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Vietnam’s heritages span more than a millennium, and is continuous from its vibrant urban centers to its historic countryside. On this captivating tailor-made Vietnam Luxury Tour which can be done North to South or vice versa, you will experience the diverse cultures that have formed the modern day country, from the former imperial cities to French colonialism, rewarding you the opulent legacies of emperors and the fabulous architecture of French remnants. From lovely and tranquil lakes in the center of vibrant Hanoi to sensational cathedrals in pulsating Ho Chi Minh City, you will find luxury and charm, character and allure within the cities and the mountains, the rivers and the forest.
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DAY 01: HANOI
Welcome to HANOI, Vietnam’s vibrant capital. You will be met by your guide and driver upon arrival in Hanoi then transferred to your luxurious accommodations within the city center for check in.
Along the the way to the hotel, you will feel an immediate connection to the city that has blended its tradition and evolving cityscape beautifully, from skyscrapers to the cultural neighborhoods in Old Quarter. Even Hoan Kiem Lake within the historic center is also swaddled by colourful greenery. Take an electric bus ride (or bicycle ride if you prefer) to see the local life and some suggested sites that date back a millennium your guide would suggest.
In the evening, you can indulge in a taste of Vietnam with a chance to view the famous Water Puppet Theater. The show is a uniquely north Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history and a collection of cultural mythology; the presentation was born from farmers in flooded paddy fields during monsoon season. The jovial feeling is immediate and you know that Hanoi is a city of which you have seen no equal.
After the breakfast, begin the exploration in Hanoi with a chance to sample the fresh aroma of Vietnamese coffee, filled with rich dark roast that fills you with flavorful energy for the whole day. Follow your guide then get brimmed with excitement, from the floral scents of the Hang Da Market to the opulent architecture that acts as a reminder of the French Colonial past.
Stop at the monumental Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which houses the embalmed body of the communist leader in a glass coffin then the wooden stilt house where the president Ho Chi Minh resided in his later years. Nearby you can see the One Pillar Pagoda, founded by fatherless King Ly Thai Tong in 1049 and Temple of Literature Vietnam’s first university. Have time for the lunch break.
After lunch, follow your guide to the 11th century Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple, originally built in the sixth century, and the Taoist Quan Thanh Temple.
Travel back to the Old Quarter then visit the lakeside Ngoc Son Temple, dedicated to the 13th century national hero Tran Hung Dao which stands along the lake’s edge at the center of Jade Island. The temple is connected by a scarlet bridge that gracefully arches over the water. The tranquil quarters of Hoan Kiem Lake provide you with a local getaway within the dangling greenery that almost blocks the remaining city. Throughout the day you will find the fascinating history of Hanoi, diverse cultures within the modern streets, traditional shop-houses, temples and countless cafés and bars.
The new day offers another opportunity to discover the beauty of Hanoi and the surrounding country for which it represents. Today’s exploration will bring you one of the best experiences that you only find in best tours in Vietnam.
Pay a visit to the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi which gives you insight into the variety of ethnic groups within the country, dedicated to the heritage and preservation of socio-cultural diversity. The building carries on its back a modern construction and character which takes great care to keep the proud displays of traditional culture and the collection of diverse tribal material approachable. Step inside and witness from art to artifacts, and everyday objects, that are often unknown cultures residing within the hills. You will become connected to a heritage you may have not even known, within colourful, geometric textiles and intricate jewelry. Wander through the courtyard that houses a small stream and little bridges and where you will come upon traditional homes, including a house on stilt of the Tay ethnic minority. Strong wooden pillars hold the thatched roof and open windows offer a refreshing cross breeze.
Return to city centre to have lunch, then visit the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (or Hanoi Hilton), where American prisoners of war were once confined. Dinner and free at leisure.
Following breakfast, leave Hanoi for the 3hr 30mins drive towards HALONG BAY, travelling through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta.
Upon arrival around noontime to Halong City’s pier, check in formalities and board one of the best Vietnam luxury cruises on the emerald green waters of beautiful Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dotted with more than 2,000 towering karst islands topped with dense jungle foliage. Lunch (with fresh seafood) will be served on board while cruising into the bay.
In the afternoon, enjoy sightseeing, on-board activities or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Wake up early to enjoy a memorable sunrise over the karst formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy the delicious breakfast while the junk cruises back towards the port through more limestone formations.
Upon arrival to port, disembark and being transported back to Hanoi Airport for the flight to ancient imperial city of HUE. Your guide and driver will be awaiting to transport you to the hotel for check in.
This morning, pay a visit to the city’s vibrant Dong Ba Market which is full of fresh produce. Enjoy a leisurely cyclo ride (or rickshaw) through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the emperors used to relax. The lake is abundant of lotus flowers in summer and is surrounded by local style coffee shops, a favourite local spot to pass the time.
Continue the tour to the former imperial capital. Commence at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. The citadel was heavily bombed and badly damaged in the latter stages of the French and American wars but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today. It also reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern. Take a break for the lunchtime.
After exploring the ancient ruins and enjoy the delicious lunch, pay a visit to another highlight of Hue city, 17th-century Thien Mu Pagoda which overlooks the Perfume River. Visit the 21-meter tower which is the centerpiece of the pagoda, representing seven reincarnations of Buddha. On the pagoda grounds you will see the famous Austin car a resident monk drove to Saigon in 1963 to protest against the southern regime. The photo of his self immolation is one of the most well known images of the war. After the tour, enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure.
Begin the exploration this morning with a chance to witness the grand commemorations of the past emperors within the remarkable city of Hue. From the rule of Emperor Tu Duc to Emperor Khai Dinh, the royal tombs were created with extravagant detail and passionate dedication leaving a known legacy for the generations to come.
The sublime setting and lovely architecture of the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang has brought renown to the surrounding forestry. Located on the banks of the Perfume River, you can wander across the stone bridge that takes you over the crescent-shaped Tan Nguyet Lake, where a staircase climbs into the air flanked by dragon banisters. At the top of the staircase is the emperor’s sepulcher; the doors open once a year on the anniversary of Minh Mang’s passing.
After lunch, embark on a three and a half hour drive to HOI AN, over the Pass of Ocean Clouds (or Hai Van Pass in the Vietnamese language) which offers a spectacular panorama of the central coastline at the summit. Upon arrival in Hoi An, check in the hotel then free at leisure.
Between 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this exceptionally well-preserved and World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts former merchants’ houses, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, temples, warehouses, workshops, the colourful market, pedestrianized streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past.
Embark on a walking tour to visit the old merchant’s house with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture, the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its outstanding wood carvings and the colorful market with stalls brimming with tropical specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day.
There is also an opportunity to visit the private home of Diep Dong Nguyen which owns and displays a fascinating collection of artifacts ranging from pottery and paintings to seals and money. The remainder of the day you can wander then explore the rest of the ancient city by yourself or relax by the pool of your resort.
This morning you will take off on a half day trip to My Son Sanctuary, another World Heritage-listed site. Considered one of the best-preserved Cham centers in Vietnam, the site is the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century.
There are 20 monuments still standing today, set in a verdant valley surrounded by hills and overlooked by massive Cat’s Tooth Mountain. Stroll around the temple complex to learn about the Cham culture, architecture and civilization before come back to the resort before noon.
In the afternoon you will catch your flight to HO CHI MINH CITY. The city is the commercial hub of Vietnam and was once internationally known as Saigon. Check in the hotel then free at leisure.
Ho Chi Minh City is full of energy which reaches from the skyline to the shores of the Saigon River. The aromatics of restaurants and the vivacious pulse of commerce seem to be never ending. Depart this morning from the hotel for a full day leisurely Ho Chi Minh City tour.
Begin the day with a visit to Cholon, the Chinatown district, to discover the area’s markets, shops, and the Cantonese Thien Hau Pagoda. From here, proceed to visit the FITO Museum, Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, with an stunning collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, and objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies can be seen in the ancient books and documents as well as galleries on traditional Vietnamese medicine.
Return to the city centre to visit Ben Thanh Market where an incredible display of fresh produce is offered. Enjoy a stroll through the market exploring the variety of goods for sale. Lunch break at a restaurant.
Continue to the War Remnants or History Museum (up to personal preference) and the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. The Palace was also where the Vietnam War concluded in 1975, when a Communist tank of the North Vietnam crashed through its gates.
NOTE: History Museum is closed on Mondays.
At the heart of the rising cityscape you find the elegant artistry of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The material used to build the cathedral was shipped from France in the late 19th century, creating an iconic touch of a colonial past. The towers stand 190 feet high with the rose window as the central image. Once inside the familiar scent of myrrh enraptures you within the lofted ceilings and mesmerizing shapes of the tiled floor. The graceful structure also brings a tranquility that takes you away from the energetic pulse of the surrounding streets, giving you a moment to connect to the art, the history, and the evolving culture of former city of Saigon.
From the Cathedral of Notre Dame, stroll to the othermajor sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the elegant 19th century Old Saigon Post Office, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Opera House. Afterwards, head back to the hotel then rest.
Depart from the hotel today then head out to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, the remarkable underground tunnel network where Vietcong guerrillas hid out during the Vietnam War, within the jungles that stretch down to the delta and up to the central mountains. Containing over 170 miles of networks and just 20 miles away from Ho Chi Minh City, the tunnels continue to burrow through the countryside, constructed deep enough below ground to not have been affected by rumbling tanks or aircraft. You’ll see secret trap doors, living areas, meeting rooms and underground kitchens while you can also view excavated areas if you prefer to remain above ground. Then return to the city for lunch break at a restaurant.
In the afternoon you make your flight to DA LAT, where the cool mountain air sweeps through the surrounding peaks and foothills. Da Lat is a former cool retreat of French colonial and is a hidden gem you rarely get in luxury Vietnam tours, even in small group tours to Vietnam. Upon arrival, your guide will be awaiting to transfer you to the hotel for check in.
Refresh then check out the Crazy House, so named for the surreal architecture that makes it resemble something between a Disney Castle and a kid’s adventure playground, but this one’s for grown-ups too!
Pay a visit to Bao Dai Summer Palace. Bao Dai is the last Emperor of Vietnam. The palace contains influences of Art Deco décor where square angles connect to the rotund entrance. The back courtyard maintains its charming shape with its manicured grass and delightful geometrics. You can visit the emperor’s office within the palace, an imposing ambiance filled with regal and military seals enhanced by the large desk and collection of spears and crossbows. The surrounding landscape is lush and lavish bringing you a sense of tranquil beauty encompassing the opulent home of a former ruler.
Take an orientation tour of this former colonial hill station. Da Lat is home to Lam Vien Square, Xuan Huong Lake then Da Lat Flower Garden (formed in 1966) which is known as the paradise of flowers with a rich collection of local and foreign flower types: roses, impatiens walleriana, chives, azaleas, bird of paradise, hydrangeas, orchids, cactus. You can take pictures in the colorful flower garden, walking in bonsai park, stroll along romantic lakeside, riding horse or using the swan pedal boat.
If you love art work, XQ Embroidery village (XQ Historical Village) is a worthy place to see many miraculous handmade embroidery works and find out how they make fantastic artwork. This is the head and original hand embroidered works of XQ in Vietnam. Check out the hotel then have have lunch at the local restaurant. Visit the Dalat Railway Station which dates back to 1932 and remarkable with its architecture and its old steam locomotive.
After lunch, continue to visit the amazed Linh Phuoc Pagoda which was built from debris of glass, pottery and porcelain, and the unique Guan Yin statue by immortal flowers of Vietnam, followed by a visit to an organic vegetable farm. Have some time for refreshment and relaxation before continuing the program the late afternoon.
Explore something soft adventurous into the graceful woods to the celebrated Datanla Waterfalls, located in outskirt of the charming Da Lat. The cool climate and the lovely shaded forest of the waterfall offers a comfortable place where you can savor the views of the wildlife within the cedar aromatics of the easy walking trail. Hear the rush of water in the distance before the falls even come into view. The roaring sound guides you to the gorgeous cascades of water careening over the cliff to the iridescent water below. A footbridge arches over the water allowing for an overhead view of the winding whitewater and the protruding rocks. For a unique panorama of the forest and falls you can take a roller coaster ride along the bobsled track that weaves down the hillside with the surrounding leaves, flashing falls, and misty air all around you.
The sun washes its light over the old colonial city. Journey today on a half-day tour to visit the Lat Village nestled at the foot of Langbiang Mountain. The ethnic minority village sits at the edge of strawberry and coffee plantations which bring vibrant reds and greens to the open valley before the rising mountain. The women weave colourful and wonderful textiles with vibrant hues and intricate patterns and traditional stilt houses rise above the tall grass. Also known for remarkable flowers, the region seems to sparkle in waves of color, from reds to purples to yellows.
In the afternoon you will return to Ho Chi Minh City with the evening at your leisure.
Your Vietnam Luxury Travel comes to an end today. Breakfast at your hotel is accompanied by the rich flavor and scent of fresh Vietnamese coffee. Laid back until your private transfer will ferry you to the airport where you will catch your return flight home.
For ideas on further customization, you may want to listen to our further suggestion for your Vietnam trip.
Private Tour (for 02 pax, cheaper if more)
Tour Price Includes
13 night accommodation
Local English speaking guides
Cruise in Halong Bay
Visa approval letter
Boat in Mekong Delta,
Meals as mentioned
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included
Bottled drinking water per touring days
Tour Price Excludes
Visas stamp fee
Other meals not mentioned in the program
Domestic & International flights
Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, etc...
Tips for your guide and driver
Any camera or video fees at any sites
When to Go
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