Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi. Welcome to Vietnam! The tour guide and a private comfortable car will be welcoming you at Noi Bai airport. It takes you 35 minutes to drive to the centre of Hanoi. Depending on your flight arrival, you will be at leisure in the rest of the day or have a light tour to Hoan Kiem Lake and stroll around the Old Quarter of Hanoi by cyclo (a kind of three-wheel rickshaw), before joining your group next day. O/N Hanoi.
To visit Hanoi is to deep yourself into the cultural ambiance of this city, presently a unusual blend of thousand-year-old temples and shrines, narrow and long “tube houses”, one-century colonial-styled villas, new buildings in diversified architectural modes and luxury hotels and offices. The face of Hanoi now is difficultly preserved from thousands years under the domination and Sinisization of the Chinese feudalism, the battles of the 1st Indochinese War and bomb attacks during the Vietnam War. Yet, Hanoi did its best to maintain the image of a centre of the Red River Delta, an once-bustling trading point of Southeast Asia, and a leading city of new progressive developments in late 20th century. You will need more than a day to explore the city.
Day 2: Hanoi - Ninh Binh. Leave Hanoi in the morning for a 2-hour drive to Ninh Binh, 100 km South of Hanoi, you will reach the old capital city of Vietnam in 10th century, before Hanoi took over this role. Very few traces of the citadel and palace remain here after fierce battles of every century, but the natural landscape is outstanding with mountain ranges running along a small riverway, where you must have a boat trip rowed by the locals to go thru long caves formed by the water erosion to enjoy the scenery and relax.
The official name of the area “TAM-COC” (three caves or grottoes) comes from these three caves, but the site is very often compared with Guilin (China) and Halong Bay (Vietnam) by every visitor. After the boat trip, taste a lunch of delicious local specialties including goat meat and water escargots before going on to Bich Dong charming pagoda, which leans in a mountain cliff. In the afternoon, you will overland to Phat Diem Cathedral, an unique Catholic church built by wood and stone in traditional style of a Vietnamese communal house. Back to Hanoi for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Hanoi- Halong. Driving to Halong after breakfast, Take a boat from the Wharf of Halong in the morning and cruise the bay for at least 5 hours, you will reach the breathtaking views of Halong seascape and discover the magnificent beauty of this“. It’s a pride of the Tonkin Gulf, a World Natural Heritage designated by UNESCO in 1994, and a rendezvous of 90% of tourists coming to Northern Vietnam. Halong appear on “Indochina” (French, 1991), “Tomorrow never die” (US, 1997), “The Quiet American” (US, 2000) and numerous movies of Vietnamese and overseas producers, who found the mystery and charm of the Bay an everlasting source of inspiration of Indochina. Here sprout nearly 3,000 limestone and dolomite islets and odd-shaped rock sculptures, covering some 1,500 square kilometre. Dinner at Hotel. Free in the evening.
Day 4: Ha Long - Hanoi. Free in the afternoon to visit Tuan Chau Island, enjoy dolphin show, corcodise show (optional) then lunch. After noon check out and drive back to hanoi. After a long day, you will have a delicious dinner followed by an evening show of Water Puppetry, a stage art created by the Vietnamese peasants. The show last more than an hour and is a wonderful opportunity to learn about some of Vietnam’s mythology, traditions and current customs. O/N Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi depart. Am: Pick up from your hotel and depart for our first famous village of Bat Trang. Located along the banks of the Red River, Bat Trang is definitely Vietnam's most famous ceramic village. Ancestors of today’s ceramic artisans began their craft in world famous Bat Trang during the Ly Dynasty some 10 centuries ago. Local artisans are renowned the world over for ceramic arts and have won many international awards. You’ll witness these artisans at work as you roam down narrow alleys into shops where you’ll be able to buy their refined ceramics at unbelievable prices. Transferred by your tourguide to the airport to take a flight to take the flight leaving Vietnam.
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