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09 Days - Best of Vietnam

This program journeys North to South, covering many highlights of Vietnam. Hanoi is the modern-day capital of Vietnam that still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shophouses invite exploration by cyclo, while it's many beautiful public spaces - lakes, parks, tree-lined boulevards and monuments - give it an air of elegance and harmony with nature unique among Asian capitals. Scenic Halong Bay, located on the South China Sea, is home to beautiful limestone islands and floating fishing villages, best explored aboard a traditional wooden boat. In Hue, history comes alive in it's many ancient temples, imperial buildings, and French-style edifices. From Hue traverse the spectacular Hai Van Pass to visit Danang, a coastal city of ancient origins which served as major U.S. air base during the war. The ancient town of Hoi An is a highlight of any visit to Vietnam. It's colorful shophouses and temples reflect a diverse heritage, dating back to the 16th and 17th century, when it was a major port for Western, Chinese, and Japanese traders. In the south we arrive in Saigon, a vibrant metropolis teeming with energy, activity and motion. Outside on the streets, young professionals zip by on their motorcycles, chatting on cellphones; inside the quiet temple courtyards worshippers pray amidst clouds of incense. The French influence is readily seen in the old colonial buildings, such as the Opera House and City Hall, which serve as a contrast to the luxury hotels, shopping malls, and gourmet restaurants springing up across the city.

Day 01: Arrival Hanoi
Arrive at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport and transfer by sedan to your hotel in Hanoi. Overnight at Apricot hotel in Hanoi

Day 02: Hanoi
Full-day private tour of Hanoi City including a ride through the Old Quarter by cyclo (rickshaw). Visit the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, Hoan Kiem Lake, and view colonial landmarks such as the Opera House and St. Joseph's Cathedral. A highlight today is a fun ride through the streets of the Old Quarter by cyclo. Finish the day by seeing a Water Puppet Show, a fantastic art form originating in Northern Vietnam but best seen in Hanoi. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 03: Halong Bay - Hue.
Depart Hanoi in the morning for a drive to scenic Halong Bay. Upon arrival at the pier at midday begin a cruise aboard a traditional wooden junk boat, passing craggy limestone cliffs, and stopping at different islands to explore some of the areas many caves. Lunch will be served aboard the boat. Late afternoon return to Hanoi and catch a flight to Hue. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 04: Hue
Hue, located in central Vietnam, was established in the 17th century and served as the capital of Vietnam for more than 140 years. We start our exploration on a local boat, cruising down the Perfume River to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, an elegant seven-tiered octagonal tower and Hue's most widely recognizable monument. In the Old Imperial City visits include the Imperial Citadel, a vast complex built in the early 19th century and modeled after the Forbidden City of Beijing. Sights here are the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Dien Tho Residence where the Queen mother lived, Thai Hoa Palace, the Halls of the Mandarins, and the original Nine Dynastic Urns. In the afternoon venture into the countryside to see the Imperial Tomb of Tu Duc, the longest reigning Vietnamese Emperor, and the dramatic hillside Imperial Tomb of Khai Dinh. A visit to Dong Ba Market rounds out the day. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 05: Danang - Hoi An.
Journey from Hue to Danang over scenic mountainous roads with spectacular views of the coastline. Half-way between the two lies the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the dividing line between the climate zones of north and south. In Danang visit the Cham Museum, and pass Non Nuoc Beach, a famous spot for U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. Continue to Hoi An, with a visit to the Marble Mountains en route. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 06: Hoi An
The exquisitely preserved merchant town of Hoi An was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, and is best explored on foot. Wander the cobbled streets to the bustling central market and small harbour. The walking tour will also include a visit to a private home, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries, Sa Huynh Museum featuring exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history, and the famous Japanese Covered Bridge. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 07: Saigon
Drive to Danang Airport and then fly to Saigon. Upon arrival embark on an excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an important Vietcong base during the war. Walk through the area and learn about the day-to-day life of the Vietcong, and even venture inside the tunnel if you choose. Afterwards return to Saigon. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 08: Saigon
Full-day private tour of Saigon. Begin with a visit to the historic center, strolling along Dong Khoi Street, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall, the old Opera House, neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office. Tour the Reunification Palace, followed by a visit to the War Remnants Museum, and then the Emperor of Jade Pagoda. In the afternoon explore bustling Cholon (Chinatown), with visits to Binh Tay Market, Thien Hau Pagoda, and Ben Thanh Market. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 09: Depart Saigon
Transfer to Tan Son Nhat International Airport. (breakfast).
Meals: breakfast daily (8), and seven lunches.

Price: Cost per person, please contact us at

Our deluxe Vietnam tours are carefully designed to provide a unique experience in the destination, promote cultural understanding and exchange, flow smoothly from place to place, allow time for relaxation and exploration on your own, provide maximum value, and very importantly to be enjoyable. The itinerary can be modified to suit your tastes, time frame, budget, and special interests.

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