The Best of Vietnam

10 days / 9 nights

Destinations: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Mekong Delta

Day 1: arrival in Hanoi
Upon arrival, the guide will be waiting for you to transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi - Full day tour
The day begins with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where we can learn more about the man who led Vietnam towards the independence of French colonialism. After having dedicated his life to the liberation of his country from colonialism, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Later we can walk through the gardens to see the unique pillar Pagoda and the Presidential Palace. Later, we will visit a relic of the 11th century, the Temple of Literature, which was built as a tribute to the Chinese scholar Confucius. In the afternoon, we will visit the Museum of Ethnology, which is considered the best in the country, with an extensive collection dedicated to the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam. Later, relaxed on board a cyclo we will travel the 36 streets of the Barrio Antigua, named for the products that were sold in each one of them. Today sellers of the streets "Hojalata" and "Bambú" continue to sell the same products. The next stop will be the Temple of Ngoc Son, which is located on the tiny, picturesque island of Hoan Kiem Lake, and we will discover how it takes its name from a legend about an emperor, a sword and a giant tortoise. The day will conclude with a charming spectacle of water puppets, a traditional art that is still practiced today.
Please note: The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every afternoon and also on Mondays and Fridays. The Museum of Ethnology is closed on Mondays and during the Vietnamese New Year

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong - Boat Cruise on Mon Cheri
Departure from Hanoi to travel by road to the pier of Tuan Chau Island in Halong Bay arriving just before noon. We will take an auxiliary boat to later board the night cruise on Mon Cheri, we will check-in and we will have a brief safety talk. Then we will start to cross the emerald waters and enjoy lunch, while we admire the views. Later, in the afternoon we will take a sampan to discover the life of the people in the water or for the most active, there is the option of kayaking. We will return to the Aphrodite in time for a drink at sunset and dinner.
Note: Private transfer, private guide, shared boat. An English-speaking person on board is available for instructions

Day 4: Halong - Hanoi - flight to Hue
At sunrise we will practice the ancient art of Tai Chi on the deck while we remain immersed among the majestic islets enjoying the cool breeze. We will explore the cave of Luon in a traditional rowing boat or kayak. This incredible open grotto allows you to see the stalactites up close with the morning sunlight. The last hours will be spent enjoying a delicious brunch while we arrive at the main port. Then we will take the road to get to the Hanoi airport. It will take flight to Hue.
Note:
* Those who wish a kayak, please let us know 48 hours in advance.
* This itinerary is subject to change or cancellation due to weather conditions.
Upon arrival, your guide will meet you at your hotel for the transfer to the airport.

Day 5: Hue full day tour
Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) and the remnants of the city's royal past can be seen in the Citadel and the Imperial City. Created in the 19th century, the Imperial City took as its model the Forbidden City of Beijing, and hosts many palaces and temples within its walls. Many of its buildings have been damaged by wars and are now being restored to regain their former glory. We will spend some time strolling through the Citadel before embarking on a short trip to the nearby fields to see the eternal resting places of the emperors with the visit of the two most impressive tombs, and also for a boat trip through the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu pagoda.

Day 6: Hue - Hoi An - visit to Non Nuoc beach & Cham museum on the way
We will leave from the hotel in Hue, to continue south, towards the city of Hoi An. This five-hour trip along the Pacific coast will give us the chance to enjoy the breathtaking views as we head towards the Hai Van pass (The Passage of the Clouds). When passing through the city of Danang, we will make a stop at the Cham Museum. The Cham civilization directed the center of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century and is considered to be of great importance by religion and teaching.

Day 7: Half day tour of Hoi An - flight to Ho Chi Minh City
Start of the tour through Hoi An, an old commercial port that welcomed Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab merchants during the 16th and 18th centuries. Today, Hoy An is famous for its restored architecture, its local silks, its expert tailors and its delicious noodles and seafood. Its quiet and pedestrian streets make this a pleasant city to walk around and discover its charms. The tour includes visits to its most famous places. The first will be the Chua Ong pagoda, which dates back to 1653, and was built in honor of the Chinese General Quan Cong, who is worshiped by many as a symbol of loyalty and justice.

Next, we will visit the Phuc Kien Assembly, to see the Jinshang Temple, which is dedicated to the deity of the sea and the protector of the fishermen. From there, we will walk, in a short walk, to Casa Tan Ky, an ancestral house of 200 years, to finally cross the commonly photographed covered bridge erected by Japanese artisans in the seventeenth century. This beautiful bridge is at the same time a temple and the icon of Hoi An.

Your guide will meet you at the hotel for the transfer to the airport to take your flight there.
Upon arrival, the guide will be waiting for you to transfer to the hotel

Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City - private half day tour to Cu Chi - city tour
Begin your journey to the Cu Chi tunnels and the routes through the countryside that were once the bastion of the Viet Cong. We will leave at 8 in the morning from the hotel. Upon arrival, we will see a short video about what life was like for the soldiers who lived here during the war. The narrow tunnels were vital in some of the strategic operations of the war, among them the famous "Tet Offensive" of 1968, in which many damages were produced. US B52 bombers dropped hundreds of bombs that left large craters in their wake. The tunnels served not only as housing, but as supply routes and hospitals for thousands of guerrillas. Many died there due to malaria and other diseases, and others were born or married. Today these guerrillas are seen by some as a testimony of the resilience of the Vietnamese people. Let's return to Ho Chi Minh around 1pm.

The guide will stay with you at the hotel and will take you to the central post office, designed and built by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, an iconic monument of Saigon built in neo-Romanesque style by the French between 1863 and 1880. Today it is the favorite backdrop for photographs of Vietnamese weddings. We will continue our walk along Dong Khoi Street, which is featured in Graham Greene's famous novel, "The Quiet American", to continue towards The Saigon Opera, an imposing building from 1901. Bombed during the Second World War, it was used to to house the French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954, the year in which Vietnam gained its independence from France.

The tour continues with a stop at the Reunification Palace, where a North Vietnamese tank crashed on its doors in 1975 to end a war that killed an estimated 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese. We will also visit the Museum of Remains of War, where the government of Vietnam has gathered some representations, such as photographs or texts that show the difficulties and atrocities experienced in the war. We will finish our tour with a quick visit to the Bixteco tower to see the skyline of the city and take some panoramic pictures. Note the stark contrast between the city center and a nearby island that is still in a large marshy area.

Day 9: Mekong rural life - private day tour
Leave from the city of Ho Chi Minh City to the charming city of the Cai Be delta, famous for its rustic floating communities. During your drive to the delta region, stop and take a walk through a local Cao Dai temple, home to a religion that combines Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and a little Christianity. Follow a little further by car to reach the entrance to the floating markets of Cai Be.

By boat, they will be waiting for you next to a mass of dilapidated boats where the inhabitants of the coast spend a great part of their time between fishing and selling their products on the land. Although the floating market here is not as busy as at other times of the day, you can still see the locals throwing watermelons or pineapples between their boats! Continue forward through a labyrinth of narrow canals, which will take you to a local family that produces rice paper. Using traditional ancient methods, the family here can show you first-hand how they create this Vietnamese culinary element.

Continue the day with a quiet stroll through the town, stopping to visit a family that uses coconut leaves to roof houses and two others that weave Jacinto products and make rice paper. Then take a sampan to enjoy the enchanting scenery of the Mekong before enjoying a late lunch at a local house. For a special experience, watch a demonstration of how to make a delicious Vietnamese specialty: banh xeo or a Vietnamese salty pancake. Your tour ends with a gentle ride aboard the boat back to Cai Be and your way to Saigon.

  • Keep in mind:

* Please bring a raincoat, mosquito repellent and be prepared for the wet / rainy weather during the rainy season, or remember to bring hat / sunscreen / sunglasses for the high temperatures during the summer season.
* Normal clothing with comfortable shoes for pedaling.
* The order of activities may fluctuate during the wet / rainy season.
* Cycling is slow and does not require a high level of fitness.
* The duration of the bicycle tour is around 30 minutes, excluding stops at local homes.
* This tour is not suitable for the elderly, young children, pregnant women and any other person with limited physical capacity.

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Departure
You will meet the guide at the hotel and he will take you to the airport for the departure flight.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Immersion in the bustle of the old quarter of Hanoi.
  • The navigation in a reed through the romantic Halong Bay.
  • The visit of the imperial city of Hue and the cruise by its river of the Perfumes.
  • The walk through the streets of the beautiful and quiet Hoi An, with its waters and its lanterns.
  • The effervescence of Ho Chi Minh City and its main monuments.

Tour Include

  • Accommodations carefully selected, including breakfast.
  • Other meals indicated in the program.
  • Local Spanish-speaking or English-speaking guide with experience.
  • Tours mentioned and transfers in private vehicle with air conditioning.
  • Cruises and scheduled trips.
  • All internal flights (economy class).
  • Admission expenses to the sites included in the circuit.

Tour Exclude

  • All travel insurance 
  • All services not mentioned above 
  • Tipping and personal expenses

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