Best Of Vietnam 12Days Tour | Vietnam Family Vacation
Day 1 Hanoi airport - Hanoi hotel
Welcome to Hanoi and the start of your holiday. Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you and your family to explore Vietnam's enchanting capital. At 6pm there will be a Welcome Meeting in the hotel lobby.
Day 2 : Hanoi - Mai Chau
Hanoi - Mai Chau. Early this morning we bid farewell to Hanoi and drive west through beautiful scenery to reach the picturesque valley of Mai Chau. En route we stop to explore the unique Muong Culture Museum which is spread over 5 hectares of land. Here we will learn all about the Muong ethnic minority people. We'll see women in traditional dress and authentic Muong stilt houses, as well as a collection of fascinating artefacts.
Arriving at our lodge around midday we enjoy a tasty lunch of local cuisine. This afternoon we hop on bicycles for a leisurely ride in the countryside, exploring the area and meeting the locals. Spend the evening at leisure, with dinner served at the lodge.
Overnight: Mai Chau
Day 3 : Mai Chau - Mai Hich village
Today we enjoy a leisurely 7km hike through the Mai Chau Valley to Mai Hich village, passing rice fields and hamlets, and meeting locals along the way. Mai Hich is surrounded by mountains and home to the Thai and Muong ethnic populations. Here we join a local family and help to cook a tasty lunch of local ethnic cuisine together.
After lunch we hop on the back of mopeds and ride pillion with friendly local guides who take us on a fun two-wheeled adventure, travelling along the quiet rural back roads and through forest to visit nearby local villages.
Overnight: Mai Chau
Day 4 : Mai Chau - Ninh Binh
Mai Chau - Ninh Binh. This morning we drive to the beautiful Ninh Binh region, which is often referred to as an inland Halong Bay. We arrive in a remote corner of the region called Mount Tuong where we have lunch before enjoying a scenic sampan boat ride to Galaxy Cave
After lunch we climb the steps up Ngoa Long Mountain for an incredible panoramic view over Ninh Binh's rice fields, karst mountains and Tam Coc, the most beautiful valley in the region, renowned for its towering limestone peaks. On our way back to Ninh Binh we stop to explore Mua Cave which lies at the foot of Mua mountain which has a striking stone dragon carved into its staircase.
Overnight: Ninh Binh
Day 5 : Ninh Binh - Halong Bay Junk Cruise
Ninh Binh – Halong Bay. After breakfast we bid farewell to Ninh Binh and drive to spectacular Halong Bay, where karst island peaks dappled with lush vegetation rise from the pristine emerald coloured waters. We explore this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site on an overnight junk boat cruise.
Junk boats are based on a traditional design, combining oriental style with modern luxury. On board you can soak up the panoramic views from the sundeck as the boat gently plies its course. This afternoon we visit Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000m² with a stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. There's also the opportunity to go kayaking and enjoy a refreshing swim.
Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Overnight: Halong Bay
Day 6 : Halong Bay Junk Cruise - Hanoi cyclo ride
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage - the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port this morning, we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two spectacular chambers which are spacious enough to hold thousands of people.
Arriving back to Hanoi mid-afternoon we explore the maze of streets known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’ aboard a cyclo (rickshaw). The narrow lanes are each named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops. On our tour we will have a chance to sample the exotic fruits, sizzling noodle dishes and delightfully sticky snacks being offers by the pavement vendors.
Later this evening there's a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
Overnight: Sleeper train
Day 7: Hue - Imperial Hue
This morning we have a breakfast box on the train before arriving into Hue where we set out on a guided sightseeing tour of this fascinating imperial city. Once the capital of the Nguyen emperors, the last ruling family of Vietnam, UNESCO-listed Hue is full of palaces, pagodas and temples.
Two of the main highlights here are the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, and the Citadel. Within the walls of the latter is the Imperial Purple Palace – an exact replica of the famed Forbidden City in Beijing, with impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.
After our tour we enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Perfume River and on to our hotel.
Day 8: Hue - Enchanting Hoi An
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Today we will travel on to the laidback riverside town of Hoi An, travelling along the picturesque Hai Van Pass – nicknamed the Road of the Ocean Clouds, with beaches on one side and verdant hills on the other. We will break up our journey with a stop at China Beach, an expansive sandy beach made famous by the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. Here there will be the chance to opt for a swim in its warm waters before continuing our journey south along the coast.
Radiating age-old charm with grand colonial architecture, Hoi An is one of Vietnam's most delightful destinations. The Old Town, recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an immaculately preserved example of an Asian trading port with covered bridges, pagodas, temples and merchant houses.
The town's beguiling riverside setting adds to the overall picturesque appeal of Hoi An with women in conical hats rowing their wooden vessels downstream and the glow of red lanterns in the evenings reflected on the water's iridescent surface. A short walking tour will take us back to a bygone era, with a visit to the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, a 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
Overnight: Hoi An
Day 9: Hoian - Cam Thanh Farm tour
For a taste of rural life today, we take a bicycle ride through the countryside to Cam Thanh farm. We cycle through picturesque villages where life moves at a slower pace, passing rice paddies, local orchards and seeing the locals at work in the fields. At the organic farm in Cam Thanh we meet the local farmers and learn all about their community-based project. Then we enjoy a fun hands-on farming experience, helping to tend the fields, applying organic manure, making organic pesticides and cultivating the soil for planting and watering. After farming the fields we return to the farmer's house and use the produce harvested from the organic vegetable garden to help to cook a tasty Vietnamese lunch for ourselves.
In the afternoon, we hop on our bicycles again for a short ride to a bamboo workshop where we join a talented local craftsman to make our own bamboo products under his expert guidance. After the workshop we drive back to Hoi An and spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Hoi An
Day 10: Hoi An - at leisure
Today is free for you to spend at leisure in Hoi An. You may wish to head to the beach for a day of relaxation or shop until you drop - Hoi An is famous for its skilled artisans, with wonderful craft shops, art galleries and some of Asia's best bespoke tailors.
Overnight: Hoi An
Day 11: Hoian - Ho Chi Minh City
An early morning flight will take us to Ho Chi Minh City today. Once called the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, old and new collide in this modern city as gleaming sky scrapers, glamorous restaurants and designer shops stand side-by-side with colonial era landmarks and post-war remnants. Here we will enjoy a walking tour of the city taking in some of Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous landmarks, including the impressive red-brick Neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the central Post Office and the sobering War Remnants Museum.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12 : Cu Chi Tunnels - home
Our tour ends after breakfast today and there's an included transfer to the airport. If you have time, consider bargaining for goods at Ben Thanh Market or visiting the grand Independence Palace.
Alternatively you can extend their stay and opt to join us on a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where there will be the chance to explore a vast network of underground tunnels and hideouts that were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Learn about booby traps, climb through trap doors, or even test your skills with an AK 47 at the firing range!
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