The Mekong Delta Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 108

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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. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

This morning head to Hoan Kiem Lake which is the very heart of the city. 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. This afternoon enjoy a half day city tour of Hanoi’s essential sites including the Museum of Ethnology, which is widely acknowledged as the best in the country, Ngoc Son Temple on Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of the city. Then enjoy a one-hour cyclo tour through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter. After exploring the Old Quarter watch a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets.

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay

After breakfast, we drive 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 local child in Sapa

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hue

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. Cruising back to the dock arrive into Halong City around noon then transfer back to Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

The Huc Bridge

Day 5: Hue - Hoi An

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. Spend the morning wandering through the Citadel enclosure before lunch and enjoy a trip into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors. Later we 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”).

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 6: Hoi An

AM: at leisure 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.

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 7: Hoi An

Enjoy an exciting full day tour which provides an insight into the lives of the farming and fishing communities in this beautiful region of Vietnam. Begin your adventure by cycling out into the countryside through emerald green rice paddies. After a short ride arrive at the village of Tra Que, a charming little settlement, on the edge of Hoi An. On arrival you will be introduced to the history of the village and the cultivation of the vegetables. Continue with a walk around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and planting some crops. Finish off your village experience with a fun cooking demonstration. Later, return to Hoi An and board the Eco Tour boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fisherman.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 8: Hoi An - Nha Trang

This morning we transfer to the airport in Danang and fly to the coastal resort of Nha Trang. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure. Nha Trang is a popular coastal resort in central Vietnam, with 7kms of white sandy beach and pristine waters surrounded by archipelagos and mountains. Spend the next 4 nights at the Sheraton Nha Trang.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Day 9: Nha Trang

Enjoy a day of leisure and indulgence as we cruise through the blue clear waters amongst the islands off Nha Trang. We take drive to Cau Da port where we will embark on our boat. We cruise to visit the Tri Nguyen Aquarium, a small world of many sea species of local province at Mieu Island. We will then head out to Mun Island where you have the chance for swimming and optional snorkelling in the crystal clear waters. Lunch stop is at the fishing village of Lang Chai where there is time to explore further before boarding the boat back to Nha Trang harbour.

A bridge in Hoi An

Day 10: Nha Trang

Spend the next two days at leisure in Nha Trang. The resort is ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling or simply relaxing on the sandy beach. Sample some of the delicious seafood in some of the many restaurants and perhaps enjoy a spot of retail therapy at Cho Dam Market.

Day 11: Nha Trang

Free day.

Day 12: Nha Trang - Saigon

In the morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure in this lively and cosmopolitan metropolis with its gleaming sky scrapers, expensive restaurants, bars and designer shops, which stand in stark contrast to the ancient pagodas, colonial era landmarks and ramshackle markets. Spend the next 2 nights at the May Hotel.

Po Ngar Cham Towers in Nha Trang - by Bruno (BRA)

Day 13: Saigon

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.

boats at Mun Island, Nha Trang - by Bruno (BRA)

Day 14: Saigon - The Mekong Delta

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.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 15: The Mekong Delta - Saigon

Ho Chi Minh. Rising to the sounds of life on the Delta, have an early breakfast before boarding a riverboat to cruise to Vinh Long town, stopping along the way to visit local cottage industries. Then, transfer by vehicle to the town of My Tho to visit the Vinh Trang pagoda, before returning to Ho Chi Minh City. Spend your final evening at leisure and perhaps sample one of the city's many gourmet restaurants.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 16: Saigon - Siem Reap

After breakfast and hotel check out, transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at airport meet our guide and driver transfer to check in hotel to store luggage and proceed to set out for a cruise on beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and seeing the daily life of local people there. If time permitted, visit Les Chan tiers Ecoles Artisans D' Angkor this is a workshop that teaches the unique craft of wood and stone carving in the traditional and style of classic Cambodian artistry. And shopping at old market, one of the traditional market which selling many kind of local products.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 17: Siem Reap

Breakfast at hotel, we will 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: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors. In the afternoon, we visit the famous Angkor Wat, built for king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. The largest and best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre—first Hindu, then Buddhist—since its foundation. Enjoy watching the superb view of sunset then back to hotel.

Day 18: Siem Reap

Transfer to airport for departure flight.