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Vietnam Insight with Sapa

15 days fr £1,440pp

Hanoi • Sapa • Topas Ecolodge • Lech Village • Halong Bay • Hue • Hoi An • Cu Chi tunnels and city tour • Mekong Delta

TOUR DETAILS
Accommodation:
  • Classic fr £1,440pp
Validity (selected dates between):
  • 01/01/2019 - 31/03/2020
Also included:
  • 13 nights hotel accommodation
  • 1 night cruise accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transport by AC vehicle
  • Western Tour leader with minimum 7 passengers
  • Local English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees
Not included:
  • International Flights (unless otherwise stated)
  • International Flights & Visas
Overview
There are some great tours of Vietnam available these days, but this 15 day trip takes some beating. Beginning in Hanoi, in the north of the country, and ending in the amazing city of Saigon in the south, you see so many of the highlights of this fascinating country, delve in to its history, and get a wonderful insight into the lives of the people. Along the way you visit colourful Sapa, the beautiful rugged islands of Halong Bay, historic Hue, enchanting Hoi An and the Mekong Delta and have the benefit of a tour leader and experienced guides throughout.
Day 1
Arrive Hanoi
On arrival at Hanoi you will be met at the airport and taken straight to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to explore on your own seeing some of the sights. Tonight meet your fellow travellers and tour leader for welcome drinks and a briefing about all the exciting things you will be seeing and doing over the coming days. This is a great chance to get to know your fellow travellers and talk about the adventure that awaits. You will also be given a welcome pack with all the tour details included.
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Day 2
Hanoi to Sapa
This morning you drive through beautiful Hanoi to the outskirts of the city to visit the excellent Ethnology Museum. Here you learn more about the diverse ethnic minorities you will meet on your journey to Sapa. See examples of traditional dress and housing of many of the 53 different ethnic minority groups that inhabit Vietnam and learn more about their customs and way of life. Then begin the five hour journey to Sapa, passing Vietnam's most spectacular mountain scenery. End today with a drink in this charming town.
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Day 3
Sapa
After breakfast, your morning begins with a brief guided tour of Sapa town and the colourful market. Then drive the short distance south towards Ta Van Hoa Valley, and begin your walk through the terraced rice paddy fields. This takes you through the village of Hau Thao, home to the Black Hmong minority, then onto the village of Saseng. You will have a great opportunity to observe the daily life and traditional hospitality of these people, and to take in the stunning vistas and terraced rice fields that are synonomous with this area. Overnight Sapa.
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Day 4
Topas Ecolodge & Lech Village
Drive south from Sapa towards Topas Ecolodge and then descend on foot into the valley below, to visit the ethnic minorities of Lech Village, which is situated in a picturesque area not often visited by tourists, and is home to one of the area’s best-known and most colourful minorities, the Red Dzao. Here women shave their heads and eyebrows, and wear bright scarlet turbans and some of the most colourful and diverse costumes of all Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Check in to the remote Topas Ecolodge in Supan and enjoy a memorable dinner.
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Day 5
Sapa to Hanoi
After breakfast enjoy some free time at the Ecolodge, where you might like to try a spa treatment or take a short walk into the surrounding area. Later check out of the lodge before journeying back to Hanoi, which will take around five hours. Tonight meet other fellow travellers for drinks and a tour briefing for your journey through Vietnam. This is a great chance to get to know some new faces and talk about all the further adventures that await you.
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Day 6
Hanoi to Halong Bay
This morning you journey east to Halong City, the gateway to Halong Bay. En route pass fields of busy workers farming their rice using traditional methods. Halong Bay has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries and continues to capture the imagination. On arrival transfer to the port and board your deluxe boat for the cruise out to the Bay, enjoying a fresh seafood lunch. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay has more than 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea. Overnight on the boat.
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Day 7
Halong Bay to Hanoi
Today, rise early to make the most of Halong Bay’s stunning scenery. After breakfast, continue your exploration and discover what makes this area so unique. On the cruise back to Halong City, enjoy another tasty lunch. This afternoon travel to Hanoi where you take a walking tour of the backstreets to visit some markets and specialty food stores. You will have the opportunity to try some local dishes and in the process learn more about daily life and culinary customs and habits of the Vietnamese people.
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Day 8
Hanoi
Begin your discovery of the city with a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter - 36 ancient streets where you can see the daily bustle of life around the markets. Continue to the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, starting at Ba Dinh Square, and visit the humble house on stilts from which ‘Uncle Ho’, ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. You can also view the Presidential Palace, and intriguing One Pillar Pagoda. Finally stop at the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ - the former prison famous for holding US Air force pilots shot down during the Vietnam war.
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Day 9
Hanoi to Hue
Today you fly to Hue, located on the banks of the Perfume River. Hue was a former capital of Vietnam and is a centre of Buddhism and scholarship. It was also the setting for some of the Vietnam War’s most bloody fighting, and provides a unique window into the country's complex past. Begin your exploration by visiting the elaborate tomb of the former emperor Tu Duc and learn something of the history of this colourful period. Next visit the imposing Citadel and Imperial Palace, then the tranquil Thien Mu Pagoda.
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Day 10
Hue to Hoi An
This morning take a train journey along the coast-clinging route, winding across rugged cliffs. Rub shoulders with the locals, and enjoy the scenery. The World Heritage Listed old town of Hoi An was Vietnam’s most active trading centre over many centuries and has been well preserved. Take a local market and backstreets tour with students from ‘Streets cafe’ then enjoy a small tasting menu of some of the products. This afternoon you will also see an old merchant house, a Chinese assembly hall and the Japanese Covered Bridge.
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Day 11
Hoi An
Today is free for you to explore this enchanting and beautiful town with its many clothing shops, colourful fish market and river life. Return to some of the places you visited yesterday, have lunch in one of the local restaurants and see more of the sights. Alternatively you may wish to head to the nearby beach and chill out or just relax by the pool at your resort. After all the travelling across Vietnam and organised tours, this is a great chance to simply do nothing!
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Day 12
Hoi An to Saigon
This morning enjoy some more time in Hoi An before being taken to the airport for your flight to Saigon - Vietnam’s commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Despite its rush to modernity, Saigon, as it is still known, is a friendly and welcoming place with many reminders of its turbulent past and a palpable momentum towards the future. You end today with a drink at a roof top bar with beautiful views of this historic city as the sun sets. The remainder of your evening is free to explore on your own.
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Day 13
Cu Chi Tunnels & Saigon Tour
Start your day as the locals do with a delicious, steaming hot bowl of noodle soup at a local eatery, before travelling to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. Established as a means of waging guerrilla war, the tunnel network stretched over 155 miles and extended to three levels. Back to Saigon for lunch and in the afternoon, spend some time at the War Remnants Museum, walk through the heart of the city seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office and nearby Rue Catinat. Walk past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, and Municipal Theatre.
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Day 14
Mekong Delta
Explore the Mekong Delta’s canals, markets and villages by comfortable speedboat. Depart from downtown Saigon on this specially designed trip and avoid the tourist crowds. Known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam, the Delta is the most fertile region in the country. Stop at a market, visit a Buddhist temple and see an unusual Cao Dai pagoda. Gain a real insight into the lives of the locals by visiting a workshop and villages and have lunch at a family home. Return to Saigon and spend your last night enjoying a group dinner at a top restaurant.
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Day 15
Depart Vietnam
It’s time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers, but just think of all the wonderful stories you will take home. Possibly time for some more sightseeing or last minute shopping for souvenirs before you are picked up from your hotel by one of our tour representatives and driven to the airport to catch an onward flight and continue your south east Asia adventure or begin your journey back home. This comprehensive tour will give you a great insight into this fascinating country and its peoples.
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