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VIETNAM OFF THE BEATEN TRACK - 17 DAYS / 14 NIGHTS (VI-OF08)

  • Theme’s program

Off the beaten track, authenticity, meet the locals, Halong Bay cruise, highlights of Vietnam.

 

  • The Must-Sees

In the North, Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh (terrestrial Halong Bay) are well complemented by the small paths to meet locals in the villages along the way.

In the Centre, you will visit the charming old town of Hoi An and the imperial monuments of Hue. You will walk in beautiful villages known for their traditional handcraft.

In the South, you will enjoy discovering the colonial district, the historic buildings in Saigon and the exotic atmosphere of Cho Lon district. Then, get to know the daily life of the Mekong Delta’s inhabitants throughout its villages.

 

  • What will you do during your trip?

During the trip, you will have the opportunity to taste local delicacies, as well as dishes made by your hosts (homestay). You will experience a tai-chi lesson on the junk’s deck, discover the natural caves of the Bay and be initiated to Vietnamese cuisine. You will attend a welcome dinner in Hanoi and a costume and musical dinner in Hue. The specificity of this tour “off the beaten path” is to be closer to local life, and to visit sites outside of mass tourism such as Bai Tu Long Bay, Hoa Binh, Mai Chau… You will have a ride by bike ride in Duong Lam village by its laterite alleys to visit the Mia Pagoda and houses manufacturing soy sauce.

 

  • Useful information

For you, we have chosen nice hotels downtown and homestays as well as a wonderful traditional junk where you will spend a night and in authentic guesthouse in Cho Lach. During the tour, you will experience the rickshaw, a domestic flight, the coach, the small boats and a cruise in a junk.

We provide a national tour guide skilled in group management.

DAY 1 : YOUR CITY Flight to HANOI

Departure at your expense to the airport of departure. You will go through the check-in formalities and will board on a flight towards HANOI. Dinner and night on board.

DAY 2 : HANOI

Arrival in Hanoi and transfer to your hotel. Welcome by your guide and driver and start journey in Hanoi to discover its old beauty.  
Walking tour around the old quarter by its narrowed streets through: the Opera, colonial style, the Ly Thai To Park and its imposing bronze statue of the Vietnamese king, the Hoan Kiem Lake for the visit of Ngoc Son Pagoda. Afterwards rickshaw tour around the old quarter to dive into the exotic atmosphere of Hanoi.
A stop is planned to try drink specialties of Vietnam - “Vietnamese ice coffee” or “Bia Hoi”. This tour will end in a magnificent colonial style house named MADAME HIEN, where you will enjoy your welcoming dinner. It offers Vietnamese traditional dishes, especially Pho, the national specialty with a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken.  Night at the hotel.

DAY 3 : HANOI / THAY Pagode / TAY PHUONG Pagode / DUONG LAM village

Road to the Thay pagoda (Master Pagoda), followed by Tay Phuong Pagoda (West Pagoda), constructed during the 8th century. It is a veritable museum of Vietnamese wood carving. Lunch on the road.
Continue to the Duong Lam village. Photo stop en route. Bike ride around the village to enjoy its beautiful landscape: Communal House Mong Phu, laterite alleys, the Mia Pagoda, built in 1632, holding 300 different statues of Buddha and houses manufacturing soy sauce. You will help a local family cook dinner in their house. Diner and overnight in homestay.

DAY 4 : DUONG LAM VILLAGE / HOA BINH / MAI CHAU

Departure for Mai Chau on Road No. 6 throughout a beautiful limestone hills region. Stop at a local market, opportunity to see typical crafts of the region. Several photo stops along the way to capture the astonishing nature.
Arrival to the beautiful Mai Chau valley around noon, installation into a traditional Thai house on stilt in the village of Van. Homestay lunch. Short walk in the valley to visit the surroundings of White Thai villages. Local dinner. Night in an Eco lodge surrounded by the hills.

DAY 5 : MAI CHAU / NINH BINH / HANOI

Road to the karst region Ninh Binh, known as “Ha Long Bay on land” thanks to its beauty and extraordinary landscape. Visit Dinh and Le Temple, an important remain of the ancient capital of Vietnam. Lunch at Ly Club Restaurant.
Continue with the ride by flat-bottomed boat on the river that winds through the limestone cliffs, untouched nature. Join a bike ride through many beautiful villages for local sights of Red River Delta and enjoy a Water Puppet show. Return to Hanoi late evening. Dinner at White Lotus located on the center of city.

DAY 6 : HANOI / BAI TU LONG BAY

Early morning departure to Bai Tu Long Bay, which occupies three quarters of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage site. Boarding on a cruise into the heart of the bay. Lunch will be served while the junk sails between islands and islets.
Transfer from boat to rowing boat to visit the Vung Vieng fishing village, opportunity to see the fisherman’s daily life in a gorgeous setting. Late afternoon you’re offered an ideal chance to enjoy the beach (swimming, kayaking…). Before seafood dinner you will be initiated some traditional dishes by professional chef of the cruise. Night on board.

DAY 7 : BAI TU LONG BAY / HANOI / HUE

In the early morning be ready to take great photos. A Tai Chi lesson (according to the weather of the day) given by a professional teacher on the sundeck. It is also a fabulous moment enjoying breakfast in natural surrounding amidst the bay.
Explore the beautiful Thien Canh Son Cave – one of the most typical places on a limestone cliff. Back to junk for check out then brunch before route towards Hanoi’s airport. Quick stop in Dong Trieu village which is famous for its unique ceramics. Boarding on your flight towards Hue. Dinner at Y Thao Garden restaurant. Night at the hotel.

DAY 8 : HUE

Visit of the Citadel constructed in Vauban style, explore the Imperial City, located in the heart of the Citadel, by walking through the magnificent Door of Noon and the golden bridge constructed over gold watered pound. Followed by the discovery of the Palace of Supreme Harmony and many others monuments.
End with The Mieu, marvelous temple of the dynasty. Lunch in a family restaurant on the river banks. Boat ride on the Perfume River to discover the countryside landscapes surrounding the river. Transfer to Thien Mu, the take a detour to the Minh Mang Tomb, quick stop in a village which is famous for the crafting of conical hats. Royal costumed dinner, accompanied by traditional music. Night at the hotel.

DAY 9 : HUE / HOI AN

Transfer to Thanh Tien also known as flower village. Beginning with bike ride through the rice paddies full of buffalo, cattle, poultry and mostly flowers fields.  Stop at a local family to watch the manufacture of artificial paper flowers and learn to make these flowers under the guidance of an artist.  Continue cycling to the Sinh village and visit the house of the artist Ky Huu Phuoc with typical drawing produced in rice paper. Walking in a daily local market to witness the activities of sale-purchase of the villagers. Cooking class with a host and lunch in a local house.
Road to Hoi An via the well-known Hai Van Pass that offers a splendid panoramic view over the Lang Co peninsula and many fishing village along the coast. Dinner in the elegant cozy space of Brother Café Restaurant. Night at the hotel.

DAY 10 : HOI AN

Walking tour in Ancient Town Hoi An: Chuc Thanh Pagoda, visit the Chinese Community House Fujian. Then walking among 800 buildings of historical interest and stop at the Japanese Covered Bridge. 
Departure to the Tra Que village, famous for its aromatic herbs often found in local food. Lunch in the habitant with local specialties.Take a small stroll in Learning the vegetable farming techniques of the farmers and some local corianders. Opportunity to get your unforgettable "farmer experience". A foot massage with medicinal herbs in oriental methods is ready. Return to Hoi An late evening. Dinner at Full Moon Restaurant, located on the banks of the poetic Thu Bon River. This quiet peaceful place looks like a microcosm of the ancient town of Hoi An.

DAY 11 : HOI AN / DANANG Flight to HO CHI MINH

Transfer to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Transfer downtown. Lunch according to the flight schedule.
Discovering colonial districts and the main historic sites of the city: The central post office designed by Gustave Eiffel’s workshop and is inspired from Parisian buildings. the Notre Dame Cathedral. Photo stop in front of the Reunification Palace. Walking tour in the lively Dong Khoi Street to the Municipal Theatre, the historic Continental Hotel, on the banks of Saigon River, City Hall, Ben Thanh Market …
Tour in the Chinese district, visit of the local market Binh Tay. Small walk in the narrow streets filled with shops selling traditional medicine products and then visit of the impressive Thien Hau Pagoda. Dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant but with Europe architecture. Night at the hotel downtown: convenient for night walks.
Option: Depend on availability, dinner cruise on the Saigon River. Chance to enjoy Saigon’s night atmosphere with traditional performances of music and dance by artists from the Vietnam traditional orchestral, especially zither soloist.

DAY 12 : HO CHI MINH

Early departure towards Cu Chi Tunnels. This 200km long network of connecting tunnels was dug by the Viet Congs during the Vietnam War. Lunch at famous Ben Nay Restaurant. Return to Ho Chi Minh City late afternoon. Free time at your leisure for personal discovery.

Option: “Saigon by night” by Vespa or Jeep
At 6pm tour-guide and Vespa / Jeep driver will pick you up at your hotel. Arrival at local restaurant to enjoy Banh Xeo Pancake – specialty of the South Vietnam. Continue by discovery again of the French colonial monuments, but by night. Then we’ll take you to explore the favorite places, where the locals like going at night for their dinner with friends or relatives. In this place you’ll be able to taste the real cuisine as a Vietnamese. A unique experience. Afterwards it’s a high time enjoying the fresh air by night. You’ll be taken around Saigon to admire its panoramic view. Last stop at a sky bar for drinks. This rooftop bar is a perfect place for chilling out with very breathtaking views of Saigon.

DAY 13 : HO CHI MINH / BEN TRE / CHO LACH

After breakfast road towards Ben Tre, unknown by mass tourism in the Mekong Delta and known as “the capital of coconut trees”.Cruising through one of the 9 Mekong’s arms surrounded by many authentic landscapes to visit a brick factory. Continuation for discover a local manufacture exclusively making products from coconut fibers. Disembarking in a village to mingle with the locals.
Walk around the area while passing through schools, rice paddies, orchards ... Boat trip aboard a traditional rowing boat through the arroyos and enjoy the picturesque view. For lunch, “Elephant Ear Fish” a specialty of the delta in a luxuriant garden.
Stop to visit a bonsai garden and a nursery when road to Cho Lach. Installation in a rural cottage, house of Mr. Nam Hien, typical wooden house of the Mekong. Possibility to assist in the preparation of traditional dishes that will be served for dinner. For dinner, duck cooked in coconut milk, the specialty of the house. Night in a private room.

DAY 14 : CHO LACH / CAN THO

Bike ride to visit a local market of Cho Lach. Route through the alleys, fruit gardens and countryside. Back to the house via a road along the river, several scheduled stops for photographs. Lunch at the cottage.
Departure for Can Tho. Along the way, you can observe several scenic views of the river before arriving at destination. Walking tour by night around the animated Ninh Kieu Pier and dinner at L’Escale Restaurant – situated on the top of an old house on the river bank, outstanding views on the river.

DAY 15 : CAN THO / HO CHI MINH

Arrival to Cai Rang Floating Market, crossing over the promenade of many small boats carrying fruits, vegetables, fish...  Continue to visit the food market. Followed by a visit of a Khmer pagoda with a typical architecture. Then visit of the old house Binh Thuy. Lunch at a local restaurant en route.
Road back to Ho Chi Minh City through the peaceful scenery of the Mekong Delta. Your last dinner in Vietnam will be organized at Lý Club Restaurant – a luxurious space covered by white color and chrysanthemums.

DAY 16 : HO CHI MINH flight to YOUR CITY

Morning at leisure for your personal discovery in the heart of Saigon. Transfer to Tan Son Nhat airport for your flight home. Check-in and boarding.

DAY 17 : YOUR CITY

Breakfast on board. Arrival.


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