Vietnam Express Southbound, 10 Days
Valid for select departures 24 October 2019 - 30 September 2020
10 Days tour departing Hanoi.
7 Nights accommodation in a Hotel.
1 Night accommodation in an Overnight Boat.
1 Night accommodation in an Overnight Sleeper Train.
8 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 2 Dinners.
Transport by Boat, Motorbike, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Private Minibus, Taxi, Sampan, Tuk-tuk.
Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise with seafood lunch and dinner, Cave entry.
Hue - Imperial Citadel, Perfume River cruise & Thien Mu Pagoda, Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, Highlights & back streets by motorbike (lunch included).
Hoi An - Old Town walking tour.
Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum, City tour.
HCMC - Mekong Delta day trip including coconut gardens & village tuk-tuk tour, KOTO dinner.
WAS $1460*, NOW $1314*, SAVE $146*.
Day 1 Hanoi. Xin chao Welcome to Hanoi Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive before your tour begins there's plenty to see and do. Consider booking the Hanoi Morning Highlights Urban Adventure, a wide-ranging tour with a local expert guide. This optional tour visits the Temple of Literature, stops by a traditional tea house, and takes you through the Hoa Lo Prison Memorial before concluding at Hoan Kiem Lake. Or maybe take it at your own pace and wander the Old Quarter to admire the city's French-colonial architecture.
Day 2 Halong Bay. Travel by private minibus to World Heritage-listed Halong Bay, which is dotted with sandy coves, grottoes and 1600 limestone islands formed over millennia by wind and water erosion (approximately 4 hours). Board a private boat and cruise the bay, exploring island caves and perhaps even enjoying a swim from Ti Top Island Beach during the warmer months. To end the day, spend an evening aboard the boat beneath the night sky. What better way to get to know your fellow travellers than an old school sleepover in an unforgettable location?
Day 3 Hanoi to Overnight Train. Return by boat to Halong Bay. At approximately midday, return to Hanoi by bus. Arrive late this afternoon and enjoy free time until tonight's train voyage. Be sure to grab a bowl of pho while you're in town and slurp down this local specialty made from broth, noodles and meat. Maybe chill by Hoan Kiem Lake until you board an overnight train to Hue this evening.
Day 4 Hue. Arrive in Hue at approximately 11 am and transfer to the hotel. Once the imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue holds the treasures of the country's royal past. Enjoy free time in the morning to rest or explore. If you choose the latter (and who can blame you) the bustling Dong Ba Market is a great place to sample some of the specialties that once graced the Nguyen emperors' tables like banh khoai (royal rice cake). Reunite with the group to visit the war-damaged ruins of the Imperial Citadel, a sprawling city-within-a-city which contains the remains of temples, state houses and the emperor's palace.
Day 5 Hue. See Hue like a local - from the back of a motorbike Straddle the saddle and whiz around town with a local guide, taking in historic and contemporary sights along the way. Stop at Thanh Toan to see the 18th-century covered bridge and villagers shopping at their local market. Visit the 17th-century active Buddhist monastery of Thien Mu Pagoda and see the car that belonged to Thich Quang Duc, the monk who self-immolated in 1963 in protest against the treatment of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese regime. Enjoy a short boat cruise down the Perfume River before a vegetarian feast in a nunnery. Finish at the lakeside royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc before heading back to town.
Day 6 Hoi An. This morning travel by bus through coastal rice paddies and the spectacular Hai Van Pass (approximately 3 hours). After a photo stop en route, arrive into Hoi An. Recently declared a World Heritage site, Hoi An was a major international trading port during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, parts of the beautifully-preserved town retain the feel of centuries past. It's also a shopping mecca, famous for its plethora of tailors. On arrival your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk through the Old Town to visit a handful of the city's major attractions. You'll also be given a sightseeing pass so you can further explore select attractions at your leisure.
Day 7 Hoi An. Today is a free day to explore Hoi An. Maybe browse the cobbled streets and art galleries or hire a bike and cycle through rice paddies out to Cua Dai Beach. Maybe browse for paintings, ceramics and colourful cloth lanterns in the town's markets and preserved Chinese shophouses. If you're craving a new look, you could pay a visit to one of the hundreds of tailors and get something special made. Hoi An is also known for its delicious regional food, so be sure to enjoy a meal at a riverside restaurant or perhaps partake in a cooking class.
Day 8 Ho Chi Minh City. Today take a short, early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1.5 hours). Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City has a fascinating history and is arguably Vietnam's capital of commerce and culture. After landing, take a sightseeing tour around the city by bus. Pass the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, then stop in at the War Remnants Museum to discover some of the sobering stories of the 20-year-long Vietnam/American War.
Day 9 Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City. This morning head out on a day trip to explore the Mekong Delta. Board a private boat to Ben Tre to visit the coconut gardens and stop at a local home to sample tropical fruits and coconut jams. Afterwards, paddle in sampans (small rowing boats) past coconut trees along the Mekong Delta. Take a tuk-tuk tour around the villages and learn about rural life and the industry created around coconut products like brooms and coconut fibre mats. Eat lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the Delta, sampling regional specialties such as the famous elephant ear fish. Cruise the major waterways to Ben Tre boat pier, then return by bus to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy dinner this evening at KOTO, the restaurant arm of an organisation dedicated to developing the hospitality careers of marginalised young people.
Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City. There are no activities included and you're free to depart your accommodation at any time as long as you comply with check out time. If you would like to spend some more time in Ho Chi Minh City, we're happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). Ask your group leader or booking agent for more recommendations or help booking an Urban Adventure if you plan to stay.
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