North and South with Helicopter in Vietnam

 12 days / 11 nights 

North and South with Helicopter in Vietnam

DAY 1 | ARRIVAL – FREEDAY IN SAIGON


(Arrival flight: please advise) A private car and guide will welcome you to Saigon, Vietnam and transfer you to your hotel for relaxation and check-in. Enjoy the night to have a look around the area on your own. Overnight at Saigon




DAY 2 | ART GALLERY - SAIGON HIGHLIGHTS – VESPA ADVENTURES


Tour start/ pickup time: 09:00 Estimated tour completion 18:00 After breakfast, take a short drive to the Arpicot Gallery. Among many galleries in Vietnam, Apricot is probably the best, gathering the top-rank artists from the master generation to up-coming stars. Apricot Gallery won the heart of art lovers not only by its genuine and qualified masterpieces but also good quality of service. In the afternoon, start your city tour with a visit of War Remnants Museum. This museum is a collection of the machinery, weapons, graphic photos, and documentation of Vietnam’s wars with the both the French and Americans. Then, you’ll visit the Reunification Palace. It was here that the American led war ended on April 30 1975, when the North Vietnam Army invaded the Palace forcing the president to resign. From here, visit two of Ho Chi Minh’s finest examples of French colonial architecture: the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Tour start / pickup time: 18:00 Estimated tour completion 22:30 In the evening, at 6:00PM, tour guide will pick you up from your hotel for the Saigon After Dark with Vespa Adventures Tour. This Saigon night tour is part night excursion, part street food adventure. Experience Saigon nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. To start off this Saigon night tour, enjoy drinks at our Vespa-themed café, Café Zoom, to watch “as the world goes by” (as said in the Lonely Planet guide book). Throughout the night, try a variety of food and drinks at 2 local restaurants and samplings of Saigon’s best authentic local food. Zoom past the famous must-see sights of Ho Chi Minh City while in the bustling traffic. We’ll also go to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop with special live music, and then wrap up the evening at an exciting music bar where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique styles. Overnight at hotel in Saigon




DAY 3 | OPTIONAL TOURS


OPTION 1: CU CHI TUNNELS Tour start/pickup time: 09:00 from Hotel Estimated tour completion 14:30 At 09:00 in the morning, we drive to Cu Chi district. You will have a short film on the history of Cu Chi tunnels before walking in to the forest where the Tunnels located. There are several choices for distance of tunnel which you can crawl in. The shortest one is 30 meters and longest one is 100 meters. In total the system measures 250 km, connecting several villages together. After experiencing the tunnels, take a break with some hot green tea boiled in pandan leaves and try with some steamed tapioca in the forest. Then you will meet with a special guest in a private conference room. Mr. Nam Chia lived and fought in the tunnels for 12 years from 1963 to 1975 as a guerrilla. After national liberation in 1975, he was awarded a temporary captaincy. At 14:30, tour guide and car/driver transfer back to Saigon. We have lunch at a local restaurant. Then, back to your hotel and enjoy the rest of day in Saigon at your leisure. Overnight at hotel in Saigon OPTION 2: BEN TRE DAY TRIP Tour start / pickup time: 08:00 from Hotel. Estimated tour completion 15:30 Depart from Saigon around 8am and head south to Ben Tre province, famous for its coconut production and quiet, peaceful waterways. On arrival, take a Golf cart through the local villages of Huu Dinh and Ca Ro to enjoy a 45 minute’ drive through tropical scenery and green gardens. These quiet back roads are the charm of Ben Tre province as you will enjoy the lush garden surrounding in one of the Mekong Delta’s most pristine regions. Continue with a short walk to Huu Phuoc Bridge, where you will start your boat trip through a small canal with tropical plants lining the canal. On board the boat, enjoy a welcome drink and tropical fruits while cruising. While on the cruise our guide will explain coconut processing which is the one of the top exports in Ben Tre province. Learn how every ounce of the coconut is utilized and the numerous products it creates. The cruise will then stop at a small tributary and you will board a rowing sampan taking you through a lush narrow canal, displaying the tranquil nature of the region. After our team rows you through the quiet canal, reconnect with your Golf Cart and be taken to a nearby private riverside restaurant. It is time for you to relax and enjoy a five-course lunch of local specialties, some grown organically in the garden! Relax and have a walk around the lush garden setting. Conclude your program with a visit from Mr Sau Tuong, a former Vietcong soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper which is the most famous specialty of My Long village. Have a chat with him and enjoy the crispy rice paper made by his wife. After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre city where your car will be ready to take you back to Saigon. Enjoy the rest of day in Saigon at your leisure. Overnight at hotel in Saigon




DAY 4 | MORNING MARKETS - FLY TO HANOI - TRAIN TO SAPA


Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. At 09:00AM, private car will transfer you to Ben Thanh market or Saigon Square to do a bit of shopping, troll around the market and taste various kinds of local dishes. If time permits, you can take a walk through Russian Market or western malls such as Parkson. Having lunch at a local restaurant. Then our driver will pick you up and transfer to the airport for connecting flight to Hanoi. (Expected flight: VN242 SGN HAN 1400 1605) A private car and guide will welcome you to Hanoi and transfer you to the Hanoi Old Quarter for a walk with your guide. Pick up at restaurant after dinner and transfer to the train station for your night train to Lao Cai. (Evening train to Sapa, Lao Cai) Overnight onboard Express Train




DAY 5 | SAPA OUT OF CROWD: BAN KHOANG – TA GIANG PHING


Pickup / Tour start: 06:30 from Lao Cai Station You will be met by local guide and driver upon your arrival at Lao Cai station then transferred to a local restaurant for breakfast (optional). Heading northwards of Sapa along national road 4C to O Quy Ho with several stops for magnificent landscapes of Fansipan, Sin Chai valley and especially amazing flower and vegetable farms. Then turn right to follow a narrow road for half an hour getting through the wild region with thick rain forest covering walled-up mountains, passing several waterfalls before arriving to Ban Khoang, a village of the Red Zao ethnic peoples who live their unique way of life and well maintain their traditional values. The village looks prosperous thanks to the combination of wet rice cultivation on the terraced fields with cardamom farming under the shade of trees in thick forest. Spend over an hour walking to explore this remote village for a brief understanding of local life. Leaving Ban Khoang and process along the road for about 10km to Ta Giang Phing valley inhabited by the Black Hmong who live in some small villages scattering along a peaceful stream. Enjoy an hour lunch break on the bank of a stream before walking along village path which connects village to village to witness daily activities of local life such as plough and harrow the fields, growing, harvesting or doing some house work. In leisure months men often gather to build new houses or repair parts of old ones while women stay home making their traditional costumes. The walk ends in mid-afternoon, picked up for the road ride back to Sapa. Approx: 2-hour driving/ 4 hours walking/ 1-hour lunch Transfer back to Ecolodge where you will participate in New Year’s Eve gala dinner. Let’s party and create a new year of health, luck and love. Overnight at mountain top lodge




DAY 6 | FROM MUONG HOA VALLEY TO NAM SAI VALLEY


Pickup time: 08:30 from hotel in Sapa Leaving Sapa at about 08.30 am by vehicle and traveling southwards of Sapa along a narrow and bumpy tarmac. The first 16 km of the road ride offers spectacular landscapes of Hoang Lien mountain range, Fansipan peak as well as marvelous terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa valley. Enjoy several photo stops before taking half an hour walk around Hoa Su Pan, a small hamlet of the Black Hmong, paying visiting to local homes and meeting peoples doing their everyday works. Continue the trip along the road further south to Muong Bo valley of Thanh Phu Commune. Enjoy another walk for an hour along the large village path, paying visiting to several homes of the Tay people who live in spacious houses built on stilts, witnessing their daily life and experiencing their hospitality. Lunch break in a local home in open air on the grass, depending on weather. Take a short drive after lunch along the rocky road to My Son and spend half an hour to explore this charming village of the Xa Pho ethnic, whose population is only more than 6 thousands peoples, for a brief understanding of their unique culture and customs. Then process further for 10km to Nam Cang Commune for visiting a beautiful and prosperous village of the Red Zao people in Nam Than village. This portion of the road ride offers beautiful scenery of the Nam Sai valley. Leave Nam Cang in mid-afternoon and driving for an hour along the same way back to Sapa. Approx: 3 hrs driving/ 2 hours walking/ 1 hour lunch Overnight at mountain top lodge




DAY 7 | SAPA – CAN CAU MARKET – HANOI


Pickup time: 07:00 You will be met by local guide and driver at Sapa then transferred to a local restaurant for breakfast (optional). After that, begin our drive to Can Cau market. The road is relatively flat from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai Bridge. After crossing the bridge, we begin our journey uphill offering beautiful views over the valleys. Situated 20 km from Bac Ha, Can Cau is a small, but very colorful market. Opening only on Saturdays, it always delivers a very photogenic display of Flower Hmong, Black Zao, Phu La ethnic costumes. After spending the whole morning exploring the market, you will leave the market for Bac Ha town for lunch. In the afternoon, we drive downhill towards Lao Cai for about half an hour. We stop on the way (before reaching Lao Cai) to take a short walk to Trung Do village inhabited by Tay people. Tay villages are always set up at the foot of a mountain or along a stream and are named after a mountain, a field, or a river. Each village contains about 15-20 households. A large village is divided into many small hamlets. The houses are built on stilts or level with the ground. Stop by a traditional Tay house for a cup of tea before taking a boat cruise upstream the Chay River. The scenery is very beautiful on both sides of the river. The boat trip will end at Bao Nhai Bridge where your vehicle will be waiting for you for the journey back to Lao Cai. End of tour. Approx: 6 hours driving/ 30 mins boat cruise/ 0.5-hour walking/ 1-hour lunch A private car from Topas will collect you at Xuan Giao T-junction and transfer you to Hanoi. Check-in and enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi




DAY 8 | HON GAI HARBOUR – BAI TU LONG BAY–THIEN CANH SON CAVE


Pickup time: 08:00 from Breakfast at hotel. 8.00: Your transfer vehicle will collect you from your hotel and convey you to the airport for your flight to Ha Long by seaplane. 12.00 – 12.30: Embark at Hon Gai International harbor. 12.30 – 13.00: Check-in, enjoy welcome drink & cruise briefing. 13.30 – 15.00: Have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long bay; admire the fascinating formations on the way. 15.15 – 15.40: Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son cave. 15.45 – 18:00: Enjoy relaxing on a white sandy beach at Hon Co Island, swimming or kayaking. 18:00 – 19.00: Back to junk for refreshing before having dinner on board. 20.00 – 21.00: Relax, enjoy fresh air & overnight on board. Overnight onboard luxury cruise in Ha Long




DAY 9 | HA LONG – HANOI


Estimated arrival time in Hanoi: 13:30 07.30 – 08.00: Morning view of Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air. 08.30 – 09.30: Visit Vung Vieng fishing village by a rustic row-boat. 10.00: Check out of the cabin. Start cruising towards the harbor while an A la carte lunch is served. 11.45 – 12.00: Disembark. Your private car will transfer you to Tuan Chau Marina for your flight back to Hanoi. Enjoy the rest of day in Hanoi at your leisure. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi




DAY 10 | DUONG LAM ANCIENT VILLAGE


Pickup time: 09:00 from hotel in Hanoi 09:00 Driving two hours to Duong Lam, an ancient village situated about 35 miles west of Hanoi. The only place in Vietnam that is the birthplace of two different kings, Duong Lam was recognized as a National Relic in 2005, shortly after similar recognition for Hoi An’s Old Town and Hanoi’s ancient quarter. Visit Duong Lam Commune, comprised of six hamlets with ancient architecture dating as far back as 1638. Enter through the well-preserved 500-year old village gate and walk through the narrow lanes of Mong Phu, the biggest of these hamlets. The centuries-old buildings are made of mud taken from a nearby paddy and laterite, a type or red soil abundant in the area. Each hamlet has a communal house that is a place of worship dedicated to the founder of the village. Festivals and folk performances usually take place in the yards in front of communal houses. Ending his availability, you may have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Huyen, a culture and history scholar who also owns the oldest house in the village. Lunch at Local house – Mr. Huyen Stop in Mia Pagoda. Built sometime during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1406), this pagoda contains ancient artifacts including 287 statues made of bronze, wood and clay. Of note are a sculpture of Bud-dha in the Himalayas, statues of the eight Vajra deities, a red bell dating back to 1743, and stone tables from 1632. Visit Phung Hung Temple and Ngo Quyen Temple, which are named after two of Vietnam’s national heroes. Afterwards, return to Hanoi and enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi




DAY 11 | HANOI OLD QUARTER


A private car will pick you up and transfer to a hotel in Hanoi for check-in and relaxation. After you have recovered from a long trip, your trip will start with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the Mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Close to this site is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origin dates back to the foundation of Hanoi a thousand year ago. Your tour of Hanoi continues with a trip to the remarkable Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university. Have lunch at local restaurant. Visit the Museum of Ethnology then on to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. Enjoy a walking through the bustling Old Quarter streets. A bewildering maze of shopping streets and restaurants with an amazing assortment of architecture – traditional tube houses, countless pagodas, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices. You’ll enjoy walk around the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake and through the less peaceful Old Quarter. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi




DAY 12 | HANOI – DEPARTURE FLIGHT


Breakfast at your hotel. Free your own at leisure at your hotel until car/driver pick you up and transfer you to the airport for your home flight.





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