absolutely vietnam

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    DEPARTURE : 01 JAN 2014 30 SEP 2014



    Vietnam is now firmly on the world stage, but it was only since

    the early 1990s that travellers started arriving. Today visitors

    from all over the world have the opportunity to discover the

    beauty of Vietnam. Brilliant green rice fields, bustling city

    streets, grand colonial buildings, colourful markets, temples and

    pagodas, deserted sandy beaches, glorious mountain scenery,

    colourful ethnic minorities, delicious cuisine, luxurious hotels

    and resorts, THIS IS VIETNAM TODAY.

    The country is divided into three distinct regions, the south, the

    centre and the north. The northern capital Hanoi, is the seat of

    government and home of the revered Ho Chi Minh. This is the

    artistic and cultural heart of the country, with Hoan Kiem lake

    at the centre. In the Old Quarter, at the Temple of Literature, in

    the colonial buildings and the museums the past comes to life.

    Saigon is the commercial powerhouse of the country, with

    international hotels, shiney malls, old markets, museums, China

    Town and caf life. The city is truly multi-cultural.

    There are Seven World Heritage sites in Vietnam declared by

    UNESCO in 2011. The spectacular natural wonder of Ha Long Bay (1994), the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park

    (2003), the central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi (2010), Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (2011),

    Complex of Hu Monuments (1993), Hoi An Ancient Town (1999), My Son Sanctuary (1999). Vietnam offers the

    ultimate in adventure and luxury travel


  • Day 1: HANOI ARRIVAL (-/-/-)

    Arrive in Hanoi, Your guide and driver will welcome you at the airport and transfer you to the city center by private

    car to start your city tour. In Hanoi, take a cyclo tour through the fascinating old quarter and see the bustling local

    life. Then drive to Hoan Kiem Lake - the popular historical and legendary beauty spot in the centre of the city. Visit

    Ngoc Son Temple or Temple of the Jade Mountain which is one of the most picturesque temples built on an isle in

    Hoan Kiem Lake, and entered across the Rising Sun Bridge (The Huc). Return to your hotel for check in followed by

    free time to take a rest or discover more of the city on your own. Overnight in Hanoi.


    A 2-hour drive out of Hanoi brings you to the Perfume Pagoda complex, a cluster of shrines and pagodas located on

    the limestone rocks of Perfume Mountain. Unlike other temples in Vietnam, the only way to reach this sanctuary is

    by taking a rowing boat along the narrow, Yen stream (1 hour boat trip one way). Rice paddy fields and small

    houses border the riverbanks. Climb up the hill slowly and enjoy a one way cable ride to the main pagoda set in a

    huge grotto containing a highly decorative shrine. Each stalactite and stalagmite inside is associated with a legend

    about its miracle and offers good fortune to the visitor. It is better to bring along a boxed lunch as there are no

    good cafes in this area. Walk down to visit the Kitchen of Heavens pagoda and learn about Buddhism and the

  • ancient architecture of the Tran Dynasty. Enjoy the beauty of this Buddhist land. Transfer back to Hanoi. Later, you

    will be taken to the train station for the night train to Lao Cai . Overnight on train.


    *Perfume pagoda trip is not recommended from January to April as there are always thousand of locals on


    * From the boat dock to the top of the mountain there are about 3,000 steep steps. So it is suggested to go up by

    cable car. From the boat dock to the cable station there are about 1,000 steep steps. This trip is suitable for most

    active travelers.

    * This is the most well-known religious site to Northern people so please expect throngs of hawkers and beggars

    along the way

    Day 3: LAO CAI SAPA (B/L/-)

    Misty Sapa hangs like a jewel between the sky and the land, overlooking the deep valleys of the Hoang Lien Son

    Mountains, where cascading rice terraces cling to the precipitous hillsides. Developed as a hill station by the French

    Colonialists, it is now well and truly a place to visit. Sapa lies about 350 km from Hanoi, in the far Northwest, close

    to the Chinese border, in the remote, province of Lao Cai. This is home to the colourful ethnic minority peoples of

    Black Hmong, Red Dzao, Thai, Yao, and Tay. It also has one of the most spectacular landscapes all Vietnam. It is

    said that Sapa has four seasons in one day, so come prepared!

    Arrive early morning at Lao Cai station, near the Chinese border. Take a scenic one-hour drive up to the hill station

    of Sapa. Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Then start a 30-min short journey south towards Muong Hoa valley, a

    stunning place boasting the largest terraced rice fields in Sapa (If your travel plan is between May and October, it

    will coincide with the local harvest time, and a chance to see the local farmers in action). The walk takes you from

    Lao Chai village of the Black H'mong minority people to Ta Van village of the Giay minority people with a stop at the

    local Catholic Church, contrasting in the different traditions, cultures and costumes of the two minority groups.

    Return to Sapa and spend the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. Overnight in Sapa.

    Early check in today is NOT included and subject to the hotel availability.

  • Day 4: SAPA LAO CAI (B/L/-)

    Check out hotel after breakfast. The foot path leading to the small hamlet of Matra, inhabited by Black Hmong

    ethic people. Continue through to the village beside the paddy fields which will lead you to an ancient Catholic

    abbey, built by French Colonialists. Walk 2 km more to reach Tafin handicraft shop. Here you will see the daily life

    of the Red Dzao people where you can buy woven and textile brocades, which are made by ethic people. Visit Tafin

    Cave and the small hamlet of Black Hmong people. Return to Sapa and drive to Lao Cai station to catch the night

    train to Ha Noi.

    Overnight on train.


    Spend a night aboard a traditional junk and experience the mystical scenery of Halong Bay, where thousands of

    limestone islands rise from the emerald sea to create unique sculptural shapes. Surrounded by colourful floating

    villages this makes Ha Long a truly wonderful destination.

    Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning (around 6:00am). Your driver will pick you up at the train station and take you

    to a local restaurant in Hanoi for breakfast. Drive to Halong Bay (170km from Hanoi), designated a world heritage

    site by UNESCO in 1994. Upon arrival, a welcome cocktail is offered and check- in on board the cruise. At 12:00, the

    cruise starts sailing on Ha Long Bay. A Vietnamese lunch is served on board. En route, enjoy the view from the sun

    deck and later visit beautiful caves. During the afternoon, swimming or kayaking activities (optional) are available.

    A Vietnamese dinner is served in the elegant dining room. Overnight on board in Ha Long Bay.

  • Day 6: HA LONG NINH BINH (-/Brunch/-)

    In the early morning, watch the sunrise. The cruise then sails on through the breathtaking scenery of Halong Bay

    heading for the shore. Check out of your cabin after breakfast and drive to Ninh Binh (around 4 hour drive). Upon

    arrival, check-in to your hotel and overnight in Ninh Binh.

    Day 7: NINH BINH VINH (B/-/-)

    Your guide will pick you up at the hotel lobby and begin your NInh Binh tour. Ninh Binh is an area of outstanding

    natural beauty, surrounded by limestone mountains. Ninh Binh province is Hoa Lu the ancient capital, and

    economic, political and cultural centre of the first centralized feudal state in Vietnam during the 10th and 11th

    centuries. The ravages of time have destroyed the ancient citadel but some vestiges including King Dinh and King Le

    worship temples still stand to this day. From there, drive to Van Long eco-tourism area, an astounding place of

    natural beauty with limestone peaks. A 2-hour boat trip along the river offers stunning scenery of rice fields,

    limestone mountains and caves. Bring along binoculars - you might encounter some rare langurs or birds. Visit one

    of the most beautiful caves. Later, your guide will drive you to Vinh. It takes around 4 hours from Ninh Binh to Vinh.

    Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel and overnight in Vinh.

    Day 8: VINH DONG HOI (B/-/-)

  • After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will meet you at hotel lobby and take you to Dong Hoi to visit Chua Village.

    This is the native village of President Hos Mother, and to Sen Village, which is the native village of President Ho's

    father. There are several beautiful lotus ponds along the roads. In Chua Village, you will see the simple thatched

    house where Uncle Ho was born in 1890. This house, which is made of bamboo and wood has stood for nearly a

    century, and is the invaluable property of Vietnam. These cultural heritages reflect character of President Ho Chi

    Minh's early life. Thousands of travelers visit this place to discover not only Uncle Hos childhood but also to

    express their respects to the father of Vietnam. Continue on your journey with a drive to Dong Hoi City.

    Upon arrival, check