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Mullingar Travel - Highlights of Vietnam - 10 Day Escorted Tour
Worldchoice Highlights of Vietnam 15th March, 2019 €2539 pps, single supplement €515...
Worldchoice Highlights of Vietnam
15th March, 2019
€2539 pps, single supplement €515 pp
- International flights & taxes with Emirates ex. Dublin
- 10 day fully escorted tour
- 8 nights in 4* hotel accommodation, 1 night cruise
- 2 internal flights
- Transport in air-conditioned vehicles
- Entrance fees
- Airport transfers
- Vietnamese visa for Irish passport holders
- Breakfast every day as well as some lunches & dinners
- Local English-speaking guides
Day 1 - Saigon
Day 2 - Cu Chi Tunnels & City Tour
Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as many locals still call it, is a city of extraordinary energy; it is Vietnam’s largest city and the country’s commercial capital. Nowhere is Vietnam’s rush to modernise more visible than in Saigon, yet despite this, the city is a friendly and welcoming place whilst still containing many reminders of its recent turbulent past. This morning drive out to the remarkable Cu Chi Tunnels located in an area known during the Vietnam War, as the ‘Iron Triangle’. Established as a means of waging guerrilla war against superior French (and later American) fire power; the tunnel network stretched over 250 kilometres (155 miles) and extended to three levels below ground and provides an insight into the method and determination of Communist forces during the war years. Spend a few hours exploring the various tunnels before returning to Saigon for lunch, where you must try Pho (pronounced ‘fur’), a mouth-watering Vietnamese noodle-soup which has become somewhat of a national dish, now enjoyed all over the world. After lunch, visit a few of central Saigon’s main landmarks and attractions including the moving War Remnants Museum, the impressive architecture of French-built Notre Dame Catholic Cathedral, Post Office, and Municipal Theatre. Stroll down nearby Dong Khoi Street filled with local boutiques, walk past Ho Chi Minh Square and the famous Rex Hotel. There’s no better way to end a day of sightseeing in Saigon than with a beer or cocktail in hand, as you watch the sun set over this historic city, looking down at the whirl of traffic below, from one of the city’s many hidden roof top bars favoured by your Tour Leader or local guide. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore. Indulge your tastebuds at either a fine-dining restaurant or pull up a stool at a street-side eatery and meet some local characters. Your local guide and tour leader will share their local favourite tips to help you explore the
city’s vibrant nightlife at your own pace. Breakfast included.
Day 3 - Mekong Delta
This morning travel south of Saigon to the Mekong Delta, known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. The delta is the most fertile region in the country and is the main producer of rice and tropical fruits for Vietnam. Once you arrive in the delta, transfer to your private boat to begin your exploration of the area, cruising along palm-fringed tributaries of the mighty Mekong River. Explore some of the regions narrow canals, and get a glimpse into the lives of the local people. Get real insights into the main local industries of the area including a visit a local factory to see bricks being hand-made the old-fashioned way using traditional kiln technique. Stop at a riverside coconut processing factory and in the home of a local family who weave mats using local materials. Feast on a delicious lunch featuring local specialties including Elephant Ear Fish. On your return from the Delta, make a brief stop at a Cao Dai pagoda, a uniquely Vietnamese sect that is a dizzying combination all the world’s great religion’s including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. You will arrive back in Saigon in the late afternoon where the evening is free for you to explore and discover the city’s countless dining options at your own pace. Breakfast and lunch included.
Day 4 - Saigon to Hue
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Hue. Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue was the imperial capital during the Nguyen Dynasty and is the country’s centre of Mahayana Buddhism and scholarship. Hue was the setting for some of the Vietnam War’s most brutal fighting, and the city provides a unique window into Vietnam’s culture and its complex past. Begin your exploration of Hue by visiting the elaborate tomb of the former emperor, Tu Duc. Explore the grounds of this large complex, and learn a little bit about the history of this colourful period. Next, visit the imposing Citadel and Imperial Palace, the impressive home of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty, who lived here with their families between 1802 and 1945. Much of the Citadel was destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968 but since then has gradually been restored to its beauty. After time exploring the Citadel, visit the much revered and tranquil Thien Mu Pagoda - Hue’s oldest and most beautiful religious monument situated near the banks of the Perfume River. End the day with a visit to a unique organisation called Spiral Foundation where you’ll meet workers who have a disability. These workers will assist you to create your own take-home souvenir, which are made from 100% recycled materials. The S.P.I.R.A.L. Foundation's operations are inspired by the principle of "aid from within the country". Since 1999, the Foundation has financed humanitarian aid projects with proceeds generated from the income of the handicraft workshops. All workshop employees are paid a fair, hourly rate instead of on per-piece basis. All the revenue raised from handicraft sales are returned to fund primary health care, medical, and educational projects. The work gives the employees a great sense of pride, knowing they’re helping and sustaining others who are even less fortunate than themselves. Breakfast included.
Day 5 - Hue to Hoi An
This morning, drive south to the beautiful town of Hoi An via the spectacular Hai Van Pass (meaning ocean and clouds in Chinese). This drive is considered one of the most beautiful in Vietnam and takes you through a combination of both rural and coastal settings. The World Heritage listed old part of Hoi An town was Vietnam’s most active trading centre over many centuries and has been largely preserved. The architecture of the city reflects the influence of Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, French and British traders. Hoi An is also the town where French Missionary Alexandre De Rhodes introduced Catholicism to Vietnam as well as the Romanised script that has become the standard Vietnamese script. Arrive in Hoi An in time for lunch before exploring the historic centre on a walking tour in the afternoon. Visit an old merchant house, a Chinese assembly hall and the famous Japanese Covered Bridge. Check-in to your centrally-located hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening exploring Hoi An independently. Breakfast included.
Day 6 - Hoi An
Hoi An is famous for its clothing tailors and distinct local cuisine. You have an entire day free to explore the town’s many clothing shops, colourful fish market and river life. Alternatively spend the day enjoying the nearby beach or simply relax by the pool at your resort. Have a good night’s sleep for an early start tomorrow morning. Breakfast included.
Day 7 - Hoi An to Halong Bay
An early airport transfer and flight takes you north to either Haiphong or Hanoi (arrival airport is subject to flight schedules). On arrival, venture north-east to Halong City, the gateway to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural landscape. En-route to the bay, catch the first glimpses of karst-limestone-mountains appear in the distance as Halong Bay draws nearer. Halong Bay’s beauty received international exposure as the prime location in the 1992 French film ‘Indochine’ starring Catherine Deneuve. The bay has assumed an important position in Vietnamese legend for many centuries, with stories of a giant mythical dragon residing in the bay with the limestone peaks representing the dragon’s spine. These legends continue to capture the imagination of locals and visitors alike. On arrival at the port, board your deluxe Indochina Sails junk boat, your home for the night, and begin your exploration of the bay. On board, feast on a fresh seafood lunch, soaking in the beautiful surrounds. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 8 - Halong Bay to Hanoi
Today, rise early to make the most of Halong Bay’s stunning scenery. After a light breakfast, continue your exploration and discover what makes this area so unique. On the cruise back to Halong City, enjoy a tasty brunch. This afternoon travel to Hanoi. Take a walking tour of the Hanoi backstreets to visit some local markets and specialty food stores. You will have the opportunity to try some local dishes and in the process learn more about daily life and culinary customs and habits of the Vietnamese people. Sample “Che” a local dessert served with crushed ice, and made with sugar cane, green bean, black bean, glutinous rice, and lotus seed. Perhaps try Banh Tom or “shrimp cake”, a local Hanoi specialty, sold in a small tucked away food alley. We make a fun stop at a local ‘Bia Hoi’ establishment. Available throughout Vietnam but originating from Hanoi, these small roadside cafes are not just about beer but are a social outlet for many Hanoians. These local establishments offer a wonderful opportunity to interact with the friendly and sometimes boisterous patrons! Afterward, sample a Hanoi specialty called “Banh Cuon”, a Vietnamese-style cannelloni, made with steamed rice pancake, filled with mince pork and crunchy black fungus pork, and served with fresh baby herbs and sweet and sour fish sauce, Yum! Brunch included.
Day 9 - Hanoi
Today’s exploration begins with a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter - 36 ancient streets where you can observe the daily bustle of life around the markets where peddlers continue to trade as they have done for centuries. Continuing, we visit the infamous Hoa Lo Prison Musuem, aka ‘Hanoi Hilton’ - Hanoi’s former central prison made famous first for the incarceration of the leaders of Vietnam’s National Liberation movement and later US Air force pilots shot down over North Vietnam. Drive across the city to Hanoi’s first university - the Temple of Literature - dating back to 1070. This historical centre of learning is now dedicated to Confucian worship. Later visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, starting at Ba Dinh Square, site of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and where Ho Chi Minh first declared the goal of attaining independence from French rule in 1945. Ho Chi Minh is arguably one of the great figures of 20th century history and the ‘father of modern Vietnam’. You’ll visit the humble House on Stilts where ‘Uncle Ho’, as he is affectionately known, led North Vietnam until his death in 1969. You’ll also visit the nearby Presidential Palace, and One Pillar Pagoda. This evening we’ve included a delicious group dinner at one of our favourite local restaurants, to celebrate the end of a memorable holiday in Vietnam. It’s a chance to farewell your fellow travellers and the new friends you’ve made during a memorable trip through Vietnam. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 10 - Depart Hanoi
Terms And conditions apply. Price is subject to change and availability. Itinerary is subject to change and availability.
To be booked before the 12th January 2019
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