Day 1: Departure from USA
Tour members will gather at the airport 3 hours prior to departure for our flights to Vietnam. Connections in Asia.
Day 2: Welcome to Hanoi
When you arrive at Noi Bai International airport in Hanoi, you'll be smilingly met and transferred to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day will be all yours to stroll around the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – City Sights and Highlights
After a breakfast worth writing home about, you'll jump head-first into Hanoi's sights and sounds on a tour that covers all the essentials. You'll visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Mausoleum, Uncle Ho's former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and The Temple of Literature, which, dating back to 1070, is Vietnam’s oldest university.
After lunch, explore the enthralling Museum of Ethnology, which contains an extensive display of life-size structures dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities. Next, enjoy an hour-long cyclo ride winding through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - a must for any visitor to Hanoi! The day finishes with a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay
At 08.00, you will be picked up at your hotel and start the scenic 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world's largest marine limestone 'karst' landscape. Enjoy the landscape of the Red River Delta countryside and have a short break en-route. Meet the crew upon boarding the traditional wooden junk, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads towards the secluded islands. Visit a fishing village by a rustic rowing-boat, meet the local people and pass through the floating school and pearl farms. Return to the junk refreshed and and relax on sundeck with a drink to watch the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars. Overnight on a boat in Halong Bay.
Day 5: Halong Bay Cruising - Flight to Danang & Transfer to Hoi An
Enjoy an early morning swim/Taichi (if weather permits) followed by breakfast. You will visit a famous ancient limestone cave in the middle of the bay where you’ll discover magnificent stalagmites and stalactites as you walk along the lit paths on a guided tour. Enjoy a tasty brunch while cruising back to the main harbor Pier where your private car will be waiting for you and drive straight to Noi Bai airport in Hanoi for a late afternoon flight to Danang. On arrival, pick up and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An – Guided Walking Tour ½ Day – Free Afternoon of Leisure
8:30 AM, your guide will meet you at your hotel lobby and show you around the old town. You'll start a walking tour with numerous places of interest: the 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, the Phuc Kien Assembly Halls, a museum and the colorful local market. Following the narrow lanes, you walk along tiny streets with houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures. After your walking tour, your time will be at leisure to wander around or go shopping. Your lunch will be at a local restaurant. The remainder of the day will be your own. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 7: Flight to Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels Exploration
First up, you head to Danang airport for your morning dash to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you'll be met by another local expert who will escort you for your drive to the stupefying Cu Chi Tunnels. After a light lunch at a local restaurant, visit the amazing network of underground tunnels that was used by the Viet Cong throughout the War. This huge construction was a war-time home for many villagers. With three different levels and despite its proximity to Saigon, it was never discovered by the US. Visit the fighting tunnel system with your local guide, before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 8: Sights & Sounds of Ho Chi Minh City
Today you'll embark on a guided city tour, starting with the War Remnants Museum - a real eye-opening part of Vietnam's proud history; followed by the Reunification Palace; the former South Vietnam Presidential Palace; the Notre Dame Cathedral and Old Post Office, as youget your camera working overtime peeking into the past of Vietnam's biggest, most energetically progressive city. After a tasty lunch at a local restaurant, continue with a Chinatown walking tour through the back streets to be part of the local daily life. Stop off for a visit to Thien Hau temple, which was built in the early 19th Century in tribute to the goddess of seafarers. Delve deeper into Chinatown by visiting the amazing Cholon and Binh Tay Market (or Ben Thanh market) for an insight into where the locals actually shop. Then you'll be back at your hotel in time to have a bit of a stroll around the city centre, or simply relax. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9: Depart Ho Chi Minh City
Your time will be your own until being picked up to head to Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport for your onward journey or departure flight back to the USA.
Day 10: Arrival
Depending on our departure time from Vietnam and flight schedules, we may return on Day 10.