Vietnam Northern Extension Tour Itinerary

DAY 1 – Sunday 21 August

Hoi AnThis we morning transfer to Ho Chi Minh airport for our flight to Da Nang, then travel south to Hoi An, a major trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries. After check in and lunch at the hotel, we take a walking tour through the UNESCO World Heritage listed old town of Hoi An where you will see traditional crafts, the Sa Huynh Museum with exhibitions from the early history of the town, the famous Japanese covered bridge dating back to 1593.  Perhaps you might like to take the opportunity to visit one of the many tailor shops to be measured for a suit or dress, or have shoes made by a cobbler. (B)

Overnight: Essence Hoi An Hotel, Hoi An

DAY 2 – Monday 22 August

Today we travel west of Hoi An to the ancient ruins of My Son from the Kingdom of Champa. The temples were constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by the kings of Champa and are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. The Viet Cong used My Son as a key base, which forced US bombing of the site leaving about 20 of the 70 structures intact. A major restoration project is underway. In 1999 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend this morning in My Son discovering the peaceful beauty of curious structures of the Cham minority. Return to Hoi An for lunch in a local restaurant, before a free afternoon for personal sightseeing or shopping. (B, L)

Overnight: Essence Hoi An Hotel, Hoi An

DAY 3 – Tuesday 23 August

Marble MountainLocated between Da Nang and Hoi An, overlooking the Eastern Sea, Marble Mountain is a cluster of 5 limestone and marble hills. Each are named after the five elements; metal, water, fire, wood and earth. The main Mountain of Water (Thuy Son) has many caves and pagodas dating from the early 17th century. After climbing up 150 steps you can enjoy a commanding view down the length of the beach and across the countryside. During the war in the 1960’s the Huyen Kong cave within Thuy Son mountain was the base for the Vietnamese revolutionaries. Following a tour of the city depart for Hue, via the spectacular Hai Van Pass. Arrive Hue in the afternoon and check in to the hotel. (B, L)

Overnight: Imperial Hue Hotel, Hue

DAY 4 – Wednesday 24 August

Dong BaToday we tour the former Imperial Capital of Hue. Visit the remarkable Citadel, with its temples, towers and residences. Severely damaged in fighting during the Tet Offensive in 1968, much restoration has been completed and the site makes a striking impression.  Later visit the Imperial Museum, the Minh Mang Tomb and the vibrant Dong Ba riverside market. Lunch at a pagoda. Remainder of the day free. (B, L)

Overnight: Imperial Hue Hotel, Hue

DAY 5 – Thursday 25 August

This morning drive north to Dong Ha, capital of Quang Tri Province. From there, we visit the Vinh Moc tunnel complex, where a whole community moved underground for refuge from the heavy bombing during the war. Return to Dong Ha via the crossing point on the Ben Hai River, at the 17th Parallel marking the original Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between North and South Vietnam. After lunch in Dong Ha, we travel west on Route 9 to visit the former Khe Sanh Combat Base. (B, L)

Overnight: Sai Gon – Dong Ha Hotel, Dong Ha

DAY 6 – Friday 26 August

phong-nha-4Today we take the road less travelled – the Ho Chi Minh Highway. The journey leads into the UNESCO World Heritage designated Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, containing the oldest karst mountain formations in Asia and famous for its stunning cave systems. After arrival there is time to explore the park at leisure. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Farm Stay, Phong Nha

DAY 7 – Saturday 27 August

This morning continue north to Vinh, with lunch en route. On arrival, we will visit Ho Chi Minh’s childhood village at Kim Lien, where we will see his former home and browse the memorabilia at the museum and the nearby store. We then check into our hotel in Vinh. (B, L)

Overnight: Phuong Dong Hotel, Vinh

DAY 8 – Sunday 28 August

ninh-binh-Vietnam-tour-promo-2014After breakfast travel the main coastal highway north, passing through Thanh Hoa to Ninh Binh, an area some describe as Ha Long Bay on land due to the dramatic limestone karsts looming out of the rice fields. This afternoon visit the Trang An Grottoes for a boat tour of the caves. This region is famous for goat so we will sample this delicacy at a local restaurant. (B, L)

Overnight: Ninh Binh Legend Hotel, Ninh Binh

DAY 9 – Monday 29 August

After breakfast, drive to Hanoi and check in to the hotel. After lunch, absorb some of the colour of the city with an electric cart ride through the chaotic streets of the Old Quarter. This is a great introduction to Vietnam’s capital city, which is teeming with motorbikes and fascinating sights of daily life. (B, L)

Overnight: Golden Silk Hotel, Hanoi

DAY 10 – Tuesday 30 August

Water-Puppets-Show-of-VietnamThis morning visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and his former home, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature and Hoa Lo prison (the “Hanoi Hilton”). Lunch will be served at Koto restaurant Free time in the afternoon, before an evening performance of the Water Puppets and dinner at a local restaurant concludes the day. (B, L, D)

Overnight: Golden Silk Hotel, Hanoi

DAY 11 – Wednesday 31 August

Today free at your leisure to explore the sights of Hanoi. (B)

Overnight: Golden Silk Hotel, Hanoi

DAY 12 – Thursday 01 September

After Breakfast, Departure Airport Transfer for your onward flight. (B)

Please note: Itinerary subject to change according to prevailing circumstances.