Sapa Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 293

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

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. Our guided sightseeing of Hanoi starts by visiting the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university dating to 1070. The excursion continues on to Ho Chi Minh’s humble “stilt house” before visiting the French colonial Governor’s Palace and the 11th century One-Pillar Pagoda. Afterwards, we visit the Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country and the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070. Overnight Skylark Hotel

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - Sapa

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 their excercise. You can join in, before enjoying a traditional Vietnamese breakfast (Pho). 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. At midday sit down and enjoy your creations and receive recipes cards to take home. This evening, approx 9pm, board an overnight express sleeper train from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai.

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 3: Sapa

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. Overnight Sunny Mountain Hotel

Villagers in Sapa

Day 4: Sapa

Breakfast in the hotel we then, embark on a lovely trek that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hills tribe villages Lao Chai & Ta Van, home to Black H'mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Once on the valley floor you can really appreciate the wonderful scenery that surrounds you. The walls of the valley are covered with multi-layered rice terraced fields and scattered villages

A local child in Sapa

Day 5: Sapa - Hanoi

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. Overnight - Sleeper Train (4 berth shared cabin) .

The Huc Bridge

Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay

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! 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 7: Halong Bay

Enjoy the Lan Ha Bay excursion. Cycling on Cat Ba Island if weather permits or guided kayaking and swimming at Three Peach Beach, a pristine natural beach lapped by turquoise waters. Continue on to discover Ho Ba Ham Islet, the most remote point in Lan Ha Bay and bordering the Gulf of Tonkin. Visit its quaint fishing village and lagoon. Possibility of kayaking through an amazing tunnel under a karst mountain (time and tides permitting).

Day 8: 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 Vung Vieng - where you'll gain a fascinating insight into local life. We leave the junk and head to the back to Hanoi. On arrival we will check you into the hotel.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 9: Hanoi - Siem Reap

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap (own flight booked, departing at 15:30 and arriving in Siem Reap at 17:30). On arrival we will check you into the hotel.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 10: Siem Reap

After breakfast we enter the South Gate of Angkor Thom Temple and marvel the wonders of the eerie Bayon, the terrace of Elephants and terrace of Leper King. Ta Prohm Temple: Unlike most of the other Angkor temples, Ta Prohm has been left just it was founded, with the trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings. This afternoon we visit the famous Angkor Wat, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre. This evening, enjoy the superb view of sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 11: Siem Reap

Today we visit the exquisite Banteay Srey, home to some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art, followed by a tour of Banteay Samre in Siem Reap before heading to the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat, the most well preserved of all the Angkor temples. At the end of the day, enjoy the sunset at Pre Rup.

Day 12: Siem Reap - Saigon

We will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City (own flight booked - VN3818 10:30/11:50) and on arrival we will transfer you to the hotel. We travel north west of the city to visit the historic Cu Chi Tunnels which were a key battleground in the Vietnam War. Upon arrival watch a short introductory video on the construction of the tunnels before spending an hour exploring the maze of tunnels, accompanied by a 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.

A street trader in Saigon by William Cho

Day 13: Saigon - Phu Quoc

This morning we embark on a city tour. Major attractions include the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum. We will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Phu Quoc (own flight booked VN1827 14:00/14:55). On arrival we will transfer you to the hotel. Overnight - Sasco Blue Lagoon

Days 14-16: Phu Quoc

Sit back and relax on the beautiful white sandy beaches for the rest of your time in Vietnam. Overnight - Sasco Blue Lagoon

Day 17: Phu Quoc

We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.