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Visit the capitals old and new of both country as well as the spectacular and mysterious Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh Province.
This trip offers a well rounded and exciting adventure to share the very different but equally engaging charms of these two magnificent countries.
On your arrival at the Noi Bai International Airport, you will be welcomed by our guide and driver who will bring you to Hanoi City. Hanoi is over 1000 years old and is currently the capital of Vietnam as well the commercial, political, and cultural heart of the country.
A city tour of Hanoi starts with a visit to Hoan Kiem Lake where you will see the Ngoc Son Temple which was established to worship saint Van Xuong and Tran Hung Dao, a former general commander. You will then set out for a 1-hour cyclo ride around the 36 streets in the Old Quarter of Hanoi followed by a welcome dinner at one of the many local restaurants. After that, you are free to explore on your own or take it easy and relax in your hotel room. You will spend the night in Hanoi.
Today you will experience a city tour of Hanoi starting with a visit to the One-Pillar Pagoda. We will then take a short drive to the Temple of Literature. The temple was built in October 1073 to worship Confucius and is considered to be the first university in Vietnam. Hanoi is a place of contrast from the old town with its narrow streets to the elegance of the tree lined boulevards in the French quarter where we can see the Hanoi Opera House, the State Bank, former Governor’s palace, and the Hanoi Cathedral (Saint Joseph’s built in the late 19th century).
Later in the evening, we will enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants before going to see the unique and intriguing Water Puppet Show, a traditional folk performance held on the Red River Delta. You will spend the rest of the night in Hanoi.
Today you will experience the ancient culture and history of Vietnam as well seeing the stunning landscape and beautiful scenery when we travel to the Ninh Binh Province. This area is known as “Ha Long Bay on land” and is located 80 km South of Hanoi.
We will go for a relaxing sampan ride through the gentle and elegant landscape of plains and mountains leading to the beautiful and mysterious Tam Coc Grottoes followed by a gentle cycle ride (4km) to Bich Dong Cave. This journey takes you through breath taking scenery of rice fields and imposing mountains. Once departing the Bich Dong Cave, we then head off to Hoa Lu, formally the capital of the Dinh and early Le dynasties between the 10th and 11th centuries. You will spend the night in Hoa Lu.
After breakfast, we drive to Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The day starts with a leisure boat ride through the breathtaking Ha Long Bay where you will see mountainous rock formations (karsts) reaching majestically out of the water. Lunch will be served onboard while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay, Teapot Islet, Blockhouse Islet, and Goat Head Islet. Fresh local seafood will be served in the characteristically delicious style of the Vietnamese.
We will explore the mystery of Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay before getting to the beautiful beach where you can enjoy swimming & kayaking in the bay. Later we will head back to the boat to enjoy a beautiful sunset while cruising to the Hang Trong area to anchor at Ho Dong Tien, near Trong cave. During the evening, relax to the casual and comfortable atmosphere on the luxury boat where you will have an elegant dining experience. If we are in the right season, we can see fresh squid being caught the traditional way. You can then relax under the clear, starry sky, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Bay before retiring to your cabin.
After breakfast, we will continue to cruise through the karsts some of which display fantastic shapes, many of which have ancient stories connected to them. We also pass Hoa Cuong and Ga Choi Islands on the way to visit Luon Cave. Back to the boat for an early lunch after which we say goodbye to the boat and to the crew and head back by road to Hanoi stopping en route at Bat Trang ceramics and pottery village where they make and sell all kinds of ceramics, embroidery and marble statues.
Once you arrive in Ha Noi, you will be transferred to Noi Bai Airport to catch the flight to Hue City in the central region of Vietnam. During the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945), Hue was the political, economic and cultural capital of Vietnam.
We spend the entire day exploring ancient Hue and finding its beauties and marvels. We start off by taking a boat trip down the romantic Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the oldest and most beautiful pagodas in Hue. After that we move on to see the Minh Mang Tomb. Minh Mang was emperor of Vietnam from 1820 to 1841.
In the afternoon, we will start our journey by heading to the outskirts of Hue to explore the Tu Duc Tomb. We will then take a ride to visit the beautiful Imperial Citadel, a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993. Here we will see the Imperial City and Forbidden City, the home of previous Emperors, enjoying the various palaces, ornate halls, libraries, residences, colleges, Flag Tower and Noon Gate. You will stay the rest of the night in Hue.
We will depart from Hue and travel to the rapidly growing city of Da Nang. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to stop en route to take pictures from the summit of Lang Co Beach and Hai Van Pass. And then onto Hoi An, another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. This ancient town offers tourists a chance to go shopping and relax at some of the local restaurants as well as offering an insight into history and a way of life from days gone by in the well-preserved and cared for buildings. We will take walking tour of the Chinese Assembly Halls, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the old family houses. You will spend the rest of the night in Hoi An.
Tra Que is a small village secluded in a green garden of vegetables which used to be a farming gardening village that provided all the fresh vegetables for the Hoi An people. When tourists began to visit this Hoi An, Tra Que became a place where visitors could learn and seek different things. The daily life of these old streets brings new experiences.
Experience the day living and working with the local people at Tra Que vegetable village. A short stroll will take you around the vegetable garden and then you can join in with the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. The experience includes raking the ground, sowing, watering, and picking the vegetables as well many other gardening activities as well as enjoying the humor and friendliness so natural to the Vietnamese people.
After this, you will take a short rest and enjoy a footbath before preparing lunch with a local family. The lunch will consist of many local delicacies including ‘Tam huu’ spring roll, Banh Xeo or local pancake of the people in the middle region of Vietnam. You can partake in the cooking with the chef of these meals. After your morning excursion and your lunch, you will take a Vietnamese traditional afternoon nap before learning how to harvest and wrap vegetables. In the afternoon, you will return to Hoi An where you will be free to roam and explore on your own or rest and relax in your hotel room as you wish.
In the morning, we leave Central Vietnam and head for the more fast-paced modernized city of Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as “Saigon”. We drive back to Da Nang to catch the flight to Ho Chi Minh where you will be picked up and brought to check into your hotel.
The HCM tour starts with a visit to the imposing Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat). Next we will go to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Vietnam as the twin bell towers can be seen from a long distance. In the same square is the famous Saigon Post Office, the largest functioning post office in Vietnam. What makes this Post Office so extraordinary is that it was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel who also designed and built the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. It is a building not to be missed.
After some history and culture, we will take you to do some shopping at the Ben Thanh Market.
The rest of the night is yours to venture out on your own or take it easy and relax in your hotel room.
We leave Ho Chi Minh City for a beautiful scenic drive through the Mekong River Delta, home to the richest agricultural lands in Vietnam. Enjoy a boat trip to an island that houses orchard gardens and the beautiful Cai Be floating market, a famous place in the Mekong Delta. The Cai Be floating market is a magnificent site to see as hundreds of small merchant boats anchor alongside the banks of the river trading their commodities. We continue with our cruise through the maze of canals that crisscross around An Binh island.
Lunch is served at Mr. Muoi Huong old house. We can enjoy the delicious fresh tropical fruits of the Delta as we continue to cruise through islands and cross the Mekong River to Vinh Long (2km). On our way back to Ho Chi Minh City, we will visit the bonsai garden. Enjoy dinner with delicious dishes and elegant music. You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
After breakfast, you will be taken to catch the morning flight to Bangkok. Upon your arrival, you will be picked up and taken to the city center where you will check into the hotel and then be free to relax at your leisure. You will spend the night in Bangkok.
Today you will see the magnificent Royal Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha Temple and Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha). Then visit Museum of Siam (The museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday and closes on Monday). Ride on a tuk-tuk to the Flower Market. After lunch (on your own), we ride on a long-tail boat along Bangkok Noi Canals (East of Venice) then visit Wat Trimit (Golden Buddha). Return to the hotel in the evening where you will be free to do whatever you wish. You will spend the night in Bangkok.
Day 13 takes you to Ayutthaya (the former Capital of Thailand). Upon your arrival, we will visit the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace which was once used as the State Banquet Hall. We will continue to Wat Chai Wattanaram also known as Khmer temple then Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch & Viharn Mongkol Borphit, the former Royal Temple. A short drive to Wat Chong Lom Pier takes us to the boat for our cruise down Chao Phraya River to Bangkok. We will have a buffet lunch which is served on board. The boat arrives at the River City Pier in Bangkok. Later in the day, we will take you to the Siam Paragon shopping mall. We will spend the night in Bangkok.
On the day of your departure, you are free to shop, relax and do whatever you would like at your leisure until you are transferred to Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
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