Caves & Countryside - Sun N' Sea Tours

Basic Information

14 days, 13 nights
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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Southern, Central & Northern Vietnam

Overview

Caves & Countryside

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Sai Gon
Day 2 CUCHI tunnels by speedboat & SAIGON “Old & New” city tour
Day 3 SAIGON, DANANG, HOIAN; walking tour     
Day 4 HOIAN; day free  
Day 5 HOIAN, DANANG, HUE 
Day 6 HUE; day out with highlights  
Day 7 HUE, DONG HOI, PHONG NHA  
Day 8 PHONG NHA; National Park & caves
Day 9 PHONG NHA, DONG HOI, HANOI 
Day 10 HANOI; city highlights  
Day 11 HANOI, HOA LU/TRANG AN 
Day 12 NINH BINH, HALONG bay , ME CUNG CAVE 
Day 13 HALONG BAY   
Day 14 Halong, Hanoi, departure

Day 1 Arrive Sai Gon

Upon your arrival in Saigon you'll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel where the remainder of your day is at leisure.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh

Day 2 CUCHI tunnels by speedboat & SAIGON “Old & New” city tour

Morning, we take the journey out of the city centre to the Cu Chi regions, where you will visit the vast underground network of tunnels built first as a defence against the French, and later expanded during the American war. It was from here that the North Vietnamese waged their guerrilla warfare and you will marvel at their ingenuity and resilience. See secret trapdoors, underground kitchens, living areas and meeting rooms. The more adventurous may explore the deeper second, and even third level tunnels. For those preferring to remain above ground, there is ample opportunity to view excavated areas from above. 

Afternoon, set off to tour some of Saigon’s highlights. Your guide will be happy to personalise your programme, but we particularly recommend certain sites; the Reunification Palace, formerly South Vietnam's Presidential Palace, was built in the 1960s and remains largely untouched since the day Saigon finally fell to North Vietnamese troops in 1975. Others offer visitors a sense of the region’s French Colonial past; Notre Dame Basilica was built in the late 1800s, and the pink neoclassic confection that is Saigon Central Post Office was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself.

We then ontinue to Cho Lon, which has been HCMC’s Chinatown since 1778, followed by a visit to Quan Am Pagoda, a Chinese style Buddhist pagoda built during the 19th century, with beautifully decorated interiors. As you explore Chinatown, you will see all manner of goods on sale, from dragon artwork, masks and pet fish, to sacks of rice, fabric and cooking utensils…….Leave Chinatown for newer developing areas, observing a visual feast of old and new architecture side by side, before a drive by what was once known as the “Southern stomach” - specifically, the city’s largest rice market, founded by the Chinese in the 18th century.

Ho Chi Minh Cu Chi
Ho Chi Minh
Breakfast, lunch
SAIGON -> CUCHI ~ 1.5-hour riding (speedboat)

Day 3 SAIGON, DANANG, HOIAN; walking tour     

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Danang. Upon arrival, and having been met by your guide, drive south to Hoi An. If you wish to, there will be time to visit Danang's excellent Cham Museum, containing the finest collection of Cham sculptures on display anywhere in the world. You can also stop at the sacred hill known as the Marble Mountain which contain dozens of Buddhist shrines, as well as the nearby Non Nuoc Beach; popular with American GI's on R & R during the Vietnamese-American war.

Drive the final 25 minutes to Hoi An where, having checked in at your hotel, you will join your guide for a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with touring the old market, visit popular sites such as the 16th Century Japanese Bridge and some of the town's important temples. You will also learn about some of the dishes that make Hoi An's cuisine so famous throughout Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Da Nang Hoi An
Hoi An
Breakfast, lunch
SAIGON -> DANANG ~ 1.15mns flight 

Day 4 HOIAN; day free  

Day free to stroll the town on your own.
Hoi An
Hoi An
Breakfast

Day 5 HOIAN, DANANG, HUE 

Your morning is at leisure in Hoi An…….Afternoon departure for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Your scenic route passes through Danang before climbing over Hai Van Pass (Ocean Cloud Pass) and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. 

Late afternoon, we will visit the residence of Pham Ba Vinh and his wife, Ton Nu Cam Tu. Mr Vinh is of royal heritage and during your visit to the delightful Tha Om Garden House. Tha Om Garden House offers an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy traditional Vietnamese hospitality in the surrounds of a fully-working and functioning replica of a 19th century Hue residence. Like many of Hue's homes, the structure is built on high foundations with low, dipping roofs due to the historical problem of flooding in the area. Enjoy a traditional dinner before returning to your hotel in the late evening.

Hoi An Da Nang Hue
Hue
Breakfast, dinner
HOIAN -> DANANG -> HUE ~ 2.5-hour driving 

Day 6 HUE; day out with highlights  

A perfect way to see many of Hue’s highlights without getting caught up with the crowds. Your day begins by setting out from your hotel to the area formerly known as the ‘New City’, before crossing the famous Truong Tien Bridge, built by Gustave Eiffel, over to the “Old City”. Visit the heavily bombed remains of the Imperial Citadel, built along the lines of Beijing’s Forbidden City and from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. Continue to the Thien Mu Pagoda, once at the pagoda - perhaps Hue’s most famous religious site - explore the gardens and the distinctive seven-storey octagonal tower. Return to Hue, we stop at the elaborate mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh, two of the eight Nguyen dynasty tombs to be found along the banks of the Perfume River. Considered the most impressive of the bunch, both are extravagant complexes of pavilions, temples, courtyards and lotus-filled lakes…..Having lunch and returning to your hotel and the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Hue
Hue
Breakfast, lunch

Day 7 HUE, DONG HOI, PHONG NHA  

Morning departure from Hue, journeying north along the 'Highway of No Joy' to the town of Quang Tri where some of the heaviest battles of the American War took place. Stop at a bullet ridden church and at the remains of the Quang Tri Citadel. Visit Dong Ha town before continuing on Highway 9 in the direction of neighbouring Laos, you will find well-preserved tunnels at Vinh Moc where guerrilla fighters lived and planned attacks.

Local villages were essentially shifted 30 metres underground and around 60 families lived in these tunnels, with space for cooking, sleeping and even dedicated health care areas. The Vinh Moc tunnels are not as compact as the famous Cu Chi tunnels in the south, making it a more comfortable experience for taller westerners! Continue on to the coastal town of Dong Hoi before arriving in the late afternoon at Phong Nha, the gateway to the National Park. After checking in to your hotel the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Hue Quang Tri Quang Binh Dong Hoi Phong Nha
Phong Nha
Breakfast
HUE -> DONG HOI -> PHONG NHA ~ 4-hour driving  

Day 8 PHONG NHA; National Park & caves

Take a morning drive along Victory Road 20 - formerly part of the ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’ – stopping to visit the memorial temple at Hang 8 Co. The temple is dedicated to the North Vietnamese volunteers who lost their lives maintaining the trail during the Vietnamese-American War.

Continue onto the largest and most impressive cave in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park: Hang Thien Duong, or Paradise Cave. Pass along the raised wooden walkway that runs into and through the cave, to witness the astonishing stalactites and stalagmites that are illuminated by artificial lighting. 

Your cave exploration continues with a visit to Hang Toi, or Dark Cave, rediscovered and mapped by the British Cave Research Association in the early 1990’s and open to tourists since May 2011. The cave has deliberately had electricity and lighting withheld, creating the perfect environment as a training cave for those taking the week long expedition into the nearby, record breaking, Son Doong Cave.

Having been fitted out with headlights and necessary caving equipment, you will kayak for approximately 15 minutes to the entrance of the cave where you leave your kayak and journey through the cave on foot. As you follow sandy walkways through the cave at times you may be wading through water. On exiting the cave you will start kayaking the clear waters of the Chay River, taking time to soak up the scenery as you paddle around.

Quang Binh Phong Nha
Phong Nha
Breakfast

Day 9 PHONG NHA, DONG HOI, HANOI 

In the morning, take a scenic boat trip along the Son River to visit the Phong Nha Cave (wet cave), from which the name to the whole cave system derived. Keep a look out for its distinctive rock formations such as Lion and Buddah. A stop will also be made at the dry cave, so named because it has no underground river…..Return to your hotel and free at leisure till our drive back the town for night train heading to Hanoi.  
Quang Binh Phong Nha Ha Noi
on local train
Breakfast
DONG HOI -> HANOI by local train: 18:45 – 04:50 (+1)

Day 10 HANOI; city highlights  

We arrive Hanoi early in the morning. Check in hotel and rest after long journey. 

Afternoon, we will tour around Hanoi. Your guide will be happy to personalise your programme, however we would recommend sites such as the Temple of Literature is a highlight worth lingering over. Built in 1070, this complex of atmospheric halls, pavilions and courtyards is dedicated to Confucius and scholars; the very popular Ethnology Museum; Women’s Museum or the central Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton by American POW's during the war. A walking tour through the Old Quarter will provide another fascinating insight into the character and history of the city, before moving on to Dong Xuan Market with its bustling stalls and brisk trading of day-to-day local goods….Alternatively your guide will be happy to discuss alternative places of interest that you may wish to consider.

Ha Noi
Ha Noi
Breakfast

Day 11 HANOI, HOA LU/TRANG AN 

After breakfast, we leave the hotel and drive South to Ninh Binh’s region and stop first at Van Long where we will travel through and explore a nice secluded rural area on an ox-cart. The short journey takes us around to witness the daily life of locals, between pieces of land and waterways. Enjoy a relaxing lunch nearby. 
Rest of the day is to visit the ancient temples of Hoa Lu imperial capital. Wandering around and learn more about that piece of Vietnam’s History. Get out and we hop on local rowing sampan and venture on a less traveled canal of the region. It goes along the Trang An region and through 3 caves. About an hour to reach the pier. The bikes are ready there for an easy-paced 2-wheel exploration. We stop en-route to visit Bich Dong pagodas and keep cycling on small backroads to Tam Coc. Check-in at our lodge.

Ha Noi Ninh Binh Trang An
Tam Coc
Breakfast, lunch
HANOI -> NINH BINH ~ 2.5-hour driving 

Day 12 NINH BINH, HALONG bay , ME CUNG CAVE 

A three day, two night cruise on LaFairy Sails is the perfect choice for you to see the magnificent off-the-beaten-track World Heritage site - Halong Bayand to also get a close look at the area’s unique and spectacular limestone formations and caves. You will  visit white sandy beaches, hidden caves, go kayaking, and just relax, all while enjoying the luxury of your comfortable, fully-equipped cruising boat with its well-trained staff and delicious meals.

12:00 – 12:30 Embark the LaFairy Sailsat Tuan Chau International harbor. Enjoy welcome drink, cruise  briefing & start cruising.
13:00 – 15:30 A sumptuous is served while cruising into the magnificentHalong Bay with its thousands of extraordinarily shaped limestone islands, considered by the heaven on the Earth.
15:30 – 17:00 Explore Lờm Bò area and be charmed by this outstanding masterpiece of Mother Nature. Visit Mê CungCave – one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay and climb up to see the panoramic view of the bay from above. 
17:00 – 19:00 Return to the LaFairy Sails for a Sunset party to admire the best moments of the day when the sun starts to set. Take pleasure in a fruit carving demonstration.
19:00 Savor a sparkling and dreamlike dinner on top deck under the light of a thousand stars in middle of the tranquil Bay with extremely delicious food and be awed by a fascinating fruit and vegetable carving show. Delight in traditional music performances. Afterwards, socialize with the artist, new friends and crew members, join squid fishing. Overnight on-board.

Ninh Binh Ha Long
Ha Long (on cruise)
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
NINH BINH ->HALONG ~ 3.5-hour driving 

Day 13 HALONG BAY   

06:30 Start your day with Tai Chi exercises or a photo hunt.
07:15 – 08:30 Enjoy breakfast in the fresh air and peaceful beauty of the Bay. Transfer to a Day Boat for a day cruise.
09:00 – 10:00 Go fishing with local fishermen and learn about traditional fishing methods. Explore Cửa Vạn Area by kayaking. Swimming and relaxing on the beach.
12:00 – 13:30 Return to the day boat. Enjoy lunch on-board.
13:30 – 15:30 Passing the Cửa Vạn fishing village to know  more a bout the local life of fishermen. Visit floating Pearl Farm and learn the technique for making high quality pearls. 
16:00 Cruise back to the LaFairy Sails.
19:00 Enjoy dinner on top deck. Overnight on-board

Ha Long
Ha Long (on cruise)

Day 14 Halong, Hanoi, departure

06:30 – 07:00 Start your new day with a Tai Chi session or a photo hunt.
07:15 – 07:45 Enjoy breakfast in the fresh air and peaceful beauty of the Bay. 
07:45 – 08:30 Visit Ti Tov Island for swimming in the emerald water Or trekking to the top of the island to take the breathtaking panorama view of the Bay.
08:30 – 09:00 Enjoy kayaking through the hidden beauty of the Bay.
09:45 – 10:15 Pack your luggage and check out of the cabin while cruising towards the harbor.
10:15 – 11:45 Join a cooking demonstration before enjoying an exceptional Buffet lunch.
12:00 – 12:30 Disembark and transfer to Hanoi for your onward flight.

Ha Long Ha Noi
Breakfast
HALONG -> HANOI ~ 3.5-hour driving 

Rates (per person in USD)

Accommodation 1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax or more
High season 2,977 1,746 1,552 1,441 1,375 1,331
Low Season 2,896 1,700 1,505 1,395 1,329 1,285
HIGH SEASON : OCT – DEC, 2016 & JAN – APR, 2017
LOW SEASON : MAY – SEP, 2017

ACCOMMODATION SELECTION: 
Saigon          : Silverland Sil hotel – Premium Deluxe
Hoian           : Hoian Chic Green Retreat – Double/Twin 
Hue              : Pilgrimage village Boutique resort – Deluxe
Phong Nha  : Phong Nha Lake house resort – Deluxe room
Hanoi           : Hanoi La Siesta hotel Trendy – Cozy Deluxe
Ninh Binh    : Tam Coc Garden – Superior room
Halong         : La Fairy Sails – Deluxe room

Policies

Inclusions
English speaking, local guide 
All accommodation listed in double/twin share with breakfast 
En-suite room on sharing Halong cruise 
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles 
Local train Dong Hoi to Hanoi, sharing the cabin of 4 berths  
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary 
Boat trip wherever it has 
All meals listed 
Government tax 

Exclusions
Visa 
International arrival & departure flight ticket and airport tax 
Domestic flights within Vietnam (on request ) 
Any meals not listed in the itinerary 
Drinks, other than water on activity days 
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tips…)
Peak-season surcharge & compulsory meals to be advised at the time of booking 
Travel insurance  & other services not listed in “inclusive”

Remarks
The itinerary is flexible, depending on arrival or departure flights of passengers 
Ground operator reserved the right to amend or adjust itinerary to match with real situation
The confirmation is subject to the availability at the time of booking 

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