|DAY 1: HANOI|
Meet at the airport and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins. Follow this with a walking tour through the old quarter of the city. Visit a local house and take your time talking with the hosts and learn about their family’s life and history. Continue to Ngoc Son Temple nearby Hoan Kiem Lake. Enjoy a leisurely ride on a rickshaw around the city and through its hidden alleyways followed by a water puppet show in the early evening. Overnight in Hanoi
|DAY 2: HANOI – NINH BINH (HOA LU) – HANOI – LAO CAI (B)|
After breakfast, drive to Hoa Lu (2 hour drive), the ancient royal capital of Vietnam. Arrive Tam Coc, take a bicycle ride along picturesque roads amidst beautiful green paddy fields and then board a small sampan for a spectacular 2-hour trip through caves, waterways and beautiful rural landscape consisting of limestone cliffs and rice paddies. Return Hanoi in the afternoon, on the way, visit temples dedicated to the Dinh and Le dynasty kings. Take the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Departure: 21h15 on the local train). Overnight on board the train. Note: leave heavy luggage in Hanoi during trip to Sapa for your convenience. Victoria train departs at 21h55.
|DAY 3: LAO CAI – SAPA (B) < minority market>|
Upon arrival in Lao Cai, transfer to the hotel for breakfast. Then depart to the local ethnic markets where you will see members of different hill tribes, colourfully dressed, selling handicrafts and produce. Depending on the day, markets can be held in different regions. In the afternoon, continue your short walk to a local village nearby and learn more about the daily life of the hill tribe communities as well as their living environment. Drive to Sapa and relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Sapa. Note: Visits to the minority markets may be switched, depending on the opening days of each market (See schedule below). It might be cold and wet in winter (October – Mar), please prepare jacket and good shoes for the walk.
|Tuesday||Coc Ly||H’ Mong, Tu Di, Ba Di Tay, Nung Han|
|Wednesday||Sin Cheng Cao Son||H’ Mông, Nùng, Tày, Thu Lao H’ Mông Phù Lá, Dao, Black Hán|
|Thursday||Lung Khau Nhin||H’ Mong, Phu la, Dao|
|Saturday||Can Cau Pha Long||Flower H’ Mong, Red and Black Hmong Dzay, Tay|
|Sunday||Bac Ha Muong Khuong||H’ Mong, Tay (Bac Ha), Dao Phu La, Nung (Muong Khuong)|
|DAY 4 SAPA (B) < light trekking>|
After breakfast, spend the day discovering the many picturesque minority villages located in the Sapa Valley. Drive to Lao Chai and then walk 2 km through rice fields, passing by traditional Black Hmong houses before continuing to Ta Van Village (2 km) to visit a Giay minority community and go up to Giang Ta Chai village. This part of the trip is fascinating because of its beautiful scenery and vibrant minority cultures such as that of the Red Dao. Your driver will be waiting for you at Giang Ta Chai village. In the afternoon, visit an ethnic village or spend the rest of the afternoon wandering through the local market in Sapa town. Overnight in Sapa.
|DAY 5: SAPA – LAO CAI – HANOI (B)|
After breakfast, visit Thac Tien Waterfall (1.3km walk) and stop at Traurion pass to enjoy the beautiful view. Relax in the afternoon until the departure to Lao Cai where you will take the night train back to Hanoi (departure at 20h15) Overnight on board the train.
|DAY 6 HANOI – HALONG BAY (B – L – D)|
Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning. Check in, refresh and have breakfast at the hotel before departing for the stunning Halong Bay located in the Gulf of Tonkin. On the way, stop for a sight-seeing tour in Hai Phong city including a visit to the Du Hang Buddhist Temple, Hang Kenh Communal House and the French influenced Municipal Theatre. Arrive at Halong City, check in and board a junk. Lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and activities, or just spend some time relaxing on board (Possibility to swim in the bay if weather permits). Dinner is served on board. Overnight on Halong Bay. Note: Visits or activities will be slightly different depending on each junk’s itinerary. Your tour guide will be replaced by a local guide on board during your cruise.
|DAY 7: HALONG BAY – HANOI – HUE (B – Brunch)|
Breakfast on board and enjoy the fresh morning in the bay. The cruise ends around 11h00 am. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi airport. On the way, visit But Thap Pagoda. Arrive at Noi Bai airport in the late afternoon and take the flight to Hue. Welcome upon arrival at Hue airport and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Hue. Note: Breakfast, lunch or brunch will be served on board depend each junk‘s service.
|DAY 8: HUE (B)|
After breakfast, take a boat for a short cruise on the Huong river. Visit Thien Mu Pagoda which is located on the river bank and is an iconic seven-story pagoda considered the unofficial symbol of the city. In the afternoon, visit the Imperial Citadel, a complex covering an area of 520 hectares comprising three circles; the Hue Capital Citadel, the Royal Citadel and the Forbidden Citadel. Continue to Emperor Tu Duc’s Mausoleum, built according to the laws of geomancy. Before returning to the hotel, take a walk through Dong Ba Market, where you can find anything from fabric and gold to fake watches, fresh flowers and street food. Overnight in Hue.
|DAY 9: HUE – DANANG – HOI AN (B-L)|
After breakfast, drive to Danang via the spectacular Hai Van Pass, visit the Cham Museum, probably best museum in the world focusing on the ancient kingdom of Champa. Continue on to the charming old town of Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port during the 15th to 19th centuries. Many of the buildings in the town reflect historical architectural styles and the whole town is listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Check-in to the hotel, have lunch and then enjoy a walking tour in the old town. Visit Phuc Kien Pagoda and the Japanese wooden bridge. End the day with a visit to a lantern making cottage and learn how to make this handicraft yourself. Overnight in Hoi An.
|DAY 10: HOI AN – MYSON – HOIAN (B)|
After breakfast, take a half day trip to visit the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son (1 hour drive) located to the southwest of Hoi An. In a lush green valley stand dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries. On the way back to Hoi An visit Tra Kieu, formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel, the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. In the afternoon, go on an excursion by boat on the Thu Bon River with a stop along the way at a traditional ceramic and carpentry village. Relax for the rest of the day. Overnight in Hoi An.
|DAY 11: HOI AN – DANANG – HO CHI MINH CITY (B)|
After breakfast, transfer to Danang Airport fora morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). On arrival, proceed to your hotel and check in. enjoy a full day exploring the city. Visit the former Presidential Palace, or as it is known today – the Reunification Palace. Then head to the historical heart of the city and visit the Notre Dame Cathedral (outside visit only due to its renovation). The red bricks of the cathedral walls were originally from Paris, France. From there, take a short walk to the old Central Post Office. After that, visit the best-preserved buildings from the colonial era, the Opera House and the Hotel de Ville now home to Saigon’s municipal authorities. Continue to Catinat building. Built in 1927, in an art deco style, it has once again become a hub for fashion conscious Saigonese and contains many designer boutiques, galleries, restaurants and cafés. In the afternoon, visit the War Remnants Museum and discover some different perspectives on the war. End the day with a visit to China town with its the bustling Binh Tay Market. Transfer back to your hotel. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Note: Notre Dame Cathedral: outside visit only due to its renovation till 2020
|DAY 12: HO CHI MINH CITY – CAI BE – VINH LONG – CAN THO (B)|
After breakfast, drive to Cai Be in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Visit a Cao Dai Temple on the way. In Cai Be, board a sampan for a cruise on the Mekong River and its numerous canals. Visit an old colonial house and a rice popcorn factory along the way. In the afternoon continue on to Vinh Long and then drive to Can Tho, the largest town in the Mekong Delta. Overnight in Can Tho.
|DAY 13: CAN THO – CAI RANG – CHAU DOC (B)|
After breakfast, board a sampan to visit the Cai Rang floating market and a local fruit farm. Then visit the charming, colonial style Binh Thuy House (over 100 years old). Explore Can Tho’s local market before driving to Chau Doc, near the Cambodian border. On arrival, visit Sam Mountain, a popular pilgrimage site where you will find a large collection of Chinese, Cham and Khmer temples before checking into your hotel. Overnight in Chau Doc.
|Day 14: CHAU DOC – HO CHI MINH CITY (B)|
After breakfast, take a sampan to visit a floating village. Under the floating houses where people live are fish that are raised in suspended nets. Cross the river to reach a Cham village. Visit The Mubarak Mosque, where children study the Koran in Arabic script. Afternoon, return to Ho Chi Minh city (6 hour drive) Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city
|DAY 15: HO CHI MINH CITY (B)|
After breakfast, relax until departure to Tan Son Nhat airport End of our services.