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Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, full of culture and history. We are met at Noi Bai airport by our local guide and learn a bit about this fascinating country on the way to our hotel. We enjoy a welcome dinner at local restaurant.
We start our day with the Vietnam History Museum followed by the Hanoi Opera House for an opportunity to take photos. This is one of the most beautiful French architectural buildings left in Hanoi. Following this we visit Tran Quoc pagoda, one of the most ancient and charming pagodas in Hanoi. We then take a short drive out of the city centre for a special lunch. It is not only a meal but cooking demonstration at a local house. The Chef will demonstate and give you the chance to prepare rice pancakes before joining in a delightful meal in the garden.We continue our trip with “Vietname Museum of Ethnology” to study about the rich culture of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. We will end the day with “thousand year old” Water puppet Show.
This morning we leave our hotel for Halong Bay where we embark on a Bhaya Classic Cruise. For lunch we enjoy a Vietnamese 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. We visit the village by local rowing boat, then return to the vessel for free time. Optional activities include Kayaking, swimming, sunbathing or a traditional massage. This afternoon cruise through the bay to its anchorage near Ho Dong Tien. The evening’s entertainment includes happy hour & a Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the Sundeck before a set dinner menu on board. After dinner retire to your cabin 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. After breakfast The 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. We explore the Surprise Caves (Sung Sot) before returning to the Bhaya Classic for a buffet brunch whilst the vessel cruises leisurely back to the harbor. This afternoon we disembark at the Bhaya Café, Halong City before transferring to the Hanoi airport for our flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to hotel in Hoi An. The rest of the evening is yours free to explore.
This morning, we visit My Son which is located 50km from Hoi An which was an imperial city during the Cham dynasty, between the 4th and 12th centuries. The My Son Sanctuary is a large complex of religious relics that comprise of more than 70 architectural works. They include temples and towers that interconnect with intricate red brick designs. The main component of the Cham architectural design is the tower, built to reflect the divinity of the king. We drive back to the town for lunch (on your own) before we enjoy a half-day walking tour. We will visit Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Halls, the 200-year old Tam Ky ancestral house, the Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful local markets.
This morning we transfer for about 3 hours to Hue, the charming ancient capital of Vietnam. In the afternoon, we begin to see the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors under Nguyen Dynasty. We then drive to the outskirts of Hue to the impressive tomb of King Khai Dinh. Our last stop today is the Dong Ba Market.
Today we tour theDMZ (Demilitarized Zone), a 5-km strip along the two sides of Ben Hai River which was bombed into a desolate wasteland, riddled with land mines and surrounded by barbed wire during the war. Nowadays bomb damage and craters are still evident. We visit the Hien Luong Bridge, first built by French sappers in the 1950s before we drive to Vinh Moc tunnel -Constructed by the Vinh Moc villagers to shelter from the American bombardments. Lunch en route to the Ho Chi Minh Trail we also stop at the Dakrong Bridge. We visit the Rockpile, the Khe Sanh Marine base and a small museum around the base displaying military hardware as well as a bunker,two helicopters, and a crashed plane. We also visit the hill tribe village of the Bru-Van Kieu minority.
This morning we take a flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, we transfer to the hotel for check-in and a short rest. We then visit the War Museum, the Re-Unification Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Today travel to Long Tan in the Vung Tau Province. En Route we stop at the sight of the former Nui Dat Task Force Base (Nui Dat SS Hill). Little remains of this camp except the columns of the main gate. The former runway is now a wide street in the local village and the old heli-pad is now a soccer field. A school established by the Australians is nearby. Later, we drive past the location of the Horseshoe (access not permitted these days due to mining activity) to the Courtney Rubber Plantation. We visit the Long Tan Cross Memorial, before continuing on to the Long Phuoc Tunnels and visiting Ming Dam (no longer the "Secret Zone") and Long Hai. Later on, we transfer to Ba Ria town for our lunch and finish the day back in Saigon.
We travel overland through beautiful countryside of Mekong Delta to Vinh Long province. On arrival, we take a boat ride to visit a local orchard and the Cai Be floating market, a famous place in Mekong Delta. Everyday, many boats filled with fruits, vegetables and other local products anchor along the banks of the River, waiting for traders and customers. Here we can see local people selling, buying, and exchanging goods from their boats. We leave Cai Be and visit a local family producing coconut candy, a specialty of the region. We enjoy lunch with local delicacies served in a bonsai garden before continuing to Can Tho.
In the morning we cruise along the small and picturesque tributaries by rowing boat. We will see the Cai Rang floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats), and take in the beautiful scenery and the daily activities of the locals who live along the Mekong canals. We then drive back to Ho Chi Minh city.
This morning, we drive to visit the amazing Cu Chi Tunnels where we learn first hand how the Viet Cong survived in the extraordinary underground existence during the Vietnam war. You walk past b52 bomb sites and visit tunnel crawl spaces. You can even take a picture "popping" out of a tunnel or go down in a tunnel for a short tour. There are various exhibits showing life as a tunnel dweller and exhibits showing various weapons and traps. For a mere $1, you can buy a bullet and shoot a weapon of choice at a firing range. After lunch we transfer to the airport for your return flight to Australia.