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Duration: 12 days Visiting: Vietnam
Delve into the fascinating culture and history of Vietnam, as you travel from iconic cities to island-dotted bays in perfect luxury. Participate in Vietnamese cooking classes, learn about local hidden gems from passionate experts and marvel at dazzling landscapes along the way.
Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.
Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be greeted and escorted to your hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a night to remember at the Art Salon Saigon, where you will enjoy a Welcome Dinner set in a sophisticated atmosphere and accompanied by live music.
Marvels of Saigon.
See the best of Saigon as you travel from the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy ﬁelds scattered along the Saigon River. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Ofﬁce. Over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for local street-side cafe culture.
Cruise the Mekong Delta.
Travel to the Mekong Delta and board a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of the freshest juice possible. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you'll enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper.
Royal Refinement in Hue.
Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cyclo ride through rice ﬁelds to Thanh Toan village and visit the Vietnamese Agriculture Museum for an insight into rice production. Then you will stroll along the canals, visit the vibrant local market and admire the ancient, arched, tile-roofed Thanh Toan Bridge, which was built in the 17th century. This evening, you will savour a delicious meal at a local restaurant.
Highlights of Hue.
Rise early for a private, VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Your exploration continues to the 18th Century Dong Thuyen Pagoda, where you can relax in the peaceful precinct and enjoy a delightful vegetarian lunch specially prepared by the Buddhist nuns. You'll have the opportunity to speak with the nuns and gain a better understanding of their beliefs and food philosophies. After lunch you will meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you.
Romantic Hoi An.
Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walking exploration of this ancient town, see the old merchant's houses, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, Assembly Hall and the market where stalls are brimming with local specialities, including silk. Enjoy time at leisure to explore as you wish or ask your Travelling Concierge for local recommendations. Perhaps admire the spectacular sunset on a kayak trip along the poetic Thu Bon River, or board a local river boat to the Cua Dai Sea if you prefer a gentler pace? For a Your Choice Evening, take your pick of one of three hand-selected, local restaurants, each specialising in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion.
The locals in Hoi An.
Visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you'll learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese folk games and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef. Savour your creations for your Highlight Lunch.
Hanoi street-food tasting tour.
Board a morning ﬂight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi’s robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city’s very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travelling Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby.
Cruise along Ha Long Bay.
Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you'll have the choice to participate in a hands-on cooking class with the on-board chef, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner.
Ha Long to Hanoi.
Start the day with a session of Tai Chi on the upper deck, or enjoy an early morning swim, or perhaps venture to a white sandy beach and climb the hilltop for views over Halong Bay? Return to the boat for breakfast as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. Journey back to Hanoi where the evening is at leisure.
The Temple of Literature.
Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the ﬁrst university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast to your travels during your Celebration Dinner.
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.
Ho Chi Minh City (Contemporary) - Vietnam
One of Vietnam’s leading hotels, the five-star InterContinental Saigon is situated in the very heart of the city and is a short walk from famous landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Post Office. Enjoy your refined deluxe suite and a range of facilities, including elegant restaurants, a library and a spa.
Hue (Resort) - Vietnam
Find balance and harmony at the peaceful Pilgrimage Village, situated among leafy trees and quiet countryside. Participate in meditation, yoga or tai chi classes or unwind in the steam bath.
Hoi An (Resort) - Vietnam
Positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River, the luxurious Anantara Hoi An Resort is situated moments away from the charming historic part of Hoi An. Take in the tranquil atmosphere from a sunbed overlooking the river, treat yourself to a massage at the spa or cool down in the swimming pool.
Hanoi (Boutique) - Vietnam
Voted the best boutique hotel in Asia, Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi embodies the glamour of a night at the opera. It is situated in the centre of Hanoi, within walking distance of the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake, and offers sumptuous guest bedrooms, a spa and a selection of fine restaurants.
Halong Bay (Cruise) - Vietnam
The majestic Jasmine Cruise Halong Bay epitomizes seafaring at its most stylish. Fitted out in the 1930s Indochina style, the Halong Jasmine features spacious cabins, restaurants, lounges and uninterrupted views of the emerald bay.