Temples, Tunnels and Tribes
|Resort:||Temples, Tunnels and Tribes|
Discover the many faces of Vietnam on this revealing tour
From breathtaking vistas to the hustle and bustle of the capital of Hanoi, Vietnam is a country with something for everyone. On this new tour, experience a taste of all the country has to offer starting in Ho Chi Minh City – formerly known as Saigon. From here you’ll head for the historic town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An.
11 nights in hotels, 1 night on a cruise and 2 in flight
22 meals: 12 breakfasts (B), 8 lunches (L) and 2 dinners (D)
Day 1 UK-Ho Chi Minh City
After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to Heathrow, depart in the morning for your overnight flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City
Transfer to the Northern Hotel (4Q) where you will stay for the next three nights. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a city restaurant this evening. D
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City
Travel by speed boat along the Saigon River to the Cu Chi tunnels, famous for the role they played during the Vietnam war. The tunnels were first dug during the 1940s as a defence against French colonialists but it was during the 1960s that Communist resistance forces constructed a network of over 250 kilometres of tunnels. Soldiers and civilians inhabited the complex, which included kitchens, meeting rooms, field hospitals, weapon factories, booby traps and escape routes. The tunnels even went right underneath the headquarters of the US Army’s 25th Division! The Americans bombed the area heavily and sent in forces to deflect the threat of communist guerrilla warfare. Take a tour of the tunnels themselves which will involve bending and crawling.
Alternatively, if you don’t wish to enter the tunnels, there are external exhibits, including a burnt-out tank, mantraps and exhibitions of weapons and ammunition. Afterwards, cruise back to the city in time for lunch followed by a city tour of Ho Chi Minh City. B, L
Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City
Head for Ben Tre, often referred to as the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam. From here you’ll board a boat for a crossing on the Cai Cam River to visit a coconut processing workshop and see the resulting products. Continue to a fruit orchard with the opportunity to learn about life in the Mekong Delta before travelling back to your boat by sampan, followed by lunch at a host home. Afterwards, enjoy a cycle trip around the village, visiting a local home before returning to Ho Chi Minh city. B, L
Day 5 Da Nang to Hoi An
Fly to Da Nang and transfer to Hoi An, a former trading port and UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon a walking tour takes in the town’s merchant houses, tea warehouses and early buildings including a 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge. You’ll also visit a Chinese communal hall, colourful market and learn about ancestor worship. Spend two nights at the Royal Riverside Hotel (4Q). B, L
Day 6 Hoi An
Enjoy today at leisure in Hoi An – perhaps exploring more of its interesting streets, home to over 1,000 timber-framed buildings, or join an optional cooking class preceded by kayaking on the Thu Bon River. B.
Cooking class and Kyaking |Half day
Visit a local market where you’ll be able to buy ingredients for use later during your trip, before travelling by boat along the Thu Bon river. During your journey pause to enjoy exploring the water by kayak, before rejoining your boat where your cooking class will begin. Watch the chef demonstrate how to prepare and cook each dish before you follow suit. Then sit down to enjoy your meal accompanied by rice and soup, returning to your hotel after lunch.
Day 7 Hoi An
Enjoy another day at leisure. B
Day 8 Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi. A half-day walking tour this afternoon reveals the capital’s Old Quarter – also known as the ‘36 streets’. Stroll the narrow streets taking in a market and countless shops, as well as Hoan Kiem Lake and the temple of Ngoc Son. This ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ lies on an island in the lake linked by a distinctive red bridge. You’ll also visit the One Pillar Pagoda – originally built in 1049, and reconstructed in 1954 after it’s destruction by the French – and the Confucian Temple of Literature. Perhaps join an optional show at Hanoi Opera House. Stay overnight at the Lenid Hotel (4Q). B
Hanoi Opera House |Evening
Enjoy a performance of ‘My Village’ during which the occupations of village life – farming, building, etc are dramatised in a lively and entertaining show including music and acrobatics.
Day 9 Sapa
Travel to the town of Sapa in the ‘Tonkinese Alps’, home of the hill tribes of Vietnam and offering outstanding views of the surrounding mountains and valley. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, before visiting a hill-tribe house and learning about the traditional craft of hemp cloth weaving and dyeing. Stay overnight at the Sapa Legend Hotel (4Q). B, L
Day 10 Sapa to Hanoi
Visit a market selling local produce and livestock and where local people socialise. If there is no market, explore the countryside north of Sapa, taking in Mt Fansipan and Sin Chai valley before arriving at the Ban Khoang commune. Walk to the remote village of the Hmong and Red Zao peoples and then continue to further hamlets where you can explore local life. Afterwards visit a hill-tribe village, seeing local homes and learning about the culture and traditions of its people. This evening step aboard the overnight train back to Hanoi, and travel back to the city in your private cabin. B, L
Day 11 Ninh Binh
Upon arrival at Hanoi freshen up at a local hotel before driving to Ninh Binh. From here look forward to a boat trip to the Trang An Complex. This UNESCO World Heritage Site and nature reserve is known for its beautiful landscape ranging from limestone peaks to caves. Explore this peaceful area by boat before returning to Ninh Binh. Stay overnight at the Emeralda Resort (4Q). B, L
Day 12 Ha Long Bay Cruise
Travel to Hai Phong, then transfer by boat to your cruiser. Once on board sail to beautiful Ha Long Bay dotted with islets. Explore the bay including Cat Ba Island, Da Chong islet with its lighthouse and Lan Ha Bay, where you may like to swim. After watching the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin, enjoy dinner onboard before perhaps trying a little night fishing or just relaxing on board as you continue cruising overnight. B, L, D
Day 13 Hanoi
After breakfast on board your cruiser, explore the Sang Toi cave area by bamboo boat before cruising back to Ha Long Bay. Transfer back to Hanoi where you stay overnight at the Lenid Hotel (4Q). B, L
Day 14 Hanoi to UK
Depart for the airport and your overnight return flight and your included door-to-door travel service home. B