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Welcome to sizzling Saigon. Arriving at the airport our friendly local team are on hand to assist with transfer to your hotel and check in. Spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the city. Opt to explore independently on foot, shop at Ben Thanh Market or visit the grand Independence Palace, with its secret bunker and military command centre beneath!
In the afternoon we will stop in at the famous War Remnants Museum, a popular destination for history buffs; explore the deserted great halls of the Reunification Palace; visit the Old Saigon Post Office; and marvel at the city’s most famous landmark, the Notre Dame Cathedral.
In the morning we drive to the extraordinary network of Cu Chi Tunnels where the Viet Cong managed to survive underground during the Vietnam War. Here you can learn first-hand how they survived with a short tour of one of the tunnels, and various exhibits explaining the life of tunnel dwellers, including the display of various weapons and traps.
Today brings to life the battle of Long Tan, one of the best-known Australian engagements in the Vietnam War. Travelling south east of Saigon, our first stop is to the remains of the former Australian military base at Nui Dat. Next we visit the Discourtesy Rubber Plantation and the Long Tan Cross. We continue on to the Long Phuoc Tunnels, a network of underground passages and bunkers used by the Viet Cong, where we visit Minh Dam, once known as the “Secret Zone” and the Long Hai Hills. We enjoy lunch in Ba Ria town before heading back to Saigon in the afternoon.
Today our flight takes us to Hoi An. Following our hotel check in we enjoy a visit to the imperial city of My Son, a large complex of temples, religious relics and architectural works from the ancient Cham Empire. We then drive back to Hoi An for a lunch break and a half-day walking tour of the city, where we will visit the 19th century Chua Ong Pagoda, the vibrant Chinese Assembly Halls, the centuries old Tam Ky ancestral house, the graceful Japanese Bridge, and bustling local markets.
Today is at your leisure to explore the ancient town of Hoi.
In the morning we drive along the Ocean Cloud Pass, making stops along the way. In the afternoon we explore the charming ancient capital city of Hue. First stop is the Imperial Forbidden City, a majestic walled fortress and palace dating back 140 years when it was built under the Nguyen Dynasty. Later we drive to the elaborately designed tomb of King Khai Dinh on the outskirts of Hue.
Today we drive down to the DMZ, a desolate wasteland on the Ben Hai River. Next we visit the famous Hien Luong Bridge, following a lunch break we continue on to the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Rockpile, a karst outcrop that was used by the US Army as an observation post from 1966 to 1968. From here we visit Dakrong Bridge and Khe Sanh Marine Base, which served the US Army during the war. On the drive back to Hue we stop off at the traditional hill tribe village of the Bru-Van Kieu in A Shau Valley. Tonight you travel by sleeper train from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.
We start today after arrival transfer with a visit to Uncle Ho himself at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. We then visit the remains of Hoa Lo Prison, which was used during the Vietnam War to house prisoners. Lunch is taken a little differently today, as a unique demonstration of Vietnamese cooking at a local home; here a host will show you how to prepare a traditional meal of rice and pancakes. After a final afternoon visit to the Vietnam History Museum, the reminder of the day can be spent at your own leisure.
Waking up early, we set out on a scenic drive to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, passing terraced rice fields, water buffalo and villages en route. Upon arrival we board a traditional wooden junk boat and embark on a cruise of the bay, studded with a thousand or so karst limestone islands. During the cruise we stop off at the strikingly beautiful Dau Go Cave, and the Thien Cung Cave, famed for its stalagmite and stalactites. We arrive back in Hanoi with time for a late evening meal at a local restaurant.
This morning offers free time. Early this afternoon we embark on a guided walking tour of the city visiting the incredibly scenic Hoan Kiem Lake and the quixotic web of streets known as the Old Quarter. Here we will browse local handicrafts in Kim Ngan Communal House and stop for a cup of coffee brewed the Vietnamese way at a unique coffee shop. The tour ends with an age-old puppet show at a local artist’s house.
Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will bid you farewell with a transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.