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. If you have time during the day you may wish to take a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter – a maze of streets, each one traditionally devoted to a different product or industry. Other suggestions are the Tran Quoc Pagoda, the Temple of Literature 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 is closed October-November). We spend two nights in Hanoi. Our hotel is located just a short walk from the Hoan Kiem Lake, which serves as the city center. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom.
Today we explore 1000 year old Hanoi. We will be visiting the Ethnology Museum to learn about the many cultures that make up this amazing country, The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu), a 1000 year old Confucian University and a sea of calm in a hectic city. Strolling around the Old Quarter where something different and quirky is occurring on every corner and the streets are named for what they sell there, you will experience true Vietnam. Finally we get to travel like the locals with a Cyclo ride and then onwards to a performance at the famous Water Puppet Theatre.
This morning we fly to the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Hoi An. After settling into our hotel your CEO will take you on an orientation walk through this historical wonder where we will visit some of the restored sites and buildings reminiscent of a bygone era when Indian Chinese and Japanese traders haggled over spices, silk and silverwork with Portuguese and Dutch. This evening we dine at Streets Restaurant who provide training and support to street kids and disadvantaged youth. Hoi An has a unique local cuisine and on day 4 we get to experience this 1st hand with a cooking class where we will be introduced to the local ingredients and learn how to combine them to produce culinary masterpieces which we then get to enjoy over lunch. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an important trading town with strong south Chinese influence and connections. You can 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, 4kms from town makes for a great, flat bike ride. 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. Our hotel also has a swimming pool to relax by in the hot afternoons. Approximate travel times: Tranfer Hanoi hotel to airport: 45 minutes Flight Ha Noi to Danang: 1 hour Transfer Danang to Hoi An: 45 minutes
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 7 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. Today we also get to visit The Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station which rescues animals that are confiscated from the illegal animal trade in Ho Chi Minh City or other surrounded provinces. This is the fist multi-species rescue station in the South of Vietnam that can take care of many endangered wild species. After the animals have recovered and have been rehabilitated, they are returned back to the wild. To date the station has rescued over 2000 animals of many endangered species. Among those, over 1100 have been released back to the wild. Here we get a chance to see species such as Asiatic Black Bears, gibbons, langurs, loris, wild cats, pangolins, cobras, freshwater turtles, sea turtles, monitor lizards as well as many species of birds. With your free time in Ho Chi Minh City 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 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: Transfer Hoi An to Danang Airport: 45 minutes Flight Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City: 1 hour Transfer HCMC airport to hotel: 45 minutes
Today we travel to where the mighty Mekong River approaches and empties in to the South China Sea. We board a small boat and navigate through the narrow canals, witnessing local lifestyle, floating vendors and small industrial boats. You will notice that many of the Vietnamese boats have eyes painted on the front to ward off evil spirits and to help guide the boat and crew safely back to land. We disembark our boat to visit some cottage industries for which the area is famous. Don't miss the chance to try the unique regional 'elephant fish' at a local restaurant during our lunch break. We spend the night in a homestay that offers basic accommodation and a great chance to interact with the locals. Each person will be provided with a mattress, blankets and a mosquito net. Approx travel time: Private bus to the Mekong Delta: 4-5 hours
After breakfast we make our way north to the Dam Sen Water Park for a wild, wet time on the slides and rides. This is a great day and another fantastic opportunity to mix with the locals that are getting some respite from the humidity of this city. Before we have our final night celebration, you have time to do some last minute shopping and explore more of the Ho Chi Minh sites. Approx travel time: Private bus from Mekong Delta back to Ho Chi Minh City: 4 hours
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.