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With an insight about the places to be visited, your meal plan, special activities etc. your detailed itinerary gives you an in-depth idea as to how you will proceed on your journey whilst in Vietnam.
Designing perfect voyages for our guests is our prime aim and hence we are always open to tailoring our travel products to suit your individual requirements. We, however, reserve the right to change any arrangement (including tours, programs, prices and services) in the best interest of our guests, with or without prior notice.
The Team - Voyages2Treasure
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi where you will be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
In case you arrive early, it is possible to arrange some visits scheduled on Day 3 as well as the Water Puppets Show. This arrangement allows you to have more time at each site on Day 3.
Day 2: Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Hanoi
Depart your hotel this morning early 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 (968-80) and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). The ancient Hoa Lu Citadel (most of which has since been destroyed) once covered an area of three square kilometers. If time permits after visiting Hoa Lu take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills, the climb is rewarding with spectacular views.
In the late morning depart for Tam Coc Town for a Vietnamese lunch, along the way stop to take photographs of local villages and the stunning landscape.
After lunch board your private sampan* (see options for Tam Coc sampan trip below). As the boat gently slices through the water notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to the area’s other name, 'Halong on Land'.
Should you feel adventurous, climb up to Bich Dong Pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain, dating to 1428 and comprised of three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Return by sampan to Tam Coc town before returning to Hanoi.
Trang An Boat Option (in replace of Tam Coc): Trang An is a less visited nature reserve similar to Tam Coc. Limestone hills surround a peaceful river which passes through a series of caves (one which takes 15-minutes to pass through in darkness). An 'eco tourism' area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal clear river.
Thung Nang Boat Option (in replace of Tam Coc): Similar to Tam Coc, Thung Nang is off the tourist trail and a pleasant alternative. Pass through a cave, fields of lotus (in summer) and reach a quaint pagoda before returning on the same route.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Lao Cai
Visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
Visit The One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049, next. This structure is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. Close by is the mausoleum of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. (viewed from outside; closed Mon and Fri and from Oct-Nov)
Continue to picturesque West Lake and the sixth century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda. From here transfer (or stroll along the lakeside) 700 meters to the nearby Taoist temple of Quan Thanh dedicated to Tran Vu, one of the principal deities in Taoism.
In the afternoon visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed Mondays), which is both a research centre and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. As an alternative to the Ethnology Museum, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum (closed on Mondays). The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.
At the end of the afternoon visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter also known as the ‘36 streets’. Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be Market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.
Finish the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history.
This evening, transfer to Hanoi Train Station for the overnight train ride to Lao Cai, the gateway to Sapa.
Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.
Day 4: Lao Cai – Sapa
On arrival in the border town of Lao Cai transfer to the former hill station of Sapa. In the terraced hills and mountains of this area, the scenery of the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colors of its hill tribe population. Flashes of shining silver jewellery from the necks and wrists of indigo-clad H'mong and the scarlet hues of the turbans worn by the Red Dao can be seen. It is here you will find hands stained with color from fabric dyes and shades of blue, red and green intricately embroidered and stitched into jackets, waistcoats, pants, skirts, caps, purses and leggings.
Take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black H’Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Following take a light trek to discover Sapa's quaint hill tribe villages set against the stunning Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range and Indochina's highest peak, Mt. Fansipan. A picnic lunch will be had en-route. Rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Appropriate footwear must be worn on treks in Sapa. Note that if conditions are wet, programs may be diverted.
Overnight in Sapa.
Day 5: Sapa – Lao Cai - Hanoi
Have breakfast before driving to visit a local market(Ban Cam on Tuesday/ Cao Son on Wednesday/ Lung Khau Nhin on Thursday / Can Cau on Saturday/ Bac Ha on Sunday. Note: The market visit may be on your arrival day depending on the market day). Here you’ll see mostly Flower Hmong, however Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, and Nung hill tribe groups also gather here. The market offers a variety of local products not be found in others areas such as an interesting animal market where pot-bellied pigs, cows and buffalos can be seen.
Continue your tour with a short walk to a hill-tribe village. Here you’ll have the opportunity to visit some local homes to understand more about the daily life of these tribes as well as their culture and traditions. In the late afternoon transfer back to Lao Cai before taking the night train back to Hanoi. In Lao Cai you’ll have use of a hotel room so you can freshen up before the overnight train trip.
Overnight on the train in a soft sleeper compartment.
Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay
(B, L, D)
Arrive early in Hanoi where a hotel will be available to freshen up before heading to Halong Bay by road.
Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Overnight on Halong Bay.
Day 7: Halong Bay – Noi Bai Aiport - Danang – Hoi An
Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Upon disembarkation your driver will meet you for the transfer to Noi Bai/ Hai Phong Airport for the flight to Danang.
En route visit Thanh Chuong Palace, the home and studio of Thanh Chuong, one of the most celebrated painters in Vietnam. More a living space than a museum, the Palace is an architectural gem showcasing Vietnamese traditional cultural objects, exquisite antiques and remarkable structures.
After the visit, it’s a quick transfer to the airport for the short flight to the central port city of Danang.
On arrival in Danang transfer to Hoi An, a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries whose architecture and relaxed lifestyle has changed little over the years.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Day 8: Hoi An – My Son – Hoi An
Today, spend half a day visiting the capital and religious centre of the former Champa Kingdom, My Son. Here, 40km southwest of Hoi An, in a lush green valley, are dozens of red brick towers and sanctuaries dating from between the 7th and 13th centuries. On the way back to Hoi An, stop to visit Tra Kieu, formerly known as Simhapura or the Lion Citadel and the capital of Champa between the 4th and 8th centuries. Some of the finest sculptures in Danang’s Cham Museum originated from here.
This afternoon return to Hoi An, a charming destination with two faces – the old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, an d the beach with its new resorts and long stretches of clean white sand. In keeping with Hoi An’s heritage as a trading port, the town’s tiny shop houses now host a range of craft shops and artisans including some of Asia’s best tailors. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday. Take a walking tour of the ancient town centre to visit former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Bridge, a Chinese communal hall and the colorful market.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An – Hue
Have this morning at leisure before leaving Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Its mesmerizing tombs and mausoleums of the last emperors of Vietnam reveal fascinating insights into the lives of the imperial families and their subjects. The ancient Citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. The Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 10: Hue
0830 depart from your hotel in Hue. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. It is full of lotus flowers in summer and there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.
After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument depart for Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River Constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. On the pagoda grounds is the famous Austin car a resident monk drove to Saigon in 1963 to protest against the southern regime. The photo of his self immortalization is one of the most well known images of the war.
Continue to former emperor Minh Mang’s tomb located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
Journey on to Khai Dinh’s Tomb designed in traditional Vietnamese style with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.
Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide. The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 11: Hue - Ho Chi Minh City
Transfer to Hue Airport after breakfast for the short flight to dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals. A full day city tour starts in Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda - dedicated to the goddess of the Sea. Next, visit Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, which displays an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine can be seen in the galleries.
Head back to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Simply stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale.
This afternoon visit the War Remnants or History Museum (choose which one you would most like to see) and the former Presidential Palace Stroll (your vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. At the end of the afternoon head back to your hotel.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Note: History Museum isclosed on Mondays.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, leave bustling Ho Chi Minh for the 2-hour drive to the delta town of Cai Be, home to a colorful floating market, vast emerald rice fields and lush back waterways.
On arrival board the boat for a cruise of the Cai Be floating market. Traders work the river and some have been living on these waters for generations. Produce at the market is hung on a pole in front of boats to attract customers and make it easier for people to see from afar what is on offer. After visiting the market, continue to a cottage factory where ‘pop-rice’, rice paper and coconut candies are made. Return to the boat and cruise to Dong Hoa Hiep Island admiring the scenery and the daily life of the local villagers along the way. For lunch, you will be served local Mekong specialties of the area.
After the cruise, drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City - Depart
Departure day. Time at leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.