This is a 12-day introduction to Vietnam’s rich culture and food. It includes two cultural World Heritage sites, an mountainous town and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s famous limestone seascape with delicious dishes from the north to the centre of Vietnam. As you’ll be travelling tailor-made, you can transform this sample tour into your dream holiday. Just ask us to make any changes, and you’ll have a revised itinerary with 24 hours – no limit to the number of changes, and no charge for making the amendments.
Itinerary in brief
Day 01: Arrival in Hanoi.
Day 02: Ha Noi “Like a Local”
Day 03: Hanoi/ Ha Long Bay
Day 04: Ha Long Bay/ Ha Noi
Day 05: Hanoi/ Lao Cai by car/ Sapa
Day 06: Sapa/Sa Seng/Hau Thao/ Sapa
Day 07: Sapa/ Hanoi/ Hue
Day 08: Hue
Day 09: Hue/ Monkey Moutain/ Hoi An
Day 10: Walking arround Hoi An with local food
Day 11: Hoi An – Wet Rice Growing Tour ½ day
Day 12: Da Nang Departure
Program day by day
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel.
In the evening, you’ll have tickets for Tu Phu show and you will spend the night in Hanoi.
The brilliant colours and ornate, sparkling decorations of the costumes offer a powerful visual spectacle and this show is engaging and well-paced. With the theme of the traditional Vietnamese practice of spirit incarnation, the energy and passion of this performance overflow the stage. Translating such deeply-held beliefs and mystical practices into a successful stage show is no small feat, and these stage artists deserve every accolade for delivering a memorable show.
You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Today, meet your guide and driver in the early morning at 6.00am and head towards Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a popular practice in Vietnam to awake very early and start the morning with some exercise. You’ll see several groups of people here practicing tai chi and aerobics. Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and join the locals in their morning routine.
Passing Ngoc Son Temple, you will visit a traditional coffee shop for a taste of Vietnam’s local iced coffee, ‘Ca phe sua da’. If you're up for it, you can also try the ‘Egg coffee’. Continue from here to find some street food; we recommend the delicious ‘banh mi’, a typical baguette sandwich filled with a variety of fresh local ingredients.
Later, proceed farther into Hanoi’s Old Quarter for glimpses of French architectural influence as seen in different Vietnamese buildings. The first stop will be the St. Joseph Cathedral, a French gothic building constructed in 1886. Next, you’ll arrive at Hoa Lo Prison, where Vietnamese, American and French prisoners were kept in different periods.
Vietnam is justifiably well known for its food, and you will now stop by a ‘Bun Cha’ restaurant to try this specialty of Hanoi for your lunch.
After lunch, you will visit the Temple of Literature. Built in 1076, this temple was the site of Vietnam’s first university, established to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite.
The day’s final sightseeing stop will be at the railway line cutting through urban Hanoi, sometimes running just meters away from the front doors of houses! Walking along a stretch of the railway with your guide offers some incredible photo opportunities.
The tour will finish, in true local style, at a Bia Hoi where you can enjoy some local draft beer. Note that innumerable street food specialties will be available throughout the day; to best appreciate them you may wish to skip your hotel breakfast before this tour.
After breakfast, you will leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board a wooden junk to take you through Bai Tu Long Bay area. You’ll explore Lom Bo are and be charmed by the outstanding masterpiece of the Mother Nature.
You’ll dock to visit one of the less visited caves in the Bay – Me Cung cave, climb up and see the panoramic view of the bay from above then enjoy swimming in the crystal water of the peaceful Bay (weather permitted). You’ll spend the night on boat.
You’ll wake in the fresh air of the bay with a Tai Chi session on the large sundeck (beginner welcome!). Spend the early morning relaxing while cruising to Halong Bay. After a light breakfast of pastries and tea or coffee, you’ll leave the boat for a walking tour on Titov Beach Island. If weather permits, you can swim or climb the hill (not a mountain) for a panoramic view over the bay’s remarkable seascape. Enjoy kayaking through the hidden beauty of the bay.
After that, you’ll return to the junk and check out. You will join a cooking demonstration before enjoying an exeptional buffet lunch on boat, while cruising back to the main dock.
You will be driven to Hanoi for spend the night.
In the morning, you’ll be met by your driver and driven to Sapa on the new highway through Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces. The highway takes you up the Red River Delta to where the river enters Vietnam at Lao Cai City on the border with China. After some breaks en-route, you will reach Sapa, a small town perched on the mountainside opposite Mt. Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s highest peak. Sapa is in a scenic mountain area where high peaks surround river valleys, hillside rice terraces and innumerable small ethnic minority communities. These villages are traditional, typically tucked away on the lower slopes of the valleys, and many villagers wear authentic traditional costumes.
After lunch in Sapa town and checking in at your hotel for a short rest, you will walk to an ethnic H’mong village in the scenic valley, taking some time to explore the area, then hike back up to Sapa. The evening is your leisure time to shop and talk to local vendors, most of whom are ethnic H’mong or Dzao, selling handmade craft items. You will stay overnight in Sapa.
The trip today will begin with a 15-minute drive to the start of your one hour hike up a long dirt trail to the Sa Seng village. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be able to have a great view of the Ma Tra and Ta Phin village, home to the Black H’mong people. Another one hour ‘rolling hill’ before downwards hike towards Ta Van and Hau Thao village will enable you to have a panoramic view over the Fansipan Mountain. After plenty of photo opportunities, you’ll stop for a picnic lunch in the church of the Black H’mong village.
In the afternoon, you will continue your 2 hour walk through rice paddy fields and spectacular views over a valley in the Lao Chai village. When you meet the main road, your vehicle will be waiting to take you to Sapa for your overnight accommodation.
Note: You should bring your own bottles of water in Sapa as it’s not available for sale during the journey.
Approx: Grade 2 of 5/ 30 minute driving/1 hour for lunch/ 4 hour hiking.
The morning will be free at your leisure in Sapa.
After checking-out at 11.00am, you will be picked up by your driver to drive you along the new highway again back to Hanoi then to Noi Bai airport for the afternoon flight to Hue.
Upon arrival at Hue airport your driver will welcome and transfer you to hotel in Hue for overnight accommodation.
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to take you on a tour of Hue’s ancient citadel, once the seat of the Emperors of the powerful Nguyen Dynasty that ruled Vietnam from approximately 1800 to 1945. You’ll begin with a stroll around the area between the Citadel’s massive walls and the defensive moat, now filled with lotus flowers. You’ll then enter via the Noon Gate to wander around the Thai Hoa Palace, the Pavilion housing the Nine Urns of the Nguyen rulers, and the remains of the Royal Palaces. Then, your guide will take you round the Museum of Antiquities.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit Huyen Khong Son Thuong pagoda, followed with the Emperor Tu Duc’s Tomb, and one of Hue’s ‘garden houses’.
After returning to your hotel to freshen up, you’ll return to sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine.
After breakfast, you will depart from your hotel in the morning and drive along the coastline to Danang passing the top of Hai Van Pass, where military bunkers remaining from the war are prominent and easily explored. After coming down off of the pass, we’ll turn inland and continue your drive to Danang.
You will travel up to Monkey Mountain where the road twists and climbs its way around the rugged Son Tra Peninsula, and stop by a few of the route’s scenic vistas to admire the views. Lunch will be had at the top of one of the peaks, where you can enjoy a 360 degree view and a cool breeze. We may spot monkeys as we drive down the back of the mountain, taking in the sweeping views offered by this coastal road and pausing at Linh Ung Pagoda to marvel at the 67m statue of the Bodhisattva of Mercy, followed by a brief visit to Dong Dinh Museum nearby which houses ancient pottery dating from 100 to 2,500 years ago from Sa Huynh, Cham and Dai Viet cultures. The tour continues along the coast to Hoi An. Check-in your hotel and spend the night in Hoi An.
After breakfast, your guide will meet you to take you for a combination food-tasting and walking tour around the town. All food stalls or restaurants use sanitary cooking practices and fresh ingredients. You will be shown the Ancient Town and explain its considerable significance in the history of Vietnam, while having also experienced it’s rich culture, mouth-watering cuisine, and wonderful people. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
The day starts with cycling the narrow roads through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges. Upon arrival at the rice paddle field, you’ll meet local farmers, talk with them about their daily farming works and have a cup of tea with them. Before joining them on their works on muddy rice field, you’ll get changed with farming clothes such as Vietnamese authentic and traditional farmer clothes, conical hat, boost, ect…. Your guide will also introduce and explain about the process of growing the wet rice. Later, you’ll learn ploughing with a water buffalo and how to use agricultural water system, followed by transplanting baby wet rice at rice paddle field. You’ll also have an opportunity to ride a water buffalo at the rice farm later on if you want to.
After joining the farmers, you’ll have lunch with them at their house and then cycle back to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be your own. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Your morning will be free until your car and driver arrives to take you to the airport for your departure flight.
- Accommodation for the entire route in the hotels listed in the program or, in case of unavailability of these, in equivalent hotels.
- All trips according to the program in a private vehicle.
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Entrance fees to sites to visit.
- Bike, private local boat for cruises according to the program.
- 3 bottles of water per day during the stay (except free days).
- All logistical services necessary for the organization of the program.
- International plane ticket from/to your country.
- Tips, drinks, telephone and anything that is not clearly mentioned in the “The price includes” section.
Bon à savoir
(1.1) FIT – An initial deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking.
(1.2) Leisure groups – An initial deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking.
(1.3) Incentive and MICE groups – An initial deposit of 20% is required at the time of booking.
(1.4) In some circumstances it may be necessary for us to request additional deposits due to the contracture requirements of our suppliers. SKY ASIA TRAVEL will advise you of the complete conditions attached to any deposits required at the time of confirmation.
(1.5) In the event of the non-payment of any requested deposit, we reserve the right to cancel the reservation.
(1.6) Note that if many extra services are booked after initial confirmation, Cashel Travel may require extra payments.
(1.7) Please note initial deposits (20%) are non-refundable
Following the receipt of the initial deposit, the client will be furnished with a confirmation of the tour details. The client shall immediately notify in writing if any errors are noted. SKY ASIA TRAVEL shall not be responsible for any errors not so notified.
+/ Full payment must be received 45 days prior to the tour/programme commencement date unless credit facilities agreed.
+/ In the event of the non-payment by due date we reserve the right to cancel the reservation, and in such event all deposits received shall be non-refundable.
+/ In the event of billing errors we reserve the right to re-invoice the correct amount.
+/ Amendments: In the event of cancellation of individual participants which results in changes in number of passengers within the group, SKY ASIA TRAVEL might apply a charge.
Travel insurance and medical precautions are essential. We do not give specific advice on these matters as we are expert in neither, and individual circumstances differ.
We advise you to tell us the name of the company and its contact details so that we can give notification on your behalf if you are unable to do so in the unlikely event of an accident occurring.
If you are intending to engage in any activity that could be considered ‘hazardous’ in any way, you should check your insurance carefully to make sure that you will be covered in the case of an accident.
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Package name: Vietnam Culture and Food 12 days