Sapa Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 305

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Good Morning Vietnam! Included transfer from Hanoi airport to the city. This evening you have the option of the Water Puppets show - see Enhance your Holiday Page for details

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay

This morning a scenic drive leads us to the stunningly beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Boarding our traditional wooden junk boat cruise the emerald waters soaking up the panoramic vista of the thousand or so karst limestone islands that stud the bay. Later opt for a refreshing swim in one of the many sheltered coves before taking row boats to the floating fishing village of Vong Vieng. Tonight, there's a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before an impressive seafood dinner is served.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 3: Halong Bay - Sapa

Start the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage. After exploring a lofty grotto hidden beneath towering cliffs, we sail back to port. Arriving to Hanoi mid afternoon an hour or so is spent exploring the quixotic web of streets, known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’, onboard a cyclo with the chance to sample the exotic fruits, sizzling noodle dishes and delightfully sticky snacks being offers by he pavement vendors. We will then transfer you to the train station for the overnight sleeper train to Lao Cai.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 4: Sapa

After an early arrival in Lao Cai take a short drive to Sapa and take breakfast before visiting a local market. Take a leisurely walk to Cat Cat village, home to the famous Black H’mong tribe and pay a visit to a local family. Continuing on visit Cat Cat waterfall for lunch. This afternoon take a trail through the mountain, surrounded by spectacular scenery, to another local village. Once back at the main road drive back to Sapa for the evening.

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 5: Sapa - Hanoi

This morning we head to the Lao Chai village and begin a walk to Ta Van village - home to the Dzay tribe, for a rest and a picnic lunch. After lunch we continue our walk through a bamboo forest to Giang Ta Chai. This is a village of the Red Dao tribe, who dress in beautiful embroidered trousers topped with bright red turbans and chunky silver jewellery. Before we head back to Sa Pa we visit another beautiful waterfall for a refreshing end to the day. This evening climb aboard the train back to Hanoi.

The Huc Bridge

Day 6: Hanoi - Hoi An

We will pick you up from the train station and 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. We will then transfer you to the Airport for the flight to Danang and transfer you to Hoi An and check you into the hotel.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 7: Hoi An

Today we Marble Mountain, to explore caves and temples embedded in the rock. We then return to Hoi An for 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.

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

Day 8: Hoi An

In the morning, we start to ride a bicycle to a local farm in Tra Que village. Introduction to the history of the village, the cultivation of the vegetables as well as discovering about the use of vegetables in traditional Vietnamese medicine. You will take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. Continue doing activities such as: raking, sowing,watering greens, picking greens and many more gardening activities. Then spend the rest of the morning working the land in the time honoured way, before breaking to prepare lunch with a local family.

A boat on the Mekong Delta

Day 9: Hoi An

Free day

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 10: Hoi An - Saigon

Today we head South to Saigon by flight. After hotel check-in, 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

Day 11: Saigon - Can Tho

The morning begins with a drive through the beautiful Mekong Delta to the town of Cai Be, famous for its floating markets. After touring the markets, board a private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways and canals to Vinh Long. Here, enjoy a sumptuous Delta lunch including the popular 'Elephant ear fish' at the home of a Bonsai gardener, before continuing to explore the tributaries and canals of the Delta. Towards the end of the day, arrive at the home of a local family where you will spend the night. The evening is spent with the family, learning about life in the Delta.

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 12: Can Tho - Saigon

In the morning we cruise along the small and picturesque tributaries by rowing boat. We will see the Cai Rang - Phong Dien floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats). Take in the beautiful scenery and the daily activities of the locals who live along the Mekong canals. We then drive back to Saigon. We then have lunch and afterwards, a city tour. Major attractions include the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 13: Saigon

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