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Good morning Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi 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.
This morning head to Hoan Kiem Lake which is the very heart of the city. Residents of Hanoi congregate around the lake early each morning to partake in Tai chi, aerobics and other light exercise. 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! In the afternoon, enjoy a guided city tour of Hanoi. This evening at approx 9pm, board an overnight express sleeper train from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai.
The train pulls into Lao Cai at approximately 06:00am this morning, transfer to Sapa for breakfast. Located 1500m above sea level, Sapa is a former French hill station, nestled in the rugged Tonkinese Alps and surrounded by lush valleys and verdant rice paddy fields. This morning take a light trek to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, Ta Van and Cau May. Walking to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, you meet some of the local ethnic minority people on their way to and from Sapa. These minority people, including the Red Zao, Hmong and Tay people, walk to Sapa to trade at the markets. Tonight you spend the night at the hotel in Sapa town.
Start your morning with a hike to a beautiful waterfall before continuing on to a picturesque Red Dao village. Red Dao women wear giant red scarves around their heads and their clothing is embellished with colourful red embroidery and coins. Spend the afternoon at leisure in Sapa before returning to Lao Cai to board the overnight train back to Hanoi.
Upon arrival in Hanoi, freshen up before driving 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! Check in to your hotel and have the remainder of the day free.
Today will be free at your leisure.
Wake up to see a spectacular sunrise over the bay! Around noon we transfer back to Hanoi station for your night train to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
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 evening, take a scenic boat cruise along the Perfume River.
This morning, continue south to the riverside town of Hoi An. 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”). 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. In the 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.
Spend a day at leisure on the beach or having clothes made by one of the expert, inexpensive tailors that Hoi An is famous for. In the evening, you might want to stroll Hoi An's romantic, silk latern lit streets and dine in one of its fantastic riverside restaurants.
Today you will be transferred to the airport in Danang and fly to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.
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. Returning to Ho Chi Minh City at around 2pm, stop for lunch before visiting some of the city's major attractions including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum.
Today you have another free day to explore by yourself.
Today enjoy a full day cruise excursion on the beautiful Mekong Delta, one of the world's greatest river systems. Early morning transfer to Cai Be - Phu An where you board the Cai Be Princess at around 10:00am. First stop is the colourfu l floating market at Cai Be. Discover traditional rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying processing. Drive back to Saigon for flight to Siem Reap.
After time to freshen up we visit the last capital of the Angkorian Empire – Angkor Thom. This monumental fortified city is encircled by a 100m wide moat and is famed for the huge statue heads that glare down from every angle. We continue to the monastic complex of Preah Khan before heading to the mother of all temples – Angkor Wat.
Early this morning opt to see Angkor Wat bathed in the spectacular golden light of sunrise. Later, we head out to Banteay Srei temple, considered by many to be the art gallery of Angkor with some of the finest stone carvings in the world. Cut from stone of a pinkish hue, the Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains lavishly decorated libraries and stunning reliefs of divinities. The temple expedition continues with visits to Banteay Samre, East Mebon, Pre Rup, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei and the atmospheric Ta Prohm. Swallowed by the jungle, vast muscular roots envelop the crumbling towers and walls whilst the trees’ foliage dapples the temple in shadow. There are plenty of great bars and restaurants in the compact city centre, easily navigated on foot.
This morning after breakfast we transfer you to the airport for your onward journey home.