12 DAYS VIETNAM DISCOVERY TOUR WITH CENTRAL HIGHLAND (12 days/ 11 nights)
Transport: Car, flight
City & around
Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Danang - Hoi An - Pleiku - Buon Me thuat - Nha trang - Mui ne - HCMC
Update: 8/8/2014 Hits: 1812
Day 1 Hanoi arrival Meet on arrival at Hanoi / Noi Bai International Airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi art tour and village Drive to Duong Lam village (approximately 55 km from Hanoi). Upon arrival at Duong Lam village visit some highlights of the village, such as the Village Gate, the Communal House, an ancient house and “Mia” Pagoda. Proceed to Tay Phuong pagoda to discover the wonderful collection of Buddhist statues dating back to the 17th century.
THANH CHUONG MANSION – HOME OF A FAMOUS ARTIST (CLOSED ON MONDAYS AND DURING TET) Drive to the outskirts of Hanoi to visit the Thanh Chuong Mansion. Situated on a gravelly bare hill close to Hanoi’s airport lies this Realm of Vietnamese cultural legacy, “created by the dream, the will, the love and the great talent of Thanh Chuong, a leading artist of Vietnamese contemporary art.” Covering an area of nearly 10,000 square meters, Thanh Chuong Mansion is more than “just a museum” or a mere collection of Vietnamese ancient houses and antiques. Set amidst lush green gardens with ponds, retreats, charming tea houses, ceramics, Buddha statues and art installations, the painter and owner himself has “erected a cultural space brimful of Vietnamese spiritual and rustic life.” Thanh Chuong Mansion houses an impressive collection of ancient as well of contemporary art. The Thanh Chuong Gallery displays some of the masterpieces of this extraordinary artist, whose exhibitions have been showcased around the globe since 1974. Accommodation at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi City tour Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (closed on Monday, Friday and during the entire months of September & October) and his former residence (closed on Monday and Friday), One-Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature, known as the first university of Vietnam and built more than 1,000 years ago. Continue the city tour to one of the following museums (note that museums are closed on Mondays.): • Fine Arts Museum • Vietnam National Museum of History • War Museum • Museum of Ethnology After a delicious lunch at Au Lac restaurant, enjoy a leisurely one-hour cyclo tour through Hanoi. Visit the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. Hoan Kiem Lake was already considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi when Ngoc Son Temple was built on an island in the 19th century. Initially, the temple was called Ngoc Son Pagoda and was later renamed Ngoc Son Temple, since temples are dedicated to saints. Saint Van Suong, considered to be one of the brightest stars in Vietnam's literary and intellectual circles, was worshipped there along with other National heroes. Accommodation at hotel in Hanoi. Day 4: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi- A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE Early morning departure from Hanoi to Halong Bay (165km east of Hanoi). Arrive at the Halong tourist pier for embarkation. Start. a relaxing and wonderful cruise through World Nature Heritage Halong Bay, passing bizarre rock formations, such as the Dinh Huong (the Incense Urn), Cho Da (the Stone Dog), islands with sandy beaches and Ga Choi (the Fighting Roosters) islets. You will discover Halong Bay, listed as a World Heritage of outstanding natural beauty, known in Vietnamese as “Dragon descending to the sea“. The picturesque Halong Bay has more than 3,000 limestone islets rising from the clear emerald water, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. You will visit Thien Cung and Dau Go grottoes situated on the south-west side of the bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Ha Long City. The way to Thien Cung grotto is covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering a narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in you will be more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from the stalactites. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales. Going out of the Thien Cung grotto, you will have a sensation of just watching a unique, meticulous, interesting fine-art museum which is made by nature. This grotto is one of the most beautiful ones in Halong Bay. Legend has it, that beautiful young lady named May (cloud), caught the eye of the Dragon Prince and he fell in love with her. They were betrothed, and their wedding lasted seven days and seven nights in the very centre of the grotto. During the boat trip fresh seafood fingertips will be served for your delights (please let us know if you do not eat seafood). Optional kayaking (2 persons per kayak) is available at surcharge, weather permitting. Bring along swimwear & towels as you may want to go for a refreshing swim in the bay (if weather permits). Return to Hanoi. Accommodation at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi - Hue flight Morning at leisure until transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue, the former Royal City of the 13 ruling Nguyen dynasties.
IMPERIAL CITY AND CYCLO TOUR THROUGH OLD HUE Explore the Imperial City of Hue. The Hue Citadel is situated on the Northern bank of the Perfume River and built by Emperor Gia Long it was designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his household. The Citadel is a square 2 km wall encompassing 3 walled enclosures; the Citadel, Kinh Thanh Hue, the Yellow Imperial city, Hoang Thanh and in the centre the Forbidden Purple city Tu Cam Thanh where the Emperor lived. The Hue royal complex has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Then, the cyclo will take you through the narrow lanes of old Hue, passing homes, shops, hidden cafés, bonsai gardens and parks. Accommodation at hotel in Hue.
Day 6: Hue - Danang - Hoi An Today, drive south via the spectacular Hai Van Pass to Danang. Have a short stop on top of the pass and continue to the charming historic city of Hoi An.
HOI AN WALKING TOUR Known to early Western merchants, Hoi An was one of the major trading centres of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Hoi An has a mixed Chinese-Vietnamese atmosphere with low, tile-roof houses and narrow streets. Having been through many ups and downs in the past, the original structures, however, are still virtually intact. That was the reason to persuade the UNESCO to recognize Hoi An as a World Heritage in 1999. Besides, the surroundings of Hoi An, especially the countryside, are one of the most outstanding highlights that visitors should experience during their stay in Hoi An. One of the best ways to discover Hoi An and its surroundings is by walking. During our 4-hour leisurely walk you will discover the daily life of the local people: green paddy fields, vegetable gardens, markets, temples, historic houses, fishermen and stunning countryside scenes will simply mesmerize you. This tour offers great photo opportunities and you may find yourself chatting with the locals and inhaling unforgettable memories. Accommodation at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An - Danang airportv- Pleiku At leisure until transfer to Danang airport for your flight to Pleiku. Upon arrival to Pleiku, meet your tour guide and drive to visit Bana and Dektu ethnic minority villages. Accommodation at hotel in Pleiku.
Day 8: Pleiku Lak lake - Buon Ma Thuot Depart Pleiku for Buon Ma Thuot, famous for its coffee plantations. On the way, visit a Banar village. Then proceed to Lak Lake. Take a scenic boat ride on dugout canoes (02 persons per canoe), which brings you to a village of ethnic M'nong people. Embark on an elephant ride. Return to Buon Ma Thuot. Accommodation at hotel in Buon Ma Thuot Optional (at surcharge): In the evening attend the performance of ethnic dances, songs and gong music. Join the villagers in drinking local “Can” wine.
Day 9: Buon Ma thuat - Nha Trang In the morning, visit the Ethnographic Museum, which is housed in the palace of former King Bao Dai. Take the scenic road towards the coastal plains to Nha Trang with a short stop at Po Nagar Cham Towers, built between the 7th and 12th centuries. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the beautiful beach of Nha Trang. Accommodation at hotel in Nha Trang.
Day 10: Nha trang - Phan Thiet - Muine We travel southwards, passing lush rice fields, salt ponds and dragon fruit plantations. En route visit the 13th century Po Klong Jarai Cham Towers at Phan Rang, perched high on a rocky hill surrounded by prickly pear cacti. More photo stops will be made at the fishing harbour of Phan Thiet and at the vast sand dunes at Cape Mui Ne, which have inspired numerous photographers for many years. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Accommodation at hotel in Phan Thiet / Mui Ne.
Day 11 Mui Ne - HCMC Enjoy the morning at leisure or join our wonderful optional excursions in and around Phan Thiet / Mui Ne. Early afternoon, continue your journey to Ho Chi Minh City (driving time approx. 4-5 hours, depending on traffic). Accommodation at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12 HCMC - HALF DAY SAIGON CITY TOUR Formerly known as Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling and vibrating economic centre of the South. Over the past few centuries, Saigon was called the “Pearl of the Far East” and was an important trading centre for Chinese, Japanese and Western merchants who travelled along the Saigon River. Your sightseeing tour includes visiting bustling Cho lon (Chinatown), Thien Hau pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas of the Chinese in the area and colourful Ben Than Market. Notre Dame Cathedral inaugurated in 1880 became the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient as was the Post office designed by Gustav Eiffel and resembling a grand railway station. Photo stop at the former Presidential Palace, renowned for its symbolic role in the fall of Saigon in 1975 and continue to visit the War Remnants Museum. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.