Hanoi Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 289

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Hello Hanoi! Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

Begin your holiday, the traditional Vietnamese way, with a bowl of steaming Pho at one of Hanoi's most popular eateries. Moving onto Hoan Kiem Lake for a morning stroll. This central lake is focal point for many of the local residents who live close to the lake and gather there each day to practice Tai Chi, play badminton and do aerobics. Then it is time for a fun cooking class at one of the best schools in Hanoi, with a renowned local chef to teach and assist you. The cooking class begins with a trip to a local market to shop for the produce that you will need for the class. Then, it is back to the cooking centre for a fun hands-on experience. At the end of the lesson, you can enjoy your delicious creations! Spend the afternoon at leisure.

The Huc Bridge

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay

This morning transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to Halong City, the drive takes about 4 hours and you will stop off for a refreshment break en route. Upon arrival meet the crew of the traditional Junk boat at the dock and cruise to the famous islands of UNESCO Listed Halong Bay and on to Bai Tu Long Bay. Aside from the cave visit and swimming, there is a chance to explore this stunning area by sea kayak. Return back to the Junk for a scrumptious dinner and watch an incredible sunset over the bay.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hue

Wake up to the fresh air, gentle breeze and amazing views of the bay this morning. Cruise through Bai Tu Long and visit the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng - where you can learn about the daily life. Enjoy lunch onboard before returning to the main harbour and travelling back to Hanoi, arriving late afternoon. There is a chance to freshen up at a hotel before you transfer to the airport for your flight south to Hue, where you will be met and transferred to the hotel.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 5: Hue

Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City of Hue was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Many of the buildings were damaged by French aerial bombing and the Tet Offensive in 1968. Now it is slowly being restored thanks to generous funding by UNESCO. Your tour begins after breakfast with the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. Spend the morning wandering through the enclosure before lunch and a trip into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors at two of the most impressive Royal Tombs. This evening enjoy a scenic cruise along the Perfume River.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 6: Hue - Hoi An

This morning, continue south to the picturesque riverside town of Hoi An. The five hour drive takes you along the South China Sea coastline with breathtaking views particularly as the road winds its way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, renowned for its silk and popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailors shops and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century and much of the town is now heritage-listed. This afternoon 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.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 7: 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. Begin your adventure by cycling out into the countryside through emerald green rice paddies, arriving at the village of Tra Que to learn about the history of the village and the cultivation of the vegetables. We join the farmers in preparing the land and planting some crops. Finish off your village experience with a cooking demonstration. Return to Hoi An and board the Eco Tour boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fisherman, experience river net fishing and paddle a unique bamboo basket boat.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An

Day at leisure in Hoi An.

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

Day 9: Hoi An - Saigon

Transfer to the airport in Danang this morning and catch your flight to Saigon. Enjoy a guided tour of the city this afternoon. Highlights include the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office. Dong Khoi Street, which is home to many boutiques and fine restaurants, the Opera House and the beautiful Peoples’ Committee Building. The War Remnants Museum, Formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes, this is a poignant display of the futility of war and the Reunification Palace which is one of the most important buildings in the city. Here on 30 April 1975 the ‘American War’ officially ended when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through the gates of what was, at the time the residence of the President of the Republic of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 10: Saigon

Driving 70km Northwest of Ho Chi Minh city to Cu Chi with stop en route to visit a rice paper making village. Before entering Cu Chi Tunnels, we watch a short introductory video showing how the tunnels were constructed. Also on displaying are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made 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. Optional: At the shooting range you can even test your shooting skills on original AK47s, M16s and other guns from past war times. We then drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Free for the rest of the day.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 11: Saigon - Can Tho

Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong Delta today! Sightseeing begins with a visit to Cai Be's colourful floating market and a visit to some local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying processing. Known as the 'Rice Bowl' of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is a beautiful fertile region with lush rice paddy fields and fruit plantations. Soak up the riverside views as you cruise along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island. Discover beautiful landscapes, observe typical Mekong delta rural life on the remote islands and enjoy a tasty lunch at a superb Indochine style resort. Spend the night in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 12: Can Tho - Chau Doc

Rise early for a morning boat trip to the extraordinary floating market at Cai Rang. Observe boats jostling for position as the locals engage in frenetic trading and be sure to have your camera ready for some great photo opportunities. Return to Can Tho before driving to Chau Doc.

Day 13: Chau Doc - Phnom Penh

After breakfast, take a speed boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, arriving at midday. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Cambodia's energetic capital is noted for its beautiful colonial architecture and historic sites. See the highlights of this bustling, vibrant city on a guided tour this afternoon, including the fascinating Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum. You can climb the hill to Wat Phnom, the city’s main temple, where you’ll find throngs of worshippers and troops of monkeys.

Day 14: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

Spend time at leisure this morning before your flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. With its picturesque riverside location, colonial and Chinese-style architecture and leafy tree lined boulevards, Siem Reap is an ideal base to explore Cambodia's legendary Angkor Temple complex. This afternoon, ride a Tuk Tuk to visit 12th century Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Starting at the South Gate, take a walk along the ancient city wall to see the lost temple of Prasat Chroung. Continue on to the spectacular Bayon temple, where you are surrounded by the smiling faces of numerous Buddhas. Also visit the Terrace of the Elephants, the Royal Palace and the Terrace of the Leper King.

Day 15: Siem Reap

Time to explore more of the Angkor Temple Complex, undoubtedly one of the world's greatest archaeological sites! Rise early this morning to avoid the crowds and travel by Tuk Tuk to visit the incredible jungle enveloped temple of Ta Prohm, which featured in the film 'Tomb Raider'. Next, visit the spectacular Angkor Wat temple - the world's largest religious building and Cambodia's number one attraction! Enjoy a guided tour around this huge structure and learn about the glories of the Kingdom of Angkor before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast and a rest. Continue sightseeing this afternoon with a visit to the temple of Banteay Srei or ‘Citadel of the Women’. On your way back to Siem Reap, enjoy the sunset from the top of the pyramid-shaped temple of Pre Rup.

Day 16: Siem Reap

This morning take a Tuk Tuk to the edge of Siem Reap and enjoy a fun buffalo cart ride through the countryside until you reach the Cambodia’s largest freshwater lake; the Tonle Sap. Board a boat and spend the rest of the morning at one of the largest floating villages on the lake which is called Kompong Phluk. In the village you will witness the fascinating daily lives of the local people who live on the water. The boat service is provided by local people, and the profit goes directly back to the community. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 17: Siem Reap

Today, your tour comes to an end. Enjoy a 18:00pm late hotel check out and a transfer to the airport for your flight home.


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