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Vietnam Quest


  • Hoi An
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Thien Dinh Palace in Hue

JULY 01-12, 2020
Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi
12 Days

Wed, July 1

Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

On arrival in Ho Chi Minh City - Tan Son Nhat International Airport, meet your guide and driver after passing through customs, before continuing on to your hotel for check-in. 

This evening, enjoy a briefing and drinks at The View. There are a number of rooftop bars in Saigon, but this is a favourite. With an incredibly beautiful 270-degree view of the city, the rooftop bar is the perfect place to unwind and meet your fellow travellers!

Accommodation: Accommodation: Hotel Des Arts or similar

**NOTE: The normal check-in time is 14:00PM (An early check in is on request and subject to available).

Important: If booking own flights from Singapore, please book a flight that is due to arrive no later than 2:45pm

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration3 nights
Thu, July 2

Ho Chi Minh City Cho Lon Heritage Tour

Tim Doling is one of the most renowned cultural experts on Vietnam, where he has lived since the early 1990’s. Tim has been heavily involved in a number of projects focusing on preserving the cultural past of Vietnam and producing educational courses in the area and has authored numerous books on Vietnam.. If you want to dive deeper into the cultural past of Vietnam as well as hear about an expert’s vision for the future, then Tim is a great person to guide you! The tour will also examine how life was effected by various administrations, including the Nguyễn dynasty, and later by the French, and the history and struggles that went with this.

Next, we go to the riverside and walk around the headland where Tim will talk about the history of the commercial port and the development of the banking/commercial area and "mini Chinatown" which once existed there. Afterwards, we depart on a circuit of the city by bus to view other well-known sites, such as the Ba Son shipyard, the site of the second Citadel of 1837 and the US Embassy. Our tour ends with a quick visit to the tunnels underneath the former Lieutenant Governor’s Palace, now the City Museum.

Lunch today is at a local restaurant, followed by a visit the Reunification Palace, which was the former residence of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975, before the tour ends back at our hotel.

Tonight dinner will be at The Chopstick, which was once the home of Mr Tran Van Huong, the Vice President of the Southern Vietnamese Government before 1975. The Chopstick resonates with stories of the people who visited its famous owner. Many of the original features of the villa remain; beautiful wrought iron gates and windows, the garden entry, the sweeping staircase, earthy timberwork and the soft, natural light. The food is authentic Vietnamese - delicious, fresh flavours, quality ingredients and imaginative menus all highlight the best of traditional cuisine.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Fri, July 3

Cu Chi Tunnels

This morning, we visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels are 75 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, in an area that played an important role during Vietnam's wars for independence and reunification. More than 200 km of tunnels exist and are often a tour highlight for many. You will be able to explore the bedrooms, meeting rooms, air-raid shelters, smokeless kitchens, and experience life underground in this extraordinary tunnel complex. After visiting the tunnels, we transfer back to our hotel in Saigon. The afternoon is at leisure to relax, or explore a little more on your own.

This evening enjoy a night out in Ho Chi Minh City followed by dinner. Explore the waterways in and around Saigon and see the true life of this amazingly diverse and rapidly changing city. We leave the urban metropolis, and just minutes away visit the scenic lush jungle canals where locals live a simple life in surroundings that resemble the Mekong Delta. We embark on a two-hour sunset cruise, complete with light snacks. We return to Ho Chi Minh City, where our evening ends with dinner at The Deck Restaurant situated on the banks of the Saigon River, before returning to our hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Sat, Jul 4

Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An

After the breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our Vietnam Airlines flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival, we drive to Hoi An, where we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing on to our hotel.

This evening, a sunset BBQ on the Beach, and time to relax and put your feet in the sand. Surrounded by tiki torches and with your private chef and waiter, enjoy a beachside BBQ with the freshest of ingredients as the sunsets behind you.

Accommodation: Hoi An Silk Marina Resort or similar

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 nights
Sun, July 5

Hoi An

Today we head to Hoi An Central Market, for a walking tour. Although this is an all-day market, getting there early means you see the best produce, avoid the crowds and get to watch the market vendors preparing for the day. As you explore the seemingly endless myriad of alleyways, we will visit a number of local workshops, important cultural sites, and see how the locals spend their days. Be prepared to greet many people, as locals love to engage with visitors, and are proud of their businesses that have grown up in these narrow alleyways.

Our day continues with a visit to Tran Xuan Man, a Vietnamese Kung Fu Grand Master, where you can learn about a particular style of Kung-Fu from a very specific area of Vietnam. We join him to learn about the history of the martial art, the school that his master set up and then passed on to him, his work within the community and enjoy a traditional cup of tea, after witnessing a demonstration of his skills. A charming grandmaster, Mr. Man and his family will welcome you into their home and make you feel extremely welcome.

We then enjoy a break on a veranda overlooking the river. Watch fishing and tour boats glide through the waters, while enjoying a refreshing drink. From here, we continue through the old town, where you can engage yourself in local customs and learn some fun facts as your guide tells you stories about the area. We then pass over the famous Japanese covered bridge, before continuing on to a local family who will show you the skills required to make your own handmade lantern.
Afterwards, we return through the old town to a lovely local restaurant where you can try cao lau, a local noodle specialty and a perfect way to end a busy morning exploring Hoi An’s sights.

The afternoon is at leisure to relax, before dinner at the hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Mon, July 6

Hoi An to Hue

This morning is at leisure, before we depart later for Hue. Our journey passes through spectacular scenery along National Highway 1, including breathtaking Hai Van Pass. The pass, which once formed the boundary between the Kingdoms of Đại Việt and Champa, also forms a boundary between the climates of northern and southern Vietnam. The Hai Van Pass is the highest and longest pass in Vietnam, and the highway zigzags through it. There is time for photo-stops on the Pass, and the opportunity to get your perfect pictures of Lang Co beach or a spectacular landscape. Lunch is at a local restaurant, before we continue on to our hotel.

This afternoon, we take a scenic drive to an ancient village close to Hue. Walk leisurely in the countryside and immerse into the local lifestyle, taking photos as the sun sets over green fields and flower gardens. You may also visit some local handicrafts or a hidden temple.

This evening, we get to taste some authentic home dining, as we are welcomed into an ancient house where we will not only learn how people live but also help the host to prepare the dinner with typical cuisine and specialties. Our dinner setting is a rustic yet relaxing, family atmosphere. After our touring, a herbal footbath from garden plants will be a special treat!

Accommodation: Eldora Hotel or similar

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 nights
Tue, July 7

Hue

Today is an immersive tour where the focus is on the people and the stories behind what makes this city such a delight to discover.

Hue is the ancient capital, a centre of arts and religion in Vietnam, and a significant battlefield of the War, and an epitome of the old meeting the new. The Perfume River almost splits the city in half, with the old town sitting on the North banks and the modern district on the South. Today we will explore what real life is like in Hue, as we tour with our guides who have grown up here. We learn about the city through the eyes of a real local, hear stories of their childhood, through the war and their families. We discover the creative streak that runs through the heart of the city, and travel through areas that can often be overlooked. Relax as you travel along the calming Perfume River by boat, as we also see and experience the famous bronze factories of Phuong Duc. There is time for lunch by the walls of the citadel, before we continue learning about the Imperial City and its secrets before ending our tour with a visit to the home of descendants of the Royal Court, where within this stunning home and garden, we listen to the stories of this once powerful family's history.

This evening, dinner is at Les Jardins De La Carambole, a stunning reproduction of a colonial-era villa located by the Citadel.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Wed, July 8

Hue to Hanoi

This morning, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, our first stop is a local restaurant for lunch, before continuing to our hotel.

Mid-afternoon we depart to the Temple of Literature, built in 1076. The temple was Vietnam’s first university, established to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite families. The university operated for 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

We then have a short walk to the Hanoi railway tracks; something unique to this city is that the railway tracks are sometimes located meters away from the entrance doors of houses. Together with our guide, we will walk along the railway tracks*, where you can take some beautiful photos of the city.

Dinner tonight is set within a former French residence in the charming Truc Bach neighborhood, HOME is a unique Vietnamese restaurant situated between the historic labyrinth of the old trading quarter and the expansive serenity of West Lake.

Accommodation: Hanoi Pearl Hotel or similar

* Subject to change as currently the tracks are closed to tourists

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 nights
Thu, July 9

Hanoi

An early start today, as we travel to Hoan Kiem Lake, where we join the locals in their regular morning routine of practicing tai chi and aerobics.

Afterwards, we visit Ngoc Son temple in the middle of the lake, before stopping at a traditional café where you can try Vietnam’s local iced coffee, ca phe sua da, and if you’re feeling adventurous, the ‘egg coffee’. Our day continues with a visit to a street food stall for a delicious banh mi (a typical baguette sandwich filled in with a variety of ingredients).

We then head to Hanoi’s Old Quarter where you will see examples of the French colonial architecture of past times, including St. Joseph’s Cathedral, a French gothic building constructed in 1886. Next, we walk to the Hoa Lo Prison, where Vietnamese as well as American and French prisoners of war were once held. Then it is on to the Huu Tiep Lake, better known as ‘B-52 Lake’, where the wreckage of a US B-52 bomber can still be seen. For lunch, we stop to enjoy Hanoi’s traditional bun cha noodle dish, made with grilled pork and rice noodles, before returning to our hotel.

Later this afternoon, we depart for a Hanoi Cooking Class, where you learn about Vietnamese food and cook some local dishes. Enjoy a special la han Vietnamese welcome tea, followed by a brief introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, which will highlight the ingredients of a traditional meal. Take a short walk to the Chau Long Market and enjoy a tour with a Hanoi Cooking Class chef among the stalls and market vendors with their unusual fruits, silkworms and livestock, before returning to the kitchen and beginning your hands-on lesson. On completion of the class, enjoy the fruits of your labour and a chance to chat with your teachers and relax in the comfort of the dining area.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Fri, July 10

Hanoi - Lan Ha Bay

Our journey today takes us via the new highway to Got Ferry Terminal – Cat Hai Town, Haiphong City, and a transfer by tender for embarkation of the Peony Cruise.

After checking-in, a welcome drink, aboard the ship, anchored in the south of Halong Bay, one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ in a worldwide survey. The Bay has remained unchanged for centuries, with beautiful seas and impressive islands. Our cruise proceeds to Da Chong islet, where we see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago, before passing via the islets of the Con Vit area. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner. This path is considered untouched, as not many cruise ships use the route via the Cat Ba Island, Thoi Quyt area, Coc Ngoi islet, and through Gia Luan area, which is part of the Cat Ba National Park.

The ship explores the bay in the area where Ao Ech is located, here there is an option to kayak and discover the hidden charm of Lan Ha Bay. Later, as you cruise the less populated area at Tra Bau you can swim the green emerald and cool water.

Returning to the ship in time to view the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Back onboard you may join a traditional cooking class, where the chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnamese dishes.

This evening, enjoy a sumptuous candlelight deluxe dinner (set menu). Sample the delicious local food prepared and served for you by the onboard catering staff, as you sail through the landscape of the bay at night. You can also try your hand at night squid fishing, or watch a movie in the restaurant.

Accommodation: Peony Cruise, ROH Cabin

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Sat, July 11

Lan Ha Bay to Hanoi

This morning, why not rise early to witness the bay at its very best, whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Our journey continues as we head out to explore the bay.

We travel to Trung Trang cave by bus on Cat Ba Island, located in the middle of Cat Ba National Park, which is surrounded by the Kim Giao Forest. Trung Trang Valley is the largest valley on Cat Ba Island; it covers an area of approximately 300 hectares, and has a depth of 10-30m. The Trung Trang Cave, carved by nature over a period of more than 2000 years, and measures 300m in length through the mountains. The cave has many stalactites that take on various shapes that will awe and inspire you to use your imagination.

After we return to the ship, and continue the cruise back to Hanoi while having brunch (included), followed by a Tea Ceremony, which is a great fun way to end your cruise. After arriving back at the quayside, we return to Hanoi.

Tonight, is sadly our last night in Vietnam, and time for our Farewell dinner at the Ly Club. This is a restored colonial villa erected in the 19th Century, the same period as the renowned Long Bien Bridge.

Accommodation: Hanoi Pearl Hotel or similar

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 night
Sun, July 12

Depart Hanoi

Today is at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Meal Plan Breakfast

PER PERSON

Price in USD per person

TWIN / DOUBLE ROOM

$ 3,979

SINGLE ROOOM 

$ 4,935

 

*Based on a minimum 15 passengers. 

INCLUDING:

  • All transfers and transport as per itinerary
  • Accommodation as noted (based on double/twin sharing room)
  • English speaking Guide 
  • Meals as noted (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner) including 1 unit of drink (water / coke / local beer / fruit juice)
  • Entrance Fees as per itinerary 
  • Hoi Chi Minh City to Hoi An & Hue to Hanoi flights 
  • VIP FastTrack upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh

NOT INCLUDING:

  • International and Domestic Air (unless noted in itinerary) 
  • Early check in/or late check-out at hotels.
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • All drinks 
  • Visa fees and/or visa authorization
  • Tips
  • Transfer to the LCI hotel (departure point for tour)

 

 

 


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