Vietnam Spirit Travel

 

BROCHURE


 

 

Vietnam Adventure

 

19 days Hanoi to Saigon

 

Welcome to Vietnam Spirit Travel...As we travel through Vietnam , we look forward to sharing our passion for this beautiful destination with you. Diverse, beautiful and lots of fun, Vietnam is a great place for an adventure. From historic Hanoi in the north, up to colourful hilltribes of Sapa, out to cruise on World Heritage Halong Bay, down to the beautiful cities of Hue and Hoi An, beaching it in Nha Trang, homestay on the quiet backwaters of Mekong Delta and concluding in the modern Ho Chi Minh City, this is really a fabulous trip! Everybody will be entertained by boats, fish, rivers, mountains, ocean, people, bargains, history, colour, culture and lots lots more.

 

highlights

Take a cyclo ride in Hanoi's Old Quarter, Dive into the emerald-green waters of Halong Bay, Stay on Cat Ba island, Trek the mountains near Sapa, Explore Vietnam's imperial past in Hue, Cycle among the rice paddies near Hoi An, Swim in the South China Sea, Get a taste of local life in a Mekong Delta homestay, Crawl down a Cu Chi Tunnel

 

itinerary disclaimer

The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in reality. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Please note that our brochure is usually released by the end of each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to improve the itinerary. It is very important that you print a final copy of your Trip Dossier to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans

 

DETAIL ITINERARY

Hanoi - Halong bay – Cat Ba Island – Hai Phong- Sapa- Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang -Whale Island –Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Cu Chi Tunnels – Mekong Delta

 

Day 1 Hanoi arrival

You are met on arrival at Hanoi Airport and transferred to your hotel - please advise flight details at time of booking. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a charming city of about 4 million people, famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks. The city centre is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town of the 1930s, contrary to the fast living and bustling air of Saigon. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South East Asian countries, Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and tangle of ancient streets. The city hums with the never ending flow of bicycles, cyclos, latest model Mercedes Benzs and everything from the racy new Honda Dreams to 30 year old Russian motor bikes. The rest of your day is at leisure for independent exploration - a walking tour of the old quarter is a wonderful way to spend some of the day. You will find an amazing selection of shops in Hang Gai selling everything from souvenirs to exquisite silk clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths and CDs.

Overnight: Hanoi A1 hotel or similar

Meals included: None

 

Day 2 Halong Bay, Junk overnight

This morning you are collected at around 8.30am by your guide for the 4 hour drive to Halong Bay . En route there will be a short stop at the Sao Do centre run for and by handicapped children. On arrival we board our deluxe junk, this traditional wooden sailing junk boat offers a unique way of navigating the limestone karsts of Halong Bay with all the comforts of a motorised, floating hotel. Once settled in, you start your cruise  round the majestic Halong Bay while enjoying a delicious lunch. After lunch you have the chance to explore some of the limestone caves dotted around the bay. Then, the captain will find a secluded spot where you can swim in the clear water of the bay, soak up the sun on the top deck. In the evening the cook prepares a sumptuous meal as the boat weighs anchor in the heart of the bay. For those who are interested, there is the opportunity to do some night fishing.

Overnight: On board deluxe junk boat

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 3 Halong Bay exploration

After breakfast, you are transfered to a day – trip boat with private crew and another wonderful cruise to the bay’s most untouched areas to visit Tortoise island , Man's head island, Dong Tien Lake, Van Gia floating villages..., if the tides are low, we have a chance to visit Ba Ham Lakes, Three Peach Island. Lunch is served on board by your chef, your cruise continues as you move around the bay finding more secluded lagoons for swimming or kayaking. Late in the afternoon we return to the mother boat for the night

Overnight: On board deluxe junk boat

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 4 Halong Bay - Cat Ba Island

Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay you have time for an early morning swim followed by breakfast. This morning we continue to discover the natural beauty of the Bay along the way to Cat Ba island where you have the options of visiting the national park, cycling around town, taking a boat trip to Monkey island or simply lazing the day away on nearby beaches. We spend the night in the island

Overnight: Holiday View hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

 

Day 5 Cat Ba Island - Hai Phong, overnight train to Sapa

We spend the mornig free at your leisure, a popular option is taking a bike trip around this beautiful island. After lunch we are ferried by hydrofoil to the sea port city of Hai Phong. There is time afterwards to take in some more sights of Hai Phong before transfer back to Ha Noi for the night train to Sapa, we travel in air-conditioned comfort in our soft sleeper cabins! (approx 10 hours)

Overnight: Night train, private deluxe soft sleeper cabin

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 6 Sapa

You are met on arrival into Lao Cao in the early morning and transferred to Sapa by minibus, driving through dramatic and breathtaking scenery. The remainder of your day is at leisure to explore this fascinating town. You can take some exercise with a walk to Cat Cat village, set in a beautiful valley just outside Sapa. As you walk to the village nestled in the valley below Sapa, you will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. These minority people walk to Sapa to trade at the markets - always an exciting place.

Remember that the weather gets cold particularly in January and February so don't forget some warm clothing.

Overnight: Holiday hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

ETHNIC MINORITIES OF VIETNAM

There is nothing better than walking amongst the rice paddy patchwork that makes up the mountains of northwest Vietnam . To awake and wander off from the village among the clouds and watch as the mist rises from the mountaintops is unforgettable. Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic minorities and a number of these have made the mountainous region of the north their base. During our time here we’ll meet many of these fascinating people and have the privilege of staying as guests in their villages. As we wander through the mountains we're constantly met by the delighted squeals and smiles of children and we'll see many members of the ethnic groups who still wear their traditional dress. We'll meet people dressed in exquisite hand-embroidered clothes,and others weaving fabrics, embroidering ancient patterns, dying cloth with indigo and using beeswax to create a batik design. The ethnic groups are well adapted to the harsh life on hillsides, and you will see many terraces built into the slopes where rice and vegetables are grown

 

Day 7 Sapa trek- Ta Van homestay

Following breakfast you embark on a six hour trek with your guide which takes you along buffalo paths and trails and through several hilltribe villages. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you can hope to meet. Stopping for a picnic lunch along the way, you spend the night with a family in Ta Van Village, inhabited by the Zay people. These people have become very adept at rice cultivation, in marked contrast to the H'mong, and have a higher living standard as a result.

Overnight: Homestay

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

TREKKING

The mountains and valleys of Sapa offer spectacular scenery, clear air and fascinating hilltribe villages. The trek consists of a combination of walking and moderate hiking. For the most part, we walk along established tracks used by local people and the trek is led throughout by a qualified guide. Although everyone can walk at his or her own pace, there are some steep ascents and descents, which can be tough on your legs. We recommend that you bring hiking boots with ankle support as footing can be treacherous. You will only require a small amount of luggage during the trek, and you can leave the vast majority of your belongings in storage at our hotel in Hanoi , leaving you with only a small daypack to carry. Our accommodation will be in village houses. Basic bedding is provided, but we recommend you bring your own sleeping sheet. As we are trekking through one of Vietnam ’s most remote regions, please be prepared for very basic washing facilities.

 

Day 8 Sapa trek- overnight train back to Ha Noi

After breakfast, you set off for a two hour walk to Giang Ta Chai village where you meet up with your vehicle to take you back to Sapa town. Arriving back in Sapa around lunchtime, you have a free afternoon to further explore the town before your transfer to the train station for the an overnight trip back to Hanoi.

Overnight: Night train, private deluxe soft sleeper cabin

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Days 9-10 Hue sightseeing

On the morning of day 9 you will be transferred to the airport for a short flight to Hue (included). Founded as a royal city in 1687, Hue is the gateway to the treasures of Vietnam 's royal past. Today Hue remains one of Vietnam 's major tourist attractions. This quiet city is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples built under the Nguyen dynasty in a poetic background of greenery on the banks of the Perfume river. We have the opportunity to visit the Imperial Citadel, one of the Nguyen emperors' tombs, the famed Thien Mu Pagoda, the busy Dong Ba Market and also enjoy a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River . A coffee at one of the riverside coffee shops at sunset is also an experience not to be missed.

Overnight: Asia hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfasts

 

THE IMPERIAL CITY

When Hue was established as the country’s capital by Nguyen Emperor Gia Long, he built a vast citadel with the Imperial City at its centre, designed in keeping with the symmetrical layout of the Forbidden City in Beijing (about a north-south axis). During it’s period of prosperity the Imperial City consisted of some 148 splendidly decorated buildings - palaces, assembly halls, pavilions, ancestral alters, and gardens spread over 6km2. During the Vietnam War the site was devastated, but a number of the buildings have now been restored to their former glory.

THIEN MU (“HEAVENLY LADY”) PAGODA

Built in 1601, by Lord Nguyen Hoang, this is Hue ’s oldest and finest pagoda, romantically situated on the banks of the Perfume River . The pagoda takes its name from a legend about a lady who appeared to Nguyen Hoang and told him of the spiritual significance of this place by the river. He erected the pagoda to mark the event and the importance of the site. Throughout its history, the pagoda has been a centre for Buddhism in Hue and, more famously, its monks waged strong opposition to colonialism and the repression of Buddhists by President

Diem in the 60s.

MAUSOLEUMS OF THE NGUYEN EMPERORS

Unlike other Emperors in Vietnam ’s history, who were buried in ancestral villages, the Nguyen rulers had grand mausoleums built as their final resting places. They are situated in the forested valley of the Perfume River, 12km away from Hue city, surrounded by lovely gardens - a wonderfully tranquil place to spend a couple of hours.

 

Days 11-12 Hoi An

Leaving Hue , our bus journey takes us south through rural countryside and the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co before ascending the dramatic Hai Van Pass, past stunning rural and coastal scenery, to the town of Danang , visiting the Cham Museum with its unique, Hindu style sculptures. We drive the short distance south to famous China Beach and then to the enchanting town of Hoi An - newly declared World Heritage Site (approx. 5 hours). Once a thriving river port, the town's architecture has been preserved and restored. This small town is a favourite with Vietnam Spirit travellers. Wandering the streets and narrow alleyways brings hours of pleasure and discovery. Today's trade is in ceramics, wood-ware, paintings and tailoring. There is something here for everyone and it is the perfect place to pick up gifts for those at home. There are options here for a half day tour to My Son, another World Heritage of Vietnam, or a boat trip to the handicraft villages of Kim Bong carpentry, Thanh Ha ceramics or simply lazing the day away on a neaby beach.

Overnight: Hai Au hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfasts

Days 13-15 Nha Trang- Whale Island

Boarding the Reunification Express, we marvel at the breathtaking scenery outside the window during our journey to the beachside city of Nha Trang . It is a long but interesting journey (approx. 9 hours). We arrive in Nha Trang in the early evening and will be transferred to our hotel.

Nha Trang is one of Vietnam 's most attractive coastal towns, with its charm derived from a harmonious combination of mountains, islands, sea and sand. For those who rise early, morning exercise on the beachfront is an experience not to be missed. Very much a resort town, Nha Trang boasts restaurants of all cuisines.

Overnight: Que Huong hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

On day 14 we are transferred by road and boat to the secluded Whale Island (approx 2 hrs driving). Two days to swim, sail, explore the island or go snorkeling

Overnight: Whale Island resort

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

WHALE ISLAND

Away from the noise and activity of the mainland here you can enjoy complete rest and relaxation. Development on the island has been limited to one lovely little resort, so it easily retains the feel of a real island hideaway. It’s a wonderfully peaceful place to wander, or find a quiet spot on the beach to relax and swim in the warm waters. There are daily excursions to the nearby coral gardens for snorkelling. You will spend your time here feasting on the superb cuisine served by our French and Vietnamese hosts, soaking up the tropical atmosphere. As you relax on a bamboo chair, sipping a cocktail in the waterside bar watching the magical sunset over the South China Sea , you won’t want to leave.

 

Day 16 Sai Gon

You are transferred to the airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City (included). You are met on arrival at Ho Chi Minh City Airport and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, there is much for you to discover on your own, how about scooting off on cyclos to Cholon, the Chinatown area of Ho Chi Minh City for a spot of temple hopping? Or  perhaps you'd like to visit the Vietnamese version of a department store for some shopping - the choice is yours!

Overnight: Tan Hai Long 1 hotel or similar

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Days 17-18 Mekong delta homestay- Cu Chi tunnels

On day 17 we travel south to Cai Be (approx. 3 hours), we board our waiting boats to cross the upper Mekong River and explore its intricate waterways. This is our introduction to a world where life depends on the river. We visit a fruit orchard where we can sample tropical fruits, before continuing on to visit some local cottage industries. Around sunset we make our way up one of the many canals to our homestay. Our treat this evening is a wonderful meal of Delta specialities before settling down under our mosquito nets for the night.

Overnight: Homestay

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

MEKONG DELTA & HOMESTAY

Making its way from the plateaus of Tibet through China, Laos and Cambodia, the Mekong fans out as it reaches Vietnam, originally forming nine tributaries that gave the delta region its Vietnamese name ‘Cuu Long” (meaning nine dragons). Once aboard a little wooden boat you’ll find yourself in amongst the water highways that are used to transport everything from school children, to mountains of rice husks and baskets of glisteningly ripe fruit. The delta supports a mass of cottage industries and at every turn there are people making rice paper, or piling pots into smoking kilns and bashing out tools for harvesting the plentiful supply of rice. After chilling out in a hammock over lunch you’ll get to jump in a rowing boat and don a conical hat for a peaceful trip downstream (experienced rower provided!). Home for the night is courtesy of a local family in a house on the edge of the river where their amazing hospitality has to be experienced to be believed. After exploring the area, feasting on an excellent dinner and washing it all down with rice wine it is heaven to watch the fireflies flicker about and have the sounds of the river soothe you to sleep. We sleep in army-cot style bed complete with basic bedding and a mosquito net, but you will need to bring a towel. Shower facilities are also available to help freshen up for the following morning of discovering life around this beautiful region.

 

Activity starts early in the Delta, so we're up with the birds. After breakfast we visit the busy Cai Be floating market before re-boarding our bus and heading to the tunnels of Cu Chi (approx. 4 hours). This former Viet Cong stronghold provides an insight into the resourcefulness and tenacity of the Vietnamese people.

We return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon (approx. 2 hours).

Overnight: Tan Hai Long 1 hotel or similar

Meals included: None

 

Day 19 Departure

Today is at your leisure in Ho Chi Minh City. You are free for more exploration before transfer to Sai Gon airport for the flight home. Extra nights can be added in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Tour includes:
• Accommodation with daily breakfasts
• Extra meals as per the itinerary
• All transfers and transportation as dedicated in the itinerary
• Tours and excursions as described in the program
• Local English speaking tour guide
• Entrance fees and permits where applicable during guided time
Tour excludes:
• International flights and visas
• Pre & post trip arrangements
• Transfers beyond the itinerary
• Entrance fees and permits during free time
• Travel insurance (compulsory)
• Food & drinks not mentioned within the itinerary
• Tips and gratuities
• Expenses of a personal nature such as bar bills, laundry and telephone charges
• Other services not clearly described in the program

 

General Notes:
• Vietnam Spirit Travel reserves the right to alter or revise the prices and the itinerary when circumstances beyond the company's control deem it necessary.
• Accommodation in hotels is subject to availability. If the listed hotels are fully booked, alternate accommodation will be offered at the same level.
• If there are any requests regarding special meals, dietary requirements, early check in, late check out, adjoining room and so on, please inform the company when booking. Such requests are subject to confirmation and availability.

 

Before you travel it is essential that you read carefully this dossier which you can download from our website.

We regularly update our dossiers. Please check our website to ensure that you have the most up to date copy

The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and DOES NOT form part of a contract between the client and Vietnam Spirit Travel