Hanoi is Vietnam’s fascinating capital, the city of lakes, shaded boulevards and public parks that stretch along the banks of the wide, slow-moving Red River. Upon arrival, meet our guide and transfer to your hotel in downtown. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure either to recover from the flight or explore the surrounding area.
A welcome dinner is in one of the best Vietnamese food restaurant.
Overnight in Hanoi City.
The city of Hanoi is a fascinating blend of Asian vibrancy and French colonial elegance. Today we enjoy a guided tour of the city’s highlights. We explore one of peaceful villages admit the bustle city, hang around its narrow road, market and meet the villagers, a great way to start knowing about a country. We come to visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (outside only), an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite situated where he read the declaration of Independence in 1945 and now holding the embalmed body of "Uncle Ho", also visit his “House on stilts” located in the grounds of the Presidential Palace. A short walking from the Mausoleum, we will visit the One Pillar Pagoda, a 11th century wooden temple built resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water, it is designed to resemble a lotus bloom. A prayer here is said to bring fertility and good health.
This lunch, we have “Pho”, the soup is considered a national dish and voted in the World’s 50 best dishes. Hanoi is the best place to taste this dish due to the balance of ingredients and broth.
Following by a visit fascinating Vietnamese Women’s museum that highlights women roles in Vietnam’s many military conflicts as well as in commerce, including features on female street vendors, women's role in the family, and more recently, single mothers in Vietnam. Explore the narrow, chaotic streets of Hanoi's Old Quarter on foot. Also known as 36 Streets, this maze of streets dates to the 13th century and the street names, such as Tinsmith Street, Silk Street and Dried Fish Street, are indicative of the original trades that flourished here. There are opportunities to have female street vendors of Hanoi speaking about the lifestyle of theirs.
Overnight in Hanoi City
Optional: Ca Tru singing (19:00 – 20:00)
Inscribed in 2009 on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Ca Trù is a complex form of sung poetry found in the north of Vietnam using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms. Ca Tru groups comprise three performers: a female singer a female singer who uses breathing techniques and vibrato to create unique ornamented sounds, while playing the clappers or striking a wooden box, and two instrumentalists who produce the deep tone of a three-stringed lute and the strong sounds of a praise drum. The varied forms of Ca tru content different social purposes, including worship singing, singing for entertainment, singing in royal palaces and competitive singing. 60 minutes fulfill with performance, study about the instruments and interact with artists.
After breakfast at hotel, we take a land trip to Sapa, a small mountain town in Lao Cai Province. It is located about 350 km northwest of Hanoi, close to the Chinese border. Sapa is an absolute treat to visit. The town lies amidst beautiful mountains and is surrounded by brilliant green terraced rice fields, the tiny ethnic minorities villages dotted upon the hillside and the Fansipan Mountain with its height of 3,147.3 was recognized the highest mountain in Vietnam and Indochina peninsula.
Upon arrival, we visit Ta Phin village locates at entrance of Sapa town and is home of 1000 Red Dao and 1500 Black H’mong minority people. Their unique culture, living style and traditional costumes are well preserved. We do 1 hour walk to witness the nature, houses and then visit a Red Dzao woman’s home where she will demonstrate their age-old batik painting and share their tradition and her life story with you. Continue 17km bus drive reaching to Sapa town center, check-in your hotel and stay tonight in Sapa.
Today schedule is the combination of light trekking, meet and talk with an ethnic minority woman with special background.
Leaving hotel right after your breakfast, a short bus drive will bring you to trekking point. The walk is 1.5hours in tarmac road, mostly downhill and pass through rice terraces, vegetable gardens, and minority villages. Another 30 minutes uphill walk to reach to Lao Chai village and meet an H’mong minority woman who has been honored by Forbes Vietnam 30 under 30 list of 2016 for her contribution to her people and community. She now is the owner of a social-enterprise company that help girls to go to school and women in villages to set up their own business. Time for her to share with you her life story, then sharing within small group of H’mong minority women and have lunch in her home with rice terraces background. Say goodbye to the host, walk back to the bus stop and drive back to Sapa town. Enjoy 60 minutes foot massage in a local spa.
Stay overnight in Sapa.
In this morning, we visit Sapa daily market, a French Colonial church and the Silver Waterfall.
In the afternoon, drive back to Hanoi city for overnight.
Optional: Majestic Fansipan Mountain (morning tour 08:00 – 12:00) (additional charge)
Today we will conquer Fansipan, the most beautiful attractions in Sapa. It is the peak of Indochina with the elevation of 3143m (10,312 ft).
We drive from Sapa town to cable car station. Take the three-rope cable car system which carry you from the bottom to the highest point of the mountain in 15-20 minutes. Fansipan cable car is one of a modern three-wire cable in the world, the first time presence in Asia. Distance from the Muong Hoa Valley to the peak is 6,2km long go through the fog and clouds and offer spectacular view. Once reaching at the cable car station, we climb 600 steps which is pretty easy as they are well spaces out (optional to take another train at supplement $5/person/way). Every different minute you'll be mesmerized with the beauty of the nature. Return trip by cable car and train.
This trip is not suitable for people who don’t like heights
It’s pretty cold at the mountain top, please make sure you have enough warm clothing and a light raincoat
After breakfast at hotel, check out of your room and be ready at hotel lobby for land trip to Ha Long Bay, a World Wonder of Nature.
Spending a night aboard a junk is the ideal way to see Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. From the comfort of the cruise, the mystical scenery of Ha Long Bay, with thousands of limestone islands jutting from the emerald waters and colorful floating villages, can be truly enjoyed.
In the evening enjoy dinner on board.
Awake early and join the Tai Chi session on the sundeck, or simply enjoy breathtaking views of the bay while the boat cruises leisurely through Halong Bay.
After breakfast, enjoy a cave excursion. Then go back to your cabin to freshen up and check out of your room. Enjoy brunch on board while cruising toward the pier for disembarking around noon. Take a short drive to Hai Phong city’s airport for a flight from Hai Phong City to Danang City. Another 45 minutes bus drive will bring us to hotel in Hoi An city on country’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals and beach.
Overnight in Hoi An.
After a delicious breakfast at your hotel, we go on a walking tour of Hoi An’s charming Ancient Town, visit its fascinating architecture, old Japanese covered bridge, Chinese assembly hall and local market, where you will meet and chat with stallholders about their food. Our walking tour then continues along both high streets and back streets, discovering out-of-the-way producers and street vendors making and selling a wide variety of exotic foods and tasty local special dishes. We will have the famous baguette – Banh Mi Phuong as a light lunch.
Anthony Bourdain, an American celebrity chef described Banh my Phuong ‘with the lot’ as a "symphony in a sandwich". A perfect arrangement of crisp bread filled with homemade pork liver pâté mixed with fat and ground pork, thinly sliced roast pork loin, pork meatloaf, sprout-sized coriander, a healthy dose of mint, Vietnamese coriander, thinly sliced green onions, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, julienned pickled carrots, and the sauces which remain closely guarded secrets. Taste it and find out why it has become so widely known over the last few years.
In the late afternoon, we join a class to hands-on cooking Vietnamese dishes. Take a glow sunset cruise to reach a cooking station deep within the water coconut forest. On arrival, learn about Vietnamese veggies and herbs to prep for your class. Step by step, we will turn simple ingredients into special dishes, together. In this class, each dish is a team effort. Nothing can compare with savoring home-cooked food with your companions and watching sunset on the peaceful Hoai River.
7pm say goodbye with the chef and drive back to the town center to join Hoi An bustling and colorful night market. Join the unique activity for public at the outdoor stage along the Hoai River nightly: Bai Choi singing, a folk music genre practiced in Viet Nam’s central region, has been added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. First learn the rule of the game and you are invited to join the performance or just being an audience.
Overnight in Hoi An.
This morning, we escape the city center and explore a bit more of the countryside. Full of lush green fields, roaming water buffalos and locals hard at work making a living, it is a stark contrast to what you might be used to back at home. We visit Tra Que village, the livelihood of around 150 farmers and 400 owners call this place home and create the highest quality vegetables produced in hoi An. We continue come to Cam Thanh, another peaceful green village, meet a female artist, a special woman who dedicates her life to preserve culture of Cham minority people. She is a writer, poet and dancer, who travels on her motorcycle between different villages to search and inspire Cham culture within her community. We enjoy 1 hour of culture sharing and Cham dance performance by the artist.
Lunch will be served in a beach front restaurant and time to chill at An Bang beach. Then, leaving to Danang airport for another short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (or so call Saigon). Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, bus drive to hotel in city center. Time to freshen up and relax.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
The “rice bowl” of Vietnam, Mekong delta is carpeted with rice paddies, floating markets, crisscross rivers and canals. Ben Tre, popular known for coconut, attracts visitors to its fresh-aired environment of large green coconut & fruits gardens. Join us, experience the slow pace delta life, meet very friendly local, feel the generous hospitality and blow away the stresses of modern life.
Leave bustling Saigon behind, head out to un-touched areas not well-known by tourists in Ben Tre. Board your private Apricot Cruise, a newly tradition-inspired river barge designed open on all sides to allow the river breezes to flow freely. Meandering down the Mekong, you’ll have a chance to observe from the comfort of the Apricot Cruise as local life plays out on the riverbanks. Stop at some local families and see how local traditional methods utilize every bit of the coconut. Learn how to make local cakes, and why you don’t let a local fortune-teller tell you what is supposed to happen in the future.
It is a full day of interesting experiences: boat rowing through winding water-coconut canals, bike riding along lush rural roads, sampling tasty local cakes, tea with honey, and enjoying lunch served with Mekong specialties at Riverside Restaurant. Go back to Ho Chi Minh City by land.
Overnight stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Optional: Sampan Donation
Sampans are important mean of transportation and living in the Mekong delta. It’s cheaper and safer to transporting good and conducting trading in an intricate waterway network of Mekong delta. Despite of effort, some families can’t afford their own sampan and it impacts their economy situation.
Donating a sampan to a poor family is meaningful, generous act that will help them to have a better future. Travel to Mekong delta, participate in a small sampan donation ceremony where all will share in the joy that your generosity has made possible.
This full day Ho Chi Minh city tour & Cu Chi Tunnels will bring you to most of the highlights and the must see attractions for any tourists to Ho Chi Minh, as well as visit the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Cu Chi tunnels was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It’s an immense network of 220km connecting underground tunnels divided in 3 levels to 6 meters, 8 meters and 10 meters deep underground, occupy more than 10,000 people. This zigzag tunnel served as a link between different villages. Visit the underground villages to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese’s resilience during the combats.
Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City, visit the moving War Remnants Museum, the French Colonial buildings along Dong Khoi Street and the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and end our day with visit Ben Thanh market.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, you will be free at your resort until transferred to the airport for your departure flight.----------- End of service ----------