Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.
On arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be greeted and escorted to your hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a night to remember at the Art Salon Saigon, where you will enjoy a Welcome Dinner set in a sophisticated atmosphere and accompanied by live music. (DW)
Stay Three Nights: InterContinental Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City
Marvels Of Saigon.
See the best of Saigon aboard a high speed, private chartered speedboat that will take you from the city's glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy ﬁelds scattered along the Saigon River. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Ofﬁce. Over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for local street-side cafe culture. (B/L)
Cruise The Mekong Delta.
Cruise the Mekong Delta aboard a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of the freshest juice possible. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you'll enjoy a ride on a tri-motor cycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong's, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper. (B/L)
Royal Refinement In Hue.
Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cycle ride through rice ﬁelds to Thanh Toan village and visit the Vietnamese Agriculture Museum for an insight into rice production. Then you will stroll along the canals, visit the vibrant local market and admire the ancient, arched, tile-roofed Thanh Toan Bridge, which was built in the 17th century. This evening, you will savour a delicious meal at a local restaurant. (B/DW)
Stay Two Nights: Pilgrimage Village, Hue
Highlights Of Hue.
Rise early for a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit to the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Your exploration continues to the 18th Century Dong Thuyen pagoda, where you can relax in the peaceful precinct and enjoy a delightful vegetarian lunch specially prepared by the Buddhist nuns. You'll have the opportunity to speak with the nuns and gain a better understanding of their beliefs and food philosophies. After lunch you will meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you. (B/L)
Romantic Hoi An.
Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walking exploration of this ancient town, see the old merchant's houses, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, Assembly Hall and the market where stalls are brimming with local specialities, including silk. Enjoy time at leisure to explore as you wish or ask your Travelling Concierge for local recommendations. Perhaps admire the spectacular sunset on a kayak trip along the poetic Thu Bon River, or board a local river boat to the Cua Dai Sea if you prefer a gentler pace? For a Your Choice Evening, take your pick of one of three hand-selected, local restaurants, each specializing in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion. (B/DW)
Stay Two Nights: Anantara Hoi An Resort
The Locals In Hoi An.
Visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you'll learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese folk games and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef. Savour your creations for your Highlight Lunch. (B/LW)
Hanoi Street-Food Tasting Tour.
Board a morning ﬂight to Hanoi, Vietnam's glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi's robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city's very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of your day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travel Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby. (B)
Stay: Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi
Cruise Along Ha Long Bay.
Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you'll have the choice to participate in a hands-on cooking class with the on-board chef, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner. (B/L/D)
Stay: Jasmine Cruise (Superior Cabin), Ha Long Bay
Ha Long To Hanoi.
Greet the day with a session of Tai Chi on the upper deck, or enjoy an early morning swim, or perhaps venture to a white sandy beach and climb the hilltop for views over Halong Bay? Return to the boat for breakfast as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. On return to Hanoi, stop at Dao Thuc village to meet a traditional artisan puppet maker and enjoy a delightful water-puppet performance, hosted in a lotus pond and accompanied by a live orchestra. The evening is yours to spend at leisure in Hanoi. (B)
Stay Two Nights: Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi
The Temple Of Literature.
Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the ﬁrst university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast your travels during your Celebration Dinner. (B/DW)
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)