Day 1: Arrival-Hanoi. On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. Ha Noi, Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia‘s most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks make for relaxing atmosphere. If time permits we enjoy a short cycle excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sales at these places. Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 2: Hanoi. The sightseeing tour of Hanoi acquaints us with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with a trip to the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam and the impressive Ethnological Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. The beautiful West Lake and the History Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history, are not to be missed. We visit these sights before continuing to the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem. In front of this lake is the famous water puppet theater where we will see a fantastic performance. Overnight in Ha Noi. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Hanoi-Halong. Upon leaving the town we set off on a scenic drive to Halong Bay with stop over at Dong Trieu pottery village. On arrival we embark on a boat for a five hour cruise around Halong Bay, truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. This exciting trip will give us a spectacular view of the bay, dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The islands are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. After a seafood lunch on board we will anchor for an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs and a leisurely swim in a secluded cove. Overnight in Halong Bay. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 4: Halong-Hanoi-Hue. The return journey begins as we depart Halong and drive straight to Noi Bai Airport for a short flight to central Vietnam. Hue was once Vietnam's feudal capital from 1802 to 1945. This small and quiet city is widely known for magnificent architecture, pagodas and royal tombs laid in many small villages and surrounding hills. On arrival in Hue we are greeted and transferred to hotel. An afternoon sightseeing tour takes us in the massive citadel, containing the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins. Overnight in Hue. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Hue. The beautiful riverside pagoda of Thien Mu which now becomes the symbol of Hue, and the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc are not to be missed. We include these in a guided cruise on the Perfume River which also gives us a taste of the scenic countryside as well as an enjoyable visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. After an impressive boat trip we return to the town and enjoy a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market that sells a wide variety of local goods and handicrafts. Along the way we pass by many fantastic eating spots, ideal places for visitors to sample some local delicacies. Overnight in Hue. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Hue-Danang-Hoian. Heading out of the town, we drive south to Hoi An which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down the centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. Along the way we can break the journey in Lang Co Beach for a leisurely swim and an enjoyable visit to a nearby fishing village. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van pass. A view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam's most impressive panoramic scenes. The next stop of our trip is Da Nang which is famous for the Cham Museum. After seeing this sight we continue to the China Beach and the Marble Mountain, whose peaks represent the five elements of the universe. Overnight in Hoi An. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Hoian. The ancient architecture of Hoian is a fascinating combination of Vietnamese traditional characters with Chinese and Japanese influence. There are plenty to see in this delightful and tranquil town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tam Ky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda, the vibrant market. We visit these on our morning walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. The remainder of the day will be free for your own exploration of the town and catching up on some shopping areas. Overnight in Hoi An. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Hoian-Danang-Ho Chi Minh. An early morning transfer to the airport for a short flight south. Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. This bustling metropolis, contradiction of its northern counterpart, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping area and sidewalk cafe. A city tour takes us in the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. After seeing the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnant, we continue to the bustling Ben Thanh Market for an appreciation of local life. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. Includes: (B).
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh-Tay Ninh-Cu Chi-Ho Chi Minh. The head quarter of Cao Dai sect is located in Tay Ninh. This religion was founded in 1923 and now numbers over 2 million members. Heading out of town we drive to Tay Ninh to see the ornate temple of Cao Dai and attend the fantastic mid-day service when the followers fill the hall wearing colored robes, a symbol of the curious combination of the Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Afterwards we continue to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which were an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, plus accommodation and schools, and were used as a military base for the Vietcong in the American war. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Ho Chi Cminh-Mekong Delta-Ho Chi Minh. Today we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's largest rice bowl. On arrival in My Tho we embark on a boat navigating around the intricate small canals in the delta region, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up. This thrilling excursion will pass the lush green vegetation before arriving on an island. Here we have opportunities to visit some fascinating local industries, stroll around an orchard and taste many seasonal fruits. After feasting on a huge lunch we return to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off along the way to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Cho Lon, Saigon's Chinatown, which is crammed with fascinating temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh-Phnom Penh. The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh will be our next stop via a short flight from Ho Chi Minh. At the confluence of the three river, Phnom Penh was once considered the loveliest city of Indochina. Despite the recent turbulent history, it still maintains considerable charm. A city tour acquaints us with the city's major sights. The private quarters of the Royal Palace are now home to the royal family and are therefore very close to the public. At the northern area of the palace grounds is Silver Pagoda, well known for its 5000 silver tiled floor. We visit both structures as well as the National Museum for an appreciation of the splendor of Khmer history. Heading out of this area we explore the legendary temple of Wat Phnom, which provides an interesting view over the surroundings. Overnight in Phnom Penh. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Pnom Penh-Siem Reap-Angkor Temples. An early morning transfer to airport for short flight to Siem Reap. This town is our base for exploring the world famous temples of the ancient city Angkor, which was the capital of the powerful Khmer Empire from 802 AD to 1350 AD. After checking into hotel, we drive to the archaeological area to visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of Leper King. The largest as well as most complete structure of Angkor Wat is not to be missed. We stroll around this massive monument, exploring the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B).
Day 13: Siem Reap-Angkor Temples. The jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm is an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embrace themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. We explore this masterpiece as well as some of the surrounding temples including Banteay Kdei, Sra Srong, Ta Keo, Thommanon and Chau Say Tevado. The grand circuit with Preah Khan, Kravan, Neak Pean, Krol Ko, Ta Som, East Mebon and Pre Rup Temples, is also visited this afternoon before we walk up to Phnom Bakheng Hill for a view of the spectacular sunset over these sandstone monuments. Overnight in Siem Reap. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Siem Reap-Departure. This morning we take a short cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia's biggest natural lake. Along the way we stop to visit a floating village and catch a glimpse of fishermen at work. This excursion is all depending on your departure time. The trip ends after your transfer to Siem Reap Airport for departure. Includes: (B).
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