Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hidden Beauty of Vietnam - CODE: SA03

Hidden Beauty of Vietnam - CODE: SA03

Upon arrival your guide will greet you and transfer by private car through the city to your hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is easy and rest.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Depart your hotel for a full day tour of Ho Chi Minh City. Head to Cholon, the city’s Chinatown district, discover the markets and shops of the area, and also the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda, Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, will be visited next. Head back into the centre of the city to visit Ben Thanh Market. In the afternoon, visit the War Remnants or History Museum and take a glaze at the former Presidential Palace, from there to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Ho Chi Minh City Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. Back to the hotel at late afternoon.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Morning drive to Tay Ninh. Beautiful rural landscape on the way. At Tay Ninh visit the Cao Dai Great Temple, with architecture that could have come straight from a Walt Disney fantasy and where all the major faiths of the world blend together in a unique religious cocktail. After lunch, visit to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels which consists of an incredible underground tunnel network constructed by Vietnamese resistance fighters (Viet Cong) during both the French and American wars. Here you can imagine what it was like to be a guerrilla complete with Russian Carbine rifles and AK 47’s on display. In the late afternoon journey back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

This morning, leave bustling HCMC for the 2 hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be. On arrival board your boat for a cruise of Cai Be floating market.
Following with a visit to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. More cruise in the afternoon before journey back to HCMC.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 5: DA LAT [B] 
Transfer to HCMC domestic airport for the 40-minute flight to Dalat. Dalat is located 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Established as a hill station in the central.
An afternoon of sightseeing in Dalat takes in last Vietnamese king - Bao Dai's Summer. Continue the tour with the former Railway Station (in use only for an optional steam train ride) which is remarkable with its architecture and its old steam locomotive. End the tour at the town's bustling central market, renowned for its fresh vegetables and fruits Overnight in Dalat.
The road descends to the coastal city of Nha Trang. Drive on a panoramic route down a lush mountain pass to the coastal plains of Central Vietnam. The highland crops of coffee, tea and vegetables are replaced with that of tobacco, grapes and rice as the road descends into a dry climate, follow the coast past salt ponds and vivid green rice fields to Nha Trang. In the afternoon take a city tour of Nha Trang to visit the Po Nagar Cham Towers, the Alexander Yersin Museum, the ‘XQ’ workshop where exquisite hand made embroideries can be seen, Long Son Pagoda, with its enormous white Buddha statue and the lively and highly colorful Dam Market.
Overnight in Nha Trang.

A morning boat trip on Nha Trang Bay visits some of the nearby islands and where you can swim and snorkel in the clear warm waters.Your afternoon is at leisure on the beach or to explore Nha Trang at your own pace.
Overnight in Nha Trang.

Take 50-minute flight in the morning to Danang. On arrival in Danang drive 40-minutes to Hoi An.Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colorful market.
Overnight in Hoi An.

DAY 9: HOI AN (visit to MY SON HOLY LAND) [B] 
Take a half day trip to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. Here, 40km southwest of Hoi An, in a lush green valley, are dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries. Afternoon at leisure and shop around.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Have this morning at leisure before leaving Hoi An for Hue. Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
Overnight in Hue.

DAY 11: HUE [B]
0830 depart from your hotel in Hue. Start with a walk through the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Learn the royal life and the bitter past of Hue. Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda, the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang. Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Overnight in Hue.

This morning you will take a short flight to Hanoi. On arrival explore Vietnam’s capital on an escorted full day city tour. Visit to places of interests (The sight-seeing places could be these: HCM mausoleum and his traditional house-on-stilts; one pillar pagoda; the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university; West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda;Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated toone of the principal deities in Taoism; Ethnology; a walk tour of Hanoi’s Old; Finish the day with a Water Puppet show). Today is open for you, activities are also flexible so you could follow our suggestions or just talk with the tour guide and customize the day.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Take 2-hour morning drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam's first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperors of Dinh Dynasty and Le Dynasty. In the afternoon board a small sampan and gently slice through the water on a little river for 2 hours, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to other name, 'Halong on Land'. After that return to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi

Trang An Boat Option (in replace of Tam Coc): situated near to Tam Coc, Trang An is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc however less visited. Limestone hills surround a peaceful river which passes through a series of caves. An 'eco tourism' area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal clear river.

Thung Nang Boat Option (in replace of Tam Coc): Similar to Tam Coc though not as spectacular, Thung Nang is off the tourist trail and a pleasant alternative. Pass through a cave, fields of lotus (in summer) and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.
Overnight in Hanoi.

After breakfast, travel west of Hanoi to Duong Lam village, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River delta which still preserves many hundred-year-old houses. Visit Mong Phu temple - the only hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact. Continue on through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses which make up this charming village. Enjoy a local style lunch in a 400-year old house. Afternoon, continue driving to Mia Pagoda (another hamlet of Duong Lam. Then, visit Ngo Quyen temple and Phung Hung temple, places dedicated to two national heroes - Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung. In the afternoon return to Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 15: HANOI [B, L]
This morning join a special cooking class. Start with a visit to a local market accompanied by a chef; here you’ll get a chance to learn about Vietnamese ingredients and cuisine. A cooking demonstration follows and you’ll have the opportunity to play an active part. After the class lunch is served so you can sample all the different dishes prepared during the demonstration. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening transfer to Hanoi Train Station for the overnight train to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa.
Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.

DAY 16: SAPA [B, L]
On arrival in the border town of Lao Cai transfer to the former hill station of Sapa
Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Following take a light trek to discover Sapa's quaint hill tribe villages set against the stunning Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Indochina's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan, a picnic lunch will be had en-route. Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be diverted.
Overnight in Sapa.

Have breakfast before driving to visit a local market(Ban Cam on Tuesday/ Cao Son on Wednesday/ Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday / Can Cau on Saturday/ Bac Ha on Sunday. Note: The market visit may be on your arrival day depending on the market day). Here you’ll see mostly Flower Hmong however Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, Nung hill tribe groups also gather here. Continue your tour to have a short walk a hill-tribe village. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit some local homes to understand more on the daily life of these tribes as well as their culture and traditions. In the late afternoon transfer back to Lao Cai for dinner and overnight train trip back to Hanoi
Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.

An early arrival in Hanoi where a hotel will be available to freshen up and breakfast before heading to Halong Bayby road. Depart for the 3.5-hour drive to Halong Bay. Journey there through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. Arrive at the pier around noon, check-in procedures and transfer to your boat for the overnight journey into the Bay. Lunch is served on board as you cruise intoHalong Bay. Cruise by rock formations. Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night as the sun sets followed by dinner.
Overnight on Halong Bay.

On your return to Halong City enjoy a full breakfast (or brunch) as your boat weaves its way back to the dock. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi. The rest of the day is free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Today is departure day. Enjoy some free time for last purchases or simply relax before your transfer the airport for your flight home or carry on with more Custom Vietnam Travel’s special travel.

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