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Essentials of Indochina

Code: ICT248

Duration: 17 Days

Travel Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Hue - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Siem Reap - Luang Prabang

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       Tour Highlights

  • The bustling markets, tree-lined boulevards and peaceful lakes of Hanoi are a great introduction to modern Vietnam.

  • Cruise around the mystical landscape of Halong Bay and visit one of its amazing cave

  • Go back in time at the ancient trading port of Hoi An. Experience the blend of influences from the West and East, nice beach & interesting markets

  • Visit the Forbidden Purple City of Hue, constructed in the early 19th century by Emperor Gia Long

  • Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon, is a dynamic blend of old and new, east and west, commerce and culture

  • Ride a small sampan boat through a lush creek of the Mekong

  • Admire the amazing UNESCO's heritage of Angkor Wat: the largest religious monument in the world, the symbol of Cambodia, the Temple City of the Khmer Empire.

  • Observe the morning alms giving ceremony and charmed by the friendly atmosphere of the ancient town of Luang Prabang - UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

    Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN HANOI

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival to Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, your driver and guide will meet you and they will transfer you to your hotel. Check-in and enjoy yourself for the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight: Hanoi

Included meals: No 

 

DAY 2: HANOI CITY SIGHTSEEING 

At 8:30 AM, you will set out with your private tour guide and driver for the full-day tour of the capital city. Although it is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, Hanoi still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. The first place is the Temple of Literature, a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and one of the best serving examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam’s first university. Next we visit the fascinating Ethnology Museum, which are both a research center and a public museum exhibiting the ethnic groups of Vietnam. A Vietnamese lunch is served at a restaurant by the museum garden. In the afternoon, continue to Ba Dinh Square where you will view the Mausoleum (outside) and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. On walking here, you will call at the famous One Pillar Pagoda, dating from the 11th century, this monument was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Followed by a short transfer to Hoan Kiem Lake for you to cross a wooden red bridge to give a look at a Taoist temple, situated on a small island. End the day with 30-minute cyclo ride (a kind of local rickshaw) to view the narrow lanes and traditional shops houses in the Old Quarter. 

Overnight in Hanoi

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

DAY 3: HANOI - HALONG BAY

Today you will leave Hanoi and drive North-east (approx. 4hours) to the well-known Halong Bay. Halong Bay is one of Vietnam's most spectacular natural wonders and listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Upon arrival at the pier, you will board a boat for exploring the bay, the views that you get while navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops are incredible. Lunch and dinner are served on board. The activities of today include a swim in the bay in warmer months. You may have chance to do some kayaking (Optional and extra cost involved, depends on different boats) as well.

Overnight on board

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 

 

DAY 4: HALONG BAY - HOI AN

This morning get up early this morning for some fresh-air on the open deck and join the Tai-chi class for some gentle moves if you wish. Otherwise, you are able to remain in your cabin until breakfast time. After breakfast, the crew will pull up the anchor, start the engine again for more cruising to other part of the bay. After visiting a limestone cave, the boat is gently heading back to the pier. The early lunch (Brunch) will be served aboard. Around noon, you are ferried in and take about 4-hour drive to Noi Bai airport for the short flight to Da Nang City in Central Vietnam. Get picked up at the airport and transfer to Hoi An for the night at a hotel.

Overnight in Hoi An

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 5: HOI AN CITY TOUR

After your breakfast, you will set out on a walking tour to explore this charming World Heritage Site, Hoi An Old town. Highlights include an ancient merchant house, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the vibrant riverside market. The informative tour ends around noon at your hotel or anywhere in town that you'd prefer. The rest of the day is free to do your own things. (You may be interested in joining a cooking class, shopping at some skillful tailors' or just relaxing on Cua Dai sandy beach).

Overnight in Hoi An

Included meals: Breakfast 

 

DAY 6: HOI AN FREE DAY

Today is yours to relax, enjoying the facilities of the hotels or getting back to the Old Quarter for further visits by yourself, or just being at leisure on the beach.

Overnight in Hoi An

Included meals: Breakfast 

 

DAY 7: HOI AN - HUE

This morning, you leave Hoi An after breakfast and drive almost 4 hours north to the Old Imperial City of Hue. The drive is fairly scenic along the coast as you will make the way uphill over the Hai Van (Cloudy) Pass. You will make some stops en route at the Marble Mountain, Hai Van Pass for photos, and Lang Co Beach for a coffee stop. Around noon, arriving in Hue and move on for your lunch and rest at a restaurant. In the afternoon, transfer to Hue Citadel for 1.5 hours on foot through the palace complex. The ancient walled Citadel contains the former Imperial Palace. The Citadel was closely modeled along the lines of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Much of it was damaged during the last two wars.  After that, get to your hotel and check in. Relax for the remainder of the hotel.

Overnight in Hue.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 8: HUE - HO CHI MINH CITY

After breakfast this morning, you are taken to a small dock where you board a dragon boat for a short ride gently upstream to visit the old Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument, which stands on the riverbank with its impressive seven-storey tower. Thence, continue on to visit Vong Canh Hills, a great place for enjoying the good view of the charming Perfume River. Next, you get another transfer to King Tu Duc’s Tomb, his final resting place. Before going to have lunch at a local restaurant, you pay a visit to a local workshop and learn the process of making incense sticks. The lunch today will be at a Buddhist Nunnery, where you will enjoy a vegetarian lunch prepared and served by the nuns. In the afternoon, you will be driven to the airport to take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, get picked up and driven to the downtown for the hotel check-in.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City 

Included meals: breakfast, Lunch 

DAY 9: HO CHI MINH CITY & CU CHI TUNNELS 

This morning you will meet your tour guide again and head out of the city early to nearby Cu Chi tunnels. Cu Chi is the name of the district that is famous with the extensive network of underground tunnels (Approx. 250km), dug by Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong, used by both fighters and villagers during 'Vietnam War'. A part of the tunnels has been widened to allow visitors to enter and get a feel for what the life underground must have been like (please note that this will be hot and sweaty, and claustrophobic for some). After lunch at a local restaurant, you will return to the city for the afternoon city tour. You’ll have the option of visiting the War Remnants Museum or History Museum before a visit to the Unification Palace and some of the other major sights such as the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral. The evening is free - perhaps explore the food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market. 

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 10: MEKONG DELTA

At 8:30 AM head south of the city for the morning drive to the delta town of Ben Tre, nestled deep within the rice bowl of Vietnam – the Mekong Delta. Ben Tre is seen as a peaceful retreat offers enchanting scenery. Upon arrival, you will embark on a motorized boat trip around the scenic Ham Luong River (a branch of the Mekong) and stop off at various local workplaces to give you a picture of how the local economy works, including a brickworks, where bricks are still painstakingly made by hand; a coconut processing workshop, where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every single part of this versatile nut is turned into food and other products; and a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom – if you want, you can even have a go at weaving yourself! The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can have a short walk to experience real delta village life, before boarding your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) and traveling into the village where you can visit fruit orchards before stopping at a riverside restaurant for a delicious and filling lunch, featuring such local specialties as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp, washed down with some cold drinks or beers. Followed by a sampan for a relaxing ride along narrow creeks. You will then return to the dock by another motorized boat cruise. The afternoon drive takes you back to Ho Chi Minh City. Free for the remainder of the day.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch 

 

DAY 11: HO CHI MINH CITY - SIEM REAP 

You will have free time till your guide escorts you to airport for your flight to Siem Reap. Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, our guide will meet you and escort you to your hotel.

Overnight: Siem Reap 

Included meals: breakfast 

DAY 12: SIEM REAP SIGHTSEEING

Have breakfast at the hotel then you will start to explore wondrous ancient ruins with the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King, then continue to Preah Khan was built in 1191 during the reign of King Jayavarman VII. In the afternoon, you will visit the jungle-covered temple of Ta Prohm, it is an incredible sight. There are enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which embrace themselves in the stone foundations of the structure giving the impression of man’s creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. Later this afternoon, we will complete our temple tours to the most complete temple of Angkor Wat. This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. We stroll around this massive edifice, seeing the many galleries with Columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. 

Overnight: Siem Reap 

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

DAY 13: SIEM REAP SIGHTSEEING

This morning, heading out of town you make your way by traveling on a newly paved road to the intricately carved and well preserved temple of Banteay Srei. Along the way, you will make a stop and pay a visit to Preah Dark village. Followed by a visit to the Banteay Samre Temple adorned with impressive relief’s depicting scenes of Vishunu as well as Krishna legends. In the afternoon, you will be driven to the floating village of Choueng Kneas village, where you will have a boat ride to learn the daily life of the poor villagers in this part of Cambodia, on the great lake of Tonle Sap. You may even see enterprising children floating in buckets selling soft drinks and floating pig pen. Early evening, you will be taken by Tuk Tuk, a small open-sided taxi common in Cambodia, to cruise around the suburb of Siem Reap town and for a blessing ceremony by Buddhist monks for happiness, prosperity and safety for your journey. 

Overnight in Siem Reap 

Included meals: breakfast, lunch   

DAY 14: SIEM REAP - LUANG PRABANG

Free morning to relax and chill out in Siem Reap. Check out of the hotel room at mid-day. Late afternoon a private driver will pick you up and transfer you to the airport for a short flight to Luang Prabang, the ancient first capital of Lane Xang kingdom. It is the centre of religious life in Laos and a World Heritage City. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by the local guide and transferred (30 minutes)  to the hotel to check in. Evening is yours.

Included meals: breakfast

DAY 15: LUANG PRABANG SIGHTSEEING

Today you will enjoy a cruise on the Mekong River with an exploration of the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, a cave temple with a huge stalagmite resembling an elephant's head. Stop at Ban Xieng Lek and Ban Xang Khong where traditional crafts including weaving paper and drum making are still practiced. Climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred stupa as well as capture a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. Also, you will have a chance to venture the night market and observe local life there.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Included meals: breakfast, Lunch

DAY 16: LUANG PRABANG SIGHTSEEING

If you like, observe the alms-giving procession in the early morning at 5:40am, from which you’ll have an understanding of local people’s piety towards their religion. After that, set for the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong and Wat Visoun. Tour the Royal Palace Museum (which will be rescheduled if it happens to be Tuesday, the close day) then drive to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, a paradise which to fill your lungs with fresh air and serves as a wonderful chill-off site.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Included meals: breakfast

DAY 17: DEPARTURE FROM LUANG PRABANG

Enjoy your leisure time until getting picked up and transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

Included meals: breakfast

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TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Private A/c transportation per itinerary

  • All airport transfers

  • Comfortable ccommodation with daily breakfasts

  • Regional English speaking tour guides

  • Sightseeing tickets & entrance fees during guided times

  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

  • Motorized boat trips in Hue, Mekong River & Tonle Sap Lake

  • Rowing sampan ride in Mekong Delta, bucket boat ride in Hoi An

  • Motor cart ride in Mekong and Cyclo ride in Hanoi Old Quarter

  • Package cruise in Halong Bay

  • Service charge and Government Taxes

  • Bottled water on the vehicle.

TOUR EXCLUSIONS

  • Travel insurance (Compulsory)

  • Drinks and other meals

  • Single Supplement

  • International & domestic flight tickets (quoted saparately if any)

  • Visas arrangement and airport departure taxes

  • Tips and gratuities (See our guideline)

  • Personal expenditures & others not mentioned clearly above.

Other Holidays of Indochina

BEST OF INDOCHINA

Duration: 26 Days

Code: ICT249

Location: Indochina

Travel Route: Luang Prabang - Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Hoi An- Hue - DMZ - Phong Nha Caves - Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Sapa - Bac Ninh - Halong Bay

UNESCO SITES REVEALED

Duration: 19 Days

Code: ICT250

Location: Indochina

Travel Route: Luang Prabang - Hanoi - Ha Giang - Bac Ninh - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)

 

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