Highlight of Vietnam - Seat in Coach Tour

In ten days, really get to know this beautiful country. The tour includes three nights in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with many stops in between.


Day 1     Saigon
     
Sightseeing in Saigon
A vibrant metropolis, SAIGON teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the meeting of traditional and modern life. The emerging modern skyline stands cheek by jowl with colonial buildings and traditional temples. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on motorbikes, chatting on cellphones; inside the quiet temple courtyards, worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense.
Begin your tour into modern history with a tour of the REUNIFICATION PALACE. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates.
Afterwards driving to the historic center to visit EMPEROR OF JADE PAGODA, one of Saigon's most interesting pagoda. Proceed to pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL and the CENTRAL POST OFFICE. Pass by the classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate CITY HALL (HOTEL DE VILLE), the old OPERA HOUSE (both may only be viewed from the outside). Finally, end up at the central BEN THANH MARKET, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste.
Overnight in Saigon.


Day 2     Saigon (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Excursion to Cu Chi Tunnels
Never discovered by American forces, the CU CHI TUNNELS were an important Vietcong base during the American War. Stretching over 200 km, this incredible underground network, dug by hand out of hard laterite, connected command posts, hospitals, shelter and weapon factories. Today, you can walk through the area and learn about the day-to-day life of the VC, see the cleverly disguised entrances and elaborate booby-traps, and even venture inside the tunnels, some of which have been modified to accommodate tourists.
Sightseeing in Cholon (Chinatown)
The sprawling, densely packed CHOLON (CHINATOWN) constantly bustles with activity and retains a traditional feeling, unlike the more modern Saigon city center. Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with CHINESE MEDICINE MARKET and BINH TAY MARKET, the vast wholesale market selling every kind of good from dried foods to T shirts to electronics. Continue to THIEN HAU PAGODA, build by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 3     Saigon (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Excursion to Ben Tre with boat trip on Mekong River
After a journey through BEN LUC and TAN AN, the proceed to Ben Tre to take a boat trip on MEKONG River to VAM XEP canal where local handicrafts and coconut sweets are produced. Enjoy fresh seasonal fruits, a performance of traditional songs, and observe the local life. Take a short ride on a horse carriage to a typical local house to taste some homemade honey-tea. Proceed by sampan through the small canals to observe the daily life of local people along the riverbanks with some stops for a leisurely stroll.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 4     Saigon - Hue (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Transfer
Flight from Saigon to Hue.
Transfer
Sightseeing in Hue
Hue served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. It houses ancient temples, imperial buildings and French-style edifices. It was established in the 17th century.
Visit the Imperial Tombs of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh
Venture into the countryside around Hue to the IMPERIAL TOMB OF TU DUC. Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese emperor, designed and built this elegant tomb during his lifetime, using it as a retreat for meditation, reading and theater performances. Take some time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere, wandering among the gracefully proportioned pavilions, courtyards and lotus ponds. Afterwards visit the IMPERIAL TOMB OF KHAI DINH, dramatically located on a hillside. The last of the monumental tombs of the Nguyen dynasty, completed in 1931, this tomb incorporates distinct European elements into the traditional Vietnamese architecture.
Visit the Old Imperial City
Located in the heart of Hue is the IMPERIAL CITADEL, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modeled after the Forbidden City of Peking. The original walls stretched for 10 km and were surrounded by a wide moat. Today, most of the buildings have been destroyed due to bombing during the Vietnam-American War, but the monuments that remain provide a fascinating glimpse into the court life of the Nguyen Dynasty. Approach the city past the striking FLAG TOWER, where a giant Vietnamese flag waves proudly overhead, to the imposing NGO MON GATE, the main entrance to the Imperial Enclosure. Enter into an area of spacious courtyards and serene lotus ponds, and visit DIEN THO Residence (Dien Tho palace) is where the Queen mother lived, visit THAI HOA PALACE, the magnificently decorated reception hall, the HALLS OF THE MANDARINS, and the original NINE DYNASTIC URNS, among other sites.
Overnight in Hue.

Day 5     Hue - Hoi An (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Excursion to Thuy Bieu village with lunch at local house
Around 9.00 am, embark on boat at Toa KHam wharf and start a cruise on Perfume River. Visit the iconic THIEN MU PAGODA. Back to the boat for a scenic cruise to Thuy Bieu Village. Arrive in THUY BIEU VILLAGE, enjoy a nice walking or biking around village. Visit the garden house, ancient ancestral temple and communicate with local people. Visit incense making family and discover the daily life of local people while they are working strenuously with joy and enthusiasm. Have a lunch at local house with Hue traditional specialties. Relax by steeping your foot in with medicinal herbs water
a traditional therapeutically practices. Enjoy excellent massage by blind people. End of this tour at Thuy Bieu Village.
By vehicle from Hue to Hoi An with sightseeing in Danang
Journey from Hue over scenic mountainous roads with spectacular views over the coastline. Halfway between Danang and Hue lies the dramatic HAI VAN PASS, the high dividing line between the climate zones of north and south Vietnam. Continue southwards passing LANG CO, a lovely stretch of beach curving outwards between a clear blue lagoon and the East Vietnam Sea. After arriving in DANANG, tour the CHAM MUSEUM, an elegant colonial building which now houses the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world and briefly pass NON NUOC BEACH, a famous spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam-American War. Continue south to Hoi An, stopping enroute to visit the MARBLE MOUNTAINS, five stone hillocks, once islands, that now rise sharply from the surrounding ricefields. Riddled with caves and shrines, they are said to each represent one of the five elements of the universe.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 6     Hoi An (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Sightseeing in Hoi An with a boat trip on the Thu Bon River
The exquisitely preserved merchant town of HOI AN was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Its colorful shophouses and temples reflect a diverse heritage, dating back to the 16th and 17th century, when it was a major port for Western, Chinese and Japanese traders. Today it is a thriving center of traditional crafts and a shoppers paradise, best explored on foot. Wander through the cobbled streets, past low tile-roofed buildings, the bustling central MARKET and the small HARBOUR where colorfully painted boats are moored. The walking tour will include visits to a PRIVATE HOUSE, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries in a traditional setting; to one of the FAMILY CHAPELS built by prominent merchant or official families as centers for ancestor worship; and to a typical CHINESE-STYLE PAGODA or ASSEMBLY HALL. Continue to SA HUYNH MUSEUM, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, it contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Visit a handicraft workshop in Hoi An where local products are being made by the industry itself. Finally, continue to the famous JAPANESE COVERED BRIDGE PAGODA, first constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream.
In the afternoon, board a local boat and cruise down the THU BON RIVER, enjoying the unspoiled countryside and stopping to visit a POTTERY VILLAGE and a WOODCARVING VILLAGE before returning to Hoi An harbour.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7     Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Transfer to Danang airport
Flight from Danang to Hanoi.
Transfer
Sightseeing in Hanoi with Electric car (possible to make some stops en route)
Capital of Vietnam, HANOI is a blend of long established traditions and modern imprints of Western colonization. Tree-lined boulevards and colonial buildings give the city a touch of Western elegance, while crowded blocks of tiny old houses and narrow lanes full of daily life bear the charms of the past centuries. Take 60 minute ride on an electric car to explore the Old Quarter famous for 36 streets of craftsmen. The tour passes by well-known landmarks including HOAN KIEM LAKE and DONG XUAN MARKET.
Visit a Water Puppet Show
WATER PUPPET SHOW: a fantastic art form originating in the northern Vietnam, best seen in Hanoi.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 8     Hanoi (Breakfast: Hotel / Lunch: Seafood Lunch on Boat Trip )
     
Excursion to Halong Bay with boat trip including lunch (4 hours)
Depart from Hanoi in the morning for scenic Halong Bay. Arriving at the pier around noon, board your charming traditional wooden junk for cruising through the Bay. Lunch will be served while boat cruising through the bay. Following cruise by rock formations with such names as Stone Dog, Incense Burner (Dinh Huong), Fighting Cock (Ga Choi). At the core of the islets, there are two wonderful caves and grottoes to visit as Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto), Dau Go (Driftwood Grotto) before returning to Halong pier. Disembark at Halong pier at approximately 16.30 pm and return to Hanoi by vehicle.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 9     Hanoi (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Sightseeing in Hanoi
Visit the Temple of Literature
TEMPLE OF LITERATURE: a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam's first university. In one courtyard, giant stone tortoises bear stele on their backs, listing the accomplishments of graduating scholars.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex
Begin at the HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM, where visitors can pay respects to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. The Mausoleum is closed in the afternoons, on Mondays and Fridays, and closes annually in October and November for restoration (can only view from the outside). Continue to the PRESIDENTIAL PALACE (may be viewed from the outside only). Stroll through the park to HO CHI MINH STILT HOUSE, the simple two-room dwelling where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days. Preserved in the same condition as during his life, it may be viewed through the windows. Visit the miniature ONE PILLAR PAGODA. Also dating from the 11th century, this monument was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954. Today it stands near the vast HO CHI MINH MEMORIAL COMPLEX, a lovely park setting which is home to Ho Chi Minh's final resting place, as well as a museum and other memorials.
Visit the Museum of Ethnology
MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY: This museum brings to life the astonishing ethnic diversity in Vietnam, with art and artifacts from the 54 different ethnic groups that inhabit the country. Inside the museum are detailed descriptions of minority groups, with examples of their traditional clothing and way of life. Outside are faithful reconstructions of traditional longhouses, cemeteries and other distinctive ethnic buildings.
Afternoon at leisure
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 10     Hanoi (Breakfast: Hotel )
     
Time at leisure

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