Day 1 - Arrive Hanoi, Vietnam
Welcome to Vietnam. You are met on arrival in Hanoi, and transferred to your luxury hotel located in the heart of this bustling city.
Day 2 - Hanoi Sightseeing
This morning drive to Hay Tay province to visit Chuong Village. Also called the ‘Conical Hat Village,’ they produce the iconic Vietnamese bamboo hat, called a non. Explore the Rattan Village, know for its traditional bamboo and rattan weaving.
A blend of the modern, with the mystery and charm of past centuries, Hanoi offers an air of elegance and harmony with nature. Today’s sightseeing continues with a visit to the Temple of Literature, founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, it is one of the best surviving examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next, see the miniature One Pillar Pagoda, and the nearby Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, containing a museum and Ho Chi Minh's final resting place. Stroll through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses also known as 'The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life, and peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines.
Later this afternoon watch the delightful water puppet show, a fascinating art form that originated in northern Vietnam. (B)
Day 3 - Hanoi to Halong Bay
Today, drive to Halong Bay, an area of picturesque islands shrouded in mist, floating villages and pearl fisheries. Embark on your personal luxury junk to cruise between karst formations and visit floating villages. Swim in the turquoise waters and enjoy a candlelit dinner onboard. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Halong Bay to Danang
After a leisurely morning onboard, disembark and drive to Hai Phong for your flight to Danang. You will be taken to your luxury resort for an evening at leisure. (B)
Day 5 - Danang & Hoi An Sightseeing
This morning, explore the Hoi An Market - mingle with the local vendors and shop for ingredients for your cooking class later today. Next, take a boat ride on the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Restaurant and Cooking School. Here you learn and help prepare five traditional dishes to enjoy for lunch. You will be entertained and discover some special techniques at the fruit and vegetable carving demonstration.
Your afternoon walking tour of Hoi An includes a visit to the Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda constructed in 1593, and the nearby Sa Huynh Museum. See the Tran Family Chapel and the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, a 17th century Chinese pagoda. Stop at a Lantern Making workshop to observe locals making the silk cloth for the lanterns of the world. (B,L)
Day 6 - Danang to Hue
Today, drive north over scenic mountainous roads to Hue. En route, stop at the dramatic Hai Van Pass and admire the spectacular views. This is the high dividing line between the climate zones of north and south Vietnam. Drive past stretches of curving beaches and clear blue South China Sea lagoons.
Upon arrival in Hue late in the morning, start your sightseeing of Hue’s Old Imperial City. In the afternoon, you will embark on a boat excursion down the Perfume River. Cruise to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower that has become Hue's most widely recognizable monument.
Return by boat and visit the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the 1800’s; with a 6-mile wall and surrounding moat, it was modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. Destroyed through war, today you can still see the monuments to life during the Nguyen Dynasty. See the Flag Tower and the imposing Ngo Mon Gate entrance to the complex. In the spacious courtyard area visit the Dien Tho Palace, Thai Hoa Palace, Hall of Mandarins and see the original Nine Dynastic Urns. (B)
Day 7 - Hue Area Sightseeing
Today, travel into the countryside to see the Tomb of Tu Duc. The longest reigning Vietnamese emperor, Tu Duc designed and built this elegant tomb during his lifetime, using it as a retreat for meditation, reading and theater performances. Visit the Imperial Tomb of Khai Dinh - completed in 1931, this hillside tomb, incorporates European elements into its traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next, explore a local incense-making village before returning to hotel for an evening at leisure. (B)
Day 8 - Hue to Ho Chi Minh City
Today, fly from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City, where colonial buildings and traditional temples stand beside the emerging modern skyline.
You are met upon arrival, and start your city sightseeing. Learn about Vietnam’s recent history at Reunification Palace, formerly the South Vietnam’s Independence Palace, until stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975. Preserved in its original state, the early war tanks are on display. Visit the War Remnants Museum, featuring a detailed photographic exhibition and vast collection of planes, tanks and weapons. See the Emperor of Jade Pagoda and Notre Dame Cathedral before ending the day at the Ben Thanh Market. (B)
Day 9 - The Mekong Delta
Enjoy a drive into the heart of the Mekong Delta, to Cai Be. Here embark on one of the local boats to explore Cai Be Floating Market, with its lively fruit and vegetable barges. Continue along smaller waterways and canals, stopping at the Mekong River Islands to visit the local orchards and cottage industries. Watch how the delta residents make traditional treats such as dried longyans, rice pancakes and puffed rice candies, with the chance to sample the local delicacies.
Disembark the boat at Vinh Long for your drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. (B)
Day 10 - Depart Ho Chi Minh City
Today you are taken to the airport for your departing flight home or on to your next destination. (B)