We had a friendly guide, full of knowledge and a competent driver. Warmly welcomed at all restaurants and hotels (great food overall). We would like to stay one or two more nights in Mai Chau homestay, the luxury of some hotels we felt a little superfluous, however.
Thank you for the great time! We will definitely recommend Asiatica Travel to our friends! All our friends!
On behalf of the whole group
André and Véronique Joncheray
Day 01. October 1, 2011: Hanoi arrival (D)
2:50 p.m., on Qatar Airways QR 614 - Welcome at Hanoi airport by our guide and Asiatica bus, then transfer to the city center. Check in Hanoi hotel at 14h post - noon.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 02. October 2, 2011: Hanoi - City tour - Lao Cai Train (B)
Day of exploring in depth the capital of Vietnam with its timeless charm. We start by visiting the Temple of Literature, a Confucius school of mandarins, Quan Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda, the most beautiful and ancient pagoda in Hanoi. The afternoon is reserved for the museum of ethnicity with many ethnic houses typical of each region on display, the Lake of Restored Sword and the giant turtle. Evening: we enjoy a traditional water puppet performance. Transfer to the train station for night train Hanoi / Lao Cai. Overnight on the train (comfortable compartment 4 beds - 4 people). Tulico train: 9:10 p.m. to 5:20 a.m.
Overnight on the train Tulico, air-conditioned soft sleeper
Day 03. October 3, 2011: Laocai arrival - Sapa (B, L)
Arrive early morning in Lao Cai transfer to Sapa via a beautiful mountain road dotted with rice terraces and old trees. The moment you arrive in Sapa temperature changes completely because this town is at 1650 meter altitude. Check in your Sapa hotel. Walking tour of the Cat Cat village of Black H'mong, the cathedral and the market of Sapa with its charming colonial houses. Reaching the top of Ham Rong, near Sapa town, where you can admire a panoramic view: Muong Hoa valley, Sapa town and Ta Phin shrouded in clouds and fog.
Overnight in Sapa
Day 04. October 4, 2011: Sapa – Bac ha (B, L)
We descend into the valley to the Muong Hoa to visit Lao Chai villages of Black H'mong, Ta Van of Dzay ethnic people, picturesque scenery of terraced rice fields alongside. Walk in villages for a few hours. Visit these two villages and then transfer to Bac Ha.
Day 05. October 5, 2011: Bacha - Sincheng Market - Lao Cai - Night train to Hanoi (B, L)
Transfer to market Cheng Sin - a typical market where brightly colored Flower H’mong ethnic people gather for trade. This market takes place every Wednesday morning. After the market, you will visit the village of La Phu in Lung Phinh. During afternoon, hike to the village Thai Giang Pho of Flower Hmong ethnic people… at the end of the afternoon, transfer to Lao Cai station for night train back to Hanoi. Overnight on the train. Tulico: 8:05 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.
Overnight on the train (same condition as the first night)
Day 06. October 6, 2011: Hanoi arrival – Hanoi handicraft villages (B, L)
Arrive in Hanoi around 05.am in the morning. Time for breakfast and shower. Then transfer to the handicraft villages in Hanoi suburb: the Dong Ky carpentry village, and Bat Trang ceramic village (Gia Lam District). Lunch at local restaurant. Finally, we visit But Thap Pagoda which was built in 1646-1647 by the Chinese monk Minh Hanh. Return to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 07. October 7, 2011: Hanoi - Mai Chau (B, L, D)
From your hotel, drive to Mai Chau through a scenic mountainous road. In Mai chau, we walk to visit White Thai ethnic villages, dominant population of the region. Traditional music and dance in the evening. Tasting of local wine ("Can"- fermented glutinous rice). Homestay in a stilt house in the Van Village.
Lodging with local
Day 08. October 8, 2011: Mai Chau - Tam Coc (B, L)
Drive to Tam Coc (referred as “a Halong Bay on land”). Arrive in Tam Coc, a rowing sampan awaits you for an unforgettable trip through a natural landscape to visit the amazing caves of Tam Coc. Lunch at local restaurant, then visit Bich Dong Pagoda situated on a hillside. On the way to hotel, visit Bai Dinh, the biggest pagoda in Southeast Asia. Check in hotel.
Overnight in Tam Coc – Ninh Binh.
Day 09. October 9, 2011: Tam Coc - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Travel to Halong Bay, crossing Thai Binh and Nam Dinh with the verdant rice fields of Red River Delta. Arrive in Bai Chay around noon. Aboard our elegant junk in Halong Bay for a fantastic cruise among its splendid settings. We visit the caves during the cruise. Seafood meals served by our excellent team. A sweet night on board our junk in comfortable private cabins.
Day 10/10 October 2011: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B, L)
At dawn, it is one of the most magical moments of the bay, strange atmosphere when the morning mist reveals the outcrops of natural sculptures and emerald water. Visit the fishing village, after cruising in Bai Tu Long Bay surrounded with countless islands. Around 11:30, back to the pier and drive to Hanoi in the afternoon.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 11: October 11, 2011: Hanoi - old Duong Lam village - Thay Pagoda - Flights Danang - Hoian (B, L)
The day is devoted to explore the area of Hanoi and the Red River Delta in particular with the old village of Duong Lam Pagoda and Thay Pagoda. Morning departure by road to the Duong Lam village 60km - 2 hours drive from Hanoi. Upon arrival, bike ride in the village, visit to Mia pagoda, pagoda of sugar cane, the temple of the kings Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung. Lunch at living in the village. Afternoon, en route back to Hanoi, visit to the Thay Pagoda, a pagoda typical of the Red River Delta and the high places of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese. Arrive in Hanoi in late afternoon. Direct Transfer to airport for flight to Hanoi Hanoi / Danang (VN1519 to 18h40/19h55). Arrive in Danang, home of the guide and driver. Transfer to Hoian.
Check in hotel and overnight in Hoian.
Day 12. October 12, 2011: Hoian - Danang - Hue (B)
Breakfast, Departure to visit the city: the museum of antique ceramics, the Japanese Bridge, Chinatown, Phung Hung's house, the market and the port which was extremely busy in the fifteenth century with merchant boats and junks from many countries: Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese ... Stop at Chuc Thanh Pagoda - the oldest pagoda in Hoi An (1454) built by a Chinese monk .. After lunch, drive to Hue through the Mandarin Road crossing the Hai Van Pass with magnificent view of Danang and the surrounding area. Several stops are planned for photos shooting en route. Visit the Center for the disadvantaged children in Danang. Arrive in Hue, transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Hue
Day 13. October 13, 2011: Hue - new tour in the village of Thuy Bieu (B, L)
Visit Hue Imperial City, the only remaining imperial city of Vietnam still exists today and a walk in the old town. Continue our discovery at the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, the most beautiful tombs with beautiful architecture and landscapes.
Then embark on a traditional boat for sailing on the Perfume River. The boat stops to visit the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda, built in 1601 as a symbol of Hue city, visit the eco-village Thuy Bieu for lunch.
The afternoon: enjoy a bike ride in the village, passing communal houses, homes gardens, typical house in Hue. Resting time: soaking your feet in the water of medicinal herbs. Return to hotel by car.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 14. October 14, 2011: Hue - Saigon Flight (B)
Continue with a visit of Minh Mang tomb, nestled on the bank of the Perfume River, this majestic tomb represents the perfect harmony between nature and architecture. Visit on the way the Duc Son Pagoda in Hue. Then transfer to airport for flight from Hue / Saigon (VN1375 to 17h/18h20). Arrival in Saigon, welcome by Asiatica Travel’s guide and driver. Check into your hotel.
Overnight in Saigon.
Day 15. October 15, 2011: Saigon - Tour in the city (B)
Breakfast. 8 am, departure to visit the Central Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Opera, the Reunification Palace and Museum of War Remnants, the Thien Hau Pagoda and the big market (Cho Lon) located in the heart of Chinatown.
Day 16. October 16, 2011: Saigon - Tay Ninh Temple - Saigon (B, L)
After breakfast - lunch, drive to Tay Ninh where we visit the exotic Temple of Caodaism. Journey of more than 2 hours. Very colorful and unique, this temple is the center of the Cao Dai religion in Vietnam. The saints are Jesus, Buddha and legendary people like Victor Hugor, Churchill and Nguyen Binh Khiem! The religious ceremony takes place every day at noon. Return to Saigon in the afternoon. Free time for your own discovery and shopping.
Overnight in Saigon.
Day 17. October 17, 2011: Saigon - Caibe (B, L, D)
Breakfast, direct transfer to Caibe, around 2h30’ transport. Arrive in Caibe, start a boat trip on the river to visit Tien islands. Walking tour around the island, stop at Mekong Lodge. Lunch at Riverside restaurant. After lunch, with a bike ride around the village you can experience the local life in this land of canals. Back to Mekong Lodge and time for your personal discovery and contact with people.
Overnight in Mekong Lodge.
Day 18. October 18, 2011: Caibe - Cantho (B, L)
Early morning, we take the boat to visit the Cai Be floating market, one of the Mekong Delta. You will then visit an orchard where you can taste the fruit and drink tea with honey, then drop by Caibe traditional handicraft village for souvenirs. Disembark. Continue travel enroute to Can Tho. Arrive in Can Tho, visit the Binh Thuy Old House. Check in your hotel.
Overnight in Can Tho.
Day 19. October 19, 2011: Can Tho - Saigon - Departure (B, L)
Early morning, we take the boat trip to visit Cai Rang floating market, the biggest and busiest floating market in the Mekong Delta. The setting is beautiful, with hundreds of motor sampans filled with rice, fruits and crafts gather to exchange and sell. Then we go into the lush orchards, the opportunity to taste fresh fruit picked on the spot. We leave Cantho to return to Saigon. Back in Saigon we stop at My Tho to visit Vinh Trang Pagoda - a perfect harmony between Asian and European architectural styles gives it a serene beauty and Dong Tam snake farm where you can visit the areas of farming with dozens of species of pythons, snakes, and also see turtles and crocodiles. Transfer directly to the airport for departure flight. 11:35 p.m.
* * * End of our trip * * *