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 – Thang Long Cidatel, World Cultural Heritage Site (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 l have lunch at Koto restaurant and refresh.
Later in the day we visit to a World Cultural Heritage Site of Thang Long 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 – Ha Noi – 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 – Ha Noi (B)
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This complex 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 Temples 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.
Return Ha Noi and then free at leisure
Day 6: Ha Noi – Phong Nha – Ke Bang, World Natural Heritage Site (B)
Morning we take a short flight to the central region of Vietnam, the area having a lot of world heritage sites: Phong Nha – Ke Bang, Hue, Hoi An and My Son.
On our arrival Dong Hoi Airport, we meet our guide and driver then proceed to the pier for our boat trip heading Phong Nha Cave, a part of World Natural Heritage of Phong Nha – Ke Bang, that held several world cave records, including the longest underground river as well as the largest combined caverns and passageways.
Return Dong Hoi town then check in hotel. Free at leisure.
Day 7: Dong Hoi – Hue, World Cultural Heritage Site (B)
Breakfast at hotel then we proceed to Hue City. 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. There are some interesting places where were well known during the American and Vietnam War in 1960s-1970s on the way to Hue as: Ben Hai River, this river is considered the natural border of North and South of Vietnam, Quang Tri Ancient Citadel and La Vang Church are the lively evident of this terrible war in central region of Vietnam. On arrival we check in hotel and refresh before we explore this World Heritage site 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 Nha Nhac, the Vietnamese court music show, a World Intangible Heritage of Humanity (showtime is subject to availability). 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.
Next 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 – My Son – Hoi An, The Cultural Heritage Site (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 Site. 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. 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. After visiting this site, we proceed to a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, My Son Sanctuary of Champa Kingdom, which was very powerful and prosperous Kingdom in Southeast Asia from 4th century to 11th century. We drive 2 hours through rural area, rivers, paddy field, mountains to this site for visiting these fantastic monuments of the Cham people and also have a chance to entertain Cham Traditional Dance show.
Late afternoon we drive to Hoi An. Check in then free at leisure.
Day 9: Hoi An (B)
Morning enjoy our breakfast at hotel, we start our walking to ancient quarter of Hoi An. Our first visit is Fukien Assembly Hall where is also the Thien Hau Temple located. This temple was built in early century and dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea and the Protector of sailor when Fukien traders traveled down South of China by the sea to Hoi An for their business. Later on they decided to stay permanently in this trade port until now. This place has become very popular local attraction for not only Vietnamese but also the foreign travelers as its architecture style is absolutely amazing figure. Then we keep on our walking from this temple to Tan Ky, ancient trading house. There are 7 generations of the Vietnamese merchant family have lived in this beautiful house and they carefully protect their home as its original for over 2 centuries ago. The architecture model of this house is the combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese style. Come and see this place, we have a chance to talk to the owners who will inform us many useful and interesting things in the house, their daily life and how they have kept their home beautifully since 19th century. It is not far from this home as it takes us 5 minutes to walk to Japanese Bridge, an iconic of Hoi An ancient town. This temple bridge (the bridge where there is a temple on it) was built by Japanese community in 1590s and it dedicated to the God of the weather. It is said that he controls all kinds of weather changes and natural calamities, so most of the sailors worship him. Finishing our history walking tour in this morning section with a visit to Sa Huynh Culture Museum nearby Japanese Bridge, we have an opportunity to learn more about Hoi An ancient town. Then we have our free time to wonder around this lovely town and there are many other things that we can do in this afternoon: A cup of tea or coffee at one of the riverfront restaurants to enjoy, or just visit a tailor shop to do some shopping or walk to local market to have some talks to the local, rent a bike and ride to the beach or take an hour boat ride on Thu Bon river for leisure.
Day 10: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Most of our time in this morning is free at leisure. Midday we check out then drive to Da Nang airport for 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 thing to see in this city from very early in the morning until midnight.
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 11: Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho (B,L)
Today we will enjoy the beautiful scenery in Mekong Delta, hundreds of canal and river system and the most productive farm in Vietnam. We just take 2 hour drive to My Tho City, which is located on the bank of Mekong River, one of the longest rivers in the world then take the boat cruise to Thai Son Island for visiting fruit farm, bee farm and local handicraft. We not only enjoy the fruits at the farm and honey tea but also entertain the traditional music show, “Don Ca Tai Tu” which has been selected as the World Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Just enjoy a peaceful moment on our rowing sampan under a shady water coconut palm on both sides of cannel, a fantastic view of the river, a cheerful smile and the hospitality of the local people, we are awarded to have them all. On the way back to Ho Chi Minh City, we will have lunch at Mekong Rest Stop restaurant and enjoy local specialty.
Seat back and relax on our way back to the hotel.
Rest of the day is free at leisure.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Departure (B)
There is no activity for today. Just pack up and relax until your departure flight. The guide and driver will pick you up then transfer you to Tan Son Nhat Airport.
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