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9 Day, Essence of Vietnam (South to North)


From £1,689.00 per person


Based on 2 adults sharing, all flights & taxes, tours including English speaking guide and meals where outlined. See itinerary for full inclusions.

Overview

Discover the spirit of Vietnam with a South to North trip. Starting from the bustle of Saigon, you’ll visit the green pastures of the Mekong Delta, then work your way up north, visiting priceless UNESCO Heritage Sites, the charismatic city of Hanoi and the charms of Halong Bay onboard a traditional wooden junk.

Day 1: UK Departure Day 6: Hoi An – Danang – Hanoi
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival Day 7: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City Day 8: Halong Bay – Hanoi Departure
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City & Mekong Delta Day 9: UK Arrival
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City – Danang – Hoi An

Itinerary

Daily, in depth tour itinerary.

We have put this tour together to feature some of our favourite hotels, however alternate accommodation options are available be it of a higher or lower standard.


Day 1, UK Departure

Depart UK for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2, Ho Chi Minh City – Arrival

Ho Chi Minh City – Arrival

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight (Option A): Ho Chi Minh City at the Caravelle Hotel (Bed & Breakfast)
Overnight (Option B): Ho Chi Minh City at the Liberty Central Saigon (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Sightseeing in Saigon
A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Nearly everywhere there is an encounter between traditional and modern life. The emerging modern skyline stands toe to toe with colonial buildings and traditional temples. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on motorbikes, chatting on cell phones; inside the quiet temple courtyards, worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense.

Visit Cholon (Chinatown)
Cholon is the large Chinese neighbourhood to the west of the city in District 5. Cholon means ‘Big Market’, a good indication of the importance the Chinese have traditionally played in Vietnam’s economy.

Visit the Museum of Vietnamese Traditional Medicine (Fito)
Visit Fito Museum which displays more than 3,000 objects, including a collection of knives and boat-shaped grinders used to chop and grind medicines. The oldest item in this collection was fished out of the Red River and dates back to the 6th century. The museum also has collections of items used in ancient pharmacies including medicinal kettles and cups, medicinal scales, mortar and pestles, and alcohol jars. Learn how to grind medicine, watch a documentary about the history of Vietnamese traditional medicine, and taste a cup of linh chi tea before leaving the museum.

Visit Ben Thanh Market
The Ben Thanh Market is the central market of Saigon and the market and the surrounding streets make up one of the city’s liveliest areas. Everything commonly eaten, worn or used by the average resident of Saigon is available here.

Visit War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum exhibits collections of weapons, photographs and memorabilia from two Indochina wars along with the original French ‘Guillotine’ brought here in the early 20th century.

Visit History Museum
Visit the History Museum, once the National Museum of the Republic of Vietnam. The museum has an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the evolution of the cultures of Vietnam, including the Bronze Age Dong Son civilisation, the Oc-Eo civilisation, the Chams, Khmers and Vietnamese.

Visit Central Post Office
The Central Post Office is a French-style building with a glass canopy and iron frame right next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The structure was built between 1886 and 1891 and is by far the largest post office in Vietnam.

Visit Dong Khoi Street
Donh Khoi Street, known as ‘Rue Catinet’ during the French years, is a main shopping street in the centre of Saigon with an abundance of choices for purchasing handicrafts and laquerware.

Visit the Opera House
The colonial-era Opera House is today one of the main places for cultural exchange. May be viewed from the outside only.

Visit City Hall (Hotel De Ville)
City Hall, also known as Hotel de Ville, was completed in 1908, and is at the northern end of Nguyen Hue Boulevard. With it’s ornate gingerbread facade it looks like the town hall of a French town. It is viewable from outside only.

Overnight (Option A): Ho Chi Minh City at the Caravelle Hotel (Bed & Breakfast)
Overnight (Option B): Ho Chi Minh City at the Liberty Central Saigon (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 4, Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

A Day in the Mekong Delta (Full day)
From Saigon, drive into the heart of the Mekong Delta the small town of Cai Be with an elegant Neo-Romanesque Cathedral at the town center recalling the presence of the French colonialists back in the 19th century.

Embark on one of the local boats to explore the riverside village in which local families are running age-old cottage industries. Pay them a visit and see how the delta residents make traditional treats including dried longans, rice pancakes and puffed rice candies, a chance to sample these local delicacies.

Continue the trip across a main flow of the mighty Mekong then follow narrow waterways through peaceful lush green orchards and also lively scenes of well inhabited canals. Disembark at Vinh Long and return to Saigon.

Overnight (Option A): Ho Chi Minh City at the Caravelle Hotel (Bed & Breakfast)
Overnight (Option B): Ho Chi Minh City at the Liberty Central Saigon (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 5, Ho Chi Minh City – Danang - Hoi An

Ho Chi Minh City – Danang – Hoi An

After breakfast transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang.

Visit Cham Museum
The Cham Museum houses probably the best collection of Cham art to be found anywhere in the world. There are more than 300 artefacts in the museum, many dating to the 4th century. There are beautiful sculptures reflecting the 1000 year Cham period.

Sightseeing in Hoi An
Hoi An, a picturesque riverside town, was one of South East Asia’s major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This walking tour includes many of the town’s highlights. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream.

Near the bridge is Sa Huynh Museum which houses exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An’s history. Wander into the Tran Family Chapel, a 200 year old house built for worshipping ancestors. Visit Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall, a Chinese pagoda built around 1690 and enlarged in 1900. It is typical of the Chinese clans in the Hoi An area and is dedicated to Thien Hau Thanh Mau, the Goddess of the Sea and Protector of Sailors and Fishermen. Also enter into a Lantern Making Workshop to see how the frame is made and the silk cloth put onto the lantern.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight (Option A): Hoi An at the Anantara Hoi An Resort (Bed & Breakfast)
Overnight (Option B): Hoi An at the Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 6, Hoi An – Danang - Hanoi

Hoi An – Danang – Hanoi

Transfer to Danang airport for the short flight to Hanoi.

On arrival, transfer to hotel.

Sightseeing in Hanoi
Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite an exciting exploration by walking, while it’s many beautiful public spaces – lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments – give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals.

Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature has a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university. In one courtyard, giant stone tortoises bear stele on their backs, listing the accomplishments of graduating scholars.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex
Start the exploration of the vast Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh (closed Mondays, Fridays, and during September and October). View the outside of the Presidential Palace and then stroll through the park to the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. Preserved in the same condition as during his life, it may be viewed through the windows. Continue to the miniature 11th century One Pillar Pagoda which was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954 and to the Ho Chi Minh Museum where displaying more than 120,000 documents, objects and films about President Ho Chi Minh’s life and revolutionary work.

Visit the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter holds over a thousand years of history and remains one of Vietnam’s most lively and unusual places, where one can buy anything from a gravestone to silk pyjamas. Explore by walking to the maze of back streets with fascination wonderment at every turn and there are endless things to buy from wool clothes, cosmetics, gold and silver jewellery, silk clothes and herbal medicines.

Visit Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple and the Rising Sun bridge
Hoan Kiem Lake (Hoan Kiem means Lake of the Returned), is a lake in the historical centre of the Hanoi capital. It is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life. Legend has it that King Le Loi handed a magic sword called Heaven’s Will which brought him victory in his revolt against the Chinese Ming dynasty back to the Golden Turtle God in the lake. The Tortoise Tower (Thap Rua) standing on a small island near the centre of the lake is linked to the legend.

The Ngoc Son Temple was erected in the 18th century. It honours the 13th -century military leader Tran Hung Dao who distinguished himself in the fight against the Yuan – Mongol invaders, Van Xuong, a scholar and Nguyen Van Sieu, a Confucian master and famous writer in charge of repairs made to the temple in 1864. Jade Island is connected to the shore by the wooden red-painted Huc Bridge (The Huc, means Morning Sunlight Bridge).

Visit the Vietnamese Women Museum
Visit the Vietnamese Women Museum, which showcases more than 1000 materials, photos and objects portraying the role that Vietnamese women played in the history of Vietnam, and in the arts and family life today.

Visit a Water Puppet Show
See a Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi.

Overnight (Option A): Hanoi at the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi (Bed & Breakfast)
Overnight (Option B): Hanoi at the Silk Path Luxury Hanoi Hotel (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 7, Hanoi – Halong Bay

Hanoi – Halong Bay

Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities.

After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

Overnight (Option A): Halong Bay, Paradise Cruise Junk, Deluxe Cabin
Overnight (Option B): Halong Bay, Bhaya Classic Cruise, Deluxe Cabin

Day 8, Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure

Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure

Enjoy your morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi.

As an optional extra, visit one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam ‘But Thap’ on the way back to Hanoi.

Transfer to Hanoi Noi Bai Airport for flight to the UK.

Day 9, UK Arrival

Day 9, UK Arrival

Your flight arrives back to the UK with some amazing memories and no doubt a memory card full of photos. Time to start planning the next amazing trip!!

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