We visited Vietnam in October 2009

This was our itinerary:

October 5th…Depart CapeTown on Singapore airlines.
October 6…Arrive Saigon…Transferred to our hotel. Afternoon city tour visiting the
Rex Hotel, Post Office built by Eiffel, Opera House,
Overnight Elios hotel, Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon…breakfast
October 7…After breakfast we are transferred to My Tho,
and take a boat trip down to Ben Tre, where you have the opportunity to discover
the local life in the Mekong Delta. The coconut candy mill, fruit gardens
followed by a fruit tasting, rice paper mill, …biking or transfer by horse carriage
on the village road. Lunch at a local island restaurant with the speciality of
“Deep fried Elephant-Eared fish”. We proceed to Can Tho located on the Mekong Delta bank.
Overnight Saigon Can Tho, Can Tho…breakfast and lunch
October 8…After breakfast we are transferred to Ninh Kieu wharf for
a boat trip to the Cai Rang floating market. Continue by boat through small canals to see more local life.
Transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight Elios hotel, Ho Chi Minh City…breakfast
October 9…Transferred to airport for our ….flight to HoiAn. Transferred to our hotel.
Relax, explore the town, enjoy the pool, or go to the beach.
Overnight Ancient House…pool
October 10… A morning visit to Hoi An which was one of the major trading centers of
Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Hoi An town, with it’s low tiled houses of
Chinese appearance, Japanese covered bridge, brightly painted temples and
pagodas make it one of Viet Nam’s most beautiful and delightful places.
Free afternoon for exploration and shopping.
Overnight Ancient House hotel, Hoi An…breakfast
October 11…9am food market tour with Ms. Li and then a cooking class with Ms.Vi, one of Vietnam’s
most famous chefs, and owner of the Morning Glory restaurant.. We dine on the food we prepare.
Afternoon free.
Overnight Ancient House
October 12…After breakfast an early drive via Hai Van pass to Hue which offers spectacular views
of mountains, sea, beaches and villages. We will visit the Imperial Citadel, and the Royal
Mausoleum of Tu Duc. A boat trip on the Perfumes River takes us to the Thien
Mu Pagoda. A stroll through Dong Ba market before transferring to our hotel.
Overnight Park View hotel, Hue…breakfast
October 13…A visit to Khai Royal Mausoleum. Free time to explore the city.
Overnight Park View hotel, Hue…breakfast
October 14…After breakfast we fly to Hanoi. Met at Noi Bai airport and transferred to hotel.
Afternoon Cyclo tour around the old quarter discovering the local life
Overnight Indochina hotel, Hanoi
October15…Hanoi city tour. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda,
and the Temple of Literature ,Vietnam’s first University.
An afternoon visit to the Ethnology (Folklore) Museum.
We will experience a traditional Water Puppet Show.
Evening transfer to the railway station for our 9:15 train journey at to Lao Cai.
Overnight on the train…breakfast
October 16…On arrival in Lao Cai we will be met and taken to a local restaurant
for breakfast. At 1500 meters, SaPa was once a hill resort of French
administrators when the summer heat became unbearable. Today you will
explore the busy market of SaPa where the Red Dao, Black Hmong,Tay, and
Xa Pho ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding valleys and
hillsides to sell their goods and buy provisions. Afternoon visit to Lao Chai and
Ta Van villages to experience the daily life of the Black Hmong people.
Overnight Royal View hotel, SaPa…breakfast
October 17…We continue into northern Viet Nam with our next stop the Bac Ha
Market which also attracts a wide variety of ethnic minority groups including
the Varigated Hmong, Dao, Phu La, La Chi, and Tay people. This congragation
is quite unique and colourful. Afternoon boat trip down stream on the
Chay River. We will visit villages along the river.
Overnight Royal View hotel, SaPa…breakfast and lunch
October 18…Free day to explore SaPa. Later transferred to railway station.
Overnight on the train…breakfast
October 19…5 AM arrival in Hanoi. A car will be waiting at the station to escort
us to the hotel for breakfast and relaxation. At 8:30 AM we will be driven to Ha Long Bay.
12:30 PM we will be welcomed on the traditional Phoenix Junk and enjoy a welcome drink.
We begin our trip in Ha Long Bay which is listed as a World Heritage area of
outstanding natural beauty. This picturesque “Dragon descending to the sea”,
Halong Bay has 1969 limestone islets rising from the sea, many of them containing
beautiful grottos. We will visit a grotto then enjoy a seafood lunch on board.
The excursion includes a visit to Con Cho Island, Dinh Huong island,
Canh Buom island and Ga Choi island. Swimming on Titop or Hoa Cuong beach,
and watching the sunset are all a part of the day.
Overnight on board Phenoix junk…breakfast, lunch, dinner
October 20 …We will continue visiting other corners of Ha Long Bay. Brunch will be
served on board. An 11:30 transfer back to Hanoi stopping to visit
Dong Trieu, famous for it’s ceramics. Arriving Hanoi about 4pm.
Overnight Indochina hotel, Hanoi…brunch and dinner
October 21…Hanoi free day
October 23…At leisure until transfer to the airport for flight home.
Departing 7:50 PM
… breakfast
October 24…Arrive Cape Town 7:35 AM