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Scenic Vietnam

Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,815

Goway's 15 Day Scenic Vietnam travels to exotic Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City


Travel by train on the Reunification Express and really get to know Vietnam’s major attractions with stops in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Starting in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, with its French-colonial influences, visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and former home as well as enjoy a performance of the unique water puppet show.  From here, head to the beautiful limestone karsts on a boat trip in stunning Halong Bay after which take an overnight train to Hue, with its ancient history. Discover the Forbidden City palace complex and the former Emperors of Vietnam’s tombs plus enjoy a cruise on the Perfume River.  A little further south, you will visit the fishing village of Lang Co and then continue to Hoi An, with its distinct charm and character where you will step back in time.  After this, have a stay in one of Vietnam’s premier resorts, Nha Trang before  finishing your tour in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon which will show you the major development of Vietnam’s efforts to be part of today’s world.  While here, you will visit the Mekong delta with its unique countryside and riverside quaint villages.


 

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Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,815

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Hanoi

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet you tour leader and fellow travellers. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. In free time, step out onto the streets to explore the chaotic capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is an alluring city of contrasts, best discovered on foot. Tonight perhaps get to know your new travel buddies over a glass of fresh bia hoi. This is a foamy, light beer made fresh each day and served in basic, open-walled 'brew halls'. Take up a brightly coloured plastic chair and sip your tasty brew. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

Day 2

Hanoi

Enjoy breakfast at the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, a community project dedicated to helping underprivileged children and victims of trafficking. Afterwards, head out on a city tour where you’ll see the city’s diverse past reflected in a mix of South East Asian, Chinese and French-influenced architecture. Stop by the aptly-named One Pillar Pagoda, the country’s most famous stilt house (former residence of Ho Chi Minh), Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature. In the evening, be entertained by a traditional water puppet show.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

Da Bac

After breakfast, set out on a four-hour drive to the Da Bac region. Stop for an included lunch before arriving at your accommodation for tonight, a quaint homestay with the Dzao 'Tien' people in Sung Village. Get acquainted with your homestay hosts over a local dinner. Tonight's homestay is shared accommodation, usually with the whole group in a single room together. There are separate beds with clean linen, blankets and mosquito nets provided.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 4

Hanoi

This morning, take the opportunity to explore this curious landscape on a 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) trek from Sung Village to Da Bia. Should the weather be unsuitable for trekking to Sung Village we will arrange an alternative itinerary including Mai Chau. Should you wish to skip the 10km (6.2mi) trek, a taxi can be arranged locally for approximately USD70. We climb from 500 metres and maintain a similar elevation for the first 4.5 kilometres of the route before descending over the next 2 kilometres to 120 metres. It can be quite slippery if there has been recent rain, so suitable footwear is highly recommended. Our homestay hosts can provide bamboo trekking poles on request. Keep an eye peeled for the monumental stone at the peak of Da Bia Mountain during the trek that takes us through the local villages, meeting people from the ethnic Muong tribe along the way. By the time the trek is done, you've likely worked up a hearty appetite -- fill up on lunch, then sit back and relax as you set out on a scenic 1.5 hour boat trip across the local reservoir to the village of Thung Nai. From there, board a bus and transfer back to Hanoi (about 2 hours) for a free evening. You may want to use this time to revisit the Temple of Literature and learn more about Vietnam's most respected scholars or see ancient Champ stone carvings at the Fine Arts Museum. Head to the Old Quarter for dinner where a slew of great cafes and restaurants are tucked within its atmospheric streets (though the number is closer to 70 rather than 36, as it's moniker '36 Old Streets' suggests).

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 5

Halong Bay

After breakfast, board a bus heading north-east to Halong Bay (about 4 hours). You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag for staying on the boat. Crowned a World Heritage site by UNESCO, Halong Bay will take your breath away. The views of sailing junk boats navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops in Bac Bo Gulf are nothing short of spectacular. You'll visit a cave in the area and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim from Ti Top Island Beach or kayaking. Spend a peaceful night on board, beneath a night sky alive with stars. Your boat will have a dining room and bar where you'll enjoy a sumptuous lunch, dinner and breakfast the following morning.

It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.
Swimming and kayaking are limited to designated zones of the bay.

There are restrictions on the number of boats that are permitted to stay in the bay overnight, sometimes resulting in a shortage. To ensure all Intrepid travellers can enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. Or your group may be split across different vessels, in which case an Intrepid group leader will be present on each boat, and the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 6

Hanoi

Wake to gorgeous views of emerald islands and waters. Enjoy brunch on board the boat as you sail back to port. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi, stopping at the Dong Trieu Factory on the way to see how locals make traditional ceramics. There will be free time to explore the city when you arrive back in Hanoi before boarding an overnight train bound for Hue around 10 pm. Shared hotel rooms will be available if you want to freshen up or organise your luggage.
Otherwise, use this time to do some shopping on Hang Gai Street or seek out some delicious Hanoi street food. Meet back at the hotel lobby at 9 pm where you'll transfer with the group to the train station. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience in Vietnam. They are an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country.

There are shared hotel rooms available this afternoon if you would like to freshen up or organise your luggage.

Sleeper trains typically have four-berth compartments (occasionally six berths depending on the season), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided (although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but you may like to stock up on some food supplies before departure.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Hue

Arrive in Hue just after sunrise and proceed to the hotel to refresh. Hue is the hub of Vietnam’s historic past. This former imperial capital is an eclectic mix of busy streets and peaceful beauty. The rest of the morning is free for you to relax; perhaps pick up a classic Hue breakfast of bun bo Hue, a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bun) and beef (bo). After lunch you will visit the Imperial Citadel, a sprawling complex of temples, pavilions, moats, gates, and walls. The Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace and the Ancestral Altars are still impressive, and the complex must have been awe-inspiring during its heyday in the 19th century. In your free time you might like to visit to Dong Ba Market, which offers locally made goods, fresh produce and tantalising street food. This is a good place to try the specialties enjoyed by Emperor Nguyen such as the banh khoai royal rice cake.

Day 8

Hue

Today's adventure will be taken on the back of a motorbike. This motorbike activity has been assessed for safety and is closely monitored. To participate please ensure your travel insurance covers riding pillion on a motorbike. The motorbikes used are all less than 150cc, the majority are 110cc. If you prefer not to participate in the motorbike ride, please let your leader know and they will arrange car transportation between destinations (included).

You'll have your own driver who will take you first on a drive around the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here you'll gain some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war. Then it's on to the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. This site dates back to 1601 and is still an active Buddhist monastery. Here you'll also see the car left by a monk who set himself alight to protest the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. Hop off the motorbike for a bit and go on a boat cruise along the Perfume River. Boats along Perfume River may not be available during festival season. During these times, you'll be transported by land to reach the activities.

After the 40-minute cruise get back on your motorbike and ride to a special lunch spot at a convent or Buddhist monastery. After lunch, drive to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid a lake, frangipani bushes and pine trees. This evening, perhaps ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 9

Hoi An

Travelling by bus, head south through coastal rice paddies before stopping in at Lang Co Beach. Then traverse the dramatic Hai Van Pass, a sometimes bumpy but incredibly scenic stretch of highway with views back to Lang Co Beach and beyond. The spectacular Marble Mountains will be your backdrop as you arrive at Hoi An (approximately 4 hours).

Declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An is being beautifully restored and preserved. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South-East Asia's major international ports from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Today, parts of Hoi An look exactly as they did more than a century ago and it retains the feel of times past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. On arrival, a walking tour will take you around the major sites of Hoi An's charming Old Town, including an historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. You will notice a distinctly Chinese appearance to the pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. A sightseeing pass is included in your tour for you to visit a selection of the major sights as you wish.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 10

Hoi An

If you feel like getting active on your free day today, why not hire a bicycle and tour the surrounding countryside. This is one of the best ways to get an insight into rural Vietnam. Other optional activities include a day trip to My Son Cham (elaborate World Heritage-listed temples that reflect the rich cultural traditions of the Cham civilisation), a cruise along the Thu Bon River, and a trip to the nearby Cua Dai Beach. Your leader will be able to help with suggestions on activities in Hoi An.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Hoi An

Enjoy another free day in the World Heritage-listed Hoi An. You may like to wander the Central Market and the street stalls selling paintings, woodwork, ceramics, lanterns and much more. Hoi An is also famous for its talented tailors who can make beautiful items to order within a few hours. Bring your favourite piece of clothing, or even just a picture, and you'll be able to have it copied. You might like to visit a local workshop to learn how to make your own rice paper, while a Vietnamese cooking class too is a great way to familiarise yourself with some age-old culinary techniques, not to mention being able to feast on the fruits of your own labour.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 12

Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to Danang (approximately 45 minutes) for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The huge number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city gives it a dynamic atmosphere and the French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. Take a guided tour to get a feel for the city, going past the GPO, Reunification Palace, and the Opera house. Stop in at the War Remnants Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

With free time this evening perhaps drop by one of Vietnam's most pulsing markets, Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family before you return home. Perhaps enjoy some of the market fare for dinner as you shop.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 13

Mekong Delta

Today you'll travel south by private bus (approximately 3 hours) to explore the Mekong Delta. When you arrive, you'll board a boat and explore the intricate waterways of the Mekong Delta. Often referred to as 'the rice bowl' of Vietnam, the fertile delta is where rice, tropical fruit and flowers are grown for the whole country. Disembark at Ben Tre and visit a local cottage industry and sample the candy that the region is famous for. You'll have the opportunity to take a tuk-tuk around this remote village and make a stop to sample tropical fruit, see a honey farm, and learn more about rural life. For lunch, go to a restaurant in the heart of the delta and try regional specialities such as the famous elephant-ear fish. After lunch, board sampans (small rowing boats) and paddle along the canals under the shade of lush water coconut trees.

Stay overnight at a guesthouse in the Delta. The accommodation is fairly basic with shared bathroom facilities and dormitory style rooms, but the sounds of nature thrumming softly in the night makes for a memorable experience.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 14

Ho Chi Minh City

Take the bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Maybe spend the final night of your Vietnam adventure with a few glasses of street-side beer hoi.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 15

Ho Chi Minh City

Your Vietnam adventure ends after breakfast today. There are no activities included, so you are free to depart at any time. For those who are staying on longer and want to explore Ho Chi Minh City further, maybe check out our Urban Adventure day trips.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

 Selected Wednesdays and Saturdays 

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 14 nights accommodation
    • 9 hotels
    • 2 Homestay
    • 1 boat
    • 1 sleeper train
    • 1 Guest house
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Included activities:
    • Hanoi - Blue Dragon breakfast
    • Hanoi - Water puppet show
    • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum
    • Da Bac - Trek
    • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
    • Hue - Imperial Citadel
    • Hue - Perfume River boat ride
    • Hue - Motorbike trip including lunch
    • Hue - Royal tomb
    • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
    • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
    • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
    • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and guesthouse

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite.

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

OTHER INFORMATION:

Occasionally these itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and research. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so being flexible is key. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB INTREPIHAN19SG: TVSR
14 Dec 2019
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