Destinations: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Experience Ho Chi Minh City and discover the mighty Mekong Delta, with a cruise through its riverside villages. Take a journey to the seaside village of Hoi An. Visit Vietnam’s ever-so-charming cultural capital Hanoi and take a mystical cruise through Halong Bay. Bike Bagan’s myriad of ancient stupas. Soar above a misty plain with countless temples below. Take to Inle Lake in a traditional Burmese longboat. Marvel at the mighty Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and grand palaces of Mandalay.
Day 1: Arrival In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh Highlights- Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 3: Mekong Delta Discovery: Ben Tre- Mo Cay Tra On
Day 4: Mekong River Villages- Ho Chi Minh City- Hoi An
Day 5: Hoi An Highlights
Day 6: Hoi An- My Son Sanctuary
Day 7: Hanoi Highlights
Day 8: Hanoi- Halong Bay Cruise
Day 9: Halong Bay- Hanoi- Yangon
Day 10: Yangon Highlights
Day 11: Sule Pagoda- Bagan- Ayeyarwady Sunset Cruise
Day 12: Biking Bagan
Day 13: Bagan From Above- Heho- Inle Lake
Day 14: Inle Lake Boating Experience
Day 15: Inle Lake- Mandalay
Welcome to Vietnam, the Land of the Ascending Dragon. Upon arrival to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), your friendly local guide will greet you at airport and then take you to your hotel for check-in. Experience Ho Chi Minh City with its pulsating energy and fascinating culture! This dazzling city boasts French colonial charm from its architecture to its food. A chaotic whirlwind of traffic and disarray, visitors cannot help but be captivated from this region from moment they arrive.
The rest of the day is yours to relax, settle in and, if jet lag permits, do a little exploring on your own.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will start your day with a fascinating tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels, a vast network of tunnels made by the Viet Cong during the war. These mysterious tunnels functioned as underground cities, complete with living quarters, hospitals, schools, meeting rooms, kitchens and supply routes. On the way back to the city, you will join a traditional Vietnamese cooking class, including a charming trip to a local market where you can pick your own ingredients. At the end of the lesson, you may sit down to enjoy your delicious meal!
After lunch, drive back to Ho Chi Minh and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing, which will include admiring the architecture of the Central Post Office, a taste of a local marketplace at the Binh Tay Market, learning more about the wars of Vietnam and their effects on the country at the War Remnants Museum and finally visiting the impressive French colonial-style City Hall. The evening is yours to explore the city and sample some of the world’s favorite food.
Today, you will be picked up from your hotel in the early morning and your guide will transfer you to Ben Tre. You will meet your guide at Ham Luong River where you will board your Mango Cruise. Settle into your cabin and prepare for a breathtaking 2-day journey along the Mekong Delta. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail as we set sail to Mo Cay. Our first stop will be the Mo Cay local wet market where you will see many food stalls full of local produce and fresh meats, including strange exotic delicacies such as rat and snake. As we continue to cruise through the canals, we will make another stop to see the local coconut pressing where coconut oils and fibers are made.
Upon your return to the ship, you will be given free time to relax and have a cold drink and delicious lunch on deck. We will then head down the Vung Liem Canal to visit the traditional brickworks in the lively town of Vung Liem. Next, you will be given a bicycle tour around town, visiting the fascinating Cao Dai and Khmer temples.We will now set sail to Tra On, where we will stop for the night. You will be given some free time to lounge and freshen up before a cooking demonstration and mouth-watering 5-course dinner on board. The rest of the evening is yours to relax and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding nature. Overnight on board.
Arise early to explore the Tra On floating market as we make our way towards Can Tho. Next, visit the spectacular Cai Rang floating market, where we will transfer to a smaller boat and mingle amongst the thousands of trading vessels. Wander through the local boats and enjoy tasting the various fruits and drinks from the stands.
After our visit to the floating markets, you will return to your cruise and enjoy the dazzling scenery before being dropped off at Ninh Kieu Quay in Can Tho where you will again be greeted by your private guide.
In the afternoon, you will be taken back to Ho Chi Minh City where you will pack up your belongings and then head to the airport! Tonight, you will be whisked away on a flight to Hoi An, a delightful and atmospheric seaside village in Central Vietnam. Once you arrive at the airport in Hoi An, your lovely local guide will greet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore this delightful town.
After breakfast, you’ll start your day with a wander around Hoi An Ancient Town, where you will see the beautiful 400-year-old Japanese Bridge, one of the city’s most iconic attractions. This city is a picture postcard gem, with its unique brightly coloured buildings and historic atmosphere. Your tour will continue with a visit to the Quan Cong Temple and handicraft village.
In the afternoon, join an eco sunset cruise where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea. On this tour, you will witness two special daily rituals: the passing parade of the local fishing fleet setting out to sea and the magic of the sun slowly sinking in the sky. You will also have the opportunity to experience paddling the strange and unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat. Join the local fisherman on the river and enjoy a hands-on experience of round net and cast net fishing.Tonight is yours to wander around this delightful town. Have some clothing made at one of Hoi An’s many tailoring shops or visit An Hoi’s beautiful lantern night market!
Today, you will discover UNESCO World Heritage site and hidden treasure of Vietnam, My Son Holy Land. These crumbling ruins are a holy city for the Cham, a minority tribe. Built in the 4th century, this site was the former capital and religious centre of the Champa Kingdom. After a stroll around this dramatic complex, we will head out for some lunch before returning to your hotel in Hoi An.
This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for a flight to Hanoi, the ever-so-charming cultural capital of Vietnam! Upon your arrival, your local guide will take you back to your hotel. The rest of the evening is yours to do as you please.
After breakfast, you will enjoy a lovely morning touring around Hanoi city. You will begin with a visit to The Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Stilt House, Presidential Palace and Museum. Then, you will discover the One Pillar Pagoda, a temple which rises from the centre of one pillar and is said to be have been built in the shape of a lotus. Finish your day with a stroll around the Fine Arts Museum; showcasing pieces from a range of historical periods.
Following a delicious local lunch, your afternoon will be spent at the fascinating Ethnologic Museum, where you can learn a bit about the many different ethnic minorities in Vietnam. After this, you’ll be taken to visit the ancient Hoan Kiem Lake, where you will learn about the interesting mythology that surrounds it. Today’s tour ends with a special tour where you may discover the picturesque Old Quarter by cyclo or rickshaw.
Return to your hotel to freshen up and relax. This evening, enjoy a cultural treat! You will be attending a famous Water Puppet Show at the theatre.
Today, you will be whisked away early in the morning to Halong Bay where you will board your Bhaya Cruise! Settle into your cabin and prepare for a breathtaking day-long journey. After a brief check-in and orientation, enjoy a refreshing welcome drink as we set sail into the mystical Halong Bay.
You will be given a buffet lunch as the boat cruises southeast, passing by Trong Mai Islet and Titov Island. You will then transfer to a small local sampan boat to discover the floating village of Vung Vieng. Once returning to the ship, if weather permits, you will be given kayaks to further explore the surrounding area*.
Next, you will enjoy a traditional Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck. The bar opens at 17:30 with a “buy one get one free” happy hour. A set menu dinner will be served in the restaurant. The rest of the evening is yours to relax, watch a movie in the restaurant, or enjoy a 30% discount at the bar. Overnight on cruise at Halong Bay.
Today, you will begin your early morning with some spiritual and relaxing Tai Chi on the sundeck. Complimentary tea and coffee will be served as your ship cruises through the mysterious and majestic caves of Trong, Trinh Nu, Me Cung, and Sung Sot, along with the islet of Coc Ngoi.
A buffet brunch will be served on board as the ship cruises back towards the harbour. You will disembark at Tuan Chau Marina where you will be transferred back to Hanoi by your private guide. This afternoon is your last in Hanoi, as next you will be whisked to the airport for your flight to Yangon in Myanmar, the land of the Golden Pagodas.
Upon arrival in Yangon, a friendly local guide will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is yours to explore the Yangon, a mesmerising City of Gold which while no longer the capital, remains Myanmar’s most vibrant and commercially important city.
After breakfast at your hotel, your once-in-a-lifetime tour of Myanmar begins with its most important Buddhist temple, the Shwedagon Paya. Myanmar isn’t called the Land of Golden Pagodas without good reason, and Shwedagon is inarguably its most impressive. The 325ft stupa adorned with over 25 metric tonnes of gold leaf dominates Yangon’s skyline and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Soak up the contemplative atmosphere on the main terrace as Burmese monks in saffron robes stroll by collecting morning alms.
Next, you will move on to the more lively Sule Pagoda, installed as the new centre of town during the period of British occupation. The area around Sule is the city’s most vibrant, a blend of East meets West where you can take in Colonial British architecture, a towering Buddhist stupa, Chinese vendors, and a muslim mosque – all without the turn of a head. Unwind with a pre-lunch stroll through the picturesque Mahabandoola Park.After lunch, try your hand at bargaining for fine silks at the colourful Bogyoke Market, and navigate through the cracked walls and creeping vines of Yangon’s thriving Chinatown district.
After breakfast in your hotel, your once-in-a-lifetime tour of Myanmar begins with a morning around Sule Pagoda, the city’s vibrant epicentre. A blend of East meets West, take in a towering gold Buddhist pagoda, colonial British architecture, Chinese vendors and a Muslim mosque, all without the turn of a head. Unwind with a pre-lunch stroll through the picturesque Mahabandoola Park.
After lunch, your driver will take you to the airport for your flight to Bagan. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a local tour guide who will drive you to your riverside hotel to briefly rest before taking to the waters of the Ayeyarwady River for a private boat cruise as the sun sets over distant Mt. Popa.
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be met by a friendly English-speaking cycling guide. The backcountry roads that weave between the myriad of ancient gilded stupas make for an awe-inspiring setting for a bike ride. As well as taking in the highlights at towering Ananda, golden Shwezigon and mysterious Dhammayangyi, you’ll see several hidden gems, some of which can be scaled to get a different view of the Bagan plain. Aside from temples, you’ll also get a taste for the lives of local residents as we pass through fields, farms, and bamboo villages. We’ll round of the morning with traditional snacks, and of course a spot of sweet Myanmar tea. We’ll then drive you back to your hotel to escape the midday heat, recommencing the tour in the afternoon.
After lunch we take a horse-drawn cart ride into the countryside to see gorgeous Sulumani Temple. As one of the latest constructed temples (built in 1181) on the plain, the more sophisticated design allows for its hallways to be flooded with light. We also stop by its smaller twin situated near by for a panoramic vew of Sulamani and the other temples dotted across thte plains. We finish off the afternoon by scaling the grand Shwesandaw Pagoda to watch the sun set behind a myriad of ancient stupas silhouetted against the burning orange sky.The evening is yours to relax at your riverside resort.
Start the morning with a champagne breakfast at the Oriental Ballooning launch pad before taking to the skies in a hot air balloon for an unforgettable experience as the sun rises above the misty temple-studded plains. After your awe-inspiring flight, retreat briefly to your hotel for breakfast and a rest before we drive you to the airport for your short flight to Heho. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a private driver to complete the journey to spectacular Inle Lake. After check-in at your lakeside resort, the evening is yours to relax in the unique tranquility of this veritable waterworld.
After breakfast at your lake hotel, you’ll board a traditional motorised longboat for a glimpse of one of the most extraordinary places on Earth. The calm waters of Inle are the lifeblood for the many ethnic minority communities you can see still living in the stilt-houses in the lake’s shallow waters. Peacefully observe the the distinctive leg-rowing of the graceful Intha fishermen; marvel at a labyrinth of vegetable plantations floating on the lake’s surface; see long-necked Palaung women, paper mills and silver smiths. Relax as the layered Shan Hills are reflected in the glassy waters as the sun sets, before returning to your resort for a glass or two of wine by the lake.
After a serene morning by the lake, your guide will ferry you back to dry land and drive you to the airport in Heho to catch your flight to Myanmar’s cultural capital, Mandalay. Upon arrival, your tour begins with an insight into the lives of the saffron-robed monks that call this nation home. A private car will drive you the short distance to the tree-shaded Maha Ganayon Kyaung Monastery at Amarapura, the ‘City of Immortality.’ Amarapura was Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital, entirely separate from Mandalay, but is now a leafy suburb connected to the city. Take a meditative stroll around the expansive monastery grounds and chat with local monks before heading for the gilded pagodas that top the hills of Sagaing, stopping at a silk-weaving workshop En Route. Explore the crescent-shaped colonnade of 45 Buddha images at Umin Thounzeh, before ascending to Pon Nya Shin Temple to take in breathtaking views over the Ayeyarwady River and innumerable white and gold stupas that cap the highest peaks.
Next you’ll head for Inwa (The Kingdom of Ava), another historic royal capital, where after a spot of lunch you’ll explore the remarkably backwater ruins by horse-drawn cart. Round off the day at the iconic U Bein Bridge, the world’s longest teak-wood bridge, where private boat will take you to the perfect spot on the lake from which to appreciate the sun setting behind the stilted bridge of silhouetted monks.This afternoon is your last in Mandalay, as your tour sadly comes to an end. When its time to leave, your guide will take you to the airport for your return flight home, or on to your next destination, having seen the very best of the ancient kingdom of Myanmar.
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