VIETNAM FAMILY TOUR (for children aged 12 years and above): Take your teens to Vietnam for an exciting family holiday which offers plenty of adventure, culture and fun. Explore the backstreets of Hanoi by cyclo and sail around the limestone peaks of heavenly Halong Bay. Cycle to Cam Thanh Farm and enjoy some R&R in Hoi An before winging your way to bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
Wednesday. Welcome to Hanoi. Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free for you and your family to explore the city, with its picturesque tree-lined avenues, scenic lakes, ancient pagodas and bustling old town, all which are easily accessible by foot. At 6pm there will be a Welcome Meeting in the hotel lobby.
Location: Halong Bay
Hanoi – Halong Bay. This morning a scenic drive takes us to picturesque UNESCO Listed Halong Bay, where rugged karst islands dappled with lush vegetation rise from the pristine emerald coloured waters. Here we board a deluxe junk boat for an overnight cruise. <br/><br/> Based on traditional designs, these wonderful vessels combine oriental style with modern luxury. Soak up the panoramic views from the sundeck as the boat gently plies its course. This afternoon we visit Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000m² with a stunning array of stalactites and stalagmites. There's also the opportunity to go kayaking and swim in the bay. <br/><br/> Later this evening back on board, watch a Vietnamese cooking demonstration held on the sundeck before settling down for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Location: Halong Bay
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue. Early birds can start the day with a relaxing Tai Chi class on the sundeck or a traditional massage - the perfect way to start the day. Before heading back to port this morning, we explore the beautiful Sung Sot cave (Surprise Grotto), which is 10,000m² and consists of two major chambers which are spectacular and spacious enough to hold thousands of people. <br/><br/> Arriving back to Hanoi mid-afternoon we explore the maze of streets known as the ‘36 streets of the old quarter’ aboard a cyclo (rickshaw). The narrow lanes are each named after the numerous guilds that once set up shop on a particular street from silk tailors to traditional medicine shops. On our tour we will have a chance to sample the exotic fruits, sizzling noodle dishes and delightfully sticky snacks being offers by the pavement vendors. <br/><br/> Later this evening there's a chance to freshen up before boarding the train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic standard) on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. An option to fly from Hanoi to Hue is also available.
This morning we have a breakfast box on the train before arriving into Hue where we set out on a guided sightseeing tour of this fascinating imperial city. Once the capital of the Nguyen emperors, the last ruling family of Vietnam, UNESCO-listed Hue is full of palaces, pagodas and temples. Two of the main highlights here are the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city, and the Citadel. Within the walls of the Citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace – an exact replica of the famed Forbidden City in Beijing, with impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin. After our tour we enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Perfume River en route back to our hotel.
Location: Hoi An
Hue - Road of the Ocean Clouds - Hoi An. Today we drive to the enchanting riverside town of Hoi An, travelling along the picturesque Hai Van Pass – nicknamed the Road of the Ocean Clouds, with beaches on one side and verdant hills on the other. We will break up our journey with a stop at China Beach, an expansive sandy beach made famous by the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. Here there will be the chance to opt for a swim in its warm waters before continuing our journey south along the coast. <br/><br/> Radiating age-old charm with grand colonial architecture, Hoi An is one of Vietnam's most delightful destinations. The Old Town, recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an immaculately preserved example of an Asian trading port with covered bridges, pagodas, temples and merchant houses. The town's beguiling riverside setting adds to the overall picturesque appeal of Hoi An with women in conical hats rowing their wooden vessels downstream and the glow of red lanterns in the evenings reflected on the water's iridescent surface. A short walking tour will take us back to a bygone era, with a visit to the Chua Ong Pagoda, Chinese Assembly Hall, a 200-year-old Tam Ky house, former merchants’ homes and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge.
Location: Hoi An
For a taste of rural life we take a leisurely bicycle ride out of Hoi An to Cam Thanh farm today. Cycling through picturesque villages where life moves at a slower pace, passing rice paddies, local orchards and seeing the locals at work in the fields. At the organic farm in Cam Thanh we meet the local farmers and learn all about their community-based project. Then we enjoy a fun hands-on farming experience, helping to tend the fields, applying organic manure, making organic pesticides and cultivating the soil for planting and watering. After farming the fields we return to the farmer's house and use the produce harvested from the organic vegetable garden to help to cook a tasty Vietnamese lunch for ourselves. <br/><br/> This afternoon we hop on our bicycles again for a short cycle to a bamboo workshop where we join a talented local craftsman to make our own bamboo products under his expert guidance. After the workshop we drive back to Hoi An and spend the evening at leisure.
Location: Hoi An
Today is free for you to spend at leisure, exploring Hoi An. Perhaps head to the beach for a day of relaxation or shop until you drop - Hoi An is famous for its skilled artisans, with wonderful craft shops, art galleries and some of Asia's best bespoke tailors.
Location: Ho Chi Minh City
Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City. An early morning flight takes us to Ho Chi Minh City today. Once called the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, old and new collide in this modern city as gleaming sky scrapers, upmarket restaurants and designer shops stand side-by-side with colonial era landmarks and post-war remnants. Here we enjoy a walking tour of the city taking in some of Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous landmarks, including the impressive red-brick Neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the central Post Office and visiting the sobering War Remnants Museum.
Location: Ho Chi Minh City
Thursday. Our tour ends after breakfast today and there's an included transfer to the airport. If you have time, consider bargaining for goods at Ben Thanh Market or visiting the grand Independence Palace. <br/><br/> Alternatively, those with more time to spare can extend their stay and opt to join us on a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where there will be the chance to explore a vast network of underground tunnels and hideouts that were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Learn about booby traps, climb through trap doors, or even test your skills with an AK 47 at the firing range!
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