Passion of Vietnam
Passion of Vietnam

Passion of Vietnam

  • Itinerary :Ho Chi Minh - Cu Chi-Mekong Delta - Da Lat - Nha Trang - Buon Me Thuat - Komtum - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi - Son La - Tam Duong - Sapa - Ha Noi - Halong -Ha Noi
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This northbound adventure trip brings to you a deep appreciation for this beautiful country and its people. Heading out of the bustling streets, you visit the watery world of the Mekong on a cruise and drive through the lush central highlands to see some tribal groups. We also expose you to the . historical towns of Hoi An and Hue, the north western area with Dien Bien Phu , Sapa which are home to the Hmong, Zao people, and invite you to relax on a half day cruise around Halong Bay


Day 1: Arrival - Ho Chi Minh
On arrival at Tan San Nhat Airport, you are met by our guide and transferred to hotel. The bustling Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, is a center of commerce, finance, culture and tourism in Vietnam. This metropolis ,contradiction of its northern counterpart, is crowded with bikes and motorbikes, excited by numerous shopping areas and sidewalk cafes. ( If time permits) we stroll around the down town to explore the different local ways of life. O/N in Ho Chi Minh.

Day 2 : Ho Chi Minh - Cu Chi - Ho Chi Minh
The incredible underground network in Cu Chi stretched over 200 kilometres and became legendary during the American war. The extensive tunnels have been specially constructed with living areas, storage facilities, weapon factories, filed hospitals, command centres, plus accommodation. Today we have an excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels to visit an exposition hall and a widened section of the tunnels to get a feel of the underground life. There are also possibilities to fire off rounds from an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range. The following programme is a sightseeing of major sights in Ho Chi Minh City. We drive past many lively streets on our way to the Reunification Palace. This mansion was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Sai Gon Post Office. We see these before going to the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War remnant exhibit. The final stop is Ben Thanh Market where anything and everything is for sale!. O/N in Ho Chi Minh. (B)

Day 3 : Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh
Heading out of town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta. This plain region boasts the largest rice bowl of Vietnam. On arrival in My Tho we board a boat navigating around the intricate small canals, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up and catch a view dotted by many islands. The exciting river trip will pass by the lush green vegetation towards the famous Unicorn Island where we have a chance to stroll around an orchard, taste many seasonal fruits and see farmers at work. We navigate some narrower canals using small rowing boats to Ben Tre Province for an interesting visit to some local industries. The extra enjoyment is a lunch at one of the famous local eating spots. We drive back to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off en route to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Saigon's Chinatown, locally named Cho Lon. This bustling area is crammed with sacred temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. O/N in Ho Chi Minh. (B,L)

Day 4: Ho Chi Minh - Da Lat
The northbound journey begins as we depart Ho Chi Minh and pass through the many tea and coffee plantations to the hill station of Da Lat, sometimes known as the "City of Eternal Spring". The drive is long but views are fantastic all along the way. Once arriving in Da Lat we enjoy a walk to catch our first glimpse of this town. The influence of the French is evident in local culture and architecture since Da Lat was founded in early last century as a hill retreat for the colonials to escape the oppressive heat in the coastal plains and the chaos of Saigon. This charming town is set around a lake and surrounded by forests, waterfalls and rolling countryside. O/N in Da Lat. (B)

Day 5: Da Lat - Nha Trang
Today we embark on a drive through the charming pine hill to the summer residence of Vietnam's last Emperor Bao Dai. He was forced to abdicate in 1945, shortly after the end of the World War II. This mansion displays a lovely collection of Vietnam treasures. We follow it with a trip to the sacred Lam Ty Ni Pagoda and the Hang Nga Guesthouse. This construction is well known as the Crazy House because of its bizarre architecture. The lively central market and the old rail station are also visited before we travel by roads passing through the undulating terrains to the picturesque coastal town of Nha Trang. En route we make stopover at the scenic Ngoan Muc Pass and the Po Klong Jarai Cham Towers. These amazing structures represent an interesting culture and a colorful history of the Cham people in central coast areas. O/N in Nha Trang. (B)

Day 6: Nha Trang
The turquoise water surrounding a string of islands and the white sandy beach stretching the whole length of Nha Trang City make it one of Vietnam's premier beach resorts. We board a boat to explore the coastal islands. The aquarium lake is our first stop before we head out to Hon Mun Island. Today we have plenty of time to enjoy swimming and snorkeling on the blue and clear water or simply lazing on a beach. The thrilling boat trip continues to Hon Tam Island, giving us a choice of various water sports and good restaurant for lunch. By mid afternoon we cruise back to Nha Trang Pier and complete our day with a short city tour. The impressive Ponagar Cham Towers overlooking the colourful fishing port, and the famous Long Son Pagoda with its huge Buddha image are a major part of our sightseeing. O/N in Nha Trang. (B,L)

Day 7: Nha Trang - Buon Ma Thuat - Lak Lake
The modern comforts will be left behind as we head the coast towards the Central Highlands and travel via the famous town of Buon Ma Thuat to Lak Lake. This remote area is surrounded by the rugged mountain backdrops and the sleepy hill tribe villages. We enjoy one and half hour elephant ride to explore the rural life and the scenic countryside before transferring to the June village. This night will be spent in traditional long house of a M'nong family . The facilities here are very basic, but it gives us a chance to see the simple lifestyle of the M’nong ethnic minorities and live as many local villagers usually do. O/N at June village. (B, D)

Day 8: Buon Me Thuat - Komtum
The exciting exploration continues with a short dugout ride around the scenic Lak Lake. Today we have a walking option to discover a nearby village of the M'nong people. This ethnic group has settled here long time ago and made for the main local population. We continue our overland expedition along the central highlands though Vietnam's biggest growing coffee area in Pleiku to Komtum. The deep contrast of lush vegetation and red surface of basaltic soil is incredible all along the way. Once reaching Komtum Town we visit the traditional culture center, the Komtum Seminary, the Wooden Church and the Banar hill tribe village. They are just some of the major attractions in town. O/N in Komtum .(B)

Day 9: Komtum - Hoi An
An early morning start to drive towards Hoi An. We pass the beautiful mountainous region on our way to the central coast region. A part of the pleasure of travelling in this region is the simple joy of seeing the rice fields and the smiling faces of the people. On arrival in Hoi An we start our sightseeing tour. This delightful town was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down the centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. There are plenty to see in Hoi An Town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tamky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant market. We include these sites in an enchanting walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. O/N in Hoi An. (B)

Day 10: Hoi An - Hue
The following destination of our trip is Hue. which was once the feudal capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. Along the way we visit the China Beach , the sensational Marble Mountains and the famous Cham Museum which boasts the largest collection of the Cham treasures in Vietnam. The winding road begins as we make our way up the spectacular Hai Van pass. A view from the top of the pass is one of Vietnam's most impressive panoramic scenes. On arrival in Lang Co, we make a break by the beach for a leisurely swim. The impressive drive will deliver us to Hue by early afternoon. We start seeing Hue with the massive citadel, containing the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City. This royal residence was all but destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk among the ruins. O/N in Hue.(B)

Day 11: Hue
The beautiful riverside pagoda of Thien Mu is one of the oldest ancient architectural structures for religious work ship in Hue. We include this in a half day cruise on the Perfume River which also gives us a taste of the scenic countryside and an enjoyable visit to the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang. This impressive landmark is laid in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes, featuring the beautiful architecture, intricate decor and mysterious statues. Afterwards we drive though the rolling hill to see the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc and the famous Tu Hieu Pagoda. The sightseeing tour is followed with a walk to the bustling Dong Ba Market that sells a wide variety of local goods and handicrafts. By late afternoon, we board the train for an overnight journey to Hanoi. The train conditions are basic ; we travel in soft sleeper class which is a compartment for up to four people. O/N on board. (B)

Day 12: Hue - Ha Noi
The train journey delivers us at Hanoi Station in mid morning. You are greeted by our guide and transferred to hotel. The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia ‘s most striking colonial architecture. The many lakes and parks make for relaxing atmosphere. We spend this afternoon exploring Hanoi with the impressive Ethnologic Museum dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minorities. This is a must for us as we will venture into their homeland in coming days. Afterwards we drive back to the town center and visit Hoan Kiem lake with its sacred temple. The perfect way to round off our day is a short cyclo ride through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. O/N in Ha Noi.(B)

Day 13: Hanoi - Son La
Heading out of town we make our way to Son La and pass through the undulating terrains of tea plantations, terraced rice fields and sleepy villages linked to the road which is the main artery of trade between the northwestern region and the capital city. En route we have several stops to stretch our legs, catch photographs and visit some roadside villages. They are home of various different hill tribe groups. The thrilling drive will deliver us in Son La by mid or late afternoon depending on road and traffic conditions. We check in hotel and enjoy a short walk around this mountain town. There is a little traffic on roads and many Black Thai in traditional costume scurry in all directions. O/N in Son La. (B)

Day 14: Son La - Dien Bien Phu
The provincial museum and the top hill old prison are some of major sights in Son La Town. We include these in a short morning tour before we wind our way past the stunning mountain scenery. The road conditions are very poor therefore we need to bring along our spirit of adventure until Dien Bien Phu, the site of the decisive battle in Vietnam's struggle for independence in 1954. Once reaching Dien Dien we enjoy a walk around to see this fast growing town and make stop at Dien Bien Phu museum which details the event in place. We follow it with a visit to the strategic hill A1 and the old battle field where the lush vegetation grows behind many war relics including old French tanks and artillery pieces. O/N in Dien Bien Phu .(B)

Day 15: Dien Bien Phu - Tam Duong
Today we continue travelling into Vietnam’s most mountainous region. The roads are difficult at times, but the spectacular landscape with a mixture of terraced fields and rugged mountains makes the hardship all worthwhile. Along the way we encounter the local villagers going about their daily business. These mountaineers are almost the Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang, Dao people who still retain their age old cultural traditions and wear distinctive costumes. We arrive in Tam Duong by late afternoon and may have time strolling around. This small hill town is surrounded by the breathtaking mountain backdrop and frequently visited by the ethnic minority people. O/N in Tam Duong. (B)

Day 16: Tam Duong - Sapa
The breathtaking north scenery is unequalled although the conditions are very simple. Today spend a half day driving along a zigzag road through various charming villages as well as terraced rice fields to Sa Pa. The hill station of Sa Pa was founded in early last century and rapidly became an ideal place for anyone seeking an enjoyable escape from the unbearable heat in plains. At an elevation of 1,500 meters, it has some warm days and cool evenings. The remainder of day will give you a chance to soak up the fresh climate as much as you want by spending the time to wander around and catch the first look of Sa Pa. The ethnic minority people are frequently seen in this hill town and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicraft. O/N in Sa Pa. (B)

Day 17: Sa Pa Hiking
The mountain range of Phan Si Pan boasts Vietnam's highest peak and lends an alpine feel to the area surrounding this hill station. Today we visit the bustling Sa Pa Market where the Red Dao, Black Hmong, Tay and Xa Pho ethnic minorities converge from the nearby mountainsides and valleys to trade their goods and buy provisions. Heading out of town we embark on a walk, using the local tracks to Lao Chai village, home of the Black H'Mong people. The footpath traverses some terraced rice fields, giving us a chance to see many mountaineers doing their daily works such as logging, herding buffalo and tilling the field. The blend of verdant mountain backdrop and colourful population makes for a fantastic view. We arrive at Ta Van hamlet and visit the Zay ethnic minorities. They still retain their age old cultural traditions and wear distinctive costumes. O/N in Sa Pa. (B)

Day 18: Sa Pa - Yen Bai - Ha Noi
The colourful market will be left behind we leave Bac Ha for Hanoi and pass through the verdant and rugged mountain scenery as well as the many sleepy villages. They are home of various different hill tribe groups. Once reaching Yen Bai Town we again cross the Red River and follow the river bank towards Hanoi. These back roads are a great way to explore the real Vietnam. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. Along the way we can make stop as we please, to stretch our legs and catch some wonderful shootings. O/N in Ha Noi. (B)

Day 19: Ha Noi - Halong
Today we commence our sightseeing of Hanoi with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation's founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. Close to this complex is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of Hanoi. We follow these with the Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university, and the History Museum which displays an excellent collection of artifacts illustrating the Vietnamese history. The bustling Dong Xuan Market is also visited before we depart for Halong Bay past the scenic countryside. En route we make stop over at Dong Trieu pottery village to stretch our legs and admire the craftsmen at work. O/N in Ha Long. (B)

Day 20: Ha Long - Ha Noi
The legendary Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. We board a traditional boat for a five hour trip around Halong Bay. This exciting cruise provides us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. These limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. We round off our excursion with a seafood lunch served on board and make our way back to Ha Noi, arriving in time to see an evening performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets. O/N in Ha Noi. (B,L)

Day 21: Ha Noi - Departure
There is a free time to relax or further explore Ha Noi. The tour ends after your transfer to Noi Bai Airport transfer for departure. (B)

INCLUSIONS: + Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver + Accommodation : twin sharing room at mentioned hotel and mini hotels or similar one + Meal as mentioned: B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner + English or French speaking guide + Local guide in Buon Ma Thuat + Elephant ride + Entrance fee to indicated sights + Water puppet show + Cyclo trip + Boat trip + Boat trip in Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Lak Lake, Hue and Halong Bay + Train ticket Hue - Hanoi ( soft sleeper cabin for 4 passengers)

EXCLUSIONS: Other meals, tip, drinks, airport tax, single room supplement, personal expenses, travel insurance, visa, flight in / out of Vietnam, any optional additional tours or activities during free time, surcharge for peak season, local holiday days and gala dinner


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