Insight Vietnam Signature Tour (19n/20d)

There is plenty to keep one entertained of an evening in Vietnam

There is plenty to keep one entertained of an evening in Vietnam

Day 1: Welcome to Saigon (-/-/D)
Warm welcome upon your arrival in Saigon. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel located in the downtown. Your guide’s welcome speech will give you  overall information about the city of Saigon. After check in you will have free time to relax, then your guide will see you again for a welcome dinner at the Bonsai cruises on the Saigon river.  You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 2: Saigon (B/L/-)
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. You stay overnight in Saigon.

Day 3: Tay Ninh temple & Cu chi tunnels (B/L/-)
This morning you will drive to Cao Dai Temples in Tay Ninh. This temple is the cathedral of the Cao Daism religion and home of the Divine Eye, the official symbol of this unique religion. Cao Dai followers worship Jesus Christ, Confucius, Taoism, and Buddha. You will also be able to observe the midday service. Afternoon you will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. Very famous in the wartime with its smart and complicated system including underground meeting room, kitchen, food, weapon caches, hospital. This underground complex played a major role in the Vietnamese winning the war and is a must-see when you are in Saigon. You are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system or try a shooting range where you can fire a number of assault rifles, such as the M16 rifle or AK-47, as well as a light machine gun like the M60. Lunch will be at a local restaurant located in a village before you are back to Saigon.

Day 4: Saigon – My Tho – Can Tho (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 villages are often accessible by rivers and canals rather than by road. After two-hour drive you will arrive My Tho. 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 continue to Can Tho, the heart of Mekong Delta. Hotel check in and enjoy your leisure. Dinner will be at local restaurant. You stay overnight in Can Tho.

Day 5: Floating market – Delta biking – Saigon (B/L/-)
An early wake up today and ready to join in the Mekong Delta floating market, one of the most exciting activities you should do when you are in this area. You can start the motorized boat to visit the Cai Rang floating market, experience how people exchange goods, fruit and many other commodities on their vessels. You easily find the wholesaler big boats which hang the goods she buys/sells on the pole – a mark for reseller small boats knowing where they have to go from a certain distance. You also find floating restaurants, floating bars, floating gas stations, and many other floating shops. After sampling some local fruits at the market, you will be back to the shore and take a bike cycling from village to village on path, over monkey bridges, get in touch with local people. Lunch is at local restaurant before driving back to Saigon for stay overnight.

Day 6: Fly Nha Trang (B/-/-)
Today you have free time until transfer to Hanoi airport for flight to Nha Trang to start your beach vacations. Voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Nha Trang boasts a six-mile stretch of fine white sand, quiet and warm waters, and stunning archipelagos. Time to relax. Overnight stay in Nha Trang.

Day 7: Nha Trang (B/L/-)
In the morning you drive to the Cau Da port for a boat trip cruising on the Nha Trang Bay to Hon Mun Island – the best island for snorkeling where you can see lots of lives colorful corals and fish. Continue to the Mot island for relaxing, swimming & water sports. Lunch at the local restaurant on the islands. In the late afternoon you are back to the shore and visit the Ponagar Cham Tower -built in 8th century and the Chong Promontory (Two big rocks called husband & wife rock ). The day ends after the visit to local Dam Market. Overnight stay in Nha Trang.

Day 8: Fly Danang – Hue (B/-/D)
Today you have free time until transfer to Hanoi airport for flight to Danang. Your guide and driver will meet you at the Danang airport for a transfer to your hotel located in 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. Your guide’s welcome speech will give you  overall information about the city of Hue. After check in you will have free time to relax. 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. ( Due to Hue airport is under reconstruction, you have to fly to Hue for a transfer to Danang. It is 140 km from Hue to your hotel in Hoi An  and takes about 2.5 hrs drive).

Day 9: Hue (B/L/-)
Breakfast at hotel then 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.

Day 10: 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 arriving at your hotel in Hoi An. Hoi An used to be an international trade center by sea on the east area in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was the busiest trading port during the reign of Nguyen as merchants from Japan, China, Portugal, Spain, Holland often stopped over to exchange and purchase commodities. After check-in is the free time at leisure to enjoy the hotel/resort services on offer or you can explore the Hoi An town. Your guide will see you again for a dinner at a local restaurant. Tonight you will stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 11: Hoi An & My Son Heritages (B/L/-)
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.

Day 12: Tra Que Vegetable Village (B/-/-)
You will ride by bicycle to Tra Que Vegetable Village. You chance to try at actual farming.  You will take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. You can also take in the beautiful atmosphere,  relax and feel the peace of the Vietnam village. Biking back to Hoi An and enjoy some famous dishes of the town. You stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 13: Fly Hanoi (B/-/D)
Again you take a one-hour flight to Hanoi. Your guide and driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel located in the Hanoi downtown. Your guide’s welcome speech will give you  overall information about  this one-thousand-year old city and now is the capital of Vietnam.  After check in you will have free time to relax, then your guide will see you again for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. 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 14: Hanoi (B/L/-)
This full day tour takes you around Hanoi’s most interesting sights, 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 QuanThanh Temple and the Tran Quoc pagoda, the oldest pagoda originally constructed in the sixth century. For lunch you have two options:  enjoy a Hanoi special dish “Cha Ca” at Cha Ca La Vong restaurant, one of the most unique (over a hundred years old) restaurants located in the Hanoi Old Quarter.  Or you can taste a “Pho”, another worldwide famous dish from Hanoi.  Afternoon you can choose to visit one of the city’s Museums:  Vietnam History Museum, Vietnam Ethnology 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. Overnight stay in Hanoi.

Day 15: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Night train to Lao Cai for Sapa (B/L/D)
In the morning you leave Hanoi for Ninh Binh to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and the Tam Coc caves located in the Red River Delta. Upon arrival you will spend one hour visiting the king Dinh temple and king Le temple. These two temples are constructed by local residents near the center of the old capital in order to honor Dinh Bo Linh, the first emperor of Vietnam and Le Dai Han who founded the Le Dynasty in the 10th and 11th centuries. Lunch with Vietnamese rural cuisines at local restaurant followed by a sampan ride to explore the Tam Coc caves. Rejoin your car back to Hanoi for dinner at one of the French-built restaurants located in the Hanoi Old Quarter. Transfer to Hanoi station for a night train to Lao Cai – a Vietnam-China border city. You will stay overnight on train.

Day 16: Lao Cai – Sapa (B/-/D)
Your train will early arrive in Lao Cai station at around 6:00. You local driver will wait to transfer you to your hotel located in Sapa town. This 40-minute journey offers you the first impression of the North Vietnam mountainous area with its winding road, terrace rice fields and minority ethnic villages. Your breakfast will be at the hotel. Time for relaxation or explore the mountainous town on your own (early check-in is subject to availability). In the afternoon you will have a short walking tour to visit the Cat Cat village – home of the H’Mong ethnic people located in the beautiful valley. Meet local people and visit their houses to learn about their unique customs and practices. Stop at the Cat Cat waterfall for some photo shots before returning to hotel for a break then enjoy dinner at local restaurant. You will stay overnight in Sapa.

Day 17: Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van -Lao Cai – Night train to Hanoi (B/-/D)
Following breakfast you embark on a soft trek along buffalo paths through several hill tribe villages of the H’Mong and the Day ethnic peoples, through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon your driver will pick up you from the village and transfer you back to Sapa for a short break then to Lao Cai for night train to Hanoi – departure at around 21:15. You will overnight on train.

Day 18: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Early arrive Hanoi in the morning, your driver will meet you at the station and offer you a drive to watch local people do morning exercise at the lakes or join in the morning flowers market before having a breakfast and a cup of coffee. You leave Hanoi for Halong Bay (a World Natural Heritage site) 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 demonstration and later unwind at a restaurant. Tonight you stay overnight onboard.

Day 19: Halong Bay – Hanoi (Brunch/-)
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 Halong Bay. On the journey back to Hanoi you will have a stop at the Phu Lang ceramic village – one of the most famous ceramic brands dated from 17th – 19th century in the North of Vietnam. Then you will drive back to Hanoi for overnight stay. (The cruise program may be different and depends on each cruise company)

Day 20: 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. Thanks for joining with us and we hope to serve you for your next trip.

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