Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Welcome to Vietnam! Your local guide and chauffeur take you to town. We leave the rest of the day for your leisure to while off the jet lag and acclimatize yourself. If you arrive in the morning, we have some interesting optional activities in the afternoon or evening ready upon your request.
Early hours we visit the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex where we have an insight of interesting episodes of his life. We can have a photo with the imposing mausoleum from outside and walk into the garden of the Presidential Palace next door. Get back to everyday's life. We hop on an electric car and go through the buzzing Old Quarter with 36 streets of different medieval guilds. Next, we get off to explore the town on foot. We go to an unsual street with little houses where the trains pass by every once in a while in a day, barely a meter from the front doors. We take some photos of the bizzare scenes here before leaving.
Day 3: Hanoi to Mai Chau
Out of the suburb we soon find ourselves driving through the hilly midland towards the mountain valley of Mai Chau. Enjoy the beautiful landscape with picturesque rice terraces. Follow our guide on foot and visit the ethnic Thai villages of Ban Lac and Pom Coong before moving into our room at an ecolodge beautifully situated on the hillside overlooking the rice fields.
Day 4: Mai Chau to Ninh Binh
Set out from Mai Chau. We take a scenic drive from the mountains towards the lowlands in Ninh Binh. We drive through different landscape with picturesque rugged karst hills rising from the flat green paddy fields. Arriving in Tam Coc, we hop onto a rowboat and glide along the river winding its way through towering limestone cliffs and mysterious tunnels.
Day 5: Ninh Binh to Cat Ba
Departing the UNESCO protected landscape in Ninh Binh we head for Hai Phong from where we take the speedboat to the island of Cat Ba nestled in the middle of Halong Bay. In the eponymous National Park, a small paradise with subtropical forests, mangroves and hidden caves awaits us on an easy hike.
Day 6: Halong Bay to Hanoi
Halong Bay is a miraculous world of karst formation characterized by thousands of bizzarre limestone islets and cliffs. We take a boat trip to the less visited Lan Ha Lagoon, one of the most beautiful and pristine locations in Halong Bay. From Cat Ba we go back to the mainland by boat and drive to Hanoi.
Today we fly to Hue, the former monarchy's capital city under Nguyen Emperors from 1802. We visit the Citadel of Hue and the Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang marveling at majestic architecture and decors. Later we take a boat trip on Hue river to visit the sacred Thien Mu Pagoda. The cultural splendor of the past dynasty also reveals through the art of culinary that we will experience in tonight's mandarin dinner.
In contrast, today we explore the rural life of Hue on an easy bicycle trip. We cycle on little traveled country lanes going through villages and rice fields, and we visit a rural market at its authentic daily routine. Afternoon we driver to Hoi An. En route we take in the culture and history of the Champa Empire through a superb collection of sculptures at the Cham Museum in Danang. The evening when colorful lanterns are lit up is the time you get amazed with your own discovery of the town.
Day 9: Hoi An to Saigon
Set out on a walking tour during which we explore Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its small streets and picturesque waterfront promenade. We visit the central landmark being the Japanese Bridge and other highlights including the Fujian Temple and Phung Hung old house. Afternoon we fly to Saigon.
Start your day like a Saigon’s citizen. We go to a green park with tall trees where local folks come around for daily jogging laps. In a corner we drop in an open air café which is covered with a cloud of bird cages. Enjoy the sight you see, the birds sing and the men chit-chat. Next we go to a food market, we merge into the buzzing crowd and grab a steaming bowl of pho. Next we visit Thien Hau Temple where we see beautiful ceramic works. After that we take 4 hours drive toward Can Tho in the Mekong Delta because we want to be at the floating market early on the next morning.
Day 11: Can Tho to Chau Doc
We get up early and go to the floating market. Just let the boat drift while we watch the market day, haggle with the dealers and see what the mini floating shops have to offer. Next on a bicycle trip visit the sacred banyan tree which has grown into giant size with entangled branches, and visit the home of Mr. Muoi Cuong, a title-winning gardener in Can Tho. He keeps a lush cocoa farm and operates a full cottage process of chocolate production. Continue to Chau Doc where we dive into the spectacular flora and fauna of the submerged mangrove reserve in Tra Su.
Day 13: Chau Doc to Saigon
Today we all sit in a boat and discover more facets of the Mekong Delta. Then we say goodbye and make our way to Saigon.
Day 14: Cu Chi Tunnels
In the morning we drive out of town and visit Cu Chi Tunnels, a massive underground tunnel system built by the Viet Cong to support guerrilla warfare back in to the war time. The afternoon back to the city, it is your own time. Check with the guide for some interesting options.
At leisure till transfer time. If you have late flight we will arrange extra activities or accommodation upon your request. We wish you a good journey home.