Essence of Vietnam
Essence of Vietnam
Essence of Vietnam

Essence of Vietnam

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$3,023.00
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$3,023.00

Private Holiday

Select & Mix: Your choice of 3 experiences include

A classic itinerary and an ideal introduction to Vietnam’s three regions. Start in vibrant Ho Chi Minh City experience the Vietnam’s imperial past in the romantic city of Hue and explore the well preserved shop houses and cobbled streets of charming Hoi An. Continue to Hanoi and taste the French influence the capital city before drifting among stunning limestone karst scenery during an unforgettable overnight cruise on a traditional junk in Halong Bay.

Highlights

  • Discover the colonial charm of Ho Chi Minh City former Saigon.
  • Experience the fresh aromas and vibrant colours of the Mekong Delta floating market.
  • Sail around the soaring limestone islands of Halong Bay.
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

Arrive at Ho Chi Minh City International Airport. Welcome to Vietnam. On arrival please clear customs and immigration. In arrivals area you will be met by a representative of our local operator and then transferred to your hotel (your hotel room is available from 1.30pm). Remainder of the day at leisure. Your accommodation is reserved for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Ho Chi Minh City (BL)

Morning drive to Cu Chi to visit the amazing tunnel network built by Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for a sightseeing tour of Old Saigon. See the Post Office Notre-Dame Cathedral the Opera House and the Reunification Palace which was used as the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the war in the 60s. Continue to the Chinese district of Cholon and the Binh Tay Market.

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh – Hue (B)

AMorning transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue - the former capital of Vietnam and an UNESCO Heritage Site. Welcome by your local guide and transfer to your hotel for check in. Your accommodation is reserved for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day 4: Hue (B)

This morning depart for a tour of Hue. Admire the refined and distinct atmosphere of the town and visit the Imperial Citadel. Later discover Tu Duc Mausoleum one of the most beautiful tombs of Royal Kings during Nguyen Reign. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 5: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B)

This morning depart for Hoi An via the scenic Hai Van pass which offers beautiful panoramic views over the central coastline. After a peaceful stop at the white sandy beach of Lang Co continue to Danang to visit the Cham Museum. It is home of the largest collection of sculptures and relics from the Cham civilization once known as the Khmer civilisation. In the afternoon arrive in Hoi An another UNESCO World Heritage site. Rest of day at leisure to relax. Your accommodation is reserved for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day 6: Hoi An (B)

In the morning depart for a walking tour of Hoi An town recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site for its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Set out to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites include the Japanese Bridge the Chinese Temple and Phung Hung Chinese-style trading house. Free time in the afternoon for shopping and exploring Hoi An at your own pace.

Day 7: Hoi An - Danang – Hanoi (B)

Morning transfer to Danang for your flight to Hanoi - the capital of Vietnam. On arrival start your exploration of this historical and charming city. Highlights are: the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum a nearby traditional stilt house and the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature also known the First University in Vietnam. After exploring the Ethnology Museum (where you can learn about the 54 ethnic groups within Vietnam) return to city centre for a 45-minutes tour of the traditional streets of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake vicinity by cyclo riding. Overnight at the hotel.

Note: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday and closes annually from 08 September to 08 November.

Day 8: Hanoi - Halong Bay (BLD)

This morning drive to Ha Long harbour and board your junk. Sail amongst the thousands of karst limestone islands and islets of Halong Bay. Fresh seafood lunch and dinner will be served on board.

Day 9: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B)

Wake up early in the morning to enjoy the bay at its best. After breakfast cruise back to the harbour. Check out the cabin late in the morning and transfer towards Hanoi airport. Time permitting you may stop at a peaceful ceramic village en-route or return to Hanoi for last shopping for souvenirs.

Note: if booking a flight back ex Hanoi we recommend a flight in the late afternoon / evening.

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  • Domestic flights (price subject to change until paid and ticketed)
  • Private return airport transfers
  • Air-conditioned private transportation as per itinerary
  • 8 nights accommodation in selected hotel category on a share twin basis
  • Overnight junk cruise in Halong Bay (non private)
  • Private sightseeing as per itinerary (except on cruise)
  • Assistance of professional qualified English-speaking local guides
  • Activities and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • 3 Select & Mix experiences
  • Daily breakfast 2 lunches 1 dinner
  • Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel

 

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

  • International Airfares
  • Visa
  • Personal Expenses
  • Optional tours
  • Extra Select & Mix experiences
  • Porterage
  • Tipping/gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Extra hotel charges (minibar or any other services)
  • Meals not specified
  • Early check-in/late check-out
  • Camera/photography fees
  • Departure taxes
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above

 

Select & Mix Experiences - Choose Three

Your choice of 3 Select & mix experiences at no extra cost - 3 experiences already included in the price of your holiday. Choose from the list below to customise your holiday experience:

A. Ho Chi Minch City: food tasting and nightlife discovery by scooter (day 2 evening)
Take an evening drive through this hectic but beautiful city to discover how Saigon nightlife unfolds. From the chaotic traffic of the city centre to totally hidden corners; from famous tourist stops to the trendiest hang-out places for Saigonese people; you will travel through the 4 central districts of Ho Chi Minh City. Once the driver has picked you up at your hotel you'll first scooter your way through the very small and typical alleys of Saigon and stop at a popular local seafood streetside restaurant to taste a trendy Vietnamese favourite such as fried pincers or steamed clams with lemongrass. After this ride to a riverside park for a short walk to admire the awesome views of this now modern city by night. The tour continues in a place frequented by locals and where you’ll have the chance to try the traditional Vietnamese pancakes called Banh Xeo. After the meal the driver will take you to a local coffee shop to enjoy some live music in a cosy atmosphere. To finish the evening travel to a popular meeting point located on the rooftop of a building for an awesome view of vibrant Saigon by night and if you're up for it enjoy the dancefloor.

B. Ho Chi Minch City: learn the art of calligraphy with a Buddhist (day 3)
Visit Kim Lien pagoda and receive an initiation to calligraphy by a master of calligraphy who is also a Bonze in the pagoda. As is the case in several other Asian countries the art of calligraphy has been practiced in Vietnam for hundreds of years. This master will tell you the history of calligraphy and will demonstrate her talent.
Note: Guests area asked not to wear revealing clothes such as shorts sleeveless tee-shirt etc. when joining this activity.

C. Hue: Cooking class & lunch in the typical Tha Om garden house (day 4 morning)
This cooking class is unlike any other taking place in a very unique and prestigious setting: the Tha Om Garden House a charming centenarian house set in charming gardens complete with lotus ponds and pavilions. The landlord will first give you a guided tour of the various buildings which make up the house and then take you to the kitchen to teach you how to prepare a selection of traditional Hue dishes and how to play with the combinations of flavours. During lunch you will be able to taste the dishes you have prepared yourself along with other Hue specialities prepared by your hosts.

D. Hue: Cycling tour to an ancient village in the countryside of Hue (day 4 morning)
This morning private transfer to the peaceful outskirt of Hue where you will start riding on a bicycle to enjoy a leisurely tour to Thuy Bieu village. Along the way there are opportunities to admire the quiet and superb landscape: rice field fruit tree and vegetable gardens communal houses and schools. Along the cycling route visit a homemade incense production household and discover the life of the farmers.

E. Hue: Sunset boat cruise on Perfume River with a soothing foot massage (day 4 evening)
Conclude your day with a sunset cocktail and soothing foot massage while cruising along Perfume River on a traditional boat.

F. Hoi An: Street food tour of Hoi An (day 6 afternoon)
In the later afternoon together with your guide you will set out to discover and taste some of best street-foods which has partly made up the town’s fame: Com Ga Ba Buoi (Ba Buoi’s Chicken Rice) Banh Mi Phuong (Phuong’s Baguette) - American Chef Anthony Bourdain sang his praises about this dish on his TV Serie “No Reservations” Cao Lau… You will then taste a cup of tea or coffee at Reaching Out Tea House - a very special and unique ancient house that alsoserves as a social enterprise programme to provide employment and empowerment for people with physical disabilities.

G. Hoi An: Explore My Son Sanctuary by Jeep (day 6 afternoon)
This adventure off the beaten track will take you along a narrow but beautiful lane that normal tour buses cannot access. On the way you will have a chance to witness the fascinating lives of the local people: farmers who work in the rice fields fishermen returning home from their boat trip and merchants bringing their products to sell at vibrant and colourful markets. The beautiful scenery of the region is another highlight of this tour with luxuriant green forests lush fields of rice and corn and slow flowing canals to see along the road. Eventually you will arrive at My Son the holy land of Champa culture in Vietnam. The complex was the religious and cultural centre of this ancient Kingdom for many centuries with the oldest temples constructed in the 4th century. Partially ruined My Son still has numerous exquisitely decorated and detailed temples and shrines and has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

H. Hoi An: Cycling tour to Hoi An countryside (day 6 morning)
This morning of discovery of Hoi An's countryside will start with a boat transfer on the Thu Bon river. You will then arrive at the Kim Bong village where you'll have the opportunity to talk about the local traditions and techniques with the village's most famous carpenter. After this special time you will take a bike ride to visit the Duy Vinh village famous for the weaving of sedge mats and certainly the most beautiful village in the vicinity of Hoi An. You will later embark on a local boat for a trip down the Thu Bon river back to Hoi An Town.

I. Hoi An: Hands on cooking class at Ms. Van's House followed by lunch (day 6 morning)
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and go to the market with Ms Van a cuisine expert living in Hoi An who loves to share her passion for food. You will then head to Ms Van’s kitchen where she will demonstrate how to cook a dish of your choice. Her fun enthusiast nature and her dedication will surely make the class more special than many others. And when you have finished cooking your meal it is time to enjoy it with all others classmates. The best thing about this class is you can choose one recipe from the list of 50 dishes and more than 20 vegetarian dishes to learn. Everyone can try to cook their personal favourite recipe not a preset menu!

J. Hanoi: Join the locals an take part in a Tai Chi session in a local park (day 8 morning)
Start your day by joining the locals on the lakeside or in a local park and take part to a Tai Chi session. Your instructor will teach you some warm-ups and basic movements of this traditional martial

Tourist Class accommodation based on the following or similar:

Ho Chi Minh City:    Le Duy Grand Hotel (Grand Deluxe Room)
Hue:                     Alba Spa Hotel (Deluxe City View Room)
Hoi An:                 Atlas Hotel Hoi An (Superior City Room)
Hanoi:                    Quoc Ha Hotel (Deluxe Room)
Halong Bay:            Pelican Cruise Boat (Deluxe Cabin)

First Class accommodation based on the following or similar:

Ho Chi Minh City:     Grand Hotel (Premium Deluxe Room)
Hue:                          Eldora Hue Hotel (Deluxe City View Room)
Hoi An:                      Ancient House Village (Garden View Superior Room)
Hanoi:                       Silk Path Hotel (Premium Deluxe Room)
Halong Bay:             Indochina sails (Superior Cabin)

Deluxe Class accommodation based on the following or similar:

Ho Chi Minh City:        Renaissance Riverside (Deluxe city view room)
Hue:                             Pilgrimage Village (Villa Deluxe - Valley Wing)
Hoi An:                         Palm Garden Resort (Superior garden view room)
Hanoi:                         Melia Ha Noi Hotel (Deluxe Room)
Halong Bay:               Indochina Sails (Deluxe cabin)

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable).   All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country.   Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions  page.

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