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The beauty of the landscapes and the richness of the culture make Vietnam an attractive destination in the eyes of international travellers. For culture lovers, every small moment of discovery is a step closer to understanding a new and different way of life. Scattered throughout the country, Vietnam's UNESCO Heritage Sites are jackpots for these moments of discovery. Each one promises exceptional beauty and remarkable insight into Vietnamese culture.
The highlights of this trip:
After breakfast, start a full day city tour to visit the capital of Vietnam. First visit to Temple of Literature – the Vietnam's first national university which was built in 1070 at the time of King Ly Thanh Tong. Continue to Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – a complex of architectural works built by kings during many historical periods and became the most important monument in the system of Vietnamese monuments.
Next attraction is Hoa Lo prison, built by the French in the late 1800s to house political prisoners resisting the French colonization. Finally, Ethnology Museum - offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam in an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country.
Transfer to your hotel and free time in the evening for personal exploration.
Pick up at hotel in Ha Noi, transfer to Hoa Binh with visit of Muong ethnic minority village on the way.
Hoa Binh province, approximately 75 km from Ha Noi, is home to several ethnic minorities, particularly the White Thai and Muong ethnic group. Their traditional stilt houses are large structures with palm leaf roofs and polished bamboo floors. The kitchen is located in the center of the house; the cooking as well as the weaving of the colorful tho cam, the material used to make their clothes, takes place there.
Arrive at Mai Chau valley, welcome by your local host in their traditional costume. Free time to enjoy a walk or bicycle ride around the village and admire the peaceful landscape of this countryside. Participate with your host to prepare for dinner.
After dinner, you will have a chance to take part in traditional dance performance of local people and drink special pipe-wine “Ruou Can” with them. Overnight in Mai Chau.
Depart Mai Chau for Son La with stop at Xa Linh (Sua) ethnic village of Flower H’mong. It is a village with the settlement of over 100 houses. Culturally, the H’mong people are one of the North Vietnam’s most interesting ethnic minorities and since the costume of the Flower H’mong people of Sua village is subtlety different from that of the Flower H’mong further north it is well worth making photos here. Lunch at local restaurant at Moc Chau town.
Visit several tea hill along the way, especially you can take a picture in the heart of “heart-shape” tea plantation at Moc Chau plateau. Continue road to Son La. Upon arrival Son La, visit Son La Prison. Although the original construction was partially demolished after the two wars, Son La Prison has still conserved major features of it, especially jail system and torturing facilities inside.
Check in at hotel. Overnight in Son La.
Departure to Dien Bien with a visit at Hin Thai village and Thuan Chau market. On the approach to Thuan Chau, large groups of ethnic people may be seen making their way to and from the market, laden with baskets of goods. Continue the road to Dien Bien via the most spectacular pass in Vietnam - Pha Din Pass which also called “the Heaven and the Earth” for its majestic beauty.
Stop at the General Vo Nguyen Giap’s underground headquarter during Dien Bien Phu campaign, you will visit the newly – rebuilt bunker of General Vo Nguyen Giap in the Muong Phang Forest.
Arrival in Dien Bien and check in at hotel. Overnight in Dien Bien.
A short visit to Dien Bien central market before visiting Dien Bien relic cluster including: Him Lam hill, A1 hill, Revolutionary Heroes’s Cemetery, Dien Bien Phu Historic Victory Exhibition Centre, General De Castries’s Bunker, Old Muong Thanh Bridge and Nam Rom river. After lunch, transfer to airport for flight direction to Ha Noi.
Arrive at Ha Noi, free time until time to transfer to train station for the overnight train to Dong Hoi.
Arrive in Dong Hoi early morning. Tour guide will pick up for visit Paradise Cave was discovered by scientists of the British Caving Research Association in 2005. It has a length of 31.4 km, and is the longest dry cave in Asia. After lunch, continue on a relaxing journey to visit the Phong Nha Cave by boarding a small boat on Son river.
Transfer to hotel and overnight at Dong Hoi.
After breakfast transfer for visit Vinh Moc Tunnels - a highly impressive complex of tunnels that were bomb shelters predominantly for civilians. More than 90 families disappeared into three levels of tunnels running for almost 2km, and continued to live and work while bombs rained down around them: kids attended school, women gave birth... The tunnels are an amazing achievement of human toil, engineering and perseverance.
17th parallel - Hien Luong Bridge - Ben Hai River: the boundary dividing Vietnam for 21 years, from 1954 to 1975. Hien Luong Bridge, Ben Hai is "historical witnesses" carry the pain of division cut the country, which has witnessed the mourning, grief, but incredibly heroic people's steadfast both sides of the South - North for the cause of national reunification struggle.
Continue to visit Truong Son National Martyrs Cemetery, Dakrong bridge, Rockpile hill and Khe Sanh combat base – one of the violent battles in Quang Tri. You’ll also see the remaining of an old airfield. Visit the museum of Ta Con airport to see the things in nature of the fierce war, and how hard Quang Tri people fight against the enemy.
Quang Tri citadel - The site became a memorial site where people can pay tribute to the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for national liberation. Bo De school was site remnants fierce days and nights in Quang Tri in 1972. Overnight in Quang Tri.
Then pay a visit at La Vang Holy Land – a very important place of pilgrimage of Catholics Vietnam. La Vang Holy was awarded by Vatican Holy as the Emirate Palace of La Vang Cathedral since 1961.
Head the road toward Hue and check in at hotel. Overnight at Hue.
After breakfast, take a morning boat trip in Huong river to visit Thien Mu pagoda, the pagoda itself was originally founded in 1601, and has become one of the most famous structures in Vietnam, then visit Minh Mang and Khai Dinh Tomb.
After lunch, visit the Imperial Citadel which was mostly constructed in 1802 by Gia Long known as the first Emperor who established the Nguyen dynasty.
In the evening, enjoy royal dinner style with Hue traditional music “Nhã nhạc” while dressing like a royal member during your meal.
Depart Hue to Hoi An over Hai Van pass, a spectacular stretch of scenery where clouds, mountains and sea seem to merge into one. Arrive at Hoi An and enjoy your lunch.
Continue to My Son sanctuary, recognized by UNESCO as a part of the World Heritage. From 8 to 13 centuries, this unique culture owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism, developing on the coast of contemporary Vietnam. The series of impressive tower-temples were built by the Champa Kingdom and used to worship the Siva.
Arrival at hotel in Hoi An. Free time in the evening to stroll around the town through small streets with thousand colourful lanterns.
After breakfast, leave Hoi An to Da Nang. Arrival at Da nang, visit Cham Museum - the museum houses probably the best collection of Cham art in the world and Marble mountain - a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It's also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered.
Transfer to Da Nang airport to take morning flight to Saigon.
Arrive in Saigon. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Saigon.
Morning departure to Venerable Thich Quang Duc Memorial. This is a peaceful memorial park dedicated to Thich Quang Duc, the Buddhist monk who self-immolated in protest the persecution of Buddhists in Vietnam at this intersection in 1963. The memorial was inaugurated in 2010, displaying Thich Quang Duc wreathed in flames before a bas-relief. Continue to Ngoc Hoang pagoda (Jade Emperor Pagoda), a fascinating mix of Buddhist and Taoist myths, built in 1909.
Your morning tour visits the major sights of Ho Chi Minh City: the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Catheral, the Old Saigon General Post Office, the War Museum, the China Town, Binh Tay Market, the Thien Hau Pagoda. Visit the Former Presidential Palace also known as Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, old Sai Gon Post Office and War Remnants Museum.
Before dinner, transfer to watch water puppet show.
Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique folk art that originated a thousand years ago during the Ly dynasty. Villagers in the Red River delta and other rice-growing regions in Northern Vietnam staged water puppet performances to celebrate the end of the rice harvest, religious festivals, and other important occasions. A water puppet show depicts the daily activities in Vietnamese rural life as well as important historical events and ancient legends.
Depart for Cu Chi tunnels, an incredible intricate underground network dug by Vietnamese resistance fighter during their long struggle for independence.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are part of a massive war museum in Ho Chi Minh. It offers visitors a sneak-peek at the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers back in 1948. The site has over 120km of underground tunnels, with trapdoors, living areas, kitchens, storage facilities, armory, hospitals, and command center. After the war against the French, Vietnamese soldiers expanded the tunnels and included effective air filtration systems, which helped them survive the Cu Chi carpet-bombings.
Then continue the road to Tay Ninh – a typical Vietnamese countryside province in the northwest of Saigon. At Tay Ninh, visit the Cao Dai temple and observe the mid-day worship ceremony.
Return to Saigon, lunch on the way. Free time for the rest of the day.
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