Vietnam Highlights Sapa Extension

Day 1: Arrive Saigon

Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office

Upon arrival in Saigon, we are welcomed by your local guide and transferred to our hotel. Saigon is one of the world’s truly cosmopolitan cities with a history, culture and style obtained from colonial France, ancient China and the art deco era. Once the main port of Cambodia’s Mekong territory, Saigon became the capital of France’s Cochinchina and later the capital of the Republic of Vietnam. It remained the capital of South Vietnam until reunification at the end of the American War in Vietnam in 1975, when it was moved to Hanoi. Although the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975, the government soon realised that the proud ‘Saigonese’ would never stop calling it Saigon. Now it’s accepted that Ho Chi Minh City refers to the greater metropolitan area, while the older and central suburbs are called Saigon.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 2: Half day Saigon city tour

Free at leisure to relax in the morning then in the afternoon begin our sightseeing around Vietnam’s largest and busiest city with a visit to the imposing Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1886 and 1890, and the French-style Central Post Office. We continue to the Reunification Palace. This was the scene for the final stages of the American War in Vietnam when a North Vietnamese tank bulldozed through the gates and a soldier ran to the fourth floor of the palace to raise a North Vietnam flag from its balcony.  End of the tour at local Ben Thanh market where we can enjoy some bargain hunting.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 3: Mekong Delta day trip (Lunch)

Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta

8:00am depart from your hotel for Mekong delta. Upon arrival in My Tho, enjoy a boat cruise through the river, land on some islands between My Tho and Ben Tre, take a short walk in the local people village see their daily life. You will visit: a handicraft workshop where products are made from coconut trees, a local house where you will enjoy honey tea, honey wine then taste tropical home grown fruits while being listened to traditional music.

Leave the islands, we take the rowing boat and drift along the narrow, tree-lined canals for further exploration of the Mekong Delta. Then visit the local coconut candy workshop where you can see the local people produce coconut candy – one of special local products.

Have lunch at a local restaurant, and riding bicycle after that to see more the countryside is possible. Transfer back to Saigon, arrive at about 5:00pm – 5:30pm.
Overnight in Saigon.

Day 4: Saigon – Hue (by VN1372 11:40 am – 01:00 pm)

Imperial Citadel in Hue
Imperial Citadel in Hue

Free at leisure in the morning before transferring to the airport to take a short flight (1.15 hours) to Hue the former capital of Vietnam. Hue was the imperial capital of Vietnam from 1802-1945, when the last emperor abdicated the throne, yet is still regarded as the seat of Vietnam’s culture and religion today. The Imperial Citadel, which dominates the city, was modeled on China’s Forbidden City. The city boasts many significant pagodas and temples, as well as the grand tombs of the Nguyen Emperors.

You will take private boat to Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s oldest and most beautiful pagoda, built on a hillock overlooking the Perfume River. It is outside this pagoda that the car, driven by a monk called Thich Quang Duc, sits as a reminder of a change in the regime, which was made after the Vietnamese Buddhist crisis. Thich Quang Duc committed self-immolation in 1963 to protest against the government and in turn unwittingly produced one of the most enduring press photographs of the 20th Century.
Overnight in Hue.

Day 5: Hue full day city tour (Lunch)
This morning we visit the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City, which was built only for the Imperial family, concubines and eunuchs. The Forbidden Purple City is still being restored to this day after the destruction caused by street fighting and bombing during the French and American wars.  Followed by a cyclo ride to visit Hue city and having lunch at local restaurant.
We will visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Tomb of Minh Mang. Emperor Minh Mang reigned in the Nguyen Dynasty, the last of the Vietnamese dynasties, from 1820-1840. The construction of his tomb was completed after his death and is said to have taken approximately 10,000 workers to complete. The complex comprises of almost 40 monuments and is surrounded by gardens and pools, making it one of the more beautiful tombs.
Overnight in Hue.

Day 6: Hue – Danang – Hoi An

We leave Hue in the morning and head South to Hoi An. This drive will take us over the scenic Hai Van Pass, passing the fishing village of Lang Co, as we enjoy panoramic views of the central coastline.
En route we will stop at Marble Mountains, five mountainous outcrops of marble. Here we will have a view of Da Nang Beach, where the American Marines had a huge R&R base during the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps more than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An retains the feel of centuries past. Once known as Faifo, Hoi An was an influential port along the Silk Road. For over 500 years merchants from China, Japan, France and Portugal settled in the prosperous town resulting in a distinctive blend of culture, cuisine, religion and architecture. In 1999, the town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage listed site for having the most unique architecture in Southeast Asia. It has been restored and protected by both the UNESCO fund and proud locals ever since.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7: Hoi An half day city tour

Hoian town
Hoian town

In the morning, enjoy a walking tour of the narrow and ancient streets of this charming town. We will visit one of Hoi An’s oldest homes, built over 200 years ago and still occupied by the descendants of the merchant family that originally built it. We will also visit the traditional Hoi An Market, the Quan Cong Chinese Temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. It is local belief that the ancient houses in Hoi An have a soul, which is displayed on the house as an eye, formed from the Chinese yin-yang symbol. Newly built houses are blind, since they do not have eyes. The rest day is free at leisure to explore the town by own arrangement.
Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8: Hoi An – Danang – Hanoi (by VN180 17:30pm– 18:50pm)
Free at leisure in the morning before transferring to the airport in Danang to catch flight to Hanoi. Hanoi is a charming and richly historic city of lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks, with a population of about four million. The city center is like an architectural museum, with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town from the 1930s. Upon arrival, met and transferred to hotel. Check-in and free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 9: Hanoi – Sapa (Lunch)
This morning we will drive for around 5 hours on the highway running from Noi Bai to Lao Cai. You have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the both sides of this road.
Arrive Sapa at noon time and after having lunch a local restaurant you will visit Cat Cat village ethnic Hmong – discovered by the French and choose resort here  in the early twentieth century. Coming to Cat Cat Village, visitors will be visiting hydro power station, waterfall of the Cat Cat village and learned about the culture, customs and unique people here with traditional crafts such as weaving, touching carved silver, forged agricultural tools…
Overnight  in Sapa.

Day 10: Sapa – Lao Chai – Ta Van village (Lunch)

Sapa rice terrace
Sapa rice terrace

Meet at the hotel and transfer to Lao Chai village, a village of Black Hmong ethnic people. Here we will discover their daily life and how they make their traditional clothes, handicraft, indigo… We will visit the biggest valley which offers to you the best views of the golden rice terrace field in Vietnam. After the Lao Chai village, we walk to Ta Van village, a village of Giay people. It is a small group of ethnic people living in Vietnam, they still preserve a rich and traditional culture. We will enjoy the lunch with a local family in one of the beautiful traditional houses located on their rice paddy fields. Free at leisure to relax in the afternoon.
Overnight in Sapa.

Day 11: Sapa – Hanoi
You could decide to stay longer in Sapa after midday or we could drive back to Hanoi in the morning.
Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 12: Hanoi Half Day City Tour – Departure

Tower at Tran Quoc pagoda
Tower at Tran Quoc pagoda

Free at leisure in the morning. Start the city tour at 1:30 pm to visit Temple of Literature constructed in 1070, it is a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, northern Vietnam. And the temple hosts the “Imperial Academy”, Vietnam’s first national university. Then continue to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda as known the oldest pagoda in the city, originally constructed in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De, thus giving it an age of 1,400 years, then keep walking to Quan Thanh Temple, formerly known as Tran Vu Temple is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, as one of the Four Sacred Temples of the capital, Quan Thanh Temple is located near West Lake. Transfer to the old quarters of Hanoi to walk to see the busting street and life of local people living in the old town then take a walk on foot to visit a fresh market selling all stuff as fish, flower, meat, all kinds of vegetable. Relax in the late afternoon then transfer  to Noi Bai International airport for your departure in the evening.

End of the tour.

Services Included:
Regional English speaking guides
All entrance fees
Meals as mentioned (4 lunches)
Private air conditional van
Boat tour in Mekong and Hue

Services Excluded:
Accommodations
International flights and 2 domestic flights Saigon – Hue and Danang – Hanoi
Drinks and personal expenses
Tips
Travel insurance

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