Day 1: New Zealand –– Hanoi
Today, depart New Zealand for Hanoi City! Upon arrival to the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Please note – some flights may depart one day earlier.
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Today travel by coach through the rich farm land of the Red River Delta to arrive at Halong Bay. Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay’s spectacular scatter of islands, dotted with wind- and wave-eroded grottoes, is a vision of ethereal beauty.
Upon arrival you will board a ship to visit the thousands of limestone islands filled with caves of all shapes and sizes. The sails of junks and sampans gliding along the clear and emerald waters of the bay form a magnificent scene that blends into the sky. You will also have the opportunity to visit some of the hidden grottoes beneath the towering cliffs.
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B,L)
Awake early and participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands, a sight not to be missed, especially if you are into photography. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea, before setting out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. Return to the junk for breakfast then take advantage of the sundeck and admire the amazing rock formations of Halong Bay.
Your driver will meet you at the Halong jetty then drive back to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies, refer fine print): Halong Sea Plane – a unique vantage point to appreciate the vastness, the beauty and all limestone formations of World Nature Wonder – Halong Bay from the air in 25 minutes. Witness with your own eyes the panorama of the famous film ”Indochine”. This is the perfect combination with a wooden junk cruise through the bay before returning to Hanoi. After having an early morning breakfast on the sundeck and discovering various rock formations, you will disembark and get on the seaplane to see a uniquely different point of view of this destination.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies, refer fine print): Hanoi Street food including dinner – enjoy a walk around the Old Quarter in the afternoon and appreciate the local lifestyles as you wind through Hanoi’s streets. You will have a taste of Northern Vietnamese delicacies such as: stuffed pancake, banh my, stuffed sticky rice balls, the unique egg coffee and many more.
Day 4: Hanoi – – Danang – Hoi An (B,L)
This morning, we take a city tour of Hanoi and will explore attractions such as the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda) and Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. Then we take a morning flight to Danang.
Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Hoi An, stopping en route at the Marble Mountains to enjoy the view of Danang. As an important trading route during the 15th to 19th centuries, Hoi An is now a unique blend of culture, cuisine and architecture. Step back in time as you wander the narrow streets of this charming former trading port, with its ancient covered bridges and temples.
Day 5: Hoi An (B)
Today you will explore Hoi An on foot, visiting an old merchant’s home, Hoi An Market, a local Chinese temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was first constructed here in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to wander through the town or relax at one of the many cafés along the picturesque Thu Bon River. Alternatively you may like to join one of the following optional tours.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies, refer fine print): Golden Bridge – on arrival at the foot of Ba Na mountain, we’ll travel by cable car up to the Marseille station. From here take a short walk to the Golden Bridge – a break point of the trip – to feel like walking on the clouds. Just newly opened to the public in early June 2018 the bridge which was built in the midst of the forest stands out in yellow. Noteworthy, this unique architecture with the bridge image supported by grey hands is a stunning sight. Take the time for photos and enjoy the easy breeze, breathtaking views and afterwards, we’ll walk further to a romantic flower garden – Le Jardin D’Amour. The 9 gardens are 9 interesting stories in 9 unique architectural styles. These create a poetic and colorful space. Next, walk to visit Linh Ung Pagoda to admire its sophisticated architecture together with a 27m high Shakyamuni statue which brings us a peaceful feeling. Finally, we’ll catch the cable car downhill and then transfer to Hoi An.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies, refer fine print): Hoi An Cooking Class – there is no doubt that Vietnamese cuisine is unlike any others. You may wonder how the papaya salad gets that zingy flavour or how the rolls get so soft and tasty. Let’s find out! This tour will let you experience all the typical features of traditional Vietnamese cuisine and master your cooking skills. You will be accompanied by a professional chef for every single step. Toward the end of the class, get a chance to share your masterpiece with others.
Day 6: Hoi An –– Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
After breakfast, we leave Hoi An for Da Nang airport to fly to Ho Chi Minh City. You will have a half day tour of Ho Chi Minh City with highlights such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, War Remnant Museum and a chance to soak up the atmosphere at Ben Thanh market, one of Ho Chi Minh’s liveliest areas.
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta (optional) (B)
Enjoy a day of leisure to explore Ho Chi Minh City.
Optional Tour (additional cost applies, refer fine print): Mekong Delta – travel to Ben Tre to discover the unique lifestyle of inhabitants living along the Mekong Delta. Board your cruise on Ben Tre River (one of the tributaries of Mekong River) before stopping at a brickworks to see how bricks are made in traditional style by printing and baking. Next, visit a coconut processing workshop located along canal. Turn on natural scissors creeks where they look smaller and smaller which will lead to a local village. Walk to family workshop to observe sleep mats being made while enjoying some fruits and tea. Then you’ll take a motor cart or cycle under shady trees, pass by green rice fields and vegetable plains all while getting a feel for the life and tropical culture from Peasants. Lunch is served at a riverside restaurant. In the afternoon you’ll take a row-boat along water palm creek and then boat back to Hung Vuong Pier, where your transport is waiting back to Ho Chi Minh City. Lunch will be included on your Mekong Delta tour.
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi Tunnels (B,L)
After breakfast we continue on to the Cu Chi Tunnels. During the Vietnam War, guerrilla fighters built a labyrinth of narrow tunnels, using them to hide in during bombing raids and to stage surprise attacks. Today, the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a unique understanding of what life was like during the Vietnam War.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City –– New Zealand (B)
This morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel. You will then have time to wander Ho Chi Minh City one last time before the afternoon transfer for your flight home to New Zealand.
Day 10: New Zealand
Arrive home today.