February 21 to March 9, 2014
Note: It will be necessary to fly from the U.S. to Asia Feb. 19 to arrive in Hanoi Feb. 21. You will lose one day by crossing the International Date Line. Check with your travel agent.
Day 1: Friday, Feb 21: ARRIVAL IN HANOI
Arrive at Noi Bai airport. Picked up and transferred to Melia hotel. Free for leisure after long flights. Afternoon cycle ride through the old quarter of Hanoi. Evening introductions, briefing on what to expect during the tour, as well as conditions of nation and church in Vietnam. Jesuit Fr. Julio Giulietti, who lives in Vietnam, will speak to us. Dinner and a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake for those interested. Hoan Kiem Lake sits in the center of the city. (Dinner included.)
Day 2: Saturday, Feb 22: HANOI
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Day tour of Hanoi, including Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Vietnamese history and ethnic museums, local pagodas and Hoan Kiem lake at center of city. “Hanoi Hilton” optional. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 3: Sunday, Feb 23: HANOI – HALONG BAY
Bus to Halong Bay. Afternoon boat trip through the bay. Visits to some rock grottoes, caves and a floating village. Return to the wharf. Check in SAIGON HALONG HOTEL. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 4: Monday, Feb 24: HALONG BAY – HANOI – HUE
Bus back to Hanoi. Light lunch with Pho 24 noodle soup. Afternoon flight to Hue. (All in-country flights by jet airliners). Hue, located in the central of Vietnam, was the capital of the last Dynasty of Vietnam. Traditional Hue has preserved most of its historic, cultural, architectural and artistic values. Picked up and transferred to Imperial hotel. The Imperial Hotel Hue is nestled along the famous Perfume River, conveniently close to all the historical sites. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 5: Tuesday, Feb 25: HUE
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Tour Hue. Boat trip on Perfume River. Visit Tu Duc or Khai Dinh mausoleum, Thien Mu pagoda. Hue is the center of Vietnamese Buddhism and Vietnamese culinary arts. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 6: Wednesday, Feb 26: HUE – DANANG – HOI AN
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Bus drive to Danang with stopover on the top of the Hai Van pass for panoramic views. Drive along Highway One, “Street without Joy,” dubbed by the French for the many young soldiers who died in the First Indochina War. Continue to Hoi An. Check in at the Hoi An Vinpearl Hotel. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Days 7-9: Thursday, Feb 27 to Saturday, March 1: HOI AN
Buffet breakfast at hotel. Sightseeing to Marble Mountain and Marble Village where local people do their carvings on marble stones. The pace slows. Hoi An is the town where tailor-made clothes are made overnight. Visits to Hoi An old town, a center of Asian trade five centuries ago. (Note: lunch and dinner are served on day 7, while on days 8 and 9 guests eat on their own.)
Day 10: Sunday, March 2: HOI AN – NHA TRANG
Mass in Danang. You begin to understand regional differences in Vietnamese regional customs and regional Catholicism. Unlike central and southern Vietnam, northern Vietnam was closed to the outside world during Vatican II. Transferred to Danang airport for flight to Nha Trang. Picked up and transferred to Mia Beach Resort. (Breakfast and dinner included; lunch is on your own.)
Days 11-12: Monday, March 3 to Tuesday, March 4: NHA TRANG
Tour Cham towers, Vietnam’s largest Buddha, boat ride in bay, visit islands, optional mud baths, and beach and resort time for relaxation. Visit to villages in countryside. (Lunches are served for both day 11 and 12; dinner on day 11.)
Day 13: Wednesday, March 5: NHA TRANG – SAIGON
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Check into historic Rex Hotel. Tour of downtown Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Evening free for exploration. (Breakfast and dinner is included.)
Day 14: Thursday, March 6: SAIGON – MEKONG DELTA
Bus to My Tho for boat trip on the Mekong, stopping on islands where we will visit villages, pass through gardens of tropical fruit and bonsai and visit family factories making rice paper, local candies and brocade silk. Enjoy local folksongs performed with local instruments. After lunch continue to Can Tho, capital city in Mekong delta. Check into Victoria Riverside Resort. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 15: Friday, March 7: CAN THO
Morning boat cruise on the Mekong River to Cai Rang where you will enjoy the bustling floating market followed by visits to a noodle factory, ornamental plant, flower village, vegetable garden and fruit orchard. Lunch. Back to hotel. Afternoon available for personal relaxation. Dinner at your own. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 16: Saturday, March 8: CAN THO – SAIGON
Buffet breakfast at your hotel. Relaxing morning until 10:30 am when we drive back to Saigon. Stop at a Mekong rest stop for lunch. Arrive at your hotel by 4 pm. Dinner on your own; evening open. (Breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 17: Sunday, March 9: SAIGON – DEPARTURE
One person in single room: $5,520
Each person in shared room: $4,365
Tour price includes:
• All accommodations of 5-star hotels 16 nights, including one night bassac boat on the Mekong River.
• Transfers between airports and hotels by private bus.
• All ground transportation by private bus for all excursions and visits
• Private boat trip through Halong Bay.
• Private boat trip on Perfume River in Hue.
• Private boat trips in Mekong delta.
• All buffet breakfasts at hotels / resorts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners including 1 dinner with royal music in Hue.
• Two local tour guides for the trip.
• Tips for porters, bus drivers, assistants, boat crews, waiters.
• Local tour insurance.
• Three domestic flights in Vietnam
• Admission fees for sightseeing, visits, excursions.
• Pedicab through Hanoi.
• Departing gifts.
• Cold bottled water when touring.
• One drink of choice at each meal (beer or soft drinks).
• Arrangements for visa approval allowing entrance to Vietnam in Hanoi upon arrival.
• Tip for the main tour guide at end of trip.
• Lunches and dinners when designated.
• Extra optional programs or visits on free days.
• Mini bars in hotel rooms.
• Visa fees ($45 per person) paid in cash upon arrival in Hanoi. (One passport-type photo will be required upon arrival to be added to your entrance visa.)
Note: Trip subject to minor variations depending on local circumstances.
For more information, contact Tom Fox.
Tour Vietnam with NCR's Tom Fox
February 21 to March 9, 2014