Initial Vietnam Itinerary
Our trip will focus on the "real" Vietnam. We will include a day in each of the major cities of Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), were we will visit some historical sites, but most of our trip will be off the beaten path. We will immerse ourselves in the culture and everyday lives of the locals. This includes visiting two ethnic minorities who welcome tourists into their villages, learn a little about Vietnamese cooking, and trying our hand at local crafts.
Our itinerary is somewhat flexible (other than travel days) and is subject to change based on the preferences of the group.
Activity level for this trip: Flexible - you decide how much activity you want, but all travelers must be able to climb stairs, get in and out of a van or jeep, and walk up to a half mile. The terrain may be rough at times so women with back problems should consult their physicians. Travelers always have the option to skip activities.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24TH
We fly into Hanoi where our trip begins. Our trip begins at our "home" for two nights in the city of Hanoi. After your long flight, you will need to relax before jumping into sightseeing. We will be staying in a very comfortable home right in the old quarter. Depending on your arrival time, you can get out and explore on your own or just stay in and take a nap. Once everyone arrives, we will meet to review the exciting adventures that we are about to embark on. (Meals: On your on.)
SATURDAY, MARCH 6TH
We'll start our day with breakfast at home. As we head out for the day, local college students will be our guides. The tour will include the Temple of Literature (pictured left), Hao Lo Prison Museum (know at the "Hanoi Hilton" during the war, and Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. We'll grab food as we need it (not included in tour) and return home by late-afternoon. After a little time to relax, we will enjoy our first dinner together at a fabulous local restaurant. (Meals: B,D)
SUNDAY, MARCH 7TH
Bai Tu Long Bay
Our guides for this part of the trip is a tour company that truly values the beauty of Vietnam and puts a great deal of effort into protecting the environment. They ............... .
Bai Tu Long Bay (above)
........ We have an early start to our day as our tour van picks us up at 7:30am to travel toward the coast. We'll eat breakfast at home and hit the road. We'll arrive in Halong by noon and head out on a wooden "junk boat" (below) for a private over-night tour. We will have lunch while cruising to magnificent Bai Tu Long Bay, explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave, enjoy relaxing, swimming or kayaking on a white sandy beach at Hon Co Island. After a full day, we will each have our own cabin for a peaceful night floating on the bay.
MONDAY, MARCH 8TH
Yen Duc Village
We'll wake to the morning view of the Bay’s landscape with a cup of tea or coffee. We'll have breakfast in the fresh air, then head out on a rustic row-boat to visit Vung Vieng fishing village (above). After lunch on board, we will disembark and drive to Yen Duc village (below) for a unique opportunity to experience village life in Vietnam.
Enjoy water puppet show performed by local artists, enjoy an authentic Vietnamese meal cooked by the locals, and retire to their new 4 bedroom house built as part of their community-based tourism program.
TUESDAY, MARCH 9TH