Day 1: Ha Noi
On your arrival, you are met local guide and driver who will take you around Ha Noi and Ha Long and Sapa for couple of days. 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 interest 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 steles in this place. After visiting this wonderful place, we will have lunch at local restaurant and refresh.
Later in the day we visit to Ethnology Museum which is very rich culture collection of 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. The simple agriculture stools, fish traps, hand weaving cloths, crafts, festivals, folk arts, traditional houses, and lively activities of each tribe are all here for us to discover. Finish our day at History Museum, we not only see the exhibits from stone age, bronze ages and rehistoric era to prove that there were the ancient Vietnamese living in Ha Noi but also the modern artifacts to show how the vietnamese has been strugling for independence, freedom, peace and love.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long (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 – Ha Noi – Sapa (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 then drive back Ha Noi.
On arrival Ha Noi, we have free time then take an overnight train Sapa.
Day 5: Sapa (B)
Early morning we get to Lao Cai railway station then transfer to Sapa town. Sapa is a hill station resort built during the French in 1880s and a lovely town located at 1600 m above the sea level. Sapa is very famous for hill tribe markets, mountainous and fabulous Hoang Lien Son mountain range in which Fan Si Pan, at a height of 3314 meters above the sea level is considered as the highest peak of Indochina peninsula. We enjoy our breakfast at hotel where we can leave our luggage and refresh before trekking to Ta Van and Lao Chay village. Late afternoon we drive back hotel then check in. Rest of the day is free at leisure.
Day 6: Sapa – Ha Noi (B)
Morning we trek to Cat Cat village for 2 hours then free at leisure. Late afternoon we drive to Loa Cai railway station for an overnight train to Ha Noi, en route, we visit to Ta Phin the home of the Red Dao people. We also have a chance to visit the border gate between Vietnam and China in Lao Cai City before getting on the train. Dinner is at local restaurant.
Day 7: Sapa – Ha Noi – Hue (B)
Early morning we arrive Ha Noi railway Station then transfer to Noi Bai Airport for a short flight to Hue. Hue city, a lovely and romantic city located on the bank of Huong (perfume) River. Hue 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. On arrival you are met local guide and driver who take you to hotel then you are free at leisure before doing sightseeing tour in the afternoon.
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. Then we drive 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 Vietnamese royal court music show, a World Intangible Heritage of Humanity (showtime is subject to availability) and then we drive to the royal tombs, the place were used during both life and dead of the Nguyen Rulers. A lovely traditional architecture royal tomb of King Tu Duc built in three years from 1864 -1867 is located outskirt of Hue among the fine forest and lakes and ponds meanwhile King Khai Dinh’s tomb is located on the hill step of Chau E mountain, the tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture style and built in 1920. 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 8: Hue – Phong Nha (B)
A wonderful day to drive up north of Hue to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, The World Natural Heritage site. It is noted for its cave and grotto systems as it is composed of 300 caves and grottoes. A 2009 survey brought the total discovered length of the cave system to about 126 km with many areas still not well explored. The Son Doong Cave which was discovered in the 2009 survey by British and Vietnamese explorers is considered the largest cave in the world. Even before this discovery, Phong Nha held several world cave records, including the longest underground river as well as the largest combined caverns and passageways. It is just one and half an hour away from our hotel in Hue, we get to Dong Ha town, Quang Tri Province. This province was a hottest spot during the American and Vietnam War as it was in the DMZ area, hundred thousand ton of bombs dropping here. The bloodiest Quang Tri ancient citadel battle field, La Vang Church and Ben Hai River are a lively evident for this terrible war. On our arrival Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, we enjoy our lunch at local restaurant then we take a boat trip to visit Phong Nha Cave.
Late afternoon we drive back to Hue via Ho Chi Minh Road then free at leisure.
Day 9: 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. 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 10: Hoi An – A day as farmer (B)
Today we actually take our hand on activity at the farm and try to be a farmer for a day at Tra Que vegetable village which provide all kinds of vegetable and Vietnamese mints to Hoi An market as well as to local restaurants. After having breakfast at hotel, we take a bike ride toward this beautiful village and start our activities here. First the host of the farm gives us a warm welcome to their home then we will change our clothes and put on the farms’ wearing and take stool to start our working day on the farm. We learn how to hoe the soil and make the furrowed field, how to seedling and watering from the host’s instruction cheerfully and happily. Just be a farm impersonator to experience the local life. Working on the farm with a lot of fun and laughing for an hour, we get back to the host family and enjoy a traditional food massage. Putting our tiring feet in a bucket of warm water associated with traditional herbs and then we just relax and enjoy the massage for 15 minutes. Next we enjoy lunch with the host and it is a truly Vietnamese cuisine, a typical food for daily life of all Vietnamese.
Return to our hotel and free at leisure.
Day 11: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Today we take our flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Its former name was Saigon which was well known as the “Pearl of Far East” during the French colony and today Ho Chi Minh has become an official name of this dynamic, bustle and hustle city since 1976. There are so many interesting things to see in this city from very early in the morning until midnight. After having our breakfast at hotel, we check out then take a short drive to Da Nang Airport for our flight.
On our arrival, we take an orientation tour around the town and visit to some typical colonial buildings over hundreds of year; Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, the Opera House and City hall
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi (B)
Today we drive out to Cu Chi tunnel which is the most complicated underground system in Vietnam built in early 1948 and completed its 250km long around 1960. This is an amazing place where we are absolutely admired the way of the guerrillas’ living and fighting for their mission. Before examining this historic site such as a private entrance of the tunnel, Commander Bunker, Fighting Bunker, Meeting Bunker and Health Care Bunker, we will watch a short documentary film about this special place to have an idea why it was named as an “Iron Land”. After that we walk to see the site. Our first place in our visiting list is original private entrance which is 25cm width and 30cm length then we head to Fighting bunker where we actually get down the tunnel. Next we will have a chance to view the booby trap gallery, all kinds of traps were used by guerrillas to stop the attack from their enemy. The smokeless Hoang Cam kitchen where we will have a chance to taste the guerrilla’s food, the steamed cassava associated with peanut, salt and sugar is an incredible bunker to visit. Mr. Hoang Cam designed this special kitchen during the French-Vietnam War in Dien Bien Phu battle field and it became very popular as its smokeless chimney system in a later war. After finishing our visit to this site, we drive back Saigon for an afternoon city tour. The War Remnant Museum is a must for us to see and to learn more about the sorrow of this war that left unpleasant after- effect to the people and environment for years.
We finish our day with a visit to Thien Hau Temple in China town and Binh Tay Market.
Return our hotel then free at leisure.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Can Tho(B)
Today we will enjoy the beautiful scenery in Mekong Delta area with hundreds of canal and river system and the most productive farm in Vietnam. On arrival Cai Be town, we take a boat cruise to visit to Cai Be floating market which is very interesting and popular in Mekong region. There are hundreds of trading boats anchoring on both sides of the river and these boats as the floating shops selling all different agriculture produce being hanged on the bamboo pole placing at the front of each boat as the sale signal. The buyers who usually have a motor boat or sampan, a main means of transportation in this floating market to go to the trading boats, buy these produce very early in the morning then take to the local market to sell them again. They are actually like the retailers. Some of them decide to be the vendors just riding their motor boat along the canal for all day to earn their living. This floating market is usually very busy early morning before sun rise and its function is as the whole market on the river. After visiting this market, we continue our boat trip to local village nearby to view how local people making coconut candy, rice-paper, pop-corn, and local souvenirs. Return to our boat then relax while we are cruising across the Mekong River to the island where we take a short walk through the fruit garden and visit the farm. Then we enjoy our lunch at the farm, talk to the host, walk around fruit garden and bonsai garden and just take a little nap on the hammock before boarding the boat again heading to Vinh Long town. We disembark at Vinh Long then drive to Can Tho, the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the biggest city in Mekong Delta area. This charm city, the friendly people and their hospitality make it a unique character. A wonderful place to visit!
Day 14: Can Tho – Chau Doc(B)
Early morning we will take a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market which is more activities of buying and selling, more boats and livelier than the Cai Be. Just enjoy a beautiful buffet breakfast on board while we are cruising to market. We are not only the travelers to visit to this market but also the buyers to purchase extra fresh and tasty fruits for our breakfast in this morning. Return to our hotel then relax or just take walk along the river bank or stop at the coffee shop for a drink.
Return to our hotel then free at leisure. Midday we check out then drive to Chau Doc town where we will spend a night in this border township with Cambodia, en route we stop at crocodile farm for lunh. Later afternoon we arrive our destination and then visit to Chua Xu temple and Same Mountain before check in hotel.
Day 15: Chau Doc – Phnom Penh (B)
Today we say farewell to Vietnam and get on the speed boat for the trip to Phnom Penh. It takes us around 4 hours on the boat including stopping at the border office for our visa procedure to enter Cambodia. Midday we arrive Phnom Penh where our local guide and driver are waiting for us. Then we visit to Toul Sleng, was used as S-21 prison ad interrogation facility during Pol Pot Regime. The building now serves as a museum, a memorial and a testament to the madness of the Khmer Rouge regime.
Drop in visit Independence and Victoria Monument.
Lunch and Dinner at local restaurant
Day 16: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap (B)
After breakfast at hotel, you start the journey to explore visit Royal Palace, built by the French in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda, located within the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5000 silver tiles, the treasures are a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90 kilos and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts. A French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed it in Khmer style in 1920. The museum contains a collection of Khmer art-notably sculptures-throughout the ages (although some periods are not represented). Most of the exhibits date from the Angkor period but there are several examples from the pre-Angkor era.
Lunch at local restaurant.
This afternoon you will enjoy shopping at Russian Market, Central Market, where there are variety kinds of souvenirs to bring back home.
Then we take a short flight to Siem Reap. Check in hotel then free at leisure.
Day 17: Siem Reap (B)
Breakfast at hotel, and then star to explore South Gate of Angkor Thom known as Big Angkor, 3km2 walled and moated royal city and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire, The famous Bayon Temple was an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century. Terrace of the Elephants is an impressive, two and a half meter tall, 300 meter long terrace wall adorned with carved elephants and gradual that spans the heart of Angkor Thom in front of Baphuon-huge temple mountain in the heart of Angkor Thom, Royal Palace Area and Phimeanakas-impressive rite and sandstone pyramid. Terrace of the Leper King is at the north end of the Terrace of the Elephants, a double terrace wall with deeply carved nag as, demons and other mythological beings. Lunch local restaurant!
Afternoon visit Ta Prohm Temple which is a wonderful combination of human genius and natural beauty. Giant trees have grown here for centuries and Angkor Wat Temple, the founder of the temple was Suryavarman II who rule Cambodia from 1113 to 1152 and built the five towers in the 12th century to dedicate to the Hindu God Vishnu. The plan of the pyramidal conception of the temple combined with spaces, alleys, ditches is an ancient masterpiece of architectural design and construction.
Buffet dinner with Apsara Dance Show at local restaurant.
Day 18: Siem Reap (B)
Breakfast at hotel. Today your tour includes visit Banteay Srei, loosely translates to “citadel of the women, but this is a modern appellation that probably refers to the delicate beauty of the carvings, Banteay Samre-large, comparatively flat temple displaying distinctively Angkor style architecture and artistry and Kbal Spean temple-there are also carving of Buddha and Buddhist images in the rock that date from a later period than the lingas. Lunch at local restaurant.
Overland trip to visit the highlights of the Grand Circuit including: Preah Khan-meaning The Sacred Sword, this temple was also built by Jayawarman VII and is famous for its immensely long cruciform corridors and delicate carvings. Neak Pean-This temple is a delicate highlight of Khmer art. Built by Jayavarman VII, this temple is the perfect representation of the heavens on earth. Ta Som was a small classic Bayon style monastic complex consisting of a relatively flat enclosure. Pre Rup was built in the 10th Century by Rajendravarman. East Mebon was built in the 10th Century by Rajendravarman; this temple was situated on a small island in the middle of the Oriental, or Eastern, Baray.
Dinner at local restaurant! Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 19: Siem Reap – Luang Prabang (B)
Morning enjoy our breakfast at hotel then drive to Siem Reap Airport to fly to Luang Prabang, Laos. On our arrival Luang Prabang, we meet the guide and driver who will take us around this World heritage Site. After you have had time to rest and freshen up we will head off on bicycles to see some of the highlights of Luang Prabang including a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts from the Royal period in Luang Prabang. Cycling on, we are seeing the city’s oldest temples, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Lao architecture, the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham. Your evening to free to explore the town and night market or relax at the hotel. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 20: Luang Pranbang – Kuang Si Falls (B)
After breakfast back at the hotel we begin our journey to Kuang Si Waterfall stopping along the way to visit the morning Phousi Market, this where all locals of Luang Prabang come to do their daily shopping. You will see a variety of local foodstuffs and products including dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, fish, vegetables and fruit, everything needed for daily life in Laos.
On arrival at the Kuang Si Falls you will have the opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in the topaz pools below the falls, walk along the forest trails and visit the Bear Sanctuary. You will also enjoy a picnic lunch below the falls.
Upon return to Luang Prabang we board our private boat for a pleasant and scenic cruise up on the Mekong River to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. These caves are an ancient pilgrimage site and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha images left there over hundreds of years.
Returning to Luang Prabang we disembark our boat and have the option of taking a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village famous for its hand weaving or returning to the hotel for free time to relax.
Day 21: Luang Prabang – Vientiane (B)
You are free this morning to relax at the hotel, get a massage or spa treatment, go shopping or grab a
bicycle and go exploring before your afternoon flight to Vientiane.
Arriving in Vientiane you will be transferred to your hotel for check in. Time permitting (depending on your arrival time) your half day city tour enables you to see the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the national icon of Laos, That Luang Stupa, stopping along the way to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
We will end up on the waterfront with its many restaurants, bars and night market for you to explore.
Day 22: Vientiane – Departure (B)
Depending on your flight, you may have time at leisure before you will be transferred to the airport in time for your departing flight.
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/Laos/ Cambodia
Domestic air tickets
Things are not indicated in itinerary