Indochina Panorama

Day 1

Depart Dublin to Hanoi

Day 2

Hanoi Arrival

Arrival and welcome at Hanoi Airport. Transfer to your hotel for check in. Your room is available anytime from 14.00. Early check in subject to room availability. After that, free at leisure to relax or explore the diverse architecture of Hanoi and its famous 36 streets of the Old Quarter on your own. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3

Hanoi sightseeing (B)

Leaving the hotel early in the morning to take a walk through Hang Be market – one of the most famous markets OR small local market in Hanoi thanks to its diverse array of goods and eye catching displays. Take this chance to observe the daily life of the locals and capture some memorable pictures. Then, start to explore the diversified architecture of Hanoi and its famous 36 streets of the Old Quarter by a walking tour. The purpose of today’s walking tour is to discover Hanoi’s architecture, which reflects the atmosphere and soul of Hanoi. The rich diversity reaches from Vietnamese, Chinese and French colonial to Communist architecture. You will find Hanoi a real architectural treasure as you explore a traditional tube house. And you will see how attractive a small pagoda in the center of Hanoi can be.

Continue our day with a journey to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (outside), the traditional stilt house and the revered One-Pillar Pagoda. The balance of the day is free at your leisure. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4

Hanoi – Halong Bay (B, L, D) – Sailing on private cruise

Leave Hanoi for Halong bay, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site with its 3,000 islands of towering limestone dotting the bay and Gulf of Tonkin where will offer you numerous of chances to take the pictures (180km – 3.5 to 4 hours driving). After arriving at noon, you will board a beautiful boat for an overnight cruise on Halong Bay with an excellent menu of fresh seafood. Lunch and dinner are served on boat. Overnight on board.

Day 5

Halong Bay – Hanoi - Water puppet show at Yen Duc Village – Hue (B)

Wake up early in the morning to enjoy aquamarine water of the bay at its best. After tea break, the boat continues to cruise quietly through spectacular limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy this more isolated bay’s spectacular and unique islands of the bay. Return to Halong harbor around noontime. We’ll head back to Hanoi, passing a vast expanse of rice fields of the Red River Delta. You will see scenes of farmers working in the fields, children going to school, and even little pigs being brought into town on motorbikes. You will then enjoy a Water Puppet non private show at Yen Duc Village. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history. Flight Hanoi – Hue VN 1547 @ 19.15 – 20.25

Be welcomed by your local driver upon arrival and transferred to your hotel for check in. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

Hue – Hoi An Ancient Town (B)

In the morning, pay a visit to the majestic Imperial Citadel of Hue, located along Perfume River. After that, visit a beautiful garden house where a charming Vietnamese couple will welcome you. The landlord will first of all give you a guided tour of the various centenarian buildings, which make up the house and then invite you a cup of tea with the traditional cakes.

Depart by car for Danang (105km – 2 – 2.5 hours driving) via the scenic Hai Van Pass, where we will enjoy the spectacular panorama of the central coastline from the summit. Stop at Lang Co to stretch your legs on the white sands of this peaceful beach. Upon arrival in Hoi An, check in your resort.

After a short rest, take a stroll to visit Hoi An town, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Set out to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites include the Japanese Bridge, the Chinese Temple, and Phung Hung Chinese-style trading house. Then you have some free time where you can visit the local markets or maybe have your own suite or clothing made. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Hoi An free day (B) – Without guide or vehicle

Spend the whole day freely at leisure to explore Hoi An Town, an enchanting little old town of Vietnam. Its timeless charm has survived through all ravage of war and time and still shining in its quiet lanes lined with colorful lantern rows or relaxes on the beach. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Option 1: Biking to Duy Vinh weaving villages – Supplement: + € 48 per person

You will depart from the pier located in the old city of Hoi An on a local boat (bac), the only means of transport to sail to the island of Cam Kim. After the crossing of a few minutes, you will reach the village of Kim Bong, and then visit M. Huynh Suong’s workshop, a famous sculpting artist who will teach you about his art.

You will then ride your bikes towards the mat weaving village of Duy Vinh. Over the 13-km route, you will enjoy landscapes of rice fields, bamboo fields and shaded paths. Once in the village, you will discover its traditions and special know-hows, which have been passed on from generation to generation. If you are there in May or August (rush harvest), the various stages of mat making will no longer bear any secrets for you as you learn how to slice the rush stems, dye them and dry them. During the other months, the villagers will show you how they actually weave the mats. After this initiation, you will cross a small dam to reach the fishing village of Duy Vinh. Finally, you will once again board the boat to return straight to Hoi An town then back to your hotel. Meals on your own. Services end. 

Day 8

Hoi An – Danang – Saigon (B)

You will have more time to enjoy Hoi An before transfer without guide to airport for your short flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Meet your local driver on arrival and drive to your hotel for check-in. Flight Danang – Saigon VN 117 @ 14.20 – 15.35. The balance of the day is free at leisure. Meals are on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9

Saigon – Cu Chi Tunnels (B)

This morning we will leave the city by private vehicle to visit the amazing tunnel network of Cu Chi (70 km – 1.5 hours driving). This incredible system, covering almost 250km in length was shelter to over 16,000 Vietcong guerrillas during the wars. Initially started in 1948 to provide shelter against the French air and ground sweeps, the network went on to serve as communication routes, storage facilities, hospitals and living quarters for Vietnamese fighters throughout the American war.  If you are interested (and game) you can even descend into the tunnels to learn more about the harsh conditions faced by Vietcong guerrillas who lived there. Return to the city centre in the late morning.

The balance of the day is free at leisure (No guide, no vehicle) to set out on a tour of the former capital of French Indochina. Historic landmarks include the Old Saigon post office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House, City Hall. You could also visit China Town, bustling area in Saigon where offer you the real felling about energetic Saigon. Your discovery of Cholon will invariably take you to one of the traditional pharmacopeia boutiques, to the Thien Hau pagoda, the most majestic in the city, as well as Binh Tay market. This market is located in a vast ochre-coloured building designed by a French architect and financed by a Chinese merchant. It is famous for being the most impressive in Vietnam, with its thousands of stalls and its great variety of goods. It truly is the temple of commerce in Saigon. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Option 2: Good morning Saigon on Vespa (From 5.30 am to 10.00 am) + € 69 per person

Imagine how excited you will feel on the back of an old Vespa taking a tour around the districts of Ho Chi Minh City? With this activity, you will be at one with the locals in their daily life. During the 4 hour tour, Vespa riders will pass through 3 districts, District 1, District 3 and District 7: that is to say the main districts of the city and where one will find the principal tourist sites and monuments. The tour starts at 6am from the hotel. Riders are then taken to the City Center and stop at the park for morning exercises or Tai Chi with the locals. The tour continues on your two wheeled adventure around the main parts of the city. Visitors will also stop to visit the new urban area named Phu My Hung which is one of the most luxurious and beautiful areas of Ho Chi Minh. Local breakfast and coffee en route.

Option 2: A O Show at 6.00 pm – Ooh section – Supplement € 35/person

Around 5.15 pm, our local driver will take you to the Opera House to enjoy a totally unique À Ố Show, a new kind of art performance commonly acknowledged globally as “new circus”. Here you will be offered the opportunity to let loose their imagination once they are set off by the visual creation and lighting of each performance. The chastity of bamboo, basket boat and its use in the daily life of many Vietnamese are leading visuals for the show. With no script, no climax and no sequence, you will be gently introduced to many different tones of emotion during 60 minutes of the show.

 Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10

Unseen Mekong Delta (B, L)

Today we depart from Ho Chi Minh City to explore Ben Tre in the Mekong Delta (130km – 2.5 – 3 hour driving). Pick up at the Phong Nam pier.

Get on boat and will cruise along the Chet Say river (a branch of the Mekong) and stop off at various local workplaces to give you a picture of how the local economy works, including coconut activated charcoal factory where coconut shell is put into high heat kiln to produce coconut charcoal; a coconut processing workshop, where you can sample fresh coconut and see how every single part of this versatile nut is turned into food and other products.

Then the boat will cruise through the small canal, discover the local life. The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can have a short walk to experience real Delta village life, visit  a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom – you can even have a go at weaving yourself before boarding your xe loi (a kind of motorized rickshaw) or biking into the village where you can see farm, rice field and vegetable plan  before stopping at a local house for a delicious and filling lunch, featuring such local specialties as elephant-ear fish and river shrimp, washed down with some cold drinks or beers.

It’s time to board a sampan for a relaxing trip along narrow canals. Take boat back to Pier. Back to the main road for a transfer to Saigon. Dinner on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11

Saigon – Siem Reap (B)

Free at leisure until transfer back to Saigon Airport where you catch direct flight to Siem Reap VN 3821 @ 15.55 – 16.55. Welcome arrival and transfer no guide to your hotel for check in. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12

Angkor Wat – Ta Prohm – Angkor Thom (B)

Meet your guide this morning and leave by tuk-tuk for the  arvelous temple of Angkor Wat, a world heritage site featuring the most extraordinary towers and bas-reliefs. This is one of the most astonishing monuments ever conceived by mankind, and was erected in the 12th century (1112-1152) in honour of Vishnu. Keeping your journey to visit the smaller temple of Ta Prohm which has been left in its natural, un-restored state, with giant tropical trees bursting through the ruins, their roots clinging like vast tentacles across the walls and roofs.

In the afternoon, visit the Great City of Angkor Thom beginning at the south gate and the famous Bayon temple of the 12th and 13th centuries. Dedicated to Buddhism, Bayon consists of 54 gigantic towers featuring 216 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara. Then, cross to the Elephant Terrace which, at 350m long, used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king’s grand audience hall. After, move to the raised terrace of the Leper King, from the 12th century, which bears many beautifully sculptured Apsara statues. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12

Siem Reap free day (B) – Without guide or vehicle

Enjoy the whole day freely to discover Siem Reap by your own space. Meals on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Option 4: Half day trip to Tonle Sap (L) – Supplement: + € 70 per person

In the morning, you venture to a more remote and less visited area of the massive Tonle Sap Lake where you will visit by boat the Kompong Kleang floating village. Here all the houses are on stilts offering an exceptional natural environment offering breathtaking views of floodplains, rice fields and water views as far as the eye can see. Afterwards, travel by boat over the canals to a large lake where Vietnamese people live when they are displaced from their homes because of the seasons. Return to the village and have a picnic lunch in a villager’s home. Head back to your hotel in Siem Reap in the early afternoon. Check in your hotel then free.

Option 5: Half day trip to Beng Melea – Supplement: + € 35 per person

In the morning, transfer to visit the Temple of Bang Melea in the jungle. Bang Melea was built during the reign of Suryavarman II, in the middle of the twelfth century. Far from the bustle of Angkor Wat it gives the visitor the impression of being the first explorer to the temple. Then back to your hotel in the late morning. Meals on your own.

Option 6: Half day cycling to Roluos group – Supplement: + € 84 per person

We will spend time to discover one of the most ancient sites of the region: the Roluos group. Begin your visit with the impressive Bakong Temple, a 9th century temple, then Preah Ko and Lolei which today houses a small monastery. This is an ideal introduction to Angkor because it allows you to understand how the Khmer City was structured. Take a bicycle ride around Bakong and the surrounding countryside where you will be served an aperitif. Return to the hotel. Meals on your own.

Day 13

Siem Reap – Koh Samui (B) – Without guide

Enjoy your last time in lovely Siem Reap town before transfer no guide to airport where you take flight back to your home or next destination. Room is at your disposal until noon time only. Meals on your own. Arrival & transfer to hotel. Overnight in Samui.

 

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