VIETNAM HIDDEN décor CHARMS
5 – 15 August 2023
This peep into the exotic world of Vietnam will envelope us with the fabulous décor inspiration of our 5 Star Hotels,
We’ll have ample time to shop in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh seeking out those fine silks so well known to Vietnam,
and much insight into the Indochine cuisine.
Oh bring it on!
Day 1: ARRIVAL HANOI (D)
Friday 5 August, 2023
Upon arrival at Noi Bai airport, you will be welcome and picked up by our guide and driver then transfer to hotel, Free at leisure. Enjoy dinner with Vietnamese Cuisine at Spices restaurant in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi.
Vietnamese culinary tradition redefined with French flair. Enjoy views of the lush garden courtyard and swimming pool. Embark on an adventure of the palette at Spices Garden with the exotic flavours from Hanoi’s bustling cuisine, with “pho” noodle soup, tender spicy barbequed pork, exquisite seafood and the freshest of garden vegetables, spices and herbs.
Overnight in Hanoi. – Hotel D’Opera
Day 2: EXPLORE NOM ANCIENT VILLAGE & HALF DAY CITY BY VESPA (B/L)
Saturday 6 August
This morning your guide and driver will transfer you 40’ to Nom Village. This ancient and quaint rural village is a gem for cultural and historical experiential appreciation; a wonderful example of a village in Vietnam’s northern delta that follows traditional structural layout. Highlights cover a spectrum of interests. Here are a few examples for you to consider: spend time with the villagers and learn about their personal and village stories, choose from ten ancient houses and seven places of worship, understand and see the typical village layout (communal house, market, entrance gate, pond, wet market, and stone bridge). As a popular spot, if you are fortunate you may even catch a glimpse of a Vietnamese movie being filmed. Then drive back Hanoi to enjoy lunch at local restaurant before explore Hanoi City by Vespa.
Explore the charming city of Hanoi, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes from the back of a Vespa scooter. Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument of marble and granite built to house the preserved body of beloved revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, affectionately known to the Vietnamese as “Uncle Ho”. Tour the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar, considered by many to be one of Vietnam’s most iconic pagodas. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s House nearby, a simple wooden house in a tranquil setting where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Continue on to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. Enjoy the Vespa ride back to the city centre to visit the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake (literally, “Lake of the Returned Sword”) named after a magical sword once used by a legendary Vietnamese emperor to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. On an island in the middle of the lake sits the Ngoc Son Temple accessible by the classical Huc Bridge. Conclude the tour with a visit to the famed Old Quarter known for its ’36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life. You can also shopping in Silk Street after the tour. Then return to hotel. Overnight in Hanoi. Hotel D’ Opera Hanoi
Day 3: HANOI – SAPA BY ROAD (B/L/D)
Sunday 7 August
Depart Hanoi on a 5.5hr drive to Sapa via the Noi Bai – Lao Cai expressway, opened at the end of 2014. Enjoy views of rice paddies, village homes, and misty mountains along the way. After checking in to your hotel, have lunch at Red Dzao, a local restaurant serving typical Sapa cuisine. In the afternoon, Enjoy a light trek to discover a quaint hill tribe village near Sapa, including the different traditions, cultures and costumes of two minority groups. From Sapa, begin trekking downhill to Ta Phin Village. If your visit is between May and October, it will coincide with the local planting and harvest time, a chance to see the local farmers in action. Explore Ta Phin Village, home to the ethnic groups of the Black H’mong and Red Dzao who have been living in harmony in this village for generations despite having different customs, cultures and dress. Transfer back to Hotel de La Couple – Sapa
DAY 4: SAPA – BAN KHOANG – TA GIANG PHINH – LAO CAI – NIGHT TRAIN TO HANOI (B/L/D)
Mon 8 August
Depart Sapa on an 8km (5mi) drive to the start of the O Quy Ho Mountain Pass along the Hoang Lien Son mountain range with several stops for photos of stunning Mount Fansipan and Sin Chai Valley. Turn and follow a narrow tarmac road, passing forests and waterfalls before arriving at the Ban Khoang Commune, home to the Black H’mong and Red Dzao ethnic groups. Walk to explore this remote village for an overview of local life. Then drive to the Ta GiangPhinh Valley, inhabited by the Black H’mong who live in several hamlets along a peaceful stream. Enjoy lunch on the banks of the stream, followed by a 2hr walk through wild and unspoiled scenery with imposing mountains and picturesque terraced fields. Observe the local villagers engaging in their daily activities including ploughing, harrowing, harvesting and handicrafts. Mid-afternoon, meet the car and return to Sapa. Then transfer to Lao Cai train station for night train back to Hanoi.
DAY 5: HANOI – HAI PHONG – LAN HAN BAY WITH HERITAGE CRUISE (B/L/D)
Tue 9 August
Upon arrival Hanoi station, you will rest and get breakfast before depart for taking the new highway to Got Ferry Terminal, Cat Hai Town, Haiphong City (arrive about 11:30). You will travel on the longest bridge in Southeast Asia and be greeted at our lounge before boarding.
12:15 Board the Heritage Cruises boat and enjoy a welcome drink as you receive a cruise briefing, safety instructions and check in to your suite. Lunch is served at L’Indochine Restaurant.
12:40 Cruise to Da Chong islet, where you can see a heritage lighthouse built by the French more than 100 years ago. After lunch, cruise to Gia Luan Lagoon where limestone karst formations rise out of the sea. This quiet bay is untouched and remote, as not many cruise ships visit.
15:00 The cruise vessel approaches the Ba Trai Dao or Three Peach beaches in Lan Ha Bay, a natural frontier between the provinces of Halong and Haiphong. This secret hideaway has beaches, caves and coves, plus the spectacular natural beauty of about 400 islands. Guests can try kayaking or simply swim in the clear waters of the bay.
17:30 Back on Heritage Cruises, enjoy life aboard the vessel or in your suite, and with cocktail in hand watch the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Activities include afternoon tea and wine tasting, and the chef will lead a Vietnamese cookery class.
19:30 A memorable dining experience will be offered at the restaurant, with local food in an intimate and romantic setting.
21:30 Enjoy evening views of the bay at the bar on the top deck. Try your hand squid fishing, or watch a movie in the restaurant. The bars are open until late. Heritage Cruises
DAY 6: HAI PHONG – HANOI – FLY TO DANANG – HOI AN (B/BR)
Wed 10 August
6:00 Start the day with a session of Vovinam on the sundeck, followed by a light breakfast. Then take the bamboo boats to explore the Dark and Bright Cave.
9:30 Return to the ship for checkout.
10:00 Enjoy brunch while cruising back to harbour.
11:35 Return to Got Harbour and Departure to Hanoi airport for flight to Danang.
Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to Hoi An. Free at leisure and overnight in Hoi An. – Hotel Royal Hoi An
Notes: Schedules subject to change without prior notice
DAY 7: HOI AN HALF DAY CITY (B/L)
Thu 11 August, 2023
AM: Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An known then as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port, attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. Hoi An’s narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour of its many atmospheric sights including: the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, first built in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its intricate woodcarvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.
Following lunch at Cargo Club restaurant, you will transfer to Four Season The Nam Hai resort and enjoy 90 minutes massage at the Nam Hai resort: Choose one of four massage services included as below:
- EARTH ENERGIES
Rooted recovery: for dry skin and deep fatigue Five essential oils stabilise the five sensory organs and nourish the skin, while grounding bodywork techniques release tension and restore a harmonious flow of energy and vitality.
- HOT STONES
Soothing surfaces: for stress release and deep relaxation Reassuringly connect to the Earth through this warm stone massage. Techniques favoured by Vietnamese healers for centuries help dissolve muscular tension and support steadfast stability.
- NAM HAI VIETNAMESE
Effortless ease: for relaxation and rejuvenation Medium pressure, maximum chi: a great all rounder that uses ancient healing techniques to harmonize body and being. The 90-minute version includes antioxidant back paste with local ginger and mint.
60 – 90 MINUTES
- AROMATHERAPY EMBRACE
Fragrant therapeutic intensity: for releasing deep tension Choose from one of six superior-quality oils, combined with lymphatic drainage and neuromuscular techniques to dissolve stresses and strains. The 90-minute version includes a longer facial massage.
60 – 90 MINUTES
Day 8: HOI AN FREE AT LEISURE (B)
Fri 12 August, 2023
Free at leisure to explore Hoi An Ancient town and overnight in Hoi An
Day 9: DANANG – HOCHIMINH & HALF DAY CITY TOUR & A O SHOW (B/L/D)
Sat 13 August, 2023
After breakfast at hotel, you will then transfer to Danang airport for flight to Hochiminh City.
Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to city centre for lunch.
Following lunch at a nice restaurant, you will start with a visit to the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of French architect Foulhoux, it is the creation of a unique vaulted ceiling with wrought iron beams and columns reminiscent of industrial architeture, which is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks. Stop for a chat with Mr. Duong (if he is available), who enjoys local notoriety for his professional love-letter skills.
Walk along Dong Khoi street, formerly la rue Catinat and pay a visit to Gialong Palace – Ho Chi Minh City Museum for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history through times. Continue to ‘Le Loi Street’ to meet a local artisan who specialises in traditional engravings.
Next, stroll through the old central market (your vehicle will be available) before arriving at the city’s oldest colonial-era apartment, built in 1886, and see what the young creative Vietnamese are up to from their funky boutiques and coffee shops. Sit down at one of the stylish coffee shops and interact with a local resident who moved here in 1975.
Leave the compound and have a look at the building on the other side, which used to be ‘Banque de l’Indochine’ (Indochina Bank) during the 1920s. It’s a stunning example of the ‘Indochinois’ east/west fusion style of architecture that this area is known for. After this last stop, head to Saigon Opera House to see “A O Show” – a combination of arts highlighting the peaceful country life and poetic scenery of Vietnam. The show is special in the way it contains episodes of Vietnamese traditional folk games, dances and circus acts performed against the background of traditional and modern music combined with artistic lighting. Bamboo pipes and baskets are used throughout the performance as set decorations and traditional daily activities of villagers and festive celebrations are demonstrated by performers and musicians in farmers’ clothing. After the show, enjoy Vietnamese cuisine in a special restaurant. Transfer back to the hotel.
Day 10: HOCHIMINH FREE AT LEISURE (B/D)
Sun 14 August, 2023
Free at leisure for your own shopping in the bustling city. Overnight in Hochiminh -we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner tonight. Time to gather those new contact details of new friends made and bid farewell. Alas, all good things have to come to an end.
Day 11: HOCHIMINH DEPARTURE (B)
Mon 15 August, 2023
Free at leisure until transfer to Ho chi Minh airport for flight back home.
Chào Tạm Biệt và Hẹn Gặp Lại J
- Hotel accommodation, shared in Twin room with breakfast
(Single Room option available at additional supplement charges)
• All private transfer & transportation
• Flight tickets
- Flight Hanoi – Danang by Vietnam Airlines, VN183@ 17.00 – 18.20
- Flight Danang – Ho chi minh by Vietnam Airlines, VN117 @ 09.00 – 10.20
- Halong Bay Cruise with Heritage Binh Chuan Cruises
• English speaking guide
- ‘A O’ Show ticket Ooh class
- One massage services at Four Season The Nam Hai resort as indicated in program
- Train ticket Lao Cai – Hanoi by Victoria Train, shared 4 berth cabin
- All entrance fees
- Meals as stated in program
- Vietnam Visa Approval letter
Vietnam visa stamp fee
• International flights & departure airport tax
• Personal expenses such as drinks at meals, camera fee to tour sites
• Meals not mentioned