The Islands of Vietnam

Duration: 7 days & 6 nights

Our itinerary designed for first time visitors to Vietnam covers the main cities and surrounding, scenic or historic attractions around: Hanoi (with its scenic lakes and old colonial building, definitely do justice to its other name – The Paris of the East), Ha Long Bay (world-renowned) for its spectacular
seascape of limestone pillars complemented by its biodiversity, home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species) and Saigon. The tour brings you close to the life, culture, history, craft, food and nature of Vietnam. You get to interact with people, snorkel, cruise, bike, cook- out and dine out, witness craft and rituals, and more.

Sample Program:

Day 1: Arrival at Ha Noi

• Arrive, check in, rest and relax for the remainder of your first day.

• On this day, your guide will come by and meet you and explain to you what the rest of your trip has in store.

Day 2: Ha Noi

Suggested departure time: 08:00.
Tour duration: 07 hours.

• Get a city tour of Ha Noi, which gives you a glimpse into its colonial architecture, colonial boulevards and scenic lakes.

• Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument of marble and granite built to house the preserved body of beloved revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.

• Visit the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar.

• Visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture.

• Visit the Museum of Ethnology which houses an extensive collection of traditional costumes and artefacts from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.

• Drive back to Hanoi for a walking tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century.

• Conclude your day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form said to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta where villagers entertained themselves by manipulating puppets over the water. The show uses colourful wooden puppets to depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music.

NOTE: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from
September until December.

Day 3: Thursday 23 Aug 2018: Ha Noi – Ha Long Cruise

• Depart for a 31/2 hour journey to Halong Bay. Covering an area of 43,400 ha (168 sq mi) and including over 1,600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited and untouched.

• Get on board a cruise boat and settle in. You will be served a typical local lunch in the dining room or at the outdoor dining area. Mingling yourself in the stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets as we sail through the calm emerald waters heading to Van Gia floating Village.

• Arrive at Surprising Cave, explore the cave and find out how the cave was named a Surprising. Heading to Titop island area and drop anchor in the calm water surrounded by beautiful islets. Visit Titop Island for swimming and snorkelling or do the short trek to the top of the island to have the overview of Halong bay from here.

• Heading back toward the sleeping area on the cruise boat, where you may watch the sunset from the sundeck and prepare for another wholesome local meal (dinner) and also choose from a large selection of cocktails at the bar.

• For those who’d like, there are also on-board activities like book reading, games, movies, and squid fishing…

Day 4: Maze Cave, Cua Van Floating Village, Pearl Farm

• If you’re an early riser, you join a Tai Chi session on the sun deck. Tai chi helps focus the mind and condition the body and there is no better environment to practice this than amongst the limestone peaks and islands.

• Enjoy a local breakfast served.

• Transfer to smaller boat to explore Maze Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay and step up to the top of the mountain to get the amazing view of World Heritage.

• Stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets greet you as you sail through the calm emerald waters heading to Cua Van Floating Village.

• Arrive Cua Van Floating Village.

• Your guide will brief you information and the highlights of this fascinating floating village and its local community.

• Take your option either exploring the village yourself on a kayak or comfortably capture the daily life of the fishermen on a bamboo boat rowed by the locals.

• Lunch is served on board the boat.

• Visit the Pearl Farm, where you will have a chance to witness the whole process to make a valuable pearl in Halong Bay.

• Heading back toward the sleeping area on the cruise boat, where you may watch the sunset from the sundeck and prepare for another wholesome local meal (dinner) and also choose from a large selection of cocktails at the bar.

• For those who’d like, there are also on-board activities like book reading, games, movies, and squid fishing…

Day 5: Luon Cave, Cookout, Ha Noi, Saigon

• If you’re an early riser, you join a Tai Chi session on the sun deck. Tai chi helps focus the mind and condition the body and there is no better environment to practice this than amongst the limestone peaks and islands.

• Enjoy a local breakfast served.

• Take in the stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets as you sail through the calm emerald waters heading to Luon Cave.

• Either explore the cave yourself on a kayak or on a bamboo boat rowed by the locals.

• Check out the cabins, at your leisure while your cruise taking you past other beautiful highlights in the bay.

• Indulge in a short cooking demonstration, how to make “real” spring rolls before an early lunch is served.

• Return to the shore and disembark from the cruise.

• Transfer by shuttle bus to Hanoi.

• Arrive at the airport to depart by flight for Saigon

• Arrive at Saigon and check into the hotel.

• Rest and relax at the hotel

Day 6: Saigon

• Spend your first day in Saigon free, at leisure.

Day 7: Mekong, Ben Tre Province

• Depart for a day trip to Mekong.

• Drive 1.5 hours to Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, famous for its tropical fruit gardens and traditional products made of coconuts.

• Visit a brick factory to learn how bricks are made by hand using centuries-old traditional methods

• Board a private local boat and cruise along the waterways to observe the way of life on the river.

• Visit a coconut workshop where almost every part of the coconut is used for candies and crafts

• Visit a family-run mat workshop where you can try your hand at weaving the ubiquitous straw sleeping mats.

• A 3km (2mi) ride by tuk-tuk or bicycle takes you to the home of a fruit farmer where you can sample tropical fruits.

• Visit to a chopstick workshop and have lunch at a local restaurant

• Board a rowing sampan for close up views of the water palm-lined waterways of the Delta.

• Travel back to the Hung Vuong pier by boat.

• Transfer by car back to Saigon.

• Transfer to the airport (with guide).