Taste of Vietnam
With a 10-night tour staying in different hotels throughout Vietnam, you will have a wonderful time experiencing the modern city of Ho Chi Minh City, the unique temple of Cao Dai Religion, the complicated network of more than 200 miles of tunnels in Cu Chi, the lively daily life of the farmers in the Mekong Delta, the ancient town of Hoi An where the mixed culture of China, Vietnam and Japan came to the same place in the late 18th century, the capital of Hanoi – the rising dragon city, which has been flexing its muscles to be stronger and more beautiful, and also Ha Long Bay where the beauty is made out of sky, rock and water.
- The historic Cu Chi Tunnels
- Visit cricket farm and taste fried cricket
- Explore the President Palace and Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
- Full-day tour to Mekong delta with lunch
- Visit Hoi An ancient town
- Explore Hoi An’s beautiful countryside by scooter (with driver)
- Ha Noi street food tour follow steps of Barak Obama and Anthony Bourdain
- Visit the traditional Tho Ha village where Vietnamese spring rolls made
- Explore the “secret of Pho” and taste a Pho cocktail – first time ever!
- Enjoy a one-night cruise trip to Explore the World Natural Heritage of Ha Long Bay
- May try one of the best Vietnamese massages in Hanoi
- Day 1:
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will clear customs and collect your luggage. Your English-speaking guide will transfer you to the hotel in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. The rest of your day is at leisure. Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: (5*) Majestic Saigon Hotel (Colonial room) (three nights)
- Day 2:
In the morning, you will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, which are approximately 43 miles northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. This is an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapon shops, field hospitals, command centers. During the American War, the entire area of Cu Chi was designated a fire-free zone and was heavily bombarded. From 1988, two sections of the tunnels have been open for visitors. On the way back to the city, visit to a cricket farm that has been run by a young couple for years. Enjoy touring around his cricket farm, see how cricket raised and feeded, chat with them about their business and daily life, then you are invited to try some fried crickets or fresh rolls made of crickets. This afternoon you will visit the Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, the Centre Old Post Office and the Ben Thanh Market.
- Day 3:
The “rice bowl” of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, is carpeted with rice paddies, floating markets, crisscross rivers and canals. Ben Tre, popular known for coconut, attracts visitors to its fresh-aired environment of large green coconut and fruits gardens. Join us, experience the slow pace delta life, meet very friendly local, feel the generous hospitality and blow away the stresses of modern life. Leave bustling Saigon behind, head out to untouched areas not well-known by tourists in Ben Tre. Board the Apricot Cruise, featuring a new boat design open on all sides to allow the river breezes to flow freely. From the comfort of your Apricot Cruise, meander down the Mekong observing local life play out along the river banks. Stop at some local families and see how local traditional methods utilize every bit of the coconut. Learn how to make local cakes, and why you don’t let a local fortune-teller tell you what is supposed to happen in the future. It is a full day of interesting experiences: boat rowing through winding water-coconut canals, bike riding along lush rural roads, sampling tasty local cakes, tea with honey and enjoy lunch served with Mekong specialties at Apricot Riverside Restaurant. Relax, enjoy the tour and have memorable experiences.
- Day 4:
This morning you will take a flight to Da Nang airport (additional charge applies). Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Hoi An Ancient city. This afternoon, explore Hoi An town with its rich architectural fusion of a 300-year old Chinese temple, a 400-year old Japanese covered bridge and a 200-year old Vietnamese former merchant home. Stroll through narrow streets where each house façade is dangled with lanterns. Hundreds of colorful lanterns light up when you are there after the daylight. This make the town so charming. Accommodation in Hoi An: (5*) Allegro Boutique Hotel (Junior Suite room) (two nights)
- Day 5:
This countryside tour of Hoi An will give you real insight to local life. Setting off from the hotel, you will ride over the bridge to Cam Kim island and along the riverside into the beautiful rural countryside. First stops include an Ancestral House of Mr Huynh Ri and a traditional boat builders yard before exploring the sleepy island villages. Zigzag riding through the breathtaking scenery of rice paddies and farmland and enjoy the cooling breeze. Next, learn from friendly local families the handicraft of mat weaving, farming, and how to make (and eat) the perfect Banh Dap rice crackers. Meeting local families is a must-do to see the real way of life in Vietnam. Then visit a local café to fuel up on local drip-coffee and learn the art of coffee roasting. You will make your way to the coast at the Thu Bon river mouth, along roads lined with Casuarina Pine & Cashew Nut Trees. Finally, it’s up high and over the Cua Dai bridge offering spectacular panoramic views of Hoi An, which leads to the water coconut palm fringed Cam Thanh for a funny round basket boat rowing on the water palm river, and then drop-off at your hotel. The rest of your day is at leisure. Optional Sunset River Cruise (additional charge applies) At 1600, you will commence the sunset trip. From your hotel set out into the Cua Dai Sea with expectations of a bountiful catch. The Hoi An sunset cruise tour enables you to witness two special daily rituals: the passing parade of the local fishing fleet setting out to sea and the magic of the sun slowly sinking in the western sky. Enjoy the setting of the sun and the day’s end with refreshments including cold beer and soft drinks together with Vietnamese snack. Included: Transfers by private vehicle (pick up at hotel in Hoi An), boat cruise, tour guide, soft drinks and snack
- Day 6:
After breakfast, take a short morning flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam (additional charge applies). Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the city center. First, enjoy a simple lunch at Huong Lien Restaurant where former US President Barack Obama ate bun cha in Hanoi with Anthony Bourdain, an American chef, author, and television personality. After that, visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (viewed from outside) and Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature & Vietnam’s first university). Constructed in the 11th century, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam's past. Take a guided walk to visit Hanoi Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake. You will also visit Hoa Lo Prison which was a prison used by the French colonists in French Indochina for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War. Then you will go to your hotel to check-in, rest and relax. Tonight, get ready to enjoy one of the most famous dishes of North Vietnam: Cha Ca La Vong (grilled fish). The dish is made from turmeric marinated fish fried with dill and green onion to make special flavor. It is tossed together with handfuls of dill, spring onion, roasted peanuts and served on a bed of rice vermicelli noodles. Hanoi has several stores serving Cha Ca, but none of them can equal Cha Ca Road’s in terms of quality and flavor. According to oral history, a family at Hang Son Street invented this home cooked fish dish to earn more money. The delicious taste of Cha Ca soon made it so popular that the whole street was later named after it. Cha Ca must be served while hot with rice vermicelli noodles, topped with Vietnamese mint and coriander, along with nuoc cham, Vietnamese dipping sauce with its subtle notes of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and a bit of heat from red chili. All this makes Cha Ca tasty, savory and unique among the best known dishes of Hanoi. After dinner, try a glass of Bia Hoi, a local draught beer, at a small corner in the Hanoi Old Quarter, and watch local life moving around you. If you are less interested in beer, then follow our guide to a local coffee shop for a short egg coffee demonstration and enjoy egg coffee, famous in Hanoi. Accommodation in Hanoi: (5*) Melia Hotel (Deluxe room) (two nights)
- Day 7:
Located in Bac Giang Province, about 30 miles north of Hanoi, Tho Ha village is nestled by a peaceful river. The village used to specialize in making pottery wares but now Tho Ha is known as one of very a few to maintain the core of ancient village with the traditional way of making rice paper and rice products. Making rice paper used primarily for spring rolls and other rice products such as crisp rice pancake and rice noodle is the main and most popular job earning to live in the village. Mr. Viet’s family is the only one who still keep the traditional ways of making rice paper. The family also wishes to retain the handicraft of their older generation. It is perfect for who seeking the atmosphere of old days. At 7:30 PM, you will be picked up at your hotel. The transfer from Hanoi to Tho Ha Traditional Village is about one hour. Upon arrival, you have a short ferry ride crossing Cau River to Tho Ha village. There is time for a walk to visit local market and a traditional communal house and wooden old houses. You will be amazed by the old architecture of this village as some of the houses still keep the original construction of late 1800's. Discover the traditional Vietnamese life with handicraft such as making of rice papers for spring rolls and pig farming. You will be welcomed by a local family with cheers and a welcome wine before seeing how rice paper is created and how to dry rice papers. Interact with the family through mini Quan Ho folk songs. Then walk through the village and have a chance to mingle with the locals. It's a great opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of rural life in Vietnam. Transfer back to the downtown at noon time. In the mid-afternoon, you might like to experience Hanoi Old Quarter traffic by taking cyclo and have the chance to visit streets named after once sold specific products, and Hoan Kiem Lake – where the Hanoi story begins. Continue to a street where you will learn more about how the locals cook and eat pho. Since you have already tried a big bowl (or several bowls) of traditional pho noodle soup, and you are here now in the capital of pho, we would like to introduce different amazing types of pho. The stories of pho will be shared by our fascinating local guide during your tour tonight. First, you will be served some kinds of pho, and other delicious dishes not known by many foreigners. Then, explore a new way to enjoy pho in Vietnam, the pho cocktail. The story of how pho cocktail was invented will be told, and you will learn how it is loved and served at some select bars and lounges in the old town of Ha Noi as a signature drink. Enjoy jazz music & pho in a glass at the bar where the special cocktail was created. If you are lucky, you will have the chance to meet the cocktail barman extraordinaire who invented the cocktail. Talk with him and ask him to make a creative cocktail only for yourself and your mood of the day (additional cocktail at own expense). The bar also has a few other Vietnamese-inspired creations on the menu. Many signature cocktails are heavily influenced by Vietnamese culture and cuisine. A great way to top off an interesting day with unforgettable memories!
- Day 8:
Be ready at hotel lobby for shuttle bus pick up (between 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM). Start a pleasant land trip to explore Ha Long Bay – UNESCO World Natural Heritage – where thousands of spectacular limestone islets and grottoes rising from the clear emerald Gulf of Tonkin. Upon arrival, enjoy a welcome drink prior to your check-in. Lunch with fresh seafood will be served while boat is cruising through many stone islets, floating villages and small beaches. Visit a floating fishing village, talk and meet with local villagers prior to your swimming or enjoy free time on your own on the sundeck. Dinner will be ready at the time the boat anchors off at a quiet designated overnight area. Accommodation on Halong bay: Huong Hai Sealife Legend Cruise (Balcony cabin) (one night) Note: Itinerary is subject to change without prior notice due to weather conditions or local administration regulations.
- Day 9:
Tai Chi class is available on the sundeck for early risers. Then your breakfast is served while the boat continues cruising around the bay through many islets and rocks in different shapes. Follow your boat staff to explore one of the most magnificent caves, then return to your boat to cruise towards the wharf. Your vehicle is ready awaiting your disembarkation at approximately 11:30 AM for direct transfer from Ha Long back to Hanoi. Leisure at your own arrangement for the rest of the afternoon. Optional: Vietnamese Traditional Wellness Package (additional charge applies) Relax from your touring days by joining in this traditional health care and massage package. Local therapeutic massages at this spa centre is a signature product that combines Vietnamese unmatched methodology of natural (medicine-free) healthcare, which is crystallized from 25 years of experience, with an unique initiative in delivering a true experience of Hanoi’s traditional culture to clients. Enjoy the very special package of “VIP health treatment” for 120 minutes in a private room per person or per couple. Notes: Tour starts at 4:00 PM and finishes around 6:30 PM. Optional tour includes: Transfer, VIP massage package (herbal steam bath, herbal sauna, body massage), healthy drinks and snack. Accommodation in Hanoi: (5*) Melia Hotel (Deluxe room) (one night)
- Day 10:
Enjoy your free time until your transfer to Noi Bai International Airport where you will depart on your flight.
May 01 – September 30, 2020 (Except for public holidays)
Per Person Sharing: $1,399
Single Supplement: $ 699
- Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast as mentioned or similar
- Transfer services in private air-conditioned vehicle
- Entrance fees and boat fees where applicable
- Meals listed in the itinerary (if any)
- English-speaking local guide in each city
- Bottled water on coach during transfer
- Government taxes and service charges
- International and domestic flights, along with airport taxes, unless otherwise mentioned
- Meals not mentioned
- Drinks and surcharge for special request on foods and meals
- Entrance fees, guide service during free time and other personal expenses
- Gratuities for guides and drivers
- Surcharge for public holidays and/or peak periods (if applicable)
- Any compulsory meal by the hotels (during Christmas and New Year)
- Any type of visa and fee
- All other services not stated in the program
Standard hotel check-in time is 14:00 and check-out time is 12:00 (Early check-in time or late check-out time is subject to availability and with additional charge.)