Day 1: Arrival - Hanoi (D)
Arrive in Hanoi, the gracious capital of Vietnam. Transfer to your hotel, followed by a tour briefing. Tonight you will dine at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi city tour (B, L)
An early start to this morning’s cooking class as the chef takes you to a local market to purchase your ingredients. Return to the hotel’s kitchen to learn how to prepare some popular Vietnamese dishes then enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch. In the afternoon we’ll visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter to see the mausoleum, visit the humble house on stilts from which Ho Chi Minh ruled Vietnam until his death in 1969. We’ll also view the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Presidential Palace, and One Pillar Pagoda. This evening dine at Hoa Sua, a splendid restaurant that reflects Hanoi’s French culinary past. It is run by orphans and has one of the best pastry shops in Hanoi. Tonight, see Hanoi’s famous Water Puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong bay
An early start this morning as we journey east (approximately 170km, or 3 hours) to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay. En route pass fields of busy workers farming their rice using traditional methods of cultivation. Halong Bay achieved international fame as a key location in the French film Indochine starring Catherine Deneuve. The bay has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries however and continues to capture the imagination of visitors. On arrival, transfer to the nearby port for a magical time aboard your boat cruising around the bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that jut out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. We explore its caves and admire its beauty and scale before stopping at one of the many secluded bays for a refreshing swim. We also take the opportunity to enjoy a fresh seafood lunch on board our boat. Late afternoon travel back to Hanoi for a free evening. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 4: Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh city (B, L)
This morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s commercial capital and a city of extraordinary energy. Nowhere is Vietnam’s rush to modernise more visible. This afternoon begin a walking tour of Saigon’s famous and historic city landmarks. The tour will take you through the heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), past the Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh Square, Municipal Theatre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Following a tour of the Reunification Palace (formerly the Presidential Palace) and War Remnants Museum, drive to Cholon, the Chinatown district of the city. Visit the enormous Binh Tay Wholesale market, with its beehive of stores hawking everything under the sun before visiting the ornate Thien Hau temple, dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city.
Day 5: Cooking class & Cu Chi Tunnels
This morning we take a cooking class at the Vietnam Cookery Center. The class is designed to be easy, fun but also comprehensive. Participants will have the opportunity to sample their own creations. After lunch head out to Cu Chi. The Cu Chi tunnel network was established as a means of waging guerrilla war against superior French and later American firepower. The network stretches over 250km and extends to three levels underground providing a remarkable insight into the method and determination of communist forces during the Vietnam War. For those wanting to discover the local nightlife, Saigon should have something for everyone.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh city - Depart
Free untill transfer to TAN SON NHAT airport for flying to your next destionation.
End of services. Our staff will give you the warmest goodbye and hope to see you again.