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THE VERY BEST OF VIETNAM – 15 DAYS 14 NIGHTS

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Tour Details

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Departure & Return Location

John F.K. International Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Air fares
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accomodation
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees
What to Expect

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  • Ipsum Amet Mattis Pellentesque
  • Ultricies Vehicula Mollis Vestibulum Fringilla
  • Condimentum Sollicitudin Fusce Vestibulum Ultricies
  • Sollicitudin Consectetur Quam Ligula Vehicula
  • Cursus Pharetra Purus Porta Parturient
  • Risus Malesuada Tellus Porta Commodo
Itinerary

CUSTOMIZABLE ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
  • Day 2: Hanoi – Fullday City Tour & Local food discovery
  • Day 3: Hanoi – Sapa
  • Day 4: Sapa – Ma Tra & Ta Phin Villages
  • Day 5: Sapa – Bac Ha Sunday Market – Night train to Hanoi
  • Day 6: Hanoi – Halong Bay
  • Day 7: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang/ Hoi An
  • Day 8: Hoi An – Local Villages and Food tour
  • Day 9: Hoi An – Day at leisure
  • Day 10: Hoi An – Hue
  • Day 11: Hue – Fullday City tour
  • Day 12: Hue – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
  • Day 13: HCM City – Cu Chi Tunnels & Cao Dai Temple
  • Day 14: HCM City – Day trip to Ben Tre (Mekong Delta)
  • Day 15: HCM City – Departure

DAY 1ARRIVAL IN HANOI

Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel in the Old Quarter.
  • We have left this afternoon free for you to relax, unwind, and become accustomed to your new surroundings. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at KOTO restaurant, a social enterprise that trains and employs underprivileged youth to provide a step up in life.
  • Please note: Your travel documents contain a Visa-on-Arrival letter (unless otherwise arranged). Please ensure to pack this in your carry-on luggage. Your Visa-on-Arrival letter must be presented to Customs upon entry into the country.

Overnight in Hanoi

Meals: (_/_/D)

DAY 2HANOI – FULLDAY CITY TOUR & LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY

Morning

  • Begin with a tour of Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex where the Vietnamese people honour the country’s ‘Great Father’. Here you’ll visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh and his House on Stilts to observe how he lived and how his life unfolded to become one of modern history’s greatest names. Nearside his house is the miniature 11th-century One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple of historical and cultural significance.
  • From HCM Complex, you will take a leisurely walk through the small laneways toward Huu Tiep Lake. Explore the grounds of a 400-year-old temple, followed by a stroll through traditional local market streets to see the B52 crash site at the lake. This US bomber was shot down during the 1972 bombing raids of Ha Noi, a poignant reminder of Vietnam’s recent history.
  • Take a short drive to the outskirt of Hanoi to visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the 54 recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam. Some of them you will meet during your trip to Sapa.
  • Today you will have Pho for lunch, a Vietnamese Noodle shop. Some of the local people call this world-famous Noodle soup “Mac-Noodles” since it is as popular here as MacDonalds is in other parts of the world!  At the restaurant, your tour guide will explain the routine during Vietnamese meal times, and also tell you which special ingredients are needed for you.

Afternoon

  • After lunch, continue to visit the millennia-old Temple of Literature and explore its role in the country’s past, as both a university and a Confucius temple. Next is Hoa Lo (so-called Hanoi Hilton), a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War.
  • Embark on a fun cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi) ride through the French colonial architecture of the precinct known as the French Quater, past the French-style villas, the Vietnam History Museum, the heritage Metropole Legend Hotel and the Opera House, name to a few.
  • Enjoy a cup of unmissable Egg coffee at Pho Co Café with stunning views of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the surroundings.
  • Finish the day with a walking tour through Hanoi’s Old Quarter (in contrast to the French Quarter) to discover the street food scene in Hanoi where it feels like you are never further than a few metres from a street food stall. Your guide will talk you through the ingredients and the different herbs of each dish, while you are crouching on tiny plastic stools in a back alley. Sample delicious dishes like Nom Du Du (green papaya salad), Banh Mi Pa Te (a sandwich that reflects Vietnam’s culinary heritage), and the famous Hanoi dish Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodles).

Overnight in Hanoi

Meals: (B/L/D)

DAY 3HANOI – SAPA

Morning

  • After breakfast, you will be collected at the hotel and transferred on the road for 5,5 hours to Sapa. Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa today is a must-visit destination in the Northwest. This is northern Vietnam’s premier trekking base, from where hikers launch themselves into a surrounding countryside of cascading rice terraces and tiny hill-tribe villages that seem a world apart.

Afternoon

  • After arriving Sapa and checking into your hotel, your private guide and driver will pick you up and take you (40-minute drive) to Tram Ton Pass, a height of 2047 meters above sea level, the highest pass in Vietnam. Enjoy amazing views of the surrounding mountains and lush forests of the Hoang Lien National Park. From there, you will trek 30 minutes through a tropical rain forest enjoying the wonderful flora and fauna. Continue to trek along a stream arriving at the Love Waterfall, a wonderful place to relax in Sapa. Return to Tram Ton Pass and drive back to Sapa where the balance of the day will be free at your leisure.
  • You can stroll around the town, visit the Old French Church, or climb the Dragon’s Jaw Mountain where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Old town below.

Overnight in Sapa

Meals: (B/_/_)

DAY 4SAPA – MA TRA & TA PHIN VILLAGES

Morning

  • After breakfast, you will meet your tour guide again and begin the day with a 3km-trek through the breathtaking landscape to the village of Suoi Ho.
  • Continue your hike toward the stunning village of Matra. You will pass the impressive ruins of a French Catholic church built in the early twentieth century. Take a few minutes to explore this intriguing sight and take some photos as you wish.
  • Your hike will grow deeper until your arrival at Ta Phin Village, inhabited by the Red Dzao ethnic minority tribe, with their beautiful traditionally embroidered outfits and practice of shaving their hair and eyebrows as a sign of respect. Ta Phin village is also home to the Black H’mong minority who live their own way with no cultural mixture.
  • Pause at a Red Dzao family and over a cup of tea, have a chat with them learning about their lifestyle. Enjoy a delicious lunch cooked and served by the family.

Afternoon

  • After lunch, you have time to stroll around the village, take pictures and do some fun shopping. The Red Dao people are known for their expertise in herbal medicine as well as the usage of plants from the land to treat many illnesses. If you’re a bit sore from the activities of the day, sample a traditional herbal bath made by a local Dzao specialist, famous for its therapeutic qualities.
  • Leaving Ta Phin you will be picked by your private driver and taken back to Sapa town where the balance of the day will be at your leisure. You may take a stroll around the town, visit the Stone Church, and the night market for some delicious local delicacies.

Overnight in Sapa

Meals: (B/L/_)

DAY 5SAPA – BAC HA SUNDAY MARKET – NIGHT TRAIN TO HANOI

Morning

  • After breakfast and check out of the hotel, you will be picked up and driven for three hours to Bac Ha for the colorful Sunday Market. Nestled deep in the mountains, Bac Ha town is a quiet backwater Monday to Saturday, but by Sunday crowds of locals from thousands of surrounding villages descend on the town for trading at the market.
  • Upon arrival, you will set out to explore the market with your guide. The market itself is a kaleidoscope of color, noise, and culture, where locals in an array of traditional dress barter for cows and show off delicately embroidered and embellished designs. Wander, camera in hand, and soak in the lively atmosphere while fending off the persistent sellers. The scent of fresh herbs and fragrant, strong tobacco wafts among the tented stalls and the overpowering smell of animals drifts down from the live market above.

Afternoon

  • After lunch at a local restaurant, you will drive downhill to Trung Do Village which is home to the Tay minority. Here you will visit a traditional Tay house then travel by boat through this amazing countryside to Bao Nhai Village. Finish the boat trip you’ll continue onwards to Lao Cai station for your night train journey back to Hanoi. 
  • You will have the opportunity to drop your bags at a local restaurant near the station where you can have dinner before boarding the train. Accommodation on the train will be on a shared basis in a four-berth soft sleeper compartment with air-conditioning. The train leaves around 20:00 and arrives in Hanoi at 06:00 the next morning.

Overnight on the air-conditioned train

Meals: (B/L/_)

DAY 6HANOI – HALONG BAY

Morning

  • Upon arrival at Hanoi Train Station your private guide will pick you up and take you to a nearby hotel where you will have the opportunity to take a shower and have some rest.
  • After breakfast, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta to the legendary Halong Bay where you will board a traditional-style Vietnamese Junk Boat that is your home for the evening. The limestone karsts and tropical islets rising up from the emerald waters of the bay provide an ethereal backdrop for your leisurely cruise.
  • Upon arrival you’ll be welcomed aboard your Stylish Junk boat, each with its own individual route, to begin your cruise around the bay’s thousands of limestone islets and caves.

Afternoon

  • After a delicious lunch on board, you will spend time to sunbathe on the sundeck and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the bay.
  • Later you will visit Sung Sot Cave “Grotte des Surprises” a hidden gem of mother nature. Float peacefully through magnificent limestone formations containing thousands of stalagmites and stalactites.
  • Continue to cruise. As you weave your way through the islands, you’ll come across secluded bays, white sandy beaches, and floating villages.
  • There is plenty of leisure time to enjoy activities both onboard and around the fantastical scenery of the Bay. Pamper yourself at the cruise spa or swim in the emerald waters.
  • Toward the end of the day, you will sail to the overnight mooring area. During this time – the magical “blue hour” – Halong Bay reveals its true, magnificent beauty. You have a chance to attend the chef’s cooking demonstration or enjoy a mesmerising sunset on the top deck before a scrumptious dinner.
  • The rest of the evening will be at leisure. You can watch a movie or join the crew for squid fishing before retiring to your room for a restful sleep.
  • Note: If your time permits, we would highly recommend an additional night on board which gives you a lot more time to relax and take in the amazing landscape. You’ll get to cruise deeper into the Bay where it’s more beautiful and less crowded.

Overnight on board in Halong Bay

Meals: (B/L/D)

DAY 7HALONG BAY – HANOI – FLIGHT TO DA NANG/ HOI AN

Morning

  • The graceful practice of Tai Chi eases you into your day as is the local custom. Join a ‘Local Specialist’ on the deck of the Junk boat for a morning class in exquisite natural surrounds. You’ll have time for an early morning swim at one of Halong Bay’s quiet beaches and, if you’re feeling energetic, hop on a kayak and paddle through the Dark and Bright Caves admiring the glittering stone walls.
  • Back to the Junk boat. Check out of the cabin and then enjoy a full brunch buffet as you cruise back to port. Disembark around midday for your return drive to Hanoi.

Afternoon

  • From Hanoi, you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to Da Nang, in the central of Vietnam.
  • Upon arrival at Da Nang airport, you will be picked up by your private guide & driver and taken to your hotel in Hoi An, the UNESCO heritage town. Hoi An has a pick of two beaches just 5kms (3 miles) away with so many beautiful beach resorts so please advise us if you prefer to stay on the beach.

Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: (Brunch/_)

DAY 8HOI AN – LOCAL VILLAGES AND FOOD TOUR

Morning

  • After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel to visit a local fishing village by cycling on level ground to the Thu Bon River. For safety purposes, you will be given a short bicycle competency test. For those uncomfortable with riding a bicycle, a private car can be arranged.
  • Ride along country lanes at a peaceful pace viewing local life and pause to see farmers toiling in their rice fields using centuries of farming practices. Peddle your way through palm forests, across bridges, fields of water buffalo…
  • Take a short break in a local family at Cam Thanh Village before enjoying a 1.5 hours ride on Traditional Basket Boat (round boat) in the Water Coconut Palm Forest. Learn how to sail the basket boat and spend your time to catch fishes and “purple crabs” in the Canal.
  • Continue to ride your bike to Tra Que Organic Vegetable Village where a large variety of vegetables is produced for the local community. At the village, you will be shown the environmentally sustainable practices which the local villagers have used for centuries and is still being used extensively today.
  • After some farming practices, head a local family to enjoy a foot massage and the traditional herbal foot dip. You will then ride back to the hotel to rest during the day. Get ready for the afternoon walking and food tour.

Afternoon

  • Your tour guide will pick you up and take you to the Ancient Quarter of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will embark on a walking tour visiting the major attractions such as Chua Ong Pagoda, Tan Ky Ancient House, Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Japanese Covered Bridge.
  • Continue to visit the Precious Heritage Museum, home to the permanent exhibition of Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Collection. While transporting you to the furthest reaches of Vietnam, the collection will unveil the rich cultural tapestry of the ethnic tribes
  • The highlight of the day is the visit to the Reaching Out Tea House, a welcome little oasis of calm in the busy, vibrant Old quarter, owned and operated by the mute and deaf people. Here you will be treated with delicious cakes and incredible tea in the Eastern style.
  • Now, it’s time for your Hoi An street food discovery tour. With your guide, you will weave in and out the tiny alleyways, get to chow down with the locals at stalls you’d never discover on your own. Every day at 4 pm, Hoi An’s streets are filled with a myriad of street food carts, stalls, and vendors. The street food tour is a great introduction for you to enjoy a few of the Hoi An specialties cooked up by the locals, to introduce you to the faces behind the stock pots and to teach you how the Hoi An locals deal with those condiment trays!

Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: (B/_/D)

DAY 9HOI AN – DAY AT LEISURE

  • Spend your full day to relax at your leisure in this UNESCO heritage town, which has some of the best food, architecture, and shopping in all of Vietnam. Hoi An is the perfect place to potter around, shop at the many tailor stores, and dine at the town’s fabulous restaurants. 
  • In this town, you can get a suit/ tuxedo made within 24 hours at a reasonable price. You can also take an opportunity to join a cooking class to learn about the arts of Vietnam culinary; visiting the local market, choosing ingredients and preparing and cooking Hoi An special dishes. This is great fun.

Overnight in Hoi An

Meals: (B/_/_)

DAY 10HOI AN – HUE

Morning

  • After breakfast, you will be collected by your private guide and transferred in a private vehicle (approximately 4 hours) to the Royal City of Hue. Today the drive over the Hai Van Pass will be one of the most scenic ones on your trip. 
  • En route, you will stop to visit the Marble Mountain, My Khe Beach which was home to American GIs during the war, and Lang Co Beach and fishing village.
  • Arrive in Hue after midday and check into your hotel.

Afternoon

  • Your guide and driver will pick you up and transfer you to the wharf for your boat ride on the Perfume River. During the boat cruise, you will stop to visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, a symbol of Hue.
  • After the boat cruise, you will explore the Dong Ba Market runs along the north bank of Huong (Perfume) River. At the market, you will have a chance to discover a favourite Noddle shop by Anthony Bourdain – the World Famous Chef and TV Producer. Here you will sample the best Bun Bo Hue “Hue Noddle soup”.
  • Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

Overnight in Hue

Meals: (B/_/_)

DAY 11HUE – FULLDAY CITY TOUR

Morning

  • Your day will start with a short visit to Thanh Toan Village where you can see the lively morning market. This is where the locals come to buy their daily food. Nearby are the 300-year-old Thanh Toan bridge and a Cultural Museum where you can visit and talk to the locals.
  • Continue on to the Hue Roal Complex, former home to the Nguyen Dynasty, the last Monarchy of Vietnam from 1802 – 1945. You will explore the ancient and atmospheric walled Citadel which contains the former Imperial Palace and the Forbidden Purple City.
  • Wind your way to visit Cat Tuong Quan Zen House. It’s a perfect combination of architecture, culture, and people. Here you will have a chance to learn about Hue culture, experience Qigong and do meditation.
  • Today you will enjoy an excellent Vegetarian lunch at a local Buddhist Monastery, prepared and served by the nuns.

Afternoon

  • You will visit the final resting place – called the King tomb of Tu Duc, then head to Vong Canh Hill to watch the sunset over the Perfume River. 
  • On the way back to town, you will visit a local workshop where you can see how incense sticks and traditional conical hats are made.

Overnight in Hue

Meals: (B/L/_)

DAY 12HUE – FLIGHT TO HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON)

Morning

  • After breakfast, you will be picked up and driven to Hue Airport for a short flight heading south to Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. It is the largest city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta.
  • Upon arrival, you will be met by a new private driver and English-speaking guide who will drive you to the hotel in the city centre for check-in.

Afternoon

  • Spend the rest of the day visiting some of Ho Chi Minh City’s key highlights. We’ll tailor your tour to suit you, but we particularly recommend visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, the ornate City Hall (Hotel De Ville), the old Opera House, the historic Rex Hotel, the Central Post Office, renowned for its architecture, and Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.
  • Later stop at the Reunification Palace and the moving War Remnants Museum to for an insightful, yet sombre, look into Vietnam’s military history and turbulent past.
  • Proceed to the atmospheric Jade Emperor Pagoda before finishing the day in fine style with a sundowner at the top of the Bitexco Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam.

Overnight in HCM City

Meals: (B/_/_)

DAY 13 HCM CITY – CU CHI TUNNELS & CAO DAI TEMPLE

Morning

  • After breakfast, your guide and driver will transfer you to Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh Province.
  • On arrival, set out to explore the sacred temple and learn more about the fascinating Cao Dai religion, which borrows elements from Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism. You will then take part in the midday mass, admiring the monks in their colorful robes and listening to the mesmerizing chants.

Afternoon

  • After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant you will be transferred to Cu Chi, a small community located northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, known for its network of deep tunnels that provided shelter and an effective source of infiltration for the Vietcong during the later years of the Vietnam War.
  • Upon arrival, you will watch a short introductory video from the period before exploring the tunnels, the most famous battlegrounds in the world. The hidden network of Viet Cong tunnels is believed to stretch to “hundreds of miles,”  in total length, housed living quarters, storage rooms, makeshift hospitals, and kitchens…etc. Although originally very narrow, some parts have been widened for the tourists and you have the opportunity to explore parts of the system.
  • Please note that these tunnels will be hot and can get claustrophobic, so there is an option if you’d like to view from above ground. 
  • Try some of the main food of the Viet Cong Soldiers with a cassava tasting served with tangy tea. After experiencing the Cu Chi Tunnels, return to Ho Chi Minh City where the remainder of the day will be at your leisure.

Overnight in HCM City

Meals: (B/_/_)

 

DAY 14HCM CITY – DAY TRIP TO BEN TRE (MEKONG DELTA)

Morning

  • After breakfast, your private guide and driver will take you out of HCM City in a private vehicle and onto some beautiful country roads to Ben Tre Town in the Mekong Delta, famous for its vast rice fields, numerous waterways, and beautiful landscapes. Known as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, this region produces most of Vietnam’s fruit, rice, sugar cane, and coconuts.
  • After the two-hour drive through the lush farming land, you will arrive in Ben Tre where you will set out on a motorized boat trip on narrow channels winding through the coconut forest. During the boat ride, you will stop at the local cottage industries to see how the local people make bricks and weave sleeping mats by hand. Learn about their craft handed down through generations.
  • Take a leisure walk along the village lanes, visiting the local homes to try fresh fruits, taste delicious honey tea while enjoying a local Tai Tu music show. Continue to visit another workshop where the local delicacy of coconut candy is produced and a wide range of coconut husk and fiber products are skillfully handcrafted.
  • Next, take a small sampan through palm-fringed back canals, gliding peacefully along the hidden waterways surrounded by an immense variety of tropical plants. The quiet, rural setting is a welcome and restorative retreat to the frenetic buzz of HCM City which seems far, far away.
  • Enjoy sitting in the back a Motor Cart (xe lôi) passing local hamlets, rice fields, coconut groves, and lush orchard farms while meeting with local people.

Afternoon

  • After finishing your sightseeing tour your guide will take you to a riverside restaurant for lunch with local specialties then return to the pier and drive back to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • This evening you will be free to visit the night market to discover the authentic local cuisine. Or simply enjoy a glass of cocktail on the rooftop bar of the historic Rex Hotel.

Overnight in HCM City

Meals: (B/L/_)

DAY 15HCM CITY – DEPARTURE

  • Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Ho Chi Minh International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.

Meals: (B/_/_)

 

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