Mai Chau Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 558

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Arriving in Hanoi, our guide will be at the airport to welcome you and transfer you to the hotel. Rest of the day is free.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Take a scenic three hour drive from Hanoi to Halong Bay by shuttle bus. On arrival, embark on your Hai Long junk and enjoy a welcome drink. Set-menu lunch is served on-board as the junk cruises to Bai Tu Long Bay passing the Vung Dai, Ba Cua, Cay Tao (Apple Tree), Con Vit (Duck) Islets and Gia Luan on Cat Ba Islands.Visit the Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave. Then swim at Titop or Soi Sim beach.Cruise to the overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien or Trong Cave.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 3: Halong Bay - Hanoi

7:00 Light breakfast is served on board. The junk cruises to Luon Cave, passing beautiful spots like Dau Nguoi (Man Head) and Con Rua (Tortoise) Islets, etc. 7:45 Explore Luon Cave. 8:30 Begin the leisurely cruise back to harbor passing Ngon Tay (Fingers), Ga Choi (Fighting Cocks), Lu Huong (Incense Burner), Ba Hang and Con Cho Da (Stone Dog) Islets. 9:30 Brunch is served on board. 11:30 Disembark at the harbor. Return to Hanoi. 15:00 Arrive in Hanoi.

The Huc Bridge

Day 4: Hanoi

Day at leisure.

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Day 5: Hanoi - Mai Chau

Located in Hoa Binh Province and a scenic four hour drive southwest of Hanoi, Mai Chau offers a splendid vista of mountains and valleys surrounded by lush landscape and stilt houses, inhabited mainly by the White Thai ethnic group. In the afternoon take a leisurely two hour cycling tour through the beautiful valley of Mai Chau. Through your guide, engage in a chat with local hill tribe people to learn about their daily lives such as rice planting, herding buffalos and building traditional houses. Stay overnight at homestay with simple facilities

Ladies enjoying a bike ride in Mai Chau

Day 6: Mai Chau - Hoi An

Drive to nearby Xalinh village inhabited by the H’mong hill tribe. Enjoy the cool mountain breezes on a two hour trail walk. If it’s a school day, there’s an optional visit to Pa Co primary school. This is followed by a direct private guided transfer to Hanoi airport for a flight to Danang. On arrival at Danang airport take a private transfer, to your hotel in Hoi An

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 7: Hoi An

Today you have at leisure.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 8: Hoi An

Make your own arrangements to arrive by 8.15am at Hai Café, Red Bridge Cooking School’s meeting point. Select fresh produce from the market before boarding a boat to cruise along the Thu Bon River to the cooking school for a hands-on culinary experience. Lunch is at the school with the food you will have cooked! Balance of the day at leisure in Hoi An

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

Day 9: Hoi An

Day at leisure.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 10: Hoi An

Today you have the day at leisure.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 11: Hoi An - Saigon

In the morning take a private transfer, without guide, to Danang airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival direct transfer, with a guide, to Cu Chi Tunnels. Visit the incredible underground tunnel network built by Vietnamese guerrilla fighters. Also visit a rice paper making factory at Tan Phu Trung village before returning to Saigon in the afternoon.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 12: Saigon

A morning tour of Saigon includes Notre Dame Cathedral viewed from the outside, the Old Post Office, the former Presidential Palace and the War Museum. Rest of the day is at leisure.

A street trader in Saigon by William Cho

Day 13: Saigon

Drive for 2.5 hours to Cai Thia in Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta. Cycle along some of the quiet paths of this pretty village. Sample seasonal fruits at an orchard then board a boat to cruise to an island home for an overnight stay. After lunch, take a 15 minute cruise to visit the rustic workshop of Viet Artisans. Visit a brick kiln then transfer to row boats to go deeper inside the maze of small and quiet canals. Return to the homestay for a traditional folk music performance. This evening, join the owner in preparing some dishes for an authentic home-style dinner. Stay overnight at Ut Binh House or similar. Accommodation is dormitory style, non-air conditioned, and each bed has mosquito netting. Overnight - Ut Trinh Homestay

Food prepared at a Saigon Cooking School

Day 14: Saigon

Start early for the boat trip to colourful Cai Be floating market. Visit some local workshops to see production of roof thatching, fish sauce and soya sauce. Cruise again to visit an ancient Mandarin household of where four generations live together. Lunch will be served in the home then you may wish to stretch your legs around the tropical fruit orchard. Walk along the shady village path to your vehicle waiting for a 2.5 hour drive back to Saigon.

The Peoples Committee Building in Ho Chi Minh City

Day 15: Saigon - 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 over the next two days. 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.

Day 16: 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’.

Day 17: 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 18: Siem Reap

Today we bid you farewell and transfer you to the airport for your flight home.