On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you are met by our guide and transferred to hotel. The bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. This metropolis ,contradiction of its northern counterpart, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping areas and sidewalk cafes. ( If time permits) we stroll around the down town to explore the different local ways of life. O/N in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh - Tay Ninh - Cu Chi Tunnel - Ho Chi Minh (B).
The incredible underground network in Cu Chi stretched over 200 kilometres and became legendary during the American war. The extensive tunnels have been specially constructed with living areas, weapon factories, filed hospitals, command centres, plus accommodation. Today we have an excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels to visit an exposition hall and a widened section of the tunnels to get a feel of the underground life. There are also possibilities to fire off rounds from an AK 47 or MK 16 at the nearby rifle range. Upon leaving Cu Chi we drive a short distance to Tay Ninh, the headquarters of Cao Dai Sect . This religion was founded in 1923 and now numbers over 2 million members. We arrive in time to see the ornate temple of Cao Dai and attend the fantastic mid-day service when the followers fill the hall wearing colored robes. These costumes are a symbol of the curious combination of the Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. O/N in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh (B/L).
Heading out of town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta. This plain region boasts the largest rice bowl of Vietnam. On arrival in My Tho we board a boat navigating around the intricate small canals, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up and catch a view dotted by many islands. The exciting river trip will pass by the lush green vegetation towards the famous Unicorn Island where we have a chance to stroll around an orchard, taste many seasonal fruits and see farmers at work. We navigate some narrower canals using small rowing boats to Ben Tre Province for an interesting visit to some local industries. The extra enjoyment is a lunch at one of the famous local eating spots. We drive back to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off en route to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Saigon's Chinatown, locally named Cho Lon. This bustling area is crammed with sacred temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. O/N in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh - Da Nang - Hoi An (B).
The sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh begins with a drive past the now-demolished wartime American Embassy to the Reunification Palace. This famous edifice was a former residence of the President of Southern Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. We follow these with a visit to the Jade Emperor Pagoda , the War Remnant Museum and the retail Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale!. The following destination of our trip is Danang via a short flight from Ho Chi Minh. On arrival you are greeted by our guide and driven to Hoi An, which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. O/N in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An - Hue (B).
The ancient architecture in place 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 sites on a morning walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. Upon leaving Hoi An, we drive north to Hue with stopover at the famous China Beach and the sensational Marble Mountains whose peaks represent the five elements. The next stop is Danang City to visit the Cham Museum. This interesting structure is home to Vietnam's largest collection of Cham treasures. We follow the winding roads crossing over the scenic Hai Van Pass. The thrilling drive reaches Hue by mid or late afternoon depending on traffic conditions. O/N in Hue.
Day 6: Hue (B).
The beautiful riverside Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious work ship in Hue. We include this in a half day cruise on the Perfume River which also gives us a taste of the scenic countryside and an enjoyable visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang. This impressive landmark is laid in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes, featuring the beautiful architecture, intricate decor and mysterious statues. We leave this site and catch a short drive though the rolling hill to see the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc and the famous Tu Hieu Pagoda. The sightseeing tour of Hue also includes a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market that sells a wide variety of local goods and handicrafts. Along the way we pass many fantastic eating spots, all ideal for visitors to sample some local delicacies. O/N in Hue. (B)
Day 7: Hue - Ha Noi (B).
The exploration of Hue could not be complete without a visit to the Imperial Citadel. Today we have time seeing the massive citadel which contains 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. Close to this masterpiece is Hue Imperial Museum which displays an interesting collections of bronzes, Chinaware, court robes and various emperors personal belongings. We visit this museum before taking a drive to airport for short flight to Hanoi. On arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you are met by our guide and transferred to hotel. The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia's most striking colonial architecture. If time permits we enjoy a short cyclo ride through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. O/N in Ha Noi.
Day 8: Ha Noi – City Tour (B).
Breakfast at the hotel . The first stop is 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. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with a visit to the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam and the History Museum with an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history and then we visit Art Museum. We drive back to the town center, stopping at the Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. They are some major highlights set by the beautiful West Lake. We round off our sightseeing with the peaceful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple .In front of this lake is the famous water puppet theatre where we will see a fantastic performance. Over night in Ha Noi.
Day 9: Ha Noi - Ha Long (B/L/D).
07:45 - 08:15, Pick up at hotel for three and a half hours road trip with short refreshment on half way to Halong Bay.
12:30 Arrive at Hon Gai Harbour, enter our waiting lounge for short break before getting on boat
12:45 Enjoy a welcome drink onboard the Tonkin Cruise boat.
13:15 Enjoy a freshly prepared lunch while cruising through Bai Tu Long Bay and into Ha Long Bay.
15:00 Explore Vung Vien village and learn about life in Ha Long Bay communities.
16:00 Visit Vung Ha beach for kayaking, swimming, and relaxing in one of the Bay’s hidden coves.
17:00 Relax back at the boat as we cruise into the secluded Dong Tien Lake where the boat will anchor overnight.
17:30 Sunset party and happy hour on the sundeck.
18:00 Cooking class offering lessons in traditional Vietnamese cuisine.
19:30 Dinner will be served with Authentic Vietnamese Cuisines
21:00 Relax and enjoy the evening or choose from a variety of activities including board games and squid fishing.
23:00 End of program for Day One.
Day 10: Ha Long - Ha Noi (B/L).
06:30 Rise early for morning tai chi on the sundeck.
07:15 Enjoy a light breakfast while cruising to Sung Sot Cave area.
8:00 Explore the Sung Sot Cave, the largest and most impressive of Halong Bay’s extensive cave system.
09:00 Return to the boat for check out.
10:00 Flower carving demonstration on Sun Deck
10:45 Enjoy the last of the Ha Long Bay scenery over Lunch as the boat cruises back to shore.
12:00 Transfer by tender to the pier, relax inside our waiting lounge and waiting for return transportation. .
16:30 Drop-off at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 11: Ha Noi - Departure.
There is a free time to relax or further explore Ha Noi. The tour ends after your transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure. (B).
Airfare is not included in the tour price.
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