Vietnam in a Nutshell
Vietnam is still the land of contrasts. The country has seen dramatic contemporary history as well as millennial legends and fables. The most beautiful places like Halong Bay with limestone islands and emerald green lagoons to the mysteries and intense cities of the Mekong Delta.
With us, you wander the narrow alleys of Hanoi, dine at local restaurants and head out to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay in a hand-carved Chinese junk. In Saigon you see all the highlights of the city and a few more, crawl in the narrow tunnels of Cu Chi and marvel at the beautiful and suggestive song during the Mass in the Cao Dait Temple.
End the trip on one of Vietnam’s beautiful islands or beaches with barefoot life and sand between your toes.
Day 1 – Departure from Scandinavia
We always book scheduled flights with all its benefits – more legroom, meals and drinks, the opportunity to get bonus points. For those who have a special diet, you can order special food on board the flight free of charge. During the night you fly to the Far East and land in Vietnam the next morning with a flight change on the way. Vietnam is 6 hours ahead of Scandinavia’s time zone in winter and 5 hours ahead of summer.
Day 2 – Arrival Hanoi
You land in the morning in Hanoi – the city of the many lakes – and are met by your English-speaking local guide and driver and driven to your hotel where you have the rest of the day on your own and the opportunity for some well-deserved rest after a long journey.
Day 3 – Hanoi
After breakfast you meet up again with your guide & driver – the morning tour first goes to Badinh Square, where the city administration and embassies are gathered. Here you visit the beautiful Temple of Litterature which was built in 1070 and is dedicated to Confucius and you then continue to The Fine Arts Museum before it is time for a nice lunch in the picturesque old quarters around the lake in the heart of Hanoi. In the afternoon you walk around in these neighborhoods where the streets are named after what goods you sell, there is time for shopping and your own detours. In the evening there will be a “cyclo” trip to the theater where you will see a water puppet show and end with a good dinner at Wild Lotus café. ( F , L , M )
Day 4 – Everyday life in Vietnam
The family, the earth and the water form the core of Vietnam – this is what you are exploring today. You go to Bacninh, a province north of Hanoi, known for its exquisite handicrafts and rich traditions, and then visit the village of Battrang, famous for its porcelain and Donky Village, where it specializes in furniture manufacturing. You walk to the next adjacent village for lunch with a family in their beautiful 17th century farm. In the afternoon, the journey continues in the beautiful Vietnamese landscape to Ha Long Bay with its magnificent archipelago landscape where you check in at your hotel and have the evening on your own. ( F , L ) PS – For those who would rather stay on board a djonk out in the bay itself, we will of course arrange it!
Day 5 – The wonder of nature in Halong Bay
An unbelievably beautiful natural scenery awaits you where you sail out on a private Chinese tree dune among the three thousand sugar peak islands in limestone. Halong means “where the dragon dives into the sea” and here legends and myths flourish. The lunch on board consists of seafood, purchased and cooked directly on site and enjoyed in the shade of a sail. You continue to cruise around in this unique archipelago which is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. ( F , L )
Day 6 – Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City
You are now going back to Hanoi to fly to Sagion – Ho Chi Minh City. You land at lunchtime and head towards the hotel inside the city itself. On the way you stop to see the former presidential palace, perhaps best known from the pictures when tanks stormed the building during the last days of the Vietnam War. Together with your guide, take a walk in the city center to see the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral and the old post office designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel and end the day in the crowd at Ben Than market before heading to your hotel and checking in. ( F )
Day 7 – Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Monastery
After early breakfast, the journey goes southwest to the Cu Chi tunnels. With its 30-kilometer-long intricate system of tunnels, you get an insight into what it was like during the war. Originally built as a defense against the French but also used in the war against the United States. On the way back you stop for a visit to see how to make local crispy rice cakes and hopefully get a taste. At 12 you visit the colorful and impressive cathedral where the Cao Dai religion is headquartered. The faith is a mixture of Taoism, Confucianism, Catholicism and Buddhism and they worship, among others, Jeanne d’Arc and Emile Zola. Lunch is served at a local restaurant. The evening is on its own with time for both shopping and dinner. ( F , L )
Day 8 – Mekong
Early in the morning you have breakfast and check out from the hotel. Depart for Cai Be – here you change to a boat and start exploring the Mekong River – the river of the nine dragons. Here you meet one of the most densely populated and fertile areas on our earth. Floating markets and river orchards are among the highlights of the day in the Mekong Delta. You have lunch at a beautiful Indochinese villa – here the traditional “elephant ear fish” is served and then the tour continues on rivers and goes deeper into the delta itself, under bridges into winding canals. You see life by the river and traditional houses built of wood and palm leaves. From Cai Lay you continue the country road to Can Tho where you stay tonight. ( F , L )
Day 9 – Mekong – Phan Thiet
Another early morning, breakfast and so on to experience the floating market Cairang on the Haugiang River – you take the opportunity to cross further along some of the smaller canals before you get off at Ninkhieu pier for a walk around Can Tho. The life of the people is lively and exciting, by the river there are markets for both food and crafts. You will also visit the city’s commercial center as well as the Khmer pagoda before eating a local lunch and continuing the journey towards Phan Thiet. ( F , L )
Day 10-13 – Sun & bath in Phan Thiet
There is a small beach in the town of Phan Thiet but it is to Mui Ne you go to enjoy your beach holiday. Mui Ne is located about 7 kilometers from Phan Thiet and is characterized by a lively main street and the long dunes. In Mui Ne there are also hotels in all price ranges and categories and in addition to sun & swimming and golf you can rent bikes and enjoy the contrast between city and countryside or go on an exciting ride across the dunes in a sand buggy. ( F )
Day 14 – Phan Thiet – Ho Chi Minh CityThere is plenty of time to enjoy the beach and sea before it’s time to head back to Ho Chi Minh City and start the journey home to Scandinavia again. (F)Day 15 – Homecoming Scandinavia
Twelve nights in a middle class hotel