Day 1: Ha Noi
On your arrival, you are met local guide and driver who will take you to hotel. If time is permitted, you will take an orientation tour of Ha Noi and take a cyclo ride (pedicab) around the ancient quarter of Ha Noi. It absolutely is a fascinating way to get the first look of this peaceful and beautiful city.
Evening we enjoy the Water Puppet Show, a unique northern Vietnamese art performance that we cannot be missed on our schedule for today. We will have a chance to learn more about the rural life of Vietnamese peasants and national heroes via a series of history story which were beautifully demonstrated by the artists.
Day 2: Ha Noi – Thang Long Citadel, World Cultural Heritage Site (B)
Start our day with a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, this is a very special place for all Vietnamese and also famous for foreigners around the world to see the whole complex, Uncle Ho’s house on stilt where he lived and worked from 1958-1969, his fishing pond and his garden. Then we head to One Pillar Buddhist Pagoda built in 1049 by King Ly Thai Tong who ruled from 1028 to 1054. Ly Thai Tong was childless and dreamt that he met the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshava, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Ly Thai Tong then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple for the gratitude for this miracle. Further on our excursion, we visit to Van Mieu, Temple of Literature to dedicate to Confucius and his four best disciples. This was also the first national university of Vietnam built in 1076 within the temple to educate Vietnamese bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. This university remained open from 1076 to 1779. The interesting thing in this place is the collection of steles of doctorates whose names, birth place, year of the examination, and the rank were engraved onto the marble stone stele placing on the top of the turtle. There are 1307 graduated doctor names on 82 stele in this place. After visiting this wonderful place, we will have lunch at local restaurant and refresh.
Later in the day we visit to a World Cultural Heritage Site of Thang Long Imperial Citadel which was built in 11th century be the Ly Dynasty, making the independence of Dai Viet. The Central Sector of Thang Long Imperial Citadel is the most important and the best-preserved of this heritage site. We will finish our day with a visiting the Army Museum nearby this ancient imperial City. This is very interesting site to visit as its exhibit collection focusing on 2 wars, the French-Vietnam War in 1930s-1940s and American-Vietnam War in 1960s-1970s. Especially the Dien Bien Phu battle field model is very lively, informative and useful section to see.
Return our hotel and then free at leisure.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long, World Natural Heritage Site (B,L,D)
A new exciting day waiting us to discover, we depart for Ha Long, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islands and islets in all sides reflecting on turquoise water. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.
There are a lot of photo opportunities on our way to Ha Long as we drive through the rural area, street markets, paddy fields, vegetable farms, poultry farms and lotus farms. We take a rest stop after 2 hour drive for a coffee break then continue to Ha Long Bay. At midday we board the overnight junk for the cruise. A welcome drink is well prepared for us as we get on board then check in and enjoy a pleasant cruise on the bay. Seafood lunch is served on board while the junk is slowly going among the islands and islets. There are some activities for us to join in in this afternoon; visiting to the cave, swimming at Ti Top beach, climbing up the top of Ti Top Island for panoramic view of the bay, kayaking in late afternoon or joining squids finishing at night. The junk is anchored in a quiet bay for overnight. Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 4: Ha Long – Ha Noi – Hoi An, World Cultural Heritage Site (B)
Morning just join the Tai Chi Class on sundeck for half an hour and then we will have breakfast. We keep on our excursion and visit to Sung Sot cave, fantastic stalactites and stalagmites in all different sides with beautiful natural color. Return to our junk and check out. Enjoy a pleasant cruise back to the pier for disembarkation.
Drive to Noi Bai Airport for a short flight to Da Nang then proceed to Hoi An, Hoi An, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Hoi an, an exceptionally well-preserved example of traditional Asian trading port, is outstanding material manifestation of fusion of culture over time of international maritime commercial center in Southeast Asia.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Morning enjoy our breakfast at hotel, we start our walking to ancient quarter of Hoi An. Our first visit is Fukien Assembly Hall where is also the Thien Hau Temple located. This temple was built in early century and dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea and the Protector of sailor when Fukien traders traveled down South of China by the sea to Hoi An for their business. Later on they decided to stay permanently in this trade port until now. This place has become very popular local attraction for not only Vietnamese but also the foreign travelers as its architecture style is absolutely amazing figure. Then we keep on our walking from this temple to Tan Ky, ancient trading house. There are 7 generations of the Vietnamese merchant family has lived in this beautiful house and they carefully protect their home as its original for over 2 centuries ago. The architecture model of this house is the combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese style. Come and see this place, we have a chance to talk to the owners who will inform us many useful and interesting things in the house, their daily life and how they have kept their home beautifully since 19th century. It is not far from this home as it takes us 5 minutes to walk to Japanese Bridge, an iconic of Hoi An ancient town. This temple bridge (the bridge where there is a temple on it) was built by Japanese community in 1590s and it dedicated to the God of the weather. It is said that he controls all kinds of weather changes and natural calamities, so most of the sailors worship him. Finishing our history walking tour in this morning section with a visit to Sa Huynh Culture Museum nearby Japanese bridge, we have an opportunity to learn more about Hoi An ancient town. Then we have our free time to wonder around this lovely town and there are many other things that we can do in this afternoon: A cup of tea or coffee at one of the riverfront restaurants to enjoy, or just visit a tailor shop to do some shopping or walk to local market to have some talks to the local, rent a bike and ride to the beach or take an hour boat ride on Thu Bon river for leisure.
Day 6: Hoi An – My Son, World Cultural Heritage Site (B)
Morning we take a half day trip to a World Cultural Heritage site My Son Sanctuary of Champa Kingdom, which was very powerful and prosperous Kingdom in Southeast Asia from 4th century to 11th century. We drive 2 hours through rural area, rivers, paddy fields, mountains to this site for visiting these fantastic monuments of the Cham people and also have a chance to entertain Champa Traditional Dance show. After visiting this site we drive to Da Nang City for our lunch and then visit to Cham Museum which all artifacts were collected in My Son area and it is absolutely amazing collection of art and culture. We will end our day by stopping at Marble Mountains for our sightseeing. Taking steps up to Huyen Khong Cave, which was used as the hospital during the American and Vietnam War. It is actually the pagoda which has a giant marble Buddha statue seating on the rock and facing the main entrance inside the cave. Continuing our walk up the steps to Thien Phuoc Pagoda on the side of this mountain facing the ocean. It is a fabulous sea view from this site. Finishing our day with a stop at the stone carving village where we may have some souvenir gifts for our trip. Then we get back our hotel and free at leisure
Day 7: Hoi An – Hue, World Cultural Heritage Site (B)
Today we will enjoy the most beautiful distance in Central part of Vietnam on our way to Hue, a world heritage site. It is only 140 km long but there are many things for us to see. First we again have a chance to view The Marble Mountains, Non Nuoc beach and Da Nang City. Second we will have the most scenic view of mountain and ocean as approaching to the top of Hai Van (Ocean and Cloud) Pass. Third a picturesque Lang Co fishing village in the bay as we are settling down the pass is a must for a photo stop. Next is Tam Giang lagoon and Hue city, a lovely and romantic city located on the bank of Huong (perfume) River. Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 and famous for the Citadel, Imperial City, Forbidden City and the royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal regime of Vietnam. Hue represents an outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire at its apogee in the early 19th century. The integrity of town lay out and building design make it an exceptional specimen of late feudal urban planning.
After check in our hotel we start our excursion by taking a boat trip on Huong River to Thien Mu pagoda which was built in 17th century on the top of the hill overlooking the river and Truong Son mountain range. Then we drive to the Imperial and Forbidden City of Hue, most of the contraction sites of a heyday royal dynasty were destroyed during the turmoil of the war for many years but there is still the sense of grace and majestic of the rulers. Enjoy Nha Nhac, Vietnamese court music show, a World Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Nha Nhac developed during the Le Dynasty (1427-1780) and became highly institutionalized and codified under The Nguyen monarch (1802-1945). The role of Nha Nhac is not limited to musical accompaniment for court rituals: It also provided a means of communicating with and playing tribute to the Gods and Kings as well as transmitting knowledge about the nature and the universe.
And then we drive to the royal tombs, the place were used during both life and dead of the Nguyen Rulers. A lovely traditional architecture royal tomb of King Tu Duc built in three years from 1864-1867 is located outskirt of Hue among the fine forest and lakes and ponds meanwhile King Khai Dinh’s tomb is located on the hill step of Chau E mountain, the tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture style and built in 1920.
Return to our hotel then free at leisure.
Day 8: Hue – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Most of our time in this morning is free at leisure. Midday we check out then drive to Phu Bai airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Its former name was Saigon which was well known as the “Pearl of Far East” during the French colony and today Ho Chi Minh has become an official name of this dynamic, bustle and hustle city since 1976. There are so many interesting thing to see in this city from very early in the morning until midnight.
On our arrival, we take an orientation tour around the town and visit to some typical colonial buildings over hundreds of year; Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, the Opera House and City Hall.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Can Tho (B,L)
Today we will enjoy the beautiful scenery in Mekong Delta area with hundreds of canal and river system and the most productive farm in Vietnam. On arrival Cai Be town, we take a boat cruise to visit to Cai Be floating market which is very interesting and popular in Mekong region. There are hundreds of trading boats anchoring on both sides of the river and these boats as the floating shops selling all different agriculture produce being hanged on the bamboo pole placing at the front of each boat as the sale signal. The buyers who usually have a motor boat or sampan, a main means of transportation in this floating market to go to the trading boats, buy these produce very early in the morning then take to the local market to sell them again. They are actually like the retailers. Some of them decide to be the vendors just riding their motor boat along the canal for all day to earn their living. This floating market is usually very busy early morning before sun rise and its function is as the whole market on the river. After visiting this market, we continue our boat trip to local village nearby to view how local people making coconut candy, rice-paper, pop-corn, and local souvenirs. Return to our boat then relax while we are cruising across the Mekong River to the island where we take a short through the fruit garden and visit the farm. Then we enjoy our lunch at the farm, talk to the host, walk around fruit garden and bonsai garden and just take a little nap on the hammock before boarding the boat again heading to Vinh Long town. We disembark at Vinh Long then drive to Can Tho, the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the biggest city in Mekong Delta area. This charmed city, the friendly people and their hospitality make it a unique character. A wonderful place to visit!
Day 10: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Early morning we will take a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market which is more activities of buying and selling, more boats and livelier than the Cai Be. Just enjoy a beautiful buffet breakfast on board while we are cruising to market. We are not only the travelers to visit to this market but also the buyers to purchase extra fresh and tasty fruits for our breakfast in this morning.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City – Departure (B)
Free at leisure until your departure flight.
All accommodation basing on double/twin room with daily breakfast
Private transportation as specified in itinerary
English speaking guide for day tour
All entrance fee for sightseeing
All boat trips as specified in itinerary
Meals as specified in itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Drinking water on coach
International air ticket to/from Vietnam
Visa fee to Vietnam
Domestic air tickets
Things are not indicated in itinerary