<Ho Chi Minh City>
- Full Day Ho Chi Minh City Tour & Cu Chi Tunnels Tour: This morning, visit Cu Chi where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French, and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper second, and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground, there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering – some are easily accessed by stairs. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty! Return to Saigon for late lunch at a local restaurant then visit the former Presidential Palace, which is now preserved as a museum, including the underground communications bunkers, headquarters for the Saigon Government during the American War. Continue to the History Museum (closed every Monday), which houses an excellent display tracing the origins of the indigenous Vietnamese. Visit Notre Dame, an impressive neo-Romanesque cathedral in the centre of city, the ‘wedding cake’ styled hotel d’ville and Dong Khoi Street, formerly the centre of haute couture in Saigon when it was known as Rue Catinat. Continue with your guide to the visit the nearby Central Market (Ben Thanh Market) where you will wander the colourful stalls and stands of this central area of local trade and commerce.
- Full Day My Tho Mekong Delta Tour: Depart a hotel to exploring the fascinating Mekong Delta. By travelling along Vietnam’s most important highway you will pass through seemingly endless paddy fields. At My Tho you will visit the ancient VinhTrang Pagoda. Next, a motorized sampan will take you on a fascinating tour through the vast estuary of the Mekong Delta. All daily life and agricultural activities are centred on the countless branches of the river. Because of its abundance of rice fields and water, this region is called the Rice Bowl of Vietnam. Visit a local fruit orchard on one of the countless islands. Wander through the green heart of the Mekong Delta to visit a Rice Farmer’s House.
- Full Day Halong Bay Tour: Depart to Halong Bay (Bay of the Descending Dragon) is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Magnificent Halong Bay, with its 3,000 islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, is one of the natural marvels of Vietnam. These tiny islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and the waves. Observing the limestone rocks rising up from the sea and red sailed junk boats sailing by will be a truly memorable experience. The scenic 3 hours drive from Hanoi City via National Road No. 1 to Halong is full of spectacular scenery as you pass through seemingly endless green paddy fields with women in conical hats working in the rice fields with their water buffalo. You will be passing through the organic farmland, local villages and busy markets. Guests will have the opportunity to observe how Vietnamese people go about their daily lives. Upon arrival at Halong Bay pier, you will continue to take a relaxing 4 hours boat trip through the Bay with a fresh seafood lunch prepared and served on board. Then transfer back to Hanoi.
- Full Day City Tour: Hanoi sightseeing tour includes the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh (view from outside), the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of the city. Then you will (if time permits) be on board the coach to visit of the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam. This temple constitutes a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch Hanoi sightseeing tour includes the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh (view from outside), the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. This complex also comprises the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origins date back to the foundation of the city. Then you will (if time permits) be on board the coach to visit of the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam. This temple constitutes a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture. Lunch at local restaurant.
Remark: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum open in the morning only from 08:00 to 11:00 hrs on every Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday, and close on Monday, Friday and from October to December.
- Full Day Hue City Tour: You will depart to Khai Dinh’s Tomb; the spectacular entryway with its dragon pillars is the highlight of the Tomb. The architecture is in a modern style with a blend of European and Eastern design. Inside the main hall are colorful glass mosaic frescoes and a life-size bronze statue of Khai Dinh. Next stop will be Tu Duc’s Tomb; a peaceful resting place enclosed by walls, it features pine woods and a lakeside pavilion with lotus blossoms where the emperor once fished, listened to music, and wrote poetry. The tomb was more of a pleasure garden than a tomb: the emperor used it as a second residence, where he indulged in extravagant 50-course meals of incredible delicacies. The mausoleum was constructed between 1864 and 1867 by a force of 3,000 labors. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will board the boat cruise along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda. It’s the oldest monastery in Hue, dating back to the 17th century. It is an octagonal seven tier stupa, which has long been regarded as the symbol of Hue. The best way to get to Thien Mu Pagoda is by a leisurely cruise along the Perfume River. The legend tells how, during the time of the Chams, an old woman dressed in red and green was seen seated on a heap of bricks. She ordered a pagoda to be built on that auspicious spot and then disappeared into the clouds. Transfer by road to visit the Royal Citadel & the Imperial City, the past glory of Hue. Emperor Gia Long modeled the Royal Citadel on the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The Royal Citadel is composed of three walled enclosures, each within the other – a city within a city. Visit the Imperial City, which housed the palaces, pavilions, civil and religious ceremonies and official audiences with the civil mandarins. Then visit the Forbidden Purple City, located within the Imperial City, this was the royal palace used only by the imperial family and the concubines and eunuchs, who served them. This part of the Imperial City suffered the most extensive damage during the Vietnam War and little remains of the original structure – today there are just ruins. UNESCO as a World Heritage Site is presently restoring it. The last stop is to visit Dong Ba colorful market before returning to hotel.
- Full Day My Son Tour: Depart a hotel to visit My Son, is the former capital of the Kingdom of Champa and the site of Vietnam’s most important Cham ruins. Your day will begin with an early morning drive from Danang through 60 km of rolling countryside, passing through small towns with markets. The towers there date from the 9th through the 13th century. There were over 70 classic Cham monuments at My Son. Most of the temples in My Son were dedicated to Cham Kings and also served as a burial place for Cham monarchs. It is considered on the level of Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, and Ayuthaya in Thailand. Then drive to Hoi An and transfer to your hotel.
- Full Day Ancient Town Tour: After breakfast at hotel, take by a leisurely discovery tour on foot to visit some of the historic merchant and community houses, pagodas and places of worship, famous Japanese Covered Bridge, and the market. Wander around Hoi An’s back streets and you’ll become aware of a soft, clattering hum. It’s the sound of sewing machines. This little town is also home to literally hundreds of tailor shops. Nobody will be able to tell you exactly when, how or why Hoi An became the sewing central. Many of the buildings have souvenir shops at the front, but a few have been opened to visitors and still retain all their original features, furniture and ceramics. The same family has occupied some of the houses for generations. Transfer back to your hotel.