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The Best Tour of Vietnam

Day 0: Depart from the United States. You can make your own International flight reservations, in which case arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour no surcharge applies. You can also choose to use flights booked through Easy Tours as part of your complete package.
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. Even if your flight is not delayed, and jetlag does not affect you, this allows you to explore fascinating Hanoi on your own. An additional night hotel stay at Hanoi 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.




Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi. You are greeted at the airport and ushered to The Best Tour of Vietnama vehicle. You are then driven to your boutique hotel where you will check-in if it is after 2 PM. If your arrival is before 2 PM, you can drop your bags off and use the facilities to freshen up.
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. Hanoi is one of the world’s most fascinating cities to explore on foot, and the street food scene is vibrant and extremely diverse.
Your highly ranked lodging in Hanoi is a small boutique hotel and has the best location in the city, right in the heart of the old quarter, and a stone’s throw away from the city’s main attractions. Multiple dining options are right on your doorstep. Please note that the lower room types are either windowless or have a window a foot away from a wall, so Easy Tours only uses their higher room/suite types.




Day 2: Hanoi (B & L). Start your exploration of Vietnam’s capital with a visit to the Temple of Literature. Built in 1070 as a Confucian temple, this complex became Vietnam’s first university six years later. Among other things, on display are many large stones carved in the  shape of a turtle bearing inscriptions of the names of all of the graduates of the university over many centuries. It is common to see local students here 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 structureThe Best Tour of Vietnam 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 view the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, housed inside, as this requires a 45 minute (minimum) wait in line, and no photos are allowed. Next to the mausoleum is the breathtakingly 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.
There is a break for lunch.
After lunch, you will now see parts of Hanoi as very few others do. You will visit a real Hanoi district, seldom experienced by foreigners. You will feel like you have steeped 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.
After this you will enjoy a cyclo (pedi-cab) ride around the Old Quarter. These ancient narrow streets are bustling with people and shops. Just like in ancient times, each street has its own specialty, including jewelry, shoes, clothes, leather, lacquerware, and much more.
Your ride ends at Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center. 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, where you can both admire the fascinating architecture, and watch the rituals that take place here - the devout visit it throughout the day.
In the early evening comes a fascinating performance of Water Puppetry, where Easy Tours 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 walk by the charming lake to your hotel, walking around the locals as they dine on street food, an activity that is omnipresent at night all over the Old Quarter. The Vietnamese take street food to a whole new level, even by Southeast Asia standards. - locals are everywhere, in Hanoi and in Saigon, occupying sections of the pedestrian walkways, parks, and all other areas, enjoying the wares of small street stalls - it has to be experienced to be believed.




Day 3: Hanoi - Hue (B & L). Check-out from your hotel in the morning and you are then driven to the Hanoi airport to board your flight to Hue, The City of Mist. Easy Tours is at a loss about the fact that tour operators actually fly guests to DaNang, which is about 2.5 hours away from Hue, as opposed to being able to fly directly to Hue on The Best Tour of Vietnam Vietnam’s best, and only full service, airline. They then repeat 80% of the same drive as they head to Hoi An as the next destination.
Hue is widely 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. The monuments that you will visit here, collectively, make up one of Vietnam’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This honor was bestowed on the city in 1993 due its reputation as such a fine example of an eastern feudal capital.
Upon arrival in Hue you will pay a visit to the mausoleums of King Tu Duc (ruled 1848 - 1883) and King Khai Dinh (ruled 1916 - 1925). The monuments, designed by the kings themselves, were also used as holiday retreats during their lifetime.
After this visit, continue your tour with a visit to the Royal Citadel. The sprawling complex of palaces, fortifications and pagodas was, in its day, virtually impenetrable. The tour of the 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.
After this you will enjoy a short walk through older parts of Hue, including a busy market located next to the river. Unlike Hanoi and Saigon, Hue’s lifestyle is much more relaxed, and your experience this late afternoon will be evidence of that.  You are driven to your highly ranked hotel for check-in after the tour.




Day 4: Hue - Hoi An (B & L). You will check-out and depart in the morning for the scenic 3.5-hour (approximately) drive to Hoi An. Some of this drive is through coastal fishing villages, and much of it is 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 gorgeous 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 Best Tour of Vietnamthe television series China Beach.
Arrive in Hoi An and there is a break for lunch, after which you will check-in at your top ranked boutique resort. Your resort is located a short walk from the ancient town, so that you can choose to walk there in the evenings and experience the lights and activity on your own. We are perplexed by tour operators who lodge their guests at cookie cutter ocean front resorts far away from Hoi An – the small ancient seaport is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its reputation as the best-preserved ancient seaport in Southeast Asia. Our resorts location allows you to walk back to the UNESCO seaport at any time that you want, including to dine in one of the boutique riverfront restaurants, bars, and café’s. Unlike other tour operators, Easy Tours does not like to have our guests in the ancient town during the late morning and early afternoon as it gets really crowded and noisy due to a large influx of tourist bus groups from the Da Nang area casino hotels during this time. In the late afternoon you will enjoy an exploration of the ancient seaport with a walk through the Japanese and Chinese Quarters of the tiny town. One of the highlights is the much adorned and 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.




Day 5: Hoi An (B & L). My Son Sanctuary OR Jack Tran Rural Experience. Today you have two options - you have to select one soon after you reserve your tour.

Option 1: My Son Sanctuary 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 will visit the remains of the carefully-crafted red brick temples replete with beautiful monuments and epitaphs.
Return to the Hoi An area and you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, after which you are dropped off at your boutique hotel.

Option 2: Jack Tran's Ecotours / Farming & Fishing Life.

Location: Local Farming & Fishing Villages
Departure Time: 8:00am
Duration: 6 hours - bicycle and Jack Tran's boat

This is a join-up tour that provides you with a close-up and intimate exposure to both the local farming and fishing communities. Your transportation to from and to your resort is facilitated by Jack Tran’s shared vans. Accompanied by a Jack Tran tour guide, you commence the day leisurely cycling along country roads witnessing local Vietnamese rural life first hand, discovering all manner of photo opportunities - coming and visiting a beautiful organic vegetable village, watering and planting vegetable, hoeing a soil with local farmer, riding a water buffalo in a rice paddy field; seeing ducks swimming along the rice farm or farmers tending their crops. The photo opportunities are endless. As well you will experience the friendliness of the local people greeting you along the way. Later you will board our Jack Tran's boat for a river cruise to meet and engage with local fishermen and enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. You will also experience paddling the unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while the waterways of coconut palm paradise. This tour provides you with a cultural window into the ways of life of both our farming and fishing communities.
 
  • You will be picked up at hotel by Jack Tran's guide and  Jack Tran's driver on a mini-van and then you will be transferred to Jack Tran's bike The Best Tour of Vietnamstation in the countryside to start your biking route
  • Cycle to a local farming village traveling along picturesque country roads. If you don't wish to ride bicycles, please use our scooter "XE OM" services (a chauffeur driven scooter!) for a few extra dollars, payable on the spot
  • Share in the daily work life of local farmers - hoeing and a soil, watering veggie at an organic herb garden, riding water buffalo in the field and enjoy the freshest air of the countryside beauty.
  • Board the Jack Tran's boat and cruise to the mouth of the river where it meets the Cua Dai Sea
  • Learn and try your hand at local traditional fishing techniques using round and cast nets
  • Learn to paddle the strange and unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boats.
  • Explore the now tranquil coconut-palm flanked waterways of a past war and hear of the extreme conditions endured by soldiers on both sides
  • Back on-board our Jack Tran's boat, enjoy lunch and a cold beer or soft drink
Return to your hotel by Jack Tran's mini-van.




Day 6: Hoi An - DaNang - Saigon (B & L). Check-out of your hotel 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, after which you will proceed directly The Best Tour of Vietnam into the countryside, north of the city toward your destination; Cu Chi. 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 lived during the latter part of the war. This excursion is a unique opportunity to see one of the most amazing aspects of the Vietnam War as you imagine years of people’s lives being lived underground. There are displays of weaponry that was used, as well life size statues of the North Vietnamese soldiers depicting the lives they lived.
You are driven back to Saigon where you are assisted with check-in to your highly ranked upscale hotel, located in District 1, which is downtown in the heart of the vibrant city of Saigon.
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 new official name - Ho Chi Minh City. The city of over 9 million people is a prototypical large Asian city with an impressive modern skyline overlooking busy streets filled with motorbikes, culture and street food.




Day 7: Saigon International Flight (B & L ). You will be assisted with your check-out from your hotel and then you proceed 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. The large structure and it grounds, surrounded by the city, serve as a fascinating time warp 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 almost a century old western telegraph, 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. There is a break for lunch.
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 the airport to board your international flight. Saigon traffic is really bad to begin with, and this time of departure for the airport allows us to prevent the even worse rush hour. Bid farewell to your Vietnam Tour Director at the airport.
This day’s itinerary description is based on an international flight out of Saigon in the early evening. If your departure is late in the evening or early on the following morning, we can add a day at your Saigon hotel so that you will be able to rest before your airport transfer.
Our services end at the Saigon airport.
Inclusions
* Breakfast daily (6 breakfasts)
* Lunch daily (6 lunches)
* Flexible Experience Choices in Hoi An
* Top Rated water Puppet Show in Hanoi
* Ground transportation via upscale Vans and Coach’s
* Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
* Services of the best Tour Directors as per the itinerary
* 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 between On-Tour countries
* 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.

Lodging
Hanoi La Siesta Hotel
Hue Indochine Palace Hotel
Hoi An La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa
Saigon Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon

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