DAY 01: ARRIVE SAIGON ( - / - / - )
Upon arrival in Saigon, the bustling heart of Vietnam, you will be transferred to your hotel for a two-night stay. Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. This afternoon enjoy some brief touring, including the Ben Thanh Market, Cholon (Chinatown) and the ornate Thien Hau Pagoda, and the unique shops along Donh Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat). Tonight is free at your leisure, Stay overnight in Saigon.
DAY 02: SAIGON ( Breakfast/Lunch/ - )
Depart this morning by road for the province of Tay Ninh and visit the ornate Cao Dai Temple (The Holy See). The Cao Dai religion attempts to fuse together many of the existing faiths in Vietnam. Observe the mid-day religious ceremony and then, after lunch at a local restaurant, travel to the hills around Cu Chi in an area known as the "Iron Triangle." Explore the network of secret tunnels that were used during the Vietnam War -- the tunnels and their cramped quarters lend insight into the determination and tenacity of the Vietnamese fighters. Return to Saigon later this afternoon.
DAY 03: SAIGON - DANANG / HOI AN ( Breakfast/Lunch/ - )
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Danang; upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. After settling in, you will visit the Museum of Cham Sculpture and the Marble Mountains. The Cham people occupied this area of Vietnam from the 4th to the 16th centuries and in the museum you will find the best examples of Cham sculpture anywhere in the world. The Marble Mountains are a series of large marble outcrops that have acquired mythical significance over the centuries. The caves of the Marble Mountains have a number of sacred Buddhist shrines as well as a former Communist guerilla hospital from the Vietnam War. The balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy your resort.
DAY 04: HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN ( Breakfast/ - / -)
This morning tour Hoi An with your guide and driver. Hoi An was Vietnam's most active trading center over many centuries and has been largely preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders. Enjoy a walking tour of this enchanting town visiting an old merchant house, the Hoi An Museum, a Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge. Also explore its many craft and silk shops and the colorful fish and produce markets. Return to the resort later this afternoon for some time at leisure.
DAY 05: DANANG – HUE ( Breakfast/ Lunch / -)
Depart this morning for the 2.5 hour drive to Hue, a beautiful and welcoming city. This spectacular journey takes you over the scenic Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Ocean Clouds), where you will enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline. As Vietnam's capital throughout the Nguyen Dynasty, as a center of Vietnamese Buddhism and scholarship, and finally as the setting for some of the Vietnam War's most bloody fighting, Hue provides a unique window into Vietnam and its complex past. After settling into your hotel, tour the Citadel and visit Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue's oldest pagoda. Also visit the tomb of Tu Duc, set among lotus ponds, fragrant pine and frangipani trees. Tu Duc was one of the more eccentric Nguyen emperors, with a penchant for poetry and banquets. Take a short cruise along the Perfume River late afternoon and enjoy the setting sun. Tonight is at leisure. You may wish to sample some of Hue's famous vegetarian cuisine.
DAY 06: HUE – HANOI ( Breakfast/ - / -)
After a morning at leisure in Hue, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Start your explorations of this city with some afternoon touring, which will include a visit to the Old Quarter, 36 ancient streets where peddlers continue to trade as they have done for centuries. End the day with an evening performance of Water Puppet Theater. Water puppets are a folk art tradition unique to northern Vietnam. The often-comic story is told by puppeteers who manipulate the brightly painted wooden puppets through the water while remaining unseen. The plays are based on historical and religious themes; often, famous battles of Vietnamese history are re-told, with fireworks and opera singing creating a truly wondrous spectacle.
DAY 07: HANOI ( Breakfast/ Lunch / Diner )
Today's full day of private touring takes in the highlights of Hanoi. Begin with a tour of the mausoleum that holds the interred body of the late President Ho Chi Minh. Also visit his traditional teakwood house, the simple dwelling he preferred to the material grandeur of a palace. Visit the One-Pillar Pagoda, originally built in the 11th century. It is shaped like a lotus to commemorate the birth of the Emperor's heir as predicted by a goddess sitting on a lotus. Continue to the Temple of Literature, the most significant temple complex in the city and a testament to the Confucian history of the city. After lunch visit the superb Fine Arts Museum, then walk around the Hoan Kiem Lake area -- -Hanoi's heart, and a great place to admire the boulevards of French colonial architecture that contributes greatly to the city's atmosphere. This afternoon return to the Old Quarter for shopping.
DAY 08: HALONG BAY EXCURSION ( Breakfast/ Lunch / - )
This morning, journey east a little over 03 hours to Bai Chay, the gateway to Halong Bay. En route, pass fields of busy workers farming rice using traditional methods of cultivation. Halong Bay achieved international fame as a key location in the French film Indochine starring Catherine Deneuve. The bay has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries and continues to capture the imagination of visitors. On arrival, transfer to the port for a magical four hours aboard your boat cruising around the bay. Considered Vietnam's greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that jut out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch on board the boat and, in the afternoon, travel back to Hanoi.
DAY 09: DEPART HANOI ( Breakfast/ - / -)
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight. End of our service
Our tours generally include the following services. Please refer to the detailed day-by-day itinerary for inclusions specific to your tour:
ü Airport transfers
ü All domestic flights
ü All accommodations
ü Pre-departure travel package
ü Hotel tax and service charges
ü Admission fees at indicated sights
ü Meals as specified in day-by-day itinerary
ü Surface transportation in air conditioned vehicles
ü Government fees and local handling charges
ü Visa provision services and travel permits where required
ü Detailed contact information for each hotel and our associate offices in each country
ü Customized itinerary planning and in-depth destination research by our travel specialists
ü The full services of Luxury Travel & our associate offices before, during, & after your trip
ü Personalized sightseeing as indicated in day-by-day itinerary. (Touring is typically
ü private, with your own driver and guide, unless otherwise indicated)
Our tours are not included:
ü Tips & gratuities
ü Laundry Services
ü Excess baggage charges
ü Alcohol & drinks not indicated
ü International airport departure taxes
Private Junkboat Cruise: built in the design and décor of a traditional Vietnamese junk. With kayaks available on board, this option offers a personalized and adventurous way of exploring the bay. www.discoveryhalong.com