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Highlight: Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Sa Dec, Rach Gia, Saigon, Phu Quoc Island
Places to Visit in Vietnam After Beach Leisure
Most travelers to Vietnam are attracted by the country's wonderful natural beauty: From green rice fields dotted with the conical hats of workers in Vietnam's north stretching to the fascinating bustle of the Mekong Delta in the south.
Ben Tre ,Buon Ma Thuot ,Ca Mau ,Can Tho ,Cao Bang ,Chau Doc ,Da Lat ,Da Nang ,Dien Bien Phu ,Dong Ha ,Dong Hoi ,Hai Phong ,Ha Noi ,Ha Tien ,Hue ,Lang Son ,My Tho ,Nha Trang ,Phan Thiet ,Thai Nguyen ,Tay Ninh ,Sai Gon ,Son La ,Sapa ,Ba Be lake ,Cana ,Cat Ba islands ,Halong bay ,HoaLu-TamCoc-BichDong ,Hoi An ,My Lai ,My Son ,Phu Quoc
Itinerary in brief
Day - 1- Hanoi
Our tour guide will meet and greet you at the airport upon arrival to Hanoi City - the capital city of Vietnam is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will be transferred to your hotel in the city center to refresh. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day - 2- Hanoi
Morning pick up at your hotel in Hanoi. 4 hour orientation city tour including essential sights of the city like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and historical relics of Presidential Palace, House on stilt and we will visit One Pillar Pagoda nearby. Next stop is the Temple of Literature - Vietnam's 1st University built in the 10th C". Break time for lunch at a stylish local restaurant and we will visit the Vietnam National History of Museum with good collection of prehistoric artifacts and everyday items of early history through eras and dynasties. an optional 1 hour foot massage at 15:00, today's class begins with a walk, accompanied by the Chef of the Spices Garden Restaurant, to the local market, where participants get a chance to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients. Cooking demonstration will be held one and a half hour and you will explore cooking techniques, alternative ingredients and fascinating kitchen myths of this unique culture. You can rolls up your sleeves in the kitchen to prepare a proper Vietnamese meal. Dinner will be served in the Spices Garden restaurant to sample all the different dishes prepared during the class. The rest of time at your own leisure. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day - 3- Hanoi - Halong Bay
Morning depart for Halong Bay, we go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. Check-in and you are warmly welcomed by friendly crew members. A longer cruise at a relaxed pace with more time to get "off the beaten track" and discover the secrets of Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bay, visit the fishing villages, explore by kayak, unforgettable dining. This worthwhile three day trip on one of our traditional junks offers the highest quality luxuries and comforts as you enjoy the truly wonderful Ha Long Bay. Cruise with us aboard this once in a life time experience. Overnight on aboard.
Day - 4- Halong Bay
Wake up at sunrise before breakfast, cruise Bai Tu Long, have the whole day exploring the islets and pocket lagoons by kayak or aboard. One of the meals can be served at a special place. Overnight on aboard.
Day - 5- Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hoi An
This is your last day in the bay so enjoy it, breakfast, cruise, a short trip on a local rowboat to visit a floating fishing village called Vung Vieng, chance to learn more about the daily life here. Cruise ends at noon and our car will be awaiting to pick you up and transfer back to Hanoi and then we will head for airport for a short flight to Danang. Welcome by a local tour guide and driver and then we will drive you along the coastal road to Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day - 6- Hoi An
Known as Faifo to early Western traders, Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. In the morning, you will enjoy a walking tour with first stop is the bustling fish and vegetable market and then we will go through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple and then we take a river trip and you will enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town. It transforms itself at night, when many of the shops hang lanterns outside. We will transfer you back to the town and rest of time at your own leisure. Hoi An is well know for souvenir shopping with great prices and also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to get a cloth tailor made to measure, this is the time to do it. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day - 7- Hoi An
You will be free at leisure or make your own exploration to the town. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day - 8- Hoi An - Danang - Saigon
Transfer to Danang and we will take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, which is formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a sprawling metropolis that is home to over 5 million people and a fast-paced city full of contrasts as street vendors selling fruit and vegetables can be seen next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. Saigon's history is only 300 years old. Check-in hotel and stay overnight in Saigon.
Day - 9- Saigon
Saigon is a popular shopping destination with numerous things to buy; from silk and antique watches to embroidered clothes and ethnic garments. Your guide will help you distinguish between mass-produced and hand-crafted goods, as well as lead you to the best stores. Start you tour walking from Mac Thi Buoi along Dong Khoi Street where you will discover plenty of souvenirs, clothes and accessories. There is a chance to take a closer look at the City Opera Hall. Before lunch in a cozy Vietnamese restaurant, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and the famous Post Office which are both wonderful examples of French Colonial architecture. In the afternoon, the tour continues with visits to two famous local markets; the Ben Thanh Market, the busiest in the city for over a century and Tan Dinh Market. After a day full of exciting shopping, sightseeing and exploring, private spa treatments for 2 shall be held at a famous spa in a unique 1950 colonial French mansion, surrounded by lush gardens with climbing vines, ferns and water fountains. Shaded by climbing bougainvillea and an old jackfruit tree, a bean shaped swimming pool is adorned mosaic tiles. Decorated with tasteful antiques discreetly throughout the spa, the door is traditional yet trendy using wooden furniture that resembles a 17th century Apothecary shop.
Day - 10- Saigon - Sa Dec
Early morning leave Saigon City for Cai Be - The excursion starts from Cai Be town pier at around 10.30 am. Upon embarkation on your sampan you will be welcomed by your crew. Visiting bustling Cai Be floating market, cruising among local barges full of fruits and vegetables and then we will proceed to Phu An hamlet, an untouched beautiful area reflecting some of the Mekong delta best sights. On the way, stop will be made at some local home factories to observe how rice paste, coconut candies and other regional specialties are made. Lunch at "Le Longanier" restaurant, a superb Indochinese house located by the river, in a lush tropical garden surrounded by fruit plantations. After lunch, your sampan will proceed to Sa Dec - known as a little "Venice" with numerous narrow canals. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River bring about large networks of meandering rivers, criss-crossed with countless arroyos, and remaining unknown to many people. We will then cruise on a small beautiful canal through water jacinth plantations… You will take a small rowing boat for a cruise along a narrow canal passing by a local tiny village and fruit plantations. Further on the banks, some dark smokes in the sky will lead us to one of the largest artisan bricks and tiles factory where you will have an interesting visit. You will disembark a the local market place. Before sunset, we will have a very interesting visit at a splendid ancient house or "Nha Co" dating from the early 19th century. After being greeted by the owners, we will cater a candlelight dinner for you, an unforgettable experience in a very unique atmosphere. Overnight on aboard.
Day - 11- Sa Dec - Rach Gia
The day will begin with a guided visit of Sa Dec charming and peaceful town, walking along its narrow streets where beautiful French old houses and Chinese temples. You will also visit the local market and the Trung Vuong primary school where well known writer Marguerite Duras spent her childhood…(see her famous novel "The Lover"). Back on board your private sampan for your second day cruise in the delta. While your sampan will proceed upstream on the Mekong river to Long Xuyen, a delicious lunch will be served on board. Long Xuyen is a peaceful typical provincial town lying on the Mekong's banks, dotted with an attractive floating market… In the afternoon, excursion to "Ong Ho" island to visit the museum of Ton Duc Thang, second president of Vietnam. At the end of the day, we will organize for you an exciting evening with your dinner arranged at a local ancient house. You will be able to share experiences with family members and learn about traditional southern lifestyle, a highlight of your journey to be kept for long time in your memory. Back on board your private sampan for the your second night on the river. The cruise will slowly continue during the night to Rach Gia.
Day - 12- Rach Gia - Phu Quoc Island
Arrival at Rach Gia, a port town located at the southern end of Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand. Its main industries are fishing and agriculture.
The breakfast will be served on board at earlymorning and then we will take you to go to Rach Gia airport to catch flight to Phu Quoc Island - Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam, means something different to everybody. Known as Koh Trai by the Cambodians, it is also referred to as the 'Island of 99 mountains', because of it's many sandstone chains, and also 'The Emerald Island' for it's bountiful natural treasures, but for visitors it's known simply as paradise. The hotel vehicle will pick you upon arrival and transfer you to hotel. Overnight in Phu Quoc Island.
Day - 13-15- Phu Quoc Island
A getaway to a wild island with some one special is the romance of a lifetime. You will know the meaning of remote and undiscovered as we head out in our own charter boat to explore a hidden beach on an uninhabited island. Our devoted team is always available to make the most of your day. A delicious BBQ lunch shall be served on the beach accordingly. Fishing and snorkeling gears are also provided upon request. 3 private dinners shall be served on the beach, in the garden restaurant and at your room terrace on those days (13, 14, 15). Overnight in Phu Quoc Island.
Day - 16- Phu Quoc Island - Saigon
At leisure until we transfer you to the airport to catch a short flight back to Saigon City.
Day - 17- Saigon
Free at leisure until we will transfer you to the airport to take your flight onward. End of service.
This is a sample itinerary so the cost really depends on your hotel choice, number of people in your group and time of travel. Please contact us to customize this itinerary and price to meet your needs and budget.
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Green Trail Tours Travel portals - Traveller Tips for Vietnam
GEOGRAPHY: Vietnam stretches over 1600 km.along the eastern coast of the Indochina Peninsula. The S-shaped country is broad in the north and south and very narrow in the centre. Almost 80% of Vietnam consists of mountains and hills. The Truong Son Mountains extend almost the length of Vietnam along the borders with Laos and Cambodia.
VISAS: All visitors are required to have a valid visa to enter Vietnam. A one-month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors though it is possible to arrange 3-month and 6-month multiple entry visas for regular visitors. All visitors must obtain visa approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department before a visa is issued.
MONEY: The currency issued by the Vietnam State Bank is the dong (abbreviated "d" or VND) which is used informally throughout the country. Bank notes in denominations of 200d to 100,000d are presently in circulation. The exchange rate is approximately 18,000d = US$1. Australia Dollars are accepted in many hotels, restaurants. Banks are open Monday to Friday and some are open Saturday morning. Traveller's cheques can be exchanged at banks, some international hotel and some exchange bureaux but can be difficult to change outside of the major cities. Visa Card and MasterCard are now accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops.
ELECTRICITY: Electric current in Vietnam is 220 volts and will operate all Australian appliances. Always carry a torch with fresh batteries. Recharge photographic batteries regularly.
CLOTHING: Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for travelling in Vietnam. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors to Buddhist countries should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings and shoes should be removed before entering a private home
CLIMATE / WEATHER: Vietnam’s weather conditions are pleasant for visitors throughout the year. The WINTER monsoon comes from the northeast between October and March with wet chilly conditions in the north, but dry warm temperatures to the south. From April to October the southwest monsoons bring warm, humid weather to the whole country.
LANGUAGE: Because Vietnamese has six different tones, it is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. In the cities and larger towns English is becoming popular and is now spoken by many younger people while some of the older generation still speak fluent French. Russian and Chinese are also spoken by some people
ACCOMMODATION: All group tour hotels have been especially selected. All have private western bathroom facilities. Laundry service can launder clothing within 24 hours. It is not customary for all hotels to have refrigerator and tea/coffee facilities.
FOOD / DRINK: The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with the ubiquitous fish sauce called nuoc mam. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, cha gio, deep-fried spring rolls and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimps and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.
SHOPPING: Souvenirs to look out for in Vietnam include lacquerware, silk, conical hats, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, marble, ceramics, silver jewellery, antique watches and paintings. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in the centre of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains.
TOILETS: Public toilets can sometimes be difficult to find. Take every opportunity you can to use clean toilets in hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit on your stay.
HEALTH: Consult your medico or visit the Traveller Medical and Vaccination Centre for professional medical advice well in advance of your departure, Wash hands before and after eating. Carry ‘wet-ones’,anti bacterial handwash, insect repellant, band aids and emergency medicines eg. Diarrhoea. Drink plenty of water and have adequate rest. Seek medical care, if needed. Don’t take risks with health and personal hygiene.
SAFETY / SECURITY: Always maintain a high level of personal security. Cash or wallets in pockets, obvious jewellery and open bags attract unwanted attention. Beware of pickpockets in crowded places. Lock your case, Carry a hotel card so that taxis know where to take you.
LUGGAGE: All passengers are limited to TWO items of luggage each. One case with maximum weight weight of 20 kg. and maximum size of 70 litres. It is essential to lock this case. One piece of hand luggage with maximum weight of 5 kg. It is advisable that hand luggage consist of a ‘daypack’ to carry camera, water, toilet paper, umbrella, hat etc.
TIPPING: Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in these developing nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: All group tour passengers must have comprehensive travel insurance. You can complete this with Green Trail Tours if you wish. Check your Travel Insurance Policy for an Emergency number and details of services to be provided, Carry these details with you.