VIETNAM hidden Charms
Hanoi – Sapa – Ha Long Bay – Hue – Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
14 Days/13 Nights
14 Days/13 Nights
Vietnam has many things to offer that can match all tastes, from adventure to classic, from cities to countryside, from touristic to off-track destinations. In the classic category, this package includes visiting the ethnic hill tribe villages of Sapa and their colorful market, an overnight on boat in Ha Long Bay, the Imperial Hue citadel, a cooking class with Royal family, Hoi An Ancient town, farming work at Tra Que village, bustling metropolis Saigon, and river life in the Mekong Delta visiting fruit orchards and a floating market.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)
Upon arrival at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi, you will be met by our guide and transferred to your hotel in the city centre. Be free for the remainder of the day. Your welcome dinner will be arranged at a local restaurant with Vietnamese cuisine. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Overnight train to Lao Cai (B/L)
After breakfast, you will visit Ho Chi Minh Complex with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, His wooden house, his garden and One-pillar Pagoda. Later, you can walk to Tran Quoc Pagoda on the West Lake. Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant with Vietnamese Cuisine.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Museum of Ethnology before returning to the bustling Old Quarter for a walking tour through its narrow and colorful streets. You will stop at Dong Xuan Market, Ngoc Son temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. Then enjoy a Water Puppet Show at Bong Sen Theater. In the evening, we will drive to the railway station for a classic overnight train to Sapa. Overnight on the train.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat – Lao Chai – Ta Van Village (B)
Arrive at Lao Cai Train station at about 6:30. You will be welcomed by our local guide and transferred to Sapa for breakfast at a local restaurant. Relax after the night train. At 9:00am, you will walk to the Muong Hoa Valley to visit the native Black H’mong people in Cat Cat Village. Our car will pick you up bring you back to Sapa.
In the afternoon, our private car takes you to the Lao Chai village, with a large population of Black H’mong people. Trek through the village of Ta Van of the Dzay people. If you enjoy your trekking, you can continue to Su Pan & Giang Ta Chai with a more challenging trekking route. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 4: Sapa – Hill Trible Market - Lao Cai – Hanoi by joined shuttle bus (B/L)
After breakfast, we’ll head to a Hill Tribes Market by car. Dip yourself into the happy atmosphere of Dzao and Flower Hmong tribes. The markets are very simple but really meaningful to the local people. Recommended markets: Bac Ha Market on Sunday, Can Cau Market on Saturday, and Coc Ly Market on Tuesday.
Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Bac Ha before visiting the Ban Pho Village of the H’mong hill tribe where you will visit rice fields (from July to September) and their local primary school.
Then you will drive back to Lao Cai City and take a limousine shuttle bus (max. 9 people) back to Hanoi. Arrival in Hanoi at 20:30 or 21:00, check in to your hotel and overnight in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi- Ha Long Bay by car (B/L/D)
After breakfast, take a 3.5 hour drive to Ha Long Bay, one of the World Natural Heritages recognized by UNESCO with over 3,000 spectacular limestone islands rising from the clear, emerald sea in the Gulf of Tonkin. Our transportation has wi-fi for when you are not taking pictures out the window. Upon arrival, welcome aboard. Enjoy a welcome drink before check in at your cabin, and your cruise begins. While the Junk is passing many rocky islets, caves, floating villages and beaches, your lunch will be served on board with fresh seafood. In the afternoon, visit a floating fishing village by rowing or motor boat. Meet and talk and take photos with the villagers. Free time afterwards is for swimming or relaxing on the sundeck. Later, the Junk moves a quiet area to dock for overnight stay. Dinner with Vietnamese food is served on board.
Day 6: Ha Long Bay- Hanoi – Quan Ho folksong show - Hue by flight (Brunch)
Breakfast is served while the Junk cruises around Ha Long Bay, passing by many islets named by their shapes such as Dog, Incense Urn, Fighting Cock, Finger, etc. Stop for a while to explore Surprise Cave- one of the most beautiful in the bay. The Junk then continues cruising towards the wharf, where you will be ready to disembark about 10:30am. Drive back to Hanoi.
On the way, you will stop at Dinh Bang village, take a horse-drawn cart through country lanes to visit Dinh Bang Communal house & Do Temple which worships 8 kings of Ly Dynasty (1010-1225). After that you will enjoy Quan Ho folk songs (duo of love songs) performed by local singers. Quan ho singing is a Vietnamese folk music style with alternating groups of female and male singers issuing musical challenges and responses in the repertoire dealing with topics of love and sentimentality. It’s recognized as the Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO in 2009. After the show, you will drive to the airport for a flight to Hue. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by our local guide and check in your hotel. Overnight in Hue.
Day 7: Hue City Tour – Cooking Class at Tha Om Garden House (B/L/D)
In the morning, you will start a cyclo tour around the poetic Hue city on the bank of Perfume River. Visit the Imperial Citadel where Kings of Vietnam’s last feudal dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945, including the Flag Tower, Nine Holy Cannons, Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Nine Dynastic Urns, Forbidden Purple City, etc. Lunch will be arranged at a local restaurant, then visit King Khai Dinh Tomb.
16:30 - You’ll be escorted by your guide to Tha Om garden house. A replica of a 19th century Hue residence, the house is situated in a charming garden and contains a variety of trees, plants and a lotus pond offering an opportunity to relax and enjoy traditional Vietnamese hospitality. It’s a complex of adjoining rooms including bedrooms, living quarters and a room dedicated to ancestral worship. You’ll join a cooking class of Hue’s cuisines with the owner who is a talented cook. Dinner is served with the dishes you’ve just cooked by yourself.
Day 8: Hue – Hoi An Ancient Town by car (B/L)
After breakfast, we board a cruise along romantic Perfume River to Thien Mu, the oldest temple in Hue and the tomb of King Minh Mang, a poetic garden stretching from the foot of Cam Khe Mountain to the bank of Huong River. Lunch will be catered at a local restaurant. After lunch, you will drive to Hoi An along the centre coast of Vietnam with stops on the top of cloudy Hai Van pass and Lang Co white-sand beach.
Arrive in Hoi An Ancient Town, walk around the tiny town with your guide to visit a 400 year old Japanese Bridge, a 300 year old Chinese temple, a 200 year old Vietnamese former merchants' house. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An – Tra Que Village by bicycle (B)
After breakfast, ride a bicycle to Tra Que Vegetable Village, walk around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land, fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake, raking, sowing, watering greens, picking greens and many more gardening activities. Enjoy a foot massage with herbs from the fields. Ride back to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will be free to explore the town by yourself! Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 10: Hoi An free (B)
A free day in Hoi An to relax and do whatever takes your fancy!
Day 11: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City by flight & Ho Chi Minh’s highlights (B/L)
After breakfast, you will board a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you will follow your guide to visit the moving War Remnants Museum which presents a partial, but riveting, view of the American War, as it is known in Vietnam. Continue to the Reunification Palace, former residence of the Indochina Governor General and later President of the Republic of Southern Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in April 30, 1975. The day ends with visits to the charming Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, one of the oldest buildings Ho Chi Minh City built around 1886-1891, the elegant Saigon Opera House and the bustling Ben Thanh Market.
Lunch will be served at a local restaurant with Vietnamese Cuisine and if time permits, stroll around the bustling China town in district 5, Thien Hau Cantonese Pagoda and Fito Chinese Medicine Museum. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Ben Tre – Can Tho by car (B/L)
After breakfast, you will take a 2 hour pleasant drive to Ben Tre province crossing Rach Mieu bridge. Upon arrival in Hung Vuong Pier, hop on a motorized boat on Ben Tre River – one of the tributaries of the Mekong river while sight-seeing lively activities along the river such as fishing and boats transferring fruits, flowers and rice to local markets. Our first stop is at a brick kiln to see how to make bricks traditionally by printing and baking. Those brick kilns are opened in summer time only when there is enough sunshine to dry bricks. Continue to visit one coconut processing workshop located along the canals. Return to the boat and go through natural scissors creeks to a village and see some local houses, making sleeping mats, and enjoying some local fruits.
Take a Tuk-Tuk (motorized cart) or bicycle on shady paths, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plains to be able to touch on real life and find out about tropical culture from peasants. Have lunch at a local riverside restaurant.
After lunch, we take a rowing-boat along beautiful water palm creek before meeting the motorized boat and transferring you back to the pier. Continue driving further to Can Tho. Overnight in Can Tho.
Day 13: Can Tho – Cai Rang Floating Market - Ho Chi Minh City by car (B/L)
Early morning, we’ll cruise along the small and picturesque tributaries by rowing boat. We will see the 1000 year old Cai Rang floating market (the nicest one with heaps of rowing boats). See the beautiful scenery and daily activities of the locals. Walk around a village, visit a rice husking mill and a fruit garden to learn about different kinds of tropical fruits in Vietnam as well as taste seasonal fruits. Disembark at Ninh Kieu quay and back to your hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and visit the Binh Thuy ancient house, the house of the Lover in the Novel of the French writer, Marguerite Duras. Have lunch at a local restaurant on the way back to Saigon via My Tho. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure (B)
You will be free today until proceeding to the airport with enough time to connect to your departure flight.
:>> Our prices include:
> Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room
> Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver
> The services of an experienced English-speaking guide throughout the tour (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination)
> Domestic flights Hanoi – Hue & Danang – Ho Chi Minh City, including airport taxes (Vietnam Airlines, economic class)
> Where necessary, entry fees and permission to enter border areas for all visits mentioned in the program
> Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available
> Private cooking class in Hue
> VAT and other taxes
:>> Our prices do not include:
> International flight tickets and airport tax
> Vietnamese Visa handling and stamp fee
> Dinners, except as specified above
> Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses
> Camera fees (if any)