THE VIETNAMESE WHIRL 14 DAYS
Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam is proud to present the fourteen-day comprehensive tour of Vietnam whirl is very popular as it includes the main centres, three world heritage sites, and the Mekong Delta. However, as you’re travelling tailor-made, you can make as many changes to the itinerary as you wish. If you prefer to enter Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City – no problem! We’ll just reorganise the programme accordingly to fit your arrangements.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D, GP)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have time to relax after your journey before a welcome dinner at a good restaurant in a colonial building. In the evening, you’ll have tickets for a performance of traditional Water Puppetry (an art form unique to northern Vietnam, and an interesting, light-hearted introduction to its rural culture). Your overnight stay will be in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Orientation (B, L, G)
You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked, and the museum dedicated to his memory.
After lunch, you’ll call in at the serene Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest in Hanoi, on the banks of Hanoi’s Ho Tay (West) Lake. The bustling Old Quarter is a magnet for visitors. It’s a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture – traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices. It’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
We’ll arrange your programme to avoid the busy times at popular destinations, but if there’s anything you particularly want to see, let us know.
Alternative for Day 2: Cycling and exploring villages around Hanoi (B, L, G)
In the morning, you’ll be picked up to drive to Bat Trang. On arrival, you’ll be able to stroll in the small alleys of this old village to watch local people producing their fine products and visit some of the houses used as workshops and showrooms. You’ll then pick up your bicycles and ride along the riverside dike, through some more of the many villages surrounding Hanoi. The total distance on bicycles is about 7km along a small road that runs beside a tributary of the Red River.
You’ll then drive to Dong Ho village – famous for its traditional paintings. After a picnic lunch, your vehicle will take to Tam Tao village to enjoy its traditional Quan Ho music performed by villagers in the commune house. The singers have recently been officially designated as part of Vietnam’s ‘living heritage’. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi for your overnight accommodation.
Day 3: Hanoi/Ha Long (B, L, D, G)
After an early breakfast, you’ll leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you’ll board your boat, a wooden junk built from the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure, that will take you first to the busy World Heritage area and then to some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim, fish, climb a hill (not a mountain!) for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape, or venture into some of the sea level caves in a small sampan. All your meals will be provided on board, usually based on fresh seafood, and you’ll sleep in a twin cabin with an en suite toilet and shower.
For your two-day Ha Long excursion, you’ll board one of the best quality boats on the Bay, a wooden junk based on the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure. The boats vary in size, accommodating between ten and eighteen people, so you’re likely to be joining other travellers for the cruise.
Your cabin will be about six metres square, and furnished with twin bunks, two fans, an air-conditioner, pillows, white cotton sheets, and an en suite toilet and shower. All your meals, usually based on fresh seafood, will be provided on board.
Day 4: Ha Long/Hanoi (Brunch, G)
You’ll spend the morning cruising Ha Long Bay, followed by lunch just before docking around noon and leaving for Hanoi. You should arrive in the late afternoon and spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi/Hue (B, G)
In the morning, you’ll have free time for shopping in the bustling Old Quarter of Hanoi or at your leisure before pick up to the airport for a noon flight to Hue. After pick up and check-in, visit to the Imperial Citadel of Hue and Dong Ba market. You will spend the night in Hue.
Day 6: Hue (B, L, D, G)
Your morning will be taken up by a cruise along the Perfume River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, and then by road to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang and, in the afternoon, Emperor Khai Dinh. The two mausoleums span the long reign of the Nguyen King’s imperial dynasty – the contrast is stark.
From there, you’ll return to Hue to visit one of city’s ‘garden houses’ and then return to your hotel to freshen-up. In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. You’ll spend the night in Hue.
Each Royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it’s opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.
In complete contrast to Emperor Ming Mang’s flamboyant creation, the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is an unprepossessing concrete construction on the side of a wide valley. Its interest lies in the uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features, the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration, and the striking views from the courtyard in front of the mausoleum.
The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual – house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.
Day 7: Hue/Danang/Hoi An (B, L, G)
In the morning, your car will arrive to drive you to Danang. On the way, you’ll cross the high mountain pass of Hai Van. The views from the top are excellent – you should be able to see Lang Co beach and village, and the lagoon far below, with Danang spread out before you to the south.
Upon arriving in Danang, you’ll have a brief look at the remarkable Hindu statuary in the Cham Museum before leaving for Hoi An. After lunch, you’ll have a guided visit to the Ancient Town of Hoi An. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Hoi An town is a UNESCO World Heritage area. An ancient trading port, once the largest in Indochina, Hoi An was a meeting point for many cultures that left their mark in the different architectural features of its wooden buildings. The original traditional street pattern still exists, as does the quay that once welcomed ships from all over East Asia and beyond. Many remained there for months at a time, waiting for favourable trade winds to carry them home. There are plenty of good restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and price levels. The town is also a good place for shopping for silk. You can have your clothes tailor-made within a day or two at reasonable cost.
Day 8: Hoi An/My Son/Hoi An (B, G)
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you to the World Heritage My Son Sanctuary, show you the remains of the remarkable brick towers, and explain their origins and purpose. When you return, the rest of the day will be free. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.
Once, the My Son Sanctuary was the spiritual capital of the Cham Kingdom that dominated SE Asia for nearly a thousand years. Although My Son was heavily bombed during the American war, its remarkable brick towers are still impressive, as is its remote valley setting in a quiet, richly forested area bisected by a clear stream. However, the tree cover is not complete and the valley acts as sun trap, so good sun protection is important.
Day 9: Hoi An/Ho Chi Minh City (B, G)
You’ll have a free morning until you’re picked up for an afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh City. After transferring to your Ho Chi Minh City central hotel and checking-in, you’ll be free for a preliminary wander around District 1. Your overnight stay will be in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to show you around Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of the 5th century ‘Oc Eo’ civilisation. (Alternatively, you’ll visit the Fito Museum (First Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine) is host to a large collection of relics, including traditional Vietnamese medicinal implements, and chronicles the history of medical practice in Vietnam from 2000 BC). The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market is located in China Town which is the biggest one in Ho Chi Minh City.
You’ll also call in at the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City/Vinh Long/Can Tho (B, L, G)
After escaping from Ho Chi Minh City’s urban sprawl, you’ll travel to Vinh Long where a Mekong River cruise will take you to visit the fruit orchards, a traditional family-run brick kiln, and some long established cottage industries. You’ll drive further into the Mekong Delta to Can Tho. Upon arrival you’ll call in at the Munir Ansay – an ancient Khmer style pagoda, renowned for its unique structural decorations. You’ll then drive to your hotel in Can Tho where you’ll spend the night.
Constructed in 1948 and modelled on Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat complex, the’ Three Treasures’ tower, the Munir Ansay pagoda has many intricate statues and pillars. Today, approximately a million Khmer people live in Vietnam, mostly in the Mekong Delta provinces
Day 12: Can Tho/Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)
After breakfast and a boat cruise you’ll arrive at Cai Rang floating market on the Mekong Delta. Both the journey and the market provide insights into the rural Mekong Delta lifestyle. On your return to Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll call in at the beautiful and ancient Vinh Trang pagoda, 3 km from My Tho centre. You’ll arrive in Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon with time to freshen up in the hotel.
Vinh Trang Pagoda is renowned for its architectural mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Angkor styles. It’s Located on a 2 hectare block with 5 buildings, 2 ornamental yards, 178 pillars and many valuable statues (especially the statues of 18 arahants which were carved from wood and made in 1907) the pagoda will give you a deeper look into the relationship between Vietnamese art and Buddhist beliefs.
Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City/Tay Ninh/Cu Chi (B, L, G)
A morning drive will take you to Tay Ninh to visit the Cao Dai Holy See in time to watch the mid-day ceremony. After lunch, you’ll visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels, a Byzantine maze of underground passages, chambers, rooms and booby traps used by both the Vietminh and the Viet Cong to suddenly materialise as if from nowhere, launch a lightning ambush, and vanish equally rapidly. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cao Dai is a ‘new’ religion unique to Vietnam with around a million followers. Both its creed and its architecture are remarkable and exotic. The service lasts about half an hour – the rituals are based upon an eclectic mixture of Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. Discreet photography is OK, but shoes must be left outside
Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (B, GP)
Your time will be your own until your private car and driver arrives to take you to Tan Son Nhat airport for your departure flight.
The prices for this sample tour are per person in US dollars
These prices are valid until September 30, 2018. Please note that bank transfer fees are not included.
|Number in group||2||3 – 4||5 – 8||9 – 12||13 – 16||Supplement for single hotel room occupancy*|
* ‘Single room occupancy’ refers to the accommodation element of the programme only, and applies to someone who is travelling with others but requires an additional room for him or herself. Single traveller prices are available on request.
Our prices include:
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
- Domestic flight tickets: Hanoi – Hue and Danang – Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes.
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
- Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available, and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- VAT and other taxes
Our prices do not include:
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Alternatives in white
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Compulsory Christmas Eve’s dinner and Gala dinner (if any)
Hotel list for First Class standard
• Hanoi: Sofitel Metropole Hotel ( historic colonial building in a city centre location – Grand Luxury Room Historic Wing)
• Ha Long Bay: Valentine Junk (Traditional Junk [Unique] ( Deluxe quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels – Suite cabin)
• Hue: La Residence Hotel & Spa ( deluxe boutique hotel, on the bank of the Perfume River – Colonial Suite)
• Hoi An: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa ( modern resort hotel on Cua Dai Beach, low rise, outdoor swimming pool – Junior Suite)
• Ho Chi Minh City: Caravelle Hotel ( large high-rise building famous as the chosen hotel of international correspondents during the war, good city and river views, well-located in the heart of the city overlooking the Opera House – Signature Deluxe room)
• Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort ( best hotel in Can Tho, colonial-style architecture on the bank of Hau river – Suite)
Hotel list for Deluxe standard:
• Hanoi: Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi ( Conveniently located in the city centre, just a step away from Hanoi’s OperaHouse, the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake – L’Opera Grand Deluxe)
• Ha Long Bay: Paradise Cruise [Traditional Junk Cruise] ( Deluxe quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels – Deluxe Balcony cabin)
• Hue: Best Western Premier Indochine Palace Hotel [former Celadon Palace hotel]( high-rise building hotel in the heart of Hue – Palace Studio)
• Hoi An: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa (modern resort hotel on Cua Dai Beach, low rise, outdoor swimming pool – Deluxe room)
• Ho Chi Minh City: Legend Hotel ( high-rise building facing the Saigon River, a short walk from Dong Khoi Street – Deluxe room)
• Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort ( beside the Mekong river, good garden setting – Deluxe room)
Hotel list for Superior Standard:
• Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel ( conveniently located in Hanoi’s ‘Old Quarter’, about a ten-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake – Silk Deluxe room)
• Ha Long Bay: Indochina Sails (Traditional Junk [Unique] ( Deluxe quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels – Superior cabin)
• Hue: Saigon Morin Hotel ( colonial building overlooking the Perfume River – Colonial Deluxe)
• Hoi An: Boutique Resort Hoi An ( beach front boutique styled resort – ideally located on Hoi An beach, only 5 minute drive from Hoi An Ancient town – Superior room)
• Ho Chi Minh City: Liberty Central Hotel ( city centre – Premier Deluxe room)
• Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort ( best hotel in Can Tho, colonial architecture on the bank of Hau River – Superior Room)
Hotel list for Mid-range standard:
- Hanoi: Golden Lotus Luxury Hotel ( boutique hotel in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, stylish furnishings and decoration art – Lotus Deluxe room)
- Ha Long Bay: Huong Hai or Bai Tho traditional junk [Unique] (Superior quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels)
- Hue: Moonlight Hotel ( central location, contemporary décor, swimming pool – Deluxe River View room)
- Hoi An: Ancient House Resort [Featured Hotel] ( special resort – hotel with traditional architecture and authentic ancient house inside the complex – Special room)
- Ho Chi Minh City: Nhat Ha 3 hotel ( central location, short walk to Opera House and famous Dong Khoi Street, nice rooftop bar – Superior room)
- Can Tho: Kim Tho Hotel ( comfortable local hotel, conveniently located – Superior room)
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Mr. Phuoc Happy
Vietnam Tour Guide:
“Phuoc Happy was warm, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and candid regarding his country, and he provided us with countless learning and discovery opportunities in addition to the ones on the itinerary. He even provided us with a personal copy of the excellent video of our trip which he made for Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam”
Vietnam Tour Guide:
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“Overall trip was wonderful. You planned a great itinerary. Accommodations we fine. The best of the group where the Hyatt in Saigon, Metropole in Hanoi and Victory in Hoi An…”
“The organization of this entire trip was near perfection and the service first class. Our travel specialist created an itinerary that didn’t even require a lot of tweaking from my original description of what we were looking for”
“Best hotel: The Victoria Hotel in Chau Doc is perfect. Staff very kind and attentive, quality of room very good, food in restaurant very, very good and good location. The Golf Holte in Can Tho Smells like what it is, a government hotel and an…”
“The trip exceeded our expectations, and we attribute much of the success to Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam. I would not hesitate to use their services again and have already told my friends how pleased we were with the entire trip”
“We had very good guides”
“Mr Phuoc was outstanding. His command of global events and being able to put Vietnam into international context was impressive. Very personable, knowledgable, flexible and enthusiastic. A real ambassador for his country while also recognising the shortcomings and opportunities facing Vietnam. He didn’t just repeat history about sights, but he actively sought our own views and then worked out what would be of interest and why. If we were to revisit Vietnam, or recommend a top guide, it would be Mr Phuoc”
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“I am very pleased with how much effort the booking agents put into helping me customize my trip. They were receptive to my input and understanding when I wanted to make changes. They also helped me put my itinerary together very quickly. I booked the trip less than two weeks before I travelled. Luxury Travel Agency Vietnam was successfully able to get me a visa in time for my trip with the strict time constraint we were working under.”
“I will come back Vietnam”
“I wish I had time to see Sa Pa. I am already trying to figure out when I can go back to Vietnam just so I can visit Sa Pa. Even though Ha Long Bay is incredibly beautiful and it was one of my favorite places, I wish I had opted to visit Bai Tu Long or a nearby area instead. Ha Long Bay was so overcrowded and touristy, it was disappointed to be stuck in such a limited area of the Bay when it is so vast. I would recommend that travelers explore their options and stay in nearby areas Cat Ba, Bai Tu Long, Lan Ha, etc and spend more time.”
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