A country of contrasts where pleasant surprises await at almost every turn. But in Vietnam, one thing remains constant – the warmth, inquisitiveness, and positivity of its people, which remain the abiding memory of those who spend time in this alluring country.
Thursday 07 Jan 2021: Hanoi Arrival (Flight Information to Be Advised/ Own Tickets) / Airport Arrival Assistance Service (International)
As soon as you deplane, our Immigration Officer will meet you at the end of the jet bridge (or at the entrance of the terminal if there is no jet bridge), holding a signboard with your name(s) on it. The officer will assist you with immigration procedures.
For those who already have their Vietnam visa, the estimated time to clear immigration is approximately 15-20mins per person.
For those applying for a visa on arrival, the estimated wait time for the visa is usually 30mins, depending on the number of guests in the queue. (FYI, there is only one visa-on-arrival counter at Noi Bai Airport.)
After clearing immigration, our Immigration Officer will escort you to the baggage claim to collect your luggage and introduce you to your guide who will be waiting outside the terminal.
Overnight Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Friday 08 Jan 2021: Hanoi Full-Day City Tour with Cyclo Including Visit Museum Of Ethnology With A Cultural Expert / Contemporary Vietnamese Dinner & Rooftop Bar
9.00, explore the charming city of Hanoi, often referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’, with its yellow ochre colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes Visit Ho Chi Minh's House, a simple wooden house in a tranquil setting where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. Some of his belongings are on display and visitors can walk up the steps to see his bedroom.
Continue to visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, in Hanoi, is a unique opportunity to learn about the long-standing Vietnamese history from a qualified expert, Dr. Dao Duc. While walking through the museum, participate in a one-hour discussion about Vietnamese history and varied aspects of Vietnamese culture. Tourists will also learn about the evolution of the many Vietnamese ethnic groups’ ways of life and religious practises.
13.00, visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university built in the late 11th century. The picturesque temple is an example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture and is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.
Drive back to central Hanoi for a 1hr cyclo tour through the famed Old Quarter known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’ named after the original 36 artisan guilds that date as far back as the 13th century. Explore the fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.
Conclude the day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance, a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form said to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta. The show uses colourful wooden puppets to depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music.
• Tour duration: 8 hours
19:00, transfer from your hotel to Cau Go, a restaurant hidden on the 5th floor of a small building overlooking Hanoi’s famed Hoan Kiem Lake. The restaurant is more than just a great view, however. The décor, like Hanoi itself, is a mix of Old meets New in its chic lines and modern furnishings juxtaposed against antique fans, distressed French shutters and vintage staff uniforms. The chef takes a contemporary approach to traditional Vietnamese cuisine, beautifully presented in every dish of the country's specialties. Stay with the sky view theme and head over to The Rooftop Lounge just minutes away. From nightly DJ performances to special live performances, the ultra-modern lounge is a magnet for Hanoi’s nouveau riche and offers up spectacular panoramic views of Hanoi from the 19th story. Transfer back to your hotel before 24:00 at the latest.
Overnight Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Saturday 09 Jan 2021: Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay by car (Approx. 1.5 hrs) / Lan Ha – Viet Hai – Cat Ba
09:30, meet your guide at the hotel and transfer to Lan Ha Bay (Approx. 1.5 hrs). Your luxurious floating home sets sail around noontime. We greet you with a refreshing welcome drink upon boarding while we acquaint you with the facilities and procedures of our Heritage Line ship - Ylang. As our unique journey begins, lunch is served in the light-flooded dining room on the terrace deck offering panoramic views of the passing scenery. We pass an ancient lighthouse built by the French more than a century ago. Heading deeper and further south into the maze of Lan Ha Bay, there is time to enjoy our activities offered onboard - take a plunge in the pool, enjoy from our selection of signature beverages at the bar, or settle into relaxing bliss and let us pamper you with one fine treatments and massages available in our expansive Ylang Spa. Our first anchorage spot is a local pier at Southern Cat Ba Island which is the entry point for a visit of a charming local village named “Viet Hai”. We hop on bicycles (or electric cars) for a scenic exploration along small paved pathways, which meander through the lush tropical forest towards the local village nestled in the valley. Meet and interact with the local inhabitants doing their daily work around their homes or gardens and get to know the life of this remote area where time seems to stand still. Back on board, we set sail to at a tranquil place for our overnight mooring. Our chef will serve a multi-course dinner and afterwards you may join fellow passengers for a movie night in the dining room or help our crew at night fishing for squid. Perhaps one of the best options is to take a seat under the stars on the terrace deck or your private balcony to embrace the serenity of this surreal landscape. And for those who like to fully immerse themselves in relaxation, our spa is open till late.
Overnight Ylang Cruise (Charter cruise)
Sunday 10 Jan 2021: Cat Ba
For those who awake with the sun, coffee, tea, and pastries are offered. To get the full wellness experience from Ylang, a Tai Chi session is held on the sun deck to ease mind and muscles with the first rays of the sun. Or sign up for a guided yoga class in our dedicated yoga room. Once energized, breakfast is served at the dining room or to your suite before we set off to visit one of the few remaining local floating fishing villages. Get a close view of how the families live and work on the water in their unique community. We continue to the shore and travel a short distance along scenic island roads to the Cat Ba National Park. A leisurely hiking tour brings you close to the elements of this lush national park with its jungle-like nature. Learn more about the endemic fauna and flora as well about the island itself as Northern Vietnam’s largest island in the Golf of Tonkin. During lunch, Ylang continues to sail through the bay to a secluded spot in the bay. The afternoon is at your own pace and choice: you may like to swim and sun bath on a natural beach, or join in on a kayak tour – or a bit of both, or just kick-back on board and treat yourself from our wide selection of wellness offerings. After dinner you may like to engage in our presentation and quiz with interesting facts and insights about both Lan Ha and Halong Bay or simply kick-back on your private balcony enjoying the serenity of Lan Ha Bay.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Heritage Line - Ylang Cruise/ Charter
Monday 11 Jan 2021: Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi Airport
Hanoi – Danang on Vietnam Airlines
Start early again with a nice and tasty traditional Vietnamese coffee, of which we hope will become part of your future morning routine to remember this special place on earth. Join for another open air session of Tai Chi or take part in some Yoga indoor. Ylang moors this morning to offer to our guests some more kayaking or refreshing early morning swim - conveniently from the ship’s platform. Take these final moments to fully emerge with the sense the Bay has to offer before Ylang gently glides back to its harbor. Whilst we pass back through Lan Hay Bay towards the pier, we serve a hearty breakfast, and leaving you some relaxed time on the deck day-dreaming before we have to say our final goodbyes.
After disembarking, transfer straight to the airport for your flight to Danang.
Upon arrival at Danang Airport, after clearing all customs procedures, please proceed to exit gate and look for your guide who will be waiting at the lobby, holding the Trails of Indochina signboard with your name on it, if you cannot locate your guide, please go to the nearest Information counter and have them call the emergency number (+84) 9 1349 3398 for assistance. Your guide will come to meet you up and transfer you to hotel in Hoi An.
Accommodation: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai Hoi An
Tuesday 12 Jan 2021: Hoi An – Half day Organic Farm Visit and Cooking Class & Half day Hoi An walking tour and making Lantern With Local Handicraftsman
09:00, meet your guide and transfer to the picturesque Co Co river for a bamboo basket-boat ride to Thanh Dong village which is the first and only organic farm in Hoi An. Get a glimpse about the history and customs of this charming village before venturing into the garden and getting your hands dirty – You may like to borrow the farmers’ clothing provided by the villagers and learn how cultivate vegetables without chemicals before harvesting vegetables for your cooking class. Continue a short bamboo basket-boat ride through the peaceful water coconut forest to a riverbank restaurant looking out rice fields. On arrival, enjoy a welcome drink, take part in traditional Vietnamese folk games as balance Bamboo Bridge, pot smashing then join in a hands-on cooking class. After the cooking class, savor the dishes you have prepared. Bid farewell to the chef before transferring back your hotel.
14.00, start your half day walking tour around Hoi An. Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An known then as ‘Faifo’, was a prosperous trading port, attracting Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish ships amongst others. Today, this World Heritage ancient town is recognised for its well-preserved architecture, pedestrian-only streets and distinctive local cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. Hoi An’s narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour of its many atmospheric sights including: the old merchant houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, first built in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream; the Assembly Hallof the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with its intricate woodcarvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.
Continue to Make Lantern With Local Handicraftsman. Silk lanterns, the simple yet colorful handicraft is now an essential part of Hoi An culture. The lantern is inspired and hand-made by local artisans and is meant to bring good fortune. It has really made a comeback thanks to experienced men who were born in traditional lantern making families. Chat with a local handicraftsman for a brief introduction to the history, shape, and color of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. Try creating your own lantern and take it home as a souvenir.
Overnight Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai Hoi An
Wednesday 13 Jan 2021: Transfer Hoian – Danang
Breakfast at hotel.
8.00, meet with your guide and transfer to the airport for your flight to Saigon.
Upon arrival Tan Son Nhat airport, after clearing all customs procedures, please proceed to exit gate and look for your guide who will be waiting at the lobby, holding the Trails of Indochina signboard with your name on it. If you cannot locate your guide, please come to the closest Information booth and have them call the emergency number (+84) 9 1871 3456. Your guide will come to meet you and transfer you to hotel.
The regular check-in time is at 1400; early check-in is NOT included and subject to availability
13.30, start your half day your to explore Saigon. With over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, Saigon is truly a city that never sleeps. Despite its modernity, Saigon maintains a strong link to the past and our city tour takes in some of Saigon’s most historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires constructed from materials imported from France (entrance is only permitted when no services are being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, completed in 1891. A short drive away is the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American War. Continue to the War Remnants Museum for a vivid perspective of the American War through the eyes of the Vietnamese. (Please note that some of the displays are very graphic.) Experience Saigon’s famed street coffee culture while your guide provides a brief language lesson as well as insights into daily life of a Saigonese before returning to your hotel.
• Tour duration: 04 hours
• Outside visit only due the renovation at Notre Dame Cathedral until late 2019
18:30. The darker the night gets; the more vivid Saigon becomes! Follow our vintage vespa wheels to discover the life of our city after sunset, and let us share with you the stories of Saigon, from its golden days of 1960s to its modern days of century 21st.
Learn how our local cuisine has changed after years by stopping at some authentic food stalls, restaurants and bars. Uniquely customized for curious minds who love to get their footprints off the beaten track, the flexible menu introduces you to different courses including most popular local delicacies, coffee and signature cocktails tasting. Let us know your special interest and we can customize a unique route to fulfil your appetite.
Overnight Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel
Thursday 14 Jan 2021: Visit Cu Chi Tunnels (by private boat) / Traditional Dance Performance And Dinner At Ambassador's Former Residence
08:30, morning transfer to the Jetty and depart for the Cu Chi Tunnels. Begin your private speedboat excursion and witness glittering skyscrapers and busy commercial centres giving way to green fields and stilt houses along the Saigon River. Arrive at the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an immense network of connecting underground tunnels started in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps. The tunnels also served as living quarters, communication and supply routes, and housed hospitals, food and weapons caches. Touring the underground compounds will provide a better understanding of the history of the tunnels, the hardship of life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese resilience during combat. Return by private speedboat to Saigon with a stop en route for lunch at a local restaurant.
18:00. Follow a lane dotted with colonial-era mansions until you reach a gate, behind which lies a truly enchanting villa. Home to Henry Cabot Lodge, the US Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960s, the villa is now a private residence and has been fully restored to its former glory, a beautiful mix of Vietnamese, French and American architecture. Perfectly suited to social gatherings for up to 40 persons, enjoy a welcome reception complete with traditional Vietnamese dance performances in the intimate courtyard. A fusion of traditional Vietnamese and western cuisine will be served in the magnificent dining room accompanied by live music, creating a uniquely memorable atmosphere.
Overnight Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel
Friday 15 Jan 2021: Saigon Departure
Free at leisure until your departure time, meet your guide at the hotel's lobby and transfer from your accommodation to the airport.