Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) (Flight TBA)
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport in Saigon, meet with our guide waiting for you at the exit gate with welcome signboard and transfer to your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon
Day 2: Saigon
Sleep over a jetlag. Enjoy a late breakfast. Afternoon, embark on a city tour of Saigon to visit the Notre Dame cathedral, the former Presidential Palace and the war remnants Museum. Evening welcome drink and dinner on the Rooftop café of the Rex hotel, a familiar landmark for Americans by a nickname five oclock follies during the Vietnam War.
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon (B, D)
Day 3: Saigon Cu Chi & Tay Ninh
After breakfast, check out and leave Saigon for a visit to the former operational areas of the 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning). We will first stop at the old Tan Son Nhat West Gate, where a violent battle between the Viet Cong and the Air Cav took place during the Tet Offensive 1968. We continue our drive along HW22 (formerly HW1) over the Hoc Mon bridge to Cu Chi. At Cu Chi, visit the Military Museum before driving through the former Cu Chi base camp, the Headquarters of the 25th Infantry Division, followed by a visit to the VCs underground tunnels and the Cu Chi Military Cemetery in the Ho Bo woods. Lunch is at Ben Nay restaurant. We drive through the Boi Loi woods to HW26 getting to Black Virgin mountain to ride the gondola chairlift up to the temples built on the slope looking over the Dau Tieng Reservoir and Tay Ninh province. Check in to hotel. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Hotel in Tay Ninh (B, L, D)
Day 4: Tay Ninh Saigon via Dau Tieng Ben Cat Lai Khe An Loc
Early morning drive through the Iron Triangle, the former operational areas of the 1st Division of the Big Red One. We first stop at Dau Tieng base camp, then continue driving through the (former) Michelin rubber plantation passing the Phu Cuong, An Loc and Lai Khe bases, which had been the 1st Division headquarters during the war, the 173rd Airborne Divisions base. Lunch is at a local restaurant. On the way back to Saigon, drive through former Phu Loi base, before returning to Saigon for the evening.
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon (B, L)
Day 5: Saigon Can Tho
After breakfast, set out on an excursion to My Tho in the Mekong Delta. Enjoy a 2-hour scenic drive passing paddy fields and tributaries. On arrival, board our private motorized boat for a river cruise on the upper part of the Mekong River for a taste of agriculture life on the mighty Mekong River visiting a fish raising village then entering Vam Xep canal with beautiful scenery of water palm. Disembark the boat to stroll around Quoi An fruit orchard visiting a fruit dry kilns and coconut craft home. Cheer up your trip with a short horse-drawn cart ride along the village road. Upon arrival at Ben Truc Phong Phu garden, sample Mekong delta fruit while enjoy local traditional music, opportunity to interact with the local people to understand the local daily river life, followed by a row boat to explore the water palm canals. Lunch on an island. Back to the big boat and transfer back to My Tho. Continue another 3-hour drive to Can Tho for the night.
Accommodation: Hotel in Can Tho (B, L)
Day 6: Can Tho Saigon
Rising to the sounds of the Delta coming to life for another day, we breakfast and start our trip with a boat cruise on sparking streams along the endless waterway of mighty Mekong River to the colorful Cai Rang floating market. There will be hundreds of boats loaded with fruits, vegetables and fish jostling for trade. Sellers advertise their wares by crying out across the waters. We visit a green lush orchard in the backwater canal and are treated to a delicious tropical fruits with an opportunity to interact with local people. Lunch is en route at a local restaurant. Drive back to Saigon in the afternoon.
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon (B, L)
Day 7: Saigon – Danang (Flight TBA, preferrably mid morning)
After breakfasts, transfer to the airport for flight to Danang. On arrival, youll then drive to Hoi An. Nestled on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An is a charming small town with an eccentric mix of western and eastern-influenced architecture. During the 17-18th centuries, under the Nguyen Lords, Hoi An was a flourishing international trading port that was visited by many westerners. Most of Hoi Ans lovely pagodas contain elements from three religions Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Transfer to hotel for check in. Lunch and Dinner is on own.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An (B)
Day 8: Hoi An
Morning, we enjoy a walking tour of Hoi An including the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation founded in 1786 (the Phuc Kien Pagoda), Tan Ky House built almost 200 years ago. Meet with our chef at the central market to have an overview about food and raw materials in Hoi An before going to Cau Do for a cooking demonstration. Lunch with what we have made. Afterwards, take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River to a village of woodworkers and boatbuilding families on Cam Kim Island, opportunity to interact with craftsmen to understand their effort to preserve their traditional craft over generations. If desired, we continue to visit Cam Chau lantern making village, opportunity to interact with the local villagers and try making a nice lantern on your own. Afternoon is at leisure for your own further exploration of Hoi An ancient town or follow your guide to visit the nearby Tra Que village where the locals grow organic herbs for supply of Hoi An.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An (B, L)
Day 9: Hoi An Hue
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive from Hoi An going past the skyline of Danang city and Hai Van cloudy pass before descending into the spectacular Lang Co fishing village. Continue the drive to Hue, the former Royal capital where the Nguyen Dynasty once ruled Vietnam during the period 1802-1945. Begin the sightseeing in Hue by visiting one of the most breath-taking royal tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh located on Chau E mountain. Then take a dragon boat upstream boat cruise on the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda, the most religious monument of Hue, visit the octagonal tower and interact with the monks about their life and experiences in growing rice and vegetables at the pagoda. After this visit, enjoy lunch with a Hue family inside a garden home. After lunch, check in hotel before we continue to visit the Imperial Citadel complex. We end the day with a walking tour through the colorful Dong Ba Market. This evening you will have your guide at disposal to experience the local food. Dinner is on your own.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hue. (B, L)
Day 10: Hue Hanoi (mid AM flight)
Enjoy a leisure breakfast until transfer to the airport for flight to Hanoi, the current capital of Vietnam. Upon arrival, meet with another guide and transfer to downtown for a city tour to include the most ancient Tran Quoc pagoda by the beautiful West Lake. We will visit local food market where you can learn about Vietnamese ingredients and cuisine. Have lunch with a Hanoian family. After lunch visit the wonderful Ethnology Museum to understand about Vietnams 54 ethnic groups. In the evening we will enjoy Water Puppet Show, the unique art of Northern Vietnam.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi (B)
Day 11: Hanoi – Sapa
After having breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to Sapa. On arrival, lunch before check in hotel. Afternoon, drive to the top of Cat Cat village for you to trek on a small trail with spectacular view and then gradually descend to Cat Cat village, where you will have lunch nearby a waterfall. You also will enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. You eventually arrive in Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where you can take a rest in a nice spot nearby the beautiful river before climbing toward a road, where you are transferred back to Sapa.
Accommodation: Hotel in Sapa (B, L)
Day 12: Special markets around Sapa (please schedule this day to be on Saturday, Sunday, or Tuesday)
After breakfast, drive to visit a colorful market of either Bac Ha, Muong Khuong or Muong Hum (on Sundays), Coc Ly Market (on Tuesdays); or Can Cau market (on Saturdays). You will spend all the morning to discover the market. In the afternoon, drive back to Hanoi for the night.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi (B, L)
Day 13: Hanoi Halong
After breakfast, meet and transfer around 3,5 hours to Halong City with a coffee break en route at Sao Do handicap center. Arrive by noontime at the dock; get on board your deluxe junk with a welcome drink is waiting. Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch while cruising through the bay recalling the famous LIndochine film and the charming actress Catherine Deneuve. Later afternoon, opportunity to do swimming at one of the beaches. The rest of the day follows the cruise schedule. Around 0630pm, docking for overnight and enjoy dinner on board.
Accommodation: onboard in Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Day 14: Halong Hanoi
Get up early to catch the sunrise on the bay and enjoy Tai Chi on the sun-deck. After breakfast, we depart for a visit to the splendid Sung Sot grotto with a quick glimpse at the nearby fishing village. Enjoy early lunch on board while cruising back through Halong bay to the pier. Arrive at the pier around 10:30am and its time to say goodbye to the crew. Transfer back to Hanoi for the night.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi (B, L, D)
Day 15: Hanoi
Continue with city tour of this charming capital Hanoi with ochre-colored colonial style buildings, tree-lined avenues and many lakes. Set out to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, an imposing monument made of generous amount of marble and granite. This is where the preserved body of Uncle Ho may be viewed, continue visiting the lotus-shaped – One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot). Then visit the first University of Vietnam founded in 1070 – Temple of Literature.
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi (B)
Day 16: Departure
Free until transfer to the airport for departure flight. End of services.
· Accommodation with daily breakfast
· Regional English speaking guides
· Private transfers and transportation on tour
· Entrance fees and boat trips
· Air-tickets: SGN-DAD; HUI-HAN
· Meals as specified (no drinks at meal)
· Water & cold towel on sightseeing days
· Special visits & arrangements as indicated
· Vietnam visa
· Meals and all drinks at meals
· Other flights & other airport taxes
· Hotel early check in / Late check out
· Overweight luggage
· Personal expenses
· Travel insurance
· Tips & gratuities
· Other services not listed in inclusive column
Check-in time at all hotels is 2PM and check-out time is 12PM.