HANOI ARRIVAL (N/A)
Welcome to Vietnam. Pickup by our guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Time at your own leisure for the rest of the day.
HANOI CITY TOUR (B/L)
After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam, Vietnam‘s first university, also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam‘s royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. It functioned as a university for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, is the next stop. It is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. Also part of the tour is the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969 which illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. After lunchtime continues to the picturesque West Lake and the 6th century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer or 700-meters stroll along the lakeside to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh which is dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism. Visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter also known as the “36 streets” in the late afternoon. Take a walk through the charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleyways is home to thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It is a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities wherever you look.
Overnight in Hanoi.
HANOI - HALONG BAY OVERNIGHT CRUISE (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. At 8.00 a.m., head for Halong Bay and drive through extensive paddy fields on the way. Upon arrival check in to your cabin on the cruise boat and enjoy a delicious lunch on board while watching little islands passing by. Tu Long area with its wild beauty and stunning views make that trip an unforgettable experience. Visit Vung Vieng, the famous pearl-growing and fishing village. Observe the process of feeding pearl as well as the life of the people on the waters of Halong Bay. Get to know the typical round-shaped rowing boats of the Halong area which can be found in the village too. Learn how the fish tanks work or just stroll around the hamlet taking pictures and collecting souvenirs. The cruise then continues from Vung Vieng village to Cong Do where the boat anchors for the night. Treasure the wonderful beauty of Bai Tu Long Bay at sunset; relax and savor the fresh and peaceful atmosphere which can hardly be found inland. Later on, attend our chef’s cooking demonstration and try the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking yourself on board the boat. Dinner and overnight on the boat.
HALONG - HANOI - FLY TO HUE (B/BR)
Take a delightful morning cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay while centering yourself in a Tai Chi lessons. Slowly sail towards Tuan Chau harbor crisscrossing the hundreds of little islands in Halong Bay. Explore the area of Hon Co Island and Co Cave (Grass Cave, also known as Thien Canh Son). Enjoy the breathtaking view of Bai Tu Long Bay from above and relax on the glorious long white sand beaches of Hon Co Island. With its crystal clear water, the area is perfect for a refreshing swim. Drive back to Hanoi leaving at around 11.30 am. In the late afternoon transfer to the airport for the flight to Hue. Upon arrival pickup in Hue by our tour guide and transfer to the hotel for check-in.
Overnight in Hue.
HUE CITY TOUR (B/L)
This morning after breakfast depart from the hotel for a city tour to explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed “Complex of Hue Monuments”. The structures of the complex are carefully placed within the natural setting of the site and aligned cosmologically with the Five Cardinal Points (centre, west, east, north, south), the Five Elements (earth, metal, wood, water, fire), and the Five Colours (yellow, white, blue, black, red). The Imperial Citadel is where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. This ancient citadel reflects the pomp of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil at the same time. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the last stages of the Vietnam War, but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today and is an outstanding example of an eastern feudal capital building. From here take a cycle, the typical three-wheeled bicycle taxi, through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. Full of lotus flowers in the summer with many little coffee shops all around the lake, it is a popular place for students to spend their time and study. Continue to Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents the seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is also the Austin car made famous by a resident monk in 1963 whose self-immolation was captured in a photograph what then became one of the most well-known images of the war. In the afternoon see the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang which is located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds. If time permits visit Khai Dinh’s Tomb, unique in Hue area due to its architecture with European influences. On the way back to Hue, stop at Ho Quyen (tiger arena). Built-in 1830 during the reign of Minh Mang emperor, the arena was used for annual fights between elephants and tigers. It is a rarity of Asian architecture and still intact. Before heading back to the hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with the guide. The market is another “must-see” in Hue. Its colorful stalls perfectly reflect the every-day-life on the market.
Overnight in Hue.
HUE - DRIVE TO HOI AN (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. At 8.00 a.m. leave Hue for Hoi An with stops at the high mountain pass of Hai Van overlooking Danang Bay and Lang Co Beach. Arrival at Hoi An at around 1 p.m. for lunch. Afterward explore the ancient city of Hoi An which was formerly called Faifo. It is full of influences from other cultures such as Chinese and Japanese. Get to see the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phung Hung Ancient Trading House, Phuoc Kien Temple, the Cantonese congregation, the silk street as well as some Chinese-style temples and pagodas.
Overnight in Hoi an.
HOI AN WET RICE TOUR (ECO TOUR) (B/L)
Start your bicycle tour from the hotel in the morning (alternative transfer by van). Enjoy the fresh air and nature while cycling through rice fields. Meet a local farmer who will talk about his daily life on the farm. Refresh yourself with a cup of tea before joining the farmer in the rice fields. Authentic Vietnamese farmer clothes such as colonial hats and boots are provided. Learn how to grow rice and how to use the traditional water buffalo plow and the agricultural water system. The work is then rewarded with a water buffalo ride back to the farmer’s house where a lunch with the family is served. The bike ride back to the hotel and overnight in Hoi An.
Ho Chi Minh
HOI AN - FLIGHT TO SAIGON (B/L)
Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. Pickup by our guide and transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. Upon arrival meet our guide and transfer to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon city tour through the vibrant metropolis of Saigon featuring interesting stories and facts about Vietnamese history. One of the stops is the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. The end of the Vietnamese War was marked here on the morning of 30th April 1975 when a North Vietnamese tank broke through its gates and Saigon fell. This fascinating building is full of history still fresh in the minds of many. From there take a stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), the Continental Hotel, the Opera House and the City Hall. After this historical visit continue to the War Remnants Museum where exhibition halls display the imagery of both the French and American wars. Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1. Built by Cantonese Buddhists in 1909 this quiet oasis was designed using feng shui principals, showcasing ornate statues and effigies. Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at your own leisure.
Overnight in Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh
CU CHI TUNNELS - SAIGON FOOD TOUR (B/L/D)
Start the Cu Chi Tunnels tour on one of the luxurious modern speedboats and learn about the life on the river as you are gliding through floating hyacinths. Explore the historic war site of Cu Chi, from weapons used during the war to underground bunkers. Before going underground a short introductory video gives an insight into how the tunnels were built. Adventurous visitors can crawl through the authentic Viet Cong tunnels and try the local cassava root which the fighters sustained themselves on for years. After this rather disturbing experience enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch right by the river. Then back to Saigon for some time to relax. In the evening get ready for the Saigon Food Tour which shows its guests the best insider locations of Saigon. The highlight is to experience it the way the locals would - on the back of a scooter. Learn on the tour about a small family-run business in the big city, the Chinese community and their medical knowledge, Vietnamese customs and religion and much more.
Overnight in Saigon.
SAIGON - RIVER CRUISE CAI BE SONG XANH TO CAN THO (B/L/D)
After breakfast pickup by our guide and drive to Cai Be through the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival board the Song Xanh river cruise. Enjoy the comfortable cruise while watching the stunning landscape passing by. Tea and fruit will be served on board. Stop along the way to watch local craftsmen providing a living for the river people. Before arriving at Sa Dec go ashore to visit a pottery that is also big into recycling. Arrive in Sa Dec and take a stroll to the outdoor market. Visit the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, the real-life character of the novel and film “The Lover” by Marguerite Duras. Lunch is served on board while cruising towards Can Tho through a narrow canal teeming with life. Pass monkey bridges and tiny villages before stopping for a visit to Cao Dai Temple. Explore the surroundings on bike or with a small rowing boat. Last stop before the sunset is at an ancient house, “Nha Co”, dating back to the 19th century. The owner personally welcomes his guests and a candlelight dinner is served in this beautiful countryside setting. After dinner return to the boat and continue the cruise towards Hau River.
Overnight: on board.
CAN THO - FLIGHT TO PHU QUOC (B)
Early start to visit the famous Cai Rang Floating Market which only operates from 5.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m. every day. Breakfast is served on board while the Song Xanh navigates through barges laden with fruit and vegetables. The final destination of today is Can Tho. Pickup and transfer to Can Tho Airport for the flight to Phu Quoc. From there transfer to the resort for a time at leisure.
Overnight: Phu Quoc.
PHU QUOC FREE TIME AT RESORT (B)
Breakfast at the resort. Free time to relax and overnight in Phu Quoc.
Overnight: Phu Quoc
Ho Chi Minh
PHU QUOC - FLIGHT TO SAIGON (B)
After breakfast check-out at 10.30 a.m. Pickup by our driver and transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. Transfer to the hotel after arrival in Saigon and time at leisure.
Ho Chi Ming
SAIGON DEPARTURE (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and free time until the pickup to the airport. Departure or connection flight.