Spirit of Vietnam

Spirit of Vietnam (Summer 2019)

Duration: 12 days Visiting: Vietnam

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Accommodation
  • Dates & prices

Delve into the fascinating culture and history of Vietnam, as you travel from iconic cities to island-dotted bays in perfect luxury. Participate in Vietnamese cooking classes, learn about local hidden gems from passionate experts and marvel at dazzling landscapes along the way.

  1. Day 1

    Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City.

    Your complimentary, private transfer takes you to your local departure airport. On arrival at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you will be greeted and escorted to your hotel. At 19:00, join your Travelling Concierge for a night to remember at the Art Salon Saigon, where you will enjoy a Welcome Dinner set in a sophisticated atmosphere and accompanied by live music.

  2. Day 2

    Marvels of Saigon.

    ee the best of Saigon as you travel from the city’s glittering skyscrapers to the green paddy fields scattered along the Saigon River. Your destination is the Củ Chi tunnels, which were dug in 1948 for guerrillas to hide from combatant forces during the Vietnam War. These extraordinary tunnels form part of a network of tunnels that cover most of the country. During your visit to these underground villages, meet a Viet Cong veteran who used to live here and find out how challenging the living conditions really were. Back in the city, embark on a leisurely walking exploration that reveals highlights including Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel's Central Post Office. Over a cup of Vietnamese coffee, gain an appreciation for local street-side cafe culture.

  3. Day 3

    Cruise the Mekong Delta.

    Cruise the Mekong Delta aboard a private charter. At your first stop see coconut production and processing, then enjoy a taste of the freshest juice possible. Further along, stop to see where locals still use centuries-old methods to make bricks at a small brick kiln. Next you'll enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle along narrow village roads, arriving at a rice noodle factory to see the most popular breakfast in the region being produced. Continue your cruise to Mango Home for a tasty lunch of Mekong Delta specialties. Then walk along the shady village roads to the home of Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who fought the deadly Khmer Rouge, known for orchestrating the Cambodian genocide. Learn how life in Vietnam has evolved for him and his wife since the 1960s and how they earn a living from making rice paper.

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    Royal Refinement in Hue.

    Marvel at vistas of lush countryside, as you fly to Hue for the next chapter of your journey. Enjoy a cycle ride through rice fields to Thanh Toan village and visit the Vietnamese Agriculture Museum for an insight into rice production. Then you will stroll along the canals, visit the vibrant local market and admire the ancient, arched, tile-roofed Thanh Toan Bridge, which was built in the 17th century. This evening, you will savour a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

  5. Day 5

    Highlights of Hue.

    Rise early for a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to the public. Enjoy an escorted journey on a state-of-the-art electric cart, as a renowned local historian guides you through the towering main gates and shows you the majestic architecture and splendid gardens of the former royal court. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then visit the royal tomb of Minh Mang, the second Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. Your exploration continues to the 18th Century Dong Thuyen Pagoda, where you can relax in the peaceful precinct and enjoy a delightful vegetarian lunch specially prepared by the Buddhist nuns. You'll have the opportunity to speak with the nuns and gain a better understanding of their beliefs and food philosophies. After lunch you will meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy at an ancient temple. Learn about the intricate training activities of the practitioners and attend a performance showcasing the different martial arts techniques. The evening is at your leisure, perhaps ask your Travelling Concierge to make restaurant reservations for you.

  6. Day 6

    Romantic Hoi An.

    Enjoy a scenic drive over the spectacular Hai Van Mountain pass to reach Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your walking exploration of this ancient town, see the old merchant's houses, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, Assembly Hall and the market where stalls are brimming with local specialities, including silk. Enjoy time at leisure to explore as you wish or ask your Travelling Concierge for local recommendations. Perhaps admire the spectacular sunset on a kayak trip along the poetic Thu Bon River, or board a local river boat to the Cua Dai Sea if you prefer a gentler pace? For a Your Choice Evening, take your pick of one of three hand-selected, local restaurants, each specialising in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    The locals in Hoi An.

    Visit the beautiful Cam Thanh Village with its dense coconut jungles that were once a shelter for local people and soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today the village is an important supplier of seafood, vegetables and rice to the region. Step into a traditional bamboo-basket boat and glide across the water to the Thanh Dong village where you'll learn from the villagers how they cultivate and harvest vegetables according to local customs. Continue your voyage through a peaceful water coconut forest to a riverside restaurant overlooking the rice fields. Enjoy traditional Vietnamese folk games and participate in a hands-on cooking class alongside a local chef. Savour your creations for your Highlight Lunch.

  8. Day 8

    Hanoi street-food tasting tour.

    Board a morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam’s glistening capital city known for colonial-style architecture, ancient temples and vibrant culture. Enjoy a ride aboard an electric cart to see the historic Opera House, avenues lined with French mansions, Sword Lake and the 18th century Jade Mountain Temple. Join a local foodie in the Old Quarter for an exploration of Hanoi’s robust street-food culture, that will delight all the senses. Learn what locals love to eat and taste the city’s very best dishes, including rice paper rolls, crab spring rolls, beef noodle soup, com cake and other delights. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax at your five-star hotel or ask your Travelling Concierge to recommend city-centre attractions nearby.

  9. Day 9

    Cruise along Ha Long Bay.

    Travel to Ha Long Bay, known as the bay with a thousand islands and glistening emerald water. Step aboard a deluxe junk for a memorable overnight cruise. Visit the mysterious Tien Ong Cave, where human bones dating back to 10,000 B.C. were discovered by archaeologists, and explore the Cua Van area. In the evening you'll have the choice to participate in a hands-on cooking class with the on-board chef, or simply relax on the top deck as the sun gently dips beyond the horizon, before sitting down to dinner.

  10. Day 10

    Ha Long to Hanoi.

    Start the day with a session of Tai Chi on the upper deck, or enjoy an early morning swim, or perhaps venture to a white sandy beach and climb the hilltop for views over Halong Bay? Return to the boat for breakfast as you cruise to Ha Long City to disembark. On return to Hanoi, stop at Dao Thuc village to meet a traditional artisan puppet maker and enjoy a delightful water-puppet performance, hosted in a lotus pond and accompanied by a live orchestra. The evening is yours to spend at leisure in Hanoi.

  11. Day 11 - Relaxed Start

    The Temple of Literature.

    Visit the Temple of Literature, built in 1076 as the first university for the sons of mandarins. Meet a scholar who will share their insights into this famous institution. Learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture before exploring the temple grounds. In the evening, join your travel companions and toast your travels during your Celebration Dinner.

  12. Day 12

    Farewell Vietnam.

    Your trip comes to an end after breakfast with a transfer to the airport for your onward flight. On arrival at your home airport, your driver will greet and escort you to your waiting car for your private transfer home.

Highlights

 

VIP EXPERIENCES

  • Mekong Delta: Meet Mr. Sau Tuong, a former soldier who survived four years fighting the deadly Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, at his home and see how he and his wife earn a living making rice paper.
  • Hue: Enjoy a private VIP visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel, before it opens to other travellers. Learn about its traditional architecture and history from a renowned historian.
  • Hue: Meet the headmaster of the Vietnamese Royal Martial Arts Academy and learn what it takes to become a practitioner of this standard. See a performance showcasing different martial arts techniques.
  • Dao Thuc: Accompanied by a live orchestra, enjoy a water-puppet performance, set in a lotus pond. Meet the artisan who makes the puppets in his workshop and see how the Vietnamese have been bringing performances of this nature to life since the 10th century.
  • Hanoi: Meet a renowned scholar at the Temple of Literature and learn about Hanoian culture and Vietnamese architecture, before touring the temple grounds.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ho Chi Minh City: Experience the vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, as you visit its most iconic attractions and learn about its street food and coffee culture.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Join a Viet Cong veteran to visit the underground Củ Chi tunnels and learn about their experience.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Enjoy a private Meekong River Cruise and learn about coconut processing.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: Enjoy a ride on a tri-motorcycle through tropical surroundings and learn about how rice noodles are produced.
  • Hue: Enjoy a short flight from Ho Chi Minh to Hue.
  • Hue: Cycle through rice fields to Thanh Toan village, visit the local market and soak in the agricultural way of life.
  • Hue: Visit the Imperial tomb of Emperor Minh Mang.
  • Hoi An: Explore the traditional old town see the Japanese covered bridge, fruit and vegetable market and look out for the coloured lanterns.
  • Hoi An: Ride a traditional bamboo basket boat to Thanh Dong village and learn about the village's traditional way of life.
  • Hanoi: Enjoy a short flight from Hoi An to Hanoi.
  • Hanoi: Ride an electric cart and see the main sights of Hanoi including the Opera House.
  • Halong Bay: Board your deluxe junk boat for an overnight cruise to experience this UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Halong Bay: Visit the spectacular Tien Ong cave and explore the Cua Van area.

EXCEPTIONAL DINING

  • Ho Chi Minh: At the Art Salon Saigon, you will enjoy a Welcome Dinner set in a sophisticated atmosphere and accompanied by live music as you get to know your fellow travellers.
  • Ho Chi Minh: Learn about local street-side cafe culture and gain an appreciation as you enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
  • Mekong Delta: Enjoy freshly-made Mekong delta specialties for lunch.
  • Hue: Join your fellow travellers and sit down to a delicious meal, accompanied with wine, at a local restaurant.
  • Hue: Visit the 18th century Dong Thuyen Pagoda and dine on an organic vegetarian lunch prepared by Buddhist nuns. Chat to them and learn about their beliefs, practices and food philosophies.
  • Hoi An: For a Your Choice Evening, choose from one of three hand-selected restaurants, each specialising in different cuisine from traditional to modern Vietnamese, or an east-meets-west fusion.
  • Hoi An: Meet a local chef who will lead a hands-on cooking class and learn how to create some of the local specialities that you will enjoy for your Highlight Lunch.
  • Hanoi: Join a passionate foodie on a walking tour to some of the city’s most interesting areas and experience the vibrancy of Hanoi's street-food culture. Taste local treats, such as rice paper rolls, pho bo which is beef noodle soup and com cake.
  • Dining Summary: 11 Breakfasts (B), 4 Lunches (L), 1 Lunch with Wine (LW), 1 Dinner (D) and 4 Dinners with Wine (DW).

LUXURY HOTELS

  • Ho Chi Minh: One of Vietnam’s leading hotels, the five-star InterContinental Saigon is situated in the very heart of the city and is a short walk from famous landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Post Office. Enjoy your refined deluxe suite and a range of facilities, including elegant restaurants, a library and a spa.
  • Hue: Find balance and harmony at the peaceful Pilgrimage Village, situated among leafy trees and quiet countryside. Participate in meditation, yoga or tai chi classes or unwind in the steam bath.
  • Hoi An: Positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River, the luxurious Anantara Hoi An Resort is situated moments away from the charming historic part of Hoi An. Take in the tranquil atmosphere from a sunbed overlooking the river, treat yourself to a massage at the spa or cool down in the swimming pool.
  • Hanoi: Voted the best boutique hotel in Asia, Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi embodies the glamour of a night at the opera. It is situated in the centre of Hanoi, within walking distance of the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake, and offers sumptuous guest bedrooms, a spa and a selection of fine restaurants.
  • Halong Bay: The majestic Jasmine Cruise Halong Bay epitomises seafaring at its most stylish. Fitted out in the 1930s Indochina style, the Halong Jasmine features spacious cabins, restaurants, lounges and uninterrupted views of the emerald bay.

INCLUSIVE LUXURY GOLD SERVICES

  • You will be escorted by one of our fine Travelling Concierges, handpicked to serve as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend overseas.
  • Luxury Gold is proud to offer various modes of transportation, from luxury coach to included flight to overnight cruise and more, so that you always travel in comfort and experience your journey and destination in the best possible and most appropriate way.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary, available on departures with 15 or more guests.
  • At every hotel, you'll be treated to seamless baggage handling, with prompt delivery inside your room.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included - you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. We also include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi (where available, does not apply to Halong Bay Cruise).
  • From time to time, your Travel Director will enchant you with a Luxury Gold Flourish, which is a local speciality representing the destination.
  • Complimentary, private airport transfers are included on start and end dates, when flights are included within the itinerary and when additional accommodation has been booked through Luxury Gold.

Accommodation

 

InterContinental Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City (Contemporary) - Vietnam

One of Vietnam’s leading hotels, the five-star InterContinental Saigon is situated in the very heart of the city and is a short walk from famous landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Post Office. Enjoy your refined deluxe suite and a range of facilities, including elegant restaurants, a library and a spa.

Pilgrimage Village

Hue (Resort) - Vietnam

Find balance and harmony at the peaceful Pilgrimage Village, situated among leafy trees and quiet countryside. Participate in meditation, yoga or tai chi classes or unwind in the steam bath.

Anantara Hoi An Resort

Hoi An (Resort) - Vietnam

Positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River, the luxurious Anantara Hoi An Resort is situated moments away from the charming historic part of Hoi An. Take in the tranquil atmosphere from a sunbed overlooking the river, treat yourself to a massage at the spa or cool down in the swimming pool.

Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi

Hanoi (Boutique) - Vietnam

Voted the best boutique hotel in Asia, Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi embodies the glamour of a night at the opera. It is situated in the centre of Hanoi, within walking distance of the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake, and offers sumptuous guest bedrooms, a spa and a selection of fine restaurants.

Jasmine Cruise (Superior Cabin)

Halong Bay (Cruise) - Vietnam

The majestic Jasmine Cruise Halong Bay epitomizes seafaring at its most stylish. Fitted out in the 1930s Indochina style, the Halong Jasmine features spacious cabins, restaurants, lounges and uninterrupted views of the emerald bay.

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All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.