Custom Vietnam Spring Special

Country: Vietnam

10 Days | $2,845

Spring is the best time to Vietnam.  As the rest of Southeast Asia passes through their hot season, Vietnam enjoys comfortably warm temperatures, sea-breezes and sunshine.  On this 10 day journey you will begin in Hanoi, Vietnam’s fascinating and historic capital.  Take in the stunning geography of Halong Bay before heading south to Hue in beautiful central Vietnam.  Hue is home to Vietnam’s Imperial City.  Spend some time getting to know the locals before heading to Saigon and the Mekong Delta. Come see this amazing and varied country for yourself!

Day 1   Hanoi: Arrival and Cyclo Tour and Water Puppets

Arrive at Noi Bai airport where you will be met by your guide and driven the 1 hour journey to Hanoi.

You will be taken on an hour-long cyclo tour of the old quarter in Hanoi. Watch the busy local life, old French architecture and soak in the charm of this bustling city as your cyclo driver pedals you around. Your guide can answer questions about the tour after you return to the start point before moving on.

Attend a water puppet show to experience a truly traditional Vietnamese evening.

Enjoy a relaxing meal sampling the delicious cuisine of Vietnam. Your guide will be on hand to transfer you to and from the restaurant, and to help you select your meal.

Meals included: Dinner

Overnight at Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa – 1Double Deluxe Room

Day 2   Hanoi: City Tour

Hanoi, originally named Thang Long or “City of the Ascending Dragon,” was the first capital of Vietnam in A.D. 1010. Situated in the Centre North of Vietnam, the city is known as one of the most attractive and interesting places for visitors. Plus, after the fusion in 2008, Hanoi ranks in top 20th biggest cities of the world.

Hanoi’s sightseeing highlights, which cannot be missed, include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, where you can see Uncle Ho laid out to rest. Ho Chi Minh was the founder and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Also, the National Art Museum or Fine Art Museum; the Hoa Lo Prison; central Hoan Kiem Lake, where Hanoians enjoy their early mornings with Tai Chi and “Vietnamese style” aerobics in a very peaceful atmosphere; the Old Quarter, where streets are named after the individual trades practiced here since the 15th century; the Hanoi Hilton, where John McCain and other prisoners were held during the war now houses a museum; the Ethnology museum and the Temple of Literature as an example of Vietnamese architecture where it is always relaxing to take a stroll.

Hanoi is Vietnam’s cultural center, and the galleries, puppetry, music, and dance performances are worth staying at least a few days to take in. This morning start by discussing options with your guide what you would like to do and see today. Your guide will be with you all day so discuss what suits you and then have fun!

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa – 1Double Deluxe Room

Day 3   Hanoi: Market and Street Food Tour and Village Tour

This morning you will be met by a celebrated chef at your hotel at 08:30am.

Today you will get a chance to experience Hanoi in a truly unique way – by eating local food in the most local of places. Most of the areas visited will be outside of the main tourist areas. First, you will head to a local market where you will learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and see how locals engage in their routine of price negotiating. The chef will introduce you to some of the vendors and explain the uses of the food being sold. If you are interested in purchasing anything at the market, the chef will assist you in your negotiations.

After your haggling, relax and enjoy a Vietnamese Ca Phe (coffee) or Tra (tea) with the locals at one of the chef’s favorite sidewalk cafes in the historic French Quarter. Here the chef will give an overview of the Hanoi food scene and discuss the daily life and culture of Vietnam from an expat’s perspective. Lunch will follow with the chef at one of Hanoi’s Bun Cha establishments to enjoy traditional grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs, greens, and crispy spring rolls (Nem Ran) like true Hanoians.

After lunch your guide will take you to Dong Ngac Cultural Village, located about 15km from Hanoi center. This is an ancient village and a Cultural Heritage Site in honor of its educated and heroic people recognized by the kings of Vietnam. It is only a 30-minute drive and soon you will find yourself entering the gate of the village to visit Dong Ngac Communal House, the grounds and architecture of which are built in the shape of a dragon.

From your guide as you wander deeper in to the village you will learn about the importance of the ancestor worship palaces to the Pham, Do and Hoang families living in the neighborhood. The oldest house in the village belongs to the Do family and is more than 300 years old. Here you will hear about the King and why he respected his general who lived here. Take special note as you walk down the cobbled streets of the village in and out of the historical homes that each brick is part of a dowry of brick cobbles paid for by grooms’ families in earlier times when the daughters of Dong Ngac Village wed. Leave the village around 4:30pm to return to your hotel in town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa – 1Double Deluxe Room

Day 4   Halong Bay Cruise Day1: Halong City to Bai Tu Long Bay and Thien Canh Son Cave

Today your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8am. You will leave bustling Hanoi behind as you are driven to Halong City and wonderful Ha Long Bay. Your journey will take around 3 ½ hours through the historical countryside of the Red River Delta which is peppered with hundred-year-old villages.

Arrive at Ha Long City by midday where you will transfer to the pier to board your junk. Enjoy a welcome drink before relaxing with a fresh seafood lunch, while cruising in the magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay (the peaceful northern part of Ha Long Bay, commonly overlooked by most visitors). Take in the breathtaking serenity of your surroundings.  Mid-afternoon you can jump in for a quick swim in the crystal clear waters before your visit to Thien Can Son Cave. A short cruise further will bring you to Hon Co Island where you can spend the late afternoon swimming, kayaking, or simply relaxing on the white sandy beach. You will finish the day on board with dinner around 7pm followed by time to relax and reflect on your day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Dragon’s Pearl Junk Cruises – 1Double Cabin, Join trip.

Day 5   Halong Bay Cruise Day 2: Vung Vieng Fishing Village / Hue: Arrival

Today’s early start with breakfast around 7:30am is a wonderful opportunity to admire the bay waking up around you. An hour later you will be taken in a traditional rowboat to meet the local people who call Vung Vieng fishing village their home. Learn all about their daily life, the floating school and fish farms. Enjoy your lunch as you cruise back to Hon Gai Harbor to disembark at the pier around midday.

Your guide will meet you as you disembark and will transfer you back to Hanoi. Along the way you will have the opportunity to take a comfort break and stretch your legs. You will arrive at Noi Bai airport in time to connect with your flight – (flight from Hanoi to Hue included).

Your guide will meet you at Hue airport for your private transfer to your hotel for check in.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa – 1Double Superior Room

Day 6   Hue: City Tour

Your guide will meet you at 8am at your hotel. With your guide you will explore the old capital city, now a well-known World Cultural Heritage Site. Southeast of the Citadel, on both banks of the Perfume River, are seven royal tombs. Visit one of our favorites – Minh Mang – which like the other tombs, celebrates the rulers of the Nguyen dynasty. Most of the tombs were designed by the emperors themselves, so you can learn how they differ from each other and what their design tells you about the ruler.

Return to the city where you will then visit the historical Imperial Citadel. Often referred to as ‘ancient’, Hue’s Citadel is comparatively modern in European terms. Built over thirty years in the early part of the 19th century, the Citadel encompasses three ‘courts’ covering a total of 6 km. The Imperial City, built along the same lines as the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, was the country’s administrative center. Senior mandarins, court officers and civil servants would have entered by the ‘Ngo Mon’ (noon gate). Directly behind were the Dai Trieu Nghi (great rites courtyard) and the Thai Hoa Palace (throne hall) where the Emperor would meet foreign rulers and emissaries, high-ranking ministers and other dignitaries.

At the heart of the Imperial City was the ‘Tu Cam Thanh’ (Forbidden Purple City). Only members of the royal family, the Emperor’s concubines, and trusted senior mandarins and officers such as the royal doctor were allowed through the sole entry gate. Inside were various palaces and the Emperor’s private apartments. Despite more than fifty years of decay and attrition, the Citadel is still imposing, and recent renovation work has restored several of its buildings to their previous glory. Finish with a relaxing boat ride along the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda – the oldest and symbolic pagoda in Hue. After your visit you will then be transferred back to your hotel later in the afternoon.

Your guide will take you to Tha Om Ancient House located in Kim Long Village near Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue. This is a beautiful home with gardens exemplifying the use of Feng Shui in ancient architecture. The owner of the home is from mandarin royal family descent and designs houses. He will give you a personal tour and you can then stay and enjoy a home cooked meal with the family served in the Ancient House.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa – 1Double Superior Room

Day 7   Hue: Countryside Motorbike Tour

Hue is a historical location with strong cultural ties to its heritage and former dynastic rulers. Relax as you sit behind your trusted driver on a motorbike for a journey where you will gain insight into both past and present cultural traditions. Chat with the locals you encounter on your journey – families making conical hats, sellers in the local markets, fishermen on the rivers, rice farmers and villagers tending their local gardens and family temples. Take a moment at the Thanh Toan wooden bridge. Continue by motorbike to Thuy Xuan to enjoy a vegetarian lunch around 1pm or 1:30pm cooked by the resident Buddhist nuns. You will be able to hear the same Buddhist nuns chanting at 2pm. On the return journey you have the option to either travel by a combination of boat and motorbike, or travel by motorbike for the full distance to take in the rural countryside.

If you wish, you can stop to see the nearby Crying Elephant Temple where elephants were worshipped, and the Ho Quyen Arena where tigers and elephants once fought, gladiator style, to the death for the entertainment of royals. Our guides are experts, and they will discuss the plan for today in advance with you so that you get the very best experience. Helmets will be provided.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa – 1Double Superior Room

Day 8   Saigon: Arrival and Truc Mai House Music An Inspirational Journey

Your guide will meet you at your hotel for your 45 minute private transfer to the airport for your onward flight – (flight from Hue to Saigon included).

Arrive in Saigon where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Your guide and driver will transfer you to the Mai Family Home. The stories of Vietnamese history and culture can be heard and understood through its traditional music. Mr. Truc and Mrs. Ngo (husband and wife), along with the other members of the family, are experts at playing traditional Vietnamese musical instruments such as the monochord zither, bamboo xylophone, and stone lithophone, among others. They have been granted special permission to share their knowledge with guests in Vietnam and for an hour you will be taken on a journey back in time.

Enjoy a private concert as they tell you stories and play their traditional melodies. Then you will have the opportunity to try your hand at playing the instruments in their collection. At the end of the evening with these wonderful people, you will have unique personal insight into the culture and history of Vietnam. You will then be taken to a restaurant for your dinner and later returned to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Grand Hotel – 1Double Ancient Wing Grand Executive Room

Day 9   Saigon: Afternoon at Cu Chi Tunnels and Dinner with Veteran

This afternoon take an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels (about a 90 minute drive). Here you will learn about, and be given the opportunity to descend into, the tunnels themselves where the guerilla fighters constructed an amazing underground base and village network during the French Resistance, and the Vietnam War.

Finally, to end your trip, you will be taken to the private home of a war veteran of the Vietnamese American war. Here you will have the opportunity to meet and chat with him and their family whilst enjoying a delicious home cooked dinner before heading back to Saigon ready for your evening at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight at Grand Hotel – 1Double Ancient Wing Grand Executive Room

Day 10   Saigon: Villages and Markets of the Mekong Delta and Saigon Departure

The latest recommended time for your guide to meet you and set off this morning is 7:30am. The earlier the start the better, so as to catch the market in Cai Be when it is most active. This morning you will be driven to Phu Nhuan Bridge in Phu An village, located in the Mekong Delta approximately 2 hours away from Saigon. Here you will board a small private boat to explore this small shady river and begin with a short cruise.

Take a break along the way at a unique village, where you can enjoy a walk around the area, meet some of the friendly locals and learn more about how they cultivate the many rice paddies in the area.  Return to your boat and continue along the river for a further 50 minutes, until you reach colorful Cai Be. Continue on for a short distance until you reach Tan Phong Island, where you will step ashore for a short bike ride of about 40 minutes (longer or shorter depending on your preferences), taking in the island’s luscious gardens and peaceful village life.

At the end of the bike ride, you will have lunch in a beautiful traditional garden house and be presented with local dishes, such as Elephant Ear Fish rolled and wrapped with rice paper, as well as different Vietnamese vegetables and fruits served with tamarind dipping sauce.

After lunch, if time permits, you may then enjoy being rowed along in a traditional sampan boat alongside the banks of the fruit gardens and through the narrow shady canals. Enjoy the waterways a little longer as you cruise on back to Cai Be where your private transport will be waiting for you. Relax on the drive back to your hotel in Saigon (a drive of about 2 ½ hours), where you should arrive around 5:30pm.

Please note: You have the option to begin with Cai Be and end with Phu An village. Your guide will discuss the day with you in advance.

You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your onward flight –

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Snack

Tour Rate starting at: $2,845 per person based on two people traveling

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Hanoi – Hue – Saigon
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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