Classic Vietnam Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
Day 1 Hanoi
Arrive in bustling Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. As passengers will be arriving at various times today, there are no planned activities. Some suggestions include: Taking a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter – a maze of streets, each one traditionally devoted to a different product or industry. In the evening attend a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theatre. Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) or Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Museum. The Mausoleum houses the remains of Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of the unified Vietnam (the mausoleum and museum are closed in October-November). You will have a scheduled group meeting in the evening around 6pm. Please check at the reception desk or look for a G Adventures notice board with details of the actual meeting time. At this meeting your CEO will ask to sight your travel insurance, double check your Vietnam visa and complete some other paper work. Please note that most nationalities requires a visa to enter Vietnam, please double check this with your travel agent or local Vietnamese Embassy. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members. We overnight in the city center of Hanoi. Our hotel is located in an Old Quarter. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. Free wifi and a computer are available in the lobby.
Days 2-3 Halong Bay/Hanoi (2B,1L,1D)
On day 2, we have private transport to Bai Chay harbour, our entry point to Halong Bay. Thousands of islands rise dramatically from the waters of Halong Bay and, to further their beauty, intricate cave systems naturally exist throughout these limestone karst formations. Our sailing junk will take you to visit some of the islands and caves. You could enjoy an evening drink on the deck beneath the stars. Our accommodation tonight is a truly special experience – sleeping on a boat surrounded by high limestone karsts. All cabins are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. On day 3, after an early lunch on board the boat we head back to Hanoi. You have time to do some last minute shopping. The sleeper trains throughout Vietnam are quite comfortable. Each cabin sleeps 4 people in 2 bunk beds. You will be able to lock the door from the inside. All bedding is provided. The train is air conditioned and has squat and Western style toilets with a wash basin at the end of each compartment. Bags can be stored in your cabin and accessed at anytime. Food and drinks are available for purchase on board. This is not to everyone’s taste, so we recommend you bring your own. Approx travel time: Private bus Halong Bay to Hanoi: 4 hours each way Transfer to train station: 15 min Overnight train Ha Noi to Hue: 14-15 hours
Day 4 Hue
We arrive early on day 4 into Hue, once the imperial capital of Vietnam. After checking in to our hotel, we start our day with a visit to the wonderful Tien Mu Pagoda. Built over 400 years ago, and at seven stories high, Tien Mu is still the tallest and perhaps the most elegant pagoda in Vietnam. We then visit a tomb of one of Vietnam’s former emperors. These tombs are extremely ornate and embrace the concept of Feng Shui. Afterwards, you may choose to enjoy a vegetarian lunch at a local nunnery and there are various options to head out by bike to explore the local countryside. Please ask your CEO for more information. In the evening, take the chance to try some local Hue specialties such as banh khoai (Hue savoury pancakes), and banh bot loc boc tom thit (thin rice paper filled with meat and shrimp). You might want to wash it all down with a Hue beer. Yum! Our accommodation tonight is centrally located in the main street of Hue. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. A swimming pool and wifi are also available.
Days 5-7 Hoi An (3B,1L)
This morning we’ll start our day touring the wonderful ruins of the Imperial Citadel, from where the whole of Vietnam was once ruled. You’ll enjoy exploring the many palaces and gateways, courtyards and gardens of this beautiful complex and of course hearing the stories of the emperors who once lived here. In the late morning we begin our drive to Hoi An. After crossing over the Hai Van Pass, with fantastic views in all directions, we will stop at Lang Co Beach, arriving in Hoi An in the afternoon for our three night stay. Enjoy a tasty cooking class with oodles of noodles (more than 26 types!). Run by Planeterra Foundation partners STREETS International, the class was developed exclusively for G Adventures. Former street youths that are part of this hospitality training program will help you prepare and cook a number of different types of noodles. This program helps these youths practice their English, increasing their skill-set and the amount of opportunities available to them in the tourism industry. Enjoy tasting these yummy creations while learning more about the local cuisine and this initiative which empowers street youths through skills and employment training. Opt to support a Planeterra project and spend an hour learning how to make your own traditional lantern and support local Vietnamese with chronic disabilities. Or take a walking tour of this living museum which includes the Museum of History and Culture, the Tan Ky house, the Japanese bridge, the Fujian Assembly Hall and lunch at a riverside restaurant to sample some of the local delicacies. Hoi An is also a shopping mecca for tourists in the region. Tailors can produce virtually anything overnight, with clothing, silk lanterns, lacquer ware and many other crafts abound. For sun worshipers, Cua Dai Beach is only 4kms from town and it is an easy bicycle ride to reach. We overnight three nights in a Hoi An. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. Free wifi and a public computer are available in the lobby. The hotel also has a swimming pool to relax beside. Approx travel time: Private transport Hue to Hoi An: 4 hours
Days 8-9 Ho Chi Minh City (2B)
Drive to Danang for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the sprawling metropolis that was once the capital of South Vietnam and remains the country’s commercial center. On the morning of Day 9 we take our guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. A complexed network of tunnels 90 minutes from the city where the locals lived during the American War to keep safe. The afternoon is free time to visit the Thien Hau and Giac Vien pagodas and stroll through the immense Ben Than Market. There is also the Reunification Palace, the residence of the presidents of South Vietnam before 1975, Cholon (literally translated: Big Market),the Chinese quarter and the War Remnants Museum. We overnight two nights in Ho Chi Minh City. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. The hotel is well located in near the Benh Than Market, backpackers area, war remnant museum and within walking distance to all the French colonial buildings. Free-Wifi and a computer are available at the lobby. Approx travel time: Private transfer Hoi An to Danang airport: 45 min Flight from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City: 1 hour
Day 10 Ho Chi Minh City (1B)
After breakfast on day 10, the tour ends and you are free to depart at any time. We look forward to receiving your evaluation regarding this tour itinerary and your CEOs performance. We value your input into what we could improve to make this trip even better and of course love hearing about what we are already doing well! You will be sent a post tour email on your return with details on how to go in line and fill in this simple form. Thank you so much in advance. Some of your group will most likely continue traveling west through Cambodia with G Adventures. If you are interested in ongoing travel in Cambodia and Thailand have a look at the following trip on our website: Cambodia Experience http://www.gadventures.com/trips/cambodia-experience/AVCW/2012/