Day 1: Arrive Hanoi (D)
Upon arrival at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel. This is Vietnam's capital and celebrated its anniversary of 1,000 years in 2010. Historical emphasis on the arts and learning stipulates that buildings in Hanoi remain small, simple and in harmony with nature. You will have the afternoon at your leisure before an evening welcome dinner at a local restaurant and an overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi (B/L)
You will visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" may be viewed), his nearby house on stilts, the lotus-shaped One Pillar Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and other lesser-known museums. Following lunch at a local restaurant, you will enjoy a one-hour cyclo ride around Hanoi's Old Quarter. In the evening, you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show before an overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi-Halong (B/L/D)
After pickup from your hotel, you will leave Hanoi by private car/van at 8:30 am, arriving at the jetty around 12:30 pm. You will be welcomed aboard and set sail through the bay while lunch is served. You will pass through the magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons' teeth. After lunch, you will take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay dotted with golden sails, and then go swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathe on the sundeck. Later in the afternoon, you will visit an interesting fishing village with the opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. Back on board, you can enjoy cocktails while watching the sunset. Later, you will unwind at a lavish dinner before an overnight stay on the deluxe junk.
Day 4: Halong - Hanoi (B)
Greet the day with a morning tai chi session, with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, you will visit a beautiful limestone grotto and then go back to the boat for a final glimpse of Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Checkout is at 11:45 am and the boat arrives at the harbor by noon for the drive back to Hanoi. You will then have free time before an overnight stay in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi - Hue World Heritage site by plane (B)
Following breakfast, you will be free until transfer to the airport for a flight to the ancient imperial capital of Hue. In Hue, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay in Hue.
Day 6: Hue Ancient Capital (B/D)
Rising up in this ancient land, you will have breakfast in the hotel before setting off on a romantic cruise on the Perfume River. Being the ancient capital, Hue is surrounded with ancient tombs of emperors past, and a visit to some of these tombs will be on the itinerary for today. The charming Lady Pagoda (Thien Mu Pagoda) will be the first stop of the day. Thien Mu Pagoda is considered the unofficial symbol of Hue, and the center of Buddhism in Central Vietnam. You will rejoin your car and drive to King Minh Mang's Tomb and King Tu Duc's Tomb. In the afternoon you will embark on a tour of Hue, including the Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City, the Imperial Museum and the Dong Ba market. You will enjoy royal-style dinner before an overnight stay in Hue.
Day 7: Hue - Ancient town Hoi An (B/L)
You will leave Hue for Hoi An, World Heritage recognized the city. You will stop in Danang for a visit to the Cham Museum and the handicraft villages at the foot of Marble Mountain. Once in Hoi An, you will check into your hotel and have some free time to explore before an overnight stay in Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An Ancient town (B)
You will enjoy a half-day orientation tour of Hoi An, including the Chinese Assembly Halls, the Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien Pagoda, and Tan Ky House. Following the tour, there will be free time for shopping or relaxing before another overnight stay in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An - Danang - Saigon (B/L)
After leaving Hoi An, you will drive to Danang Airport. From Danang, you will take the one-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), where you will transfer directly to your centrally located hotel. You will embark on a city tour of Saigon, including the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, the War Remnants Museum and bustling Ben Thanh Market. You will stay overnight in HCMC
Day 10: Mekong Delta Excursion (B/L)
You will leave Saigon for lush My Tho, where you will take a private boat through the green vegetation of the canals to an orchard and enjoy a delicious lunch in a local restaurant in the heart of the Mekong, complete with tropical fruits. You also will visit the snake farm, Dong Tam, which breeds snakes for, among other things, snake wine. You will also enjoy a bonsai garden before heading back to HCMC for an overnight stay in HCMC.
Day 11: Cu Chi tunnels and Cao Dai Temples (B/L)
This morning you will drive to the Cao Dai Temples in Tay Ninh to observe the midday service. Following lunch, we will drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels and then return to HCMC at around 6 pm. Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, is home to the unique Cao Dai sect, whose patron saints include Joan of Arc, Victor Hugo, and Winston Churchill to name a few. Religion is a hybrid of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. The Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh has been described as a "Walt Disney World of the East." The temple's exterior is decorated with multi-colored dragons of all shapes and sizes competing for space with a number of religious symbols. Above the main entrance is the all-seeing holy eye, the symbol of the Cao Dai sect. The interior is just as engaging, as statues of Jesus Christ, Buddha and the Hindu god, Brahma, stand side by side. The trip to Tay Ninh is combined with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. At its height, the tunnel system stretched over 250 kilometers, from Saigon to the Cambodian border, and was three levels deep. The network included innumerable trap doors, specially constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers, and kitchens. Today the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction giving the visitor a unique experience and a feel of what underground life during the U.S.-Vietnam War must have been like. You will stay overnight in HCMC.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City - Siem Reap (B/L)
In the morning you will take a flight to Siem Reap in Northern Cambodia to visit the fabulous ancient sites of Angkor, one of the wonders of the world. You will visit Angkor Thom (or " Great City"), which is in some ways even more spectacular than the colossal Angkor Wat, as it has nearly disappeared into the jungle. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you will be met and transferred to your comfortable hotel for check-in (subject to availability). The tour starts by visiting the famous temple: Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat has been a World Heritage Site since 1992, famous for its beauty and splendor. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology. After that, you will visit Bakheng Temple and enjoy a romantic sunset view from Bakheng Hill. You will stay overnight in Siem Reap.
Day 13: Angkor Wat (B/D)
Today you will embark on an elephant ride from the South Gate of Angkor Thom into the jungle to see famous Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara), Baphoun, the Elephant Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King. In the afternoon, you will continue to visit fabulous Ta Prohm (embraced by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers) Pre Rup, East Mebon, Krovan, Srah Srang, Banteay Srei and Ta Keo. At dinner, you will be treated to a charming Apsara dance show at a local restaurant before an overnight stay in Siem Reap.
Day 14: Departure (B)
You will board a boat on Tonle Sap Lake and cruise past floating villages, complete with schools, restaurants, and hospitals. You will also visit the school known as "Les Artisans d'Angkor" before transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for your departure.
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