Halong Bay Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 234

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi, perhaps the most graceful, atmospheric and exotic capital city in Asia. Airport to hotel arrival transfer. After hotel check in an hour or so is spent exploring the quixotic web of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’. Our tour of the area is undertaken by a quintessentially Vietnamese experience from aboard a cyclo(rickshaw). Overnight La Dole Vita Hotel - superior rooms.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay

This morning a scenic drive leads us to the stunningly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Boarding our traditional wooden junk boat we cruise the emerald waters soaking up the panoramic vista of the thousand or so karst limestone islands that stud the bay. Later opt for a refreshing swim in one of the many sheltered coves before taking row boats to the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng. Tonight, there's a Vientnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served. Overnight Bhaya Classic - deluxe cabins.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 3: Halong Bay - Hue

Start the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs, we sail back to port. 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. Overnight Reunification Express - four berth shared cabins

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 4: Hue

Arriving into Hue we have a restaurant 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, the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Then 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. Afternoon check in and Overnight Duy Tan Hotel - superior rooms.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 5: Hue - Hoi An

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer from Hue to Hoi An. On the way we stop in Danang, for a refreshment break at Lang Co beach, one of the World’s most beautiful bays. Continue on to Danang to visit the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Afterwards, head to the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town. Check-in to your hotel. Enjoy some free time to explore through the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and more. Overnight Hoi An Beach resort - Deluxe Garden view rooms.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 6: Hoi An

This morning enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore. Overnight Hoi An Beach resort - Deluxe Garden view rooms.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An

Free day to relax and or explore at your leisure. Overnight Hoi An Beach resort - Deluxe Garden view rooms.

A local man in front of an ancient building in Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An

Today enjoy a full day tour which gives you an insight into the lives of the farming and fishing communities in this beautiful region of Vietnam. Cycle out into the countryside through emerald green rice paddies to arrive at the village of Tra Que, famous for its sweet scented green vegetables that spice up Hoi An’s famous delicacies such as Cao Lau and Mi Quang. On arrival learn about the history of the village and the cultivation of the vegetables. Continue with a walk around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and planting some crops. Finish off your village experience with a fun cooking demonstration. Overnight Hoi An Beach resort - Deluxe Garden view rooms.

An old lady farming at Tra Que Organic Farm near Hoi An

Day 9: Hoi An - Saigon

Free at your leisure until you transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. (Flight Danang – Saigon at 19.40 - VN1321 arriving at 20:50) Overnight Le Duy hotel - Superior rooms.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 10: Saigon - Can Tho

Early this morning drive to Cai Be and board a traditional Sampan boat at around 10:00am. First stop on your scenic Mekong Delta cruise, is the colourful floating market of Cai Be, where traders in barges full of fruits and vegetables sell there goods. Continue cruising along the scenic Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be, where you will discover the rural lifestyle and daily activities of the delta inhabitants. After a tasty lunch at Le Long Ganier restaurant (wooden home), your excursion ends mid-afternoon. After a lunch of local delights, drive on to Can Tho, the hub of the Mekong Delta and its largest city. Overnight Kim Tho hotel - Superior rooms.

Halong Bay at sunset

Day 11: Can Tho - Saigon

After breakfast, cruise some of the narrow and picturesque canals and waterways by small boat. Visit the Cai Rang floating market with its hordes of small vendor boats. Take in the sultry scenery and witness the daily activities of the locals who live along these Mekong canals. After lunch, drive back to Saigon. Overnight Le Duy hotel - Superior rooms.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 12: Saigon

Saigon City tour, Our first stop is at the Reunification Palace, the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. The nearby Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the city’s major landmarks. Afternoon visit Giac Lam Pagoda – Saigon’s oldest pagoda dated back to 1744 of which the architecture, layout, and ornamentation remain almost unaltered. Final visit of the day is to Ben Thanh Market – a fantastic place for bargains of every kind! Overnight Le Duy hotel - Superior rooms.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 13: Saigon

Morning drive to see Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh, which is refered to a “Walt Disney fantasia of the East”. The religion is a hybrid of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Christianity. Continue on our full day excursion to the Cu Chi tunnels. Here you can go underground to explore the vast network of tunnels and hideouts used by Viet Cong guerrilla fighters, see booby traps, trap doors or test your skill with an AK 47 at the firing range. Return to Saigon in the evening. Overnight Le Duy hotel - Superior rooms.

A street trader in Saigon by William Cho

Day 14: Saigon

Today offers free time in Saigon till your departure transfer to the airport.