HA NOI – DUONG LAM – MAI CHAU – NINH BINH- HUE- HOI AN- HO CHI MINH – SADEC- CAN THO
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, our driver will meet and escort you to the city centre to check into an elegant hotel. You will be left to relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities after your long flight.
Day 2: Hanoi – Cooking Class – Duong Lam Village
Breakfast is served at your hotel. 08:30a.m we drive to the west of city. It is about 17 km from old quarter to my house and takes 40 minutes.
09:15a.m Upon arrival, your local guide meet you at meeting point and show you a local market since Le King Dynasty. It is the most famous market in the region where many traditional items for sales. If on market days (two or three times per week, more crowded than others), people from all the surrounding villages would come to trade. People bring dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, ducks, and bamboo baskets to sell. Everyone is excited to meet each other on that day. You will be surprised about bustling and colorful market which is working under the canopy of old tree. You will see the old women chew betel and areca nut and blacksmiths work hard with his bright brazier. If not on market days, market still opens and sells vegetable, meat, fruits…and very lovely. Right next to the market place is a beautiful farm.
We take a tour around vegetable fields growing a variety of produce including: bitter melon, corn, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, green peas, snake peas and corn, as well as fruit gardens with oranges, pomelo, papaya and more (depend on the season to grow different crops)., You will learn more about background of vegetable and you may have chance to help a farmer working on his field.
10:15a.m we go to my house for cooking delicious dishes. I will teach you how to cook some Vietnamese dishes by simple and traditional recipes. Enjoy local fresh vegetable, fruit, traditional cake and talk about Vietnamese families custom together. I can serve vegetarian food upon on request. In the afternoon, we say goodbye to the host and then we drive for a visit to Duong Lam ancient village, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River delta where still preserve many hundred-year-old houses. It will be your unique experience as you walk along tiny ancient alleys; visit Mong Phu temple in Mong Phu hamlet – the only hamlet whose original village entrance gate remains intact, dedicated to national heroes. Have some talks with the locals in their ancient houses by visiting the ancient houses of Mr Lam, Mr Ha and Mr Huyen. Then we drive back to Hanoi for your relaxation.
Day 3: Hanoi – Hoa Binh Reservoir – Mai Chau
8:30 a.m. Get picked up at your hotel in Hanoi and take 2.5 hour (approx.) drive to Hoa Binh province.
11:00 a.m. Arrive at Giang Mo village of the Muong ethnic minority, stroll around to visit the village and learn the Muong culture.
12:00 p.m. A local lunch is served at a villager’s family. This is a great time to have some local interactions.
01:00 p.m Transfer to a boat wharf and get on a motorized boat for 2 hour cruise to visit one of the most beautiful part of the reservoir.
Get picked up at Ben Sang and transferred to Mai Chau Valley by your private transport. Check in your hotel, rest and stay for the night.
Day 4: Mai Chau – Ninh Binh – Thung Chim
8:30 a.m. With your tour guide, set off for a trek of about 3 hours to explore the surroundings and visit some villages, rice paddies and gardens. (Or you can choose to discover the area by bicycles with shorter time, let your me know at the booking time to arrange). Along the trek you will have chance to learn about the local life, their agriculture and beautiful handicrafts. After lunch, we drive to Ninh Binh also known as “Dry Halong Bay” in the Ninh Binh province. Best time for the bird park in late afternoon, sit quietly on a boat and slowly paddle through Thung Chim (Thung Nham), discover the most features of this area with more than 4,000 birds of 40 species flying to inhabit every day. Your best chance to take nice photos and immerse yourself in the wild and natur
Day 5: Van Long Nature Reserve – Hanoi
After breakfast, we drive to Nature Reserve of Van Long to embark on a bamboo rowboat for a boat trip rowing along this beautiful wetland of Van Long, enjoying spectacular scenery surrounded by rice paddies, lotus pond and towering limestone mountain peaks.After lunch served at a local riverside restaurant we make a short transfer down a peaceful countryside road to Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s ancient capital eleven centuries ago. Here, spend one hour visiting the Dinh and Le temples of the Ancient Capital Hoa Lu which are dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the founders of the ancient capital during the 10th century. We then return to Hanoi.
Day 6: Hanoi – Flight to Hue
After breakfast, you have the morning free on your own exploration of this charming capital. This afternoon, time free until our driver meets and transfers you to airport in Hanoi for flight to Hue. Upon arrival, another driver will wait and transfer you to hotel.
Day 7: Hue – La Chu Village
After breakfast at the hotel, we depart from the hotel by private car to the village of La Chu located 9 km north of downtown Hue. This village is known for its market gardening of vegetables and aromatic herbs (onions, chives, coriander, basil, etc …). We can also see buffaloes eating herbs to their hunger. Plowing the land, the peasants wearing their conical hats curl themselves in the rice fields. Despite the difficulty of the work, they are always smiling and very hospitable.
See you at the entrance of the village, for a bike ride through the charming countryside of Hue. First stop to discover a family factory of votive offerings paper (a very popular and strong belief among Vietnamese). Pursuit to a small local daily market. Visit the market through the stalls of meat, spices and vegetables and fresh fruits, under the look benevolent and intrigued women unaccustomed to cross tourists. Then discover vegetable fields, where you can meet the villagers, and chat with them. They will be very happy to pose for a photo with you, what a memory! A very pleasant immersion in the Vietnamese countryside! Typical countryside landscapes between fields, rice paddies, banana plants, rivers, lotus ponds and in the background the mountains where we can still see the effects of orange agent shed by the US military more than forty years ago. Of course, you can not leave this bucolic setting without greeting the family specializing in the production of “Banh Loc” – a small cake made from rice flour mixed with shrimp. Exchanges with the family and possibility to try to create these different dishes. Arrival in a family restaurant in the middle of the rice fields to enjoy a delicious fresh and typical lunch. After lunch, a little relaxation in the beauty of the Vietnamese rice fields, you can relax your feet in a hot bath scented with medicinal plants. Zen attitude guaranteed! Return to the hotel
Day 8: Hue – Morning free – Afternoon drive to Hoi An
After breakfast at the hotel, you have the morning free on your own. This afternoon, we bid Hue farewell and continue our south bound journey to the old trading town of Hoi An via Danang. Upon arrival, check-in hotel and relax.
Day 9: Hoi An – Farming & Fishing Tour
You will be picked up at your hotel’ lobby around 08:00a.m by Bike, then escape the bustling city just about 20 minutes by cycling from Hoi An old quarter, you will enjoy a vegetable farming area with nice weather and lovely people, a green area called Tra Que vegetable village. Upon arrival, you’ll take a stroll around the vegetable farm and then join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the river near by – as organic fertilizers. You’ll learn how to raking the ground, sowing seed, watering, and planting vegetables, as well as many other gardening activities will make you have lots of fun and interesting moments when being in this village. This is a great way to see how locals here live and how they love their job. After working in the vegetable farm we continue biking to Fishing village (it takes 20 minutes of biking) When we arrive at Fishing Village, meet a local fishing family, Learn about daily life of Vietnamese fishermen, their custom and community. Leaving the village behind, you will board our boat and cruise to the mouth of the river where it meets the Cua Dai Sea. Then meeting and engage with local fishermen and enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. The local fisherman will show you the method of catching fish that is to throw a round net into the river from a small boat. After being taught how it is done it will be your turn. The next part of our adventure is to fish by using a huge square net that is set on the river bed which is then winch up. With helps of another couple of local fisherman you will collect the fish inside that net through a hole at the bottom. Following, you will learn to paddle the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket round boat through small and beautiful channel and join in a basket boat race. Then head into the nipa palm forest where tourist have opportunities to catch small crabs by fishing rod for fun as well as some products from this tree was make by our staff for souvenir. Then continue biking to my house in rice village (it takes 10 minutes of biking). Reach my house, be welcome with a glass of passion fruit juice and wet tissues. You will join a short rice pancake cooking class from rice flour – Last step is: Enjoy the Lunch with some specialties of our village: Tam Huu (three friends ), Deep Fried Spring Rolls(vegetarian style), Local rice pancake serve with fresh organic vegetable and fish sauce, Steamed rice, chicken’ meat, shrimp, pork, Season fruits
The whole tour will be finished around 2 -2:30 P.M. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch. Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An
Day 10: Hoi An – Cham Island / Group Tour
07:30a.m: Pick up at your hotel (in Hoi An city) to Cua Dai harbour. 08:30a.m: Relaxing in fresh cool wind and enjoy the beautiful landscape on a Hoi An Green speedboat to Cham Island.
09:0a.m: Arriving at Lang Beach. Visiting the Protected Marine Area, The Boat Shelter, Hai Tang pagoda and Traditional fishing Village
10:3a.m: Swimming and snorkeling
11:3a.m: Staying at Chong beach or Ong Beach ecological zone, swimming, enjoying your sea food lunch.
14:00: Packing luggage for return trip to Hoi An
14:30: See off at your hotel and finish your trip
Day 11: Hoi An – Danang – Flight to Saigon
After breakfast, time free until our driver meets and transfers you to airport for flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be picked-up and transfered to hotel.
Day 12: Saigon – Vung Liem
After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Vung Liem, crossing the local ferry to your homestay. Upon arrival, visit the orchards or try some cooking and enjoy banh xeo – rice pancake, local specialty while learning about the area’s history and customs. After lunch, we start our biking trip for an interesting exploration on the island through the narrow lanes but should be lots of fun awaiting. Visit the neighbor families who are busy on sedge fields, study about their mat production from this special grass, from cutting, drying to slicing and weaving. Many fascinating stops for photo shoots around this non-touristy landscape. Afterward visit the local school, market, community house and tomb of the land’s ancestor before driving to the hotel for overnight
Day 13: Vung Liem – Cai Be – Sa Dec – Can Tho
After having home-cooked breakfast, we leave for Cai Be to embark on Song Xanh Sampan and begin cruising from Phu An Jetty at 10 :00am. From the sampan, observe life as it plays out on shore – people going about their daily activities against picturesque landscapes – while your attentive crew serves tea and seasonal fruit. Before arriving at Sa Dec, stop at various points along the river for a look into some of the cottage industries of the region including a brick factory where everything is made by hand, pass monkey bridges and tiny villages to visit Cao Dai temple.
Arrive in Sa Dec and stroll to the outdoor market. Visit one of the highlights of the charming town, the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, a real-life character in the celebrated novel and film « The Lover » by Marguerite Duras.
Lunch is served on board while cruising towards Can Tho along a narrow canal teeming with life. Explore the countryside surroundings by local rowboat.
Your last stopover before sunset is an ancient house (a « Nha Co » in Vietnamese), dating back to the 19th century. The owner will welcome you and a candlelit dinner is served in this authentic countryside setting. After dinner, return on board while the Song Xanh continues its cruise towards Hau River.
Day 14: Can Tho – Cai Rang – Saigon
The journey starts at 6.00 AM with breakfast being served at 7.00 PM, while approaching Cai Rang floating market, the largest market in the whole Mekong Delta Region. Cruise Among local barges full of fruits and vegetables and enjoy the hustle and bustle of morning market. The excursion ends at around 10.00a.m at Ninh Kieu after-visiting Can Tho’s local market. We then head back to the hotel in Saigon.
Day 15: Saigon – Departure
After breakfast at hotel, time is free until you are met and transferred by our driver to Tan Son Nhat airport in Saigon for your flight to your next destination or back home. See you again in another trip to SE Asia!
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
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
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)