9-Day Best of Vietnam : A Taste of Authentic Life
This suggested itinerary lets you fully understand Vietnam and is good for first-time travelers there. It not only covers exploring Vietnam's natural surroundings but also includes delving into the local culture, such as discovering local snacks in Hanoi, learning how to cook Hoi An dishes, and visiting a floating market.
Nov. to Apr.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
The itinerary below is flexible and just a suggested sample. Your travel advisor can help to tailor-make it based on your requirements, interests, and budget so you can discover Vietnam your own way.
Welcome to the capital of Vietnam — Hanoi! A private driver and an English-speaking guide will be waiting to collect you in the airport lobby, holding a sign with your name and the China Highlights logo on it. Your local guide will help you to check in to your hotel and confirm the next day's collection time. The rest of the day is for you to spend as you wish. You can adjust to the jet lag at your hotel or go for a walk near your hotel.
You will start your day by visiting Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Learning about Vietnam's history there first will help you to enjoy the culture and the historic sites more. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the most important landmarks and is worth visiting with your guide.
Then, head to Hoa Lo Prison, which was built in 1896 by the French in the center of Hanoi. Afterward, visit the One Pillar Pagoda, which is famous for being built on a big stone pillar in a bog.
If you want to understand the Hanoians' daily lifestyle, visit the Old Quarter. You can taste thousands of local specialties there — don't forget to sample bun cha and banh mi!When you've finished your half-day city highlights tour, you will watch Vietnam's traditional water puppet show at night.
You will explore Vietnam's natural landscape in Halong Bay, which is a natural wonder. You will be collected from your hotel and taken to board the cruise ship. Enjoy the cruise in Halong Bay — it is charming to settle down and have a drink during the cruise. You can explore Me Cung Cave, enjoy a kayaking experience, or go swimming. Then, you will return to the cruise ship. At night, you can watch the sunset, have a massage, or have a spa treatment. You will stay overnight on the cruise ship.
Note: Different cruises have different classes — for example, some offer a cooking class while others offer a tai chi lesson. Contact your travel advisor to learn more.
Your perfect cruise has come to an end so you will return to Hanoi by bus. Then, you will take a flight from Hanoi to Da Nang. A new guide will meet you and transfer you to Hoi An, which takes about 40 minutes.
Hoi An is called a "Chinese city". If you want to fully understand the Vietnamese culture, you must take a tour of it. You will visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall, and Old House of Tan Ky with your guide.
The town still retains hundreds of its traditional crafts in villages. The famous one is Pottery Village and you will take a small boat to explore it, taking about 40 minutes to reach it. You can visit a villager's home and talk with him/her. You also can experience some handicrafts there if you like.
You will be transferred from Hoi An to Da Nang to catch your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (which used to be called Saigon). It is one of the famous cities in Vietnam. Nowadays, it is a modern city but you can see that it is still a nostalgic city from the buildings along the streets. As you wander through the city center, you will visit Saigon Central Post Office, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, and Reunification Palace.
Next, go to the War Remnants Museum with your guide. You may feel heavyhearted as you walk around it as it displays innumerable black-and-white pictures of the Vietnam War. You will visit it by yourself with an audio device as your guide will not accompany you inside.
Saigon has a famous coffee street where you can dig into its coffee culture with your guide. Understand the local people's lifestyle there and you'll forget about going home.
Start your day with a trip to Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. Head across to Vinh Long Market to explore the Mekong Delta's abundant agricultural products. Most of them have been produced by the farmers, such as river fish, rice, and handmade snacks.
Set out to a local authentic restaurant for your lunch on An Binh Island in a special boat. Afterward, you will have a look at a local pottery kiln.
When you are on the boat, explore your surroundings to discover the Mekong Delta. If you are lucky, you will be able to see local farmers plowing and fishermen catching fish.
Your day will come to an end after you've been transferred back to Can Tho.
Can Tho is famous for its floating market and one of the highlights of the day is to visit Cai Rang Floating Market. The Mekong Delta's locals sell their products on the boats and you will see how local people bargain there. Your guide will help you to recognize special local vegetables.
After a boat ride, you will go back to the city to discover Can Tho Museum, where you can learn more about the Mekong Delta's agriculture and the locals' lifestyle. The last stop is to visit Binh Thuy Ancient House, which is where the movie The Lover was shot. It has a tranquil garden with a French colonial period architectural style.
Your driver and guide will see you off at the airport, help you with the check-in procedure, and say goodbye to you.
Price from: $2,109 (Tour code: gh-ah-1)
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