13 Nights/14 Days
From soaring mountains to swaying rice fields, from sweeping beaches to the mighty Mekong and from buzzing cities to timeless villages, Vietnam has it all, with the iconic limestone towers of Ha Long Bay being the jewel in the country’s dazzling crown. This fourteen-day comprehensive tour of Vietnam includes the main centres, three world heritage sites and the Mekong Delta. It gives you an idea of what can be done and we can amend or adapt as you like.DAY BY DAY ITINERARYDay 1 Arrive Hanoi
You will be met on arrival and transferred to the Sofitel Metropole. After an included dinner, enjoy a water puppetry performance (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). Day 2 Hanoi
Explore the capital city with a guide including the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. After an included lunch, visit the serene Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest in Hanoi, on the banks of Hanoi’s Ho Tay (West) Lake. The bustling Old Quarter is a magnet for visitors. It’s 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. It is noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. Day 3 Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
Depart for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. Board the Indochina Sails, one of the best wooden boats on the bay. Board a wooden junk to take you to the busy World Heritage area and then to an island beach. Weather permitting, swim, fish, and climb a hill for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape. From there, the cruise will continue to visit a fishing village. There will also be the opportunity to investigate one of the bay’s sea level caves in a small sampan or a kayak. The route is designed to avoid the busy areas and includes a very quiet location for your overnight stay. All meals are included onboard.Day 4 Ha Long Bay to Hue via Hanoi
After an early morning swim or yoga session on deck, dock to visit one of the most famous caves in the Bay. Return to the junk for brunch while cruising back to dock. Transfer to the airport for an evening flight to Hue. Transfer to the Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort and Spa. Day 5 Hue
Enjoy a morning cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, and then travel by road to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang or Emperor Khai Dinh. Each royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. After an included lunch visit the Imperial Citadel of Hue and the Dong Ba market. Dine this evening in the pleasant surroundings of a traditional privately owned garden house, a unique feature of Hue.Day 6 Hue to Danang to Hoi An
Drive to Danang, crossing the high mountain pass of Hai Van with excellent views below. In Danang, have a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum before leaving for Hoi An. After an included lunch, have a guided visit to the ancient town of Hoi An. This town is a UNESCO World Heritage area. An ancient trading port, once the largest in Indochina, Hoi An was a meeting point for many cultures that left their mark in the different architectural features of its wooden buildings. The original traditional street pattern still exists, as does the quay that once welcomed ships from all over East Asia and beyond. There are plenty of good restaurants and it is a good place for shopping for silk. Overnight in the Life Resort, Hoi An. Day 7 Hoi An A day at leisure in Hoi An. Alternatively, take an optional cycling tour through the countryside to spend the day with fishermen in a Thung Chai basket boat or have a cookery class in Hoi An in the morning, followed by free time on Cua Dai Beach in the afternoon. Spend the night in Hoi An. Day 8 Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh CityEnjoy a morning at leisure before a noon flight to Ho Chi Minh City. After transferring to the Park Hyatt and checking-in, you’ll be free for a preliminary wander around District 1. Day 9 Ho Chi Minh CityEnjoy a morning guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City including the History Museum, Museum of War Remnants (not for the squeamish!) and Binh Tay market which is located in China Town. Lunch is included and the rest of the day is at your leisure. Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh Long to Can Tho This morning, travel to Vinh Long where a Mekong River cruise will take you to visit the fruit orchards, a traditional family-run brick kiln, and some long established cottage industries. Lunch is included. Drive further into the Mekong Delta to Can Tho and call in at the Munir Ansay – an ancient Khmer style pagoda, renowned for its unique structural decorations. Spend the night at the Victoria Can Tho Hotel.Day 11 Can ThoAfter breakfast and a boat cruise you’ll arrive at Cai Rang floating market on the Mekong Delta, providing an insight into the rural Mekong Delta lifestyle. The remainder of the day is at leisure.Day 12 Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City After a leisurely start, drive to Ho Chi Minh City, with en route visit to the beautiful and ancient Vinh Trang Pagoda. Vinh Trang is renowned for its architectural mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor styles and consists of five buildings, two ornamental yards, 178 pillars and many valuable statues. Lunch is included. The pagoda will give you a deeper look into the relationship between Vietnamese art and Buddhist beliefs. Stay at the Park Hyatt for two nights. Day 13 Ho Chi Minh City to Tay Ninh to Cu Chi This morning, drive to Tay Ninh to visit the Cao Dai Holy See in time to watch the mid-day ceremony. Cao Dai is a ‘new’ religion unique to Vietnam with around a million followers. Both its creed and its architecture are remarkable and exotic. After an included lunch, visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a Byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong to suddenly materialise as if from nowhere, launch a lightning ambush, and vanish equally rapidly. Spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.Day 14 Ho Chi Minh City Departure Enjoy the rest of your time until your transfer to the airport for your return or onward flight.Prices from £3,640 per person OUR PRICE INCLUDES• Return scheduled flights with Vietnam Airlines from London to Hanoi, returning from Ho Chi Minh City to London in economy class• Domestic flights from Hanoi to Hue and Hue to Ho Chi Minh City• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.• Six lunches and two dinners (as specified in the itinerary) plus full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay• Private transfers and sightseeing tours in an air-conditioned large car • Services of an English-speaking guideOUR PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE• Visas• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• InsuranceHOTEL LIST FOR THE ABOVE ITINERARYHanoi, Sofitel Metropole Hotel, historic colonial building in a city centre location – Luxury Room Historic WingHa Long Bay, Indochina Sails, deluxe quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels – Deluxe CabinHue, Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort and Spa, well-designed villa hotel in a quiet rural area, 6km from the city centre - Deluxe RoomHoi An, Life Resort, low-rise colonial-style architecture on the riverbank, shuttle boat to beach, good spa and ‘wellness’ facilities – Junior Suite River ViewHo Chi Minh City, Park Hyatt Hotel, excellent hotel next to Ho Chi Minh City’s Opera House in the heart of District 1, colonial-style architecture, very comfortable – Park RoomCan Tho, Victoria Cantho Resort, best hotel in Can Tho, colonial-style architecture on the banks of the Hau River - Deluxe Room
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