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Zip along the Saigon River in a speedboat, cruising past the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the Cu Chi tunnels. Here, walk through the tunnels dug during the Vietnam War and meet a Viet Cong veteran, who will share what it was like serving in the war. Board a private charter on the Mekong Delta and cruise to a coconut production plant, where you can taste the freshest-possible coconut juice. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel in Hue before it officially opens.

Vietnam

12 Days, From US$4950pp

Private

JOURNEY

Overview

Fall in love with Vietnam on this 2-week private luxury guided tour. Zip along the Saigon River in a speedboat, cruising past the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the Cu Chi tunnels. Here, walk through the tunnels dug during the Vietnam War and meet a Viet Cong veteran, who will share what it was like serving in the war. Board a private charter on the Mekong Delta and cruise to a coconut production plant, where you can taste the freshest-possible coconut juice. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel in Hue before it officially opens. See the ancient town of Hoi An, walking its narrow lanes and over its iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Ascend to the top of Mount Phousi in Luang Prabang for a panoramic view of the city below.

JOURNEY

Highlights

  • Meet Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier, at his home and see how he and his wife make a living making rice paper. This quiet existence is in stark contrast to the four years he spent fighting the Khmer Rouge, who terrorised Cambodia in the 1970s.
  • Join a Viet Cong veteran to visit the underground Củ Chi tunnels and learn more about this complex network originally built in 1948. See where many thousands of troops trained and lived under difficult conditions during the Vietnam War.
  • Continue with your exploration about the the troubled past of the country at the War Remnants Museum.
  • Enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle through the tropical scenery of the Mekong delta, passing limestone mountains and rows of neat rice paddies. Arrive at a rustic rice noodle factory to see how the favoured breakfast meal of Vietnam is produced.
  • Experience the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, as you visit its most iconic attractions, including the Central Post Office, designed by Alfred Foulhox. Delve into the exciting street food and coffee culture of the city.
  • Board a private vessel for your Mekong River Cruise, taking you down the most important waterway in Southeast Asia. Gain a fascinating insight into coconut processing, one of the major industries for people who live along the river.
  • Cycle through rice fields to Thanh Toan village, admiring the green countryside as you pedal by. Visit the lively local market, bargain along with the locals and see traditional houses. Soak up the agricultural way of life, a suitable contrast to the city.
  • Meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy and hear about the rigours of training for each martial art. Afterwards, watch at a live performance by the martial artists, admirably demonstrating their skill and discipline.
  • Take a boat ride to the private museum of Tran Dinh Son, whose great-grandfather was a high ranking mandarin during the Nguyen Dynasty and see the vast collection of rare antiquities collected by him and his ancestors.
  • Explore the Ancient Old Town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see well-preserved buildings that date back several centuries. See the 18th century Japanese covered bridge with its elaborate carvings and spot many coloured lanterns along the way.

JOURNEY

Itinerary

Day 1: Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.
On arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be greeted and escorted to your hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge and fellow travellers to enjoy a Welcome Dinner in one of the rooftop restaurants of Saigon while you watch the lights of the city from a perfect vantage point.
Park Hyatt Saigon | Meals: D

 

Day 2: Marvels of Saigon.
See the best of Saigon as you travel from the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy fields scattered along the Saigon River by speedboat. Your destination is the Cu Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were like. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel’s Central Post Office.

Your Journey, Your Way.
Choose to meet a local coffee shop owner and learn about the Vietnamese coffee culture, then brew and taste your own. Alternatively, continue with your exploration at the War Remnants Museum and learn about country’s troubled past.
Park Hyatt Saigon | Meals: B

 

Day 3: Cruise the Mekong Delta.
Travel to the Mekong Delta and board a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of juice fresh from the fruit. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you’ll enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper.
Park Hyatt Saigon | Meals: B/L/D

 

Day 4: Royal Refinement in Hue.
Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cyclo’s ride to Phu Mong village, take in a traditional garden house and craft houses, enjoy a serene life here. You will be impressed by green sceneries on the journey. This evening, take a visit to a special venue where it’s not only a dining place but also a culture exchange experience – Ben Xuan Garden House Theatre. It is set in a magnificent structure built in Hue royal architectural style — located by the Perfume River between Thien Mu pagoda and the Temple of Literature Van Thanh.You are invited to meet with the owner Ms. Camille Huyen – a celebrated painter, singer and all-around renaissance woman with royal ancestry and her husband, a former Swiss banker. Combined, the two put on an intimate and welcoming hosted meal which includes a stroll of their own designed traditional house and a small concert that features Huyen on vocals, accompanied by local musicians playing traditional instruments, a scrumptious meal. Chat with the family about their career and life in the Western world and how the nostalgia brings them back to their hometown to nourish their dream and passion.
Pilgrimage Village | Meals: B/L/D

 

Day 5: Highlights of Hue.
Rise early for a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Lunch is served at a local restaurant on the Perfume River with views of the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Your Journey, Your Way.
Choose to meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. Alternatively, take a boat ride to the private museum of Tran Dinh Son, whose great-grandfather was a high ranking mandarin during the Nguyen Dynasty, and see the vast collection of rare antiquities collected by him and his ancestors.
The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you.
Pilgrimage Village | Meals: B/L

 

Day 6: Romantic Hoi An.
Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend a half day with a local guide, exploring the ancient town. Explore former merchants’ homes, colourful communal halls, narrow lanes lined with traditional houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. Leave the crowded venue behind and discover some untouched stories in the beautiful old town.Meander down the small alley to discover an ancient house where the art of healing through martial art is passed down through generations. This healing method is the master’s invention, combined between Qigong and traditional Vietnamese martial art. Have a chance to learn some basic steps under the guidance of the master. This evening, choose to dine at restaurants focusing on traditional local cuisine, modern Vietnamese or East-meets-West fusion.
Four Season The Nam Hai Hoi An | Meals: B/L/D

 

Day 7: The locals in Hoi An.
Your Journey, Your Way.
Choose to visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War, but today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef and savour your creations for your lunch. Alternatively, visit the peaceful and cosy essential oil workshop, and learn how each smell and oil has a different use and effect on the mind and body. Create your personal mix, a ‘one-of-a-kind’, essential oil, before enjoying a light lunch.
Four Season The Nam Hai Hoi An | Meals: B/L/D

 

Day 8: Hanoi street-food tasting tour.
Board a morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi’s robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city’s very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travelling Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals: B/L

 

Day 9: Cruise along Ha Long Bay.
Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you’ll have the choice to learn more about local cuisine with an on-board cooking demonstration, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner.
Paradise Cruise | Meals: B/L/D

 

Day 10: Ha Long to Hanoi.
Start the day with Tai Chi on the upper deck while cruising through the limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy a brunch on-board as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. Journey back to Hanoi where the evening is at leisure.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals: B

 

Day 11: The Temple of Literature.
Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the first university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast to your travels during your Celebration Dinner.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi | Meals: B

Day 12: Depart Hanoi
Your journey draws to a close after breakfast, with private airport transfers timed to meet your onward flight.

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