This tour gives us an insight into the real Vietnam. Mingle with the hill tribe villagers in the northeast, cruise along the emerald waters of Halong bay – One of The Seven Natural Wonders of the world, travel through the Vietnam heritage road to explore the treasure of Central Vietnam – Hue, Hoi an ancient charming town and discover the central highland of Vietnam the great Mekong Delta River with amazing floating markets and coconut farms.
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi
Arrive at Hanoi airport where an English-speaking tour guide will welcome you and take you to your hotel in the center of Hanoi (20 miles – 45min). Check into your hotel and relax.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B/L)
We start our one day city tour from the lobby of the hotel at 8:30am with our tour guide & driver pick -up. We will drive to Ho Chi Minh Complex, where we will spend a couple of hour to visit: Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, his Former Stilt-house Residence, the Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda. Keep going to see the Temple of Literature: Originally built as a temple to Confucius, this is the site of Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070. The temple highlights the importance that Vietnamese society placed then and now on education. Lunch will be at a fine local restaurant in Hanoi.
In the afternoon, we will visit one of the most interesting museums in Vietnam, Museum of Ethnology, which is widely acknowledged as the best in the country and has an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 Ethnic minority people. Following by that we will wander around the city by car to see the real life of Hanoi as well as the difference parts the city.
After that we get back to city center where we take one-hour cyclo around the Old Quarter, known as the 36 streets, this bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. Before we go back to hotel, we will have chance to enjoy the unique Water Puppet show to hear to know Vietnamese traditional instruments and singing from the live musicians who play throughout the show. Overnight in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum opening time: Open from Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 8am to 11pm. Closed on Mondays and Fridays. The mausoleum is closed for two months of the year, usually October and November, when Ho Chi Minh’s body is maintenance. Ethnology Museum is closed on Mondays.
Day 3: Hanoi – Nghia Lo (B/L/D)
Depart from Hanoi at around 8am and head for Vietnam’s Great North. Cross the Central-Northern region, with its red hills covered with rolling corn and cassava fields.
Mid-afternoon, arrive in Nghia Lo to stay at the home of one of the local White Thai.
Walk or cycle around Nghia An and its surrounding villages to discover the lifestyle and daily activities of the locals.
Enjoy dinner with your White Thai host, who will be more than happy to share information about the history of his people and their present way of life.
Spend the night at the Thai house.
Day 4: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai (B/L/D)
Trek toward Pa Lau village, the home of a hundred Black Hmong families. Learn about the unique living style of the locals as they choose to live with animals such as buffalos, goats and pigs in a beautiful landscape of rice terraces and mountains.
Travel along a scenic road to Mu Cang Chai. Stop midway to enjoy the stunning view of rice terraces, especially from the neck of Cau Pha. Late afternoon, arrive in the small mountain village of Mu Cang Chai. Check into a city hotel or settle into a White Thai home stay. From here, enjoy a walk around the quaint village of Om Khom located on the back of the mountain overlooking the vast field where people grow rice, corn, vegetables and sweet potatoes.
Day 5: Mu Cang Chai – Sapa (B/L)
Drive to Sapa along a plain carved out by the Nam Na River. Cross the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range where you can see the famous Mount Fan Si Pan at its highest point. Arrive in Sapa, or “Cloud City.” The rice terraces set amid the swirling clouds around the Vietnamese hill station of Sapa are truly eye watering. The cascading green steps wind down the mountain slopes from the cloud line to the valley floor.
In the afternoon, tour the central market and Ham Rong Mountain. From here, enjoy a spectacular view of the city as well as the Muong Hoa valley.
Day 6: Sapa – Bac Ha (B/L/D)
Wander around the Muong Hoa valley at the foot of Mount Phan Si Pan. Paddy fields adorn the mountainsides, presenting you with a sumptuous, velvet landscape.
In the afternoon, take the road to Bac Ha, land of the Flower Hmong. Arrive in Bac Ha at the end of the day. Spend the night in the homestay.
Day 7: Bac Ha – Lao Cai – Hanoi (B/L)
Bac Ha, a ‘little Sapa’ is an ideal location for off-the-beaten-track treks to visit colorful weekly markets. Depending on the date of arrival, explore the bustling Bac Ha Market on Sunday, Can Cau Market on Saturday, Sin Cheng Market on Wednesday and Coc Ly Market on Tuesday.
The Can Cau and Bac Ha markets, in particular, feature local scenes that have been going on every week for generations, where cattle, horses, goats and dogs are bought and sold, as well as many traditional goods like saddles and plowshares, along with elaborate textiles, handbags and other trinkets made by the local tribes people, the Flower Hmong. Their intricately woven daily costume is one of the main drawing points in itself. This is an incredibly beautiful part of Vietnam.
In the afternoon, enjoy a trek through Ban Pho villages 1 and 2, located a few miles from the hotel. These villages are nestled into a cozy valley with a stunning landscape. Ban Pho corn whiskey is a must for all H’Mong men who visit the weekly market. It is not unusual to see drunken men being taken home by their wives, slung across a horse’s back. And in the midst of this small but bustling market, surrounded by such dramatic scenery, tourists might easily be intoxicated by either the corn whiskey or the famously rosy cheeks of ethnic H’Mong, Dao or Tay girls, well-dressed in their traditional clothing.
Arrive in Lao Cai before taking the overnight train to Hanoi.
Day 8: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B/L/D)
Our ourney to Ha Long Bay, the 8th wonder of the world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the bay, filled with thousands of limestone karsts and verdant, monolithic isles, is truly a magical locale. Along the way, take in the rolling paddy fields and dramatic landscapes of the Red River Delta.
12h00: Arrive at Tuan Chau Wharf – Break and photo opportunities
12h30: Board Glory Cruises for departure. A welcome drink will be served
13h00: Lunch is served while cruising through the bay
15h30: Visit exciting Cua Van fishing village, the village is free from busy roads and streets, electric lights, houses and high rise buildings. Instead, there are only herds of little boats and rafts. You will have the chance to discover the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen.
Enjoy kayaking or swimming (if the weather permits).
16h30-17h00: Return to the boat and join cooking class by Glory Cruise’s Chef.
19h00: Dinner is served.
21h00: Leisure time to enjoy a chat around the bar or enjoy night fishing.
Relax and spend a romantic night on Glory Cruise
Day 9: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hue (B/Br)
06h30: Coffee, tea and breakfast pastries served in the dining room.
7h00: Enjoy Tai Chi instruction on the sundeck (duration about 30 minutes).
08h15: Visit splendid Sung Sot Cave
09h00: Check out and enjoy a fantastic cruise on the bay, passing Dinh Huong Island, fishing villages, Ga Choi Island, Dog Island and Sail Island.
09.30: Buffet brunch (breakfast/lunch) while cruising back through Halong Bay to the pier
11h30: Arrive at the pier. Time to say goodbye to the crew
12h00: Drive from Halong to Hanoi.
14h00: Stopover in Dong Trieu town to visit a Ceramics workshop.
16.00: Arrive in Hanoi. The tour guide will take us airport for the flight to Hue. Arrival at Phu Bai airport, the tour guide will meet and transfer us to hotel. Overnight in Hue City
Day 10: Hue City Tour (B/L)
Discover Hue city, beginning with a morning visit to the Imperial City of the Nguyen Dynasty (1804-1945). Delve into the history and beauty of this revered World Heritage destination by touring The Flag Tower, the South Door, the Edict Pavilion, the Supreme Harmony Palace, and the Forbidden Purple City.
After visiting the Imperial City, take an hour-long cruise on the romantic Perfume River, a place of inspiration for numerous Vietnamese writers, musicians and artists. Disembark onto the bank to visit the Celestial Lady Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist monument before returning to the city for lunch.
Spend the afternoon exploring the Tu Duc Royal Tomb, built amid frangipani and pine trees, designed by the emperor himself.
On the way back into town, make a short visit to a village specializing in the production of incense sticks which are to be used for spirit worship. According to Buddhist belief, incense establishes communication between the living world and the afterlife.
Spend the night at the hotel.
Day 11: Hue – Hoi An Old Quarter (B/L)
Our journey over the infamous Hải Vân, or “Ocean Cloud,” Pass for a panoramic view of the Central Vietnamese coastline along My Khe. Stop midway in Da Nang City (colonial Tourane) to visit the Cham museum.
Arrive in Hoi An, check in hotel and relax. At 3pm, we will start our walking tour around the ancient town to visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Pottery Museum, Tan Ky old house, the Cantonese congregation, the silk street of Hoian, the temples and pagodas of Chinese appearance.
Spend the night in Hoian
Day 12: Hoi An – My Son (B)
Spend the morning visiting Hoi An’s captivating Old Town.
In the afternoon, we drive to the archaeological site of My Son (40 miles – 1 hour road trip), once the political and spiritual capital of the Champa Kingdom.
Return to Hoi An at the end of the day. Spend the night in Hoi An
Day 13: Hoi An – Da Nang – Buon Me Thuot (B/L)
After breakfast, travel by road to Da Nang airport for a flight to Buon Me Thuot, a city in the high plateaus of Central Vietnam, home to ethnic minorities such as the Ede and Mnong.
Arrive in Buon Me Thuot and check into your hotel.
In the afternoon, we visit Dray Sap and the Dray Nur Falls before heading back to Buon Ma Thuot to visit the village of Ako Dhong and its community of Ede people.
Day 14: Buon Me Thuot – Lake Lak (B/L/D)
After breakfast, visit the Museum of Ethnology and the village of Aco Dhong, populated by an Ede community. Travel by elephant along the banks of Lake Lak to the village of Ban Jun, where you will be transported along the waters by pirogue to the village of M’lien.
In the evening, kick back with the locals and enjoy a taste of “Jar,” the local Mnong liquor, while watching a gong concert performed by the youth and elders of the village.
Enjoy an evening meal before going to bed in a stilt house in a resort on Lake Lak.
Day 15: Lake Lak – Buon Me Thuot (B/L)
After breakfast, drive to the Yok Don National Park. Take a 2 hour trek through a stunning desert before boarding a sampan to cross the Srepok River.
In the afternoon, visit Ban Don village and travel by elephant over the suspension bridge to explore an old stilt house and the vault of the legendary king of the hunt.
Return to Buon Me Thuot. Overnight in Buon Me Thuot
Day 16: Buon Me Thuot – Ho Chi Minh City Tour (B/L)
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving mid-afternoon. Check into hotel before heading out to explore the renowned colonial city .Discover Notre-Dame Basilica and the famous Rue Catinat (now Dong Khoi Street). Then, head to the Chinese area of Cho Lon. Visit Binh Tay market and Thien Hau Pagoda, also known as the Lady of the Sea. In the afternoon, tour the War Remnants Museum and the former Presidential Palace. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 17: Ho Chi Minh – Ben Tre (B/L/D)
After breakfast, drive 2.5 hours to Ben Tre Province, also known as Vietnam Coconut land, southeast of the Mekong Delta.
Embark on a boat voyage, stopping at a brick factory along the way. Visit one of coconut processing workshops located along canal run by farmer. Go on natural scissors canals by sampan where they look more narrow spreading out to rural villages. Stop at a family who making sleep mats and enjoying fruits and tea, chatting with local people by the way.
Riding on cart or bike on shady road, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plains. Go back to pier by sampan and boat. Then we drive 10 km to *Giong Tom*. Settle into the local house of Mr. Viet and meet with the host family.
Join with Mr. Viet to fish shrimps and handpick coconut with a pole to prepare for a delicious dinner with the host family, learning how to cook typical dishes with coconut milk.
Have diner and spend the night at the house of Mr. Viet
Day 18: Ben Tre – Cho Lach – Can Tho (B/L)
After breakfast, take a bike ride in the heart of coconut country along small shaded paths to Oc Island in the middle of the great river of Ham Luong, crossing by ferry. Enjoy breathtaking scenery. Have the opportunity to experience daily life in the Mekong Delta, their handicrafts, agricultural activities, small houses surrounded with luxury vegetation.
After lunch at the house of Mr. Viet, transfer to Can Tho, crossing Cho Lach, a district known for flowers and bonsai.
Mid-afternoon, arrive in Can Tho. Tour the city. Spend the night at the hotel.
Day 19: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh (B/L)
Rise early in the morning to board a boat to visit the Cai Rang floating market, which is the largest one in South Vietnam. Observe the bustling life of the delta and the amazing spectacle of hundreds of authentic sampans filled with local products such as rice, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts.
Make a stop to taste delicious fruits from the lush orchards. And, discover the old central market which was located on the Ninh Kieu pier. It was restored in 2005 and now houses small shops.
Visit the Binh Thuy ancient house, which was served as a backdrop to the film “The Lover” in the 19th century. Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City for the night. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 20: Ho Chi Minh Departure (B)
Enjoy some free time in Ho Chi Minh City before transferring to the airport for your return flight. End of services!