On arrival Tan Son Nhat airport (Ho Chi Minh city), our guide will meet you at the exit gate, and he and the driver will assist you with your luggage before heading into Ho Chi Minh City for your first experience of Vietnam.


‘Today Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon is the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurs. Incomes here are typically twice that of Hanoi and the city’s skyline is rapidly changing, reflecting the sharp influx of foreign trade within the last decade. And yet for all this modernity, the city still retains its connections to the past, particularly so in Cholon, Saigon’s Chinatown. Here dozens of elegant temples and pagodas can be seen. The French too left their mark here – the city has many street cafes and patisseries where fresh croissants can be purchased.’


Depending on your arrival time we will either transfer you to your hotel or head into the sights and sounds of Saigon for your sightseeing extravaganza. The first stop is at the Reunification Hall to visit the residence of the President Ngo Dinh Diem of former South Vietnam until 1975 (1960s – Apr 1975s). Next, you visit the War Remnants Museum, here you will see exhibits relating to the Vietnam War and the first Indochina War involving the French colonialists. Other colonial structures included in the tour are Notre Dame Cathedral, built in the late 1880s by French colonists, it is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in the largely Buddhist Vietnam (currently being renovated so sadly you cannot actually enter the building), and the General Post Office, constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. The tour ends at the famous Ben Thanh market, where you may practice your bargaining skills and pick up some souvenirs before being taken to your hotel for assisted check-in.


Lunch is optional at own expense.


This afternoon you may enjoy the facilities of your hotel and familiarize yourself with the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of Vietnam.


Optional Tour: Saigon After Dark
Part night-time excursion, part street food adventure this is a highly recommended way to see, smell, feel, taste & often touch Saigon at night. Pick up is at your hotel and the first stop is to Café Zoom to enjoy a cocktail and appetizer (inclusive) before adventuring off into the nightlife of Saigon… the way locals do. The tour takes you through busy streets and alleys to see the city at night and enjoy street seafood and cold drinks in places that foreigners won’t usually be found. Eating and drinking along the way the tour then continues to a hidden Vietnamese-style coffee shop where you will get a taste of Vietnamese music (live) as a local. The tour ends by taking guests to a live music venue to enjoy drinks with more modern live music.


Accommodation: As Requested


There are few things more exciting than waking up in a new country…and after a sumptuous breakfast we keep the excitement going with your first day trip….


This morning you will be met in the hotel lobby by your guide and a driver for the tour. Today you are off to the Cu Chi Tunnels which were pivotal to the Communist’s victory over the Americans and the South Vietnamese Armies as they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area around Saigon.


At its height, the tunnel system, parts of which were several levels deep, stretched over 200kms from Saigon to the Cambodian border. Today the remaining tunnels of this intricate network have been widened to accommodate visitors and have now become a major attraction giving a unique experience of what underground life in the American war must have been like and a deep appreciation of the courage and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people.


This is where guerilla warfare is exemplified and you will learn about the clever design of the tunnels and the strategic use of trap doors. Even with B-52 bombers dropping 30-ton loads of explosive, turning the jungle into a pockmarked moonscape, 30 thousand American troops failed to conquer the area! You will be offered the opportunity to crawl around a portion of the 121 km long, multiple-layered tunnel and learn how thousands of guerillas managed to stay underground for many days at a time, also their great technique to conceal smoke from their cooking. There’re a lot more to enjoy and even a chance to fire with real weapons like AK47 for an additional fee. After the tour, you will be returned to your hotel by private car. Lunch is optional at own expense.


This afternoon and evening you may enjoy the facilities of your hotel.


Accommodation: As Requested


Following a delightful breakfast at your hotel, your driver will assist with your luggage as you check-out and head to the airport for your flight to Danang! Central Vietnam here you come….


Flights on request.


Welcome to Hoi An – your guide and driver will meet you just outside the exit gates and assist with your luggage!


‘The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. A slow stroll through town reveals its gems plus the warm-hearted and traditional welcome of its inhabitants. A place not to be missed for any visitor to Vietnam’


On the way to your hotel in Hoi An, we seize the opportunity to show you a little of Danang – how much depends on your flight arrival time, however, hotel check-in it 2pm so we will make sure you get lunch!


First head for Ngu Hanh Son (Mountains of the Five Elements). Climb up Thuy Son (Water) by the stone stairs and enjoy the panoramic view of the nearby countryside, and visit Huyen Khong cave before entering Tam Thai and Linh Ung pagodas.


Take a rest at the foot of the mountain, where you can visit Non Nuoc stone village. Here, you can see the local skillful sculptors creating many marble products which are exported to many countries worldwide.


Continue to Cham Museum. This museum house was built in Cham architectural style, using thin lines that are simple and gentle. Cham architecture originated from the period between the 5th and the 15th centuries when a matriarchal society prevailed.


Lunch will be at a local restaurant before you head to Hoi An for your hotel check-in.
This afternoon and evening you may enjoy the facilities of your hotel and Hoi An.


Accommodation: As Requested


After breakfast at your hotel, you may spend the morning relaxing or take an optional tour…


Optional Tour: – My Son
Known as the “Valley of Kings,” My Son was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The ruins are considered to be Champa’s counterpart to the other grand cities of Southeast Asia’s Indian-influenced civilizations with a cluster of deserted and partially ruined Hindu temples and towers that were constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries AD by kings of Champa Kingdom.


With the assistance of your guide who will point out and discuss the significance of areas and artifacts on the site, you will discover the legendary complex of royal towers and temples. You will have the opportunity to watch a Cham musical performance before you transfer back to Hoi An.


Lunch at own expense if required


Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of the most important trading port in Southeast Asia of the period from the 15th until the 19th centuries. Its buildings and street patterns reflect the influences, both local and foreign, that harmoniously combine to produce a unique heritage site. You will walk along the ancient streets to discover the Japanese Bridge: One of the most photographed bridges in Vietnam, Tian Hou Pagoda: a gorgeous 19th-century temple dedicated to the goddess Thien Hau, Tan Ky old house: A well-preserved 18th-century merchant’s house, visit some Hoi An handicraft workshops and finally enter the Museum of History-Culture, before returning to your hotel.


This evening the facilities of your hotel are yours to enjoy at leisure, or perhaps a stroll around Hoi An at night will be your pleasure.


Accommodation: As Requested


After enjoying breakfast at your hotel your driver will assist with your luggage as you check-out and head to the airport for your flight to Hanoi! The capital of Vietnam awaits…


Flights on request.


Welcome to Hanoi – your guide and driver will meet you just outside the exit gates and assist with your luggage.


“Ancient traditions and modern life harmoniously coexist in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Culture, leisure, gastronomy: Hanoi offers countless exciting experiences and immerses you in the Vietnamese heritage. Walk through the bustling shopping streets of the famous Old Quarter and enjoy typical Vietnamese cuisine. Make sure to visit the peaceful and enchanting Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ho Chi Minh Complex, a strong symbol of Vietnam’s fight for independence.”


Depending on your arrival time we will either transfer you to your hotel or head directly into Hanoi.


First, you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum* and Museum to explore the architectural and historical aspects of Uncle Ho’s final resting place. Next door to here is the One Pillar Pagoda (Mot Cot) which was founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. According to legend, the pagoda’s shape was inspired by the lotus flower and this structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.


The tour continues with a visit to the Temple of Literature – Quoc Tu Giam. Being Vietnam’s first university, the place was initially constructed in 1070, their gardens and well-preserved architecture offers a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Then continue passed The Opera House to the wonderful Hoan Kiem Lake and walk across the famous red wooden bridge to visit Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny island.


This evening, prior to your train departure we will take you for an early dinner at a local restaurant… followed by something a little special – A show at the Hanoi Opera House: LANG TOI – MY VILLAGE, a poetic interpretation of village life with dance, showing fishing, farming, and gathering. Stunning acrobatics, contortions, and juggling performed by amazingly talented artists. This is all complimented by 20 different exotic folk instruments played live and the use of bamboo which transforms into rivers, mountains and leaves the audience truly transfixed.


After the show, your driver will take you to Hanoi railway station for the overnight train to Lao Cai.


Departure time is scheduled for 22.00PM (subject to change).


Accommodation: 2 berths in a shared 4 berth sleeping compartment – Oriental Express Train


A private 2 berth is also available on request for a quote on Victoria Express Train
Note: Alternatively, you may travel to Sapa by 5 ½ hour daytime coach transfer – please contact us for a quote.


Upon arrival at Lao Cai station in the early morning, you will be met by your local guide, who will transfer you for a traditional breakfast.


Optional Tour: Fansipan
At this point, you may choose to head onward for an optional tour of an excursion to the peak Fansipan, or alternatively go straight to your hotel to relax for the remainder of the morning.


Fansipan – The highest mountain in Indochina at 3,143 metres (10,312 ft), it is located 9 km southwest of SaPa. You could take a long hike to the top of Fansipan, however since February 2016 the summit is accessible by cable car. On a clear day, which can never be guaranteed, the view is stunning…and well worth the trip!


On your return to earth, you will be transported to your hotel for check-in.
Note: Standard check-in time at the hotel is 2pm however early check-in can be arranged in advance (subject to availability and with a surcharge).


Trekking from Cat Cat village to Y Linh Ho village:
After lunch, your guide will meet you to enjoy a walk in the countryside surrounding Sapa.


Head out of town towards Cat Cat village, stopping at a waterfall for a short rest before continuing the trek along a trail through rice terraces. Walking through lush rainforest, under the protection of Hoang Lien National Park, you will eventually arrive in Y Linh Ho village, home of the Black Hmong minority, where there is time to look around the village and rest a little more before climbing towards the main road where your vehicle will meet you and drive you back to Sapa. Overnight in Sapa.


Accommodation: As Requested


Following breakfast at the hotel you will embark on a full day visit to a weekly market:
One of the highlights of any trip to Sapa is a visit to one of the many lively local markets that take place all over the region on a weekly basis. Here, hill tribe people from outlying villages, resplendent in their traditional headdresses, gather to buy and sell their wares, meet with friends and catch up on the latest gossip.


The market you will visit today is dependent on the day of the week, but you will have the opportunity to fully explore the market culture. Regional markets include: Can Cau market (Saturday only), Bac Ha, Muong Hum or Muong Khuong markets (Sunday only), Cao Son market (Wednesday only), Coc Ly market (Tuesday only) or Lung Khau Nhin market (Thursday only).


The markets are always colourful meeting places for the hill tribes that live in the villages and hamlets in the Vietnamese countryside. Minority people come down from the mountains to sell their produce, often making a long trek to come and sell or exchange their goods. Others may simply come in order to meet with friends and catch up on the latest news or gossip. With colourful traditional dress, the aroma of exotic herbs and spices, copious amounts of rice wine and numerous food stalls, you can be assured that market day in Vietnam truly is an unforgettable experience.


In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Lao Cai train station. Dinner is either at a local restaurant close to the railway station prior to boarding, or once on board. Overnight in an air-conditioned compartment.


Accommodation: 2 berths in a shared 4 berth sleeping compartment – Oriental Express Train


A private 2 berth is also available on request for a quote on Victoria Express Train


Upon arrival at Hanoi railway station in the early morning at approximately 5:30am, depending on arrival time, and your personal preference – you will be faced with a number of opportunities to experience Hanoi as it awakens.


You may either visit:
Quang Ba Flower Market – It is the biggest wholesale flower market in Hanoi and there are two definable shifts 2am –4am when the wholesale sellers are most active and 4am until daybreak for the higher priced flower dealers. This is a true cultural experience and a wonderful wake up for all the senses. Huge amounts of fresh flowers are deftly delivered by motorbike or bike, and tense negotiations take place in the early light. For your breakfast, you will join the locals here for a bowl of Pho (traditional noodle soup)… it is probably the best place in town for food, as they have to keep the workers nourished!


Tai Chi & Exercise at Hoan Kiem Lake – Early morning around Hoan Kiem Lake is where old and young alike limber up in the half-light to partake of their early fitness regime. The lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda sitting on a small island and within the small park areas here locals exercise alone or with a group, in fitness gear or pyjamas, and either with or without equipment/music, they have no worries or inhibitions about being seen, making this is a great place to people watch and witness another culture going about their daily routine. You may even choose the join them in a little Tai Chi. Around the lake are numerous coffee houses…if you need caffeine to keep you going, or even to get you started, try the local Vietnamese coffee, served cold with ice, or hot, it comes with or without condensed milk and is sure to hit the spot. A bowl of Pho here is the breakfast choice of champions!


Raising of the flag ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – Performed every day at 6am in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum this ceremony was first performed on May 19 2001, the 111th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh and it has been carried out every day since then, by soldiers of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Guard High Command, this flag raising ceremony at Ba Dinh Square is now a national ritual of Vietnam.


After breakfast you will be transported onward to downtown Hanoi, to start your trip to Halong Bay…


“Translated as the “Bay of Descending Dragons”, the legend says that dragons came to protect the people against the invaders and created the stunning limestone rocks rising from the sea. Set off on the adventure of a lifetime, sailing through the wonderful rocky islands and natural caves of this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site.”


With your fellow passengers, you may relax and enjoy the picturesque countryside during the drive to Halong Bay (Approx. 3.5 hours). A toilet/refreshment stop will be made along the way.


Upon arrival, you will board a traditional Vietnamese junk and make yourself at home as you cruise through the huge limestone rocks on the Bay’s emerald water. Enjoy a buffet lunch with Vietnamese dishes served while cruising through the bay, passing the most beautiful and quiet areas, such as Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Soi Sim beach, Coconut Three Island. The tiny islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and caves that make an excellent backdrop for swimming, or Kayaking (at an additional charge), or just lazing about on the deck. If the weather permits you will make a stop at beautiful Ti Top beach for swimming, or for the more adventurous a climb to the top of the mountain to enjoy a panoramic view of Halong Bay. Back on board, you will enjoy some free time while sailing to where you will anchor overnight. Dinner is served onboard followed by free time to relax before you sleep.


Accommodation: As Requested


*Exact itinerary is dependent on the cruise company chose.


Morning in Halong Bay…. The morning starts with the option of an early Tai Chi exercise on the upper deck of the junk, followed by a light breakfast. The cruise continues through the stunning scenery whilst at the same brunch is served.


You will sail back to the port where, following disembarkation, you transfer back to Hanoi, where you will check back into your hotel.


This afternoon you may enjoy the facilities of your hotel and Hanoi.


Accommodation: As Requested


Enjoy your final breakfast at the hotel, take a walk or get some last-minute souvenirs before your check out at midday, when your driver will meet you to assist with luggage and take you to the airport for your departure flight.


This destination experience is offered with your choice of either quality 4-star or carefully selected 5-star hotels for the majority of the itinerary. In some locations best available may be used, but this will be highlighted in your personal proposal.

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