Arrival in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, walking out the restricted area, you will meet your guide who will present you with a welcome packet including all necessary documentation and vouchers and all contact information of your guide and local offices.
Overnight in Saigon
Sightseeing in Saigon and Cholon (Chinatown) (8 hours)
A vibrant metropolis, Saigon teems with energy, activity and motion. Everywhere you look, you see the convergence of traditional and modern life. Begin with a tour of the historic centre, strolling along Dong Khoi Street, formerly known as the Rue Catinat, the main shopping thoroughfare and heart of old colonial Saigon. Pass by classic European-style landmarks such as the ornate City Hall (Hotel De Ville), the old Opera House (both may only be viewed from the outside), and pay a quick visit to the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral (currently under-renovation, visit outside only) and the Central Post Office. Afterwards dive into modern history with a tour of the Reunification Palace. Formerly the Independence Palace of the South Vietnamese president, this 60s style building was famously stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975 signifying the fall of South Vietnam. It has been preserved in its original state, and the original tanks remain on display near the entrance gates. Then visit the Emperor of Jade Pagoda, one of Saigon's most interesting pagodas. In the afternoon, head out to Cholon (Chinatown). Explore the highlights of this fascinating area, beginning with the walking through the small hustle and bustle streets around China Town where and many generation of Chinese living and running the business on the most busy area of Saigon. Continue to Thien Hau Pagoda, built by the Cantonese congregation and dedicated to the heavenly goddess. End the tour at the central Ben Thanh Market, where vendors display a vast array of goods and handicrafts, appealing to every taste. You will have a chance to join with locals to enjoy one of the specialties of Saigonese with the strong and flavourful Vietnamese coffee makes converts as quickly as it raises pulses. French colonists might have introduced coffee to Vietnam, but the morning cup of ca phe soon became a local habit. With variations that make use of yogurt, eggs and even fruit, Vietnamese coffee has developed a style of its own.
Overnight in Saigon
Arrival in Hanoi
Transfer (35 kms)
Sightseeing in Hanoi (70 kms)
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum be viewed from the outside only)
Start the exploration of the vast Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex with a stroll past the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh (closed Mondays, Fridays, and from 15 June to 15 August). View the outside of the Presidential Palace and then walk through the park to the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. Preserved in the same condition as during his life, it may be viewed through the windows. Continue to the miniature 11th century One Pillar Pagoda which was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954.
Visit the One Pillar Pagoda Built of wood on a single stone pillar, the One Pillar Pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow which was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954.
Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature has a peaceful series of walled courtyards and graceful gateways, and this monument is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this was also the site of Vietnam's first university. In one courtyard, giant stone tortoises bear stele on their backs, listing the accomplishments of graduating scholars.
Visit the Old Quarter by cyclo
Discover the Old Quarter of Hanoi by cyclo. This fascinating network of narrow alleys and shop houses is also known as The 36 Streets, each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there, ranging from fabrics to crafts to medicines to tombstones. Drop off to visit Ngoc Son temple & Hoan Kiem lake.
Overnight in Hanoi
Excursion to Halong Bay with boat trip including lunch (12 hours)
Depart from Hanoi in the morning for the drive to Halong Bay. On arrival at around noon, board a traditional wooden junk and begin cruising through the beautiful Halong Bay. Enjoy lunch while passing strange rock formations including Stone Dog, Incense Burner (Dinh Huong) and Fighting Cock (Ga Choi). Visit one of the caves in the centre of the islands such as Thien Cung (Heavenly Residence Grotto). Cruise back to Halong Pier, disembark at approximately 16.30pm and return to Hanoi by road.
Restaurant : Meals incl. in itinerary (Vietnam)(Lunch),
Overnight in Hanoi