Day 1|Arrival, Drive to Pu Luong (D)
- Welcome to Vietnam.
- As you arrive in this one-thousand-year-old capital city of Hanoi, you are welcomed by our representative at the airport. Later drive to your stay in the lush green surrounds of Pu Luong Natural Reserve (~4hrs drive). On arrival here, check-in to your retreat and relax. Enjoy local dinner here.
- Overnight Pu Luong.
DAY 2| Pu Luong natural reserve guided trek & bamboo rafting (B, L D)
- Start early in the morning to descend into the beautiful valley facing the Retreat where you walk around tumbling rice terraces. Trek(~6hrs) through small paths shrouded in vegetation to slowly reveal a picturesque village sitting at the base of a towering mountain.
- Continuing to the base of the valley, you weave between roads and farmland, villages and wild fields, ponds and rivers, mountains and open land. Savor the ever-changing scenery as you trek to a beautiful spot to enjoy a simple picnic lunch.
- Later return to your stay and rest
- Post lunch you will be transferred to a suspension bridge over the Cham River, where you begin your walk in search of stunning water wheels.Get a close up look at each wheel and discover how water is transferred from the river to handmade bamboo aqueducts via simple constructions of all sizes.
- Arriving at a local fisherman’s house, you have a short rest to gear up for the guided bamboo river rafting Float along the calm river and enjoying the views, in between learning how to paddle and steer your handcrafted rafts.
- Arriving at the scenic Tan Lap Bridge, you disembark to be transferred back to Pu Luong Retreat for dinner.
Pu Luong to Hanoi (B, D- street)
- After breakfast, check-out of your nature retreat and head to the vibrant city of Hanoi. (~4hrs drive). On arrival here, check –in and enjoy lunch (on own).
- Late afternoon, head out for a guided visit to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long(closes at 5.00p.m.) & Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam(Temple of Literature and the First National University in Vietnam) where its 11th century architecture and gardens offer an ambient glimpse into its past.
- In the evening, take an easy guided street food walking tourin the Old Quarter, feel the sight and sound of the bustling street, visit night market, enjoy live music performances on streets (night market & live music is available from Friday to Sunday weekly), taste typical streets food such as “Nom Bo Kho” (dry beef salad), Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich), “Phở” and many more. End the tour with a famous Vietnamese coffee – “Ca phe trung” (hot coffee topping with egg foam). – no veg option available.
- Return to your stay. Overnight Hanoi.
DAY 4 | Ha Long Bay (B, L D)
- Post breakfast at the hotel, check-out and drive towards the UNESCO World Natural Heritage – Ha Long Bay.
- 8:00am depart (165km ~ 4hrs drive without guide) for Ha Long Bay –where thousands of spectacular limestone islets and grottoes rising from the clear emerald Gulf of Tonkin create a surreal world.
- You will be welcomed on board with a drink prior to your check-in. Lunch with fresh sea food will be served while boat is cruising through many stone islets, floating villages and small beaches. Visit a floating fishing village, talk and meet with local villagers prior to swimming or free time at your own on the sundeck.
- Dinner would be ready at the time the boat anchors off at a quiet designated overnight area.
- Overnight on board the cruise.
(Note: Itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to weather conditions, cruise availability or local administration regulations.)
DAY 5 | Ha Long Bay to Hoi An (Brunch, D)
- Breakfast is served while the junk cruises around Ha Long Bay, passes by many islets named
by their shapes such as Dog, Incense Urn, Fighting Cock, Finger, etc. Stop for a while to explore Surprise Cave- one of the most beautiful ones of the bay. The junk then continues cruising towards the wharf.
- Ready to disembark at about 11.00AM. Your vehicle is ready to take you to Hanoi airport (165km ~ 4hrs drive without guide)
for your flight to Danang.
- On arrival in Danang, board your vehicle and drive to Hoi An (~45min).
- In Hoi An, head to a restaurant for your local dinner. Later, check-in to your stay.
- Overnight Hoi An.
DAY 6 | Hoi An (B)
- Breakfast at the hotel
- 08:30a.m we start the morning guided heritage walk through Hoi An Ancient Town. Visit the Japanese covered bridge, Chinese assembly hall, a typical Vietnamese merchant’s house, one of the interesting museums and the local market. There’re numerous art galleries, souvenirs and tailor shops where you can get some express made-to-order clothes if you like.
- Hoi An is also a perfect place to find some bargain clothes.
- Wind up your afternoon with a relaxing Tea tasting session in a silent Tea House. Enjoy the beauty of silence in this teahouse, a tranquil oasis in the center of bustling Hoi An. The grace and charm of their speech and hearing impaired staff will warm your heart as you savor the silence of this experience. There are few distractions from the flavors and aromas of our locally grown products. Visitors feel embraced by the traditional Vietnamese tea service. Choose 3 varieties from the tea offerings on the menu. Each tea is served in an individual hand made pot and is accompanied by cookies that pair well with the flavors of the teas.
- Evening you will be transferred to boat pier, for Dinner Cruise(set veg/non-veg dishes menu), 19:30 dinner cruise starts. Enjoy dinner whilst cruising Hoai and Thu Bon Rivers on a river barge. Admire the scenery from your table with views. After the dinner there will be time for coffee or tea before you get a floating candlelight lantern to make your wish by lowering into the River from the boat.
- Overnight Hoi An.
DAY 7 | Hue (B)
- Early breakfast at the hotel and check-out.
- Board your vehicle to take you on a drive through some breath-taking scenery towards the historic city of (~3.5hrs)
- On arrival here, visit a historic pagoda nested in a very tranquil village on the outskirts of Hue city. It is a special place because of the elevated mission of the people who run this property. Meet & interact with your host, the master nunwho is in charge of the pagoda, which is also home for many homeless elderly & orphans in the area. Then we experience a typical vegetarian meal in the pagoda.
- Later we visit the Imperial Citadel where Kings of Vietnam’s last feudal dynasty ruled from 1802 to 1945, including Flag Tower, Nine Holy Cannons, Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Nine Dynastic Urns, Forbidden Purple City.
Post the visit, check-in to your stay. Overnight Hue.
DAY 8 | Hue – Saigon, Vespa beer trail (B)
- After breakfast, check out of your stay in Hoi An and head to Danang to board your flight to Saigon.
- On arrival here, drive to the hotel in the city center. Check-in and relax. You could visit the buzzing Ben Thanh market(on own).
- 17:30 get ready for the Vespa Beer Trail (5.30pm to 10.00pm) which offers the best craft breweries in town as you ride around the busy city streets in between 4 different venues on the back of the vintage Vespa. You not only can get a taste of the broad range of flavors of the impressively growing craft beer scene in this vibrant city but also know the brewer’s knowledge, story and the actual brewing process with unique ingredients & flavors.
- Return to your stay. Overnight Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
DAY 9 | Cu Chi Tunnels, departure (B)
- Today, after breakfast check out of your stay and head straight to the Cu Chi Tunnels
- On arrival here, visit Cu Chi tunnel, through urbanized areas and a typically lush southern Vietnamese countryside. The tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It also served as communication route and food and weapon caches as well as hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the American war.
- Visit the underground villages to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese’s resilience during the combats. Interact with a Vietnamese veteran who shares with you his experiences (subject to his availability)
- Post the visit, head straight to the airport for your return flight.
Note: the departure flight has to be post 1700hrs.
Optional Add-on (1 night @ Hanoi) for a day trip to the Trang An Grottoes
Transfer 150km to Trang An, which is famous for its spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks and grottoes. Start your tour with a three-hour cruise along the crystal-water stream in Trang An area. Rowing through caves and green picturesque channels, you are closest to the nature. After the boat ride, return to the quay and visit Bai Dinh – the biggest Buddhist pagoda in Vietnam. The complex covers a total area of 539 hectares with huge Worshipping Monuments.