The Classical beauty of Vietnam

  • icon-date14 DAYS
  • icon-date26 Meals

An unforgettable journey through two of the most colorful yet contrasting cultures in South East Asia. Starting off in Hanoi which is a city with lots of characteristic and 36 alive street, cruise through dramatic karst scenery on a boat tour of Halong Bay, step back into the world of the country’s last emperors in Hue, soak up the old-world charm of Hoi An and be awed by the endless energy of Ho Chi Minh City then we will end the journey with the warm welcome from people in Mekong delta, dive into their river lifestyle and culture.

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Explore your The Classical beauty of Vietnam itinerary:

Day 1: Hello Hanoi – Hanoi sightseeing (D)

Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will be welcomed by our guide and transferred to your hotel. If time permits, we take a cyclo ride for a short excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Enjoy our warm Welcome dinner with us at a local restaurant. Related tour: Hanoi Tours (Daily Tour)

Day 2: Hanoi half-day sightseeing and half-day village tour (B, L)

After breakfast, we start to pass the various Government offices and the preservation of colonial French residences. We have a view from outside of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday & Friday mornings so visit outside only) and Ba Dinh square where Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of the Vietnam Democratic Republic in 1945, One Pillar Pagoda – one of the oldest architectures dated back from 11th century and Ho Chi Minh Museum. After that, visit the Temple of Literature – the central culture of Hanoi that worships Literature – the only subject for the student to study in the feudal system just a hundred years ago and Confucius. 

Departure from Hanoi, come to Duong Lam Ancient Village, after lunch with a local family, we start to figure out more about Vietnamese culture and history through heritage sites, 400-year-old laterite ancient houses, communal houses, wells, lotus pond and cycling around the village to enjoy fresh air and admire the picturesque paddy fields, talk to hospitable local people.

Back to the city, enjoy a water puppet show in the late evening. Back to your hotel and enjoy your free time.

vietnam-maps

Day 3: Hanoi –  Sapa – O Quy Ho Pass (B, L)

After breakfast, we will depart for Sapa for 5 hours on the highway. When we arrive, we take you to Tram Ton Pass at a height of 2047 meters above sea level (the highest pass in Vietnam) where great views are offered of the surrounding mountains and lush forests of the Hoang Lien National Park. From there you will trek 30 minutes through the forest. Along the way, you have many chances to see wildflowers. Trekking along the stream you will arrive at the Love Waterfall. Then we will do a short transfer to O Quy Ho Pass, and enjoy the stunning sunset here. Back to Sapa, check in the hotel and relax.

OPTIONAL: Rong May Glass Bridge – $17

Day 4: Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van- Fansipan (B, L)

After breakfast, we depart for the 4-hour trekking journey. Our driver will stop en route for Kodak moments on the way downhill to Muong Hoa valley. You begin the trekking on a fairly rocky road (you will need a good walking shoe for today), through Lao Chai village, a Black Hmong ethnic village, then continue to Ta Van village of Giay ethnic minority people. Terrace fields are great for photographing, and cold soft drinks, beer, and water can be found along the way of your trek uphill to a road where your car is awaiting to transfer you back to Sapa for relaxation. After that, we will take a car from Sa Pa to visit Fansipan, the highest peak of the Indochina mountains. Fansipan Peak is called the “Roof of Indochina” not because of its height but also for the wilderness. There are two ways to conquer the peak: trekking or by the modern three-rope cable system. Normally, it takes 2-4 days to get to the peak by trekking, you must be strong and brave to choose this way. 

Our driver will pick you up and head to the cable station. It takes only 15-20 minutes to get to the peak. Be careful of the thin air as you are moving upward to reach Fansipan “3,141m” peak. From the peak, you have a magnificent view of Sapa, Muong Hoa valley, and Hoang Lien National Park. Don’t forget to take pictures with the monument at the top. You can also pay a visit to the pagoda complex below, the beauty of the Buddhist culture. 

Get on the cable cabin down to the station and return to Sapa. Back to Sa Pa and overnight in Sapa.

Day 5: Sapa – Cat Cat – Ta Phin – Hanoi (B, L)

After breakfast, we will visit Cat Cat cultural village, just 3kms from Sa Pa town. A leisurely walk through the old village offers an overview of the traditional customs and practices of the ethnic Black H’mong minority. Stop by a stunning waterfall and the vestige of a hydroelectric power station, constructed by the French during the colonial era in Viet Nam. Follow a dirt trail snaking through the mountain and enjoy spectacular scenery while trekking along a narrow river. Take a rest by the Muong Hoa Stream before climbing toward the road where your driver is waiting to transport you to continue to visit Ta Phin village. You will be stunned by the beauty of the terrace field, the enormous valley, and many local plantations with strange vegetation and fruits. Once again, you have a chance to explore the lifestyle of the Dao Do minority and pay a visit to some handicraft shops. Enjoy your lunch before we head to Hanoi.

Day 6: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay (B, L, D)

After breakfast, you’ll take a 2.5-hour drive to Halong Bay, one of the great nature of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Upon arrival, the boat crew will welcome you and transfer you to the junk for check-in and enjoy a cruise around Halong Bay with a delicious local seafood lunch served on board. At the same time, you can behold thousands of limestone islands and grottoes rising from the clear, emerald water.  After lunch, you’ll join some activities on the boat to discover the beauty of the bay such as visiting a cave, kayaking, or enjoy swimming in the sea before getting back to the junk for relaxing and dining. In the evening, you can join night fishing with locals. Overnight on board.

Day 7: Ha Long Bay – Ninh Binh – Van Long Nature Reserve, Mua Cave (B, Br)

In the morning, your breakfast will be served while floating on the sea to explore the beauty of Halong Bay before disembarking time. Joining some more activities on the boat and then checking out the cabin. The early lunch will be served before getting back to the main dock and transferring to Ninh Binh. Arrive Ninh Binh in the afternoon, we will visit the Nature Reserve of Van Long. We board a bamboo rowboat and we arrive for 1 hour rowing along this beautiful wetland of Van Long, enjoying spectacular scenery surrounded by rice paddies and towering limestone mountain peaks. Alternatively you might opt for a biking trip around the countryside of Van Long nature reserve. Then we will do a short transfer to visit Mua Cave, see the Panorama View from MUA cave which means: Dancing Cave in Vietnamese. Climb up 500 steps to top to enjoy the amazing view of Ngo Dong River and TAM COC panorama view from this then make our way back to the hotel for resting and enjoy your night at your free time.

Day 8: Ninh Binh – Noi Bai Airport – Hue (B, L)

After breakfast, we do a short transfer to transfer Van Lam village, you get on a bamboo boat rowed by the local villager to explore the stunning scenery of Tam Coc. UNESCO has recognized Tam Coc to be the World Natural Heritage Site in 2014 and made this place become a famous destination in Ha Noi- Ho Chi Minh Tour. Boating along Ngo Dong river, you will be able to explore for the “Indochine” film-setting. The beauty of the area has attracted millions of French tourists since then. Continue cruising under the astonishing limestone cliffs, you will get to Hang Ca – first cave with the river going through. The cave is 132m long as you can see from our photo on the right side. Leaving the 2nd cave, your boat will head to Hang Ba – the final cave. 

Then we will visit Hoa Lu, Hoa Lu is the ancient capital of Vietnam, recognized by UNESCO as one of four main areas of Trang An World Heritage Site complex. Here we will spend about an hour to visit temples of two Vietnamese dynasties of Dinh and Le with very unique architecture in the old time. Pick up information about the ancient culture of the Royal Palaces ground dated 10th century. Then say good bye to Ninh Binh, the guide and driver will escort you to airport for your flight to next destination.

Day 9: Hue city tour – Boat on Perfume River (B, L)

After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel to visit the ancient tomb of Vietnam’s kings. 

Being the last great tomb from the Nguyen dynasty, The Nguyen Emperor Khai Dinh’s Royal Tomb consists of many royal tombs. One of those belonged to Khai Dinh, who built his final resting place to be monumental in style and bombastic in execution. It has mixed architecture of Western and Asia, modern and traditional Vietnam. The tomb clearly reflects the past period and the characteristics of Khai Dinh king, and the story behind it has always been the key attractive point for tourists to come and find out. 

Tu Duc tomb is a complex system of the pavilion, temple, chamber, courtyard and personal palace. Tuc Duc’s Tomb is a symbol of himself, portraying one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s Emperor: having majesty, power, but no less elegance and grace. The beautiful scenery of the tomb looks like various colored classic paintings with small bridges crossing the flowered lake, green shades and a peaceful atmosphere, which attracts tourists from all over the world.

Return to the city center and have lunch

Visit Citadel: Citadel has a variety of structures with the royal style. You will explain about the history of the 13 reigns of the Nguyen Emperor, and visit the palace where the king and queen live. 

Cruise on the beautiful Perfume River by dragon boat and viewing Thien Mu pagoda, the daily activities of other people, enjoy the sunset on the Perfume River.

Day 10: Hue – Marble Mountain – Hoi An city tour (B, L)

After having your breakfast, we will make our way to Hoi An. On the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach to have a break and enjoy the beautiful beach. Lang Co is an 8km white sandbank, mixing with the natural scenery of Hue forming a mysterious picture. The peaceful and charming fishing village and the beaches will win the heart of tourist. 

– After that, we take you over the beautiful Hai Van Pass – Vietnam’s geographical and psychological boundary between the North and the South. Hai Van attracts the tourists by the scenery of mountains hiding in the cloud, curvy roads surrounding from the bottom to the top, it’s a great place for the adventurer to conquer and test self-limits.

On the way, we will stop at The Marble Mountain. The mountain is situated 9 km on the outskirts of Da Nang and is a group of five limestone peaks with a network of caves, tunnels, towers, and pagodas built by Mahayana Buddhists and the Nguyen Dynasty Kings. Walking up hills passing different temples and caves, you will reach the top where you can find the best city and the countryside view. Arrive in Hoi An, we will walk through town, seeing remarkably well-preserved traditional houses that have withstood 200 years of weather and war. Learn about the prosperous merchants who used to live in these homes, trading with buyers from all over the world. The next destination is the Japanese Covered Bridge, one of two such bridges in Vietnam. This beautiful bridge was first constructed in the 1590s by linking it with the Chinese quarters. Following Tran Phu street, we will reach The Assembly Halls. There are 4 Assembly Halls in Hoi An which you can find when walking along Tran Phu Street. Each of those Halls belongs to a Chinese community who have their own beliefs, different assembly halls worship different gods and goddesses. 

OPTIONAL: Ba Na Hills – $35/pax

Day 11: Hoi An – Village Tour – Cooking class (B, D)

After your complimentary breakfast, take a walk around Hoi An town to see remarkably well-preserved traditional houses that have withstood 200 years of weather and war. Visit a Japanese Covered Bridge which was first constructed in the 1590s by linking it with the Chinese quarters. Following Tran Phu street, we will get to The Assembly Halls. There are 4 Assembly Halls in Hoi An, and each of those Halls belongs to a Chinese community that has its own beliefs; different assembly halls worship different gods and goddesses. Then going to the boat station, take a boat and begin our tour of traditional villages. The first destination is Kim Bong carpentry village established in the 15th century. From the 16th century, Kim Bong was famous for home appliances, shipbuilding… products. The village had a significant contribution to the development of the Hoi An trading port. Nowadays, skillful craftsmen turn to making handicraft products. Although the product is more simple and plain, it still shows the skill and talent of the craftsman. The next stop is Thanh Ha Pottery village which was formed in the 16th century and is the oldest in Vietnam. Thanh Ha village used to produce bowls, jars, roof tiles, and lining bricks… to distribute to Hoi An and another nearby area. There was a time that the village was nearly forgotten, however with efforts from the heart of the craftsman, the village gradually recovered. You will have a chance to hear the story of the craftsman, watch the process of making a pottery product, and even more exciting is to try to make a product of your own. Get the special bamboo basket boat on Cua Dai river, explore the Seven hectares of water palm forest, learn how to catch purple crabs… Do the short transfer to An Bang Beach, and take your rest time here. In the afternoon, we go to An My Paddy Field and see the buffalo – the symbol of the countryside in Vietnam. Continue to the local house in Tra Que Village, and enjoy a welcome drink. Taking part in a cooking class, learning how to make traditional rice milk, and having dinner with local food at the local family. This will be a true experience of the trip. Meeting local farmers, talking with them and sharing about their local farming, and experiencing daily life. Listening to the tour guide introduced and explained the process of wet rice and how to grow it and have a chance to work as a real farmer.

Day 12: Sai Gon – Half day city tour – Food tour (B, D)

Start your day on the right foot with a delicious breakfast to get you going. Then, your driver will take you to Danang Airport, where you will take a flight to Ho Chi Minh City Upon arrival in HCMC, we will start with a nice city tour. Our starting point is the world-famous Notre Dame Cathedral, the historic Central Post Office. Then we explore the incredible Reunification Place and the War Remnants Museum of high historical importance. 

In the afternoon, we will have a chance to discover the biggest market in Saigon is Binh Tay market. This market mainly serves the local population with its extensive range of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat and seafood from regions across Vietnam. 

And Thien Hau Lady temple: a Buddhist temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess, Mazu. The interior has colorful roof decorations representing scenes from the nineteenth century in a Chinese city.  Moreover, the most well-known interior design work which dominates the main altar is the three statues of the ‘Lady of the Sea’.  

Check-in at the hotel. At 6 pm, we will continue our journey to discover the most interesting thing in Vietnam. That’s a street food tour. First of all, we will go to the Ho Thi Ky Flower market walking all around and enjoying street food (BBQ, skewers, mixed rice paper, fruits…) inside the market. Then we will go straight to Chinatown, we will stop at a Vietnamese Chinese Herbal tea shop and visit Cha Tam Church (A 300 years catholic Church). Here you can also have many different choices such as: Dumplings, Pho, Broken rice, Banh Xeo, etc. Then we will be back to Nguyen Hue walking street to see the night life of Sài Gòn while having a beer/juice or smoothies or you can join a sky bar in De Tham.

Optional: Food tour on a Vespa $55/pax

Day 13: Sai Gon – Mekong Delta – Can Tho (B, L)

Our driver will pick you up at your hotel then you transfer to Hung Vuong Pier (Ben Tre city). Take a boat on Ben Tre River – one of the tributaries of the Mekong River, Sightseeing lively activities along the river as fishing, and water transferring…Stop at brickwork to see how to make bricks in handy traditional style by printing and baking. Visit one of the plenty of coconut processing workshops where the people open a coconut by hand (husking coconut), coconut candies are made and have a chance to learn the coconut candies-making process located along the canal (Ms Lan coconut candy workshop), taste tropical fruit, honey tea. Turn on natural scissors creeks where they look smaller and smaller to go to the village. Take a walk to the family workshop making sleep mats. Afterward, being on a cart powered by a motorbike and traveling through some tranquil villages where vegetable gardens are able to touch on real life and find out about tropical culture from Peasants. Afternoon, take a rowing-boat along water palm creek and boat back to Hung Vuong Pier. Take a rest and enjoy a peaceful time. Lunch is served at a riverside restaurant with 5-course Vietnamese food. Drive to Can Tho, the capital city of the Mekong Delta. Take a rest and enjoy a peaceful time.

Day 14: Can Tho – Cai Rang Market – Goodbye Saigon (B, L)

This day we will wake up early, taking a motorboat along the river to Cái Răng floating market, the largest of its kind, where colorful boats carrying juicy fruits and vegetables gather for daily exchange. We continue the cruise and walk on a quiet country road to take in the magnificent scenery and get close to the residents as they go about their daily routines. Visit a flea market, a noodle factory, and tropical fruit gardens like papaya, mango, pineapple… Spending a short time cycling around the village will give you a fantastic way to experience local life. Back to the hotel for breakfast and drive back to Hồ Chí Minh City where your journey with us ends with wonderful memories.