Detailed itinerary and programme:
Day 1 – Arrival at Ho Chi Minh. Transfer to the city centre. Travellers will have the rest of the day free to familiarise themselves with the city.
Day 2 – Visit to the Cao Dai Temple and the Cu Chi Tunnels. Departure from the hotel at 7:30 a.m., firstly heading to Tay Ninh (95 Km south of Ho Chi Minh) to visit the Cao Dai Temple, also known as the divine temple. We will have the chance to see the Maitreya Buddah statue at the top of the main façade, the “allseeing Divine Eye” and to witness the preparation ritual for prayers. Lunch.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, built during the Vietnam War. Their 200 km length of tunnels have resisted the American attacks during the war and visitors will be able to walk through a small segment of the tunnels to understand how the Vietnamese managed to survive. Return to Ho Chi Minh where visitors will have time to find dinner.
Day 3 – Visit to the delta of the Mekong River and the floating market. Departure from the hotel at 7:00 a.m. heading to Cai Be (105 Km away from Ho Chi Minh). Visitors will be taken in a boat to the floating market where they can learn how the people settled along the banks of the Mekong River trade their fruits and products. Then on to visit the factories where the famous coconut sweets are made plus a rowboat trip along the Mekong River, all the way to Vinh Long. Lunch will be provided at a local fruit producer. After that, travellers can ride bicycles or, if preferred, relax in a bonsai garden. Return to the pier and to Ho Chi Minh.
Day 4 – Check-out from the hotel and sightseeing in Ho Chi Minh. Departure at 8:00 a.m. to visit the Reunification Palace, The Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Lunch at the travellers’ expense. In the afternoon, visit to the War Remnants Museum and to the Binh Tay Market. Then, we’ll head to the airport where we’ll take a flight to Da Nang. Transfer to Hoi An. Free time allowed for dinner and sightseeing.
Day 5 – Departure from the hotel at 8:30 a.m. to visit Hoi An, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Sightseeing in the old city, particularly the central market, the monuments, the streets and the buildings along the Thu Bon River, including the famous Japanese bridge. Free time for lunch. In the afternoon, bicycle ride to the Cua Dai beach. For the rest of the afternoon, travellers may engage in their own leisure activities and will have to provide for dinner.
Day 6 – Check-out from the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and trip to Da Nang, with stops at the marble mountains and the famous Chua Linh Ung Temple, where the biggest statute of Buddah in Vietnam is located. Free time for lunch. Then, we will travel by train - Reunification Express - to Hue. Arrival and check-in at the hotel, and visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda. Free time for dinner.
Day 7 – Check-out from the hotel at 8:00 a.m.. Visit to the imperial city of Hue and the Khai Dinh Tomb, both listed as World Heritage Sites. Free time for leisure activities in the afternoon. In the evening, trip to Hanoi in the Reunification Express. Estimated time of arrival is late morning in the following day.
Day 8 – Arrival at Hanoi. Check-in at the hotel. Visit to the Hoam Kiem Lake and to the Old Quarter.
Day 9 – At 8:30 a.m., departure to visit some highly emblematic sites of Hanoi: The Temple of Literature (the oldest university in Vietnam), the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ho Tay Lake and the Tran Quoc Pagoda. After all the walking, it’s time to taste the Bun Cha (local typical food) and have a Bia (the world’s cheapest craft beer). The evening will be spent watching a water puppet show.
Day 10 – Check-out from the hotel at 7:30 a.m. and departure to Ha Long Bay, another site listed by UNESCO as World Heritage. Ha Long Bay, “the bay of the descending dragon”, is comprised of over 2 000 limestone rock islands spread over an area of 1 500 Km2. Lunch aboard a traditional vessel. We will visit the famous Hang Sung Sot Cave and travellers will have the opportunity to dive and ride kayaks, if allowed by the weather conditions. Time to watch the sunset. Dinner and sleep on board.
Day 11 – Breakfast in the beautiful scenery of the Ha Long Bay. Visit to Ti Top and Ba Hang. By then, the visit will unfortunately be coming to its end and after lunch it will be time to leave the boat and return to Hanoi. Travellers can take the rest of the afternoon for their own free leisure activities. In the evening, we’ll take a night train to Sapa.
Day 12 – Arrival at Lao Cai. Transfer to Sapa. Arrival with a warming welcome by the H´mong, the Dzao and the Tay in their traditional outfits. We will then start the 2.5 Km walk to Cat Cat, where the residence of the Black H´mong is situated. We will observe the local activities, have lunch and walk to the bottom of the valley. Transfer to Sapa. Dinner.
Day 13 – Breakfast and departure at 8:00 a.m. for the 9 Km walk. Visit to Y Linh Ho, walking through rice fields, Lao Chai to enjoy the spectacular view of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain and Ta Van, where the house of the Dzay is. Here, we’ll take a transfer to Sapa, where we’ll be able to freshen up before we check-out. Free time allowed for lunch. At 03:00 p.m., we’ll travel back to Hanoi just in time for our last goodbye to Vietnam. Drive to the airport and end of the Magellan Route’s programme.
- Transfer to and from the Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi airports. Transfer to the Cao Dai Temple and the Cu Chi Tunnels excursions; Delta of the Mekong River and visit to the floating market; Transfer to and from Da Nang.
- Boat ride in the Mekong River;
- Accommodation in double room;
- Boat ride in Ha Long, on board meals – 2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast (drinks not included);
- Entrance tickets in museums and the historical centre of Hoi An;
- Walk in Sapa: Breakfast, lunch and dinner (drinks not included).
How much I’m planning to spend: around 1050€