General


ITINERARY:

Day 1:

Saigon :

Welcome to Saigon! You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Saigon is a bustling, dynamic and industrious urban center. It is the largest city in Vietnam, the economic capital and the cultural trendsetter whilst within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture. This evening join your tour guide for a welcome dinner.

Overnight in Saigon.

Day 2

Melkong Delta 

After breakfast, travel beyond Saigon and spend the day boating the waterways of the lush Mekong Delta region. Arriving in Cai Be district visit a local orchard and the Cai Be floating market where approximately 400-500 boats are loaded to the gunnels with fruit, vegetables and other local produce anchor or moor along the banks of the river every day waiting to offload their goods. All buying, selling and bartering takes place from boats on the water.

Leaving Cai Be visit to some cottage industry workshops making coconut candy, crispy rice cakes, rice paper and more. Continue on along village pathways to visit a local house for lunch where you will be served local delicacies such as Elephant’s-Ear fish. After lunch, take the time to explore the village as local’s go about their daily lives. Returning to Saigon vist the Vinh Long markets en-route.

Overnight in Saigon.

Day 3:

Hue 

This morning discover the Saigon, taking in the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and Chinatown. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to take a short flight to the imperial city of Hue. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. This evening enjoy some free time.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 4:

Hue 

Today take a boat ride along the romantic Perfume River and stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda on the banks of the river to see the 7-storey Stupa, the pagoda is also home to the old Austin car driven to Saigon by the Venerable Thich Quang Duc. A Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who in 1963 protested against the Roman Catholic persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem Roman Catholic administration by self-immolation. Continuing, visit the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang (1791-1841), built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions) designed on a symmetrical axis. Lunch is a special vegetarian meal with the nuns of Dong Thuyen Pagoda.

Later visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Enjoy some free time at Dong Ba Market before transferring back to your hotel.

Overnight in Hue.

Day 5:

Danang – Hoi An 

Today visit the mausoleums of the Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. On the way to Danang, stopping for a refreshment at Lang Co beach en-route, one of the World’s most beautiful bays. In Danang visit the Cham Museum before continuing to the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An before checking in to your hotel.

This evening enjoy some free time exploring the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and illuminated at night by hundreds of colourful lanterns.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6:

Hoi An

In the morning take a half-day excursion to My Son Sanctuary, a religious site dating back to the Kingdom of Champa, and also a burial place of Cham royals and Vietnamese national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost remaining examples of Hindu influence in South East Asia and is the most prominent heritage site of this nature in Vietnam.

After lunch at a local restaurant the afternoon is free to explore Hoi An Ancient town. Why not join our optional cooking class and learn the secrets to Vietnamese cooking, alternatively head to nearby Cua Dai beach or observe local life on a sunset cruise on the peaceful Thu Bon River.

Overnight in Hoi An.
 

Day 7:

Hanoi 

In the morning transfer to Danang airport for the short flight to Hanoi. On arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Renowned as the ’Paris of the East’, Hanoi is one of Asia’s most fascinating cities. Rich in culture and history, this diverse city draws on its influences from both French and Chinese culture. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest in Hanoi and located beside the dazzling West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. Afterwards, take a short drive to Van Giang Village to attend a cooking demonstration given by a local family. Afterwards join the Vietnamese family in their home for a delicious lunch before driving back to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 8:

Halong Bay 

Depart Hanoi in the morning for the scenic drive through the countryside to Ha Long Bay, a natural wonder with thousands of islands rising out of the water creating a unique and beautiful landscape.

On arrival board one of the traditional vessels for an overnight cruise through the 3,000 limestone islands, many punctuated by caves and grottoes. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as your junk boat heads to Bai Tu Long Bay passing the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha, Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets.

Opt to take a row boat to visit the Vung Vieng fishing village or enjoy a range of fantastic recreation or relaxation activities onboard – a cooking demonstration, traditional massage, swimming, kayaking and more. Finish the day off with a sumptuous set-menu dinner in perfect exotic surroundings.

Onboard cruise.

Day 9:

Hanoi 

Today’s cruising takes you through the Bay passing the beauty spots of Trong (Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin) and Me Cung Caves and Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet. Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot) before a buffet brunch is served onboard.

Later we cruise leisurely back to Halong harbor where upon disembarkation transfer back to Hanoi where a visit to the Temple Of Literature, dating back to 1070 and the first university in Vietnam. This evening is free to explore Hanoi further.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 10:

Hanoi – Luang Prabang 

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Luang Prabang, perhaps the best preserved traditional city in all of Southeast Asia. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

In the late afternoon visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, picturesque Wat Mai, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground, and the classic, symbolic architecture of the Luang Prabang temples. The impressive Stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham. To top it all off climb to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded Stupa as well as a superb view over the town and Mekong river. In the evening walk through Luang Prabang to visit the lively night market in the streets.

Overnight in Luang Prabang .

Day 11:

Mekong River 

Today take a boat ride upstream on the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered statues of the Buddha in various postures and sizes. En-route stop off at the village of Ban Xanghai, renowned for producing local rice wine.

On return stop at the weaving village of Ban Xieng Khong then cross the river to visit Ban Xiengmen, walk to see the royal temple at Wat Loungkhoun, which once belonged to the royal family and then visit the nearby Sackarine Caves. Time permitting, we continue further downstream to visit Ban Chan, the pottery village and amaze the sun down as cruising back to town .

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 12

Siem Reap 

After breakfast transfer to the airport for the short flight to Siem Reap. After being met on arrival you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple to be met by the marvellous wonders of the eerie Bayon, Phimean Akas, the terrace of Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King. Enjoy the sunset view over Phnom Bakheng.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 13:

Angkor Wat  

In the morning visit famous Angkor Wat, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The largest and best preserved of the Angkor temples, it is also the most well known world wide and a source of pride for the Khmer people, Angkor Wat has appeared on the Cambodian flag for almost 150 years.

After lunch, visit Preah Khan Temple, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. Then take a half hour journey to Banteay Srey, one of the most unusual of the Angkor temples. The temple lies approximately 20km north of the main group of temples and is constructed from elaborately carved red sandstone.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 14:

Angkor Wat 

After breakfast, continue the journey of discovery through the wonders of Angkor. This afternoon set out for a cruise on the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and witnessing the daily life of the locals. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with an Apsara performance.

Overnight in Siem Reap.

Day 15

Siem Reap :

Arrangements end after breakfast and onwards departure transfer to the airport.

T RIP HIGHLIGHTS:

Saigon – ‘Pearl of the Orient!. Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post Office and War Remnants Museum

Hue – ancient citadel, Imperial Purple City, Royal Tombs, Thien Mu Pagoda and monastery

Hoi An – UNESCO Listed ancient town, famed for its beautifully preserved old city, tailors, handicrafts markets and nearby beaches

Halong Bay – UNESCO Listed region with thousands of beautiful limestone peaks and islets

Luang Prabang – the UNESCO Listed former royal capital, Temples of Visoun, Ahan and Sene, a weaving centre, the former Royal Palace, superb views from Mount Phousi

Siem Reap – attractive riverside town and gateway to the Angkor Temple Complex

Cai Be Floating Market

Lan Co beach en-route to Danang

My Son – a religious site dating back to the Kingdom of Champa and a remaining reminder of the Hindu influence in South East asia

Hanoi – Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ancient Quarter

Pak Ou Caves with its thousands of golden Buddha statues

Angkor Wat!

INCLUDED:

Breakfast daily, 4 lunch, 3 dinners

Economy class flights – Saigon – Hue, Danang – Hanoi, Hanoi – Luang Prabang and Luang Prabang – Siem Reap

Row boat journey in the Mekong

Airport arrival and departure transfers

English speaking specialist guides at local sights

13 nights standard accommodation, 1 night private cabin, shared junk boat. Superior (4 star) and deluxe (5 star) properties are also available

Private boat trips in Hue, the Mekong Delta and Siem Reap

Touring and excursions as per itinerary

Entrance fees to all included sights

All transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles

NOT INCLUDED:

International flights and visas

Tipping – an entirely personal gesture

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