Day 01: Arrival Hanoi, Vietnam
Arrive Hanoi. Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, you are met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Balance of day at leisure. Although Hanoi is the modern-day capital of Vietnam, it still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shops invite exploration, while Hanoi’s beautiful public spaces – lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments – give the city an air of elegance and harmony with nature, unique among Asia’s capitals. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 02: Hanoi ( Breakfast included )
Begin your cyclo tour by visiting the Temple of Literature. Continue to the miniature One Pillar Pagoda, dating from the 11th century which stands near the vast Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, a lovely park setting, home to Ho Chi Minh's final resting place and museum where you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Ho Chi Minh‘s Stilt House, the simple two-room dwelling where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1948 until his final days.
Afterwards proceed to Hoan Kiem Lake, located in heart of Hanoi, which contains an islet with the tiny Tortoise Pagoda. From the lake, begin exploring the Old Quarter by cyclo for approximately one hour. This fascinating network of narrow alleys and shophouses is also known as “The 36 Streets”, each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there, ranging from fabrics to crafts to medicines to tombstones. This afternoon, visit one of Hanoi's famous museums, either the History Museum or the Museum of Ethnology. Finally conclude with a visit to the Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in northern Vietnam. The Municipal Water Puppet Theater is located on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 03: Hanoi – Hue ( Breakfast included )
Morning transfer for flight from Hanoi to Hue. Visitors to Hue are often taken aback to discover that this sleepy provincial town was once the religious, economic and cultural epicentre of Vietnam, the mighty Imperial headquarters, and the political capital of the country until 1945. Thirteen Nguyen Dynasty Emperors ruled Vietnam from Hue. They built a fortress around the ancient city, a huge Citadel, with walls 10 metres thick, modelled on Beijing's Forbidden City. However, even this seemingly impenetrable defense was useless during the Tet Offensive of 1968, when the proud city of Hue was reduced to ruins.
This afternoon, venture into the countryside around Hue to the Imperial Tomb of Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese emperor, designed and built this elegant tomb during his lifetime, using it as a retreat for meditation, reading and theater performances. Afterward visit the Imperial Tomb of Khai Dinh, dramatically located on a hillside. The last of the monumental tombs of the Nguyen dynasty, completed in 1931, this tomb incorporates distinct European elements into the traditional Vietnamese architecture. Overnight in Hue
Day 04: Hue ( Breakfast included )
Full day city tour featuring Perfume River boat trip, Royal Tombs, and Thien Mu Pagoda.
One of the most notable features of Hue is the meandering Perfume (Huong) River that divides the city. As both the Imperial Citadel and the Thien Mu Pagoda are situated on the riverbank, boating on a simple, yet comfortable, vessel offers a relaxing alternative to road travel.
One of the most famous sights in Hue is the Thien Mu Pagoda. An octagonal tower of seven tiers rises majestically over the tranquil Perfume (Huong) River. Beyond you may see robed monks chanting their mantra, or novices carefully tending the bonsai garden.
Continue by boat to the less visited and perhaps most majestic of all of Hue's tombs - the Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang. Built between 1841 and 1843, this tomb is well known for its harmonious blend of architecture and natural landscape. Conclude today with a visit to Dong Ba Market, a local market near the Imperial City. Overnight in Hue
Day 05: Hue - Danang - Hoi An ( Breakfast included )
Ground transfer from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang en route. First, visit the Cham Museum in Danang. Then visit China Beach, immortalised for many by the US television show and still one of the most spectacular beaches in Asia. Drive to the Marble Mountains. These five rocky outcrops are said to represent five natural elements, and are the source of many intriguing legends, as well as housing temples. You will see skilled artisans carving statues from marble sourced locally at the mountains' base.
Continue on to Hoi An, an extraordinary jewel of a town. In a country ravaged by war, Hoi An managed to remain untouched. Chinese, Japanese and European architecture bear witness to a cosmopolitan past and allows a glimpse of the Vietnam that no longer exists elsewhere. Overnight in Hoi An
Day 06: Hoi An ( Breakfast included )
Start the day at 8.15 a.m. with coffee at the Hai Scout Cafe and proceed to Hoi An Market to purchase ingredients for your cooking class. Enjoy a leisurely twenty-minute boat cruise up the Perfume River to reach the Red Bridge Restaurant and Cooking School, where together they prepare five traditional dishes to enjoy for lunch and demonstrate to art of fruit and vegetable carving.
This afternoon continue sightseeing in the exquisitely preserved merchant town of Hoi An that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The walking tour includes visits to a private house, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries in a traditional setting; to one of the family chapels built by prominent merchant or official families as centers for ancestor worship; and to a typical Chinese-style Pagoda or Assembly Hall. Finally, visit the famous Japanese covered bridge, first constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream. Overnight in Hoi An
Day 07: Hoi An - Danang - Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) ( Breakfast included )
Transfer to Danang airport for your flight to Saigon where you are met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Saigon, one of the most evocative place names in Asia and extraordinary cities in the world. The most Western in atmosphere of Vietnam's cities, Ho Chi Minh City (to use it's official name) has a population of 5 million, and a booming free-market economy. It is a city of amazing contrasts: elegant new international hotels, exclusive restaurants and trendy bars side-by-side with roadside noodle stalls, street children and vociferous ‘cyclo’ drivers.
Begin your tour strolling along Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall, the old Opera House, and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
Afterwards tour the Reunificiation Palace, formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president. This 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. Preserved in its original state, the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates. Continue to the harrowing War Remnants Museum, which comprehensively documents the travails of the long Vietnam War.Finally, end up at the Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste. Overnight in Saigon
Day 08: Saigon ( Breakfast included )
Morning excursion to the Cu Chi region and Cu Chi Tunnels. This vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the Vietnam war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare with secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas, and meeting rooms.
Return to Saigon and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Consider visiting the History Museum, housing an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese or exploring the local art galleries of central Saigon. Overnight in Saigon
Day 09: Saigon - Depart ( Breakfast included )
Transfer to Saigon International Airport. End of our trip
Prices: 2011 Pricing
08 nights: Hotels include: Intercontinental Westlake – Hanoi, Pilgrimage Resort & Hotel – Hue,
Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort – Hoi An, Caravelle Hotel – Saigon
ü Airport meet and assist in Hanoi and regional airports
ü Transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles, including drinking water & cold towels
ü Accommodation as indicated, including government taxes and services charges
ü Domestic flights: Hanoi - Hue and Danang - Saigon
ü Domestic airport taxes and goverment taxes
ü Sightseeing as indicated including entrance fees
ü Services of local stationed English-speaking guide(s)
ü Meals as indicated (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
ü 24-hour Emergency/local contact office in Vietnam
ü International Airfare and taxes
ü Visa & visa stamping fees
ü Drinks with meals
ü Items of a personal nature
ü Gratuities & tips
ü Travel insurance
ü Holiday surcharges
These trips are priced assuming two travelers. Surcharges for solo travelers and discounts for groups, if any, will be applied. Prices assume itinerary is purchased "as is". Minor changes to hotels or hotel add-ons to the beginning or the end of the existing itinerary can be made at no extra charge. Any customization requiring us to start with a new base itinerary will require a non-refundable upfront planning fee of $200 that is creditable towards the final trip price.
The more people you bring on your next www.luxuryprivatetravel.com adventure, the more you save. All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted. Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.