Absolute Vietnam – 14 Days

Saigon - Mekong Delta - Danang - Hoian - Hue - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Sapa

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From the laidback river lifestyle of the mighty Mekong to the spectacular mountain scenery of Sapa, the Vietnam Discovery encompasses the very best that Vietnam has to offer. We start our journey in South Vietnam where we experience the life pulse of Saigon. From our base, Saigon we travel to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where we gain a true sense of the resilience of the Vietnamese people, then Mekong Delta. We travel north to experience the old-world atmosphere of charming Hoi An. Our journey continues through the stunning coastal landscapes of Central Vietnam to Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital. We fly to Hanoi Capital where we soak up the historic atmosphere of Old Quarters and Hoan Kiem Lake. We travel on the train to Sapa where we experience the warm hospitality and simplicity of Vietnam’s colorful hilltribe peoples. We complete our journey on return to Hanoi with an opportunity to relax and reflect on this unforgettable and truly diverse Vietnamese experience.

 

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

 

  • Visiting one of Asia’s most vibrant and welcoming cities, Saigon

  • Exploring the famous Cu Chi network of underground tunnels

  • Cruising though floating markets and river-based villages of the vibrant Mekong Delta

  • Wandering the streets of charming Hoi An

  • Floating down Hue’s Perfume River to visit tombs, pagodas and temples, former Imperial Capital

  • Taking a leisurely cyclo ride though the classic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter

  • Exploring the limestone islands and emerald green waters of UNESCO Heritage-Halong Bay

  • Gazing at Sapa’s beautiful mountainous landscape and meeting wonderful ethnic minority groups

  • Trekking through the hills surrounding Sapa Valley

 

DAY 01, ARRIVE SAIGON: Upon arrival in Saigon, the bustling heart of Vietnam, you will be transferred to your hotel for a three-night stay. Ho Chi Minh City (Formerly Saigon) is Vietnam's commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

 

DAY 02, SAIGON HALF DAY CITY TOUR: The Tour will take you around the busiest City of Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh, the central part of the city is still called “Saigon” by many of its eight million residents. Saigon was the capital of French colonial Cochinchina from the 1860s until the mid-1950s, and then served as the capital of South Vietnam until the North and South were re-unified in 1975. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s commercial hub and its center of international business. First, you will have a stop at  two landmarks of Saigon: Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office. Then you will get to know how the War ended with the stop at the Unification Palace (Subject to open) used to be the Presidential Palace, the White House of South Vietnam, where tank number of the North Vietnamese Army crashed through the gates of what was on April 30, 1975. Then, you will continue viewing the Vietnam’s History from 1945-1975, Vietnam-American War at the War Museum. A stopover at the well-known Lacquer Workshop will help you to understand the art of making lacquer ware in Vietnam and you can pick up some unique gifts for your beloved relatives. Get close to Vietnamese life at the largest market in town, Ben Thanh market. Lunch before drive back to the Hotel free at leisure the rest of the day.

 

DAY 03, CUCHI TUNNLES: We head out for a guided tour to Cuchi Tunnels, just about 60 kilometers northwest of Saigon where it lays on one of the most fascinating historical sights of Vietnam-American War. The beginnings of the Cu Chi tunnels date back to Vietnam's struggle for independence from the French, but it was not until the Vietnam-American War that the tunnel network was widely expanded to cover a total distance of some 250 kilometers (155 miles). A small part of this network has been restored and opened to visitors to cast a fascinating light on the lives of the Cu Chi guerrillas and their hideouts. Going to Cu Chi where you are taken underground to experience a glimmer of the conditions in which these people lived and fought. The short visit gives you a better understanding of guerilla fighting tactics of Vietnamese. The tour also tells you more about the War: Why Vietnam were divided into Two, What the CuChi Tunnels were for, Who Viet Cong really was...Additionally, you have a chance to challenge yourself with rifle shooting, the only place in Vietnam you can have real gun shooting (your own account) of AK-47 (VC’s rifle) or M-16 (GI’s one) or M-30, M-60…Overnight in Saigon.

 

DAY 04, SAIGON-CAIBE/VINHLONG-MEKONG DELTA CANTHO: We set off for a drive in the morning to Caibe Town-deep in the Mekong Delta, the second largest Delta in the world, and embark on a private boat. The tour begins with a visit of the colorful Cai Be floating market, followed by a visit to some locale home factories that produce rice paste, rice popcorn and coconut candy. Proceed to evergreen islands among the Mekong River through a large network of meandering tributaries, crisscrossed with countless arroyos, you can have an easy biking on the local roads if you wish. Lunch is served at a local home before the cruise to Vinh Long to discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong Delta rural life. Drive to Can Tho and transfer to hotel on arrival. Stay in Cantho, Mekong Delta.

 

DAY 05, CANTHO-SAIGON/DANANG-HOIAN: After breakfast, check out of the Hotel and board the small local boat for a visit to colorful Cairang Floating Market, the largest floating market in South East Asia, there will be hundreds of boats laden with fruits, vegetable, and fish, jostling for trade. Leave Cantho and drive back to Saigon with a lunch stop on the road. Drive straight to the airport for your flight to Danang. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Hoian, check into the Hotel in Hoian, the balance of the day is at leisure. Stay in Hoian

 

DAY 06, HOIAN TOUR: This morning tour Hoi An with your guide. Hoi An was Vietnam's most active trading center over many centuries and has been largely preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders. Enjoy a walking tour of this enchanting town visiting an old merchant house, a Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Also explore its many craft and silk shops and the colorful fish and produce markets. Return to the Hotel in the afternoon for some time at leisure. Stay in Hoian

 

DAY 07, DANANG – HUE: Depart this morning for the 2.5 hour drive to Hue, a beautiful and welcoming city with a stop at the Marble Mountains. Hue as Vietnam's capital throughout the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945, as a center of Vietnamese Buddhism and scholarship, Hue provides a unique window into Vietnam and its complex past. After settling into your hotel, afternoon tour to Hue Citadel and local market near by. Stay in Hue

 

DAY 08: HUE/ HANOI: Morning dragon boat to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue's oldest pagoda. Drive to visit the tomb of Khai Dinh before transfer to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Check into the Hotel on arrival in Hanoi, start your explorations of this city with some afternoon touring, which will include a visit to the Hanoi Old Quarters, 36 ancient streets where peddlers continue to trade as they have done for centuries. End the day with an evening performance of Water Puppet Theater. Water puppets are a folk art tradition unique to northern Vietnam. The often-comic story is told by puppeteers who manipulate the brightly painted wooden puppets through the water while remaining unseen. The plays are based on historical and religious themes; often, famous battles of Vietnamese history are re-told, with fireworks and opera singing creating a truly wondrous spectacle. Stay in Hanoi.

 

DAY 09, HANOI/HALONG BAY: Your journey to Halong begins in Hanoi, where your driver and guide will collect you at your hotel and transfer you by private car to Hon Gai, the gateway to amazing Halong Bay, considered as Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. En route enjoy the captivating rural scenery and see fields of busy workers farming their rice using traditional methods of cultivation. On arrival at the port, board your boat and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch as your cruise begins. Spend the afternoon amongst the islets, stopping to explore grottoes and enjoying a swim in the clean, warm waters of the bay (during the summer months). You will also stop at one of the Caves where you can ascend for spectacular views. In the evening relax and enjoy dinner on board as the sun sets. Stay on Junk on Halong Bay

 

DAY 10, HALONG/HANOI-LAOCAI: After breakfast continue cruising amongst the many spectacular islets and visit several more fascinating grottoes. When it comes time to depart you’ll disembark your private boat at Baichay Wharf and enjoy an early lunch before transferring back to Hanoi in the late afternoon. Refresh at a small Hotel till 08.30pm we drive to the train station for night train up hill to Laocai. Night train to Laocai

 

DAY 11, LAOCAI/SAPA HILL TRIBE VILLAGE TOUR: Train arrives at Laocai Railway Station at 06.00 am, have breakfast Victoria Express Dining Carriage before transfer to Cocly Market, the latest discovery market in the region offering a wide range of different colourful ethnic minorities, such as Hmong, Red Dzao, Tay, Phu La and Nung, there will be an exciting boat cruise winding you through a breathtaking out of this world landscape where the mountains grow from waters presenting their most hidden miseries including caves and tiny minorities. After a morning exploring the market,  take a boat cruise on the Chay River stopping at a riverside cave and Trung village to meet Tay minority.  Picnic lunch then disembark at the Bao Nhai Bridge and continue to Sapa.

 

DAY 12, SAPA TOUR/NIGHT TRAIN DOWN HANOI: Breakfast before private jeep transfer to Lao Chai village, a village of Black H’mong. Short trek down river to visit hill tribe houses, experience their living style and the local woman made their handicraft clothes. Further on along the road, the Tavan village where Dzay people stay. Visit the village and learn their customs. Drive back to Sapa in afternoon for hot shower, relax before turn back to Laocai railways station by minivan for night train down Hanoi.

 

DAY 13, MORNING TOUR OF HANOI: Morning tour begins with a visit of the mausoleum that holds the interred body of the late President Ho Chi Minh. Also visit his traditional teakwood house, the simple dwelling he preferred to the material grandeur of a palace. Visit the One-Pillar Pagoda, originally built in the 11th century. It is shaped like a lotus to commemorate the birth of the Emperor's heir as predicted by a goddess sitting on a lotus. Continue to the Temple of Literature, the most significant temple complex in the city and a testament to the Confucian history of the city. Drive to the airport for your onward flight.

 

DAY 14, HANOI DEPARTURE: After breakfast, free till transfer to the airport where your Vietnam discovery ends.

 

This is sample itinerary with no selected accommodation suggested unless otherwise stated. International airfares are not included unless otherwise specified within the detailed proposal – please contact our team to tailor this itinerary to your personal specifications.