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10 Day, Essence of Vietnam (North to South)


From £1,749.00 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

Capture the essence of Vietnam with a comprehensive North to South trip. Visiting bustling cities, the ever charming Halong Bay, timeless UNESCO Heritage Sites as well as the picturesque scenes of the Mekong Delta. The journey also includes experiences with the people, their cultures, visits to must-see attractions as well as less-visited sites.

Day 1: UK Departure Day 6: Hoi An
Day 2: Hanoi, arrival Day 7: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3: Hanoi Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City & Mekong Delta
Day 4: Hanoi – Halong Bay Day 9: Ho Chi Minh Departure
Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hoi An Day 10: UK Arrival

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 Hanoi.

Day 2, Hanoi Arrival

Hanoi Arrival

Arrive in Hanoi and transfer to hotel.

Rest of day is at leisure.

Overnight: Hanoi at Hotel de l’Opera (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 3, Hanoi

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 Ho Tay Lake (Westlake) and Tran Quoc Pagoda
Ho Tay Lake is also called the Lake of the Mist and covers 583 hectares. Named by the Song Dynasty (Chinese). the lake carries several legends. Also stop for a visit at the Tran Quoc Pagoda on the shore of the lake.

Visit the Museum of Ethnology
The Museum of Ethnology brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artefacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings.

Walking tour in the Old Quarter with a visit to the Old House at 87 Ma May
The Old Quarter carries profound imprints of the past. Take a leisurely stroll along crisscrossing narrow lanes, crowded with small houses and local shops, brimming with the daily activities of the local populace. Stop and visit an old house at 87 Ma May Street, a great example of traditional living space, where the essence of historical Hanoi is well preserved.

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

Overnight: Hanoi at Hotel de l’Opera (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 4, 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: Halong Bay, Paradise Cruise Junk, Deluxe Cabin

Day 5, Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hoi An

Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hoi An

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 for your flight to Danang.

On arrival in Danang transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.

The remainder of the day at leisure.

Overnight: Hoi An at Anantara Hoi An (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 6, Hoi An

Hoi An

Sightseeing in Hoi An (Half day)
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.

The remainder of the day at leisure.

Overnight: Hoi An at Anantara Hoi An (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 7, Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City

Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast transfer to Danang Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel.

Sightseeing in Saigon (Half day)
A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life.

Begin with a tour of the historic centre, strolling along Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall (Hotel De Ville), the old Opera House (both may only be viewed from the outside), and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.

Afterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates.

Continue to the harrowing War Remnants Museum, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam- American War. Inside are detailed photographic exhibitions; outside is a collection of tanks, planes and weapons. A powerful experience, this museum is guaranteed to provoke strong emotions. Finally, visit the Emperor Of Jade Pagoda, one of Saigon’s most interesting pagodas.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City at the Hotel Majestic Saigon (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 8, Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

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

Excursion to Cai Be with a boat trip to Vinh Long (Full Day Including Lunch)
From Saigon, drive into the heart of the Mekong Delta to Cai Be Town Pier at 10.30am. You’ll be welcomed on board and fresh towels will be served. Stop at local home factories to observe the traditional procedure of making rice ice paste, coconut candies and other specialties.

Enjoy lunch at “Le Longanier”, a superb Indochinese villa located by the river, in a lush tropical garden surrounded with fruit plantations. Proceed to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be to discover beautiful landscape along the river. Visit to Ancient Mandarin House dating from 1890 with personal welcome by the House Owner.

Proceed to Vinh Long, passing beautiful landscapes along Dong Phu canal, Binh Hoa Phuoc and An Binh, the islands that are famous for fruit orchards. Make a stop at An Binh ancient church or Tam Ho’s nursery garden on the way back. Crossing Co Chien River, the excursion ends at Vinh Long Pier 4.00 Pm. Disembark and return to Saigon.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City at the Hotel Majestic Saigon (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 9, Ho Chi Minh City & Departure

Ho Chi Minh City & Departure

Sightseeing in Saigon
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 Thien Hau Pagoda
Thien Hau Pagoda was built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century. The pagoda is one of the most active in Cholon and is dedicated to Thien Hau. It is said that she can travel over the oceans on a mat and ride the clouds to wherever she pleases.

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.

The rest of the day at leisure before your transfer to Saigon Airport for your flight to the UK.

You can of course extend to other regions in the area, please speak to your consultant for options.

Day 10, UK Arrival

Day 10, UK Arrival

You’ll arrive back into the UK with some amazing memories and no doubt a memory card full of photos. Best start planning your next amazing trip!!

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