Vietnam Encompassed - 15 days
Ultimate Vietnam! Cooking lessons in Hanoi, cruising the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay, trekking in Sapa, lazing on the beach in Nha Tran and exploring the tunnels of Cu Chi. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in 15 exhilarating days, visiting Hue and Hoi An en route.
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 remainder of the day at leisure.
Hanoi - Sapa. This morning we 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. Take a stroll around the lake before tucking into a traditional Vietnamese breakfast (Pho) at a café boasting marvellous views of the lake. After breakfast prepare yourself for a truly unique cooking experience! Drop by a local coffee shop to observe how Hanoi locals enjoy sipping Vietnam bitter sweet coffee at Cafe Giang, the oldest cafe brand in Hanoi since 1946, it is well known for Cafe Trung, or Egg Cafe, which is something like a Hanoi Cappuccino with the option to try one yourself, before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.
Vietnamese food is healthy, simple to cook and downright delicious. 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. Begin with a quick walk to the famous Chau Long market, where you learn more about the various ingredients that go into a Vietnamese dish including vegetables, fruits and Vietnamese herbs and spices. It's then onto the Hanoi Cooking Centre for your hands on cooking lesson. The cooking class is held in small groups (2 to 16 people) to enhance interactivity with the head chef. You will have one cooking station between 2 persons. At midday sit down and enjoy your own Vietnamese creations accompanied by local beer or wine, and receive detailed recipes cards to take home.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided city tour of Hanoi. Having celebrated its 1000 year anniversary in 2010, the city has a rich and fascinating history. Sightseeing includes the Museum of Ethnology (closed Mondays), widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples and the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.
This evening at approx 9pm, board an overnight express sleeper train from Hanoi, to the border town of Lao Cai (4 berth soft sleeper berth cabin).
Overnight: Sleeper Train (4 berth shared cabin) | Breakfast, Lunch
Sapa - Hanoi. At 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 we take a light trek to the hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van. We will walk 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 include the Red Zao, Hmong and Tay people, walking their goods to Sapa to trade at the markets.
This evening we board an overnight express sleeper train from Lao Cai to Hanoi (4 berth soft sleeper berth cabin).
Overnight: Sleeper Train (4 berth shared cabin) | Breakfast, Lunch
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.
Overnight: Halong Bay - Junk boat | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Halong Bay to Hue
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 Vong Vieng - where you'll gain a fascinating insight into local life. Cruising back to the dock arrive into Halong City around noon, then our next stop is Dong Ho Village, famous for its long-preserved art of making pictures. We’ll visit a studio in village, where you can watch the procedure of carving and printing these paintings and learn about the local folk tales represented in the paintings.
Onward to Hanoi Airport for our flight to Hue in central Vietnam, where upon arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast
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. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City was modelled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and holds many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Many of the buildings were damaged by French aerial bombing and the Tet Offensive in 1968. Now it is slowly being restored thanks to generous funding by UNESCO.
Your tour begins after breakfast with the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. Spend the morning wandering through the enclosure before lunch and a trip into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors at one of the most impressive Royal Tombs.
Continuing, we travel to the quaint Thuy Bieu Village, famous for growing Thanh Tra fruit. Here we’ll see garden houses, ancient ancestral temples and chat with the local people. You can join them in gardening or drinking tea and discover the daily life of the locals. This evening enjoy a scenic cruise along the Perfume River.
Overnight: Hue | Breakfast, Lunch
Hue - Hoi An. This morning, 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”). From the 16th to 18th centuries, Hoi An was a thriving international commercial port for Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants. Today, Hoi An is a quaint riverside town, renowned for its silk and popular with tourists for its eclectic architecture, tailors shops and numerous cafes. Some of the buildings in the narrow streets have remained unchanged for more than a century and much of the town is now heritage-listed.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided 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. We finish our day with a lantern making class. These iconic lanterns are a symbol of Hoi An old town and seem to be a part of the spirit of Hoi An. Your guide will welcome you at the hotel and you then cycle to the home of a craftsman. Here you will get a brief introduction to the history, shape, and colour of the lanterns, as well as the many stages of making them. The craftsman will show you how to decorate and instruct you in making your own lantern. Discover your inner skill and keep your handiwork as a souvenir of your stay in beautiful Hoi An.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Spend a day at leisure on the beach or having clothes made by one of the expert, inexpensive tailors that Hoi An is famous for. In the evening, you might want to stroll Hoi An's romantic, silk latern lit streets and dine in one of its fantastic riverside restaurants.
Overnight: Hoi An | Breakfast
Hoi An - Nha Trang. On day 9 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.
Day 10. A day of leisure and indulgence as we cruise through 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.
Spend day 11 at leisure. 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.
Overnight: Nha Trang | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 1
Nha Trang - Saigon. In the morning on day 12, transfer to the airport and fly to Saigon. 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.
On day 13 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 Saigon at around 2pm, stop for lunch before visiting some of the city's major attractions including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral (from the outside as renovations are taking place) and the War Remnants Museum.
Overnight: Saigon | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Enjoy a cruise on the Mekong Delta today! Ben Tre is famous for its coconut production and quiet, peaceful waterways. Here we enjoy a traditional sampan boat that will take us to visit a brick making shop, a fruit garden and a local family where rice paper made.
Our next stop is Binh Thuy Ancient House - a rare and well-preserved example in Can Tho City of a characteristic Mekong Delta house, we a unique combination of French and Vietnamese design features, a lush garden with a wide variety of plants, which includes orchids and a record cactus. This afternoon we return to Saigon.
Overnight: Saigon | Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast and hotel check out, included transfer to Saigon airport for your onward flight.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are ‘per person’, based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. The single supplement price needs to be added to the twin/double price if single rooms are required. If travelling solo, an additional ‘1-person’ supplement will apply.Read More
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