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  • Hidden Charm of Vietnam

    Code: VFT03 - Duration: 15 Days
    Start: Hanoi | Finish: Saigon
  • This family tour is aimed to introduce you to the vast and beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage of this almighty country. We begin in Hanoi’s historic old quarter, followed by a cruise along the emerald waters of Halong Bay. Next, we visit Tam Coc in Ninh Binh otherwise referred to as Halong Bay on land. We fly down to Central Vietnam with a visit to Hue Imperial City and the ancient sea port Hoi An. Heading further south, we visit Saigon before you immerse yourself in the tropical surroundings of the Mekong Delta’s floating market.

    Highlights:

    • Discover the graceful and exotic Hanoi capital - thousands of years of culture
    • Spend a night in a homestay, experience the daily activities and learn about local traditions
    • Visit Tam Coc with a row boat and sail through the picturesque landscape
    • Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of more than 2000 islands rising from emerald waters of Halong Bay, a recognised World Heritage Site by UNESCO
    • Explore Imperial city Hue well-known for its temples, tombs, palaces and pagodas
      Taste of Vietnam
    • Gain more knowledge on impressive, historic homes of Hoi An
    • Discover the bustling and dynamic Saigon with French colonial structures, pagodas and markets
    • Explore the intricate network of canals and channels in Mekong Delta area by taking a private traditional boat
    • Charming hotels in great locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)
    Day 2: Hanoi City (B/L/-)
    Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau/Home-stay (B/L/D)
    Day 4: Mai Chau - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc (B/L/-)
    Day 5: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
    Day 6: Halong Boat Trip - Hanoi (Br/-/-)
    Day 7: Hanoi - Flight to Hue (B/-/-)
    Day 8: Hue - Thuy Bieu Eco-village (B/L/-)
    Day 9: Hue - Danang - Hoian (B/L/-)
    Day 10: Hoian - Free (B/-/-)
    Day 11: Hoian - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/L/-)
    Day 12: Saigon - Cai Be/Home-stay (B/L/D)
    Day 13: Cai Be - Can Tho (B/L/-)
    Day 14: Can Tho - Saigon (B/L/-)
    Day 15: Saigon - Departure (B/-/-)

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

    Notes:

    + We specialize 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 "TOUR PRICE"

    + 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 .

  • Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/-)

    Hanoi - Airport: 30km, ~40min drive

    hanoi

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

    Meals Included: None
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

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

    hanoi

    After a wholesome breakfast at the hotel, we start the day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex. This famous site comprises Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum (closed on Mondays & Fridays), his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Following this, we head to the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius. Otherwise known as the first university of Vietnam, the site also honours the eighty-two Vietnamese doctorates that each passed a number of rigid exams in the medieval ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are each engraved in headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. Its neatly maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. Next stop, lunch!-which will be served at a popular local restaurant.

    In the afternoon, we visit Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays, the alternative is the History Museum) dedicated to Vietnam's fifty-four officially recognised ethnic races. While the in-house exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoor display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses, from the Kinhs to the ethnic groups of the Central Highlands. We then enjoy a 1-hour-cyclo tour to the Old Quarter where you can see streets with century-aged trees and French Colonial buildings. We then head to Ngoc Son Temple set on a tiny islet in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Ngoc Son Temple dates back to the 13th century, and the lake itself is the picturesque heart of Hanoi, frequented by both tourists and locals.

    In the evening, we will enjoy a truly Vietnamese ‘water puppet show’, a unique Vietnamese traditional art. This art is originated from rural festivals and involve the artists standing waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets, making them move, talk and laugh and even dance on the surface of the water. A must do in Vietnam!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau/Home-stay (B/L/D)

    Hanoi - Mai Chau: 160km, ~4h drive

    maichau tours

    After breakfast at the hotel, we depart for the valley of Mai Chau, home to many hill tribes including the Dzao, Muong and Thai. We stop on the way to visit a Muong village in Thung Khe. After arriving at our homestay (a house on stilts!), we will have lunch with some local people. We will then spend the afternoon cycling around the villages of Mai Chau and the surrounding countryside. The peaceful life, verdant landscapes and friendly and hospitable people of this site will leave you with unforgettable memories.

    In the late afternoon, we invite you to participate in a game of volleyball/soccer with the villagers. Dinner with typical menus will be prepared by the local family.

    In the evening, you have a chance to enjoy the friendliness of the people by participating in a traditional dance show of Thai ethnic people.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Homestay in Mai Chau

    Day 4: Mai Chau - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc (B/L/-)

    tam coc, ninh binhAfter breakfast, we drive to Tam Coc also known as “Dry Halong Bay” in the Ninh Binh province. En route, we will stop for some photo opportunities and refreshments. Along the way, we drop into Hoa Lu, the former capital of Vietnam during the 10th century.  Upon arrival at Tam Coc, we will embark a small rowing boat to discover an outstanding waterscape along the Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc is adorned with beautiful columns of various gemstone-like shapes. The rest of the day is yours to relax and take in your stunning surroundings.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Tam Coc

    Day 5: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay (B/L/D)

    Ninh Binh - Halong: 200km, ~4h drive 

    halong bayAfter 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, we will be served fresh local seafood lunch followed by swimming and exploring some of the limestone caves in this area. Witness one of the world’s best the sunsets before you sit down for a lush dinner. The captain then will anchor for the night nearby a remote island where you’ll have the option night fishing or just sit out on the deck and relax under the stars.

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

    Day 6: Halong Boat Trip - Hanoi (Br/-/-)

    halong bay boatAfter 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 Halong bay. The cruise continues to move around the bay for in order for us to discover more secluded areas; we then go kayaking and continue swimming. The boat will be near us at all times for those who prefer to relax on board. Around midday, we will return to the main harbour before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for the three-hour journey to Hanoi. The evening is yours to relax and enjoy some more of the amazing street food the city is renowned for.

    Meals Included: Brunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 7: Hanoi - Flight to Hue (B/-/-)

    Hanoi - Hue: 770km, 1h flight

    hue

    After a hearty breakfast, you will be taken by your driver to Noi Bai airport for your flight to Hue, an impressive city that was once the capital of the Nguyen dynasty. We arrive around noon where your new guide and driver will meet and escort you to the hotel for check-in.

    In the afternoon, we visit the Imperial City, with various beautiful structures including the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and Tu Cam Thanh, to name a few. Built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the city was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945. We then do some walking and well deserved shopping at the Dong Ba Market to enjoy the many specialities the city has to offer.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

    Day 8: Hue - Thuy Bieu Eco-village (B/L/-)

    hue

    After breakfast at the hotel, we start the day with a leisurely boat trip along the Perfume River. There will be a stop at Dong Ba Market to buy ingredients for the midday cooking class. En route you will visit Thanh Tien village where paper flowers are produced, Van Mieu Temple and Thien Mu Pagoda also known as “Heavenly Lady Pagoda”, the icon of Hue city.

    We will then continue the cruise towards Thuy Bieu eco-village, an ancient village situated on the banks of the Perfume River. After arriving here, we will take part in a cooking class to prepare typical Hue dishes with instructions from a chef. You will then enjoy your creations in the open air riverside restaurant.

    The afternoon is reserved for cycling through the peaceful village, visiting several communal houses, ancient temples and the tour highlight: The Garden House. This is a typical and unique feature of Hue. We end the day with you soaking your feet in medicinal herb water followed by a soothing massage which will refresh you after a day of sightseeing. The evening is yours to discover the rest of Hue.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

    Day 9: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B/L/-)

    Hue - Hoi An: 140km, ~2h30m drive

    hue

    After breakfast at the hotel, we bid Hue farewell and continue our southbound journey to the old trading town of Hoi An. 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 over Lang Co beach and Danang city.

    Upon arrival in Hoi An, we take a walking tour to Hoi An Ancient Town - an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th century. We start our day with one of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions, the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was created by the Japanese living in Hoi An in the 1590s as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water and is a historical piece of Japanese architecture. However, no visit to Hoi An is complete without a visit to Tan Ky House – one of the many ancient houses that make up Hoi An Ancient Town. Built two centuries ago with both Japanese and Chinese influences on architecture, this house has been preserved through several generations.

    We will continue our walking tour and encounter many other quintessential Hoi An houses from wealthy Chinese merchants. Another ‘must-see’ if the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall; built in 1690, this hall is, in fact, a temple dedicated to the sea goddess Thien Hau. It is widely considered an outstanding work of architecture and was a uniting presence to the many cultures that influenced Hoi An.

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

    Day 10: Hoi An - Free (B/-/-)

    hoianAfter breakfast at the hotel, time is free for your own exploration and shopping. Hoi An is home to some of the most skillful tailors in Vietnam. You can get your clothes custom-made at a fantastic price.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

    Day 11: Hoian - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/L/-)

    Danang - Saigon: ~850km, 2h flight

    saigon tours

    After breakfast at the hotel, our driver will meet and transfer you to Danang Airport for your flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, meet your new guide and driver who then escort you to a hotel in the city centre for check-in. You will then have time for lunch and some relaxation.

    In the afternoon, your guide will arrive at the hotel for your first official tour of Saigon. We begin with some beautiful French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Saigon Post Office. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883, and the stones used to create it were exported entirely from France. Apart from the religious meaning, the most captivating point of this Cathedral is its special neo-Romanesque style of architecture. Next door to the cathedral stands the Old Saigon Post Office, finished in 1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam's largest post office. The tour continues along Dong Khoi Street, where the Opera House and the Peoples Committee building were built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene.  The 800 seat Opera House served as the home of the Lower House Assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. After this, we head to the Reunification Palace which is the former residence of the President of South Vietnam. This is until April 30th, 1975 when North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates thus marking the end of the Vietnam War. 

    Continuing on, we will visit the War Remnants Museum formerly known as the Museum of American War Crimes. This is a poignant display of the futility of war. For a more relaxing end to the afternoon, we visit Thien Hau Pagoda located in Cho Lon, Chinatown. This pagoda is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. The most impressive features of the structure are the intricate decorations and the carved tableaus towards the front of the pagoda. Another site which cannot be missed is the bustling Ben Thanh Market. There are a number of vendors and food stalls which provide fresh & delicious dishes. No doubt you will find many gifts to bring home!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 12: Saigon - Cai Be/Home-stay (B/L/D)

    Saigon - Cai Be: 112 km, ~2h10min drive

    mekong cruise

    After breakfast, we spend time visiting Cho Lon Area (Chinatown) to enjoy some shopping and sample the exotic cuisine. We then leave the bustling city of Saigon behind for the Mekong Delta. Arriving in Cai Be, we embark a boat and cruise to the Mekong Lodge, a charming eco resort located on the banks of the Mekong River. Lunch will be served in its beautiful riverside restaurant.

    In the afternoon, we take a boat trip through the orchards and canals where you can taste various kinds of tropical fruit and connect with the locals to learn more about their lifestyle.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Home-stay in Cai Be

    Day 13: Cai Be - Can Tho (B/L/-)

    Cai Be - Can Tho: 65 km, ~1h25min drive

    cai rang floating market

    After breakfast at the homestay, we take a boat trip through the winding waterways of Cai Rang floating market - the biggest and busiest floating market in the Mekong Delta. During this time, the river turns into a labyrinth of hundreds of motor sampans filled with fruit, vegetables, plants and food jostling for sale space. This is a perfect opportunity to take photos, talk with local people and taste the many varieties of tropical fruit.

    We return to the Mekong Lodge for check-out then cruise to Tan Phong Island. Here we will visit Ba Kiet old house built in 1924 in the typical architectural style of the Mekong Delta region before driving to Can Tho. Upon arrival, we check-in to the hotel and the day is free for your personal discovery of Can Tho or, you may choose to reward yourself with some well-earned relaxation.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Can Tho

    Day 14: Can Tho - Saigon (B/L/-)

    Can Tho - Saigon: 170 km, ~3h25min drive

    can thoRising early to the sounds of the Delta coming to life for another day, we have breakfast and start our trip with a boat cruise along the sparkling streams and endless waterways of the Mighty Mekong River. Our destination is the Cai Rang floating market; the biggest and most famous floating market in the Mekong Delta where hundreds of boats are packed with mango, bananas, papaya and pineapple… for selling, buying and exchanging. We visit the lush orchards and are treated to taste some delicious tropical fruits. On the way back, there’s a stop at Binh Thuy old house, 5km from Can Tho and Long Dinh mat weaving village where you can see how mats are made. We then head back to Saigon for the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 15: Saigon - Departure (B/-/-)

    Today, you are free to spend time relaxing and doing some last minute shopping until you are taken by your driver to the airport for your flight to your next destination or back home. Bon Voyage!

    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:

    • Seasonal: during high season (October-April), the prices of services are generally higher when compared to the low season (May-September).
    • The number of participants: the more of you that travel together the less you will pay!
    • The choice of hotels: Fairly obvious one here; a 5-star hotel can cost ten times as much as a 2 star hotel.
    • 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, booking your trip late can drastically affect prices due to their low availability.

    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
    • Flights: Hanoi – Hue; Danang - Saigon (E-Class on Vietnam Airlines)
    • Halong Bay overnight on boat (sharing boat)
    • Private boat excursion in Tam Coc, Hue, Mekong Delta
    • Homestay in Mai Chau, Cai Be
    • 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.

  • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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      Your message (Ex: The desired steps and activities, what you like, what you do not,
      the health condition of the participants, your questions on this trip...)

    • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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        Which country would you like to discover? *
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        Regarding meals, you want the agency to offer you:
        Describe your trip
        These ideas are a guide for creating a trip suitable for your needs and expectations
        • Your desire to travel (culture, adventure, beach extension, local meetings, nature, etc.)
        • The desired pace of your trip (moderate, free and easy, etc.)
        • Your knowledge of the country. Your interests
        • The opportunity of your trip (vacation, wedding anniversary, cultural group, etc.)
        • Remarks (Room types, diet, special requests, etc.)

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