If you like the itinerary below please quote REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 239 when enquiring for further details.
Alternatively you may like modify this trip with your own Holiday Wish List
Welcome to Hanoi, perhaps the most graceful, atmospheric and exotic capital city in Asia. Airport to hotel arrival transfer. The remains of the day offer free time for you to explore the wide tree lined avenues, beautiful lakes, ancient pagoda’s and thriving, historic old city, all easily navigated on foot.
Today, we visit transfer to Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam built in 11th century which reveals the Vietnamese spirit of study in the past! Following is a visit to The Presidential Palace (formerly Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), Ho Chi Minh’s house-on-stilt and nearby One Pillar Pagoda. We continue our drive out of the city centre for a special lunch. A cooking demonstration at a local house where the Chef will show us how to prepare some Vietnamese cuisine's. In the afternoon, we visit Vietnam History Museum, enjoy a leisurly walk to nearby Hanoi Opera House and a walking tour of the Old Quarter. Stop over at a local coffee shop before finishing our day by attending a thousand year old Water puppet Show.
After breakfast, transfer to Halong Bay to check-in at our private cruise center in Tuan Chau and embark on Bhaya Classic for a welcome cocktail followed by a cruise briefing. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as Bhaya Classic heads to Bai Tu Long Bay passing Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets and Vung Vieng fishing village. Visit the fishing village by local rowing boat (1 hour). The vessel cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien. Happy Hour & Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck. Sumptuous set-dinner onboard. Enjoy the movie or join our staff at the reception for squid fishing.
Start your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck. Bhaya Classic weighs anchor to cruise the Bay. Transfer to Bhaya Spirit for Lan Ha Bay excursion. Cycling on Cat Ba Island if weather permits or guided kayaking and swimming at Three Peach Beach, a pristine natural beach lapped by the turquoise waters. Continue your discovery of Ho Ba Ham Islet, the most remote point in Lan Ha Bay and bordering the Gulf of Tonkin. Possibility of kayaking through an amazing tunnel under a karst mountain if time permits. Return to Bhaya Classic. The vessel cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien. Happy Hour & Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck. Enjoy the movie or join our staff at the reception for squid fishing.
Start your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck while complimentary tea & coffee are served. Bhaya Classic weighs anchor to cruise through the Bay passing beautiful spots like Trong (Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin) and Me Cung Caves, Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet, etc. Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot). Return to the Bhaya Classic for a buffet brunch is served onboard. The vessel cruises leisurely back to harbor. Disembark at our cruise center in Tuan Chau we transfer to hotel in Hanoi. A little time will be given to freshen up before boarding the our train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue.
Arriving into Hue we have a hotel breakfast before embarking on a sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, whose 21m high tower has become something of a symbol for Hue and the citadel. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin. In the countryside lies the Royal Tombs of the Nguyen kings, here we’ll view the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh. As the sun sets opt for a cruise in a long boat along the gentle Perfume River, beautifully illuminated at night.
Today we take the scenic Hai Van Pass (Road of the Ocean Clouds), which offers magnificent views of beaches to one side and lush hills to the other. En route we stop for a walk along China beach and visit peaks of the Marble Mountain. Reaching the summit of Thuy Son Mountain (Mountain of Water), we enter the naturally formed grottoes-cum- Buddhist sanctuaries. The enormous cathedral like Huyen Khrong cave is illuminated by shards of light and the towering seated Buddha carved from the rock face is spectacular. Onward to Hoi An to enjoy a short walking tour of the enchanting historical town, we’ll visit the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
A bicycle ride into the countryside, leads us to Tra Que village. Here,we discover age old farming practises and learn about traditional medicine. It’s a hands on experience today where we’ll assist with tending the fields and gardens and cooking lunch.
In the morning, take a half-day excursion to My Son Sanctuary. You will get up very early in the morning to My Son to watch sunrise. My Son is s religious site dating back to the Kingdom of Champa, and also a burial place of Cham royals and national heroes. The My Son temple complex is one of the foremost remaining examples of Hindu influence in South East Asia and is the most prominent heritage site of this nature in Vietnam.
Free day to spend in Hoi An town or on the beach.
After breakfast, transfer to Danang airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh. Upon arrival, you will get transfer to Saigon and then to Cu Chi Tunnel. We watch a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed. Also on displaying are various mantrapsand the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb cratersmade by 500 pound bombs dropped by B52 bombers. We then spend the next hour exploring the maze of tunnels to see the first-hand how the Viet Cong communists were able to survive in this underground network before returning to Saigon.
Drive to the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam, the fertile Mekong Delta is famous for its abundant harvests of tropical fruits, flowers and rice, as well as it fantastic views while boating along the canals. Taking our sampan from Vinh Long we’ll cruise Cai Be’s colourful and lively floating markets and continue downstream through the maze of waterways visiting local cottage industries that produce popcorn, coco candies and paper along the way. Lunch is served today in a traditional wooden home on Dong Hoa Hiep Island.
Early today we visit Cai Rang famous floating market before driving back to Saigon. Once called the Pearl of the Orient, modern Saigon is a thriving metropolis on the move. Sleek sky scrapers, gourmet restaurants, designer malls and swanky bars and spas are scattered between ancient pagodas, colonial era landmarks and lively street markets. Our walking tour of Saigon includes visits to the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Post office and the sombering War Remnants Museum. Evening at leisure.
Day at leisure in Saigon.
Departure transfer to the airport.