11 DAY VIETNAM FIRST CLASS TOUR, FROM $ 2650PP, INCLUDING FLIGHTS

Expand your travel horizons with a tour that takes you to five of Vietnam’s most exciting cities!

Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy time at leisure, plus a tour including the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the French-style Central Post Office, City Hall, the magnificent Saigon Opera House and
Ben Thanh Market. Fly to Da Nang and travel to the picturesque ancient town of Hoi An, where you will see the gorgeous Phuoc Kien Pagoda, the 400 year old bright-red Japanese Covered Bridge and the Ancient House. With a full day at leisure, perhaps explore the Old City, stop at one of the city’s many museums or see artisans using age-old techniques to fashion a variety of crafts.

Journey along the coast, with spectacular views of the bowl-shaped Da Nang Bay, and arrive in Hue, a city of extraordinary beauty. Enjoy a tour of the former Imperial capital, modelled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, and home to a wealth of palaces and temples, as well as libraries and museums. With time at leisure, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to taste some of Hue’s famed Imperial cuisine.

Fly to Hanoi and travel through the lush countryside to Halong Bay, considered one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. Here, enjoy an excursion by traditional wooden boat and visit one of the many caves and grottos, filled with small waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites.

From Hanoi, enjoy a visit to the Museum of Ethnology, centre for the preservation and exhibition of cultural heritage for the 50 ethnic groups in Vietnam, then attend a performance of the world-famous Water Puppet Show, depicting a series of ancient Vietnamese folktales, acted out by puppets, over a pool of water. Finally, spend a full day exploring the rich culture of Hanoi independently.

 THIS DEAL EXPIRES at 5PM 24FEB2016 
12d_VT_GoWestTravel

Departs AKL 5 AUG ’16
flying CZ
 Final Book By: 24FEB16  Deposit: $1600pp
Final Balance: 5MAY16
Prices correct as at 14FEB16
Booking Terms and Conditions
enquirenow

Telephone 09 557 8872 or enquire online, or by email

Travel Dates

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*prices based on two people travelling, Twin Share Accommodation, and flying Economy Class. Ask about a supplement to fly your preferred airline or alliance.

Escorted Package Includes
  • Flights Auckland-Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi-Auckland
    Other departure cities available.
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • All intra-flights: Ho Chi Minh-Da Nang & Hue-Hanoi
  • 10 nights First Class accommodations
  • 2 nights Ho Chi Minh
  • 2 nights Hoi An
  • 2 nights Hue
  • 1 night Halong Bay
  • 3 nights Hanoi
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers
  • 14 meals: 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring

Special Features

  • Visit the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral and the magnificent Saigon Opera house in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Old City of Hoi An one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia in the 15th century
  • Imperial City & 19th century Citadel , Hue
  • View the thousands of limestone islands rising out of the sea during the Halong Bay Excursion
  • Museum of Ethnology & Water Puppet Show, Hanoi
Daily Itinerary

DAY 1, Friday – Depart for Vietnam

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Depart for Vietnam. Arrive in Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon), the largest city in Vietnam. Transfer to your hotel and adjust for the timezone. If you are energetic, your hotel overlooks a vibrant street, you can mingle with locals and visitors and get a feel for the vibe of this energetic country.

Overnight: Ho Chi Minh

DAY 2, Saturday – Ho Chi Minh City Tour
ho-chi-minh1This morning, following breakfast, join your Tour Manager for a Welcome Meeting. Afterwards, a guided tour in Ho Chi Minh City includes the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office with its French style architecture, City Hall, and the magnificent Saigon Opera House. From here, visit lively Ben Thanh Market – where an unbelievable assortment of wares and crafts are sold under one roof. Continue to Dong Khoi Street, a major shopping street in the center of the city. In the afternoon join the optional  tour to Cu Chi Tunnels. The underground tunnel network was built by the Viet Cong to control a large rural area near Saigon. These tunnels were first used during the French/Vietnamese War (1946-1954) and later used by the Viet Cong as a base of operations during the 1968 Tet offensive
Optional: Half Day Cu Chi Tunnels (PM)
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 3, Sunday – Flight to Da Nang, Hoi An City Tour
Hoi_An-VietnamDepart Ho Chi Minh on your flight to Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s major ports, situated on the coast of the South China Sea. Travel south to the picturesque ancient town of Hoi An, where people still wear the “ao dais”, Vietnam’s traditional dress. The ancient town of Hoi An, a World Heritage Site, was the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia in the 15th century. Its ancient past is superbly preserved in an enchanting collection of temples, pagodas, shop houses and magnificent private homes in the town’s Old Quarter. Walking tour of this artistic jewel, with its century’s old architecture includes the gorgeous Phuoc Kien Pagoda, the 400 year old bright red Japanese covered bridge and the Ancient House. Afterwards, continue to dinner at a local restaurant
Overnight: Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4, Monday – Full Day in Hoi An
Spend a full day at leisure discovering all of the delights of Hoi An independently. Walk through the Old City, stopping at one of the city’s many museums, or see artisans using age-old techniques to fashion a variety of crafts. Of special interest are the colorful and elaborate paper lanterns created by lantern artisans for which Hoi An is well known. Or, join the optional boat trip on the Thu Bon River visiting the Organic Village, including lunch. The boat trip begins at a local pier in the Old Town. You’ll cruise down streams and past many fishing areas before arriving in Kim Bong village, home of traditional woodworking and boat-building. Return to the mainland and drive to the Traque Organic Village for lunch. Here, you’ll learn about the many vegetables and herbs organically grown to support the people of Hoi An. After a Vietnamese culinary lesson and tasting, return to Hoi An
Optional: Boat Trip on the Thu Bon River & Organic Village with Lunch
Overnight: Hoi An
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5, Tuesday – Travel to Hue, Hue Imperial City Tour

hue1
This morning, travel to Da Nang, with stunning views of bowl-shaped Da Nang Bay. Drive by the Marble Mountains, an area well-known for stone sculpture making and stone cutting crafts. Journey over the towering mountains to Hue, home to a wealth of palaces, temples, libraries and museums. Afternoon tour of this former Imperial capital, modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. Enter the Ngo Mon Gate, principal entrance to the Imperial Enclosure and the central passageway reserved for use by the Emperor. Continue to the Thai Hoa Palace with its spacious hallways and ornamental roof, the Halls of the Mandarins, the Nine Dynastic Urns, and the ruins of the Forbidden Purple City, once home to the royal family. Tonight, spend time at leisure to explore on your own. Perhaps, join the optional Cyclo Ride (Trishaw) in the city, ending with a multi-course feast at a special restaurant within the Citadel
Optional: Cyclo Ride with Dinner at the Citadel
Overnight: Hue
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6, Wednesday – Full Day in Hue
HUE_GWTDay at leisure to explore Hue independently. Or, participate in the not-to-be-missed optional afternoon boat excursion on the gentle Perfume River, which explores the life along the banks of the ancient royal capital city. The river, with its shimmering blue color is dotted with a poetic landscape of boats, gardens, pagodas, towers and temples. The tour continues to the legendary Thien Mu Pagoda, on the north bank of the Perfume River, built in seven successive tiers. Then, a drive to the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, final resting place of Vietnam’s longest reigning emperor and to Khai Dinh, the last Emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. Here, a vegetarian lunch will be prepared by Buddhist nuns of the Dong Thien Pagoda. Afterward, return to Hue
Optional: Perfume River Boat Trip and Lunch at Dong Thien Pagoda
Overnight: Hue
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7, Thursday – Flight to Hanoi, Sightseeing en route to Halong Bay
QVF86LL6B_halong_bay_fishing_villageDepart Hue on the flight to sparkling Hanoi, cultural center of the country. Upon arrival, travel overland and through the lush Vietnamese countryside to picturesque Halong Bay, considered one of Vietnam’s most celebrated attractions. As you approach, you’ll see thousands of limestone islands rising out of the sea creating a truly magical scene. Arrive at your hotel in Halong Bay for overnight
Overnight: Halong Bay
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8, Friday – Cruise Halong Bay, Travel to Hanoi
Incredible views await you today! Halong Bay is considered one of the most breathtaking places on the planet, added to the list of UNESCO Heritage sites and declared recently as one of the “New Seven Natural Wonders of the World”. There are over 3,000 islands in the emerald waters and over 1,000 have their own names. Numbers of caves and grottos of all sizes and shapes are filled with small waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites. Sail on a traditional wooden boat on the tranquil bay with lunch served on board. Visit to one of the caves. Afterwards, drive to Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital and check in at your hotel. This city’s history is tied to French colonialism; ts architecture, cuisine and local culture still bear evidence of the French influence
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9, Saturday – Hanoi City Tour & Evening Water Puppet Show
Today, visit the Museum of Ethnology, center for the preservation and exhibition of cultural heritage for over 50 ethnic groups in Vietnam. In the evening, attend a performance of the world-famous Water Puppet Show, accompanied by a traditional Vietnamese orchestra and Cheo (a form of opera). The show depicts a series of ancient Vietnamese folktales, acted out by puppets over a pool of water
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10, Sunday – Full Day in Hanoi
HANOILANE_GWTSpend a full day at leisure discovering Hanoi on your own, or, take the optional tour to the stunning Thay Pagoda and So Village, including lunch, also known as the “Pagoda of the Master”. Nestled against the hillside in Sai Go Village, it shares its compound with the smaller Ca pagoda. Here, you’ll also see Thuy Dinh Stage, a water palace on Long Tri Pond, where the ancient form of water puppetry is performed. Continue to So Village, a well-preserved ancient village. Walking tour around the village with its traditional layout and small alleyways in-between the houses. Stop at one of the communal houses to meet villagers who earn their living from making noodles. Tonight, your journey to Vietnam ends with many lasting memories. Farewell dinner with your fellow travelers and Tour Manager
Optional: Thay Pagoda & So Village with lunch
Overnight: Hanoi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11, Monday – Depart Vietnam
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

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Other information
Visa Info

Yes, a visa is required for this itinerary and is your responsibility.

A New Zealand citizen is able to get a visa on arrival. Before booking with Go West Travel, you should be sure you understand the requirements to enter Vietnam.

The NZ  Government Safetravel Website  says this;

There are no significant security risks associated with travel to Viet Nam, although travellers should be alert to the potential for petty crime.

Crime
Foreign tourists can be a target for petty crime in Viet Nam.  Bag slashing can occur in crowded areas such as markets, trains, buses and supermarkets.  Snatch and grab theft from thieves on motorbikes is common in tourist areas, particularly in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang.

When walking in public areas and travelling on public transport we recommend that you pay close attention to your personal belongings. We advise carrying a photocopy of the biodata page from your passport for identification and leaving the passport in a safe place such as your hotel safe.

There have been reports of taxi scams involving foreigners, upon arrival at airports.  Travellers are advised to use common sense and to take airport taxis, prearranged hotel transfer services or taxis from clearly marked ranks with minders. Ensure that any person holding a placard with your name on it knows your destination. 

Civil unrest
Political dissent is rare in Viet Nam and protests are generally not tolerated.  We recommend you avoid any protests and demonstrations that do occur as they have the potential to turn violent and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.

Landmines
There is a danger from unexploded landmines in former battlefields, particularly in central Viet Nam and along the Laos border.  Mined areas may be unmarked.  We advise you not to stray off well used roads and paths in rural areas. 

Piracy
Piracy is a problem in coastal areas of Viet Nam, particularly in the Vung Tau area. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these areas. For more information see the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report .

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Viet Nam should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Viet Nam are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Accomodation

Paragon Saigon Hotel, Ho Chi Minh


★★★★

This first class hotel is situated in the commercial and business district of Ho Chi Minh.

Mercure Hoi An Royal, Hoi An


★★★★

This first class hotel is located in the city of Hoi An.

Huong Giang, Hue


★★★★

This first class hotel is centrally located in the heart of Hue, along the banks of the Perfume River.

Royal Lotus Hotel Halong, Halong Bay


★★★★

This first class hotel looks out over the picturesque bay and is within walking distance to Halong pier.

Sunway Hotel, Hanoi


★★★★

This first class hotel is located near the city center, in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung neighborhood.

Optional Tours

Half Day Cu Chi Tunnels

Day #2        NZD$61
The Cu Chi tunnels were part of an underground tunnel network built by the Viet Cong to control a large rural area near Saigon. These tunnels were first used during the French/Vietnamese War (1946-1954) and later used by the Viet Cong as a base of operations during the 1968 Tet offensive. The Cu Chi network includes 125 miles of tunnels with many branches connecting to underground hideouts, weapon factories, hospitals, shelters and other tunnels. The entire structure was dug out of the rock by hand tools without the use of cement. On this tour, you’ll learn about the tunnels and other aspects of the war. Opportunity for a brief view of life underground as you enter areas that have been enlarged to create easier access for visitors. The majority of the tour will be above the tunnels. Please note: This tour is presented from a Vietnamese perspective, based on past wars with France and the United States. If you are uncomfortable with the expressed point-of-views and prefer not to hear this discussion, then we recommend that you do not participate.

Approximate tour duration is 6 hours.

Boat Trip on the Thu Bon River & Organic Village with lunch

Day #4      NZD$78
Begin the boat trip at a local pier in the Old Town, cruising down streams and passing many fishing areas before cruising out to the main river. Stop at Kim Bong village, home of traditional woodworking and boat-building families. Return to the mainland and drive to the Traque Organic Village for lunch. Here, meet local farmers and learn about the many vegetables and herbs that are organically grown here to support the people of Hoi An. Walk through the gardens and see how, even today, local farmers work their fields using the traditional methods used hundreds of years ago. A culinary lesson follows on the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food, plus the local specialty called Banh-xeo. Once the lesson is over, enjoy the food you helped to prepare.

Departs at 8:30 am. Pick-up and drop-off at the hotel. Approximate tour duration is 6 hours.

Cyclo Ride with Dinner at the Citadel

Day #5         NZD$70
Enjoy a panoramic view of both the daily life and the architecture of Hue with a Trishaw (Cyclo) Tour. (The Cyclo is a very common mode of transportation in Vietnam.) Begin at the French Quarter with its beautiful French villas. Pass by the school where former presidents Ho Chi Minh and Ngo Dinh Diem, as well as Vo Nguyen Giap – a prominent Vietnamese politician – were educated. Continue via the market to the former Royal Palace. Then, arrive at a family-run restaurant within the Citadel walls; its owner is the descendant of a high ranking Mandarin official, and thus considered “a master of Royal cuisine.” Savor a multi-course dinner – each dish will be presented in the shape of a peacock, dragon or turtle. This feast is a replica of the Royal Feast presented to the royal families in the past.

Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.

Perfume River Boat Trip with lunch at Dong Thien Pagoda

Day #6        NZD$93
Enjoy a boat trip on the beautiful and serene Perfume River with a stop to a local village to learn about the daily life of local people in one of the most traditional parts of North Central Vietnam. Continue to the Thien Mu Pagoda, situated on Ha Khe hill, on the north bank of the Perfume River. The temple complex stretches north from the river banks in seven successive tiers, each of which is dedicated to a human form taken by the Buddha, or a step to enlightenment. Then, drive to the Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, the final resting place of Vietnam’s longest reigning emperor, set among forested hills and lakes. Lastly, proceed to Khai Dinh, the last monument of the Nguyen dynasty. A vegetarian lunch prepared by Buddhist nuns of the Dong Thien Pagoda is a very special experience, with time to interact with the Buddhist nuns, learning more about their lives in the pagoda.

Departs at 8:30 am. Pick-up and drop-off at the hotel. Approximate tour duration is 7 hours.

Thay Pagoda & So Village with lunch

Day #10        NZD$85
Today tour the stunning Thay Pagoda and So Village, including lunch, also known as the “Pagoda of the Master.” Nestled against the hillside in Sai Go Village, it shares its compound with the smaller Ca Pagoda. Here, you can also see Thuy Dinh Stage, a water palace on Long Tri Pond, where the ancient form of water puppetry is performed. Continue to So Village, a well-preserved ancient village. Walking tour around the village to see the traditional layout with small alleyways in-between the houses. Stop to visit one of the impressive communal houses to meet villagers who earn their living from making noodles and tofu. Enjoy the stunning Thay Pagoda, the “Master’s Pagoda,” nestled on the foot of Sai Son Mountain.

Departs at 8:30 am. Pick-up and drop-off at the hotel. Approximate tour duration is 6 hours.