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We have designed this cultural journey for people keen to experience the diversity of Vietnam, and we will take you to discover the very best that Vietnam has to offer in 12 days. In charming Hanoi you will dine in one of the French colonial villas which have been converted into gourmet restaurants, explore the fascinating maze of 36 streets in the Old Quarter and cruise along dramatic limestone islands in the picturesque Halong Bay – the Vietnamese call it “Heaven on Earth”.
Coming to Mai Chau, you will be warmly welcomed by the picturesque scenery of Mai Chau lying in a green valley of paddy fields dotted with rows of stilt houses. Farther south, in Hue, you will marvel at its citadel, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples. Then you’re off to the river town of Hoi An where you will tour centuries-old merchant houses, and visit busy silk and fish markets. Explore Vietnam and you will love it
Hanoi International Airport
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Welcome to Hanoi! Upon arrival, your guide will meet you and kindly accompany you to your hotel in the city center. After that you will have some free time to gather your first impressions of the charming Hanoi. If you don’t feel like walking you can always take a cyclo ride around the Old Quarter. A dinner at a popular restaurant in the Old Quarter of Hanoi is next on schedule. In the evening you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show at Thang Long Theater. It’s exciting!
In the early morning, your guide will take you for a cyclo ride to discover the city while the locals are still sleeping. Before most people wake up and the constant hum of motorbikes kicks in, you will enjoy the peaceful, “spiritual” side of Hanoi that many tourists miss. When on Ba Dinh Square you will witness the solemn flag rising ceremony. After this a delicious breakfast at the hotel will be ready for you. What awaits you is a half-day city tour which will give you the opportunity to explore the highlights of Hanoi – the Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam’s oldest university dedicated to Confucius. A visit to the History or Ethnology museums will give you some more insight of Vietnam. In the evening you will do some walking with a guide in the Old quarter where you will enjoy popular authentic food in lovely mini restaurants. Sit down and enjoy this exotic cuisine!
An exciting day awaits you! In the morning you will be transferred to the World Heritage Site – the astonishing Halong Bay. Have you ever imagined cruising in an exotic, gorgeous place? Embark the LaFairy Sails where you will enjoy a welcome drink and cruise briefing. You will be served lunch while cruising into the magnificent Halong Bay with its thousands of extraordinarily shaped limestone islands. No wonder the Vietnamese consider it a heaven on Earth! Are you ready to explore the caves on the islands? Visit Mê Cung Cave – the most beautiful cave in Halong Bay and climb up to see the panoramic view of the bay from above. It will provide you with unforgettable impressions. At the end of the day feel free to make some new friends or just simply relax beside the tranquil bay. If you are into fishing take a moment to learn how to fish squid. There is always something new to learn!
Start the new day with a Tai Chi session where you connect with nature. After that enjoy a wonderful breakfast surrounded by the beautiful scenery Halong Bay offers. Up next is a visit to Ti Tov island where you can swim in the emerald waters. Try to reach the top of the island where you will be rewarded with some picturesque panorama views of the Bay. If you are into kayaking try some through the hidden beauties of the Bay. For lunch you will have access to a local cooking demonstration to witness how the wonderful dishes you would eat on lunch are prepared. Say goodbye to your shipmates as well as to the beautiful Halong Bay as we will travel to Ninh Binh.
You will travel by van to Bai Dinh Pagoda which is the biggest pagoda in Vietnam. From here you will start cycling on the countryside road to Hoa Lu, an ancient citadel of Vietnam dating back to the 10th Century. You will stop here in order to visit Dinh and Le Temples, as well as Nhat Tru Pagoda or the One Pillar Pagoda which can only be reached on foot. This cycling tour will enrich you culturally with all the religious temples on the way. After visiting One Pillar Pagoda you will continue riding through the limestone peaks to Tam Coc, passing pastoral rice paddies and rural villages along the way. You will have lunch in Tam Coc near the boat pier before taking a 1,5 hours boat trip in Tam Coc. You will have free time in the afternoon to explore Ninh Binh at your own pace.
You will start the day departing for Mai Chau. Upon arrival you will be welcomed with a drink, followed by an appetizing lunch with fresh and tasty vietnamese dishes on offer. One more chance to taste this splendid cuisine! In the afternoon you will enjoy a Valley biking tour. What is special about it is that the road you will follow passes through many villages, across lush rice paddies and into the countryside. In this way you will have the unique chance to get to know the local tribe people and their culture better. Complement your experience by sampling delicacies from the local region during dinner time and enjoy the performance by local troupe of ethnic minority Muong and Thai people. It is so relaxing to watch the exotic dances featuring flowers, landscape and daily agriculture cultivating activities and sweet dating songs in the fresh mountain air. Unforgettable!
Today is all about getting closer to the locals! You will start doing rice planting yourself or harvesting with the villagers. Rice is the most important staple in Mai Chau, providing substance for thousands of people and playing a central role in festivals and traditions. At Sol Bungalows, you are encouraged to get close to this miraculous grain, with paddy walks, planting and harvesting lessons. And it gets even better! In the afternoon you have the chance to visit a local family and watch them weaving by the loom. The friendly Thai people will show you how to weave their traditional scarves that they are famous for and you might as well want to do it yourself again! This inspiring day will finish with a delicious dinner at your hotel.
After having had a tasty breakfast with nice views overlooking the paddy fields and mountains, you will start your day with a relaxing walk. Today you will discover the wonderful surroundings and ethnic minority tribes around the small trails and paddy fields to Thai ethnic villages of Pom Coong and Lac. In the afternoon you will take a late afternoon flight to transfer to Danang, where you’ll be accompanied to your hotel at Hoi An. You will have the rest of the day at your disposal to relax and gather some energy for your next adventure.
Today you’ll be taken to the most beautiful scenery of the countryside around Hoi An. You’ll ride on a bike to explore the typical narrow roads along the countryside. You will be amazed to realize how peaceful the area is and how friendly its people are: only imagine the water buffalo, rice paddy fields and local farming people! Get in touch with local fishing life by using the fishing nets, riding funny basket boats and visiting a water palm coconut paradise. You’ll experience a unique cultural window into the Vietnamese way of life. Get ready to board a river cruise and meet local fishermen to enjoy the hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. You will also try paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while exploring coconut-palm flanked waterways. In the afternoon, you’ll spend some time walking through the ancient quarter, visiting the most famous sights.
This morning you will set off to Hue city via the magnificent view of Hai Van Pass. Prepare yourselves for a long day full of sightseeing tours. You’ll get a feel of this fabulous city starting with a visit to the Citadel, containing the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City. You will feel like Emperors in this private residence! The Imperial City was created in the 19th century and modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing. Next on your agenda are the Imperial Museum, The Tu Hieu Pagoda and the vibrant Dong Ba Riverside market. To round off the day’s activities, you will visit one of Hue’s fine restaurants to sample some of its local delicacies, as Hue is regarded by many as the culinary capital of Vietnam and has a lot to offer.
Your day will start with a dragon boat tour along Perfume river toward Thuy Bieu village. From Phu Wharf, you’ll start cycling along verdant paths to visit Nguyen Phuoc Toc worship palace, Luong Quan temple. One of the stops on your way is the ancient house “nha Ruong”, which is over 100 years old. You can take up making sesame candy and processing rural dishes with the locals and have your lunch together with them. Dishes are made from local materials by skillful women of poetic Hue. Your bike ride continues to Than temple – worshipping Mai-am princess, the daughter of Minh Mang King in the past. The owner Mr. Hieu will give you his personal greetings and introduce you to the ancient tamp and money collection. On your way back to Hue city, you’ll have a look at the Tiger Arena (Ho Quyen) and Screaming Elephants Altar (Voi Re), Long Tho pagoda, Long Tho market.
You have received a thorough and complete impression of this wonderful country and hopefully have had a great time. Unfortunately it is now time leave and start telling your friends all about your trip! You’ll have enough free time before transferring to Danang International Airport for your departure flight. Thank you for your visit. We looking forward to welcome you back soon!