Discovery Journeys | 9 nights
Depart your hotel this morning at 0800 for the 2-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit the temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-980), and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). In the late morning depart for Tam Coc Town for a Vietnamese lunch. After lunch board your private sampan to either Thung Nang (visited in summer) or Trang An (visited in winter). As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to other name, ‘Halong on Land’. Following its back by sampan to Tam Coc town before returning to Hanoi where you arrive in the late afternoon. Overnight in Hanoi.
After breakfast leave Hanoi for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay. Arrive in Halong City late morning and board your traditional wooden junk for the overnight journey into the Bay. En-route lunch will be served. This is followed by a cruise to the rock formations with such names as Sail, Dog and Dinh Huong (incense pot). Towards the end of the day set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay, dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads, and fruits. Overnight on Halong Bay.
Places: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta
Activities: Insider tours of the big cities by specialist locals; cruising Halong Bay in style; explore ancient towns and citadels; explore Ho Ch Minh City on a Vespa scooter; overnight in a houseboat on the Mekong River; special lunches and dinners
Stay in some of the finest accommodations in the country as you discover the exoticism of this vast country in our Vietnam in Style trip. In Hanoi, you will see French influences all over the streets and admire the beautiful scene of Halong Bay on a boat ride. In Central Vietnam, you will cruise along the Perfume River and venture in the forbidden city of Hue. In Saigon, embark on an overnight cruise to the Mekong Delta where you can sample the culinary delights of the floating market in this Vietnam tour.
On arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport our guide will greet you and transfer by private car through the city to your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
After breakfast depart for an insider’s tour of the capital. Start with an insider’s tour of the Long Bien Bridge (originally name Doumer Bridge) which was built in 1902 by Sir Gustave Eiffel with specialist guide Douglas Jardine. Take a walking tour of this fascinating structure to learn more on how this bridge helped shape Hanoi’s future. Enjoy lunch at a specialty fish restaurant has been serving the same dish for the past 3 decades. This afternoon continue to West Lake and one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc, and the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh which dates from the Ly Dynasty. Overnight in Hanoi
On your return to Halong City enjoy a wholesome brunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you.
En route back to Hanoi, visit Thanh Chuong Palace, the home and studio of Thanh Chuong who is one of the most celebrated painters in Vietnam. Have lunch here before exploring the monuments at this fascinating museum. Transfer to Noi Bai Airport for the flight to Danang. Arrive into Danang and transfer to Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
After your breakfast drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town. Lunch at one of Hoi An’s best restaurants which serves original and creative cuisine that can only be described as Vietnam-Latin American-Japanese fusion. Leave Hoi An after lunch for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. In Danang visit the Cham Museum, before climbing over the ‘Pass of Ocean Clouds’. Arrive in Hue late in the afternoon and transfer to hotel. Overnight in Hue.
Start your exploration of Hue at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax, where the Emperors used to come to relax, full of lotus flowers in summer. Enjoy lunch in Hue at one of the city’s most renowned restaurants. Following your meal depart for Khai Dinh’s Tomb which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. Before the return to your hotel, visit Chau Lam Pagoda, be welcomed by Priest Thien Phuoc, the master monk for over 20 years at Chau Lam pagoda, talking with the master monk about Buddhist and calligraphy before and now and take one-hour Calligraphy class, learn to write some samples. Dinner at one of visit to Hue’s beautiful garden houses known locally as ‘nha vuon’. Overnight in Hue.
Depart for Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. There are many ways to explore the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh (still called Saigon by the locals); however none is as exhilarating as on a personally-driven Vespa scooter with one of the city's insiders as your guide! In the afternoon, step off the beaten track and take a stroll to the oldest quarter of the city (car at your disposal should you need it). Explore Saigon’s well-kept secret - Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu), where genuine antiques are mixed in with genuine fakes. Follow a typical street to reach the Beaux-Arts Museum, a superb neo-colonial building home to various modern arts. Explore the art galleries surrounding the museum, where local artists gladly display their talent. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
After breakfast, depart for the Mekong Delta. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind as you travel through Vietnam’s picturesque countryside with its rice paddies and rural villages. Upon arrival in the Delta board your private houseboat, modelled after a traditional sampan. The boat’s small size allows you to discover the smaller canals and tributaries of this region. Your visit includes the home of Mr. Huyen Thuy Le, a character from the novel ‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras as well as Thien Hau Pagoda. Return to the boat for lunch. Continue to Can Tho stopping en-route at a Cao Dai Temple. Before sunset, the last stop is at a splendid 19th century house where an unforgettable candlelight dinner will be served. After dinner, proceed for one hour to Can Tho where your sampan will be moor for the night. Overnight aboard your houseboat on the Mekong River.
Luxury Travel | Visit All-Year | Fly to Hanoi
Crossing the Mekong on the way to Cai Rang Floating Market, take in traditional sights such as rice barges, wooden ship building yards and even fruit drying along the Mekong’s banks. After visiting the colourful floating market, you will return to Ho Chi Minh City.
Your private car and guide will be at your disposal until your transfer by private car to Ton Son Nhat Airport for international flights or a domestic extension.