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The Best Luxury Tour of Vietnam - 11 Days


Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam. Your arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour. We strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier, as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag, and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations.

Sunset in Hanoi

Sunset in Hanoi

An additional night’s lodging at the (completely redesigned by Bill Bensley) historic Capella Hanoi, the city’s best hotel, can be added as part of the process as you reserve your tour.

If you are arriving a day earlier, your airport to hotel transfer will be provided a day earlier. Our services begin with your luxury VIP greeting as you disembark at Hanoi airport. You are greeted as soon as you exit your plane and you will now be escorted through the complete arrival process, including immigration, baggage claim, and customs, and then you will be met by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator or your Accompanying Vietnam Tour Director. You are then driven to your boutique luxury hotel where you will check-in if it is after 3 PM. If your arrival is before 3 PM, you can drop your bags off and use the facilities to freshen up, unless you have requested an additional day’s stay.

Your historic luxury hotel is the only such lodging in this city and its elegant interior is a delightful French-Vietnamese presentation of art, focusing on its earlier incarnation as the home of opera stars and visiting dignitaries. It has an enviable location in the iconic Old Quarter of Hanoi, and major attractions, great restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as the vibrant street scene, are just a few steps away, but not in any way intrusive. Hanoi is one of the world’s most fascinating cities to explore on foot, with an exceptionally vibrant street food scene, and its Old Quarter is always abuzz with activity and has an amazing energy that is near impossible to resist. Located on the banks of the Red River, Vietnam's capital is a stylish and gracious city that retains a unique old-world charm and has some of Asia’s most striking colonial architecture.

Day 2: Hanoi (B). Start your exploration of Vietnam’s capital with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 as a Confucian temple and school, this complex became Vietnam’s first university six years later. Multiple courtyards, water tanks, temples, and unique architecture are what you will notice first. A unique sight here is 82 large stone slabs (with large tortoise shaped bases of stone) that have the names and other details of doctoral laureates of the university from 1442 to 1779. It is common to see local students at the temple in school groups throughout the year, and large groups of them are here dressed in their finest during graduation periods. Walk around the complex and its gardens and explore several temples housing beautiful statues of the university’s founders and greatest scholars.

Next up is the impressive Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex. This site is highly revered by the North Vietnamese, and consists of several structures, including Uncle Ho’s (Ho Chi Minh) modest house on stilts, and of course the iconic mausoleum itself. This granite structure stands prominently above the parade area and grandstand at a height of 70 feet and is surrounded by meticulously maintained lawns and gardens. Please note that we do not recommend viewing the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, housed inside, as this requires a 45 minute (minimum) wait in line, and no photos are allowed.

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Presidential Palace Hanoi

Next to the mausoleum is the beautiful Presidential Palace, built between 1900 and 1906 as the French Governor General of Indochina’s residence. The Palace is not open to the public, but you can stop here for a photo opportunity of the front left profile of the structure, as well as its beautiful gardens.

Ho Chi Minh refused to live in the palace and had a simple home on stilts built in the gardens, which you will walk through to admire its simplicity and austerity.

Return to the old quarter and break for lunch. After lunch you will experience a guided walk through the fascinating old quarter. When Hanoi was much smaller, this area was the residential, commercial, and manufacturing hub. Each street was dedicated to locals practicing a particular trade, and this practice has continued until today, except the fact that there are far more street food outlets and cafes, adding even more color to an already fascinating sight. Your Tour Director will walk you through streets such as Hand Dong street (copper wares street) Hang Tre street (bamboo wares street), and so on. Some streets have names referring to trades no longer practiced, such as Hang Buom street (sails street), and are now focused solely on Vietnamese candy and cakes. There are streets full of flower decorators and sellers, and many of the streets still have temples, pagodas, and communal structures from old times.

Private North Vietnamese Cooking Class OR Hotel Dining Credit. If you select the cooking class option, some of this afternoon’s activities listed above will be fit into your schedule on the next day. Your mid-afternoon experience will begin with a walk with your market guide as you shop for ingredients. You will then learn how to cook some North Vietnamese dishes based on ingredient preferences (chicken, fish, beef, or vegetarian) you will have given us prior to this, with expert instructions from the chef – translated by your Market Guide as needed. Next it will be time to enjoy your preparations for dinner at the kitchen’s popular restaurant, and after a delicious desert you will receive recipe cards for the dishes you prepared.

Day 3: Hanoi (B). Start your day with a visit to a residential Hanoi district seldom experienced by foreigners. You will feel like you have traveled back in time into the 1960’s when Hanoi was a quaint capital populated mostly by modest workers. Wander around these narrow alleys covered in colorful market stalls, observe the locals as they go about their daily lives – you will experience Hanoi as only the locals do.

Return to the Old Quarter and after a break for lunch you will enjoy a cyclo (pedicab) ride around the Old Quarter. These ancient narrow streets are bustling with people and shops. Your ride ends at Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center.

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake Bridge to Ngoc Sun Temple

The small urban lake is also known as The Lake of the Restored Sword, and the area surrounding it is Hanoi’s cultural center. Visit Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a small island in the photogenic lake, and observe the fascinating rituals that take place here - the devout visit it throughout the day.

In the early evening comes a fascinating performance of Water Puppetry, where our guests will enjoy preferred seating. The Thang Long Puppet Theatre is Hanoi’s most famous because of the quality of the performers, and it is located on the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, across from Ngoc Son Temple. This art form, which is unique to North Vietnam, originated in the 11th century. The combination of indigenous music, small fireworks, and the colorful wooden performers, as well as the accomplished musicians visible in the gallery, makes this spectacle a great introduction to North Vietnamese culture.

After the performance, you will enjoy a short walk to your hotel by the charming lake, walking past the locals as they dine on street food, an activity that is omnipresent at night all over the Old Quarter. By now you will start realizing that the Vietnamese take street food to a whole new level, even by Southeast Asia standards – people eating are everywhere, occupying sections of the pedestrian walkways, parks, sometimes taking over parts of the roads after sunset, enjoying the wares of scores of small street stalls.

Day 4: Hanoi – Haiphong - Ha Long Bay on Orchid Cruise (B,L,D). Check-out from your hotel in the morning, and then you are driven 1.5 to 2 hours to Haiphong, a significantly shorter drive than to Ha Long, where almost all other cruises start. Upon your arrival you will join your fellow cruise travelers in a reception area where refreshments will be served. After a while you will be assisted in boarding your small luxury cruise ship which has among the largest cabins among the boats plying on Ha Long Bay. You will be in an upgraded balcony cabin with fabulous views.

Halong Bay Arial View

Halong Bay Arial View

The entire bay is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the world’s most spectacular seascapes.

The water is relatively calm on the bay, and the scenic beauty is characterized by a vast area that is full of lush limestone (karst) hills jutting out of the ocean. A buffet lunch is served shortly after the cruise begins. Your cruise will visit some of the main attractions of Ha Long Bay that are also visited by other boats, but you will also spend quite a bit of time where most other cruises don’t go, in stunning locations that are a little off the beaten track.

You will have various excursions available during your cruise, including options to canoe, swim, explore amazing caves, and there will be a full schedule of activities on the ship that you can participate in. Very good Vietnamese and western cuisine options will be served throughout.

Day 5: HaLong Bay – Hue (B,L). Wake up to stunning views and then enjoy a light breakfast, after which you have the option to experience this morning’s scheduled excursion.

Return after the scheduled morning excursion, and a full brunch will be waiting for you. The boat now begins its leisurely cruise to the dock, giving you plenty of time for more relaxation and photographic opportunities.

Check out of your cabin and you are met by your Tour Director and chauffeur at the dock. You are then driven to Hanoi airport to board your flight to Hue, The City of Mist.

We feel that, in terms of history and culture, Hue is a more important destination than Ho Chi Minh City. Because of this and Hue’s proximity to Hoi An, we feel that tours that do not include Hue are depriving their travelers of a top tier destination.

You are greeted at Hue airport and you are driven to your art deco historic riverfront resort for check-in. By far Hue’s best lodging option, it was the residence of the French Resident Superieure in times past, and you have an upgraded suite since the rooms are rather small. Hue is known for its magnificent monuments built under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945), and also famous for its amazing food, as well as its unique conical hats. Unlike Hanoi and Saigon, the city has a relaxed vibe, and evening walks by the Perfume River, and the delightful cafes that are found here, are highly recommended. The monuments that you will visit here make up one of Vietnam’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This honor was bestowed on the city in 1993 since it is such a fine example of an eastern feudal capital.

Day 6: Hue (B). Your day will start in the morning with a visit to the impressive mausoleum of King Tu Duc (ruled 1848 - 1883). Close by is the next attraction, the unique mausoleum of King Khai Dinh (ruled 1916 - 1925).

Mausoleum of King Tu Duc's

A Courtyard at King Tu Duc's Mausoleum

These ornate and colorful monuments, designed by the kings themselves, were also used as holiday retreats during their lifetimes.

Next you will enjoy a guided walk-through older parts of Hue, including a busy market located next to the river. After a lunch break you will continue your exploration with a visit to the Royal Citadel. The sprawling complex of palaces, fortifications and pagodas was, in its day, virtually impenetrable. The tour of this Imperial City features monuments such as the Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace (Palace of Supreme Harmony), and the Forbidden Purple City.

Day 7: Hue – Hoi An (B). You will be assisted with your check-out in the morning. Embark on a scenic 3.5-hour (approximately) drive to Hoi An. Some of this drive is through coastal fishing villages, and much of it is on one of Southeast Asia’s most spectacular roads, where you straddle the Pacific Ocean with amazing views on one side, and lush green hills on the other.

At the highest point of the journey you will have a breathtaking view of the Pacific, and on the other side a view of the modern city of Da Nang and its bay.

You will drive through the outskirts of Da Nang as you head towards Hoi An, and a brief photo opportunity stop will be at the beach zone that was a favorite for American soldiers during the Vietnam war, immortalized in the television series China Beach.

Arrive close to Hoi An in the early afternoon, in time for a slightly late lunch, and you will check-in at your gorgeous luxury oceanfront resort. Some tour operators lodge their guests at modern and crowded casino resorts in the Da Nang region, about an hour from Hoi An. We prefer the Four Seasons Nam Hai, which is located just a short drive from Hoi An, with one of the finest beaches in Vietnam. This is luxury in the truest sense, with large villa’s designed for privacy, incredible cuisine, amazing service, multiple gorgeous pools, and a lot more. Although many of our guests ask for beach time at the end of their touring, it is definitely worth it to consider adding a day or two here, which we will be happy to accommodate upon request.

Hoi An

Hoi An

Hoi An is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the best-preserved ancient seaport in Southeast Asia.

We prefer not to take our guests to the ancient town during the late morning and early afternoon as, during those hours, it gets really crowded and noisy due to a large influx of tourist bus groups from the Da Nang resorts. However, guests who would like to, can have their Tour Director take them right after lunch. We recommend beginning your discovery of the ancient seaport in the late afternoon with a guided walk through the Japanese and Chinese Quarters of the tiny town.

One of the highlights is the beautifully crafted and much-photographed Japanese Bridge. You will also visit a number of temples, pagodas, communal houses, traditional shops, and other places of interest in the small town. You can either head back to your resort in the early evening, or, those who want to continue experiencing the ancient town this evening can then have dinner at one of the delightful cafes and restaurants located on the river – the better restaurants have a distinctly French ambiance.

Day 8: Hoi An. My Son Sanctuary Excursion OR Fisherman and Farmer for a Half Day (B,D). You have two options for the first part of this day, or you can choose to enjoy one of the world’s finest beach resorts and relax. This decision needs to be made soon after you reserve your tour.

Option 1: My Son Excursion. Join your Tour Director for an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son Sanctuary. These remarkable structures lie about an hour away from Hoi An, and the structures go back as far as the 4th Century. It is one of the most important examples of Hindu influence in Southeast Asia. Although largely in a state of ruin today, My Son is often compared with other historical temple complexes in Southeast Asia, such as Angkor Wat of Cambodia or Ayutthaya of Thailand.

You'll be given a brief introduction to Cham history and culture, and its Hindu influence, and then you will visit the remains of the carefully crafted red brick temples replete with beautiful monuments and epitaphs. Return to the Nam Hai and you are at leisure for a couple of hours for lunch and relaxation at your resort, until your bamboo platform dining experience.



OR

Option 2: Rural Farming & Fishing Life Experience. Join your Tour Director for a drive into the rural region away from modern civilization, along the Thu Bon River and its gorgeous Nipa Mangroves, passing lush farms and jungles. Soon you will arrive at the home and workshop of a local bamboo craftsman.

Bamboo Weaving

Bamboo Weaving

Bamboo is widely used for a myriad of purposes in central coastal Vietnam, and there are a few expert craftsmen who sculpt and create with this amazing natural resource.

Your host this morning is one of the very best of these craftsmen. You will be shown the steps of the creative process, and you are encouraged to make a souvenir for yourself.

You will now proceed to visit a local fisherman’s family. We recommend that you use bicycles for this part of the excursion, although your vehicle will be headed to the same destination. The approximately 5-mile ride is on flat country roads with no traffic, and the scenery is extremely charming. At the end of the ride you will meet the friendly family and learn about their simple lifestyles, followed by a lesson in Vietnamese net fishing!

A very short drive after this will end at an organic farm, where again you will learn from the farmers on how they cultivate their crops. Enjoy some of their herbal tea and snacks, and then, if you so desire, participate in their daily activities for a little while.
From here you are driven back to your gorgeous lodging and you are at leisure for a couple of hours for lunch and relaxation at your resort, until your bamboo platform dining experience.

Bamboo Platform Dining Experience: At 4:30 PM your Tour Director will escort you to the banks of the river. You will be assisted in boarding one of the Hoi An regions iconic basket boats for a short cruise. After a few minutes you will arrive at your destination – a large floating bamboo raft, situated on a beautiful secluded part of the river, surrounded by tropical nature. Butlers and other staff will feed you unique local cuisine and fresh vegetables. At the end of the evening, at about 8 PM, you will be driven back to your resort.

Day 9: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon (B). Check-out of your resort in the morning and you are driven to Da Nang airport where you will board the noon flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, there is a break for a late lunch if you so desire, as airplane food will have been served on your flight.

From the airport area you can go directly to your lodging in Saigon, or proceed to Cu Chi, located in the countryside north of Saigon – this decision will need to be made soon after you reserve your tour. This area is famed for its elaborate network of over 200 kilometers of three-story underground tunnels hand-dug by local people during the Vietnam War. You have the option to experience climbing down into a tunnel and crawling around to get a taste of how the North Vietnamese soldiers (Viet Cong) lived during the latter part of the war. There are displays of weaponry that was used, as well as life-sized statues of the North Vietnamese soldiers depicting the lives they lived.

After this experience you are driven to Saigon where you are assisted with check-in at Vietnam’s most luxurious city hotel, the Reverie, also ranked as Saigon’s top hotel. You are in the heart of Saigon’s downtown (District 1), and restaurants, bars, and shopping are right at your doorstep, as are historical structures such as the Opera House. Located near the mouth of the Mekong, this city was once nothing more than swampland inhabited by a few Khmer people. Today it is Vietnam’s largest and most metropolitan city, with its official name - Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City Sunset

Ho Chi Minh City Sunset

The city of over 9 million people is a prototypical large Asian city with an impressive modern skyline overlooking busy streets overflowing with, for western visitors, chaotic scooter, motorcycle and other traffic.

Private North Vietnamese Cooking Class OR Hotel Dining Credit. - If you select this option shortly after reserving your tour, some of this afternoon’s activities listed above will be fit into your schedule on the next day. You will receive expert instructions from the school’s head chef and learn how to cook some South Vietnamese dishes based on ingredient preferences (chicken, fish, beef, or vegetarian) you will have given us prior to this. Next it will be time to enjoy your preparations for dinner, and after a delicious desert you will receive recipe cards for the dishes you prepared.

Day 10: Saigon (B). You will start your day in the morning with a visit to the Reunification Palace. This was the headquarters of the United States supported South Vietnamese government and has been left largely as it appeared on the day the Viet Cong’s tanks crashed through the gate and claimed victory for the North. The original furniture, equipment rooms, and war rooms remain untouched, all the way down to the rotary phones on the desks and strategic maps on the walls. In the middle of the crowded city, this large structure and its vast grounds are a fascinating time warp taking you back to the early 1970’s.

Next, enjoy a visit to the beautiful colonial building housing the Central Post Office, with its amazing collection of century old western telegraphs and other machines. This is an active place of business, and the gorgeous antique interior includes wooden phone booths and counters that the locals will be standing at while buying services.

After lunch you will enjoy a walk-through Saigon, including the famous shopping street of Dong Khoi. The walk starts at Notre Dame Cathedral and leads you to the Municipal Theater, after which you are driven to your spectacular hotel to enjoy lunch and the amazing facilities for a little while.

Brewery and Local Dining Experience: In the evening you will join your Tour Director for a short walk to Pasteur Street and the most famous craft beer taproom in Vietnam. Meet the brewer, learn about the marriage between this western practice and local ingredients, and sample several brews. You will then walk a little further to a nice outdoor restaurant located on the rooftop of an old apartment block. Dinner will be a diverse assortment of delicious Vietnamese home cooked favorites, and your hosts and Tour Director will answer any questions that you may have about the ingredients and flavors of the dishes being offered.

Day 11: Saigon – International Flight (B). You are assisted with your check-out in the morning and you will take a short drive to the War Remnants Museum. We do not recommend this museum to guests who might get upset by gruesome war photos, descriptions, and exhibits. Also, please bear in mind that the atrocities exhibited are those attributed to American soldiers, during what Vietnam calls the American War. For those that want to forego the museum, you can enjoy your spectacular hotel until the mid-morning or explore surrounding District 1 with your Tour Director.

In the mid-morning you will be driven to the colorful and interesting Binh Tray Market, where the locals come to shop for produce, fruit, poultry, meat and seafood. After a walk to explore the indoor market, you will return to Saigon’s downtown, where we recommend a slightly late lunch at the highest rated upscale Vietnamese restaurant in Saigon, Vietnam House. After lunch you are driven to the airport where your Vietnamese Tour Director will introduce you to your VIP Airport Concierge, bid farewell, and then you will be escorted through all departure processes and assisted in boarding your international flight.

Please note that international flights have check-in requirements that require you to be at their check-in counter approximately 2.5 to 3 hours (for coach), and 2 hours for premier classes, before that flight departs. If you used Easy Tours advice/assistance for your international flights, we would factor in the above.
Our services will end at the airport.

 

Lodging

Hanoi
Capella Hanoi – Junior Suite
HaLong Bay
Orchid Cruise – Premium Suite Cabin with Balcony
Hue
Azerai La Residence Hue – Colonial Junior Suite
Hoi An
Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai – One Bedroom Ocean View Villa
Saigon
The Riverie Saigon – Panorama Deluxe Room

Inclusions

VIP Airport Concierge on all International Arrivals and Departures (2 Services)
Accompanying Tour Director for Airport Assistance on all in-country flights
Breakfast daily
North Vietnamese Cooking Lesson & Dinner OR Hotel Dining Credit in Hanoi
South Vietnamese Cooking Lesson & Dinner OR Hotel Dining Credit in Saigon
All meals on HaLong Bay
Ground transportation via upscale private vehicles
Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
Services of the best English-speaking Accompanying Tour Directors
Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
Bottled water during sightseeing
Hotel accommodation as listed above
All Boat Fees/Fares per the itinerary

Not Included

International travel except countries on your Easy Tours Journey
Any expenses of a personal nature, such as tips, laundry, phone calls, drinks etc.
Meals other than those specified on itinerary
Travel insurance, visas, etc.

Dates & Prices

Dates Price For
Per Person, based on Double Occupancy
Per Person
On-Tour Flights
Total For
2 Guests
Availability
1st Oct, 2021
to
19th Dec, 2021
$5715 $286 $12002
Reserve Now
11th Jan, 2022
to
19th Dec, 2022
$5715 $286 $12002
Reserve Now
Prices include all Current Taxes & Surcharges

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