Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi!
Upon arrival, your guide or driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour, Cyclo & Water Puppet
Begin the morning with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and hear about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Every October the mausoleum is closed for a month and Uncle Ho is given a bit of a spruce up! Then wander the grounds to see the one pillar pagoda and the presidential palace. Next,visit the 11th century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius.
In the afternoon start with the Museum of Ethnology that is widely acknowledged as the best in the country, with an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority people. Take a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarter’s 36 streets, named for the products that were sold from their shops. Today, vendors on Tin and Bamboo Streets still sell the same wares. Next, sip astrong Vietnamese coffee in a café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake - an important symbol in Vietnamese folklore. End your day with a delightful water puppet show, a traditional art that is still being performed today.
Day 3: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay - Lan Ha Bay
Depart from Hanoi and travel by road to the Tuan Chau Island pier in Halong Bay. Set off on your luxury cruise, where you’ll be pampered in style and comfort whilst meandering through the towering limestone cliffs and emerald green waters of Ha long Bay. Stop in Tra Bau, a secret hideaway in Lan Ha Bay that has beaches, caves and coves. You can try kayaking or simply swim in the clear waters of the bay. Back to your boat, enjoy life aboard the vessel or in your suite, and with cocktail in hand watch the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. In late afternoon part in a professional cooking demonstration before indulging in a luxurious dinner in the dining hall. Spend the rest of the evening as you’d like: watch a movie in the dining area, relax on the deck with a cocktail, or go squid fishing under the cover of night.
Day 4: Ha Long Bay - Hanoi - fly to Hoi An
Rise with the sun and practice Vivonam on the sundeck while taking in majestic views of the surrounding bay and the cool sea breeze. Wrap up your experience with a bamboo boat trip to visit Dark and Bright Cave before cruising back to Tuan Chau Marina. Your guide and driver will take you to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang.
Upon arrival in Danang you will be taken to your hotel in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An City Tour
Begin your story of Hoi An, a former port that welcomed Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants between the 16th to 18th centuries. Today it is renowned for its old quarter lined with two-storey Chinese shops, with elaborate carved wooden facades and terracotta tile roofs. And not forgetting expert tailor shops and delicious food! The tour includes stops at several famous landmarks. The first is Chua Ong Pagoda, dating back to 1653 and built in honor of the Chinese general Quan Cong, who is worshipped by many as a symbol of loyalty and justice. Next, pop into Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, to see the Jinshan Temple which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea and the protector of sailors. From there it’s a short walk to Tam Ky House, a 200 year old ancestral house and finally, stroll across the often photographed 17th century covered bridge built by Japanese craftsmen. The beautifully built bridge doubles as a temple and is a major landmark of Hoi An. After a Vietnamese lunch, take a short boat trip down the river and visit a craft village where local artisans make ceramics. End your afternoon with a visit to the docks and see traditional fishing boats and the unusual round basket boats that ply the water.
Day 6: Hoi An Street Eat Tour
Set off on a culinary adventure in Hoi An to discover the flavours and dishes that make this coastal town unique.Alongside an expert local guide, your journey introduces you to the stories behind Hoi An’s most iconic dishes at the town’s most famous eateries. Start your tour at a local restaurant famous for white rose dumplings, found exclusively in Hoi An. Enjoy the delicacies while marveling at the work that goes into them. The staff churn out up to 6000 of these dumplings every day and each one is as beautiful as the last. Your visit here includes a chance to try making a few of your own dumplings too! Continue on to find another local specialty: banh can. These crackers are served with quail eggs, pork and a tasty salad and are a Hoi An street food favourite. Pull up a small street side stool and enjoy with your guide. Alternative is banh mi “Vietnamese baguette”. Continue onward to sample grilled pork satay and visit the central market on way. Finally, the famous Cao Lau noodles or equally popular chicken rice. Wrap up the tour with a local Vietnamese coffee- the perfect ending to any meal.
Day 7: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Half Day Tour
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight Upon arrival, your guide or drive will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Start the tour with a visit to the Reunification Palace, once a symbol of the South Vietnamese Government. It was here on 30 April 1975, that the war ended when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates. See the war room, the banquet hall and the presidential office with the unusual gifts which have been received. Then,continue to the Central Post Office, designed and constructed by the renowned architect Gustave Eiffel, and take a moment to send a postcard! Just behind the post office is the Notre Dame Cathedral, an iconic Saigon landmark built in neo-Romanesque style by the French between 1863 and 1880. Today it’s a favoured backdrop for Vietnamese wedding photographs. Next, stroll down Dong Khoi Street, which figured prominently in Graham Greene’s famous Vietnam novel, The Quiet American, as Rue Catinat. The walk ends at the Saigon Opera House. From a bomb shelter to housing the parliamentary Lower House, the Opera House has had an interesting history.
Day 8: Mekong Delta Full Day Tour
Depart from your hotel at 8am and drive about 2 hours from Saigon to the township of Cai Be to board the Cai Be Princess. The crew welcomes you aboard with cold towels and are freshing drink as the Cai Be Princess Sampan sets off for its leisurely cruise on the busy waterways of the Mekong Delta. On the river, all sorts of boats ply the water, from small fishing boats to cargo barges loaded with fruit and vegetables. Observe a little of river life as it plays out on the banks - noting the people and the stunning landscapes - while your attentive crew serves you tea and seasonal fruit. At Tan Phong Islet board a little rowing boat to explore the canal’s hidden mangroves. Return to yoursampan to visit an ancient house built in the 19th century. Make stops along the way to provide glimpses of local cottage industries, including factories for the production of coconut candy and puffed rice (the local equivalent of popcorn), products that provide a living for the river people. Your cruise ends at Le Longanier Restaurant. Lunch is served in this exquisite colonial-style villaset in a lush tropical garden by the river, surrounded by fruit trees, giving you a sense of life during the Indochina of yesteryear. After lunch, take a short walk along a small canal, towards the Ba Bon Bridge where your personal vehicle awaits to drive you to Ho Chi Minh City. Arrive at your hotel in the afternoon.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City Depart
Your guide will meet you at your hotel andtransfer you to the airport for your flight.