From USD 2,043 p/p
Discover Vietnam, country of dragons tour : Experience the diverse landscape along the entire length of the “Dragon” as well as historical cities, stunning beaches, colorful ethnic minorities, and a surprising variety of cultures on this 18 day tour of Vietnam.
Our fantastic Vietnam experiences begin in Hanoi. After being met at the airport upon arrival and transferred to our hotel, we take a short walk of the Old Quarter and share a delicious dinner followed by a tour briefing, before settling in for a refreshing night’s sleep.
Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi is a beguiling and vibrant city steeped in history, with a wonderful fusion of French colonial and Vietnamese architecture and cuisine. We take the day to visit the city’s key sights such as Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the Museum of ethnography and the tranquil Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university.
There willl also be time to explore the colorful streets of the Old Quarter, where streets are named for the products they sell and everything imaginable is being bought and sold. We’ll have an insightful meal at an NGO restaurant which trains and looks after ‘street kids’, giving them skills to pursue careers in the hospitality and tourism industries. This evening we enjoy the centuries old tradition of water puppetry, before taking an overnight train journey north, to Lao Cai.
From Lao Cai we travel up into the hills to the lofty town of Sapa. Once a resort for French colonialists escaping Hanoi’s summer heat, Sapa is now a center for highland minority people to trade their goods, and is the best place in Vietnam to see many of the different ethnic minorities.
Based from Sapa, you have a choice of day trips to fascinating weekend markets and nearby villages to soak up the rural tranquility and lush environs.
Alternatively, easy trekking through minority villages with an optional overnight home stay gives a unique insight into the ancient subsistence lifestyle still lived today.
Sapa Trekking Tour
Day at Sapa.
On our final evening we return by train to Hanoi.
Sapa Rice Terrace
Embark on our live-aboard Vietnamese ‘junk’ to explore spectacular Halong Bay. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and, cruising among the 1500 limestone islands rising sheer from the sea, it’s easy to see why.
Encounter caves, hidden lagoons and uninhabited beaches, swim, sea kayak if you like, observe the local boat people, and have plenty of time to unwind. Our skipper guides us through the maze of twisting passages, and the wonderful crew serve us bountiful seafood feasts.
Halong Bay From Above
Halong Bay cruise.
Halong Bay cruise.
We take a short midday flight from Hanoi to Hue. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River and celebrated by Vietnamese poets for its romantic air and beauty, Hue was home to the Royal Dynasty until 1945.
With a mystery tour of Hue and its environs, chauffeured on motos, from Emperors’ tombs to Buddhist pagodas, you’ll really get a feel for this region. Alternatively, if interested, you can take a tour of the DMZ with an informative local English-speaking guide.
Citadel Hue – Imperial City
Day at leisure.
Travel the scenic coastal road to our favorite Vietnamese town, Hoi An. En route we stop for a short walk up Marble Mountain to explore caves and temples embedded in the rock.
We arrive in Hoi An in time for an early dinner at one of the town’s excellent restaurants – a great way to begin sampling the rich history and culture.
Hoi An was an important trading port from the 17th-19th centuries. Wandering the streets, you really feel embraced by history. The town now has UN World Heritage status and its profusion of old houses, quiet streets and covered bridges are being preserved and restored. These days Hoi An is renowned for its diverse architectural heritage, masterful tailors, abundant silks and superb cuisine. Hoi An is also the ultimate place to have affordable clothes made to order. There’s a gorgeous beach nearby and people-watching on the riverfront, cool drink in hand, is hard to beat.
We take a day trip to My Son to explore the ancient temple ruins of the Cham kingdom – the most significant Cham site in Vietnam. An optional cooking course in Vietnamese cuisine gives us a real taste for the local specialties.
Day at leisure to discover Hoi An.
Hoian Ancient Town
A short flight south takes us to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), a city of stunning contrasts. We hail cyclos and zigzag our way to the War Remnants Museum, a sobering memorial to the Vietnam War, then lighten up with a stroll around the unusual Presidential Palace and Ben Thanh (the central market and a great place to stock up on fine roasted coffee from the highlands).
The Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s rice bowl, is one of the largest deltas in the world. You’ll experience its fertile abundance and beauty as we explore by bicycle and boat, visiting small farms and workshops on islands among its branching water ways and tributaries. We enjoy a simple night, close to the people and nature in a comfortable and rustic home stay.
After a morning visit to floating markets we return to Saigon for the afternoon.
Day at leisure at Mekong.
Mekong Floating Market
The infamous Cu Chi Tunnels comprise over 250kms of tunnels, where Viet Cong forces built pseudo-cities underground, enabling them to infiltrate and control large areas around Saigon virtually undetected.
You’ll be able to experience, first hand, the claustrophobic existence, and stop off at the fascinating Cao Dai temple on our return. Alternatively, you may like to enjoy a day in Saigon of great food, fascinating museums, relaxing massage, and endless shopping options.
Our journey concludes in Saigon, and we are sure you will depart with a special affection for this intriguing country.
Ho Chi Minh City
Prices are in USD, per person.
|Hotel / Group||2 guests||3~4 guests||5~6 guests||7~8 guests||9~12 guests||Single surcharge|
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