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Set before the mesmerising backdrop of some of the most breathtaking landscapes in South East Asia, Vietnam’s rich and diverse cultural heritage re ects a rare complexity of styles. A compelling destination with colourful local traditions and fascinating cultures and histories.
Welcome to Vietnam and the tree-lined streets of Hanoi, with its iconic French colonial architecture and its network of markets presenting the myriad tastes and smells of Vietnam. This afternoon you will take a cyclo tour through the Old Quarter. Also visit the Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Stay 2 nights at Silk Path Hotel Hanoi or similar. Please note: if the flight arrives into Hanoi at approximately 7:30am rooms at the Silk Path Hotel may not be available until early afternoon, it may be decided to undertake the Hanoi sightseeing during the morning.
Depart from your hotel to Hanoi's downtown area and the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, where you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese coffee before commencing on a fascinating walking 'voyage of discovery' amongst the labyrinth of hidden alleyways that intersperse the 36 Streets of the Old Quarter. This is 'secret' Hanoi, far from public view where a dark single file passage opens to secret Pagoda or a unique historical gem. Discover hidden water wells, ancient staircases, delight at the fascinating and innovative architecture. Photo opportunities are abounding as our guide will share with you, not only the history but daily rituals and regimes that will intrigue and amaze. Getting lost (and finding yourself again) in these hidden alleyways is a truly rewarding and special experience. Visit the House of Ho Chi Minh. The rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure. Please note: today's sightseeing may vary in running order to avoid over crowding - your guide will advise locally (B)
Cruise The Bay of Wonders, relax on the crystal blue ocean or charming white sand beaches, enjoy your journey to the land of pleasure with wonderful landscapes, fresh and tasty seafood, and a peaceful atmosphere.
9:30 You’ll be collected from your Hanoi hotel and transferred to the cruise terminal – Cat Hai Town, Haiphong City. You will arrive around 11:30.
12:00 Time to board your tender to the AZALEA CRUISE or similar subject to change
12:15 Welcome onboard Azalea Cruise where you will spend the next 2 nights in a deluxe balcony cabin. Before settling in and enjoying the on board facilities you are required to have a cruise briefing including some safety instructions. Enjoy a welcome drink before heading for your cabin. Your cruise will now commence exploring the beautiful Halong Bay - one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
12:40 The cruise will continue to Da Chong islet, where you’ll be able to see a lighthouse built by the French over 100 years ago. Lunch will be provided while passing via the islets of Con Vit and Gia Luan. These amazing limestone karst formations rise up out of the sea in an impressive manner.
3:00 You’ll continue to Ba Trai Dao beach area of Lan Ha Bay. The region is renowned for its pristine beaches and spectacular beauty, you may wish to try your hand at kayaking or simply just enjoy a swim immersed in the crystal-clear water of the bay (from October to May Lan Ha Bay - From June to September, you will visit Tra Bau)
6:00 It’s time to try the authentic well-known local liquor as “Ba Kich liquor”, this is not compulsory but a great opportunity to experience a very tasty purple liquor
6:30 After spending time some time swimming in the crystal clear waters, you’ll return back to the ship where you can watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Whilst onboard you may wish to join a traditional cooking class .The chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnam dishes. In the early evening sit back and enjoy drinks at the bar during happy hour deal.
7:30 Dinner will be served which will be delicious local food, prepared and served for you by the wonderful onboard catering staff.
9:30 After dinner, why not head up to the top deck to enjoy a drink or two from the bar (additional cost) taking in the landscape of the bay at night. You may wish to try your hand at some night squid fishing or kick back and watching a movie.
11:00 End of Day One programme, overnight on board. (B/L/D)
6:00 The day starts early onboard with Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Followed by tea/coffee and pastries for light breakfast served in the dining room with views overlooking the bay, before continuing with your journey.
8:30 You’ll transfer to a ‘day boat’ to Viet Hai village. You will take a bicycle trip along the village path and go through rain forests, enjoying stunning scenery of rice fields on the way. During your time in the village, you will be able to experience local life and see how local villagers live day to day. Head back to the ‘day boat’ for a visit to Lan Ha Bay. Lunch will be served onboard the day boat.
1:30 During your visit to Lan Ha Bay, there will be some free time for kayaking and swimming at Ba Ham Lake area. A system comprising three wide and round pits, linked together by a narrow and meandering tunnel. Stalactites hang from the ceiling in a myriad of strange, colorful forms (weather permitting).
4:00 Return back to the ship, you’ll return back to the ship where you can watch the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Whilst onboard you may wish to join a traditional cooking class .The chef will instruct you in the making of some Vietnam dishes. In the early evening sit back and enjoy drinks at the bar during happy hour deal.
7:30 Dinner will be served, enjoy delicious local food prepared and served for you by the wonderful onboard catering staff.
9:30 Enjoy the landscape of the bay at night up on the top deck. Relax whilst enjoying drinks from the bar. Try your hand at night squid fishing, watching a movie in the restaurant.
11:00 End of Day Two programme, overnight on board. (B/L/D)
6:00 Why not rise early to witness the bay at its very best whilst enjoying an invigorating Tai Chi session on the sundeck. After a light breakfast will be served. Upon completing breakfast we will continue with your journey and head out in canoes to explore the bay where Toi Sang cave is located.
9:30 Time to head back to the ship for check-out procedures and formalities. 10:00 whilst cruising back to Halong Bay, you will be served a delightful brunch 10:30 Enjoy a Vietnamese tea ceremony in the restaurant and learn how to enjoy Vietnamese tea and Vietnamese culture. Your tea ceremony will be held with your crew team giving you time to mingle.
11:35 The time has come to bid farewell to your crew as your Halong bay cruise has come to an end. Return by road to Hanoi airport (approximately 2 hours 30 minutes) for your flight to Danang. You will be met and transferred to the Royal Hoi An Resort or similar for 3 nights. (B)
Azalea Cruise inclusions: English speaking tour guide on boat Meals aboard the cruise as detailed above Activities: Kayaking, Cooking class, Tai Chi Class, Bamboo boat, Swimming (weather permitting), Movies, Squid fishing and Sightseeing entrance fees Luxury cabin with A/C Day boat for exploring Viet Hai village, Ba Ham lake, kayaking and tour guide for the 2nd day of 3 days/2nights package Welcome drink, cold towels, fresh flower and fresh fruits basket, two bottle of mineral water in each cabin
Azalea Cruise Exclusions: any beauty or Spa treatments Beverages Tips and gratuities and other personal expenses Any other services that are not detailed within the itinerary. Please note: The itinerary for the Azalea Cruise is subject to change due to weather or tidal conditions without prior notice. Please note: The ship being used for this cruise is subject to change. Please note: The timings displayed in the above itinerary are for your reference and guidance only - subject to change
Today you will take a walking tour of Hoi An, which is well-known for its cosmopolitan trading past, traffic-free historic streets, Phuc Kien Hall and the Japanese covered bridge built in the 1590’s. You will make a stop at a colorful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk. After taking the local market, lunch will be taken at local restaurant. In the afternoon enjoy a relaxing guided bike ride through the charming surrounding countryside of Hoi An, experiencing the fascinating day-to-day life of its friendly locals at your own pace. (B/L)
A day at leisure to simply relax or maybe further explore. Why not take an optional half day tour to the ruins of My Son which is Vietnam's most important Cham site, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (pre-bookable with an additional charge). (B)
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning where you will enjoy a quick Pho lunch stop at a local restaurant before an afternoon visit to the remarkable Cu Chi Tunnels. You will visit the astounding 250km vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defense against the French and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper second, and even third level tunnels. Those preferring to remain above ground there is ample opportunity to view an excavated areas from above. Your guide will advise you of the length and level of difficulty of each tunnel before entering - some are easily accessed by stairs. The tunnels are low and narrow and although they can be claustrophobic, there are plenty of other things of interest for those who choose not to enter the tunnels. We recommend good walking shoes and sun protection for this tour and advise you may get a little dirty! Stay 2 nights at the Paragon Saigon Hotel or similar. (B)
This morning depart Ho Chi Minh City for the (approximately 2 hours 30 minutes) drive toward Cai Be town where you will take a private cruise excursion departing from Phu An hamlet at around 10:00. Upon embarkation of the Cai Be Princess Sampan, you will be welcomed with cold towels and a refreshing drink. The tour will start with a visit to the Cai Be floating market. Here we cruise among local sampans coming from all provinces of the delta loaded with fruit and vegetables. Your sampan will proceed to Dong Hoa Hiep island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. During this 40-minutes cruise you will be able to discover the beautiful landscapes along the river and observe typical Mekong Delta rural life. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. Later we visit an ancient mandarin house dating from the 19th century. Our other stops will allow you to see the making of coconut candy and puffed rice (the local equivalent of popcorn). Your cruise will end at Le Longanier Restaurant where lunch will be served in this exquisite colonial-style villa set in a lush tropical garden by the river surrounded by fruit trees. After a short walk along a beautiful canal where your vehicle will take you back to Ho Chi Minh City. (B/L)
Morning at leisure until check-out time at 12 noon with the opportunity of a half day Saigon city tour to visit to the Reunification Palace which is now preserved as a museum, including the famous underground communication bunkers and the War Remnants Museum (pre-bookable with an additional charge). In the afternoon depart for the UK or your onward destination. (B) Please note: this excursion will be dependence of your flight time back to the UK or to Cambodia, if you have chosen this option.
Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.
Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.
Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.
Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.
If you wish to arrive earlier, extra nights can be added to your tour in the Silk Path Hotel in Hanoi. Extension to Cambodia is available. Early and late checkouts are available and pre-bookable at an additional supplement.
GMT +7 hours (summer) +8 hours (winter).
9 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 dinners.
Tours listed in the itinerary.
Half day tour in My Son
Palace and Museum tour in Saigon (for who have either an afternoon/evening flight back to UK).
Occasionally we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.
British nationals do not need a visa for Vietnam if travelling before 30 Jun ’21 for up to 15 days stay. If travelling longer than 15 days then holders of UK Passports will require a visa to visit Vietnam. If you would like to obtain your visas prior to travel we recommend processing your visa directly with ‘CIBT’ who will obtain all visas and return your passport to you by registered post. Contact them on www.uk.cibt.com/virginholidaysjourneys or 0844 800 4650.
Add on our Classic Cambodia tour as an extension to the Images of Vietnam. Fly direct from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh for overnight and then to Siem Reap to see the magnifcent temples of Angkor Wat.