Day 1: Ha Noi
On your arrival, you are met local guide and driver who will take you to hotel. If time is permitted, you will take an orientation tour of Ha Noi and take a cyclo ride (pedicab) around the ancient quarter of Ha Noi. It absolutely is a fascinating way to get the first look of this peaceful and beautiful city. Evening we enjoy the Water Puppet Show, a unique northern Vietnamese art performance that we cannot be missed on our schedule for today. We will have a chance to learn more about the rural life of Vietnamese peasants and national heroes via a series of history story which were beautifully demonstrated by the artists.
Day 2: Ha Noi – City Tour (B)
Start our day with a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, this is a very special place for all Vietnamese and also famous for foreigners around the world to see the whole complex, Uncle Ho’s house on stilt where he lived and worked from 1958-1969, his fishing pond and his garden. Then we head to One Pillar Buddhist Pagoda built in 1049 by King Ly Thai Tong who ruled from 1028 to 1054. Ly Thai Tong was childless and dreamt that he met the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshava, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Ly Thai Tong then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple for the gratitude for this miracle. Further on our excursion, we visit to Van Mieu, Temple of Literature to dedicate to Confucius and his four best disciples. This was also the first national university of Vietnam built in 1076 within the temple to educate Vietnamese bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. This university remained open from 1076 to 1779. The interesting thing in this place is the collection of steles of doctorates whose names, birth place, year of the examination, and the rank were engraved onto the marble stone stele placing on the top of the turtle. There are 1307 graduated doctor names on 82 stele in this place. After visiting this wonderful place, we will have lunch at local restaurant and refresh.
Later in the day we visit to a World Cultural Heritage Site of Thang Lang Imperial Citadel which was built in 11th century be the Ly Dynasty, making the independence of Dai Viet. The Central Sector of Thang Long Imperial Citadel is the most important and the best-preserved of this heritage site. We will finish our day with a visiting the Army Museum nearby this ancient imperial City. This is very interesting site to visit as its exhibit collection focusing on 2 wars, the French-Vietnam War in 1930s-1940s and American-Vietnam War in 1960s – 1970s. Especially the Dien Bien Phu battle field model is very lively, informative and useful section to see.
Return our hotel and then free at leisure.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long, World Natural Heritage Site (B,L,D)
A new exciting day waiting us to discover, we depart for Ha Long, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 km2, including 1,960-2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. The core of the bay has an area of 334 km2 with a high density of 775 islands and islets in all sides reflecting on turquoise water. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.
There are a lot of photo opportunities on our way to Ha Long as we drive through the rural area, street markets, paddy fields, vegetable farms, poultry farms and lotus farms. We take a rest stop after 2 hour drive for a coffee break then continue to Ha Long Bay. At midday we board the overnight junk for the cruise. A welcome drink is well prepared for us as we get on board then check in and enjoy a pleasant cruise on the bay. Seafood lunch is served on board while the junk is slowly going among the islands and islets. There are some activities for us to join in in this afternoon; visiting to the cave, swimming at Ti Top beach, climbing up the top of Ti Top Island for panoramic view of the bay, kayaking in late afternoon or joining squids finishing at night. The junk is anchored in a quiet bay for overnight. Dinner and overnight on board.
Day 4: Ha Long – Ninh Binh (B)
Morning just join the Tai Chi Class on sundeck for half an hour and then we will have breakfast. We keep on our excursion and visit to Sung Sot cave, fantastic stalactites and stalagmites in all different sides with beautiful natural color. Return to our junk and check out. Enjoy a pleasant cruise back to the pier for disembarkation.
Drive to Ninh Binh for overnight
Day 5: Trang An Complex, The World Landscape Heritage – Hue, World Cultural Heritage (B)
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This complex is consists of as inscribed Hoa Lu, Tam Coc- Binh Dong and Bai Dinh Temple. Start our day with a visit to Hoa Lu ancient capital which was the economic, political and culture center of Dai Co Viet, an independent Vietnamese polity founded in 968 AD by the local warlord Dinh Bo Linh who was known as Dinh Tien Hoang, the first Dinh Emperor. This site consists of Dinh and Le temple dedicated to Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh Emperors. Continue our day with a boat ride to Tam Coc, a picturesque scenery which is known as Ha Long on land. The Tam Coc (“three caves”) portion is a three-hour excursion by small boat along the Ngo Dong River beginning at the village of Van Lam and proceeding through a scenic landscape dominated by rice fields and karst towers. The route includes floating through three natural caves (Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba), the largest of which is 125m long with its ceiling about 2m high above the water.
Bich Dong is our next visiting place, it is a pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain dating to 1428, comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Finish our day with a visit to Bai Dinh Temple, a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain in. The compound consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger temple. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam.
Late afternoon we drive to Ha Noi then take a short flight to Hue which is the ancient capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 and famous for the Citadel, Imperial City, Forbidden City and the royal tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, the last feudal regime of Vietnam. Hue represents an outstanding demonstration of the power of the vanished Vietnamese feudal empire at its apogee in the early 19th century. The integrity of town lay out and building design make it an exceptional specimen of late feudal urban planning. Hue complex is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
Day 6: Hue City (B)
We start our excursion by taking a boat trip on Huong River to Thien Mu pagoda which was built in 17th century on the top of the hill overlooking the river and Truong Son mountain range. This pagoda is one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam and is not only an iconic simple but also the Buddhist school of Hue City. Visiting this site, we will see the old car which was used by Thich Quang Duc who drove to Saigon and decided to immolate himself to protest the Saigon government during the American and Vietnam War in 1963. After visiting this place, we continue our boat trip to Minh Mang’s tomb which is located on bank of Perfume River. The master plan of this complex and all the buildings in the opposite sides along the main axis from the triple gates to the tomb looks like a lying body whose head is on the top of the burial place looking over the river. We finish our boat trip here then drive to Khai Dinh’s tomb which is located on the hill step of Chau E Mountain, the tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern style and built in 1920. Return our hotel for lunch and refresh
Later afternoon we visit to the Imperial and Forbidden City of Hue, most of the contraction sites of a heyday royal dynasty were destroyed during the turmoil of the war for many years but there is still the sense of grace and majestic of the rulers. Enjoy Nha Nhac Vietnamese court music show, a World Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Nha Nhac developed during the Le Dynasty (1427-1780) and became highly institutionalized and codified under The Nguyen monarch (1802-1945). The role of Nha Nhac is not limited to musical accompaniment for court rituals: It also provided a means of communicating with and playing tribute to the Gods and Kings as well as transmitting knowledge about the nature and the universe.
We finish our day with a visiting to Dong Ba market where can buy our souvenir, handcraft items, foods, many other things. Return to our hotel then free at leisure
Day 7: Hue – Hoi An (B)
Today we will enjoy the most beautiful distance in Central part of Vietnam on our way to Hoi An, a world heritage site. It is only 140 km long but there are many things for us to see. Tam Giang Lagoon, Lang Co beach, Lang Co fishing village, Hai Van pass, Da Nang City, Marble Mountain and Hoi An, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Hoi an, an exceptionally well-preserved example of traditional Asian trading port, is outstanding material manifestation of fusion of culture over time of international maritime commercial center in Southeast Asia. Hoi An, a lovely ancient seaport city located on the bank of Thu Bon River is not only famous for its architecture, temples, pagodas, ancient trading houses, tailor shops but also the hospitality and friendly people of this place.
We will have a short stop to view Lang Co beach and this picturesque fishing village before we drive up to the top of Hai Van (Ocean and Cloud) pass. It is really a fantastic panorama view of Nam O beach and Da Nang City, the third biggest city in Vietnam. The development of this city is incredible in term of its infrastructure and modernization. We also visit to Cham Museum which all artifacts were collected in My Son sanctuary and it is absolutely an amazing collection of art and culture of Champa of Kingdom.
On our arrival Hoi An we check in hotel then take a history walking tour to the ancient quarter of Hoi An, and visit most of local tourist attractions such as: Thien Hau Temple, Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky ancient house and then you are free at leisure.
Day 8: Hoi An – Departure (B)
There is no activity until for departure flight.
Check out the hotel then you are transferred to Da Nang International Airport for your flight.
This tour can be easily extended to following destinations for few days:
Ho Chi Minh City
Phu Quoc Island
All accommodation basing on double/twin room with daily breakfast
Private transportation as specified in itinerary
English speaking guide for day tour
All entrance fee for sightseeing
All boat trips as specified in itinerary
Meals as specified in itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Drinking water on coach
International air ticket to/from Vietnam
Visa fee to Vietnam
Domestic air tickets
Things are not indicated in itinerary