VN 02: Vietnam impressive tour (14 days/ 13 nights)
Transport: car, flight
City & around
Arrive Hanoi – Sapa – Halong Bay – Hue – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
Update: 11/7/2013 Hits: 1200
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Hanoi (-)
Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2 – Hanoi – Hoa Lu - Hanoi (B) A 70km drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, take a sampan on a river through the rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. Enormous limestone karsts jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place’s other name, ‘Halong on Land’. Climb up to the Bich Dong Pagoda, which offers a scenic view of the surrounding countryside. Return to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3 – Hanoi - Lao Cai (B) A full day city tour of Vietnam’s capital. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The city tour includes such sights as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and his house on stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, the Quanh Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc Pagoda on the edge of West Lake. After lunch in town continue to the Museum of Ethnology and end the afternoon with a visit to the Lake of the Restored Sword and a cyclo tour of the Old Quarter. In the evening take the night train to Lao Cai. Overnight on the train.
Day 4 – Lao Cai - Sapa Hmong women in Sapa, Vietnam (B)
Transfer to Sapa. In the terraced hills and mountains of Sapa, the monotony of the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colours of its hill tribe population … the rainbow colours of the Flower H’mong, flashes of the shining silver jewellery from the necks and wrists of indigo-clad H’mong and the scarlet hues of the turbans worn by the Red Dao. It is where you will find hands stained with colour from fabric dyes and shades of blue, red and green intricately embroidered and stitched into jackets, waistcoats, pants, skirts, caps purses and leggings. Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black H’mong and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their embroidery, silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. In the afternoon visit the Cat Cat hill tribe village. Overnight in Sapa. Day 5 – Sapa - Lao Cai Hanoi (B) In the morning enjoy a trek to the Red Dao village of Tha Phin, and in the afternoon trek through the green Sapa Valley to visit the Black Hmong minority of Lao Chai Village and Giay minority of Ta Van then back to Lao Cai to catch the night train to Hanoi. Overnight on the train.
Day 6 – Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D) Early arrival in Hanoi. After breakfast leave Hanoi by road for Halong Bay with a stop en route. Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong and board the traditional sailing junk. Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay at any spot that you wish to visit. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board junk.
Day 7 – Halong Bay - Hanoi -- Halong Bay -Hanoi airport - Hue flight (B, L) Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. En route the junk weaves through strange-shaped rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons and even General de Gaulle’s nose! After another wonderful fresh seafood lunch on board disembark at the dock at Halong City. Transfer back to Hanoi and the Airport to catch your flight to Hue. Overnight in Hue. Day 8 - Hue (B) Visit the former imperial capital of Vietnam. A boat trip on the romantically named Perfume River visits Hue’s best-known religious site, Thien Mu Pagoda, and the mausoleum of former emperor Minh Mang, in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. In the afternoon visit the elaborate mausoleums of emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Overnight in Hue.
Day 9 – Hue - Hoi An (B) Leave Hue for Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years The scenic route passes through the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds. In the afternoon take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market. Overnight in Hoi An. Day 10 – Hoi An - My Son - Hoi An (B) A half day trip to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. Here, 40km southwest of Hoi An, in a lush green valley, are dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the seventh and thirteenth centuries. Visit the museum and the holy site then head back to Hoi An. Afternoon is free at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An. Day 11– Hoi An - Danang Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) (B) Transfer to Danang Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals. A full day city tour takes in the city’s bustling Chinatown and begins with a visit to the Thien Hau Temple, from where you will take a cyclo ride; the most appropriate and unusual way to explore Cholon, literally meaning ‘big market’. The ride will take you to the lively Binh Tay Market. Then visit a lacquerware factory to witness workers continuing a Vietnamese ancestral tradition. After lunch visit the War Museum and the former Presidential Palace, from there on you will go on foot (the car will be available at all times) to visit the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. After this historical visit, enjoy some wonderful ice cream at Fanny’s, a quaint little parlour with a French atmosphere, before exploring the trendy boutiques on Ton That Thiep Street. Overnight in HCMC.
Day 12 – Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Vinh Long – Can Tho (Mekong Delta) (B,L) Depart for Cai Be, deep in the Mekong Delta, and embark on a cruise on the Cai Be Princess junk boat. The tour begins with a visit of the colourful Cai Be floating market, followed by a visit to some locale home factories that produce rice paste, rice popcorn and coconut candy. Proceed to evergreen islands among the Mekong River through a large network of meandering tributaries, crisscrossed with countless arroyos. Lunch is eaten at a fruit orchard before the cruise to Vinh Long to discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong Delta rural life. Drive to Can Tho and transfer to hotel on arrival. Overnight in Can Tho.
Day 13 – Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City (B) Cruise to the colourful Cai Rang floating market while having a buffet breakfast on board the traditional Mekong-style Mystic Sampan. Then it is back to dry land in Can Tho for a two-hour bike tour of the countryside. Leave Can Tho for Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in HCMC. Day 14 – Depart Ho Chi Minh City (B) Departure day. At leisure for shopping until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight. The tour ends