HA NOI- HA LONG- HUE – SAIGON – BEN TRE – CAN THO
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Your guide will meet you in arrivals and escort you to the city centre to check into the an elegant hotel. You will be left to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities after your long flight.
Day 2: Hanoi City
After a wholesome breakfast at the hotel, we start the day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, named for the beloved father of modern Vietnam. This famous complex is home to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays), Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Following this, we head to the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius. Otherwise known as the first university of Vietnam, the site also honours the eighty-two Vietnamese doctorates that each passed a number of rigid exams in the medieval ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are each engraved in headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its peaceful green compound with its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Next stop, lunch!-which will be served at a popular local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we visit the Museum of Ethnology dedicated to Vietnam’s fifty-four officially recognised ethnic groups with both indoor and outdoor sections. While the in-house exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoor display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses of numerous minority groups, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. We then enjoy a 45-min-cyclo tour (similar to a rickshaw) to the Old Quarter where you can see streets with century-aged trees and French Colonial buildings. We then head to Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny islet in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple dates back to the 13th century and the lake itself is the picturesque heart of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike.
In the evening, we will enjoy a water puppet show, illustrating the unique Vietnamese traditional art. This art is originated from rural festivals in Vietnam. The artists, men and women, stand waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets, making them move, talk and laugh and even dance on the surface of the water.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay overnight on boat
After breakfast at the hotel, we commence a three and a half hour drive through the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. We stop en route for photos and coffee before arriving at our destination. We then transfer to a refurbished wooden sailing junk for a cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay. Revel in the fantastic views of this UNESCO Heritage listed site. While on board, we will be served a fresh seafood lunch followed by swimming and explore some of the limestone caves in the area. Witness the sunset onboard followed by dinner. The captain then will anchor for the night nearby a remote island. In the evening, there is the option for some night fishing or just sit out on the deck and relax under the stars. We promise that this is a truly unforgettable experience.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Hue
After waking up surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the bay, we have time for an early morning dip. Then it’s time for breakfast whilst you watch the sun rise over Ha Long bay. The cruise continues to move around the bay in order for us to discover more secluded areas; we then go kayaking and continue swimming around the bay. The boat will be near us at all times for those who prefer to relax on board. Around midday, we will return to the main harbour before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for the three-hour journey to Noi Bai airport for the flight to Hue. Upon arrival at Hue, our driver will meet and transfer you to the hotel for check-in.
Day 5: Hue Imperial City
After breakfast at our hotel, we set out to explore Hue’s famous highlights, starting with a boat trip along the Perfume River to reach the picturesque Thien Mu otherwise known as the Heavenly Lady Pagoda. One of the most poignant displays here is the car belonging to a former monk, who in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the South Vietnamese regime and its treatment of Buddhists. We then disembark the boat for a visit the elaborate tomb of former emperor Tu Duc, which was built between 1864 and 1867 by 3000 soldiers and workers. It includes fifty monuments surrounded by a 1500m long wall covering. We then head back to Hue for a well-deserved lunch!
In the afternoon, we visit Hue Imperial City, the last royal city of Vietnam with beautiful structures including the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate and Nine Dynastic Urns to name a few. Built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the City was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945. We then do some shopping at the Dong Ba Market to enjoy the specialties of Hue city.
Day 6: Hue – Danang – Hoi An
After breakfast at the hotel, we bid Hue farewell and continue our south bound journey to the old trading town of Hoi An via Danang. Along the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach for coffee and refreshments. From here we head up to the Hai Van pass, stopping at the top to take in the stunning views towards Da Nang city. We arrive in Hoi An and observe its unique blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences. We will visit historic Japanese merchant houses, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, as well as the colourful riverside market. However, no visit to Hoi An is complete without a visit to Tan Ky House. Spanning over several generations it is a prime example of Japanese & Chinese architecture and a relic of Hoi An’s past. Another must-see destination is Phuc Kien Assembly Hall – an excellent work of architecture considered of cultural significance. Built in 1690, this Assembly Hall is a temple dedicated to the sea goddess Thien Hau.
Day 7: Hoi An – Danang – Flight to Saigon
After breakfast at the hotel, our driver will meet and transfer you to Danang Airport for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, meet your new guide and driver who escort you to the hotel in the city center for an easy check-in. You will then have time to get some lunch on your own and relax.
In the afternoon, we take a half day to visit all famous sites of this bustling city. The first destination is the Reunification Palace (outside visit) which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until April 30, 1975 when North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates thus bringing the Vietnam War to a dramatic end. This will be followed by some French colonial structures including , the Notre Dame Cathedral & the Old Saigon Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883, and the stones used to create it were exported entirely from France. Apart from the religious meaning, the most captivating point of this Cathedral is its neo-Romanesque style of architecture. Next to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam’s largest post office (still in operation !). After visiting the War Remnant Museum, we continue our trip to the bustling Ben Thanh Market, which is a fantastic place for bargains of every kind! There are a number of vendors and food stalls in the market food section that offers guests many delicious dishes. You also can find many goods for daily use as well as variety of eye-catching local crafts and souvenirs.
Day 8: Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho
08.00 a.m, our tour guide and driver will pick you up and we head to My Tho province. 10:00a.m Arrive at the Nam Bo branch in My Tho town. Take a boat trip on Tiền river, get over Tiền river to The other side (Bến tre land). Sight-seeing fish farms, floating fish market along the Dragon island on the way. Through Xếp canal in Bến Tre (land of coconuts) to See coconut collection set and how the locals make handicrafts from coconut trunk and shell. Enjoy seasonal fruits and listening to traditional music. Take the horse-cart on village path and stop at Mr Nam Ngô orchard, taste honey with tea or wine. See bees-breeding in wooden boxes under longans tree.
Take rowing-boat along water palm creek. Lunch on islets (included). Boat to see local people make coconut candy, taste candy (special products of Bến Tre province). We cruise back to the pier and disembark for a drive to Can Tho. Your guide will assist with check into hotel. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the resort amenities.
Day 9: Can Tho – Cai Rang – Saigon
Rising early to the sounds of the Delta coming to life for another day, we have breakfast and start our day with a boat cruise along the seemingly endless waterway of Mighty Mekong River. We arrived at Cai Rang floating market, the biggest and most famous floating market in the Mekong Delta. View hundreds of boats which are packed with mango, bananas, papaya and pineapple… all for selling, buying and exchanging. We visit the lush orchards and are treated to delicious tropical fruits. After having lunch at a highly recommended local restaurant, we drive back to Saigon. On the way, we drop a visit to Vinh Trang Pagoda – an ancient southern architectural gem. The pagoda is located in My Phong Commune, 3km from the city center and was built in 1849 by a Buddhist monk named Hue Dang using funds collected from practitioners. The religious site was seriously damaged by French colonists in 1861 and a severe storm in 1904. On both occasions, practitioners restored the pagoda to its original splendor.
Day 10: Saigon – Departure
Today, you are free to spend time relaxing and doing some last minute shopping until you are taken to the airport for your flight to your next destination or back home. Bon voyage!
Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except free day
English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
Meals as indicated in program (B: Breakfast /L: Lunch / D: Dinner)
Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the program
Halong Bay overnight on boat (sharing boat)
Flights: Hanoi – Hue; Danang – Saigon (E-Class on Vietnam Airlines)
Private boat excursion in Hue, Mekong Delta
Water and cool tissues
Government taxes & service charge
Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
Personal expenditures, tips
Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
International air transfers associated with airport taxes
Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)