A Taste of Vietnam Culture & Culinary Tour (9n/10d)

Locally produced sweets

Locally produced sweets

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi – Full day city tour (B/L/D)
Warm welcome upon your arrival in Hanoi. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel located in the Hanoi downtown. After a short break and breakfast at hotel you will meet your again for a full day visit Hanoi including the Ho Chi Minh Complex and Mausoleum, House-on-Stilts, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.  After that you will visit the Quan Thanh Temple and the Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest pagoda originally constructed in the sixth century.  For lunch you can taste a “Pho”, another worldwide famous dish from Hanoi.   Afternoon you can choose to visit one of the city’s Museums:  Hoa Lo Museum, Vietnam Military History Museum, and the Temple of Literature, before having a walk around the Lake of the Restored Sword, visit the Ngoc Son Temple and enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a street-pub. Enjoy a Hanoi special dish “Cha Ca” at Cha Ca La Vong restaurant, one of the most unique (over a hundred years old) restaurants. Your first day will be completed by a water puppet show – a unique art performance in Vietnam – before you return to your hotel for overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Traditional Junk (B/L/D)
In the morning you leave Hanoi for HalongBay via the Red River Delta. Upon arrival you will have a short break at the Café Lounge. Welcome on board. You will set out on a junk cruise on the bay while seafood lunch is served. After lunch, you will take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. In the late afternoon, you will take a take a bamboo row boat to visit an interesting fishing village with an opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. You also take a kayak to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on board to enjoy watching the peaceful sunset, joining a Vietnamese cooking demonstrationand later unwind at a restaurant. Tonight you stay overnight onboard.

Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Cooking Class (B/D)
Early birds will have a chance to join in the Tai Chi lesson on the sundeck and view the sunrise over the bay with a cup of coffee or tea.  After brunch you will take a tender to visit one of the most beautiful limestone grottos – Sung Sot cave. Your junk sets sail to cruise back to the dock while you enjoy a final glimpse of HalongBay. Then you will drive back to your hotel in Hanoiand join in a cooking class with Vietnamese home-made rice wine tasting at the Hanoi Old Quarter. Overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 4: Fly Hue – Full day city tour (B/L/D)
Today you have free time until transfer to Hanoi airport for flight to Hue. Located in central Vietnam, Hue used to be the Citadel of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1805 to 1945 and is recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. After a short break and breakfast at hotel you will have a private trip on the Dragon boat cruising on the Perfume river to visit the Thien Mu pagoda-built in 1601 and, one of the oldest and prettiest religious buildings in the country. From there you rejoin your car to visit the Nguyen Dynasty king Minh Mang’s tomb and king Tu Duc’s tomb. Lunch is at a local restaurant. Afternoon you will have a private tour to explore the Hue Citadel. It is a huge complex covering an area of 520ha and comprising three circles of ramparts, Hue Capital Citadel, Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel. End of the day you will visit the local Dong Ba market built in 1899 on a bank of the Perfume river – a paradise for snapshots of daily activities. In the evening you will have a chance to enjoy a Hue Citadel Royal style dinner tasting some Royal cuisines at local restaurant. You will stay overnight in Hue.

Day 5: Hue – Hoi An (B/D)
Today you will leave Hue Citadel for Hoi An Ancient town, another World Heritage site in  Central Vietnam. Your trip will travel over the Hai Van pass where you have a stop for a panoramic view over the Lang Co beach before stop to visit Cham museum, one of the 5 oldest museums in Asia, containing the finest collection of Cham sculptures. Continue to visit the Marble Mountains before driving to Hoi An ancient town. Tonight you will stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An walking tour – My Son (B/L/D)
Morning you will take a trip to discover another World Heritage site My Son – the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the second to the thirteenth century and is considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham areas in Vietnam. The complex is comprised of seventy Hindu-like towers and temples dating from the second century. This site is a must-see for those people who are interested in architecture and ancient civilizations and is now one of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Vietnam. Back to the town. After lunch  you will have a walking tour to explore the old houses, narrow streets, moss-grown walls, lantern makers. You will stop to visit some of the most interesting sights of the town including Japanese Covered Bridge, House of Tụy Tiên Đường, Quan Công Temple, Old houses, Chinese Assembly Halls and handicraft workshop and traditional arts performance. Stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7: Fly Saigon – At leisure (B)
Again you take a one-hour flight to Saigon or HCM City. Unlike most cities you have visited, Saigon is the most dynamic. Everyone seems busy riding, buying, selling, studying, and building.  However, the city’s core is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings. Welcome pick up and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day leisure. You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 8: Saigon full day city tour (B/L/D)
You will have a private tour visiting some of its famous attractions such as the Reunification Palace, the Municipal Theatre, the City Post Office, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the War Remnants Museum. You can also have a walk through the city’s main shopping boulevard with fashionable boutiques and hill tribe crafts, high quality linens and house-wares and end up at the Ben Thanh market, one of the city biggest markets. Enjoy dinner on the Bonsai cruises on the Saigon river.  You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 9: Mekong Delta (B/L/D)
Today you will drive out toward the South-Western Vietnam to Mekong Delta or “Nine Dragon River Delta”. Surrounded by thousands of crisscrossed canals, life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, most of the villages are often accessible by rivers and canals rather than by road. Upon arrival you will take a sampan motor-boat on the Tien river to the Thoi Son (Unicorn) islet, one of the four famous islets ( Dragon, Unicorn,  Tortoise, Phoenix). From here you follow a village path passing local houses, visiting some family-run coconut candy mill, take a horse-cart from village to village or enjoy a sampan rowing along small canals. Lunch with local dishes will be served right in the garden restaurant. You also have a chance to experience “Southern Vietnamese folk music”, a common art activity in the Mekong Delta performed by local people. Rejoin your car and transfer back to your hotel in Saigon. You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 10: Departure (B/-/-)
Today is the last day of your Vietnam trip. Enjoy your free time at your hotel or you can do your last minute souvenir shopping before transfer to airport for your flight home.

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