Vietnam Top to Tail 12 Days

Vietnam Top to Tail
Highlights: Enjoy a cyclo ride of Hanoi's Old Quarter to learn about traditional Vietnamese architecture See the uniquely northern Vietnamese water puppet performance. Spend a night cruising Halong Bay aboard a traditional Junk Tread in the footsteps of emperors from the Forbidden Purple City to the imperial tombs of Hue Visit the sights of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An on foot Explore the engrossing underground network of Cu Chi Tunnels Visit the Mekong Delta - Vietnam’s ‘rice basket’, cruise the watery through sleepy villages and green fields

Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi - Arrival 

When you arrive at Noi Bai International airport in Hanoi, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel in the downtown. The remainder of the day will be your own. Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi - Full Day City Tour (B, L)

This city tour of Hanoi takes in essential sites which will commence from your hotel lobby at 08.30 am. In the morning, you'll visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex including the Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum; The Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070.

After lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant, you'll continue visiting the Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country, containing an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority peoples; Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake - the Ngoc Son Temple is set on a tiny island on Hoan Kiem Lake, its history dating back to the 13th century; a cyclo ride for 1 hour touring through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - a must for any visitor to Hanoi! The day finishes with a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.  

Note: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed all day on Monday and Fridays, as well as from 1st October to 30th November (approx.) for annual conservation.  

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay [Join with other travelers on the cruise]  (B, L, D)

After breakfast, you'll leave for Halong Bay with a refreshment break en route. Meet the crew upon boarding the traditional wooden junk, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads towards the secluded islands. Visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming if the weather permits. Return to the junk refreshed and invigorated and relax on deck with a drink to watch the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars. Overnight on a wooden junk in Halong Bay. 

Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang - Hoi An  (B, L)

Enjoy an early morning swim (if weather permits) followed by breakfast. The tour then visit one of the famous caves in the middle of the bay before cruising back to the main harbor for the 4 hour drive straight to Noi Bai airport in Hanoi for a late afternoon flight to Danang. On arrival, met and transferred to your selected hotel in Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 5: Hoi An - Guided Walking Tour 1/2 Day (B, L)

8:30 a.m., your guide will meet you at your hotel lobby and show you around the old town. You'll start a walking tour with numerous places of interest: the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Halls, a museum and the colorful local market. Following the narrow lanes, you walk along tiny streets with houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures. After your walking tour, your time will be at leisure to wander around or go shopping. Your lunch will be at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day will be your own. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An - Free Day of Leisure (B)

A free day at leisure in Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.

Note: There are various optional activities for your free time in Hoi An such as joining a cooking class, visiting rural villages around Hoi An by bicycle, take a day trip to My Son Ruins..Those options can be added at additional cost.

Day 7: Hoi An - Danang - Drive Scenic Road to Hue via Hai Van Pass (B, L)

This morning you'll drive north to the Royal City of Hue with en-route stop to visit either the Cham Museum in the city centre OR the famous Marble Mountain, which stands for the five essential elements that establish nature. Continue the scenic route to Hue, enjoy the view of the coast line and Danang from the top of the Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Clouds) makes your journey interesting and have your camera ready for some great photo opportunities. In the afternoon, you will cruise the Perfume River by a dragon boat to serene Thien Mu Pagoda and drive to visit the majestic Royal Tomb of King Ming Mang or King Khai Dinh. Return to your hotel by road just before sunset. Overnight in Hue.

Note: You might consider a candle-lit dinner set in a garden house which is a traditional feature of Hue's culture. Both the garden house and the cuisine are great introduction into Hue's culture.

Day 8: Hue - Imperial Citadel of Hue - Afternoon Flight to Ho Chi Minh City  (B, L)

After breakfast, you'll spend the full day for a city tour of Imperial City of Hue, firstly with the ancient walled Citadel including the former Imperial Palace. You'll then visit the Dong Ba market to learn about local produce and specialties of Hue. You might get some great deals done at the local Dong Ba Market. In the afternoon, drive to Phu Bai airport in Hue for an afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh City. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - City Sights & Highlights (B, L)

Embark on a guided city tour starting with the War Remnants Museum - a real eye-opener to a part of  Vietnam's proud history, followed by the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential Palace for the president of the South of Vietnam, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post office to get good shots for our memory of the big, modern city of Vietnam. 

After lunch, you will continue by heading to Chinatown with  walking tour through back streets of China town near Cho Lon to view the local daily life. Stop off for a visit of Thien Hau temple, which was built in the early 19th Century dedicated to Thien Hau, the goddess of seafarers. We delve deeper into Chinatown visiting the amazing Cholon and Binh Tay Market (or Ben Thanh market) for an insight into where locals shop. Then you'll will be back to hotel at around 17:00. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels Exploration & Cao Dai Temple (B, L)

An 1,5 hour drive will take you to the Cu Chi Tunnels where you will visit the amazing network of underground tunnels was used during the Vietnam War by the Viet Cong. This huge construction was a habitation for villagers in the war time. With 3 levels of depth, it was never discovered by the US during the Vietnam War despite its proximity to Saigon. Visit the fighting tunnel system with your local guide. Drive to Tay Ninh which was once the historical center of the Cao-Đài religion. Founded in 1926, Cao-Dai is a combination of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism. At the Holy See Temple, you will have the chance to watch the worshipers in their long white tunics during noon mass. From Tay Ninh, you will return to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Day 11: Mekong Delta - Day Trip from Ho Chi Minh City  (B, L)

At 8.00 am, depart for a 2 hour drive to Ben Tre, one of the country's southern provinces, situated in the Delta of the Mekong River. Take in the highway as you leave behind the busy city. On arrival, take a boat on Ben Tre river – one of tributaries of Mekong river to witness lively activities along river such as fishing, water transferring. Stop at brickwork to see how to make bricks in traditional style by printing and baking. You will visit one of plenty of coconut processing workshops located along canal. Turn on natural scissors creeks where they look smaller and smaller to go to village. Take a walk to family workshop making sleep mats and enjoying some fruits. Later, take a moto-cart on shady village paths, passing by green rice fields and vegetable plains to be able to touch on real life and find out about tropical culture from peasants. After lunch at a riverside restaurant, enjoy rowing-boat along water palm creek, and boat back to pier where you will be taken to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving at around 17.00. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.   

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure (B)

Your time will be your own until being picked up to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City for your onward journey or departure flight.     

Prices & Hotels

Price is from~US$ 861 per person
All prices are per person, valid till December 31, 2016. 
10% discount on total cost will be applied during summer time (July 1 - August 30, 2016)
Prices Include:
- 10-night accommodation in a Twin/Dounle share basis and one night on a wooden junk on Halong Bay.
- All pick-ups and transfers by private vehicles with experienced drivers.
- Domestic flight tickets (Hanoi - Danang and Hue - Ho Chi Minh City by Vietnam Airlines), inclusive of domestic airport taxes
- Experienced local English speaking guide and guide on board in Halong Bay
- Private boat cruise in Hue and in the Mekong Delta
- Meals as indicated in the programme
- All entrance fee as mentioned in the programme
- VAT and all other taxes
Prices Exclude:
- Entry visa to Vietnam
- International flights and airport taxes
- Travel Insurances
- Drinks, tips and other personal expenses or services not mentioned on the program