Vietnam, Hanoi

VIETNAM, STAR OF THE EAST

In Short

  • Day 1 & 2: HANOI
  • Day 3: HA LONG BAY 
  • Day 4 & 5: HUE 
  • Day 6 & 7: HOI AN
  • Day 8: HO CHI MINH CITY

An Overview

Folklore has it Vietnam was born from the union of the King of the Sea and the Princess of the Mountains. When one looks at a map, it's not hard to realize how this country is never far from both. Vietnam has had a very turbulent history, starting with over one thousand years of Chinese domination followed later on by French and American occupation. Despite years of terrible tragedy and wars, Vietnam has finally been able to create it's own history and moves forward at an unprecedented pace. We believe Vietnam competes with Thailand for offering an incredible combination of landscapes, shopping, superb food, fantastic experiences and gorgeous boutique hotels and resorts.

With a population of 76 million people, our Boutique Itinerary reflects Vietnam's rich culture with visits to art galleries, pagodas and historic temples. Our connections will allow you to meet national heroes, authors, art historians and economists. We also explore the country in style, from private boats to exclusive resorts, offering you a unique way to see the countryside and experience a Vietnam very few can see. You will tour Hue's Imperial City with Unesco officials, breakfast with Vietnam's celebrated author, meet one of the country's cultural ambassador, kayak in Ha Long Bay away from other tour boats, bike through rice fields and gorgeous countryside and share a visit of the ancient Presidential Palace with a retired general. This is Vietnam the way it should be experienced!

Cost

Depending on the selection of hotel or boutique lodges and if you will require local guides only or a national guide to escort you during the whole trip. Your itinerary will vary depending on group size, time of year and the luxury lodges and resorts you select along our route. We can offer special events involving chartered luxury boats, exclusive experiences and special meals in private residences, all of which can be discussed at time of booking. Accommodation range from large size four-star hotels in the big cities to incredible boutique resorts along the coast (one of which is listed in our "top five" worldwide...). The two day/one night cruise in Ha Long differs from other operators and we can offer exclusive small cruise "boat" with 2 or 3 cabins and your own crew or we can arrange a longer itinerary on a regular cruise with larger ships (20-30 cabins).

Day 1 & 2, Hanoi (2 nights)

Hanoi has a brand new international airport and is served by many international connections from Europe and North America. The capital has an amazing combination of French architecture with broad tree-lined boulevards and beautiful lakes. Our suggested property is right downtown within walking distance of Hoan Kiem lake, the social heart of the city. At all times of day people exercise, play badminton, practice tai-chi and young lovers sit by the lake side holding hands. Depending on your arrival time, we can spend two or three nights in Hanoi and we take time to walk and explore some of the tourist sites such as the busy "36 Streets", Ho Chi Min's mausoleum and private residence and the infamous Hanoi Jail which was used by French and North Vietnamese to "host" prisoner of wars. We also introduce you to the rich cultural life of the city with visits to art galleries, fashion designers, breakfast with a local historian and lunch with one the country's most influential art dealer. Our evening meals will introduce Vietnamese food in gorgeous surroundings.

Day 3, Ha Long Bay (1 night)

This morning we leave Hanoi for northern Ha Long Bay. We feel no visit in Vietnam is complete without a short trip to this amazing area. Many operators have a full two-day/two nights cruise on small cruise ships who follow the same route. Si Fang feels this is too long and too crowded for some of our clients and we have modified our itinerary using private boats using a different route. The drive from Hanoi takes 3 hours and upon arrival in Haiphong we board our exclusive luxury cruiser. While a fresh seafood lunch is served on board, we start exploring Ha Long Bay, listed in the UNESCO Heritage list in 1994 for its outstanding beauty. Over 1600 islands, most of them inhabited, with jagged limestone karsts are spread out in calm and sheltered waters. Our itinerary will give you time to kayak at leisure and hike through a small portion of a rain forest on one of the islands. We anchor overnight in a quiet cove where a lavish champagne dinner is served under the stars.

Day 4 & 5, Hue (2 nights)

We return to Haiphong via a different route, breakfast is on board and upon returning to the port, we transfer back to Hanoi airport for a short flight to Vietnam's ancient capital Hué. Set on the banks of the slow-moving Perfume River, you will notice a huge change from Hanoi's frenetic pace of life. This is a "slow slow" style and your hotel is set along one of the tributaries of the river, a superb example of art deco and French style, the service is impressive and so are your rooms. Later in the afternoon, we visit the Imperial Citadel along with UNESCO officials for a look at the reconstruction efforts to rebuild the Forbidden City to it's past glory. Dinner tonight is in a private home, hosted by a Vietnamese architect. The following day is one of Imperial Tombs and history, followed by some great biking through rice paddies and villages along the countryside.

Day 6 & 7, Hoi An (2 nights)

This morning departure is along Vietnam's main highway which will give you some amazing views of the coast as we drive across Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Ocean Clouds). The next two days are spent in one of Asia's most spectacular beach resort and your pool villas offer you fantastic views on the famous China Beach. Founded by Japanese traders in the 16th century, Hoi Han is now a busy tourist centre. Also called the "Venice of Vietnam", we take advantage of our private boat to negotiate the canals and experience some of the fishing communities and meet local craftsmen. Your resort is very close to the town and a perfect place to do some shopping, enjoy the multitude of cafés and local restaurants and maybe perhaps get a few silk suits measured up from skilled tailors. We also have prepared some great countryside excursions with walking or biking at your convenience.

Day 8, Ho Chi Minh City (1 night)

Your morning flight from Danang to Ho Chi Min City takes an hour and you will see why Saigon (as locals call it...) is the economic pulse of the country. This is where all the motor bikes of Asia live, or so it seems, thousands of them, lined up at traffic lights and it is a real art to negotiate all this traffic, your local guides will assist you, have no fear. Ho Chi Min City is a must see if only to realize how vibrant and transformed Vietnam is becoming, we do feel that one night only however is plenty, we suggest a visit to the old Presidential Palace that was invaded by North Vietnamese forces and signalled the end of the American War, a real 1970's time capsule. Dinner tonight starts with drinks from one of the most celebrated bars in Vietnam made famous by authors and reporters, followed by an incredible Vietnamese dinner in the city's best restaurant. The following morning is when the trip finishes, we will arrange for transfer to the airport for your flight out of Vietnam or for a transfer back to Hanoi if you fly out from the capital.

Contact Us

Email: info@sifangexpeditions.com

24 Matariki St, Dunedin 9014, New Zealand
Fax: (+0064) 3-4478-0085
Cell: (0064) 27-223-0364

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