The Mekong Delta Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 194

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, full of culture and history. We are met at Noi Bai airport by our local guide and learn a bit about this fascinating country on the way to our hotel.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay

After breakfast, our guide and car will pick up you at hotel for transfer to Halong Bay. Arriving Halong Pier, you embark on the Au Co Cruise boat and set off cruising leisurely towards Ho Ba Ham islets in Lan Ha Bay. Enjoy Lunch on board. Arriving at Ba Trai Dao, there is time to enjoy swimming and guided kayaking. This evening, dinner is served while the boat is anchored in Ho Ba Ham. Take time to meet chat with the crew to discover their lives and understand Vietnamese culture.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 3: Halong Bay

Earlier risers start the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck or enjoy the breathtaking views of the bay as the boats starts cruising quietly in Lan Ha Bay. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on board as we cruise towards Cat Ba Island. You will then join in guided excursion and biking in the national park of Viet Hai village and visit The Au Co organic farm. We return to the ship and cruise east to Vung Vieng village in Bai Tu Long Bay. Enjoy an amazing 5 course cuisine lunch on boat. In the afternoon, visit Vung Vieng floating village by traditional rowing boat or kayak and swim in Vong Ha area. We continue onto Cong Do Area and cruise through Bai Tu Long geological park.

Halong Bay at sunset

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hue

Again enjoy an early morning Tai Chi lesson as the boats starts cruising quietly in Bai Tu Long Bay. Continue to visit of Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave and enjoy a Farewell Breakfast before check-out in Tuan Chau. We arrive back at Ha Long harbour around noon where our waiting vehicle will transfer you to Hanoi for your short flight to Hue. Upon arrival, our local representative will greet you and assist with the transfer to your hotel. Flights from Hanoi to Hue VN1545 at 20:10, arriving 21:20

The Perfume River in Hue

Day 5: Hue

This morning, we visit the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions etc.) designed on a symmetrical axis. Visit the Mausoleum of Tu Duc before you enjoy some retail therapy at Dong Ba Market. Lunch today is a special vegetarian meal with the nuns of Dong Thuyen Pagoda. In the afternoon, we visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Women trading at Dong Ba Market by Tormod Sandtorv

Day 6: Hue - Hoi An

Today we drive to Hoi An with a stop at Danang to visit the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Continue along the scenic coastal route to Hoi An, a charming town of narrow streets and traditional houses plus stretches of sandy white beaches. Enjoy your time with a walking tour around Hoi An Town through the narrow lanes of the town, lined with century-old buildings and illuminated at night by hundreds of colorful lanterns. Discover the traditional shop-houses and temples, and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Overnight at the Hoi An Historic Hotel.

Hue Citadel

Day 7: Hoi An

After breakfast, pay a visit to Hoi An’s busy market with our chef and buy the ingredients for our Vietnamese cooking class and lunch. We then travel by boat to a mystical and unique location where we will learn to make rice pancakes and some typical dishes of this region. In the afternoon, take a beautiful scenic route through the rice paddies to Tra Que Village. This little town is well-known for supplying the many restaurants and hotels in the area with fresh herbs and vegetables. We take a walk through the vegetable gardens, experience how the local farmers work the land and learn more about the history of the village and the importance of herbs in Vietnamese medicine and cuisine.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 8: Hoi An - Saigon

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport in Danang airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh. Upon arrival, our guide meet you and we continue onto your hotel. In the afternoon, we will begin our tour of this bustling cityincluding the Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel with Gothic architectural style but in harmony with the surrounding area. Notre Dam Cathedral was built in 1800s by French Architect, and the Reunification Palace. Following this we visit Ben Thanh market - the biggest wholesale market in Ho Chi Minh City. Flight from Danang to Ho Chi Minh VN1309 - departing 9:30, arriving 10:40

Day 9: Saigon - The Mekong Delta

This morning you will be collected from the hotel and transferred to Cai Be in the very heart of the Mekong Delta. On arrival, embark on the L’AMANT and enjoy a delectable lunch and get acquainted with the crew, while the vessel starts its way to Vinh Long. In the early afternoon, embark on a small boat for a journey towards An Binh islands. On arrival, continue the tour by bicycle to visit Tien Chau ancient pagoda and discover the everyday life in the Mekong Delta. Continue to visit a traditional house and enjoy some mouth-watering tropical fruits.

Day 10: The Mekong Delta

After breakfast, we visit Sa Dec, an old-fashioned town famous for its flowers and bonsai plants. Stop to visit the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, as described in Marguerite Duras novel L’Amant. On the way back to the boat, stroll through the lively market streets of this fascinating town. In the early afternoon, we arrive in Cai Be and take a local sampan boat for a journey through the numerous arroyos and enjoy the serenity of the Mekong Delta. Visit an ancient colonial house and a rice popcorn factory to taste the local specialties. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration on board - an interesting way to learn about local ingredients and how to cook Vietnamese traditional dishes.

Day 11: The Mekong Delta - Siem Reap

Enjoy an early breakfast on board before checking-out and embarking on a local sampan boat to sail through small arroyos to explore the vibrant Cai Be’s floating market. After the visit, we transfer back to Ho Chi Minh City and drop off. You will then transfer to airport for the flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrival at airport, meet your local guide and transfer to check in hotel to store luggage. We then set out for a cruise on beautiful Tonle Sap Lake, passing a floating village and seeing the daily life of local people. Flight from Saigon to Siem Reap VN1821 - departing 15:55 - arriving 16:55

Day 12: 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. 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. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the famous Angkor Wat, 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. This evening, enjoy the superb view of sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill.

Day 13: Siem Reap - Saigon

This morning is free at your leisure until your transfer to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh. Upon arrival, our guide and car will pick up you to take to the hotel for check in. This evening enter the replica of the emperors’ dragon boat “Bonsai I” for a magnificent and memorable dining and entertainment spectacle on the Saigon River. Enjoy both European and Asian delicacies from the amazing buffet prepared by the executive chefs. Your meal will be accompanied by a magical sound-journey performed from our one and only in-house orchestra “Hoa Mai”. • Flight Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh - VN826 at 13:30, arriving 14:30.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 14: Saigon

Today you bid farewell to Vietnam. We will transfer you to the airport for your flights home.