Saigon Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 695

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Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 1: Saigon

Good morning Vietnam! Upon arrival at Saigon Airport you will be met and transferred to your city centre hotel. Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Hanoi is the charming capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 2: 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 at a local restaurant.

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 3: 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. 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.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 4: Saigon - Nha Trang

Take a morning excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, north west of the city. This immense network of connecting underground tunnels, were used by the Viet Cong and one of the famous battle grounds in the Vietnam War. Watch a short introductory video on the construction of the tunnels before exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by the guide. Also on display are various mantraps and the remains of an American tank as well as numerous bomb craters made by 500-pound bombs from B52 bombers. This afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Nha Trang.

Days 5-6: Nha Trang

Day at leisure.

Po Ngar Cham Towers in Nha Trang - by Bruno (BRA)

Day 7: Nha Trang

Spend today at leisure in Nha Trang relaxing on the sandy beach. You will need today to relax and not dive as you fly tomorrow.

boats at Mun Island, Nha Trang - by Bruno (BRA)

Day 8: Nha Trang - Hoi An

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Hoi An.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 9: Hoi An

In the morning for sunrise, take a half-day excursion to My Son Sanctuary. My Son is a 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. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided 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.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 10: Hoi An - Hue

This morning, continue north to the riverside town of Hue. The five hour trip hugs the coastline along the South China Sea with breathtaking views particularly as the road winds its way up Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Clouds”). This is a beautiful drive and en route we stop for a walk along China beach and visit peaks of the Marble Mountain.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 11: Hue - Hanoi

Hue was the Vietnamese capital during the Nguyen Dynasty 1802-1945 and ruins of the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the Citadel and the Imperial City. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. 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 afternoon, take a scenic boat cruise along the Perfume River. This evening, take a flight to Hanoi.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 12: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Today, we drive to Halong City (approx 4 hours), stopping for refreshments en route. At UNESCO Listed Halong Bay limestone peaks and forest clad islets, hidden coves and beautiful beaches await discovery! Board your Junk boat and cruise to the famous islands of Halong Bay and onto Bai Tu Long Bay, stopping to visit a cave and swim in the warm waters. There is a chance to explore more this stunning area by sea kayak. Return to the Junk boat for a tasty dinner and a memorable night in beautiful surrounds.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 13: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Wake up to see a spectacular sunrise over the bay! This morning cruise through Bai Tu Long and visit the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng - where you'll gain a fascinating insight into local life. Cruising back to the dock arrive into Halong City around noon then transfer back to Hanoi to enjoy and afternoons guided city tour of Hanoi. Sightseeing includes the Museum of Ethnology (closed Mondays), widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples and the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 14: Hanoi

This morning head to Hoan Kiem Lake which is the very heart of the city. Enjoy a Tai Chi lesson with the locals and take a stroll around the lake before tucking into a traditional Vietnamese breakfast (Pho) at a café boasting marvelous views of the lake. After breakfast prepare yourself for a truly unique cooking experience! This half day cooking tour in Hanoi will provide you with a hands-on lesson on how to shop for and cook authentic Vietnamese food. Begin with a quick walk to the famous Chau Long market. It's then onto the Hanoi Cooking Centre for your hand's on cooking lesson. The cooking class is held in small groups (2 to 16 people) to enhance interactivity with the head chef.

The Huc Bridge

Day 15: Hanoi

Departure transfer to the airport.