Day 1: Arrival at Hanoi (D, GP). Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. Then you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry, an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and a good, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture. In the evening, you’ll have time to relax after your journey before a ‘Welcome’ dinner. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation (B, L, D, G). You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked, and the museum dedicated to his memory.
After lunch, you’ll call in at the serene Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest in Hanoi, on the banks of Hanoi’s Ho Tay (West) Lake. The centre of Hanoi, including Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son temple and the bustling Old Quarter, is a magnet for visitors – it’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction.
The Old Quarter is a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture - traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi. We’ll arrange your programme to avoid the busy times at popular destinations, but if there’s anything you particularly want to see, let us know.
Day 3: Hanoi - Ha Long - Hanoi (B, L, D, G). After an early 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 traditional-style boat for four-hour cruise on the bay to visit some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim, and climb hills (not mountains!) for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape. You’ll be served a seafood lunch on the boat. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi for your dinner and overnight accommodation.
Day 4: Mindfulness in Van Tri Pagoda and shopping in Hanoi (B, L, D, G). Today, you’ll join the ‘Mindfulness’ class’ in an old pagoda located some 13km from Hanoi. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware – aware of your mind, your heart, your body, and the world around you.
According to the devotees of mindfulness, by bringing awareness to these centres you are able to function more clearly and effectively. Your mind becomes less cluttered, your heart becomes free, your body receives proper attention, and the world can be faced openly. Sister Thich Hanh Chau will introduce each of the activities.
The day will feature basic instructions for beginners, different kinds of meditation practice (such as sitting and walking meditation, eating meditation), and a talk with opportunities for questions and answers. In the afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi for an afternoon free to do as you wish. Dinner and overnight in Hanoi.
The Pagoda is built on the site of one of Hanoi's most ancient Buddhist temples, and is shadowed by green foliage amidst a peaceful community. In short, it is an excellent opportunity to be introduced to, or practice, another method of Oriental meditation.
Day 5: Hanoi – Departure (B, GP). It is your free time for shopping in Dong Xuan market, Old Quarter (Hang Gia, Hang Dao, Hang Ngang Streets) or Vincom or Parkson Commercial Centre until transfer to airport for flight come back home. End of tour.
Prices vary depending on level of accommodation, group size and dates of travel. Contact us to customize a vacation itinerary and price to meet your needs and budget.
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Asia Vietnam Spiritual Odyssey Pilgrimage/Spirituality Cultural Journey
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