Hoi An Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 613

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Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 1: Saigon

Welcome to Vietnam and the start of your adventure with On the Go Tours. Upon your arrival at the international airport in Ho Chi Minh you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel where the remainder of the day can be spent at leisure.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 2: Saigon

After breakfast travel out of Saigon and spend the day boating along the waterways of the lush Mekong Delta. On arrival in Cai Be district, take a boat ride to visit a local orchard and the Cai Be floating market. Some 500 boats loaded with fruit, vegetables and other local produce anchor along the banks of the river every day waiting to offload their goods to wholesale traders or local customers. Later visit some cottage industry workshops making coconut candy, crispy rice cakes and rice paper. Continue along the village pathways to visit a local house for lunch and take a stroll around the village to see locals go about their daily lives. Visit Vinh Long local market before returning to Saigon in the late afternoon.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 3: Saigon - Hue

In the morning, discover the city’s most attractive sites, taking in the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and Chinatown. In the afternoon, take a short flight to the imperial city of Hue. On arrival, you will be met at the airport for your transfer to your hotel. The evening is free.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 4: Hue

In the morning take a boat ride along the romantic Perfume River. Stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda on the river banks to see the 7-storey Stupa, home to the old Austin car driven to Saigon by the Venerable Thich Quang Duc in 1963 for his self-immolation. Continue to the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions etc.) designed on a symmetrical axis. Lunch is a special vegetarian meal with the nuns of Dong Thuyen Pagoda. In the afternoon visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Enjoy some “retail therapy” at Dong Ba Market before transferring back to your hotel.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 5: Hue - Hoi An

After breakfast, visit the mausoleums of the Emperors Tu Duc (1829-1883) and Khai Dinh (1885-1925). On the way down to Danang, stop in for a refreshment break at Lang Co beach, one of the world’s most beautiful bays. Continue driving to Danang to visit the Cham Museum. Afterwards, head to the World Cultural Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town. Check-in to your hotel. Enjoy some free time on a walking tour through the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and illuminated at night by hundreds of colorful lanterns. Discover the traditional shop-houses and temples, and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 6: Hoi An

In the morning, 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. The afternoon is free in Hoi An Ancient town.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An - Hanoi

In the morning, take a short drive to Danang airport for the flight to Hanoi. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Renowned as the ’Paris of the East’, Hanoi is one of Asia’s most fascinating cities. Rich in culture and history, this diverse city draws on its influences from both French and Chinese culture. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest in Hanoi located beside the dazzling West Lake and a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. Afterwards, take a 30min drive to Van Giang Village to attend a cooking demonstration given by a local family. After the cooking demonstration, join the Vietnamese family in their home for a delicious lunch before driving back to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 8: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Depart Hanoi in the morning for the scenic three-hour drive through the countryside to Ha Long Bay, a natural wonder with thousands of islands rising out of the water. On arrival, embark on a junk boat for an overnight cruise through the 3,000 limestone islands, many punctuated by caves and grottoes. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as Bhaya Classic heads to Bai Tu Long Bay passing many islets. Take a row boat to visit the Vung Vieng fishing village. Enjoy a range of fantastic recreation or relaxation activities onboard: a cooking demonstration, traditional massage, swimming, kayaking etc. Finish the day with a sumptuous set-menu dinner.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Enjoy some light morning exercise at sunrise. The cruise weighs anchor to cruise through the Bay passing beautiful spots like Trong (Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin) and Me Cung Caves, Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet, etc. Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot). Buffet brunch is served onboard. The vessel cruises leisurely back to Ha Long harbor. On disembarkation, transfer back to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi, pay a visit to the Temple Of Literature - dating back to 1070, it is the first university in Vietnam and pre-dates the English language. The evening is free.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 10: Hanoi - Luang Prabang

After breakfast, transfer to the airport your flight to Luang Prabang, perhaps the best preserved traditional city in all Southeast Asia. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the late afternoon visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, picturesque Wat Mai, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground, and the impressive Stupa of Wat Visoun. Then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded Stupa as well as superb views over the town and Mekong river. From there, walk through Luang Prabang to visit the lively night street market.

Day 11: Luang Prabang

In the morning, take a boat ride upstream on the Mekong River to Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered statues of the Buddha in various postures and sizes. Along the way, stop off at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make local rice wine. On return, stop to visit Ban Chan and then overland to the local villages at Ban Xiengmene, continue on to see the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun, which once belonged to the royal family and then visit the nearby Sackarine Caves. Time permitting, also visit the weaving villages of Ban Xiengkhong.

Day 12: Luang Prabang - Siem Reap

After breakfast, drive to the airport for the short flight to Siem Reap. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple and marvel at the wonders of the eerie Bayon, Phimean Akas, the terrace of Elephants and the terrace of the Leper King. Enjoy the sunset view over Phnom Bakheng.

Day 13: Siem Reap

In the morning visit the famous Angkor Wat, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The largest and best-preserved of the Angkor temples, it is also the most well-known world-wide and a source of pride for the Khmer people. Indeed, Angkor Wat has appeared on the Cambodian flag for almost 150 years. After lunch, visit Preah Khan Temple, built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII. Then take a half hour journey to Banteay Srey, one of the most unusual of the Angkor temples. The temple lies approximately 20km north of the main group of temples and is constructed from elaborately carved red sandstone.

Day 14: Siem Reap

After breakfast, continue the journey of discovery through the wonders of Angkor with visits to several ancient temples including the Prasat Kravan temples, Banteay Kdei (a massive Buddhist monastery ringed by concentric walls and built in the late 12th century), Srah Srang (a royal bathhouse constructed in the mid-10th century), Ta Prohm Temple where jungle trees and roots grow in, out and through the ruins, Ta Keo and Thommanon. In the afternoon, set out for a cruise on the beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and seeing the daily life of the locals. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner with an Apsara performance.

Day 15: Siem Reap - Bangkok

Enjoy a leisurely morning before being transferred to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. Upon your arrival in Bangkok you will be met and transferred to your hotel, the Grand Sukhumvit Hotel. Remainder of day at leisure.

Day 16: Bangkok - Koh Samui

This morning enjoy a guided tour of China Town visiting the Golden Buddha Image that weighs 5.5 ton and is made of pure gold. Then take a public express boat along Chao Phraya River to the colourful Flower Market. You'll also visit Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) and the Royal Grand Palace, and the Emerald Buddha nearby before your transfer to the airport for your flight to Koh Samui where the remainder of the day is at leisure at the Aloha Resort.

Days 17-21: Koh Samui

The next five days are completely free for you to do as much or as little as you like on the island of Koh Samui with its gorgeous beaches.

Day 22: Koh Samui

Today marks the end of your incredible journey with On the Go Tours. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to the airport in time for your onward departure flight.