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World Heritage and Cultural Discovery Tour of Vietnam

12 days, 11 nights

Photo Gallery for this trip


Introduction

Come discover Vietnam’s World Heritage on our 12 day cultural tour starting in Hanoi and taking you through Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Cave, Danang’s Cham Heritage Museum, Hoi An and it’s charm and ending with the temples of the My Son Valley.  This full itinerary is sure to compliment your time in Vietnam by including regional cuisine and interactive visits with local people.  As with all our tours, this trip may be done in reverse order! 


Brief Itinerary

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Day 2: Red River cruise to Dong Ho Handicraft village and Bat Trang Ceramic village
Day 3: Hanoi City Tour

Day 4: Ha Noi - Ha Long Bay

Day 5: Ha Long - Hanoi - Night Train to Dong Hoi

Day 6: Dong Hoi - Phong Nha Cave

Day 7: Dong Hoi - Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – Hue

Day 8: Royal Tombs and Imperial Citadel

Day 9: Hue - Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang - Hoi An Exploration

Day 10: My Son - Boat ride to and from cooking class

Day 11: Hoi An Exercise and Relaxation

Day 12: Hoi An - Da Nang Departure


Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

On your arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you will be met and greeted by your tour guide. Upon arrival in the Central Hanoi, Hoan Keim LakeOld Quarter, we check into your hotel and then take an orientation tour around the heart of the City. A welcome dinner at Highway 4 restaurant is a great start for your 12 day stay in Vietnam. On this tour we are not going to the mountainous north, but you can enjoy an innovative menu of Montagnard specialties and large selection of unique Vietnamese drinks at Highway 4.


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 0.5 hour airport transfer,
Walking time
: 1 - 2 hour
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
D


Day 2: Red River cruise to Dong Ho Handicraft village and Bat Trang Ceramic village

We start the day at Café Pho Cu Xua enjoying morning coffee with local Hanoi residents.  The Café is hidden behind a shop in a lush garden in Hang Bong street, one of the Hanoi’s busiest streets.  We then off for a boat cruise on the Red River.

Leaving Hanoi at approximately 8.00 am, we will drive out to our boat, Jewel of the Delta. On the banks of the Red River, we will begin our cruise through the countryside and have plenty of time to relax before making our first stop at Chi Phuong Dock. We then transfer to our modern western-made bicycles as we embark on a ride along the winding country roads in the abundant Red River Delta visiting But Thap Pagoda. From here we continue cycling to Dong Ho Handicraft village, renowned for its unique wood prints. Each family runs their own workshop and we have the opportunity to observe how the printing process works. Cycling along the dikes and country roads is a great way to discover the region's cultural heritage and meet the locals at the same time!

We will return to our boat where a delicious five course Vietnamese lunch will be served on board as we cruise downstream. In the afternoon, we dock near another handicraft village where a vehicle will take us to Bat Trang Ceramic village. We then bit farewell and thank the crew for the memorable river journey.

Around 4:00pm, we will take our car back to Hanoi.  In the evening, we enjoy a little more taste of local Vietnam at Bia Hoi 68 Hang Quat.

Note - Please note that the cycling is optional and that there is a support vehicle on hand for those that do not wish to cycle


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: car to river, boat trip time varies upon river flow, 1/2 hour return by car to Hanoi
Walking time
: 1 - 2 hour
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 3: Hanoi City Tour

Today we spend a full day exploring the capital city and our first visit is to the Ho Chi Minh Complex.  We Ho Chi Minhs final resting place in Hanoifirst visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - the number one place of pilgrimage of Vietnam to pay respect to the founder of modern Vietnam. We continue to the Residential Palace - a beautifully restored colonial building constructed as the residence of the Governor General Indochina and now used for official receptions that is not open to public yet.  We then spend time at Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts where he lived on and off from 1958 to 1969.  The house is built in the style of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities, sitting in a well-tended garden next to carp-filled pond.  We then continue to One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi’s most famous pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow.  Our last visit before lunch is the Temple of Literature, the first university of the country. It is an excellent example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture.

We break for lunch at Quan An Ngon Restaurant a large outdoor venue that is modeled after a small market and unique. Afternoon, we continue to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The museum features an excellent collection of art and everyday objects gathered from Vietnam and its diverse tribal people. On the way back to town, we’ll visit Tran Quoc Pagoda which is one of the oldest temple of Vietnam and Quan Thanh Temple, one of the four important temples, each located at North, South, East and West of Hanoi and dedicated to the Gods who are the guardians of the old capital, Thang Long.


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 1 hour car transfer
Walking time
: 4-5 hours
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
B, L, D
 
Day 4: Ha Noi - Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, we depart for Ha Long through the Red River Delta, this time via the main highway with its landscape of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday life in the villages. Upon arrival, you will board a Traditional Style Junk and enjoying a well-prepared lunch of fresh local seafood while the junk cruises among thousand of odd shaped limestone islands.  You will have opportunity to visit Surprise Grotto and have a swim at the Titop Beach or follow the steps all the way up to the top for a view over the Bay below.  Dinner is complimented by sunset and  should you feel like taking another swim, there will plenty of time. (Additional Option: Kayaking).


Accommodation: Boat/Junk selection from our list Ha Long Bay Sunrise
Transit
: 3 hours car/bus
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 5: Ha Long - Hanoi - Night Train to Dong Hoi

You enjoy breakfast in the fresh morning air and serenity of the bay while the junk continues to meander among thousands of islets.  You will then cruise past several beautiful views of Teapot Island, Chopstick Island, Horse Saddle and Charles De Gaulle Island. You may wish for a swim before your lunch is served.  The Junk will disembark Ha Long wharf at noon, where your bus is waiting to transfer you back to Hanoi.

You will arrive in Hanoi about 16.00 and we’ll return to the hotel, relax and refresh ourselves before transferring to the Hanoi Train Station and the night train to Dong Hoi.

Accommodation: 2 berth cabin on Reunification Express
Transit
: 3 hours by car/bus
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 6: Dong Hoi - Phong Nha Cave

We arrive in Dong Hoi in the early morning. After check-in hotel, we can visit a morning fish market on the bank of Nhat Le River. The morning life of this small charming port city reflects a great picture of river life. The market is also a good location to watch sunrise over the Nhat Le River.  Make sure you bring camera.

After an hour drive northwest of Dong Hoi, we arrive in Son Trach village. Here we take a boat ride to Phong Nha Cave, which is the largest and most beautiful cave in Vietnam. The boat ride gives a great glimpse of the communes living along the water’s edge.

We spend time to visit river caves filled with numerous stalactite and stalagmite and a dry cave in the mountainside just above Phong Nha Cave.  From generations, the cave has been used as Cham religious site, Buddhist site and as a hospital during the American War. The cave was also one of important entrance points to the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  We return to Dong Hoi for the night, enjoy sunset on the beach


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 1.5 hours by car or mini bus/1 hour by boat/4 hours caving
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 7: Dong Hoi - Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) – Hue

We drive south to Hue via Quang Tri through one of the most memorable historic site of Vietnam. We first visit the incredible Vinh Moc Tunnels. The tunnel network at Vinh Moc remains essentially as it looked in 1966. It was an enormous Vietcong (VC) underground base and supplied nearby Con Co Island which can be seen at 7 entrances opening onto palm-lined beach.

Imperial Hue Architecture 

Following lunch, you can enjoy a swim from the beautiful beaches that extend for many kilometers to the south of Vinh Moc. We then pass Ben Hai River and Hien Luong Bridge. It was once the separation line between North and South Vietnam. In the wartime, it was heavily bombed by the Americans. After Dong Ha Town, we make a visit to the old Citadel City of Quang Tri. The remnant of the moat, ramparts and gates of the Citadel was once served as South Vietnamese Army Headquarters. There is a small museum of inside the Citadel which is worthwhile.

We arrive in Hue in late afternoon, check into hotel and refresh. In the evening, we’ll enjoy dinner on a Perfume River boat cruise.  The boat cruise and Hue folk’s songs performance mark the end of the day.

Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 4 hours by car
Walking time
: 1 - 2 hour
Walking difficulty
: Light walking and somewhat difficult 1 hour tunnel walk
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 8: Royal Tombs and Imperial Citadel

In the morning, we take another cruise on the Perfume River to visit the extravagant mausoleums that were constructed along this water’s edge. We first visit the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc who had the longest reign and lived a life of ultimate imperial luxury and then the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, the most majestic of the royal tombsOur river journey includes a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda, an icon of Vietnam and has become an unofficial symbol of Hue. During 1960s and 1980s, it became a flashpoint of anti-government demonstration.

Afternoon, we’ll then continue on to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled the country between 1802 and 1945 and the Ruins of the Purple Forbidden City which was constructed for personal use of the emperor and was entirely destroyed during Tet Offensive 1969.  After our tour of the Citadel, we drive out to Thuan An beach for sunset over the South China Sea.Hoi An lamps


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit:
Riverboat, 1 hour total by car
Walking time
: 4-5 hours
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 9: Hue - Museum of Cham Sculpture in Da Nang - Hoi An Exploration

Today we depart for Hoi An, another World Heritage Site, via Da Nang. Along the way we stop at Lang Co Beach - a crystal clear turquoise lagoon beach followed by the spectacular view from atop Hai Van Pass.  Our next stop is in Da Nang at the Museum of Cham Sculpture where you can see the finest collection of Cham sculpture in the world. 

Following lunch, we continue to Hoi An. We check into hotel and stroll around the town visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1590 by the Japanese community to link them with Chinese quarter and a few interesting stories about the bridge will be revealed. We continue to the Museum of Trading Ceramics where a collection of white and blue ceramics of the Dai Viet period and a great ceramic mosaic are worthwhile.  Our next destinations are a sampling of beautiful architecture styles including Tan Ky House - a private home that features Japanese and Chinese influence, the Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation - the temples and pagodas of molded on Chinese style. We end our day by walking along Silk Street of Hoi An. You may have your silk clothing made in just a few hours!


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 3 - 4 hours by car/bus
Walking time
: 2-3 hours
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 10: My Son - Boat ride to and from cooking class

Following breakfast, we depart for My Son, a World Heritage site, 40 km southwest of Hoi An. Located in a verdant valley; My Son was a capital and religious center of Cham people. My Son is considered to be in the same league as some of Southeast Asia's greatest archaeological sites, including Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar and Ayutthaya in Thailand.  The towers and sanctuaries were built from the 7 to 13 centuries and have survived war and time itself with care from Vietnam.  Vietnam’s dedication to My Son is to honor the distinct heritage of the Cham People.

Hoi An BridgeWe return to Hoi An for lunch and enjoy the afternoon at the Red Bridge Cooking School. You are met and greeted by your chef at Hai Scout Café.  First, we learn how to buy typical Vietnamese ingredients at the market.  After the market visit, you board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Cooking School. On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes, which is the mix of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chef’s, before you prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). By the end of the day, we sit down and enjoy what we have cooked. Then the boat will pick you up for a return river cruise back to the town.


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 2 hours by car, short boat journey
Walking time
: 1-2 hours
Walking difficulty
: Easy
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 11: Hoi An Exercise and Relaxation

After breakfast, we are off for an exercise day! We first ride bicycles to the home of a craftsman in the old street in Hoi An Town. Here you will learn about the daily life of Hoi An people and see how they make traditional lanterns. You can try making a lantern and keep it as a souvenir.  We breakf for lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon, we return to your hotel to relax.  This is a great time to reflect on your trip and catch up on your personal journal or maybe even go for a soothing massage.  Dinner this evening is freestyle at Café des Amis. There is no menu; the set diner is whatever the chef, Mr Kim, feels like cooking that day, but it is always delicious!


Accommodation: Hotel selection from our list
Transit
: 1 -2 hours bicycle
Mean plan:
B, L, D


Day 12: Hoi An - Da Nang Departure

After breakfast at the hotel, the morning is free until the transfer to Da Nang to fly to the next destination.


Transit: 1 hour
Mean plan:
B


Our trip includes

  • English speaking guide
  • Accommodation as indicated
  • Meals as indicated
  • Transfer and pickup airport
  • Transportation by car or minivan
  • One way train ticket
  • Tour as indicated
  • Entrance fee

Our trip excludes

  • Domestic and international flights
  • Visa & visa arrangement
  • Meals not indicated
  • Drinking water, soft drink and alcohol
  • Tips & personal expenses

Prices contact info@remoteasia.com