Day-1: Arrival Vietnam, Hanoi airport
After arrival to Vietnam you will be given the chance to discover some of Hanoi's highlights. We start with the Vietnam museum of Ethnology where you can get an idea about the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam and visit some typical rebuilt houses at the outdoor museum. Next we will visit the Temple of Literature. Then transfer to your hotel in Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day-2: Hanoi – Hue (B-L)
This morning, we take an early flight to Hue.
We explore Hue by enjoying a morning boat cruise on the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, a symbol of the city. Hue is also very famous for its historical relics including King’s tomb. Your boat will stop by Minh Mang tomb, one of the nicest King’s tombs which is set in harmony of Earth, Heaven, Green trees, Water and monuments. Your driver will pick up you at Minh Mang for lunch at a garden restaurant of Biet Phu Thao Nhi.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Forbidden Purple City, the former home of the Royal family during the Nguyen dynasty from 19th century to mid 20th century. Overnight in Hue
Day-3: Hue – Hoi An (B)
In the morning, you will take a 4-hour drive to Hoian, a charming old town which was recognized as a World Natural Heritage site. On the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach, Hai Van pass, Cham sculpture museum and Marble mountain. In the afternoon, we take a tour of the historic pagodas, houses and bridges of Hoi An. This is Vietnam’s most enchanting town, an ancient trading port of narrow streets, historic buildings, fine food and abundant shops. The influence of many countries can be seen as you wander the streets. Great efforts are being made to preserve the town for new generations and cars have been banned from the most popular streets. There are many important sights in compact Hoi An and all can be explored on foot. The most popular destination include the Japanese covered bridge, dating from 1593, a number of historic Chinese merchant houses preserved in their original 19th century state, such as Tan Ky House and 77 Tran Phu, and several important congregation halls.
Overnight in Hoi An
Day-4: Hoi An – Hochiminh City (B)
AM: Morning at your leisure.
PM: Flight to Hochiminh city. Free at your leisure.
Overnight in Hochiminh city.
Day-5: Saigon- Cu Chi (B)
In the morning, we take a drive to visit the Cu Chi- a fabulous tunnel. These tunnels are a symbol of Vietnam’s continual fight against foreign oppression and imperialism. The tunnel system covers close to 200 km including under what was once a US air base. The tunnels once spanned an area stretching from close to the Cambodian border to the city limits of Hochiminh City. They were originally constructed to fight against the French in the 1940s, to give a peasant army a means of communication between villages whilst remaining undetected. In 1960 the Viet Cong repaired and added to the tunnels to fight against the South Vietnamese and American forces. The Commander of the American forces in the region held the opinion that the Viet Cong who were responsible for digging them were like human moles.
Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Hochiminh city .
Day-6: Saigon- Cai Be- Can Tho (B, L)
In the morning we drive south to Cai Be. Upon arrival, start our private cruise excursion, departing from our own pier in Phu An hamlet at around 10.00 am. Upon embarkation, you are welcomed with fresh cotton towels. The tour will begin with the visit of Cai Be colorful floating market, cruising among local barges full of fruits and vegetables... Cruising further, your sampan will bring you to see some local home factories to discover traditional rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies, and longans drying process.
A delicious lunch will await you at a superb Indochinese villa, Le Longanier, located in a luxuriant garden by the river…
After lunch, your sampan will proceed the cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep. On the way, you will be able observe the typical Mekong delta rural life. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. Visit an ancient mandarin house dating from the 19th century where the family will welcome you with a cup a tea.
We will proceed to Vinh Long, passing beautiful landscapes along Dong Phu canal, Binh Hoa Phuoc and An Binh islands famous for their fruit orchards. After crossing the Co Chien River, the excursion will end at Vinh Long pier around 4pm.
Overnight at hotel
Day-7: Can Tho - Hochiminh City – Siem Reap - Cambodia (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel followed by an early boat trip to the bustling wholesale Cai Rang & Phong Dien floating markets where the farmers exchange their products. A walk on a peaceful country road provides magnificent sceneries of local houses, orchard gardens and fields. Don’t be surprised if you are invited by a local family to join them for a cup of tea! We will have lunch at a local restaurant before driving back directly to the airport for your flight from Vietnam to Cambodia, to Siem Reap.
You will be welcomed at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Siem Reap.
Day-8: Angkor highlights (B)
We rise early to travel to Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, a reminder that while empires rise and fall. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones.
We we continue to the giant pyramid of Takeo, one of the highest temples in the Angkor area. Built at the end of the 10th century, it was never completed. This morning we also visit the remains of an old Angkorian bridge which once spanned the Siem Reap river. There is also the option to visit the smaller temples of Chau Sey Devada and Thommanon for avid temple enthusiasts.
In the afternoon, we travel through the traditional village of Preah Dak to the 12th century temple of Banteay Samre. Built by King Suryavarman II, this temple has been extensively restored. The temple is unique in that over-quarrying of sandstone led to the use of laterite for the roofed corridors. The pediments above the inner doors here include some of the most accomplished carving from the Angkor period.
We continue to Banteay Srei, Angkor’s ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. The elaborate carvings are the finest in Cambodia and the name translates as ‘Fortress of the Women’.
Overnight in Siem Reap
Day-9: Angkor Wat exploration. Night flight to Vietnam, Hanoi (B)
Rising early, we journey to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is a fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II, this is the most famous temple at Angkor. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a picnic breakfast. As the crowds return to their hotels, we venture into Angkor Wat to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer empire. Stretching for almost one kilometre, these intricate carvings are one of the world’s longest unbroken pieces of art. The final steps to the upper terrace of Angkor are the steepest of all. Finally the pinnacle, the sacred heart of Angkor Watt, a blend of spirituality and symmetry so perfect that few moments will measure up.
In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII. Following the occupation of Angkor by the Chams from 1177 to 1181, the new king decided to build an impregnable fortress at the heart of his empire. The causeway is lined by an intricate bridge depicting the Churning of the Ocean of Milk from Hindu mythology in which the devas (gods) and asuras (devils) play tug of war with a naga (seven-headed serpent) to obtain the elixir of immortality.
We begin our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King. This intricately carved platform was the royal crematorium and the statue that was originally thought to be the leper king is now believed to be Yama, the god of death. We continue along the Terrace of Elephants, originally used as a viewing gallery for the king to preside over parades, performances and traditional sports. At the southern end lies the Baphuon, once of the most beautiful temples at Angkor, dating from the reign of Uditayavarman 1 in the 11th century. It has undergone a massive renovation by the French and is now once again open for viewing.
We end off at the temple of the Bayon. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Buddha. These colossal heads stare down from every side, exuding power and control with a hint of compassion, just the mix required to keep a hold on such a vast empire.
Then, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day-10: Hanoi – Free day (B)
A free day at your leisure.
This evening, we will attend a traditional Water Puppet show, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form designed to depict scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day-11: Departure (B)
Have more free time in Hanoi until taking a transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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Optional Halong Bay Extention
Day-11: Hanoi- Halong (B-L-D)
8.00am - Depart Ha Noi for a 3.5 hour drive to Ha Long City through the Red River Delta with a break stop on the way. We arrive at Halong City at about 11h30 and you will then be transferred by tender to the luxury INDOCHINA SAILS Junk and enjoy a welcome cocktail. We will start cruising at 12h15 while you check in your cabin. A deluxe Vietnamese Set menu lunch with fresh local seafood will be served on board (vegetarians catered for) while you embark on a cruise into the Holy bay to see the incredible karst formations.
We arrive by boat at Bat Cave (Hang Doi) where you will choose from optional tour programs: visit local fishing village by tender OR visit cave by rowing sampan or kayak (kayak is at additional charge) OR relax with beauty services onboard
A luxurious Vietnamese dinner buffet (an alternative Set menu dinner will be applied for small group) is served on board.
Overnight in your room
***Kayaking is available with extra charge.
Day-12: Halong – Hanoi (B)
06.00 At leisure or practice Meditation and Yoga Session on the Sun Deck and enjoy the sunrise.
07.00: Depart by boat to Surprise Cave (Sung Sot) to visit this famous cave. Another option is to go swimming or kayaking (kayak is at additional charge). An International Breakfast set menu (or buffet) will be served from 8h30 to 10h00 in the morning. We will then start cruising in Halong Bay while you relax and take pictures. The cruise returns to Hon Gai/ Halong at about 10h30.
10h00: Check out from Indochina Sails Junk- farewell until next time. Depart from Hon Gai/ Halong towards Hanoi. You will arrive at your hotel at about 15.30pm.
Overnight in Hanoi
Day-13: Departure (B)
Have more free time in Hanoi until taking a transfer to the airport for your flight home. Trip ends.
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Last modified: November 21, 2019