This fifteen day cultural honeymoon holiday is designed to begin with the sights in and around Hanoi combined with a cyclo ride and romantic welcome dinner, followed by a 3-day cruise on the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay. After visiting the ancient capital of Hue, and the quaint historic port of Hoi An, you’ll find yourself on the soft white sands of Bai Dai Beach in Quy Nhon, where you need do nothing except unwind!
Day 1: Hanoi arrival (D, GP). Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax before your afternoon trip. You’ll cruise around the Colonial Quarter in a cyclo to discover the city’s architectural mixture of French colonial style, social realism (mostly public buildings - designed or influenced by the USSR), pagodas and communal houses with many distinctly Chinese features, merchants’ residences, ‘tube’ dwellings, modern buildings and vernacular houses.
In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture) before a welcome dinner at a good restaurant in a restored colonial building. Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi orientation (B, L, G). After breakfast, your guide will take you to the city’s most popular attractions, such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the simple stilt house where he lived and worked. Your guide will then take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century. After lunch, your vehicle will take to Tho Ha Village about 30km north of Hanoi. The main industries here are making rice paper, alcohol (local wine), and pig farming. After a visit to the village’s temple, a local family will show you how to make rice paper.
You’ll walk through the village’s alleys, visit one of its oldest houses built over 100 years ago, and mingle with the locals. It’s a good opportunity to get to grips with rural life in Vietnam. You’ll return to Hanoi with an en-route stop at Tam Tao village for a traditional Quan Ho music show performed by villagers in the commune house. The singers have recently been officially designated part of Vietnam’s ‘living heritage’. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi/Ha Long (B, L, D, DP). After breakfast, you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board a private wooden junk that takes you through Bai Tu Long Bay area. You’ll then continue your cruise to the bay’s most deserted areas with opportunities to swim at quiet sandy beaches. The route is designed to avoid the busy areas and includes a very quiet location in the bay for your overnight stay.
Day 4: Ha Long Bay (B, L, D). After breakfast, you’ll continue your cruise to visit a fishing village where you’ll have an opportunity explore the village and hidden lagoons in a kayak. After a barbeque lunch on a wild sandy beach, your time will be your own to relax or continue exploring the bay by kayak. You’ll stay overnight in a very quiet location of the Bay.
Day 5: Ha Long/Hanoi/Hue (B, DP). You’ll wake in fresh air of the bay, perhaps with a swim or relaxing on the sundeck. After breakfast, you’ll cruise to a private sandy beach for swimming (weather permitting) and enjoy cool drink on the beach. Aternatively, you’ll dock to visit one of the most famous caves in the Bay. You’ll return to the junk for a brunch while cruising back to dock around noon, whereupon you’ll leave for Noi Bai airport in Hanoi for an afternoon flight to Hue. On arrival, you’ll be picked up and transferred to your hotel where you spend the night.
Day 6: Hue (B, L, D, G). Your morning will be taken up by a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, and then by road to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang and, in the afternoon, the Imperial Citadel. The mausoleum and Citadel span the long reign of the Nguyen King’s imperial dynasty – the contrast is stark. In the evening, you’ll sit down to dinner in the pleasant surroundings and comfortable atmosphere of a garden house. You’ll spend the night in Hue.
Day 7: Hue/Danang/Hoi An (B, L, G). In the morning, your car will arrive to drive you to Danang. On the way, you'll cross the high mountain pass of Hai Van. The views from the top are excellent – you should be able be able to see Lang Co beach and village, and the lagoon far below, with Danang spread out before you to the south. Upon arriving in Danang, you’ll have a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum before leaving for the quaint port of Hoi An. Your time will be your own before a sunset cocktail cruise on the Thu Bon River. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An tour ½ day (B, L, G). After breakfast, your guide will meet you to show you the Ancient Town and explain its considerable significance in the history of Vietnam, with the afternoon free at leisure. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An free (B). The day will be free for strolling in the town, lazing on the beach, or whatever takes your fancy. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoi An/Danang/Qui Nhon (B, DP). You’ll have a free morning until you’re picked up and driven to Danang Railway Station for a train journey to Qui Nhon. When you arrive, a private car will be waiting to take you to the Life Resort, located on a secluded beach. Quy Nhon ‘Life Resort’ is a exclusive four star resort hotel offering sixty-three rooms, all with excellent sea views over the bay. It has a small private beach, and two uninhabited islands are within easy reach.
Apart from the usual facilities, there is a spa and fitness area with an emphasis on natural body and mind treatments. The restaurant serves international and Vietnamese cuisine, and light lunches and sunset cocktails are available at the pool and lobby bars. Quy Nhon is a sleepy place, off the regular tourist track. It’s an important historical site with several magnificent Cham towers and was the home of the Tay Son brothers who led a peasant revolt and drove the Chinese invaders from Vietnam.
Day 11 to Day 14: Quy Nhon (B). Your time will be your own!
Day 15: Quy Nhon/Ho Chi Minh City (B, DP). In the morning, you’ll be free until your car arrives to take you to the airport for a flight to Ho Chi Minh City in good time to connect with your international departure flight. Trip ends.
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