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Authentic Vietnam 21 days 20 nights
This tour allows you to experience the full range of culture in Vietnam from the ethnic minority communities to the modern cities and the everything in between. One of the best ways to learn about the traditions of Vietnam is to travel around the north where you will be met with breath-taking scenery and fascinating local culture. From here you will travel south taking in the best bits of Vietnam along the way and beaches wild island. This tour is excellent for visiting the World Heritages Sites of Vietnam!
21 days 20 nights
Hanoi – Sapa – Hagiang – Ba Be – Ban Gioc Waterfall – Halong Bay – Ninh Binh – Hue – Danang – Hoian – HCMC – Mekong Delta – Phu Quoc island
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (-/-/-)
You will be met at Noi Bai Airport by our guide and driver, and taken on a short thirty-minute journey into Hanoi to check in to your hotel. The evening will be yours to explore the city at your leisure, followed by a relaxing overnight stay at your hotel.
Day 2: Hanoi – Sapa (B/L/-)
Full day: Tran Quoc Pagoda - Ho Chi Minh Complex - Temple of Literature
Your full day tour of Vietnam's capital, Hanoi. First, you will visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, a Buddhist relic and national heritage overlooking West Lake. You will then move onto the Ho Chi Minh Complex, a site of significant historical and cultural importance. Here you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidents Palace and Ho Chi Minh’s House in which President Ho Chi Minh lived until his passing.
After visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you will continue to the Ho Chi Minh museum, which documents President Ho Chi Minh’s life and revolutionary career. After a short trip to the museum, you will visit the unique One Pillar Pagoda, which lies in the campus of the complex.
You will stop for lunch at around 11:45 in a local restaurant where you can enjoy some classic Vietnamese cuisine.
After lunch, you will visit Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (The Temple of Literature), the first Imperial University in Vietnam which was built in 1070.
At approximately 15:00 you will leave the Temple of Literature for Ngoc Son Temple which sits on an island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Here you take a moment of calm from the busy streets and learn about the legend of the turtle in the lake.
The tour will end at around 16:00 then we find down a local restaurant before you will then have a few hours relaxing in the evening before taking the night train to Lao Cai.
Day 3: Sapa (B/L/-)
Arriving at Lao Cai Railway Station around 05:30 am, you will be welcomed by our guide and driver who will take you to Sapa town. After breakfast in a local restaurant, you will set out on a trek down to Lao Chai village to visit a settlement of the Black H'mong ethnic people with a picnic lunch along the way. Moving on from here through the valley, the next stop will be at Ta Van village, home to Dzay ethnic minority people who are said to be some of the friendliest in the area. Pressing on again to Giang Ta Chai Village of Red Dzao tribe, you will get the chance to see amazing scenery and a beautiful waterfall. In the afternoon, you will return to Sapa Town where you will have time to discover Sapa Market & stay overnight in a homestay of Zay ethnic people.
Day 4: Sapa – Bac Ha - Ha Giang (B/L/-)
After breakfast in Sapa, you will leave for Bac Ha to join the Sunday Market with local people (if Sunday). Bac Ha is very photogenic and is considered one of the most wonderful and colourful markets in the far north of Vietnam. Here thousands of local people in their traditional attire buy and sell products from the area including everything from handmade textiles to live animals. In the afternoon, we will take a pleasant walk to Ban Pho village, home to the Flower H'mong people. This is a great opportunity to interact with the friendly locals and take a pleasant walk amongst tribal villages. You will leave Bac Ha Town at 15:00 for driving to Ha Giang, tonight we have dinner and overnight at homestay of Tay ethnic people.
Day 5: Ha Giang – Dong Van (B/L/D)
Today you will encounter some spectacular landscapes. After acquiring a mandatory permit at the Immigration Office, you will begin your journey to Dong Van across a series of long passes. You will have lunch en route in the small but beautiful mountain town of Tam Son. Then, you will head to the majestic King of the H’mong’s Palace, a fortress built by a local chief, Vuong Chin Duc, who was allied with the French against the Viet Minh. The palace, built in the early 1900s was designed in the ancient Chinese architectural style of the Man Qing era. It was made from materials such as solid stone, wood and terracotta tiles. After continuing your journey, you will arrive at Hoa Cuong Hotel around 17:00 in time for dinner and an overnight stay in a hotel.
Day 6: Dong Van – Bao Lac (B/L/D)
Your morning will start with a visit to the market of Dong Van (Sunday morning), where the locals shop before returning to their mountain hamlets. You will then climb a pass up to the French Fortress of Pu Lo, built in 1890 and evacuated in 1945, from which you enjoy a spectacular view of the entire region.
The road climbs 15 km up to the top of the Ma Pi Leng Pass, through a unique landscape of craggy limestone peaks and gaping valleys. You will descend into Meo Vac Valley to the village of Bao Lac, where you will have lunch. You will then take the mountain road to Bao Lac, overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Bao Lac – Ba Be Lake (B/L/D)
From Bao Lac, we take a trip to visit Lo Lo village.
The Black Lolo (also know as the Lolo Den and Lolo Noir) reside high in the mountains surrounding the small town of Bao Lac in Cao Bang Province. The Black Lolo are identifiable by the black cultural clothes they wear from which their name derives. Drive to Ba Be. From Cao Bang. We will share our secret route with you, a gorgeous small road snaking through the mountains to the Tay village of Cho Ra and then down to the Tay village of Coc Toc, where you will be welcomed by Mr Linh and his amazingly friendly Tay family in their traditional stilt house. If it’s hot, you can copy the local kids and jump into the inviting waters of Ba Be lake. You will enjoy a superb dinner (Mrs Linh specialises in local dishes) on the river terrace.
Day 8: Ba Be Lake – Ban Gioc Waterfall (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will depart for Cao Bằng, close to Vietnam’s northern border with China. You will be introduced to the Nung people in the village of Phuoc Sen, a small settlement famous for the production of farming tools. Like the Tays, the Nungs largely live by farming the terraced rice paddies that you will see all around as you travel to Ban Gioc Waterfall, the majestic falls that demarcate the border between Vietnam and China. Spend some time at leisure relaxing and taking souvenir photos as you soak up the sublime atmosphere of Vietnam’s most beautiful waterfall. You will Visit Nguom Ngao “Tiger Cave” before returning to Cao Bang town for overnight in Hotel.
Day 9: Cao Bang – Halong Bay (B/L/-)
After a four hour drive from Cao Bang to Lang Son then Halong Bay. Upon arrival, you will embark on a boat where you can take in the magnificent surroundings and enjoy a delicious Vietnamese lunch.
You can discover the unique lifestyle of the community living the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng. You will take a bamboo row boat to explore the village which sits in a picturesque location in a lagoon at the foot of the jungle-clad mountains.
You can explore the remote and idyllic Ban Chan Beach with a chance to swim in the clear inviting waters and have a go at bamboo boating amongst the islands.
At around 16:30, you will return to the Calypso to freshen up. You can then enjoy the sun setting lazily over the bay with happy hour in the bar from 17:30-19:00. There will also be an onboard cooking demonstration with the chef. Dinner will be served from 19:00. After dinner, you are free to enjoy your night socialising with other guests, trying night squid fishing or simply relaxing. Entertainment such as karaoke and dancing are available for your enjoyment until 22:00.
Day 10: Halong Bay – Ninh Binh (B/L/-)
As the sun rises over the bay, reflecting on the calm water, you can enjoy a gentle Tai-chi session on the sundeck from 06:30 to 07:00. Breakfast will be served from 07:00 to 09:00 as you cruise past the stunning seascapes towards Thien Canh Son Cave. You will have time to explore the fascinating rock formations inside the beautifully lit cavern. You will check out of your cabin between 09:30 and 10:00 (luggage can be delivered to the reception area). You will begin the cruise back to the harbour, taking in the immense beauty of the bay as you enjoy an early lunch on board.
Day 11: Ninh Binh – Hue (B/L/D)
The site of the first capital city of ancient Vietnam before Hanoi took its leading role in the 11th century. The area features lots of well-known scenery, and we include a boat trip in Van Long and a visit to Hoa Lu ancient capital with the old temples dedicated to King Dinh & King Le reigned in the 10th century. The visit in Ninh Binh starts with a boat trip in Van Long where spectacular limestone karsts jut out from the green paddy fields reminding us about Guilin (China) and Halong Bay of Vietnam. Further discovery in Ninh Binh will be continued on the site that used to be the King’s palace in the 10th century and is now famous for the wooden reliefs of the shady Dinh and Le temples. After this exciting day of sightseeing, we will go catch a night train to Hue.
Day 12: Hue city (B/L/-)
Pick up in Hue, we will have a full day city tour around Hue. Being recognised by UNESCO as the 1st Cultural World Heritage for Vietnam, Hue is highlighted by the old royal architecture and the traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. We will discover the charm of the city from the Royal Citadel, Forbidden City, Hue Royal Museum and Dong Ba bustling market. After lunch in a garden-house restaurant in “Hue” style, you will go on to Thien Mu pagoda and visit the Tombs of King Minh Mang and Tu Duc – two of the best-preserved monuments of the Nguyen Emperors since the early 19th and early 20th centuries. After this, you will have the evening to enjoy as you please and you will stay overnight in Hue.
Day 13: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An (B/L/-)
Today, you will journey south past the Hai Van Pass and Lang Co, over a spur of the Truong Son Mountain Range that juts into the South East Sea, with spectacular views along the way. Upon arrival in Danang, we will visit the Cham Museum, which features a fine collection of open-air sandstone carvings. Stopping at My Khe Beach, made famous in the American TV series of the same name, you will see how it stretches for many miles north and south of the Marble Mountains. The Marble Mountains surrounding the area are five stone hills - once islands made of marble - and each is said to represent one of the five elements of the universe. There are many natural caves in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. Arriving that evening in Hoi An Town, we will check into a hotel to spend the night.
Day 14: Hoi An Excursion (B/L/-)
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Hoi An, a major trading centre, once known as "Faifo" to the earliest Western traders. It was also an important port for the Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and other merchant vessels from the Far East. Visit a temple with partially gilded statues in the centre, a pagoda dedicated to sailors and fishermen and a chapel with origins in the 1700s that reflect the influences of Chinese and Japanese styles. We will also stop at the Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, which contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Late this afternoon, we will take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River to Kim Bing Village on Cam Kim Island to see the woodworkers and shipbuilding families. Returning to your haven on world-famous "Cua Dai Beach," you will have the evening to spend at your leisure, staying the night again in Hoi An.
Day 15: Da Nang – Nha Trang (B/L/-)
After breakfast, your driver will pick up and transfer you to Da Nang Airport for a short flight to Nha Trang where 10km of white sandy beach awaits. For the rest of that day, you will be free to relax and spend some time as you wish (should you want to be a little adventurous at this stage, please contact us for optional excursions that can be arranged such as boat trips, village excursions or Cyclo rides etc.).
Day 16: Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh city (B/L/-)
Free and easy in Nha Trang with beaches until we take a flight to Ho Chi Minh city in the afternoon.
Day 17: Ho Chi Minh city (B/-/-)
Enjoy a full day tour Saigon’s diverse attractions. Start with a visit to Saigon’s China Town, then learn about traditional Vietnamese medicine at the FITO Museum, before browsing through the amazing array of goods at Ben Thanh Market. Stop for lunch then continue on the city tour with a visit to the War Remnants Museum and former Presidential Palace. Conclude the day exploring the city’s French colonial architecture, stopping at the Notre Dame Cathedral and the City’s Post Office.
Day 18: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (B/ L/ -)
The day will start with a drive to the Mekong Delta Region, where you will enjoy a 4-hour boat trip and rowing boat trip through small canals to visit An Binh island. We will have a short walk around the village, visiting some local workshops, a coconut factory and ancient house, then lunch will be served at a local garden restaurant. The boat trip then continues to Vinh Long, from where you will drive to Can Tho. You will be free for the night to discover Can Tho at your leisure.
Day 19: Can Tho – Phu Quoc Island (B/ L/ -)
Start in early morning to visit Can Tho floating market then drive to Can Tho airport to take a flight at 11:50 to Phu Quoc Island.
The floating markets are unarguably the biggest attraction of Can Tho with their unique charm atmosphere attracting hoards of visitors each year. With Can Tho being the largest city in the Mekong Delta, there are a number of different markets to choose from. Daily tours run from the main town to the trading flotillas, picking passengers up at the break of day to catch the main action. The markets are a great place to sample the fresh local produce or watch the friendly to and fro of the vendors as they bob down the river.
Day 20: Phu Quoc Island (B/ L/ -)
Phu Quoc Island is an idyllic vision of sandy beaches, thick jungle, and clear blue waters. It has undergone many transformations from an undisturbed island with a population of fewer than 1000 people to a topic of contention and fighting between countries and now a quintessential Vietnamese holiday destination.
Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and stretches 50 km from north to south and is 25 km at its widest part. A large mountain range runs along the length of the island, reaching 603 meters at its highest point. Free and easy on beaches!
Day 21: Phu Quoc - Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B/ L/ -)
Free and easy until we take a flight at 13:55 to Ho Chi Minh city. And here, it is your next departure!
This rate is quoted in USD per person, based on Double/Twin occupancy. Applied for the – Private Tour. Valid from 30 Apr 2016 - 31 Dec 2017
Please note that the hotels mentioned in this list are for reference only. Depending on availability and your preference, they can be changed. If we are unable to book any hotel, it will be replaced by another hotel at least of equivalent standard and value.
La Dolce Vita / Quoc Hoa
Sap, Ba Be, Hagiang
Wild Beach Resort
New Epoch/ May Flower
Phu Quoc Island
Richis Beach Resort
Tour price includes:
• English speaking tour guides as mentioned
• Land transfer by air-con vehicles
• Accommodation at homestay, hotels or resorts as stated in program
• All Meals as mentioned in the program (no drinks)
• Boat trip and train tickets (HN <-> Lao Cai)
• All admission fees and permission.
• Support 24/24h
• No extra charge after confirmation.
Tour price excludes:
• All airfare (international and domestic) and airport tax
• Early check-in, late check-out surcharge
• Personal expenses (phone call, laundry, tipping etc.)
• Any services not mentioned in the program.
Classic Vietnam 21 days 20 nights
14-day tour from south to north Vietnam
Landscapes of Vietnam 15 days 14 nights
Southern Vietnam and Phu Quoc island 12 days 11 nights
Heritage sites of Vietnam 12 days 11 nights
Mekong delta and Da Lat 10 days 9 nights
Highlights of Vietnam 08 days 07 nights