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Spend eight days in Vietnam discovering the highlights and traditions of this colourful country. This short adventure samples the old-world charm in this pocket of Asia, with its diverse Chinese, French and colonial influences. Get lost in the districts of Hanoi, cruise past the limestone karsts of Halong Bay, discover the colonial charm of Hoi An, and navigate the winding streets and chaotic traffic of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is sure to surprise, delight and excite, so discover places of eternal beauty that have also played crucial roles in history.
Day 1: Hanoi
Welcome to Hanoi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. There will be a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this 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). Until this meeting we encourage you to head out and get your first taste of what Hanoi has to offer.
Day 2: Halong Bay
Today, you will leave Hanoi and drive north (approximately 4 hours) to the renowned Halong Bay. You can leave your luggage behind at your hotel in Hanoi and pack an overnight bag for staying on the boat. Halong Bay is listed as a World Heritage site and is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular natural wonders. The views of sailing junks navigating past thousands of limestone islands with rocky outcrops are nothing short of spectacular. You will travel to Tuan Chau Port (Halong City West) where you will board a boat for an exploration of the bay, enjoying a seafood lunch and dinner (non-seafood also available), as well as spending a night on board. We visit Surprise Cave, and, in the warmer months, you can enjoy a swim from Ti Top Island Beach or go on an optional kayak tour. Access to Surprise Cave is via staircases. Once inside the cave the pathways are a little uneven and slippery. A night on the boat under the stars is very special, but another highlight of this evening is a delicious candlelit dinner out on deck (weather permitting). This is the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, dining on a seafood feast.
Day 3: Hanoi
After breakfast at Halong Bay, return by bus to Hanoi (approximately 3.5 hours). Later this afternoon, you will enjoy a unique Peregrine experience when you sit down to a traditional Hat Xam performance. Hat Xam is an art form of Northern Vietnam dating back to the Tran Dynasty, and literally translates to ‘singing in darkness’. Originally, this was performed by blind performers, and was enjoyed by local working-class audiences, right up until the late 1950s, when a wave of communism deemed all art forms to be corrupting influences. Today, this style of performance occurs rarely, but you and your group will be taken to a private club house for an exclusive performance; one of the few places where such artists still perform acoustically. The performance takes around 90 minutes, and includes some story telling aspects, performances and possibly interaction with guests, so be ready to get involved!
Day 4: Hoi An
This morning, take a half-day tour of Hanoi with your leader. Enchanting Hanoi stands in contrast to its southern counterpart in Ho Chi Minh City – it is relaxed rather than frantic, and full of lakes and parks to escape to. The tour will take in the major sites, including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO café, an amazing project aimed at providing vocational training and experience in the hospitality industry for disadvantaged young people. In the afternoon, you will leave Hanoi and fly south to Danang (approximately 1 hour). You will have the chance to enjoy some spectacular scenery on the drive to Hoi An (approximately 1 hour). Arrive in Hoi An late this afternoon and check into your accommodation.
Day 5: Hoi An
This morning you will take a tour of the unique town of Hoi An, influenced over the years by myriad traders from various cultures. Originally a busy Cham Port, the town also has Chinese influences scattered about, with pagodas and assembly halls found down the streets. For a small town it has a liveliness alongside its charm and serenity. The tour will take you down the streets of low tiled buildings, taking in a historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. There is some free time this afternoon to further explore the Old Town or surrounds at your own pace.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City
The morning is free for you to enjoy more of delightful Hoi An and the surrounding area. Perhaps browse the market for silk and other materials or collect any garments that you might have had crafted by the efficient tailors or hire a bicycle and ride along the lanes and out to a nice nearby beach. In the afternoon, transfer back to Danang and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Check into your hotel and enjoy a free evening – perhaps spent exploring the bustling food stalls at Cho Ben Thanh market. Delicious!
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City
This morning, head out of the city to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. Cu Chi is the name of the district that covers the extensive network (approximately 200 kilometres) of underground tunnels dug by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation and schools, and were used for refuge, storage and as a military base for the Viet Cong close to Ho Chi Minh City. A section of them has been widened to allow visitors to enter and get a feel for what the life underground must have been like. Please note that these tunnels will be hot, sweaty, and claustrophobic for some, and so, you can choose to participate in the tunnel walk or continue to explore the complex from above. Afterwards, return to Ho Chi Minh City for a tour of the city, where daily life plays out on the streets and the dynamic atmosphere is a fascinating blend of old and new. Your leader will take you to the Reunification Palace, formally the Presidential Palace and the site of South Vietnam’s surrender in 1975, before visiting the War Remnants Museum. In the evening, perhaps spend some time with your fellow travellers and have dinner at a local restaurant. Your leader will know of some great options.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City
As there are no activities planned after breakfast, you are able to leave the accommodation at any time. If you wish to spend some more time in Ho Chi Minh city, we would be happy to organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
- Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
- Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise with seafood lunch and dinner
- Hanoi - Hat Xam performance
- Hanoi - Temple of Literature
- Hanoi - Koto Restaurant lunch
- Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda
- Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh, Stilt House and Museum
- Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
- Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
- Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
- Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
- Ho Chi Minh City - Notre Dame Cathedral
- Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
7 Breakfast(s) Included
2 Lunch(es) Included
1 Dinner(s) Included
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