boutique hotel to freshen up before driving to Halong Bay by road.After Breakfast , leave Hanoi for 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive Halong Bay, check-in formalities then enjoy the Welcome drink and Lunch on board. Cruise through the emerald water between the limestone outcrops and long corridors, En route, you have chances to sightsee many beauty spots of the world natural heritage including Fighting Cock islet, Incense Urn islet, Finger island, Toad islet, dog islet, Dragon, Horse Neck, Buffalo Head islet and many other strange shape islands. Later in the afternoon, visit a fishing village with the opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. Back on board, enjoy cocktails or a cooking class in the romantic sunset on the Bay. Have dinner on board. Evening, experience some evening activities such as squid fishing, board games, or spa .Overnight on the junk.
Early morning, take a Tai Chi class and watch the sunrise over the bay (if you choose to get up early and weather permitted ). Visit a beautiful limestone grotto, and then back to the junk , Brunch while cruising back to the dock. Disembarking at the Cruise Café Lounge then get on your car and drive back to the Hanoi. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Enjoy your free time for last minute shoppings or simply relax till the time of transferring to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport for your onward flight.
TOUR DURATION: 20 Days / 19 Nights
TOUR OPERATES: Year Round / On Demand
TOUR PRICE: Available upon Request
Rates vary frequently. Please contact us to get the best possible price based upon your travel period and specific touring needs.
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