Highlights and Palm Island
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
Explore the lush Mekong Delta, wander the streets of charming Hoi An, relax on the sun-kissed paradise of Palm Island, and drift through the magical islands of Halong Bay.
Ho Chi Minh City
Today, you'll arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, where you will be greeted by your our local agent, ready for your transfer to the comfortable hotel in District 1 of the city. You'll stay in a fully air-conditioned luxury room for 2 nights. The hotel is perfectly situated, just around the corner from Tham Street, the lively backpacker quarter in Saigon. There are dozens of cosy little restaurants and quirky souvenir shops to explore.
Ho Chi Minh City The next day, you can recover from your journey by watching the world pass you by from a pavement cafe. Or, if you're feeling more energetic, you can visit some of the city's places of interest. We can definitely recommend a visit to the Reunification Palace, one of the many pagodas, or the eye-opening American War Museum. You could, if you fancy it, hire a bike rickshaw for the day, to take you from sight to sight. This is a great way to get an up-close-and-personal view of the city.
Ho Chi Minh CityToday you'll head to the Cu Chi Tunnels, located 30km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. You'll travel into the area by boat, drifting past peaceful paddy fields and watching delta life. Along the way, you'll see an unusual floating temple. Then you'll hop into a minibus for the last section of the journey to the tunnels. When you arrive the guide will explain the history and the precise uses of the tunnels. You'll be given the opportunity to climb into the tunnels and experience their eerie atmosphere first hand.
Mekong Delta The next two days are dedicated to the dazzling Mekong Delta. You'll sail through narrow waterways observing local life on the riverbank. You can also cycle through one of the villages on a river island, catching an even closer glimpse of daily life. The boat will then take you to a simple but charming hotel for the night. It lies in Cantho on the banks of the Mekong, where you can relax in the evening with a cool drink and watch the delta sunset.
Mekong Delta Today you'll be taken by boat to the floating market of Cai Rang. This is the largest and most important floating market in the Mekong Delta. In the village on the banks of the river, you will see a factory where rice is âpuffed' and transformed into rice cakes. Guests are often invited to tea with the locals, who will teach you how to drink tea according to Vietnamese customs.
After this, you'll visit a small rice noodle factory. You can watch the workers making, quite literally, oodles of noodles. After your day in the delta, you'll take the comfortable air-conditioned minibus back in Ho Chi Minh, arriving around 6.30pm.
Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang Today is completely free, leaving you to explore Ho Chi Minh or simply chill out. You could have a long breakfast in the hotel and wander to Chinatown for some shopping and a bowl of steaming noodles.
In the evening, you'll leave Ho Chi Minh to catch the overnight train to Nha Trang. This train leaves at about 6.30pm. You'll sleep in 4-bedded compartment, lulled by the gentle rocking of the train.
Nha Trang - Palm Island After your early arrival in Nha Trang, you'll be collected by minibus and taken to the jetty. From here, the speedboat will take you to Palm Island.
Palm Island is Vietnam at its most exotic. Spectacular white beaches, azure seas, unspoilt corals reefs, quaint wooden bungalows... it's pretty much as close to paradise as you can get.
Palm Island Today is free for you to enjoy the beautiful Palm Island. You can rent good snorkels for less than Â£1 per day, or go diving in the warm sea filled with marine life. Apart from relaxing, there are all sorts of activities you can do. There are surfboards and catamarans for hire andy ou can book boat and snorkelling trips to the neighbouring bays and islands.
Palm Island - Nha Trang This afternoon you'll wave goodbye to Palm Island and head back to Nha Trang by boat and minibus. Nha Trang is the most sophisticated beach resort of Vietnam. The evenings here are very lively, with a vast selection of restaurants, bars and clubs. This will certainly wake you up after all the tranquility and solitude of the island.
You'll stay overnight in a comfortable hotel in right on the beachfront boulevard.
Nha Trang - Hoi An Today you'll head to the airport and take a quick domestic flight (1hr) from Nha Trang to Danang, the nearest airport to Hoi An. On arrival, you'll organise your own taxi to Hoi An. It is popular destination with backpackers, who come for the laid back atmosphere, the quirky cafes, the tailors, and the peaceful nearby beach.
Hoi An This morning, you'll be collected from your hotel for a guided visit to My Son, an historic site with a well-preserved temple complex that has survived despite severe American bombings. The area was the most important religious and intellectual centre of the ancient Champa kingdom up until the 13th century. Nowadays, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site lying in a lush emerald valley.
In the afternoon you are free to spend some more time exploring Hoi An. Get measured up for your suit, take a cookery lesson, or head to the beach for a mid-afternoon siesta. It's completely up to you.
Hoi An This is a free day so you can wander about town or head for the beach. We can also offer you the opportunity to cycle through the countryside, or whip up some Vietnamese dishes in the kitchen.
Hoi An - Hanoi Today you'll make your way to the airport in Danang for a domestic flight into Hanoi. You'll be met at arrivals and driven directly to your hotel.
Your hotel in situated in the centre of the Old Quarter, surrounded by food stalls and quirky restaurants. The hotel is a wonderful example of classic Vietnamese architecture. All rooms have a bathroom with warm water, air-conditioning, a TV and a mini-bar.
Hanoi Today, your time is your own. Spend your day ambling through the narrow lanes of the Old Quarter, stopping for coffee and cake, and watching the world go by. If you're in the mood for a strange experience, you can drop in on the preserved body of former President Ho Chi Minh. You can see his body entombed in a glass sarcophagus- a huge building fronted by a grand square. Surrounded by guards, you can file in, one by one, to take a look at âUncle Ho'. You can finish off your day with a visit to the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre. This stands on the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake and performances take place every evening. Puppetry is a national tradition in Vietnam, and the people are very proud of the artform.
Hanoi - Halong Bay This morning, you'll be collected from your hotel and taken to the coastal town of Halong (approx. 4hrs) where the junk awaits you. Once onboard you'll start with a lunch caught fresh from the sea, and afterwards the boat will begin its superb cruise through the region. You'll anchor off the islands of Dinh Huong, Ga Choi, Dog Island and Sail Island. You'll then visit Sung Sot Cave and take a refreshing swim by the beach at Titov. During dinner, you can mull over the impressions of the day and watch the sunset whilst enjoying a glass of Vietnamese wine. Life really doesn't get much better than this.
Halong Bay - Hanoi The next morning you'll be woken by the wafting scent of a delicious breakfast. You'll then begin your morning cruise, which features trips to Man's Head Island, Tortoise Island, Bu Tu Long Bay, Toad Island and Bai Tho Mountain. This entire area is a photographer's paradise, so be sure to keep your camera at the ready. Following this, you will board a small bamboo boat to explore the spooky Luong Cave. Lunch will be served aboard the junk during your return to the mainland. At Halong, your minibus will be waiting to take you back to Hanoi.
Hanoi Today is your final day in Hanoi. If you're full of energy, you can get up at sunrise to visit Hoan Kiem Lake, where hundreds of locals gather for their morning workout. There are men and women doing Tai Chi, badminton tournaments, joggers, and groups of women walking around the lake, stopping now and again to stretch their arms and legs. A really inspiring start to the day.
Hanoi After one last evening in Hanoi, you will depart on Day 18.
- Inclusions -
- Breakfast and some other meals
- Exclusions -
- International flights to Vietnam
- Extras -
- This is not a group tour and can be tailor made to create your perfect trip. We can play around with your itinerary until we get it just right.
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Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
- It is important to NEVER wire funds or use/employ other fund transfer mechanisms such as western union: Always use a credit card to protect yourself against fraud. If owners pressure you into providing a deposit or refuse to accept credit cards, there is a high probability that this is a scam.
- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.