Culture - History
Ho Chi Minh City
Explore the most highlighted regions of Vietnam to enjoy the scenic landscape, learn on country’s history and delve into local culture. You will travel highway and byway from northern to southern Vietnam. Hanoi capital is the city probably with the longest history and rich culture for your exploration. 170km in the east of this city is Halong Bay with scenic marine landscape. There are plenty of cultural and historical relics in Hue and Hoi An. Hue is the former capital of Vietnam where existed the last feudalism dynasty of the country; while Hoi An was a prosperous commercial trading port of Vietnam with the Hoi An old town sitting old houses, religious sanctuary, bridges, etc. Ho Chi Minh City in the south of Vietnam is a young but developed where was the capital of Republic Vietnam during country division period. This city is mainly influenced by the Colonial and Chinese cultures. Plus, drive just 1.5-hour from Ho Chi Minh City, you will find historical and exciting Cu Chi Tunnels.
Welcome to Hanoi, the second largest city in Vietnam with the population of some 10 million. This capital city of Vietnam has developed its culture and tradition along Red River current; also, a place with French colonial buildings situating somewhere near the road of huge trees, delectable gastronomy and vibrant life pace.
Upon your arrival, your driver and local tour guide will welcome and transfer from airport to Hanoi City. Check-in hotel and have relaxing time till rest of the day.
Start off the day with a visit to Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi since 6th century. The pagoda has been repaired a few times, and relocated once making it a photogenic location on the West Lake. These days, Tran Quoc Pagoda. Carry on to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where resting the embalm of Ho Chi Minh President’s body; following with the One-Pillar Pagoda, Presidential Palace and the former accommodations of Ho Chi Minh. Next, you will visit the Hoa Lo Prison which nicknamed “Hanoi Hilton” by the American POWs. This prison was constructed by the French colonial government as the most fierce and tough jail for communist prisoners; then used to capture the American pilot during Vietnam War.
This afternoon, explore the Temple of Literature renown as the first university of Vietnam dating back in 1070. Beside the ancient courtyards, you also find 82 stelae engraving doctorate’s names. Get on the cyclo to have a glimpse of Hanoi’s corners and admire the French corner of Hanoi, passing by iconic buildings like the Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hanoi Opera House, The State Bank, Saint Joseph Church and then finish at Hoan Kiem Lake. After hearing about the legend of this lake, you will enjoy Water Puppet Show whose invention was over a thousand year. Originating as a hobby for the peasants, later developed to the royal entertainment, the show depicts daily life and legends of Vietnamese farmers following with traditional and lively music. Lastly, you will stroll around Hanoi Old Quarter, a unique place where gathered 36 guilds of business.
This morning, you will travel to Ba Vi in around 1.5-hour drive. Upon arriving, you will meet up with the local owner of a tea plantation where you will explore their tea plantation and learn from their tea planting works. Next, try pickle the tea leaves as well as other steps in processing the tea including drying, brewing and drinking. Afterward, you will head to Duong Lam ancient village with some houses up to 400 years-old. Have sumptuous lunch in the cozy atmosphere of the ancient house. Next, hop on the bicycle and traverse around this tranquil village of curve sided roofs and laterite blocks. Stop to explore temples of Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen generals, the Mia Pagoda since 15th century. After this energetic cycling trip, you will travel back to Hanoi center.
Today, you’ll travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay in around 2.5-hour drive. At noon, board the overnight cruise venturing on the captivating bay including 1,969 islands and islets of giant rock forming. While the boat set sails toward Halong Bay center, you will have lunch. Thereupon, following with the cruise schedule, you can do outdoor expeditions to have an up-close exploration of Halong Bay like hiking to the spacious cave, do kayaking, etc. After dinner on boat, you are free for your own relaxation.
Early in the morning, it’s optional to wake up and enjoy the sunrise on the bay or practice Tai Chi exercise on the top deck of the boat. You then will have some touring before sailing back to the shore with more chilling time on boat to enjoy the marine landscape. Disembark the cruise at noon, you will head back to Hanoi airport, with a lunch break in Hanoi, and catch the flight to Hue.
Upon arriving in Hue, you will see your local tour guide and have transfer from Phu Bai Airport to hotel in Hue City for check-in.
Have a short visit around Dong Ba Market, the oldest and largest market in Hue selling of all kinds of stuffs. Then pay a visit to The Imperial Citadel built in 1802 by Gia Long King who was the first Nguyen King deciding to move the country’s capital to the center of Vietnam. This UNESCO site is one of the must-see spots of Hue where preserving the remnants as well as Vietnamese royal etiquettes. Next, travel to Phu Mong Village and have a walk passing the luxuriant countryside to the garden house Xuan Vien Tieu Cung. Greeted by the local family, you will have a cup of hot tea, enjoy some local and seasonal fruits.
After lunch, carry on to Thien Mu Pagoda or so-call the Heavenly Lady Pagoda located on a hill facing to the still Perfume River. Lastly, you will visit the tomb of Tu Duc King, a peaceful resting place designed by the king himself with traditional Vietnamese art and architecture.
On this day, you will travel 2.5 hours to the demilitarized zone from Hue and visit the Vinh Moc tunnel where was the bombing target during Vietnam War. Descend to the three-floor tunnels, an underground village which shelter the people from bombing. Next, stop at Hien Luong Bridge and Doc Mieu Base which is the American base located closest to the DMZ. After your trip, you will return Hue city. Rest of the day will be free & easy.
Leaving Hue in the morning for Hoi An old town, you will travel along a stunning path passing pristine Lang Co Beach, the Hai Van Pass where the ocean meets the cloud. You can stop on the way and cast the view toward the picturesque scenes; and tentatively arrive in Hoi An late noon.
In the afternoon, you will explore and enjoy the atmospheric Hoi An old town when meandering through tiny alleys with Chinese houses of over two centuries, the Japanese old bridge, the Tan Ky house which once belong to a rich merchant. This town is the place of cultural blend when the Asian and Western traders came over regularly and constructed their own houses in this town. The evening will be free on your own to enjoy the night time in the Hoi An town with colorful lanterns, plentiful options of local street food and explore the night market.
This morning, you will hop on your bicycle and travel through the lush countryside of Hoi An toward Tra Que Village. Participate with local people, you will learn and do gardening works planting the herbs as well as the region vegetable. Afterward, try on making one of Vietnamese best dishes - Banh Xeo or sizzling cake; following with a lunch. After lunch, you can have a rest before carry on the cycling to Cam Thanh Village crossing the floodplain, rice fields and enjoy the scenic countryside as well as the villagers. From here, board the local boat at the mouth of Thu Bon River and initiate to the local fishing styles and catching fish. The bamboo basket boat then will take you into mangrove forest. Have a break before returning to Hoi An town by transfer.
At leisure till your transfer from Hoi An to Da Nang Airport and take the flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the most vibrant and developed city of Vietnam in the southern region.
Upon your arrival, you will see your local tour guide and travel to city center.
Late evening, you will travel to the Saigon River pier and board the Bonsai Legacy Cruise with stunning view from top deck for 2-hour dinner of delicious Vietnamese gastronomy. There are performances of traditional art and music on the cruise while you are enjoying the food too.
In the morning, head to Cu Chi Tunnels dig by the Vietnamese Resistance force during war against French; and then extended further in Vietnam War. This shelter tunnels are pretty well equipped with many functional rooms like meeting, sleeping, hospitals, kitchen, weapon cavity, etc. You will first see a documentary regarding the tunnel and the war. Next, coming down to explore those dark tunnels which reach 200km long and around 3 to 4 meters deep. Finish your touring of Cu Chi Tunnels, head back to city center for lunch.
In the afternoon, you will explore historical sites of Ho Chi Minh City. Visit the War Remnants Museum and learn more about Vietnam War with the exhibitions of US weapons, photos of the war consequences, details of chemical weapons and so on. Then admire the buildings since French colonial buildings like the old Post Office, close-by Notre Dame Cathedral and the walking Dong Khoi Street.
This morning, you will travel to Mekong Delta region in the southern Vietnam. Arriving at Cai Be, you will board local boat and cruise toward Vinh Long for a tropical hideaway. Make stops to taste the fruits from orchards of local villagers and learn of some handicraft works. Have lunch at a local house; afterward you will head back to Cai Be by boat and return Ho Chi Minh city by late afternoon.
Have free time on your own till the transfer to airport for your flight to next destination.
Accommodation in double/twin sharing basic
Daily breakfast at hotel and meals as indicated in the program
Private air-conditioned transfer
Excellent English-speaking guide (other language on request)
Entrance fee, boat trip, cycling for sightseeing as mentioned
2 bottles of water per person per day
International and domestic flights
Tips and gratuities for guide, driver, etc.
Personal expenses and services not mentioned