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Vietnam Classic Tours

CTV11: Vietnam experience 18 days 17 nights

Destination: Ho chi minh – Cu chi – Mekong Delta – Dalat – Nha Trang – Hoian – Hue – Hanoi – Sapa - Halong – Hanoi
Starts in: Ho Chi Minh City
Ends in: Ha Noi
Duration: 18D-17N
Tour code: CTV11

Vietnam experience 18 days 17 nights

 Itinerary in brief:
Day 1: Ho chi minh arrival
Day 2: Ho chi minh city – Cu chi Tunnel (B, L)
Day 3: Ho chi minh – Mekong delta – Ho chi minh  (B, L)
Day 4: Ho chi minh – Dalat (B, L)
Day 5: Dalat – Nha trang (B, L)
Day 6: Nha Trang island tour (B, L)
Day 7:  Nha trang relaxation ( B )
Day 8: Nha trang – Danang – Hoian (B, L)
Day 9: Hoian – Myson santuary (B)
Day 10: Hoian free ( B )
Day 11: Hoian – Hue (B, L)
Day 12: Hue –  Hanoi (B)
Day 13: Hanoi – Night train to Laocai (B, L)
Day 14: Laocai – Sapa – Lao chai , Tavan village (B, L, D)
Day 15: Sapa – Hanoi night train (B, L)
Day 16: Hanoi – Halong bay cruise (B, L, D)
Day 17: Halong – Hanoi (B, L)
Day 18: Hanoi departure (B)
 
Itinerary in Details:
 
Day 1: Ho chi minh arrival
Arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you are warmly welcomed and transfered to hotel by Asia View Travel guides with signboard, check in, relax. Overnight at hotel in Ho chi minh. (The first day’s program can be re-arranged according to your arrival time in Ho chi minh).
 
Day 2: Ho chi minh city – Cu chi tunnel – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
Morning after breakfast, 8:00 AM pick up at  hotel, drive tothe famous Cuchi Tunnels. It takes you nearly 2 hours traveling by road from Ho chi minh to Cu chi tunnel.
At the height of the Vietnam war, the tunnel system stretched from the outskirts of Saigon all the way to the Cambodian border of over 250 kilometers of tunnels. The tunnel system, built over 25 years starting in the 1940s, let the Viet Minh and, later, the Viet Cong, control a huge rural area. It was an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers. In places, it was several  stories deep and housed up to 10,000 people who virtually lived underground for years.... getting married, giving birth, going to school.
Back city for lunch.
Afternoon take city tour of dynamic Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals. We visit the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975, and some French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Sai Gon Post Office before we shall see the exhibition on Vietnam War to the famous War Museum. and the bustling Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale. Overnight at hotel in Ho chi minh.
 
Day 3: Ho chi minh – Mekong delta – Ho chi minh ( B, L )
You will be picked up at hotel, transfer to My Tho, 80km from Ho chi minh city. It takes you around 2 hours to get the area. This trip provides a look at a wide variety of the life and scenery on Vietnam River from the peaceful Delta. The huge ships, which come from many different countries moving slowly, quietly along the river is what you will see at the Saigon River. Do not miss this sight! On the way you will see daily activities of local people along the river sellers and buyers bargaining, exchanging fish, the products that they got from their working on the sea. From My Tho, you will ride on a local motor boat around Dragon Island, Unicorn Island, Phoenix Island, Turtle Island and stop at the famous Unicorn Island. While at the Unicorn Island, you will take a short trek and go for a rowing boat trip. You will also enjoy lunch, tropical fruit and free time  bike ride in the rural village. From there, you will continue your motor boat trip to Ben Tre province to visit a handmade coconut candy workshop. Then transfer to a small motor boat and travel along the lush, green canals that are so beautiful for photography. Take 2 hour drive back Ho chi minh city, check in, relax.
 
Day 4: Ho chi minh – Dalat ( B, L )
Our tour guide and driver will pick you up at  hotel in Ho Chi Minh City then depart for Dalat.  We will drive through scenic rubber and tea plantation farms en route to the cooler climes of Dalat, 300km from Saigon. Established as a hill station at the beginning of 20th century, Dalat is reminiscent of an Alpine town with its French chalets and pine forests. Along the way stop  for photos, enjoy the beautiful landscape. Upon arrival, check in the hotel.
We spend the rest of afternoon to visit  the former Palace of Emperor Bao Dai that is indicative of Bao Dai's status as the puppet ruler of an occupied country, Hang Nga Crazy  House, romantic Love Valley.  You'll be taken to have a look at an embroidery workshop in an attractive garden setting called XQ Su Quan.  Overnight at hotel in Dalat.
 
Day 5: Dalat – Nha trang ( B, L )
Breakfast at hotel, pick up at 8:45 AM and we will ride a cable car to visit  Truc Lam Buddhist Meditation Monastery and attractive Flower Garden, Dalanta waterfall, then transfer to Nha trang at noon time. It takes you around 4.5 hours to travel from Dalat to Nha trang. Our destination for today is Nha Trang, the country's premier Resort town. This part of the country was once inhabited by an ancient civilization known as the Cham, and our next stop will be at the Po Klong Garai Cham tower. This amazing structure, which has endured the test of time, the elements and indeed war, was built in the 13th century. Arrive in Nha trang late afternoon, check in, relax. Overnight at hotel in Nha trang
 
Day 6: Nha trang island tour ( B, L )
Start from your hotel to Cau Da port. Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island is the first place to visit, many sea species of Nha Trang/Khanh Hoa province make a small ocean world there. Mun Island is the best island for snorkeling where you can see lots of lives colorful corals and fish. Visit a fishing village and taking a fresh lunch at the island. On the way back you will be able to see caves in which the sea swallows make their nest.
 
Day 7: Nha trang relaxation ( B )
Breakfast at hotel. All day free for the beach relaxation.
 
Day 8: Nha trang – Danang – Hoian ( B, L )
Free until transfer to airport for flight to Danang. Pick up at Danang airport, transfer to hotel in Hoian, check in, relax.
Afternoon we have a lot of time to explore Hoian ancient town, once a major Asian trading port in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Hoi An’s architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Take a leisurely walking tour of the ancient town center and visit the sites of former merchants’ homes, a 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, and a Chinese Communal Hall. Believed to have been settled no less than 2,200 years ago, Hoi An was known as Faifo to early Western traders.  Hoi An was one of the major ports of Southeast Asia from the 17th to 19th centuries. Chinese, Japanese, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and other traders had small communities here, and the old wooden houses, bridges and temples that remain are reminiscent of a Vietnam of centuries past. This unique old trading town slowly became isolated due to its river silting up and by destroyed rail lines, leaving it untouched by war and frozen in time. Nowadays, this absolutely charming and relaxed town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is also famous for it's shops in particular it's large number of tailors. If you wanted, you could  have a whole new wardrobe made for you here!
 
Day 9: Hoian – Myson sanctuary (B)
We drive to visit holly land My Son. This is a former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled central Vietnam between the second and thirteenth centuries. Hinduism from India heavily influenced their religion. Located 60km from Danang, My Son is considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham structures in Vietnam. The complex is comprised of seventy Hindu-like towers and temples dating from the second century. This site is a must-see for those who are interested in architecture and ancient civilizations. It is one of four World Heritage listed sites in Vietnam. Balance of the day will be at your leisure to do your endless shopping in Ho ian. Overnight at hotel in Hoian.
 
Day 10: Hoian free ( B )
Today there is plenty of time to discover Hoi An  by yourself. You can spend your time  walking around exploring the many Chinese  assembly halls and  fascinating ancestral  homes, some of which have been occupied  by the same family for fifteen genera ions. The town is also famous for it's shops in particular it's large number of tailors. If you wanted, you could have a whole new wardrobe made for you here! You might like to take a boat ride with one of the local women across the Thu Bon River. Perhaps you would like to hire a bicycle and head off on a scenic ride to Cua Dai beach, about 4 km away. There's even the chance to improve your culinary skills with a Vietnamese cooking lesson! One thing is for sure - there is no shortage of things to do in this town .
 
Day 11: Hoian – Hue (B, L)
After breakfast at hotel, say good bye Hoian and embark on northern bound journey to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam.  Stop en route at the beautiful Non Nuoc Beach and the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world.  In Danang you will visit the Marble Mountains, five sacred hills containing dozens of Buddhist shrines. The guide and driver will take you over the beautiful Hai Van Pass - Vietnam's geographical and psychological boundary between north and south. The peak of the pass lies perpetually shrouded in clouds.
Arrival Hue in Hue at noon time.
This afternoon we visit the Imperial Citadel and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the City was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945. We then take a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market and pass many fantastic eating spots where visitors have a chance to sample some local delicacies. Overnight at hotel in Hue.
 
Day 12: Hue –  Hanoi (B )
Breakfast at hotel, we embark on a boat for cruise upstream on the Perfume River, viewing the city and the tranquil villages on the riverbank. We will walk up to visit the Thien Mu pagoda, a nicely located pagoda, overlooks the Perfume River and the beautiful scenery beyond, where you get to learn more about the Buddhism in Vietnam.  One of the most poignant displays here is a car belonging to a former monk, who in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest against the South Vietnamese regime and its treatment of Buddhists. Disembark the board for a visit the elaborate mausoleum of former emperor Tu Duc,  built decades before its occupant's death the tomb was used as a palace retreat before the emperors final resting place. Transfer to the airport for flight to Hanoi. The guide in Hanoi will pick you up, transfer to hotel in city center, check in, relax.
Overnight at hotel in Hanoi
 
Day 13: Hanoi  city tour- night train to Sapa ( B, L )
After breakfast, pick up at hotel, start city tour  with the Ho Chi Minh Complex. This famous site contains the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh (Close on Monday, Friday & October, half of November for annual maintenance ), the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of city. We follow this with the impressive Ethnology Museum, dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups.  Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon, visit the Temple of Literature, which is well known as the first university of Vietnam, Vietnam’s first university.  Constructed in 1070, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. We continue to visit the Restored Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake) and Ngoc Son Temple,  do a cyclo tour around   around the 36 streets of the Hanoi old quarter to learn more about simple life of Hanoian. Enjoy water puppet show- a remarkable Vietnamese art form that combines traditional music, fireworks, underwater puppeteers, and elaborate puppets floating gracefully over water. Transfer to the train station for night train to Sapa. The train leaves Hanoi at around 9:00 PM. Overnight on train with soft sleep 4 berth / cabin

Day 14: Laocai – Sapa – Lao chai , Tavan village - Homestay (B, L,D )
The train arrives at the Lao Cai train station at approximately 05:30. There will be a vehicle waiting to transfer us to Sapa.  The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours to make our way up the mountains. Arrive Sapa and  freshen up followed by  breakfast at the hotel. We then  embark on a lovely  walk  that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hill tribe villages of Lao Chai and Tavan, home to H'mong, and Dzay people. This is a absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can meet. Stopping for a picnic lunch on the way at a family in Ta Van village. Overnight in lovely home stay in Tavan village.
 
Day 15: Sapa – Hanoi night train (B, L)
After breakfast from  home stay, we continue our trek through the stunning landscapes visiting several ethnic villages along the way. Later we meet up with our support vehicle for the drive back to Sapa and get yourself ready before heading down to Catcat. Enjoy the waterfall in Cat Cat and beautiful scenery along the way.   Transfer to Lao cai for the night train to Hanoi. Overnight on train. 
 
Day 16 : Hanoi – Halong Bay on board (B, L, D) – 180km – around 3,5 hour drive
Arrival in Hanoi in the early morning at round 5:00 am. Pick up at train station and the guide will take you to a mini hotel near the train station gate to have shower and basic set menu breakfast.
8:00 Am pick up at hotel, depart for Halong bay. It takes around 3,5 hours traveling by road.
Comfort stop en route for photos and coffee ( by your own ) before arriving to Ha Long City.
11:30 - 12.15  Arrive in Ha Long city, board our traditional wooden junk boat for an overnight journey. Sip on a refreshing welcome drink upon check in before you begin your cruise through the bay.
13.00 Start sail from Bai Tu Long Bay area, Feast on a delicious lunch as you cruise among beautiful of islets (Tea pot islet, Mat Quy –Monster Face islet, Yen Ngua islet, Man’s Head islet, Tortoise islet etc.) to discover unspoilt pockets of Halong Bay and visit Sung Sot - Amazing cave, one of the most imposing grottos of the Bay. Swim at Soi Sim beach or Titov beach or a short trek to the top of Titov mountain (426 Steps) for a magnificent panorama scenery.
17.30 Fresh fruits serve at lounge or sundeck. Enjoy vegetable/fruit carving & Folding Napkin 19.30 Enjoy your dinner on board. 21.00 Squid fishing or relax and chatting with your partner,
friends, family.
Overnight on Junk.

Day 17: Halong – Hanoi (B, L )
06.20 Tai Chi Exercise with an opportunity to admire the magnificent scenery of sunrise over the Bay.
07.00 For early riser complimentary tea, coffee and break fast are served.
08.00 Visit Luon cave on small bamboo boat paddle by out crew staff and enjoy the quiet atmosphere enclosed by high islets and mountains. Be back to our Huong Hai Junk. Sail past rock formations such as and passing Finger islet, Hoa Cuong fishing village area, Ga Choi – Fghting Cock islet, Dinh Huong Islet, Little Dog islet. Enjoy the tranquil scenery as the boat meanders its way through the bay on the way back to Ha Long city, etc.
09.00 Arrange your luggage and do the check out onboard.
10.15 Enjoy a lunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations.
11:30 – 12:00: We will return to the main harbor before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for a 3.5 hours back Hanoi. We reach hotel at around 15:30 – 16:00, check in, relax
 
Day 18: Hanoi departure  ( B )
Free until transfer to the airport for your departure flight. End of tour.
 
Accommodation Options
 
Location Standard 3* Superior 3* First class 4* Deluxe 5*
Hanoi Le Carnot 3* Le Carnot 3** Lan Vien 4* De L’ Opera 5*
Halong boat V Spirit 3* V Spirit 3* Pelican 4* Starlight 5*
Sapa Sapa Lodge 3* Sapa Lodge 3* Chau long II 4* Victoria Sapa 4*
Hoian Vinh hung II 3* Vinh Hung Emerald 3* Hoian Beach resort 4* Palm Garden 5*
Hue Hue Serene 3* Asia hotel 3* Moonlight 4* Imperial 5*
Saigon Ruby River 3* Tan Hai long hotel &spa 3* Grand Silverland 4* Majestic 5*
Dalat Best Western Plaza 3* Best Western Plaza 3* Ngoc Lan 4* AnaMandara 5*
Nha trang Ruby 3* Ruby 3* The light 4* Sunrise Nhatrang 5*
Phnompenh Cardamom 3* King grand  Boutique 3* White Maison 4* Sofitel l 5*
Siem reap Casa angkor 3* Central Boutique 3* Prince D'angkor 4* Borei Angkor 5*
 
Tour includes:
  • All accommodation in double / twin room with daily breakfast at selected hotels
  • 2 days 1 night cruise in Halong Bay ( private cabin – sharing boat )
  • 2 nights on train with soft sleep 4 berth / cabin Hanoi – Lao cai - Hanoi
  • All tours & transfers in private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Private English or French speaking guide
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary with local foods (B = breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)
  • Boat cruise as stated
  • Airfare & aiport taxes: Nha trang – Danang, Hue – Hanoi
  • Entrance fees and permits for all sights visited
  • Mineral water & towel
  • Government taxes & Service charges
 
Tour excludes:
  • International flights that not mentioned above
  • Vietnam visa arrangement (We can apply Visa on arrival if you request)
  • Kayak in Halong Bay
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Surcharge on 24,31 December and Lunar New Year
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as Telephone and Laundry bills, drink during meals
  • Tips and gratuities
 
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