Premium Vietnam In Depth

   
Destination:
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Duration:
14 Nights
Offer ends:
31 July 2024
Valid for travel:
1 July - 31 December 2024

Details

Discover Vietnam’s kaleidoscope of fascinating history, hospitable people and picturesque landscapes on a 15-day Premium adventure. Learn the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City, explore the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi and get a glimpse of rural life as you cruise through the Mekong Delta. Experience historic temples, spend a night beneath the stars on Halong Bay, enjoy delicious banquets and learn what it means to be local. This journey will take you off the well-trodden track and leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Why You'll Love This Trip:

  • Uncover Vietnam's astounding history during a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City, stroll the historic streets of charming Hoi An and discover the French influence of the northern city of Hanoi.
  • Board a private boat and cruise the Mekong delta, stopping off at some coconut gardens to visit a local home where you’ll sample tropical fruits and coconut jams. Back on land, take a tuk-tuk tour around the villages for a glimpse at rural life.
  • Experience the beauty of Halong Bay from the comfort of a traditional style junk boat – your Feature Stay accommodation. Enjoy a candlelit dinner on deck and soak in the magnificent landscape.
  • Sit down to a soul-stirring Exclusive Experience – a Hat Xam performance in Hoi An. This ancient musical art form is rarely seen today and dates back over 700 years to the Tran Dynasty.
  • Enjoy a tasty Exclusive Experience as you explore a local market with an expert chef in Hue, then visit his home to learn how to turn fresh ingredients into delicious Vietnamese dishes during a cooking class.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Vun Art. Donations help them empower people with disabilities in Vietnam by providing vocational training and employment opportunities.

Included Activities:

  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Welcome Dinner
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Reunification Palace
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - My Son Tour
  • Hue - Imperial City half day guided tour
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Market Tour and Cooking Class
  • Hue - Bun Bo Hue breakfast
  • Hanoi - Hat Xam performance
  • Hanoi - Old Quarter Tour
  • Mai Chau – Muong Museum
  • Mai Chau - Vun Art NGO Visit
  • Mai Chau - Buoc Village Visit
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda & HCM stilt house
  • Hanoi - KOTO lunch
  • Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
  • Hanoi - Farewell Dinner
  • Halong Bay - Tai Chi

In partnership with:

Inclusions

  • Hotel (13 nights), Overnight Boat (1 night)
  • 14 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Boat, Plane, Private Minibus

Itinerary

Welcome to Vietnam! Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City where you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. An important group meeting will take place here at 6pm, where you will meet your fellow travellers and local leader. If you do have time, get out and acquaint yourself with the city beforehand – it is a bustling centre of shopping, historic sites and traffic mayhem. After your meeting, head out for dinner with your small group and leader. As you arrive at your restaurant you’ll step straight into a piece of Vietnamese history – the building was an old opium refinery station built in 1861, and nods to its past still visible today. Here you’ll enjoy a menu bursting with classic dishes and southern Vietnamese favourites – your leader will be on hand to provide recommendations for your first foray into this exciting food scene.

After breakfast, drive south towards the Mekong Delta via the region of Ben Tre. Here you will board a private boat and cruise the delta, stopping off at some coconut gardens to visit a local home where you’ll sample tropical fruits and coconut jams. Afterwards, return to the waterways of the delta on board sampans (small rowing boats) and row past the coconut trees and stilt houses that flank the river. Back on land, take a tuk-tuk tour around the villages for a glimpse at rural life and to learn how the coconut industry plays into local life. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant then return to Ho Chi Minh City for an evening at leisure.

Today you’ll see Ho Chi Minh City through the eyes of a local during a bus and walking tour with your leader. Visit the famous Reunification Palace and hear the story of the end of the war, take a sobering trip to the War Remnants Museum and stop by the beautiful Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral. Stroll the city’s captivating streets and admire its many French colonial buildings along the way, including the main post office, and the gorgeous Ho Chi Minh City Hall, modelled on Paris’s Hotel de Ville. The rest of the evening is yours – be sure to ask your leader for recommendations on some great local spots for dinner.

This morning after breakfast, head on a half-day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels – an extensive underground network (some 200 kilometres) of tunnels dug initially by the Viet Minh and later expanded by the Viet Cong. They contained hospitals, dwellings and schools and were used extensively for refuge and storage, as well as being a military base. As you explore this extraordinary labyrinth your leader will explain more about its history and the 1968 Tet Offensive. A section of the tunnels has been widened to allow visitors to get a feel for what the underground life must have been like. Please note that these tunnels will be hot and can get claustrophobic, so there is an option if you’d like to view from above ground. Later this afternoon, fly to Hoi An.

Join your leader on a walking tour this morning to discover the Hoi An’s stunning architecture and unique mix of influences. With its charming low tiled houses and tranquil feel, this is a delightful town to walk around. Start with a visit to an opulently decorated historic house that was once home to a prominent trader. Cross the Japanese Covered Bridge, stop by the Chinese assembly hall and pay a visit to a local museum to learn more about the history you uncovered on your walk. Afterwards, sit down to a delicious lunch with the group. This afternoon you are free to make the most of Hoi An and its surrounding areas. Your leader will be able to help with suggestions for extra activities in Hoi An and the nearby countryside.

A significant port of the Champa Kingdom for centuries, many Cham descendants are still living in Hoi An today. This morning your leader will guide you around My Son Cham, a collection of temples constructed by the Kings of Champa and dating back to the 4th century. Learn about the ancient architecture of this UNESCO site, and see the craters created by American bombs during the war. After exploring the temples, experience an Apsara dance performance, featuring sparkling traditional costumes, panpipes, and drums. The afternoon is free for more exploration, or to relax by the pool at your hotel.

Depart Hoi An today bound for Hue, the former imperial capital and hub of Vietnam's historic past. En route, pass through the Hai Van Pass – a scenic mountainous stretch of highway with views across Lang Co beach. Arrive in Hue and discover its eclectic mix of frenetic streets and peaceful beauty. In the afternoon you will visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, but its humble, foliage-covered ruins remain a testament to its proud history. Here your leader will provide some insight into the horrific damage endured during the war.

Loosen your belt and ready your appetite as today you will be diving into Hue’s fabulous culinary scene. First up, head to a street food eatery for a seriously tasty breakfast – Bun Bo Hue. This spicy noodle soup is usually made with beef and pig knuckles and is an absolute must-try while in Hue. Then, meet with a local chef and explore a bustling local market where you will taste and smell all the wonderful herbs and ingredients that bring local dishes to life, while learning more about the culture of Vietnamese cuisine along the way. Stop for lunch and enjoy some of Hue’s most celebrated dishes. Continue to the local chef’s delightful home where you will learn how to cook up some simple and delicious dishes using the fresh ingredients you picked up at the market. Take your new knowledge and local recipes back home with you so you can recreate meals that will take you straight back to Vietnam. Later in the afternoon, take a visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. The Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601. You will also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees, and the Imperial Citadel.

Fly from Hue to Hanoi today. Your departure will mostly likely be in the morning but can vary a little depending on flight schedules. Settle in on arrival, then your leader will guide you through the ancient 36 Streets to discover a varied selection of shop-lined alleys that sell everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, jewellery and embroidered tablecloths. In the afternoon, you will be treated to a traditional Hat Xam performance – this is truly an experience like no other. Hat Xam is an artform of Northern Vietnam dating back to the Tran Dynasty. Originally, this was performed by blind performers, and was enjoyed by local working-class audiences, right up until the late 1950s, when a wave of communism deemed all art forms to be corrupting influences. Today, this style of performance occurs rarely, but you and your group will be taken to a private club house for an exclusive performance; one of the few places where such artists still perform acoustically. The performance includes some story telling aspects and possibly interaction with guests, so be ready to get involved!

Depart Hanoi this morning and take a private coach transfer to Mai Chau. The peaceful town is situated in a stunningly beautiful valley. Surrounded by green mountains, it’s famed for its breathtaking scenery and friendly hilltribe peoples. Admire the valley views, fuel up over lunch and visit Vun Art – a social enterprise that employs people with disabilities to make art pieces with recycled silk scraps. Then, spend some time learning the story of the vibrant Muong ethnic group who are native to this region of Northern Vietnam at the Muong Museum. In the afternoon, check into your accommodation and enjoy free time to unwind at the Onsen retreat, before coming back together for a BBQ dinner in the hotel garden.

Start the day with a leader-led walk around Bouc village, home to terraced rice fields and traditional stilted houses. Make a stop at one of these houses and learn about the local Thai ethnic group, then meet with a local artist to hear about traditional Thai garment and textile craftsmanship. Your visit will finish on a high note with talks to a Thai musician and dancers, who’ll share their culture through a performance. Enjoy a lunch hosted by a local family, then head back to Mai Chau for an afternoon of your choosing. You might like to take part in a bamboo rattan weaving class, try your hand at fishing at a nearby stream or simply relax at your accommodation’s Onsen baths.

This morning you will return to Hanoi where you will enjoy a guided half-day tour of Hanoi with your leader, gaining insights to the city’s history during visits to the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda and the former residence of Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. Enjoy a delicious lunch at KOTO restaurant – an Intrepid Foundation supported program that teaches disadvantaged youth hospitality skills. Enjoy a free evening for further explorations. Walking is a great way to explore the city and its many lakes and parks. You'll see that this enchanting northern capital can be quieter than its southern counterpart, and the West Lake, north of the main city, is an ideal place to interact with the locals and relax by its banks.

Today you will drive to Halong Bay – this World Heritage listed wonder is undoubtedly one of the world’s most spectacular sights. There’s no better way to appreciate the bay’s beauty than on board a junk-style boat – your Feature Stay accommodation for the evening. Carefully designed with traditional touches and modern amenities, you can sit back in complete comfort as you weave through stunning limestone islands, karsts and caves. Stop by Surprise Cave to discover its interesting rock formations with you leader, then retire to the boat for a marvellous seafood lunch. During the warmer months your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Top Island. There is also the option for kayaking to get up close to the towering limestone karsts. This evening’s dinner is sure to be a standout – dine on the deck of the boat by candlelight and watch the sun go down over the magnificent landscape.

In the morning, enjoy breakfast on board the boat and perhaps take part in some optional Tai Chi to start off the day. Sail back to the port, disembark and travel back to Hanoi. Arriving back in the capital, enjoy some time to wander around and enjoy some of the city’s attractions you may have missed the first time. You can shop on Hang Gai Street or perhaps enjoy some afternoon tea at the Metropole Hotel. In the evening, join your group and leader for a final dinner in a Hanoi restaurant, sharing stories and reflecting on the highlights of your adventure with your newfound friends.

Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you would like to stay on in Hanoi, we’ll be happy to organise some additional accommodation for you ahead of time (subject to availability).

Terms & Conditions

*Conditions apply. Prices correct as at 28 June 2024 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers subject to availability. Agents may charge service fees, rates vary. Payments by credit card will incur a surcharge.  Airfare not included unless otherwise stated. All savings and bonus nights (if applicable) are included in the advertised price. Offers may be withdrawn without notice and are not combinable with any other offers unless stated. Please check all prices, availability and other information before booking. Intrepid Travel and Helloworld Travel booking terms and conditions apply, see in store for details.

Deposit of $400 per person per trip is required upon booking and full payment 56 days prior to departure. If booking within 56 days of departure, full payment is due immediately.  All tours are subject to availability. Prices are per person based on twin share accommodation, low season. Prices, itineraries and inclusions are subject to change without notice. Standard booking conditions apply as per Intrepid website www.intrepidtravel.com

From

$5,220* | per person twin share
Destination:
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Duration:
14 Nights
Offer ends:
31 July 2024
Valid for travel:
1 July - 31 December 2024

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