Water Puppet Tours

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With its numerous national parks, white sand beaches, colourful villages, pagodas and ancient monuments, forests and islands, Vietnam is a land of often surprising beauty, offering cultural depth and history, increasingly combined with tourism-friendly areas offering all the facilities a modern traveller could wish for.

Vietnam’s people are its greatest asset: gregarious, friendly and eager to meet visitors. In the bustling cities, the often chaotic streets contrast ox carts with limousines, ancient rituals with sophisticated technology, and are ruled by the ubiquitous moped.

Our strength is in translating these opportunities into detailed, practical itineraries. We do luxury travel and event planning, as well as a wide range of beach, family, honeymoon, adventure, golf, veteran and cultural tours.

There is no better way to experience a destination than through the perspective of the local people. At Water Puppet Tours, this key element of local insight drives every step of our process of tour design and delivery. We provide tailor-made tours individually crafted for each client, achieving this by emphasizing the direct working relationship between the client and the tour designer and operator.


Travel Style

Travel Destination

Heritages of Vietnam 10 Days

This trip highlights all heritage sites from magnificent Halong Bay in the North to ancient citadel of Hue and its royal tombs. You will visit the incredible ancient town of Hoi An at night with a side trip to visit My Son ruins with Cham architecture.Further to the South is bustling Ho Chi Minh metropolis and vibrant Mekong Delta with exciting Cai Be floating market…

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide Pick up)

Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will have time to relax before having a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi Orientation (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be taken to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and historical presidential relics and then the Temple of Literature nearby. Afterwards you will head to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake. The Ngoc Son temple is set on a tiny island on the Hoan Kiem Lake and dates back to the 13th century. The lake itself is a picturesque focal point of Hanoi, frequented by tourists and locals alike. In the afternoon, you will visit   Museum of Ethnology, widely acknowledged as the best in the country which houses a display dedicated to Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority peoples. Then you will take 1 hour by cyclo ride through Hanoi's Old Quarters to experience daily life of people who are living in the oldest parts of the city, Enjoying the famous traditional water puppetry show in Thang Long Theatre where you will have chance to get a general picture of the daily activities typical to Vietnam's rural areas. You will spend the night in Hanoi.

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast, you will depart for Halong Bay, you go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town we embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting four hours cruise will provide us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. Transfer back to Hanoi in the late afternoon where you will spend the night.

Day 4: Hanoi - Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

After breakfast, you will be free until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for the flight to Hue. When you arrive, you will be picked up and taken to your hotel for refreshment for a while. Hue served as Vietnam's capital under the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 and the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the walls of the Citadel and the Imperial City. Both were heavily damaged during the Tet Offensive of 1968 when the Hue served as Vietnam's capital under the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 and the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the walls of the Citadel and the Imperial City. You visit the major sites including the Imperial Citadel with Forbidden Royal City like in Beijing after that you will visit the Dong Ba market before come back to the hotel for refreshment.

In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You’ll spend the night in Hue.

The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual - house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.

Day 5: Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)

Your morning will begin with a cruise along the Perfume River to visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda which also gives you a taste of the tranquil countryside. From there, you’ll drive to the Royal Tombs of Emperor Minh Mang. In the afternoon, your guide will take you to visit the Emperor Khai Dinh. After that, you’ll return to Hue to visit one of city’s ‘garden houses’ and then return to your hotel for refreshment.

In the evening, you’ll sit down for dinner in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of another of the garden houses. The owner will prepare and serve a traditional meal based on the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. You’ll spend the night in Hue.

Each Royal mausoleum reflects the personality of the Emperor it commemorates. The most majestic is that of Emperor Minh Mang, a staunch follower of Confucianism with many wives, concubines and a small army of children. Planned by the Emperor and built shortly after his death in formal Chinese style, it’s opulent and exotic, and a good example of classic Sino-Vietnamese architecture.

The tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is an unprepossessing concrete construction on the side of a wide valley. Its interest lies in the uneasy combination of Vietnamese and European features, the use of fragments of ceramics and glass for decoration, and the striking views from the courtyard in front of the mausoleum.

The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual - house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.

Day 6: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

You will relax in the short time after breakfast then the guide and driver will take you to Hoi An. On the way, you will cross Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the Eastern Sea then stop at Lang Co to have a short break. You will then travel more 60 km to visit My Son Holy land, another UNESCO Heritage before being transferred back to Hoi An. You will spend the night in Hoi An.

My Son is considered to be one of the best-preserved Cham centers in Vietnam. My Son is the former capital of the ancient Cham civilization that ruled Central Vietnam from the second to the thirteenth century. This site is a must-see for those people who are interested in architecture and ancient civilizations and is now one of five World Heritage-listed sites in Vietnam.

Day 7: Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

In the morning, you will enjoy a walking tour with first stop is the bustling fish and vegetable market and then you will go through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple. After that, you will get on the boat to cruise along the river to enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town. It transforms itself at night, when many of the shops hang lanterns outside. Hoi An is well known for souvenir shopping with great prices and also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to get a cloth tailor made to measure, this is the time to do it. You will spend the night in Hoi An.

Alternative for Day 7:

Option 1: Hoi An – From Farmer to Fisherman Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

The day starts with cycling the narrow roads through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges and local farmers on their daily work. You’ll then board a boat to the mouth of the Thu Bon estuary where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea and cruise along the coastline observing the lives of the local fishermen.

After joining the fisherman to try your hand at catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat, you will meander through the water palm coconut canal. During the American War, Viet Cong soldiers made use of this area as a highly effective hiding place from enemy attacks through their long struggle. Following an insightful visit to a local fishing village, you’ll be free to relax and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before cycling back to your hotel.

Thung Chai Basket boats, similar in style to coracles in use throughout the ancient world, are widely used throughout Central Vietnam, and are highly suited to the local terrain and lifestyles of local fishermen due to their relative light weight and portability, often doubling as a carrier for various handy items. Circular and constructed of bamboo and tarred for waterproofing, these small boats can typically carry up to five people, and represent a fun-filled opportunity to touch the authentic rural soul of Vietnam. As a precaution, life jackets are provided for your safety during this excursion.

Option 2: Cooking Class in Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide at cooking class)

In the morning, you’ll join a cooking class at the Red Bridge Restaurant. After visiting a market to purchase ingredients, a boat will take you along Hoi An River to the restaurant where you can investigate its herb and vegetable garden before learning how to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes. After lunch at the restaurant, your time will be free. You’ll spend the night in Hoi An.

Recipes:

  • Fresh Rice Paper Shrimp Rolls – including making rice paper.
  • Warm Squid Salad served in half a pineapple
  • Grilled Eggplant stuffed with market vegetables
  • Hoi An Pancakes (Banh Xeo)
  • Food Decoration - pineapple boat, three coloured flowers and Vietnamese hand fan

Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast, you will be free at leisure until the driver arrives to transfer you to the airport to take flight to Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam's largest city has an exciting buzz as millions of people rush around on their daily business. When you arrive, your guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.

In the afternoon, your guide will take you to the Jade Emperor Temple. It’s one of the best Taoist temples in Vietnam, with superb effigies, remarkable carved panels of the descent to Hell and somewhat incongruous terrapin and tortoise sanctuaries. You’ll then return your hotel for freshen up or wander around the huge Ben Thanh market, one of the liveliest areas of Ho Chi Minh City, is packed with every conceivable commodity. You’ll spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be floating market and farms – Vinh Long – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Cai Be where you will get on a private cruise to visit of Cai Be colorful floating market, cruising among local sampans coming from all provinces of the delta full of fruits and vegetables.  Your sampan will proceed to Dong Hoa Hiep island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. During a 40 minutes cruise, you will be able to discover beautiful landscapes along the river and observe the typical Mekong delta rural life. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people.  Visit at an ancient mandarin house dating from the 19th century where the family will welcome you with a cup a tea.  Back on board, your guide will take you to observe the activity of the biggest rice stock market. Further, others stops will allow you to see a traditional bricks and tiles factory and how locals are using palm leaves for houses. Cruising 20 minutes further to Phu An hamlet passing by Cai Be beautiful church, you will have a visit at some interesting home factories to see how rice paste is made, but also rice cookies, coco candies, as well as longan fruits drying process. You will have lunch at Le Longanier, a superb Indochinese villa located in a lush tropical garden by the river, surrounded by fruit orchards. You will then transfer you back to Ho Chi Minh City where you will spend the night.

Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City Departure (Breakfast, Driver pick up)

After breakfast, you will be free until the driver will arrive to take you to the airport for your departure flight. Trip ends.

Inclusive

  • Free Vietnam Visa Invitation letter.
  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
  • Domestic flight tickets: Hanoi – Hue, Danang - Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes.
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
  • VAT and other taxes

Exclusive

  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
  • Compulsory meal (if any)

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