Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Arrival flight information (own ticket, flight information to be advised)
Upon arrival, when you leave the airport terminal please look for your tour guide displaying a welcome signboard with your name on it. Transfer to your hotel.
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and the second largest city, is a fascinating blend which combines traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs with French flair, of the East and West. The fact that it was largely unscathed in the decades of war and is now going through a building boom makes it a rapidly developing city in Southeast Asia.
Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant to begin your food experience, starting with Spring Rolls and other local dishes.
Stay in Hanoi for 02 nights.
Accommodation: Hotel de L’Opera Hanoi (5-star)
29 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
(+84 24) 6282 5555
Day 2: The Must-see in Hanoi
After breakfast, start to explore Vietnam’s Capital – Hanoi.
This morning, we will drive to Ho Chi Minh’s Complex to visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh’s House-on-Stilts and One Pillar Pagoda.
The next stop will be Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university and the very first stop-over of any foreign tourist in Hanoi. It reveals the Hanoians’ spirit of studying in the past. It is also a famous historical and cultural relic nowadays.
Lunch will be served at KOTO, “Know One Teach One” center for homeless children, where the service is caterd and provided by the street-teenagers.
In the afternoon, visit the serene Museum of Ethnology, a 20 minute drive out of town that offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups (Museum of Ethnology is closed on Mondays).
Then back to Hanoi to enjoy a cyclo riding around the Old Quarters. Then, take a guided walking tour to walk along the 36 antique streets for insights into Hanoian’s ordinary life. Exploring local markets, hundreds of specialty shops selling silk clothing, lacquer ware, embroidered linens, furniture, bamboo…, hundreds of food stalls selling Hanoi specialties and so many more…
Dinner is on your own.
Day 3: The Countryside of Hanoi
About 1.5 hour drive from Hanoi will bring you to the green tea gardens of Thai minority people where green tea is grown everywhere bring the whole region a huge tea garden with green. Tea is produced right in their houses with traditional procedure.
Dzao minority people has their own way for treating diseases which is said as unique and effective. Visit to their herbal village to meet with a minority physician who is famous when many people come to be treated with cancer.
Then drive to Ky Son Moon Garden where your lunch is well prepared by the family.
After lunch, enjoy hand spa when having your fingers dipped in a fragant lime bowl and the traditional herbal hand massage.
Then enjoy biking on the village lanes to see daily activities of rural people in Northern Vietnam at a beautiful village of local people: the buffalos, the chickens, the kids are playing, farmers are working,… All make a beautiful picture of rural Vietnam.
Return to Moon Garden for happy hour. While waiting for your steam bath to be prepared, enjoy the local drink and taste some of local seasonal products such as maize, sweet potato, cassava, peanut,…
Traditional refreshing steam bath with fragant herbs then observing the Buddha worshipping of the house owner before having dinner with local dishes.
Enjoy your foot bath in warm water with ginger, salt and mugwort. Spend your night in this meek region to join the nature at a local house.
Day 4: Duong Lam – Hanoi
Waken up by the cocks and the birds in early morning and take a bike around the village to see farmers (who wake up very early) at their works: planting rice, vegetables, feeding buffalos, chickens,…
Return to the local house to enjoy a delicious breakfast with local specialties.
Visit to the nearby ancient village in which the value of a Vietnamese village has been well preserved: a village well, a village gate and hundreds of old houses made of laterite. Visit to a local house and talk to the owner of the structure of his ancient house, on his farming work and his rural life. He is more than happy to invite you a lunch with local specialties.
Biking around the village and the surrounding area, explore the ancient pagoda with the structure of a Vietnamese pagoda and many statues of Buddha before driving back to Hanoi.
Dinner is on your own.
Day 5: Hanoi – Hue
A short morning flight will bring you to Hue, used to be served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm.
Upon arrival, transfer to the city center and enjoy local special dishes at Khai Hoan Restaurant.
In the afternoon, explore the Citadel Complex of Hue, set up by Nguyen Dynasty from 1805 to 1945, is now one amongst the relics of the Hue Ancient Capital – the World Cultural Heritage, capturing much of tourists’ attention. They are Hue Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel.
Continue with a boat cruise to Thien Mu Pagoda, which is considered as the symbol of Hue.
Enjoy beautiful sunset by crusing on the romantic Perfume River, which is the subject for many famous Vietnamese poems.
Dinner is on your own tonight.
Stay in Hue for 02 nights.
Accommodation: Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa (5- star)
130 Minh Mang Road, Hue City, Vietnam
(+84 234) 388 5461
Pilgrimage Village boutique resort & spa is ideally located in the quiet countryside in rustic village setting surrounding by lush tranquil gardens, yet near to famous historical landmarks and the city of Hue. The resort embodies the subtle and unique connection of treasured traditional style and Vietnamese modern art vibrancy. The resort offers the harmony of soothing natural environment and local culture. Delicious meals, sound sleep, and the peaceful life of our quiet countryside combine to refresh your spirits and make you feel rejuvenated. Our warm-hearted staff thrive to make you feel at home.
Day 6: Hue
In the afternoon, visit King Khai Dinh’s Tomb, the last Mausoleum built during the Nguyen Dynasty. It is perhaps the most beautiful one of all the royal tombs. Situated on one of the Chau Mountains, amidst pine, cassava and sugarcane, King Khai Dinh’s Tomb is surrounded by natural beauty. Its architecture is a blend of East and West.
King Tu Duc’s Tomb, constructed between 1864 and 1867 is certainly one of the most impressive of the royal mausoleums. Emperor Tu Duc himself designed it. Inside, there are about 50 constructions including citadel and ramparts, a palace and royal tombs. The many buildings it comprises blend into the vegetation and the numerous pools and basins are in perfect harmony with the environment. Also there is Tinh Khiem lake where the Emperor used to come to enjoy the flowers, to compose poems and read books. The environment is full of pine trees and sweet-scented flowers.
See how the incense is made by local people before transferring to enjoy local special dishes at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, visit to visit Ngoc Son Palace, the place to worship Princess Ngoc Son, the daughter of King Dong Khanh. The palace has been well preserved by her descendants and is a good place to learn about traditional structure of a ruong house.
Mr. Phan Thuan An, the house owner and a Hue researcher, will welcome you and tell you more on feng shui in a Vietnamese house, especially in a big house like this.
And he is more than happy to host you dinner today so that you can enjoy a traditional Vietnamese meal.
Day 7: Hue – Danang
In the morning, climb on your bike to explore Hue’s countryside by passing over small streams, riding through pretty villages and stopping to chat with locals fishing, farming ducks and going about daily life.
Visit a family to learn how they make rice wine. Then make a stop at local school (on school days) and walk around Lady Pagoda to know more about Hue Buddhism.
Return to the city center and have lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Danang over the scenic Hai Van Pass – meaning Pass of the Ocean Clouds – which boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the central coastline from the summit.
Visit the Marble Mountains, is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngu Hanh Son ward, south of Da Nang city in Vietnam. The five 'mountains' are named after the five elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). All of the mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels, and it is possible to climb to the summit of one of the peaks. Several Buddhist sanctuaries can also be found within the mountains, making this a famous tourist destination.
Then check-in to your resort in Danang.
Dinner is on your own.
Stay in Danang for 03 nights.
Accommodation: Furama Danang Resort (5- star)
Garden Superior Room
105 Vo Nguyen Giap St., Ngu Hanh Son Dist., Danang
(+84 236) 384 7333
Day 8: Hoi An Ancient Town and the Countryside
After breakfast, drive to Hoi An, with more than 2,000 years history, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th to the 10th century and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries - and the foreign influences are discernible to this day.
Start to explore this beautiful town by a guided walking tour through the ancient streets and visit the must-see spots in this quaint town.
Phung Hung Ancient House, which used to be a shop-house of the formers merchants as well as a city house of special value built in the middle of the 19th century; Museum of Hoi An, a harmonious cultures combination of Vietnam, Japan & China; Kwan Kung Temple.
Continue to visit Japanese Covered Bridge, which was built in the 16th century, consisting a Japanese pagoda to protect the sailors on the northern side, the statues of two dogs at the western end, and two monkeys at the eastern end; Hoi An Market, and Workshop of Traditional Handicrafts
End of the tour at a Lantern Workshop, the most famous lantern workshop in the town. Under instruction of the artisans, try to make a lantern yourselves and bring it home.
Lunch is served at Home Restaurant.
In late afternoon, start discovering Hoi An countryside by a fun buffalo cart ride passing by rice paddies and vegetable farms at Cam Thanh Village.
There are so many photo opportunities here: lush green rice paddies, water buffalos, Vietnamese farmers working on the fields, ducks swimming along the canals, etc.
Upon arrival at the wharf, board a local river boat and start cruising down Hoi An River. When you reach a good spot, hop off the boat along the shore and try your hand at casting the Vietnamese fishing nets.
Casting the nets takes practice, but the fisherman will offer their years of experience and advice. Then step into the unique round basket boats and learn how to paddle them. Later, re-board the larger boat and enjoy light grilled seafood dishes and a refreshing cool drink as you head up the river.
Drive back to your hotel after the tour.
Day 9: The Beautiful Beach & the Sun
Spend whole day to enjoy the sea and resort’s amenities.
Lunch and dinner are on your own.
Day 10: Danang – Saigon
After breakfast, transfer to airport for flight to Saigon via VN#115 @ 10:35 / 12:05.
Upon arrival in Saigon, greeted at the airport and transferred to the city center for lunch at Ngon Restaurant to enjoy delicious street foods.
Then take a visit to the must-see places in the bustling and hustling city includes the former Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and Ben Thanh Market.
Reunification Conference Hall (the Former Presidential Palace), is surrounded by Royal Palm trees, has an airy and open atmosphere with 1960s architecture and is the site where North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the front gates and invaded the compound, officially ending the Vietnam War and the American involvement in Vietnam on April 30th, 1975. It was once home to the South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem and was designed by Paris trained Vietnamese architect Ngo Viet Thu.
Built between 1877 and 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral is named after the Virgin Maria and is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s best examples of classical French colonial architecture. Its two 40m towers, topped with iron spires rises up romantically from the heart of Saigon’s government quarter and dominates the city’s skyline. Remarkably every stone used in its creation was shipped from France to Vietnam. Peaceful green walkways lined with shade trees and park benches lead up to Notre Dame Cathedral’s sacred setting.
Saigon Central Post Office is located in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Constructed between 1886 and 1891 by renowned architect Gustave Eiffel when Vietnam was part of French Indochina, the vaulted roof and arched windows are reminiscent of early European railway stations. Today, it is still a functioning post office and is a significant symbol of the city.
Ben Thanh Market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon and an icon of the city. It is located in a vivacious marketplace in the downtown area. It is popular with visitors seeking locally created handicrafts, beautiful textiles, 24 hour tailor made suits, and interesting souvenirs, as well as delicious local cuisine.
Check-in to your hotel after the visit. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Accommodation: Le Meridien Saigon (5- star)
Premier Classic Cityview Room
3C Ton Duc Thang St., Dist. 1, Ho Chi Minh City
(+84 28) 6263 6688
Day 11: Cooking Experience & the Underground World
An interesting day is awaiting you. Your Chef will pick you up at your hotel to bring you to the cooking center in the suburb of Ho Chi Minh City for an intensive cooking class. You firstly will visit the Vietnamese Medicine Garden and Rice Field Area and your Chef will introduce you on the usage of each medicine and how to combine them in Vietnamese dishes
Continue to visit the Mushroom House where you will be see how some types of mushroom are grown and collect them for your class today.
Most ingredients will be collected from the garden by yourself. Touch and enjoy how the feeling of a collector is. You will learn some typical Vietnamese street dishes including Phở, Pan Cake,….
You will then enjoy what you cooked for your lunch today.
After lunch, drive to Cu Chi Tunnels which is nearby. Cu Chi Tunnels is located in an area that was controlled by the Vietcong through its now legendary system of tunnels. The underground network provided sleeping quarters, meeting rooms, hospitals, and other social rooms.
You will get inside an underground house to explore the underground world of the tunnels.
You also have chance to shoot with real gun and bullet (on own).
Drive back to Saigon and drop off at your hotel.
Dinner is on your own. Enjoy nightlife of this bustling & hustling city on your own way.
Day 12: Saigon – Mekong Delta – River Cruise Experience
This morning, you will be transferred to Cai Be for an overnight experience onboard on Mekong River.
Upon arrival, embark Bassac Cruise and depart towards Cho Lach on Tien Giang River, a branch of Mekong River.
Lunch is served while cruising.
The Bassac slips into the Chợ Lách Canal, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the river traffic, between markets and churches, a unique opportunity for a glimpse of the very varied life on the banks as well as on the water.
Visit of a village on the banks of Mang Thit River, an opportunity to appreciate the way of life and hospitality of the local inhabitants. Visit of the orchard or rice fields nearby.
Back to the cruise and enjoy the sunset on the deck. Dinner is served while the Bassac is cruising on Mang Thit River.
The Bassac sets anchor just downstream from the little Tra On Floating Market, for the night.
Day 13: Mekong Delta – Saigon
You may get up for breakfast as early as 6:30AM, as the ship is resuming its cruise the Tra On Floating Market. The ship then departs towards Can Tho.
Arrival in Cai Rang Floating Market, check out and transfer onto a local boat to visit the floating market, then a noodle factory and return to the Ninh Kieu Pier.
End of services by mid-morning on shore at Can Tho.
**Please note that you will leave the Bassac for good upon boarding the small boat for the last visit, typically about 8:30AM.
Picked up by your vehicle then drive to Sa Dec for a visit to the famous flower village on Tien River.
Then visit to the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, the "house of the Chinese” described in novel L’AMANT. You will have chance to listen to the romantic love story of the owner with the novelist Marguerite.
Enjoy lunch at the ancient house with Mekong dishes.
After lunch, visit to Sa Dec Market before transferring back to Saigon.
Dinner is on your own.
Day 14: Saigon Departure
Your days in Vietnam end when your guide transfers you to Tan Son Nhat International Airport for your flight home. Bring home a peace mind for a new start.