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  • Ha Noi
  • 15 Nights / 16 days
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Classic Vietnam Discovery - 15nights/16days

Overview
As well as spending time in the two major cities of Ha Noi and HCM City (Saigon), you will also have the opportunity of visiting the smaller towns of Hue and Hoi An where you can learn about the historical links of these charming towns. Hoi An was once a significant port on the Silk Trade route linking East with West. Hue on the other hand was the home for generations of the emperors of Vietnam. 

You also get to experience the varied energies and beauty of 4 more rural settings. Mai Chau in the Northern Highlands offers opportunities for trekking and meeting people from some of the Ethnic minority groups living in the country. Ninh BInh and especially the lovely village of Tam Coc shares its natural beauty of Limestone Karsts that you will see in the fields and rivers alike. Take a boat ride down the river on a rowing boat propelled by local ladies and visit the caves. Ha Long Bay gives that time on a boat cruising around a glorious Bay which we all love so much. You can choose from kayaking, swimming, caving or simply relaxing. The Central Highlands are quite different from the Northern ones, no less beautiful  and far less visited. And finally you spend a day on the waters of the Mekong Delta exploring how the locals live their lives on and by this magnificent waterway.
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Average temperature and rainfall

29

Temperature

150

Rainfall

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the two largest cities, Ha Noi and HCM City. Very different in charactor but both vibrant.
  • Visit the lovely valley of Mai Chau snuggling in the northern highlands of Vietnam.
  • Delight in the historical and charming towns of Hue and Hoi An in the central area.
  • Complete the tour in the Mekong Delta, a rural area dominated by the river of the same name.
Tour Route - Where you'll visit
1 Ha Noi
Vibrant and exciting Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, is a buzzing city that oozes self-assurance. Because it was bombed far less during the war, its Old Quarter remains intact - with each street devoted to different wares, from shoes to chicken's feet, conical hats and deities. Sit back in the elegant French quarter and observe the city on parade; watch traditional water puppetry, or join a  public Tai Chi session on the shores of the Hoan Kiem Lake. In the centre of the lake is a beautiful Chinese temple, reached by crossing an ornate red bridge. You may also wish to visit the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex and the Temple of Literature. 
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2 Mai Chau
Mai Chau Valley snuggles in the Northern Highlands. Mainly inhabited by Ethnic minority communities in rural settings, it is a place for adventure and exploration at the relaxed pace of local people. Perfect for walking, cycling, climbing or simply relaxing. Just 3 hours pictereque drive from Ha Noi, it is a perfect destination to gain a differnt feel of this beautiful and varied country.
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3 Ha Long Bay
As you sail in the area of Ha Long Bay, you will pass close to enourmous limestone Karsts that explode out of the water in majestic shapes. Adjoinng Ha Long Bay is a quieter, more beautiful Bay called Bay Tu Long. We are one of a few companies that have liccense to take our travellers into this area. Here you can enjoy kayaking around the Karsts marvelling at their majesty and splendour. You can visit one of the man made beaches  or explore a natural cave situated high in one of the Karsts. Or you can simply relax onboard enjoying the peace and tranquility of Bay Tu Long. 
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4 Hue
Hue is a small town in the central area of Vietnam. It is the Imperial city of the country being where the Emperor and his entourage lived within the walled city up to the end of the French colonial rule. Meandering through the city and into the countryside is the lovely Perfume River. A trip on one of the Dragon boats will take you to visit the impressive Temples assigned to one or another revered leader of the past as well as a lovely riverside monastery where Thich Nhat Hanh lived before he had to flee the country due to his humanitarian work during the Vietnam/American war. With its history and charming relaxed way of being, Hue is a perfect stopover for 1 or 2 nights en route south to the lovely town of Hoi An. 
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5 Da Lat
Da Lat is one of the towns created by the French during the Colonial Days. The other one is Sa Pa in the north. Da Lat is in the Central Highlands and offers cooler temperatures and fresher air than in the bustling HCM City to the South. It is a lovely little town that maintatins a great deal of its nature. The town does have its own charms such as the disused railway station where you can still board the one working train to travel a short distance along what is known as 'colonial alley' where the large elegant residencies of the French can be seen. There is also a quirky house that is still being built by its owner. Its  in a rather chaotic style of the houses to be seen in Barcelona. 

But the true gem of Da Lat is it's position in the Highland. By motorbike or car, leaving the city and exploring the surrounding countryside is one of the most exciting and interesting things to do in Vietnam. You can do a day trip or travel from Da Lat to Nha Trang, Hoi An or Hue making stops along the way exploring less travelled areas. 
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6 Hoi An
Hoi An is a small ancient town that was famous on the Silk Road as being a trading centre for people from the East to meet people from the West to barter, buy and sell their goods. Today it is a busy tourist centre welcoming thousands of people every year to enjoy the charm that it exudes. 

A UNESCO supported town, the old buildings are skillfully maintained using local produce in the time honoured way that has always been done. The majority of the town centre buildings now are shops, cafes or restaurants. Wander along the river to find a spot to sit and enjoy watching the world go by as you eat and drink. And if you fancy having some clothes made to measure or even shoes made to measure to your own design, this is the place for you. 

And as a bonus to all of this, Hoi An has a very lovely beachfront within a short taxi or bicycle ride. 

The nearest airport is Da Nang, just a short 30/40 minute drive. 
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7 HCM City
Prior to reunification of the country, Ho Chi Minh was previously known as Saigon and was the capital of South Vietnam. It is now the largest city in Vietnam and the commercial centre. The influence of the Americans is easy to see in the central area wth the wide streets and tall buildings. The city has some great restaurants and is the place to be if shopping is your thing. And when you have had your fill of shopping and eating, you can head for the historical sites. The most famous place to visit are the Cu Chi Tunnels where the Viet Cong from the North sprang surprise attacks on the southern troops. The tunnels were also used as a place to store things and to live for months at a time. 

You can also visit the Re-Unification Palace, the Cathedral and the Central Post Office that was built by Mr Eiffel of Paris and is still operating today. And if the Vietnam/ American war is an interest, you might choose to visit the Museum where there are many evokative photographs and memorabilia on display. 
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Detailed Itinerary

Day ONE +-
  • Day 01: Arrival in Ha Noi

You will be greeted at the airport by our Vietnam Travel Centre representative and taken directly to your hotel to rest or explore as you choose. Ha Noi is the capital city of Vietnam. It's a 1000 year old city that is packed full of diversity, character and vitality. The heart of the city is Hoan Kiem Lake where locals and tourists alike sit, walk or join in with daily Tai Chi and exercise groups. 

To the north of the Lake is the Old Quarter where an ancient style of living among the narrow streets and tiny buildings dominates. To the south of the Lake is the elegant French Quarter with its wide tree lined boulevards and Colonial style architecture.  

If flights allow, after a rest and lunch, you can enjoy a Cyclo ride around the central area to get a snap-shop of this vibrant and busy city centre. After the cyclo ride, you can enjoy the unique Water Puppet show accompanied by talented local musicians playing traditional instruments. The rest of the evening is at your leisure.

Day TWO +-
  • Day 02: Ha Noi City Tour

After breakfast, you guide will take you on a tour of the major historical and cultural sites of the city starting with the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the revered Vietnamese leader who still commands huge great respect throughout the country.  The Mausoleum is in a commanding and impressive setting adjoining the Palace and government buildings. In the same development there are also the Museum, some lovely gardens, a Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh's last house before he died.

You will next visit the Temple of Literature, the oldest university in Vietnam. It was established in honour of Confucius and, for 6 centuries was the centre of learning for the Mandarins, the intellectuals, the administrators and politicians of the day when Vietnam was strongly connected with China.

For lunch, you will be taken to a local restaurant to try the famous Ha Noi Pho, a delicious noodle soup.

After lunch, the next stop is at the Trấn Quoc Pagoda situated on the largest lake in Ha Noi called Ho Tay or West Lake. The Pagoda is the oldest one in Ha Noi, Originally constructed in the sixth century.  The last stop for the day brings you back to Hoan Kiem Lake to visit the lovely Ngoc Son Temple which was built on an island on the Hoan Kiem Lake in the 19th century. Here you will learn about the story of the soft shelled turtle and the sword that was reputed to have been recovered to save Ha Noi from destruction. It is said that turtles still live in the lake and to see one brings luck!

This is the perfect Vietnam tour for the first time traveller to this beautiful and varied area of the world. The 15 night tour covers all the major highlights of this amazing country including bustling and vibrant Ha Noi, the lovely valley of Mai Chau, stunning Ha Long bay, culturally rich Hue and Hoi An, historic HCM City and the charming Mekong Delta.
Day THREE +-
  • Day 03: Ha Noi - Mai Chau
After breakfast your driver and guide will collect you from your hotel and head out of the city into the Northern highlands for the 3 - 3.5 hour drive to the delightful valley of Mai Chau. This area is mainly occupied by the Thai ethnic group who will offer a warm welcome into their area to you. The town itself is a typical Vietnamese small town but the scenery in the valley is spectacular. There are a number of villages of the Thai people in the valley. The Thai tribe are known for their friendliness and warm welcome. There are also Black and Flower H'Mong people who live in the valley and in the nearby mountains (the name relates to the colour of the traditional clothes that the tribes wear). Today you can take a walk or a cycle ride around some of the local villages and if you wish, join in with some of the rural activities such as planting or harvesting rice crops. You can also visit the local village where there are a number of shops selling their traditional craft work and local cafes to stop and enjoy a refreshing beverage or two. Overnight in Mai Chau.

 Note: There are 53 Ethnic groups living in Vietnam. The majority are from the Viet group, who we know as Vietnamese with 52 minority groups all with their own language and culture. The majority of these groups live in the harsher conditions of the mountains or the flood areas of the country.




Day FOUR +-
  • Day 04: Mai Chau
Today you can take a drive to the esquisite area of Pu Luong, about 40 minutes drive from Mai Chau. Less developed than Mai Chau, this is beautiful countryside and the people live in the traditional way of life to a greater degree than in Mai Chau. You can relax at the centre at Pu Luong before heading out to explore the area on foot or by car whichever you prefer. Overnight in Mai Chau or in the modern homestay in Pu Luong. 
Day FIVE +-
  • Day 05: Ha Noi - Ha Long Bay

This morning, after breakfast you will depart for Ha Long Bay. The four hour drive to the bay passes through Vietnamese countryside and lush rice paddy fields. When you arrive at the port around noon, the boat’s crew will be ready to welcome you on board. Check-in, enjoy a welcome drink & attend the cruise briefing.

Enjoy a cruise along this fascinating bay that features thousands of limestone karts and isles in various sizes and shapes. Savour a fresh, local seafood lunch while cruising on to Bai Tu Long Bay. Stop in between for explore the bay by Kayak, swim, visit the mysterious Thien Canh cave and relax on a secluded beach. You will also get the opportunity to kayak and explore the bay up close. Back on the boat to enjoy a relaxing sunset dinner. Overnight on board.

Day SIX +-
  • Day 06: Ha Long Bay - Ha Noi - Hue (flight)

The boat will re resume it’s cruising before sunrise. Early risers can take benefit from seeing the lovely sun risers over the water before heading for breakfast.  As the boat heads slowly towards the docks, you will have the opportunity to go swimming at Hon Co Island and exploring the hidden Thien Canh Son Cave. It’s a steep walk to get to the opening but well worth the effort.

Back on board, lunch will be ready. You’ll arrive back on land around midday where your driver will be waiting to take you back to Ha Noi to connect with your flight to the central area of the country, to the Royal town of Hue. Once in Hue, your local driver and guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.  The evening is at your leisure. Overnight in Hue





Day SEVEN +-
  • Day 07: Hue
Hue is a small but interesting town situated on the beautiful Perfume River, Hue is the best place to discover the imperial past of Vietnam. Vietnam’s last imperial family who ruled here until the end of the French rule, lavished the city with grand mausoleums and structures.

This morning you board one of the Dragon boats and head down the Perfume River to explore the best of the Royal Tombs including the Tu Duc Royal Tomb. After a traditional lunch at a local restaurant, you will visit the Khai Dinh Royal Tomb then head back to Hue Centre to visit the former Imperial Citadel.

Later, drive to the Thien Mu Pagoda and learn more about Buddhism in Vietnam.  Spend your evening at leisure. Overnight in Hue.
Day EIGHT +-
  • Day 08: Hue - Da Lat
After breakfast this morning, you will be driven south to the town of Da Nang to get a short flight into the central highlands to the largest town in this region, Da Lat.

You will be greeted at the airport and taken directly to your hotel. Notice immediately how different this area is to other parts of Vietnam with the colourful flowers and wide roads. After a short rest and lunch, you will be taken on a tour of the city including a visit to the disused Railway Station. The railway station was built in Vietnam by the French and was a busy line carrying people from the heat and humidity of the south into the cooler and fresher climate of the mountains.

Unfortunately, the lines were badly damaged during the American/Vietnam war and has never re-opened.  But you can see the charming old station, an original engine and carriage (now converted into a cafe) and take a short ride along the remaining used stretch of line nicknamed, 'French Alley' because it travels along some of the original French Colonial buildings were built and are still in use. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight in Da Lat.
Day NINE +-
  • Day 09: Da Lat

Today you will take a tour of the surrounding countryside. This can be done either by car or with a motorbike guide.  

Your first stop after breakfast is at the Crazy House in the town. The name describes just what it is....crazy...but great fun! The brainchild and passion of one women, it is still being built and developed. It's similar to Gaudi architecture in Barcelona but with less of a formula and more chaotic and more fascinating in its design. 

 After the House, you will head out into the magnificent countryside surrounding Da Lat. You will travel to villages to see how people live and work, visit the Silk Factory, the Pagoda and the coffee plantations. Although unmistakably Vietnamese, the countryside, at times reflects parts of Europe especially with the Mediterranean type weather that the area experiences (warm days with blue skies and cooler mornings and evenings). Your evening is at your own leisure. Overnight in Da Lat.

Day TEN +-
  • Day 10: Da Lat - Hoi An
After the short flight from Da Lat to Da Nang,  it is then about 30-45 minutes by road to your hotel in the lovely town of Hoi An.

Hoi An was voted by Wanderlust readers as the favourite city on earth, and  not without reason. This historical city situated on the banks of the Thu Bon  River is a fascinating mix of ancient town houses, a Japanese bridge, shops, tailors, food markets, restaurants and cafes, surrounded by lush paddy fields and a short drive to the beach. A busy town, it retains its charm and historical interest as well as offering all the comforts for the modern tourist. 

The rest of your day and evening is at your leisure. Overnight  in Hoi An.  

Note:  This is a great chance to get tailor-made clothes at reasonable prices.  Hoi An is well known for its tailoring.
Day ELEVEN +-
  • Day 11: Hoi An
You will be picked up after breakfast for a bicycle trip to the country side of the Hoi An town to visit the Tra Que Organicvillage, where you can visit the gardens managed by the local farmers. Learn about their traditional methods and farming techniques- no machines are used here.

If you choose to, you can join in some of the garden work before relaxing with a traditional feet-soaking with Vietnamese herbs.

In the afternoon you head back Hoi An town for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch you will have the opportunity to walk around the town and experience its charming and unique culture. You can  visit the old Tan Ky House, the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, and the stylish Phuc Kien Assembly Hall. Return to the hotel in the afternoon. Spend the rest  of the evening at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day TWELVE +-
  • Day 12: Hoi An
A day at leisure in Hoi An to relax on the beach, at your resort or to do some shopping.
Day THIRTEEN +-
  • Day 13: Hoi An - HCM City
After breakfast you will be transferred to nearby Da Nang airport for a morning  flight to HCM City. On arrival your local guide and driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel,  The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnig in HCM CIty. 
Day FOURTEEN +-
  • Day 14: HCM City 

After breakfast, you will visit the Cu Chi war tunnels which are a network of underground tunnels formerly used by the Viet Cong during the American/Vietnam War. The tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the war and besides being used as hiding spots, they were also used as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters and their families. Get an insight into what life was like for the guerrillas by crawling through 50 meters of the 200 km long tunnel. Later you will also have the opportunity to visit a rice paper workshop.

 In the afternoon, your first stop will be in the downtown area at the Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon with a stopover at Thien Hau, a 150 year old Chinese Temple. You will also have the opportunity to visit a Lacquer-wares workshop and the Jade Emperor Pagoda. Later in the afternoon, the tour will take you to the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the historic Central Post Office that was designed by Mr Eiffel, and stands as a testament to the French influence in this country. Overnight in HCM City. 

 

Day FIFTEEN +-
  • Day 15: HCM City - Mekong Delta - HCM City

Leaving HCM City at 8:30 from your hotel we head south out of the city to Cai Be. On arrival, at 10:00 am, we board a boat for a journey through the town’s floating market. At the market you can see how river life goes on here in much the same way as it has for generations. Farmers travel to the market by river with their produce to barter with locals and merchant ships that then take the produce ashore to re sell.

 After a cruise down the backwaters, take a walk through the village streets and watch locals making manioc chips. Back on the boat we cruise through the secluded canals stopping at an ancient house (Mai Thanh Tan)  to enjoy some of the seasonal fruits and lunch before we venture to the Mighty Mekong (1 km wide) by boat.

 Our last stop off is at a river island to visit the local orchards. We then head back to HCM City by road arriving around 17:30.. Overnight in HCM City

Day SIXTEEN +-
  • Day 16: HCM City - Homebound Flight
The rest of this day is at your leisure until it is time for your transfer to HCM City airport for your return flight. Your driver will meet you at your hotel at a time appropriate for your departure. 
Select a Destination
  • 2nts
Resort Ratting
Select a hotel for more information
Destination Nights Standard Superior Deluxe
Ha Noi 2 Hong Ngoc Dynastie La Siesta Apricot Hotel
Mai Chau 2 Mai Chau Valley View Mai Chau Lodge Mai Chau Eco Lodge
Ha Long Bay 1 Dragon Pearl Junk Dragon Pearl Junk Dragon Legend Junk
Hue 2 Asia Hotel Saigon Morin La Residence
Da Lat 2 Ngoc Lan Ngoc Lan Ngoc Lan
Hoi An 3 Betel Garden Homestay Essence Palm Garden Resort
HCM City 2 Ma Maison Boutique Saigon Grand Silverland Rex

Hong Ngoc Dynastie

Established in 1994, Hong Ngoc Dynastie was the first hotel of the Hong Ngoc hotels group and has quickly become known for an excellent record of service and hospitality. The hotel is in a central location on one of the 36 famous old streets – ‘Hang Manh’ street and within easy acce of many of the biggest attractions in Ha Noi Centre. 
 With an enchanting and authentic  Indochine concept, our hotel is where you can enjoy an exclusive experience of the old Hanoian lifestyle. Each room blends Vietnamese traditional architecture and modern facilities. 

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