Day 1: Friday, April 8th (D)
Upon arrival at Noi Bai airport, you will be welcome and picked up by our guide and driver then transfer to hotel, Free at leisure. Enjoy dinner with Vietnamese Cuisine at Spices restaurant in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi.
Vietnamese culinary tradition redefined with French flair. Enjoy views of the lush garden courtyard and swimming pool. Embark on an adventure of the palette at Spices Garden with the exotic flavours from Hanoi’s bustling cuisine, with “pho” noodle soup, tender spicy barbequed pork, exquisite seafood and the freshest of garden vegetables, spices and herbs.
Overnight in Hanoi in a Deluxe room at the Hotel D’ Opera
Hanoi is an enchanting city with hundreds of serene lakes, scenic boulevards, a colonial heritage and communities with histories that go back over a thousand years. Located in the heart of Hanoi, the hotel is within walking distance of several city attractions, such as the Hanoi Opera House, the city’s Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
Day 2: Saturday, April 9th (B/L)
This morning your guide and driver will transfer you 40’ to Nom Village. This ancient and quaint rural village is a gem for cultural and historical experiential appreciation; a wonderful example of a village in Vietnam’s northern delta that follows traditional structural layout. Highlights cover a spectrum of interests; time with the villagers and learn about their personal and village stories, choose from ten ancient houses and seven places of worship, understand and see the typical village layout (communal house, market, entrance gate, pond, wet market, and stone bridge). As a popular spot, if you are fortunate you may even catch a glimpse of a Vietnamese movie being filmed. Then drive back Hanoi to enjoy lunch at local restaurant before explore Hanoi City by Vespa.
Explore the charming city of Hanoi, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes from the back of a Vespa scooter. Visit the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument of marble and granite built to house the preserved body of beloved revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, affectionately known to the Vietnamese as “Uncle Ho”. Tour the One Pillar Pagoda, a Buddhist temple built in 1049 of wood in the shape of a lotus blossom and set on a single stone pillar, considered by many to be one of Vietnam’s most iconic pagodas. Visit Ho Chi Minh’s House nearby, a simple wooden house in a tranquil setting where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Continue on to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century.
Enjoy the Vespa ride back to the city center to visit the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake (literally, “Lake of the Returned Sword”) named after a magical sword once used by a legendary Vietnamese emperor to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty.
Conclude the tour with a visit to the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.
You can also shopping in Silk Street after the tour. Then return to hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi. Hotel D’ Opera
Day 3: Sunday, April 10th (B/L/D)
Depart Hanoi on a 5.5hr drive to Sapa via the Noi Bai – Lao Cai expressway. Enjoy views of rice paddies, village homes, and misty mountains along the way. After checking in to your hotel, have lunch at Red Dzao, a local restaurant serving typical Sapa cuisine. In the afternoon, enjoy a light trek to discover a quaint hill tribe village near Sapa, including the different traditions, cultures and costumes of two minority groups. From Sapa, begin trekking downhill to Ta Phin Village. If your visit is between May and October, it will coincide with the local planting and harvest time, a chance to see the local farmers in action. Explore Ta Phin Village, home to the ethnic groups of the Black H’mong and Red Dzao who have been living in harmony in this village for generations despite having different customs, cultures and dress.
Transfer back to hotel and stay in a Classic room at the
Hotel De La Coupole Sapa
Welcome to an enchanting mix of haute couture and hill tribe style at Hotel de la Coupole where we bring you a nostalgia of the French Indochine era. Immerse in an authentic Vietnamese experience punctuated by picturesque beauty and cultural diversity. Hotel de la Coupole opened in December 2018, ushers in a new Golden Age for luxury travel in this once-forgotten mountain retreat. It’s mystical/magical and utter delightful.
Day 4: Monday, April 11th (B/L/D)
Depart Sapa on an 8km (5mi) drive to the start of the O Quy Ho Mountain Pass along the Hoang Lien Son mountain range with several stops for photos of stunning Mount Fansipan and Sin Chai Valley.
Turn and follow a narrow tarmac road, passing forests and waterfalls before arriving at the Ban Khoang Commune, home to the Black H’mong and Red Dzao ethnic groups.
Walk to explore this remote village for an overview of local life.
Then drive to the Ta GiangPhinh Valley, inhabited by the Black H’mong who live in several hamlets along a peaceful stream.
Enjoy lunch on the banks of the stream, followed by a 2hr walk through wild and unspoiled scenery with imposing mountains and picturesque terraced fields. Observe the local villagers engaging in their daily activities including ploughing, harrowing, harvesting and handicrafts. Mid-afternoon, meet the car and return to Sapa. Then transfer to Lao Cai train station for night train back to Hanoi.
Victoria Express Train
Reviving the Golden Age of Travel, the stylish, Indochina-inspired Victoria Express Train is all about a restful 8-hour overnight journey between Lao Cai, and Hanoi, helping guests arrive refreshed and well rested to continue their journey through Vietnam.
Day 5: Tuesday, April 12th (B/L/D)
Upon arrival Hanoi station, you will rest and get breakfast before depart for taking the new highway to Got Ferry Terminal, Cat Hai Town, Haiphong City (arrive about 11:30). You will travel on the longest bridge in Southeast Asia and be greeted at our lounge before boarding.
12:15 Board the Heritage Cruises boat and enjoy a welcome drink as you receive a cruise briefing, safety instructions and check in to your suite. You’ll be staying in a Delta suite with an ocean-view balcony complete with sunbeds. Our lunch will be served at L’Indochine Restaurant.
12:40 Cruise to Da Chong islet, where you will see a heritage lighthouse built by the French more than 100 years ago. After lunch, cruise to Gia Luan Lagoon where limestone karst formations rise out of the sea. This quiet bay is untouched and remote, as not many other ships visit.
15:00 The cruise vessel approaches the Ba Trai Dao or Three Peach beaches in Lan Ha Bay, a natural frontier between the provinces of Halong and Haiphong. This secret hideaway has beaches, caves and coves, plus the spectacular natural beauty of about 400 islands. Guests can try kayaking or simply swim in the clear waters of the bay, or remain on board for a massage treatment, for an additional charge.
17:30 Back on Heritage Cruises, enjoy life aboard the vessel or in your suite, and with cocktail in hand watch the sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin. Activities include afternoon tea and wine tasting, and the chef will lead a Vietnamese cookery class.
19:30 A memorable dining experience will be offered at the restaurant, with local food in an intimate and romantic setting.
21:30 Enjoy evening views of the bay at the bar on the top deck. Try your hand at squid fishing, or watch a movie in the restaurant. The bars are open until late.
Heritage Cruises introduced the first Vietnamese boutique cruise on the Red River and the Gulf of Tonkin. Their fleet of vessels combines classic elegance with comfort, showcasing the country’s history, art, cuisine and culture. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Leonardo da Vinci’s quote captures Heritage Cruises’ vision and philosophy perfectly: the key principle behind every project is a devotion to simplicity, heritage, and boutique with product authenticity.
Day 6: Wednesday April 13th (B/Br)
6:00 Start the day with a session of Vovinam (a Vietnamese Martial Art) on the sundeck, followed by a light breakfast. Then take the bamboo boats to explore both the Dark and Bright Cave.
9:30 Return to the ship for checkout.
10:00 Enjoy brunch while cruising back to harbour.
11:35 Return to Got Harbour and Departure to Hanoi airport for flight to Danang.
Upon arrival in Danang, pick up and transfer to Hoi An. Free time at leisure and overnight in Hoi An.
Check into a Deluxe Room at the Royal Hotel Hoi An
Right next to the majestic Old Quarter of Hoi An and bordered by the tranquil Thu Bon River, Hotel Royal Hoi An, MGallery is the latest gem on the crown jewel of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hotel Royal Hoi dazzles the eye with elegant decorations, intuitive design and a fascinating love story that dates back centuries. In a skillfully balanced setting, evoking Japanese and Vietnamese cultures, the hotel displays its precious colors. Featuring modern and artistic facilities ranging from luxurious rooms and suites as well as two signature restaurants, a charming Woosah Spa, and two stunning swimming pools.
Day 7: Thursday April 14th (B/L)
AM: Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An known then as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port, attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognized for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past.
Hoi An’s narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour of its many atmospheric sights including: the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, first built in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its intricate woodcarvings. Plus, we’ll visit a colorful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including Vietnamese silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.
Following lunch at Cargo Club restaurant, you will transfer to Four Season – The Nam Hai resort and enjoy a 90-minute massage at the resort’s spa.
Choose one of four massage services included such as Earth Energies, Hot Stone, a Vietnamese Massage or an Aromatherapy massage.
Dinner tonight is on your own.
Overnight at our hotel. Royal Hotel Hoi An
Day 8: Friday April 15th (B)
Free at leisure to explore Hoi An Ancient town and overnight in Hoi An It’s time to fill our suitcases with delightful treasures, silk, silver jewelry, lanterns, and much more!
Overnight Royal Hotel Hoi An
Day 9: Saturday April 16th (B/L/D)
After breakfast at hotel, you will then transfer to Danang airport for flight to HoChiMinh City. Check into hotel.
Upon arrival, pick up and transfer to city centre for lunch.
Following lunch at a nice restaurant, you will start with a visit to the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of French architect Foulhoux, it is the creation of a unique vaulted ceiling with wrought iron beams and columns reminiscent of industrial architecture, which is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks. Stop for a chat with Mr. Duong (if available), who enjoys local notoriety for his professional love-letter skills.
Walk along Dong Khoi street, formerly la rue Catinat and pay a visit to Gialong Palace – Ho Chi Minh City Museum for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history lessons. Continue to ‘Le Loi Street to meet a local artisan who specialises in traditional engravings.
Next, stroll through the old central market (our vehicle will be available) before arriving at the city’s oldest colonial-era apartment, built in 1886, and see what the young creative Vietnamese are up to with their funky boutiques and coffee shops. Sit down at one of the stylish coffee shops and interact with a local resident who moved here in 1975.
Leave the compound and have a look at the building on the other side, which used to be ‘Banque de l’Indochine (Indochina Bank) during the 1920s. It’s a stunning example of Indochinois east/west fusion style of architecture that this area is known for.
After this last stop, head to Saigon Opera House to see an A O Show which is a combination of arts highlighting the peaceful country life and poetic scenery of Vietnam. The show is special in the way it contains episodes of Vietnamese traditional folk games, dances and circus acts performed against a background of traditional and modern music and artistic lighting. Bamboo pipes and baskets are used throughout the performance as set decorations and traditional daily activities of villagers and festive celebrations are demonstrated by performers and musicians in farmers’ clothing.
After the show, enjoy Vietnamese cuisine in a special restaurant.
Transfer back to your deluxe room at the hotel Hotel De Art Saigon.
The Hôtel des Arts Saigon, MGallery takes you on a journey back in time to the Vietnam of the 1930s, Hôtel des Arts Saigon invites guests to relive the romance of this bygone era while luxuriating in all the comforts of the 21st century. Combining the classical charm of French Indochina with a sense of timeless chic, the hotel is as much an art museum as a 5-star hotel in Saigon.
Once inside, guests can peruse the owner’s personal collection of paintings and antiques, which adorn every wall and hall of this distinctive establishment.
With its exceptional customer experience, world class accommodation and luxury offerings, Hôtel des Arts Saigon is honored to have the prestigious title “Leading Lifestyle Hotel in Asia” by World Travel Awards, Luxury Boutique Hotel and ‘Luxury Architecture Design Hotel in Southeast Asia by World Luxury Hotel Awards, and Luxury Best Traditional Hotel by Luxury Travel Guide Awards for its distinctive modern romantic design and unique bespoke services.
Day 10: Sunday April 17th (B/D)
Free at leisure – time for some last minute shopping in the bustling city of Saigon.
Enjoy our celebratory farewell dinner tonight – alas, time to pack our suitcases for our journey home, hearts filled with travel stories to share for life.
Overnight Hotel Des Arts Saigon
Day 11: Monday April 18th (B)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before you depart for your flight home. Our driver will take you to the airport for your return flights.
GG2P always reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
NOTE -> Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all cafés and restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.