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2013 Vietnam Itinerary

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2013 Vietnam Itinerary Powered By Docstoc
					VIETNAM HIGHLIGHTS SMALL GROUP JOURNEY

DURATION: 10 DAYS/ 9 NIGHTS

INCLUSIONS
 Accommodation in 4 star hotels, and boutique sailing junk
 Daily breakfast [B], lunches [L], & dinners [D] as specified in itinerary
 Comfortable, air-conditioned transport, including domestic flights
 Arrival and departure transfer, regardless of day of requirement
 Entrance fees for sights included in itinerary
 Services of English-speaking tour manager/ local guides

EXCLUSIONS
 Tipping, porterage, insurance, items of a personal nature

DEPARTURE TIME & POINT
The tour begins with arrival transfer from Ho Chi Minh City airport, Vietnam.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Bustling Saigon, Mekong Delta cycling, Cu Chi Tunnels, Hoi An Cooking Class, Imperial Hue, Hanoi,
Overnight in Halong Bay junk boat

TOUR LOCATIONS
Saigon, Mekong Delta, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong Bay

TOUR DESCRIPTION
From dynamic Saigon and the lush waterways of Mekong Delta in the south, to the imperial city of Hue and
the charms of northern Hanoi, this journey takes in the highlight sights of captivating Vietnam in a compact
timeframe. Included on this carefully crafted tour is a short cycle through the Mekong Delta, a cooking class
in Hoi An, and an overnight in an atmospheric junk on beautiful Halong Bay. Stays in 4 star accommodation
throughout.

ITINERARY
Day 1 Ho Chi Minh City
Upon arrival, transfer to the Duxton Hotel for 2 nights. [D]

Day 2 Cu Chi Tunnels & Saigon Walking Tour
This afternoon, enjoy a 2-hour-drive north west of Saigon to the Cu Chi tunnels, through urbanised areas
and a typically lush southern Vietnamese countryside. The tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for guerrillas to
hide from French air and ground sweeps. It also served as a communication route and food and weapon
cache, as well as a hospital and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war. Visit the
underground villages to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese
resilience during the combats. [B]

In the afternoon, embark on a tour to admire Saigon’s historic landmarks including a stroll down Rue
Catinat of Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American'. Your walking tour will reveal more colonial classics; the
Opera House, a three-story classical theatre built to entertain the French colonists (outside visit); the former
Hotel de Ville constructed for the French bureaucrats of Indochina in 1901, now The People's Committee
building (no public access); the Notre Dame Cathedral, a stunningly massive red-brick edifice with twin
spires (open only 3-4pm everyday otherwise just outside visit) and the Central Post Office, influenced by
Renaissance architecture. [B]

Day 3   Mekong Delta Cycling
Depart early in the morning from Saigon and head two hours to the southwest. Along the way see lush rice
paddies and fruit farms. Upon arrival in Cai Lay, board a charming wooden boat to enjoy countryside
scenery and river life. Then stretch your legs a bit and hop on a bicycle for a short ride of about 7km (over
easy, level terrain) along narrow village lanes, past fruit orchards and local cottage industries. Locals will
often greet you with a hello or “xin chao” as you pedal by. Arrive at the home of a tropical fruit farmer and
have a walk around his orchard. Enjoy the opportunity to taste fresh fruits. Then relax while enjoying the
view from a small sampan boat as you are paddled slowly along tropical canals. Disembark and walk
through this Mekong village to a local home and enjoy a home-hosted lunch of Mekong Delta specialties.
After lunch, a short walk takes you back to the car and your return trip to Saigon. [B]

Day 4 To Danang & Hoi An
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Danang. Upon arrival, meet up with your guide and
transfer to the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Arrive in Hoi An, the World Heritage-listed ancient
town boasting the vestiges of an affluent civilisation dating back to 17th – 19th centuries. Check into hotel.
This afternoon, enjoy a walking tour to visit the old merchant’s house with influences from Chinese,
Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the
Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colorful market with stalls
brimming with tropical specialties including silk (which can be turned into fashionable garments within a
day). The lantern, a simple yet colorful item, is now an essential part of Hoi An culture. The lantern is
inspired and hand-made by local artisans and is meant to bring good fortune. Speak to an experienced
artisan – Mr. Huynh Van Ba who is now in his 80’s. Try creating your own lantern and take it home as a
souvenir. [B]

Day 5 Red Bridge Cooking Class
Start the day early with a welcome drink served at the Hai Café at 08:15 am. After a short introduction, walk
through the local market to pick fresh ingredients. Transfer onwards to the Red Bridge Cooking School
where you have a chance to freshen up before beginning your class. Work together with the Red Bridge
Chef who teaches you the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch. Use the
freshest ingredients and traditional Vietnamese utensils to prepare four famous dishes, including the national
dish ‘Pho’. After class, enjoy a short feedback session and take the chance to savour the dishes you have
prepared. Bid farewell to the chef and board a local boat for a short cruise along the Hoi An River back to
central Hoi An. Afternoon is free at leisure. [BL]

After an early breakfast, drive to Hue via Hai Van Pass – meaning ‘Pass of the Ocean Clouds’ – which
boasts a spectacular panoramic view of the central coastline from the summit.

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the
19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city
retains its royal charm. Start the tour from the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the
towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide
explains the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some
incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. Afterwards, drive
30 minutes to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. Its architecture and atmosphere showcase elements of
eastern art and western designs. If time permits, a vehicle will take you to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s
best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a
sight to behold. [B]

Day 7 To Hanoi
After an early breakfast, be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, meet up with
your guide and transfer to downtown.

Visit the serene Museum of Ethnology, which offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority
groups before checking in your hotel.
In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Literature - the first University for the sons of mandarins - for an
overview about Hanoian culture and an appreciation of ancient Vietnamese architecture. Enjoy a walking
tour through the Old Quarter to enjoy the bustling local life, then cap off the day with a show at the water
puppet theatre - a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of
national history. [B]

Day 8 Halong Bay
Travel 4 hours to Halong Bay for a welcome on board your junk and a sail through Bai Tu Long bay while
seafood lunch is served. Rest your eyes on the azure waters of this magical bay, where thousands of sculpted
limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons’ teeth, passing picturesque areas around Mat Quy islet.
Mid-afternoon, get to Cua Van fishing village and enjoy a pleasant bamboo boat row to through the village
with a museum and a school among floating homes. Visit Tien Ong cave then back on board enjoy sunset
cocktails and a canapé. Dinner is served on board. [LD]

Day 9 Hanoi
Start the day early to enjoy a Tai Chi class on deck with an opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery of
sunrise over the sea. After that, guests can choose to go to Soisim beach for swimming or join our chef for a
cooking demonstration to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine. On the way back, take a cruise into Bai Tu
Long bay, passing a Peal Farm, Phao Dai islet, Tam Cung cave, Hon Xep islet, and Dau Moi temple. [B]

Day 10 Depart Hanoi
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. [B]



THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
 Hotels are subject to change and are confirmed at the time of issuance of final itinerary.
 The stay on the junk boat on Halong Bay is a join-in experience, with other group and private travellers.
 Group is kept to a maximum of 30 travellers.

				
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