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  • Holistic Vietnam

    Code: VOT03 - Duration: 14 Days
    Start: Hanoi | Finish: Saigon
  • Although well known for its beautiful landscape, friendly locals and mouth-watering cuisine, parts of Vietnam are very much recovering from the war.  Helping Hand Vietnam provides a combination of culture, adventure, nature and charity to help locals who are struggling due to lasting effects of the Vietnam War. We begin in Hanoi, commanding hub of the north with its charm and history. Next, we venture to Halong Bay and explore the natural beauty whilst sailing along on a luxury junk. We will then be guided through the picturesque regions of Ngoc Song Ngo Luong reserve to enjoy the surrounding beauty and stay in a traditional village. Leaving this surreal experience, we head to Central Vietnam to the Imperial City otherwise known as Hue. Our journey continues to Hoi An ancient town renowned UNESCO heritage site. We head onto exotic Saigon before venturing to the watery maze of the Mekong Delta.

    Highlights:

    • Meet with associations that care for disadvantaged children
    • Overnight  with locals or eco-lodges providing an authentic trip
    • Take a cruise on Halong Bay to explore the breathtaking beauty of more than 2000 islands rising from emerald water 
    • Trek across fairyland scenery in Ngoc Son Ngo Luong: lush forests, blue rivers, and misty waterfalls in a deep valley surrounded by limestone rock formations, palm trees, and bamboo groves
    • Discover the bustling and dynamic Saigon with French colonial structures, pagodas and markets
    • Step really out of the beaten path with local meetings and nights in warmly welcomed families in the heart of Mekong Delta
    • Varied activities which mingle with local people

    Responsible Mandarin Road MapItinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)
    Day 2: Hanoi City (B/-/-)
    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B/L/-)
    Day 5: Hanoi - Ngoc Son Ngo Luong (B/L/D)
    Day 6: Ngoc Son Ngo Luong - Hanoi - Overnight train to Hue (B-/L/-)
    Day 7: Hue (B/-/-)
    Day 8: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B/L/-)
    Day 9: Hoi An - Tra Nhieu - Cam Thanh Village (B/L/-)
    Day 10: Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/-/-)
    Day 11: Saigon - Ben Tre /Home-stay (B/L/D)
    Day 12: Ben Tre - Sa Dec - Tien Giang (B/-/D)
    Day 13: Tien Giang - Saigon (B/L/-)
    Day 14: Saigon - Departure  (B/-/-)

    • Ability to change the direction of the program
    • Possibility of an extension in Laos or Cambodia

    Notes:

    - Tonkin-Travel specializes in “tailor-made” tours for groups of two or more. We carefully inspect each step of your journey from the accommodation to the perfect guide to suit your needs
    - The itinerary is open to modification to fit your personal travel needs
    - Modifications to the itinerary may increase the price of the package
    - For the price of this trip, just ask for a quote by clicking on “Customize this trip” 
    - If you are looking for a trip modified to your requirements, please send us your needs by filling out the form in “Customize your trip
    - We will contact and send you a quote, excluding holiday period, within 48 hours of receiving your request (excluding holiday periods). 

  • Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)

    Hanoi - Airport: 30km, ~40min drive

    Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, meet our guide and driver who then escort you to the city centre. After making sure of your successful hotel check-in, they will be pleased to leave you free time for your own lunch and leisure to recover after the long flight.

    Meals Included: None
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 2: Hanoi City (B/-/-)

    hanoiAfter breakfast at the hotel, we start our day with a visit to one of the local markets. Hanoi is not influenced by western supermarkets and many still choose to shop at the local markets.  Purchasing items at the market is a huge part of Vietnamese culture and based on your preferences, we will take you to a market that suits you. Following this you wil then take one-hour cyclo tour to discover the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake where you can see streets with century-aged trees and French Colonial buildings. Finishing the cyclo tour, we will drop by for a visit to Ngoc Son Temple built on Jade Islet dedicated to Confucian and Taoist Spirits and our national hero, Tran Hung Dao. After the cyclo tour, we will visit the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius, otherwise known as Vietnam’s first university. The temple honours eighty-two Vietnamese doctorates who passed a number of rigid exams in the feudal ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in the headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its peaceful green compound with its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)

    Hanoi - Halong: 170km, ~3h30min drive 

    halongYou will be experiencing your Indochina Junk experience with a company that shares their earnings with the local community and is committed to protecting the environment. They are the founders of “For a Green Halong Bay” program and they facilitate projects such as garbage collection in the village of Vung Vieng, fishing village of Cong Dang and are drastically trying to increase the mangrove forest. By choosing this trip, you are supporting the local community.

    After breakfast, we depart for Halong Bay via Thai Binh and Nam Dinh. Sit back and enjoy the peaceful countryside symbolic of the Red River Delta. We will arrive at Halong Bay’s wharf around noon and embark an elegant wooden junk for a cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay. Here we enjoy the striking scenery of this World Heritage Site.

    While being on board, you will be served with a sumptuous fresh, local seafood lunch. During lunch, we cruise to magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay and admire the fascinating formations on the way. You will have chance to explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave and enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co Island, swimming or kayaking while watching the sunset. Finally, you return to the boat to cool off before taking a seafood dinner on board. In the evening, time is spent to relax and enjoy the fresh air before spending a night on board.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Overnight on boat

    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B/L/-)

    vung vieng

    After waking up surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the bay, we have time for an early morning dip. Then it’s time for breakfast whilst you watch the sun rise over Ha Long bay. The cruise continues with a visit to Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat. Back on board, it’s time for final packing and freshening up before enjoying an a la carte lunch.

    After lunch, you may relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last Bay views before disembarking and transferring to our awaiting vehicle for a drive to Yen Duc Village. In this beautiful village full of heritage you will experience local life in a rural area. We will enjoy a puppet show by local artists and then we will visit a local house for a warm welcome from the host. You will be able to try many activities such as harvesting, planting, rice pounding, fishing and many other traditional activities. We drive back to Hanoi late in the afternoon and the night is yours.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 5: Hanoi - Ngoc Son Ngo Luong (B/L/D)

    Hanoi - Ngoc Son Ngo Luong: 150km, ~4h drive

    ngoc son ngo luongAfter breakfast at the hotel, we drive south-west to Ngoc Son Ngo Luong Reserve. Situated between Cuc Phuong National Park and Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Ngoc Son Ngo Luong contains a variety of wonderful landscapes and ecosystems and is also home to the traditional villages of the Muong, an ethnic minority in Vietnam. Upon arrival, we stop at the headquarters of the reserve to meet some rangers and have a brief explanation about the global nature conservation and livelihood improvement project. After lunch at a local restaurant in Chieng village, we head down in the valley to reach Mu village. We then take our time to stroll around the village and have a break nearby the Mu waterfalls. We keep walking across the terraced rice fields to Sat village and settle down in a homestay there. You can expect a warm welcome and time for relaxing by the stream nearby the house.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home-stay in Sat Village

    Day 6: Ngoc Son Ngo Luong - Hanoi - Overnight train to Hue (B/L/-)

    Hanoi - Hue : 770km, 1h flight

    bat trang

    After an early breakfast at your homestay, we walk back to Mu village by another trail and head to Khay and Mon villages, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of the reserve. While walking, we’ll journey the wild natural areas creating unusually dynamic villages alive with vivid sounds and scenes of life. This is your chance to really breathe in an atmosphere quite different from the one we usually know at home. We promise your guide will provide opportunities for numerous encounters with locals and you will come to learn that these people are poor only in regards to technology. They have an immense wealth of human knowledge about how to live happily.  We will share lunch with a family in Mon village before some motorbike taxis bring us back to Chieng Village for refreshments in a local restaurant.

    On the way back to Hanoi, we will visit Bat Trang Ceramic Village, a typical village of Northern Vietnam lying some 13km south-east of Hanoi, on the left bank of the Red River. Most of the craftsmen here are specialised for producing many famous ceramic and pottery products of high quality. Bat Trang’s vases, bowls, dishes, and many other kinds of ceramic products have been exported worldwide. In the evening, our driver will take you to Hanoi Railway Station for your overnight train to Hue.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Overnight on train (Sharing 4-berth cabin)

    Day 7: Hue (B/-/-)

    hue

    Upon your arrival in Hue, your guide will meet you at the station before taking you for breakfast at a popular restaurant. We then start our city tour with Hue Imperial City, the last royal city of Vietnam. You will visit various beautiful structures including the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons and much more. Built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the Imperial City was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945. Our next destination is An Hien Garden House - the most beautiful garden house in Hue where you will feel very peaceful and comfortable in a world surrounded by nature. With traditional architecture, the house helps to soak up the atmosphere of this ancient place.

    In the afternoon, we visit the headquarters of Bretagne Vietnam Association that takes care of underprivileged children by building schools, promoting the integration of uneducated young people and offering credits to disadvantaged families. You will share a small part of the association’s daily life and discuss with young adults about their lives through your guide who will serve as a translator.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

    Day 8: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B/L/-)

    Hue - Hoi An: 140km 2,5h drive

    Breakfast at hotel.

    hoianAfter breakfast at the hotel, we bid Hue farewell and continue our southbound journey to the old trading town of Hoi An via Danang. Along the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach for coffee and refreshments. From here we head up to the Hai Van pass, stopping at the top to take in the stunning views towards Da Nang city. Continuing on our way down we will stop at the Xuan Association - a home for about thirty disadvantaged children from 4 to 18 years old. We will give these children small gifts such as pens, books and clothing which will be prepared by Tonkin Voyage Travel. Without a doubt, this will be a moment of happiness for you and them. After having meals with the kids, we continue our trip to Hoi An - a World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO. The evening is free to enjoy the small town of Hoi An or just sit at the beach.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

    Day 9: Hoi An - Tra Nhieu - Cam Thanh Village (B/L/-)

    tra nhieu

    After breakfast at the hotel, we walk to Thu Bon wharf on Bach Dang street and sail along Thu Bon River to Tra Nhieu village - 3km towards the south-east. Upon arrival, our guide will give you a brief introduction to the history and traditional handicraft of the village such as farming, fishing, poultry, livestock breeding, mattress making, etc. We then embark a boat with local fisherman to learn how to cast a net, catch fish, etc.

    We bid adieu to the fishermen and we continue with a bike ride to visit Cam Thanh village to meet some more fisherman and learn about fishing techniques. Lunch will be served at the village with special dishes including the traditional pancake, Banh Xeo. Then you can relax with a herbal foot massage - a traditional therapeutic practice. We return to Hoi An in the middle of the afternoon where the rest of the day is yours.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

    Day 10: Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/-/-)

    Danang - Saigon: ~850km, 2h flight

    saigon

    After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to visit Marble Mountains - a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngu Hanh Son District, south of Danang City. All of the mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels. If you would like, it’s possible to climb to the summit of Mt. Thuy where several Buddhist sanctuaries can also be found, making this a famous destination. From here, we head to Danang Airport for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, meet our guide and driver who then escort you to a centrally located hotel for a breezy check-in. You will then have time for your own lunch and relaxation.

    In the late afternoon, we will visit the main sights of the city including the Old Saigon Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Central Post Office finished in 1891 is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam's largest post office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883. The stones used to create it were exported directly from France. Apart from the religious meaning, the most captivating part of this Cathedral is its special neo-Romanesque style of architecture.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 11: Saigon - Ben Tre /Home-stay (B/L/D)

    Saigon - Ben Tre: 60 km, ~1h20min drive

    mekong

    After breakfast at the hotel, we leave the bustling city of Saigon behind us and depart for the Mekong Delta known to local as ‘Vietnam’s biggest rice basket’. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong pier in Ben Tre, we embark a boat to cruise along Ben Tre River, a tribute to the Mekong. With stops at the brickfield to see how bricks are made by hand and a coconut candy home factory located along the canal where we witness how to make these local delicacies. You will then have the opportunity to taste bee honey tea at a local honey farm and a variety of tropical fruit that grow abundantly in the orchards of the Mekong Delta. You can then walk or cycle through the coconut groves and green rice paddies to soak up and relax in the tranquil countryside atmosphere.

    Our boat trip continues to Cai Son and Nhon Thanh where were meet local families who specialise in manufacturing mats and see witness their skilled nimble hands following hundreds of years of tradition.

    After lunch with the locals, we take a cycle tour riding under shady trees until we visit the countryside in the Mekong Delta. Here, we visit a rice factory and stop at Mr Sau Khanh’s house - a provincial gentleman who has collected a lot of ancient porcelain. Tonight, you will participate in preparing dinner and enjoy local dishes in Mekong family atmosphere..

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Homestay in Ben Tre

    Day 12: Ben Tre - Sa Dec - Tien Giang (B/-/D)


    ben treAfter breakfast at the homestay, we depart for Cai Be (80km, ~ 2h drive) where you can immerse yourself in a world of lush vegetation from the Mekong Delta. As you sail pick through the fascinating and lively market, have a look at the many buyers bargaining for products. Arriving here, we will take a rowing boat along the maze of shady canals heading to a local orchard to enjoy some tropical fruit. We continue by boat to Vinh Long to stop off at a market (on land this time). After lunch (at your own cost), we head to Sa Dec, otherwise known as the little "Venice" of the Mekong Delta. Here we will see numerous narrow canals and different kinds of trading activities. We disembark at the local market place and you begin your own exploration of this charming Sa Dec town by walking along narrow streets and taking pictures of beautiful old houses and Chinese temples. Stop at an ancient house dating from 1890, home of Ong Huynh Thuy Le, former "lover" of famous French novelist Marguerite Duras. We will continue to Mekong Lodge where you will spend the night and enjoy a delicious dinner.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Accommodation: Mekong Lodge in Tien Giang

    Day 13: Tien Giang - Saigon (B/L/-)

    Tien Giang - Saigon: 220km, ~3h30min drive

    floating market mekong tonkin-travelAfter breakfast at the lodge, we depart by boat to visit Long Xuyen floating market - a small and authentic market representing typical shops of the delta region but without being distorted by tourism. We then take a bike ride on the footpaths of the countryside of Ong Ho Island to discover tropical fruit orchards and local people’s activities.  We get to know more about the daily life of people who live on both sides of the Mekong River. After lunch with the locals on the island, we drive back to Saigon for last night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 14: Saigon - Departure (B/-/-)

    Saigon - Airport: 30km, ~40min drive

    After breakfast at the hotel, time is free until you meet our driver and they transfer you to Tan Son Nhat airport for your flight to your next destination. Thanks for choosing to travel with Tonkin Voyage Travel!

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  • Prices

    This trip is private and therefore can be altered to suit your needs, date of commencement and budget requirements.

    Prices vary due to a number of specifics:

    • The period: during high season (from October till April), the price of services is generally higher compared to the low season (from May till September).
    • The number of participants: the more of you travel together, the less you will pay.
    • The choice of hotels: a 5-star hotel for example can cost ten times as much as a 2-star hotel; two hotels all classified among the three stars may have different prices if they are more or less charming.
    • The activities during the trip: two trips on the same itinerary and of the same length can have two different prices depending on the number and nature of activities included.
    • The booking date: in some cases, too close booking departure date can raise the price due to the low availability of services.

    Inclusion:

    • Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
    • Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except free day
    • English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
    • Meals as indicated in program (B: Breakfast /L: Lunch / D: Dinner)
    • Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
    • All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the program
    • Halong Bay overnight on boat (sharing boat)
    • Train ticket: Hanoi – Hue (sharing 4-berth cabin)
    • Flight ticket: Danang - Saigon (E-Class on Vietnam Airlines)
    • Private boat excursion in Mekong Delta
    • Water and cool tissues
    • Government taxes & service charge

    Exclusion:

    • Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
    • Early check-in, late check-out
    • Personal expenditures, tips
    • Personal insurance (compulsory)
    • Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
    • International air transfers associated with airport taxes
    • Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)

    Booking

    Here are 2 steps to book your trip with Tonkin-Travel:

    Step 1. Focus on your travel program:

    You can choose this trip as is or customize it to your specific desires. Just click on the “Customize this trip” tab and fill in the form. One of our travel consultants will contact you within 48 hours to develop the travel program based on your specifications.

    Step 2. Booking:

    • Following the first step, tour program is selected and we access the rates.
    • Upon confirmation of the trip, the registration must be accompanied by a deposit up to 25% of the total estimate.
    • For programs with private junk (cruise) and/or 5 star hotels, the deposit is represented by 30% of the total estimate.
    • Tonkin-Travel carries out the booking process upon receipt of the deposit. Confirmation of these reservations is sent to customer within 10 days via email

    Nature of travel

    This trip is private. That implies:

    • You will be escorted by a private guide and driver. This approach guarantees a smooth trip with fewer organizational constraints.
    • You will be the master of your trip. We guarantee flexibility in organizing visits at your request.
    • Our services will be personalized according to your desires. Thus the proposals in this package are not fixed and you can bring suggest all the desired changes.
    • You receive individualized care: ample food, organizing small events (anniversary, honeymoon, etc.), targeted information, followed necessary modifications, etc.

    Accommodation

    • Accommodation is an important expenditure of your trip. When you choose a luxury trip for example, the accommodation can represent three quarters of the price. Thus, your choice of hotels is closely related to your budget.
    • Tonkin-Travel has negotiated rates with a wide range of hotels from 2 to 5 stars.
    • In some places you will have the option to choose ‘home-stay’. Although this provides less comfort that a hotel it is a truly authentic experience and highly recommended for at least one night of your journey.

    Transport

    All transfers during your trip are covered by private vehicle with driver, unless otherwise indicated in our offer. We ensure that our vehicles are new and comfortable. Fuel, tolls, accommodation, compensation and the driver are included in our offer. Only gratuities are not included and are at your discretion.

    The size of the selected vehicle is based on the number of tour participants according to the following quality standards:

    No. of participants

    2 pax

    3 pax

    From 4 to 7 pax

    From 8 to 14 pax

    From 15 to 20 pax

    Vehicle size

    Car 4-7 seats

    Car 7 or minivan 
    16 seats

    Minivan 16 seats

    Bus 24 seats

    Bus 35 or 45 seats

    Domestic flights

    If your trip includes domestic flights if any, they will be operated by Vietnam Airlines, the largest airline in Vietnam. The fleet consists mainly of Airbus and Boeing. On some short trips, the company operates 72 ATR and some Fokker.

    Rail transport

    Train travel can be offered (particularly between Hanoi-Lao Cai and Hanoi-Hue). Travelling at a speed of 60km/h on average it is not necessarily the fastest but an interesting experience nonetheless.

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