Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi (D)
Arrive in Hanoi, welcome by your guide and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi - Hoa Lu - Hanoi (B, L)
A 70km drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam's first capital, Hoa Lu. After visiting the two remaining sanctuaries of the ancient citadel, take a sampan on a river through the rice paddies to the grottoes of the sacred Tam Coc Caves. Enormous limestone karsts jut out from the green rice fields giving rise to this place's other name, 'Halong on Land'. Climb up to the Bich Dong Pagoda, which offers a scenic view of the surrounding countryside. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi (B, L)
A full day city tour of Vietnam's capital. Hanoi is a unique city with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and oriental temples. The city tour includes such sights as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and his house on stilts, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, the Quanh Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc Pagoda on the edge of West Lake. After lunch in town continue to the Museum of Ethnology and end the afternoon with a visit to the Lake of the Restored Sword and a cyclo tour of the Old Quarter. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise (B, L, D)
Pick up at your hotel or residence in Hanoi by our car and driving to Halong City. We go through the scenic countryside. Stopover on the way to refresh. Arriving in Halong boat pier at around 12: 30. - 12h30: Welcome on cruise and set sails through the Bay while lunch is serverd. Passage into the magical Bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons’teeth. After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a spectacular view of the Bay dotted with the cruise golden sails, go swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. Later afternoon, other choices for kayaking or simply taking a bamboo row boat to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on the cruise, enjoy cocktails while watching sunset and later, unwind at fantastic restaurant. If the weather permits a short night cruise could bring you a nice discovery of the sea life by night.
Day 5: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Da Nang - Hoi An (B, L)
- 6h30: Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay or enjoy a morning view of the Bay’s landscapes with a cup of Tea, Coffee, fresh Fruits. Sitting on the upper deck, we can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the rocky Islands rising from the crystal-clear waters of the Bay. The quiet is almost eerie, we can hear birds singing, cicadas chirping ashore and the gentle lapping of the waves against our boat, the perfect soundtrack to accompany the fresh air and gentle breeze. A tasty breakfast served at 7:30. After that, take an opportunity to visit beautiful limestone grotto - 9h30: Return on board for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock.Our car pick up and transfer back to Hanoi for flight to Da Nang - Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An - Hue (B, L)
Hoi An was a major Asian trading port in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and its architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit the former merchants' homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colourful market. Leave Hoi An after lunch for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. The scenic route passes through Danang before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. Arrive in Hue late in the afternoon and transfer to hotel. Overnight in Hue.
Day 7: Hue (B, L)
Visit the former imperial capital of Vietnam. A boat trip on the romantically named Perfume River visits Hue's best-known religious site, Thien Mu Pagoda, and the mausoleum of former emperor Minh Mang, in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. In the afternoon visit the elaborate mausoleums of emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945.
Day 8: Hue - Ho Chi Minh City (B, L)
Transfer to Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals. A full day city tour takes in the city's bustling Chinatown and begins with a visit to the Thien Hau Temple, from where you will take a cyclo ride; the most appropriate and unusual way to explore Cholon, literally meaning 'big market'. The ride will take you to the lively Binh Tay Market. Then visit a lacquerware factory to witness workers continuing a Vietnamese ancestral tradition. After lunch visit the War Museum and the former Presidential Palace, from there on you will go on foot (the car will be available at all times) to visit the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Notre Dame Cathedral, Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. After this historical visit, enjoy some wonderful ice cream at Fanny's, a quaint little parlour with a French atmosphere, before exploring the trendy boutiques on Ton That Thiep Street.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Cai Be (B, L)
Depart to Cai Be, deep in the Mekong Delta. Board the Cai Be Princess junk boat and start the tour with the visit of the colourful Cai Be floating market. Follow with a visit of some local home factories that produce rice paste, rice pop corn and coconut candies. Cruise then to evergreen islands among the Mekong River through large networks of meandering rivers, crisscrossed with countless arroyos. Lunch at a fruit orchard then cruise to Vinh Long and discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong Delta rural life.
Day 10: Depart Ho Chi Minh City (B)
Departure day. At leisure for shopping until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight. Viet Bamboo Travel can arrange additional customized trips for you if the above itinerary does not match your expectations.