The Best of Vietnam & Laos (13n/14d)

Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay

Sung Sot Cave in Halong Bay

Day 1: Welcome to Saigon (-/-/D)
Warm welcome upon your arrival in Saigoni. 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: 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 4: 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 5: Cu Chi tunnels – Fly Danang – Hoi An (B/-/D)
In the morning you will drive to 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. Back to Saigon for check out then transfer to the airport for flight to Danang. Pick up and transfer to your hotel in Hoi An. Free time for relaxing before your guide will meet you again for a transfer to have dinner at local restaurant. You stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An  Ancient town and Tra Que village (B/L/-)
This morning 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. Afternoon 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 7: Hoi An – Hue – Hoi An (B/L/-)
Breakfast at hotel then you will have 2.5 hrs drive to Hue city. Upon arrival you will visit the Nguyen Dynasty king Minh Mang’s tomb and king Tu Duc’s tomb. Lunch is at a local restaurant then you will explore the Hue Royal Citadel and Forbidden Citadel followed by a stop at the Dong Ba market built in 1899 on a bank of the Perfume river – a paradise for snapshots of daily activities before back to Hoi An. You stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8: Hoi An free (B)
Today you have a whole day free. You can enjoy relaxing on the beach, take part in some water sport activities, laying with a book and sun or wandering in the town and try Hoi An fast-services tailoring, best quality with a very reasonable price. You stay overnight in Hoi An.

Day 9: 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 10: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
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 11: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly Luang Prabang (Brunch/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 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 airport for flight to Luang Prabang (Laos). You local guide in Luang Prabang will welcome you at airport for a transfer to your hotel then there will be a dinner at local restaurant. Tonight you stay overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 12: Luang Prabang (B/-/D)
In the morning you will take a boat trip upstream the Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by devoted pilgrims.  Along the way, you will stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local rice wine is produced.  The village Ban Phanom-well known for its hand weaving is your last stop today before back to your hotel. Afternoon you will have a tour to visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai.  You then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for a panorama view of Luang Prabang and enjoy the sunset on the Mekong River. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant then you can have a visit to the night market before back to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 13: Khouangsi water fall (B/L/-)
Today you drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails.  Return  to the town by late afternoon, you  continue to visit the Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for its silk weavings and for its Saa (jute) Papermaking.  Again you back to the city to enjoy the sunset at the Wat Siphouthabath. Stay overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 14: Departure (B/L/-)
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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