Halong Bay Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 554

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Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 1: Saigon

Welcome to Vietnam. Upon arrival you will be met by our local representatives and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 2: Saigon

In the morning, visit city’s grand boulevards, passing famous sites such as the Re-Unification Palace, the Old Saigon Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral and end of the day for shopping at Ben Thanh market. In the afternoon, leave Ho Chi Minh city to Cu Chi tunnels, an incredible underground system covering nearly 250km, was shelter to over 16,000 communist guerillas during the war. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 3: Saigon - Can Tho

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 downstream from Cai Be through the maze of waterways watching the hubbub of daily life on the river. Passing colourful trading boats, house boats and children swimming we stop to visit some of the 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. Overnight - Can Tho

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 4: Can Tho - Sapa

Can Tho - Saigon. Early today we visit the ever lively Cai Rang floating market. Watch as melons, pineapples, fresh greens, sacks of rice and children's toys get tossed from one sampan to another at great heights and speed before driving back to Saigon in time for your flight to Hanoi, before taking the overnight train to Lao Cai, departing at approximately 8.30pm. Overnight Sleeper Train

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 5: Sapa

Arriving into Lao Cai early this morning we transfer to Sapa for breakfast before visiting a local market, where the diverse hill tribe communities meet to sell their wares. Then we take a leisurely, scenic walk to Cat Cat village which is home to the Black H’mong tribe. Here we pay a visit to a local family to gain an insight into their fascinating culture before continuing our journey to the beautiful Cat Cat waterfall for lunch. In the afternoon we follow a trail through the mountains surrounded by spectacular scenery to Y Linh Ho village before driving back to Sapa for the evening. (Total trekking time - approximately 3 hours). Overnight Sapa

A local child in Sapa

Day 6: Sapa

We travel to Lao Chai Village to begin our trek. We walk to Ta Van village - home to the Dzay hill tribe, where we gain an insight into rural life and enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing our journey through a bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai, which is home to the distinctive Red Dao tribe, who dress in beautiful embroidered trousers topped with bright red turbans and chunky silver jewellery. Before driving back to Sapa we visit another beautiful waterfall for some R&R. Overnight Sapa

Villagers in Sapa

Day 7: Sapa - Hanoi

Today is free to independently explore the area or simply relax and enjoy the surroundings before boarding the overnight train back to Hanoi. Overnight Sleeper Train.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 8: Hanoi

After an early arrival into Hanoi we visit the colourful and bustling Quang Ba Flower Market, before taking a stroll to Truc Bach Lake to see the locals doing their morning Tai Chi as the sun comes up. After breakfast we embark on an exciting city tour of Vietnam's capital. Kicking off with a visit to Uncle Ho himself before heading across the road to the beautiful Presidential Palace. Later visit the Ethnology Museum where we learn about Vietnam's many diverse ethnic groups. This afternoon we visit the Temple of Literature. After head to the oldest pagoda in Vietnam, Tran Quoc Pagoda. We finish the day with a stroll across the red bridge over Sword Lake to the beautiful Ngoc Son Temple. Overnight - Hanoi

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 9: Hanoi - Halong Bay

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 Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served. Overnight - Deluxe Junk Boat

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 10: 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. Arriving to Hanoi mid-afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the quixotic web of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’. The motorbike swarming narrow lanes are each named after various guilds of the city’s artisan who established themselves here centuries ago. Our tour of the area is undertaken by a quintessentially Vietnamese experience from aboard a rickshaw. A little time will be given to freshen up before boarding our train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. Overnight - Sleeper train

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 11: Hue

Upon arrival to Hue we embark on a guided 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. Overnight - Hue

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 12: Hue - Hoi An

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. The charming, old-world trading port of Hoi An with it cobbled streets, traditional homes and tiny shop houses is a perfect place to lose yourself in a by gone era. Delightful craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best bespoke tailors, all can be found here. On 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. Overnight - Hoi An

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 13: Hoi An

A bicycle ride into the countryside, leads us to Tra Que village. Here, we discover age old farming practices 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. Overnight - Hoi An

A bridge in Hoi An

Days 14-17: Hoi An

Enjoy the next few days free days for you relax or further sightsee on your own. You may wish to take a relaxing rowboat journey along the river or spend the day lazing by the beach or hotel pool. It’s also possible to take an optional excursion to the most holiest and evocative of Vietnam’s Cham sites, My Son or to Quang Ngai, the site of the My Lai massacre memorial. The massacre was a significant turning point in the Vietnam War and the story is told through photo presentation on a walk through the village. Overnight - Hoi An

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

Day 18: Hoi An

Sadly your time with us has come to an end as you are transferred to the airport in time for your departure flight to your onward destination.