Mrs. Helene Martin Hernandez Koutsounouris - France

  • Group: of 4 persons
  • Impression: VIETNAM - A COUNTRY OF MANY RETURNS
  • Date: from 25/3/2018 to 7/4/2018
 

Hello Tu! We are back home now, and I wanted to thank you for everything. You have been absolutely amazing, as well as the guides and drivers, who have made our trip unforgettable. They've all been super kind and very patient with us. We will always fondly remember this journey, and we hope we can plan another holiday soon. Thank you so much for everything. Your country is amazing.

PROGRAM DETAIL 

 

Day 01 . Sun 25 March 2018 : Hanoi arrival (TG560 @09:35) (-) |  Guide and driver 

Arrival in Noi Bai airport , you will be picked up then transferred to the hotel in city center. The check-in is available at 2 pm. The day is free for your own exploration and shopping. Overnight at hotel.

Accommodation: Ha Noi Pearl**** - Deluxe City View

 

 

Day 02 . Mon 26 March 2018 : Hanoi city tour (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

In the morning, you can surprise your children with an excursion to Bat Trang ceramic village, situated 13km from Hanoi. Nestled on the bank of Red River, Bat Trang is known as the ceramic and pottery centre of Vietnam. Here you can have fun making your own products and letting your children get creative. You will the ride a buffalo cart to visit the village and stop at one of the home factories for some shopping and more pottery practice. On the way back to Hanoi you will drop by Bo De Pagoda, home to orphaned and disadvantaged children.

Back in Hanoi you will head to the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 and dedicated to Confucius, it served as the first Royal National University in Vietnam founded in 1076. This is the perfect hideaway from the bustling city. The temple and its beautiful garden provide an opportunity to relax in this tranquility and learn more about education in Vietnam 1000 years ago. Enjoy a water puppet show in the late afternoon. Overnight at hotel.

 

 

Day 03 . Tue 27 March 2018 : Hanoi cooking class - city tour (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

At 9AM, our tour guide will pick you up at your hotel in the old quarter to the cooking centre

 You then will start walking to the local market  It's great chance to buy local things by yourself and experience a variety of foods from all the groceries such as: herbs, spices, vegetables, meats, fishes, fruits which are so fresh. All things bring you very close to the simple life (herbs and spices are a very important part of authentic Vietnamese food), you will have fun time to communicate and use body language with locals, incredible and unforgettable memories. Do not forget to take some photos with them.

After complete your shopping, we come back to prepare and cook by yourself under the instruction of the tour guide from the beginning to the end, learning how to marinate and to spice will be the most crucial lesson. You will also enjoy decorating dishes with carrot flowers, lemon grass stems, banana leaves and curved chili.The authentic magical sauce mixed from fish sauce, water, sugar, lime, chili, garlic and herbs is very easy to make. Finally enjoy what you have made as a delicious lunch. 

Later have an overall view of the capital by a “cyclo” visit, which will start around the Old Quarter of Hanoi, stop at Ngoc Son Temple located on the Hoan Kiem Lake (the “Sword” Lake). Overnight in Hanoi.

 

 

 

Day 04 . Wed 28 March 2018 : Ha Noi - Ha Long Bay (B, L, D) |  Guide and driver 

After breakfast, you will depart to Halong Bay, passing beautiful scenery along the way full of lush rice paddies and winding rivers, typical for the Red River Delta. 

12:15 - 12:30 Embark to Aphrodite Vessel. Check-in to cabin

12:45 – 13:00 Proceed to the dining room for general information and safety briefing (3rd deck)

13:15 – 14:45 Lunch is served in the dining room

Then you could choose one from these two options:

15:15- 16:30 The first option: Visit Titov island for swimming and hiking (towels are provided)

15:30-16:15 The second option: Visit Luon Cave for bamboo boat (included) or kayaking

17:00 – 18:45 Happy Hour promotion (Buy One Get One Free) (applied for House wine, Long

drinks, beers, Soft drinks, cocktails and mocktails)

17:45 – 18:30 Cooking demonstration on the sundeck/dining room

19:00 – 21:00 Dinner is served in the dining room

21:00 – onward Squid fishing at the reception or watch movie in the cabin

Accommodation: Aphrodites Cruises - Family Suite

 

 

Day 05 . Thu 29 March 2018 : Halong - Hanoi - flight to Hue (VN1545 HAN HUI 1915 2030 booked by Asiatica) (B) |  Guide and driver 

06:15 – 6:45 Start your day with Tai-chi class on the sundeck (optional)

06:45 - 07:30 Light breakfast is served in the dining room

07:30 – 08:30 Visit Sung Sot cave for hiking and exploring the stalactite and stalagmite formation, 720 steps in total (1 hour tour). Rubber shoes and sandals for hiking are highly recommended.

08:30 - 09:30 Regular check-out time (if you have any heavy luggage, leave it in front of your cabins and settle your bills at the reception counter 1st deck)

09:30 - onwards Full breakfast is served while the cruise goes back to the main port

10:45 - 11:00 Disembark Aphrodite Vessel.

Around midday we will return to the main harbor. A 3-hour drive will take you to Noi Bai airport for your flight to Hue where you check into your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Hue.

Accommodation: Eldora**** - Deluxe City View

 

 

Day 06 . Fri 30 March 2018 : Hue- Thuy Bieu village (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

In the morning, you will visit Hue Imperial City, the remaining vestige of Hue Citadel, including : Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and the Forbidden Purple City (Tu Cam Thanh). Then, we will take a boat trip on poetic Perfume River. Stop to visit Thien Mu Pagoda (Celestial Lady Pagoda) built in 1601 - the symbol of Hue city. Cruise toward Thuy Bieu eco-village, an old laid back village situated on the bank of Perfume River known for its green tea fruit orchards. Arrive in the village, and join our cooking class to prepare Hue’s signature dishes with our chef’s instruction, then enjoy your creations in the open air riverside restaurant surrounded by lush trees. The afternoon is reserved for cycling through the peaceful village, visiting several communal houses, ancient temples and the garden-house, a typical and unique feature of Hue. Soaking your feet in medicinal herb water followed by an excellent blind massage will refresh them after a day of sightseeing. Back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Hue.

 

 

Day 07 . Sat 31 March 2018 : Hue - Phong Nha - Ke Bang - Hue (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

Around 6:00am we depart from Hue to Phong Nha (160km - 3.5 hours drive). En route, we will visit the Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang, a catholic church originally built in the forest near Quang Tri close to the DMZ. Several buildings in La Vang were rebuilt and destroyed during the war between North and the South Vietnam. Lunch in Dong Hoi.

In the afternoon we will take a boat trip along Son River to explore the Phong Nha Cave. Of the 300 caves and grottos in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, only 20 have been surveyed. Notably, Phong Nha, is the most beautiful cave holding several records for the highest and longest cave, the longest underground river, most beautiful beaches inside a cave and the most splendid stalagmites and stalactites. These amazing natural works of art have been given beautiful names such as the "Lion", the "Fairy Caves", the "Royal Court" and the "Buddha".

Walk back to the boat, and cruise to the wharf then return to your hotel in Hue. Overnight at hotel in Hue

 

 

Day 08 . Sun 01 April 2018 : Hue- Danang- Hoian (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

Morning at 8AM, drive on the Mandarin road, a scenic journey from Hue to Hoi An, which allows you to see a picturesque Vietnam with stunning beaches and lush tropical forest. Take some photos en route before visiting the Museum of Cham Sculptures, with many precious antique artifacts of the former Cham Kingdom on display. We then continue our drive to Hoi An’s ancient town, once an important international trading port and now a charming riverside town. Hoi An features a fantastic combination of Chinese, Dutch, Japanese and Portuguese culture. Explores each, when visiting the Japanese Pagoda Bridge, Chinese streets, old Phung Hung houses, Hoi An’s market and ancient port. On the 1st and 15th of every lunar month, Hoi An’s ancient town is lit up by hundreds of colorful lanterns, giving it an extra portion of sparkle. Enjoy the city’s transformation and stroll through this quaint, glowing fairytale town in your free time. Overnight at hotel.

Accommodation: Little Hoi An Beach**** - Family

 

 

Day 09 . Mon 02 April 2018 : Hoian- My Son- Hoian (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

After having breakfast, our guide and car will pick you up at your hotel and take you to My Son Holy Land, once the capital city of the Champa Kingdom, between the 4th and 12th century. My Son is a large complex of religious relics that comprises more than 70 architectural works. They include temples and towers connecting to each other with complicated red brick designs.

Back to the city in the afternoon. Free at your own leisure to relax on the beach.

Overnight at hotel in Hoian.

 

 

 

Day 10 . Tue 03 April 2018 : Hoi An free (B) |  

Breakfast at hotel and then day is yours to freely explore the peaceful riverside town in your own time. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An

 

 

Day 11 . Wed 04 April 2018 : Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Ho Chi Minh - Cu Chi tunnel (VN117 DAD SGN 1030 1155 booked by Asiatica) (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

In the morning at 8:00AM, you will be taken to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon or “Pear of the Far East”. On arrival, check in your hotel, then have lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels, situated 70km from Saigon. The Cu Chi Tunnel system was created around 1948 to assist the Viet Minh in their combat against French occupiers.  Construction and enlargement continued during American bombings and they were turned into an underground city with living areas, kitchens, storage, weapon factories and field hospitals. The Cu Chi Tunnels could house up to 10,000 people who lived underground for years, getting married and raising children. During the Vietnam - American War the entire area of Cu Chi was designated as a fire free zone yet was heavily bombarded. Since 1988, two sections of the tunnels are open for visitors. Overnight at hotel in Saigon.

Accommodation: Eden Star Sai Gon**** - Family Suite

 

 

Day 12 . Thu 05 April 2018 : Saigon city tour (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

You will be picked up at 8:00am from your hotel in Saigon, to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the General Post Office. The Saigon city tour then continues along Dong Khoi Street, where the Opera House and the Peoples’ Committee building, built in 1897 by French architect Ferret Eugene, are situated. The 800 seat Opera House served as the home of the Lower House Assembly of South Vietnam after 1956. You will then visit The Reunification Palace, formerly known as Presidential Palace, which was the residence of the president of South Vietnam until the end of April 1975. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you 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. Next on the sightseeing list is Thien Hau Pagoda located in Cho Lon, the city’s Chinatown. This pagoda is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. The most impressive features of the structure are the intricate friezes and the carved tableaus towards the front of the pagoda. The impressive incense coils inside the pagoda also make for some great photos. Another site that cannot be missed is Binh Tay Market or ‘Cho Lon’, which can be roughly translated to ‘big market’. Although the whole district lives up to its name a visit to this market really says it all. Selling everything from fake Ray Bans to dried squid, you are bound to enjoy a walk through the maze of stalls in this bustling market. your tour of Saigon will end with a visit to a lacquer ware workshop. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

 

Day 13 . Fri 06 April 2018 : Saigon - Ben Tre - Saigon (B, L) |  Guide and driver 

 You will be picked up at your hotel at 8:30am and driven to Ben Tre. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong pier you will embark a boat to cruise on Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the Mekong River. Enjoy the lively activities on the river like fishing and water transferring. You will stop at a brick-factory, to see how bricks are made by hand in a traditional way. Your next stop is one of numerous coconut processing workshops located along the canal.

Take a bicycle-cart along a village path and stop at a farmer’s house for lunch. You then talk a walk to a mat-weaving village before embarking small rowing-boats to travel along palm tree lined waterways back to Hung Vuong pier. You return to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping along the way to visit the beautiful Vinh Trang Pagoda. Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

 

Day 14 . Sat 07 April 2018 : Saigon departure (TG557 @20:50) (B) |  Guide and driver 

 

After breakfast, free time for relaxation until being transferred to the airport at 17:30 to take your departure flight from Saigon. The hotel is available until noon only.

 

 

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