This magical 10 day adventure takes us from busy Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the south to the tranquility of Halong Bay up in the north. On this magical trip you will definitely experience the ‘The Best of Vietnam’ but in luxury – all the way!
Each of the hotels are handpicked for their style, luxury and location. You will get to experience all the best of what Vietnam has to offer and more.
Vietnam is a land of contrasts and you’ll experience a country rich in history, gain an insight into Vietnamese family life, learn about Vietnamese produce and enjoy a culinary class, enjoy a one day cycling tour through villages for more cultural insights – you’ll do all this from the lush agriculture regions of Vietnam, to the colourful cities and the bays and waters in and around this beautiful country.
If you’re a foodie then this holiday will be a culinary delight as we dine on some of the best and freshest food in Asia. If you have a thirst for culture and new experiences then join us for this wonderful 10 day tour – plus we offer you an optional four day tour at the end to visit the mountainous region of Sapa – in luxury of course!
- Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and the historic Cu Chi Tunnels
- The Mekong Delta, life and soul of Indochina
- Hue the Imperial city of Vietnam
- Hoi An, everyone’s favourite city in Vietnam
- Hanoi’s Old Quarter
- Tranquil Halong Bay, experienced over two days and with an overnight stay
- Sapa – optional 4 day tour
- 10 nights accommodation in 4 and 4.5 star hotels
- Breakfast daily
- Meals as specified below (B, L, D)
- Transportation and touring as per the intinerary including all entrance fees
- Fully escorted with a professional tour leader
- Our Accommodation:
- Saigon – Renaissance Riverside
- Hue – Ana Mandara Hue
- Hoi An – Life Heritage Resort
- Hanoi – Silk Path Hotel
- Halong Bay- Indochina Sails
- Airfares and taxes (these are approximately $798 plus $420 taxes with Vietnam Airlines routing Sydney – Saigon – Danang – Hanoi – Sydney)
- Visas (we can arrange these for you)
- Personal expenses
DAY 1 – Monday 1 July 2013
SYDNEY – SAIGON
Depart from Sydney on Vietnam Airlines VN772 at 11.15 am
Arrive in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) at 4.15 pm
We will all meet at the airport and travel together to Vietnam. When we arrive in Saigon we will be transferred to our hotel and enjoy a friendly welcome drink together as we discuss the amazing itinerary ahead.
DAY 2 – Tuesday 2 July 2013
SAIGON CITY & CU CHI TUNNELS (B)
Saigon is steeped in Vietnam war history and it will give you a great insight into the strength and resilience of the Vietnamese people.
After brekkie, our group will meet with our local guide for our first tour of Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City). We will walk, to and around the historic landmarks taking in the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (previously named Rue Catinat), past the Rex Hotel where the foreign journos reported on the war, we’ll check out the famous Municipal Theatre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Stop at the site of the former US Embassy then tour inside the impressive Re-Unification Palace (monument to the end of the war) and the very interesting displays at the War Remnants Museum.
We then head to the city’s bustling Chinese district, Cholon and visit the Binh Tay wholesale market and a colourful Chinese temple dedicated Thien Hau, the sea goddess. Later that afternoon, we journey west from Saigon to Cu Chi’s famous tunnels. These tunnels were used by the communist guerrillas during the Vietnam War. This network of tunnels spans over 250km and covers three levels underground – truly remarkable how the guerillas lived and how determined they were for victory.
We then head back to our lovely hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner at Saigon BBQ.
DAY 3 – Wednesday 3 July 2013
SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA (B,L)
Today our local guide takes us on a day tour from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho in the south where we commence our exploration of the Mekong Delta. One of the most fertile places on the planet, this area is known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam. This is where the majority of Vietnam’s rice and tropical fruits are cultivated. From here, we travel by boat to an island located in the middle of the Mekong River where we visit a fruit orchard and explore the winding narrow canals by sampan. Our special cultural experience for the day will be at the home of a local family where we enjoy some tea or rice wine for a truly unique cultural experience.
Lunch is included after which we head back to our hotel mid to late afternoon for some free time exploring or just relaxing.
DAY 4 – Thursday 4 July 2013
SAIGON – DANANG (B)
Hue is the Imperial City where the last emperors of Vietnam lived.
Today we fly out to Danang where we are picked up and taken to Hue for a most interesting half day city tour.
We explore the impressive home of the Nguyen Dynasty Emperors – the Citadel and the imperial tombs and see why this city has been an inspiration to Vietnam’s most respected poets. Sadly, much of the Citadel was destroyed in 1968 but is gradually being restored.
DAY 5 – Friday 5 July 2013
HUE – HOI AN (B)
Today we leave Hue and venture to Hoi An where we fall in love with this ancient trading town. It is famous for its taylor’s and cafes and you will then be able to see for yourself why this Hoi An is almost everyone’s favourite city in Vietnam.
Part of the reason for it’s popularity is it’s quaintness – Hoi An is a walking city – where not cars or bikes are allowed. Interestingly scooters are allowed only on certain days of the week which give the city a unique flavour.
The drive to Hoi An from Hue is just as interesting as it takes us over the spectacular Hai Van Pass where we learn about the Cham civilisation, climb Marble Mountain and visit China Beach and the old US R&R site called Non Nuoc’ for a swim. This road offers superb coastal views on clear days. We arrive in Hoi An by mid-afternoon.
Hoi An was once Vietnam’s main trading hub over many centuries and the history and architecture is largely preserved. You can see the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders everywhere from it’s buildings to it’s cuisine. Our guide will take us on a walking tour through the quitet streets of enchanting Hoi An where we visit a traditional ancient house, the Hoi An Museum, a Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge.
DAY 6 – Saturday 6 July 2013
HOI AN CYCLING EXPERIENCE (B,L)
Today we check out the small villages and river islands surrounding Hoi An by bike. After brekkie we head out of town over a series of river crossings by boat and bamboo bridges to experience some of the small islands in this lower stretch of the Thu Bon River. Along the way we will see a local ice making factory, traditional wooden boat yard and an interesting brick kiln factory. As we continue cycling along narrow lanes and small paths we will explore the islands further including a woven mat making village, before stopping for a yummy home-cooked lunch in the gardens of local family’s house. A short cycle and final boat trip takes us back to the mainland and back to our comfy and stylish lodging for the evening.
DAY 7 – Sunday 7 July 2013
HOI AN – COOKING DEMONSTRATION (B,L)
Today is for the foodies who want to learn more about how the Vietnamese find the freshest ingredients and how these culinary delights are prepared. I have no doubt this will interest everyone on the tour!
We start the morning with a visit to Hoi An’s colourful market and experience its amazing sights, sounds and aromas. Walking through the market we’ll get to interact with the local sellers and learn about some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. We then hop on the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely 25 minute cruise along the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Cooking School.
When we get there we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking class is an interesting and fun way to learn about the local cuisine – it runs for about an hour and 15 minutes, and includes demonstrations from the school’s chefs as well as the chance for us to help prepare some dishes. Included in the demonstration is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). Of course, we get to sample the culinary delights afterwards for lunch.
DAY 8 – Monday 8 July 2013
HOI AN – HANOI (B)
Today we head to Danang airport for our flight to Hanoi where we learn more about the great man Ho Chi Minh, we visit his house of stilts and his final resting place.
Our guide will take us on a half day city tour with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh quarter to learn more about this great Vietnamese leader. On this tour we also visit the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s first university now dedicated to Confucian worship. We also make a visit to ‘Hanoi Hilton’ – the nickname given to the place where U.S pilots shot down over North Vietnamese airspace were imprisoned during the Vietnam War – now a museum.
DAY 9 – Tuesday 9 July 2013
HANOI – HALONG BAY (B,L,D)
Halong Bay is a UNESCO listed site, preserved to protect the 3,000 or so beautiful islands. Today we experience the magic of Halong Bay with a 2 day / 1 night deluxe cruise.
Our driver will collect us for the our hour journey east (approx. 170km) to Hon Gai, the gateway to amazing Halong Bay. Halong Bay is home to over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea and is considered Vietnam’s premier natural wonder. On the way we’ll see the busy workers farming their rice fields using traditional methods of cultivation. After boarding the boat, we will enjoy a delicious seafood lunch as we head out to the bay. The afternoon is spent cruising amongst the islets, stopping to explore grottoes and enjoy a swim in the clean, warm waters of the bay. We also stop at Titop Mountain where we can get the most spectacular view of the bay. Dinner is enjoyed as we watch the sun set.
DAY 10 – Wednesday 10 July 2013
HALONG BAY – HANOI (B)
After breakfast, we continue cruising among the many spectacular islets and visit several more fascinating grottoes. Finally leave the bay and head back towards Baichay wharf, transferring back to Hanoi. We arrive at our hotel by late afternoon.
DAY 11 – Thursday 11 July 2013
DEPART HANOI (B)
We depart Hanoi for our flight back to Australia.
For those that would like to add on a little extra, exploring Sapa in Style is highly recommended.
For those of our group that would like to add this extra onto their holiday, you will depart the group on Day 10 (Wednesday 10 July) for this wonderful rail & stay journey. This is at an additional cost of $624 per person twin share.
- Sapa is a beautiful hillside setting where you’ll meet the hilltribes
- You’ll travel on the refurbished Victora train with it’s old world design and charm
- Arriving in Sapa you will stay at the Victoria Sapa Resort, a beautiful mountain retreat
Inclusions: 1 night hotel stay, 2 night’s overnight on the Victoria train (in a 4 berth cabin), breakfast daily, private touring, touring guides and return transfers
Call our office today to book yourself in on this fantastic tour! Telephone (02) 8814 7911.