Magical nature and culture of North Vietnam, followed by a wonderful beach holiday.
Magical nature and culture of North Vietnam, followed by a wonderful beach holiday.
A host of experiences, both cultural and natural, await you in North Vietnam. Hanoi, the capital city, is a marvellous mix of ancient history and modern hustle and bustle, delightful colonial buildings and local markets selling exotic fruit and vegetables. In Mai Chau, you have the chance to experience ethnic villages, as well as paddy fields and highlands, giving you a real taste of everyday life in the country. From Tam Coc, you can see verdant mountains rising proudly from flat fields. You can then look forward to a mini cruise between the magical cliffs of Ha Long Bay. The tour winds up with a few relaxing days in Hoi An.
Comprehensive package of excursions included:
Our promise to you:
On arrival in Hanoi, you will be issued with your visa at the airport and can then collect your luggage. You will be met in the arrivals hall by a guide holding an Asiatours sign, who will accompany you to the hotel where you will be spending the next two nights. When you arrive at the hotel, you will have time to rest after your long flight and the remainder of the day is yours to do with as you wish.
Today, you can look forward to a fascinating sightseeing tour that takes in the biggest sights and attractions in Hanoi. The tour also includes a delicious lunch.
To start with, you will visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which was built in honour of Ho Chi Minh, the founding father and first president of Vietnam, who lived and worked in Hanoi for most of his life. The complex comprises Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, Da Binh Square, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s pole house and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Please note that Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum is closed on Mondays and Fridays, and every day in the period 1 October–30 November.
The sightseeing tour also includes the imperial citadel of Thang Long, which was a political powerhouse for thirteen centuries, and is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
You will also visit The Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, which dates back to 1070. It was here that the country’s powerful civil servants – the mandarins – were trained in accordance with the teachings of Confucius.
The next stop on the tour is at the iconic Long Bien Bridge over the Red River. There then follows a half-hour cyclo tour through the narrow, chaotic streets and alleys of The Old Quarter, and you finish the day with a cup of Vietnamese coffee served in a local café overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake.
Just a few hours’ drive from Hanoi lies Mai Chau, one of the most beautiful valleys in Vietnam. This is an absolute gem with fantastic paddy fields nestling between limestone mountains, as well as villages that are home to ethnic minorities including H’mong, Thai and Dzao people – and very few tourists. It is the perfect place to experience undisturbed landscapes and villages that preserve the traditional way of life.
After arrival and check-in at Mai Chau Lodge, you will be served a delicious lunch. Later in the afternoon, it is time to head off on a hike to a couple of the nearby villages – Pom Coong and Lac, for example – and to the Mo Luong grotto.
The day winds up with a delightful dinner featuring local delicacies, served while a local troupe of Muong or Thai provides entertainment.
To start the day a tasty, international breakfast will be served in the restaurant, which provides a magnificent view out over the lake, the paddy fields and the swimming pool. From Mai Chau, the tour proceeds via Tam Coc to Hoa Lu, where you will visit the Dinh and Le temples. These are the only two temples that remain from the old citadel in Hoa Lu. The Hoa Lu citadel was an important imperial palace in Vietnam 1,000 years ago. It was here that the Le dynasty took over from the Dinh dynasty.
After lunch, you will head off on a 2-hour sailing tour along the Boi River. The landscape along the river is utterly magical. The water flows gently through the flat landscape, which is broken only by ‘sugar top’ mountains – almost like Ha Long Bay; only on land.
Today’s tour takes you through the fertile delta of the Red River to Ha Long Bay.
Ha Long Bay is one of the most remarkable nature areas in Vietnam. The bay is dotted with green-clad limestone cliffs rising almost vertically from the water, which changes in tone from deep blue to jade green with the turning of the seasons. Several of the islands also feature large grottoes. The large Cat Ba island is the site of several villages, while a number of smaller islands are home to modest fishing hamlets. For tourists, Ha Long Bay is first and foremost a magnificent area of nature of the finest calibre, but for the Vietnamese people it is also inextricably interwoven with legends of dragons and drama. Ha Long Bay covers approx. 1,500 km² and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1994.
For this mini-cruise around Ha Long Bay, you will be sailing on a small cruise ship. The vessel heads out among the scattered islands in the bay, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of the sea and the magnificent cliffs and islands. You can also experience life in a traditional fishing hamlet. Of course, you could choose simply to relax and enjoy life and the view out over the islands and the floating fishing villages, treating yourself to an occasional swim in the turquoise sea.
NB!! In the event of bad weather (storm conditions), the authorities in Vietnam reserve the right to cancel all sailing trips in Ha Long Bay in the interests of safety. This actually happens a few times every year. If this is the case, the mini-cruise will be replaced by hotel accommodation and an excursion in Hanoi.
Extra excursion: How about a bird’s-eye view of Ha Long Bay? This magnificent bay is a truly beautiful sight from above, and an aerial view will give you an excellent impression of the sheer size of the area, as well as the chance to admire the numerous limestone islands and islets towering majestically above the water.
Start the day with a refreshing dip in the clear, warm waters of Ha Long Bay, or perhaps simply admire the sunrise from the magnificent sun deck – where you can also take part in morning exercises (usually Tai Chi). Breakfast is served while the boat starts to glide peacefully back towards the harbour. On the return trip, there will be time to visit a grotto to admire the impressive stalagmites and stalactites.
Once you return to dry land, it is time to head off to Hanoi by road. You will then have a few hours in the city to do with as you wish before your guide accompanies you to the station to catch your train to Danang.
The night train departs from Hanoi at 7 pm and arrives in Danang at 11 am the next day.
If you would rather fly from Hanoi to Hoi An and spend an extra night at a hotel in this city, please state your preference when making your booking. Remember to ask for the price when booking.
You wake up to a beautiful view as the train makes its way along the coast. Look out over the green mountains and the beautiful blue sea.
You arrive in Danang mid-morning, where you are met by a guide who drives you to your hotel in Hoi An. Having checked in, the rest of the day is at your leisure. You can explore the city on your own or purchase one of our extra excursions.
Hoi An is a wonderful experience and you cannot help but fall in love with the city. It is especially well-known for its charming architecture, impressive silk production, great tailors and its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Flowing through the heart of the Old Town is the Thu Bon River, which is a glorious example of an international port dating back to the heyday of European and East Asian trading companies from the 16th to the 18th century.
Away from the river, you will find yourself in a maze of cosy, charming streets. Wherever you turn, you will see how the former colonial powers have each made their mark on the district. Colourful lanterns, Japanese houses, Chinese temples and French yellow merchants’ houses fill the cityscape. Shops, street kitchens, cafés and restaurants line the streets, where you can while away several hours connected to the city’s free Wi-Fi.
The fact that Hoi An’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site naturally makes it a major draw for tourists. The streets might be busy, but there is still a lovely calm to the area, and the district has managed to retain its authenticity and charm. It also helps that cars, scooters and motorcycles are denied access.
You spend four nights at this wonderful gem of a place, giving you plenty of time to enjoy and explore different parts of the city.
The days are yours to do with as you wish. Enjoy the beach, go exploring in Hoi An, visit the Cham temple area … there is no shortage of opportunities.
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