Tour route: Hanoi – Halong – Ninh Binh – Hue – Hoian – Saigon – Mekong
Travel date: individual tour with flexible travel date
ITINERARY IN DETAIL:
DAY 1: ARRIVE in HANOI (-/-/D)
Welcome to Vietnam!
The tourguide of TandP TRAVEL will be welcoming you at Noi Bai airport; it takes us 35 minutes driving to the centre of Hanoi to check-in hotel. Let’s have an overall view of the capital by a “cyclo” visit, which will start around the Old Quarter of Hanoi, stop at Ngoc Son Temple located on the Hoan Kiem Lake (the “Sword” Lake), and at Quan Thanh Taoist Temple. Late afternoon we will enjoy a unique fascinating show of Water Puppetry, a traditional stage art of Northern Vietnam. Dinner and overnight in Hanoi.
Please note! Hotels’ check-in and check-out time is around 12.00 noon. Depending on your arrival time, the program can be adjusted accordingly.
DAY 2: HANOI – HALONG – OVERNIGHT ONBOARD (B/L/D)
If you wish to see how the Hanoi people rise and shine in the morning, wake up early and run to a lake close by your hotel, you can join an exciting scene of hundreds of locals, passionately attentive in their morning exercises of Tai Chi quan, jogging, martial arts, classical dance and so on. After breakfast at the hotel, we will begin a fascinating day with visits to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, inclusive of BaDinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the simple but elegant House-on-stilts of Ho Chi Minh, and the One-pillar pagoda since 1049 AD. Reach the Temple of Literature and the Fine Art Museum to learn more about the Vietnamese culture, before having a light Lunch in Hanoi. Afternoon we will head to Halong Bay, a Natural World Heritage as designated by UNESCO since 1994 and 2006, and check-in our overnight boat. Enjoy a trip on Halong with stops to visit caves or to swim and enjoy the sunset on the sea. Dinner with fresh seafood! Overnight onboard.
DAY 3: HALONG – HAI PHONG – NINH BINH (B/L/D)
The Vietnamese call the “East Sea” by a point-oriented name “Eastern Sea”, so you may guess how miraculous it is seeing the sunrise over the islets of the Bay. The boat will take us to go about marvelous areas, where almost each islet has its own name, adopting its shape or reminiscent, including the Fisherman’s Head, Turtle, the Sail, the Incense Burner Rock, the cute Sea Dog Rock or Cock Fighting Rocks and so on. Overland to Ninh Binh, the location of former Capital in 10th century, with stop at Haiphong Seaport. Visit Du Hang pagoda, the centre of Buddhism in Haiphong and stroll around the centre of the city. On the way to Ninh Binh, you will discover “the Red River delta” which is in its best color and scent in the new-rice planted time in January, and in harvest crops in March, April and November. Dinner and overnight in Ninh Binh.
Please note! Lunch to be reserved at Hai Phong or en route from Halong to Ninh Binh for your flexibility.
DAY 4: NINH BINH – HUE (B)
Once had been the Capital of many dynasties, Ninh Binh, though, preserves very few traces of the old citadel and palace. Yet, the natural landscape is outstanding with mountain ranges, rivers and limestone caves. After breakfast, we will cycle from our hotel thru tranquil rural villages and paddy fields to Hoa Lu, visiting the Temples of King Dinh and King Le, who had reign in Vietnam during 10th century. Back to Hoa Lu to have a special boat trip rowed by the locals to go thru long karst grottoes in Tam Coc, and just enjoy the scenery and relax! Half way thru the boat trip, we can stop and take a short walk to Thai Vi temple, dedicated to Tran Dynasty. Back to Hanoi Airport to take the late flight to Hue. Overnight in Hue. (Dinner at your own account).
DAY 5: HUE (B/D)
Being recognized by UNESCO as the 1st Cultural World Heritage for Vietnam, Hue is highlighted by the old royal architectural works and the most traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. We will discover the charm of the city from the Royal Citadel, Forbidden City, Hue Royal Museum and Dong Ba bustling market. After lunch in a Garden-housed restaurant in “Hue” style, go on to Thien Mu pagoda and visit the Tombs of King Minh Mang and Tu Duc – two best-reserved monuments of the Nguyen Emperors since early 19th and early 20th centuries. Dinner and Overnight in Hue.
DAY 6: HUE – DANANG – HOIAN (B)
After breakfast and check-out hotel, we will depart from Hue, passing Danang with stops to sightsee the Cham Museum, the marvelous museum which tells us in advance about the Cham Culture, once brightened in Central Vietnam, before we visit the Cham nation holy land in My Son next day. Go on to the Marble Mountain, enjoy the landscape of Hai Van (the “Ocean Cloudy Mountain Pass”) and Lang Co Beach before reaching Hoian after midday. This afternoon is for Hoian ancient town – when walking over the tile-roofed Japanese Bridge, visit taciturn Chinese Assembly Halls and Trading Houses, Pagodas, and stroll around the market located by Thu Bon river, you may find out the same feelings of the artists, who see the charm of Hoi An a magical old world of Oriental feel and source of inspiration. Dinner by your own arrangement. Overnight in Hoian.
DAY 7: HOIAN (B)
After breakfast, we will depart from Hoian to My Son, where you can discover the hidden treasure of the Cham culture that once brightfully developed in the area of present Central Vietnam. Thanks to the beauty and secrets of building the Cham Towers hereby, My Son had been also designated by UNESCO as one of the five World Heritages in Vietnam. Back to Hoian for lunch. Afternoon we will visit the Hoian Cultural Museum and hang around the ancient town before taking a small boat on Thu Bon river down to the sea and visit Furniture village or Thanh Ha village. Dinner by your own arrangement. Overnight in Hoian.
DAY 8. HOIAN – DANANG – FURAMA RESORT (B)
At leisure for relax in Hoian till transfer from Hoian to Danang. Check-in Furama Resort. At leisure in the rest of the day to enjoy the crystal beach and recreation services at the Resort. No services provided. Overnight in Furama (Danang).
DAY 9: DANANG – SAIGON (B/D)
Relax at Furama Resort till transfer to Danang Airport to take the midday flight to Saigon. You will be welcomed at the Tan Son Nhat airport and transfer to the hotel to check-in. Lunch will be at your own arrangement for more flexibility before we start the city tour at the Reunification Palace, the witness of the fierce Vietnam War ended in 1975. The grand building today is a Museum and Hall of official receptions. Nearby the Palace are the colonial-styled Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883 and one of the city’s major landmarks. The visit will end at Ngoc Hoang (the “Jade Emperor”) pagoda before we back to District 1 to enjoy ice-cream from “Bach Dang” – an ice-cream shop which are very familiar with the Saigon people for long time – and join the night market at Ben Thanh. Dinner with delicious local foods of Saigon. Overnight in Saigon.
DAY 10: SAIGON – TAYNINH – CUCHI TUNNELS – SAIGON (B/L)
Our day will begin with a visit to Tayninh, the centre of Caodaism, a local sect of Buddhism founded by a Vietnamese countryman in early 20th century. Arriving at noontime, we will have the chance to join the daily solemn ceremony at the temple of Cao Dai called Tayninh Holysee. On the way back to Saigon, we can stop to visit Cu Chi Tunnels, one of the few remaining monuments to the fierce Vietnam War. We can even crawl a part of the tunnel to experience the real life of the Vietnamese guerrillas, who used to use and live inside this system during the wartime. Return to Saigon late afternoon. Lunch in Tayninh or en route. Dinner by your own arrangement. Overnight in Saigon.
DAY 11: SAIGON – MY THO – CAN THO (B)
Head to the South to My Tho and Ben Tre, the homeland of coconut and family factories with local products. Stop en route to visit Dong Tam Snake farm and Vinh Trang pagoda. Upon arrival in My Tho, we will take a small boat to go between canals into gardens and rural houses, where a lot of families produce coconut candy, feed the bee for honey, or plant juicy fruit. Stop at some families and their small factories. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in Can Tho.
DAY 12: CAN THO – SAIGON (B)
A highlight of trips to the Mekong delta is its floating market, whose activities are most exciting in the early morning. So we can wake up early today to arrive in Cai Rang or Phong Dien Floating market to enjoy the daily life of Mekong people, who come to the markets on the rivers everyday with lots of fruits, foodstuff and other consumer goods. Visit the Farms in Can Tho on the way back to Saigon. Dinner at your own arrangement. Overnight in Saigon.
DAY 13: SAIGON DEPARTURE (B)
It is your own time today. Finally, you are free for relax and shopping in Saigon, the biggest commercial centre of Vietnam until transfer to the Tan Son Nhat Airport for the departure flight.
Please note! Hotel Check-out time is around 12.00.
Hotels/accommodations in double/twin share
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner) (no drinks)
Land Transfers by private air-con vehicles.
Boat cruises if specified in the itinerary.
English speaking guides. Other languages are available upon request.
Sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary.
International air fare
Visa stamp fee
Drinks and personal expenses
Airport departure taxes if any.
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