Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi
Meals: NA/Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi
You’ll begin your adventure with a day discovering the scenic back roads of Hanoi, a city with a thousand years of history. Upon arrival, your guide will assist you with check-in at your hotel. Take your time wandering around Hanoi 36 streets and guilds, the very soul of this sprawling city. Join the locals on a giant buffet on the sidewalk; Hanoi’s street food is something no one should overlook.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour
Meals: Breakfast, lunch/Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Hanoi with its strategic position has gone through all the ups and downs of history to retain its core values and at the same time, embrace the foreign impacts to enrich itself. Starting with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of modern Vietnam’s founding father, find your way to Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house get a piece of the country contemporary history. Dig a little deeper into ancient Vietnam by paying a visit to One Pillar Pagoda, an exotic architecture that resembles a lotus. Take a step into the ancient religious-governed Vietnamese society by a trip to Temple of Literature, the very first university of the country, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Quan Thanh temple, the worship place of two of Hanoi’s protecting gods. After lunch, hop on a rickshaw and weave through Hanoi’s 36 streets and guilds. Your guide will then escort you back to your hotel where the remainder of your evening can be enjoyed at your leisure.
Dinner by your own arrangement.
Day 3: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Meal: Breakfast, lunch, dinner– Accommodation: Overnight on Cruise.
Ride through the rich farmland of the Red River delta, which has nurtured the ancient Vietnamese civilization to reach Halong Bay, the spectacular scenery that makes it one of the world’s new natural wonders. Board a cruise ship and watch the legendary karst limestone mountains of Halong passes by. The names of the mountains are deprived of their shapes so let your imagination runs wild and try guessing what mountains you’ve just seen. Halong Bay is peppered with caves so don’t leave without paying them a visit. Overnight on board and let the sound of the ocean lures you into sleep.
Day 4: Ha Long – Hanoi – Night train to Hue
Meal: Breakfast-Brunch/Accommodation: On Cruise
Wake up your every sense with a Taichi session on the cruise’s deck and watch sunlight fills the sky. Spend the last few hours on the bay by visiting a limestone grotto before getting back to the dock. Bid the staff goodbye as you will head back to Hanoi at noon. In Hanoi, make a short trip around or take a break before boarding a night train to Hue. Traveling via train is not the most effective way to transfer to Hue but it is most definitely the best in terms of gaining an ‘authentic’ experience.
Day 5: Hue
Meals: Breakfast, lunch/Accommodation: Hotel in Hue
Hanoi and Saigon are now hot tourist destinations in Vietnam. But the road between them is strewn with smaller cities. Hue is perhaps the most storied of them all: once the sit of the power of the Nguyen dynasty, the last royal family of Vietnam. They left behind the Imperial Citadel, artifacts, and some gloomy emperors’ tombs. Spend the morning in the citadel and the royal Antiques Museum. A genuine Vietnam foodie can be defined by their affinity with Dong Ba market, a hub of local trade and a true culinary carnival. After lunch, bask in the eerie atmosphere of Khai Dinh and Minh Mang Tomb and see how Vietnamese emperors prepare for their journey to the afterlife. A conical hat making village is next on our itinerary. See for yourself how these iconic symbols of Vietnam are created from scratch.
Day 6: Hue – Danang – Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast, Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An.
This morning, on the way to Da Nang, we will have the chance to experience Hai Van pass, which was praised by Jeremy Clarkson, former Top Gear presenter, as:” A deserted ribbon of perfection – one of the best coast roads in the world”. Hoian, a little beguiling merchant town will welcome you with mustard-yellow shophouses and a dreamy atmosphere. Explore Hoian by yourself and rest properly as tomorrow will be filled with surprises.
Day 7: Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast, lunch/Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An
Hoian is one of the rare Vietnamese towns which can remain relatively intact through the destruction of war. Once a vibrant hub of silk and ceramic trading, Hoian used to be the residence of the Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. They left when the Thu Bon River silted-up, which put an end to Hoian’s importance as a trading post, leaving behind centuries of legacy and culture. Hoian is best experienced on foot, so don’t hesitate to stretch your legs and weave through the town numerous back roads. Some of the highlights on the way are Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200- year old Tam Ky ancestral house, and the Japanese Bridge. It’s worth bringing a spare bag on a trip to Hoian to bring back some beautiful traditional folk art, and especially clothes. Hoian is known as the city of tailors, so why don’t take this chance to upgrade your wardrobe.
Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City
Meals: Breakfast, lunch/Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Bid goodbye to the peaceful Hoian as we are heading to the year-round party atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh city. This afternoon is dedicated to the all-time favorite sites such as the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office and bustling Ben Thanh Market. It might come as a surprise that Ho Chi Minh City was once a small Khmer village surrounded by prowling tigers, but now it is a metropolis stalked by glassy skyscrapers.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Ben Tre
Meals: Breakfast, lunch/Accommodation: Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Breakfast at your hotel. The guide picks you up and transfers you to Ben Tre. On arrival, you will take a local boat and then cruise along Ham Luong River, a tributary to the Mekong River. The cool wind from the river and the green islands along its banks will get you excited to uncover all the great things ahead. This is the homeland of a coconut tree in Vietnam so you will have a chance to visit local workplaces to find how local people make their crafts. Touring around the village roads by “Xe Lôi”, the local vehicle, which is a kind of motorized rickshaw. Kayak through the natural canals to get a real experience of the peaceful beauty of the Mekong River as well as the rural life there. After lunch at the local house, you will have some time for relaxing. Then take a car transfer back to Saigon. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10: Departure
Meals: Breakfast/Accommodation: NA
Spend your last hours at your leisure in Ho Chi Minh City before transferring to the airport for a trip home.
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