Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam
Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Hanoi has been forever changed by the introduction of literally millions of motorbikes, which dodge, weave and honk through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter and down the broad, old avenues of the Colonial District. The noise is omnipresent and the streets are packed with traffic, and the sidewalks are covered with parked vehicles and outdoor shops.
Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of the city. Stroll along the pedestrian paths around its edge, then enjoy an espresso and pastry at the lakeside cafe. Cross red-painted Rising Sun Bridge to enjoy the relative quiet around Ngoc Son temple. Visit the Temple of Literature, the only remaining original building at 1,000-year-old Hanoi University.Starting Accommodation:
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Day 2 – Hanoi TouringHanoi City Tour
Hanoi, a capital city of Vietnam, is a very attractive city with French style buildings and less traffic than other cities in Asia. Visit to One Pillar Pagoda which was built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. Then proceed to Temple of Literature. Temple of Literature is a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Next stop is Hoan Kiem Lake. Right in the heart of Hanoi, this lake contains an islet with the tiny Tortoise Pagoda, topped with a red star.
After that visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh is a glass sarcophagus set deep in the bowels of a monumental edifice that has become a site of pilgrimage. Following Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is Opera House, a magnificent 900-seat opera house built in 1911. End the tour in Hanoi at St. Joseph Cathedral and Bao Tang Lich which exhibits artifacts from Vietnam's turbulent history including some from prehistory, proto-Vietnamese civilizations, the Dong Son culture, the Oc Eo culture and the Khmer Kingdoms.Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
There is something enchanting about the lighthearted comedy and intricately skilled puppetry of this troupe. They perform numerous vignettes of daily life in the countryside and ancient tales, including the legend of Hoan Kiem Lake and the peaceful founding of the city of Hanoi. Puppeteers use bamboo poles to extend their puppets from behind the proscenium and up through the surface of a small pond that forms the stage. You will be amazed at their ingenuity, and it doesn't take much to suspend disbelief and get caught up in a magical hour of escape.Starting Accommodation:
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel (B)
Day 3 – Hanoi to Halong Bay
Your heavenly journey across Halong Bay starts around noon on Tuan Chau Island at the doorstep of Vietnam's most fascinating wonder. As the vessel sets sails, you will be greeted by the Paradise Crew and Cruise Manager who will aim to provide you with the highest standards of service for pure pleasure and utmost comfort onboard the luxury facilities in the stunning surroundings. Discover some of the treasures disseminated across the Bay of the Descending Dragon during the afternoon: fascinating caves, pristine beaches, picturesque floating villages, fantastic rock formations rising up out of emerald water.
While onboard, you can take advantage at leisure of the Spa, Beauty & Massage services; surrounded by a stunning setting in motion, you will attend the chef's cooking demonstration and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking. Defined to be one of the highlights of your Paradise stay, a highly refined, innovative and varied cuisine will be presented for Lunch and Dinner in the elegant dining-room, accompanied by a wide selection of wines and beverages from around the world.Starting Accommodation:
The Violet Cruise (B, L, D)
Day 4 – Halong Bay to Hoi An
Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Start the day enjoying some Paradise delights with a colorful buffet breakfast. Continue exploring Halong Bay sailing across its 2000 islets and visiting some of its major highlights.
Once you arrive back at Ha Long Pier you will be transferred back to Hanoi for your filght to Danang and onward transfer to Hoi An.
A picturesque river port 19 miles from Danang, Hoi An turns its gaze inwards to its rich history rather than outwards to the West for inspiration. Reminders of its role as an important port are scattered throughout the town in its Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese architecture. Boasting almost 850 historic structures and streetscapes, Hoi An is a walker’s wonderland with timeless treasures waiting to be discovered on every corner. Wander among historic homes and temples, perhaps stop to lounge in an open-air café, gaze at the oddities and exotic foods in the market, or take a sampan ride down the lazy river.Starting Accommodation:
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam (B)
Day 5 – Hoi An City Tour
The exquisitely preserved merchant town of Hoi An was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Its colorful shop houses 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. Today it is a thriving center of traditional crafts and a shopper's paradise, best explored on foot.
Wander through the cobbled streets, past low tile-roofed buildings, the bustling central market and the small harbor where colorfully painted boats are moored. The walking tour will include visits to a private house, where members of the same family have lived continuously for centuries in a traditional setting; to one of the family chapels built by prominent merchant or official families as centers for ancestor worship; and to a typical Chinese-style Pagoda or Assembly Hall. Continue to Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, it contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Visit handicraft workshops in Hoi An where local products are being made by the industry itself. Finally, continue to the famous Japanese Covered Bridge Pagoda, first constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream.Starting Accommodation:
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam (B)
Day 6 – At leisure, Hoi Ai
This day is at your leisure. Explore the surrounding area on your own or on one of our additional day excursions
Anantara Hoi An Resort (B)
Day 7 – Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City
Today you will be picked up and transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) provides visitors with a glimpse of its 300 year old history while simultaneously spearheading its five million residents through the millennium. The old Saigon still survives in wide downtown avenues flanked by pristine colonials. Hectic and eclectic, Ho Chi Minh City has an attitude all its own. With incomes three times higher than the national average, residents enjoy a lifestyle rarely found in other parts of Vietnam. Savor Ho Chi Minh City with them, stop for a breakfast of coffee and croissants at a café before tackling a myriad of museums.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Cai Be Princess Mekong Delta Cruise
Enjoy the Mekong River cruise excursion aboard the Cai Be Princess. Begin with a hotel pickup before heading south towards the Mekong Delta. Embark on a traditional wooden boat, stylishly fitted out with bamboo chairs and lounging cushions. Tour the colorful floating market of Cai Be, afterwards visiting local workshops producing rice paste, puffed rice, coconut candy, dried longan fruit and other local delicacies. From there, continue exploring the smaller islands nestled among the narrow canals and bywaters of the Mekong Island, visiting Dong Phu, Binh Hoa Phuoc, and An Binh. Stop at a fruit orchard, followed by a brief walk through the fruit trees. Return to the cruise, stopping on the way at An Binh Temple, and finishing the day's cruise in the mid-afternoon, transferring by vehicle back to Ho Chi Minh City.Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – Saigon City Tour
Saigon is the largest of Vietnamese cities, and one will see the hustle and bustle of Vietnamese life everywhere. There are street markets, pavement cafes and sleek new cafes and pubs. The city churns and bubbles. Yet within this teeming metropolis are 300 years of timeless traditions and the beauty of an ancient culture. The sightseeing starts with a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral.
Then head to City Hall located at the northern end of Nguyen Hue Boulevard and continue the tour to Opera House. Next stop is Jade Emperor Pagoda, a key meeting place for Chinese secret societies.
Following Jade Emperor Pagoda is Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum. Reunification Palace was the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president and was stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state.
War Remnants Museum houses collections of weapons and photographs from 2 Indochina wars are exhibited along with the original French 'Guillotine' brought here in the early 20th century. See the oldest and the most active pagodas at Giac Lam Pagoda and Thien Hau Pagoda on the way to Ben Thanh, the central market of Saigon.Starting Accommodation:
Day 10 – Depart Ho Chi Minh City
Today you will transfer from your hotel to Saigon airport for your departure flight.